1. Astrology at the Threshold
2. How to Use This Book
Key Concepts &- Definitions 27
3. The Four Elements & The Twelve Signs
4. The Planets
Key Concepts for the Planets 35
Positive-Negative Expression of Planetary Principles 37 The Planets in the Elements 39 Sun 39 Moon 40 Mercury 41 Venus 42 Mars 44 Jupiter 45 Saturn 46
Uranus, Neptune & Pluto 48
Zodiacal Signs & Their Key Concepts 49 Functions of the Planets in the Signs 51 The Sun in the Signs—Interpretive Guidelines 52 The Moon in the Signs—Interpretive Guidelines 57 Mercury in the Signs—Interpretive Guidelines 62 Venus in the Signs—Interpretive Guidelines 67 Mars in the Signs—Interpretive Guidelines 72 Jupiter in the Signs—Interpretive Guidelines 77 Saturn in the Signs—Interpretive Guidelines 83 Uranus, Neptune & Pluto in the Signs 89
6. The Ascendant (or Rising Sign) & the Midheaven 91
Key Concepts for the Ascendant 91 The Element of the Ascendant 93 The Ruler of the Ascendant 95
Sign Position of the Ruling Planet House Position of the Ruling Planet Aspects to the Ascendant 97 Guidelines to Interpreting the Ascendant 99 Aries Ascendant 101 Taurus Ascendant 102 Gemini Ascendant 102 Cancer Ascendant 102 Leo Ascendant 103
Virgo Ascendant 103 Libra Ascendant 104 Scorpio Ascendant 104 Sagittarius Ascendant 105 Capricorn Ascendant 106 Aquarius Ascendant 106 Pisces Ascendant 107 The Midheaven 108
The Ruling Planet of the Midheaven
Planets in the 10th House & Aspects to the Midheaven
7. The Houses—Interpretive Guidelines 111
The Wholistic Approach to Interpreting Houses 112 Water Houses: The Psychic Trinity Earth Houses: The Trinity of Wealth Fire Houses: The Trinity of Life Air Houses: The Trinity of Relationship The Water Houses: 4th, 8th & 12th 115 The Earth Houses: 10th, 2nd & 6th 117 The Fire Houses: 1st, 5th & 9th 119 The Air Houses: 7th, 11th & 3rd 121 Interpretive Guidelines for Understanding House
Placements 123 Interpretive Guidelines for Each Planet's House Position 125 Interpretive Guidelines for the Signs on the House Cusps 129
A Law for Interpreting Aspects 135 The Major Aspects 136 Conjunction Semi-sextile Sextile Square Trine Quincunx Opposition Orbs & Planetary Interactions 139 Guidelines to Planetary Interchanges & Blendings 141 Aspects with the Sun 144 Aspects with the Moon 148 Aspects with Mercury 152 Aspects with Venus 155 Aspects with Mars 158 Aspects with Jupiter 160 Aspects with Saturn 163 Aspects to the Ascendant 165 Aspects with the Outer Planets
9. Guidelines to Chart Synthesis
An Outline of Chart Interpretation
We value things made by man but show scant respect for what God himself has built.
—Truth Eternal by Master Charan Singh
Since the publication of my first books on astrology, I have continually received large amounts of mail from all over the world telling me how the material in the books is being used by students and practitioners of astrology, as well as by those who use astrology primarily as a self-help tool without any intention of becoming professional practitioners. Many people underline or annotate the books; others hand out photocopies of various sections to clients, students, or friends; and others tell me that an index or a further explanation of how to apply certain basic interpretive principles would be useful. However, until now I have not felt it necessary to provide additional material since I saw it as my primary role to oudine as clearly as possible the basic principles and approach that I had discovered to be accurate and practical, a clarification that I felt was urgently needed if a true astrological psychology (or cosmic psychology) were going to be possible and soundly established.
In addition, I always felt that it was far preferable for students of astrology to learn to think for themselves—to think astrologi-
cally in relation to the person in question rather than to follow blindly traditional rigid rules of interpretation or to rely on the simplistic "interpretations" found in so many astrological cookbooks. I felt that it was important for students to make the extra effort to apply those guidelines and proven principles that I had already presented to specific cases and circumstances; and I felt that the considerable accuracy that could be achieved rather quickly would pleasantly surprise the student and lift him or her to a new level of understanding and competence. Furthermore, my books already contained many interpretive guidelines, examples, and case histories, far more in fact than one usually finds in astrological books where the lack of real life examples continually frustrates intelligent students of astrology as they attempt to master the basics of astrological understanding.
However, I have come to feel that a further development of the fundamental principles explored in my books, including more detailed interpretive guidelines, is in fact badly needed. What seems to me a substantial gap in the astrological literature is an explicit, concise compilation of interpretive guidelines that are easily accessible and usefully accurate both for students who are just learning to think astrologically, and for more advanced students, teachers, and practitioners who need a quick reference book. This book is an attempt to create an easily understood handbook that incorporates the widely-applicable meanings that emanate from the basic astrological factors. The purpose of this book is not only to make it easy to locate fundamental concepts and details of chart interpretation that are scattered throughout my books, but also to guide people in how to think astrologically, something a mere index cannot do. I also have kept the book focused on the major interpretive factors in any birth chart, excluding all those minor factors that so confuse beginning students and also often unnecessarily divert the attention of more experienced practitioners. I have also concentrated on understanding the natal birth chart only, preferring to explore the subject of transits and progressions in a separate volume.
This handbook is in many ways a sequel to and further development of the material presented in Astrology, Psychology &
The Four Elements and Astrology, Karma & Transformation, my first two books which have proven extremely popular and enduring world-wide. I am deeply indebted to those readers and teachers who continue to use and recommend my books, and I am grateful for their encouragement. This volume picks up where my earlier books leave off by showing how to combine and use principal keywords, concepts, and interpretive phrases, always keeping the emphasis on the essential meanings that "trip off'' many related meanings and insights for the person using them.
In the design of this book, I was presented with a dilemma: I wanted to use extremely precise language for the interpretive guidelines, but also retain the wholistic, flexible, open-ended approach that had been so important and widely appreciated in my earlier works. The first word of this book's subtitle, Guidelines, is perhaps the central concept of this book. What is lacking in many astrology books are intelligent, linguistically accurate and precise guidelines with which to interpret the numerous details and the almost infinite combinations found in any birth chart. No wonder the new student of astrology gets confused, frustrated, discouraged, and often completely lost in the trivia that pervades most textbooks! What I have heard constantly for years from intelligent people trying to study and understand astrology on their own is that they simply don't relate to the neat paragraphs of "interpretations" that are supposed to apply to them. They naturally therefore question the accuracy and usefulness of astrology itself, instead of realizing that the book they are using is just one of many that purports to package up astrological "knowledge" for the general public but which fails to instill any real understanding or to convey any true insight that the individual will identify with and benefit from.
The modern trend of substituting quantity for quality is only too common in today's astrological cookbooks, and this baleful trend is even more evident in "computer astrology." Tho computerization of astrology that is spreading so rapidly today (primarily because it offers all sorts of people—astrologically qualified or completely unqualified—the chance to make more money more quickly) is bringing forth tremendous amounts of superficial, unfocused, completely useless "interpretations." In this type of automatically-produced astrological verbosity, no one ever bothers to define the words they use or to use words precisely or with nuances of subtler meanings. Using astrology for human benefit demands greater sophistication and more allowance for complexity than is evident in these odious misrepresentations of what astrology truly is.
Therefore, by focusing on precise, simple, in-depth language in this book, I'm certainly going against the grain of most astrological material being produced today, which seems lost in a profusion of words or minor astrological details or both. If the key concepts, phrases, and guidelines in this book are well chosen, they will penetrate to essential truths and insights that people can identify with and learn from. To what extent this attempt has succeeded, the reader will have to determine. But one thing about which I am confident is that this focus on the essentials of the birth chart is correct. It is correct because: (1) the essential factors are reliable, if properly understood; and (2) it is the fundamental major factors of a chart that most clearly reflect the fundamental major themes of the person's life. Effective "chart interpretation" revolves around tuning into, understanding, and then illuminating the major life themes of the individual. So many of the complex astrological methods and the minor astrological factors often promoted in books, lectures, articles, and mail-order computerized products will not reveal any new major theme in the person's life which the traditional factors and methods, properly understood, do not already clearly point to. As I have said in lectures to astrologers, if astrologers focus on trivia, they are trivializing astrology, and—I might add—giving astrologers an even more trivial image than they already suffer from in our society.
The following quotation from one of my lectures is worth repeating here as further explanation of why this new book must focus exclusively on the basic interpretive factors:
Rather than helping us to achieve chart synthesis and thus a meaningful evaluation of the person's major life themes, putting too many factors in a chart makes it harder to discriminate between the significant themes and the peripheral details. Since one can rationalize almost anything through a birth chart, and the more so the more points and methods and minor "planets" one uses, my view is that one should use a minimum of major reliable factors in order to see a client and his or her situation clearly. Otherwise, you'll project confusion, not order, to the client.
Just as air traffic controllers at an airport have difficulty distinguishing airplanes from other static on the radar screen and in distinguishing which is the closest approaching plane if there are too many in the sky at the same time, so astrologers using too many celestial factors will find it increasingly difficult to discriminate between the significant and the insignificant and so will more and more be inclined to impart confusion, illusion, and inaccurate observations to clients who are searching for clarity. People don't go to astrologers to find confusion or to collect a million petty details and speculations; they go to find some clarity and direction in their lives. Even if they want a prediction from you, that is their way of asking for clarity.
