A New Coordinate System and a New Technique for Current Patterns
Astrology conferences are fun, both because of the chance to see friends from everywhere and also for the new ideas offered. If our theory is true, that astrology is mostly symbolic with the sky offering a convenient way to see the order in the cosmos, there must be many ways to divide the sky to see different aspects of the cosmic order. Recent astrology has concentrated on two forms of measurement of planetary positions, taken from two different astronomical coordinate systems. This mixing of systems is one of many things about astrology that bugs astronomers. All of our charts are really maps of the sky, and to have a map and be able to locate objects in it, you have to have a framework within which to measure relative locations of your objects. Astronomy uses several such frameworks or coordinate systems, and for each of them, we have a circle with a starting point, with measurements made around the circle as well as up and down from the circle. Our most common systems of measurement in astrology include zodiacal longitude (measured around the ecliptic from zero Aries at the spring intersection of the ecliptic and the equator) and declination measured up and down from the equator. Since longitude comes from the ecliptic system (its up and down measure is latitude) and declination comes from the equatorial system (its measurement around the equator also starts from zero Aries and is called Right Ascension, normally measured in degrees or hours), you can see why astronomers consider this mixing of systems unscientific. Astrology’s answer is simply that these two measurements “work”. They are useful and meaningful. Some astrologers do use latitude, and some also use Right Ascension.
Ancient astrology also used a third coordinate system, and a few modern astrologers (Rob Hand and Michael Erlewine) have resurrected it , calling it “Local Space.” The circle used for measurements is the horizon, going through the four compass directions, with north as an arbitrary starting point since there are no intersections of great circles such as zero Aries to give an obvious point of demarcation. Astronomers use this coordinate system regularly, for actual visual observation of objects in the sky. The measurement around the horizon, starting from the north and going clockwise, is called Azimuth, and the measurement up and down from the horizon is called Altitude. Positions of planets (or stars or whatever) are given in degrees from zero to 360, and the planets can be plotted on a circle, with altitude indicated in degrees north or south.
I first heard of these “local space charts” from Neil Michelsen, at the 1980 SWAC conference in mid-Oct. Neil had heard about them from Rob Hand at the NCGR teaching seminar on Cape Cod in September l980, and had immediately gone home and programmed them on his computer. So if anyone wants to try them, they are available from Astro-Computing in San Diego for $0.50 or $2 if you want them plotted for you on a wheel. Neil put them on transparencies which could be laid over a map to see where the planets fell in terms of a person’s life experiences. I did my experimenting with the transparent sheets sold in office supply houses for overhead projectors. Felt-tip pens are available in a variety of colors.
Neil’s lecture reported experiences from Rob and his associate, Steve, and another participant in the NCGR seminar had also tried them and reported her results. Steve reported that he had been born in Boston, and moved to Cape Cod to work with Rob Hand with astrology and computers. He discovered that Uranus lay in the line from Boston to Cape Cod in his local space chart. One of Steve’s clients was a gambler whose Venus-Jupiter line lay in the direction of the race track. When he went straight to the track and to the betting window, following his Jupiter-Venus line, he said he was more successful that when he detoured to pick up a friend, or did something before betting. Another client of Steve was a woman who got on well with all the businesses in her small town except for four stores in one block. The woman’s Mars and Saturn lines bounded that block. Neil reported that most of his shopping, banking, etc. lay on his Jupiter line, while he jogged and went to the airport on his Saturn line. He is very self-disciplined about his jogging, and goes to the airport to fly out on his own business or to meet others coming in reference to his job. The other participant who had experimented with the local space chart reported that her Neptune line was over the part of her house where her mother-in-law lived. The latter is a fundamentalist Christian who feels martyred by life and who thinks that her daughter-in-law steals from her: a collection of negative Neptune actions.
Neil admitted that the local space planets were not a total answer, since he had done Reagan and Carter and neither one had anything going through Washington, DC. Carter also had nothing through Atlanta where he was governor. Someone in the audience asked whether either Carter or Reagan had anything over Cleveland, since at the time of the conference, the debate had been tentatively scheduled for that city. We were fascinated to note that Reagan’s natal Mercury conjunct Uranus ran over Cleveland, while Carter’s progressed Mars conjunct Uranus also was in the direction of Cleveland. In view of the election results, these placements would seem appropriate, with Mercury and Uranus considered a key to mental skill, while Mars and Uranus are more often suggestive of upsets and changes in the life. Numbers of people seem to have gone over to Reagan after the debate.
