Reading a Chart I

This post won’t be completely divorced from “English” because as usual we’ll be talking philosophy and using examples from current astroevents.

But it will be more astrological than most posts, as we’ve gotten questions about how to read an astrological chart – where to begin, what are the most important astroissues to consider, and the like.  It’s a big topic, and a very important one, so we’ll just start it here with an outline, then continue to fill in details as we get time.

But first we need to start with a few comments about how I do astrology, because it’s a little different than the way many astrologers do it.  I don’t focus on what will happen to you or who you’ll meet in the produce section, I focus on what’s going on in the Unconscious.  I don’t try to do prediction, I try to do interpretation – to educate you about yourself and your World.  For instance… 

The question of Fate or Free Will is not a question about the World, it’s one Duality of many that the mind likes to project upon the World.  The mind needs to be entertained.

This is an important question, first because many schools of astrology do consider our future to be fated, and when we consider how some 99% of our Experiences are determined by the Unconscious rather than our Conscious Choices, we’re tempted to think that Fate and Control by the Unconscious aren’t much different.  But very different they are, because we can make the Choice to expand the Edge of our Consciousness into the realm of the formerly Unconscious – and the astrology of the Unconscious is a great help for that process.

While the mind needs to be entertained, the old bumpersticker about “Don’t believe everything you think” forewarns us well.  Fundamentalism means believing your metaphors, and the mind produces only metaphors.  The Universe is bigger than the mind, not the other way around, modern science and religion notwithstanding.  A profound way to start expanding the Edges of our Consciousness is to realize that every Duality and every Either/Or we can come up with, is just the mind entertaining itself.  The World is Both/And, and the more we can allow ourself to see the World through many different perspectives, the faster we grow your Consciousness.

Our Karma IS our Fate – as long as we remain Unconscious about it.  Becoming Conscious of our Karma increases our Free Will, and it isn’t as hard as it sounds – as Seth said, our Karma is writ large in our personal history.  Karma is not Retribution, it’s Inertia.  We don’t have a Karmic debt to pay, we have habitual Patterns to Learn to Notice, and to Break.  Every habit is a Skill.  But when you’re Unconscious you use your hammer Habit on both nails and screws.  Sometimes it works, and sometimes it fails miserably.  We want to notice and disrupt our hammer Habit so we can learn how to use a screwdriver.

In general, it’s the South Node that betrays our Karma, and the North Node that points in the direction we intended to move, back when we decided to accept our current Lifetime.  But the Edge of our Consciousness is the realm of the asteroid Juno.  So we could probably learn a lot about someone’s orientation toward the Spiritual by studying the relationship between their South Node and their Juno.

Which isn’t, by the way, one of the things we’d start with when reading a chart – though, if we got good at reading someone’s orientation toward the Spiritual, it might shift the kind of reading we gave them – whether we focused on who they’d meet in the produce section, or how they’re likely to Grow their Consciousness.

Juno was recently Initiated by Uranus, and the Cycle they commenced is about an unexploded bomb.

So we can expect to be running into many situations these days where our Identity is “exploded.” 

But then, what were we expecting to see while Uranus Squared Pluto?

After all, most of us define ourselves by our Judgments – ever share “pet peeves” as a way to get to know someone?  Fun, isn’t it?  Our Judgments are the intellectual tips of our Karmic icebergs.  It’ s not generally a good idea to hang around an iceberg that’s about to roll over.  And it takes an awful lot of Self-Love to hang out with our own Identity while our Judgments are rolling over.  Ego Death is the common term, and it literally “feels like we’re dying,” because we are – but it’s not that

we’re DYING;

it’s that

WE are dying,

to make space for a new “we.”  On the other hand, if we can learn to recognize such events as the beginning of Growth in Consciousness, what a Blessing!

We’re most likely to run into stubborn Patterns around what we’ve learned to regard as Sacred. 

Which the asteroid Vesta tells us about – not the content, but the “style” – such as, are we likely to be rigid about our notion of what’s Sacred and what’s Blasphemy, or do we easily allow others to have different notions of the Sacred.  And if so, are we Curious about other possibilities?

But no, Vesta isn’t one of the first things we look for in a chart either.

That’s not just about the Heart and Belly, as I know many scienterrific types who regard the intellect as Sacred.  In fact, many religionists are just parroting what they learned intellectually, not what their Heart tells them.

Vesta has been dancing rather intensely with Ceres (Sustainability) and the North Node of late…

The question is whether our notion of the Sacred is broad enough to be Sustainable, or is it in danger of being “exploded” along with our Identity?  Disillusionment about what we used to consider Sacred is a pretty big Ego Death on its own.  And is there Harmony or Conflict between our notion of the Sacred on the one hand, and our Heart’s Deepest Desires on the other?

The Heart’s Deepest Desires are a teaching for us about our Mission in the Lifetime, symbolized astrologically by the North Node.

So, enough introduction.  What are the most important elements to look for in a chart?  What do we start with when putting together a reading?

We’ll list here what we look for, then go into more detail about each as examples pop up in the current moment, and as we get time to write about them.  We’ll put them more or less in order of importance, but since there is so much variation between charts, the order has to be very flexible.

The first place to start, is by responding to any questions or concerns that your client presents.  After all, that’s what they came for.  You can use the other items in this list as a way of organizing how you use the chart to untangle your answers to their questions.

