Spatial Astrology

Greetings, and welcome back to Journeys! This month we look into the astrology of space and location.

Just over 10 years ago I opened this blog with a post titled “Journeys with the Astral Light” in which I discussed the concept of astrolocality, the idea that a chart manifests itself geographically in specific locations, using the astrology of Paramahansa Yogananda as an example. In this inaugural post I briefly explained the use of culminating, anti-culminating, rising, setting and paran lines and made some suggestions for their use in magical practice with astrology. Today I want to expand on that, adding what I have learned since then as well as diving more deeply into the topic than I have before. I want to show you this very exciting and very powerful technique which opens up many fertile areas of research, and will likely become an important element of future astrology. Using this technique we can add a new sentence to the meaning of any particular part of our chart – I can say, for example, that I have Neptune in Scorpio, Neptune in the 10th house, Neptune in conjunction with Moon and Venus, and I can also say I have Neptune in Berlin. This last statement may seem strange at first but it is as valid as any of the others and in my case it also describes my experience with Neptune more aptly than the others and is more concrete, less symbolic. When I first came to Berlin I was profoundly drawn to a particular fountain in the city centre, the Neptune Fountain showing Neptune surrounded by aquatic creatures and water nymphs. It sits just next to the tallest building visible anywhere in the city, the (very phallic) TV tower which can be seen anywhere and provides the most elevated view of the city. I didn’t know it then, but through astrolocality I have Neptune on the midheaven in Berlin – it picks up the energy of my natal Neptune and transfers it to the highest point in the chart, the midheaven, a place which can also be said to fountain, in a way, much like the invisible TV transmissions (Scorpio?). I met with a literal manifestation of the astrology in the landscape. Interesting though this is, however, it’s just the beginning of the discoveries awaiting astrologers who venture into this field. So let’s explore!


Firstly, this use of astrology isn’t new, but in modern times it is being radically reinvented. This is due to the late astrologer Jim Lewis who pioneered the innovations in the late 1970s and patented his system as astro-cartography (ACG). The idea of astrolocality has been a traditional one for millennia, with the practice being to simply change the location of birth, keeping the time and date and thus all of the planetary aspects, and to interpret the new chart both independently and in comparison with the natal chart. If, for example, you are born in Rome then to find out what kind of conditions you meet in any given place we would recast your birth chart for that place instead of Rome and if the new chart put Venus or Jupiter on the ascendant or midheaven, and those planets were not terribly afflicted in the natal chart, then it would be seen as a beneficial place to visit, marry into, do business with, etc. Conversely, if Saturn or Mars was on the ascendant or midheaven, war or adversarial conditions might be expected, especially if these were planets that were harshly aspected in the natal chart. Houses and angular cusps become important in this interpretation as these are the ways in which planets change from one geographic location to another – for instance, today (March 29th) the Moon is in Cancer. It will be in Cancer wherever we are in the world (also with the same aspects), but our location will place it in one of the 12 houses. If that placing by house is also angular (conjunct the 1st, 4th, 7th or 10th house cusp) it will be especially powerful in that geographical place, just like it would be if it were so in a natal chart.

What this means is that if, for example, you have ever wondered what it would be like to have had the Sun on the ascendant, or Venus on the midheaven, you can. It’s possible to simulate and thus cultivate it by living in a place that carried that resonance at birth. Or, lets assume you have Venus in Libra, a good placement for relationships, but she is in the 12th house of your natal chart, something indirect that brings a feeling of loneliness and isolation or shyness, and you have always wondered how it would be if she were instead more powerfully placed on the descendant, the cusp of the 7th, which is all about direct, open relationship. Again, you can have that experience, you just have to know where in the world you can find it. This is what astrolocality does. The reverse is also true – there are some places that we do not thrive in. Saturn/Pluto for example can be very harsh, like hard labour and extreme transformation that comes with a heavy price. If we have a Saturn/Pluto hard aspect in our natal chart, moving to a location that makes it angular could be devastating.

Importantly this does not negate anything in the birth chart, that remains our primary pattern, but what occurs when we travel is that we encounter our chart in the larger body of space that is the Earth, which is in effect a meta-body for everything that lives here, an expression of our being on a higher level. We are part of the life and body of the planet Earth and are entangled with it at the astral level of being, just like the solar system is. Also importantly, we can encounter this resonance in two ways, by going to it or having it come to us. That 12th house Venus person seeking a loving relationship may not have to travel to a place where Venus sets, they might just meet someone from there. Conversely, doing business with a company that has its head offices in that Saturn/Pluto location may not be a great idea.

Traditionally this practice has been limited by the fact that a new chart needs to be drawn for every location. Additionally, the traditional approach did not (really could not, practically speaking) take latitude into account – only zodiacal longitude was used, which is important because the true rising and setting of planets are also determined by how far away they are from the celestial equator (you can read more about this here). The use of computers and the work of Jim Lewis means we have now transcended these limitations and in the process we now have many new astrolocality techniques available, with further advances in technology still ahead suggesting that this will become a hot field of study in the future once more people catch on to it. The biggest transformation by far is that we can now project the entirety of our astrolocality onto a global map where the contacts planets make with various places emerge as continuous rings or lines that wrap around the globe. Essentially we can now visually see all of our astrolocality at once, as well as being able to filter and sort it. In the journey ahead I will explain the lines and present you with some examples of their importance. There are four types of lines to understand and work with, with two of the types splitting into two further subgroups each:

Planet Direction Lines – lines that amplify a planets natal position
Rising/Setting Lines – lines that simulate a planet being on the ascendant or descendent
Culminating/Anti-Culminating Lines – lines that simulate a planet being on the midheaven or IC
Paran Lines – lines that bring planetary relationships into manifest potential

The spatial power of these lines varies according to the dignity of the planet and (I suspect) the type of line, with rising and culminating lines gaining the edge, and lines connected with the Lights and a chart ruling planet having greater presence, but as a general rule of thumb a radius of 500 miles (about 800km) is average, with something like up to twice that range for a planet in rulership and on the ascendant in the natal chart. This is a long way so be sure so keep it in mind when looking at maps, as a simple natural or national border does not stop astral resonance! However the closer you are to the line, the stronger all effects become. Also, bear in mind that the geographical surface of the planet has changed considerably in human history – not only do national borders and identities change but the land too (most of Europe and North America were covered in ice up to about 12,000 years ago, for example) – something that is especially important when studying places for potential past lives, which are often the lines connected to the Lights (as symbols of life), Saturn and the Dragon (as symbols of karma).


Imagine that you are transported back to the time and place of your birth and that as you stand there you turn 360° scanning the horizon. The various planets in your birth chart will be positioned in certain directions. The Moon, for instance, might be located directly west of you. A planet direction line is a line that is created if you were to walk in the direction of a particular planet from this position. It’s the simplest line to understand as it is literally the direction in which the planet is located from the place and time of your birth. This is literally what the three wise men did in following the star (a bright Jupiter/Saturn conjunction in Virgo) to Bethlehem. If you keep going west following that Moon or star, you will of course eventually just circle the world and return to where you started from the east. When plotted onto a flat map of the Earth these lines appear to curve but they are in fact perfect circles which encompass the globe. Take a look at the image below:

This is a map of the southeast of the USA and these are the planet direction lines for Elvis Presley (January 8th 1935, 4:35am, Tupelo, Mississippi) who was born with Sagittarius rising and chart ruler Jupiter in Scorpio on the cusp of the 12th. Jupiter is also ruler of his 4th house. Jupiter was a big issue for Elvis (the rhinestones, sequins and sexually charged flambuoyance should give that away – his Jupiter rising line, explained below, goes through it). The place where they all fountain from is his birthplace. Notice the blue line that is connected to Jupiter that extends in a north-west and south-east direction. It goes directly through Memphis Tennessee, the location of Graceland, his ostentatious home. Presley died and is buried there, as are his parents, paternal grandmother, grandson, and daughter (Jupiter in Scorpio, a palatial mausoleum). Presley’s Sun and Mercury in Capricorn in the 2nd house, as well as his Pluto in Cancer in the 8th, have lines that pass through the Hawaiian islands where he made many financially successful films. The same lines also go through San Diego where he performed on live television with grinding, sexual movements that seemed shockingly vulgar at the time.His Moon in Pisces line goes through Paris, where he used to take leave as a soldier while posted as a young man in Germany. His Neptune line goes by New Orleans which greatly influenced his musical style.

Below you can see the planet direction lines for Cassius Clay (better known as Mohammad Ali), born January 17th 1942 at 6:35pm in Louisville, Kentucky:

His natal Saturn in Taurus in the 10th goes through Miami, Florida (where he won the heavyweight title aged 22 and declared “I am the greatest!”) and his Capricorn Sun (chart ruler with Leo rising) and Chiron (in Leo in the 12th) both go through Zaire (“The Rumble in the Jungle” where he regained the title through taunting his opponent into a knockout). His Mercury in Aquarius, which is closely conjunct his Moon with both square his midheaven and tightly opposite his Pluto and Chiron, leads all of these lines directly through New York City (“The Fight of the Century” where he suffered his first professional defeat, although he refused to accept the result and called it a ‘white mans decision’).

The literal interpretation of a planet direction line is “go here to meet me”. These lines carry the energy of the natal chart, so they embody all of the aspects as well as the sign and house of a given planet, basically amplifying the total natal effect of that planet and making it easier to manifest in concrete ways. It is like there is no getting away from that planets significance. On the opposite side of the world to where we were born these lines will all converge just as they do at our birth place, but I have no experience to share with you on that as nobody I know has visited such a place (often they are in the middle of the ocean anyway). Such a place might offer us an interesting new perspective on the totality of our life, as if seen in a mirror or upside down.

For practitioners of the approach I set out in The 26 Keys these lines can help you to locate places to go if you’re seeking to explore a particular activation. For example, if you want to get more out of a Saturn activation of the Moon key, interact with or travel along the Moon direction line, or possibly Saturn, at the appropriate time. They can also be good places to explore your natal planets even when there isn’t an activation of their key happening.

Another way you can use these lines is as a type of Feng Shui in the planning of your home and interior spaces such as altars or temples – simply transfer the lines onto a plan of your dwelling and place objects in the appropriate directions that act to capture and express (or perhaps contain and limit) that planets energy. For example if your Moon line heads west, think about aligning either your bedroom or the bed itself in a westerly direction, or placing plants of the Moon in the western parts, or if you have Jupiter in the 2nd house and its line moves northeast, place a pot of coins or some other symbol of income in the northeast. These objects then become your ritual tools for interacting with specific planetary energies in your birth chart. Colour and decoration can be creatively employed here too. In a way, this is a form of bringing the location to you rather than going to the location. You will notice however, that each planet will have two directions, and they will be opposite one another, since the world is a globe while your home is (probably) not spherical. In other words your Moon line will go west and east, your Jupiter line northeast and southwest, etc. You have to adapt the situation to the location, perhaps placing different but analogous things in the opposing directions (such as Moon plants in one area because it is a garden and moonstone at the other as it is a mantel over a fireplace). This duality can actually be a useful feature if you place objects with an affinity for the two binary Fluids as well as a planetary resonance, for example a masculine/force and a feminine/form object or thing for each planet.


Probably the easiest way to grasp what these lines are is to think for a moment about the fact that because the Earth is round, it is always sunrise and also sunset somewhere on the surface at any given moment. Right now, it is dawn somewhere and dusk somewhere else, as well as being midday and midnight in other locations. With rising/setting lines we are looking for the places where the planets were rising or setting elsewhere in the world for the time and place of your birth. So if you are born at dawn then your Sun rising line will pass through your birthplace and if you are born at sunset then your Sun setting line will pass through your birthplace. Being born at other times of day means the Sun was rising or setting somewhere else and it is this line that your Sun rising and setting lines will follow. By interacting with these lines you can have an experience of what a particular planet is like when it is placed on the ascendant or descendant of your chart instead of where it actually is. This is how you can have that experience of Venus in Libra in the 12th transferred to the 7th house – you travel to or interact with the locations along your Venus setting line, for example.

Rising lines can affect our appearance (like the kind of clothes we wear), our health and our identity. In evocation work the rising line for a planet will facilitate a more powerful manifestation of beings from the relevant planetary sphere, but it also useful for invocation. These lines are possibly the most powerful of all since they have an innate ability to manifest a planet’s potential in ways we consciously recognise as well as in physical and material space. They can be overwhelming if the planet is particularly strong in our natal chart, causing our identity to become flooded with the planets significance as well as heightening it. If we are seeking a closer merging of our identity with a particular planets function or a healing or rebirth experience with that planet this an ideal line to work with.

Setting lines often manifest themselves through our relationships either in the people that we meet who are connected to these locations or in the way influences from these places shape our relationships and empathy. They also shape our need for relationship. They have an astral power that externalizes itself in our interactions and therefore have greater objectivity than the rising lines where our identity merges with the planet, setting lines allowing us to instead have some kind of intercourse with that planet, a face-to-face confrontation, which makes them also useful in evocation, especially with troublesome entities that require control. If we have a strong Venus the setting lines will make ideal locations for things like honeymoons or romantic getaways or artistic inspiration. A strong Mars will instead make for thrill and adventure and the need for confidence on its rising line while its setting line might bring us into conflict and competition with others more readily.

These are the rising and setting lines for Queen Victoria of England (May 24th 1819, 4:15am, London UK):

The black lines are setting lines, the white lines are rising lines. Her Eris setting line goes through India, which rebelled against her and which she enslaved, similarly her Sun and Moon rising lines dominate the parts of Africa her empire extended into. Australia is dominated by both Saturn and Chiron setting. She inherited it as a penal colony but phased out and eventually ended this practice while seeking to unify the colonies, for which she is still remembered there. She also established the continents first university, in Melbourne. Her Uranus and Neptune rising lines lead toward Canada and the United States – she united Canada for the first time (thereby becoming the Mother of Confederation for Canadians) and while her relationship with the States was fraught with economic rivalry and suspicions following war she was committed to good relations and expressed personal interest in the inventiveness of Charles Morse (known for his development of the telegraph industry, not for inventing Morse code – that was Samuel Morse) and Washington Irving (author of ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ and ‘Rip Van Winkle’). These are very apt Uranus/Neptune connections!


These lines are the same conceptually as the rising/setting lines – they pass through all the places where a particular planet would be either on the midheaven or on the IC of the chart, the cusps of the 4th and 10th houses in many systems – but they differ in form because these circles circumnavigate the globe north/south rather than east/west and thus on a flat map they appear as straight lines that run from top to bottom. Here the energy of a particular planet is again heightened because it is angular but on the culminating lines which relate to the planet being on the midheaven there is a strong focus on attainment, ambition and public status and so these lines are very strongly connected with career interests and also with reputation or notoriety, with how we are seen by the public, while the anti-culminating lines are concerned with planting things, laying down foundations and building bases as well as with uncovering matters of the past and exploring family, national, cultural or clan identity. Culminating lines can provide a clear or higher perspective on a planets significance, clarifying its meaning in the mental realm, while anti-culminating lines ground and earth planetary energies and make ideal locations for temples, geomancy, the burial of ritual objects, burial of the dead, or giving things to the land. These are astra-physical places that also resonate with ancestry and past lives.

Albert Einstein (May 14th 1879, 11:30am, Ulm, Germany) moved to the USA from Switzerland and became a professor of physics at Princeton University – his culminating line for his natal Moon in Sagittarius (university) passing directly through the location.

Born in Europe, Audrey Hepburn (May 4th 1929, 3am, Ixelles, Belgium) became a beloved Hollywood icon and a humanitarian activist after moving to the United States. Her natal Neptune (film, humanitarianism) in Leo (glamour, spotlight, cats) moves to the midheaven there (one of her most famous photographs, the poster for “Breakfast at Tiffanys” literally shows her in glamorous evening wear with a cat on her shoulder):

Ernest Hemingway (July 21st 1899, 8am, Oak Park, Illinois), born with a powerful stellium of Saturn/Chiron/Uranus in Sagittarius, has this configuration transferred to the IC and grounded in 4th house concerns in Cuba, where he moved to spend much of his later life and where he wrote some of his most famous works, including “The Old Man and the Sea,” which won the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize for Literature. Hemingway’s time in Cuba is reflected in his writing, which often captures the rhythms and moods of the island’s culture and people:


Paran lines are easier to explain visually, so look at the image below:

These are the rising, setting, culminating and anti-culminating lines for Frank Sinatra (December 12th 1915, 3am, Hoboken, New Jersey, USA), but only the Sun and Moon lines are shown to make it easier for you to see what a paran line is. Turn your attention to Rio in Brazil and you will see that his Sun rising line (a wavy white line) passes almost directly through it. Notice also that there is a Moon anti–culminating line (a dotted straight line in purple) running north to south which bisects the Sun line just south of Rio. At the point of the intersection a solid straight yellow line extends in a ring East/West around the globe – this is a Sun/Moon paran line. A paran line forms at the intersection of any two of the rising, setting, culminating and anti-culminating lines, provided the planets are different ones. Notice that another paran line is generated just south of Japan (at the intersection of his Moon culminating and Sun setting lines) and that this line is the same distance from the equator as the previous line – paran lines exists in a mirror relationship with the equator as the mirroring line. Also note that a second pair of lines emerge from the intersections of his Moon rising/setting and Sun culminating/anti-culminating lines, located in Russia and the extreme South Pacific ocean. Notice how these yellow Sun/Moon paran lines highlight Hong Kong, Brisbane, Miami, Lisbon, Paris and London – all places where he gave memorable performances, mostly away from home. His Sun/setting line also passes close to Beijing, China, where he gave a concert that opened the way for other western musicians.

Paran lines are always horizontal and always come in pairs positioned on equidistant sides of the equator as explained and they can also be formed between planets and stars (or stars and stars) which opens up powerful possibilities for research into stars and their effects. I gave some examples of this in my analysis of the coronavirus pandemic. These lines indicate a potential for a planet to be at one of the angles in a 24 hour period (one rotation of Earth) using the degree of separation between these angles at the birth place (i.e. in the natal chart) as a basis. This means that if my midheaven is at 15° of Scorpio and my ascendant is 15° of Capricorn then an angle of 60° (the distance between them) will be used to figure out paran lines, but the software will do more than this as it will also take into account more complex factors which determine where planets are seen to rise, culminate, etc. Consequently these lines vary greatly from chart to chart in what is potentially possible as a paran.

An important word in the above is “potential” – a paran carries the potential for both objects to be angular, the potential for enhancement. This potential translates into practical experience as well, since around these lines we have to do something to coax out the influence, it won’t emerge to meet us unless it is being activated by another more fundamental nearby line, including planet direction lines. So they tend to activate or trigger more powerful lines, especially when there is a matching resonance (for example when a Venus paran line bisects Venus setting, or a Venus planetary direction line) and at other times they require us to make some effort to activate the potential that exists. They become stronger when there is a natal aspect between the two planets as the paran will then work off of that innate potential, especially when the aspect is a square, conjunction or opposition. This makes them quite important in working with both challenging aspects as well as transits, and to show this I will present two case studies that include all of these lines with transits – the mysterious disappearance of Amelia Earhart and the destruction of Pompeii.


Amelia Earhart (July 24th 1897, 11:30pm, Atchison, Kansas) was an American aviation pioneer who developed a fascination with flying at an early age and in 1921 began taking flying lessons, soon becoming an accomplished pilot. She set several aviation records over the course of her career, including becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1932 and records for altitude and speed, and was known for her skill as a navigator and her courage in the face of danger. In addition to her achievements as a pilot Earhart was also a tireless advocate for women’s rights and gender equality. Tragically her life was cut short when she disappeared on July 2nd 1937 while attempting to fly around the world. Despite an extensive search, no trace of Earhart and her navigator or her plane were ever found. This is Amelias natal chart:

Note the difficult squares, especially the Moon/Pluto/Venus/Neptune conjunction in Gemini square Mars/Jupiter in Virgo and the stubborn-minded Fixed grand square involving Sun/Mercury/Chiron/ascendant and the Dragon. She did not have a troubled life, although being a tomboy (and possibly lesbian) in that era must have been challenging at times. She was instead raised in a family that moved a lot (her father worked in the train industry) and had parents who encouraged her passion for exploration and adventure instead of fearing it, bringing out the more positive potential in such squares. Also note the conjunction of Saturn with Uranus in Scorpio.

