Relationship astrology and the composite chart

Yesterday I spent a few hours with Theresa working on composite charts, and it occurred to me that the potential for relationship insight that can be gleaned through such approaches is easily worthy of an article. Today therefore I would like to interpret the composite chart of Prince Charles and Diana, the results are almost uncannily informative and you will hopefully quickly grasp the value of such a study.

Technically, the composite chart is a midpoint, or halfsum derivation of two separate astrologies. Each point is taken from both parties, the longitudinal arc is determined, halved and that point is then plot for the composite; thus if person A has Sun at 10° Libra and person B has Sun at 20° Scorpio then the composite Sun will fall at 0° Scorpio. Every point, including Ascendant and midheaven is treated in this same manner, until a completely new chart is created.

Charles and Diana, composite chart

Charles and Diana, composite chart

At this point the normal process of interpreting the astrology can continue, with the only difference lying in the fact that we are looking at the character and destiny of a relationship as opposed to a person. Experienced astrologers will see immediately some of the more intriguing indicators within this astrology, certainly the overall ambience is easy – and if you read yesterday’s article you might see that there is a potential difficulty in this much ease – and we have a chart which evinces no oppositions and only a single square aspect. There is immediately a lack of challenge and drive within the marriage, and too there is an ongoing risk of isolation inherent too. Let us consider some of the key delineations:

  1. Ascendant in Aries creates a bold and fearless, if somewhat self-absorbed outward face. The rising sign of a composite really tells us something about how the partnership appears to the world at large, so in Aries, there is no sense of anything being in the background. The ruler of the chart therefore is Mars, which promises a certain element of upset and with Mars in Libra this is made even more awkward; Mars in Libra hates confrontation and tries to avoid outright hostilities. Mars too lies in the 7th and squares Uranus in Cancer. I would interpret this to say that the issue of wanting to be somewhere else, to live independently (Uranus in Cancer/4th) causes tension in the marriage which is never properly acknowledged (Mars in LIbra/7th) which builds gradually to an insurmountable difficulty. Of all indicators then, this seems to be the least favoured planetary ruler for the composite chart, and as with natal astrology, the chart ruler will always give an enormous insight.
  2. An absolutely partile conjunct of Jupiter with Chiron riding the Midheaven; fascinating. Ostensibly, Jupiter this elevated seems to be fantastic; it promises enormous status and the outward appearance of ease. The Chiron connection however creates a real underlying sensitivity that itself must eventually become obvious to the entire world. Capricorn too is a hard sign, not particularly sensitive or compassionate at its heart; thus there is an ever-increasing (Jupiter) and public (Mc) sensitivity to feeling unloved, left out, closed off and lonely (Capricorn); this became the overriding ambience of the partnership toward the end of course, and it was there for the entire world to see.
  3. Mars conjunct Neptune in Libra in the 7th tells a very pertinent story too. Mars must struggle madly here, in Venus’ house and subject to the dissolving influence of Neptune too, frustration must have become a subjective reality of the marriage – for both parties. This in itself implies an ongoing dissatisfaction with the marriage itself. It simply did not quite meet either of their needs.
  4. Peregrinated Mercury in its rulership is an intriguing note. It suggests an enormous communicative polarity. Charles and Diana would either have been able to talk about every minutiae of their lives together, or there would instead have been a wall of silence effect, and no middle ground whatever. I imagine that they would have experienced both extremes in the course of their relationship together.
  5. Sun is accidentally dignified, suggesting that they had the potential to have real fun together; they would have enjoyed each others company and had favoured children too, as is now self-evident.
  6. Now for the real clincher, Moon in Pisces and the 12th. Here is the true problem. The emotional substance of the relationship is suppressed, victimisation is a theme, the feelings are denied and ultimately the sense of disappointment becomes nearly palpable. The Yod seeks to address this, making continual attempts to adjust and remake things until a solution can be found, but in classic Yod style, no solution can be possible, acceptance is the only route out of adversity for this poor couple. The Mars Neptune conjunction feeds this unhappiness too, so it is clear, an inability to address the problems within the marriage simply exacerbate the sense of emotional isolation and disappointment, especially for Diana (Moon).
  7. A few other bit-players flesh out the sense of things. Sun at the Venus/Neptune halfsum indicates lovesickness and even the possibility of a secret love, while Sun = Mars/Venus promises procreation and a strong physical attraction between the couple, and Mars = Venus/Jupiter denotes a wedding and a fantastic sex life. Intriguingly Saturn in Scorpio in the 8th suggests that the end of the relationship is connected with themes of sexual control and power, with withholding sex, with constricting loyalties and cold, harsh relations with gradual and implacable withdrawal of intimacy; the sextile to Sun suggests that Charles had this power and chose to exercise it, leaving Diana isolated and confused (Mo/Pi/12).

All in all, a fantastic and entirely plausible insight, and yet another indication of the danger of too much ease, progress requires friction; going downhill requires no effort after all.

[Please note, I am reducing the frequency of my articles in order to try and concentrate on my work a little more; thus I will, from now on post articles only on Tuesday and Friday. I will happily answer short questions at any time, so feel free to ask. Help with relationships can be found here.]

