Musings on Aspects

Maritha Pottenger

There are a number of “cookbook” astrological texts available which delineate planets through houses, signs and aspects. I find the latter most lacking.

Some are too brief. Others are quite wordy, but say little. Many are excessively negative. But the majority share the failing of seeing only one side of certain aspects. (I assume that such authors have met a limited clientele or only deal with certain issues from one perspective.)

Consider, for example, a Sun-Pluto conjunction. Many books will discuss only the power-hungry, overbearing potential of this combination. A few will acknowledge the danger of repression and blocked self-esteem when individuals project their personal power into other people. Hardly any writers recognize that both possibilities are inherent within the Sun-Pluto mix. Some people, at some times in their lives, will be master manipulators, maneuvering everything for their ego aggrandizement. At other times, they will feel held in, suppressed and unable to find joy and self-expression in life. They may seek power through love or creativity. They may love power and control. They may focus on material possessions or on sensual indulgence, or on self-knowledge and self-mastery.

A major key to aspects is provided by comparing and contrasting the basic issues of each planet. In what ways are they similar? In which respects do they differ? The Sun and Pluto share a drive for power, authority and control. Thus, any aspects between them highlight the issues of competition, ambition, potency and mastery.

The Sun and Pluto, however, are fire and water planets. The Sun (fire) represents an urge to express outwardly, to be joyful, to create, to do more than one has done before. Pluto (water) represents an urge to go within, to delve more deeply, to understand fully, to organize details. Depending on the time and place and on the drives symbolized by the rest of one’s chart, inward power or outward power may have more appeal. And the emphasis can and does change at different times in one’s life. We may seek to control others or ourselves, and could overdo the desire for dominance in either case.

Both the Sun and Pluto have a core focus on sensual and sexual issues. The joyous orgasmic release of the Sun, however, contrasts with the intense, compulsive focus of Pluto. Issues of letting go, of feeling safe (power eschews vulnerability) may arise, particularly in arenas of sexuality.

Increasingly, as I work with aspects in natal charts, I believe that the nature of the aspects matters little and the nature of the planets involved matters a great deal. It seems worthwhile to consider the conjunction as the most basic aspect and as the underlying model for all others. In my delineations, I suggest that you read the conjunction section regardless of the aspect involved. Harmony and conflict aspects indicate tendencies toward inner agreement or inner contention, but they should not be given too much weight. And there is always the problem of dealing with one factor or combination at a time, isolating it and taking it out of the context of the whole chart. I always feel that when I am describing the potentials of a single fragment in a chart, I should keep saying “provided the balance of the chart supports this,” or “other things being equal, which they never are.” Of course, one cannot do that in every sentence, but please consider that the thought is implicitly included in the following material. I am currently working on a new book: Astro Essentials; planets in signs, houses and aspects. ACS Publications hopes to release it in late 1990. The following excerpt is taken from the section on aspects.

Because the outer planets take many years to circle the zodiac, they can hold aspects to one another for long periods of time. Thus, millions of people may share the same aspect involving Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and/or Pluto. Such aspects point to generational themes and are less individually significant than aspects involving the faster moving bodies, Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars. A Saturn-Uranus conjunction, for example, highlights a large number of people dealing with the polarization between old and new, conservative and radical, caution and risk, stability and change, etc.

Although aspects between outer planets signify issues which are faced by a whole group of people, each person will confront these issues in his/her unique fashion. Some people grow and transcend through their generational issues; others experience difficulties. And people can change over time in how they handle these generational issues.

The different houses occupied by such aspecting planets will give some clues about how individuals may approach shared themes in diverse ways. Someone who has a Saturn-Uranus conjunction in the second house is likely to feel torn between a stable, “bring home the bacon” approach to earning a living, versus a desire for creativity, excitement and variety which can end up with an unstable, erratic and unpredictable income. Someone who has a Saturn-Uranus conjunction in the seventh house is apt to feel torn between choosing a safe, stable but perhaps a bit boring partner versus choosing an exciting, risk-taking, changeable but perhaps a bit undependable partner.

If the outer planets which are aspecting one another also aspect inner planets in an individual’s horoscope, the personal involvement in this generational issue is likely to be even more intense.

Jupiter conjunct Saturn

You can be quite impartial, just, parental and trustworthy. You may be quite concerned with the moral issues of society. This combination is said to signify the “great teacher” and can point to good judgment as well as wisdom when one’s beliefs about Universal Law are valid.