Earhart and Noonan had encountered a number of challenges and setbacks on their journey, including technical problems with their plane, difficulty navigating over long distances, and poor weather conditions. Despite these challenges, they had successfully completed most of their journey and were just a few thousand miles away from their final destination and completing their journey when they disappeared. They were last seen in Lae, New Guinea:

The location of Lae is circled. The island is about 1000 miles across, so even lines on the far western side could be factors in Lae. We see that her Moon/Pluto/Venus/Neptune conjunction in Gemini is setting (the four black lines – is this Gemini setting symbolism not an apt omen of falling from the sky?) and her Mars/Jupiter in Virgo has moved to the midheaven (technical failure?). The location captures and manifests the square between these parts of her natal astrology, making it immediately dangerous. We also see yellow paran lines going directly through Lae – Sun/Chiron and Chiron/Dragon – bringing out the natal square between Sun in Leo and Chiron in Scorpio (and Dragon and Chiron) – and north of these lines we see Moon/Mars and Moon/Jupiter parans (again highlighting those natal Moon squares from Gemini) as well as another Sun/Chiron paran. To the south there are also Mars/Pluto and Jupiter/Pluto lines, which are also quite threatening. It looks like a very difficult location indeed when you consider it in the context of her natal chart.

The location where they both disappeared is somewhere near to Howland Island, approximately circled to the right of New Guinea in the map below:

We see Chiron in Scorpio moved to the top, the MC, the Sun and Mercury in Leo setting, the Dragons Head in Aquarius rising and paran lines for Saturn/Uranus in Scorpio. Lots of Scorpio, indications of overheating, fuel problems or engine failure (Sun/Mercury square Chiron in Scorpio and Saturn conjunct Uranus in Scorpio all being emphasised). Its very likely the aircraft ran out of gas and that they were both killed in the water or from an explosion or fire, or the consequences of both fire and water. When we add the transits that were affecting Amelia at the time the picture is even more concerning – she was having Uranus in Taurus square Mercury in Leo and Mars in conjunction with Saturn/Uranus in Scorpio (and it was retrograding over them, which helps to explain the previous troubles in the journey). So those Saturn/Uranus in Scorpio paran lines were being energised by Mars while the Mercury setting line over the area of disappearance was being squared by Uranus. Radio communication was disrupted during their last contact with the world.

Pompeii was an ancient Roman city located near modern-day Naples, Italy. It was destroyed and buried under volcanic ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. The eruption occurred on August 24th and it is estimated that around 16,000 people were in the city at the time. The event was sudden and violent, with a column of ash and pumice reaching heights of up to 33 kilometers (20 miles) in the air. The ash and pumice from the eruption were carried by the wind and the volcanic cloud traveled as far as the eastern Mediterranean and parts of the Middle East. The city was buried under a layer of this ash and pumice, which preserved many of the buildings and artifacts as well as the (sterilised) bodies of the people, many of whom died instantly. Here is the chart for the eruption (we only know from ancient reports by Pliny who witnessed it that it began sometime in the afternoon of August 24th, but one look at this chart set for 2pm leaves little doubt as to the approximate timing):

It is very striking – a Mutable grand square with the Moon rising in Sagittarius, squared by an opposition of Uranus in Pisces and Mercury in Virgo, and opposed by Jupiter in Gemini (a huge plume of smoke obscured the Sun for days afterward). The Sun in late Leo also manages to add to the heat by being in conjunction with Mercury. Additionally, Mars is in Aries and angular, conjunct the Dragons Tail, and he is finding an easy way out into the world through a trine to the Moon and ascendant. Its all so hot and gaseous! The Moon rising in Sagittarius is a critical time-piece that triggers the pent up tension of Mercury/Jupiter/Uranus. I think this chart not only captures the eruption event but also the panic of people hastily fleeing the area.

Here we can see the same chart expressed on the map, with paran lines added:

The scale of this map from east to west is just over 1000 miles, the location of Pompeii circled in red. We see that Moon rising in Sagittarius line close by, and about 300 miles to its left is the black Jupiter setting line with the Mars/IC line (the red dotted straight line, north to south) about the same distance to the right, along with the Dragon MC/IC line. But we also see two very strong paran lines, Venus/Eris and Eris/Neptune, both just about 20 miles from Pompeii. The addition of Eris energy is very interesting, especially as Eris is in Scorpio, but the Venus/Neptune is a bit mysterious until you remember that the sterilization and preservation of the bodies in their moment of agonizing death is actually a unique and macabre kind of art. With Venus in Cancer, the destruction turned into an emotion tugging glimpse into history.

Pompeii was rediscovered on April 12th 1748, nearly 1700 years after it was buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The rediscovery of Pompeii was accidental and occurred during the construction of a summer palace for the King of Naples. While digging a well, workers uncovered the remains of ancient walls and buildings, which were eventually identified as the lost city. During this time, Pluto in Scorpio was square the Sun of the Pompeii eruption chart (thus also in reach of a square with Mercury and square the position of Pluto in the eruption chart) and Saturn in Scorpio was square the charts natal Saturn in Aquarius – a powerful energy of Saturn in rulership and a powerful Pluto transit led to the discovery of the preserved bodies. What is more Mars was also in Taurus, squaring the eruptions Sun and Pluto.

There are many more things to discover in astrolocality and as technology enables more and more ways to display information we may well see a surge in the popularity and interest in this field. If you would like to explore your astrology in this way with me, I am open for business at Patrons at the 5 dollar or more tier are also welcome to request maps to be sent to them at any time. Thanks for reading!

Squaring the Circle

Greetings, and welcome back to Journeys! Following up last month’s exploration of aspect interpretation I have some specific thoughts about the interpretation of the square aspect for you to consider.

The square, as might be expected, is an angle of 90° separating two objects in a chart. With the addition of standard orbs of influence (6°) this gives a range for the square aspect of between 84°-96°, however even if planets are not within this range of distance from one another they can still behave as if they are in a square-like relationship if they are in signs which naturally square one another (signs which are three signs away from each other). The essential quality of the square aspect is one of difference as the two placements have very little (but not nothing) in common with one another. This fundamental essence of difference causes or often leads to conflict, both internal and external, as two factors relentlessly try to force adjustments upon one other.

As a general rule, I ask myself three questions when looking at a square –

What does each of the planets want that the other denies, and how might this manifest?

How can their common ground get them to operate together?

What does this bring to each of the planets once accomplished?

The little that these objects have in common stems from their shared connection to one of the three Modes of the zodiacCardinal/Active, Fixed/Stable, and Mutable/Reactive – which describe how a particular Element is behaving, its mode of behaviour. We can say that the Cardinal/Active signs all initiate things, the Fixed/Stable signs all build things and the Mutable/Reactive signs all mutate and explore things. I will elaborate on this in the sections below, but remember that squares naturally involve signs of the same Mode, and have that in common. Thus the placements in this aspect are behaving similarly at a basic level but that is as far as it goes, since they are using a different Elemental approach to express that behaviour. Fire and Air signs always square Water and Earth signs, and vice versa, but both signs in a square will share a Mode. We can see then that the fundamental difference at the Elemental level is between the two Fluids, as the Electric signs (Fire/Air) square the Magnetic signs (Water/Earth). Thus the essential difference and conflict is between energy which is being radiated (or expressed as force) and energy which is being drawn in (or expressed as form). This detail alone can help you to interpret the square, for example a square between the Sun in a Fire sign and Mars in a Water sign has something to do with the way solar energy is radiated (as force) and the way Mars energy is drawn in (and put into forms).

The problem of the square is that the two Elements clash until and unless there is a true or partial equilibrium of Elements in the soul. This equilibrium, as far as the square is concerned, is based on the innate connection to that shared way of behaving (initiating something, building something or mutating/exploring) since it can become the basis for cooperation once the soul has matured to the point where it can integrate the differences and so unlock the enormous energy potential of the square. At this point, with the conflict being resolved, both placements will then greatly energise, motivate and push one another in less disruptive ways. There will still be pushiness between them but this has now been disciplined and has come under conscious control.

This means that in charts with many squares in operation there are two typical manifestations, one where the person is beset by many stresses and challenges, both internal and external, and one where the person is a dynamo of energies, a true force to be reckoned with, and frequently we see a bit of both and some see-sawing between them in the life. In fact there is often a direct relationship between the two as the stresses and challenges, once met, are what transforms the person into that force to be reckoned with. Conversely, charts lacking in squares can seem to have an easier time in comparison but it can get boring quickly and they can lack the impetus to do much of anything in life. The question for the astrologer and whoever the chart belongs to is how to unlock the creative power of the square, how to bring the differences into alignment. The overall context of the chart, as explained last month, is always an important consideration, as well as the houses of the planets in square and of course the nature of the planets themselves, but in this journey we are going to focus on the signs and what they bring to the basic interpretation of the square.

To organise this journey I will group all squares into the three groups of Modes, and I will cover all the squares of that mode. Each square will be considered twice, because I’m going to consider it from the point of view of an object placed within a particular sign. For example, there is a square between Aries and Cancer, but instead of just covering it once I’m going to talk about it twice, once from what the square is like from the point of view of an object in Aries and once from the point of view of an object in Cancer, because there is a subtle difference. Everything I write about each square is just an example to guide you, there are many ways a square can manifest, but this will show you that each sign has more than one kind of square that it generates, and they have very distinct qualities, and it will hopefully get you going with your own interpretations. One final point here to know is that dominance can be important in determining which planet “wins” or “loses” the conflict inherent in the square – a strong planet in its own sign (for example, Saturn rising on the ascendant in Capricorn) in a square with a planet in a sign of debility (Mars in Libra, for example) will probably dominate and oppress the urge represented by its weaker partner.


Cardinal/Active signs are about planets trying to initiate things, they are about what an Element does when it is active, its essential energy (raw force). Thus planets in square via these signs are trying to get very different things under way or the same thing under way using very different energies. They tend to try to override or directly attack one another and push us in different directions.

Aries/Cancer and Aries/Capricorn

Raise your shield or draw your weapon? Strike now or at the optimal time? Devastating and crippling blow, or turtling defence? Take a risk, or preserve what you have? Help by fighting off threats to the vulnerable, or by supporting them? These are some of the core issues in Aries squares, regardless of which sign it squares.

Forwards in the zodiac, from Aries to Cancer, the clash is between the will and emotions. The expression of the will stirs up opposition in the form of emotional reaction from others, in our own mood swings (we change how we feel about what we want in the early stages of going after it), or in situations where we struggle with timidity and conflicting instincts, for example. Internally there is insecurity about pursuing what we want because we are too sensitive to hurting the feelings of others, or conversely there is not enough sensitivity to hurting others feelings. Once unlocked the potential of the Aries planet is tempered by incredible instincts to protect bordering on the psychic and it also increases tactical acumen.

Backwards in the zodiac, from Aries to Capricorn, the clash is between the will and realities. The hot will or primal urge of the Aries planet meets with cold rules and traditions that constrain it and force it to obey, to potentially sap the life out of it. It feels the need to seek permissions. Internally it is often at war with itself because there are either too many rules or too much discipline placed upon the Aries planet or because the Aries planet wants to demolish the rules, to blast them out of the way. It can be tempted to cheat the rules out of contempt for them, something offensive to both Aries and Capricorn, leading to self loathing and disgust as well as to clashes with authority figureheads. Once such issues are resolved the Aries planet achieves much more because it knows how things get done in reality.

Cancer/Libra and Cancer/Aries

Get your own house in order or set things right elsewhere? Hide away or get out there in the field? Defend/armour against your attacker or disarm them? Be guided by tradition and habit or creativity and current fashion? These are some of the core issues in the Cancer squares.

Forwards in the zodiac, from Cancer to Libra, the clash is between the gut feelings/instincts and the intellect or mind and its reflection in social mores. Cancer/Libra squares raise questions like care for you, or care for me? Express loving devotion through carefully chosen words or through a warm meal? Hug and comfort, or weigh up the fairness of it all and try to set things right again? Let instincts be in balance with the judgment of reason, or let them be led by the gut? Issues are about what the right way to give and receive care might be, how to open up emotionally to others and how to be receptive to their feelings (without making them your own), mother issues, finding the right boundaries in relationships, dealing with tidal forces (up, down, back and forth), see-sawing moods and the need to seek confirmation from others. Internally there is a problem making choices that impact other people. Once the creative power here is unlocked it enables powerful abilities related to relationships of all kinds and a dynamic gift for peacemaking.

Backwards in the zodiac, from Cancer to Aries, there are passive-aggressive dynamics, a conflict between offense and defense, and an internal issue of confidence or security. Do we want to be a defender of the peace or a warrior of love? Float, or swim against the current? Armour that looks comfortable, or is spiked and threatening? Emotional compromise with competitors/rivals/enemies or shrewd, tactical strategies against them? Issues here are about assertion, with the central conflict being between the feelings and the will. Problems are often connected to a conflict between wanting to go at things directly (Aries) and sneaking up on them from the side (Cancer), which can result in a timid anxiety and paralysis. The Cancer planet feels confronted and threatened a lot and this can create great oversensitivity, over-protectiveness and defensiveness. Once this is overcome the caring side of the person becomes more active, courageous and powerful.

Libra/Capricorn and Libra/Cancer

Central to the Libra squares are choices and dilemmas which impact relationships, questions of where loyalties and priorities lie, methods by which lasting equality and harmony can be established, parental issues and the balance between following the rules as written and compassionately enacting them with sensitivity.

Forwards in the zodiac, from Libra to Capricorn, the clash is between the reasoning power of the mind and the way things are and have always been, between the need for relationship and the need for autonomy and self sufficiency, between the comforts of money and the comforts of love or art. Issues have the tendency to be father or authority related, to stem from too strict an adherence to rules and laws or not enough, and to be connected to a see-sawing between skepticism and trust in things turning out alright. The Libra planet is trying to understand the laws and rules that the Capricorn planet is dictating and is either feeling forced to adapt to them in ways that crush it or is trying to get the rule books re-written. There must be an inner realisation that fairness and wisdom must always temper the implementation of the rules, especially in relationships, and usually some relaxing of the rules. Once these squares stop being disruptive the person becomes a force to be reckoned with because they usually come to represent some kind of well regarded authority figure.

From Libra to Cancer the conflict is between the intellect and the emotions with the usual result that there is anxiety whenever it comes to making a choice that will affect others and insecurity in relationships. The Libra planet finds it has great empathy for the suffering of others and wants to nurture and care for that but it does not intuit the right way to express that affection. Consequently, this square often makes the person too protective of their loved ones or not nurtured in the way they need, with the same dynamic feeling like it applies to them as well. Issues are about not trusting the intuition or instincts enough, always questioning them and so diluting them, and when this issue is resolved this square becomes highly effective at discerning the truth through both intuition and reason as well as being a powerful diplomat and peace-keeper.

Capricorn/Aries and Capricorn/Libra

Here the squares are connected to issues of isolation and ‘loneliness at the top’, the pressures of responsibility, the sometimes harsh effects of a stern father or other authority figures, the need for extra effort and patience and the problems of desire or need for material things.

From Capricorn to Aries there are problems when it comes to enacting our plans, strong opposition to our designs, grueling marathons and ongoing situations that drain energy, issues with impatience and frustration, fatalistic defeatism, angry attacks on the authority of the Capricorn object and sometimes persecution and the effects of tyranny. The Capricorn planet is placed under pressures which hurry it up when it wants to proceed slowly and according to plan, there is an ongoing sense of urgency or time running out and an inner conflict between careful planning and bold action. When resolved these squares can unleash the enormous discipline of the Capricorn planet and put its wisdom into action.

From Capricorn back to Libra there are mental and social conflicts that can lead to isolation and loneliness, an inability to trust in relationships, difficult choices with no easy way to be fair to everything, miscarriages or travesties of justice, inequality issues making it difficult to rise to the top, the lack of fairness in government or reality or frigid indecision and impartiality. The Capricorn planet here is often split in some way by the Libran one, perhaps forcing it to operate by two different rulebooks. Issues are often connected to difficulties in truly opening up to others, always seeing both sides of the coin as dull, having to deal with the reality of a particular truth or the need to make adjustments to the way things have always been as a result of relating to other people. The Capricorn planet becomes empowered by an ability to consider and carefully weigh opposing points of view and in its capacity to relate.


Fixed/Stable signs are about planets trying to build with or collect/gather its Element into form (accumulation into form). They tend to accumulate blockages as resistance between the two placements becomes stubborn since they try to overpower the other by obstinate refusal to change and persistent attempts at control and dominance.

Taurus/Leo and Taurus/Aquarius

Central to the Taurus squares are issues of stabilization, energy or resource regulation and dependability. There is no quiet life for the Taurus planet to retreat into here and the squares generate many interruptions to normal routine. It’s like a bank account that fluctuates wildly from red to black or a forest filled with noisy wildlife day and night. Blockages accumulate (and as blockages will do, eventually explode) through efforts to impose standards or from excessive materialism.

From Taurus to Leo the issues are often connected to egoic stubbornness, resistance to any change to the status quo, with excessive pride or the lack of pride in ourselves, struggles with poverty and health, damage to property from fire, glamour seeking and gaudy love of showing off beauty or success (jewels, make-up, partying, etc.) or with matters of status. Blocks tend to stem the flow of vital energies and willpower. The Taurus planet has difficulty switching off because when at rest it feels it should be active, doing things, drawing attention or progressing, and so when the conflict is equilibrated the square becomes highly productive while at the same time learning how to allocate its energies robustly and resourcefully.

From Taurus to Aquarius there is instead a burning need to break the rules that conflicts with practical matters. Issues here are more often about our attitudes to society and humanity at large, the way resources are distributed, the constant invasion of chaotic forces into routine procedures, radical fluctuations of basic resources like cash or food, humanitarian issues, sharing and loans, inner conflicts arising from fractured value systems, stubborn rebelliousness or the need to break free of something. Blocks can be interpersonal, placing barriers between people and maintaining an emotional distance. The Taurus planet takes on too much work, scatters its vigor, is hit by quakes and beset by unpredictable storms, undergoes more than its share of chaos and looks hard for a reliable rock but cannot find one. It needs to find a way to work with the changes of the Aquarius planet, beyond which it finds its power, resources and energy greatly multiplied.

Leo/Scorpio and Leo/Taurus

The Leo squares concern self confidence, ego control issues and power or dominance struggles. The will seeks to secure itself emotionally and materially in grasping ways, thriving on challenges and defeating opponents, emphasises its own achievements and creates blocks by hogging attention and the spotlight or hoarding its power. However, once more positively expressed there is true champion and leadership potential.

From Leo to Scorpio the square is more vindictive, predatory and ruthless but also beset with more messy complications in expressing itself. The Leo object wants to shine and draw attention to itself or to be in a commanding position of leadership but the Scorpio planet hides and wants to operate in the shadows. Confidence in self-expression becomes complicated by mysterious emotions that require investigation, intensity and passion or zeal become fixations, victory and success are tainted with suspicions and internally there is too much attachment to the power of what we feel and hunger for praise. When this square is positively expressed the Leo planet is empowered by the passion and intensity of the Scorpio planet rather than bragging or being challenged, compromised and dimmed by it.

From Leo to Taurus the problems are often simpler but more dense and difficult to resolve, situations are strained by a lack of resources or funding, confidence or security are affected, the Leo object is confronted with the need to work hard to gain the brightness it craves, the need to have to do the unglamorous labour, its own inability to change or adapt (especially when things don’t work out) and creative or material blocks that refuse to budge. The Leo planet wants to spontaneously express itself in a creative light like a sunflower but the Taurus planet slows it down and dampens its inner fire with buckets of ordinary mud. The inner potential here is for the person to become extremely busy and productive, a creative powerhouse, and to behave in dynamic ways that lead to the generation of wealth and resources – a field of sunflowers after the physical effort has been put in.

Scorpio/Aquarius and Scorpio/Leo

The Scorpio squares are more about interpersonal and emotional issues, the need for revenge or a rematch, being unable to accept any defeat, feeling hungrily driven for more power or control and with intense emotions and the struggles to contain them. Strong feelings ripple from the Scorpio planet into the astral realm, drawing conflict, something to test their mettle against – in Leo it will draw a charismatic icon and in Aquarius, a mob.

From Scorpio to Aquarius the square is challenging because the emotions and passions are not only intense but multitudinous and thus more disorderly and chaotic. The Scorpio planet wants to focus in so that it can penetrate to the depths but the Aquarius planet wants to spread-sheet the awareness onto multiple targets at once and correlate the results. Conflict also arises because the Scorpio planet wants to conduct its investigations in private while the Aquarius planet needs to socialize and broadcast. Both of them, however, share common interest in the unknown or taboo and can use this as the basis for cooperation. When operating positively these squares bring powerful connections and persuasive skill, insight beyond the ken of other mortals, transformative inventions, breakthroughs and liberation.

From Scorpio to Leo there is too much focus in the Scorpio planet on itself, an inability to encompass other emotions and other equally passionate points of view, challenges that feel like life or death struggles, blockages arising from too much egoic stubbornness, retention of anger or negative feelings like spite, killer instinct that can lead us to extreme action or a burning need for the last laugh. The Scorpio planet wants to explore the darkness and probe the mysteries of the night but the Leo planet refuses to cooperate out of the sense that doing so will kill its light. The turning point of this square from the Scorpio angle comes when the need to control things is relaxed, allowing the Scorpio planet to just enjoy life more. This unlocks a lot of vital strength, psychic power and the ability to take command of ones own life (or lead others).