The second thing I look for is planets on, or Square to, the Nodes.  Like Goethe said, “Wer immer strebend sich bemüht, den können wir erlösen; which means something like, “If you care enough to send the very best, we’ll look after you.”  In other words, folks (or circumstances) with planets on or square to their Nodes are likely to be folks who “give a shit.”  There’s meat there, someone to be reckoned with, someone with a serious agenda about their Life.  They didn’t come here to party or shop.

Stationary and Out-of-Bounds Planets would be third, and maybe even second, because a planet is so Strong when it’s Stationary or Out of Bounds.  It often dominates the whole chart.

The fourth place to start reading a chart is Big Configurations, like a Grand Cross, or a Grand Trine, or a Grand Anything (Sextile, Quintile, etc), or a Stellium, or a Diamond Star, or a T-Square,  or a Yin Gate, or a Tricolor, or a Mjolnir, or any sort of Yod (Finger of God, Quintile Yod, etc) or “Box” (like a Mystic Rectangle), more or less in that order.  Big Configurations pretty much hijack someone’s Attention, so folks are usually glad to hear about them, as knowing about them can potentially liberate them from many self-Judgments.

The fifth most prominent indication in a chart would probably be Planets on the Corners.  Astrologers usually call these Corners the “Angles” (Ascendant or Eastern Horizon, Midheaven or Noon Point, Descendent of Western Horizon, Nadir or straight down), but, confusingly, I use that term for something else.  They’re the Cusps of the First, Tenth, Seventh, and Fourth Houses – the leftmost, uppermost, rightmost, and lowermost points on their chart.  While these four are very different, they’re all important, as they will have an important and usually very visible impact on the Lifetime.

In sixth place are Conjunctions to the Sun and MoonThis one could even go into fifth place, especially for an introverted person.  The Sun and Moon are pervasive in a chart or Lifetime or circumstance, and a planet on either will utterly change the person so they’re quite different than you’d expect from the Signs of their Sun and Moon.

You can’t really rank this last one, because you can start with it anytime, in fact, you should start with it anytime, regardless of whether any of the other six big Attention-hogs are present (it’ll be a rare chart or reading that doesn’t have at least one of the Big Six, and probably several).  You start with Planets that are lit up when you’re doing the reading, because since these will be uppermost in your client’s Attention, you have a captive audience and a Teachable Moment.  You’ll never bore anyone by talking about the natal planets that underlie their current Transits.  In fact, it’s questionable whether anything else will actually be heard!

That’s what we’ve been doing in this blog and its predecessors for the last quarter-century – talking about the planets that are lit up as we speak!

We’ll write about each of these seven astrophenomena in turn in subsequent posts.  I may remember more by then, but I think this covers it pretty well.  Let me know if I’ve triggered any questions!

2 Responses to “Reading a Chart I”

  1. Natacha Garnier de Molènes Says:

    Reading daily your posts, becoming more and more aware, and amazed by the knowledge you have and so generously offer to us, I would like to share some of my questionments with you and the community.

    I understood that you have been practicing astrology for 45 years… Do you think that a person at a turn on the road in his life, can reasonably think of becoming a practicing astrologer, even though it has not been his major field of action or, to be a bit trivial, job?

    I am 43 years old, the first part of my life has been directed toward artistic activities. Now they have dissolved away (it’s a Blessing actually), and it seems the energy has to be flowing in a different a deeper direction.

    Yes, becoming a practicing and hopefully helpful astrologer is my Project for the next decades on the road, but sometimes I wonder if it is realistic, compared to someone like you, for example, who has so much more years of practice and incomparable knowledge.

    Would you have any advice or recommendations to let us know about this matter?

  2. astrobuss Says:

    Thanks for your question. Some famous person once said “Never do nothing because you can’t do enough.” You can start helping people with very little study of astrology, if you start with a few simple strategies.
    First, there is no reason to say anything negative to anyone. There is a lot of Judgment in traditional astrology, and when you find examples of that, you need to turn them around. Following Fritz Perls, ask “What’s the positive function?” of anything that appears to be negative. For instance, the positive function of a Square is to inspire us to explore a topic exhaustively.
    Since everyone has different notions of what’s negative, it’s better to use questions rather than statements. For instance, reading someone with a Venus-Mars Square, you might start with, “Are your Relationships satisfying to you?”
    Karma and Addiction are very similar, and you don’t want to “enable” or encourage either one. But you can eschew negativity without enabling Addiction or Karma. Each client will present a different “issue” – that’s your primary starting point for a reading.
    Next, astrology is *fractal* – the deepest insights are repeated throughout the chart at different levels. Your first impression is important. When you use questions to open conversations, you can start a reading using almost any part of the chart. If you have an ongoing client that returns for many readings, you can go deeper and deeper into their chart. For an initial reading, you’re just exploring, looking for a place where you can be of service quickly.
    If you talk about the parts of their chart which are lit up by transits when you do the reading, communication will be much faster and deeper.
    Your best service to folks will be helping them accept parts of themselves that they’ve been rejecting – this should be your objective. Many people were raised to believe that their natural self is not adequate, so they’ve been striving to be someone else all their life. To have one’s natural self “recognized” as a valid person is a Life-Changing experience for both the client and the witness (ie, the astrologer).
    My orientation is helping folks identify and change self-sabotage, hence I focus on interpreting current and past events relative to the client’s natal chart, transits, and progressions. Many clients want prediction rather than interpretation; look elsewhere to learn prediction techniques elsewhere.
    Astrology isn’t about cause and effect, though we often speak as if it was; astrology is a tool for inciting your Intuition.
    Finally, studying non-astrological counseling skills will be useful.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: