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Astrology Independent Study Module No. 21

Reading the Horoscope

   This Independent Study Module will be devoted to reading the chart for August 10, 1912, 4 P.M. which was indexed in Astrology Independent Study Module No. 20. We will number the various steps of the delineation so that they may be referred to as required. The references below are to The Message of the Stars.

No. 1. The Ruler of the Horoscope:

   The ruler of this chart is Jupiter, because Jupiter is the ruler of Sagittarius, the sign on the Ascendant. Jupiter being dignified in Sagittarius is an additional reason why it is the ruler of the chart. For the effect of Jupiter as ruler we turn to The Message of the Stars, from which we obtain the following: People with the "jovial, genial, and generous well aspected Jupiter as life ruler are ensouled by a great desire for honor, respect, and esteem in their community. They are cordial, genial people with a jovial smile and a hearty handshake. They are law abiding but inclined to temper their justice with mercy; and while they themselves live lives beyond reproach they are kind, forgiving, and lenient to those of a weaker morality. They are philanthropic and always ready to give to charity and benevolent work." The above gives us a little picture of this personality.

   In The Message of the Stars we find the influence on the life work when Jupiter is the life ruler: "Jupiter as life ruler signifies success in the professions, as a lawyer, judge, clergyman, ambassador, congressman, or in their positions of public trust; also as a banker, financial agent, physician, or social worker."

No. 2. Ascendant and Type of Physical Body:

   To ascertain the type of body given by Sagittarius rising we turn to The Message of the Stars, where we find the following: "People born with Sagittarius rising are tall, the men in particular have large hands and feet. The face is long and well formed, the nose well proportioned, dark kindly eyes, and dark hair. The body is very active but requires much rest, as the recuperative powers are below the average."

No. 3. Signs on the Angles:

   We find common signs on the first and seventh angles and cardinal signs on the fourth and tenth angles. This indicates a mixture of flexibility and initiative in the personality, the common signs being of a flexible nature, and the cardinal signs giving enterprise and initiative.

No. 4. The Individuality:

   For this we look to the Sun, the sign in which it is placed, and its aspects. Here we find the Sun in Leo. The characteristics given by this position may be found on The Message of the Stars, as follows: "The Sun in Leo gives a masterful nature with a large measure of self-control, a keen sense of honor and a never-failing integrity. The person aspires to rule others, but would scorn to take a mean advantage. The affections are deep and lasting. These people are staunch defenders of those whom they love, but equally strong in their aversions. Whatever they do is done with a concentration of purpose which compels success." Additional information in regard to the characteristics of the Sun in Leo is given on The Message of the Stars, as follows: "The sign Leo confers a noble, ambitious, and aspiring nature. Leo people are loyal and true friends through thick and thin. Leo is a fixed sign and gives its children considerable will power so that they are usually able to win their way to the top despite all handicaps and obstacles."

   We have to note particularly, however, that the Sun is unaspected in this chart, and therefore it is very weak. The above characteristics of the Sun in Leo will still be in evidence to a certain extent, but they will not be strong and forceful. They will be rather negative in character.

No. 5. The Personality:

   The personality is quite largely indicated by the Ascendant, the life ruler, and the Moon with its sign and aspects. The personal characteristics given by Sagittarius rising and Jupiter as life ruler have been given in the preceding pages and need not be repeated here. The Moon, the most impressionable of the planets, is located in the sign of Cancer. We find the characteristics of the Moon in this position on The Message of the Stars, as follows: "The Moon in Cancer gives a disposition which is kind, sociable, and sympathetic, but indolent and averse to effort whether physical, moral, or mental. These people love to drift with the tide. They are often sensitive to psychic conditions. This position also gives a love of home and its comforts."

   The Moon has a sextile of Mars, which gives great vitality and a strong physique. It also gives a resolute, courageous, energetic and ambitious character, and makes the native resourceful and constructive.

   The Moon has a conjunction of Neptune, which indicates strong psychic faculties and also a talent for music.

No. 6. The Mentality:

   Mercury governs the reasoning faculty of the mind, and the Moon rules the faculty of the creative imagination. In this case we find Mercury with two adverse aspects, namely, the square of Jupiter and the square of Saturn. We find the former described on The Message of the Stars, as follows: "Jupiter square Mercury gives a vacillating and wavering disposition so that the person cannot easily make up his mind when more than one course of action is open. People with this aspect often lose their opportunities through procrastination and lack of judgment.

   Since Jupiter is the planet of optimism and since the square indicates an excess of the qualities conferred by the two planets square to each other, it follows that Jupiter square Mercury gives an over-optimistic trend of mind and leads the native into unwise and excessive expansion of the enterprises in which he may be engaged.

   The square of Saturn to Mercury is found on The Message of the Stars: "Saturn square Mercury gives a desire to study esotericism, but it impels one to ferret out nature's secrets for personal power or gain. It makes the native bitter and sarcastic and sometimes subject to melancholia."

   Saturn square Mercury confers the power of concentration, because Saturn is the planet of contraction, and when the mind stuff of which the mind is composed is held to a point by the contractive power of Saturn, the result is the ability to concentrate. Thus Saturn square Mercury gives the power of analysis and detail work in general, but the motive is likely to be selfish.