Aquarius/Taurus and Aquarius/Scorpio

These squares are commonly connected to change issues – the chaos of constant change, the resistance to change, the need to make it happen, the way we force change, etc. They also involve the way we interact with community and group awareness as well as generating challenges for our identity. Aquarius must have something to kick against, and, aside from Leo, Taurus and Scorpio make for its prime targets in the zodiac.

From Aquarius to Taurus the problems are things like not being basically trained in all the miracles we want to pull off, needing to constantly demolish normalcy so that normal life never materializes, draining your resources through too many projects, not being grounded enough, pushing for institutional change and meeting with great resistance, dealing with the effects of poverty or lack of basic supplies in a community, scientific ossification and dogma and physical issues that affect cognition or socialization. The Aquarius planet want to travel through hyperspace, worm-holing its way from one distant point to another, but the Taurus planet wants to walk there on all four hooves, slowly, taking in the view. Once equilibrated these squares bring about the ability to manifest radical new ideas into established methods without causing so much chaos that things break.

From Aquarius to Scorpio issues of freedom from bondage arise with the urge for independence and detachment in the Aquarius planet being undermined by the deep need for connection and control in the Scorpio planet. Messy emotional complications, temptations for forbidden or outlawed experience, jealousy, conspiratorial paranoia, suspiciousness and mental trauma are some of the characteristic challenges here. The Aquarius urge for freedom of movement gets blocked by Scorpio bonding, by the complication of having feelings that can’t be broken away from. The Aquarius planet need to accept these deeper feelings of attachment as parts of its freedom. Many occult and magical faculties can stem from this square and it can also positively manifest as great power to influence the masses, or on a more intimate level as a powerful network of loyal friends.


Mutable/Reactive signs are about planets using their Element in adaptable and explorative ways, in combinations or mixtures, and how an Element responds to change (transmutation). They tend to generate chaos and instability as the placements cause volatility in one another like chemicals reacting uncontrollably in a beaker.

Gemini/Virgo vs. Gemini/Pisces

The Gemini squares focus on challenges that arise in gaining clear answers to questions, problems with excessive change or chaos, social instability, edginess, nervousness/anxiety and mental clarity.

From Gemini to Virgo issues arise from too much attention to details and specifics, a cataloging of little fact-lets and trivia leads to infoglut, analysis paralysis, anxiety and nervousness, caustic words, excessive criticism of self or others and reducing everything to simple sums. The Gemini planet wants to diversify and to learn but it is confronted by a dull need to study and improve itself first, especially in the mental arena (both of these signs are ruled by Mercury). Constant micro-adjustments to thinking lead to constipation and confusion, experimentation goes awry, lessons have to be relearned and sometimes there is an interfering need to give friendly advice or help. When this square is operating more positively the Gemini factor is not overwhelmed by details because it has learned to discern and prioritize the pertinent facts, the most practical ideas and choices, and it usually displays a high level of intelligence in multiple intellectual topics.

From Gemini back in the zodiac to Pisces the emphasis shifts from too much attention to details and specifics towards an overemphasis on the essence of information with the Gemini planet trying to extract an overall meaning in answer to its questions but finding little that is concrete and lasting to hang them from. Whereas the Gemini/Virgo square is interested in every single detail the Gemini/Pisces square wants to know what the experience felt like and how it changed you. It is more chaotic than Gemini/Virgo is. Issues here are about more nebulous confusions concerning what we feel or others feel, what the purpose of suffering or the truth of mystical experience might be, impressionability and extreme emotional sensitivity to what other people say or feel, quagmires and quicksands, getting lost or feeling adrift at sea, leaks, being blown by the currents because you have no firm direction or issues with lying and deception or an overactive imagination. The Gemini planet needs to open up emotionally so that its reason can be guided by intuition, after which it finds its ability to grasp the essence of interactions and a strong talent for reading the room, sensing the movements of things and evasion, among other things.

Virgo/Sagittarius vs Virgo/Gemini

Squares involving Virgo generate challenges connected to efficiency, physical changes (especially things like reaction to allergies, diet, treatment and training), purity and helpfulness. Sometimes there is an excessive degree of humility, the person finding it challenging to take credit for anything, or a sense that what we do in service is unappreciated or taken advantage of, and quite often too much fussiness and worry.

From Virgo to Sagittarius there is a volatile exchange between Earth and Fire that can cause things to melt and mutate, a lava-like flow that can dislodge and disable, abrasive or burning bluntness, conflicts between the need to do things in a particular order and the instinct to race ahead, a lack of safety precautions, discontent and moralizing about right and wrong. The Virgo planet wants to improve and refine itself, to examine itself in detail, but the Sagittarius planet is a generalist, disinterested in the boring minutia compared to the bigger picture. Clashes arise from this dynamic. If the Virgo planet can look up from its microscope from time to time to wonder at the stars the Sagittarius planet will be satisfied and supply it with an archers keen instinct for the bullseye of truth.

From Virgo back in the zodiac to Gemini worry and constant flip-flopping of opinion are among the common issues, but it also produces various problems connected with being a busy-body, mental burnout, digestion (physical and mental), intellectual pedantry, too much complaining, moaning or whining, the chaos of too many cooks around the broth and sometimes issues with gaining appropriate social care. Too much inventiveness can be the problem – here the Virgo planet wants to categorize and order things but the Gemini planet keeps inventing new labels for them. When the issues of the square are resolved the energy released to the Virgo planet enables it to make faster calculations and evaluations and to recall all kinds of relevant facts when needed.

Sagittarius/Pisces vs Sagittarius/Virgo

The Sagittarius squares relate to the chaos that can come from exploration and discovery. These squares uncover things that shift overall meaning, thus forcing changes in what we believe, expose us to exotic material which mutates, cause us to change our overall direction frequently, increase our restlessness and can make us dogmatic.

From Sagittarius towards Pisces the square is highly volatile, the Fire and Water producing steam and cloud. The truth gets harder to see as mist covers it, the side effects of a clash between the driving will to know the truth and an overactive imagination. Idealism, crusading, preaching, indoctrinating and indulging can become issues and the Sagittarius/Pisces square is also a bit of a vagabond, a flirty nomad with a lover in every port. Everything is conceived on too large and grand a scale. The Sagittarius planet is driven by a spirit of adventure, it wants to strike out and explore, but the Pisces planet is too timid and passive to have adventures, it prefers the shelter of the coral rather than the vulnerability of the wide open ocean. When empowered this square can become extremely psychic and intuitive, able to perceive astral currents and therefore where things are going.

From Sagittarius to Virgo there is a sense of an instinct for roving becoming confined by details, a tendency to make mountains from molehills, conflict between our belief or philosophy and our need to serve and a high degree of talkativeness. Common problems involve dryness or soreness, giving insensitive or inappropriate advice, unintentional offenses (putting your foot in it), chaotic schedules, unfinished projects and a lack of confidence when left without backup. The Sagittarius planet here wants to expand horizons and open up the world while the Virgo planet wants to dissect it and then put it back together in a better state – one is geared towards being open to exotic and new materials, the other wants to examine them in a detached way. When positive this square serves the Sagittarius object with greater practicality, enabling it to venture even further than before.

Pisces/Gemini vs Pisces/Sagittarius

Pisces squares are connected to mysterious challenges without clear origins or solutions, boundary issues, psychic disturbances (most often from unconscious use or extreme sensitivity) and problems with emotional stability and calm. Sometimes there are existential challenges, conflicts that concern the meaning of life and spirituality, most often in finding ones path.

From Pisces to Gemini constant change is the nemesis as the square is like a storm at sea – high winds and forces that move things around are in full swing. A lack of center, excessive pliancy, sentimentality and too much flexibility foster high levels of chaos. Choices can be paralyzing as they stir up muddy emotional waters so there is a need to clarify and communicate what we feel more clearly. The square is also naturally able to see the various sides of issues, resulting in a lack of conviction generally. The Pisces planet wants to transcend words and touch the numinous in silence but the Gemini planet needs to talk about and comment on things. When positively expressed these squares produce new ideas out of the ether very easily as the imagination leads the intellect toward the insight it seeks.

From Pisces back in the zodiac to Sagittarius issues are more connected with belief systems and dogma. There is an excessive idealism or Utopian dreams without much thought or the resources to back them up. Issues here often relate to chronic impracticality, bending or warping truths to suit agendas, judgmental righteousness, mysterious bad luck (unconscious attitudes are at work), being too difficult to pin down and high levels of emotional restlessness. The Pisces object here wants peace and the Sagittarius planet is always ready for war. When the square operates more effectively the Pisces planet receives inspiration and guidance, its moral fibre is more robust and it senses danger instinctively with great ease.


One final note – planets can still be in a square relationship but not in these signs if the square aspect takes place at the cusp (beginning or end) of a sign since then one planet can be in a non-matching sign of the zodiac. These squares are not as archetypal as other squares and therefore less “square” then they are but they still carry issues of conflict that need resolution. In these cases I generally place more emphasis on the nature of the planets that are in square rather than the nature of the signs.

Interpreting Aspects

Greetings, and welcome back to Journeys and into 2023! To start the year I have been inspired to write something about the interpretation of aspects in astrology.

Aspects, the angular distances between planets in a chart, are one of the four main tiers or components of Western astrology, the others being planets, signs and houses or temples. Of these four main components aspects are arguably the more complicated and complex part because they come in so many varieties. Learning about 12 signs, the same approximate number of planets and 12 houses is fairly straightforward if also being heavily nuanced and filled with depth – Venus for example is pretty easy to grasp as a principal and the problem of interpreting her position in a sign or a house is made easier by the fact that there are only 12 of each. However, the number of major aspects Venus can potentially form are staggering. If we include the modern planets Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and the centaur Chiron as well as the midheaven and ascendant of the chart, the challenge for someone beginning to explore and learn about astrology is very definitely in the arena of what any particular aspect signifies simply because there are so many.

In the beginning it is like learning the alphabet before learning how to form words and then complete sentences. You learn the alphabet – Venus is emotions, squares are stress or energy, Leo is pride or confidence, the 2nd house is income, etc – and you try to understand an aspect this way, like lego bricks, but sometimes this method leads to a dead end or just no clue. Aspects are daunting for beginners and frequently puzzling for experienced astrologers, too. In fact a large part of the intellectual fun of working with astrology is figuring out what particular aspects signify. In this journey I will present some of the things I have learned about interpreting aspects, whether they are in a natal chart, synastry, a transit or progression or something else. I will take you through the thought process that has evolved for me over the decades of looking at charts and figuring out these kinds of questions. This isn’t a cookbook of aspects where I delineate some interpretations for all of the possible aspects that exist, instead it’s a toolkit and a guidebook for answering the question “what does this aspect mean?”.


The first thing we need to understand is what an aspect is, other than its technical definition of being an angular separation between two objects in a chart. As I written before, aspects represent the relationships between the planets. It’s also worth pointing out here that they are also, and more fundamentally, the relationships between the signs of the zodiac as in fact it’s the relationship of the signs of the zodiac to one another that form the basis of aspects, not the planets. The planets represent factors operating within everything, just as the signs do, but the planets are wanderers who roam the sky and are therefore free to form relationships with other planets without restriction – only Venus and Mercury have any such restrictions because they are bonded to the Sun, but even then these restrictions only apply to the aspects that can form between the Sun, Mercury and Venus, essentially making some of the aspects between these 3 objects impossible. By contrast, the zodiac signs have their relationships with one another fixed, as well as their relationships with the planets. Aries and Cancer are always in a square relationship with one another and are always ruled by Mars and the Moon respectively, for example.

So the first thing we can say about the nature of aspects is that they are not only the relationships between the planets but how the planets express the freedom that they have to form relationships to other planets, and that the signs are the fabric or blueprint that then enact those relationships. Therefore it is critical to consider the sign as well as the nature of the planets. In modern astrology this is not made very clear because so many books on aspects focus on the planetary side and ignore the influence of signs which is understandable because if you were to offer a delineation for every possible aspect between every possible combination of planets and also include every possible combination of signs which those aspects could be occurring in, your cookbook would turn into a monumental gastronomic archive. Additionally, it would be impractical and ultimately useless except as a reference work for providing inspiration because each and every aspect in each and every chart exists in context with the whole of that chart, in other words with all of the other aspects and all of the placements of planets in signs and houses. All of those things come together to also shape how the aspect expresses itself in the end result. This is the main reason why aspects can manifest in so many varied and surprising ways even though they always do so according to the particular archetypes that they express. Again, it is worth considering the liberty that planets have in forming relationships compared to the complete lack of liberty that signs have in doing so. Planets are agents of free will much more than signs are. Planets can wander and also grow and evolve, and in doing so they can access different frequencies or lower or higher qualities found within the signs. This is because planets represent dimensions of awareness – thought, feeling, etc.– whereas signs delineate the ways in which those dimensions of awareness behave, like verbs to a planets noun. Aspects, on the other hand, reveal how one dimension of awareness interacts with or regards another dimension of awareness, for example how feelings regard thoughts, and vice versa. So we can say that the power that planets have to form relationships with one another is actually the power of that dimension of awareness to interact with other dimensions of awareness and that signs are the archetypal relationships that are available to everything.

To offer an example for clarity, it is actually impossible in our solar system for Venus to be in opposition with Mercury in a chart. This is because they are always close to the Sun from our perspective on Earth and can therefore never be on opposite sides of the zodiac. It is therefore impossible for the personal thoughts and personal emotions to be polarized at birth. They cannot exist separately. In everything Earthly, thought and emotion are innately bonded. This relationship cannot be sundered. However, in another solar system where the principal of Mercury is represented by a planet far away from the Sun (or Suns) and the equivalent of Venus is close to the Sun (or vice versa), then it would symbolize a system where these two dimensions of awareness, thought and feeling, could operate completely independently of one another and any life would then operate in truly alien ways. Such beings might well find it natural to seperate their awareness from their physical bodies in various ways, for example. This different solar system would also interact with human awareness in alien and unpredictable ways.

Aspects have a deeper metaphysical reality to them, then, since they express how the various dimensions of awareness operate upon one another, both in potential (which comes from the arrangement of planets in the solar system and is the same for everybody) and in practice (which comes from which aspects are actually present in your birth chart). Additionally, through progressions and transits and other movements of objects in the natal chart, planets can have temporary relationships with one another which form periods in which the different dimensions of awareness within us go through shifts in terms of their behaviour and their relationship to other dimensions of awareness. Once understood, this makes aspects one of the most powerful magical tools in all of astrology.

So how do we unlock their secrets?


First of all, it is important to understand the context of the aspect which involves understanding each of the parts at either end independently of one another. This is basically using the alphabet or lego brick approach again and again, layering the interpretation with additional meaning each time. As an example let’s take a chart with the Sun in a square with Mars. The first step here will be to look at the Sun and try to understand it by its sign and house position, also its dignity and any other details that do not involve aspects. Then you repeat this process for Mars. The goal here is to understand the parts of the aspect first, starting with the planets involved. Ask yourself, what is this placement about and meditate on what it brings. Do this in steps bit by bit. For example, let’s say we have a chart with the Sun in Cancer. That’s protective, nurturing, shrewd and on the negative side we can add suspicious, defensive, smothering. Let’s imagine that the Sun is in the 2nd house. Now we start to see those qualities concerning themselves with income, material security and possessions. We can stop there but if we want more we can look at the degree position of the Sun for its dignity. It’s time to look at Mars. We know that this is a square between the Sun and Mars, and that the Sun is in Cancer, but that means Mars could be in either Aries or Libra and if the square happens at a sign boundary, near the end or the beginning of signs, then potentially it could also be in Pisces, Taurus, Scorpio or Virgo as well. This is a good example of why signs are important because the square will be different in each case. So let’s imagine that Mars is actually in Aries. That’s willpower, courage and directness while on the negative side it’s rage, impatience and selfishness. Mars is also probably in the 11th house, which implies something to do with friends and companions, or something communal. Mars is obviously extremely strong in its own sign and so therefore we might suspect that this side of the aspect will overpower or dominate the other side.

Already we have the basis of a good interpretation for this aspect. We only have to compare these two things, remembering that a square relationship between anything indicates a basic difference or conflict between them (thus also indicating stress as different parts of ourselves relate to one another at a level of conflict) but also a source of dynamic energy. A strong, potentially selfish drive and willpower or just rage can overpower this person’s innately caring and cautious side. The square makes it difficult for the person to control this. The houses also suggest that this might come into play when lending or borrowing money or possessions with friends. However if they master the square the positive potential emerges – the courage and drive of Mars in Aries then works in perfect tandem with the care-giving and astute tactics of Sun in Cancer, creating a dynamic engine. Mastering the square means that the negative potential has been transformed into the positive potential and so the positive potential of both planets and signs have been activated while their negative qualities have been transformed. This turns the warning about sharing money with friends into a blessing that helps the person enrich their own life and the lives of their friends. The energy just goes into income or alliances. The person gets brave friends, or nurturing bank managers or some other expression of the qualities of the signs and houses. The square is still a square and never fully under control but what does come under control is the persons responses to it. Their mastery of those responses is what unlocks the dynamic power and banishes many of the more negative manifestations (which arise from poorly managed stress levels, as from every square).

So even at this first step where we just identify what the individual principles of the two planets in aspect are, we get working results so long as we can identify something about each planet involved. If we cannot, it may be time to expand our concepts concerning a planet and try again. This is enough, really, and I think many people get this even at the beginning stages of learning about astrology. It’s intuitive and logical at the same time. It’s also a much better place to start than the description of what planet X in aspect to planet Y means according to what someone else has written. I think many people move on from this stage to look up such interpretations by others because they don’t know which steps to take next, or they are really stumped by something that they cant crunch down using this initial process. This latter situation seems to happen more often with the outer planets or with Jupiter and Saturn. I think the reason for this is that it’s much easier for us to understand the pop psychology that comes with the aspects of the inner planets whereas the larger concerns of these slower moving planets throw more curve-balls for people.

One thing that addresses both of these issues and helps you to continue putting together your own interpretation is understanding the context in which the aspect takes place according to 2 conditions – the other aspects and the nature of the chart as a whole and the hierarchical position of the planets involved. These are not as tricky as they sound once you understand some simple concepts.

What I mean by the context of the other aspects and the nature of the chart as a whole is simply this: zoom out from your focus on a single aspect, form an impression of the chart as a whole or some other part of it, and then apply this context back to your interpretation of the aspect. You do not need to go into great detail here, just ask yourself a few simple questions – what is the Sun sign, and how does that potentially shape the aspect? Similarly, what is the context provided by the Moon and its sign? Is there something prominent that leaps out, for example a planet on the ascendant or midheaven? If so what might that do to the way that the aspect plays out? Even if these objects make no contact with the planets you are considering in aspect, they are powerful enough to affect everything in the chart strongly. As an example using the same aspect of Sun in Cancer in the 2nd in a square with Mars in Aries in the 11th, consider how different this is for a person with the Moon in Cancer as well. Suddenly the 2nd house has become more personal and extremely sensitive. The strong Moon in Cancer acts to ramp up the power of the Cancer side of the square to match the previously dominating power of the Mars in Aries side. We can’t be so sure anymore that the potentially selfish side will overpower the caring and nurturing side, but instead there is now the possibility that the defensiveness and anxiety will crush the courage and it seems likely that it will swing back and forth, with one side overpowering the other in an exhausting self conflict. Now let’s instead imagine that the person has the Moon in Leo. What we see here is that the Mars in Aries side of the conflict is getting even more support from the Moon. It bolsters the confidence and increases the courage making it easier to draw upon in an effortless flow. Now, the Sun in Cancer is really in trouble. The qualities of the Moon sign can add context by themselves, they do not have to make an aspect to “plug themselves in”.

Taking this path leads you into considering aspect patterns which leads naturally into seeing the chart as a configuration, a whole. For example, if in our example the Moon is in Libra, in opposition to Mars, it forms a T – square pattern with the Sun at the stress point (square both Moon and Mars by sign). So you begin to see a single aspect as being part of the overall chart by seeing shapes in the chart, shapes formed by the aspects. It fine tunes and sharpens the interpretation in an ever more specific direction. Try not to get too hung up on the “official” aspect patterns, nor on whether exact aspects are formed by degree or orb, remember that signs have relationships too and exact aspects just bring them into sharper focus. Look for shapes and dynamics, not just aspect patterns. The Grand Square or Cross, the Grand Trine, the Kite, etc., are all major aspect patterns that deserve attention but every sequence of aspects, every shape in the birth chart, is an aspect pattern. You just have to unlock it piece by piece. Always focus in on one piece at a time and then zoom out to consider the context of everything you know so far and incorporate it. If you get stuck, one trick or technique is to ask yourself a hypothetical question in response to a real situation, something like “if I were this planet in this sign how would I have reacted to losing my keys yesterday?”, or “how would this aspect jive with the themes presented in that movie?”. These kinds of mind games and inquiries can often produce inspiration that gets you moving forward with your interpretation. And they teach you about yourself, too.

