A Man Searching for Meaning: The Horoscope of Ira Progoff
The initial impression one receives from Progoff’s chart is the massive focus of planets in the transpersonal houses. Except for Uranus, nodes, and three of the minor planets, everything falls within three signs. As our readers know, the three-part division of the twelve sides of life seems to offer a useful concept. The personal needs are the “child” side of us; in the “interpersonal” section, we learn to be an adult, responsible, relating to other adults as a mature person but with the major emphasis on immediate relationships with whom there is an emotional tie and systematic contacts. The transpersonal part of our twelve sides of life deals with society as a whole, with the search for the “Absolute,” the “Law,” the world at large. As is the case with all abstract concepts, this three-fold division is useful but not absolute. Letters three and four are still partly personal but also beginning to be concerned with the rights and needs of others hence partly interpersonal. Letter six includes regular contacts with fellow workers or those who work for us, but it also has some of the “flavor” of the transpersonal area, since the primary focus is the accomplishment of a good job rather than relationships per se. The placement of Uranus in Progoff’s sixth house is thus at least a bit of additional emphasis on the transpersonal quality of the chart.
Yet we also see a major grouping of planets in the signs Cancer and Leo, and these are really the warmest, most caring signs of our twelve. The combination of Cancer and Leo in the transpersonal houses is common in people who choose helping professions. The “family focus” of Cancer and Leo is universalized, and “humanity” becomes one’s family. We nurture, love, and are loved in our work with many people. I call the placement of Cancer and/or the Moon in the tenth house the Professional Mother. Pisces in the sixth house and Virgo (and Saturn in this case) in the twelfth house may become the Professional Savior. Further support for a career as a counselor or consultant is offered by the nodes across Libra-Aries (signs and houses) and by the prominent Pallas (conjunct Mars just inside the tenth house), our status or career in the larger sense. It is interesting to note that Progoff’s mentor, Carl Jung, also had Pallas conjunct the Sun in Leo.
The identification with career is a repeated theme in the chart. Virgo is rising. Mercury, traditional ruler of Virgo, is in the tenth house. So is Mars, the natural ruler of the first house, and Venus, ruler of the Libra in the first house, is right on the MC. All of the preceding are keys to the importance of the career in order to have a sense of identity and power, and they also emphasize the need to be in control of the career; to handle it in his own way. Pluto in the tenth house supports the preceding, indicating resistance to working under someone else. Pluto will work with others, but not under them if the individual has his(her) own way. Uranus in the sixth house also can work with others (voluntary cooperation) but does not want to be told what to do. Uranus plus the Gemini MC also want variety in the work, and intellectual stimulation.
Mercury in the tenth house, supported by the Virgo in the chart, indicates a practical mind, while the Uranus-Pluto trine in water signs and Mercury’s placement in Cancer, closely conjunct the Moon, suggest psychic openness. Planetary nodes add their support to the importance of the mind, with the north node of Pluto and Vesta in close conjunctions to Mercury-Moon. Pluto’s node, as a water planet, repeats the psychic ability while Vesta’s node, as an earth asteroid, repeats the capacity for a thorough, detailed, practical mind. The close sextile of Mercury-Moon to Jupiter-Saturn gives further support to the mental ability and the likelihood of the work being highly mental. Ancient traditions suggested that world teachers were born during periods of Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions, which occur every twenty years. With Jupiter as a symbol for our belief systems and Saturn as a symbol of the reality situation in the world, the combination of the two shows the potential for beliefs in harmony with universal Law, and therefore the ability to teach this understanding to the world.
