Everything in a chart influences each planet's expression

by Hank Friedman

While astrological cookbooks delineating each planet by sign, and then by house, are useful in helping beginners to understand the basics of astrology, their delineations are only occasionally accurate because there are so many other factors in the chart, and attributes of each planet itself, that affect its expression.

Here's an example: One reads that the Sun in Leo loves an audience, has a sunny personality, and is generous. But one can see so many astrological and external situations where this is not true.

Environmental Factors

1. Cultural. The sunny side of Leo is not permitted in some cultures, even more so for minorities or women.

2. Gender. Gender has a huge effect on the expression of every chart factor. Virgo men are far more cerebral in general than Virgo women, and Leo women are far more socially-conscious that most Leo men.

3. Upbringing. In a family where no giving takes place, and as a therapist I've seen so many people from families like these, unless the individual is truly extraordinary, generosity is unlikely to be part of their behavior, even if they have strong Leo in their charts.

Astrological Factors

4. House placement. Most advanced astrologers recognize that house placement has a huge effect on the expression of every planet. In general, placement in Water House mutes the planet's expression (especially the 12th and the 8th houses), while placement in Fire House brings the planet forward.

Similarly, placement in an Angle is much more promoting of the planet's energy than in a Succedent or Cadent House.

5. The Gatekeeper. In Western astrology, the Ascendant serves the role as gatekeeper, controlling how much expression each planet has in each chart. A planet in the same element as the Ascendant becomes much more identified with by the person, and as a result, much more expressed.

A classic example is when a person with strong Leo has an Ascendant in an Air sign, the Fire is significantly tempered, and the person presents to the world with much more Air than with Fire.

6. Aspects. The aspect by Jupiter on a planet in Leo is going to amplify the generosity while an aspect by Saturn on a Leo planet is going to greatly constrain the self-expression and sense of security in the Leo person.

And this is not only limited to Saturn actually aspecting the Leo planet. If Saturn is quite strong in the chart, it can dampen the expression of a Leo planet even if they have no relationship with each other.

Vedic Factors

7. House Rulership. If a Leo planet is the ruler of a Dusthana House (6th , 8th or 12th), then it is going to express itself with more intensity, and often trauma. It is unlikely to be sunny or easy-going in its expression.

8. Yogas. A planet in Leo participating is a positive planetary yoga is going to express itself in an outstanding manner, while in a negative planetary yoga, indicate a lot of struggle.

9. Nakshatra Placement. There are three Nakshatras in Leo, and depending upon which of the three the planet occupies, its behavior will be very different. E.g. in Magha, the person will have authority and genrosity, all other factors being equal.

Note: a planet in the Sidereal Zodiac can be in Cancer while it's in Leo in the Western (Tropical) Chart. In such cases, which are quite common, the expression of a planet in Leo in a Western chart will be very different than expected.

E.g. If a person has the Sun in Leo in their Western chart but in Ashlesha Nakshatra in their Vedic chart, then they won't be open, easy, or socially warm but instead quite contained, and socially feel both different and distant.


Since I just illustrated how just one planet can have so many different modifications of its expression based upon so many factors, imagine how this applies to the entire chart.

But don't despair. Bit by bit, we all learn the "tilt" of the chart, both by looking at and listening to the person in front of us, and by discovering how each factor modifies each other factor in a chart.

When we start "hearing the story of the person" from the chart itself, it becomes very exciting. The more foundational principles of a chart we have full learned, the more the magic happens.

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