Nero: Modern Techniques on an Ancient Chart

Ruth Dewey

One of this century’s most quoted clichés is that those who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it. Unfortunately, the archetype of the tyrannical and bloody ruler has reappeared all too often down through the centuries down to this very decade. We have studied the charts of many of these men, picked them apart to try to understand what made them the way they were; yet the image of Nero evokes a special fascination. Among the annals of evil, he still maintains a special place, a certain fascination. We have read about him in books, seen him in movies, watched him on TV. Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus Nero—Caesar and Superstar!

Seutonius, the historian and secretary to the Emperor Hadrian was responsible for preserving the astrological data. He tells of the astrologer who refused to give Nero’s mother, Agrippina, the horoscope he charted at the child’s birth. The reason—the chart revealed that this newborn child was destined to kill his mother. Modern astrology disdains this kind of fatalism, but one of the many alternatives this chart contains points to just that, and as history records, Nero did have his mother murdered.

What does this chart show? What kind of message does this 1,948 year old horoscope have for us? The patterns the universe shows us in the heavens may differ, but human nature, alas, often remains the same.

In examining the chart, you (the reader) will notice a few differences between my work and that which is usually shown within these pages. I use Koch house cusps and rely more upon midpoints—midpoints which have been “folded over” and sorted into a 16th harmonic of the 360° circle. I call it a 22-1/2° midpoint sort. It is available as an option from Astro Computing Services and is as easy to read as a newspaper column. The sort is included here. “C” is the Aries Point and stands for “Cardinal.” I like to keep the midpoints simple by using one letter for the angles.

If you wish to explore the sort and the 16th harmonic, (a division of the circle by 16 which produces an aspect of 22 1/2°), here is a simple formula to extract these aspects. The aspects grouped in the 16th harmonic include our familiar conjunction, opposition, square, octile, and trioctile, to which are added the less familiar semi- or half-octile, and its multiples not listed above: these are the 22-1/2°, 67-1/2°, 112-1/2° and 157-1/2° aspects.

To produce a 16th harmonic sort without the aid of a computer:

From 0° to 22°30’ of Cardinal signs—Leave the degrees and minutes as they are.

From 22°30’ to 29°59’ of Cardinal signs—Subtract 22-1/2°

From 0° to 15° of Fixed signs—Add 7-1/2°

From 15° to 29°59’ of Fixed signs—Subtract 15°

From 0° to 7°30’ of Mutable signs—Add 15°

From 7°30’ to 29°59’ of Mutable signs—Subtract 7-1/2°

Using Nero’s chart as an example, here is how his planets are sorted.

Sun is 22 Sag 22-Subtract 7-1/2°=14,52.

Moon is 12 Leo 30-Add 7-1/2°=20,00.

Mercury is 0 Sag 31-Add 15° = 15,31.

Venus is 22 Cap 59-Subtract 22-1/2°=00,29.

Mars is 25 Sag 54-Subtract 22-1/2°=18,24.

Jupiter is 14 Scorpio 21-Add 7-1/2°=21,51.

Saturn is 26 Virgo 26-Subtract 7-1/2°=18,56.

Uranus is 15 Virgo 21-Subtract 7-1/2°=7,51.

Neptune is 7 Aquarius 48-Add 7-1/2°=15,18.

Pluto is 22 Sag 16-Subtract 7-1/2°=14,46.

True Node is 3 Cap 13-Leave as is=3,13.

Mean Node is 3 Can 48-Leave as is=3,48.

Vertex is 5 Leo 02-Add 7-1/2°=12,32.

East Point is 13 Cap 24-Leave as is=13,24.

Ascendant is 22 Sag 21-Subtract 7-1/2°=14,51.

Midheaven is 15 Libra 51-Leave as is=15,51.

The Aries or Cardinal Point is always 00:00.

Sorry, no asteroids. In charts this old, their placements could be doubtful due to perturbations. Even the placements of our three outer planets cannot be guaranteed, especially Pluto since it is small and, like the asteroids, more subject to alterations of its orbit by gravitational pulls from larger planets. However, the way the outer planets work in this chart is reassuring, and is probably a tribute to our modern computers.

Now that we have a sort, what do we do with it? Put everything in numerical order. All aspects will appear as conjunctions, but the wheel can be checked for our major ones, such as conjunctions (Sun, Ascendant and Pluto), oppositions (Nodes), and squares (Mars, Saturn).

Cardinal Point




North Node


South Node






East Point






















What is left are: octiles of Neptune to Ascendant, Sun and Pluto; and Mercury to the Midheaven. Then there are two which point out the semi-octiles: the Vertex to the East Point and Mercury to the Ascendant, Sun and Pluto.

These two semi-octiles are more fuel for the mutable dilemma in this chart. Whatever has been written about Nero, he was not stupid. He had been trained by the best minds in the Empire, Seneca being the most notable, and Nero was interested in a lot more than the day-to-day running of the Empire. Then consider this—he ascended the throne only 2 months short of his 18th birthday. What would you do when you discovered that you were Emperor, Pontifex Maximus (Pope) and God all at once? Graduation from contemporary high school is NOTHING compared to this.

In our sort, the Ascendant (identity, self-will in action) equals (aspects) Sun, Mercury, Neptune, Pluto, MC. This is a powerful network of interconnected aspects. The more factors in a chart that we link by aspects, the more intensity we are likely to find in the person, whether in the form of great talent or great conflict or both.

Having this kind of power, Nero remained an obnoxious (and dangerous) adolescent all of his life.

Another combination to be considered is Venus and its semi-octile to the Aries point, plus its quincunx to the Descendant (traditional aspects outside of the 22-1/2° sort should never be ignored.) Anyone familiar with Nero’s attitudes towards partnership and other Venusian areas can appreciate this aspect complex. One of his acts which contributed to his downfall was his rape and murder of a Vestal Virgin. It was a personal matter when he killed his wife and mother, but Vestal Virgins were a public matter, under the protection of the Temple and the Gods. When Nero was cornered at the end of his short but destructive life, he is said to have turned to a mistress to help him commit suicide.

The truth is, this chart deserves a book of its own!

So does the 22-1/2° sort.

Explore and enjoy.

P.S. from Zip Dobyns: Early readers of our journal will remember that John Nelson used all aspects that are multiples of 7 1/2°, 11 1/4°, and 18° in his forecasts of the state of the ionosphere, the area above our atmosphere. German astrologers in both the Uranian and Cosmobiology schools of astrology emphasize the aspects of 22 1/2° and its multiples. Note that in the aspects independently discovered by Nelson, 22 1/2° appears in two of his series. It is three times 7 1/2 and two times 11 1/2. The 16th harmonic sort offers us an easy way to see all the factors in a chart which are interconnected in a network of these aspects.

Copyright © 1985 Los Angeles Community Church of Religious Science, Inc.

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