Aspects and aspect patterns
Before we look at the aspect patterns, it is worth looking through the aspect grid to see if there are any planets which make significant aspects to the angles, or which are unaspected or otherwise rather alone and unsupported by the rest of the chart. Can you identify any?
Audience: Mercury only has one aspect - a sesqui-quadrate to Saturn. That's all it does.
Audience: Venus is completely unaspected, apart from a trine to the Ascendant.
Audience: The Moon is trine the MC.
Audience: Uranus is only conjunct Pluto and opposite Chiron. It doesn't make any personal aspects, apart from being on the Descendant and opposite the Ascendant.
Audience: The same is true of Pluto, although it does square the MC.
Clare: Let's extract some general themes from these observations. Mercury is fairly isolated, so that makes it very important for Kate to find her voice. The sesqui-quadrate to Saturn indicates that she has a structured and disciplined mind, and may not feel particularly confident about speaking up, until she has considered her ideas carefully. The only outlet for Venus in Scorpio is through the Ascendant in Pisces, so there is a quiet, sensitive, and rather magnetic and attractive quality about the way Kate engages with the world.
Audience: Yes, I think that is certainly true from what we can see.
Clare: The Moon in Leo trine MC in Sagittarius indicates that she finds it easy to project her personality in the public arena and in her work. Public attention is food for her, and this might explain why she has offered her chart for us to discuss.
Kate: You may be right. I am really enjoying this opportunity to focus on me!
Clare: There are no personal planets associated with Uranus, which means that Uranus cannot really be incorporated or brought under ego control, or taken down in voltage. She is likely to experience Uranus as a particularly autonomous and possibly disruptive force, appearing to come from nowhere, without warning. This can feel quite shocking. Pluto squaring the MC/IC axis indicates that Kate is likely to find herself confronted by several radical changes of direction in both her public and private life. Now we need to see if we can find some aspect patterns, because they will contain important stories. What can you find?
Audience: Jupiter makes two quincunxes to Neptune and Pluto, so that is a yod.
Audience: There is a fixed T-square, with the Moon opposite Saturn and both square Neptune-Mars. There is also a cardinal grand cross, with the Sun-Jupiter opposition square the nodal axis.
Audience: There is a grand trine in water between Chiron, north Node and the Mars-Neptune conjunction.
Audience: Actually, there is a kite, because there are sextiles from this grand trine to Uranus and Pluto in Virgo.
Clare: There are lots of really nice aspect patterns here, with four major shapes emerging. Let's have a look at these separately, to see what they might mean.
With this yod, our attention is drawn once again to Jupiter, which I have just noticed is not only the chart ruler, but also rules the MC. This indicates that significant events are likely to occur in Kate's life that will focus on, and revolve around, her strong sense of self-belief and self-agency. In fact, it is not so unusual to have a yod that involves the Neptune-Pluto sextile, since this is a collective aspect which almost all of us will have in our charts, given that Neptune and Pluto move so slowly. But with Jupiter as the focus of this yod, we could imagine that Kate will give some kind of individual expression to the collective background into which she has been born. On a personal level, with Pluto in the 7th house and Neptune in the 8th, Jupiter will give her the strength and determination to survive the intense and possibly overwhelming issues which arise for her in relationships. The theme once again is the self and the other.
Audience: We can also bring in Mars and Uranus as well, can't we? Mars is conjunct Neptune, and Uranus is conjunct Pluto.
Clare: Yes, that's right, and there is an element of the freedom fighter around Mars and Uranus. This makes the Neptune-Pluto sextile rather more dynamic and active, and supports the self-belief of Jupiter.
You can see that both the grand trine in water and the kite are collective in their nature, and will be found in the charts of everyone born around this time in 1963, because there are no personal planets involved. However, we can explore how this generational pattern functions in Kate's own life by concentrating on the houses that are involved. Let's tease out the trine first, before adding the Uranus-Pluto conjunction. What kind of story does a Node-Chiron-Neptune trine suggest?
Audience: Is this about healing?
