Patterns and Persona 1:
(A) challenging Aspects
Some aspects challenge us to grow: hopefully in ways positive to our development. They often call these the ‘hard aspects’. If we use Whole Sign Aspects (WSA) then we have a clear picture of these (potential) formations. These basic (visual) aspect pattern are drawn together – regardless of orb – by the ongoing movement of planets in the sky (transits). Was is my first port of call when I read a chart. If I have access to a personal history of my client that is all I really need for good reading.
The next thing I do is the look at the natal orbs of these aspects. I use harmonic orbs to do this. These tight orbs (e.g 3° for square) show me the key interactions: the complexes. All the aspects that I refer to in my post charts use harmonic orbs (with a base of 12°).
A word on Conjunctions (H2)
Planets posited anywhere in the same sign using the WSA (in conjunction aspect) and within 12° in HO (conjunct).
This aspect indicates where the natal planets merge and need to be realised through objectification.
For example, suppose I have a Sun/Saturn/Mars conjunction (H1) then my life direction (Sun): my sense of hard-won reality, and the way I’ve learnt to assert myself to achieve this purpose, will be shown in life (house); and the style of sign expression I was born with. AND how these three planets interact via aspects to the rest of my chart.
The aspect represents the role of planets in polarity. These archetypes contest each other in a desire to unify. The process is one of subject awareness. With oppositions, we identify with the more personal planet and are contested by the least personal. This rule can change however with angular placements.
The following chart has this aspect emphasised, and the outer-Saturnian planets are involved.
This philosopher has been most influential. It depicts his controversial writings extolling ‘Will to Power in his Pluto opposition sun.
It shows much of the other expressions of his genius in the subjective awareness of his other four planets in (out of sign) opposition.
To ‘willfully’ draw Pluto to Sun is to acknowledge all the personal and collective darkness within an activity likely linked to depression (Pluto in the house of wellbeing).
It is the light within that we have to come to trust: a beacon.
Nietzsche’s psychic quest was to realise his solar God, and none other. One’s Sun in the twelfth can be quite compulsive, even without a strong aspect to Pluto. The God whose death he writes of is likely to be the objectification that is worshipped – and set apart.
His intellectual attempts to achieve this have contributed a great deal of insightful prose. They discovered the planet Pluto thirty years after the philosopher’s death. Ironically, in the 1930s, when many people in Germany (including Hitler) were adapting his philosophy of the ‘Superman’ (the Co-joining of Mars and Jupiter).
The other elements of his complex life were to bring the power of his Mars/Jupiter together into a willful and enduring philosophy and doing so with the genius of Mercury/Uranus.
A Formidable task!
For my second example, we have the daughter of the executed Russian royal family, the harsh dictates of her time (Jupiter/Saturn realised whose identity (mercury/Venus) realised a woman mercury/Venus)).
Anastasia is unique!: I can see her as a symbol of her time. Let’s look at her Solar configuration.
Her Sun is conjunct and besieged (or entrapped) by both Neptune & Pluto. Her Uranus (often symbolising violent change) is in opposition to this Pluto, and Pluto is square her Mars!
She represents a more mythic identity for us than just a tangible historical one. The jury is still out on her survival after the execution of her family.
Anastasia becomes the stuff of legend for us: the astrological depiction of an old order: a symbol of the contrast between innocence and politics on one level (her oppositions to the harsh reality of her time), and the embodiment of revolutionary change itself (her solar conjunction and opposition) coupled with the square to Mars! configuration).
This is an exceptionally complex configuration. It symbolically depicts the fall of the French Sun King, as depicted in the ‘father’ complex in his daughter’s natal chart!
Anastasia’s story did survive her parents, but unlikely in a physical way.
Oppositions are powerful and formative aspects, as we have seen, but squares (90*) have a most important role to play.
Square aspects represent the tests that make or break us throughout our lifetime. Squares are, like personal growth, ongoing.
When we believe they’re resolved (“I’m glad that’s finished”) they resurface, usually on another level. Squares are the stuff of media stories, and ‘fiction. Consider the self-made person who has become complacent and has to resolve a sense of self-loathing or the shallow beauty whose hard-won wiles have provided a rich, and lonely home, with a mate to match. Most of our square complexes aren’t this stereotypical though.
An interesting chart, one that shows the nature of squares, and the much-underrated semi-squares, is that of Charles Chaplin: a famous comic actor, and director, in his time.
