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 

employing the dark feminine? Miley Cyrus

I personally find Miley Cyrus' expressions to be pretty tacky, grasping, and quite predictable. Of course part of this is due to her age, she is only 20 after all. That- and she's sprouted out of our crassly materialistic, plastic gummy bear culture. Normally I just ignore things like this, but something about it, a few particular elements have really crept under my skin. So, with astro files in hand, I thought I'd see about shedding some light on why the pinging, the relentless pinging. http://www.mileycyrustongue.com/

UPDATE: per Frank Clifford, Miley Cyrus' official birth time is now known.
New chart:

Cyrus was born with the Sun in Sagittarius - the sign of the centaur, half man and half animal, shortly before sunset, making hers a diurnal chart, and so the more positive and productive planets for her are those in the day sect: Jupiter and Saturn. With the Sun in a fire sign we know immediately it has strength, due to it being in its own triplicity. The trigon lords for fire are Sun and Jupiter, Saturn is a participating ruler. With fire we know that a measure of success and honors is important to the person (Su/Ju). The Sun is also in the Egyptian bounds (aka 'terms') of Jupiter, as is Venus and Saturn. When posited in the bounds of a benefic such as Jupiter, the ancients believed it 'magnified the fortune of the native.' Moon, Mercury, and Mars are posited in the bounds of Saturn. 

Configured by sign with the Sun is the north node of the moon, Rahu, a notoriously individualistic and eccentric creature in Indian astrology. Rahu is the head of the dragon [or serpent], its tail, the south node of the moon, is Ketu. And these are the lunar eclipse points. Somewhat different from the modern psychological western approach to astrology (that the north node is where you are headed and is most certainly good for you), Rahu is known more for its dark side in India - having an insatiable, exaggerative, hypnotic, and illusory quality. Beyond this wide configuration with the Sun however, the nodes are not conjunct or square (at the bendings) anything else in the chart. So we'll move on.

The Moon is in Scorpio, the sign of its fall -opposite its exaltation. The Lot of Fortune resides at 23 Taurus, at the Ascendant, as she was born during a very dark waning moon. (And is awfully close to the notorious fixed star, Algol.) Mars, known as "Nergal" to the Babylonians, is the planet rising first, leading the way. Mars unrestrained and on its own can be a bit too fierce or aggressive, especially in a daytime chart as it is here. For time immemorial Mars has been associated with war, destruction, the plague, and so on. It's also how we direct our will and shows how and what we have passion for, and is sometimes (especially per Uranian perspective) reflective of our work. Mars is in Cancer here, a sign ruled by the Moon, and so associated with the body, feelings, family, nourishment, and shifting tides (it changes). Cancer is the sign of Mars' fall.

Theo Wargo/WireImage 

Theo Wargo/WireImage 

With the Moon in Scorpio the two are making a nifty exchange, seeing one another from the other's domicile. This is a reception, usually a helpful connection, though with both planets in their fall (and contrary to sect) their benefit to each other is altered. As Tom Callanan notes on Skyscript: it is "like two drunks helping each other home." As it's a trine aspect, it is an easy unimpeded help; a maximum assist. And Mars, at its worst with the Moon, can be a degradation of the body or feminine form, or dis-ease for the body generally, or just a load of anger. Consider her ease of expression with regards to raunchy tongue poses and twerking (from Wikipedia): "Twerking is a type of dancing in which an individual, usually a female, dances to music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low squatting stance."


One thing I always take note of when examining a chart is where the Moon has been and where it is headed - its separating and applying aspects. In this case we see the Moon has separated from a conjunction with Pluto, then a square from Chiron - with my traditional hat on, I forgo the aspects with Pluto and Chiron, as they are transpersonal bodies and are invisible to the naked eye, and instead note the Moon is visibly separating in a square aspect from Saturn. And its next visible application is with Mercury. Firmicus Maternus, a 4th century astrologer, writes about the Moon's translation of light from Saturn to Mercury:

 

"But if the Moon had little light, then either it impedes the sound of the voice or deafens the ears. But it also debilitates the bodies of those who have it thus with wretched weariness; it makes persons suffering from melancholy, jaundiced, splenetic [bad-tempered; spiteful], consumptives [wasting], those suffering from dropsy, [or] lung disease..."

He goes on, but I think you get the picture. 

 

Saturn has a few faces in astrology. It is the father, sometimes the king, or a worker of the land, or the people. At other times, a dark figure or criminal. Most often it is associated with older men, gives a serious approach, and is connected with the ripening of karma (or fate). It can also be indicative of illness, or makes bodies slender and with angular features. 
 

Another biggie on my list: I look for planetary stations. And voila, Mercury! - and Mars. 

