The relationship to Mother Earth and the natural conditions has been the cornerstone of man's evolution since the beginning of time. This becomes very obvious if we reflect on what has motivated man's actions since the beginning of history. Humans' developmental journey started through an interest in understanding nature's ways and rhythms in order to protect ourselves from its eventual harshness, and gradually shifted towards devising ways of using it for our own benefit and comfort. That shift has resulted in the sense of separation and disunion from Mother Earth that is so common in our Western society.
But at the most basic level, we are nature. We, humans, are part of life on this planet. Eco-psychologists postulate that contact with nature is not just beneficial but necessary for our health and well-being. A number of studies demonstrate that the awareness that arises from getting in touch with nature is highly beneficial to humans as it enhances a positive attitude, a sense of peace, wholeness, joy, and the ability to deal with the challenges we encounter in life. Biophilia is a concept that refers to humans' innate need to affiliate with other forms of life such as plants and animals, meaning that humans have an instinctive desire to be near nature. In fact, we are much more closely connected to it than perhaps we would like to admit. There is an interesting myth related to the strength that Mother Earth can confer. Antaeus was the son of Poseidon and Gaia. He was a giant of tremendous and unbeatable strength as long as he remained in contact with his mother Gaia – Mother Earth. Heracles discovered his secret and, having to fight with him on his way to one of his famous twelve labours, defeated him by lifting him in the air, thus disconnecting him from his natural source of power.
How does all that link with astrology? As you probably know, astrological charts are cast using one particular system of coordinates, and there are three different systems. The charts we use for natal work, forecasting, horary, mundane or electional astrology are based on the Ecliptic coordinates system. We use that system because it plots the planets within the ecliptic – i.e. the zodiac – which has symbolical value to us astrologers, as is represents the mythic journey of the hero towards gaining his or her divine condition. We place the planets on it as we see it from a particular place and time on earth. So, in the ecliptic system, we see the planets 'out there' in the sky, from a particular location and moment 'down here' on earth. Some planets are above our heads in the upper half of the chart, and some can be under our feet in the lower half. The second system is the equatorial system, whose basic parameter is the celestial equator, and which, like the ecliptic system, sees the planets from a moment and place here on earth, using the celestial equator as a frame of reference instead. The celestial equator is still a celestial parameter. In these two systems, the only features directly related to the chart owner's geographical location are the angles.
But there is yet a third system: the Horizon System. Like the first two, this system uses a geographical location and a moment in time, but instead of using a celestial parameter to plot the planets it uses the horizon, a purely terrestrial thing. The local space technique consists of casting astrological charts with the Horizon System. The whole chart is on the person's horizon, all the planets are on it, and the information it provides is used for geodetic purposes. Since the circle where the planets are plotted is the local horizon there are no planets hidden under our feet. We have all the planets around us.
For different reasons, mathematical and cultural, this system has for years been almost totally abandoned by astrologers. The data to calculate these charts were not as easily available as the data for ecliptic charts, and also, as mentioned before, the interest in our connection to Mother Earth gradually decreased as the power of the intellect increased. As a consequence all forms of geodetic knowledge have been abandoned to a certain degree in Western countries, and only in the latest years have these somehow been reborn through the increasing interest in Feng Shui, the Chinese form of geomancy.
The Horizon System is a geomantic practice – Geo = 'earth', mancy = 'usage'. Therefore, geomancy is a discipline that 'uses the earth'. The Horizon System sees the planets on the person's horizon and the cardinal directions. It is the astrological form of geomancy.
The mathematical problem of drawing horizon charts was solved by the Erlewines, founders of Matrix Software, when they included horizontal calculations in their computer programs. Nowadays the professional astrological programs offer this option and can calculate planetary positions in azimuth,1 the measure of the planets' positions on the horizon. The Horizon System gives a flat perspective of our planetary positions, and the horizon chart (the local space chart) can be considered as a magical circle that we have around us all the time and everywhere we go. It is our personal astrological compass. In fact, any azimuth position draws a line that can be plotted on a map across the earth starting from the observer's location and also terminating there. This means that we can draw a map of planetary lines out of the local space chart. These lines are radial and we are placed at the centre of the map, where all the lines converge.
