The Zodiac is unique and all encompassing. More than any other system known to man, it’s symbolism contains all possible human experience. Everything that mankind has done or can even dream of doing can be placed within the symbolic experience of the 12 signs.
As human beings we are all connected to this totality of experience in some way, but as individuals we can only live and express a part of it.
So how can we come to understand the part that we are meant to play ? By looking at the parts of the Zodiac that were being emphasised by the planets at the time of our birth.
Of course the simplest and most common method of doing this is by looking at the month we were born and the sign that the Sun was in at the time.
This can tell us about our basic character but also about the role we are best designed to play in life. It can tell us what we are but perhaps more to the point, it can tell us what we should be if we are going to get the most out of life.
It can also tell us what we are not. We are individual beings, we cannot be the totality of human experience and we should not waste our time and energy trying.
If you are born with the Sun in Gemini you are meant to be adaptable and versatile always looking to be moving to disperse your energy quickly into lots of different directions and projects, to learn about life by sampling many different things. You have a curiosity but it is generally to get a superficial knowledge of as many things as possible for the purpose of comparison.
You are not meant to be a Scorpio who will go deeply into whatever subject they are drawn to.
You are not meant to be a Capricorn who will move slowly and carefully with a single narrow specific goal in mind.
You are not meant to be a Taurus whose job is to stabilise, contain and preserve things, to keep them as they are and sustain them.
You are not meant to be a Cancer, who will create protective boundaries in order to feel secure and to look after the feelings of those close to them.
This way of looking at the signs works very well. Any sign is distinctly different from those on either side of it and in most cases is just as different to those signs 5 away.
Our Sun sign tells us as much about what we are not meant to be as about what we actually are.
But as we know Sun sign astrology is a gross over simplification of the real thing. It is like trying to understand a human being by taking only one factor out of hundreds about their lives. Even if you have the biggest single factor, you are not going to get very far.
Each planet symbolises a different kind of human energy which expresses itself through the filters of the signs into the areas of life governed by the houses. The angles between the planets symbolise the way in which these different energies will interact and play out in a person’s life.
Through these arrangements some people will have some planets stronger than others. If a planet is strong by sign, house and aspect their lives will naturally express that energy more than another one.
For example someone might have the Sun in Taurus in the 12th house, but if Mercury is rising in Gemini at the apex of a T Square including Jupiter and Uranus, they will be very mercurial by temperament and most people would find it hard to guess their Sun sign.
When planets are aspected together it is as if their energies are drawn to each other, they are meant to be blended and the very fact of the connection makes both planets stronger and have a greater impact in the life of the person.
Aspects between planets are like lines of least resistance, an indication that the energies of the planets are much more likely to flow in those directions than any other.
This is obvious in the case of the conjunction where the two energies unite, but also the case even with the harder aspects where they pull in conflicting directions with the result that the planetary energies often have an even bigger role to play in the life of the person concerned.
If for example someone is born with Mars in Capricorn in the 10th house opposite Saturn in Cancer in the 4th, we would expect that person’s life to be dominated by a particular theme.
They would have a very strong drive to succeed in their career but this would be constantly held in check and frustrated by responsibilities and limitations experienced through their home and family life.
Indeed this opposition would consume so much of their time and energy that they may well not have enough left to explore the many other areas of life that are possible for humans. But they are not meant to have all those other options open to them in the same way. The Mars / Saturn opposition gives them a focus and a discipline and defines a major theme that they have to and should explore.
There are many astrologers that use asteroids and fixed stars as well but most would accept the 10 standard planetary energies, together with the Ascendant and the Midheaven.
The placings of these planets by sign and house show the manner and area of life in which the person is most likely to focus their energies.
We tend to not place much emphasis on the sign positions of the slower moving non personal planets. So we are talking about the sign positions of the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Ascendant and Midheaven. The house positions of all 10 planets are relevant.
Mercury and Venus are frequently in the same sign as the Sun.
It is of course possible but unusual that all these bar the Ascendant or Midheaven are in the same sign. But the maximum number of signs that can be tenanted by these points is 7, and in fact its seldom more than 6.
So half of the signs are not tenanted by the personal planets.
In the case of the houses there will be at least 2 that are untenanted and in the vast majority of cases at least 3.
The themes of our lives revolve around the tenanted signs or houses. Those that are empty play less of a part.
This does not mean that someone with no planets in Libra or the 7th house will be without relationships. But it does suggest that they will be putting most of the energies into different directions.
Someone with a stellium in Libra or the 7th would obviously have more of their energy and attention consumed by relationship themes. This goes without saying, if it wasn’t the case what would be the point of astrology ?
We are defined as much by the absence of planets in certain areas as by the presence of them in other ones. We focus our energies where they are and tend to neglect those areas where they are not.
If someone had a stellium in the 10th house and nothing at all in the 4th, we would expect them to be very career focused even to the point where home and family took a back seat.
The same would apply to aspects between planets, particularly the ones that Capricorn Research would call major ones, which are the conjunction, opposition and square. These aspects bring pairs ( or more ) of planets together in a way that gives clearer and stronger direction to our lives.
If we have any of these aspects we have to spend more of our lives dealing with the combination of the particular planetary energies involved. We are pushed to explore the relationships between the particular planets.
The other side of this is that if planets are unaspected we are not forced to spend our time and energy dealing with the issues that they bring up together. So the most likely conclusion to make is that these planets will play a lesser part in our lives.
Some astrologers however suggest that unaspected planets play a greater part even than aspected ones. Capricorn Research has to admit to being not entirely clear what the reasoning for this is.
It has been suggested that because the unaspected planet is not forced into a relationship with other ones, it is free to explore things on its own and therefore will make a stronger individual impact on the person’s life.
Another suggestion is that the unaspected planet comes to the fore because of a kind of compensation by the person. They recognise either consciously or unconsciously that their chart is pushing them down a particular path of experience and choose to go in the opposite direction instead.
Capricorn Research feels that the idea of an unaspected planet has a similarity to an untenanted sign or house. The idea that any of these should have prominence seems to be out of synch with the basic philosophical premise of the birth chart. This is that the signs, houses and aspects made by the planets indicate the parts of the total of human experience that a particular individual is most likely to embody and explore. Without this premise, astrology would be useless.
One of the problems with astrology is that astrologers look for chart features, they don’t as a rule focus on the things that are absent. The more planets, fixed stars, asteroids, minor aspects, midpoints and harmonics that are considered the fuller a chart becomes to the point where the empty spaces disappear altogether.
So if we give ourselves all these options and look hard enough we can find examples for anything at all.
Individuals cannot be everything, we can and do only express a part of experience. If the major aspects give prominence to a planet and the lack of them also gives prominence, this means that every planet in every chart has prominence.
Therefore anything we say about that chart quickly loses its meaning.
Giving weight or apportioning emphasis to the many factors in an astrological chart is the essence of the subject. There is a saying in astrology that 20% of the chart features will cause 80 % of the person’s issues.
If only astrologers could agree on which 20% that is.