This article was published in the 2012 book edited by Frank C Clifford: Astrology: The New Generation. The pdf version of the article above is much prettier and shows some charts.
Moses Siregar III A Personal Biography No free will about it, I was born into astrology. My mother, an astrology student since before I was born, had me reading Liz Greene’s children’s book, Looking at Astrology, when I was in the first grade – something I had completely forgotten until I found the book in my early 20s and discovered that the Sun signs of the kids in my firstgrade class were scribbled on its pages. Turns out, the kid who had convinced me that he controlled an underground lair full of beautiful women was a Libra. Smooth, that one was. During my first nodal return in Scorpio in 1994 I found myself (once again, with gratitude to Mom) at the Metropolitan Atlanta Astrological Society. That night I heard David Railey lecturing about the Moon’s nodes and Steffan Vanel lecturing about Liz Greene’s psychological astrology; over the next few years I would attend many lectures at MAAS, including one by Dennis Harness, who stoked a flame in me that would turn into a great love of Vedic astrology. In those early years, I read Rudhyar, Greene, Forrest, Hickey and Arroyo. Now in 2012 I’m experiencing my second nodal return and I’m working on an astrology book of my own, a book on locational astrology. This topic has been the focus of my consulting work since 2003, and I’ve lectured on the subject at astrological groups around North America. Over the last decade I’ve spoken at UAC, ISAR and ACVA conferences; I became a co-founder and the first president of the Association for Young Astrologers: and I’ve organized The Blast Astrology Conference in Sedona, Arizona. I’m ISAR C.A.P. certified and a certified Astro*Carto*Grapher. I’ve been a mostly full-time consulting astrologer since 1994. I do my best to do no harm.
Chapter Eight A NEW LOOK AT LOCATIONAL ASTROLOGY & ASTRO*CARTO*GRAPHY Moses Siregar III
Locational astrology, or astro-locality, has become a popular branch of astrology frequently used to help individuals find their ‘best places’ on Earth. The late Jim Lewis and those who have followed in his footsteps deserve credit for the prominence of this new approach to astrology. Lewis of course called his approach Astro*Carto*Graphy, or A*C*G. Charles Harvey and Michael Harding, in their book Working with Astrology, called A*C*G one of the three most important modern advances in astrology – the other two being harmonics and midpoints.1
A Brief History of Locational Astrology and Astro*Carto*Graphy
Before Lewis, locational astrology was more commonly utilized for the purposes of mundane astrology rather than natal astrology. Earlier astrologers who correlated zodiacal qualities with places on earth include Manilius, Ptolemy, al-Biruni, Lilly, Raphael, Green, Sepharial, Carter, Johndro, and Wynn.2
Applying locational astrology techniques to individual nativities with an emphasis on angular planets at the moment of birth, which is what the term astrocartography (without asterisks) normally refers to, was perhaps initially developed by Cyril Fagan more than anyone else, even though Fagan didn’t write a great deal about the subject or do much to popularize the idea (as Lewis certainly did).3 Charles Jayne wrote in a 1985 article, ‘As far as I have been able to determine, the Astro-Cartographic method was first developed by Cyril Fagan.’4 In 1966, ten years before Lewis wrote his famous Astro*Carto*Graphy booklet, Fagan used the technique in his ‘Solunars’ column in the magazine American Astrology. In that article he looked at the chart of a woman born on June 29, 1940, at 9:15 am GMT, 31N35, 105W50. He wrote:
"With Uranus on the Ascendant in conjunction with Algol, it is not surprising that she mentally has been pushed to points of extreme desperation. A distant removal from her place of birth will displace the natal Uranus from this dangerous position… Should this unhappy girl wish to remedy matters, she should remove sufficiently far away from her place of birth to put her Sun and Venus on the Midheaven; she will then know fame and happiness."
Fagan also explained why he would not recommend an angular Jupiter line for this woman, even though he would normally recommend that a person ‘bring the benefics, principally the greater benefic Jupiter, onto an angle.’ The reason he gave is that her Jupiter was closely conjoined with Saturn (among other reasons).
