HOW TO APPROACH A CHART --- Part Two
astrology to see if it worked, to disprove it actually). And she had at least seven or eight squares,
no trines, no sextiles. At the age of 21 she had been a brawler; she had been in jail for beating up
a policeman; she was alcoholic; she had been, I'm sure, abused in her childhood. I don't know
exactly what ways because she didn't say, but I'm sure. And, on the other hand, she was tough as
nails, and that's the other principle. squares confer challenge but they also confer strength. So if I
had to be in a hurricane on a sailboat with someone to try to keep the boat going I would have
chosen her; she was strong. She was also conflictual, but the beauty about a conflicted chart is
that as the person gets healed, they become incredibly powerful without the conflict. Whereas I've
seen people with a really harmonious chart, with all sextiles and trines, who basically take the path
of least resistance their whole life, and never amount to anything. Life comes too easily; there's no
grist for the mill; there's no challenge.
Q: But aren't they happy about that?
They're very self-satisfied often.
Q: Not necessarily though. I've seen somebody with a Grand trine, lots of Air, who just
dissipates his life. There's just flow to him; there's no effort, and it's just dissipating.
Q: Does he have a problem with that?
Q: Oh yeah.
There's also problems with the partner. The wife of this man was furious because he
basically thought he was always right. He was a narcissist.
One thing you can do, which I love doing, is making a list of the closest aspects of anyone's
chart. The aspects between 0 and 2 degrees, to make a list like that is so valuable, I'd almost be
willing to throw out the rest of the chart, because that list of closest aspects really shows
you where the energy is, where the conflicts are, where the talents are. The conflicts and the
strengths are where the squares are. The talents and the abilities are where the conjunctions,
sextiles and trines are. So to make a list in numerical order, meaning from strongest to weakest
(of 0-2 degree orbs) is a wonderful, useful thing. That's why when I want to do my printouts
there's always a closest aspect table, and there's a lot of software that will do that.
What makes a chart unique?
What else do you look at now? We've already talked about Strong. We're done with Strong.
So now we're going to look at, what are the things that make a chart unique? .. The word lopsided
means an excess or an absence of something in a chart. So the one reason I liked Michael Meyers'
book which is not very well written, is that it has one very important value: he emphasizes
what it is like to have a predominance of this or an absence of that. I could have said
predominances and absences instead of lopsided. That might have been a better title. What
kind of things do we look for? We look for elements. Modes. Hemispheres. I-We-Them. Signatures.
How many planets in Fire does this person have? Just look at the red ones: five. That's a
predominance. If someone has five or more planets in an element that makes it a predominance.
Some people would count eleven points, meaning they add the Rising as one point. I often do,
too. So if someone had four planets in Fire and the Rising in Fire, I probably would consider it a
predominance of Fire. And obviously with this predominance of Fire, this is going to be a
person with a lot of vitality, a lot of energy, a lot of enthusiasm. And clearly, Sally Fields had a lot
enthusiasm, even though one of the points was Saturn which puts a damper on the element it's
in. Even with that, having so many planets in Fire and having Moon alone (as spokesperson in Fire,
very strongly) made her quite fiery in charming ways, but fiery. Everything has to come through the
Rising. Her Fire is going to come out in a sweet charming way because of the Libra Rising. Like my
friend who is fiery: he's very generous, he's very considerate, so he shares his enthusiasm in a very
considerate way because of the Libra Rising, which can be one of the most considerate signs.
How much Air does she have? Two planets: Uranus and Neptune, and the Rising. That's a
good amount of Air. Having Air Rising made a big difference. If it were only two outer planets I
wouldn't think of her as terribly airy unless one of them was focal. How much Water? Three: Sun,
Jupiter and Mars. That's again a good helping. How much Earth? Zero. This person has no Earth,
but the bottom of her chart, the Fourth House Cusp, which is a very, very important cusp in that
one's internal process is Earthy. I encourage you to look at the charts of people who have Air sign
Risings. Even if they have no Earth, they've got an earthy quality about them because the sign
at the bottom of their chart is Earth, and this is their roots. So you might say even if she's got
no planets, she's got her roots in Earth.
The Bottom of the Chart
Q: What about fixity?
In some ways it would and in some ways not. With this Capricorn on the 4th, this person is
going to be very hardworking because the core values, the core root of her beingness will have
these qualities. It's like in my chart I have Scorpio at the bottom, and I have no planets in Scorpio
by the Western system. I cannot tell you the number of people who have said to me, "Are you sure
you don't have any planets in Scorpio," and I proudly say "No, I don't have any" because this
4th house cusp in Scorpio can be quite intense.
Q: Mine is Aquarius, so that means I'm an individual.
And detachment, a fundamental core detachment. Let me go through them a minute.
