Delineation Practice

Maritha Pottenger

At our recent seminar teaching astrology and psychology at the Feathered Pipe Ranch in Montana, a number of the students requested practice, practice, practice with using the “Zip Code” to delineate charts. So, we are establishing this column which will be ongoing for a number of issues. We will not delineate ALL of the life areas in a given example chart, but we will look at a few which are illustrative. We will use famous people as examples, but if readers have a particular chart which they feel is challenging or warrants more study, they can send it in with a request to examine it in the Delineation Practice column. We will do what we can.

Take a moment to study the chart of our famous person to get an overview for yourself.


When gaining an overview of the chart, we look particularly for the following, to see if any “leap out at us” as emphasized.

(1) Planets conjunct an angle or in a Gauquelin sector plus zone.

Here we note that Mars is widely—6 degrees—conjunct the IC, so we might give a bit of extra emphasis to Letter 1: personal will, assertion, spontaneous action, doing one’s own thing. We also note that Venus is in a Gauquelin sector, so we give a little extra emphasis to the pursuit of beauty and pleasure whether from the physical world [Taurus] or the world of other people [Libra].

(2) Stellia.

Here we note a stellium in Taurus. This reinforces further Letter 2: drive for pleasure from the material world—could be through food, drink, making money, collecting possessions, creating or enjoying beauty or nature, etc. Some people would consider that we have a stellium in Pisces in the 12th house. I do not count it because so much of it consists of extra factors such as the East Point and Antivertex which are limited as to where they can fall in the chart. If we did count it, we would emphasize the quest for the ideal, seeking infinite love, beauty, grace and harmony. Note that an artistic theme would be reiterated by Venus in a Gauquelin sector, a Taurus stellium, a Pisces stellium and a 12th house stellium.

(3) Element Focus.

Here we note earth is rather strong by both house and sign. We also have a fair amount of fire by house and some by sign. Air and water are less emphasized, but very definitely there. [Again, although that 12th house has lots of occupants, I bear in mind that several are “extra” factors which I do not weight as highly.]

(4) Element Combination.

Although both fire and earth are fairly strongly present, they are generally “at home” in terms of signs and houses. The Taurus in the 1st is a fire/earth combination, but Taurus in the 2nd is earth/earth. Gemini in the 3rd is air/air, etc. But if anyone chose to characterize the chart as a steamroller [fire/earth], I would not disagree.

(5) Quality Focus.

Fixity is strongly apparent by both sign and house as well as a tight T-square in fixed signs and houses, which includes an exact square between Sun and Pluto, two of our fixed planets. Mutability is well represented, although our mutable T-square is very wide to Jupiter, one of our mutable planets. Cardinality would seem less significant, but the angles of the chart [MC/IC and Ascendant/Descendant] do form a cardinal cross. I would, personally, give first place to fixed issues: feast versus famine; self-indulgence versus self-control; learning to share possessions, pleasures and power with others for mutual gratification. The fixed and mutable dilemmas are repeated in that one karmic key (Saturn) is conjunct a fixed planet (Uranus) and occupies a fixed sign (Taurus) and house (2nd). The other karmic key (South Node) is in a mutable house and sign, but conjunct a planet which is either fixed (Letter 2) or cardinal (Letter 7).

(6) Any letter of the astrological alphabet which is emphasized.

Here I would have nothing to add to what has already been discussed.

(7) Any alphabet combination.

Nothing to add.

(8) Any other themes.

We noted earlier the artistic theme. We suspect also a power theme due to the fixed emphasis and the fact that we have EXACT [one-degree] aspects between Sun, Pluto and Midheaven [all power factors]. The possibility of personally confronting the power structure or authority figures is backed up by the cardinal angles [Ascendant widely square Midheaven]. In addition, we have an EXACT Saturn/Uranus conjunction which can be our individuality, uniqueness and rebelliousness confronting the power structure. We would suspect that the strong personal focus [another theme indicated by the emphasis on the first three signs and houses plus Mars widely on an angle, Aries rising and Venus (as Letter 2) in a Gauquelin sector] might also butt heads with authority figures if the person is too set on “I want it on my terms.”

(9) Repeated relationship of occupied signs to occupied houses.

