Date: Sun, 22 Aug 1999 08:40:52 -0600
Subject: on methodology
A methodological and personal note:
In the above and in all my posts I always try to restrict myself to conjunctions and oppositions, sometimes squares when a T-cross is involved, sometimes quincunxes, and only if the aspect is less than 1 degree from exact, sometimes more when the Sun or Moon is involved, but never more than 2 degrees. I have also tried to restrict myself to relationships involving the Sun and the Moon, sometimes the node (or Venus and Mercury), with the regular planets and the centaurs only, excluding asteroids. And since it is the centaurs we are studying, sometimes I have noted close conjunctions among themselves or with the other planets. I am very strict in the application of Occam's razor to analysis.
Analysis is analysis, and I use astrology to structure and organize experience, not to duplicate it in the chart.
The reason for these restrictions should be obvious; with 15 centaurs, 10 planets, and 2 transneptunians, the possible combinations are multiplied, and it is very easy to fall into the error of considering everything without making a hierarchy, making what is central or essential in a chart undistinguishable from what is not. It is not me who decides what is important and what is not, but the rules of focal determination which are a necessity if one doesn't want to fall into meaninglessness. I do not consider valid the use of larger orbs, other asteroids, more aspects, etc., for research trying to figure out the meaning of these new bodies.
It is not easy to separate all the possible relationships found in a chart, but I believe that this separation is what astrological analysis is about. If I don't make this separation, this structuring or verticalization, or if I don't see it done, I feel that what is being said is worthless.
Date: Sun, 22 Aug 1999 20:22:49 -0600
I look for focus, focalization of the centaurs, assuming that this focalization will reveal the centaur characteristics.
I look not for causes but for weighted relationships. Thus, for example, if the Sun is in 3 degrees of a sign, and Jupiter is in 6 degrees... that is a strong relationship. But if I find a centaur in 3 or 4 degrees of the sign, or in the opposite place, then the centaur takes precedence. One eliminates the other for the purpose of "filtering" out what is secondary or not central.
It is not the same thing as ordinary birth-chart analysis. It is analysis for the specific purpose of bringing out the centaur, trying to isolate it. This is not the same as life, nor is it a consultation with a a client. It is analysis with a specific purpose (research). Doing research is not the same thing as ordinary astrological reading.
What I think is that it is not whether you can explain it or not without the centaurs or asteroids, but of weighting. I can explain everything with a simple set of tools. But it may be that I can explain it BETTER with other sets of tools, better equipped for a specific purpose. If, for example, someone says that I have such and such because my Moon is in a 6-degree orb square with Pluto, and I find that it is in exact (less than 1 degree) square with 1995GO, then the 1995GO is a better explanation for it than the wide orb square. It is a better astrological explanation because the pattern, technically speaking, is much stronger. One-degree conjunctions or oppositions with the Moon or the Sun are far stronger than house placement, for example, or than an off-sign wide aspect.
My personal view, in ANY chart analysis, is that it is absolutely unnecessary to consider everything. The only thing that needs to be considered is what is important, and what is important is not chosen by you but by the rule of focal determination, the structure of the chart. Once I have what is important, I discard the rest, because it is not needed, because astrological analysis is not copying life but organizing it. Once you have the main axis and the head, you don't need the rest.
I mean structured, not reductionist. In my perspective, life is not horizontal, but vertical; some things are important, others are not. The chart itself tells what is important by means of focality and weight. Structure, simplicity and clarity is not reductionism. Once you have the "key", all the other factors come by themselves, and it is not necessary to analyze them. The chart is a tool to find meanings and make sense of reality, not an end in itself, so if I already got the key, and I have opened the door, the less important parts of the chart can be left aside as unnecessary. I guess my corollary here is that NOT all the chart is important.
... That's why some discussion of methodology is in my opinion important. I would say that, when working with asteroids, one has to distinguish clearly what is it that one is using them for. One thing is using them in charts to see what their particular "effects" are. In this case, this vacuum you speak about is necessary. But quite another thing is using them in a vacuum pretending to explain things out and forgetting the hierarchical organization of a chart.
This is why I say that research is one thing, and use in consultation is another. My comments are not aimed at figuring out or explaining the person, but at figuring out the centaurs. In consultation, so far, I find asteroids and centaurs either irrelevant or unnecessary.
MOST of what I have read about Chiron being used in natal charts, for example, I think is rubbish, but, it is not Chiron, it is the way it is being used and interpreted. Personal research speaks silently about how important Chiron is, even if the way it is interpreted is silly or duplicative. However, there are many books written about conventional methods and planets that are complete rubbish too.
I also think that if you consider focality and weighting, then your fears of disregarding all the rest may go away. When something is very strong, it takes precedence with respect to everything else, and here one finds that the small size of centaurs doesn't affect their strength, which is not given by physical size but by their positioning in a chart (for example in exact conjunct with the Sun or Moon, etc.)
I for one would like to see a close scrutiny. We would be discarding a lot of things, and will be left with little, but of higher worth. My only a-priory assumption is that focality and weight, as given by the chart itself, should be the guiding factor, or in other words, if after scrutiny my conclusions prove not to be valid, I keep trying until I come with the correct interpretation, rather than ignore the fact of a particular centaur in very strong focus.
Date: Sun, 19 Sep 1999 09:35:42 -0600
... a methodological note:
Date: Wed, 20 Oct 1999 10:24:36 -0600
... when I first came to this forum last December, I was prejudiced because I saw how things could be explained *without* Chiron and the like. This prejudice soon disappeared when I began to study the evidence by myself.
Let me say first that I don't use centaurs in my consultations (not yet at least). I don't need them... but when I see that a woman I have been seeing, for example (an actual case), has an exact Sun/Chariklo conjunction, I wonder how much I'm missing. DEFINITELY this conjunction (in the Midheaven) is a major clue to her life and personality.
IF THE POSITIONS ARE WEIGHTED (i.e., exact and strong aspects to the main points of the chart) and you are aware of the relative weight of the other factors of the chart, even though you may be ignoring those other factors, your conclusions will be correct,
The idea in this investigations is not to interpret the chart, but to interpret the centaur, and to realize how it can become a clue --often the main clue-- of an event or a personality, or a relationship.
Often, you will find that they are NOT prominent, they are not "clues". But when they are, then it gives you confidence in the method of determining prominence that you use, and in the conclusions that you derive from it. The main thing for me here is that we are not "interpreting charts" in this forum, we are trying to interpret the centaurs, and in order to do this, one has to isolate them from the rest. This may be artificial, but IF THE POSITION IS WEIGHTED, it will be a realistic depiction of whatever the chart is about.
This is part of the "vertifical" approach of Marc Edmund Jones ("Occam's razor"), and I follow it by heart, even though I have my own rules. But I couldn't do any astrology without this "vertification" (the establishment of focal preponderance) in a chart.
You can work without the centaurs, with the traditional planets only, you can work even without Uranus-Neptune-Pluto, as in India. You can work without houses, too. If you know how, it always works, and the "explanations" may be satisfactory... but sometimes they are not, sometimes you know that something is missing.
Then you begin to look for midpoints, hypothetical planets, asteroids, Arabian parts, geocentric nodes, harmonic charts, converse transits, etc, etc, etc., and they give such a multitude of details that you will always find something that charts the event or the person "satisfactorily".
Centaurs, however, have allowed me to remain "pure", without the need for these extended techniques. I mean "pure and simple", as a conjunction with Sun or the Moon, perhaps the purest and simplest and strongest and oldest indications one can find in a chart. And the reason why I like them among the rest of the asteroids is because I feel that asteroids are more "trivial", more civilized, and have less to do with the very basic things of conscious existence that the centaurs chart so well: pain, ecstasy, passion, death, wildness... all the untamed aspects of our lives.
You have a set of tools. Now we have more tools, or another set. One has to know, or "feel" when to use one set and when the traditional set will not suffice. And what I have found about centaurs, because they move so slowly and in the Saturn-Pluto region, is that their "effect" is comparable in dramatism to the transits of the outer planets, without any difference of strength.
The result is that, working and discovering with the centaurs, I feel that I am joining a powerful spiritual wave that is washing away old paradigms, including the old paradigms of astrology; I feel like I am plunging into the unknown with the joy of discovery, of the new, that all those "deaths" and wounds in our life now have a name, and a place, and are here to stay with us, like a gift of knowledge for healing, compassion, and understanding.
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 1999 09:45:56 -0600
... I prefer to call centaurs not "neutral" but "bipolar"...
... I see them as new tools to *understand* our present-day reality, and all the new realities, social and spiritual, that we are living at the turn of the millenium.
... [centaurs are Plutonian] but I feel they are Neptunian too, and that Neptune is the least understood of all planets... that's why they "are coming back" with a vengeance, killing us instead of dying themselves this time.
... I tend to see the centaurs in a more Christian way, as tools that can help people cope with the absence of absolutes, with the complete fragility and uncertainty of existence, so that they can find peace, fulfillment, and "life", amidst the madness, the silence, the piercing of the heart...
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 1999 12:38:35 -0600
I was having problems with the word "absolute", but then I took my dog out for a walk. This morning the air was chilly and very humid, with very strong winds. There are some very large and tall trees where I walk, and today one could hear the rustling of the leaves as their branches were moved by the cold and watery wind --about the most magical sound and smell there is in life to me. Then I realized that it was a question of words, as I felt that "eternity" was close-by as I heard that sound. "Up there" in the tree-tops --I felt-- was the world of Neptune and Pluto, and in a mysterious way, I saw these centaurs coming down to us from there, only to go back again to the mysterious top where eternity lies... and I felt that they were --as I breathed the air--, in their darkness and light / life and death interplay, the certification of my freedom.
Date: Thu, 18 Nov 1999 08:05:45 -0600
--Centaurs represent minorities, for several reasons:
1- Their number. They are the clear minority among minor planets
... Many of the "themes" [present in my site] were not picked by me, but came spontaneously from the discussions here. Others belong to areas in which I have been interested all my life (such as Wagner, etc) and which the centaurs have proved to be almost perfect tools for analysis. ALL centaurs are very Plutonian, and Pluto can be considered as their "father" in many ways.
... In general, 90% or more of the symbolism I use is derived from orbital
characteristics. (See "Pholus Orbit Symbolism"). The guiding light to make
the interpretation is ALWAYS this orbital or dynamical symbolism or gesture,
to which is added data which consists mainly (see "On Methodology") in
less than 1 degree-orb aspects of conjunction, opposition and square (with
some exceptions) to the Sun and to the Moon, and I go from
... I don't base my conclusions on mythology...
Date: Fri, 19 Nov 1999 09:54:53 -0600
... Personally, in my case, I have begun to feel what the centaurs are telling me in my chart only after months of seeing what they are telling in the charts of others, mainly mundane events and writers, actors, musicians, etc.
My very personal opinion, which I know is controversial and is not shared by the majority of people in this forum or elsewhere, is that interest in one's own chart is the worst motivation to learn astrology.
... In my very personal opinion, regarding "frames of reference", from the standpoint of a beginner, I would start with the following principles (I insist that it is only my very personal view or "style")
1- Centaurs are a category and share certain characteristics, all related to marginality, death and pain, wildness or "rawness", freedom, etc. They are all cultural renegades.
2- They work at the level of Saturn-Pluto, therefore their realm of action is very different to the level at which the main-belt and closer-to-earth asteroids work.
3- They are all orbit-crossers, they have "a cross", a Cain-mark in their foreheads, and do not belong to a well-established, institutionalized, secured, and ordered world.
4- Physically and dynamically they are very much like Pluto, and are "visitors" from the trans-neptunian world, which through them becomes more human, more compassionate.
5- Since their orbits are so wild, "sick" or unstable, orbital characteristics say more about them than about other more regular and stable bodies.
6- They move slowly, so they are used to trace the main turning points of a person's biography in the same we are used to do with planets from Saturn onwards.
7- As representatives of death, chaos, and also of the warrior-like microscopic immune system, they are an essential component in the construction of personality.
8- Centaurs do not tell anything new in charts: they tell *some* things better, clarifying them without the need of fancy techniques (as all minor planets do).
9- Centaurs are small in number, compared to any other category of minor planets, so the approach to them is different than, for example, if you are working with 10,000 asteroids or with 200 transneptunians.
The tenth and last point will be rejected by most people, and they will hate me for it: The worst way of learning Astrology is looking at my personal chart.
Date: Fri, 10 Dec 1999 20:00:35 -0600
Briefly, Cain is that part of man which is free from obedience to the "moral order" and creative enough to transform the face of the earth. This is why the Bible talks of his descendant Tubal-Cain, "the forger". The association with the centaurs comes from his condition of "outcast": he is condemned to be homeless and wander over the face of the earth. This is a very good description of the centaur orbits and what they represent.
The Cain part of us is outside of time, like passion and like true creativity. That's what "being wild" is. All the centaurs (I'm not sure about Chiron) have this quality, they don't "obey" the rules, and therefore become fugitives, paying the price, which is ostracism. They are rejected and despised, they are "marked" for life, they are dissidents and rebels. If you think about it, they all have "very bad luck", they bleed and suffer and get killed.
But like Cain, if you try to "kill" a centaur, "vengeance shall be taken on you sevenfold". It is the same story of violence, bleeding, and death, and what all that represents psychologically: the fight of the "warrior within". Because the centaurs are really like "fragments" of your-self that tend to "hurt" you, it is they who keep you awake and make your will strong in your fight to regain the wholeness, the part of you that got split and which they represent.
And like wolves, they are your teachers and your guiding lights while you are living in the Wasteland. They all descend from Pluto-Cain (not only Nessus, all of them!), and therefore it is from them that we learn to be strong and alert, forever living and dying, living and dying, living... and... dying...
Date: Sun, 02 Jan 2000 09:40:24 -0600
I've been thinking that centaurs behave very much like the press nowadays.
They invade others' privacy, uncover secrets and conspiracies, they sneak into others' territory, they go anywhere, may be very aggressive, damaging, and malicious. Also many news people are like homeless nomads, etc.
What do you think. How do you think one could demonstrate this?
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2000 14:49:50 -0600
... the orbital motion of centaurs --read transcendental comets-- is like a voyage, or a pilgrimage from home to far away to back home. They all have periods that approximate a person's life span, or half of it...
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2000 11:04:31 -0600
... One way of looking at it is that they (Chiron et als) are moving in the same territory of the slow-moving or transcendental planets, therefore, they do not chart "new" territory, what they do is chart a different way of approaching that territory. It's not "new", just "different", a different dynamics or approach.
For example, Pholus is very Neptunian (ecstatic, nomadic, deceiving, etc), but it is also very poignant, "wild" and passionate ("red"), qualities that are more Plutonian... but it is "closer" to us, less final and implacable than Pluto, much, much friendlier... like a big dog or a wolf. Nessus is more Plutonian: dark, manipulative, and nasty, but at the same time contains an extreme delicacy, sensitiveness, and vulnerability (Neptune), like the Prince's heart inside the Beast...
