Quiz Answers

Maritha Pottenger

(Remember, there is often more than one “right” answer to a question!)

1. The Midheaven of a horoscope moves approximately one degree for every degree of longitude you travel. Therefore, if this woman moved west about 20 degrees of longitude, her local Midheaven in that area would conjunct Venus. (As one moves west, time and zodiacal positions are earlier. Longitude, however, at least in the U.S., is “later”—that is higher degrees. Such a move might involve going from around 90W to around 110W.)

2. My personal belief system is that one cannot “use” horoscope positions to try to “get out of” something we have earned (through past actions) nor to try to acquire something we haven’t earned. I don’t believe that moving to a particular area (for relocation, solar returns, etc.) will guarantee anything. Our destiny is based on personal attitudes and actions. I would bring up my beliefs (in a gentle fashion) with such a client, and encourage her to take actions to support her quest for an important partnership. (Such actions might include the necessity of loving herself first and not hoping a “love of my life” will solve all her relating problems.)

I would also point out that the planets are SYMBOLIC, and symbols have a variety of meanings! Moving to a Venus area might mean a focus on love relationships, but it could also mean more money (especially connected to the career point of the MC)—or focus on (e.g., concern about) finances in that area. It could also point to an artistic focus, some kind of a beauty involvement in the work or life. And self-indulgence is an option. I don’t know of anyone who has consciously chosen a Venus area and said “I’m going to move there and get fat!” However, if we do not do our part to create what we want in life, we will satisfy the basic symbols in some fashion—often through unconscious drives with less-than-satisfying results!

I would encourage her to take charge of her inner power over her life and work sensibly toward the result(s) she wants. The more she deliberately focuses on what she wants, creates opportunities to achieve it, and puts her life in a state of openness and readiness for what she is visualizing and working on—the more likely she is to manifest it.

3. The versatile new friend sounds like someone with a mutable dilemma (interested in anything and everything, with not enough time to learn it all and sometimes trouble focusing on ONE thing). Of course, the emphasis in her horoscope might come through strong placements in mutable signs, in mutable houses, or having the mutable planets prominent or strongly aspected. (The latter form is the strongest statement.) We would especially expect the polarity of 3-9 (Mercury-Jupiter; 3rd house-9th house; Gemini-Sagittarius) to be focalized in her chart for the emphasis in her life on learning, education, religion and travel.

4. When a client arrives who has always had good health and is suddenly having health problems, my first thought is to ask how s/he is feeling about his or her job (as work and health both relate to Letter 6).

5. When minor surgeries are involved in health difficulties, we suspect tie-ins with Mars and Pluto (or Letter 1 and Letter 8). With such a client, I would want to investigate the areas of self-expression, personal power and the ability to act on personal desires. There may be blocked anger (Mars) or resentment. Perhaps he feels unable to do what he would really like to do (because he fears losing the job, finds authorities confining, etc.). Financial questions may be part of the picture (as we suspect Pluto involvement). Anger, resentment or frustration could be tied to joint resources or the shared handling of money (with a mate, a business partner, etc.). Mars and Pluto make a natural quincunx (in terms of Letter 1 to Letter 8), so he could be fighting himself: spontaneity (Letter 1) versus holding in, holding back and being secretive (Letter 8). He could feel torn between open pursuit of his desires (Letter 1) versus maintaining a sense of self-mastery and self-control. Personal action (Letter 1) may seem at odds with the rights and needs of other people, especially a mate (Letter 8). Once he learns to make a compromise, allowing expression of both drives, he can have inner (and then outer) harmony. It may require some work learning to take turns and make peace between the warring factions. Action (Letter 1) might be necessary (e.g., leaving an uncomfortable situation) or a transformation of feelings (Letter 8)—transmuting negatives into positives—could save the day. By bringing up the issues and looking at them, he has a chance to decide on a course that will be more fulfilling (and more healthy) for himself.

Once illness has reached the physical level, I personally feel it is important to treat it with physical means. However, I would also encourage clients to use their mental, emotional and spiritual assets in treatment—both to hasten a cure and to prevent recurrence of a problem. Internal balance promotes good health!