   The Moon, the other factor ruling the mentality, determines the strength of the creative imagination, that is, the capacity for mental image-making. We have given above some of the effects of the Moon in Cancer and the Moon in aspect to Neptune and Mars. These need not be repeated here. In addition we may say that Mars sextile the Moon adds power to the creative imagination, and gives the ability to construct mental images and endow them with considerable life and force. Thus this aspect is likely to give the native a creative, constructive turn of mind and enable him to devise new methods of meeting any particular type of situation. The conjunction of Neptune brings the inspiration of this planet to bear upon the image-making faculty of the Moon, and therefore we may confer a degree of genius.

   Another element which strengthens the mentality is to be found in the fact that Mercury is dignified in Virgo, a mental sign. However, Mercury is retrograde, which detracts somewhat from its force. Mars, the planet of energy, placed in the mental sign of Virgo stimulates the mind and gives keenness to the faculty of discrimination.

No. 7. General Character and Destiny as Indicated by the Other Planets, together with their Signs, Aspects and Houses:

   Jupiter sextile Uranus is delineated in The Message of the Stars, as follows: "It gives a broad, humane disposition and a tendency to delve into the esoteric arts and sciences. It gives a promise of prosperity in life. The person is honest and sincere, and likely to benefit from influential friends. This position gives executive ability and success in connection with institutions of learning."

   Jupiter is dignified in Sagittarius and placed in the 11th house, thereby indicating many friends. Uranus in the first house gives an original, inventive, and altruistic personality, although the influence of this planet is weakened on account of its being retrograde. These two planets reinforce each other in their respective fields. We have Saturn in opposition to Jupiter, however, which tends to offset somewhat the good effects of Uranus. We find Saturn opposition Jupiter delineated in The Message of the Stars: "This gives a different, vacillating mind, distrustful of others, and inclined to drift with the tide." Saturn is the planet of contraction and therefore of crystallization. Its opposition to Jupiter limits somewhat the benevolent, optimistic tendencies of the native, and tends to make him fearful of his financial position and to fear failure unduly. Saturn is the stabilizer, but in adverse aspects it overdoes the matter and makes the person too cautious and too fearful. These characteristics will be more or less in evidence in this horoscope. The result will be that Saturn will limit the friendships which are conferred by Jupiter in the 11th house, and prevent them from being as satisfactory and profitable as they otherwise might be.

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   Saturn in the 5th house in Gemini stabilizes the mind, since Gemini is an intellectual sign. But Saturn's contractive influence shows up the affairs of this house, namely, those having to do with education, publication, speculation, and children. The native will be too fearful about all these matters, and therefore will not go ahead and fully succeed, although he has the analytical ability of the methodical Saturn to do so.

   The trine of Uranus to Saturn helps the matter out very materially and prevents the opposition of Saturn to Jupiter from becoming very serious. It brings the intuition and inventiveness of Uranus to bear on the affairs of the 5th house, and tends to counteract the crystallizing, overcautious tendencies of Saturn. For further discussion on this point see Self-Study Module No. 22.

   These three aspects, namely, Jupiter sextile Uranus, Jupiter opposition Saturn, and Saturn trine Uranus are among the strongest in the chart, and are quite largely the key to the chart. The success or failure of the life will hinge upon them.

   Venus is placed in the heart sign of Leo in the 8th house. Venus is the planet of love, attraction, social affairs, and art. The fire of Leo will emphasize these matters considerably, but the square of Saturn will hold them in check. Saturn square Venus is delineated on The Message of the Stars, as follows: "This aspect makes the native underhanded and scheming to gratify his passions, often in an unusual manner. The person is usually a demon of jealousy, who makes life a burden for the marriage partner on account of his suspicious nature. People with this affliction are also exceedingly avaricious. They have poor business judgment, and are therefore liable to losses and failure." This aspect tends to prevent the native from getting very much satisfaction from his social relations.

No. 8. Health:

   The health is largely ruled by the Sun, Moon, Ascendant, and the 6th house. The Sun in Leo gives a great deal of vitality, and the Moon, which governs the reproductive and assimilative functions, being sextile to Mars, the planet of energy, gives a strong constitution. Sagittarius rising lacks somewhat in recuperative power, but still is wiry and flexible. The 6th house, governing health and sickness, has no planets in it. It is ruled by Mercury, the ruler of Gemini, the sign on its cusp. Mercury is square to both Jupiter and Saturn; therefore we may conclude that the native will be of a nervous temperament, and will be likely to have more or less ill health brought on by worry induced by these two aspects. The nature of ill health is likely to be mental, although this in time might communicate itself to the physical organism if it is not checked. The native can break up this tendency, however, by realizing his proneness to excessive worry, and if he does this, ill health can be largely avoided.

No. 9. House Affairs:

   The 1st, 5th, 6th, and 11th houses have been previously considered. The 7th house, ruling partnership, marriage, and one's relations with the public is occupied by the Moon and Neptune. Both these planets are intercepted in the sign of Cancer. This means that their influence is latent and will not be brought out actively in the life until by progression they have moved out of the interception. (This occurs at about the age of two years). The Moon is strong by being dignified in Cancer, and Neptune is exalted in Cancer. The Moon is also sextile to the planet of energy, Mars. Therefore, the affairs of the 7th house are likely to be very successful, and the success will be due quite largely to the inspiration of the native, which enables him to do the right thing at the right time. In the dealing of the native with the public he is likely to come into contact with women, signified by the Moon, to a greater extent than with men. His relations with the public might be in connection with some phase of esotericism or mysticism, signified by Neptune. The marriage partner will be of the dreamy, inspirational type. The partnerships which the native forms will have a good chance of success.