They are all dragged by Saturn from the Neptune-Pluto realm; Saturn "brings them in" and they always try to "drag us out". Their orbital dynamics is the key to how they act, their "gesture", their open orbits across the giant planets resemble wings...
Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2000 16:30:44 -0600
1- Orbits speak; planets speak to the imagination as they move along the orbit, but we may not know the exact meaning of the words. We hear the sound, hear the music, we know it is meaningful, but it is not easy to translate into words.
2- In the past, this language was what was seen in the sky. Not any more since the time of Kepler and Newton. Now it is more abstract, more imaginative and spiritual: this is why these heliocentric orbits speak to us.
3- Above all, this language cannot be converted into a formula: "if such and such... then this and that". There are no formulas of meaning, let alone for a hypothesis that is only beginning to get formulated, and where nobody knows for sure.
4- Centaurs bring this orbital symbolism to a more dramatic point. They speak louder! I suggest that we try to hear the orbits first, and then try to figure out what they are saying. Look at Danny's orbital diagrams... they are the best I have seen!
5- Orbital motion is like a symphony: hear it all first, have a feeling of the whole, let yourself be impressed by the sound... then hear it for a second and a third time and you will understand the parts better: the climaxes, the crescendos, the pianos...
6- Yes! Music is the best analogy! Slow-moving centaurs are like big Brucknerian adagios, gothic, mysterious, with big crescendos and climaxes... perhaps when they come closer they resemble more the scherzos... can you tell?
7- The time when the centaur is crossing the distance range of other planets may be a period of stress or great unrest, a more violent or "dense" passage of the musical score, with heavier orchestration and sparkling sounds...
8- When the crossing angle is large we may hear stronger dissonance, harmonies that crack through space and "stop time", bringing us closer to rupture, pain, death... but also ecstasy and God. When the angle is low things may be more quiet.
9- But this is only a hypothesis. The important thing is not someone's formula but what we hear ourselves with our own ears. Let them dance and hear them through their obtuse orbits and acute clashes. Listen how the gallop!
10- Bring in the violins as they spread their wings!
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2000 07:58:23 -0600
...one cannot work with asteroids without defining their SCOPE. This SCOPE and the DOMAIN is delimited by the place they occupy in the solar system, which, as you say, represents a ladder and is a function of the planet's velocity --at least in theory.
One thing must be added here, in my opinion, and that is the FORM OF ACTION, because an asteroid of very large eccentricity acts very differently from one with a very circular orbit. Hidalgo --very eccentric-- acts in a very different way from Ceres --almost circular. Very eccentric orbits becomes crossers between one sphere and the other, or between several spheres or domains in a row.
This is an astronomical fact. It is how an asteroid moves heliocentrically. From there one follows the paradigm: if this is how it moves in the solar system, if this is how it acts astronomically, then its astrological characteristics must be an expression of this movement in scope, domain, and form of action.
This does not contradict what people working with asteroids have found to be their astrological characteristics. It delimits it in order to be able to organize the information and integrate their function within the whole, understanding in what way a Centaur or a trans-Neptunian (slow moving and/or very eccentric, crossing several planetary spheres in its motion) differs from those that are very close to the Earth and move very fast, or those that move almost in circles.
The Lilith "archetype", for example, is not limited to the asteroid with its name. A main-belt asteroid like 1181 Lilith, completely conventional in all respects, cannot encompass the darkest and wildest aspects of the demoness Lilith, it can encompass only those aspects that can be matched with its orbit: those that are institutionalized and fulfill an integrative and social/community function --or whatever the conventional main-belt asteroids represent in someone's scheme. The darker aspects will be covered by other bodies whose motion is more wild or tabu-breaking... etc.
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2000 10:11:10 -0600
I never use house rulerships in chart analysis, except occasionally the ruler of the Ascendant or of the M.C., but very seldom. I remember years ago when studying Marc Edmund Jones' "The Guide to Horoscope Interpretation" how stunned I was that one could make such dynamical analysis without any use of house rulerships. Then I began to absorb the methods of sidereal astrologers (Fagan School) who also never use house rulerships, often not even signs.
And when you begin to put dozens of additional planets in a chart, rulerships are less and less necessary. I believe that working with minor planets requires a different approach to chart analysis: rulerships and wide orbs are the first to go, while the need to weight things becomes more and more important.
It is not a question of being able to identify something without centaurs and asteroids, using conventional methods and the regular planets only. That can always be done. It is a question od doing it with more and more "simple" tools: an exact (1 degree) conjunction or opposition of an asteroid with the Moon or the Sun says it "better" than a wide 6-degree trine, midpoint, or house rulership, as far as I am concerned. This is what I call "weighting".