Trines vs. Squares, Case Studies

The fact that today I don’t get a single hard transit, Venus conjunct Uranus woke me at 8:04 this morning and she crosses my Ascendant around lunchtime (and I am looking good today, if I say so myself), has got me in the way of thinking about the quality of aspect experience in the nativity. The key observation is that a chart that evinces a lack of easy aspects will be fundamentally different in quality and tone to one that contains an abundance of ease regardless of any other factor in the entire astrology. It transcends, if you like, the more specific considerations of element, triplicity, sign and house and ought to be noted where found as “important!” I wrote broadly on this principle in a previous article which can be found here.

I have conducted a small study of my files and I can now provide some specific examples which will hopefully illustrate the principle and clarify the key quality of the insight. The first observation of significance is that charts of noteworthy individuals with a complete absence of easy aspects outnumber those lacking hard aspects almost completely, in fact I could find only 4 charts in more than 2000 that contained no squares or oppositions. This ought not be the greatest surprise in theory, since the very vast majority of charts contain a fairly broad mix of hard and easy contacts, speaking only statistically that ought to be the case, but by contrast, the number of charts containing no, or nearly no easy aspects is quite disproportionately long. Immediately an insight is gleaned about drive and ambition; these are created out of the square aspect more or less exclusively, although conjunctions to Mars or Pluto often evince something of the nature of a natural square.

Technical note: In this study I tend to only consider the trine, square and opposition alone. A sextile requires effort to activate and is not innate in the same manner as the division by 2, 3 and 4, thus I would consider a chart lacking trines and with just one or two sextiles to be exclusively difficult.

Easy Charts.

First then, the 4 cases I could find of charts that contained only easy aspects, by which I mean a total absence of squares and oppositions. Pauline Collins (a British sitcom actress), Rollie Fingers (a baseball star), Daniel Wesson (co-founder of the Smith and Wesson firearms manufacturer) and F. Scott Fitzgerald, are the only examples of even moderate note that I could find. Fitzgerald is easily the most noteworthy among these four so we will look briefly at his astrology here.

22) St. Paul Minn. USA

F. Scott Fitzgerald, writer. 24 Sept 1896 15:30 (+6:12:22) St. Paul Minn. USA

A chart with this much ease of course ought to be more of a handicap than an outright boon, but you should note almost right away that Sun and Pluto are both peregrinated, whilst Saturn and Uranus form a peregrine island in Scorpio and the 9th house. This is almost certainly the source of his drive to suceed, and his greatest work, The Great Gatsby is really a novel about the experiential dissonance of the protagonist who exalts the charming social conventions (Sun in Libra) of New York society in the 1920’s but experiences a real discomfort with the rampant materialism that underpins it (8th house). The rest of Fitzgerald’s life runs much more in the vaguely dissolute groove promised by a lack of tension in the nativity. He went to Princeton, failed to complete his studies, was considered a “mediocre student” and rather flaccidly went about his affairs, making easy associations with the likes of Ernest Hemingway along the way. His love life was stuttering and somewhat lacking in urgency, and he even managed to arouse a rather generalised resentment from his contemporaries, including Hemingway who referred to Fitzgerald latterly as an “archetypal, ruined American writer”. The experience of this broad sweep of aspects then is one of a rather unfocused, random and altogether too unfussy approach to the whole arena of life and there is always a sense that progress is made as much, if not more, through luck and blind chance than through any concerted effort or desire. That then, is the unexpurgated trine experience, and without peregrination, I do not doubt for one moment that even the great F. Scott Fitzgerald would have been simply incapable of rising above abject mediocrity in any facet of his life. The fuel is simply absent.

Hard charts.

Here, conversely there is a wealth of material to choose from and if I were prepared to include charts evincing even a single easy aspect the list would grow exponentially. The Gemini Sun and implacably peregrinated Mercury in Taurus blend of Clint Eastwood and the dreamily poised peregrinated Mercury in Scorpio of Grace Kelly are examples of this latter type. Here then is the list of those charts from my records containing not a single trine:

Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull)
Alexander Graham Bell
Cliff Burton (Metallica)
Henri Cartier Bresson
Barbara Cartland
Walt Disney
Jodie Foster
Rodney King
Jennifer Jason Leigh
Charles Manson
William Morris
Guy Pearce
Will Smith
Bruce Springsteen

Several of these cases are extremely interesting in their own right and I have explored various facets of their respective astrologies in previous articles: Cliff Burton, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Guy Pearce (whose chart is a facsimile of my own, he is a few hours older than I and born just 30 miles from me too) and of course, Will Smith, who is the archetypal peregrinated Moon in Scorpio role-model, in this astrologer’s view.

For the purpose of this article I would like to consider two further extremely interesting cases; those of Jodie Foster and Bruce Springsteen, both of whom share a common quality of A-list celebrity status, a far cry from the rather meagre fame of those in the easy grouping.

