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The Birth Chart

A horoscope consists of the sun, moon and most familiar planets are projected onto a thought-up belt far away in outer space – we project moon, sun and all the planets onto such a theoretical concept. It is called the zodiac. It is a belt of the heavens within about 8 degrees of either side of the ecliptic. It is divided into twelve equal divisions or signs of 30 degrees each. The sun appears to traverse the zodiac in a year (as seen from earth). Most of them are known by animal figures. The signs are Aries (from ca. March 21, allowing for leap years, the vernal equinox), Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces.

Behind the twelve star signs lie patterned star images. The star sign and its constellation are about 24 degrees apart. It means that the constellation Aries starts early in Pisces, even though the star sign starts around March 21. There are many problems with the attempts to align star signs and star constellations, among other things because the constellations are of unequal lengths. There are tables to show it. [Table of constellation lengths]

Star signs are equally long; 30 degrees each. Constellations are of varying shapes and forms and take up varying widths of the ecliptic. Of the 88 constellations that are recognised today, the sun "passes through" thirteen of them. The thirteenth is the Snake Holder, Ophiuchus.

The twelve Hindu zodiac signs and corresponding Greek signs are nearly identical. In Indian astrology, the twelve signs are much associated with constellations.

Some think, maybe with a grain of salt, that different personality types go with the astrological signs. Is your identity somehow like a Rat, a Sheep, or agrarian worker if you were born in Aries? Maybe something else? And what about your individuality, which is not a type? Is there a deeper astrology that makes sense as well?

(WP, "Zodiac" and "Ophiuchus")

Astrological Typologies Related to Signs

Numbers, Latin, English, Sanskrit, Babylonian and Chinese Names of Star Signs

S = Sanskrit;   B = Babylonian;   C= Chinese

1. Aries. The Ram – Mesha, ram (S) – The Agrarian Worker (Bab) – Rat (C)

2. Taurus. The Bull – Vrishabh, bull (S) – The Steer [Bullock] of Heaven (Bab) – Ox (C)

3. Gemini. The Twins – Mithuna, twins (S) – The Great Twins (Bab) – Tiger (C)

4. Cancer. The Crab. – Karkata, crab (S) – The Crayfish (Bab) – Rabbit (C)

5. Leo. The Lion. – Simha, lion (S) – The Lion (Bab) – Dragon (C)

6. Virgo. The Maiden – Kanya, girl (S) – The Furrow. The goddess Shala's ear of corn (Bab) – Snake (C)

7. Libra. The Scales – Tula, balance (S) – The Scales (Bab) – Horse (C)

8. Scorpio. The Scorpion – Vriscika, scorpion (S) – The Scorpion (Bab) – Goat (C)

9. Sagittarius. The Centaur, Archer – Dhanus, bow (S) – Soldier (Bab) – Monkey (C)

10. Capricorn. Goat-horned (The Sea-Goat) – Makara, sea-monster (S) – The Goat-Fish (Bab) – Rooster (C)

11. Acquarius. The Water Bearer. – Kumbha, pitcher (S) – The Great One, later "pitcher" (Bab) – Dog (C)

11. Pisces. The Fishes – Meena, fish (S) – The Tail of the Swallow, later "fish-cord" (Bab) – Pig (C)

It is an old tradition, and is not easy to make out of at a glance. Look into it to compare:

1. The idea that the ram is like a rat is like an agrarian worker may not have crossed your mind earlier on, yet these animals and kind of worker [and a lot of others] are used to indicate aspects to to the first sign of the zodiac, the first spring sign.

6. Virgo is represented by "a maiden, a snake, a girl, a furrow, and an ear of corn." The art of the astrologer is to see the snake and ear of corn as sides to the same sign somehow, or maybe drop one or several of the inherited sign symbols. If so, which one(s)? That could be a good question, a question that is tough to answer.

7. A horse is like a balance. It means that some proposed, underlying general qualities that the sign is known for, are represented by animals and items. The astrological signs hold animal emblems on high. Beneath them is much else to look into, as described in astrology textbooks.

8. A goat is like a scorpion.

9. The centaur, archer, monkey, bow, and soldier are like foldings of one and the same umbrella-like idea (sign). "A monkey looks like a soldier, or the other way round" may be part of it - Also, if we say the archer and his bow are different, we hold on to the idea that the archer monkey has not "become one with the bow" – or that a soldier is a centaur, a hybrid creature. In Greek mythology a centaur is part human and part horse. A Bronze Age origin is suggested for these mythical creatures. (WP, "Centaur")

10. A Chinese rooster is like a goat-fish or sea-monster if looked at that way . . .

11. Aquarius that "is like a water bearer, is like a pitcher, is like a dog."

12. A fish. It "is like a tail of a swallow, a fish-cord, and a pig." You could perhaps train your willingness to compare a Chinese pig with a Western fish.

Interpretative training might offer this insight as a boon: much depends on the sources and how you look at things. Questions: Do such comparisons halt, like all comparisons do - are they worth much trouble? Adding to the scenery: Could it be that none one of the items that represent a sign fits, or one, or several of them, maybe in various degrees?

A tree needs . . .

Compare your life to a tree. What do you find?

You might find the constellation placement of your sun by subtracting ca. 25 degrees from the placement in the regular horoscope as the convenient half-guess, but since the constellations are of varying width, it may not be that simple.

As for how the person is to become, a tree needs more than its own inherent capacity to fulfil itself from deep inside – needs more than the patterns in the seed, so to speak. The welcomes have to be all right for a long time. After that it may bloom and produce fruits, even if severely cut as part of a hated hedge: Conformity is at work, one may say. Some trees may survive as trimmed hedges, fruit trees and berry bushes, and others do not regenerate that easily after trimming.

Besides, many seeds do not sprout for one or more reasons. One is getting too old. Another is getting too rotten. Yet another is being sown on stone ground. So fit timing and good soil are factors to take into account too, along with a suitable climate.

Backed up by these sights, what does a horoscope portray? An astrological typology that comes along with the signs. A "heavens-soil", where soil-qualities or productivity estimates are further given to the sun, moon and the planets, and so on - right or wrong or more or less so.

Astrological houses

There is also the issue of houses. The houses form the horoscope's "earth-life" soil or frame of reference, and the zodiac the "heavenly" soil, or frame of reference. The first house starts at daybreak, and the others follow.

Are the horoscopes houses equally long? Not in some house systems. In other house systems they are. Which house system to use? Is it Placidus, Koch or another system? Neither of them can be used to calculate houses for regions beyond the polar circles. So perhaps Campanus, Regiomontanus, Alcabitius or another from all the rest? Today astrologers disagree on which is the "best" house system to use. Koch's house system and other systems of unequal houses can contain very narrow houses and very wide ones, which causes different interpretations by different astrologers, as when a star sign is wholly enclosed in a house.

How astrologers act: Some recommend using different house systems for different individuals. The same astrologer may use a different house system for different types of astrology: for example, Placidus for natal chart interpretation and Regiomontanus for horary astrology. (AstroWiki, "House System"; "Quadrant House Systems")

You may think you can do it better. Anyway, a birth horoscope may not be of much value in the field of conformity-upbringing. A horoscope may have little or no prognostic value in the lives of people who suffer all their lives from conform education and what follows. Others, who have loomed tall and apparently actualised themselves much, may be worth looking at in a Maslowian manner, or using their biographies. In such cases, if most interpretations from a horoscope hardly make much sense as compared with the life lived, it is time for adjustments.

One trouble with comparing biographies and birth horoscopes is that the "looking-back" approach offers no forewarning help - telling what might happen and how to go on, being on the safe side. Preventive measures may not be given if the lives have been lived already.

In the West, accurate pinpointing coupled with relevant, further advice seems worth good money. There is a danger of mere superficial descriptions and decisions, though. In astrologies of the East and maybe in the West there are other yardsticks, markers and ways of calculating. We do ourselves no good favour if we dismiss them or all of them without investigating them.