Why use the local space techniques? The natal chart as we know it represents our journey through life, but we often forget that we do this journey here, on earth. This journey implies moving around the area where we live, using the space we live in, or travelling across the planet. Through the local space technique the intangible symbols of the natal chart become tangible because we translate them into horizontal parameters – we bring them to our local space.
The local space chart effectively tells us where in our surroundings we find our planetary energies. The person is placed in the centre of the chart and both the planets and the individual are directly on the plane of the person's horizon. In order to imagine what a local space chart would look like, you can picture yourself in the middle of a large circle in a field with one line that goes from you to each planet's position on that circle. The circle accompanies you wherever you go or move on the planet. It is your local space, your personal astrological compass.
The local space chart is an amazing tool to attune ourselves to our piece of earth, with our surroundings, and it can be a valuable tool when we want to change location or find a good place to spend our holidays.
In order to work with the local space technique we just need a local space chart with the planets calculated in azimuth for our birthplace or our current location – we can use both and I would encourage you to experiment with how these two options work for you. The professional astrological computer programs can do these charts. They look like a circle with the 360 degrees and the planets plotted on it. There are no signs and no houses, just the circle and the planets and each planet has its own direction and a line that connects it to the centre.
Apart from the local space chart, computer programs also generate local space maps that draw your planetary lines across the globe. You just need to be careful not to mix them up with the ACG lines. The ACG lines show you where in the world the planets would be around the Ascendant/Descendant axis (curved lines) or around the MC/IC axis (vertical lines), whilst the local space map tells you the geographical places where you can have an actual experience of each planet.
But the big question is: are the planetary lines there for us to use them consciously, or can we follow them inadvertently even if we have no idea of their existence? Both things are true. Anyone who studies or works with astrology knows well that people express their natal chart independently of whether they know about it or believe it works. So we tend to follow our planetary lines unconsciously, but we can also use them to attune ourselves to our planets and refine their expression. We move around our surroundings when doing our daily routines such as going to work, to university, to the gym, when we bring our children to school, or visit that friend with whom we have a special relationship. There are also some places in the world that fascinate us, or places we have visited where we have had a very particular kind of experience that could be described as 'Martian', or 'Neptunian', or 'Saturnian', etc. It can also happen that some of the important things, opportunities or people in our life come directly from a particular place in the world or have their origins there. And finally, we can even observe how we use the different areas of our house and how we experience them – perhaps we spend more time in a particular room than in others, feel specially well in there, cannot keep a particular area in order, or have taken the trouble to arrange a working space somewhere in the house but then feel we cannot really work there. An exploration of the planetary lines in our surroundings, in the world, and in our house can be surprisingly revealing and can give us the reason behind these situations.
We will see an example of planetary line activity in the chart of Ernesto Guevara, internationally known as Che Guevara. He was a major and controversial figure of the Cuban Revolution whose stylized visage is widely known and has become a countercultural symbol – Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, guerrilla leader, diplomat, and military theorist. I am going to show you just a few examples of how his movements in his surroundings and later on in the world followed the personal compass of his planetary lines. Note: when we use local space maps in the world, a planet line can be considered active up to a distance of 200 miles (320 km) each side.
He was born in Rosario, Argentina, on the 14th June (2) 1928 at 21:30. During his early years his family spent half of the time in Buenos Aires and half of the time in Caraguatay, where his father owned mate plantations. This speaks a lot of his Sun in Gemini (being in two places), and its rulership over the Descendant suggests that he might have experienced that duality through others, not by his self-will. Also, the Sun is conjunct Venus, ruler of the IC and therefore associated with the family and their properties. We can see on the local space map that the Sun's line runs very near Caraguatay. But we could also figure out that with the Uranus line running exactly through Buenos Aires, his experience in that city could have been marked by instability and changes. This was certainly the case, as his family moved house three times in Buenos Aires during his first two years of life. Uranus is his Ascendant co-ruler and it is unaspected in the 2nd house.
On the other side the Uranus line goes to Córdoba. This is where the family moved when Ernesto started to suffer bouts of acute asthma. We can also see that there are a few important lines (Mars, Jupiter, Moon and Chiron) going towards the northwest of Argentina, and indeed, that area exerted a particular pull on him. His famous motorcycle journey went precisely in that direction and his notes during that journey, The Motorcycle Diaries, became a best-seller, adapted into a film with the same title.