In this case, we mostly have a natural zodiac: Taurus occupying the 2nd; Gemini occupying the 3rd; Leo occupying the 5th, etc. We would suspect a bit more intensity [houses and signs backing each other up] and also inner harmony [agreement].

(10) Tight, close aspect configurations.

We have mentioned the EXACT T-square between Vesta/Sun/Pluto in fixed signs and fixed houses. We have the close Mercury/Moon square in fixed signs and houses as well. The mutable T-square is rather wide: Jupiter square Venus is close, but Jupiter to the Nodes [all in mutable signs and mutable houses] is wide. The Mars/Neptune square, although a single square, is fairly close and reiterates mutable issues with its house and sign placements. We have a number of earth trines [Saturn/Uranus to Neptune being very tight; Mercury to North Node; Sun to Midheaven EXACT within one degree], but no grand trine in earth, nor in any other elements. Juno/Venus is a tight single trine in double water; Moon/Ascendant in double fire; and Jupiter/Pallas in double air. We also have two tight quincunxes but no yods: Pluto quincunx MC [more power issues in the work or in love affairs] and Juno quincunx Jupiter [idealism issues in relationships].

Although they are wide, we note some conjunctions (as conjunctions are the most significant of aspects). Here we would include Venus/Ceres (mothering partners, nurturing beauty, working with nature/beauty/people...); Venus/South Node (karmic challenges around love, money, pleasure...); Mercury/Sun (self-esteem connected to mind/tongue/hands; shining through communication, detachment, thinking...); Pluto/Moon (mothering partners; power issues in the home and family; intense emotionality...).


Once we complete our overview, we are ready to examine specific life areas. The overview should remain in the back of our heads, reminding us that certain issues are central and will tend to “spill over” into everything.

If we look at basic identity, our personal action, our spontaneous instincts, what we do right from the start of life, we are considering all forms of Letter 1. That is, we look at the planet Mars, any planets in the 1st house; the rising sign; any planets conjunct any natural (Mars) or actual ruler of the 1st house. We also consider any signs in the 1st house and the placements of their rulers. If we are using the auxiliary Ascendants (East Point and Antivertex), we look to see if they conjunct any planets and give minor weight to their sign placement and a bit to the house placement. Finally, we look to where the sign Aries is—in which houses, occupied by which planets.

In terms of significance, planets are most important. So, we begin with the Sun (5) [self-esteem, need to shine, drive to be a star] and Mercury (3) [mind, communication, objectivity] in the 1st house. Mars is widely conjunct the IC (4) [home, family, nurturance or dependency, emotional security needs] and Venus (ruling the Taurus in the 1st) is conjunct Ceres (6/4) [work, nurturing, protection] and widely conjunct the South Node (4/10) [self-doubts, emotional security needs].

Aries (1) is rising and both our auxiliary Ascendants are in Aries (1 and 1). In addition, just having planets occupying the 1st house adds to the Letter 1 in a chart. So, we have a reasonable theme of self-assertion, personal action, etc.

Looking at house and sign placements, we note that Mars is in the 3rd (3) in Gemini (3). Venus is in the 12th (12) in Pisces (12). The Sun is in Taurus (2) and so is Mercury in Taurus (2). Although we don’t give much weight to them, we note that the Antivertex and East Point are in the 12th (12).

In terms of repeated themes, we have a strong focus on personal needs (Letters 1, 2 and 3 are all repeated). We have an artistic theme prominent (Letters 2 and 12 emphasized plus the creativity and onstage potentials of Letter 5). [Letter 3 is repeated in other ways besides Mercury in the 1st, but the planet alone is a strong enough statement. Here we definitely include Letter 5 even though the Sun in the 1st is a solitary statement.]

We also reconsider our aspects. Mars square Neptune brings in both the possibility of grace (Neptune) in action (Mars), but also too much personal (Mars) idealism (Neptune) or our quest for infinite love and beauty (Neptune) clashing with our desire to do our own thing (Mars). The idealism issue (perhaps wanting more than is possible) is also repeated by Venus (ruler of 1st) conjunct South Node (karmic challenge) in the 12th (12) in Pisces (12).