What I mean by the context of the hierarchical position of the planets involved, the second thing that I suggest can help you move forward in your interpretation, is simply this: is one or both of the planets a Light (Sun or Moon), an inner world (Mercury, Venus and Mars), a gas giant (Jupiter and Saturn), an outer world (Uranus, Neptune, potentially also Pluto, etc.) or something else (ascendant, node, Chiron, etc.)? For example in the case of Sun square with Mars that is a square between a Light and an inner world. This is quite different to a square between, say, a Light and an outer world.

What is this difference? Essentially the Lights are the seats or centres of awareness that exist within all beings with the Sun representing the spirit (or conscious being, presence) and the Moon the soul (personal consciousness or personality). They represent the planes (the mental and astral) through which awareness is spread. The three inner worlds represent fundamental psychological realities – the emotions or instincts, the mind or intellect and the will or volition – and the invisible worlds that lie behind these psychological states of awareness. The gas giants, Jupiter and Saturn, are mediators of the natural order, Giants who regulate the evolution of life and awareness according to the universal laws and principles. Fundamentally they connect us with larger concerns than mere psychological growth. The outer worlds which we are still discovering represent the transcendent dimensions of awareness being opened by our exploration, both inner and outer. They are fundamentally more collective and tribal than the other worlds because they act to shape generations of people similarly.

As an example in practice what this means is that if you have a Light in an aspect with an outer world, you become somehow a focal point for a collective, tribal or generational trait arising from a shared astrological influence, a zeitgeist if you will, because the aspect, no matter what it is, directly influences the way you express your Sun or Moon and what you experience of it. As an example, during the 1960s almost everybody born up until near the end of that decade was born with a conjunction of Uranus and Pluto in Virgo. During the 1970s when they were teenagers they spawned the punk era and many of them dyed their hair outrageous colours, cut it in tribal styles, and pierced their noses, lips and other body parts with safety pins, studs and other adornments, which shocked their parents. This was an expression of the Uranus/Pluto conjunction. In cases where this conjunction made contact with the Sun or Moon in a chart those individuals took the look to heart or kicked against it violently – they were personally and directly shaped by the collective as it manifested through their peers and this conjunction.

The context provided by this planetary hierarchy can be important in helping you understand those often trickier to understand outer planet and gas giant aspects. With the outer planets as I said there is a collective level to what is going on and the contact will be very strong if the aspect involves a Light, as explained, but also very strong if it involves one of the inner planets as these are also quite personal, acting to channel the collective zeitgeist for a particular dimension of awareness (the will, the intellect or the emotions). The type of aspect – square, trine, etc. – is really just describing how easy or difficult it is for us to integrate and accept the power of the outer planet. In the case of the inner planets this will often manifest in some way as a muse which guides a person in a particular way, for example an aspect from Neptune to Venus will frequently turn up as an artistic muse in the life of an artist while an aspect from Neptune to Mercury will frequently show up as some kind of abstract or fantasy theme that shows up in the life of a thinker. What is happening in both cases is that the collective impulses of Neptune are being transmitted into the intellect or emotions (or in the case of Mars, into the will) of the person. Suddenly the collective atmosphere that they are born into as an environment is something that they are breathing as well, or perhaps even producing. The gas giants have a particularly important role in this hierarchy because they are in effect mediators or middle men between the inner worlds and the outer worlds. What this means is that in terms of aspects they are able to work equally well with both groups and to translate between them. This is an interesting factor to consider in aspect patterns, for example when the Moon is in a sextile with Jupiter and Jupiter is conjunct Uranus, it’s an indication that something is going on relating to the transmission of whatever Uranus represents to whatever the Moon represents, in this case through Jupiter (expansion, enlargement and opportunity but also potential waste), via a sextile (stimulation, hype, arousal, excitement). A simple way to think of Jupiter and Saturn is as increasing the flow (unfolding it) or slowing it down (ordering it). In this way we can understand aspects involving Jupiter and Saturn as either increasing the flow of meaning from the outer worlds to the inner worlds (or Lights) or slowing it down and organizing it into structures. When the gas giants form aspects with the outer worlds (e.g. Saturn square Neptune) they are integrating transpersonal energies into their agendas (which modifies how they are expressing themselves) and when they are forming aspects with the inner worlds they are enacting those agendas in nature and mundane life (generally, modifying the way those planets express). Aspects are always two-way, but there is a natural order to their significance.

The hierarchy of the solar system that we live in is actually more complex than these tiers suggest but this is the most practical one to use, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the notion and are just beginning to use it in aspect interpretation. In my book The 26 Keys I present a more detailed discussion of this hierarchy which I will share with you below for reference:

The Astro-Cosmic Structure (from the most mundane to the stellar)

The temples: Realms and arenas of experience in which we encounter all that follows below personally. Structurally, arises from our localized perception of the daily rotation of the Earth (primary motion).

The zodiac: The Elemental processes of life on Earth, through which all that follows below is expressed. A co-creative relationship between humans and the beings of the Lights and planets expressed as native Elemental processes, particularly the processes of the seasons, therefore, partially human in creation and reflective of different cultures and ages of human societies. Astrological aspects are of the zodiac, being the harmonic interaction it contains, its geometry, and the Lunar nodes are also part of this structure (see Dragon’s Head & Tail). Structurally, arises from our perception of the rotation of Earth around the Sun (secondary motion), but has its earliest roots in the patterning of stars (see below).

The Lights: The essence of life on Earth expressed as consciousness (Sun, the mental awareness of meaning, existence and life, the focus of our individuality) and astral awareness (Moon, the personal awareness of significance, the focus of our personality). The conductors of the celestial music of life on Earth.

The inner worlds: The solid, visible worlds of the personality – intellect (Mercury), feeling (Venus) and will (Mars). However, Mars is also involved in an individual process of aligning our personality with our individuality (he is an architect and enforcer of the mediators and inner worlds who decides which ideas and feelings to act upon).

The asteroids: The minutiae of the specific material of the personality and individuality which must be made integral and assembled into a harmonic whole. Our relationship to the many details of the personal and individual world which we must discern and integrate. Harmonizing Mars with Jupiter is an important overall aspect of this process because this places our seemingly vast and fractured individual differences in context with our greater quantity and quality of individual similarities. Largely invisible and therefore astra-mental in causation.

The mediators: The gaseous worlds of the individuality, the guardians of the natural order, endless expansion (Jupiter) and endless crystallization (Saturn). They are mediators between the zone of the Lights, inner worlds and asteroids (the inner zone) and the zone of the outer and mythic worlds (the outer zone), therefore, mediators between the personal/individual and the collective or transpersonal. Visible, therefore able to create a physical causation directly.

The centaurs: Emissaries and bridges to the collective and transpersonal, our ties to what lies beyond the mediators and thus escorts to the outer and mythic worlds. We must always go to the outer and mythic worlds and bring back what we learn for the collective, individual and personal worlds. These are our guides and companions for that journey, they are teachers and the givers of knowledge from beyond, the threads which connect the individual to the wider collective or spiritual and thus bind them together. Any other objects found among the centaurs and named for hybrid or mythical creatures will also serve a similar function of introducing us to the outer or mythic worlds. Not visible with the naked human eye, therefore astra-mental in causation, but still capable of condensing a physical effect through the geometry of the zodiac.

The outer worlds: Uranus and Neptune, representatives of the collective human awareness that we are all one mind, and the universal awareness that all existence is one mind. Uranus hovers on the edge of visibility with the naked eye like some of the asteroids, but is more effective on an astra-mental level than a physical one, like Neptune. Again, this does not mean they cannot create physical effects, only that they always begin with an astra-mental one. Shapers of generations of people.

The mythic worlds: Pluto and other invisible worlds beyond Neptune; concern the emergence of mythic archetypes and are heralds of realizations and states emerging in the collective human awareness as it encompasses more of its infinite nature and the universal consciousness. Transmuters of the collective and representatives of aspects of the universal consciousness. Transcendental portals through which consciousness touches the infinite and eternal. Shapers of fate.

The stars: Underpin all of the above with pure essential meaning through Quadrapolar relationships to the Earth (see advanced material). The essence and font of pure astral and mental meaning which becomes clothed in and expressed through the planetary fabric of our solar system. Stars represent influences over the creation of a (temporal) spirit. Constellations relate to the facets of the Greater Self (the immortal spirit) as it turns its infinite face through physical eternity, therefore to the turning of celestial ages.

This hierarchy is just another tool for you to use in coming up with an interpretation for your puzzling aspect, it’s a jumping off point for new investigation. Don’t feel that you have to include it, but do think about it and know that it is there if you need it. Really this hierarchy, as far as aspects interpretation is concerned, is just another detail that you can add to the essential meaning of the Lights and planets.


Another factor at play in every aspect is the potential for one planet to dominate or submit to another, something I have touched upon above. Dominance arises usually from one or both of two considerations or conditions:

A) One of the planets is angular, with the ascendant being the most powerful angle, the midheaven the next most powerful, the descendant in third place and the IC in fourth. Any planet near or at one of these places is in a throne of power and command over the chart. Just being in the house also helps a lot. Alternatively, one of the planets is the chart ruler.
B) One of the planets is in rulership or exaltation while the other is not or is in fall or detriment. Alternatively, if one planet is very well aspected (has many sextiles and/or trines, some conjunctions with the benefic planets (Venus or Jupiter) or the chart ruler, or is in an overall better position, this can confer some dominance, especially if the other planet is in a difficult position. However, the reverse can also occur when one planet in the aspect is heavily stressed by squares and oppositions and assumes dominance by default because it becomes so loaded with issues.

Receptivity, the capacity to be open to receiving influences, usually arises from:

A) The nature of the planet itself, with Venus and the Moon as well as Neptune being highly receptive because they are usually more passive.
B) The Water and Earth Elements and their signs, which make all things more receptive
C) Trines and some sextiles confer greater receptivity and passivity
D) Planets in cadent houses are more receptive because they have less power to act (9th, 3rd, 6th, 12th, with the 9th being the strongest cadent house and the 12th the most inactive).

Dominance and receptivity are also related to the hierarchy outlined above – planets at higher levels have dominance over planets at lower ones with the exception of the Lights, which are both almost equally dominant and receptive, with the Sun having the edge in dominance and the Moon in receptivity but both having such power by nature that they transcend the hierarchy. Saturn is frequently very dominant in his aspects because he is the final planet that we can clearly see with the naked eye, so the buck stops here effectively. Spiritual karma is the ultimate determiner of whatever happens. Sometimes dominance is obvious and at other times not, usually because it is volatile and changes hands under certain circumstances. For example, Mars is often the dominant factor if the aspect tends towards anger or frustration, Saturn if it is gloom and limitation. It’s important to understand that what is happening in terms of dominance is that one aspect of our awareness is exerting excessive force or control over another. Even the so-called benefic planets, when made too dominant, produce undesirable effects such as insatiable desire or excessive Pollyanna like ignorance of reality. Similarly, the so-called malefic planets can produce positive effects when they are dominant. Saturn can help us bring order to things and Uranus can help us reinvent them.

You can often deduce dominance from within a chart using the pointers I have provided but understanding which planet is dominant in any given aspect can also be inferred from watching people and then that information can be brought to the chart. A very sober and disciplined person who tends to be looking on the pessimistic side of things a little too much will probably have something going on in their chart with Saturn. If you get to see that chart you would then immediately hone in on the position of Saturn, looking for the reasons why it is so dominant. Perhaps you don’t find a strong Saturn but instead find a pileup going on in Capricorn, its most sober sign. In this case you would switch to looking for the strongest planet in Capricorn, the one that is producing all that strong saturnine energy. You could then begin to build up your interpretation of the chart from a place of certainty and the aspects of that planet would become important ones for you to work on, at least initially. In this way your observation of planetary dominance in life around you helps to inform and guide your astrological learning by proceeding from known and observable realities rather than guesswork. It can also teach you, as in this case, about the often blurry distinctions between planetary qualities and sign qualities. Both of Saturn’s signs, Capricorn and Aquarius, display Saturn-like qualities, but there is a difference between the influence of Saturn and the influence of his signs, and both signs express their planetary rulers nature differently. This is not an easy distinction to put into words but using the above method you can discover it for yourself and this can also end up being extremely useful in aspect interpretation. The best way I have of describing it is as I have said earlier – the planets represent dimensions of awareness (nouns) whereas signs represent processes of awareness (verbs, adverbs and adjectives) which those dimensions engage in. Again, a dominant or receptive relationship between planets in an aspect represents a dominant – submissive/receptive dynamic in part of us.

This raises the interesting question of whether an aspect is primarily internally or externally experienced, in other words whether it will manifest as events, happenings and the activities of other people around us or as an interior experience, a state of being. Actually the answer is that it always manifests as both because there is no separation between the interior and exterior except in our perception, but the question that remains is which way it will tend? The nature of aspects themselves have a strong role to play here – squares and oppositions tend to be external in their effect whereas sextile and trine aspects tends to be internal. With conjunctions, it’s mostly internal but that can change depending upon the nature of the planets with more active and forceful planets like Mars making for more externally focused conjunctions. The Moon is always very interior and the Sun always radiates into the exterior. Another factor that plays a strong role here is angularity – anything that connects with the angles, especially the ascendant or midheaven, always has an external manifestation that is quite strong. Recently for example I have been talking to a woman with Venus in Gemini on the ascendant who is a speech therapist. The 12th is the most interior house and the 1st the most exterior. The question of whether an aspect will manifest in the exterior or interior experience is a judgment call I make based on these kinds of considerations but really I prefer to gather this information from direct interaction with the person and then use it as context to fine tune my interpretation of the rest of the chart. We must always remember that the chart is like a garment that the person is wearing, and not the person themselves. People inhabit their charts as consciousness and then express it according to their degree of consciousness and the choices they make.

I hope that these words have helped you to work with all kinds of aspects, please let me know in the comments if you have any questions or observations of your own that you would like to share and thank you for journeying with me! Before I go I would just like to mention that starting this year I will be sharing some simple magic spells each month with my $5 or more patrons on Patreon, alongside the monthly forecast. These will cover a wide range of topics and be provided for personal use. If that sounds interesting to you please join us!

The Astrology of 2023: II

Greetings, and welcome back to Journeys for the final time in 2022 as following on from last month we usher in and take a deeper look into 2023.

The three slower moving outer planets of the system, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto (we are still calling Pluto a planet for the purposes of astrology) define and delineate the overarching themes that the world experiences collectively. Uranus for example takes 7 years to travel through one particular sign, Neptune twice that much and Pluto varies but is slowest of all. What this means is that within, for example, that 7 year period in which Uranus is in a particular sign, that every birth chart and other chart that is created has something in common – Uranus in that sign. Furthermore, because these planets are slow moving, when they aspect one another the aspects also stay in effect for longer periods of time which means that, for example, if you are born in any year where Uranus is in opposition to Pluto then that’ll remain true for many years and so everyone born around the same time period as you will have Uranus in opposition to Pluto. This then becomes a feature of an entire generation of people. In the same way, already living human beings experience these transits as ongoing situations which affect the entire global population in various ways.

These influences transcend single forms. As an example from recent times, the transit of Uranus through Aries (2011 to 2019), which resonates with uprising and rebellion, saw the widespread unrest known as the Arab Spring, the Egyptian revolution and everything that followed it, as well as the triumph of Trump over the establishment in the USA, among other things. With the passage of Uranus into Taurus in 2019 we entered a volatile period of global financial instability and shock, and soon after we had lockdowns and global trade was disrupted more than at any other time in recent history, and most have been or are now facing economic hardship, collapse, inflation, rising prices, a sudden lack of common supplies like toilet paper and antibiotics, etc. What this means is that when slow-moving planets change signs it represents a shift in the global mindset and collective experience, one which may arrive suddenly and shockingly or alternatively it may creep in like a fog changing our view gradually. This becomes especially important this year in relation to Pluto, which dips into Aquarius for the first time after having been in Capricorn since 2008, and its entrance is a giant bang to the drumbeat of Mars and Jupiter.

Here is the graph from last month for ease of reference:

Unlike recent years going back to the middle of the last decade the skies of 2023 are less troubled by major planets forming aspects that hang around for long periods of time. This means that the overall tone of the year is not about situations dragging on as it has been in previous years but is actually more about new things kicking off, something that is driven very strongly by Jupiter in Aries (see last month) at the start of the year. The shift of Jupiter into Taurus (once it clears its square with Pluto) and Saturn into Pisces later in the year is very significant and helps to calm things in general, but the upcoming conjunction of Jupiter and Uranus in Taurus in 2024 could well see those themes of economic upheaval exploding dramatically. Nevertheless, the skies overall do look less turbulent and grueling, as we are finally freed from a gruelling 5 years of strong Saturn in major conflicts which has brought us so much collective isolation and hardship.

URANUS in TAURUS (14°-23°)

This year Uranus moves between 15° – 23° of Taurus, retrograding in August back to 19° and therefore placing strong emphasis on 19° – 23° Taurus from August onward. His only major encounters are with Mars – a helpful sextile from Cancer in April and a trine from Virgo in August, with the more disruptive meetings taking place with Mars in Leo (end of June) and Mars in Scorpio (mid November). This means that, generally, the craziest and most volatile times of the year (in which change tends to have immediate, unforeseen consequence or backlash but which also creates exciting adventures and major, dynamic breakthroughs) are at the end of June and mid November, while efforts to create change will flow more controllably and smoothly in April and August. If you have the Sun, Moon or other important objects at 15° – 23° of any Fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius), this is especially significant. By Sun signs, this includes everyone born around February 3rd – 13th, May 5th – 15th, August 7th – 17th or November 7th – 17th. All of these people are among those who will experience some kind of major life change in 2023, one that is meant to push them towards more freedom and independence, but they have to be extremely careful about acting selfishly in this pursuit as it will carry many consequences. Many new things will emerge for these people.

I have written an extensive article about Uranus in Taurus and its history. Essentially this influence disrupts the normal way of life in such a radical way that it never returns. Uranus in Taurus is a global lesson that nothing is changeless and that all things are required to undergo radical shifts. There was a time, for example, when people hunted their food. This lasted for millennia until agriculture began to develop, forcing what was assumed to be a forever way of nomadic life into radical change. The development of inventions drives much of this change. Uranus in Taurus was probably strongly involved in these transitions. Today we have a hugely complicated, electronically powered global economy in a similar state of radical transition, this time the machines are growing intelligent enough to replace us at our manual jobs and labors, having evolved from the plough into semi-aware robots. This is calling into question the viability of future jobs and even the sense of carrying on with the same financial structure. It will globally disrupt the status quo irreversibly. This problem won’t go away when Uranus leaves Taurus in a couple of years, it is being just initiated and established in our awareness now and from my perspective the oncoming new space race will just add to it. Just next door in the asteroid field between here and Mars there is a dragons dream of a treasure hoard in the form of gold, silver, exotic materials and other commodities. The asteroid Psyche is commonly quoted on the web as having gold worth approximately 10 quadrillion dollars (enough to make everyone a billionaire, but this wouldn’t happen because gold would suddenly be rendered virtually worthless), and this is just one rock. The existence of these resources – not just gold – throws the entire capitalist system into chaos, and we are now able to drag them here. These are the future seeds being planted now by Uranus on Taurus.

Ultimately we are presented with the necessity for change by Uranus and in this case, in Taurus, that change happens to the things that we place physical and material value on. Money, is of course the number one thing that we place value on, but stretching back this includes all jewels and shiny things, and even deeper and more fundamentally a well-stocked supply of food, fresh water and the security that comes from a stable, flourishing Earth. The Earth is clearly in a state of turbulent change, regardless of the causes. Interruptions of basic supplies and even an ongoing disruption of the natural order as the planet adapts to change seeking a new equilibrium must be accepted. We have not seen much of it yet, but I believe Uranus in Taurus will not only permanently reshape national borders politically (for example the war in Ukraine) but also environmentally. There are a couple of years left for this to transpire, if it will.

Uranus has cleared its exact squares with Saturn in Aquarius but the hangover if you like of those squares is still with us for as long as Saturn stays in Aquarius. This shift occurs in early March, marking a significant but subtle shift in the way Uranus is behaving in our skies from that point on. He is no longer trying to undermine authority and overthrow oppression as directly, his agenda shifts and at first it is not altogether clear where it is going since he forms no major aspects with other planets this year. The closest he comes to one is a sextile with Neptune in Pisces, which he gets 3° away from in October. There is an interesting dance to this sextile with Neptune – they draw close together this October then pull apart, they draw closer still (just 1° apart) in October of the following year but then pull apart again, they try again in 2025 but just before Uranus catches up with him Neptune leaves Pisces and moves into Aries, evading him. Uranus himself then leaves Taurus for Gemini, looking to make a sextile in different signs. However, both Uranus and Neptune then retrograde back into Taurus and Pisces to finally make the exact sextile in November 2025. It is almost as if Neptune plays a few unexpected vanishing tricks on his brother in a game of hide and seek. This has the feel of something that keeps trying to manifest or of a steadily increasing buzz or hum that bursts into music, with the first rhythms appearing in October of this year and then repeating in October annually until 2025.