I think that the more you use asteroids, the more you add, you have to change your methods of analysis. I try to follow Occam's razor very strictly:
1- Conjunctions and oppositions to the Sun and the Moon 1 degree
I apply this to a-) the birth as well as to b-) the death chart indistinctively, seeing them as complements, and also to c-) transits and the progressed (converse and direct) Sun. Many other things can be done, but only if the above don't work; I always try to avoid recurring to them (midpoints, converse transits, etc). In general, if something is not prominent in a chart, I don't use it in the analysis and never say anything about it.
Of course this is my personal approach only.
Date: Sat, 19 Feb 2000 08:46:11 -0600
...It is a pressing need right now for me at least, and it must be for many others. It depends on your frame of mind and your type of work.
Uranian astrologers, working with "planets" that are not "out there" physically (and let me say again for the record that I have no doubts about their effectiveness), and working exclusively with ecliptical longitude disregarding completely the latitude, put in evidence certain truths about the nature of astrology.
One is that astrology is more than anything else a system of the mind, that it needs not be based on physical entities or planets to work. If this were not true, Uranian astrology would not work, hypotheticals or not. And probably, for this same reason, minds trained to work in Uranian astrology accept more easily working with meanings that are not "anchored" in the physical behavior (the astronomical dynamics) of an object.
In asteroids work, this truth is evident in the fact that most people base their interpretation solely on the asteroid's name. And you always find a correspondence between the name symbolical associations and reality, because the mind interprets and structures reality with the symbolical language-code that is established before-hand and which is a cultural product.
A corollary of this is that all interpretations are culturally biased, that they are appropriate for the culture that produces them, but may be inappropriate for other cultures. And "culture" is not only a geographical concept, it applies to people living in the same building.
I can build a system of asteroid meanings based solely on their names. This excludes those bodies without a name, unless I think that "1999XX143" is related to sex and pornography or that 1995OK27 means that whatever it touches is "ok". I can do it because it works, because when I interpret, I codify according to my beliefs and the a-priori structures of my mind.
If the system is well-structured, AND if I *believe* that this is the structure of reality, the system will "work". Otherwise working with zero-latitude points on the ecliptic and with hypothetical bodies or imaginary and erroneous concepts (like the mean lunar apogee or "Black Moon") would not work.
I work with bodies that do not have a name, and will not have one in the near future. Therefore discovering their characteristics requires a completely different approach that is not based on names. In the case of centaurs, this is possible also because there are only 17 so far, in contrast with the thousands of asteroids and hundreds of trans-Neptunians. The methodology is different.
So, to return to the example of Hidalgo, I cannot ignore the astronomical fact that Hidalgo is a border-crosser, as is the case with many other asteroids. And I cannot ignore that most main-belt asteroids, including those with "wild" names like Hekate or Lilith, are completely conventional astronomically. Some bodies (like Hidalgo) are astronomically unique, and I cannot ignore that. The astrological meaning I give to them must be a reflection of this fact.
But many people ignore completely the astro-dynamics of asteroids. No problem. Their interpretations will be a reflection of not accounting for dynamics. This does not mean that one is "wrong", and the other is "right". They are just different, in the same way that Uranian astrology is different from other astrological schools.
Date: Sun, 09 Jul 2000 11:19:52 -0600
... I feel that centaurs have a very distinct "personality" (independent, self-existing qualities), i.e., they don't act generically, although they share many features. On the other hand, I also think that their qualities are present --to an extent-- in the principal planets. Anything the centaurs represent, could be described or measured with the regular planets only, so the question is simply that centaurs can focus or represent certain qualities "better", or with "more clarity".
It is the same with Jupiter and Saturn. For thousands of years they represented what for us now is Neptune and Pluto (they are still not used in India). What they do is offer a new --or better-- perspective of the same thing.
But there is something centaurs have that the planets don't: wings.
There is science-fiction series called "Farscape" (appearing in HBO), where the protagonists --a bunch of VERY centaurean renegades-- cross the "uncharted territories" of space inside a living ship called "Moya", of the "Leviathan" species. Centaurs are the Leviathan's of the Solar System, and this is something really new and unique, both symbolically and astronomically: they are a new type of bodies, a species by themselves.
Date: Thu, 30 Nov 2000 12:01:02 -0600
... It all depends on what your view of the Sun is. To me, the Sun is the core of the self and or the spiritual will, the center of consciousness, etc. I always avoid talking of the Sun as "the ego" because I think the whole concept of "the ego" identified with the Sun is a great mistake.
... In my view, any planet closely conjunct the Sun becomes over-emphasized, for good or evil. The closer to the Sun, the more both loose their autonomy. One becomes subservient of the other, and the manifestation can be as spiritually exalting as psychologically devouring (especially the cazimi).
Date: Thu, 30 Nov 2000 20:34:31 -0600
As far as I am concerned, an asteroid is important whenever it is focal, and it is the chart itself what establishes the focality. It doesn't become important because of the person, but because of the chart. When the chart is weighted, then the idea that I see repeated over and over about the silliness of adding hundreds of asteroids to it, becomes very silly itself, because that possibility does not even come to mind. Simply, everything not focal is disregarded, including regular planets that are very much in the background.