Aries at the bottom of the chart: A core energy, a core drive, a core initiative.
Taurus at the bottom of the chart. A core fixity, a core conservatism, a core rootedness,
immobility and perseverance.
Gemini at the bottom of the chart. A core motility meaning changeability, adaptability,
Cancer at the bottom of the chart. Core fear, core shyness, core insecurities, core loving to
be at home, and nurturing.
Leo at the bottom of the chart. Core pride, core strength, core knowing the self, this is who
Virgo at the bottom of the chart. I would also consider that at times core insecurity
because Virgo is self-critical. But Virgo is also very analytical so at the core level there is a lot of
analysis, a lot of processing going on in the person.
Libra at the bottom of the chart. An innate sense of justice, a dance with intimacy because
Libra likes to get close and back off. I had a housemate who had four planets in Cancer Rising,
nothing in Libra, Moon in Virgo. Libra at the bottom though because Cancer Rising. One time he
finally sat down with me and said, "Hank, why am I not in a steady relationship?" I said to him, "Do
you really want to know?" He said, "Yeah." Notice I asked permission to be straight. I said, "Because
you are claustrophobic. You are afraid of getting too close. For all the reaching out of the Cancer
planets in the First House, for all the identity of the man who wants to really get close, at your
core you are afraid of suffocation, Libra at the bottom (any Air sign at the bottom including
Scorpio at the bottom of the chart. I think it's an inner fierceness. It can be an inner self-judging.
It can be an inner judging of others. It can be also an inner depth and a desire again to
process very deeply and of course a reclusiveness.
Sagittarius at the bottom of the chart. This is someone who has a real tendency to make
proclamations. "This is my opinion, this is the truth, this is the way it is." Again, there is a core
restlessness, a core strong desire for personal freedom, and at the same time there can be a core
orientation towards being devoted to a teacher, which is a Sagittarian quality.
Capricorn at the bottom of the chart. A core ambition, a core drive, a core rigor, a core
conservatism, and a core practicality.
Aquarius at the bottom of the chart. A real core detachment, a not sureness about whether
they want to be even incarnate, a core feeling of not belonging to their family, a core desire to
watch the world as opposed to participate in it.
Pisces at the bottom of the chart. A core vulnerability, a core escapism, a core
susceptibility to others, and again like all the Water signs, some reclusiveness.
Q: Could you tell me how that would look if that Capricorn was Rising?
That would look much more conservative. That would look more like a businessperson. It's
how they look. Remember you see the person's Rising Sign, but what's at the core is also vitally
Q: The core is absolutely the most hidden?
Right, so the more you know the person. It's like the people who are closest to me know
how fierce I am compared to the people who don't. I've had some people think I'm Mr. Mellow.
That's one of the primary reasons, besides it was a woman and a famous woman, why I did
the chart because this is a perfect example of someone who's got this. If she had any other element
Rising and no Earth, I would say yes, it's a true absence of Earth and you'd expect the person to
be much less on time, much more disorganized or flaky or extremely overcompensating by having
lists and going overboard, but with this core value placed on Earth, this person is not going to let
themselves get as unstructured or as unbridled. Nevertheless, sometimes she will be anyway
because. Look at what she did at that Oscar award. She lost track of time (Earth signs are
conscious of time). She gushed and gushed and gushed which is a real Moon in Aries thing, "Oh
thank you, thank you, you love me, you love me." She lost track of propriety. She lost track of her
groundedness, her centeredness. That's another thing about people with Taurus or Capricorn at the
bottom. There is an innate centeredness, groundedness, earth. Just like there is an innate empathy
with Water at the bottom, an innate faith or zeal with Fire at the bottom, and an innate
objectivity with Air at the bottom.
Q: What about fixity compensating for lack of Earth?
It very well can. There are two things that can compensate for lack of Earth, very strong
Saturn or a lot of fixity. She's got a lot of fixity, and if someone has a lot of fixity, they're going
to be able to persevere at things and they're not going to be as flaky. Fixity adds groundedness,
and so it can masquerade as Earth in a certain way because fixity adds steadiness. So it is that a
focal Saturn adds discipline and responsibility and priority. I know a woman with no Earth in her
chart; she's an accountant. How the heck is that? Two things: Saturn at Sunset and Sun, Mercury
and Venus in Scorpio; and Pluto and something else in Leo--lots of fixity--and focal Saturn
enables her to take a very earth-plane profession and do it fine. It's still not her joy but she can
do it; she can do it well.
I was just asked what kind of orb do I use in general? The answer is 3 or 4 for sextiles; this
is overall; 8, -- possibly 9 if it's Sun or Moon -- for conjunctions; 7 for the trines; 6 or 7 for the
squares; and again, around 8 for the oppositions. Try to be flexible here because, for instance,
if someone only has weak aspects, you might extend it a little. On the other hand, if someone has
really strong aspects you probably wouldn't.