Chaplin was a brilliant Actor/Director in the decade around the1920’s. He held a, rather non-political, socialist viewpoint in a capitalistic society. Chaplin also was want to upset his public by marrying teenage women (for short periods of time). Around the time of his Hitler parody of politics, ’The Great Dictator’, in 1940, he was deported from the USA to Switzerland.
His difficulties with partners is shown on his natal relationship axis. His first house Moon (in its fall in Scorpio) opposing his seventh Mars (in detriment) conjunct Venus. This is a powerful axis and the man would have had a great deal of magnetic attraction, and self-control.
Chaplin would have had a strong desire to emotionally control his wives (and lovers), hence the younger they were the more pliable (and safe) they were – at least for a time. In the end, he finally married an older woman of eighteen, only a third of his age, and it worked!
Astrologically speaking his career and reputation relied on his creative; formative and at times dictatorial tenth house Saturn (also in detriment). A placement he ironically shared with Adolf Hitler who he parodied in a film screened at the beginning of the war!
This powerful planet formed a tee square to his three significant personal planets and ruled his Aquarian fourth house of home. Chaplin was a self-made man of the people (Moon – the public – conjunct Ascendant), from a ‘rags to riches’ (Saturnian) background, he was in proud, and creative, control (Leo tenth) of his world.
This creative Mars and Saturn configuration was also linked to his Sun by a semi-square aspect: drawing in the ruler of Saturn!
However – “All good things….” – his standing in the world was shown to be sorely contested in 1939/1940 with transiting Uranus (in Taurus) coming into the complex discussed above (in the persona of his divorcing wife, and his open, and influential, enemies).
In 1940 the year of his departure transiting Pluto began to move through his tenth house: the best face for this transformative presence was that of his paranoid enemy J.Edgar.Hoover, who saw him as a communist sympathiser!
I have mentioned transits here and will devote a post to them later. As you can see they are useful, but not infallible, indicators of both personal and social change
The next chart also has a debilitated (by dignity) Saturn. Like Chaplin, it is of a man who has mastered the formative part of their nature to such an extent that the world is forced to pay attention. I did stress that debilitated planets (fall and detriment) are often indicative of great achievement didn’t I?
David Beckon is perhaps the world greatest soccer player. As expected we see a trine from his Mars (most strategic in Pisces) to his moon ruled Saturn posited in the house of personal expression: he expresses himself best on the field. His moon, his public, is conjunct his MC in Capricorn. It is in mutual reception to Saturn, allowing a most useful exchange of rulership. Beckham’s moon is semi-square his mars: drawing the formative assertion motif together still further. It is interesting that his one square is between Moon and Uranus. I suspect that this is indicative of the exceptionality and genius of his gameplay.
While we are discussing exceptionality and genius it is apt to look at the next chart. Bowie literally made a career out of ‘stardust’.
Like Beckham, the Moon and Uranus aspect figured prominently in his chart, and Saturnian expression was most important in his life.
Bowie’s Mercury square Neptune is telling. It moves from the collectively expressed identity of the twelfth Mercury to test the illusions (memes) of our society in the ninth house of societal expression. Bowie communicated to us through the allure and mystique of Neptune (see next post). He devised ‘unreal’ identities of us. He presented deeper parts of us to see, hear, and realize. We became the ‘space control’ to his Major Tom.
That he was able to realise this expression is indicated in his semi-square complex. It is also indicated in the position of his Sun / Mar ruler Saturn (again in detriment)
Bowie’s chart had two powerful semi-squares tied together by a trine aspect. Most astrologers would overlook these “irritating” aspects. His Sun and Mars are in 45-degree aspect to Venus (which trines (120 degrees) Moon), and his Uranus is in 45-degree aspect to his Moon (which trines Venus)
This is a formative aspect. It draws together his Lights and joins them with his Art (Venus) and his unique expression that was sometimes shocking (Uranus). His life path then is that of the artist that defies convention.
Bowie could not have become who he was without a strong Saturn. This is true of all aspiring Capricorns. His Saturn was angular conjunct Moon and Mars; most powerful conjunction; Bowie had a lot of life to live perhaps this is a symbolic indication of dynamic.
Enough for now!
This will be the last of these series of posts on the basic introduction to the ‘Craft of Astrology’ what follows will a brief Endnote.
I will begin a second, more specialised, series of posts later this year