It’s not until 2024, however, that the new agenda of Uranus in Taurus starts to unroll in the form of major aspects. This year it is likely a wrapping up of what has been going on in the last few years with regard to the conflict between freedom verses rules or responsibility. While the other placements this year (Jupiter in Aries and the Pluto collision with Mars and Jupiter in May) do not exactly generate quiet times, as far as Uranus is concerned, he’s pretty quiet.

His first meeting with Mars is on April 28/29th with Mars in Cancer. This is a sextile that helps us to break out of bad habits in unorthodox or lateral ways. It helps us to move forwards but not directly, more sideways like a crab, so it helps us to tackle problems from new and unexpected angles. Often these positive combinations of Mars and Uranus stimulate new directions and new activities and are good for either shaking up our convictions in refreshing ways or pushing us to experiment boldly. His next meeting while in Leo (June 26th) is not nearly so easy-going. This is the kind of influence people lose their temper under very quickly, becoming bossy and domineering and forcing their will upon those around them. It can bring out the predatory side of Leo, the bloodied tooth and claw and the red matted mane. On the positive side though it can help us to stand our ground against an offensive, especially when we believe in the cause and have allies. Mars then encounters Uranus in Taurus on August 16th while in Virgo, a trine, which is probably the best time in the year to plan a major change around since the flowing interaction between these two will allow you to make progress quickly. This is also an extremely productive period that is fundamentally good for anyone wanting to get the work done and put in hours or make tangible improvements. His last encounter with Uranus in 2023 comes when he is in Scorpio, and it is likely the most problematic. This takes place on November 11th and can lead to power struggles in relationships and upsets in the balance of power generally, it makes people more pushy and aggressive, more possessive and driven to get things their way, but it’s also potentially offering a major emotional, physical or financial breakthrough for people who have been working hard or diligently. Most encounters with Mars will last at least a week to arise, climax and then fade out, some longer.

The last instances of Uranus in Taurus between 14° and 23° occurred over 1938/39, 1854-1856, and 1763-1765. These have ominous resonances in history – the outbreak of World War 2, the Crimean War (which decimated Russia and redefined Europe), and the end of the Seven Years War (a global conflict that involved most of Europe’s powers). The grim historical theme is clear – global warfare, poverty and high prices/unavailability of basic goods, turbulence and disruption to the balance of power in Europe. If things go awry for us in 2023 it is because of this karmic interaction with Uranus in Taurus and the events involving Pluto in May. We are about to re-experience the consequences of these times and the way things have always been done before will undergo even more radical change than they have already. This also seems to centre around the conjunction of Jupiter with Uranus in Taurus, but that does not manifest until April 2024 (this year the closest they come is 7°- 8°, in the third quarter).

NEPTUNE in PISCES (22°-27°)

Neptune spends 2023 floating in the 3rd decan of Pisces, preparing to make shore with Aries in 2025. Even though Saturn is now in Pisces and is slowly gaining on him, the two will not join in a conjunction in Pisces. Instead Saturn will meet Neptune in Aries, also in a couple of years. As with Uranus, Neptune makes no major contact with other slow-moving planets, only interacting with Mars (and of course the Lights, Mercury and Venus interact with all the slow moving planets on an annual basis). The closest it comes to a major aspect is the sextile with Uranus (described in the previous section) that almost happens in October but has to wait 2 more years before it finalizes. Positive or easy to handle interactions with Mars/Neptune are placed in the middle of May and the middle of November while the more tricky aspects occur in mid March and August and at the very end of December. Interactions between Mars and Neptune essentially relate to refinement and the importance of subtlety in the way we express our drive, willpower and desire nature. They help us to imaginatively assert ourselves and gain insight and greater clarity into who we really are and what pushes our buttons. They can also be useful in developing the psychic will, the capacity to create forceful impact with the imagination.

Although Neptune in Pisces has occurred a number of times in recorded history having a cycle of just slightly than 150 years it is an extremely subtle and difficult to define or pin down influence, its nature being related to the intangible and ethereal as well as the unseen world. What Neptune in Pisces does essentially is alter the astral field around us rather than the physical field and this is not something that we see recorded in history books very often if at all. There are aspects of Neptune in Pisces which affect the invisible world and the spirit world and the way it interacts with us, for example the way that we have destroyed and removed the habitat of many nature spirits, harming them or forcing them to move on, and the way that the ocean life around us is being affected with only the most visible signs showing up on our shores. These effects gradually accumulate under Neptune in Pisces like drops of water in a bucket or grains of sand in an hourglass, eventually manifesting themselves physically all at once and making people wonder about the mystery of it all and where it came from.

What the historical record shows is that Neptune in Pisces has powerful effects on what we believe and how human belief is expressed. Going back to the excommunication of Henry VIII and the creation of the Church of England, then the spread of Christianity and Catholicism into the Americas, leading (the last time Neptune was in Pisces) to the publication of ‘The Origin of Species’ by Charles Darwin, what we see is an evolution of the human idea of God or Creation and its mysterious implementation in the physical world. The importance of Darwin here is that he shows that Neptune in Pisces is not really concerned with religion but more with what is believed about existence. The form of things is largely irrelevant with Neptune. It just permeates them whatever they are. This is a quality it has in spades while in Pisces. Something permeates the imagination which seeds it with a new level of consciousness or alters the way that collective human belief is expressed. In the past Neptune in Pisces has represented a waning of power for those in positions of religious or spiritual authority – the Pope loses England, the priests of South America are overthrown and destroyed, the grip that religious thinking has is loosened by scientific theory and discovery on a remote Pacific island, etc. We see similar things happening today with the scandals arising in the Catholic Church, the (probably foireign power instigated) rebellion of women in Iran, the reaction from many religious Americans to what they perceive as a corrupted and condemned society, etc. We still have two years of Neptune in Pisces to play out and it is unwise to try to summaries it before then but it also seems strongly connected with the pandemic outbreak and developments in epidemiology and health care. Neptune in Pisces brought us Florence Nightingale and the initial observation about cholera breaking out in a contaminated water pump in London that led to the modern understanding of epidemics. Florence especially is an example of the way that Neptune in Pisces raises compassion and empathy and brings charity and kindness into play, sometimes though this emergence of greater compassion comes through an experience of unbearable suffering and sacrifice as we see in the story of the slave ship Hannibal. Flooding is also a theme of Neptune in Pisces – it’s not just floods of water but floods of emotion.

Esoterically Neptune in Pisces awakens the third eye or psychic senses, the creative imagination. This has both good and bad effects because it means that people are more willing to believe in things that are only imaginary while also opening their minds. It makes the entire world feel more surreal. What is needed with Neptune in Pisces is a strong grounding (astrologically this means a good connection with Saturn or the Earth signs) because the visions are so enchanting or the surrealism beyond parody, beyond farce. Certain spiritual truths are so sublime that they transcend words and some situations so surreal that they defy reality and this is the experience that Neptune in Pisces stimulates and leads to. Those who are consciously working with this impulse find themselves able to develop their psychic potential through empathy and compassion very rapidly and smoothly while those who are needing to become more discerning about the nature of material reality often grow extremely confused and tired. To integrate the higher energies of Neptune in Pisces we need to be in an altered state of consciousness and this is why many people find it hard to stay awake during these times. However it is not enough to simply alter our consciousness, we also have to learn how to do this consciously which means without the aid of things like drugs or sleep. Neptune in Pisces involves us in all of these issues, which can lead us deeper into addiction if we are not aware of it. Really we have to develop and clarify our discernment of what reality is first and then Neptune in Pisces becomes a powerful boon to the awareness.

Mars first meets with Neptune as he is leaving his long passage through Gemini in mid March (15th). This encounter is problematic as the symbolism fosters confusion, clumsiness, awkwardness and a kind of slippery evasiveness or outright deception. There is a fogginess to communication and an inability to clarify what we intend but also potentially a turning point in which we overcome self-deception or delusion about who we are and what we want. If the roads are icy at this time it is not a good idea to travel because of the literal slipperiness of this square. A couple of months later in mid-May (15th) the two meet again, this time on far more friendly terms with Mars in Cancer. This is one of the better times in the year to express what we feel and to assert or somehow act upon our intuition or imagination but we need to overcome any shyness. In particular this aspect helps us to empathise with those whom we are emotionally invested in taking care of as well as the vulnerable in general. However there is little directness and forthrightness to this aspect so it can be more difficult for us to say what we really mean and easier for us to fall back on passive-aggressive behaviour in getting what we want. Overall this is a good month for working on the emotions. On August 22nd Mars and Neptune meet again, this time in opposition, their most direct antagonistic relationship this year. Mars in Virgo pulls us towards activities which emphasize and empower the desire for the facts while Neptune in Pisces pulls in the other direction looking for the essence and the invisible undercurrent, not the actual words or deeds but what is written between the lines. This is the essential conflict here but it can manifest in different ways, for example as a contradiction between the perceived facts and evidence (Mars in Virgo) and the instinct and intuition (Neptune in Pisces). Mars then gives us a second Water trine with Neptune, this time from Scorpio in mid-November (17th). This one is more forceful because Mars is in a sign that he rules and it avoids the passive-aggressive problems but replaces them with more overt passions and temptations of desire. However overall this is a very strong aspect for expressing the emotions and allowing them to flow as well as transforming them by taking control of them when they are destructive and cleansing them. Pursuit of peace is still a pursuit that Mars can get behind and there is powerful regenerative and restorative power available here. To end the year (December 28th) Mars in Sagittarius gives us a square with Neptune, a tricky aspect that can throw spanners in the smooth running of things, disrupt or confuse long journeys or quests, lead to slippery slopes where dogma drives a crusade, create confused arguments or lead into a hidden ambush, trap or snare of some kind. On the positive side we can perhaps use this aspect to realise that some of goals are too ideal, visionary or impractical and then make the necessary adjustments.

Neptune was last in this area of Pisces (22° – 27°) in the years 1859 – 1860, 1694 – 1696 and 1530 – 1532. It was in 1860 that Charles Darwin published “The Origin of Species” and the first Neanderthal bones were discovered in Germany. This is also the time when John Snow began the science of epidemiology and Florence Nightingale founded her school for nurses. The period in the mid-1690s saw a major eruption of Mount Vesuvius, the founding of the Banks of England and Scotland, the completion of the Potala Palace in Lhasa and the horrific voyage of the slave ship Hannibal which ended with the deaths of nearly half of the 692 slaves aboard. In the early 1530s Rome was engulfed in a flood, the Knights of Malta were formed and the Church of England was created after King Henry VIII of England secretly married Anne Boleyn. In almost archetypal Neptune in Pisces style a portrait painting of Saint Dominic was gifted by ‘three ladies of wonderful appearance’ in Soriano Calabro, Calabria and was deemed a miraculous gift from St. Catherine, Mary Magdelene and the Virgin Mary.

PLUTO in CAPRICORN and AQUARIUS (27° Capricorn – 0° Aquarius)

This is the last significant year of Pluto in Capricorn. In May he makes a short visit into the beginning of Aquarius before retrograding back into Capricorn for the rest of the year. In Capricorn, the closest he comes to a major aspect is a near sextile from July until around October, but the real action happens while he is briefly in Aquarius in May as he opposes Mars in Leo and squares Jupiter in Taurus, both of whom also newly arrived in those signs. His positive interactions with Mars occur in late August when Pluto is in Capricorn and Mars is in Virgo and in mid-November with Mars in Scorpio. He not only clashes with Mars in Leo (when Pluto is in Aquarius) in mid-May but also with Mars in Libra (when Pluto is in Capricorn) in the first half of October. May could be a month in which there are extremely dynamic but stressful breakthroughs, while the first half of October is problematic because it tends to create arguments in relationships, often over money. Both late August and mid November provide energy bursts for whatever you need it for, with Mars and Pluto providing the raw power to stick to our guns and forge ahead.

As we reach the end of Pluto in Capricorn we can begin to look back on what has happened in the world since the time it entered the sign in 2008 seeking insight into what it has brought. Quite obviously, this has been a time of economic turmoil with huge bailouts and desperate rescue plans for entire nations, many of which have been broken as a result. We’ve also seen a tightening of the grip by authorities and an escalating threat of environmental destruction, fatalism concerning capitalism and the material way of life, many revolutions in many countries and governments, the concentration of greater power and wealth in the hands of the already super wealthy and the emergence of the first corporate superpowers (Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Disney, etc). Quite likely, 2023 will see us reviewing all of these matters and attempting to draw lessons and meaning from them as this period draws to a close. It is time for the final arguments and moves on these matters to be made before they are replaced by startlingly new but even more urgent matters. Very likely this involves the imminent emergence of advanced artificial intelligence and robotics, key themes of Aquarius. The talking points this May and which develop more next year will help us to foresee what the major talking points of the next 20 years will be in the same way that the near financial apocalypse of 2008 forecast the talking points of the next 15 years.

There is an interesting suggestion in the historical record of Pluto moving from Capricorn into Aquarius that already has some resonance for us today and that is the it tends to coincide with the sudden death of a monarch, institution or ruler followed by some kind of radical reformation. Back in the mid-1770s this was the American War for Independence, in the early 1530s it happened at Chichen Itza with the arrival of the Conquistadors and in the mid-1280s there was the coronation of the last King of Jerusalem and the sudden death of the Scots king when he fell from his horse. Things happen to people at the top, usually bad things, there is a vacuum and it is quickly filled by something radically new. My thoughts here are not only on the UK with the recent death of Queen Elizabeth II but also on Russia, China and the USA because Aquarius has powerful effects on all these nations. In Russia and China this connection to Aquarius is expressed historically as communism and a strong emphasis on communal identity while in the UK and United States the emphasis is being placed on individual freedom and independence, at least notionally. The rift between these nations will probably widen under Pluto in Aquarius as it will both transform and intensify the different paths they have taken. Or perhaps Aquarius will play its trump card and reshuffle the entire deck and all hands in a completely surprising way.

The action in May is also intense. As Pluto dips into Aquarius (May 23rd) he encounters both Jupiter (May 18th) and Mars (May 21st/22nd) in early parts of Fixed signs and this creates a T-square, an explosive opposition between Mars and Pluto that is exaggerated and enlarged upon in scope by Jupiter. Mars-Pluto oppositions are sometimes connected to horrific war crimes and Jupiter elevates the potential to a mass scale. The fact that Mars is in Leo does not help because it implies that egos will be involved while Pluto and Aquarius looks like some kind of humanitarian outrage. Aside from its implications for war and destruction, this arrangement could also bring about a sudden overthrow of power, not just in one place but in many places, it has the quality of people having had enough of hard conditions or demanding more pay (Jupiter in Taurus) starting a violent revolution (Mars/Pluto in Leo Aquarius). We might also see some kind of geographical or environmental disaster – a huge eruption, the loss of an ice shelf or a powerful earthquake for example. If we are looking to draw some positive advantage from this potential in May we should first of all be prepared to back down when we feel that we are absolutely in the right because this configuration can blind us but also encase us in stubborn ways that we need to break free of violently. If we are already trapped in a suffocating or life destroying situation then this configuration could help us to finally smash our way through it but likely not without a high cost. It is a very risky sky to gamble under or to guess with – chance can lead to profound ruin. Perhaps the best path with it is to accept that sometimes growth depends on sacrifice or the greater good depends upon us giving up upon or changing what we want and to work on figuring out how that applies to us. If a metaphorical bomb goes off in your life during this time it is perhaps some comfort to know that this situation will not stretch on as it emerges in May but vanishes very quickly from the sky and does not return. It is, however, probably a trailer or preview of how Pluto in Aquarius will interact with you over the long term starting next year.

The opposition with Mars in Leo on May 21st is Pluto’s first clash with Mars this year. In general we have to be very wary of getting involved in power struggles and power plays under this aspect as well as perhaps having to rein in some of our more compulsive desires. Pushy, bossy and domineering behaviour towards the people around us will very likely cause an intense backlash at this point. There are strong opinions around about what is best and who to follow but this aspect challenges us to transcend that and to seek within for the light that will allow us to courageously express our own unique and deeply considered opinions while allowing others to do the same. The next tussle between Mars and Pluto is on October 9 with Mars in Libra which creates a dynamic that can cause arguments between us and our partners, especially over matters of finances and security, but also it tends to create a need to choose between two different ambitions or to divide time and resources between two goals. Problems can arise when we take into consideration what our partners want as it may conflict with our long-term goals or plans. Potentially this square enables couples to renegotiate the rules of their relationship. The positive interactions between Mars and Pluto come from Mars in Virgo (August 25th) and Mars in Scorpio (November 22nd). The August interaction is productive and efficient, able to make select and precise changes that have profound impacts. It is good for tidying or arranging things and getting things in order as well as for stabilising them or streamlining them. However, it can be a bit nitpicky. The November sextile with Mars in Scorpio is more erotic and arousing, stimulating sensual and emotional desire but keeping it controlled so that it becomes like steam. This is also good aspect for money spinning ideas or activities and it can help when we need a strong will for something.

The last time Pluto was in the last degrees of Capricorn and moving into the beginning of Aquarius were 1776-1777, 1531-1532, 1285-1286. Some of the events that we see occurring in this period are the American declaration of Independence and the formation of the Bavarian Illuminati (secret societies seem to be connected with Pluto in Aquarius but for obvious reasons their activities are hidden from the historical record), the famous appearances of the Virgin Mary in Mexico City, Guadeloupe (visions and miraculous events that have profound impact also seem to be connected to Pluto in Aquarius), in the 1531-2 period the Comet Halley suddenly appeared in the sky, causing consternation and wonderment (perhaps Pluto in Aquarius has something to do with threats that come from space or dark omens related to the sky), and Kublai Khan made extensive plans for a final Mongol invasion of Japan but then had to call it off when he didn’t have enough money or resources (Aquarius often involves last-minute changes or reversals being forced upon us).

That’s all for this month and for this year, thank you for journeying with me, I look forward eagerly to our next year together! Blessings and peace to you all.

The Astrology of 2023: I

Greetings, and welcome back to Journeys! To round off the year I’m exploring the astrology of 2023 in two parts, this first part focusing on Jupiter, Saturn and Chiron.

There are many ways to approach the task of analysing the astrology for a particular year. Last year I published a forecast delineated according to what was happening in each of the 12 signs and previously (almost a decade ago actually) I have talked about ingress charts. I’ve also used the graphic ephemeris quite often, a very handy visual tool provided by Solar Fire which I will use again here. In writing up the signification of planets in various signs, for instance Uranus in Taurus, I have also tracked their history, showing the commonality that emerges from that placement. In this years forecast I will use that method of tracking in combination with the graphic ephemeris. This is an especially important year to do that in, as the results will show that we are now living through a repeat of and reaction to the astrology of the 1930s and early 1940s according not only to the placement of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, which we come to next month, but also Jupiter and Saturn. Chiron is instead in the same position he was in the 1920s, approaching Taurus which he was last in as the 20s turned to the 30s, so he is also riffing on that period in history.

Once again the astrology is clear – in 2023 the karma of the 1930s and early 1940s is afoot. Something else is happening too, though – Pluto is dipping into Aquarius for the first time in April and May, a huge shift that will be covered next month in more detail but the indication here is that we’re getting a preview of the long-term future in these two months. So we are both looking forward and backward in 2023. One other notable feature of the overall picture, as can be seen in the graph below, is that there is only 1 major new interaction between the heavy hitting slow-moving planets. This is probably something to be very thankful for at this point but unfortunately the single clash is a huge one. The big troublemaker in the sky is actually in May when Pluto is in early Aquarius, Jupiter in early Taurus and Mars in early Leo. This is a very worrying picture. Pluto is retrograding, going back into Capricorn in June, and Mars and Jupiter do not dally or retrograde, so this is a situation that arises quickly (probably mid May) and ends quickly but the sky is not entirely clear of it until the end of June. Aside from this, the rest of the troubles of 2023 stem from Mars as he interacts with everything else. There is a potentially painful point when Jupiter and Chiron conjoin in Aries in March, but the Saturn – Uranus square finally terminates and no major new ongoing conflict between the planets emerges to take its place. In short, if we get through the spring into late June without wider war breaking out, we are lucky. The period from mid May to the end of June is the time we have to watch this year.