   The 8th house is occupied by four planets, namely, the Sun, Venus, Mercury, and Mars. The 8th house rules the money which one obtains by inheritance. It also rules regeneration, and when strongly occupied as in the present case, the thoughts of the native are likely to turn toward regeneration. He is therefore likely to get away from the materialistic life and make considerable progress in evolution toward the higher ideals. The planets in this house, however, are weak, and therefore results will not be as great as would otherwise be possible. As stated above, the Sun is unaspected, Venus has a square of Saturn, and Mercury has a square of Saturn and of Jupiter. The last named aspect is likely to bring litigation in connection with legacies and prevent the native from realizing much from them. Mars has about half of its influence in the 8th house and the other half in the 9th, since it lacks only two and one-half degrees of being on the cusp of the 9th house. The orb of a house, extending backward, is five degrees, and Mars is practically in the center of this area. It will therefore impart energy to the affairs of both the 8th and 9th houses.

   In the latter house it will tend to make the native active in matters having to do with law, philosophy, or religion, also long journeys. The sextile of Mars to the Moon will bring the creative imagination to bear on these affairs and help to make them successful. When we have a planet in a house, that planet is the principal determining factor with respect to the affairs of that house, and in such a case the nominal ruler of the house is secondary and given much less consideration. In the case of the 9th house Mercury is the nominal ruler since it is the ruler of Virgo, but the well-aspected Mars, having half of its influence in this house, will be the dominating factor.

   The 10th house, governing the profession and one's standing in the community, is ruled by Venus, the ruler of Libra on the cusp. Venus, as noted above, has a square of Saturn, and therefore the native will be considerably hampered in his vocational work by the jealousy and mistrust of Saturn. He will defeat his own best interests by his suspicion and selfishness. His professional work is likely to be of an artistic character, indicated by Libra; it might be architectural drafting or work of a similar nature.

   The 12th house, that of ripe destiny, is ruled by Jupiter, the ruler of Sagittarius on the cusp. Jupiter's aspect, previously considered, are both favorable and adverse. Therefore the destiny which is to be precipitated in the present life of the native will vary in character. Some will be advantageous and profitable, and some may involve him in confinement and sorrow.

   The finances obtained by the efforts of the native are indicated by the 2nd house, ruled by Uranus and Saturn, the co-rulers of Aquarius. The aspects of these two planets have been previously analyzed. On the whole the finances are likely not to be very satisfactory. They will fluctuate more or less on account of the tendency of Uranus to sudden action. Also the fearfulness of the native will prevent him from being as successful as he otherwise might be.

   The 3rd house, ruling the lower mind, brothers and sisters, and short journeys, is ruled by Jupiter. Therefore its affairs are likely to fluctuate in accordance with the aspects of Jupiter previously discussed. The native will profit however, through his brothers and sisters.

   The 4th house, governing the home, old age, and the mother, is ruled by Mars, the ruler of Aries on the cusp of this house. Mars is well-aspected by the Moon; therefore the affairs of this house will have considerable energy devoted to them, and the creative imagination will help to make them a success. The mother will be of much help and inspiration to the native.

   The 6th house, in addition to having an influence on health and sickness, rules service, that is, the work which one performs in the world for remuneration. It also rules one's relations with employees. This house has Gemini, a literary sign, on its cusp, indicating a liking for literary work. Mercury as ruler of this house, square to Jupiter and Saturn, indicates little success along this line, however, and also trouble and worry in dealing with subordinates.

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No. 10. Parallels:

   The parallels have principally to do with health and sickness. Space does not permit us to consider them here. The student may look in The Message of the Stars for the meaning of the various parallels indicated in the index given in Astrology Independent Study Module No. 20.

No. 11. Summary:

   We have now to balance or synthesize the various elements noted above so as to arrive at a net or composite judgment regarding the character and destiny of the native. In general, this horoscope has the usual proportion of good and bad conditions in it, and therefore it will give the native a great deal of interesting and valuable experience and enable him to make real progress in evolution. When a horoscope is composed entirely of benefic aspects, the life is likely to be too easy. The native acquires what he wants with very little effort, and therefore there is likely to be a lack of incentive to action. Obstacles bring out the power of the spirit, and in overcoming them progress in evolution is made.

   This native has the optimism and vision of Jupiter, the intuition and inventiveness of Uranus, and the energy of Mars to support him in all his undertakings. Saturn's efforts in his behalf are divided: part of the time Saturn will be constructive, but at other times he will be too contractive, fearful, and selfish. The bad aspects of Mercury are likely to make the native somewhat narrow-minded and pessimistic. Jupiter and Uranus, however, will help to overcome these tendencies. The image-making power of the Moon and the inspiration of Neptune will powerfully support the native in all his enterprises.