In Fagan’s 1971 book, Primer of Sidereal Astrology, which he cowrote with Brigadier R. C. Firebrace, there is an appendix about the ‘Calculation of planets in mundo’. In his Solunar column Fagan also wrote about parans in the context of both natal and relocated locations.5 Of course two of the key elements of Lewis’s Astro*Carto*Graphy are drawing ‘in mundo’ maps6 and using parans for relocation work.
Kenneth Irving wrote to me that Jim Lewis ‘was certainly steeped in the hard-as-nails technical approach of Fagan & Bradley,’ but says that Lewis was ‘genuinely surprised’ when Irving showed him examples of Donald A. Bradley’s maps from American Astrology. He said that Jim Lewis ‘sincerely didn’t think anyone else had done this before him, and I had no reason to doubt him.’ He also thought it was unlikely that Jim Lewis would have read the contents of any given past column written by Fagan or Bradley. Irving also said that ‘Bradley did use the idea of locality in regard to birth charts extensively, but as far as I know never through the use of maps.’ Jim Lewis gave particular credit to Donald A. Bradley, the only astrologer Lewis listed by name in the dedication of his 1976 booklet, Astro*Carto*Graphy.
Without a doubt one of Jim Lewis’s most significant contributions was his popularization of natal astro-locality maps. Before Jim Lewis, astro-locality maps were employed in astrological literature as early as 1941 but only for mundane purposes, such as showing the angularity of planets at the moment of the winter solstice.7
I consider Jim Lewis a modern astrological giant for developing and promoting astrocartography, and I feel profoundly grateful for all that I have learned from his work. However, in this article I won’t focus on the countless places where I agree with Lewis but instead on some major elements of Astro*Carto*Graphy that I want to examine critically. Because Astro*Carto*Graphy is such a pervasive influence on astrocartography, I believe that all astrologers interested in locational astrology should look deeply into A*C*G’s origin and legacy.
Before I go further, a bit about myself. I have supported myself as an astrologer since 1994, and ever since the Jupiter–Uranus opposition in 2003 (a transit I remember because I also have Jupiter–Uranus opposed natally), I have made at least two-thirds of my living as a practicing locational astrologer. Because I review my clients’ histories and look over all the previous locations where they have lived, I estimate that I’ve been able to ask questions about and confirm the results of well over 5,000 relocated charts, including techniques like parans and local space lines. I am only one astrologer, but I have done my best to test the popular theories of astro-locality, and in this essay I’ll share some of the things I have learned.
To Map or Not to Map?
For me there’s an ironic element in this quote from Jim Lewis at his ‘Professional Training and Certification Seminar’ in 1993:
"25 years ago when I started doing astrology, Locational Astrology was hardly talked about at all. The only thing they did was if you were going to move to a new city they might relocate your chart to that city and read it as if you had been born there. But all of these new techniques like A*C*G, and local space and geodetics, nobody talked about because it simply did not exist, and that was only 25 years ago. Also, there were only about 10 books on astrology at that time – it was real easy to read them all."8
The ironic element for me is that the only technique mentioned above that focuses primarily on an astrological chart is the one that Jim Lewis seems to give the least weight to: the relocated chart. A*C*G, local space and geodetics are viewed as lines on geographical maps. These techniques also refer back to the natal chart but they can change the astrologer’s focus from charts to maps, and I feel that the map-first mentality of locational astrology has led to some problems.
Astro-locality maps are invaluable tools. I use maps extensively as I look at A*C*G (including parans), local space and geodetics (from tropical and sidereal natal placements), as well as finer techniques like midpoints and aspects to angles. But I have found that far too many astrocartographers put the cart before the horse, the map before the chart, not only when it comes to analyzing astrocartography but also in that many astrologers skip over the fundamentals of interpreting astrological charts and rush over to fascination with shinier modern inventions, whether astrocartography or anything else (there are too many to name). I’ve been there too. I began as a modern, groovy psychological and spiritual astrologer, but the accuracy of my astrological work grew by leaps and bounds when I began to study more traditional astrology, particularly Vedic astrology in my case.
