1. Declination is a system of measuring the placement of bodies in relationship to the celestial equator. (The celestial equator is the Earth’s Equator, extended into infinity.) Measuring above the celestial equator is in NORTH declination, while below the celestial equator is SOUTH declination. Planets vary from zero declination to about 30 degrees. (Each degree has 60 minutes.) Latitude is a system of measuring the placement of bodies in relationship to the ecliptic. (The ecliptic is the Earth’s path around the Sun, extended into infinity.) Measuring above the ecliptic is north latitude and below the ecliptic is south latitude. Planets vary from zero latitude to only one or two degrees of latitude (except for Mercury and Pluto which can be more variable). Each degree of latitude has 60 minutes.
Many astrologers use declination to spot parallels and contra-parallels. Planets which are parallel to one another are within one degree of each other in declination, in the same direction. Contra-parallel planets are within one degree in declination, in opposite directions. (Most people treat parallels like mini-conjunctions and contra-parallels like mini-oppositions.)
A few astrologers work with latitude aspects, but it requires a very small orb (a few minutes). Some people are bothered by the fact that astrologers use longitude aspects out of the ecliptic system, but declination aspects out of the equatorial system (two different coordinate systems, each based on a great circle). Astrologers using both systems retort that they are pragmatists—and use what works.
2. Of the combinations listed, the one that does not fit with the rest is Saturn in Libra (d). Saturn (10) in Libra (7) is a 7-10 combination. All the others are 2-10 combinations:
Venus (2) in Capricorn (10)
Saturn (10) in the 2nd house (2)
Moon (4 in its own nature), ruling the 2nd (2 as a ruler) conjunct Mercury (3 in its own nature) which rules the 10th (10 as a ruler)
Taurus (2) on the MC (10) and Libra (7) on the 2nd (2) repeats the 2-10 not just with a Taurus MC, but also because the double rulership of Venus ties together the houses it rules—2nd and 10th in this case.
3. Of all the descriptive phrases for 2-10 combinations, EXTRAVAGANCE (e) is the least likely. A 2-10 combination is double earth, and earth is much more likely to be cautious or practical in terms of finances. Extravagance suggests fire factors though it can occur due to a demand for quality or an attempt to “buy” status with money or possessions. All the other phrases are natural manifestations of 2-10:
professional (10) artist (2).
structured (10) beauty (2).
careful (10) with money (2).
work (10) may block (10) relaxation (2).
pleasure (2) from working (10) or
pleasure (2) from the job (10).
poverty consciousness (tending to attract working situations where one is overworked and underpaid) is a 2-10 combination when the drudgery and limited sides of 10 are overdone at the expense of the pleasure-oriented 2.
limited (10) indulgence (2).
banker combines the professional role of 10 with the financial connotations of 2.
Many varieties of lessons in handling the material world are possible with 2-10 combinations from learning to earn one’s own livelihood to learning to be responsible and self-disciplined in handling money and appetites.
4. When contemplating current patterns for her third year (in whatever systems you use—progressions, directions, transits, etc.), you would look especially for separative aspects (oppositions and quincunxes) between keys to herself (Letter 1) and keys to her father (Saturn probably, Sun possibly, and you will have to decide if the 4th or 10th house is more a key to dad). You would also expect separative aspects between the keys to the two parents (Letters 4 and 10). The first requirement could include Mars, any planet in the 1st house, the Ascendant, the ruler of the Ascendant, the ruler of other signs in the 1st, or the Antivertex or East Point (if you use them) in opposition or quincunx to Saturn, possibly the Sun, planets in the 4th or 10th houses, or planets ruling the 4th or 10th houses.
In terms of the second requirement, you would expect oppositions or quincunxes between the Moon, Ceres, 4th house planets or rulers and Saturn, possibly the Sun, 10th house planets or rulers.
As far as the eventual natal chart which you select, you would expect several possibilities to reflect the potential of one parent playing both roles. This could be a mixture of 4 and 10 (and Sun?) in almost any form; (Moon or Ceres conjunct Saturn (or Sun?); 4th and 10th rulers conjunct; Moon or Ceres conjunct rulers of 10th and/or 4th; Saturn (or Sun?) conjunct rulers of 10th or 4th; Moon and/or Ceres in 4th or 10th with Saturn (and/or Sun?); rulers of 4th in 10; rulers of 10th in 4th; rulers of 10th in Cancer; rulers of 4th in Capricorn). A common situation (but NOT the only possibility) is when one parental house is empty, with the ruler placed in the other parental house (as if one is “taking over” for the other). Also, an absent parent’s keys are often (not always) tied to Letter 9 and/or 12 (as the missing parent is imagined and sometimes idealized when not there).