This graph shows the positions of the slow moving planets and Mars (the red lines) throughout the course of the year as curved or straight lines. Mars is included because it acts as a trigger mechanism and also because (excepting the Moon) its movements are less predictable than the other inner planets because Mars is not as bound to the Sun. Along the left-hand side of the growth you can see the degrees that the planets are in from 0° at the top to 30° at the bottom. This means that when a line reaches the bottom of the graph at 30°, it then changes signs and goes to 0° of the next sign, reappearing at the top of the graph (you can see Pluto, the grey line, doing this as he moves between Capricorn and Aquarius in March and June and Jupiter, the blue line, does it in May as he moves from Aries to Taurus). When the lines fall back and start moving towards the top of the graph the planet is retrograde, and when they curve back towards the bottom again the planet is going direct. You can see that most clearly in the blue line which represents Jupiter – it starts to curve back at the start of September moving towards the top of the graph, meaning that Jupiter has turned retrograde. You can also see it quite clearly in the black line representing Saturn. When one or more lines cross one another there is the potential for a major interaction between the two planets, it will depend upon which of the signs those planets are in since some signs do not form major aspects with other signs. Most of the time, however, there is some kind of result. For example, the blue line from Jupiter crosses the black line for Saturn in June. Jupiter is in Taurus and Saturn is in Pisces, and these two signs to form a major aspect with one another, a sextile. Therefore, this is a major interaction between Jupiter and Saturn. On the other hand if we look at the magenta line representing Uranus we see that it also crosses the blue line for Jupiter in March, but Jupiter is in Aries and Uranus is in Taurus, signs which do not form a major aspect and so there is no major interaction between Jupiter and Uranus in that time.

So let’s look at Jupiter, Saturn and Chiron for this month, in the course of which we will touch upon the positions of the other planets which I will examine more completely next month.


Throughout the course of the year Jupiter moves almost entirely through Aries from January to mid May and then through half of Taurus before turning back in early September to retrace its path in retrograde motion through the first half of Taurus at the end of the year. It ends the year slowing down in the first decan of Taurus before stationing and turning direct, exactly at the years end.

This path leads it to meet with Chiron and Eris and to almost clash with Pluto while in Aries (first 4 months), only to clash with both Mars and Pluto immediately as he enters Taurus instead (May). He then exchanges a sextile with Saturn in Pisces (June) and accelerates towards a potential conjunction with Uranus only to turn away from it temporarily until next year when he turns retrograde and retraces his path (early September). Instead he clashes again with Mars, this time opposing Mars in Scorpio, in late October. He has a more constructive relationship with Mars in Virgo at the beginning of August.

Overall the main feature is of some kind of massive event in May involving Jupiter in Taurus, Mars in Leo and Pluto in Aquarius around the first few degrees of the signs. This is particularly significant for everyone who is born in the early days of any Fixed sign i.e. everyone born around the beginning of Taurus, Leo, Scorpio or Aquarius and equally significant for anyone who has an important or significant planet, the ascendant or midheaven in the earliest degrees of the Fixed or Stable signs. There will be some less acute but still significant overflow of this effect for people born at the end of Cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn) and with people with planets or angles in these places. For all these people May of 2023 holds something both surprising, perhaps shocking, and profoundly transformative. It’s important not to let this foreknowledge frighten you but to instead let it prepare you for some kind of major transformation. Most of the problems stemming from these kinds of patterns arise from our resistance, denial, fear or other negative reactions to them. Aligning yourself with the need for transformation as you go into the year and especially as you enter into May is wise and will not only make whatever emerges easier to handle but also shape it in more positive ways. Fundamentally this is a situation arising from Pluto in Aquarius, a condition which we are only being given the briefest taste of this year as Pluto returns to Capricorn in June, something which defuses any potentially explosive situation that has been set off. Something may still have been radically and irreversibly changed, however. It’s possible given this larger picture that we are being given just a preview in this period of what will become a major theme next year when Pluto more fully enters into Aquarius and begins to present those themes more forcefully, especially in February, June, and July 2024. However, his aspects in 2024 are easier than what happens this May, by far. The picture is of something that happens in May being extremely difficult for people to handle, but it doesn’t last too long and the consequences of whatever happens play out in ways that are easier for us to handle in 2024.

Jupiter’s role in all of this is (as usual) to enlarge the scope of it and the crux of the issue is the opposition between Mars and Pluto. I will say more about this when we discuss Pluto next month but an opposition between Mars and Pluto is a violent one involving a clash of wills and power struggles as violent forces are unleashed. This can manifest socially, as unrest and rebellion, the toppling of authority figures or the ruthless crushing of calls for freedom and so on, politically as the sudden death or removal of leaders or the rise of tyranny and civil dissent, militarily as bombs and explosions or the outbreak of wars, economically as major crashes, burst bubbles and blowouts, geographically as changed landscapes, scientifically and technologically as paradigm shattering breakthroughs or discoveries that shatter reality as we know it (for example commercial space flights) or environmentally as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, fires and drought or collapsing ice shelves and flooding that displace huge numbers of people, as well as all kinds of human-made catastrophes. Whatever it is it is something big and the fact that this is not the long drawn out aspect but one that arrives quickly and leaves quickly enables us to pinpoint its location in time more precisely as likely to e mid May but possibly also between then and the start of June. After that, the pattern dissolves and does not return, it only leaves its consequences. This is quite unusual for Pluto situations as they tend to grind on. It happens because he is at the borderline between two signs which act as a kind of on-off switch and also partly because both Jupiter and Mars are in fast direct motion and move on quickly.

Jupiter in Aries (January 1st to May 16th) sees Jupiter race through Aries starting at 1°. We had a long previous period of Jupiter in Aries in 2022 from May 10th to October 28th but this is the main event because Jupiter only reached 8° of Aries before retrograding back and re-entering Pisces. Jupiter is neither especially strong nor weak in Aries although the first 6° are his terms or bounds according to both Ptolemy and the Egyptian system. This means that he may be stronger in January when he is in the first 6° of Aries. The positive potential of Jupiter in Aries is about fresh starts, new growth, colourful creativity, spirit of enterprise, building the confidence, self-esteem and willpower, making a spiritual effort in life, the expansiveness of the power of the Fire Element, springing into action, launching something big, warmth and heat which nurtures life, tapping into greater energy and perceiving the simple and fundamental, primal truths of life. Its negative potentials are a warlike aggression, rage and destructiveness, persecution, righteousness and judgmentalism, hot-headed impulsiveness, inflammatory actions, burning and explosion, wildfire, volcanoes and drought or excessive heat.

Jupiter meets with Chiron in Aries at 14° on March 12th. The aspect starts to build in mid-February and fades out in the first half of April. This is the only major aspect Jupiter makes while it travels through Aries. Chiron has been in Aries for some time now, with the sign being confronted with the need for healing, and this aspect brings that journey into focus and allows people to move on in ways that are productive and generally fortunate provided they have been doing the work of healing leading up to this time. If we have been ignoring this need or not noticing it then this conjunction can bring about a painful realisation as the need becomes obvious, but Jupiter is gentler than Saturn with this duty. Jupiter and Chiron conjunctions can also bring teachers, gurus and mentors of all kinds into our lives and in Aries these tend to be people who challenge us or motivate us to act as well as those who help us to develop our Aries qualities.

Jupiter in Taurus certainly cools things off, or it would do if it were not for the interaction in May. Jupiter in Taurus is again not particularly well or poorly placed although it does have some terms/bounds between 14° (15° according to Ptolemy) and 22° of the sign. It’s only in those degrees in August and September and the earliest part of October. The positive potential of Jupiter in Taurus is economic and financial prosperity, fruitful gardening and agriculture, cultivating patience, simplifying things (un-complicating them), building something, material growth and expansion, receiving spiritual inspiration from nature, grounding the spiritual laws in work, putting in a massive effort through persistent labour, saving and conserving, sharing of the riches of the Earth, embodiment of compassion, people working together and the growth of support structures and stability. The negative potential is great stubbornness, greed, avarice and envy, land grabs, excessive materialism, possessiveness, mudslides, sinkholes, super high inflation, excessive cost of living and huge prices.

As noted the arrival of Jupiter into Taurus (May 16th) is probably the big event of the year as it coincides with Mars and Pluto entering Leo and Aquarius. The square with Pluto comes first (May 18th) followed by the square with Mars (23rd), all at 0°. These squares ignite things, in this case the opposition between Mars and Pluto. After that though it is relatively smooth going with Jupiter for the rest of the year except for an opposition with Mars in Scorpio. After the fireworks in May when he enters Taurus he moves to make a sextile with Saturn in Pisces at 7° (June 19th). As noted and explored in a previous journey the interaction between Jupiter and Saturn recently entered a new 200 year cycle and this sextile is the first aspect they make in building the structures that will persist throughout that period. This sextile begins to build in late May early June and separates by mid-July. It supports the ability to create a fortunate balance between fun and work, the building of confidence and competence or expertise, good judgment in making decisions that have the potential for long-term success, tapping into wisdom, business dealings, being treated fairly or generously by institutions and authorities, creating moral government and laws that are not Draconian and treating the gloom or depression but Saturn in Pisces can bring with a measured but significant material gain or comfort. The essential quality of a sextile between Jupiter and Saturn is of the natural law of expansion and the natural law of contraction or limitation operating in ways that positively stimulate both so that there is a healthy, invigorating pulse. We are neither overwhelmed by excessive growth nor suffocated by overwhelming restriction and find it easy to build things up.

After he separates from the sextile with Saturn in early to mid July his only other interactions this year are with Mars. He first makes a productive sextile with Mars in Virgo at 13° (August 1st) and then a more problematic and challenging opposition with Mars in Scorpio at 11° (October 28th). The sextile helps us to work diligently and to build up resources and information as well as infrastructure and organizational systems. The opposition makes us too daring, too willing to push risks to far with disastrous consequences, too entrenched and intractable in our dogmatic position, more aggressive and likely to act in rudeness or ruthlessness, but it has the positive potential of spurring us onward to bigger and greater things and of finding a new balance between our desires and our spiritual beliefs as well as a potential for earning money or acquiring things through effort.

Jupiter was previously transitioning through Aries in the following periods: 1904/5, 1916/17, 1927/28, 1939/40, 1951/52, 1963/64, 1975/76, 1987/88, 1999/2000 and 2010/11. It was transitioning through Taurus just after these periods in 1905/6, 1917/18 and so on. However we must remember that it only travels through half of Taurus in 2023. Essentially this means we are mostly looking at the periods 1904 and 1905, 1916 and 1917, et cetera. We can see the connection that Jupiter in this area of the sky has to the start of World War 2 (1939 and 1940) and the middle of World War 1 (1916/17), it’s connection to the time of the dot-com bubble and the feared millennium bug (1999/2000), as well as to the time of 20s peak boom just prior to the Great Crash (1927/8), the Korean War (1951/2), the discovery of the first extra-solar planet, the beginning of the disintegration of the Soviet Union and a critical year in the development of the web (1988, the first virus and the first permanent intercontinental link between the US and Europe), China detonating its first atom bomb and the Kennedy assassination (1963) and more recently the eruption of an Icelandic volcano that disrupted global travel and the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion and worlds worst ever oil drilling catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico (2010). 1904/5 saw the First Russian Revolution and the Great Baltimore Fire (while Jupiter in Taurus, 1906, brought the San Francisco quake and fires). Jupiter in this area of the sky has proved to be nothing but action packed in the course of recent history.


In yet another significant change in the sky this year Saturn finally leaves Aquarius, starting the year at 22° and leaving it on March 7th. He then remains in Pisces for the rest of the year retrograding on June 17th at 7° of Pisces, then reversing again this time turning to direct motion on November 4th at 0° Pisces and ending the year at 3°. This places a lot of emphasis on 3 to 7° Pisces so that people born in the first week of the sign are getting a heavy dose of Saturn this year and anyone born in the first weeks of the other 3 Mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo and Sagittarius) are being presented with significant challenges and some difficult or slow changes. All of these people need to take care to boost and increase their energy levels and keep on top of any gloom or despondency this year. The other Mutable signs will have to deal with this later, in 2024 or 2025, so it is a good idea for them to also begin building up their vitality and energy levels in order to meet the demand and drain that Saturn can bring.

This path does not lead him into any interactions with the other major planets, but he encounters Mars 4 times – first, he trines Mars in Cancer at the end of March, then he opposes Mars in Virgo in July, trines Mars in Scorpio in October and finishes with a square to Mars in Sagittarius in late November. Compared to the drama of the last few years when we have had Saturn in Capricorn conjunct Pluto and much more (2020) and Saturn square Uranus (2021/2), 2023 is a quiet year as far as Saturn is concerned. We are also losing Saturn in rulership, the strongest kind of Saturn we can experience by sign, the heaviness and seriousness we have been living with since 2018. This also means that, along with the end of a strong Jupiter this month and the end of a strong Saturn early next year, things are really shifting up there and there will be a sense of that in and around. Magically this means it if you want to work with Saturn for some reason the ideal time that is left is between now and March 7th, and you wont get another opportunity like it for over a decade.

The end of Saturn in Aquarius is about wrapping up business and concluding themes that have been playing out for the last 2.5 years – to name just a few, the rapid building up of web services, social distancing, mass vaccinations, blatant totalitarian and authoritative measures and fear of the outsider, whether they be communists, strangers with unclear vaccination status or some other aliens, and other threads. It doesn’t make these things completely go away but it moves them offstage where they become less central and less a feature of everyday life. Instead, Saturn in Pisces frequently denotes a thick gloom or sadness, a connection to sorrow and tears and the hardship of watching others suffer and not being able to do anything about it. It is like a heavy cloud that hangs over us making it difficult to feel the warmth of the Sun for a while, and coming out of a strong Saturn since 2018 it is partly the emotional reaction to everything we have all just gone through. There is still a lot of grief for people to process, to many it seems an entire world has died. Saturn in Pisces is very likely about processing that and feeling stuck in it for a time while struggling to give expression to the depths. We should prepare for this time by watching over the vulnerable, not just those who are on the edge or close to taking their lives but also the sick and lonely. For people struggling with feelings of loneliness or sadness it is likely to be a somewhat difficult couple of years as the soul learns to grapple and overcome these feelings, hopefully maturing in the process.

With Saturn in Pisces we have a collective tendency to become trapped in whimsical fantasy, evasiveness, nostalgic memories and an overactive imagination which may cause fears where there is little or no justification for them (paranoia). On the positive side it fosters a high degree of emotional understanding and compassion and the willingness to work hard on behalf of the less fortunate. Deep meditation and reflection on the feelings will make possible profound spiritual insights into the nature of reality and helps to dissolve the potential for limiting confusion and illusion. We need more peace and quiet, time in tranquil solitude and must make a strong effort to avoid self pity. We must learn to take responsibility for what we feel now and have felt in the past and progress in understanding the ways we block our own emotional and psychic expression. The karma of the way we have treated others is a major issue that we need to face. We may need to let go of something, as Pisces often involves sacrifices and Saturn brings things to their appointed ends in time, but that letting go need not be a sadness it can instead be an unburdening, or both at once. Pisces is a dual sign capable of crying with joyous laughter and heartbreak at the same time – it is emotionally transcendent in this way and the exact definition of what it feels is often elusive because of this, a nebulous conglomeration of different states, and Saturn can actually help sort this out. Key to Saturn in Pisces is learning how to create and maintain healthy emotional and psychic boundaries, between us and the external world and within our own interior. Pisces also emphasises everything connected to the ocean and so the worrying news about coral bleaching and ocean toxicity looks like it will get far more serious and sad in these next two years. We may also learn something important about the deep sea floor, as Saturn rules depths and pressure. Saturn traditionally also represents a need for and lack of something, and so water looks set to become far more scarce in some places while washing and flooding out buildings in others – both of these are Saturn in Pisces events.

His first encounter with Mars takes place on March 30th with a trine with Mars in Cancer, at 2°. Mars is not effective at being Mars in this sign (it is his Fall), which leads him to behave more softly. It begins to arise on March 7 as Saturn enters Pisces and fades away around April 11th or 12th. The easy combination of Mars and Saturn results in an ability to understand the rules and to put them into action. It rewards persistent effort with a growing sense of confidence, pushes us beyond limitation and boundary where necessary, decreases the possibility that we will act rashly without thought for the consequences, helps us to understand what makes us different not as a thing that separates us but as a thing that defines us, helps to develop composure and resolve and overall enables us to put the Water Element into constructive effect or to make progress in wielding it successfully. There is a very defensive quality to this trine. If there are issues with this trine it is maybe that everyone feels very set in their ways and sure of themselves, or perhaps that with things getting easier we let the opportunity to progress slip by, but it could also be that we wall ourselves in and fortify seeking safety and comfort.

He next encounters Mars in Virgo, an opposition, at 6° of the signs on July 20th. It begins to form around July 13th and fades out around July 28th, Not only is this a more difficult aspect but Saturn is also retrograde at this time which tends to more problematic expressions as things are more intractable and less progressive . A prominent quality of this opposition is the feeling of failure and futility, the experience of our will and intent meeting with some kind of immovable obstacle, or of being spent with nothing left to give. We do not measure up to perfection (Mars in Virgo) and this results in gloomy and heavy feelings of being burdened (Saturn in Pisces). It can bring a feeling of oppression, unbearable pressure, grueling hardship and frustration. Anger, bitterness and self recrimination that has been suppressed can suddenly emerge. Our efforts to help and support others (Virgo/Pisces) meet with extra tough challenges and periods where we must just endure and bite through. The positive potential here is that we make constructive adjustments in the way that we express the will, learning important lessons about its tempering and how to discipline it, as well as the rewards of meeting a major challenge and working hard to see it through.

The trine with Mars in Scorpio at 0° on October 13th sees Saturn almost at the end of his retrograde (November 4th) in very slow motion. This trine is the companion to the Cancer trine of March 30th, but Mars is much stronger in Scorpio, at one of his peak performance levels and so this version carries more power and force than the other one. We know what we want and are not shy about going for it. Therefore this trine is similar but has more potential to actually achieve things and make progress, provided we have the discipline, dedication, persistence and patience called for by Saturn. It is, however, more inclined to ruthless and selfish decisions and actions as well as forcing the will on others, which the trine makes easy to do or justify, especially by playing the victim. This trine arrives strongly when Mars enters Scorpio on October 12th and fades away after October 22nd.

Finally, Saturn squares Mars in Sagittarius at 0° on November 25th. This square also emerges strongly as Mars enters Sagittarius on the 24th and it concludes rather quickly by December 3rd. Whereas the opposition with Mars in Virgo in July is more like meeting an immovable obstacle, the square with Mars in Sagittarius is about needing to find another way by deviating from the planned path. The direct, swift path to the destination or target (Mars in Sagittarius) is obfuscated by a thick fog or bog we get lost in (Saturn in Pisces). We learn that we were mistaken and this means we have to apologize for our insensitive actions, we meet with a rude authority who tests the limits of patience, we let dogma or propaganda inform our actions, or we act impulsively out of fear. Sometimes the will needs to be denied – not everything that we want is good for us! Every square has the potential to enable us to turn a corner and the square helps us to do that with the way that we express desire and spiritually it assists us in shaping the individual self according to the desires of the conscience.

Saturn was previously in late Aquarius and early Pisces in 1905/ early 1906, late 1934/ early 1935 and 1964/ early 1965. Once again we see the astrology reaching back to the 1930s period of history, the Great Depression and the political rise of Hitler being key events. This time also saw the spread of television and colour film and the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous. We also see it connecting to 1905 like Jupiter in Aries and Taurus (First Russian Revolution and the Great Baltimore Fire). 1905 was also the year in which Einstein published four papers which influenced modern physics for the rest of the century and early 1906 brought on the San Francisco earthquake and the increased use of submarines in warfare. Lastly, we also see it involved in the astrology of 1964 just like Jupiter in Aries/Taurus. 1964 saw a significant escalation of US Armed Forces in the Vietnam war, the enactment of the Civil Rights Act in the US, the first supercomputer and the discovery and confirmation of cosmic background radiation which eventually led to the emergence of the Big Bang theory as the origin of the universe as well as the emergence of the cassette tape. The inventions which record things that come through Saturn in Pisces (colour film, television, cassette tapes, etc.) come about as manifestations of the recording of everything in the astral Akasha (Saturn in Pisces).

CHIRON in ARIES (middle decan)

Chirons journey this year takes him from 12° of Aries out to 20° and then back by retrograde movement to 15° at the end of the year. It is essentially the time in which he focuses on the middle decan of Aries, which includes people born in the ten days in the middle of the Aries period – the start of April. He stations and turns retrograde on July 23rd. Like Jupiter he then stations again at the very end of the year on December 27th, turning retrograde for the last few days of 2023 nd the start of 2024.

The major encounter he has on this path is a conjunction with Jupiter in March, the last major aspect Jupiter in Aries forms before entering Taurus. Aside from this he meets with Mars five times, in mid February, late April, late June, late September and mid December. The meetings in late April and September are the more painful or difficult ones.