Too many astrology students and locational astrologers seem to have abandoned the gold mine that is the natal chart and the relocated chart in combination. Most, though certainly not all, of the information locational astrologers need can be found in those two places. I would never want to give up any of the astro-locality techniques that I use – such as the parans and in mundo positions of A*C*G and Cyclo*Carto*Graphy (C*C*G), local space and geodetics – but if forced to choose only one astro-locality tool, I would reluctantly give up everything else and focus on the natal and relocated charts in combination.
A*C*G and Fame
Lewis’s work emphasized angular natal planetary lines and the fame that sometimes comes with those positions. He co-wrote with Ariel Guttman The Astro*Carto*Graphy Book of Maps. The subtitle of the book reads: ‘The Astrology of Relocation: How 136 Famous People Found Their Place.’ Although parans are also mentioned in these 136 case histories, the book is nearly 300 pages of examples of famous people doing famous things in places where they have angular planetary lines. Lewis’s 1993 certification seminar shows this same emphasis on angular planetary lines.
So it’s not surprising, because of Lewis’s example, that astrologers tend to put such emphasis on angular planetary lines when studying and practicing locational astrology – even though most clients don’t come asking where they can find fame. Most of my own clients just want to be happy, and I’ve found that living close to angular lines more often leads to unhappiness because the angular lines indicate places where one’s life experience will be so intense – for better or for worse and usually some of both. More on that below.
Lewis cited the Gauquelin research in his 1993 certification seminar, and rightly pointed out that what Gauquelin discovered is that the natal chart’s angles are powerful places for famous people:
"Gauquelin… found out… if you were born in a place where Mars is in the Midheaven, you have a more chance than statistical average of becoming a more successful athlete. He took the charts of 50,000 French people and excerpted a couple thousand outstanding athletes and found that far more than statistically predictable, the outstanding athletes had Mars in the zone near the Midheaven in their charts… The Gauquelins have shown that it only works for eminent French athletes, for outstanding French athletes. It didn’t work for the second string, little leaguer types. That’s an important thing, angularity of a planet brings it into personal and collective attention."9
In Lewis’s certification seminar he talks about a ‘spectrum of health’ for each planet. He asked his students to come up with examples for each planet when denied/repressed/projected, assimilated and famous. For instance, according to his examples, denied Neptune would be psi-cops and skeptics who appear on TV, assimilated Neptune would be ‘alcoholics anonymous’, and famous Neptune would be Gandhi, Timothy Leary and Bill Wilson (founder of Alcoholics Anonymous).10 It’s worth noting that Lewis routinely considered the highest potential for any planet to be the achievement of ‘fame’ connected with that planet, while his work in astrocartography focused on angular planets.
On the other hand, also in his 1993 certification seminar, Lewis said, ‘That reminds me to remind you that the point in A*C*G is not to find someplace to go to become rich and famous… The point in the study of astrology is to become a whole person, a complete, entire person.’11 Lewis had a clear interest in a psychological approach to A*C*G. But maybe because so much of his A*C*G literature and teaching was about angularity and fame, I believe that many people have acquired the wrong idea about astrocartography.
Most people are more interested in happiness than fame. They’d rather have money in the bank, good friends, satisfying relationships, a nice home and fulfilling work. Yet too many people seem to think locational astrology is about, above all else, moving to an angular planetary line, even though this is so often not a good recipe for happiness. People talk about what happened when they went to their Jupiter line, or Mars line, etc. They wonder which new angular line they should go live on. We think these lines are what locational astrology is all about, but that is a very dangerous misunderstanding.
Full Volume: The Price of Angularity
I have found that, as a general rule, living a comfortable distance from angular lines – rather than very close to such lines (I’ll say that within 150 miles qualifies as ‘very close’, but that’s a general guideline rather than a hard boundary) – is more often the best choice. This is because angular planetary lines, when we live very near to them, give us the full, intense force of any given planet’s significations according to our unique natal charts – and most planets in our charts promise more than just lollipops and gumdrops.