00) Los Angeles CA USA

Jodie Foster, actress: 19 Nov 1962 08:14 PST (+08:00) Los Angeles CA USA

You will note that the only sextile is almost entirely generational with Neptune and Pluto neither angular, not overly pronounced in the context of the overall nativity. Pluto is pronounced however through its lordship over Sun in Scorpio, the focal point of a rather unconvincing tee-square from Mo/Ur opp. Ju. Moon conjunct Uranus in Virgo creates a real possibility of emotional dissatisfaction, a feeling of being different but the opposition to Jupiter in the 3rd creates real stress in her relationships whenever she tries to express it. The result of that is vocal tension, a sense of crackling restraint in the self-expression when it is squeezed into ultra-controlling Sun in Scorpio. Just listen to her talk and you will immediately feel that quality, it is unmistakable. You can palpably sense the fizzing, electrical quality of Uranus being strained out through the Sun. Of perhaps even more import for the arc of her life and career is peregrinated Saturn in Aquarius, where he is undoubtedly very comfortable; here Saturn is idealistic with regard to material matters, she therefore has real power to realise assets in her life, a quality she shares exactly with Michael Caine. The overall ambience of the nativity therefore is perfectly in keeping with a lack of ease; even if life is objectively seen to be quite comfortable and successful, the lack of trines individual cannot rest on his or her laurels and must continue to strive for a resolution to that inner sense of tension.

00) Freehold NJ USA

Bruce Springsteen, musician 23 Sep 1949 22:50 (+04:00) Freehold NJ USA

Bruce Springsteen is another unique case, since his chart evinces not only a lack of trines but a remarkable lack of oppositions too. There are other charts that show no opposition, those of Paul McCartney, Orson Welles and Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper for example, however, Springsteen’s chart is one of the very few that contains only squares. A lack of oppositions is in general an indicator of an uncomfortable tendency to not seek external validation. This is the same end result as a grand trine in truth, however the grand trine creates no friction, it is an entirely comfortable self-absorption; the lack of opposition by contrast merely generates isolation. The native, unable to moderate behaviour through the mirror of interaction simply annoys others until they drift away, frustrated and no doubt desirous of easier company. This, I would think in Springsteen’s case will just add to the angsty quality of the trineless nativity and drive him onward in his quest for self-acceptance and equanimity. Sun on the Aries Point of Libra creates an opportunity for fame too, but the real drive in his life is found in the Venus Mars square, a dissatisfaction with love and, with Venus in Scorpio, an inability to differentiate between sex and the more rarefied sentiments. Uranus rising in Cancer, ruling the vocation and squaring Sun creates a tension and need to express independent views on the homeland and this is a real feature of his songwriting of course. Jupiter is especially poorly placed, detrimented, squared to the Lord of the Geniture and in Pluto’s house, but it does create a real drive too to realise power in the life, and material concerns are part of that impetus with Capricorn configured. Tense, tense, tense: poor Bruce, he might never get to sing it out of him.

The making of an astrologer: Reinhold Ebertin

Before I begin today’s discussion, I would just like to let everyone know that I have been through a very difficult few days dealing with some quite acute life difficulties, and even though I anticipated them (by transit, progression and arc), it did not in the event make them any easier to dispatch; Eris is hardly predictable in the astrology. I am therefore completely off schedule with all my usual obligations, so please bear with me for a short while as I regroup.

The great Reinhold Ebertin

The great Reinhold Ebertin

In the same way that most civilians have their favourite rock stars, sportsmen and women or writers, it is always insightful to me to understand which persons my fellow astrologers most admire, within the field. For myself I have the utmost respect for Noel Tyl, Donna Cunningham, Liz Greene and most especially, beyond all of these even: Reinhold Ebertin. No astrologer has, in my humble view, so advanced the study as this rather odd and unassuming man, who is as much a pioneer in the field of astrology as Einstein was in his, or Darwin, or any other great luminary of the acceptable face of human understanding.

I first read that bible of insight the CSI, (Combination of Stellar Influences) when I was 13 or 14, it was my grandfather’s copy and he bade me take especial care with it, because it was precious and important, so I knew even then that it was a work of significance, and to this day that judgement has been so often reinforced and underpinned that I do believe that if I could own only one astrological text, Ebertin’s magnum opus would be it. I have since read all his works that are translated into English. “The Influence of Pluto on Human Love Life” is also a very intriguing treatise and shows remarkable insight for such an early exploration on Hades’ themes. “The Cosmic Marriage” is possibly his most accessible work, and contains many useful insights into the indications for matrimonial and romantic aspirants. But it is the CSI which I refer to time and again, so much so in fact, that I can probably quote half of it and I cannot even see a Saturn Pluto contact without thinking “hard labour!” before I think of anything else!

Ebertin the man was born into a difficult time. He was separated from his mother at an early age, although he was reunited with her aged 21 whereupon she taught him much about the study; her own predilections were very much to do with love and affection and this may have been a profound impetus to Ebertin who seemed to gravitate toward such studies himself. He also made a name for himself during the rise of National Socialism, where dissonant ideologies were suppressed, forcing Ebertin – and that other great father of modern astrology, Carl Jung – to alter his approaches accordingly. He worked tirelessly on advancing the earlier studies of Alfred Witte, the founder of the Hamburg School and developing his own system of halfsum correspondences, many of which are profoundly relevant to the diagnosis of medical difficulty. I have an article delineating this astonishing diagnostic tool nearly ready for publication, and I have successfully identified the psychic cause of myriad complaints, from the niggardly to the near fatal using Ebertin’s excellent methods. Ebertin himself called his approach “cosmobiology” a word much underused in the modern study, because it summarises the meeting point of body, mind and soul that Ebertin was himself insistent ought to be the key genesis point of any astrological understanding. I have worked on that same premise ever since and it has not failed me yet.