Basically, you look for the natal potential of a single parent having to make do, with the possible separation of the parents and of the child from one parent reflected in the current patterns at the appropriate time.
5. The Sun, Moon, Venus and Pluto all point to a theme of the need for emotional closeness. Relationships are a likely focus. Loving and being loved, particularly sharing close family ties could be highly significant. The Sun and Moon are particularly oriented toward love, nurturance and family ties (including children). Venus and Pluto are particularly oriented toward sharing pleasure and possessions with a partner (or mate). All four factors are concerned with emotional attachments.
6. You would expect Letter 8 to be accented in this woman’s horoscope. This could be a prominent Pluto, a stellium in Scorpio or an eighth house emphasis. (The particular real-life example had an eighth house focus.) Letter 8 fits issues around INHERITANCE (the well-to-do parents), SEXUAL EXPERIENCE (it could have been sexual inexperience—but issues revolving around sexuality are likely), SOCIAL WORK (government funds—money from other people), ABUSED CHILDREN (and other shameful activities often fit into the secrecy theme of Letter 8, especially as an abuse of power is part of the issue), COMPARABLE WORTH (financial power and equal allocation of resources are also Letter 8 issues).
7. Both the IC and the Nadir are points of intersection between two great circles, but they are NOT the same thing! The IC (Imum Coeli) is the intersection, below the horizon, of the meridian of birth (one great circle) with the ecliptic. (The MC is the intersection above the horizon of the meridian and the ecliptic.) The Nadir is the intersection of the meridian of birth and the Prime Vertical (another great circle). The Nadir is always directly beneath the individual. The IC is identical to the 4th house cusp of the horoscope, and could be called the “subheaven” (lying opposite to the Midheaven). Some astrologers do use the Nadir as a sensitive point in the horoscope. Many astrologers mistakenly call the 4th house cusp (or IC or “subheaven”) the Nadir. That is not correct! The Nadir and “subheaven” (IC) are two different points.
8. For a job requiring the ability to sit for some hours and enter data carefully and accurately, I would want charts emphasizing earth and water (for stability), especially 6, 8, and 10 (the obsessive-compulsives). Remember, this could be through planets or houses as well as through signs. I would pay particular attention to planets near angles (often central key themes in the nature) and the arrangement of the work houses (6 and 10 especially). High focus on Saturn, Pluto or Vesta would generally be a plus. High focus on Mars, Jupiter, or Uranus would generally be a minus (strong freedom needs, likely to be restless). Too much fire associated with the work arena is unlikely to sit still that long. A strongly occupied 6th or 10th house could indicate patience and thoroughness, but if the planets and/or signs are mostly restless or variety-oriented, I would consider that a drawback (planet always being more important than signs).
One “ideal” sort of chart would have Vesta conjunct an angle (MC or IC preferred over Ascendant or Descendant as the latter might work only on their own terms or experience alienation in relationships if not positively expressed); Saturn in the 2nd (preferring stability of income); earth occupying the earth houses (drawn to a steady, regular routine on the job); and some extra 6th or 8th house or sign focus. I would shy away from TOO MUCH letter 10 as that could fall into self-blocking and also prefers to be in control and would eventually want to run the show.
One “strongly contra-indicated” sort of chart might have Mars rising (physical restlessness and need to move), Uranus conjunct the MC (need for variety and independence on the job) and heavy fire and air placements by sign and house (need for changes, stimulation, people).
I would, of course, emphasize to my client that horoscopes show only POTENTIALS. His job, when interviewing these individuals, would be to discover to what extent his prospective employees have lived up to their potentials (or not). Astrology can indicate more likely or less likely prospects. It can NOT guarantee that likely prospects will be living the positive sides of their horoscopes!
9. This was a “trick question,” because I definitely do NOT believe there is one, particular “right” answer to this one! I do believe it is an important issue to raise, and one each astrologer has to decide for him or herself. I will give my personal answer, but hope that each of you has your own personal answer as well. Our moralities need not agree.