Jim Lewis was well aware that the natal condition of a planet is important when analyzing A*C*G lines. He knew that not all Jupiter lines are created equal. But I can understand, when looking at the emphasis of his teachings, why so many people focus more on the generic positions, such as VE–ASC, SUN–DSC and so on. Because even though Lewis explained the more nuanced truth and the importance of seeing the planet’s situation in the natal chart, he still focused his teachings and writings on the sheer power of angular planets in astrocartography.
I’ve learned that living on a major A*C*G line is like turning up the volume on that planet to ‘11’. In other words, it’s asking that planet to become so emphasized in your life that you can never get away from its generic significations (Mars as Mars) and its specific natal significations (Mars in your chart). Most planets in any chart exist under a combination of easy and difficult conditions – mixed bags. Maybe your Mars is in Cancer (its fall or depression), but it’s also in a trine to Jupiter in Scorpio (a mutual reception) and a tight square to Moon in Aries (a more complicated mutual reception because of the square), while ruling the 7th and the 12th Houses (the 12th being a relatively challenging house, with the 7th being for the most part an inherently positive house). Living on that Mars line would likely lead to a lot of intense experiences – sometimes very enjoyable, other times very unpleasant. This is not just because Mars can be considered a natural malefic – something we don’t want to lose sight of – but also because of its specific placement in the above chart.
A Good Planet Is… Hard to Find
Ideally we could all live close to the angular lines of relatively pristine planets in our charts. A pristine planet is dignified by sign, ideally by rulership (i.e. Moon in Cancer), mutual reception or exaltation (Moon in Taurus), although exaltation is a more complicated condition which can also indicate some powerful challenges, such as when the exalted planet rules difficult houses in either tropical or sidereal astrology (those houses being primarily the 6th, 8th and 12th). A pristine planet should be well aspected and its aspects would ideally involve harmonious reception (e.g. Sun in Sagittarius trine Jupiter in Aries; Jupiter rules Sagittarius and the Sun is exalted in Aries). A pristine planet would rule over the more positive houses (such as the angles and the 5th and 9th – though different houses can be considered positive depending on the person’s work and interests) while not ruling over the more difficult houses. A pristine planet sits in a positive house where it is also comfortable. A pristine planet would be disposited by similarly pristine planets, or at least by planets well positioned overall. Whether a pristine planet should be direct or retrograde is too complicated to sum up here – it’s not a simple matter of saying that retrogrades are mostly bad (something that some traditional Western astrologers say) or that retrogrades are mostly good (something that many Vedic astrologers say). And when looking at what makes for a well-placed planet, there are too many possible considerations to mention. Different astrologers will focus on different conditions. Some may use midpoints, others may use the Vedic nakshatras, while others will use the Egyptian terms and so on.
Traditional astrology gets a bad rap from many astrologers who don’t understand it. I love modern astrology, but I believe modern astrologers ought to be able to also use traditional concepts to become better at making predictions without losing the positive, humanistic and psychological spirit of modern astrology.
Locational astrologers need to be able to make predictions. We need to be able to say what we think it would be like for client A to live on her angular line B. But to make these kinds of predictions we need to be able to differentiate a complicated, difficult Jupiter line from a relatively straightforward, positive Jupiter line. Many concepts from traditional astrology help us to do this. Just as modern astrologers recognize the difficulty of a planet in a T-square with Saturn, Chiron or Pluto, traditional astrologers recognize the difficulty of a planet in its fall with a weak dispositor, who is involved with challenging reception (e.g. Sun in Gemini trine Jupiter in Libra), who rules difficult houses while also sitting in a difficult house. We don’t need to judge any of these conditions as inherently good or bad; we just need to recognize challenges for being what they are, as well as for the opportunities they offer.
Close to the Edge? Or Far, Far Away?
Back to angularity in astrocartography. One of the reasons we tend to focus on the A*C*G lines is because when someone finds a great line – for his or her unique chart and his or her unique interests and goals – the results can be spectacularly good. Living on a line that works well for you can be profoundly life-affirming because it can give you much stronger connections with other people in that place. A good angular line can in fact give us a certain amount of fame, even if just locally. The way this usually manifests is that we’re more socially or professionally connected, or both, in such places. We’re not just in the background there; we’re front and center in the flow of life. Having the volume turned up to ‘11’ can be great when you really love the song you’re listening to (i.e. when you work well with the planet in question) and when you want to be more prominent or more connected to whatever is happening locally, or perhaps even nationally or internationally.