To actualize your highest potential, you must integrate a number of polarities. You are working on the balance between expansion and contraction; liberality and conservatism; optimism and pessimism; trust and mistrust; risk and safety; future and past; ideal and real; faith and fear. With polarities, the challenge is to avoid seesawing swings between opposite extremes, or living out one side while someone else overdoes the other, or repressing one only to have it turn against the body and produce a characteristic illness. Synthesis—combining the best of both sides of life—is essential.

Since Saturn is a key to your role in society, your career might involve education, travel, writing, philosophy, religion, broadcasting, or anything involving ideas, ideals and large perspectives. You might idealize the work ethic, seek the perfect job and tend to be chronically dissatisfied, work to make a better world, try to do your work perfectly, or make work into God as the source of ultimate faith, meaning, and value in your life. You could also deal with business on a large scale, have a knack for patient, careful growth, be involved with travel and foreign countries. You are likely to attend to underpinnings, strategy, goals and rules. You should also be able to learn from your experience, test, practice, and pay attention to life’s lessons.

Your father (or father figure) had a strong impact on your beliefs and values. You might have idealized him (sometimes in absentia), or he could have been religious, idealistic, perfectionistic, impossible to please. In some form, he affected your moral, ethical and religious principles. Whether you followed his example or went in the exact opposite direction, he influence was significant. Make sure that your present faith is one that serves you well, not an unthinking, automatic reaction to past history.

You can be alert for opportunities, the practical idealist who makes dreams real. When this combination is positively handled, you know how to structure and solidify long-term goals. You are able to visualize and to manifest results. You can be persevering, industrious, resilient, honorable, and successful. You may enjoy a protective, parental attitude. You probably have solid charm, able to be generous in practical ways. The teacher or preacher role may come naturally to you.

This conjunction occurs about every 20 years, and the ancient world looked to it as a key to world conditions during the next two decades.

Jupiter harmony Saturn

This combination suggests a fine instinct for synthesizing polarities. You are likely to ground your visions, to manifest your dreams in practical events and to turn them into material reality. You can blend confidence and caution, expansion and contraction, ease and effort.

Your capacity to visualize and extrapolate toward a better future can enhance your career and professional accomplishments. Your education, world view, philosophy, extraversion, wit or intellect can contribute to your worldly attainments. Because you plan ahead to make the most of opportunities, you appear more fortunate than the average mortal. Your sense of timing is probably good.

You can put enthusiasm into your career and are likely to be successful on the material plane. Your natural understanding and respect for rules, regulations and the limits of the physical world help you to operate within that world to reach your desired goals. You are willing to work hard to reach your aspirations.

Your philosophy, religion or world view is likely to be solidly grounded in experience. You are drawn to beliefs that function in the material world, that are constructively pragmatic (positive and practical). You want to blend the real with the ideal, the sensible with the inspirational.

You may be motivated to bring together the letter of the law with its spirit. Issues of moral probity, honesty, ethics and justice could be very important to you.

You are likely to put knowledge to use, to consistently seek a purpose. You probably make systematic progress and believe “where there’s a will, there’s a way.” You can be quite impartial, parental, trustworthy, protective, ethical and goal-oriented.

Jupiter conflict Saturn

You can accomplish a great deal, but may feel pulled in different directions. At times, you might plunge into new projects and challenges before completing and consolidating old ones. Or, you might hold back from what you truly CAN do because your standards are too demanding or perfectionistic. (“If I can’t do it perfectly, I won’t do it at all”). Establish clear priorities about what matters most to you so you can allocate your energies appropriately. Break your goals down into bite-sized steps so that you do not feel overwhelmed, but can labor incrementally toward a larger vision.

You are working on the combination of expansion and contraction. Fluctuation is possible, swinging from one extreme to the other. With attention and focus, you can choose when to reach out and begin new possibilities and when to ground and solidify what you already have. Making the best of both will help you to be successful, consistent, resilient and productive.

You may also experience some tension in regard to beliefs, values, moral principles and religious or spiritual views. Conflict with a father (or father figure) over world views, philosophy, ethics or ideals is possible. You must make peace between your visionary, optimistic, idealistic side and your pragmatic, cautious, realistic side. Don’t let faith battle fear, but do be sure that your sense of meaning and understanding of life’s purpose is grounded in experience and practicalities.

As you learn from experience, you can become a practical idealist, a realistic mystic, someone who makes dreams come true.

Copyright © 1990 Los Angeles Community Church of Religious Science, Inc.

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