00) Gorlitz, Germany

Reinhold Ebertin, Astrologer. 16 Feb 1901 04:45 (-01:00) Gorlitz, Germany

And so to the astrology itself. Take a moment to look at the shape of the nativity, allow it to move in you a little and you will start to feel that stress manifesting down into Pisces and the easy slingshot of energy up into the precision movement of Mars in Virgo. You can too feel the impetus to build and consolidate around that Capricorn ascendant. So what is most important here?

First, Venus is peregrine. Ebertin married aged 21 and purportedly experienced a consistently happy union, his wife was too an astrologer whom he met at an astrological conference and this tallies well with a love of the different, of unusual Uranian individuals. Even more pertinently Venus is at the halfsum of Sun and Moon, thus it denotes, according to Ebertin (from the CSI):

Harmonious coordination between spiritual and emotional as well as masculine and feminine dispositions. The power of attraction between the sexes, artistic interests – Friendship between lovers, a marriage of love, a harmonious marriage.”

So this seems clear, Venus is an important factor, it creates an intellectual type of love, a love of ideas, of thinking unconventionally and finding unique solutions, revolutionary solutions, to traditional conundrums, and this describes most aptly Ebertin’s impact on the field of astrological philosophy.

Beyond this, consider Chiron conjunct Jupiter rising in Capricorn. There is always a kind of early difficulty with Capricorn, the conditions are hard at the start and hard-work pays the dividend of eventual emancipation; thus times were hard for the Ebertin family between the wars in Germany, Chiron too speaks of a certain physical sensitivity when it applies to the Ascendant, Jupiter expands that sense also and creates a possibility of ever building compassion and healing ability. Jupiter rules publishing of course, and Chiron is the astrologer; so the mystery elucidates apace. Moon’s only significant aspect is a conjunction to Saturn in its own sign, she must be overpowered there and the separation from mother becomes clear too as a result. Consider that by Solar Arc Saturn applies to Moon sometime between the age of 5 and 6, almost certainly therefore the point of physical separation from her.

Tee squared Mercury tells an intriguing story, fed by implacable energies in the form of Uranus opposition Pluto, there is a need to express that astonishingly difficult transformative upset somehow. The opposition falls across the cusps of the 6th and the 12th, which suggests either an impetus to be suddenly hospitalised, imprisoned, or – most pertinently in an evolved case – to execute esoteric and secret work, as a daily habit. Ceres is on the astrologer’s degree of Pisces and is configured into this same pattern, so he could nurture himself through his astrological work and shining down upon all of this, adding some spark and electrical potency is Sun in Aquarius, also on the astrologer’s degree.

Now on the whole, this is not an easy chart even if Venus gives great power and a mutual reception between Mercury and Neptune gives a gift for communicating the immeasurable. Mercury is itself in a difficult spot in Pisces and it would be this mutual reception which exalted his power of relating so well. Neptune in the 6th speaks to spiritual work and habits while Uranus is itself on the 17-18 degree point of a mutable sign, another astrologer’s indication.

Mars in Virgo in the 8th speaks about an economy of movement, Ed Moses, the greatest 400m hurdler ever to have graced the track had peregrine Mars in Virgo and the 6th, so that gives you some idea of its ambience. I would have loved to have met this great man so I could see for myself how he actually moved and related. Economy, precision, efficiency and here in the 8th, the making of an analytic magus, a true researcher of the profound.

Truly, a great man.

A Dream of Eris

Breathless I flee, these dark parades
Bear down; a black whisper taunting,
Flung out, scoured, perjured and tackless,
By petty tyrants that gloat in
Burnished pewter thrones, preen and glut,
On sycophantic prophecy.

Onward, this legion of one, unheard,
‘Midst this cacophanous silence,
I flit all crazed, a broke-wing bird,
Maddened by vanished dreams of flight,
By that bright, cupreous kingdom,
Subsumed into dark avenues.

This while, twisted Jovian shades,
Plutocrats and charlatans plot,
Devise my demise, turn the locks
Of leaden, grey-towered kingdoms,
Cloud clogged, pondere non numero,
And decry this dream of Eris.

The Neptune Asylum

Just before I woke this morning I dreamt I was in an asylum, and the nurse, a woman I seemed to know and who had, in my unquestioned impression, a fearsome reputation for being strict and rather distant, smiled at me in the most warm manner and I realised that she was quite beautiful, her eyes sparkled a little and I wondered at those glints as though they might have meaning, and then remarkably, she seemed to sense that I was looking into her for some message.

“Oh no, it’s not me,” she explained, “you have to meet her.” And then, surrounded by an entourage of doctors, nurses, attendants and a general melee of other patients a woman walked into the room, wrapped in an old cardigan and a hospital gown, her spectacles askew on her crooked nose, thin, very, very thin and of course she walked right up to me, smiled a little strangely and I saw that her eyes were the most startling pools of gold.

“I, “she exclaimed, with incredible projection, “am the fantastic face of Islington.”

Then I woke up, at 6:36 am, the exact moment that my second Neptune square went partile.

