The East Point and the Antivertex (continued from last issue)
These angle axes can, of course, fall across any of the six polarities by sign. The signs involved denote themes to be faced in the life. As with any opposition, we are striving to find that golden mean: the happy middle ground where the two ends of the polarity support and reinforce one another’s strengths and talents. We want to avoid the extremes of bouncing from one end of the seesaw to the other, eschew repression (where we develop the appropriate illness to act out the missing end) and bypass projection (where we attract others to overdo the themes with which we have not dealt.) Moderation, doing some of both sides of any polarity, keeps us balanced and healthy.
When either the Antivertex or East Point falls in Aries or Libra, we are facing a one/seven polarity. The issues are likely to emerge in the context of personal relationships. The balance we are seeking to maintain is between personal freedom, doing things alone, answering only to our personal wants, needs, desires and actions versus sharing a relationship with another person, whether cooperative or competitive. If the eastern end (EP or AV) is in Aries, we are more likely to identify with the need to be free, independent, on our own, expressing when, where, how we wish. If the eastern end of the axis is in Libra, we are more identified with the need for a one-to-one relationship with another. Equality, harmony, justice, fair play and a sense of even-handedness are likely to be basic parts of our identity. We may choose to relate in a cooperative way (and the extreme to be avoided is playing doormat, appeasing the other person). We may select (consciously or unconsciously) competitive relationships and engage in a series of game-playing (literally and figuratively) associations. We are learning to balance our need for freedom with our need for closeness. We are learning to integrate acting and reacting. We are dealing with the issue of power: whether in our hands or in the hands of other people. Hopefully we are moving towards a comfortable blend: we do not have all the power; the other party does not have all the power. Sometimes we get our way; sometimes they get their way; many times we both compromise, harmonize and meet in the middle.
If these angles fall across Taurus and Scorpio, issues of sensuality are being faced through close relationships. The goal is to reach a comfortable inner balance between self-indulgence and self-control. The arenas of focus can involve money (spending versus saving; earning it yourself versus depending on someone else); food; drink; sensuality and sexuality. There is often a tendency toward extremes: feast versus famine; sex versus celibacy; overdrinking and then cutting it out completely, etc. Moderation is again the goal—being able to comfortably enjoy the physical sense world. Overindulgence is a problem. But denial is just as much a problem. Some people cut out a part of their lives completely (be it sex, dealing with money, etc.) as that is the “only” way they feel they can be in control. The polarity emphasizes being able to experience BOTH ends without overdoing either extreme.
Because inner ambivalences are often subjectively “easier” if we experience them as “out there,” many people will externalize this conflict. Rather than fully feeling the inner struggle, they (unconsciously) choose to identify with one end of the polarity. Then, they attract other individuals (with the same conflicts) who can live out the other end of the polarity. So, we can attract partners who have their own internal struggles around indulgence versus control. Then, the relationship easily falls into power struggles around money, sex and the sharing of the physical sense world. We can fight about spending versus saving; how much sex, when, what kind, etc. We can nag each other about our weight or how much we should or should not drink, smoke, etc. In order to fully resolve the outer (relationship) struggles, we must balance the inner dilemma. The more comfortably we can adjust to our own approach-avoidance feelings around sensual issues, the more easily we can give, receive and share pleasures, possessions and the physical sense world with others.
Where the eastern angle is in Taurus, we are more likely to identify with the need for pleasure (including the potential of liking ourselves) and comfort. Where the eastern angle is in Scorpio, we are more likely to feel the need for self-control, personally identifying with a sense of mastery.
When these angles fall across Gemini and Sagittarius, the issues revolve around short-term curiosity versus long-range goals and values. This is an extremely restless and mental combination. Usually the mind is important, and part of the identity is found through thinking, speaking and the whole intellectual world. People with this polarity are often perpetual students (always studying something new—formally or informally), teachers (sharing their knowledge with others) and travelers (searching for new horizons, new experiences in order to learn and understand more of the world). Generally, the person is bright and articulate (sometimes TOO talkative).