We did the predominance of elements. We can also do Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable. Again for
predominance I probably want to see 5 in one of them: 5 Cardinals, 5 Fixed or 5 Mutable. To back
up a minute, I will guarantee that if you meet someone who has no Water in their chart, and you
tell them, "Well you just don't feel," they'll disagree with you. I guarantee you it will happen. What
is true about an element that is not represented is not that the person cannot go into that
element, but an unintegrated part carries tremendous strength. So when they go into that element
it will be really strong for them. Now it may very well be true that they don't go into that element
often, but it also may not be true. The person may voluntarily explore that element, may
compensate for the lack naturally. In fact, in the ideal situation they would. So a person with no
Earth would probably keep lists, would probably have an accountant or housekeeper, and a clock
that timed things so they could be on time.
Absence of an Element
The person with lack of Water. I find a lack of Water much more notable in men than in
women because women already are more Moonish with the Moon cycle and all that. Even women
without Water are going to be somewhat tender yet they will be claustrophobic if they get with a
man or another woman, depending on who their partner is, who is very watery. If they're with
someone who says, "Oh honey, let's do everything together," they're going to go "No." So the lack of
Water really shows up in synastry, in relationship in that they don't want to be around someone
Someone with an absence of Water, things like getting massages regularly, going to the
ocean, listening to watery music, learning to open to affection more, there are things that they
can do to further their Water.
Q: If the planets that normally rule Water signs are strong in the chart, will that help?
I don't know. I've read that, for instance, if the Moon is really strong it might make the
person seem more watery, I don't think that's so true. I'm not saying it's completely false either
though. It's one of those grey zones.
Someone with lack of Air tends to be totally immersed in their life, so what they could do
to compensate would be to go on vacation often to get distance from their life so that on re-entry
they can see things they normally can't see. Or talk something out with their friend: "Be my
objective witness. I'll share with what's going on with my life, you feed it back to me." Those are
ways of compensating for lack of Air.
With lack of Fire the person can do things that bring up Fire, like aerobics, physical
activity, dancing brings up Fire, especially if it's play. For instance, let's say they'd have to
confront someone and they don't feel up to it because they don't have any Fire in their chart, if
they start jogging for a while and then right after they finish jogging meet with a person, their
Fire will be up.
With the absence of a certain element, getting there is half the battle. Besides there being
an absence of Water, or an absence of Fire or an absence of Air, or an absence of Earth, what if
someone has a planet in Water, but its only angles are squares and oppositions? It is afflicted
Water, or Air, or Fire, or Earth. That means that that element is going to be problematic. So the
person may find themselves suddenly drowning in emotion, or suddenly really strict with
themselves if it's afflicted Earth, or suddenly fighting real feistally if it's a challenge to Fire, or
suddenly feeling real cut off and separate from everything because it's afflicted Air.
This is an important principle and let me remind you of it. If a planet has challenges to it
and no harmonies to it, it has no easy vent, no easy escape valve. For instance, if you look at the
Pluto in Sally's chart, the Pluto has no vent. That means that the Pluto place is a very hot place.
Being a fiery, powerful person is conflictual to her because there's no trine from the Moon. The
only conjunction is a challenging conjunction by Saturn. Basically conjunctions tend to support
planets unless the planets involved have real antithetical principles. Basically Saturn doesn't
combine well with just about anything. Maybe Saturn combines well with Mercury, but if there's a
Saturn conjunction that's a conflictual conjunction. On the other hand, if there's a Jupiter
conjunction, it's not. Jupiter Conjunct things tend to be positive conjunctions. So even if the Sun
doesn't have any harmonious aspects, it does have a conjunction with Jupiter; that counts to me.
But Pluto doesn't. Its only conjunction besides a square is with Saturn.
Q: You don't count the sextiles, they're too wide?
It's too wide. They are very slow moving planets--Neptune and Pluto--so for them you
allow a tighter orb for the sextile. Besides sextiles are the weakest aspect anyway. This means
that this woman has had real issues with her personal power and with authority's power, to have
authority's power. There are times when she's given her power away, I'm sure to her mate, to
bosses, and it's caused upheavals because it's hard for her to go to the powerful place. Most of her
memories of being in a powerful place are unpleasant intensity. So remember that.
Let's take the opposite point. What about a planet like Venus in her chart, or better still
Mercury? Mercury only has harmonious aspects. There's no squares to it. There are only Fire
trines. So here's a planet that only has good aspects to it. That means that her communication
and her Mercury functions are likely to flow very easily for her. Being outspoken isn't as much as
a conflict. In fact, she might even overdo it occasionally like in Oscar night. That's the Moon in
Sagittarius unbridled. It's not conflicted, so it expresses and expresses and expresses without any
trouble. So looking at that in a person's chart really reveals a lot, which planets are primarily
conflictual without any amelioration, (softening). Which planets are harmonious without any
challenge. Without any challenge also means that she might not always develop her mind enough;
that she can live with her own biases longer because there's no inner part of her that reflects the
outer part of her that's challenging her ideas.