6. A number of factors can play a part in drug abuse. Depending on the individual, some may be more important and central than others. By knowing which issues seem more significant (based on the horoscope), you can guess which lines of action will be most productive. That is, just like a doctor, you make a diagnosis first which establishes the treatment line!

The following are four possible factors in drug abuse and the astrological keys we would expect to be strongly configured. Note that successfully dealing with the problems entails finding POSITIVE outlets for the drives which have led to drug abuse (as a negative expression).

(a) ESCAPISM. We would expect a strong focus on Letters 9 or 12 (or both) in the horoscope (the need for inspiration, upliftment, beauty and perfection in life). Also likely is conflict with Letter 10 (authorities and the laws of the land). Letters 6 and 10, especially, may be underdeveloped (blocks in facing reality) or simply in conflict with 9 and 12. [REMEMBER—these same patterns can point to the realistic mystic or the healing and saving individual!] The central core of treatment would be to find another channel for the idealism and perfectionism that is so prominent. Religion is one potential channel, so is helping/healing work. Groups such as AA are ideal for this kind of a person, as they are based on turning victims into saviors. Beauty could give an alternate, positive focus for the yearning for something more, something higher, something inspirational in life. The family would have to be open to exploring possibilities with this son, to see what channels suit him the best, and then supporting him in those directions.

(b) PEER PRESSURE. We would expect a strong focus on the need for other people—especially the need for approval from others. Options include a strong focus on Letters 7 and 8 (especially stelliums in those houses). A potentially vulnerable placement includes any rulers of the 1st house (Mars, Ascendant ruler, ruler of signs in 1st) which are keys to self placed in the 7th or 8th houses. This CAN indicate “my power, my ability to act is in the hands of other people.” Another potentially vulnerable position is the Sun (or rulers of the 5th) in the 7th or 8th: “my ego is vulnerable to others; I need them to like and admire me.” To a lesser extent, Leo or Aries in those houses carries the theme. Although they are a bit more objective, the 3rd and 11th houses are also indicative of other people and social needs. Vulnerability to the actions and opinions of others is possible with Letters 1 or 5 involved with 3 or 11 (but much less likely). We would have to consider the whole chart. A strong focus on earth and water is much more prone to insecurity than fire and air. We would consider all the identity (Letter 1) factors and seek themes. If there is the danger of self-criticism (Letter 6 and/or 10 mixed with Letter 1) or high expectations (Letter 9 and/or 12 mixed with Letter 1), then there may be more-than-usual vulnerability to the opinions of others.

[Again, remember that all of these “vulnerable” placements can also be expressed in other ways. They are common, for instance, among counselors.]

If peer pressure seems a strong part of the problem, we would look for ways to strengthen the individual’s sense of self and personal power. Programs which encourage the individual to assert his own power would be very appropriate (not so simple as “Just say No” but providing actual support and assistance for the act of resistance). Initially, a residential live-in situation might even be helpful—whereby the peer group becomes one which will support a drug-free atmosphere.

The family can help by admiring and approving other positive actions and activities in which the individual engages. Satisfy the need for attention and approval through other channels. Help him find ways to be “a star” and to be important that are less self-destructive. Expose him to people of his age group that will admire self-assertion in healthy ways.

Purely authoritarian approaches will be counterproductive. He needs a lot of love and time and encouragement to develop his self-confidence and willingness to be himself even when others do NOT approve.

(c) REBELLION & EXPERIMENTATION. For some people, trying drugs is one form of excitement, risk-taking and thrill-seeking. They enjoy the scent of danger and may unconsciously invite parental “discovery” because they “want” to flaunt their rebellion. In such cases, we would expect a strong focus on Letters 1, 5, 9 and 11 (risk-takers, excitement addicts of the zodiac).

The best advice for parents with such teen-agers is to “stay cool!” If part of the pay-off is you getting upset, the more you can be objective and detached, the less exciting their rebellion will seem to them. Again, do everything you can to channel their human, natural drive (for excitement) into activities and directions which are more constructive. Perhaps this individual loves motorcycles, hang gliding or other thrill-seeking sports. Perhaps he would be attracted by mountain climbing or other activities which test his limits. He might benefit through an Outward Bound course (where people test their physical limits). Encourage him to engage in activities which will give him that “adrenaline high.” Also bear in mind that his nature is to take chances. Practice learning serenity so that you do not worry about him all the time!

