Sunday, 31 January 2010

Solar arc directions and midpoints

It seems impossible to use all predictive methods while reading a chart, even all the widely used ones. At some point, you have to make a choice. It's not an easy one, because every astrologer swears by the method they use and treats it like gospel. At the same time, however, the most common advice they usually give in their books is "use the one that works for you". The same as house systems. I've never heard more useless advice. All this says is that we haven't tested anything, so we cling to our methods and try to find something in the chart, no matter how trivial, to explain every event in the life of a client.
I'm not placing any blame on other astrologers, since I, too, haven't done any extensive research and I know how boring research can be. Consequently, I've based my choice on whether or not I like the concept behind each method. For this reason alone (which means I can be completely wrong), I've more or less excluded solar arcs and midpoints from my readings.
I don't like solar arcs, because, unlike secondary progressions, they are not "real" charts. They do not exist in the heavens. A secondary progressed chart for your 20th year, for example, is the natal chart of a person born 20 days later. It is real, it is based on the actual movement of all planets at their own particular pace. Which means, that the aspects you have in the natal chart can change in the progressed one, which, in my opinion gives it more subtlety. A square can become a trine or vice versa. Not so in solar arcs, because all planets are moved at the same pace, that of the Sun, so the aspects remain the same. You will never have a progressed New Moon or Full Moon in the solar arc chart, quite important moments in your life, because the distance between the Sun and the Moon always remains the same. I have a look at the solar arc chart, only to check if a progressed planet has reached a natal angle. Nothing more. Of course, one can argue that the solar arc progressed planets form aspects to the natal ones and these may be important. Again, not real ones. It is for the same reason that from the traditional predictive methods, I prefer primary directions to profections or firdaria.
What I find extremely funny about midpoints is that it is a method used by modern astrologers, who hate traditional astrology, even though the concept of midpoints is entirely traditional in its origin. The logic behind it is more or less the same as that of Arabic Parts. You take two planets that, when combined, produce a specific result. What I also find interesting is that the Mars/Saturn midpoint very often equals death. Why so? Haven't we cleared the name of these two planets? Aren't they considered "good" nowadays? So, it seems that the ancients were right after all in calling them "malefics". What is also very funny is that modern astrologers hate to mention death or illness when it comes to the 8th and 6th houses and they use words like transformation and service. But when it comes to midpoints, they have no problem whatsoever in pronouncing death.
What I personally don't like about Arabic Parts and midpoints is that we use the same two planets in every chart and say that they indicate the same thing. Yes, all planets have some natural rulerships (again very traditional in concept), but I don't feel comfortable with that and I prefer to also check the houses they rule. What if Mars is the ruler of my Ascendant and Saturn the ruler of my Midheaven? Why would the midpoint of these two planets in my case indicate death? Furthermore, shouldn't we evaluate the two planets? Is it the same when Mars is in Aries or when it is in Cancer? In Arabic Parts at least, we usually check the condition of the ruler of the Arabic Part, but not so in midpoints.
I must stress again that these are my personal views, which may change in the future. Learning astrology is a lifelong process and we've witnessed many top astrologers take a radical turn in their beliefs. Moreover, since I'm not a specialist in either of the two methods, feel free to comment on what I have written and who knows, I may have a change of heart. I have done so in the past, more than once. I strongly believe that in astrology we must never speak ex cathedra, like the Pope, but instead always keep saying: "I can be wrong".

Sunday, 24 January 2010

The importance of the natal chart

Imagine being a Leo with a Sagittarius ascendant and Jupiter also in Leo. Let's say you are interested in astrology and at the end of 2006 you decide to read various predictions about the following year. You will read the predictions for your sun sign which, naturally, will be great, as Jupiter, the great benefic, will trine your Sun. Suppose you have some basic knowledge of astrology and know that you have to read the prediction for your ascendant sign as well, to get a more accurate picture of the year ahead. Things are even better there. Jupiter will enter Sagittarius, the sign it rules, your ascendant sign, and all in all a great year is promised with lots of opportunities for expansion, happiness etc. However, it turns out that this is the year you are going to die.
I'm not trying to launch an attack on sun sign predictions. A lot of astrologers are doing a wonderful job at it, with predictions that go beyond generalities like "this is a good time for love" or "beware of accidents". However, they should also stress that if you want to get a more or less reliable prediction, you must ask for a natal chart reading and share personal information with the astrologer.
This is the chart I'm talking about. It's the chart of James Alenson who got stabbed at school when he was 15 years old.

Jupiter in this chart is the chart ruler of course, which makes it perhaps the most important planet and it is located in the 8th house. You can make an argument that this is a 9th house Jupiter, because not only does it trine the ascendant, but it's 5 degrees away from the 9th house cusp, so it becomes much less dangerous. It doesn't really matter. You also notice that James has an 8th house Sun, so his mission in life is an 8th house matter. Again, nothing to worry extremely about, as lots of people share this placement and the Sun is strong by sign. You also notice however, that the Moon's last aspect, and still in orb, was an opposition to Jupiter, the Moon being the 8th house ruler and in the 3rd house, the house of school.
James Alenson was killed on the 19th of January, 2007. At the time, his progressed Sun was exactly conjunct his natal Jupiter (himself) and transiting Jupiter in Sagittarius was exactly on his Ascendant. The Saturn/Neptune opposition was also transiting natal Jupiter. This is too much Jupiter and even more so, considering we are talking about the chart ruler. His solar return chart for that year had a Leo ascendant, loosely conjunct natal Jupiter, with the Sun in the 12th house conjunct Saturn and square Jupiter, the SR 8th house ruler. His lunar return for the month of his death had a Cancer ascendant with the Moon in the 8th house, opposite Saturn, the Moon being the natal 8th house ruler and Saturn the LR 8th house ruler. Not a very good month and not a very good year, which of course we wouldn't have known had we relied exclusively on transits.
It's easy to be wise in retrospect, which means that it's very difficult to make an accurate prediction even when you have all the information at your disposal. So, whenever you come across sun sign predictions (mine included), you must keep in mind that they are only basic guidelines which can go horribly wrong, if your natal chart says otherwise.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Jupiter in Pisces - sign predictions