In my work as an astrologer, I do not "read" charts. I hate to consider myself as a "reader of charts". What I do is have sessions with people asking for help, looking for a better perspective, a better understanding of their lives, people who need counsel and are in search of cognitive tools to have a better grasp of themselves. That's my work, so that, instead of "reading" charts, I use them. I take what I need and disregard the rest, in a very astringent application of Occam's razor. Astrology is never an end, only a means.
So my approach to a chart becomes completely vertical (Marc Edmund Jones used the word "vertifical"). In this approach, the Sun and the Moon become the main foci, the 2 fundamental axis of a person's life, biography, experience, career, etc. They are the King and the Queen, the stronger, most important elements in any chart. Everything else becomes secondary, including houses and signs. All planets and asteroids are specializations of what is already contained in these two.
If a planet is in conjunction or opposition with the Sun, the act of self, the fundamental self-expression, is identified with that planet. The Sun looses its independence and cannot any longer simply "be", which is his nature and his glory. Being means being the planet. The planet also looses its independence and becomes too absorbing, too central and excessive, so much that (as it approaches 0,00') the person cannot see to what extent the nature of the planet is controlling the life. The larger the orb the greater the possibility of "seeing" and negotiating with the planet without loosing the perspective of the self.
If a planet or asteroid is focal this way, then I take it as if it is at the core of the person, or of the question, or of the event. Everything a person does which carries the imprint of the self, of this core, will be heavily coloured by the nature of the planet or asteroid in an intensified way. It doesn't matter if the person is aware or not, and certainly doesn't matter if the astrologer cannot see what he/she beforehand assumes the manifestation will be. The person, the meaning of the event, illuminates the meaning of the planet or asteroid. It is a question simply of learning about the person or event in order to learn about its astrological meaning.
A planet in exact conjunction or opposition with the Sun is overflowing with power. The person becomes the incarnation (the "master") of the planet. This is the case whether the person is conscious or not, evolved or primitive, socially important or insignificant, angel or devil, or whether he or she is using the planet's energies creatively or the planet is controlling him or her. As a general principle, I take everything in astrology as bi-polar: there are many evils and many blessings in everything, and all depends on factors that are very much beyond the scope of astrology. Usually you find both at the same time and place in a chart.
When you deal with people, there is no difference whatsoever between the layman and the socially or historically notorious. A chicken is the master of chickens, a beggar the master of poverty, a coward the master of cowardice: this is the Sun "incarnating" in the planet, giving it unconditional integrity, making it glorious or devastating. Whatever it is, it encompasses the whole being.
Those distinctions, as far as I am concerned, disappear completely when you are deeply in concentration putting all your energy and your good will in trying to "touch" the soul of the person and offer genuine help. You leave the branches and go to the essence, with the help of an approach to chart interpretation which does the same thing and keeps as paramount the spiritual and unconditional integrity and beauty of the person the chart refers to.
Needless to say, I consider this only my personal approach. I take for granted that every astrologer will choose different things to be essential. I just wanted to explain a little better what is essential to me, and why I used the expression "master of".
Date: Tue, 05 Dec 2000 10:45:37 -0600
I would like to try to list certain principles that characterize my own experience. Of course it is only my personal view and I assume that many do not agree with me, and that some do not even like me for expressing myself this way:
-- doing research on individual centaurs, and using them in my work with clients, are very different things. The methodologies are different. In research, like in a laboratory, one needs certain rules in order to isolate the effects of the individual object. These rules do not always apply in normal/daily work with clients. In research, we are interested in the object, not in the chart. We are not counseling people. We are trying to read the object, not the person, not the chart.
-- meaning is not there at first. As evidence accumulates, there will come a time when meaning will begin to appear on the surface of consciousness, as if "by chance" --as Robert mentioned. The meaning does not depend on the name or on mythology; the orbital symbolism and the empirical evidence are much more important. You can find out the astrological characteristics of objects that do not have a name or mythology associated with them. Names and mythology are only of relatively minor importance.
-- the most important rule of research is that everything must be weighted, so that elements in the background can be artificially eliminated. If it has no weight, it is disregarded. The weighting is done by using very tight orbs and eliminating other elements by means of precedence. Conjunctions and oppositions, the Sun and the Moon, 1-degree orbs, angles and lunar nodes, have precedence over everything else. The "everything else" is artificially disregarded, or is used only if needed. This assures that the object is very central and very critical, that its characteristics are less "contaminated" by other factors. You take only the objects that are very critical by their position in a chart. If it is not critical, ignore it. What is critical or not is established by the structure of the chart itself.
-- do not rely merely on birth charts. Examine progressions and transits, death charts, synastric relationships, historical dates, alternative coordinate systems, solar returns... Astrology is not birthchart-ism, nor being an astrologer means worrying exclusively about your own birth chart or transits. Keep your personal chart and transits as guides in your research, but don't make them the object of research.
-- do not hesitate to question or criticize, but keep in mind that working with minor planets requires new approaches and paradigms that are only beginning to take shape. Many things are worthless and erroneous here. The idea is to make research and contribute, not asking someone else or wait for someone to tell you. In this field, there is too much trivial anecdote and very little thinking or original research.