   This self-study module will be followed by module 22, which will be devoted to an analysis of aspects by the use of keywords. In the present delineation we have given the net results, but we have not gone into detail as to how we arrived at them. This is where the student has the greatest difficulty. Therefore, the next self-study module has been designed to give him a method of analysis, step by step, so that he may form his own conclusions in regard to the nature and effects of an aspect and become able to delineate independently. This is very necessary in order to make him self-reliant in his delineations and bring him to the point where he can use his power of analysis to ascertain the message which any horoscope has to give. For more detailed information in regard to the effects of the planets of this horoscope in their signs and houses together with their aspects see The Message of the Stars.


Work for the Student:

  [You are welcome to e-mail your answers and/or comments to us. Please be sure to include the course name and Independent Study Module number in your e-mail to us. Or, you are also welcome to use the answer form below. (Java required) You will find the answers to the questions below in the next Astrology Independent Study Module.]

  1]  In the horoscope for September 15, 1912, which you aspected and indexed in Astrology Independent Study Module No. 20, give a complete delineation of the personality, which depends upon the following factors:

   Consult The Message of the Stars, if you have it, also preceding Astrology Independent Study Modules No's. 10 to 19, for general information on these four factors. Then do some original thinking in order to synthesize or blend the information thus obtained so as to get the net result.


Your Name:

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Your Study Module #21 Answers:


Answers to Astrology Independent Study Module No. 20:


Supplemental Student Material:

Planetary Retrogradation

   Planetary retrogradation, as studied in astrology, is a periodic, rhythmic action which illustrates the great evolutionary principle of recapitulation.

   In ordinary mundane usage, retrogradation is considered to be synonymous with retrogression, which implies a process of decline, degeneration, going toward inertia, devolution, or counter-to- evolution. However, this interpretation is wrongly used when applied to life within form or to the orbital movement of the planets. It is true that when a vehicle of manifestation has fulfilled the purpose for which it was created, its substance, form, and organic function do enter upon a process of retrogression; the withdrawing of the Life-forces initiates a process of disintegration of the vehicle. But the Life-essence, which cannot die or disintegrate, awaits a suitable new vehicle for its further evolutionary expression and experience.

   When we observe and thoroughly consider the great principle of recapitulation we recognize that it is a pattern or mode by which Nature insures the thoroughness of evolutionary processes. That which was accomplished on one round of a given cycle is recapitulated or reviewed at the resumption of the new activity in order that the complete integrity of organic powers may be established. When recapitulation is undergone, that which was established is made the base of that which is to be established; the evolutionary program of the organism or entity is thereby made continuous, without holes or breaks. This principle is Nature's great safeguard for completeness and thoroughness of evolutionary processes. On the plane of human mentality, this principle is revealed in the faculty of memory; on the plane of organic functioning it is revealed in the cyclic pattern of birth, growth, maturity, and transition which is undergone by every evolving entity in each incarnation or cycle of manifestation. Max Heindel gives a most wonderful exposition of this principle in his writings concerning the great periods which mark the involution and evolution of our planet and the life it nurtures. With the inception of each new period, the previous period is recapitulated in order that integrity of function may be established.

   In prayer-activity, the principle of recapitulation is advocated by many spiritual schools. To review in memory the thoughts, words, and actions of the previous day does not mean that the aspirant goes back or retrogresses; he makes his honest review of his experiences in thought, word and action in order to distill spiritual value therefrom. He analyzes, compares, and evaluates not only his thoughts, words, and actions but his motives; when he realizes a motive to have been impure, he ejects that motive from his consciousness by realization; the clarity of the realization will alchemically become a strength of Spirit by which he will, in future, avoid entertaining and acting upon that particular motivation. Has he gone backward in making his spiritual review? On the contrary, in making a constructive thing of the review, he has gone forward, even though the recapitulation may have included a scrutinizing of something very unpleasant— even abhorrent—to his finer sensibilities. The word "recognition" means "to know again" and recognition could well be identified as the basic purpose of all processes of recapitulation. Recognition, by recapitulation, is insured by Nature for all planes, modes, and degrees of evolving consciousness.

   One point must be made clear at the outset. Astrology does not teach that the planets of our system sometimes go backward. The retrograde action of the planets is a periodic apparent motion due to the axial and orbital rotation of the Earth—it is not actual. However, because of the relative observational changes—relative in the sense that the planets in geocentric astrology are zodiacally observed from the Earth rather than from the Sun—each one of the planets seems periodically to retrace a portion of its zodiacal travel, remain stationary for a period and then move forward again over the retraced area and forward into a new area.

   Since the Earth and each planet has its own orbital speed and distance around the Sun, these retrograde and stationary periods follow a rhythmic plan of regular sequence not unlike, for illustration, the human's periods of conscious activity when awake and subconscious activity when asleep, or the rhythmic plan of seasonal changes through the sequence of years. We must remember that every principle which is illustrated by astrology has its correspondences in the life of the universe because the universe is the creation of Consciousness and astrology is the symbolized study of Consciousness. The picture of every factor in a human's natal horoscope is a picture of Principle, or Law, revealed; if further incarnation is necessary for the evolution of a human, then incarnation is made subject to the laws apprehended as Space and Time. A timing and placing of incarnation which includes the registration of a "retrograde" planet in the natal horoscope tells the reader something about that person's evolution-of- consciousness just as does his Sun-sign, Moon-sign, Ascendant, or any planetary aspect.