Q: Isn't her career in a conflict there too?
Who she is versus who she is in career becomes conflictual. First House is who a person is.
Second House is who a person is around money and values. Around ideas, Third House. Around
home and personal life, Fourth House. Around children and creative projects, Fifth House. Around
co-workers and work itself, Sixth House. Around partnerships, both business and pleasure, Seventh
House. Around crisis, Eighth House. Around travel and expanding one's perspective, Ninth House.
Around career and authority and achieving, Tenth House. Around friends and allowing oneself to
receive support, Eleventh House. Around losses, expenditures, and behind the scenes activities,
The harmonious versus unharmonious conjunctions. In general, Venus conjunct anything is
benefic, and Jupiter conjunct anything is benefic because those are considered benefic planets. In
general, Mars conjunct anything, and Saturn conjunct anything can be problematic because those
are considered the malefics. However, Mars would prefer to be Conjunct another Fire planet. So
Mars Conjunct Sun or Mars Conjunct Jupiter wouldn't be as hard as Mars Conjunct Venus or Mars
Conjunct Saturn which is the worst conjunction, in terms of challenges. Though never, never say
that to someone. "Oh you've got Saturn Conjunct Mars, you've got the worst conjunction." Please,
this is important to say in this context. I believe in harmless astrology. While I may share things in
this class and say things like that, like this is the most challenging conjunction, I would never say
it to a client that way. I don't think you should say anything that will depress the client during a
reading, or a friend. You don't say, "Oh my God, you're going to go through hell next year." Don't
do that. Say it in a way that's constructive.
For instance, if I was talking to Ms. Field, I'd say, "Sally, you need to recognize that as a
soul you are unbelievably powerful. Why? Sun square Pluto. Power is wired into the core of her
beingness. Also, Sally, power originally is projected onto parents. Why? Because parents are Tenth
House. So initially you disowned the power; it's square the Sun, it's disowned. Initially you disowned
the power and made mom, dad, priest, and teachers the power, and thought you didn't have any
power. You felt powerless. That's what happens with oppositions and squares. So then Sally, over
the years you've come to (a) learn not to be so afraid of power and intensity and (b) learn that
you are the one who really has the power. You wouldn't have survived the beings around you and
wouldn't have incarnated with those beings if you couldn't have handled it. So yes, do your healing
process. Yes, you've been through a hell of a lot, but realize the treasure at the end of the
rainbow. The pot of gold which is the ability to use personal power in tremendous ways: to really
pioneer, to really change the world, which in some ways she probably did.
Jason Alexander, who plays George Castanza in Seinfeld, first of all, do you notice how he's
always afraid of commitment to women? Gemini at the bottom. Moon in Gemini in a male's chart
especially, and Sun in Libra. Talk about issues of commitment. So he's playing a character that is
very much like his own personal nature, a fear of commitment, all that strong Air. He is a little
pudgy; Pisces Rising sometimes manifests that way because it's a Water sign. Water signs Rising
tend to look like they've got a good amount of Water in their body and/or fat. How heady is
George? Very; he has a predominance of Air. Moon in Air, Sun in Air, Mercury in Air, Mars in Air
not a predominance but four. That's still a good number, and the fact that it is the Sun and the
Moon tips it over the edge to make it almost a predominance because Sun and Moon in Air.
Q: Look at all the Seventh House stuff?
It's not like he's not going to be in relationship, but he's going to keep a partner at arm's
length to some degree. He's going to need a lot of freedom in relationship. Moon at the bottom will
delay it a bit, so he might not have married as young.
Q: Is that an exact square to Saturn?
Yes, 0-0. Notice that's Sun square Saturn, does he not in this show take the spokesperson
of the negative person? Who's the negative planet? Saturn. So he's often the person who thinks
nothing will ever work, things will always go wrong, always complaining--Saturn square Sun.
Q: And 0 degrees Capricorn in the Tenth House.
Right, so it's very strong. How many times did he play the failure, someone who was the
ne'er-do-well, Saturn square Sun, things not working out or being delayed at least. So you see,
even a quick assessment of his chart fits perfectly with the character he plays. In Pretty Woman
he played a ruthless lawyer. What are the planets associated with the law? Saturn. Of course he
will play a lawyer some of the time with his incredibly strong Saturn. What is the scales? Libra,
also the law. So very, very strong energy in the whole area of the law. He plays the role of a
lawyer. None of this is accidental.
End of Class
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