In order to look deeper into a birth chart (birth horoscope, also called radix) is to look into the over-all pattern of the birth chart (radix, birth horoscope) . In what sign and house the sun is, the moon, the rising sign (Ascendant), the MC (medium coeli, "noon") and the nadir opposite to it.

There is also the axis between the south lunar node and north lunar node to consider - that is, the signs and houses of the south and north node, and aspects to them also. In Indian astrology these mathematical points in the heavens are called Ketu (south node) and Rahu (north node. In Western astrology they may be called the dragons body and head (Rahu). Eager for meanings, many Western astrologers today try to take into account the headless dragon and its severed head and its lore. (Burk 2003; WP "Lunar node;" "Ketu (mythology);" "Rahu")

So far it is not taught in all Sunday Schools, "You are all dragons, boys and girls! Lucky you!" And grown-ups seldom sing in public: "Dragon people, that's what we are!" You may have read that American educators call children, "You brood of vipers," though. They have their sources. (Matthew 3:7 Matthew 12:34 Matthew 23:33 Luke 3:79)

Aligned with positive thinking, Ernst and Johanna Lehner write about dragons that in the east they are

friendly, lovable and benevolent creatures . . . of strength, . . . of vigilance and protection, the guardians of treasures and wisdom. Among the Chinese and the Japanese, dragons are the most potent symbols of the beneficent, rain-giving powers of the gods of water and clouds, and of power, royalty, and sovereignty. (Ernst and Johanna Lehner 2004, 38)

In Western astrology there is a headless dragon and a dragon's head. They are 180 degrees away from each other in the horoscope. A start is to think: If the dragon is alive, the head is hardly cut off. If so, the north node of old is only one of appearing to be severed.

And so on. The axis between the nodes may suggest the meaning of life, but only if you disregard the sign and focus on the constellation, some hold. In other words, they relate Ketu and Rahu to sideral astrology, wich defines the signs based on the fixed stars, constellations. In a map of the heavens they are shaped like polygons of uneven sizes and lengths. A sidereal system is used in Hindu astrology, and in some 20th century systems of Western astrology.

A small number of sidereal astrologers do not take the astrological signs as an equal division of the ecliptic, but define their signs based on the actual width of the individual constellations. They also include constellations that are disregarded in the traditional zodiac, but are still in contact with the ecliptic. (WP, "Sidereal and tropical astrology")

In Western astrology the tropical system prevails. It is adjusted to the vernal equinox and speaks of star signs. The two systems drift apart by about 1.4 arc degrees per century. The north node is currently said to be about 24 degrees ahead of the first degree of Aries today. Exactly how much is hard to say. It may be illustrated:

Someone had his Dragon's body - South Node - in Scorpio and Dragon's Head - North Node - in Taurus according to one sidereal birth chart. A common Western tropical chart would have his South Node in Sagittarius and North Node in Gemini. This is due to the the drifting.

And even though prevalent Western astrology would make a Capricorn out of him because his Sun is there then, Hindu astrology says he is at least a Sagittarius too.

From this we may tell that one: "Things should start to get interesting right about now (Bob Dylan, Missisippi):"

"You're a goat-fish - such an animal!" (Capricorn Sun - see table above)

"You're rather a monkey - a monkey dragon." (South Node in Saggitarius)

"The real you is a scorpion-dragon anyway." (If the South Node is in Scorpio) Adding, nodding reassuringly: "Maybe you don't see as I do."

A reasonably good node astrologer should know that above we talk from three layers to be found or missed in the horoscope. There are many such astrologers today . . .

Besides, the constellations in the sky are of uneven length, remember.

Let say, conveniently, that this is by birth a Capricorn (by sun), Sagittarius and Scorpio by south node in sign and constellation. On that basis some traits may be developed and others not. That is the key idea all the time.