I have explored Chiron in Aries in a dedicated journey back in April 2016, and if you are interested in learning more about its signification I recommend you read that as I also go into greater depth on the historical connections it has. A major feature of this passage is that everyone born between 1968 and 1977 is having their Chiron return, and this year it is especially focused on people born in the middle of that period, around 1973. Being born as an Aries person in the early 1970s makes you especially sensitive and aware of these energies, with the most acute experiences happening to Aries people born in early April 1973 (but including 1971 – 1975 as well). We are still learning about Chiron, having only been studying it since the late 1970s – ironically, our awareness of Chiron itself is having Chiron return right now, the first that we have observed as a collective. What we have seen of Chiron in Aries recently supports many of the points I made in my journey six years ago.

Here is a summary of the main points identified in that journey:

  • New horizons being breached or penetrated by heroic pioneering efforts, often with immediate consequences and being exploitative of a power source found there.
  • Hardship, struggle against adversity, desolation of the will and the spirit and struggles for survival
  • The death or loss of warriors, people who come to symbolize bravery, courage, a spirit of valour. Additionally, dangerous, villainous figures also emerge as part of the dark face of this resonance.
  • A connection to human ancestry and particularly bones
  • Themes of heat, ruptures and the harnessing of the natural laws of light
  • ‘Tribal’ styles (body piercings, facial tattoos, Mohican haircuts, etc.)
  • Overcoming obstacles leading to self awareness and spiritual identity
  • The quest for true and genuine self confidence and self determination
  • Needing to fight for something but having to know who you are first
  • Existential pain, the notion that being alive hurts

As far as the March 12th conjunction of Chiron with Jupiter at 14° is concerned it can go two ways – either Jupiter provides some form of remedy to pain or it exacerbates the pain, enlarging it so that attention is drawn to the need for healing. This latter outcome is considerably less likely than the former and usually applies when the need for healing has been denied or blocked for too long. Jupiter can bring in teachings in the form of people or lore and so this is a good time for people involved in learning about the healing arts. The overall interaction between Jupiter and Chiron here makes it easier for us to directly comprehend and experience the truth of holistic healing, the natural laws that govern the interaction between the physical, astral and mental bodies which taken together create the conditions for health or disease. We can see, for example, that when we change our interior emotional state that physical healing takes place, or that when we use affirmations to strengthen the health of our mental body, we feel better as the astral body is affected and eventually get better as the physical body must follow the natural order of things. Experiences like these come to us more readily at these times containing what we need to know about the laws and truths of healing. Since Aries emphasises the will, that may be an important part of this teaching. This conjunction begins to build around February 6th, reaches its peak on March 12th and fades away around April 12th.

As far as Mars is concerned trouble comes in late April (27th) in the form of a square with Mars in Cancer and in late September (24th) in the form of an opposition with Mars in Libra. Chiron troubles with Mars can make healing journeys more difficult. The situation in April starts around the 16th and concludes around May 9th. The square takes place at 17° and is likely to bring something emotionally painful, perhaps through sensitivity or defensiveness. There is increased resistance to transmutation – the thought of suffering, pain or the necessary rite of passage that leads from pain to healing can become overshadowed with aversion. The natural instinct for self preservation takes over and leads to chronic anxiety or lashing out in pain. This can lead to paralysis, an inability to act in the face of extreme hazards and threats, such as when a deer is caught in the headlights of an oncoming truck, or a wilder, more feral reaction. The key to handling it is to stay calm and not over-react to anything that hurts our feelings or bodies. Sometimes we just have to push through pain and this may be one of those times. The September opposition at 18° is more argumentative and inclined to cause disruptions in relationships as we encounter very different people with very different ways of doing things or somehow inflict hurt upon the people we want to help. Relationships can get painful when people want different things, and this is a possibility with this opposition. A key truth that must be learned with this Mars is that power over others will not make us safe or truly secure our goals – the damage this does unravels it. Only by joining our power in cooperation with others can wounds be healed and the splits mended. There is always a sense with Mars oppositions that righteous indignation at injustice must be aggressively confronted and fought, that something must be done to put something right, but this attitude only opens up more wounds. Instead, what must happen here is an acceptance of the pain first and then a willful effort to see the pain the other is in too. The opposition begins to arise around 17th September, peaks at September 24th and fades away around October 1st or 2nd.

The other three interactions are easier for us to handle and help us move forwards in healing journeys. The first is a sextile with Mars in Gemini at 13° (February 11th). It covers the whole of January but really begins to build once Mars turns to direct motion (January 12th) and doesn’t really abate until March 2nd. This aspect is a bridge building and road building energy that enables us to move forward along some kind of path. It stimulates healing through communication and discussion and increases the desire for healing. Next comes a trine with Mars in Leo (June 23rd) at 19°. This energy starts building around during June 12th and lasts until around July 3rd. It’s more powerful than the sextile and increases the healing power of the Fire Element. The ability to command and direct the will in a focused and powerful way is being stimulated and supported with the result that is easier to build up confidence and self-esteem but with a slight danger of going overboard and being egoistic and bombastic, a braggart. The life force or vital energy – the will to live – also gains a powerful healing potential. A second trine, this time at 15° with Mars in Sagittarius, completes the journey of Chiron for the year. This trine starts to build starts to build around December 8th, peaks on December 15th and fades out around December 23rd. Similarly increasing the healing power of the Fire Element, this trine differs in that it is more motivated and optimistic as well as more martial than the Mars in Leo trine. It increases the adventurous spirit, especially the desire to explore nature, and the healing power that comes from the wilderness, in particular from contact with wild animals. It facilitates swift momentum on the healing path and can sharpen the instinctive intuition.

Previously, Chiron was in Aries 1723 – 1732, 1771 – 1780, 1868 – 1878, 1918 – 1927, 1968 – 1977 and its current passing through is 2018 – 2027. This connects it with the Moon landings, the first Ebola outbreak, the death of rock music icons (Joplin, Hendrix, Morrison), the death in exile of Napoleon, the “Lost Generation” following WW1,the flapper era, the punk era, the first television transmissions and face-lifts, the discovery of Antarctica and the moons of Mars and the launch of the Voyager deep space probe, among other things.

We will pause here for now and next month we will continue deeper into the solar system and look at Uranus, Neptune and Pluto in 2023 – see you there!

The Lost System of Hermes

Greetings, and welcome back to Journeys! This month we journey into the past to explore the possibility that an entire tier of astrological knowledge has been lost, one that we can only now observe gradually returning.

“How a person masters his fate is more important than what his fate is.”

– Wilhelm von Humboldt, 18th and 19th century philosopher and linguist

Every practicing astrologer knows many variations of the following problem – your clients chart has Venus in a configuration which suggests emotional trouble and conflict connected to their siblings, or Jupiter strongly placed in the 9th house, indicating growth and spiritual expansion of horizons through faith or exploration of the world. However, the client with the troubled Venus has a brother and a sister and only gets along badly with one of them, or the person with the strong Jupiter has absolutely no interest in faith or travel but is instead a lawyer, yet another signification of the 9th house and Jupiter. There seems to be no mechanism in astrology for delineating which of these outcomes will manifest itself. The modern practice of astrology, with its great emphasis on the worship of free will and human psychology, approaches this problem by emphasising that a chart exists within a context which is provided by the choices we make, tasking the astrologer with ascertaining through consultation how the person is manifesting the archetypal energies. To put this more simply, we assume (correctly), for example, that the way that a dancer manifests their Venus will be different to the way that a banker does and it is not really the astrologers job to guess but to adapt the charts pattern to the life circumstances. The problem remains however – the astrologer is faced with a daunting task in interpreting not just one planet with many possible manifestations but an entire chart full of them (and rapidly overflowing with modern discoveries), and that is just planets – the signs, houses and aspects also manifest with spectacular scope. Even a square between planets can signify either continuous trouble or perpetual energy and stimulation.

This context in which astrology operates is composed of what are sometimes called “co-determining factors”. A good example of a co-determining factor is your biological gender. It is not readable from your birth chart. Nor is your skin colour, the cultural background you are born into (your nationality or race). Clearly these are major factors influencing your life, but astrology or your natal chart doesn’t seem to care, only showing our relationship to archetypes. Other co-determining factors are currently up for debate – sexuality is a big one, disability is another. As modern attitudes towards these topics evolves and changes it is forcing a re-evaluation of basic astrological principles. Whereas, for example, in the past it might have seemed acceptable to assign the hard aspects of Saturn to mobility issues or Uranus with homosexuality and lesbianism, shifts in the collective paradigm now bring such judgments into question. The outdated and historical treatment of homosexuality as a perversion, for example, clearly underlies part of this assignment to the planet Uranus, while the emerging maturity with which we treat the disabled now perceives their situation as a social disability involving lack of access and recognition rather than a physical disability which invites pity, a shift which calls into question the idea that disability by necessity has to be represented by ‘hard’ or ‘bad’ or ‘malefic’ planets and influences. Here, again, we touch upon the same issue – why do only some people manifest such aspects as homosexuality, for example, while others do not?

The ancient world had simpler words for many of these ‘co-determining factors’ – fate. The concept of fate, however, was extremely developed and multivalent, requiring several words to describe the different kinds of fate which existed in a metaphysical model that had many deep roots in hermetics, especially in reference to the planetary spheres, the three realms or planes (four if you include the Divine) and the three bodies which act as the vehicles for their realms. This philosophy of fate is at least as extensive as our modern psychology and defies easy summary, so you will need to do more research in this area as it is beyond the scope of this journey, but I will give some explanation here because it is important for understanding what follows:

Pronoia is Divine will, Divine Providence, the fate of implicit order, of universal principles, and it relates to foresight in the human being. Night follows day, day follows night; spring follows winter and is followed by summer, etc. It is the fate of the nature of things as they are, the fate of a human being differing, say, from that of an acorn seed, or a star. It is universal, hierarchical, orderly, with that which is closer to the Divine being ‘higher’ in this hierarchy and that which is more material being ‘lower’, with the important addition that what is ‘above’ is like that which is ‘below’. Possessing foresight permits us to perceive how fate will play out based on our understanding of the natural order of things. It is a part of being. This is an expression of fate in the mental realm, i.e. of spiritual fate. We can say, for example, that the Pronoia of Venus is that it is connected to love and to feelings. It is part of the essential meaning of Venus. Every human being has a specific set of archetypes, the same signs, planets, potential aspects, etc., which is also an expression of Pronoia.

Heimarmene or ‘incarnation of destiny’ is astrological fate, the fact that each thing is born into a certain set of astrological conditions which shape its experience, and is closest to our modern definition of fate. It can be adapted to, escaped or worked out through effort and spiritual maturation and is a part of becoming. A seed must contend with the cycle of the seasons over many years in order to reach its full potential. This is an expression of astral fate, i.e. the fate of the soul, of things at work within it. Venus gets two signs, Taurus and Libra, which acts as another allotment of fate. Thats the Heimarmene of Venus. Valens tells us ‘the planets are servants of Heimarmene. Your specific astrological chart, with its seeding of the universal archetypes in a specific, personal configuration or mandala is an expression of fate at this level too.

Ananke (necessity) is the fate of inevitability and compulsion, the fact that if you jump off a cliff you will not fly but will fall to the rocks below (unless you are winged like a bird and thus fated to fly by virtue of the nature of your being at the higher order of Pronoia). It is the fate of reality and coercion, of things working upon the soul. It can be manipulated with magic or technology so that what is necessary to happen does not transpire or occurs in a particular way. Ananke is a constraining force that embodies the densest form of fate in the material plane, i.e. allotted fate. It represents the fact that we have to operate in a world where things happen independent of our own actions or designs. It is not under our conscious control and has inevitability attached but it is not necessarily bad for us – hunger, for example, prevents us from starving to death. By Ananke the seed falls on a certain type of ground, as in the parable of the sower, and thus meets with this third order of fate – it is eaten by birds, strangled by thorns, burned by the Sun, or grows into full life as a tree. Ananke manifests in human beings as hindsight – shit happens and we learn from it for later – and in modern astrology as things like transits, synastry and the overall way that happenings and the context provided by those co-determining factors and a persons choices in expressing the archetypes in the chart manifest themselves.

This is a super gross simplification of an elaborate philosophy but it illustrates the essential thinking on fate as having multiple levels and forms of mnifestation, represented by different deifications of fate, not just in the ancient Greek world but in other old mythologies like the three Norse Norns. A thing has the mental fate of being what it is (which it cannot change), the astral fate of contending with becoming what it is (which it is born into but can influence), and the material fate of contending with necessary and constraining events in the world it seems to have no control over and can do nothing or little about but can learn from anyway. In modern astrology we could also say that the third level of fate, Ananke, is connected not just to transits and so on but to the house that Venus falls in and all of her aspects. This makes a lot of sense because the house cusps are determined by the time and place of your birth and are the most personal parts of your astrology, so the ascendant literally allots all the planets and signs a particular power and duty according to where they fall, like scattered seeds. Yet the ancient world had a much more developed system for analysing this level of fate, one that practically disappeared but is now being revived: the Lots.


Like almost all, of astrology we have only the vaguest idea of the origins of the Lots. This fact alone is testament to their antiquity. It’s very unlikely that they were just discovered by noticing things happening in people’s lives and events. Its much more likely the system was received through direct inspiration and/or systematic development with intent by an individual or group. The earliest significant record of them (earlier mentions exist without giving great details) comes from the Tetrabiblos written by Ptolemy in the 2nd century but it is of course well known that he was in the business of cataloging and compiling as well as streamlining, not inventing, and he repeatedly tells us that he is drawing on Egyptian and Chaldean sources for his information. Later writers also tell us the Lots (which became known as Parts) were used extensively by the Egyptians and Babylonians as evidenced in books by them that they were reading but which have not survived down to the present day. It is very unclear whether this is actually true or just a fable from the ancient world. The notion of Lots could have been imported from India, for example.

Regardless of their origin they were an almost universal part of the practice of Hellenistic astrology for many centuries and it seems that they became popular in Arabic practice around the 7th century, leading to the mistaken idea that they were invented at this time and thus being given the alternative name ‘Arabic parts’ by which they are more commonly called today. Use of these Lots continue to be popular after the fall of Rome and throughout the medieval period until the Renaissance in the 15th and 16th centuries (take that in, it’s at least 1500 years of use, much more if you source them in Egypt or India), when astrology as a whole came under attack as a result of the shift in the paradigm towards rationality and reason together with the still powerful influence of the Church and faith. It seems to me that these factors led to the eventual abandonment of the Lots as astrologers (trying to avoid fatal heresy and blasphemy charges) sought to justify their practice and art more scientifically and the Lots lacked a firm basis in astronomy, physics and reason, concerning themselves more with the concept of fate as a metaphysical force. Without power or influence to shield you it became lethally unfashionable to believe in fate, as either the rationalists would humiliate and dismiss you as superstitious and fatalistic or the Church would kill you for trucking with evil spirits. Since that time the Lots have been largely forgotten, the Part of Fortune somehow weathering the purge but remaining a minor factor not used by many astrologers, although knowledge of their use and examples of that use existed in texts that lay untranslated until the late 20th century. Beginning in the early 1990s, a project was begun to translate these texts for modern astrologers and since that time great advances have been made in recovering the knowledge that has been lost. However, we are still unclear about many issues related to their use and there are even controversies about their calculation. This isn’t too surprising when you consider the fact that thousands of years have passed, for many centuries of which the ideas were lost, and even when they were popular and widely used there was still a lot of debate (pun unintended) about them and their origins. The ideas have probably been resurrected and reconstructed more than once, with the Hellenistic astrologers having to do much the same with holes in their understanding and being just as baffled about where they came from as we are. However, thanks to the work of astrologers at Project Hindsight, many of these treasures are now being unearthed and re-examined and have started to find their place in modern astrology.


Remember the problem raised when we began this journey? Planets are literally godlike, world spanning properties, with Venus representing every kind of feeling and emotion, as well as the arts, beauty, women, sugary treats and more specific things like roses, fashion shows and emeralds, to name just a few. Planets represent a huge number of things through the law of analogy, which is a problem when it comes to interpretation.

The ancients used Lots to solve this problem. A Lot is basically a degree somewhere in the zodiac that represents a single topic related to a particular planet. This means that there are literally countless Lots, with some being more archetypal and thus more commonly used. There are Lots connected to each of the houses with their large scope of concepts and to planets with theirs. Thus, the troubled Venus showing sibling dramas can be further delineated by generating the Lot of Brothers and the Lot of Sisters, which will fall in separate places, and a distinction can then be made between them, or the strong Jupiter can be delineated by looking at Lots related to religion, law or travel which, in theory, will then show the Lot of lawyers to be more favorably placed.

A Lot is generated from the position of three different points in the chart. The practice is always the same – the distance between two objects is calculated and this same arc is then projected from the third, which is most often the ascendant. This locates the Lot. The formulae for any Lot can therefore be expressed algebraically:

Lot = A + B – C (where A is nearly always the ascendant while B and C are usually planets or other Lots)

For example:

“If you want to know the market for wine, which is had from the condition of the grapes, take the place of Saturn from the place of Venus and add the degree of the sign of the ascendant to the remainder”

– Guido Bonatti, the most famed court astrologer of the 13th century, adviser of the Holy Roman Emperor

This means the formula for the Lot of wine is Ascendant + Venus – Saturn. To find it, you would add the zodiac degree position of Venus to the zodiacal degree of the ascendant, and then subtract the zodiac degree position of Saturn to arrive at the Lot for wine.

Example: Venus is at 10 ° Taurus, Saturn at 20° Taurus, and the ascendant at 10° Aries. Taurus 10° (Venus) is 40° of the zodiac, and Aries 10° (ascendant) is 10° of the zodiac. First we add these together to get to 50°. Then, we have to deduct the position of Saturn – Taurus 20° is 50° of the zodiac – which puts the score at. The Lot is thus located at 0° of the zodiac, or 0° Aries.

This gets problematic when you end up with a negative number like -50° and then have to add 360 to find the zodiacal position of the Lot, making them a little more mysterious and tricky to work out sometimes. The ancients expressed the Lots geometrically rather than algebraically, as the quote from Bonatti illustrates. Understanding how to find Lots the way they did not only preserves the thinking of the system, it is also easier. The instructions sometimes take the format of saying to start from a certain planet and project or count to another. You always count in zodiacal order, counting from Aries to Taurus, Taurus to Gemini, etc, and always project from the ascendant in zodiacal order, too. So in the quote above Bonatti would be telling us to start from wherever Saturn is (Taurus 20°), go forward in the order of the zodiac signs to wherever Venus is (Taurus 10°), figure out what that distance is (350°), and then add it to the ascendant (Aries 10°), also moving forward in order of zodiac signs. This lands at 360°, which is 0° Aries but by another route.

Ignoring all of this altogether, an easy way to do this in your head is to start from point C in the formula, count the shortest distance to point B, and then move the same amount and in the same direction from the position of point A, which is almost always the ascendant. In the example, point C is Saturn. The shortest distance to Venus (point B) is 10°, and we went backwards in the zodiac. So we just do the same from the ascendant of Aries 10°, move back 10, and we get to the same answer of 0° Aries for the Lot of wine.

Modern technology and software give us an even easier way to visually locate any Lot quickly. We just have to move point C to the ascendant, preserving the relationship between all the objects in the chart, and when we do that the location of point B (which has moved the same distance) will locate the Lot. So when we move Saturn to 10° of Aries in our example, placing it at the ascendant, we will see Venus 10° behind it at 0° Aries, the place of the Lot we are seeking. We can also use software to calculate the Lots for us.


This is a very important aspect of working with Lots to grasp because it enables you to interpret them and also to create your own Lots. The first point in the formula of A + B – C, the A, is usually the ascendant because this is a deeply personal degree determined by the location and exact moment of your birth. It is philosophically and astronomically the place where things first appear or arise and in the formula it projects and personalises the matter at hand, applying it to you, causing it to show itself. It is therefore revelatory and a primary reference point. If another part of the chart is used as point A then the Lot is derivative of that specific point rather than of the chart as a whole. Point C in the formula is the planet of the main or general topic being considered, while point B of the formula, is a specifier, a descriptor and definer of that topic. The formula of the Lot for wine is therefore a topic of Saturn (agriculture, harvesting, the ripeness and condition of things, wine because it matures with age) defined more specifically by a topic of Venus (grapes, wine because it brings pleasure, parties, etc). This understanding will be important later when we look at 7 powerful and commonly used Lots.

A great deal of thought was put into this matter and the many hundreds of agreed upon formulas we have had handed down are far from arbitrary, in fact they reveal a deep subtlety of thought and a sophisticated philosophical position, especially in the early Greek and later Arabic traditions. These were all considered to be astrological operations upon fate, which is why the term Lots, as in a lottery, for there is no telling where the various Lots of your life will fall, and this places the outcome in the hands of Divine Providence like any divination does.