I would be willing to do such confidential screening for an employer, under certain conditions:
(1) the prospective employees are informed that their abilities may be analyzed through astrology as well as other avenues when their birth data is requested (and I am guaranteed birth certificate data!);
(2) the employer realizes that astrology shows only potentials—not what the individual is doing with those potentials;
(3) my job is to show “likely” and “less likely” prospects; the final decision is the employer’s and will also include facts from the interview and tests of data entry skills, etc.
Some astrologers feel analyzing charts of significant others (e.g., potential employees, lover, husband, wife, etc.) without that person’s permission and knowledge is unethical. Others feel the information is important and should be provided if requested (even without the permission of the individuals who own the charts being examined). What do YOU think?
10. When searching for themes, one can begin anywhere; no place is more correct than another place. With this chart, I would start with the two immediately visible themes: stellia in Leo and the 5th house as well as in Pisces and the 12th house. The Letter 5 theme highlights the importance of self-esteem, recognition, applause, attention and positive feedback. We would expect a strong need to love and be loved, the possibility of being a performer of some sort (on stage or the center of attention) and the desire to pour out into the world, doing more than has been done before. Note that the outer world details of such an inner drive could vary from an intensely loving wife and mother, a literal performer/entertainer of some sort, a speculator or gambler or risk-taker, to an ego-ridden individual, etc.
The Letter 12 theme highlights the search for infinite love and beauty. We would be particularly aware of the possible roles of artist, savior and victim. This quest for infinite love and beauty is a very personal one with Letter 12 so strongly mixed with Letter 1:
Mars (1) in Pisces (12)
Mars (1) in the 12th house (12)
Pisces (12) rising (1)
Antivertex (1) in Pisces (12) in the 1st house (1)
East Point (1) in Pisces (12) in the 1st house (1)
Mars (1), Ascendant (1), East Point (1), Antivertex (1) also all conjunct one another in Pisces (12), bringing together the 12th (12) and 1st (1) houses for more 1-12 blending.
Two of the most positive forms of 1-12 include the active (1) creation of beauty (12), (e.g., dancing, skiing, skating, diving, gymnastics or other forms of physical exertion which involve grace and harmony—beauty in motion) and fighting (1) for ideals (12). One less healthy form is repression where the watery potential of Letter 12 is allowed to douse the fire of Letter 1, resulting in extremes of self-sacrifice. Another less comfortable expression is “I should be perfect”—I must be all-loving, all-giving, beautiful and ideal. This can turn into “If I am not perfect, I am nothing” or “I am totally perfect and ideal and the world ought to give me what I want because I am so wonderful.” (The latter extreme is more likely with Letter 9 connected to Letter 1, due to the self-focus of double fire. Letter 12 with 1 seems more prone to self-wipeout when negatively expressed. The quest for ONENESS can lead to submerging personal needs. However if the identification with God leads to feeling that one really has a right to anything one wants, the delusions of grandeur are especially hard to handle since they are often deeply unconscious).
With the strong fire component of a stellium in both Leo and the 5th house, we would hope that this woman is physically active. Otherwise, the blocked fire could be repressed into illness or projected until she attracts it in excessive form from others (self-centeredness, ego, etc.).
Another major theme relates to the nurturing principle. We have the Moon (4) closely conjunct the Ascendant, Ceres (the earth mother asteroid, a combination of 6 and 4) in the 1st house and in Aries to boot, while Venus (a ruler of the Taurus in the 1st) closely conjuncts the IC (Letter 4). This points to a mother or mother figure as a very important role model—positive or negative. The mother might have served as an example of what TO do, or as an example of what NOT to do. Mother could have helped this woman to learn about blending Letter 1 (assertion) and 12 (absorption, union with infinite love and beauty) as mother is seen as both Letter 1 (Ceres in Aries; Ceres in the 1st; Moon conjunct Mars) and as Letter 12 (Moon in Pisces; Moon in the 12th).
The mixture of Letter 1 with Letter 4 also suggests that this woman is ambivalent about being a mother. On the one hand, there is the identification with nurturing; on the other hand is a strong need for personal freedom and independence. (This ambivalence about being a parent is said in another way by Uranus in the 5th and by Uranus conjunct the Sun which is the natural ruler of the 5th. The 5th is a key to procreation and emphasizes the creative act, but Uranus brings in the need for freedom again.) Our subject’s relationship with her own mother or mother figure is likely to have included elements of freedom versus closeness. How that was (or was not) resolved may well affect her feelings about having children of her own. It is quite common with Ceres in Aries, Moon conjunct Mars or other 1-4 (or 1-5) combinations for an individual to choose to have a single child. (Letter 1 likes to do things once—the pioneering spirit—and then move on.) This allows the mothering instincts to be expressed, but also maintains a fair degree of freedom. Regardless, we would expect ambivalence to be faced in this area.