But there are more interesting issues around his Mars and Jupiter lines. The Mars line continues travelling to the northwest and goes across Guatemala, where he met his first wife. She was born in Lima, also within active distance from his Mars line (158 miles). Mars trines his Descendant and Neptune in the 7th house. They went to Chiapas for their honeymoon, and his Mars line crosses México exactly in that area. He met Fidel Castro in México and had his first daughter there – Mars sextiles his Sun in the 5th house.
His second wife was from Cuba, as was Fidel Castro, and he is known internationally for his involvement with the Cuban Revolution. He felt at home in Cuba; his personal identification with Castro and the Cuban people and their cause was automatic, and he adopted Castro's social and political ideologies to build his own philosophy.
He was ideologist and major of the Cuban Revolution and was involved in the organisation of the Cuban State, where he held a few different important positions, mainly in the financial area. He was in charge of several international missions in the diplomatic department, and was president of the National Bank and industry minister. His Jupiter line goes through Cuba; it is in Taurus and co-rules the 2nd house.
He also had some interest in exporting Cuban Revolution ideology to other countries, and he offered his knowledge and experience in guerrilla tactics to the ongoing conflict in the Congo during the '60s. This was not a particularly positive experience – full of problems and misunderstandings, resulting in a complete failure. This was his Neptune line, which seems to be more appropriate for artistic, inspirational or spiritual activities rather than for getting involved in a guerrilla war as a way of solving conflicts. Most possibly the failure of that mission was due to trying to use that line for something that was alien to its energy.
Finally, it is interesting to see the lines related to his execution in a camp in Bolivia. The place is on the Moon-Chiron lines, and his Moon is conjunct the IC and 4th house (using quadrant houses), traditionally associated with endings.
Moreover, it seems that the CIA was involved in these events and if we follow the Moon-Chiron lines up to the United States we find them going very near Langley (Virginia) where the CIA has its headquarters.
From a more self-conscious point of view what is most interesting about the local space technique is its invocational element. The word invoke comes from the Latin invocare, which means 'call upon'. Every time we follow a planet line across the world we are invoking that planet's energy, we are calling that archetype to be manifested in our life. But it is very important to take into account that we are not invoking that planet in its neutral, archetypal form, but with the characteristics it has in our natal chart by its cosmic condition (sign, house, aspects, etc.). We are invoking not Venus but our Venus, we are invoking not Saturn but our Saturn, and so on. In other words, moving to our Jupiter line will probably not sort all our problems unless we have developed a balanced and constructive relationship with our Jupiter.
Having made that point, there is another fascinating use of the local space technique: our home and workplace. In fact, these are our nearest bits of local space and we spend the majority of our time there. They are our own small universe and we can also find all our planetary energies around us in there. Since it is relatively easy to make changes at home we can use the invocational effect to work for a better integration and greater balance of our chart through adjusting our home or workplace and its different areas according to the conditions depicted by our natal chart. We can soften the tension of a square, we can make a trine more dynamic, bring focus to or lighten the expression of a particular planet, etc., and we can also make relevant changes and arrangements in our house when we have transits or progressions that shift the emphasis towards a particular area of our chart in order to make the most of that astrological event.
Finding out where our local space lines are at home or at our workplace is very easy. We just need to draw an accurate floor plan of the place, find due north with a compass and draw the cardinal points on the map – it is advisable to take several measurements at different areas in order to ensure that they are not distorted by the presence of strong electronic equipment, either in our place or in our neighbours'. Then we need to find the centre of the plan by drawing the diagonals. We can mark their intersection with a little cross. If the space is not a regular polygon, we need to make it regular by adding the missing bits and find the centre of the regular polygon that is created by doing this. Now we can superpose our local space map onto it and see where our lines go. In relation to the workplace, if your job requires that you move around the whole workplace you can take it all, but if you have your own place, office, practice, etc. within a building or a shared venue then take just the space where you work. If you print your local space chart on a transparency you will be able to put it over any map or plan, and if the size of the compass circle is too small you can always enlarge the planetary lines manually.
The planetary lines are radial and therefore go in both directions from the centre. It seems that both sides have approximately the same power, although it is said that the side where the planet actually is can be stronger. If two planets are within an orb of five degrees in the natal chart the energies of these planets cannot be used separately.