With a chart so focused on the mind, career, and the transpersonal area in general, we might wonder whether the individual would have time for a personal life. But Juno conjunct the IC in the fourth house, and Venus conjunct the MC show the need for others in the life. Of course such a Libra need can be manifested in marriage or in fields such as counseling. Chiron and the south node of the Moon in the seventh house and Vesta in the eighth house also show interpersonal relationships to be important, but the node and Vesta indicate this area as one of potential problems. Since we have the reverse zodiac (signs mostly in houses opposite their own), the south node can be read as a lesson in either independence or cooperation. The strong eleventh house added to the general emphasis on fire and earth (the steam-roller combination) suggest that the primary lesson is in cooperation—integrating his own will with the will of others. Vesta in either the seventh or eighth houses is a signal for extra attention to emotional relationships. The position is fine for working with others, but there is always the danger of the work being so important (to the owner of the chart or the chosen mate if that part of the self is projected) that the relationship may be neglected. The other danger is that the “work attitude” may be displaced from the work to the relationship. Instead of looking for flaws in the job and correcting them, the individuals may look for flaws in each others, and try to make each other over.
Pisces on the cusp of the seventh house, and Chiron in the seventh house show the search for a perfect partner or partnership, and add to the danger of problems in that area of life. But Chiron’s trine to Neptune (the other ruler of the seventh) and Vesta’s trine to Jupiter (the other ruler of Pisces), are signs that the individual has the capacity to integrate work and relationships; ideals and reality. The nodes square Mercury-Moon, giving us a full cardinal dilemma (the tenth house providing the Capricorn corner of the cross) repeat the need to make an effort in order to integrate independence (self-will), dependence-nurturance, cooperation as a peer, and the power to control the situation. One of the dangers with a cardinal dilemma is the rejection of dependency and assumption of the role of “parent to the world,” or what I often call the “Atlas syndrome.” If we accept the dependency side of Cancer and the Moon, we lose all the other cardinals: independence, equality, and power. If we play parents, we have the closeness desired by Cancer; we can take freedom; permit equality, and we have control, so there is always a temptation to resolve the cardinal dilemma by simply rejecting dependency. Of course, rejection does not make it go away, and at times we can invite illness as the only way we can allow others to take care of us.
Since I have no information on Progoff’s personal life, I do not know the degree to which he has resolved the dilemma. Certainly, the chart shows the strong probability of success in his work in the world. One of the little-used extras in astrology is the Galactic Center: the literal center of our galaxy which is a powerful source of radiations and gravitational attraction. Dr. Landscheidt of Germany writes that individuals who have planets or angles on the Galactic Center are usually a center of power and knowledge, often becoming famous. The present location of the Galactic Center is 26 Sagittarius, exactly on Progoff’s IC. Since the IC and fourth house symbolize the unconscious and the general public, it is interesting that his techniques are designed to help people in general (not just specialists) to become aware of their own unconscious roots.
Exceptional individuals, whether manifesting superior talents or major problems (or both), are usually marked by very close aspects of planets to each other or to angles. Often a look at midpoints (the center point between any two factors in a chart) will show that what appears to be a wide conjunction or other aspect is equivalent to an exact aspect. Examples of this principle in Progoff’s chart could include the midpoints of Sun/Moon and Sun/Mercury conjunct Pallas within a one-degree orb. Vesta/Ascendant conjunct Moon and Pallas/Pluto conjunct Mercury are additional examples. The tight Saturn- Antivertex conjunction is a further testimony to the identification with career; the powerful achievement drive in the nature, and Jupiter/East Point is exactly conjunct the Saturn-Antivertex combination, for further emphasis. One additional, intriguing midpoint is Saturn/Zero Aries conjunct the MC and Venus. Zero Aries, as a universal sensitive point for everyone, seems to tie us to the universe when we have exact aspects to it. In this case, we are linking Saturn, the natural ruler of the MC to its own cusp and the universe. Depending on the person, such a combination could warn of massive overdrive or of self-blocking. In Progoff’s case, we seem to have a highly constructive use of the power, using the Saturn-Jupiter conjunction in its proper way as a teacher of humanity, helping many to deepen their understanding of their own inner natures. His search for meaning has facilitated the search for many others.