The Graphic Ephemeris

The Graphic Ephemeris

by Alison Price

Ephemeris

The word ephemeris (plural ephemerides) is from the Greek word ephemeros, which means daily.

This is a quick introduction to the graphic ephemeris. Generally the ephemeris that astrologers use is a hefty reference book.

It details astronomical data like daily planetary positions by zodiac sign with the degrees and minutes for each planet as well as information such as sidereal time (used for calculating the ascendant).

An ephemeris is usually laid out month by month for each year. Planetary positions are listed in tables for either noon or at midnight depending on the ephemeris used.

Graphic Ephemeris

Luckily we have a visual representation of the daily planetary positions in the graphic ephemeris. It is a quick way to find hard aspects.

It can be quite tedious to manually calculate all the planetary positions for a birth chart. Perhaps there are some of you who began your journey into astrology with this method.

You were probably relieved when the old Blue Star and then Solar Fire programs generated perfect charts.

Charts with a higher level of mathematical accuracy (even though birth times are still unreliable) are created by computers rather than manual calculations.

The graphic ephemeris has a slightly different purpose than the ephemeris book. It is mainly used for predictive work and specifically outer planetary progressions, transits and directions shown in a graph.

It is a highly visual tool where you can select the preferred time period. The planets remain constant on every graph of the period. It is the connections to the natal chart that are shown clearly by this method.

Visualization

Imagine if you take the birth chart wheel as 360° on a piece of paper and you fold it in half at the (0°Aries/0°Libra) line you then have 180° of the circle.

Next fold it in half again to show 90°, finally if you fold the chart once more you have a 45° ‘slice’ of the circle. If the paper was transparent, it would show all the planets and angles within the small 45° slice.

Transiting planets will be at the same point on the slice and therefore will be depicted near each other on the Graphic Ephemeris. This is simply a different way to look at the transits to a natal chart.

The process of folding the chart from conjunctions 0° into oppositions 180°, into squares 90° and then semi-squares 45° or sesquiquadrates 135° only allows hard aspects to be shown.

Generally there are no harmonious aspects like sextiles or trines depicted on the graph.

How to Read a Graphic Ephemeris

The left of the graph begins with a column showing the cardinal degrees from 0° for 30°. At 30°, the fixed signs start and carry on to the 45°, and then begin again at the top from 0° to 15°. Finally the mutable signs are shown from 15° for 30°.

Across the top is time in months.

On the right side of the graph is a column with the natal planets and angles by sign. Each planet and point has a coloured dotted line associated with it running horizontally across the page.

Predictive work usually begins with revealing the transits. The outer planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune as well as Chiron and Pluto are generally selected for transits.

The direct transiting planets enter the graph at the left and move through time down and to the right. During retrograde periods, they move up the page in a wave motion. Where planets are at 0° of the cardinal signs by transit, they will re-enter the graph at the top.

Planets changing signs have a small dot in the planetary colour on their path.

Pluto has a shallower path than Jupiter. This is due to the slower movement of this minor planet in space.

Transits

Where a transiting planet’s curve crosses a natal planet’s dotted line, a transit aspect to the natal planet is formed.

The aspect glyph is at the intersection of the two. Where two transiting planets’ paths cross each other on the graph, there is an aspect being formed between those two planets on that day in space. The actual aspect symbol is not shown on the graphic ephemeris, only aspects to the natal chart.

Nodes and Moon cycle

The nodal axis moves in a straight line on the plane of the ecliptic and is always retrograde.

The full moon is shown as a white circle and new moon as black circles.

Where a solar eclipse happens there is a black circle with the conjunction symbol within it. A lunar eclipse is depicted by a white circle with the opposition symbol within it.


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Thor’s Hammer – Major Aspect Pattern

Thor’s Hammer – Major Aspect Pattern

Thor’s Hammer is a Major Aspect Pattern sometimes found in astrology charts. It is triangle shaped and if you have one you can see it immediately.

