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. 




Elemental Connections

My second message this month is in response to a question about the Elements and the various effects they have when they are strong or weak in a chart.

journey deeper…

An Introduction to Collective Astrology

Currently I am in the process of publishing a lot of words about generational or collective astrology and its impacts. Collective astrology is a phrase I use to describe astrological factors that affect everyone born in a period of a year or more, so if there is something happening up there that is slow enough to be in the chart of everyone born in a single 12 month period, I am calling it a generational or collective effect. From this point of view, then, a generation is a very elastic concept, as it can encompass any unit of time greater than a year. With an astrological model we can talk about different sizes of generations of people being connected to different planets and signs, and that’s what this message is about. 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…

Astrology and Health (part 1)

Blessings, and welcome back to Journeys! Today I will put forward an approach for evaluating potential health problems from studying the birth chart and then treating them. It is a method that has taken me over two decades of practice and experimentation to evolve, and has been applied successfully in the lives of many of my friends and clients, but mostly myself. Due to the lengthy nature of this discussion it will be split into two parts, the first part on diagnosis is below and the next part on remedies will be published next month. Both articles are written with somewhat experienced astrologers in mind from the practical point of view, but anyone with an interest in astrology can draw something from them. You should be confident in reading the character nature of a chart and somewhat confident in handling transits and progressions/directions before you tackle this subject in anything other than a theoretical way. Journey deeper…

The Red Planet

Today I bring you an article on Mars written when he made a close approach to Earth in 2003 . I had just spent some time watching him from a Berlin rooftop.It was a memorable evening. There is still plenty more to say about Mars that I could not include in Th 26 Keys, so expect that here sometime. The date on this article was August 22nd and the time I finished writing was 23:56. Enjoy! Journey deeper…