Cyrus has a heliacal rise Mercury. It is about to station direct - within a week of her birth to be exact (what we call phasis). And this happens to show up with some frequency in the charts of those special souls who have something to communicate to the world - either vocally, or technically (see Bill Gates and Steve Jobs charts), or to SELL us something. Mercury is the great "merkerter" after all. Here Mercury is in the sign of the Scorpion, a water sign where Venus and Mars rule by triplicity (highlighting passions, love and strife) and is retrograding back to a conjunction with Pluto. It has a fierce bite.  

Mercury connects to Mars when the sun culminates -
note: Moon Pluto

Speaking of fierce, the other planet close to its station, Mars, turned direct about five days before her birth (also a phasis). Essentially what this means is the two planets, that also happen to be in closest aspect in her chart (another on the A-list in my sequence of delineation), are nearly standing still in their fervent watery embrace. And it is on this day that their kiss - or excessively sexualized message (Mercury), as Sinead O'Connor warns - perfects. This perfection occurs at about noon, when the sun culminates - which is, in fact, another way to look at a chart without a known birth time: the rising or culminating chart for the sun on the day in question. 
 

A key to understanding all the passion, fusion, creativity, love/hate, and muse-seeking sides to water, as mentioned above, is in the element's two primary trigon lords, Venus and Mars (the Moon is a participating ruler). In Cyrus' chart we see all of her nocturnal planets (Venus, Mars, Moon) in the yin/feminine signs (earth/water), and all of her daytime sect planets (Sun, Jupiter, Saturn) in their own triplicity as well (fire/air). This gives her a kind of comfort in her skin, not that it makes observers comfortable in their own. 
 

winter solstice 2013 

Venus stationing retrograde

Her Venus is posited in the 'traditionally' lusty sign, Capricorn - and I'm willing to make a very predictable prediction: there will be more Cyrus controversy in the news in the coming months. Venus begins her infrequent retrograde cycle soon, stationing Rx on the solstice, Dec. 21, @ 28'58 Capricorn, and turns direct on Jan. 31 @ 13'33 Capricorn. This is one degrees from Cyrus' Venus. 

Cyrus' Venus is configured with Uranus - a defiant oddball at worst - and at best a refined, striking, and original beauty, a grace hard to surpass (think of Elizabeth Taylor). However Taylor unlike Cyrus had Venus in Aries contra-antiscion her Pisces Sun and dispositing to her Pisces Mars. Pisces being the exaltation sign of Venus elevated its position in Aries, for Taylor, to something pretty remarkable, though it was still in detriment, and in the sign of Mars, associated with cutting and separations, and so not without difficulty (visible in her relationships). Cyrus on the other hand has Venus dispositing to Saturn in Aquarius where Saturn has strength, but its offering to Venus is indirect and without reception. Nor is there an aspect between them. To me it feels a little like the old patriarch pulling the lipstick and powder puff strings from behind the curtain, calculated and measured. It feels stiff.

Venus is also configured with Jupiter in a square aspect. This dominating square from Jupiter in Libra to Venus in Capricorn, the sign of Jupiter's fall, may help explain how abundance explodes [or implodes] into a pretty tasteless and materialistic excess. 'The business of beauty.' Though Venus does benefit in the exchange. Saturn too, ruler of the ninth and tenth houses of travel and profession, is greatly helped receiving this blessing-filled trine from the great benefic (Ju) posited in the sign of the reaper's (Sa) exaltation: Libra. 

Of special note: the planetary periods for Venus and Jupiter have been activated this year while Cyrus is 20 years of age; Venus = 8 years and Jupiter = 12 years (8+12=20). And this activation is even more potent as the planets are in aspect. The time for a tacky boom is now, apparently. 

 

Sun in Sagittarius is contra-antiscion Mars in Cancer
Pluto is in a distant (under 2 degree) antiscion to the Midheaven  

SYMMETRY

Contra-antiscia:  Sun Mars

Her latest work:  Wrecking Ball  

Previous work:  We Can't Stop


Sun|Mars from Ebertin's
The Combination of Stellar Influences 
the will
activity
ambition
determination
courage to fight
the power of attainment
the desire to be in the limelight
inclination to quarrel
hastiness
soldier..

And it seems she will stop at nothing...
 

Updated chart with twelfth-parts is quite illuminating! Look where Venus and Mars' t-p fall. 

For those interested in the twelfth-parts (dodecatemoria) - See the Venus Mars positions right at the Ascendant(!) in Mars' bounds. This reiterates an animalistic, lusty nature; sexuality up front and center; and not necessarily great for health, or for the wellness those things signified by Venus (love and relating, and aesthetics). Jupiter's position @ its fall with natal Venus, again, the "bu$iness of beauty." 

Free software: Morinus
 

Election Day Outbursts

Reflecting on the upcoming election and the placement of planets around the cardinal axis, a.k.a. on the world's stage, I think of the antiscia of Mars Pluto on that day and my mind goes to the notorious tennis hot head John McEnroe. 