How does this work in practice? The most important principle when doing local space work at home is the principle of the conjunction. We understand the conjunction as the meeting of a line and an object. Your planetary lines as they are at the moment in your house meet different objects which have particular shapes, colours and usages, so they make conjunctions with these objects. They also end up on a wall painted in a particular colour and maybe meet a particular image or painting hanged there.
Astrology is an analogical language and therefore we can associate any object with a planet by its colour, shape or role. For instance, we all know that the colour red is Mars, concave shapes are Lunar, a bouquet of flowers is Venusian and a bookcase is Jupiterian. A proper blend of the planet lines with objects, shapes, colours or usages can help the planets to express their best face. Likewise, an inadequate blend of planet lines and objects can prevent either the planet or the object from functioning properly. When a planet line hits objects that are antagonistic to its nature or we have an object that is on a line that is not favourable to its usage, we have a potential problem.
I can give you some examples of clients with whom I have done local space work. One client had her computer on her Moon-Venus-Neptune line and she had been having problems since she bought it. It crashed often for no apparent reason and was exceptionally slow. It is obvious that computers may not 'feel' particularly comfortable on these lines – the Uranus or Mercury lines seem more appropriate. Since this client did not have any other place in her flat where she could put her computer she put a photo of a gorgeous mountain goat at the top of a rocky mountain on a shelf just over the computer. The intention was to bring a bit of Saturn to put some order into the functioning of her computer. All the problems were solved within one week and her computer is still functioning properly.
Exactly the same happened to another client, who solved the problem by fixing a beautiful photo of the planet Saturn onto his PC. Another example is a client who had a spare room in her flat and used it as a sort of storage room. She used to accumulate all sorts of old and useless things there. The problem was that her Chiron line went through that room and she has Chiron angular in the 10th house. She has indeed a very Chironian profession, as she is a teacher of special education for disabled children, and her career was not really progressing as she would have wished it to. She cleared the room, threw away what was no longer useful and put a big bookcase with books and materials she used when she was at university and related to her profession. Thus she was blending the energy of Jupiter with the planet representative of her career, and things started to flow and progress for her.
Finally, the planetary lines also work in our neighbourhood, town or city, and the line we travel most frequently is important since it represents a planet which we are in contact with regularly. The 'conjunction effect' is applicable here as well. For example, if you follow your Saturn line when you go to work and you do not have a particularly harmonious relationship with your Saturn, you may have a tough experience at work, but you can also take that as an opportunity to learn about your relationship with that archetype and maybe improve it. And if you go to work following the line of a planet which you experience as a positive energy in your life, your experience at work can be positive. If you use the local space map in your town you should take the place you live as the centre, and if you use it on another town or city, take the official city centre to be the centre of the map independently of whether that point is the geographic centre of that city.
The local space technique is a huge and multilayered subject and there is much more in it than what could be said in this article, but I hope I have managed to give you a general idea of what it is and how it can be used. We can really do magic if we get ourselves attuned to our charts through using this incredible form of geomancy in the different facets and areas of our life.
1 Azimuth measures the distance of an object along the horizon, in degrees, minutes and seconds of arc from the north point of the horizon.
2 Some astrologers prefer to use a different date for Che Guevara. This article uses the accepted birth date of 14th June as given in the official biographies.
Steve Cozzi, Planets in Locality: Exploring Local Space Astrology, Llewellyn Publications 1988.
Martin Davis, Astrolocality Astrology, a guide to what it is and how to use it, The Wessex Astrologer 1999.
Glòria Roca, DFAstrolS, started to study astrology formally in 1991 with the Faculty of Astrological Studies. She also studied esoteric astrology with Alan Oken, and Hermetic Symbology at the Centre d'Estudis de Simbologia in Barcelona. Since she obtained her Faculty Diploma in 2002 she has worked as a teacher, consultant astrologer and Faculty tutor. Glòria is the Faculty's Head of Examinations and combines this with her astrological consultation practice, astro-feng shui and research into her main fields of interest: psychological astrology and local space techniques. She founded an astrological school, Aula Astrològica de Catalunya, in Barcelona in 2012. Glòria can be reached via her websites www.astro.cat and www.aula-astrologica.cat or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
First published in: The Astrological Journal, May/June 2014
© The Astrological Association of Great Britain 2014
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The first book available in English by the great French master astrologer Andre Barbault. The Value of Astrology offers incisive, captivating insights into the origins, classical tradition and modern uses of astrology.
26-May-2018, 18:35 UT/GMT
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