   The fullest significance of the Principle of Recapitulation may be gleaned from considering the evolution of consciousness to be represented as a spiralic process. Change is the one constant thing to be seen throughout life and the spiral represents the composite of the "upward, onward and always" that characterizes all life-processes. Involution, which is the necessary preparatory phase, is as much a part of the onward as evolution is—just as studies and lessons and practice are the preparatory phase of fulfilling an artistic or professional talent. In any line of endeavor, or expression of organic life, the involutionary and evolutionary programs and objectives always contain periodic areas of recapitulation, but the start of the first recapitulation is always an extension from the initial point and every succeeding recapitulation is an extension from previous corresponding ones. Thus the linkages are formed and integrated; the spiral forms with unbroken continuity as individualized consciousness gains increasing awareness of its Self through organic experience.

   A question might be raised on this point: what about stragglers—are they not retrogressing to inertia? The phenomena of individualized consciousness unable to keep step with the fellows of their life-wave must be considered also from a relative standpoint. These entities have delayed or postponed their evolutionary program for a tremendous period of time but because they were once individualized, they must some day make their return, in consciousness, to source. Since their individualization with others of their life-wave, they did proceed for a time on the evolutionary program—they have had some evolutionary experience. Therefore, when they start again, their initial recapitulation will move them forward faster than they moved in their first attempt. These entities are not "lost forever;" they are channels for their Creator's Light and Life as all others are; they are retrogressing only in relation to the progress of their evolving brothers. They are having the experience that is right for them to have and will have their repeated individualization, recapitulations, and progressive steps in due course. Remember: in organic function and in consciousness, retrogression or retrogradation is relative, not absolute.

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   From the standpoint of geocentric observation, the Sun and Moon are always observed to be in "direct" motion; neither of them ever make the periodic retrogradation that characterizes the apparent action of the planets. The Sun transits the zodiac once a year and recapitulates its natal position on each birthday of the individual; the Moon, by transit, recapitulates its natal position every twenty-seven and a third days; by progression, every (approximately) twenty-seven and a third years. Moving forward from its natal position at the end of its first progressed tour of the zodiac, it enters the second cycle and recapitulates therein all the aspects to the natal combined with the additional factors of a different "set-up" of progressed planetary aspects, major transits and solar eclipses.

   Solar and lunar recapitulation is also revealed in patterns formed by solar eclipses and Full Moons in this way: for example, solar eclipse, August 1952, in 28 Leo; Full Moon, February, 1954, in 28 Leo. This pattern spanned eighteen months of time and the Full Moon recapitulated the eclipse. The aspects made to the natal chart by the eclipse in such a case will key-note the experience of the person during that subsequent span of many months, and at the time of the recapitulating Full Moon, the spiritually-minded astrologer will do well to make an evaluation- review of his experience, distill constructive value therefrom and build his soul body thereby. The periods which are characterized by the recapitulation of a solar eclipse by a Full Moon are usually found to cover eighteen or twenty-four months of time; the solar eclipse of Cancer, in July, 1953, was recapitulated by the Full Moon in Cancer, January, 1955.

   The Sun and Moon reveal a constant backward movement in these ways: the Sun, by precession, moves backward through the zodiac and the sequences of eclipses, New Moons, and Full Moons will be observed to occur in "counter-zodiac" positions. Only the planets reveal the periodic "backward-stationary-forward" movement.

   We have all seen instances of students being demoted in school, due to what appeared to be insurmountable difficulty with a certain subject or phase of a subject. The necessity for such a demotion did not indicate that the child was basically stupid, sub-normal, or "bad." It did indicate that he was not yet equipped successfully to fulfill the requirement of that grade for that particular subject. Therefore, since he was required to gain that specific learning, it was necessary to let him recapitulate by going back to the preceding phase of the subject, restudy, and re-digest that material and thereby qualify, by having equipped himself, to progress.

   Our incarnated experience is evolutionary schooling. Just as we cannot assimilate all the material on a given subject in one term, so we cannot enter into all phases of human experience in one life Everything else aside, the fact that we are organically polarized as males and females would make total experience impossible. Yet, by a long sequence of incarnations during which we can incarnate, according to evolutionary need and karmic requirement, as male or female, we have the opportunity to fulfill all phases of experience pertaining to gender. Since concentration of thought and effort is necessary for success and fulfillment of our talents and professional endeavors, we use each incarnation to specialize in order to focus our consciousness and so derive the maximum benefit and development from what we do in work, or other activities and endeavors. However, just as individualization of consciousness demands eventual evolutionary fulfillment, so does any acceptance of experience demand fulfillment. And, very often, the Principle of Recapitulation must be utilized when, after accepting and living a certain phase of experience, we leave it for a while to focus our attention on other phases. That which was left in suspension was not forgotten; it was allowed, rather, to remain dormant, waiting future assumption and resolution. Herein is found a philosophic clue to the interpretive study of planetary retrogradation.