When the eastern angles are in Gemini, a sibling (or aunt, uncle, other collateral relative) may be an important role model—positive or negative. If positive, we want to be like them. If negative, we tend to do the opposite of what they did. The person is often insatiably curious and loves to collect little bits of (what seems to be useless) information and trivia. The interests tend to be quite varied, and the individual may be somewhat scattered. Sometimes the curiosity can appear cold and callous as the level of objectivity is potentially high. There is usually an openness to learning in any situation.
Where the western angles fall in Gemini, the attraction is toward a meeting of the minds in partnerships. Communication and intellect are important. Information is shared. If projected, one partner may think, talk or be detached and light-hearted for the other.
If the eastern end occupies Sagittarius, the individual is more concerned with finding final answers. The goal seeking is oriented toward questions of meaning, truth, philosophy and religion. Why are we here? Where are we going? What (if anything) does life mean? All these are very personal issues for the individual. If these individuals decide they have found THE truth, there can be problems. This is the potential missionary combination: “I have the truth, world. It is the only truth. And I am willing to fight to ram it down your throat.” They may aggressively pursue ultimate values and belief systems. Such people are, in some way, identified with the absolute. This can manifest as: “I should be perfect.” Perfection may be defined as having all the right answers to all the right questions; as being witty, charming and fun; as traveling to all the right places, etc. Then, they can decide, “I am perfect; the world only needs to recognize and appreciate me,” or “I should be perfect; I’m not; therefore I am nothing.” Seeking perfection in the form of some higher meaning in life is usually more satisfying than trying to play God personally.
If the western angles fall in Sagittarius, the challenge is to seek meaning, truth and an intellectual absolute with another person without demanding impossibly high expectations (of self, other or the relationship).
Where either or both axes fall across Cancer and Capricorn, parental issues are significant in the basic identity and self-expression as well as in close, personal relationships. The polarity calling for balance is between unconditional and conditional love. Cancer represents the unconditional love parent (usually mother, but it can be father or whoever played that role in the life). That is the parent that protects us, cares for us, gives us the basic nurturance, nourishment and support which we need when very young, without which we would die. Or, at least, that is what unconditional love is supposed to be like: “I love you because you are, because you exist. You do not have to DO anything for that love.”
The conditional love parent, by contrast, is teaching us about reality. That is the parent (or parent figure, whoever played the role or was supposed to) who says, in effect, “I love you when you do the right things. I will reward and punish you on the basis of behavior.” That parent teaches us about consequences—as you sow, so shall you reap. That parent inculcates the shoulds and shouldn’ts, the oughts and oughtn’ts of life into our being. From that person, we learn how to behave in a society of other people, what the rules are, what is expected of us. We face the limits in life: what we can do; what we cannot do; what we have to do. Once we internalize those limits, they restrict us in terms of our own inner conscience.
Where this polarity is repeated in the chart, the individual may be torn between expressing the conditional love approach to life, or the unconditional. They may be unsure whether to come across as the loving mother or stern father. They may feel a conflict in terms of time and energy commitments between home, family and domestic desires versus the need for work, achievement and accomplishment in the outer world (including a career). They may swing between dominance and dependency.
If the eastern end is in Cancer, the identification was more with the unconditional love parent. However, parental role models can be positive or negative. We may want to be similar to our parental role model, or we may want to be the opposite. When parents are keys to the identity, it simply suggests that the individual is comparing his or her behavior with that of the parent. The parent is the standard: either of what TO do, or of what NOT to do. If we did not like the kind of unconditional love experience we had when young, if we felt frustrated or unhappy or deprived or overprotected or smothered, or whatever, we may take that unconditional love parent as a negative role model and do the opposite of what s/he did. If we felt basically comfortable with their example, we will usually follow it.