Once a Lot has been determined its position in the chart is evaluated in much the same way as other positions, however the way that astrology operates and the various systems attached to it have changed greatly over the millennia and so the descriptions of how to use the Lots are all based on the more traditional Hellenistic system. This means that they use sign based aspects rather than degree based aspects – a planet in Scorpio is always opposite one in Taurus regardless of degrees, while Virgo is always square Gemini and Sagittarius for example – and many used a whole sign house system which does away with the problem of house cusps – if you have Capricorn rising, Aquarius is the sign of your 2nd house, Pisces your 3rd, Aries your 4th, and so on. In essence the emphasis on degrees is minimised, although certain emphasis did exist such as with the position of the ascendant, exaltation degrees for the planets, actual degrees for the planets, etc. These changes are easy for us to mentally compute and visualise without needing to recalculate a chart.

The system for analysing anything present in the chart is remarkably consistent and is one of the features of Hellenistic astrology we can be confident about. Being concerned much more with fate it is mostly a process aimed at evaluating whether a planet or Lot will be beneficial or malefic towards us, strong or weak, well placed or not. The first step is to look at the sign and to consider how that sign shapes the object, with planets becoming stronger in the signs of their rulership and exhaltation and weaker in the signs of their fall and detriment. Since, unlike planets, Lots do not have these attributions among the signs the process at this point for a Lot is mostly for the astrologer to consider how well the sign expresses the concept of the Lot and to gather clues and hints about what it might contribute, for example a Lot of children in a masculine sign (Fire or Air) would be symbolising boys, with Aries more specifically suggesting boys who are born soldiers. Judgments like these are gathered and layered together at each step to form an answer. Next the house position of the object is considered. In this respect the ancients evaluation operated quite differently to ours with some houses being clearly worse and some better than others. The strongest houses are the 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th places of the chart (angular houses) while the weakest are those which are cadent, the 3rd, 6th, 9th and 12th, with succeedent houses (the 2nd, 5th, 8th and 11th) all having an intermediate power. Houses are also strengthened if they form a major aspect to the ascendant – the 3rd and 11th are sextile the 1st, the 5th and 9th are both trine, while the 4th, 7th and 10th are all square or opposite it. Taken all together, and there was some variation on this, this resulted in an order of power from greatest to least as follows: 1st, 10th, 7th, 4th, 11th, 5th, 9th, 3rd, 2nd, 8th, 6th, 12th. The placement of the Lot would be evaluated according to the strength of the house it fell in, often with more attention than the sign, and the nature of the house would provide further information for the answer. Next, the Lot or planet would be evaluated according to the other planets and Lots in its sign as well as the planets which were in major aspect to it by sign, with the malefic planets Mars and Saturn always harming what they aspect (especially in a hard aspect) and the benefic planets Venus and Jupiter increasing the fortunes of the Lot or planet (especially in a soft aspect). Aspects were seen as testimonies or planets witnessing one another (part of a prevalent judicial paradigm) and more generally as having vision of, seeing one another. A planet or Lot that is not seen at all by Mars or Saturn but is seen by both Jupiter and Venus, especially by trine or sextile, has a lot of good going its way and much less bad. Mercury and the Lights are generally neutral to positive influences that only cause trouble when the aspect is a square or opposition. Conjunctions were a special case, not considered an aspect as such because the planets were not beholding one another, they were more closely bonded in some kind of union like a marriage. Finally, the ruler of the sign that the Lot or planet falls in is evaluated, following exactly the same procedure, starting from its sign position. You get a secondary full layer of interpretative context from this ruler. This was really the main function of the sign the Lot falls in, to identify its planetary ruler, the one responsible for responding to the allotment. This means that, for example, if the Lot falls in one of the signs of Saturn then the person should take a responsible and enduring approach to the Lot, but their ability to do so will rest upon the condition of Saturn in the chart. In other words, the position of the ruler of the Lot or planet modifies both the outcome of how the situation fares (it gets worse or better) as well as how well situated we are to be able to deal with it (which is perhaps why it gets worse or better).

Sometimes the Lot position is also used to generate a new subsidiary chart by considering its sign as a 1st house and reading the natal chart accordingly. This is called turning the chart and was most frequently used with the Lots of Fortune and Spirit, described below. For example, if your natal chart has Leo rising with the Sun in Leo in the 1st house and the Lot of Fortune in Gemini in the 11th, the chart will be turned so that Gemini is instead the rising sign, placing the Sun in Leo in the 3rd house of the Fortune chart. As you can see when this is done the planets of the natal chart end up in new houses relative to the Lot, changing their strength, unless of course the Lot in question happens to fall in the native charts 1st house. The position of the Lot will then be evaluated in both charts according to the same general rules described above, adding even more complexity and nuance to the system.

Many considerations were involved in all of this, including whether a planet was retrograde, in reception, combust, in some form of essential dignity or debility, rises before or ahead of the Sun, whether a planet is in sect or not, etc. Some of these considerations would be familiar to us, others completely unfamiliar. In fact these considerations are so many that they present one of the more cryptic aspects of the entire system as different astrologers noted different considerations at different times. It’s in these considerations that much of the present confusion for us arises, as it did for them, as evidenced by some of the texts where authors remark on the controversies of their time and the missing information they have from ancient sources which for us are now completely lost or hidden in private collections. There was further controversy over some of the technical aspects of astrology such as the calculations for various Lots, as there always are in scholarly matters, and these are worth looking into if you want to go deeper.

An astrologer, then, when faced with a soldier going to war, might first look at the natal chart Mars, perhaps also at Saturn and Jupiter to consider the innate likelihood of defeat, death or victory in the natives chart, these being natural to consider in all matters of war, then might consider the ruler of the 8th (again because that might show death) or the 9th if it is a crusade oveseas, perhaps the ruler of the 1st house if the war is initiated by the soldier or the 7th ruler if they are being invaded, but then finally would also examine the Lots, probably Fortune, Spirit, Courage, Victory, Nemesis and Necessity (described below), as well as any other Lots they considered specific to the war. They might do all this for charts they construct for the nations or the war itself as well as for the soldier. They also had their own sophisticated forecasting techniques added on to this (the equivalent of progressions and transits today). If all indicators pointed in the same direction, the strongest warnings or encouragements would be given. Most often this did not occur of course, and a more nuanced and carefully judged interpretation had to be arrived at. Lives and reputations were often at stake, including the astrologers.


Seven of the Lots have a special place as the Lots of the visible objects in the sky, the Sun, Moon and planets out to Saturn. These Lots are given descriptive names like the Lot of Eros for Venus and the Lot of Courage for Mars. Some of this is a bit cryptic to us now as the use of dead language, several paradigm ending cultural shifts and the perils of translation get in the way. The primary Lots in the entire system are two of these Lots, the ones for the Lights, and the Lots for the luminaries are used to calculate the Lots for the other planets, so must be calculated first. The Lot for the Moon is called the Lot of Fortune (in modern parlance the Part of Fortune) while the Lot for the Sun is called the Lot of Spirit or Daimon. These were the two Lots that were most commonly used to turn a chart as described above.

These Lots are called the Hermetic Lots because according to ancient texts (Paulus and Olympiodorus) we are told that they originate from a book called the ‘Panaretus’ which was written by Hermes Trismegistus. It is possible, in my view likely, that this text or one of its companions, all lost, is the source for the entire system of Lots, a seed that was developed over the many centuries that followed. We may never know.

The fact that there are Lots for the planets raises a question – why do we need them? If the use of other Lots is to treat the vast array of topics given to a planet as individual concerns, what does a Lot for Venus mean that differentiates it from the natal position of Venus? What we are told in answer to this question in the ancient texts (as well as the way history went down as I mentioned earlier) indicates that we are dealing with an entirely separate tier of astrological interpretation, one that deals head on with fate and destiny. That is, the Lots are potentially like the signs, houses, planets and aspects, a fundamental component of the whole, generated at a planetary, astral level but applying themselves to worldly, physical experience, a more concrete level that is closer in nature to the way houses shape things but actually at a more granular and differentiated, i.e. incarnated, level than houses. In fact it could be argued that the Lots are a subset of the house system since they often project from the ascendant, and additionally the placement of a Lot in a house acts to modify the natural significations of that house, adding something potentially foreign to it. For example, your 10th house might contain Lots for captives, soldiers, kings and cucumbers. These don’t necessarily naturally belong to the 10th (kings does) but in your case your lottery draw places them there. You are reputed (10th) as the king of cucumbers who will go to war and be captured! I joke of course, because in reality only Lots of concern to a matter at hand were usually given attention.

In this scheme, then, the position of planets is an astral situation and the planets become more about what we experience of that planets principle being placed within us (its presence in our soul) while its Lot expresses how that planets essential meaning operates upon us, as an allotment of fate in the Akasha (its presence in the world at large), and how well we are equipped to respond to these happenings. The experiential difference is that the planet itself represents our innate inborn connection to that principle, a relationship we can work upon and change, while the Lot is what we experience of that principle in the external world, the way that a planets stuff interacts with us outside of our intention or action. This, to me, is one of the most fascinating revelations of the Lots.


Before looking in detail at each of the seven hermetic Lots we need to address an important curve ball thrown in by the doctrine of astrological sect, the idea that astrology functions differently during the day and night. This was an important consideration throughout the astrology of the ancient world and according to what we are told we must reverse the formulas we are given if a person is born during the night, exchanging B and C. This does not seem to apply to all of the formulas but it does apply to the hermetic Lots and many of the older ones. For example the formula for calculating the Lot of Fortune is given as Ascendant + Moon – Sun. However, if instead you were born at night the formula is changed to Ascendant + Sun – Moon.

The problem with this is that reversing the formulas interchanges the general and main topic with the specific one, as explained earlier in Understanding the Formulas, which obscures our ability to understand what the Lot is actually about and over time occults our ability to perceive the underlying philosophy of the formulas as well as how to formulate our own. This is not the only philosophy underpinning the Lots that helps to explain the formulas, there are others which don’t necessarily contradict one another, revealing the underlying thought behind the system to be extremely sophisticated. Ultimately, lurking in the depths where we cannot go in this article, there is esoteric and magical thinking on the power of number behind the entire system, even behind all of astrology. If you’re interested in exploring this further I recommend you read my journey on harmonic charts.

In any case, when reversing the formula as described, remember that it is the original day formula that identifies the general topic and specific topic, with C being the general and B the specific.


Lot of Fortune (Moon) : In a day chart you measure the distance from the Sun to the Moon and then add that same distance to the degree of the ascendant. By night you measure the distance from the Moon to the Sun and do the same.

Day Formula: Asc. + Moon – Sun
Night Formula: Asc. + Sun – Moon

The general topic is related to the Sun (life, vitality, enthusiasm, spirit, consciousness and being) and the specific topic is the Moon (change, the soul, the astral realm). This Lot is about how being alive and constantly exposed to the ebb and flow of fortune and change in the world around us personally affects and shapes our life story, causing us to act or shine. Interestingly, the ancients connect it to the body (the Moon was taken generally as the body, the Sun as the soul, with spirit or conscious presence being represented somewhat by its Lot rather than the Sun), with the formula neatly expressing the hermetic philosophy of the three bodies, since the formula (as well as Spirit, below) is composed of Sun, Moon and ascendant, the three representatives of the spirit, soul and physical body in the chart, suggesting the Lot is connected to the astral matrix or silver cord which connects the physical and astral bodies and also therefore with the karma of the soul in its earthly incarnation (the cord or matrix is set to naturally expire at a certain time from birth according to the needs of the incarnation). Other significations for this Lot given include possessions, the way we make a living, reputation and how much privilege we enjoy. It is taken as a general indicator of fortune and its positional strength and that of its ruler indicators of how much favour we enjoy generally.

Lot of Spirit or Daimon (Sun): In a day chart you measure the distance from the Moon to the Sun and then add the same distance to the degree of the ascendant. By night you measure the distance from the Sun to the Moon and then add the same distance to the degree of the ascendant.

Day Formula: Asc. + Sun – Moon
Night Formula: Asc. + Moon – Sun

Notice that this is the reverse of the formula for Fortune. This means that both of these Lots will be equal distances from the ascendant but on the other side, like a mirror with the ascendant as the reflector, the midpoint. The general topic is related to the Moon (the soul, astral realm, change) and the specific topic is the Sun (life events, consciousness and being). This is a more spiritual Lot connected to the enlightenment and awakening of spiritual powers within the soul. It characterizes how life will present us with events that are tailored towards our own personal spiritual evolution according to our fate in the Akasha and the needs of the soul. This Lot both awakens and inspires us to take some kind of action and can be interpreted as the fortune we are fated to create through our own actions. It is the nature of the Sun to invigorate and enliven, to bring about action, and so we can interpret this Lot as being about how life events in general happening around us are fated to cause us to take action that results in changes within our soul, adaptation and personal change – to astrally respond to the light. It therefore also connects with the mental matrix or golden/violet cord that binds the astral and mental body together and which naturally expires when the souls return journey is complete. Paulus writes that it signifies the exercise of every power. The world changes according to our actions and this Lot connects with that power.

Lot of Necessity (Mercury): For a day chart you measure from Mercury to the Lot of Fortune and by night you go from the Lot of Fortune to Mercury, and then project the same distance from the degree of the ascendant.

Day Formula: Asc. + Lot of Fortune – Mercury
Night Formula: Asc. + Mercury – Lot of Fortune

The general topic is related to the planet Mercury while the specific focus is the Lot of Fortune. This Lot is about our fortune, fate and karma with Mercury. It is about how interaction in the world with all Mercurial things brings either what we would call fortune or misfortune, trouble and strife or agreement and alignment. In the ancient texts we see this Lot is given many malefic qualities like imprisonment, exile, enmity, poverty, a lack of education, battle and disagreements and in general is delineated as being about restrictive and difficult situations, bringing about the necessity for adaptation and mercurial inventiveness (“Necessity is the Mother of invention.”). The world is bothersome, we get into all kids of trouble, there are countless problems, things we must learn about, controversies, opinions and factors to consider, and overwhelming input like this forces us to make choices and develop our own viewpoints. Knowledge itself is part of this as from the earliest age we must learn number, letters, and all the subjects to study and lessons just multiply from there. The Lot shows the outcome of our pursuit of knowledge, the way our own mental viewpoint can imprison our thinking and how we are fated to experience being affected by all this, all of which expresses the trickster side of Mercury who delights equally in creating problems and solving them.

Lot of Eros (Venus): For a day chart measure the distance from the Lot of Spirit to Venus but by night measure it from Venus to the Lot of Spirit, then project the same distance from the ascendant degree.

Day Formula: Asc. + Venus – Lot of Spirit
Night Formula: Asc. + Lot of Spirit – Venus

The general topic is the Lot of Spirit (things that happen to inspire you to take a course of action and which serve as spiritual instruction or awakening) while the specific topic is Venus (emotions and desires, the Venus sphere), so this Lot is about the outcome of pursuing those things we cant help but set our hearts on firmly, the Venus things in and of the world (really, the universe) which inspire us to take action, to live life and embrace it as a lover by pursuing them. Do we attain them, and is that attainment to our satisfaction? Remember though that Venus is as much about attraction as she is about repulsion. Eros is about how the sensation of being alive in a world where everything else is alive and expressing stimulus towards us goes down according to our destiny or fate, the karma we have with Venus, and about what happens concerning those things we cannot help but desire. It connects with how Cupid’s arrows will strike us unawares or without our intention and the responsiveness we have to artistic muses. The ancient texts say it is connected with appetites and desires that arise by choice and voluntary association or friendship.

Lot of Courage (Mars): Measure from Mars to the Lot of Fortune for a day chart but from the Lot of Fortune to Mars in a night chart and add the same distance to the degree of the ascendant.

Day Formula: Asc. + Lot of Fortune – Mars
Night Formula: Asc. + Mars – Lot of Fortune

Here the general topic is connected to Mars while the specifics are connected to Fortune. This Lot is about those events and happenings in the world which force us to draw upon courage in situations where we would not normally feel courageous in and expresses our souls karma that is connected to our use of power and strength – Mars. Thus it is often connected to calamities and very dire situations such as treachery, plotting and “all kinds of evil doing” in the ancient texts, as well as with boldness and conviction, which seem positive but it is important to understand that these qualities can also be employed toward acts of great cruelty. Esoterically Mars is connected to individuation (it emphasises difference, specialness) and what the Lot expresses is how we are fated to encounter risk, danger, battles and struggles as a result of fortune and how this will shape and define the uniqueness of our individual nature as well as awaken inner strength we did not know we had. This differs from Mars because Mars in our chart represents how we initiate such situations and how we tend to handle them. This Lot is about the battles that seek us out, not the ones we seek.

Lot of Victory (Jupiter): Measure from the Lot of Spirit to Jupiter for a day nativity and for a night chart from Jupiter to the Lot of Spirit and then project this distance from the ascendant.

Day Formula: Asc. + Jupiter – Lot of Spirit
Night Formula: Asc. + Lot of Spirit – Jupiter

The general topic is the Lot of Spirit (spiritual awakening, the impetus to take part in life, self awareness and presence) and the specific topic is Jupiter (spiritual truths and laws, connection to a greater and larger whole, deity), so Victory is about those (positive) happenings which inspire us to have faith and hope and to act upon the spiritual laws which lead to the awakening of the spirit. We are told in the ancient texts that it brings about successful and satisfying conclusions to enterprises, success and all kinds of generosity, winnings and contests and things which inspire us to be hopeful. The Lot is about how we are fated to encounter these situations seemingly at random, seemingly by the spinning of the wheel, as it were, but really arising as an impetus for our own awakening and as a broadening and deepening of our awareness of natural law and spiritual truth. It is in essence not the Jupiter within us but what we are alloted to encounter of the Jupiter principle in the world and how this will lead us to be more active as a positive force in life as an active manifestation of Divine laws.

Lot of Nemesis (Saturn): Find this in a day chart by measuring from Saturn to the Lot of Fortune and in a night chart measure from the Lot of Fortune to Saturn and project the same distance from the degree of the ascendant.

Day Formula: Asc. + Lot of Fortune – Saturn
Night Formula: Asc. + Saturn – Lot of Fortune

The general focus here is Saturn and the specific descriptor is Fortune. This sobering Lot is about how we are seemingly randomly fated to encounter very difficult situations, the most difficult kind, some of us more than others, situations we can do nothing about and must simply be endured and learned from as aspects of our karma and as situations which potentially embroil us in new karma. We each come into this material existence prior to earthly life understanding that the conditions of physical life increase the problems and difficulties that we will have to contend with and this is a feature, not a bug, one that draws us towards earthly incarnation again and again seeking the precious opportunities for growth that it offers our being. The ancients say in the texts that this Lot relates to spirits of the underworld (ghosts, demons, evil spirits like vampires, witches and werewolves too, I think in modern times we would also include malevolent aliens as well) and all things that remain concealed or hidden, which we may say in our modern language means those things we are fated to encounter as a result of the unconscious, but I would say we have to add this to what was said before, not replace it with it. The texts also say that this Lot symbolises the quality of death as well as the degree of sorrow and burdens we will face along the way to that nemesis. The frail, mortal, temporal world is full of sorrows, an endless parade of them, just as it is an endless parade of other things too, and how we are allotted to experience this is expressed in this Lot. Yet instead of death as the nemesis of this lot we could also say that it is time and that the lesson is for us to mature through the ever-changing circumstances of the world, especially through the suffering we witness in the world which can serve to awaken us to more enduring things within us.

As you can hopefully see from this brief exploration the system of Lots was/is very intricate and well thought out and presents the modern mind with some uncomfortable notions that can make working with them difficult but this perception can be overcome if you understand the core principles being communicated. While we are all furnished with the same archetypal forces – a zodiac, a complex solar system, houses and aspects – and we all differ from one another in the specifics of those archetypes and the aspects which arise from a universe constantly in motion, we all also differ according to the way we meet with more or less of certain kinds of experiences as we journey through a world where there are billions of other souls at the same time, leading to so many happenings, and we each have to deal with a different set of experiences as a result. In modern astrology the planets take all of these responsibilities, they signify the principle within us and the principle as we encounter it in the world as well as all of the topics that each planet must represent, but in the ancient word the latter factors – how we encounter the planet while incarnated and the specific individual topics of each planet – seem to have been taken up more specifically by the Lots, as tokens of fate.

As always, I suggest that you learn from direct experience and calculate your own Lots as well as the Lots of other people you know to evaluate their effectiveness, remembering that you would be best served by switching to a whole sign house system and adopting sign based aspects rather than a degree aspect approach, as it seems this is how they were looking at things much of the time. Maybe not, but I am not getting into that controversy here though! So, where are your Lots? Do they reflect your worldly reality? How do my interpretations of the Lots match up with your experience? Have fun exploring!


Project Hindsight:

The Arabic Parts in Astrology, a Lost Key to Prediction (Robert Zoller)
Hellenistic Astrology, the Study of Fate and Fortune (Chris Brennan)