If you don’t have one you will probably only learn about this pattern later in the first or second year of your astrology studies.

Thor’s hammer and other major aspect patterns used to be part of the second year syllabus but have recently been brought forward to some first year classes.


Thor – the Man

Thor was a mythical guy who wielded a small hammer that was used for throwing. When hurled the hammer would spin and hit his opponent with quite some force. It was not a hammer for banging nails in or banging on about.

The head of his hammer was shaped short and blunt as the major aspect pattern triangle is today thus the name Thor’s hammer.

Thor’s hammer is formed by three planets, two planets in square with each other and both sesquiquadrate to a third planet.


Features of a Thor’s Hammer

There are several things that make a Thor’s hammer different to any other triangle shaped aspect pattern like a grand trine, T-square or yod.


This pattern has only hard aspects

The square (90°) always drawn in red ink, and the sesquiquadrate (135°) always drawn in orange ink, are both aspects from the eighth harmonic. This means they are derived by dividing the circle by 8 (360/8=45) and 4 (360/4=90). The sesquiquadrate is one quarter (90°) plus one eighth (45°) resulting in 135°.

There are no soft aspects in this major aspect pattern such as a trine or sextile.

In our example chart Terry Fox has Sun square Mars and both sesquiquadrate Saturn and this forms his Thor’s hammer.

It is a manifesting aspect pattern

A manifesting aspect is one from the eighth harmonic set of aspects. These are always challenging and will be the aspect that the person will be working with already. Manifesting aspects do not hide in the bushes they are to be grappled with from day one.

Resistant to change

Due to the tight squares and sesquiquadrates this aspect pattern is resistant to change and the planets in the aspect pattern will be locked together and work as a ‘team’ for the person whose chart it is. This can be for good or bad depending on the planets involved.

In our example chart the three planets are the Sun, Mars and Saturn.

Difficult to live with

A Thor’s hammer is difficult to live with because it will keep on coming up as the squares and the sesquiquadrates demand their attention.

The Sun square Mars is a very masculine aspect full of life and energy.

The Sun sesquiquadrate Saturn suggests a struggle to achieve the life’s goals but shows perseverance.

The Mars sesquiquadrate Saturn indicates the drive and the ambition are linked in a powerful way but that caution may be cast to the wind in the push for life.

The focal planet is a sensitive point

One square and two sesquiquadrates.

One square and two sesquiquadrates.

In every triangle shaped major aspect pattern there are three planets. Two will be in cahoots and the third will be a ‘focal’ planet.

The focal planet in a Thor’s hammer is the one with the two sesquiquadrates connecting to it.

This planet will express the energy of the two other planets in square through itself into the chart. This makes the focal planet very sensitive to the energy from transits and progressions and those from the other two planets as well.

In our example chart for Terry Fox the focal planet is Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius in the fifth house of sport. This suggests the energy (Mars) and the identity (Sun) was been harnessed towards the goal (Saturn) even to the detriment of the life as this man pushed through adversity in sports.

Note the dispositor of the focal planet

The focal planet’s dispositor is the planet that rules the sign that the focal planet is in. So if the focal planet is Saturn in Sagittarius, Jupiter (as the ruler of Sagittarius) will be the dispositor of Saturn. or in other words, Jupiter will dispose Saturn in the chart.

This suggests that caution will be cast to the wind and the underlying Saturn drives may be taken recklessly because of Jupiter’s influence on the staid focal planet Saturn.

General interpretation

Thor’s hammers need careful interpretation. You have to understand the meaning of the three planets (Sun, Mars and Saturn) and the meaning of each individual aspect (the square and the sesquiquadrates) and which planet is stronger in each aspect before you can understand the inner dynamics of a Thor’s hammer.

Again in our example, in the Sun square Mars aspect, the Sun is powerful in Leo (score +5) and Mars is in detriment in Taurus (score -5) so the Sun dominates the square.

In the Sun sesquiquadrate Saturn aspect, the Sun again dominates this aspect and bosses up the sesquiquadrate with Saturn.