The Making of an Astrologer

Would you be interested to see the nativity of a born astrologer? Somebody for whom the impetus to astrology would have been astonishingly powerful, irresistible even? When you look at the chart then, notice all of these indicators:

  1. Sun peregrinated in Virgo on one of the astrologer’s degrees. (11° 35′), an overwhelming need to shine in the arena of astrology.
  2. Midheaven ruler is Mercury, peregrine, in dignity, a fearsome intellect and potential for genius.
  3. Pluto is peregrine, and accidentally dignified, giving a keen and dominant insight into psychology and the underpinning paradigms of human life.
  4. Saturn is peregrine, and in Leo and the 8th creates an enormous fixity, drive and determination to be top of the pile in the chosen field.
  5. Neptune (this is getting silly now) is peregrine in Libra and the 10th house of vocation, thus spiritual matters and the concerns of relating to others are configured powerfully into the career.
  6. Moon rising in prophetic, breezy Sagittarius expands the capacity for relating, creates a cheerful and optimistic ambience to soften some of the peregrine intensity; the Lord of the Geniture, Jupiter too is tightly conjunct Venus in dignity, creating those “film-star mannerisms”, a winning personality and a disarming and easy going good-nature.
  7. All of the easy aspects in the astrology are to Uranus in the 7th house and Gemini, making the expression of ideas easy and intuitive and making profitable business collaborations possible with another Mercurial type. Uranus governs a significant element of the astrology of course, the power of sudden flashes of insight is his domain, and this empowers the astrologer’s gift of reading the glyph, as I like to call it.
  8. Urania, the astrologer’s asteroid is exactly square to Chiron, the asteroid that like the chiromancer named in his honour, practises the casting of horoscopes with his hands, then Chiron trines to Uranus, having these three astrologic powers configured together is meaningful in the context of the great art.
  9. Enticingly Lillith rises, giving the power to mesmerise and bewitch and most especially to express innately the divine feminine within; here is someone with personal power and feminine magnetism. Lillith trines Pluto too, thus the amplitude is ramped up considerably, possibly even uncomfortably on occasion.
  10. The only fly in the ointment, in my view, is a real discomfort with empathic energies as a total lack of water certainly signifies. Of course, subjectively, a lack of emotions is never felt, a lack of water person will never recognise their discomfort with handling the emotions, but nevertheless, an innate ability to reach out emotionally, without words is the hallmark of a strong water type and this is an ability that cannot be present without any water in the astrology.
  11. Finally, consider the general ambience of this astrology, Peregrine Sun in Virgo, Mercury too, in its sign, thus competence, efficiency and a truly penetrating mind expressed through a breezy, optimistic, outgoing (and everything is above the horizon too) emotional manner, a genius for relating, a dazzling sociability and just a little black magic for good measure. Truly, this is a person who has the world of astrology at their feet and a very well deserved reputation to boot.

It is of course, the nativity of Liz Greene, who has done more than probably any other individual to promote the study of psychological astrology since Dane Rudhyar. Interesting to note then that she conducts most of her seminars in tandem with Howard Sasportas (Uranus in Gemini on the 7th) and the emphasis of Pluto peregrine and accidentally dignified (psychology) with Sun peregrine at the Virgo astrologer’s degree, creates a fairly compelling association for the study of psychological astrology. Her book, “The Luminaries” is undoubtedly the best explorative work that deals with Sun and Moon in the astrology to date, and really, the world of astrology owes her an enormous debt.

Astrology, traditionalism and the key to evolution

Now, I have a thought for you to ponder about this whole question of dignity and traditionalism in the astrology. Saturn is, and always should be an important and powerful principle in human life, I would never question the import and advantage of a favourably placed Saturn, however, what I would question is if it is contemporaneously advantageous in the same way that it has been historically.

Think of those qualities of the Pilgrim Fathers, who constituted the spiritual DNA – if you like – of the United States. They were Saturn personified, strict, serious, fundamentalist; indeed the very reason they left the shores of Europe at all was because their demand for law was too Saturnine for the dissolute ruling classes, who despite their accordance with the strictures of God had no real desire to give up their Jovian enjoyments; the Mayflower was essentially an exile-ship. The picture I paint then is very much one that demonstrates the power of Saturn in a world dominated by the rules of proper conduct, of adherence to the Laws of King and Country and most importantly of God and the Church. An ability to resonate with the power of Saturn would have lent a man of that bygone age dignity, seriousness, grave power, indeed gravitas, and the esteem of a society that valued innately the qualities of Saturn far above and beyond those of Jupiter, who seemed to dominate an earlier and near-mythical Dionysian age.

My point then is that traditionalists seem unwilling to place the raison d’etre of dignity in the context of its time, to everyone’s detriment; attempting to discard the rulership of Pluto is nothing more than anachronism in action; by that selfsame logic we should consider Hiroshima and Nagasaki mere myths, because Plutonic power has no resonance in this world.

This leads on to the a posteriori conclusion that astrology evolves, the good qualities of Saturn do not have the power they claimed of old; indeed, many of society’s greatest successes have almost no affinity with Saturn’s qualities at all; this does not mean that Saturn is not a useful planet to have in dignity, but it is nowhere near as crucial to worldly success as once it was. New planetary powers come into human understanding because they are required to reflect the increasingly diverse and unconstrained qualities of human expression, and I mean that in both positive and negative modes.