Which traits can or should a scorpio develop or favour, if any, and how and when? Edgar Cayce speaks nothing of it in Nelson 1999 or Gammon 1987. Rudolf Steiner does, though. Susanne Donato (2003) explains that in a lecture in Dornach, Switzerland, on April 16, 1920, he

explained how the macrocosmic breathing process in the heavens is connected to the microcosmic breathing process in the human world and comes to expression through a rhythmic time cycle of 18.6 years. In human biography, we find this rhythmic cycle in the lunar nodes rhythm or moon nodes. According to Steiner, important things are happening with the human soul at these points in time. . . . What are these lunar nodes whose influence upon human lives is noticed again and again over a vast cycle of time? (Donato 2003, 173)

She answers it is cicla every 18.6 years, round after round, and the changes go from the background sphere into one's own, one's new family's if any, and wider, and wider. (Ibid. 186) [More Donato on lunar nodes]

Here is a chart so that we may guess less about constellations of varying sizes and shapes: [Twelve constellations: overview]

More considerations are to be added - a good look at angles between some of the markers in the birth horoscope is next, at any rate.

Not angels but angles in the heavens

Strong, repeated patterns in the horoscope's medley of planet angles (called aspects) and planet placements in signs and houses suggest some tones.

All in all:

  • Things that could go well, "oiled by some cosmic grease" as shown by trines (angles of 120 degrees with some minor leeway, up to 15 percent or so) and sextiles (60 degrees with some leeway) – things like that. If you don't act up to a lot of them, you've missed a lot of such busses. And if things go very well, how can you avoid getting much depleted? By sound morality, teaches Buddha and a lot of others.
  • Anyway, one may still preserve one's basic assets, if any, considering how life in the world ends with death and losses.
  • There are the skills you could go for, well in time – It could be a "maybe group".
  • And there are supposedly things not to involve ourselves in, so as not to flounder, get utterly molested, marauded or succumb.

Horoscope readings of an expert in Indian astrology (Vedic astrology, Jyotish) could astound a man (Sutton 1999).

A call for respect for what is true and holy

A US survey, conducted by the National Science Foundation, concluded that 43 percent of young adults believe in astrology, that is, that the position of the stars and planets can affect people's lives. Hence, belief in astrology is widespread. This does not mean such beliefs have to be sound. Far from it. Anyway, some forms of astrology flourish, persists and continue among one third of Americans, according to several polls. [◦Statistics on in]

By contrast, a Gallup survey (2005) shows that "just about three in four Americans hold some paranormal belief -- in at least one of the following: extra sensory perception (ESP), haunted houses, ghosts, mental telepathy, clairvoyance, astrology, communicating with the dead, witches, reincarnation, and channeling."

The Second Vatican Council made it clear in 1965 that to look for divine wisdom in various religions is legal and that "The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions." [The Second Vatican Council: Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions. ◦Nostra Aetate. Proclaimed by HH Pope Paul VI on October 28, 1965.]

Astrology is into many of those "other religions". Meeting astrological teachings suggests the need to deal with wrong or shallow parts of it or let it be.


Edgar Cayce Readings into Astrology, star wisdom, Literature  

Burk, Kevin. The Complete Node Book: Understanding Your Life's Purpose. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn, 2003.

Donato, Susanne. "The Effect of Lunar Nodes on Human Biography: Our Hidden Plan." Tr. Nina Kuettel. In David Mitchell, comp. Child Development and Pedagogical Issues - Waldorf Journal Project No. 2. Fair Oaks, CA: The Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, 2003.

Lehner, Ernst and Johanna. Big Book of Dragons, Monsters, and Other Mythical Creatures. Mineola, NY: Dover, 2004.

Lewis, James R. 2003. The Astrology Book: The Encyclopedia of Heavenly Influences. 2nd ed. Canton, MI: Visible Ink Press.

Sutton, Komilla. The Essentials of Vedic Astrology: The Basics. Bournemouth: The Wessex Astrologer, 1999.

Harvesting the hay

Symbols, brackets, signs and text icons explained: (1) Text markers(2) Digesting.

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