   Natal retrograde, staying retrograde by progression throughout life:

   The conditions indicated by the house ruled by this planet are indicated to be of secondary importance to the fulfillment of the present life-assignment; however, since all planetary factors have spiritual and evolutionary purpose and must be used by the entity, it appears that some form of vicarious fulfillment is indicated by this type of retrograde; in a future life, the fullness of expression represented by this planet will mark a major factor of the life-assignment—in the present life, the experience-factor represented by the planet and the house it rules is held in relative abeyance, so that those factors which comprise the major evolutionary assignment for this life may be concentrated upon.

   Natal retrograde, stationary by progression at end of life:

   Indication that the assignment of active recapitulation will be assumed in the next life; the period of abeyance ends in this life and the next life will find the person qualified to resume, by recapitulation, those factors of experience which have been held in abeyance for perhaps several lives; this type of progression indicates that the person will assume a new factor of major significance in the next life-assignment, being one which he started and then turned from some time in a past life; it will contain considerable karmic content, residual from the long past, and perhaps several lives may be necessary to fulfill this assignment.

   Natal retrograde, progresses stationary and then direct in this life:

   Indication that the assignment of active recapitulation is to be assumed in the present life; the period of abeyance is finished and the experience represented by the planet becomes a major evolutionary factor of the present life's assignment when the planet moves forward into direct motion from the stationary period. The astrological reader will give very careful attention to the timing of the progressed direct motion, relating it to the current progressed planetary aspects, current solar-eclipse cycle and the progressed Moon quadrant. This type of planetary progression is one of the most important, from an evolutionary standpoint, because it marks the second attempt of the person in matters relating to the house ruled by the planet, and what is done in the remaining years of this life in regard to it will create much obstructive or regenerative karma to be utilized in future. This type of progression marks a major evolutionary turning-point in the cyclic history of the individualized consciousness.

   Natal retrograde, progresses stationary, direct and then conjunct the natal position:

   The end of the period of abeyance and subjective recapitulation, the flowering of active recapitulation and actual, direct, creative expression of the planetary power; direct participation in the relationship-pattern and experience-factors represented by the planet, its house of rulership and house of occupancy. The particular aspect or phase of the soul-consciousness "comes into its own" and every natal aspect of regenerative quality—sextile or trine—indicated by the planet promises an upsurgence of great joy. The natal squares or oppositions indicated by the planet will bring testings at that time of life but, in terms of the person's greater ability to handle them, bringing to bear all the resources of spiritual power for the necessary resolutions. When a planet is natally direct but turns, and stays, retrograde by progression the indication is that this life sees a "withdrawing" from the factors represented by the planet; this action seems to indicate that the person is going to focus his attention, evolutionarily speaking, on other factors. If this planet, by progression retrograde, reaches the conjunction of its natal position in the present life, the indication is completely given that the special planetary factors will not be of major importance in the next life.

The "Bad" Aspects

   Time was when the writer shared with many astrological students the understanding that "square" and "opposition," being "bad" aspects meant the same thing; also that "good" aspects, the trine and sextile, were thought of as being the same. Time came when the writer realized that if "square" meant the same as "opposition," and "sextile" the same as "trine," the same symbol would be used for both pairs of aspects. It must be established in the minds of students that every symbol utilized in astrology has its own particular, unique significance and that no two symbols can really mean the same thing. There would be no point to such an approach. These symbols are picturings of profound spiritual realizations which were given to Humanity by the Great Ones ages ago.

   If the progress through the wheel from Ascendant to the twelfth house pictures cyclic evolution, the placement of the planets by sign and house, the focalizations of consciousness for expression during incarnation, then the aspects picture the mechanism of the Spirit in action— the how of this endless expressing. The mechanical sciences require a knowledge of weights, leverages, balances and counterbalances, gravity, propulsion, and so on; in other words, the principles of how the mechanism functions to achieve a certain result. A horoscope, evolved from geometrical design, contains picturings of principles as they manifest in human incarnation as expressions of consciousness, and every symbol that is used in this particular science pictures an essence or a function of that essence.

   The dynamic approach to human psychology has proved that a "switch in viewpoint" often makes possible an immediate clarification of the cause of a problem and reveals the needed directive. We, as astrological students, have tended to crystallize our viewpoint of the square and opposition aspects and to settle, mentally, into the picture that they are the bad aspects. The words "bad" and "evil" have been a part of our mental picturing ever since we were able to interpret anything; if we are going to evolve a constructive approach to psychological astrology we must switch our viewpoint of, and attitude toward, the meanings of these particular symbols of energy expressions.

   It is a debatable point—this reference to "bad" aspects. Can people who are astrologically uninformed, and in the throes of a personal problem, really be helped, way down deep, if their minds and feelings are impressed by references to the "bad" aspects in their charts? There is no getting around it—we all have a sub-conscious, instinctive reaction to words like "bad;" they ignite our inner picturings—or memories—of ugly, distressing, frightful, and difficult experience patterns. The astrologer who says, "Oh, this is very serious—you have a bad aspect between your Saturn and Mars," risks putting his client down about five notches. There is something so ominous about such a statement that, in simple kindness and mercy, we cannot present such interpretations to people who have come to us for guidance.

   Astrologers who have become fixated in the "badness" of the square and opposition aspects are those who have not inquired into the real meaning of these symbols. By "real meaning" is meant spiritual or philosophical significance. Since we must identify these symbols in some way in order to transmit our thoughts let us switch our word-approach into something toward which the client may react more favorably.

