The Zodiacal Microscope

Greetings and welcome back to Journeys! This week I am sharing with you about one of the more useful tools in my practice, a simple but very insightful tool which reveals your personal connection to each zodiac sign in greater detail. If you have Solar Fires software you can generate this information in a report for yourself, while Patrons of this blog can write to me and request one to be sent to them for free. With some time and some work, you can also create this report for yourself. 



Every person or thing has a unique and individual relationship to each of the 12 zodiac signs and all of the planets including the Lights. The work of an astrologer, that is someone who makes a study of astrology whether it is casual or professional, is to understand what that relationship is and where possible how to transform it to empower and uplift the life. The beginning of this work is about becoming familiar with the symbols which astrology uses as its alphabet and vocabulary, the four primary categories of which are usually planets/Lights, signs, houses and aspects. This can take some time and it is often further complicated by some ambiguities in astrology which have been built-in, such as the overlap between the qualities of certain signs and certain planets or houses, or the way in which certain aspects can emphasise the qualities usually attributed to certain signs, houses or planets. This is necessary because as a symbolic language astrology must be able to express meaning through various levels of significance at the same time, and while confusing for a beginner it deepens the richness of the power invested in astrological techniques.

Signs of the zodiac can be particularly difficult to pin down in terms of what kind of qualities they express in our lives. Overall, signs clearly depict general energy patterns or paths which the planets must walk in order to communicate and express themselves to us upon the Earth. The qualities of each sign are very diverse. Taurus can be both patient and stubborn, and Aries can be both angry and bold, for example. Astrologers, often at the initial stages of learning the craft, will focus on the presence of planets in signs as modifiers to the way this plays out, for example a person with a Sun in Aries that has square aspects from Mars and Saturn will definitely tend towards the angry and frustrated side of the Aries Sun sign, while one which has trine’s or sextiles from those planets will tend towards Aries Sun sign courage and determination. Sometimes astrologers will also make a judgement about a sign and its qualities by looking at the dignity of a planet in that sign or the rulership of that sign.

However, there is a different way of using aspects to examine the tendencies within a particular sign of the zodiac and even within a particular house. This method is called the sensitive points listing. To calculate it you find all the major aspects (conjunction, sextile, square, trine and opposition) to all of the planets and the Lights in your chart, And then you merge the entire haul of data and arrange it into zodiacal order for each sign. For example, if your Sun is at Taurus 15°, then it has:

  • two squares at Leo 15° and Aquarius 15°
  • two sextiles at Pisces 15° and Cancer 15°
  • two trines at Virgo 15° and Capricorn 15°, and
  • an opposition at Scorpio 15° as well as a conjunction at Taurus 15°

If the Moon in your chart is then also at Cancer 10°, then it will have:

  • two squares at Aries 10° and Libra 10°
  • two sextiles at Taurus 10° and Virgo 10°
  • two trines at Scorpio 10° and Pisces 10° and
  • an opposition at Capricorn 10° and a conjunction at Cancer 10°

If you repeat this process with every planet including the ascendant and midheaven in your chart and then combine all of that information together and put it in the right order in terms of the order of the zodiac, then you have your sensitive points listing. If you wish, you can add the cusps of the houses according to the house system you use to this final listing. In this way you can see the content of the sign or other house in your chart according to the nature of the aspects that are formed whenever something moves through it. To gemerate this quickly in Solar Fire open up the chart you want to work from and select Reports – Sensitive Points from the menus and drop down boxes on the right of the screen:

sf sensitive points report instructon


The Solar Fire report genertaed does not include house cusps.

Here is an example from real-life using the chart of the United States which I have previously discussed and which also provided some example of sensitive point listings in practical use (there are no houses cusps added in this example, just the ascendant and midheaven, and I added the Part of Fortune at Cancer 24°).


So here you can clearly see the structure of each of the zodiac signs according to the aspects which are triggered at various degree places in each of the signs. Each sign becomes more like a musical progression of some kind with squares and oppositions indicating an increase in tempo and energy (perhaps the drums are playing or the music is more like a battlefield between the instruments – see Capricorn in the USA chart) while sextiles and trines generally indicate a softer and quieter tempo (perhaps these are flutes or violins, or the instruments are talking to one another in a way which is harmonic rather than discordant – Scorpio is a good example of this for the USA, with the exception of Scorpio 27°, but it’s masked by what’s surrounding it). Some signs are filled with squares and oppositions and conjunctions which increase drama, while other signs are filled with trine’s and sextiles and conjunctions which increase reconciliation and unity. The same can be said of the three decanates which divide each of the signs into three distinct parts like the Acts of a play, or of the houses which then illustrates the tempo involved in a particular kind of life experience (relating for the 7th house, for example, or income for the 2nd). The planets which are involved in a particular aspect also obviously influence the quality of that part of the sign. An aspect with Saturn usually indicates the time to pause and not to rush ahead, while one with Mars usually indicates exactly that.

Because aspects have orbs of influence – a range of degrees around them which are also able to transmit the power of the aspect – it’s not just the degrees where the exact aspect occurs which matters but a handful of degrees around them. For practical purposes it’s best to focus on the 3-4 degrees which are before the exact aspect occurs because it’s in this window we often have an opportunity to influence how it will manifest itself in our lives. After the exact aspect occurs is often time to learn from it, because its already happened.

With a sensitive points listing you can basically do away with any need to read your horoscope in a periodical column except for entertainment or education purposes because the sensitive point listing provides you with your completely personal repeating annual horoscope (just use the current zodiac position of the Sun and check it against the sensitive points listing for the aspect, assuming two or three days before the exact day when the Sun forms the aspect as a window of opportunity to influence its manifestation), your completely personal monthly horoscope (just do the same with the zodiac position of the Moon but assume only a few hours before the exact time when the moon forms the aspect as a window of opportunity to influence its manifestation) and even a completely personal hourly horoscope if you wish to, since you can now obtain simple apps that show the position of the ascendant at your location throughout the course of the day. You can also use the sensitive point listing for the slower moving planets like Jupiter and Saturn or Pluto so that you can see the rhythm of the kind of experience you have when those activators are moving through a particular sign, and this can be especially useful in the work of The 26 Keys because you can see what kind of other aspects are surrounding the conjunctions of the keys in your chart and this gives you further information about the nature of the experience that you encounter when there is an activation of that key. For example at the time of writing Pluto is at 18° of Capricorn which means that it is currently approaching a square with the United States natal Chiron position at 20° of Capricorn. This is the next event in the chain of events that Pluto is bringing to the United States at this time and it becomes exact in December. Later, when Pluto reaches its own natal position of Capricorn 27°, which will happen in 2022, it will also be experiencing the effects of Pluto trine the midheaven which occurs at 28° of Capricorn and this shows a quality of looking forward hopefully and expectantly during a time of tribulations and upheavals.

Like the tools provided in The 26 Keys, your sensitive points listing is a tool that grows more effective and powerful the more you observe its operative nature in your life. The more you understand the patterns that the sensitive point listing is describing and how they manifest in your cycles, the more understanding you will gain of those cycles and this understanding translates into the reward of being able to transform your life experiences. 

On a deeper, more meditative and reflective level, the existence and nature of the sensitive point listing prompts us to contemplate the nature of the circle itself, the circle of life and of dynamic cycles of time bound within an eternal loop. In nature, a circle has no beginning nor any end and each point upon its circumference is connected to each other point with minimal energy being invested in a correction of course (there are no sudden corners or angles). Contemplative astrologers will realise that the holistic nature of a circle means that every planet in the chart is in aspect to the entire chart and that the aspects we use in astrology are simply the ones which strongly emerge from amongst all of that unified interaction. The soul of a human being or the soul of a nation is the container or vessel in which infinite variations of the One Self manifest as consciousness. 




Neptune in the Libation

Greetings, and welcome to the first weekly post from Journeys! These weekly posts will look at current topics and miscellaneous things of interest that are on my mind at the time. The first of these is on what is currently going on in the stars of Aquarius and its significance for magic, music and all kinds of inspirational seeking, and some ways to  make use of it in practical life. 

Neptune in the Libation

The image above shows the constellation of Aquarius on Monday September 24th 2018. You can see the large form of Aquarius (The Great One) with Neptune positioned in the areas where the water is conceptually pouring in a stream from the urn. The Moon has just passed through the same stream of water, just as it will do each month. 

Neptune is a very slow moving planet and so it will remain in this area of the sky for many years, and has already been there for some time already. It will remain in this area of the sky until about 2022, when it reaches the early to mid 20° of zodiacal Pisces. 

What this imagery with Neptune communicates is a powerful flow of inspirational energy that can be tapped into to bring a refreshing or awakening force to things. The flow of water from the urn symbolizes the vitalizing and enlivening power of the astral realm as it pours into the physical universe, and Neptune’s presence here causes the flow to increase and to fountain, perhaps to the point where it becomes a kind of madness. It’s said that there is a fine line between genius and madness and this imagery conjures that line as an ever shifting shoreline which we must carefully keep an eye on if we are to play in its waters. Both delusion and dreams come true can be found in the flow.

For works of art the distinction between these two outcomes is somewhat irrelevant as the inspiration that flows from Neptune towards fantasy and Dreamtime is a benefit rather than a snare, but for other situations the ability to discern reality from illusion becomes paramount. This theme is also supported by the zodiacal position of Neptune in the middle of Pisces, a sign renowned for such confusions. However there truly is a potential for dreams to become realities with this omen, in an almost faery tale like manner. 

In magic and in astral transformation the support from Neptune at this time can be captured in acts which connect artists with muses and deep spiritual wellsprings of inspiration and vision, especially within music, visual arts, poetry and mysticism. Fantasy and science fiction dreams are in the air and being poured down so that receptive vessels can receive them. Psychic abilities and dreams open up wider as conduits for insight and talismans can be created to harness the power of Water, Air and all the analogies of Neptune. Given the imagery, this influence is especially useful in the creation of libations, oils, potions and other liquid condensers as well as in encouraging success in alchemical tinctures. This influence also supports connection to the ocean and rivers and waterfalls and all aquatic life and can be directed to clean and heal our physical water.

A reliable and commonly accessible way to access this energy is via the Moon, which acts as a messenger to the Earth from the rest of the solar system. Simply put our Moon is a satellite that transmits cosmic sms messages to the Earth. When She crosses the flow of the urn She collects the libation from Neptune and delivers it to our receptacles.

These receptacles can be the forms we choose to create for them to inhabit – our talismans, works of art, mystical meditations, etc – or the ‘antennae’ we all possess that naturally pick up on astrological influences, the planets in our natal chart. In this case, any planet at about Pisces 14° is in prime position to pick up the transmission, but other places in the zodiac have some ability to collect and transmit the inspiration, in particular Cancer and Scorpio 14°

Waxing Moons are better for magic which builds and which accumulates or brightens. Recently the Sun moved into Virgo which means that as far as this area of the sky is concerned the waning appearance of the Moon concluded and the waxing form of its appearance began. The Moon will meet here with Neptune each month from now and be in a waxing phase but it will be steadily decreasing in light. The flow starts off strongest  with a Full Moon and diminishes gradually before ending with a New Moon. This means the next months are a good time to capture the essence of Neptune.

Look for times when the Moon enters Pisces and is free of the sextile with Saturn in Capricorn, and be wary of after November when Jupiter enters Sagittarius and introduces a square to Pisces. In essence use October and November wisely, as things get less promising after because of this trouble with Jupiter. Try to find a chart where the Moon rises or is on the midheaven. The midheaven is slightly better for magic here because the Sun will also have set. Focus on that time.

You can experiment with your own ways of tuning into this flow of awakening but dreamlike energy from Neptune simply by trying to connect with it when the Moon is around Pisces 14-16° and passes Neptune. These dates (in GMT) are given below.

October 21 2018

November 17 2018

December 14 2018

January 11th 2019

February 7th 2019

Because Neptune will remain here for some years, and because the cycles of the Sun and Moon are regular, the same opportunity of waxing phase Moons appearing in this area of the sky between the time of Sun in Virgo and the time of Sun in Pisces each year remains available. To find good times for tapping into it, look for times where Jupiter or Venus aspect the Moon by a trine or sextile, and put the Moon on the ascendant or midheaven of the moment. Avoid the Moon in square, opposition or conjunction with Mars or Saturn. 


On Conduction

Greetings, and welcome back to Journeys! This month I’m sharing with you a re-written and edited selection of some of the sections on conduction which I had to remove from The 26 Keys for space reasons and a discussion on involving astrological aspects in conduction which was completely removed for clarity reasons. See “Between the Lights” for more on this topic. journey deeper…

Activations of 2017 (part 2)

Warm greetings, and welcome back to part 2 of our look into 2017. This time we look at Chiron, Saturn and Jupiter over the course of the next year.
journey deeper…

Astrology and Health (part 2)

Blessings, and welcome back to Journeys! Today I publish the second part of my message about astrology and health, this time focusing on the potential for applying astrology to the remedying of problems and the strengthening of the bodies. If you enjoy this post and you have not done so already, please consider encouraging further posts by becoming my patron.

Journey deeper…