10 Astrology Habits to Break

1. Using the Astrological Alphabet 

Whether you learned this from a teacher or read it in a book, please stop limiting yourself with the application of sign = planet = house style rulership. Indeed, Aries is the domain of Mars, and Taurus the domain of Venus (and on it goes), BUT that does not mean Aries/Mars is the same thing as the first house. It's simply not. A planet associated with war and separation does not equate to the house of Life, Body, and Spirit. And Taurus/Venus does not equal the second house of your income (Jupiter is the planet pertaining to wealth actually). 
Scorpio does not = the eighth, Aquarius does not = eleventh, Pisces does not = twelfth. 

Aries may be the first sign of the zodiac, if you work that way. But there are other ways to work, and other perspectives to take. For instance, Capricorn could be the first sign of the zodiac: when it is darkest in the northern hemisphere, think of a gestating seed. Or if that feels limited, when the sun has bottomed out and begins its travel upwards (from our perspective on earth) from its most southerly declination at the Tropic of Capricorn.

Or you might want to think of the sign Cancer as the first position. As it is the first house in the all-important Thema Mundi (see the diagram below). Vettius Valens, in his Anthology from the second century, writes: it is the house of the moon, feminine, solstitial, the Ascendant to the universe. . . With the Thema Mundi in mind, consider Jupiter's exaltation in Cancer (life giving and life promoting) versus Mars' exaltation in Capricorn (the seventh sign, and traditional house of death: the place of the setting sun). And Libra on the fourth, Saturn's place of exaltation: under ground, under earth, the crypt — also one's family, parents, origins, history, ancestors. Even Valens notes, a diminisher of estates, the Lower Midheaven of the universe . . . And Aries upon the tenth, where of course the Sun is exalted and shines maximally in its culmination: . . .the Midheaven of the universe and the cause of rank, writes Valens. Sexy Scorpio as the fifth sign; divinatory and dream-rich Pisces on the ninth; Aquarius, Saturn's domain (a planet of death) on the eighth; and so on.

Give it thought. Expand your vision, exercise your mind, and end the habit. 


2. Outer Planet Rulership 

In my view it's absurd to even think about ruining the perfection and intelligence of this cosmic symmetry (above). If you still think Aquarius is ruled by Uranus — why? Why the willfulness and defensiveness around it? Actually, that may provide a clue in itself. If you have Aquarius on an important angle in your chart, or your Sun or Moon is there, and you just can't see yourself as Saturnian, you may have a limited perspective on Saturn. See Joseph Crane's Liberating Uranus and Aquarius

As for Mars and Scorpio, do you think it's okay to strip Mars of its transformational qualities? I don't. I doubt Mars does either. Please participate in restoring Mars' wildly potent transmutational and revolutionary sides. Much of this quality comes in and through this planet's connection to the sign Scorpio. Pluto does its own thing; sometimes very unrelated to Scorpio. Think about it.  

Same goes with Pisces and Jupiter. This is the sign of arts and music and great love, precisely because it is the exaltation of VENUS. And it's the sign of spirituality and dreams and exploring the collective psyche and unconscious, because it is the domain of Jupiter. Neptune conveys a few things related, sure, like with film and projected images (tied to the timing of its discovery). But we all know Neptune can signify a lot more than that, sometimes quite troublesome, nebulous, deceitful and draining in nature (significations taken from Saturn, honestly). These are habits of correlation that Pisces and Jupiter (and I) would like to see end. 

Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto each mean so much more than what could possibly be derived from the zodiac signs. These are trans-personal, outer planets for a reason. They have more to offer, and to tell us, much like the asteroids actually. They govern over extremes and surprises, genius, and utter destruction, topics and areas that simply transcend the day to day experiences symbolized by the zodiac signs. Please liberate them from this treatment. 
 

3. Essentially Dignified Planets are always Awesome

So you have a planet in its own sign, huh? Before your ego expands to wild dimension, I'd just like to remind you, so did Jeffrey Dahmer, FOUR of them. 

We say a planet that is essentially dignified has the power to do what it wants. That may or may not be good for the native. And that may or may not be good for anyone else. A planet with power to do what it wants, does not equate to doing the right thing or being very conscious, aware, caring, or enlightened. And a planet in its own domicile is actually, in a way, limited, as it is focused on what it signifies (the planet/sign/house) sometimes to the exclusion of other topics (planets/signs/houses). And without -or depending on the type of- reception and aspects, these planets can sometimes signify a ruthless single-mindedness (and selfishness), and can lack communication with -or act supportive to- other areas or people as signified in the chart. 

