Border Patrol: Working With Cusps

There is a very common misconception in astrology today concerning the usage of cusps in interpretational matters.  It seems there is a very popular myth running around that says that someone who is born on a “cusp” of a Sign can carry characteristics of both the Sign Sol is counted as being in or the one adjacent to it depending on the day.  Basically, it is assumed that someone born around August 21-24 is supposed to have characteristics of both the Signs Leo and Virgo based on the idea that Sol is too new into Virgo to have completely left behind the influences of Leo, so there are still some Leonine influences intermingled into the Virgo.  While this is a very incorrect idea, I can see some ways to explain the original misunderstanding; however, I do think the assumptions made about cusps are based on a certain degree of unforgivable ignorance.

First, I think it’s wise to take a moment and define a cusp because I feel it is obvious where the first mistake is being made concerning this grave assumption.  Deborah Houlding is an expert on classical astrology, so in times of need, I often turn to her writings, and I’ll do so here.  In her book The Houses: Temples of the Sky, Houlding defines a cusp as “the dividing line between one house (or sign) and the next.  Planets close to the house cusps are considered to have more powerful influences than those removed from the cusps.”  This definition perfectly illustrates what I believe is happening with this cusp influence myth.  As you can see, Houlding does define a cusp as “the dividing line between one house (or sign)…” so we do see an automatic similarity.  I believe what happens is people understand that a cusp is the same thing for a house and a Sign (the dividing lines between) and assume that the same rules apply to them.  However, the fact of the matter is that house cusps and Sign cusps are similar only in the manner of the duty they perform in dividing them from one another.  In this way, the cusps are as similar as apples and oranges, they are both fruit, but that’s about it.

In Houlding’s definition, she is sure to put a distinct difference between house cusps and Sign cusps when she says that planets close to the house cusps have a more powerful influence.  She says nothing about planets being close to Sign cusps being more or less of an influence in any Sign, so it would seem that there is no interpretational difference, only spatial.  Also, in William Lilly’s book on natal astrology, he offers no differences for planets near the beginning or ending of a Sign.  Ptolemy’s Tetrabiblos doesn’t even contain the word “cusp” and Robson’s treatise on electional astrology only speaks of cusps in relation to houses.  So, it seems that the idea of carried-over influences from one Sign to the next is not at all founded in astrological traditional history.

Now that the idea of cross-overs occurring across Sign cusps have been dispelled from the astrological tradition, I feel it’s necessary to explore a bit more in the area of “where does this come from”.  I can think of a couple situations in which a planet or cusp being near the end or beginning of a Sign has some special interpretational value.  However, it is necessary to specify that these rules and situations are only applicable to the fields of horary or electional astrology and are not translatable to the field of natal astrology which is the field where this argument is based. Continue reading

how-will-they-take-it

Horary Question: “How Will Everyone Take It?”

This is a horary question that strikes a little bit close to home for me, and I thought it would be an excellent idea to share this most interesting chart.  Not only is the question interesting, but I also found the symbolism to be quite exquisite as well as the interpretation somewhat complicated, which made it a welcomed challenge

This question was asked by my boyfriend, who – only minutes before – came “out” to his mom’s friend, the first semi-family member to know of his sexuality.  I called him minutes afterwards just to see how his day was going, and I could tell there was something the matter by the way he sounded.  Upon expressing concern, he told me the story and followed it up by asking the question “How will everyone else take it?” I also decided that the question should be skewed to consider if his mother’s friend would tell his mother, as that was also his concern surrounding the issue.  The chart for that moment in time is below:

So, the first thing to consider is how you’re going to work it out.  I’ve found it’s always best to have a game-plan to work off of.  Since the question was concerning him and who and what he is, I thought it was best to base everything off of his significator and how the other planets relate to him as Jupiter.  Speaking of Jupiter, I feel it fits him quite nicely given their similar conditions.  Jupiter is depressed and retrograde, and so too is my boyfriend worried and anxious concerning the issue, the retrograde motion perhaps shows how he regretted the decision he made upon reflecting on the consequences afterwards.  Perhaps more correctly, though, it reflects a person who feels as if all they can do right now is hope for the best in their given situation.  His secondary significator, Luna in Leo, is also quite appropriate as a Luna resides in the Eighth house of fear and anguish, reflecting his emotional state.

Luna has an interesting position, but it is interesting also to note that she’s Void, and so early within Leo as well which did not catch my eye at first (being early in the Sign, I assumed she still had an aspect to make somewhere).  Writing about the Void of Course Luna, Lilly says:  “The matter goes hardly on”, so I took this as a sign of comfort, in that the friend of his mother would say nothing to his mother or anyone else in the family.  The story fails to continue and ends early, which is exactly what was being hoped for.