(d) SELF-INDULGENCE. For some individuals, drug abuse is simply doing what they want to do. They are strongly self-focused and determined to do what they want and enjoy life on their terms. For such cases, there is usually a strong focus on the “personal” side of life (the first four letters of the astrological alphabet, especially Letters 1 and 2). They are unlikely to be moved by outside influences. They will quit if and when it suits them. If they are reasonably sensible, they may not indulge in life-threatening drugs, but still feel they have a right to their pleasure regardless of the law. (Again, in all cases, we would expect some conflict with Letter 10 for the law and possibly with Letter 9 for moral and ethical principles.)

If you are a concerned parent, the best you can do at this point is to expose them to opportunities for other forms of pleasure. (Just like dieting, don’t expect people to give up something for nothing. Substitute other pleasures for the one being sacrificed. That is, pleasure from food—or drugs—can be replaced by pleasure from beauty (artistic pursuits), spending money (if you can afford it), gardening, back rubs or other forms of sensual/material gratification.

If the individual is an extreme case of “I have a right to what I want from the world,” you will need quite a bit of serenity and probably need to learn to release yourself emotionally from the situation. It is unlikely that there is really anything you can do to change such a person. However, if that person is in your family, it is a strong message that—in some way—you have been blocking your own pursuit of pleasure and what you want. Perhaps you are TOO responsible, dutiful, controlled or self-denying. This person (in his extreme) is sending a clear message that you have been acting out the other extreme and need to move more toward a middle ground. (He MAY move more to the middle if you do, and he may not. You will either both become more balanced, or the relationship will become less central in your life as YOU become more balanced.)

I would discuss the issue of projection with such a parent (very gently), pointing out that the people around us often express (in an exaggerated fashion) sides of our own nature which we have not yet integrated fully. If a teenager is expressing a strong escapist theme, the parents may be denying their own needs for beauty, the spiritual, etc. It is also common that kids who get into a victim role come into families with one or both parents who tend to be “savior” types. They need to be needed! If the parents can channel their desire to rescue into other activities, it is likely to be helpful. Family members cannot save each other. We can only save ourselves.

As astrologers, we are also counselors, and must remember to deal with the person who is with us. It is easy to concentrate too much on some outside person with whom the client is having difficulties. (This is like the so-called “identified patient” in family therapy. There is always an interlocking family system. It is NOT just one person’s “problem.”) I would tactfully strive to help the parent see that his/her drives and desires must be recognized—and that the teenager may well be acting out (in exaggerated forms) the parent’s repressed desire for independence and rebellion, idealism and the beautiful dream, or approval and admiration from others. The more the parent can move toward a balanced expression, the more potential for the teenager to balance as well.

7. Pluto, Saturn and Vesta are our three “obsessive-compulsive” factors in the horoscope, pointing to the potential of strong focus, endurance, follow-through, organizational abilities and pragmatism. They can also indicate pickiness, never letting go (“forever and ever, Amen”), tunnel vision and compulsivity. Our actions determine whether these abilities are a weakness or a strength.

8. The factors which we associate with psychic ability are water and Letter 11. The planets are ALWAYS the most important. Thus, the strongest indicators in a horoscope would be prominent water planets or Uranus prominent by position and/or aspects. Conjunctions between any of the “psychic” planets are the strongest pointers suggesting intuitive abilities (e.g., Moon-Neptune, Uranus-Neptune, etc.), although other aspects can also point to psychic talent. Usually, water is a key to that inner knowing—“picking up” things psychically, while Uranus is more sudden insights or flashes. Water signs and houses (along with the 11th house and Aquarius) can back up ability suggested by the planets, but are usually not as dramatic by themselves.

When fire is strongly connected to intuitive abilities, the psychic impulses may go directly into action without any conscious awareness on the part of the individual. This is the person who instinctively does the “right” thing at the “right” time, without knowing why. (Sometimes you’ll even hear them say, “I don’t know why I’m doing this, but I know it’s important.”)

When earth is strongly connected to intuitive capacities, the psychic abilities are often blocked. The person may not trust them—instead wanting something that is “real” (i.e., physically measurable). Skepticism may stop them from making use of their impressions. If they work past the doubts, they can put their intuition to work in the world, using it in a career, in business, or to achieve lasting results in some way.