I mentioned above how important it is to the concept of this book that the keywords and interpretive guidelines be carefully chosen. I should probably briefly explain why such precision of language is so crucial. I have been concerned with achieving a precision of expression and a high level of reliability in astrological interpretation since 1967. The old black/white, good/bad, fortunate/unfortunate categories of old-fashioned astrology failed completely to give me the understanding or the reliability that I was looking for. As Harvard historian Dr. John King Fairbank stated, "It is not possible to think with critical power without being critical of the categories with which one is thinking." And yet, never at that time did I hear the fundamental assumptions and categories used by astrologers in their interpretive language questioned, challenged, or critically analyzed—until, that is, I encountered Dane Rudhyar's pioneering work.
Once the door to a new type of understanding of astrology was opened, it was only a matter of time and many, many dialogues with people about themselves and their charts before I concluded that astrology's greatest strength was in its description of the inner person: the primary motivations and needs, the inner situation at any given time, even the quality of the individual's consciousness—in short, the inner dynamics of the individual's entire physical and psychological energy field. Eventually, after years of experiment, vast reading in many fields, thousands of hours of counseling, and many kinds of research, it became obvious that astrology was essentially a language of experience and also—as I realized after years of study in the healing arts—a language of energy. I concluded that, for a truly scientific astrology (in the precise sense of the word), one must emphasize the inner dimensions of human life in order to achieve the level of accuracy that I sought.
The inner situation is actually more fundamental and thus more precisely symbolized by the astrological configurations than are outer circumstances. Once the inner essence manifests in the outer world, it fragments; the one becomes the many, and thus much more difficult to perceive in the limited number of factors in any chart. Hence, emphasizing exclusively outer events and circumstances, as so many astrologers do, ends up as a guessing game that is rarely successful. In my own search, once I found that one had to focus on the inner dimensions in order to find the characteristics that were invariably present when a certain planetary position or configuration occurred, it simply remained to experiment with many forms of verbal expression and many keywords and key phrases to see which were the most accurate and most effective at communicating subtle realities to clients. My first three books, and now this book, are the result of that quest. I hope the reader who uses this book will see these guidelines in this light, allow time to become familiar with them, and then ultimately feel free to pick and choose whichever parts of this book prove most useful.
Finally, as I mentioned above and focused on in my first book, Astrology, Psychology & the Four Elements, astrology is—perhaps preeminently—a language of energy. I know of no other such energetic language that rivals its accuracy, descriptive precision, and usefulness. What other language (or science, for that matter) can reveal the individual's primary Voltage, one's basic power and life force attunement, shown by the Sun? What other language can so precisely describe the individual's Amperage, one's rate of energy flow, shown by the Moon, or the individual's Conductivity or Resistance—in what way the life force can flow through the individual and into the world—symbolized by the Ascendant? These electrical analogies, developed by Dr. William Davidson, are just a fragment of the vast energy language of astrology.
If one is going to emphasize the energy approach to astrology and therefore the importance of the four elements, the following definitions—which I have used and found extremely accurate for many years—are worth keeping in mind as one studies the material in this book. These definitions also focus on astrology as a language of personal experience, as contrasted with the old-fashioned attempt to squeeze a description of outer events out of every astrological pattern.
The ELEMENTS are the energy substance of experience.
The SIGNS are the primary energy patterns and indicate specific qualities of experience.
The PLANETS regulate energy flow and represent the dimensions of experience.
The HOUSES represent the fields of experience wherein specific energies will be most easily expressed and most directly encountered.
The ASPECTS reveal the dynamism and intensity of experience as well as how the energies within the individual interact.
These five factors, defined and understood as stated above, constitute a remarkably comprehensive, sophisticated, and refined cosmic psychology; and any attempt to formulate a reliable science of astrology (or astrological psychology) must take into consideration the energy dimension of life that astrology maps and illuminates so explicitly. Practitioners in many traditions of the healing arts think and work in terms of "energy," and in fact quite a few are using or experimenting with astrology as a precise language of energy. So now it remains for the astrologers to realize what they have had all along and therefore to acknowledge astrology's energy dimension.
Unfortunately, many people actively involved with astrology today—both researchers and practitioners—are making the same mistake as have the materialistic scientists and most medical doctors today: namely, getting lost in details and hair-splitting analysis to the point of losing sight of the greater whole. The great wholistic truths of astrology easily become neglected and sometimes even derided when one becomes lost in technical details. Among these great truths are first, that Eneigy is the fundamental factor being analyzed and understood through astrology; and second, as a simple unifying factor, is the reality and importance of the traditional "four elements," still continually ignored or glossed over by most astrologers. And yet, the energies represented by the four elements are ultimately the fundamental realities of life that are being analyzed with astrology. In the energy approach, the elements are the active principles, and the planets primarily serve to activate and regulate those energies. In short., looking to the energy fundamentals of astrology will help all students and practitioners to be more realistic, accurate, and effective at communicating the great dynamic truths that astrology has to offer. Astrologers sometimes prefer to cling to the birth chart for security rather than to use it, put it aside, and then live courageously with that increased understanding. Astrology need not be a religion or the ultimate goal of a life's quest. It is more valuable as a stepping stone toward a greater understanding and a greater goal.
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