Also, if you're examining one of those oh-so important planets in their sign of exaltation—please remember that its dispositor is incredibly important. It literally has the power to make or break whatever this lucky planet signifies. Sometimes with a lack of continued coherence and support (or when in bad company) you'll see an exalted planet (person signified) behave in bombastically arrogant and ignorant ways, depending on what it rules or where it's posited. Additionally, a planet's immediate sign and house position is thought to signify the way something starts out, and where it disposits shows how the matter evolves or ends. So exalted planets that lead to less 'dignified' places, or lack reception, tell us a lot about where this matter is going . . . maybe nowhere.

A kind of natural confidence is usually what I think when I see dignified or exalted planets, but arrogance can ensue, especially in our culture where narcissism is rampant and a lack of compassion and empathy is pretty much encouraged. Please check your feeling of superiority. No one is finished with their work on this planet, that's why we're here.
 

4. Final Dispositor FOLLY

A final or sole dispositor in the chart is not always helpful and it is certainly not necessarily nice. For instance, having a planet like Saturn in Capricorn or Mars in Aries as the one and only dispositor might require a bit (or a lot) of extra caution. These two especially seem to wreak havoc. Capricorn being the nocturnal sign for Saturn, a planet that prefers the light of day—and so the diurnal signs, to warm its cold dry bones; and Aries for Mars, a nocturnal planet which can use some cooling and grounding, provided by earthy or watery (yin) signs—can both be prone to a bit of bullying, cruelty, and power-plays if not mitigated and/or used consciously. 

It also helps to have reception, especially mutual, to break up the dispositing. Several dispositors are good, or loops between them. Unless a chart is working for a benefic (in an advantageous house), sometimes the focus of a final dispositor can bring one down or bulldoze over others with its nature and unlimited pursuit for power. Even a planet like Venus, as I've seen many times with charts of people with drug or food addictions, can cause a lot of trouble for the native. 
 

5. North Node is Karmic and MOST Important

Seriously, it's an eclipse point. And it is the head of the dragon, Rahu, for a reason. Look at Donald Drumpf. And the south node, Ketu, also an eclipse point, is the tail: a place of release, sure, a place of gifts and wisdom, and mysticism and spiritual liberation, too. Please do more research if you actually think the south node is just a useless point to be ignored and left behind, or that the north node is entirely holy and the only way to go. Maybe in a ruthless, obsessive, money-hungry, and addictive culture Rahu is king. But I'd like to think there is more to life. 

As for karma, if it exists as we think, it is represented by the whole chart—not just the nodes, not just Saturn, not just the twelfth house, and definitely not Pluto alone. 

6. Hard Aspects Are Bad

Squares are productive. Squares blend polarity, like antiscia does (and unlike oppositions actually). Blending polarities: yin/yang, feminine/masculine, can be wildly energetic, creative, and fruitful. It conveys an attempt to make something complete and whole, or brand new. We all know nothing happens without pressure, without attraction or repulsion, love and strife. Squares move us.

Of course this doesn't mean all squares are created equal. Like with oppositions, and especially those in close degree-based aspect with malefics (specifically three degrees or less in orb), they can indeed be crunchy and cruel —also notable here: their house rulership, and/or superior position, and other players. 

7. Easy Aspects Are Good, Especially Grand Trines

Smooth flowing aspects are comfortable, compatible, and can be very lazy. Yes, they can show natural talent and luck. They can also show being at ease, or being in a big rut. Especially with the grand trine, it is ideal to have one factor (at least) in square aspect to another planet. Thank the gods if you do. Here's someone who, sadly, did not
 

8. There is Only One Kind of Reception: Mutual 

Astrologers need to note all kinds of reception, including one-sided and mixed. I am personally a huge fan of mixed reception and even reception with minor dignities (i.e. Bounds, Decanates, etc.). And I think it is the key to practicing really good astrology. Reception between planets in aspect tell us how and where things are actually working and where there is likely disfunction. If a planet is compatible, comfortable, and supported in its contact with another planet it's like it is saying Yes, let's do this. And if it is uncomfortable within the contact and rejecting what is offered (for instance an aspect with a planet in the aspecting planet's place of fall or detriment) it's saying, No thanks, I don't want what you have to offer. Of course this can work for good or ill, in both cases. A malefic can be strengthened for instance receiving an aspect from a planet in the malefic's domicile or exaltation sign, and without a lot of awareness, that might not be a good thing at all!