If the eastern end of one of these angle axes is in Capricorn, the identification is more with the conditional love parent. The person usually faces reality young. From an early age, that person tends to feel responsible and be aware of the limits. If we overdo internal limits (feeling blocked, frustrated, incapable, inadequate, self-critical), then we end up being a self-blocker. We stop ourselves before we even start, convinced we would just fail, fall short, or be blocked by the world anyway. If we underdo the internal limits, we are constantly fighting against the rules of the games, the ordinary limitations of society. We may constantly battle authority figures (from father onward); we may fight against time; we may break the law; we can act against the accepted conventions of our culture and society in a number of ways. Again, the conditional love parent could have given us a negative or positive example in terms of expressing ourselves within the limits of what is possible in a real, physical world.
When Capricorn is the western end of the axis, the individual is facing conditional love issues through partners. The goal is to be able, in a relationship, to share the power, share the responsibilities, the practicalities in life. Integration means both parties do all that they can within the limits of what is possible in life and in the relationship. Negative forms include projecting the energy and attracting someone to play “father” for us (whether male or female). Then we unconsciously attract strong, dominating, often critical individuals who try to control us (but are stable and predictable). Or, we attract workaholics who do not have time for the relationship. Or, we attract very weak individuals who (unconsciously) expect us to carry the whole load, take care of business, be “daddy.” If we have unfinished business with our father or father figure (the conditional love parent), we are likely to meet the same issues through partners, until we resolve them. One positive option includes turning our fathers into partners, reaching an equalitarian, sharing relationship with our conditional love parent(s). But, regardless of our eventual relationship with that parent, we need to feel accepting and comfortable with our work-oriented, power-conscious, conscientious, consequence-aware side in order to handle it positively in our love relationships.
Where Cancer is the western end of either or both of these axes, if there is unfinished business, it usually lies with mother (or whoever played the unconditional love parent role). Nurturance and dependency are issues in close, personal, one-to-one relationships. We may turn our mothers into partners (positively in terms of equal sharing and communications or negatively in terms of perhaps being so close to a parent that we do not “want” or “need” other committed relationships). We may look (consciously or unconsciously) for partners who will mother us (either repeating the “good” or the “bad” mothering which we feel we got, or looking for the kind of mothering we feel we did not get, but always wanted). We may seek (consciously or unconsciously) partners who will allow us to mother them (as the “good” or “bad” mother, or both). Then we attract weaker people, who need to be taken care of, supported, protected, etc. The compromise or middle ground leaves room for both people to be warm, committed, emotional and supportive. They take turns taking care of each other. Each nurtures the other in his/her areas of particular strength. Each is able to give nurturance, and each is able to receive it (which means being willing to be dependent, being emotionally open and vulnerable, willing to share with another human being).
Where the opposition involves Leo and Aquarius, a part of the dilemma is the common freedom versus closeness struggle. Such people are trying to blend a need to be special, be a star, be loving and loved in an intense way with a need for freedom, uniqueness, independence and not being tied down. A part of the opposition involves combining the heart and the head—feelings and thinking. Another part involves time for both close, intense love relationships (which can include children) and friends and outer world associations and activities. Another potential issue is making peace between self-esteem (and a natural, human need to be proud of ourselves, to shine, to be special in some area—a potential “better than” feeling) with equalitarian, humanitarian principles (“We are all equal. Everyone deserves equal opportunity to be all that s/he is capable of being.”)
Where the eastern end falls in Leo, we are more likely to initially identify with the need for attention, response, admiration from the world. We are more likely to be personally acting out and expressing our need to be a star. We may be the natural actor or actress with tremendous charisma, magnetism and persuasive ability. If the eastern end falls in Aquarius, we are more likely to identify with our uniqueness, our individuality and our feelings for justice and fair play. We may enjoy shocking others occasionally with unconventional behavior, designed to prove that all rules can be broken. We may be very unique and inventive or simply eccentric and strange. We may be rebellious in a number of areas. We are likely to identify with our minds, whereas Leo identifies with the heart. We may be great rationalizers—able to intellectualize everything.