   It is suggested that the word "frictional" be substituted for "bad." Everyone understands that "friction" means "resistance," but people are not so inclined to feel disturbed by that word. Also, as in the case of a match being frictionally rubbed, the result is an ignition which provides light and warmth. So it is with us, inside ourselves, and our square and opposition aspects. Certain levels of our consciousness "rub against" other levels; the result is an ignition of awareness through pain-reaction, which serves to point out a necessity for redirection of consciousness. Since all the planetary patterns of a horoscope are enclosed within the wheel, the picture is shown that mankind interprets experience from within—in consciousness—not from without. In other words, the source of our experience-interpretations is not in the experiences themselves but in our own center of awareness and reaction.

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   Let us consider the square and opposition aspect symbols in terms of their essential, abstract picturing. Use a blank, twelve- housed wheel for each. For the square, connect the midpoints of the fixed houses—second, fifth, eighth, and eleventh—by straight lines; the result is a square resting on a horizontal base which starts, cyclically, in the second house. This is the symbol we used for the "square aspect" between any two planets in a horoscope.

   The houses involved in this picturing are the "houses of resource," the well-springs of intense desire, feeling, love, and capacity. These four houses—and their abstractly related signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius)—include our deepest reaction-potentials. All astrological students know that there are two other squares; we call them the "cardinal" and "mutable" squares; but it is the fixed-house square that is used to portray this abstraction of "badness"—troubles and pains, sorrows, limitations, and all manner of negativism. This symbol tells us, when it relates any planets in any two signs or houses of a chart, that the present need for regeneration at those points is very great. Notice that in the square-design, when we come to the end of the lower horizontal—in the fifth house—we make a right angle, not diagonally to right or left but straight up, in order to progress further on the evolutionary path. So it is with other turnings—right angles at each corner. Thus the square aspect is seen to be uncompromising in its demands upon the consciousness; for this reason the square aspect is referred to as being the "most difficult," the "worst" or the "most evil" of planetary relationships. We are taxed most severely in our development at these points. Why?

   The horoscope, in its entirety, is a composite of the person's consciousness of cosmic principles—on his particular evolutionary level. Therefore it follows that two planets square to each other in a given chart are not "bad planets;" it simply means that the person is in a consciousness stage of relative unawareness of principle. An individual's unawareness may be very varied and this variety is shown by multiple frictional aspects to any planet in his chart: the planet may be squared by Mars and opposed by Moon, but trined by Venus and sextiled by Pluto. We are destined to experience reaction-patterns to every planet in relationship to every other planet in order to fulfill our vibrational destiny as human beings. Anything less than that would not be fulfillment.

   Because our experiences are, in the final analysis, ignited by our contacts with other people and because we project ourselves into relationships according to our consciousness it follows that unregenerate projection creates patterns of destiny that come back to us in the form of experiences of a painful or "bad" quality. We suffer through these alertings because we are made to perceive, by our reactions to other people and experiences, our own unregeneracy. The Higher Self "screams" at us: "Study this and learn from it; don't do this to another person, you've done it too often in the past; I insist that you redirect your reaction to this particular relationship or experience, because if you don't you will continue to misdirect your energy and darken your consciousness more than ever." So the pattern which registers in the horoscope as a square aspect between two planets pictures the necessity, in this incarnation, for a drastic revision of consciousness. The word "frictional" proves its value here because the fires of consciousness are ignited most intensely at these points and through pain- reaction—the brightest light is directed into the darkest corners. The Higher Self is seeking to re-establish harmonious synchronization within your consciousness by making it possible for you to realize undesirable results from the continued misdirections of your energies, and showing you the necessity for making a new turn on your path.

   The square and opposition aspects have a fascinating "common denominator." Apply the opposition symbol to the second blank wheel by using the cusps of the second and eighth houses as diameters; draw circles around these diameters which, of course, will be tangent to each other at the wheel's center. The diameters of the two small circles form, together, a diameter of the wheel itself and this diameter connects the midpoints of the second and eighth; cyclically speaking, the starting point of this symbol is the same as the starting point of the fixed square. The desire-resource of the second and eighth houses is common to both symbols, and the fundamental spiritual or esoteric process implied is regeneration.

   A peculiarity of the opposition aspect is that it "polarizes" the wheel. The lower point of the symbol is in the "individualistic" quadrant of the lower hemisphere; the higher point, in the eighth house, is the "extension" of the lower. The second house is "material on-going;" this is raised into its higher octave through transmutation of the desire-nature in relationship with people: the Power of Love to effect redemption of the consciousness. There must be some very important reason for the two small circles involved in this symbol to be connected by a forty-five degree diagonal rather than by a horizontal or a vertical. A horizontal is all right-and-left; a vertical is all up-and-down. However, the diagonal of this symbol is upward-and-onward—a composite of the vertical and the horizontal, the essential concept of all evolutionary processes and purposes.