The problem is that few planets in any given chart work very well at full volume. And in many charts – perhaps as many as half the charts I see in my work – there may not be a single planet that I can recommend turning up to ‘11’. In other words, with roughly half the clients I work with, no planet comes even close to being in relatively pristine condition. For example, in charts where hard aspects predominate, it’s often difficult to recommend any major lines because if Mars squares your Moon then that aspect will be profoundly felt and experienced whether the person lives on a Mars line or a Moon line. And if nearly all of one’s planets are in difficult squares, oppositions or quincunxes then it will be hard to find a comfortable place close to a major A*C*G line.
When someone lives on the line of a planet whose condition is mixed (some nice stuff, some major challenges), all of those conditions will manifest in that place. It’s like asking the planet to hit you with its best shot. It’s almost like having a continual transit from that planet. How many people would like to have a major Saturn transit every single day? Or a major Jupiter or Venus transit, for that matter – sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for.
On the one hand, these conditions will manifest according to the nature of the line in question. For example, living just east of a difficult Mars–ASC line will put Mars in the 12th House of the relocated chart, so its story will play out in a noticeably 12th-House way. Living just to the west of a Mars–ASC line will put Mars in the 1st House of the relocated chart, so in that case the effects will be felt most strongly in the 1st House.
But on the other hand, living close to any major Mars line – no matter which angle – will activate the natal story of Mars, including its aspects and whichever houses Mars rules natally and whichever houses it resides in natally.12 All of the planet’s natal conditions will manifest in such a place, including reception if there is any, essential dignity or lack thereof, declination, connections with fixed stars, important midpoints, nakshatras and other Vedic considerations such as shad bala, terms/bounds, sect and any other factor one can study and use.
Another consideration is that some people are more likely than others to enjoy the intensity of angular lines. For example, a younger person wanting to experience all that life has to offer, including its lessons, may want to live near his or her major A*C*G lines. Living near a major line likely means greater successes and greater failures, though the balance of success and failure will depend on the unique natal planet in question. On major lines we are likely to have more significant relationships with more people, so living on major lines usually leads to more significant friendships; however, the individual situation has to be taken into consideration – living on the line of a planet ruling one’s natal 12th may symbolize a good deal of isolation and hardships instead.
Meanwhile, those who would rather live in relative seclusion and privacy, or who simply don’t mind being in the background socially, ought to give serious consideration to not living near a major A*C*G line. For example, an older person looking to retire in a place that will be mellow for her, who isn’t concerned about having a great deal of social prominence, should probably avoid her major A*C*G lines unless maybe she has one of those pristine planets in her natal chart and can find those lines somewhere on habitable land (i.e. not out to sea or in the middle of a war zone). In my experience it’s more common to find people who say that they cannot live comfortably on their angular lines. Many people come to me, I think, because the major line they are living on is too intense. In some cases these people have been told by Astro*Carto*Graphers to go and live on these major lines. They may enjoy the positive things that the major line seems to give them, but they also find that the problems that come with those major lines are too much to handle on a daily basis.
Living on a major line is intense, though it can be a very good kind of intense in the case of a well-placed natal planet; but in most cases it’s intense in both positive and negative ways. Living far from major lines is mellow but that can also indicate a place that is boring or unfulfilling, as well as lacking in social connections. Let’s think then… how can we get the best of both scenarios? The energy, activity and connections of a major line as well as the sustainable mellowness of a place with no major lines?
Often the best solution is to live a moderate distance from a major line. That way, you can experience some of the positive intensity of a major line without too much of the negative intensity. And you can have the more mellow experience of not living terribly close to a major line, but without the boredom or sense that ‘nothing is happening’ that can prevail when living too far from angular planetary lines.
How Far Is Too Far, and How Close Is Too Close?