-- always back-up anything you say or conclude with empirical data and
sound thinking and interpretations. When interpreting, always keep in mind
the different domains in which minor planets move. Main-belt asteroids,
centaurs, trans-neptunians, etc., all work at different levels and have
their own domains in life (or death). Before interpreting, we need to know
what is "centaurean" and what is "transneptunian" in the life and experience
Date: Thu, 07 Dec 2000 10:49:43 -0600
I think there is a problem with words when trying to describe a quality. Pluto tends to be very implacable and "smashing", like death. I think TL66 is related to this also but probably in a different, more subtle way. But by "subtle" I don't mean weaker. Subtle things can be stronger, but they are more difficult to identify until one finds the right words.
I believe that, as with any planet, whether it becomes "negative" or destructive, or more "positive" and integrative, is beyond the scope of astrology. Death does not have the same face for everybody...
My feeling about using our own chart or the chart of those close to us is that it is a very bad way of finding out the characteristics of a new body. I have often said this and I know that it is contrary to the usual practice and to what is often --almost always-- recommended. It plays a part in research, but it must come last, not first. I will try to point here some of the main reasons.
I consider this only my personal views, and accept that most here do not agree.
1- The first reason is empirical. There are always dozens or hundreds of transits and progressions of centaurs and transneptunians and of many asteroids happening to important points in your chart, and only very seldom you will be able to relate them to something significant. The most common thing is that they cannot be correlated with anything, or, alternatively, that astrologers fall into trivializing and superficiality. Transits and progressions will correlate significantly only sometimes.
2- The second reason is psychological. I don't think it is valid to expect that the rest of the world will experience a transit the same way that I did (weak, hard, soft destructive, integrative, etc.), or that I did not. We all react differently, and we all remain unconscious of many things. We also do not react to many things. Experience is a very very subjective thing, that, generally speaking, cannot be used in this context (unless, of course, it is PROFESSIONAL experience). As a rule, I am not qualified to see or interpret the expression of my own eyes.
3- The third reason is methodological. I already developed this. Methodologically, I think one must find a way, or a case, in which the object manifests itself strongly and with clarity. I do not pretend that others follow or use my methods for doing this, but, generally speaking, I think that any case which is not clear or is fuzzy or looks "weak" cannot be used to draw conclusions. I must keep looking until I find a better one.
I learned originally the one-degree orb technique from Marc Edmund Jones, and it is part of the particular application of Occam's Razor with which I approach chart delineation "all across the board", not identical to but in the same spirit of Jones' "Vertifical" (vertical, hierarchical) approach to focal determination.
Occam's Razor establishes, for example, that exact (1-degree, since the degree is the basic unit of all the astrological measuring edifice) conjunctions or oppositions (and squares) have precedence over everything else, the Sun and the Moon (and the angles IF they are known accurately) have precedence over everything else, angular houses have precedence over all the others, tighter orbs have precedence over wider orbs, ... etc.
Of course the 1-degree limit is not rigid, but one extends it only when it is necessary due to the lack of stronger aspects or foci from other parts of the chart.
I do not stick to the 1-degree orb formula when looking at conventional charts with only 10 factors or planets, but when working with asteroids and the like it soon became to me a necessity, especially when one is trying to ascertain the possible meaning of new bodies or experimental points. The more exact the aspect, the stronger it will be, so we make sure that the relationships we find are very strong and focal, "central", stronger than all the others.
It really doesn't matter to me what technique one uses to establish focality, as long as one is using it to hierarchically organize the information. When the meaning of a body or a point is unknown, working with very strong focality ensures that one is effectively isolating this one factor as superior in importance, more "central" than all the others, and therefore a main signature of the event or person under study.
Then, the event or the person, being an "incarnation" or expression of the focal point, informs us about the meaning of the unknown object. This word "incarnation" is particularly (to me) the essence of an exact (1-degree) conjunction with the Sun. My detailed explanation of this meaning of the solar conjunction, together with all my numerous expositions and discussions of the methodology I use, can be read at:
The bodies the centaurs traverse give me (others may have a different approach) a background that informs of **the level** in which the centaur works, so that the effects one observes are **interpreted** in terms of this background. One does not derive the characteristics from the planets being traversed but from an interpretation in terms of the level to which those planets belong.
i.e., Jupiter/Saturn (SG35/Okyrhoe), Uranus-Neptune-Pluto (all the others), Mars/Venus (Apollos), asteroid belt (most feminine asteroids), etc. Generally, though, it seems to me that all of the centaurs are Neptunian and Plutonian.
But my experience with 1994TA/Pylenor was different. I simply collected what I found and extracted some keywords from the comments I had made and the characteristics of the events or people where it was focal. I then discovered that it looked like an "old wicked Saturn". The process can be followed in my "Notes on Pylenor" in my site.
Theoretically, since Pylenor leans on the Uranian side and never reaches Saturn, it should be "more Uranian", but to this date I haven't had any need of these orbital associations to "feel" its dark Saturnian qualities.