Jupiter is the Great Benefic and all of us are looking forward to its transits and progressions. Naturally Jupiter, like every other planet can behave well, very well or badly even. Its favourite signs are Sagittarius, Pisces and Cancer and the signs in which he feels terribly uncomfortable, are Gemini, Virgo and Capricorn.
Which tells us, first of all, that the jupiterian principle is antithetical to the mercurial one. Mercury represents empirical knowledge, the knowledge that can be tested and is formed through trial and error. Jupiter, on the other hand, represents intuitive knowledge that comes from within. It's the kind of knowledge, for example, like when you read a book and even though it's just a theory of a certain author, suddenly you feel it, you know it's true, you don't care if it's proven or not. Which means that Gemini and Virgo have a problem with that and this may be a bizarre transit for you, regardless of what you might read in predictions elsewhere. Depending on which natal house is affected, you may, for example, fall in love with a person that you would normally find unsuitable or find a job that satisfies you but doesn't offer any assurance or stability. This may be a time for expansion of consciousness, but this expansion in your case is going to come from a source that you are not used to. It can be quite beneficial in the long run, but only if you can succumb, albeit temporarily, to Jupiter's charms.
Leo, Aquarius, Aries and Libra are signs that are inconjunct to Pisces, so your Sun at least, is not affected by this transit. You should check your natal chart and find which planets will be form strong aspects with this Jupiter and which house Jupiter will be transiting this year.
Pisces is by far the sign that will benefit the most from this transit. Jupiter is their ruler and now it's coming home. If your Sun is angular, you also have natal Jupiter in Pisces and you are born around 28/02, then this could be a year to remember in the area(s) affected. The third decanate of Pisces, especially those born on the last days of the sign, will receive three Jupiter transits, but the downside is that you still have Uranus there and Saturn is going to return for a brief amount of time to Virgo, around the same time as your first Jupiter transit. First of all, this means that Jupiter will intensify Uranus and Uranus is not a planet that can easily be discarded. At the time of the Jupiter/Saturn opposition, try to keep your head on your shoulders and don't surrender completely to Jupiter.
What Jupiter usually brings about is hunger. Suddenly, you want to do stuff. Things that were on your mind but you thought you could never accomplish or you simply didn't feel that it was the right time, you can now develop the necessary optimism and courage. All of a sudden, you want more, what you already have is not enough. That's why Jupiter suits the water signs, because they are eternally hungry, literally and metaphorically. Cancer, therefore, is a sign that absolutely loves Jupiter. This is a very good transit for them, especially for the third decanate. The second decanate will have a Saturn transit from the autumn onwards, so keep in mind that your luck may run out at the end of the year, if you are not careful. The first decanate is already going through the Saturn/Pluto square and they would have preferred to have this wonderful Jupiter transit at another time. However, this transit can give them hope that whatever difficulties you are experiencing at the moment will go away eventually.
Scorpio may be a water sign. but find it difficult to open up, as it doesn't trust people that much. Which means that Jupiter will have a lot of work to do in order to make them relax. Should it succeed, this can be a very fruitful year for Scorpios and Scorpio Ascendants.
Sagittarius is a sign ruled by Jupiter, so they always follow the jupiterian principle, no matter what kind of aspect it forms with their Sun, so this transit is not going to be a problem for them. Again, the third decanate needs to be extra careful with the Saturn and Uranus transits. Taurus and Capricorn are going to receive a sextile from Jupiter, which is fine. Taurus, being a Venus-ruled sign is very much motivated by pleasure and Jupiter doesn't have a problem with that. For Capricorns, this could be an even better Jupiter transit than in 2008, when Jupiter was transiting their sign, because Jupiter suffocates in Capricorn and cannot show its true face.

Friday, 8 January 2010

The Sun/Pluto aspect - James Cameron case study

Now that Avatar is breaking all box office records around the world, let's have a look at James Cameron's chart. We don't have a birth time, so I'm not going to do a detailed analysis, but I'll focus on the very tight Sun/Pluto conjunction in Leo instead. I've said a few things about this aspect and Pluto in general in older posts, so let's see if it applies to James Cameron as well.
Some key words for Pluto: Fear of extinction, psychological transformation, survival skills, emotional intensity, death, life's cruelty and loss of innocence, the law of natural selection, paranoia. All these themes are present in Cameron's work. In the two Terminators we had Judgement Day of course and the end of the world unless we do something about it. We witnessed the complete transformation of Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) from the sweet, innocent girl of the first film to the female warrior of the second film. She had to develop survival skills due to the cruelty of her life's circumstances. In The Abyss (his best film to date, IMO) we have a benign alien species living at the bottom of the ocean threatening us however with extinction, because of our lack of respect for nature. The Titanic was of course about death, about how arrogance kills and an intense love affair. In the Avatar, his weakest film unfortunately, many of the above themes return. Respect for nature, extinction and we also have death and rebirth from one species to another.
He also seems to be very difficult to work with. Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (The Abyss) vowed never to work with him again and Kate Winslet (Titanic) said more or less the same thing. When you live in fear that everything can be lost at any moment, you can never relax and people around you can't handle your seemingly paranoid behaviour. They just can't keep up with the constant intensity and how Pluto seems to make a life or death situation out of every little problem.