Now you might be wondering, then how far away should you be? First, let me restate that if you do have a planet in relatively pristine condition in your chart, it may be worth trying to live very close to that line. If you’re in the half of the population13 that has at least one of these very well-placed planets in your natal chart, you might still have only one or two such planets (and having four such planets is probably the most I’ve ever seen – one or two is much more common according to my way of assessing things). Then you have to hope you can find a livable place near one of these lines, in a country where you want to live, with weather you like, where you can find a good job and on an angle where you’d like to have that planet.
One more caveat before getting into distance and orbs. The emphasis on astro-maps has taken the attention of many astrologers away from relocated natal charts. I think this is really tragic, and for more than one reason. For example, you may have one of the nicest Venus placements in creation, but it might also be the case that when you get that Venus on your ASC, you end up with every other planet in your relocated chart in either the 12th, 8th or 6th House: that’s almost certainly not good. Venus would still give you her wonderful results, but the rest of the relocated chart would most likely drag you down.
Now the orbs. First, the bad news. Orbs are always debatable and astrologers rarely agree on them. For example, Jim Lewis said that individual parans have an orb of influence up to 1.5–2 degrees of latitude on either side of the line,14 but most practicing locational astrologers I’ve spoken with use a smaller orb, often 1 degree on either side, which is the orb I used for many years.15 In recent years, based on client histories, I’ve started to look only at ½ of a degree of latitude as my orb for a strong paran, although I still find that there is some influence up to a full degree of latitude away.
Lewis put his emphasis on maps rather than charts, so he measured orbs in inches on his maps as well as in miles. He said: ‘On the A*C*G map, the official version, the orb is about 3/8 of an inch either side of the line and that equates to about 700–800 miles either side of the line; that’s a huge orb, like 1,500 miles with the line in the center of it. However, I assure you that the lines are not nearly as strong if you’re at the edge than if you’re right under the line.’16
Although he taught that in mundo mapping and mapping according to zodiacal longitude were ‘both true’,17 he emphasized a brilliant mapping technique that he pioneered: astronomically accurate maps that showed lines for actual rising, setting, culminating and anti-culminating planets in mundo, rather than astrological ASC, DSC, MC and IC lines. He favored in mundo mapping so his orbs were distance based and given in miles.
My practice – which is just a matter of preference – is to look at maps with lines drawn for zodiacal longitude before looking at maps drawn in mundo. I probably do it this way because I emphasize the natal and relocated charts more than maps. The nice thing about this approach is that it allows you to use an orb measured in zodiacal longitude, or degrees. When using a degreebased orb, here’s what I recommend: 8 degrees at most from any angle in the relocated chart.18 Roughly, any planet within 3 degrees of an angle has ‘strong’ influence, any planet 3–6 degrees from an angle has ‘moderate’ influence, and any planet 6–8 degrees from an angle has a ‘weak’ though still important influence. The numbers can also be expressed as a fraction or percentage. For example, a planet 2 degrees from an angle has 75% of its maximum influence, or 6/8. A planet 3 degrees from an angle has 62.5% of its maximum influence, or 5/8.
Degree-based orbs aren’t fully sufficient, however, when the in mundo position of a planet is significantly different from its position according to zodiacal longitude. For example, Pluto might be 4 degrees from the IC in the relocated chart, which is what I would say is 50% of a full-strength Pluto line. But in mundo that same Pluto might go right through the location in question, meaning that it’s at full strength according to its in mundo position.
A similar problem can happen the other way around, though. When using distance as the basis for one’s orb when looking at a map, both in mundo and zodiacal positions have to be considered. But a zodiacal degree-based orb doesn’t work when looking at a geographical map drawn in mundo.
Distance-based orbs and zodiacally measured orbs can be hard to compare like apples to apples, because they’re actually different. Using my own chart as an example, I’ve seen that when a sign of long ascension is rising, 8 degrees of zodiacal longitude (from the ASC) can work out to roughly 525 miles; when a sign of short ascension is rising, 8 degrees from the ASC can equal less than 300 miles. It’s complicated.