Of course others may feel different. I don't think there has to be unanimity in this.
Asbolus has been similar to me. I have never seen it in terms of the planets that it traverses directly. What the orbit tells me is that it moves in the transcendental world of the giant planets, and that it is the more "abysmal", the one with the highest eccentricity. I perceive a deep and dense fog, an oven, when I look at Asbolus/1995GO.
Sun and Moon, node, angles; those are the foci of an event for me. Later, one can investigate the conjunctions or oppositions with the other planets in terms of cycles or recurrences (in the case of the slow planets), or as an extension of the Sun/Moon principle with the other fast planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars...).
But planet-to-planet give additional information only, they are not central, and they must be seen in the perspective of their level of action or angular speed....
One example I dealt with once, in terms of planet-to-planet, was the Jupiter/TL66 conjunctions.
If we don't know at all (no clue) what the body in question might be before hand, then I would wait until I find an event where it is really focal and critical.
An example is the crumbling of the building in Jerusalem that has been discussed. The event itself --in my opinion at least, particularly in this case where we have an exact time-- will have its own signature (Sun/Moon/angles 1-degree conjunctions), but it can be interpreted in "Pylenorian" terms in view of the transit over Israel's chart. This would talk about its significance in terms of the recent history of Israel, but the Sun/Pylenor connection is not the signature of a building crumbling unless one makes a "Pylenorian" interpretation of it. What I am saying is that since Pylenor is not the signature of the event chart, then we cannot use the event to inform about Pylenor, but we use Sun/Pylenor to **interpret** (or re-interpret) the possible symbolism of the event on a larger-scale, Pylenorian level.
I want to insist that all this is only my opinion and personal preferences.
Another example is the chart we could draw for the 1982 massacre of Palestian civilians in Beirut. Pylenor is *not* focal, nor is the conjunction with Jupiter exact, but it happens during the period covered by the Pylenor/Jupiter transit, so it is "inserted" in the context of the larger transit...
Message: 7 Date: Sat, 18 Aug 2001 17:26:26 -0600
The mind normally or naturally associates asteroids with little influence or little importance. They are considered secondary, they are considered to add details and nuances to the interpretation, in concordance to their little weight and size; they represent trivial, non-critical matters, that are not necessary for a solid astrological work. Their influence and importance is small in concordance with their size, and their very large numbers are like all the petty details that are actually distractions and are better avoided not to fall into triviality.
This is a very materialistic "Newtonian" paradigm based on size and quantity. We tend to rest comfortable with this view, without realizing that Pluto utterly contradicts it.
To understand how much mainstream Astrology works under the size/weight paradigm, consider that in a matter of a few months, 2 planetoids have been found in the vicinity of Pluto that are half its size, the second (2001 KX76) larger than the first (#20000 Varuna). Astronomers expect to find others larger still soon. What will happen to Astrology when we have many Plutos or many almost-Plutos around? Do we take Pluto but ignore the others because they are 2/3 or 1/2 its size? Where will be the limit? Will they have 2/3 or 1/2 of Pluto's power? Is Pluto's power and importance in a chart a reflection of its size, or is there something else at work here?
When you begin to study asteroids from an astrological perspective, especially some very outstanding asteroids, you realize that they are far from being trifles. There is a "threshold" that divides on one side the subjective interpretations and the personal values of the astrologer that likes to give more emphasis to this and that aspect of reality that someone else considers a trifle, and on the other side there is the realization that you are dealing with something extraordinary and critical to understand the rest no matter how your subjective interpretation might be.
Of course not all asteroids are like that, but some are, and their role in an astrological chart does not "fit" the paradigmatic way of categorizing them. Examples, from my experience, are outstanding objects like 1996TL66 (period about 800 years), or like the centaurs Nessus (about 120 years) and Pholus (about 90 years). Other astrologers may add others from their own experience to this list.
And you realize then that they have in common 2 things (I mean these examples only for the moment): they are powerful and cannot be easily dismissed, they are all "Plutonian", with very elongated or eccentric orbits, and they move very slowly, in the region of the "transcendental" planets, and unlike most of the asteroids, do not belong to very large collectivities but tend to be "errands" and much fewer in number. All this suggests that something is at work here that is not related to size, but... to their orbits.
The size/weight paradigm that we so easily take for granted when our minds confront all those asteroids will not explain this. The orbital paradigm does. The orbital paradigm defines position within the structure or domain, shape of the orbit or way of acting, and the orientation or perspective with respect to the rest.
Asteroids challenge paradigms also from the perspective of how we approach the chart, i.e., how to deal with a very large number of "planets", how to weight things. As I have said repeatedly, if we approach a chart with a 10-planet mentality, working with asteroids doesn't make any sense, it is sheer madness or foolishness and triviality (here you see the paradigm at work). If one wants to make sense of asteroids, one must see the chart differently, and develop astringent methods of weighting and selection... one must learn to navigate in the jungle without cutting the trees, one must learn to work under a different paradigm.