The Answer Box
June: Would you please comment on the significance of the East Point?
Zip: The East Point is the name usually given to the equatorial Ascendant; that is, the Ascendant rising on the equator when we are born. Although some astrologers (e.g. Jim Eshelman) feel that they can distinguish between the East Point, Antivertex, and Ascendant, I have never been able to see clear differences except that I consider the traditional Ascendant to be much more important in general. But I do treat the other two angles (or intersections of great circles) as auxiliary ascendants which indicate our natural self-expression when we are just “doing what comes naturally”. They are only important if there are close aspects (natal or progressed) from other factors in the chart. Rule number one in astrology is that unless the message is given more than once, it is not important. The more any factor in the chart is tied to other factors by close aspects, the more it is emphasized as an important component of the nature.
Jimmy Carter’s recorded birth time of 7 A.M. CST offers an illustration of the potential importance of these auxiliary ascendants. His natal Ascendant is in Libra; his East Point is in Scorpio closely conjunct Saturn and Juno in the first house; his Antivertex is in Sagittarius, closely conjunct Jupiter in its own sign. These conjunctions indicate the power drive, the importance of his marriage, and the religious faith. Of course all of these character traits are shown in other ways in the chart, but these two auxiliary ascendants do point them up in very clear and unmistakable ways.
When working with either the East Point or the Antivertex, watch when they progress to aspect planets or other angles, or when other factors progress to aspect them. They can also be important clues to relationships when the angles of one person fall on the planets or angles of another person. Tom Shanks found the Vertex axis (Vertex and Antivertex are always opposite each other, like the Ascendant-Descendant and East Point-West Point) the most significant factor in a large study of couples. Some astrologers have claimed that the East Point is especially a key to health, but I have not found it to be more so than the other two angles. All of them, and other forms of letter One (Mars, any planet in or ruling the first house, etc.) are keys to our capacity to do what we want to do. Obviously, we cannot do what we want if we are impaired in some way by poor health, hence the association with health. When the three keys to personal action (Ascendant, East Point, Antivertex) all fall in different signs and houses, as sometimes occurs, it can indicate additional complexity in the character. But for them to be important, there have to be close aspects, as already indicated. Since the conjunction is the most powerful aspect, a close conjunction to anything else in the chart provides a useful key to the instinctive action likely to be manifested.
In contrast, the Vertex and the West Point are like auxiliary descendants where we may project part of our own nature and find others to do it for us. The danger in projection is that the “others” will often overdo the action. The goal of all oppositions in a chart, whether angles or planets, is to harmonize both ends of the sign-house polarity as a cooperating team. In general, we manifest the Ascendant, East Point, Antivertex end instinctively and easily while we learn to do the Descendant, West Point, Vertex end in joint actions with others.