I favor degree-based orbs while mapping with zodiacal positions, because that’s in keeping with how we read natal charts and because that’s what I’ve found to work so reliably. In mundo positions are also very important to consider, though, so in those cases I tend to ‘eyeball’ the range with a distance-based approach and in that event I use something like 500 miles as the outer range.19
Okay, now we can get back to what a medium-strength angular line would be, for those times when we want some of the energy of a major angular line but without too much intensity, as well as some of the mellowness of not living too close to major lines but without too much boredom. Measured in zodiacal longitude, to be safe, we’re looking at something in the 4–6 degree range for a planet that we like fairly well; in other words, the planet should be between 4–6 degrees from an angle in the relocated chart. Using 6–8 degrees can definitely work too, but then the effect is weaker; however, this can be a safer, better choice when dealing with a natural malefic that we also like, such as a well-placed Saturn or Mars, or any planet in a very mixed condition (such as a planet with close, difficult aspects or some other very challenging condition).
When measuring the same thing using an in mundo map and distance, 200–350 miles is roughly the equivalent of a 4–6 degree range, and 350–500 miles is roughly the equivalent of a 6–8 degree range. Beyond that, in my experience the line isn’t powerful enough to have a major effect. But I also think it’s harder to be precise about guidelines for distance-based orbs, so you should use these distance-based orbs at your own risk.
A Chart Has Twelve Houses, Not Just Four Angles
Now the ironic thing for me is that in getting into a critique of some commonly held ideas about Astro*Carto*Graphy, I’ve so far ended up doing one of the things I wanted to warn people away from: putting too much emphasis on the angular lines. It’s true that the angular lines are by far the most powerful influences, so it’s very important to know how they work and how to work with them. But one of the big problems with Astro*Carto*Graphy as it is commonly practiced is that many people think so much about their angular lines and not nearly enough about the rest of the positions in the relocated chart.
It could also be said that many people focus on the angular lines to the exclusion of local space, parans or geodetics. All of these things are very important. But I’ve found that the relocated chart itself is an incredibly important tool and it’s one that is ignored by too many.
I don’t have the scope in this essay to go into great detail about how I work with the relocated natal chart. I’m working on a locational astrology book that I hope to complete sometime in 2012 or 2013, and I’ll be focusing on relocated natal charts a great deal in that book. For now, I’ll leave you with a simple, powerful traditional technique for analyzing a relocated natal chart, something as basic and fundamental as it gets. Look at the condition and position of the ruler of the ASC in the relocated chart. If Libra is rising in the relocated chart and Venus is in the 12th House in her fall in Virgo dealing with some very hard aspects, you’ll definitely want to make a note of it because Venus’s placement will tell a reliably potent story about what it would be like for the individual to live in that location. In this location the person may feel intensely isolated, invisible to others or unpopular. He or she might feel extremely limited by financial conditions, or might have harsh experiences with intense or critical women. There may be a powerful feeling of entrapment, in general, or of being stuck in menial roles or difficult working conditions.
If Scorpio is rising and Mars is in Capricorn in the 3rd House and well aspected, then Mars’s dignity will shine through in the 3rd House (for better or worse, but most likely for the better overall in this case) and that symbolism will describe a great deal about what the individual would experience living in that location. Maybe he or she will have a powerful drive to write, or to study some subject or to focus on creativity – which will lead to significant success or notoriety. Maybe the person will very effectively use communications technology, make good use of a scientific mind or communicate clear and specific ideas through his or her work. On the downside, maybe this person will argue too much with others or have intensely competitive relationships with siblings or friends. Maybe ambition and too much work, or too much mental energy or long commutes and too much traveling will become a problem, leading to a major imbalance. For extra credit do the above in both tropical and sidereal astrology. It’s not hard to do after you’ve practiced it. Just consider the placement of the ruler of the ASC in the sidereal zodiac as well as in the tropical zodiac and blend whatever you find, similar to how you would blend different bits of information in any given chart.