When air is strongly connected to intuitive potentials, the unconscious knowing can be consciously expressed and communicated. This is an excellent combination for trance mediums and our best psychotherapists—who deal with unconscious material and impressions and bring it to the surface to be understood. Of course, if the water/air focus is carried too far, you can have dreamers and drifters who never do anything in life.

When water is the predominant form of the psychic talents, it may be very deeply buried, emerging mostly through dreams and other unconscious messages. The person may need to work through journals, meditation or other channels to the Higher Self to be able to consciously put impressions into words.

9. The planet that practically rolls along on its side is Uranus—a maverick in terms of symbolic meaning (individualistic, unique, rebellious) and a maverick in terms of its axial tilt!

10. When examining a chart with the principles of the “Zip Code” (12-letter alphabet), we first determine which areas (if any) we wish to focus on. In this case, the analysis is of basic identity—which is indicated by all forms of Letter 1. [Please note that this is NOT intended to be a complete delineation of the chart involved. We are choosing to focus in on ONE particular life area, i.e. basic identity. We are limiting ourselves to examining only those factors which are keys to that life area. A complete delineation would consider everything in the horoscope.]

We begin with conjunctions (the strongest aspect). Here we have the Antivertex (one form of Letter 1, similar to the Ascendant, but not as important) conjunct the Sun (Letter 5) [in Aquarius (11) and Pisces (12) in the 1st house (1,1)]. We also have Saturn (ruling the Capricorn Ascendant, thus one form of Letter 1) conjunct (widely) Ceres (Letter 6 with overtones of Letter 4) [in Sagittarius (9, 9) in the 10th (10) and 11th (11) houses]. We also have Uranus (ruling the Aquarius in the 1st) conjunct Venus (2) [in the 2nd (2) in Pisces (12)]. We note that Mercury is also in the 2nd house and, although it its more than 8 degrees away from Uranus, it is less than five degrees from Venus. In fact, Venus is near the midpoint of Mercury and Uranus, suggesting a “rolling conjunction” with Uranus-Venus-Mercury. If so, we must add to our tally Mercury (3) [in the 2nd (2) in Pisces (12)]. That finishes our conjunctions. Remember, that we give heavy weight to the nature of the planets conjuncting Letter 1 factors (Sun, Ceres, Venus, Mercury) and much less weight to the signs and houses involved (which will be counted later as well).

Next, we look to the planets actually in the 1st house (part of Letter 1). We have the East Point (1), Antivertex (1), Sun (5) and Jupiter (9), falling in Aquarius (11, 11) and Pisces (12, 12). (I would give less weight to the East Point and Antivertex as they are secondary angles.)

Continuing on with rulers, we consider Mars (natural ruler of the 1st), Saturn (ruling Capricorn rising), Uranus (ruling the Aquarius intercepted in the 1st) and Neptune (ruling the Pisces falling in the 1st). Mars occupies the 4th house (4) in Taurus (2). We note also that Mars is parallel (like a mini-conjunction) Pluto (8) in the 6th (6) in Cancer (4). Saturn is in the 10th house (10) in Sagittarius (9). (We have already counted Saturn’s conjunction to Ceres.) Uranus is in the 2nd house (2) in Pisces (12). Neptune is in the 7th house (7) in Leo (5).

We also must count the nature of the sign on the Ascendant as that is a very significant angle. Thus we add another Letter 10 to our tally for the Capricorn rising. Less significant, but still to be included are our secondary Ascendants, the East Point and Antivertex. They are both in the 1st house (1, 1) in Aquarius (11, 11)

Another factor is to note which houses are ruled by planets occupying the 1st house. In this case, Jupiter rules the 11th (11) while the Sun rules the 7th (7) as Leo is intercepted there.

Lastly, we consider the placement of the sign Aries (Letter 1) in the horoscope. Aries falls on the 3rd cusp (3) and is occupied by Juno (7) in the 2nd (2) and Chiron (9) in the 3rd (3).