If Leo is involved with the western end, we need exciting, dramatic, fun relationships. If shared, both people are dynamic, magnetic and active individuals. They admire, applaud and look up to one another. If projected, one individual is likely to be TOO ego-involved. Everything revolves around him/her. That person may expect to play the role of king or queen with others cast as mere courtiers. Everything in the life may be exaggerated, imbued with larger-than-life importance as a way of seeking grandeur and majesty.
If the western end is Aquarius, we are seeking to experience uniqueness, freedom and open-endedness in our relationships. We may have unusual associations, non-standard ways of sharing our lives with others. We may project and attract free souls who do not want to commit to a partnership; or excessively strange or weird or irresponsible partners; or significant others who are from a very different background, race, religion, etc. If the need for variety, something new and different, is not satisfied positively, relationships tend to be unstable. Divorce is a possibility, with either party playing out the role of: “I don’t like this; I’m leaving!” Not a traditional do-everything-together couple, such people need some space in their relationships, to feel they are not tied down or limited. If both people are bright, versatile, independent and able to enjoy each other’s uniqueness, then they are the best of friends, really respecting and tolerating their differences. The partnership can be a very long-lasting one, provided both get the needed intellectual stimulation, variety and sense of openness within the sharing.
Virgo-Pisces is the final polarity. Here, the individuals are striving to unite the beautiful dream with the nitty-gritty reality of the world. The goal is to have an ideal vision, a utopian concept, but also have the pragmatism and willingness to work in small, not always exciting ways to achieve the wonderful vision. People can overdo either end. Too much Virgo and we get the squirrel cage mentality—all caught up in doing the job JUST RIGHT and concerned with every little flaw or shortcoming that appears. The proverbial forest is obscured by a minute focusing on the trees (or a millimeter of bark on that specific tree). Work is consuming, but without a sense of purpose or a framework of higher meaning. Pisces without Virgo however is the clichéd space cadet—lost in the clouds, dreaming life away, waiting for one’s ship to come in, anticipating some cosmic Santa Claus who will come along and make everything perfect. Or, running away from life—into alcohol, other drugs, fantasy, psychosis, chronic illness, etc.—any avenue which offers the opportunity to avoid recognizing that life is NOT ideal and that the escaping party is not doing anything to improve it! With an integrated Virgo-Pisces polarity, Pisces offers the faith, the trust, the hope for something more, something Higher, the sense of connectedness of the Universe and all of life which puts our practical (Virgo) efforts in the everyday, workaday world into perspective and gives us the inspiration to keep on keeping on, taking the necessary, realistic steps to achieve our highest ideals.
Where the eastern end is in Virgo, we are most likely to personally identify with the need to work and to be pragmatic. Such individuals need early responsibilities (which are within their capabilities). They tend to feel guilty when not working, as if they SHOULD be contributing in some way. They are generally identified with their work (“I am what I do.”) and with a performance orientation. If carried too far, this can lead to excessive self-criticism. The flaw-finding, judgmental faculties are turned against the self and the self is always falling short. Illness, problems in the way the body functions, can be the escape for people who feel they OUGHT to be working. After all, if one is too SICK to work, one does not have to feel guilty. When done in moderation, the individual identified with Virgo is simply very practical and realistic, usually works hard and sees life and the self clearly.
Where the eastern end is in Pisces, more of the identity is tied to idealism and the search for mystic oneness. This generally leads to high standards for the self. (“I should be perfect.” Or, “I already am perfect and the world should recognize it.”) The three major roles through which individuals express the idealism of Pisces are: artist, savior and victim. We choose whether we will seek the connection to the Infinite through creating more beauty in the world, through making a more perfect world, or by running away to our own imagined world.
If the western end of the angle axis involves Virgo, we are learning through relationships to deal with practicality, hard work, the focus and concentration on necessary details and efficient functioning. If shared, both people work at their relationships, to build a solid foundation of sharing. Sometimes they work together literally, sharing a career or other tasks. Sometimes work and relationships blend as we meet partners through work. Where the Virgo qualities are projected, we may attract workaholic partners who overdo the nitty-gritty focus. Or, we may attract people we can criticize, or people who criticize us. Overvaluing work and achievement can interfere with the emotional sharing context of the relationship. If one party is too much into being the practical, responsible one, that individual can unconsciously attract people for whom s/he ends up working. Both people need to look at the relationship realistically and put some effort into achieving good interactions with one another.