Maybe the person who has Libra Rising and Venus in Virgo in tropical astrology has, in the same location, Virgo Rising with Mercury in Virgo in the 1st House in sidereal astrology. That would change the picture quite a bit, wouldn’t it? Although we would still expect the challenges shown by the Libra Ascendant with Venus in Virgo, the sidereal picture shows a very different story. We’d expect the person to be able to experience great success in a realm signified by Mercury or Virgo. Maybe the person still feels trapped and unloved (Venus in Virgo in the 12th), but nonetheless enjoys a great education or has a shrewd business sense that leads to a good income (Mercury in Virgo in the 1st) – along with great expenditures or losses (Venus in Virgo in the 12th). Maybe the person finds a good job that requires good organizational ability or technological knowledge (Mercury in Virgo in the 1st), but has major problems with female co-workers harming her reputation behind her back (Venus in Virgo in the 12th).
Our knowledge of astrology will always be imperfect. While technical proficiency is a wonderful goal, we’re flawed human beings and there will always be a great deal more we don’t know.
Still, we should always do our best for each client and we should study and research our craft as much as we can, because our work can change someone’s life in dramatic fashion, for better or worse. We have to develop our humanity, because with some compassion and wisdom we can hope to make a positive difference in others’ lives. Technical knowledge is precious but it is not as useful as a kind heart, a receptive ear and a humble spirit. Always do your best.
References and Notes 1. Martin Davis, From Here to There, The Wessex Astrologer, 2008, pp. 11–12. 2. Ibid., p. 1. This includes, but is not limited to, correlating nations with zodiacal qualities. Also see footnote 7 on Wynn. 3. I have spent a considerable amount of energy researching this topic and I’ve spoken with Kenneth Irving, among others, about who first developed and wrote about the techniques of astrocartography. As far as I can tell at this time, Cyril Fagan seems to be the most deserving of credit for at least being the first to write about the basic approach of astrocartography for relocation purposes. And some of the other astrologers who are sometimes credited for developing astrocartography tend to be siderealists who were friends of Cyril Fagan, such as Firebrace, Duncan and Bradley. To me the evidence points toward astrocartography, as we generally think of it today, coming out of this group, with Fagan the most likely candidate for the lion’s share of gratitude. I’ll continue to research this topic for my upcoming book on locational astrology. 4. Charles Jayne, Considerations magazine, Volume XIX, No. 1, p. 10. The article was written in 1985 but published in 2004. See http://issuu. com/considerations/docs/19-1 5. Cyril Fagan, The Solunars Handbook, 1976, p. 101. The Solunars Handbook is a collection of excerpts from Fagan’s 1953–1970 ‘Solunars’ column in American Astrology. 6. In mundo maps show astronomically correct rising, setting, culminating and anti-culminating positions for the planetary lines, rather than lines that correspond to zodiacal longitude, i.e. the ASC, DSC, MC and IC. 7. Wynn, in his own astrological magazine Wynn’s Astrology, published a map in August, 1941 with mundane concerns related to World War II and Adolf Hitler; this map included some personal lines for Hitler, but those lines were geodetic positions rather than angular planets for Hitler (i.e. not A*C*G). Martin Davis writes that in 1957–58 Donald 178 Moses Siregar III Bradley published a hand-plotted map showing the rising, setting and culminating lines of all the planets (around the entire world) for the 1958 sidereal ingress of the Sun into Capricorn. 8. Jim Lewis, transcript from his ‘Professional Training and Certification Seminar’, 1993, p. 7 (produced by Continuum, edited and transcribed by Karen McCauley and Lori Osborne, June 1998). 9. Ibid., p. 22. 10. Ibid., p. 15. 11. Ibid., p. 50. 12. I say, ‘whichever houses it resides in’, because it may reside in more than one house natally when we consider multiple house systems. 13. Pardon my gross estimation. 14. Lewis seminar, op. cit., p. 33. 15. One degree of latitude can be anywhere from 68.703 miles to 69.407 miles because of the Earth’s slightly ellipsoid shape. So about 69 miles or 111 km. 16. Lewis seminar, op. cit., p. 26. 17. Ibid., p. 25. 18. I’ve had people try to convince me that 9 degrees is a better orb, but I just haven’t seen that angular planets have noticeable enough influence beyond 8 degrees. 19. And it may be the case that we should use different distance orbs with in mundo positions depending on how quickly the ASC/DSC axis is moving in any given region at any given time.