Ultimately the key of astrology is that we learn to grasp what we are made from, and by understanding how others are so complexly configured we cease to judge and gradually we come free in ourselves. As the oscillation of the human soul vibrates at an increasingly higher pitch, new archetypes are required; not to replace or cast down the old Gods, but to increase the pantheon of potential for our species. As we as individuals specialise, our requirement for cosmic symmetry expands across the whole sweep of mankind, and some of us are beginning to see that in these last days of old empire, that is our best hope to step up and find the compassionate consciousness that does not choose our wealth at the cost of any child’s life in some far-off African dustbowl, but instead recognises that our true destiny lies in needing absolutely nothing in this life except the respect, love and simple warmth of human contact. Time then, to transcend and find “our own people”, so that we might go together, into the light.

The astrology of marriage

The King and Queen of Cups or worse?

The King and Queen of Cups or worse?

Today, I want to discuss, broadly and without being too definitive about it, the astrology of marriage. Almost immediately, there is a slight difficulty because semantics are involved, but in this instance I determine marriage to be any significant partnership with another human being in which you share affection, a duty of care and – no doubt – a bed, it really does not matter much beyond that what other criteria you want to bring in to play; I will hopefully be able to demonstrate that your astrology can pinpoint almost exactly the conditions, ambience and prospects of the marriage and the marriage partner both.

It is almost an unquestioned premise in the astrology to say that Venus and Mars are going to be profoundly insightful in this study, but actually, when we discuss marriage, we are not really talking about principles of attraction or sexual fulfilment, plenty of people after all manage to sustain perfectly viable marriages without an excess of primal or venal feeling; indeed, in this regard, it might be equally insightful to look at Saturn which is a formalising influence and is thus the avenue to contractualising relationships as much as anything else. It is then for this reason that I would look primarily at planets within the 7th house to describe the conditions and considerations of the marriage and very specifically at the condition of the 7th house ruler – the Lord of the Descendant – to describe the marriage partner. This view is perfectly sympathetic to the Jungian ideal of ‘Other’ and it describes most wonderfully the outsourced self-image; that which we are not and thus that which we seek to incorporate via relationship in order to make ourselves whole.

Immediately, you begin to understand through this insight, that it is rather straightforward to determine the conditions of the marriage, and to gain a fairly clear thumbnail portrait of the marriage partner. I have yet to find a case where this has not proven out, often spectacularly.

A couple of examples should help clarify the extant principles.

00) London

Charles, Prince of Wales: 14 Nov 1948 21:14 (+0:00) London

Looking at the nativity of Prince Charles we can see immediately that the ruler of his Descendant is Uranus (via Aquarius) itself in the anaretic degree of Gemini, riding the cusp of the 12th house, sextiled by Moon, opposed by Jupiter, with that opposition feeding considerable tension to Juno at the Aries Point in the 9th. Uranus (as the marriage partner) is also accidentally dignified, retrograde, and out of bounds, making, for erratic Uranus, an especial level of abruptness and instability. There is a fair amount of information therefore about the marriage partner. First of all, with Gemini placings for the ruler of the descendant, two marriages are entirely possible, and actually most definitely probable. Uranus too suggests a very sudden quality and with it going over to the sign of Cancer there is a suggestion of tipping over from one quality (or marriage) that is socially charming and delightful (Gemini) to another that is emotionally satisfying and nurturing (Cancer). The fact that Uranus sits on the cusp of the 12th suggests on the one hand the potential for sorrow in the marriage situation and an element of solitude even within the marriage. The Jupiter opposition to Uranus further posits the sense that there is tension within the marriage, that there is an innate love of freedom and independence that is directly opposed to the ideal of marriage and which plays out through the marriage partner in particular. The tee-square to Juno is also very intriguing because it creates a subjective template for Charles of a bold, courageous, solitary and combative figure, Aries is the eternal bachelor, so in some sense that self-promulgated image of his ideal marriageable self is most definitely at odds with the theme of marriage and with the eventual wife he chooses as well, he really needs an assertive, forthright and aggressive female to share his life with. The one good aspect to Uranus, a sextile to the Moon really suggests that the mother will provide an opportunity for him to realise a very high-status and favoured union, and the wedding to Diana certainly evinced that quality.

Diana, Princess of Wales, 1 Jul 1961, 19:45 (-01:00) Sandringham

Diana has Gemini ruling the descendant and Sun and Mercury in Cancer well-aspected in the 7th as well. The conditions of marriage then are tied up with the homeland, with tradition and a strong family ethic (that all seems perfectly clear right?) and the ruler of the descendant is also in the 7th; Mercury in Cancer, thus he is someone who is emotionally affective, his thinking is not necessarily entirely logical and the grand trine from both Chiron and Neptune suggests an astonishing interplay of sensitivities, a definite tendency to self-sufficiency and in water, an emotional self-sufficiency too. Charles then is most certainly a King of Cups! The fact that Gemini rules the Descendant also suggests an element of duality in the marriage partner, thus two marriages or an infidelity might well be characteristic of this union. On the whole the marriage does not appear to be doomed; but the grand trine is most intriguing because configured with Chiron and Neptune in water signs it creates an emotional roller-coaster with a real tendency to get swept away as a result. The square to Juno is intriguingly reflected in Charles’ astrology and here Diana sees herself as needing to be very gentle, compassionate, sensitive and a little bit of the victim within the marriage situation, almost the very opposite of what Charles’ Juno demands, even if they are loosely conjunct in the synastry.