I was naturally delighted with the prospect of a new toy, so I asked Mark if he could program our computer to do local space charts. He said it would be relatively easy and that he could run some of the charts on family members (the first testing place for new ideas and techniques) and on famous people in our files. I had to leave immediately on a lecture tour, but the charts caught up with me in Puerto Rico and I managed to get the needed maps and transparencies and pens in Phoenix, AZ. I wish I could report success, but my preliminary work has drawn very little of significance. Teddy Kennedy does not have anything in the direction of Chappaquidick. Jim Jones does not have anything in the direction of Jonestown. I do not have anything in the direction of Tucson where I married, had my family, originally learned astrology, and got my graduate degrees. My only result of note so far, is Nixon with the south node of the Moon over Washington, DC. And even with that, using maps with slightly different projections gives different results. I think if the technique is worth pursuing, we will have to figure a way to correlate cities on earth with the planetary positions more effectively that using ordinary maps. So my conclusion, as of this moment, is that local space may occasionally hit something interesting, but longitude and declination, our familiar measures, are vastly more inclusive and dependable. But if you like new toys, don’t let me discourage you. I will go on looking at the local space map when I have time, but I won’t count on it to give me more that an occasional hint of the character and resultant life experiences.
The new (to me) technique for current patterns came from Gary Duncan at the AFA conference in New Orleans in August l980. Gary calls it Kinetic Solar Returns, or Kinetic Lunar Returns as the case might be. The technique was first described and named by Jim Eshelman. Instead of the return chart being erected for the moment when the sun (or moon) returns to its own natal place, the kinetic return is erected when the transiting sun or moon returns to its position in secondary progressions. The idea made sense to me because I have found that the progressed Sun conjunct the progressed Moon is the beginning of a new cycle and more important than the progressed Moon simply conjunct the natal Sun. Early in my work with astrology, I had tried solar returns for several years, but had not found them helpful enough to continue. Recently, Mark had programmed four varieties of solar and lunar returns; natal and current location, with and without precession, but I had not worked with enough charts to decide whether they were dependable. At present, they are in the “someday” category: someday I’ll do more work with them.
But a new technique is a new adventure, so Mark wrote a program to do the kinetic solar returns and I ran them on the charts of the politicians running for U.S. President and Vice President. Carter had to have two sets, since his progressed date was between election and inauguration. We ran one set for the other three; Reagan, Mondale, and Bush. As with the traditional returns, a set consists of birth place and local residence (in these charts, Washington, DC) for both normal and precession corrected sun positions. Of course, working with people with uncertain birth times (Reagan and Bush) is not a scientific way to test anything, but everyone was really curious about the election. I studied the charts briefly one night, and then put them aside until after the election. Now that it is over and counted, I am taking a serious look at the technique, since the charts are rather impressive for both Carter and Reagan. For example, Carter in the return before the election, had Saturn opposite the MC in the normal chart and opposite the Ascendant in the precession corrected chart. The orb was about 4 degrees for the first chart but looking at the natal and local MCs, Saturn was exactly at their midpoint! The opposition to the Ascendant was exact within 9 minutes in the precession corrected chart! Not only do the results speak for the technique; they also support the given birth time with the 26 Libra rising. The fact that both Reagan and Anderson had their progressed Suns at 26 Aries, hence opposite Carter’s natal Ascendant also seems to support his recorded time of 7 A.M. CST.
Both of Carter’s kinetic solar returns for the year including the inauguration also had heavy oppositions. The normal chart had Neptune opposite the MC within a one degree orb. The precession corrected chart had Jupiter and Saturn opposite the MC, more widely, but again with Jupiter at the midpoint of the natal and local MC. Pluto was square the Washington Ascendant within two degrees of orb. Reagan’s charts, in contrast, had a grand trine in fire signs with Neptune and the Ascendant forming one corner of the trine in the normal chart and Pluto in the tenth house sextile Neptune, Ascendant, and Mars, north node of the Moon, the latter two in the eighth house. The Sun and Moon conjunct within one degree in Aries formed the third corner of the fire trine. In the precession corrected chart, there was little difference in the angles since Reagan is at the age where the sun has moved almost exactly one degree against the backdrop of the stars, but the Moon was moved to a day later, into Taurus to conjunct Chiron and Ceres, in a semi-sextile to Venus in the sixth house, a trine to the East Point in the first house, and a quincunx to the MC.
I did not feel that the charts of Bush and Mondale gave as clear a picture as Carter and Reagan, but Bush had his Leo Sun in the first house, trine the MC in the normal chart.
The precession corrected chart looked more like a loser, with a grand cross in fixed signs including south node in the tenth house, opposite Sun and north node, square Ascendant and Chiron on one side and Uranus on the other side, with Uranus opposite the Ascendant. Wonder if that means a power struggle with Reagan during the term? In contrast, Mondale’s chart looked reasonably OK though not spectacular. The aspects were mostly wide orb. We might suspect that Reagan’s rising Neptune square the ninth house Saturn indicates a bit of hubris which will be duly chastened as he finds he can’t carry out any of his campaign promises, and that Bush will not like his role as the disappearing man, the usual fate of vice presidents. Mondale may find a new and satisfying place in service to the U.S., and find it a relief to be out of the hot spot. Or he may bide his time and come back in l984. Only time will tell. On the whole, I am impressed with the potential of the technique, and intend to work with it for much additional testing. It also encourages me to feel we might have nearly the right time for Reagan. I used 1:56 A.M., a time supposedly given by his wife. If any of our readers have experimented with kinetic returns, I would like to hear of your results.