   The consensus of opinion is that the opposition aspect implies a need to select one thing or the other. Some astrologers interpret this to mean that we should choose one planet to work on, even at the expense of the other. Others say we should—or must—make the effort to utilize both of the planetary vibrations at once, as best we can. The first of these approaches is plainly untenable; we cannot drop any of our astrological factors—we live with, and express, all of them through the entire course of an incarnation. The second of these approaches comes much nearer to the actual requirements of the aspect because it instructs us to utilize both planetary factors. However, the Higher Self speaks to us through the very meaning of the aspect. Are you going to express these two planets unregeneratively or regeneratively? he point is not which of the two planets but which of the two octaves of consciousness are you going to express—that which you have been in, tend to remain in, and, by now, should be emerging from, or that to which you are evolving—that which is inturning or that which is outgoing? That which is self-keeping or that which is self-evolving? That which results in the cutting-off of realization or that which opens the doors of your consciousness to awareness of beauty, truth, and goodness? This is the esoteric meaning of the opposition aspect and by it we can understand why the key-word awareness is used to identify its purposes.

   As above, so below. When the Sun and Moon come to the conjunction each 28 days a new "breath" is taken in the vibrational body of Humanity; two weeks later this "breath" is "exhaled" at the Full Moon. This action is the great rhythmic, tidal life of our esoteric existence and the pattern—conception and expression—is experienced by all of our vibrational organs in relationship not only to the other planets but—and this is important—also to the signs of their dignity. Just as every organ of our physical bodies has its oven pattern for growth, function, and fulfillment, so has each planet in relationship to the overall body of consciousness.

   A planet in the sign of its dignity has "returned to home base" after a tour through the zodiac; its accumulated essence, distilled from your experiences through many past incarnations, is now in full force and it is ready to start another cycle from its—and your—present evolutionary base. A planet in what we call the sign of its "detriment" is not a "bad" planet; it is half way around its own evolutionary orbit and makes the opposition aspect to the sign of its dignity—as far away from "home" as it can get. A chart containing even one planet placed in the sign of its "detriment" reveals that the person, in consciousness, is on that one point in a critical step on his present evolutionary cycle, and any frictional planetary aspects to that planet represent a taxing to the utmost of regenerative potentialities. This incarnation, with planets in detriment, is very significant because the person is going to be made aware of his inner deficiencies in a very acute way.

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   If a planet in detriment registers in the present horoscope as the ruler of the chart (ruler of the sign on the Ascendant) then the criticalness of this incarnation is intensified. The ruler of the chart is our planetary symbol of I AM consciousness: in the sign of detriment— opposite to its own dignity—the chart can really tell a story of great spiritual conflict since the frictional aspects to a "detrimented" ruler can make it possible for the person to identify himself with darkness. He may tend to interpret his own personality-potentials through his unregenerate consciousness and living in that way, he can risk a marked "back-turning" in his evolution. The regenerate aspects made by the chart ruler so placed serve to make him unconsciously turn "toward the Light" and in living by those patterns he insures an upward turning in his development, not only for this incarnation but for all that follow.

   Just as the physical birth is the result of conception and the Full Moon is the result of the lunation previous to it, so an opposition aspect between two planets is the awareness which results from a conjunction of these two planets at some time in the past incarnations of the person. There are no effects without causes and since Cosmic Pattern manifests on all planes we must realize in studying the opposition aspect that in this incarnation the person is being made aware of these two particular vibrational powers, or qualities, in his own nature in a very important and significant way. Recognize that inner tensions can be very great with even one opposition- aspect in the chart. The experience-patterns represented by the planets concerned—either by rulership or by occupancy—demand and urge the regenerate, spiritualized expression of the person's nature. Repeating the unregenerate frictional qualities will keep the person in "darkness" not only for this incarnation but perhaps for several "chapters" to come—and the testings will, in future be more and more severe.

   The criticalness of this aspect is clearly demonstrated when the opposition aspect is ignited by eclipses, progressed Moon, or progressed planetary aspects making the simultaneous square to both planets. In such a stimulation of the aspect the unregenerate residue in the person's consciousness—whatever his age may be—"comes out of the woodwork" and he experiences a testing of his regenerate capacities that can be very severe. On the other hand, when the opposition is activated by one planet being trined and the other sextiled, then whatever of regeneracy has been established can be drawn on to deal with the experience that is manifested. A "favorable" activation of the opposition aspect always implies, to a degree, a testing but "more of the best of consciousness" is more immediately available.

   In the foregoing is seen the reason why the opposition aspect is universally considered "not as bad" as the square because even if the two planets concerned have no other aspects, the pattern as a whole is activated four times by the combination of trine-sextile to the two times it is squared. Much more "elasticity" is enjoyed and the impulses to regenerate are much more numerous, in the long run.

   A happy ending: even the square or opposition aspects can be "life-savers" of great benefit when they are made by an otherwise unaspected Saturn in a chart having nothing in earth. The person in such a chart needs ballast, he needs controlling and direction, he needs channelings for his outgoing energies. Such a Saturn simply says—and this proves that the square and opposition are not essentially bad—"I will see to it that you keep your feet on the ground so that your life may be lived purposefully and constructively; you will have responsibilities to fulfill, ambitions to achieve, and qualities to regenerate and redirect; my vibration, even though it may seem to hold you down at times, is really your greatest blessing because it will keep you aligned to the streams of unfolding experience."

   Life does not punish us through our squares and oppositions; it teaches us our most needed lessons through them if we wish to learn to become aware of our needed regenerations.

—Supplemental Student Material Reference: Studies in Astrology, Elman Bacher



Contemporary Mystic Christianity


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