In my experience then, take the Lord of the Descendant as your primary indicator and consider first of all his sign and house and essential quality. Saturn as ruler of the 7th house cusp demands a very different style of marriage partner than that of Venus. The sign indicates something of the marriage partner’s outright ambience too. Scorpio is markedly more sexy than say Virgo, but Virgo will be sweeter, gentler and much more unassuming. Finally the house creates a sense of how the marriage will manifest out into the world. In the 5th, there will be an impression of fun and romance, in the 10th or configured to the midheaven matters of status will come into play. Then aspects will moderate all of these tendencies too, a benefic planet ruling the descendant which is well placed by sign and has good aspects too will augur well for the marriage. Here then are a few observations based upon this logic.

If the sign on the 7th house cusp is:

Aries: The partner will be bold, independent, somewhat selfish and will have a need to indulge some ‘alone time’ on occasion. Look to Mars and expect fireworks.
Taurus: Dependable, steady, stubborn and materialistic, also extremely possessive, but fundamentally loving with it, look to Venus.
Gemini: Two (or more) marriages are possible, one might say probable in fact, a sociable and charming partner too.
Cancer: Marriage for security primarily, men may marry the image of mother, women may try to mother their husbands as well.
Leo: A showbusiness union, lots of drama, warmth and looking good required! This is a good placing for the 7th on the whole, but the partner could be a show-off.
Virgo: A quiet, efficient and methodical partner is sought, cooking and hygiene will be factors, this makes a partner who will probably do the chores too.
Libra: Venus again, but here the emphasis is on competition and sociability rather than sensuality. This is the natural sign of the 7th house, so it makes unions with blessed potentials.
Scorpio: The partner may be somewhat controlling, but sexy and commanding too no doubt. Jealousy could become an issue and if there are problems in the bedroom, then problems in the marriage will quickly follow.
Sagittarius: Here fun makes an impact, but importantly the partner will value his or her freedoms and will not be tied down too closely, probable marriage to a foreigner.
Capricorn: A somewhat difficult if formal arrangement is the norm, marriage may be constricting, but there is a real possibility of improvement in the 2nd half of life.
Aquarius: Unusual conditions, erratic and odd partners are sought, sparks fly! Independence must be respected in this marriage, too much control will kill the union almost instantly.
Pisces: A very dreamy, artistic union, stay off the drink, feed the compassion! Neptune is particularly important, the partner may have to make sacrifices, or expect them out of a natural tendency to dissolution, so this reality should not be given short shrift, otherwise the marriage might just fade away.

Perhaps just as importantly, the 7th house cusp describes the nature  of outsourced needs. Your ideal marriage partner will be described thus because they are manifesting those qualities on your behalf. Look to the ruler of the 5th to find the qualities of that person which you find romantically intriguing, and the 5th house ruler to describe something about them in this exact same way.

Of course, you will see that there are always two key signs at play when describing the marriage partner. The first is the ruler of the descendant, and then too there is the sign that the ruler of the descendant is itself placed within to consider. For Princess Diana then it is a Gemini Cancer blend: easy but somewhat superficial sociability masking a deep need for emotional security and nurturance. For Charles conversely, an unusual, offbeat and erratic relationship underpinned by a flighty, witty and somewhat inconsistent sense of things.

Planets within the 7th will describe more pertinently the conditions of the marriage itself. Thus Neptune in Scorpio will describe a marriage situation that is Spartan, erotic and prone to difficulty through dissolution, possibly through drugs, alcohol or emotional decline. Pluto in the 7th promises a rigidly controlling marriage situation that requires considerable transformation. Moon in Aries creates a possibility of emotional isolation while Moon in Scorpio creates emotional controls and obsessive needs. These themes play out, moderated by aspect, in the conditions of the marriage and thus they describe something of the nature of the marriage partner, but more specifically the staging point between the native and that significant other, thus a distinction is made possible for the purposes of astrological counselling.

In any case, considerable insight can be gleaned from these few simple principles; it should therefore be quite clear that transits, arcs and progressions to the ruler of the descendant will have tangible effects on the marriage partner too, while transits of the 7th house and 7th house planets will affect the conditions of the marriage accordingly.

Mars in the 12th: dazed and confused…

Mars struggles in Neptune's house...

Mars struggles in Neptune's house...

I always understood that I was born sometime “getting on for” 6am, and evidently, as an astrologer that is maddeningly ambiguous. I made a point of recording therefore the exact moment that my own children were born; actually, the moment they took their first breath; which with my daughter was very straightforward; but was not so much with my son because he was rushed off and had to be resuscitated, so I was forced to approximate within a 5 or 10 minute window. My own birth was much complicated by the fact (so it is said) that I stopped breathing on three occasions altogether and on the third time the priest was called to administer the last rites; thus the picture is confused by this attendant calamity. When all is said and done, I had the time within this range and for a great many other reasons I was confident that my Ascendant fell somewhere between 24° and 29° of Virgo.