Power issues are present right from the beginning with the Sun (ego, self-esteem, star quality) square Vesta (issues around efficient functioning or health or work) and also square Pluto (challenge to share power, possessions, pleasures). The Sun trine the Midheaven suggests real potential success and recognition in terms of the vocation, but Pluto quincunx the Midheaven reiterates challenges around the handling of power. The Mercury/Moon square is part of the power question, but also relates to balancing objectivity (Mercury) and emotionality (Moon—especially a Moon which is water in its own nature, conjunct a water planet in a fire sign and house).

Letter 4 was a secondary key to identity (Mars conjunct IC and Venus conjunct Ceres). We would suspect with the strong earth and fire (need to impact the world), plus the power issues, that the temptation would be for the person to adopt the nurturing, protective role and eschew dependency needs. Yet the strong mutability is much less likely to stand firm. The person might swing between coming on very strong (sometimes too strong with all the Taurus plus the Sun/Pluto/MC connections) and retreating from everything (Letter 12) or using idealism or artistic yearnings as an escape.


We would expect an individual who wants to put her mark on the world (Letter 5; Sun trine MC and all the fixity plus fire earth). We would expect some power struggles, especially with authority figures or the power structure, but also possibly with mates (Sun square Pluto; Pluto quincunx MC). Artistic talent is strongly suggested and communication (use of eye, mind, hands, tongue) significant. Personal idealism could be a challenge—both in wanting more than is possible for herself (Mars/Neptune square; Venus ruling 1st conjunct South Node in Pisces in 12th) and in wanting more than is possible in relationships (Juno/Jupiter quincunx and Jupiter rules the 8th as well; Venus in Pisces in 12th and conjunct South Node and part of a mutable T-square which also involves idealistic Jupiter. Note that all three actual rulers of the 7th and 8th [Venus, Pluto, Jupiter] are involved in either the mutable or fixed T-squares in the chart. Of course, Venus and Pluto are the natural rulers as well. So that balance of POWER [fixed] and EXPECTATIONS or IDEALS [mutable] in relationships is an intense issue.)

With the mate/nurturing interchanges (Moon conjunct Pluto and Pluto is an actual ruler of the 8th here as well; Venus conjunct Ceres and Venus is an actual ruler of the 7th here as well; Mars co-ruling the Scorpio on the 8th cusp is widely conjunct the IC), she might end up mothering her mates—or looking to them to mother her. The latter is less likely, of course, with the strong fixity which is reluctant to give up power and the fire/earth which would rather do it themselves.

Yet the emotional vulnerability remains. The Sun in the 1st house wants everyone to admire and applaud their entire being and self-expression. The ruler of the 1st conjunct the South Node can have early self-doubts and insecurity. Trying to be God [Letter 12 connected to Letter 1] sets us up disappointment and feeling inadequate. If she gave away all her strength (extremely unlikely, but possible), she would look for a partner to be the all-loving, all-giving mother figure to make her life ideal.

More likely, she is strong, capable, achieving in the world, but dealing with power struggles between what she wants and what partners and authority figures and the reality of the world say is possible. She may be a bit too idealistic about relationships and could periodically retreat and withdraw (into the 12th) to recuperate and refresh herself. Or, perhaps she has learned to SHARE the ideals, the quest for infinite love and beauty with another person, each allowing the other to be human (not expecting godlike perfection) and together touching the Absolute—sharing ideals, spiritual aspirations or the creation of beauty in the world.

The chart belongs to Barbra Streisand—singer, actress, director who has challenged the male power structure of Hollywood, but also greatly values her privacy and retreats periodically to her home, refusing interviews, etc. She has achieved great success, but believes (perhaps correctly) that she could have done more had she been male rather than female (fixed/mutable dilemma!). She did assist a couple of her male partners, playing the role of mentor. Her artistic ability and star quality are recognized worldwide.

P.S. I noticed that by solar arc (roughly one degree per year), her Saturn/Uranus conjunction would hit the IC at age 36 AND her IC would hit the Moon at that same time. Age 36 puts us around 1978 (although a one-degree orb can give us from 1977-1979). We would expect some dramatic event at that time. Perhaps theater afficionados can let us know if she was nominated for an Oscar or had some other significant event at that time.

Copyright © 1992 Los Angeles Community Church of Religious Science, Inc.

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