Now comes the interesting part, we have to go around the chart and assign planets to family members.  Obviously there are far too many members of a family to assign them in any all-inclusive way, so we have to tackle them in appropriate groups based on house rulerships.  His father is the Fourth house, his mother is the Tenth, and his general family members (siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents) are the Third house.  It can be argued to take the Sixth house as his father’s family and the Twelfth house as his mother’s family, but I feel this is unnecessary as we are taking his family away from him in a sense and applying it to him with a degree of separation through his parents.  This makes it more impersonal, so I feel is incorrect. Continue reading

Astrology: Who are you people? (Synastry with the reader)

I have Pallas conjunct my Scorpio MC… she is extremely overactive when it comes to looking for patterns of any sort. So I watch closely the stats to the blog. I see where referrals come from, when a blog is directly linked to… how many clicks out on links, who is linking in, Google search criteria… lots of stuff, but I still am wondering, hey who is reading this stuff?

I am planning to write my next blog on how aspects seem to sometimes look hereditary, as in I have Mercury and Mars conjunct near exact and so does my 12 year old son… coincidence? I doubt it. Continue reading

A Two For One Horary

I lost my glasses the other day. Since I had no where to go, I didn’t think much about finding them until I realized I had to go to court the following day. I cast a horary chart about their whereabouts and actually had a delightful chart and events happen.

The date was September 2nd and the time, the magical 1:11 pm.

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The very first thing I noticed was the very early ascendant. Continue reading

Virgo

Daughter of the Harvest: Virgo the Maiden

Virgo the Maiden/Virgin is the sixth Sign of the Zodiac, we all knew this, so why is it necessary to dedicate an entire article to this Sign?  The very fact that this question is asked is in itself indicative of the necessity.

Virgo

Virgo

We know much about Virgo and the significations behind it, I’m sure, but what we do not know is where these significations came from.  We are all too busy accepting things about the Sign instead of exploring why these things were thought up.  Apparently in today’s astrology it is considered “good enough” for an astrologer to only know what things are and what they mean, but not pay attention to where they came from and why they mean these things.  Perhaps this can be seen as useless, but I find it necessary to complete understanding and it definitely helps in knowing what you’re doing and what you’re talking about, which has become a lost art in itself.  Across the internet, it seems easy to claim that the Zodiac was formed and the significations laid out in Greece or Rome, and that mentioning only those deities or figures is necessary to gain complete understanding.  Hopefully, this is obviously ridiculous, as astrology was forming long before its introduction to Greece.  To throw out the more ancient roots of the Signs of the Zodiac as they were in Babylon or Egypt is a waste.  In this article, we will discuss and uncover the beginnings of Virgo the Maiden/Virgin and the significations that stem from astronomy, mythology, and mysticism that cemented the meanings of this particular Zodiac Sign throughout history and culture.

 

Astronomy

Virgo is an interesting Sign to start off with, as it is the largest of the constellations along the ecliptic, measuring about 47°.  Virgo holds a number of noticeably bright stars; alpha, beta, gamma, delta, and epsilon Virginis, as well as quite a number of alien galaxies contained within the Virgo Cluster.  Interestingly enough, one of the first discovered extrasolar planetary systems was discovered around 70 Virginis.  Currently, the autumnal equinox point lies in this constellation.  This point should lie in the 0° point of Libra, but due to the processes of procession this point has traversed the constellation of Libra and has entered Virgo (currently ~27° [astrologically] of Virgo), it will stay in Virgo until around the year 2440.

Mythology

As the only human female member of the Zodiac, Virgo has had the privilege of being associated with just about every major goddess across all mythologies:  Ishtar of the Babylonians, Demeter to the Greeks, Astrea to the Romans, and even Mary to the Christians.  Unfortunately in today’s world we have become too wrapped up in the phrases and words that are connected with the Signs of the Zodiac to focus in on the visual symbolism and what that implies.  For instance, we think of Virgo as Virgo the Maiden/Virgin, and are content to go along and link words and phrases that are associated with that instead of taking a moment to reflect upon the picture in the sky.  This picture is of a winged maiden with a palm branch in her left hand and an ear of corn in her right.  These two objects she holds are symbols of seasonal celebrations (the palm leaf) and the harvest (the corn), both of which are intimately linked with Virgo’s significations.  It is believed that the original Virgo was an early Babylonian grain goddess Nidoba who was eventually absorbed into the worship of another more prominent god, Nabu.  Nabu, of course, eventually became associated with the planet Mercury, making an immediate connection between this planet and Virgo.

Centuries later, other myths connect this constellation with the Roman justice goddess Astrea.  She ruled the world with sage-like wisdom and was the last of the divine beings to leave the earth due to the wars and callousness of men.  She is depicted with the wings that gave her the ability to leave the earth for the heavens, and her constellation lies near to her precious scales (the constellation Libra) that she used as symbols of equality and power of judgment. Continue reading