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.