Noting these kinds of connections, and rejection, lends a lot of refinement to your chart reading. There is a specificity and nuance that comes alive when you spend time with it. A deep study and consideration of this is well worth your time and effort.  

A good article on this is at the Gryphon Astrology site.
 

9. Peregrine Planets are Useless 

LOL. As I've already stated in several points above, so much depends on how planets disposit, and how (and by whom) they are received. A planet without essential dignity can be mightily supported with the right kind of reception and connection through aspects (by degree and whole sign!). A 'wandering' (peregrine) planet may even be more integrated in the chart as it communicates with several areas and topics if it is well received by several planets. This sort of thing could prove fruitful and unifying for several areas of the life! Too many planets that are essentially dignified, and not in reception, are not communicating with one another. These cases naturally lead me to wonder about a kind of fragmentation in the chart (and personality). Parts not conversant are indeed telling us something.
 

10. Debilitated Planets are Ineffective

It is my working/learning opinion that a planet not 'well-placed' by sign (including being in its detriment or fall) can have much influence and power to protect and foster the topics for houses it sees that are under its domain. Additionally, as my colleague Charlie Obert wrote about recently, there is a very real, tangible effect that comes with time and effort spent learning to be effective in realms these planets signify. All is not lost. 

You'll want to take note, as iterated many times above, the ways in which these planets disposit and are received. These are not minor details. In fact, especially note their so-called minor dignities. You'll see a planet in its own bound, decante, etc., can and does equate to a lot more than minor efficacy and power in actual practice. Well supported debilitated planets, imo, may point out more than just issues to work on, they are likely the path, the life's work, the point. Bless them. 

Be well. 

p.s. the notion of sex and the eighth house isn't entirely accurate . . . more on this at another time 

K U R T

Today it has been nineteen years since Kurt Cobain's death. To commemorate him, his life's work, his bittersweet poetic and musical contribution to the world (which I personally think was of tremendous importance), I will delineate a few elements of his natal chart that I believe speak a great deal to his style and character and maybe also to his destiny.  

As you probably already know, much about astrology is finding recurring or reiterating themes (i.e. confluence). Usually one does not make a judgement or assessment about a chart based on a single factor alone. This is especially true when examining a natal chart (a person's birth chart). When an astrologer sees repeating or similar factors emerging from different aspects of the chart, they can be near to certain that the expression of those themes will be present and active in the native's life. With Kurt Cobain we see this.
 


First, some basics. You can see in his chart the Sun is under the horizon in the sign of Pisces, Venus' exaltation. He was born after sunset. The rising sign is Virgo, and in the hour and minutes of Cobain's birth the long-standing conjunction of Uranus and Pluto were rising right on the horizon at his Ascendant. His character was greatly defined by these two radical outer planets.

Mercury is the lord of, and is exalted at, the Ascendant and is another major definer of character. It is in Pisces, which is the sign of its fall, and it sees the Ascendant from the seventh place. A planet in its fall frequently must do things outside the box -- in some way outside what society deems is acceptable or normal or appropriate. This somewhat androgynous Mercury, guiding souls to and from the underworld, is a powerfully descriptive planet for him. In earlier times, when we would not have had Uranus and Pluto to help us see immediately the revolutionary or rebellious qualities inherent in his chart, we would associate much of these things to Mercury in Pisces (along with the position and aspect of Saturn, more on that in a minute). 

Cobain's powerful Moon in Cancer (the Moon rules Cancer) is positioned in the eleventh sign from the Ascendant, the place of friends, gain, and Good Spirit. The Moon is the sect light (the 'luminary of the sect in favor' - due to it being a night chart) and is of supreme importance. It is configured with Jupiter which is also in Cancer (Jupiter is in its exaltation). Jupiter is a great benefic and can bring great success, and Jupiter is positioned here in its own house of Joy strengthening the association. There can however be a tendency toward indulgence and extravagance with Jupiter and that possibility is increased here due to its being a night chart. Because Jupiter is a planet belonging to the day sect, and is therefore out of sect in this chart, its potential for boundlessness, knowing no limits, is increased. This can be good and bad, and in Cobain's case I believe we see both. The good and bad is reiterated again by aspects the Moon and Jupiter receive: superior trines from both Venus, the benefic that is of the sect in favor (for a night birth), also in its sign of exaltation, and Saturn, the most difficult malefic being out of sect at night. Venus Saturn being dark art, torment and love. (As an aside, you see the Moon configured with Jupiter in Whitney Houston's chart too, though in the second sign from the Ascendant; Saturn also is in a superior aspect. She too was a night birth. I'm not implying that you will always see problems associated like the ones shared by these two artists, but wanted to mention this similarity in expression.)