So, what’s the big deal? I realise that it doesn’t sound like much, but did you hear me say the bit about Virgo? I rest my case, and now I shall proceed. So, I tried a few things. My first foray into rectification had nothing to do with astrology; instead I determined to simply wake up at the exact minute of my birth time and I tried this for maybe a week. In every case I awoke (uncharacteristically I might add) no earlier than 5:34 am and no later than 5:51 am. I was therefore very comfortable with the idea that my range had narrowed to something between approaching 25° and 27° of Virgo; this also seemed to correspond with some other forays as well into rectification by progression and arc, so it was all good.

Next, the Sabian symbol trick. I should mention that I have long been familiar with the Sabians after my grandfather gave me a first edition of Marc Edmund Jones’ work many, many years hence, and I always found it to be “otherly insightful”. I am indeed often tempted to produce a Sabian chart as a consequence for my clients. But anyhow, I digress. The pictures for each of the degrees therefore:

25th degree: A boy with a censer.
26th degree: Grande dames at tea.
27th degree: A bald headed man.

Now importantly, anything past the half-degree moves into the next picture, thus I also needed to consider “a man gaining secret knowledge from a paper he is reading”.

That last one, and to some extent also the bald-headed man (expanded by Rudhyar and others from the original transcripts to “a bald headed man dominates a meeting of national figures) have a peculiar resonance for me and I am comfortable with the sense therefore that my Ascendant lies at close to 27½° of Virgo.

Thankfully, I just had this confirmed. Mars has been transiting through my 12th house now for a few weeks, and that, coupled I would say with my ongoing Neptune square creates a very dissolving influence over my Martian qualities; especially when you consider that with Mars in the 3rd squared to Pluto, it was pretty much the sole source of my ability to output the necessary quantities to dispatch my responsibilities to my many clients. I have been completely at sea of late, unable to focus, to set myself any reasonable deadlines or to stick to them when I do. My work throughput has suffered horribly. Then yesterday afternoon, I started to feel distinctly different, suddenly I felt like I could focus again, and I actually wrote a 5,000 word interpretation and mailed it off after pondering and struggling with it for literally days. Last night I simply could not sleep; I felt as if I had mainlined amphetamines and coffee directly into my brain stem; I maybe got to sleep at 2 am and I was awake before 7, my brain buzzing with ideas, thoughts, articles I want to write, work I need to do. So, somewhere between 27°10′ and 27°30′, Mars broke out of the 12th would be my guess.

Now my son Joe is a lovely guy, if I say so myself. He is approaching 16 and he wants to be a doctor. Actually he is thinking that he wants to work in women’s fertility (don’t ask me, it’s not entirely normal for a boy of 16, but it is in his astrology and we did talk about it once and he really liked the idea), he is also what I would call an Indigo (I kind of despise the term, but astrologically it does have meaning) and he has Ur/Ne conjunct at less than one minute of arc just a couple of degrees on the 6th house side of the descendant, which is pretty much unequivocal. He is the appointed mentor at his school for any child with depression problems and he hangs out with children of his age and younger who are suicidal, clinically so, and he actually gets a real compassionate joy out of helping them. Last month he went to sell all his old toys at a boot fair but decided to pretty much give them away to younger kids because it was worth more than money to “make those little guys happy”. I know, it’s probably not normal, but it is what it is.

The point I am making is that he has all these incredibly decent qualities, he is funny, kind, compassionate and very handsome in a slightly offbeat, wild-haired Aquarian way BUT, he really struggles to focus. If I had to make one detractive statement about him, it would be that he has only two gears, “slow” and “standstill” and I do worry that despite his genius (which he really does have) he will struggle with his exams because he just cannot find any urgency. It always mystified me too, because I have the exact opposite problem, with my Mars in Sagittarius in the 3rd square to Pluto, I simply cannot moderate my output (and a peregrine Mercury in Scorpio – thus ruled by the Ma/Pl square – compounds that too). I wrote a book in 4 weeks and on a good day I can get 10,000 words out without skimping too much on quality.

What gives? I always thought. Now I think I know.

My Joe has Mars (in Cancer) in the 12th house. I did not appreciate fully, until just now, this last 24 hours in fact, as Mars crossed my Ascendant, just how subjectively difficult that can be. Self evidently it has something of the quality of Mars conjunct Neptune to it; my friend Alice has a transit of Neptune to Mars just now and she has complained of feeling very out of sorts for the last several months. Conversely, my brother in law has Mars rising, just over the Ascendant and into the first house and he is a study in crazy (Aquarian) energy: his hair stands on end, he is erratic, irascible, infuriating, cranky, offbeat, too cool for school and awesomely, lovably quirky all at once and he is beyond energetic. He gets an idea and he’s up and away. Many have been the times when I will be sitting with him in his garden drinking wine in a refined and leisurely way and he suddenly decides to ‘build something’. Then off he goes, into his workshop, crash, bang, wallop and two hours later he emerges with a “construction”. It’s exhausting just to watch him.

So now I get it. Mars either side of that magical line creates a profoundly different ambience and for the first time in my life, I felt it switch and all the lights came on.