Audience: I would imagine that this is extremely sensitive and rather vulnerable, too. Neptune-Chiron is about devoting yourself to others, and with the Node there, it could indicate that this is your function and destiny.
Clare: What do you think Chiron in Pisces in the 1st house is about?
Audience: Perhaps a wounded sense of self. Some kind of identification with the wound or with healing. Longing to merge and to belong, but always feeling like an outsider.
Clare: The Pisces Ascendant is very exposed, because it has no personal boundaries. It is extremely sensitive and prone to absorbing the feelings and emotional states of others.
Audience: And the Node in Cancer in the 5th house, ruled by the Moon, indicates that Kate needs to care for herself, to learn to put herself first - although, with the Mars-Neptune conjunction in the 8th house, she will always be very sensitive to the needs of others.
Kate: I am certainly interested in the expression of subtle energies, including dowsing, energy healing, and shamanism. After a lifetime of being what others have labelled 'oversensitive', I am now comfortable with the idea that I just pick up energetic and emotional stuff from other people when I'm with them, and I need to find a way to work positively with this. One option is training to become an energy healer or shiatsu practitioner, but I'm held back by my fear of being overwhelmed by other people's energies. Energy-wise, I like to keep myself to myself. I'm interested in the Buddhist world-view and philosophy. It matters a lot to me to be able to fit work into my natural rhythms, as my energy level varies a lot - I can be buzzing one day and completely lethargic the next. And there are times when I just need to escape from all pressure, and I need to go with my own internal flow at those times.
Clare: This is a perfect expression of the Pisces Ascendant and Chiron in Pisces in the 1st house. Now let's put the Uranus-Pluto onto that and make it into a kite. What effect does this have on the grand trine? The emotional reservoir of the grand trine in water is channelled into earth, into Virgo. In this particular case, the connection to the earth function is quite disruptive, and will be constellated through Kate's relationships which, however difficult and personally painful, may well provide the kinds of experiences which eventually compel her to undergo a powerful transformation of her relationship to herself and to her body (Chiron in Pisces in the 1st house). Working with subtle energies in healing work sounds very appropriate and could certainly describe your Chiron path.
Turning to the fixed T-square, what are the themes around a Moon-Saturn connection?
Audience: A lonely childhood, and perhaps a lack of nurturing?
Audience: A feeling of being denied what we need?
Audience: A strict family background?
Clare: We are beginning to think along certain lines, which have to do with the Moon and Saturn. This opposition is on the axis of service, because it is across the 6th and 12th houses, so it is about the development of personal will and the surrender of personal will. Let's see if we can think of a story that might make this T-square easier to understand. T-squares often lend themselves to stories in which there are three characters, each of which has a part to play. The Moon in Leo, for example, might describe a princess or a queen. There is a need to be special, a sense of deserving praise and recognition for her talents and skills (6th house). With Saturn in the 12th house, we might imagine that this specialness is somehow hidden away, out of sight. This is almost like the fairy story image of the princess in the tower - of being particularly special and deserving of love and praise, but being trapped, imprisoned, and locked away in isolation. And Mars-Neptune might describe the masculine as rescuer and redeemer - so we might have a fantasy image around the masculine that might take the shape of a knight in shining armour.
Audience: This sounds like the fairy story about Rapunzel, who was trapped in a tower, waiting to be rescued.
Clare: Yes, that is a beautiful image, and probably very telling, too, since the Mars-Neptune conjunction is in the 8th house.
Audience: But Kate is also quite self-sufficient, so she could be the rescuer as well.
Clare: That's right, and it is likely that she will play all the characters in this fairy story at different times. There seems to be quite a bit of trapped or frozen anger caught up in this T-square, since it includes a Mars-Saturn square, which makes it difficult to act, as well as a Mars-Moon square, which can be very sensitive and defensive. In addition, the Moon-Neptune involvement is appropriate to the theme of romantic longing, sacrifice, and dreams of being rescued. This is a powerful configuration. It is also potentially gifted and talented, and the T-square will provide Kate with both the resistance and the determination to give shape and form to her talents.
Cardinal grand cross
Let's have a look at the cardinal grand cross, composed of the Jupiter-Sun opposition square to the nodal axis. We know that this is a dynamic, determined and self-contained aspect pattern. The Jupiter-Sun opposition emphasises the major relationship theme of self-other in this chart, being across the 1st and 7th houses and in the self-other signs of Aries and Libra. With the Sun in Libra in the 7th house, Kate will seek to find peace, harmony, balance and personal fulfilment through her partner. Jupiter in Aries will give Kate the energy and determination to stand up for herself if she finds that her relationship is out of balance in any way, or unjust, or if the balance of power is unequal. However, Mars and Venus, which rule Jupiter and the Sun, are both in Scorpio, so it is not quite as simple as that, and deep emotional struggles are likely to emerge in relationships, which will take her into her the emotional depths and bring any hidden issues to the surface. This is particularly uncomfortable for a Libran Sun, and Kate has Mercury in Libra as well, which is very rational and fair-minded. So she finds it particularly distasteful to find herself having to do battle with the dark and archaic and irrational forces of Scorpio which emerge in her relationships, although these are likely to be the agents of her own personal transformation and eventual empowerment.
Kate: I was twelve or thirteen when my parents separated and divorced and, over time, I have come to realise that this had a huge effect on me. When I eventually separated from my husband in 1988, many powerful feelings emerged which had been deeply buried until then.
Clare: In Cancer/Capricorn, the message of the nodal axis concerns the collective challenge to find a conscious relationship between neediness and dependency versus self-sufficiency and personal responsibility - between the child and the parent. And once again, this takes us to the Moon Saturn opposition, since the Moon and Saturn are the rulers of the Nodes. For Kate, this axis falls across her 5th and 11th houses, so we could say that it is Kate's destiny to discover and believe in her unique creative talents, and to offer them to the world in some way. With the Sun square the nodal axis, her unique purpose is to learn to believe in herself, and to develop her particular artistic talents - a theme which is supported by the Moon in Leo in the 6th house. With Jupiter square the nodal axis, we could say that, in spite of all the difficulties indicated in other parts of this chart, Kate may have a sense of being protected by the gods, since Jupiter often functions as a kind of personal guardian angel when it picks up the nodal axis. There is a strong sense of purpose and destiny in this cardinal grand cross.
We have now completed the general overview of the chart, and several important major themes have emerged. If we are preparing an interpretation for a client, the next stage would be to move on to an analysis of the specific details, which I have outlined in the Guide to Chart Interpretation. We might, for example, start focusing on the parental story, by examining the 10th and 4th houses and their rulers, Jupiter and Mercury, and at the detailed interpretation of the Sun and Moon, the parental significators. And a major focus when we are preparing a chart will be on the current transits, progressions, and so on, which tell us which parts of the chart are being activated at the moment, and therefore why the client is coming to see us. That is what we will be looking at next term. Do you get the sense that we have understood you?
Kate: You have certainly pulled together all the major themes in the chart in an insightful way, and yes, it has all been helpful - on all sorts of different levels.
Clare: Do you feel accurately reflected and mirrored?
Kate: I feel that you have reflected and mirrored my potential, but I feel that the actual reality is not like that yet. I am still in my midlife crisis, and feeling very restless and unsettled. Three years ago I let my house in London and went to live in Cambridge. Since then I have moved house nine times.
Clare: That must have been very difficult for you, because you are quite fixed by nature and, because of the lack of earth, you need to feel safe and secure. It seems as if your mutable angles have been particularly active during the last three years, and this is in fact supported by major transits to your angles.
Kate: I don't do so much on the creative side. I see myself more as a crusader, because I am a charity fundraiser at the moment and I actually go door to door to raise money. That is something I love.
Clare: So you use your courage and crusading energy in the service of and for the benefit of others?
Kate: That's right, and it is important for me that the training and ethos of the company I work for is very ethical, and that everything is done with the right attitude.
Clare: Presumably it is important for you to do something you believe in, with Jupiter ruling both your chart and the MC.
Kate: I certainly think I am moving in that direction now. I used to work in very safe, structured jobs, but I am now finding I can only work in more fluid jobs. There has been a gradual progression from trying and failing to fit myself into structured jobs, to freer work where I can be myself more, and follow my spontaneous inclinations.
Clare: Do you feel that you are beginning to develop more self-confidence?
Kate: That's a really big one. The fixed T-square is quite a difficult pattern, so it is a rather slow process.
Clare: What about the theme of self and other - do you feel that dichotomy?
Kate: Absolutely. Basically, I seem to have a pattern of being taken over by the feelings and moods of others, and by their drive and energy, and then I have to fight to become myself again, and I sometimes think I am too strong.
Clare: So you have had to get quite tough and learn how to fight for yourself?
Kate: Yes. I really feel that.
Clare: And now you know that you have the courage and determination to stand up for yourself when necessary.
Kate: Yes, but it feels like there are two very separate parts of me - the Saturn-Moon T-square part and the Jupiter part, and they can each come out at different times.
Clare: What sort of charities do you fundraise for?
Kate: Overseas development charities.
Clare: That's perfect, with your Jupiter ruler and Sagittarius on the MC. Is that something you are passionate about?
Kate: Yes, particularly the one I am working for at the moment, which is raising money for community projects abroad.
Clare: This is an absolutely beautiful expression of your cardinal grand cross, and of the nodal axis, which is both concerned with your personal contribution to community work. Do you feel you have a special gift for this?
Kate: No, but it is something I just think I can do naturally. There is a kind of conflict. My personal interests are more creative - I sing in a harmony group, and we do concerts and that kind of thing, so I'm not too sure. Sometimes I think I should be developing that more, but my work always seems to be about communities and groups.
Audience: The nodal axis is also about doing creative stuff for yourself as an individual, versus the work you do for others.
Audience: Neptune is also about music, and Mars-Neptune can be the expression of music.
Clare: And the Moon in Leo wants to perform, to sing and to play music - to express itself joyfully. The themes of individual self-expression and service to the community or to the collective do seem to be strong in your chart. And it feels as if these two things are separate at the moment.
Kate: Yes, they feel separate. My creative outlet at the moment is my singing. I don't play an instrument, but I study music theory because I am interested in composition. During my twenties, I did some creative writing and article writing, and I would like to pick this up again at some point. All this has disappeared since the beginning of my mid-life crisis, and I am lacking a direction.
Clare: These are particularly appropriate expressions of the Moon in Leo and the Sun in Libra. But I definitely get the sense that you are not feeling as optimistic as your chart indicates.
Kate: In a way, I do, but I am still struggling, and I feel very vulnerable at the moment. It is a hard journey without any earth in the chart!
Audience: What about the strong emphasis on the 7th house and on relationships?
Kate: It doesn't mean that I have had wonderful intimate relationships. I have been on my own for the last three years, and have found it difficult to enter into any significant relationships since the end of my marriage.
Clare: That could be appropriate for now, because it is an indication that you are looking after yourself at the moment.
Kate: Yes, but I am sorry about it, really. It's just that I can't deal with another relationship at the moment!
Clare: I think this is very understandable, since it is clear from your birth chart that Pluto and Uranus are going to get evoked whenever you are in a relationship, because they are in your 7th house. And that means that your very sensitive grand trine in water will also come to life in relationships. For the time being, there is nothing wrong with taking the emotional pressure off yourself and giving yourself a rest. Perhaps you need to retreat back into your Saturn in the 12th house tower, and give yourself some time and space. The Moon-Saturn opposition is also about learning to care for yourself, and to protect yourself when necessary.
Kate: Thank you, you've been really positive.
Clare: Well, I have been trying to reflect the astrology of your chart as accurately as I can, and although I can understand why you are not feeling particularly positive or optimistic at the moment, no doubt you will look back at this period in your life and see that it represented an important and positive transition. Thanks to everyone for their contributions. That brings us to the end of our class and to the end of our term. Have a good break, and I look forward to seeing you again next term.