Returning to Pisces, the seventh sign from the Ascendant -- classically a place of marriage, enemies, the later part of life, and death -- we see the Sun configured with Mercury, Venus, and Saturn. Saturn being contrary to sect is a very important player here, it colors Cobain's character in a very strong and distinct way -- a way of decay, darkness, and heaviness, like lead. (Another aside, these are a lot of planets dispositing to a very dignified (by sign and place) benefic, Jupiter. We see something similar in Jimi Hendrix's chart: the Sun, Mercury, and Venus all in Sagittarius disposing to Jupiter also exalted in Cancer and configured with the Moon.)
*See charts for both Houston and Hendrix at bottom of article. 

Next we note Cobain's Mars, the "better" of the hard-working malefics, is dignified in its own sign Scorpio, which favors meaningful conflict and struggle and a preference for experiences that are passionate and devotional. This is the third sign from the Ascendant, one might say a place of oracles, and as it's Mars (in Scorpio) its expression is intense. Configured here with Mars is the south node of the Moon (a.k.a. Ketu, a mystical, otherworldly figure) and Neptune. This leads us to an importantly precise grand trine between Neptune, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn. Flowing, and again, knowing no bounds, for better and worse . . . inspiration, devotion, manifestation of melancholic beauty, fantasy, slipping into escape, overwhelm . . . a dream that's gotten out of control.

The Lot of Fortune (an alternate Ascendant) is in Taurus and its ruler Venus is located in the eleventh sign from fortune, a place of acquisition. Again: the place of friends, gains, and Good Spirit, a place associated with Jupiter; a theme is reiterated. 

Much of what we associate with Neptune was originally expressed through Jupiter and Saturn. Something to think about....

 

MUSIC +
POETRY

Cobain was born just a couple of days before both Mercury and Neptune stationed retrograde. Because stations occur over time, meaning the planet from our perspective doesn't just stop on the day of its station, but slows down and stalls out, literally standing still for days at a time, any planetary station which occurs within a week of one's birthday (on either side of the date) is of huge importance. 

Indian astrologers hold the opinion that retrograde planets are actually at their strongest -- this usually differs from traditional or modern Western thought. 

Mercury, along with Venus, is very much associated with music and musicians.
Neptune, the imagination. 

 

SYMMETRY

 

Being the huge nerd that I am, I also love to examine declination +and+ antiscia.

With Cobain we see parallel conjunctions of Mercury, Venus, and Saturn. We already know that the planets are conjunct by zodiacal degree (longitude), but by declination (sharing the same latitude) they are even more closely aligned. This further strengthens their conjunction and because they all rest near the celestial equator (by 2.5 degrees of Southern declination), they are very much tied to the earthly plane.

Note too that the Moon is way Out Of Bounds. Another signature for a bit of a radical character and unrestrained energy; and ruling the eleventh, extremes apply to fortune and friends, and, as astrologer Austin Coppock points out, fans.

 

ANTISCIA?
 

Planets and angles connected by antiscia (symmetry around the zero degree cardinal points) have been recognized as important and potent for at least two thousand years.

A more modern perspective sees connections across the axis as illuminating 1) that a person will connect to the world, and 2) how that person will connect with the world (whether it be intentional or not).

With Cobain we see a strong connection between the powerful and dignified luminary of sect the Moon and his Midheaven. The Moon is emotion, it rules the public, also women and the feminine. And this ties the lord of the eleventh (again), the place of Good Spirit, fortune, and friends, to the MC (Midheaven) - the point of profession, one's mission or path, and culmination in the life, and for Uranian astrologers: the soul. In fact, in Reinhold Ebertin's classic book, The Combination of Stellar Influences, the principle delineation given for Moon|MC is =

"One's own soul." 

 

To me, Kurt Cobain expressed, exposed, and shared with us his soul. He certainly touched other souls. Like the Moon, his work and nature was not, or seemed not to be, rational. And his music, his lyrics, prose and poems, uncomfortable at times (Saturn), sometimes desperately sad, touched and spoke to others on what I can only think of as an emotional (Moon) soul level. 
 

 
 



Leave a comment if you like. 


androgynous mercurial chart ruler 

androgynous mercurial chart ruler