In McEnroe's birth chart the closest aspect (less than 20'min of arc) is a Mars Pluto square. I think his outbursts provide a nice illustration of the energy. No doubt we also experience his Mars Jupiter opposition, Jupiter dominating Mercury by square, and Moon Mars separating conjunction - adding to the exaggeration and intensity. 

Screen Shot 2012-11-01 at 12.25.50 PM.png

On Tuesday, Election Day, a day ruled by Mars, the antiscia of Mars Pluto becomes exact at just about the same time both the Sun and Moon come to the cardinal axis (15 Scorpio and 15 Leo). The Sun rules the day, the Moon rules the hour. The Moon is also the public. Between 7:00 and 7:30 pm EST (4:00/4:30 pm PST) all of these points come to precise antiscia & contra-antiscia - we can expect this hour and those leading up to it to be exceptionally intense. (No surprise.)

Screen Shot 2012-11-01 at 1.08.44 PM.png

Another interesting thing to note about the day is the placement of Kronos.

Screen Shot 2012-11-01 at 1.15.59 PM.png

Kronos rules government and authority, things that are grand, tall, and above average. As stated in Alfred Witte's book Rules for Planetary Pictures, Kronos is executive power. Kronos stands at the exact opposition of Pluto and so joins the antiscia to Mars. Mars Kronos and Pluto Kronos according to Arlene Kramer are: "Procedure dictated by the power of the government. Power of the state. Autocratic. Great leader and organizer." and "Great changes. Changes in the form of government. Change of boss." etc. I don't think we should assume this translates to a change in leadership or a win for Romney though. Why? Because Kronos is much more active, activated, and activating in Barack Obama's chart. (This is in addition to many other factors I'm not addressing here.)

Election Day on the 90 degree dial. (No need to be afraid of the dial, it won't bite.) 

90 ele.jpg

Doesn't that just look like the chart of an election? I think so.

In addition to the Mars Pluto Kronos antiscia above you can see the Sun and Moon directly on the cardinal axis. You also see Zeus connecting to Jupiter. I know that sounds redundant (Jupiter|Zeus) and it is sort of. Successful leader, work,fireworks... Zeus and Kronos together makes "a great commander-in-chief".  

In Obama's natal chart the Moon is conjunct Kronos and in a precise square to Zeus (highlighted with the blue circle below). This makes him a Zeus|Kronos type of person since the Moon is an important personal point. Interestingly transiting Pluto|Kronos have moved into the exact midpoint of Obama's Sun and Moon - a highly charged spot! On the dial below you can see transiting Pluto|Kronos circled in red picking up his Sun and Moon. To me this seems like an auspicious signature for the growth and development of great leadership ability and power.

Screen Shot 2012-11-01 at 2.48.22 PM.png

In Romney's chart the transiting Pluto|Kronos is at the precise midpoint of his natal Sun|Hades and Vulcanus|Hades. (Romney also has Hades at the midpoint of his Sun|Moon natally, while Obama has Sun|Moon = Cupido; this says a lot, as Hades has to do with secrets and filth, and Cupido signifies family, community, and society. Just to be clear: having Hades at the midpoint of one's Sun|Moon is not a bad thing, it would be excellent for a psychologist, investigator, astrologer, nurse, or antique collector for instance; however without an outlet like these the potential for a more negative or secretive expression, preying on the hardship and suffering of others for example, does exist. And yes, I'm aware of my bias coming through - I do not think Romney is a morally good person.)

shitty mitt.jpg

So what does the above Kronos transit mean for Romney? 

From Witte's Rules for Planetary Pictures:

Vulcanus + Hades - Kronos:  "Gigantic crimes and evil deeds. Heavy oppression and suppression by governments and ruling powers."

Sun + Hades - Kronos:  "Physical difficulties or restrictions through the state, officials or superiors. Pursued by misfortune through higher power. Leading among criminals. Crime sanctioned by the government."

Is it just that these things may be coming more into the light? (Like his auto bailout profiteering.) Or is there more to it? I guess we'll have to wait and see.

If Romney were to win, I believe it would be another one of his grand (and/or sanctioned) crimes. But I don't think he will. 

There is so much more to be unpacked within these charts, as I'm sure you're gathering, especially as we begin to look at transits and midpoints. This is not in any way a thorough delineation of the charts or a prediction really. Mostly I wanted to share what I thought the energy of the day might feel like (Mars Pluto: McEnroe) and to use the Election Day chart to show the power and impact of the transneptunian Kronos

It's a wild time. All the world will be watching on Election Day - made very clear by the Sun and Moon on the cardinal axis. 

Oh.. on Election Day in addition to exercising your right to vote, I highly recommend some literal exercise as that Mars Pluto will be felt by all!

Take care and feel free to leave comments, questions, or feedback.