If the western end is in Pisces, we seek experiences of unity with the Universe through our close relationships. Potential dangers include: searching for the ideal relationship and never being satisfied; believing one has found Prince/ss Charming only to be disillusioned later; attracting victims who need to be rescued; attracting “saints” who feel they are ideal. More fulfilling options include creating beauty with a partner; sharing a spiritual quest; looking for an ultimate through idealistic, inspirational activities. The key is to allow ourselves and our partners to be human and to value our relationships even when imperfect.
One basic astrological rule of thumb is that the more aspects a factor has, especially close aspects, the more important that factor is. (A one degree orb is usually highly significant. Up to three degrees is generally important.) Thus, if the Antivertex is strongly aspected and the East Point has relatively few aspects, I pay more attention to the Antivertex. If both are relatively weak in terms of aspects, I give them little weight in my delineation.
Aspects are interpreted in terms of the nature of the aspects; the nature of the planets plus themes suggested by houses and signs. As indicated earlier, conjunctions to the eastern end of the axis show major themes in our basic identity, sense of self, personal action and expression. Conjunctions to the western end indicate qualities we tend to manifest in our relationships—either directly, ourselves, sharing with others, or through projection—attracting someone else who will express those qualities for us.
Squares, oppositions and quincunxes to the East Point or Antivertex suggest the part of our life symbolized by the factor in hard aspect in some way conflicts with a part of our basic identity, our natural self-expression, our physical body, our personal freedom to do and be as we please in life. (This is further modified by the nature of the factor—planet, asteroid, angle—involved plus house and sign placements). Hard aspects to the West Point or Vertex point to the need to integrate that part of our life symbolized by the factor in hard aspect with our desire for one-to-one relationships, our need for equality, the qualities we tend to meet first in other people in our close, sharing associations.
The so-called soft aspects—trine, sextile and semi-sextile—indicate parts of our nature which are in harmony with either our basic identity (where the East Point and Antivertex are concerned) or our interaction with others (Vertex and West Point). Such aspects indicate the potential of easily combining and blending these various sides of ourselves.
I am not going to attempt to cover all the aspects. Readers can apply the principles of the twelve letter alphabet to figure out relevant aspects. The Antivertex and East Point are other forms of Letter One. The Vertex and West Point are other forms of Letter Seven.
These angles, like the other angles of the horoscope, seem to be very significant in synastry and chart comparison. It is quite common to find strong conjunctions and oppositions to these angles between charts. Frequently, one will find, in significant relationships, that there are angle interchanges. E.g., one person’s East Point/West Point axis falls across the MC/IC axis of the other, or across the nodal axis, or across the Ascendant/Descendant axis, etc.
These angles seem to operate as very personal points (on the eastern end) and as keys to relationships (on the western end). So ties between them are often keys to relationships of major importance.
Generally, both the Antivertex and East Point function as auxiliary Ascendants—additional keys to themes of importance in our basic identity, our self-expression in the world, our personal needs and actions. The Vertex and West Point function as keys to our relationships—the kinds of qualities we seek in relationships, the sorts of attributes we may project and experience through other people who are unconsciously attracted to express that side of ourselves for us. Close aspects symbolize fundamental issues in our self-expression and our one-to-one interactions.
Both axes, as oppositions, show areas of life—by sign and house—where we are working to integrate, seeking the middle point. Both ends need each other. They are natural partners. We are learning to express some of each side, to support the synthesis—the best of both ends. And those issues which are most important will be repeated in several ways in the chart. The more we can be aware of the rich variety of options we have, the more different sides to our own nature we can recognize and utilize when appropriate, the more fulfilling lives we can lead!