If we then look for repetitions (without differential weighting), we see:

Letter 1:


Letter 2:


Letter 3:


Letter 4:


Letter 5:


Letter 6:


Letter 7:


Letter 8:


Letter 9:


Letter 10:


Letter 11:


Letter 12:

6 (-)

The + indicates extra weight because a planet is making a conjunction or occupying the 1st house. I also gave a plus for the rising sign (Capricorn) as the sign on the Ascendant deserves extra weight. Since the Ascendant ruler (Saturn) falls in its own house (the 10th), I felt that deserved a plus as well. (“Home” positions, by house or sign, are extra emphasized.) The minus signs are because I feel the Antivertex and East Point sign and house placements are somewhat overweighted in the tally. Also, when many repetitions come through sign placement, a minus appears.

On pure repetitions, Letters 1, 2, 9, 11 and 12 win out hands down (with Letter 5 a question mark). When the scores are adjusted in terms of differential weighting, Letters 5, 9 and 10 win out, with a second tier of 2 and 11. (Letter 12 then drops out as its repetitions are entirely due to the 12th sign.) I would tend to include 2, 5, 9, 10, 11 and 12 with 1 a likely bet (Just the fact that four factors fall in the 1st house makes Letter 1 seem important.)

What appears is a strong theme of transpersonal identification (9, 10,11 and 12 all emphasized), with potential conflict between personal needs (1 and 2) versus transpersonal goals. A strong streak of idealism seems likely (9 and 12 both emphasized), whether expressed as high personal standards (“I should be perfect” or “I am God and have a right to what I want”), charitable impulses, healing endeavors or religious/mystical pursuits. We might wonder about the handling of the idealism with the strong contrast of the Sun-Jupiter conjunction (“I can do anything”) versus the Capricorn rising with the ruler “at home” in the 10th (strong awareness of limits). When we mix 9 and 12 with 10 (and/or 6), we can get practical idealists who work to make the world better and realistically improve as much as they can, but we can also get dissatisfied individuals who feel they have never done enough. It always could have been sooner, faster, better, more in some fashion. If their goals are sufficiently high, they may not even try. (In this case, with the strong fire, we expect her to definitely try!) The dangerous extreme, however, is “I should be a saint/savior” (Letter 9 and 12) and “look at all the flaws” (Letter 10). A positive integration is “These are my dreams and goals” (Letters 9 and 12) and “I am willing to work sensibly to establish them and make them real” (Letter 10).

We would expect some stage presence and native charisma with Letter 5 prominent (aided and abetted by Letter 9). Perhaps the transpersonal focus indicates someone who will have an impact on the world through her personal philosophy (Letter 9). She could teach, entertain, persuade or sell to people (Letter 5), and might easily use humor (Letter 9) in her delivery (as long as the ideals were not too self-righteous).

We certainly expect some unconventionality (Letter 11) and willingness to take risks (5, 9 and 11), but there are strong security urges as well (2 and 10). We suspect that either money, comfort, beauty or sensuality (Letter 2) is important to her and success (Letter 10) in the material world may matter a lot. One of the potential dangers of 2/12 combinations (Pisces stellium in the 2nd) is turning money, food, sensuality or other pleasures into “God” and overdoing in that area. Of course, such combinations can also show a strong feeling for beauty, spending one’s money (2) to promote ideals (12), etc.

As with any chart, we cannot predict what this woman did with her potentials. The identification with the absolute (9 and 12 mixed with 1 or 5) is one key to “guru” types who believe they have all the answers and to people (especially with strong fire) who feel they have a right to whatever they want. Yet others with the marked transpersonal emphasis are indeed contributing to a better world. How the individual makes (or does not make) an integration between personal needs and transpersonal inspirations tells the tale.

In this case, the chart is of Erma Bombeck, a popular columnist and writer. She is particularly noted for her humor and for turning everyday details of her life (the personal) into comic material for the world (the transpersonal). Much of her humor is a form of putting herself down (Capricorn rising—self-criticism, but the confidence of 5 and 9 to do it as a joke). She is very active in charitable work (the idealism and transpersonal focus). Several of her columns suggest she enjoys good food a lot and may overindulge a bit—another subject she shares with the weight-conscious American public. And anyone who has ever written on a schedule knows it takes tremendous discipline (Letter 10). In my book, she has earned all the monetary rewards (Letter 2) which she has. And she has not forgotten the less fortunate along the way!

Copyright © 1986 Los Angeles Community Church of Religious Science, Inc.

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