Other themes calling for attention include the three planets closely conjunct the angles. Planets closely conjunct angles are commonly keynote themes in the nature. In this case, we see the Moon, Mars and Venus all closely conjunct angles. We again see a focus on activity, assertion, freedom (Letter 1), mothering, nurturing, the public (Letter 4) and beauty, harmony, sensuality, pleasure (Letter 2 or possibly Letter 7 for Venus). The 1-4 natural square is again in high focus to be faced and integrated. Beauty is re-emphasized, as is personal action. We must not forget the work of the Gauquelins which associates the Moon in a “zone of power” with writers and Mars in a “zone of power” with athletes. (With the strong fire in the chart, we would tend to lean toward the latter, particularly athletic events involving grace.)
A theme which is not so immediately obvious with a quick glance is the closest aspects in a chart. In this case, the aspects which are within a one-degree orb include:
Mercury tri-octile MC (12 minutes)
Neptune sextile Pluto (15 minutes)
Sun semi-sextile Jupiter (20 minutes)
Vesta semi-sextile/quincunx the true Nodes (23 minutes)
Pluto trine MC (35 minutes)
Venus quincunx Saturn (36 minutes)
Vesta tri-octile Mars (38 minutes)
Vesta tri-octile Moon (40 minutes)
Saturn semi-sextile MC (44 minutes)
Saturn octile Juno (44 minutes)
Neptune sextile MC (49 minutes)
Jupiter semi-sextile Uranus (1 degree)
Note that 10 of these 12 aspects involve either Saturn, MC, Pluto or Vesta (our obsessive-compulsive keys). Four involve the MC (Letter 10). Three include Vesta (Letter 6). Three include Saturn (Letter 10). Two include Pluto (Letter 8). But recall that both Saturn and Vesta occupy Scorpio (more Letter 8) and Saturn occupies the 8th house as well! This suggests a very good capacity for discipline, organization, thoroughness, tenacity and concentration. If misdirected, it could be critical, judgmental, nitpicky, obsessive and limiting. Positively channeled, it suggests much endurance to back up the energy of Letter 1 and the idealism of Letter 12.
There are undoubtedly other elements of the chart which could be discussed, but these are the themes which popped immediately to my attention. Readers may have reached other conclusions as well.
Please note that this chart gives us a number of possibilities. The basic issues are clear, but we do NOT know how this person dealt with those issues until we examine the life (and people can always change). Among myriad other possibilities, we see this could be the chart of:
(1) a frustrated actress subject to surgeries due to repressed assertion needs [5, 12, blocked 1]
(2) an entertainer who relies on physical attractiveness as well as grace and talent [5, 12, Venus]
(3) an athlete who expresses beauty in motion [1-12]
(4) a loving wife and mother (who may have side interests in little theater, the stock market, singing, skiing, etc.) [5, 1-4, 1-12, Venus]
(5) a disillusioned alcoholic (or other victim), who wanted the “perfect” mother, hasn’t forgiven her mother for not loving her “enough” and is wanting the world to nurture her [1-12, 4-12, 5, Venus as indulgence]
(6) a playwright who enjoys cross-country skiing [5-12, Moon in writing sector, 6/8/10 endurance]
(7) a worker in the hospice movement whose faith inspires others [6/8/10 work with death, 12 for faith]
(8) an art teacher [5, 12, 4 for nurturing]
(9) an investor specializing in commodities [5, 4 and fire impatience]
(10) an entrepreneur in the field of beauty products [5 for sales, 12 and Venus for beauty, 1 for self-starter]
There would be many other possibilities, depending on the individual’s level of development. Remember that an individual can always move from a more negative expression (such as #5 above) to a more positive expression. In this particular case, the horoscope is of champion skater Dorothy Hamill, Olympic gold medalist. She is noted for her speed (Mars), self-discipline (6/8/10) and open enjoyment of fame (Letter 5). She certainly seems to be living out the more positive potentials of her chart!
P.S. An interesting tidbit of further information is that Ms. Hamill’s Midheaven conjuncts the Galactic Center (which is around 26 Sagittarius). If the Galactic Center is indeed a point of possible prominence, we could speculate that MC/Galactic Center contacts point to the potential of prominence through one’s profession.