In the Mars sesquiquadrate Saturn aspect, Mars is in detriment in Taurus (score -5) and Saturn is peregrine in Sagittarius (score 0).

Neither Mars nor Saturn has accidental dignity by house but Mars is most elevated and Saturn is retrograde so on average Mars will be stronger than Saturn in that particular sesquiquadrate. This again shows the weakness of his Saturn.

Be on the lookout for a Thor’s hammer and see how it works in your charts.

 



How Astrology Joins the Dots

How Astrology Joins the Dots

Cosmos is a Greek word meaning “well ordered” or organized. People like to find organization in confusion or to put it another way to discover cosmos in chaos. 

As kids we all did the simple art project of joining the dots which starts as a page covered with dots and each one has a number.

We then drew a single line from the dot numbered one, to two, then three and so on until all the dots are joined and voila a picture is formed.

If you made a mistake and connected the dots in the wrong sequence then the image is not clear and could be interpreted as something else.

The constellations

As darkness fell the early astrologers looked at the stars. They drew imaginary pictures in the sky by connecting the stars to form images of fish, lions, scorpions and other animals.

These star combinations were the birth of the constellations and the names we use today.  A constellation is simply a group of stars that someone saw as a bull (Taurus) or an archer (Sagittarius).

Clearly these images are open to interpretation, as with the dot pictures, and for astrologers the stars are the dots.

How you can join the dots today

A modern astrologer does not usually go outside when they want to interpret your chart. They join the dots or stars in another way, through the clues in your horoscope.

The hidden message in your chart shown in your planets, signs, houses and aspects will be unveiled to you by the skill of your astrologer.

One astrologer will read your chart differently to the next but the thread and the message in your chart will be the same.

Just like the constellations, there will be a picture and a story of for example, a crab (Cancer) or a ram (Aries) although the main story will be the same when they interpret the same chart.

Inspiration in Art

I was inspired to write this post from the original art from ChampagneBlue a gifted and talented artist in Toronto.

In this piece there are random “dots” of different sizes and colours (that seem to me to be the planets bursting with energy) and they can be joined by your mind’s eye in many way.

Each one of us will imagine a different picture from the available circles.

As above so below

The macrocosm (the stars) is replicated in the microcosm (your chart).

We don’t literally join the dots but it is a good analogy for the process of taking a picture of planets and signs and interpreting an image of the person whose chart it is through the understanding of the “dot” on the page.

Join the planets (I mean dots) with aspect lines

Astrology goes further and joins two planets with line if they are in a recognized angular correspondence to each other.

The aspect lines are colored differently whether easy (blue) or difficult (red) planetary energies are coming together.

Every chart will be visually different because of the shapes created by the aspect lines such as assorted triangles, squares, kites or bucket shapes.

An astrological mandala for meditation

I use the practice of meditation with all the charts I do for friends and clients.

Once I have drawn the chart is and all the dots are joined with lines, I pause… and use the circle of the chart with the lines as a focal point for meditation like a mandala. I like to call this an astrological mandala.

This ritual allows me to focus on the image the chart has formed by the dots and colored lines and shapes before I begin to interpret in detail.

I will often leave one day between drawing up the chart and meditating on it, to the actual detailed unpacking of its message.

I find this lets me ponder the dots, the image, the chart and my client in a broader frame (as above) before offering my in-depth interpretations (so below).

This may work for you, why not give it a try?

 


 

Fibonacci Aspects

Fibonacci Aspects

by Alison Price

Aspects of the Fibonacci Sequence

To remind you the Fibonacci sequence is a pattern in numbers where the previous two are added together to result in the next number in the sequence.

1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21…

One plus two equals three, two plus three equals five, three plus five equals eight and so on.

It can be drawn as a widening spiral. This shape is found in nature in plants and animals and can be clearly seen in the nautilus shell chambers and in the head of a sunflower.

The numbers build on the past sequence to create the future patterns.

It seems to me that this reflects a natal chart as it begins to progress and develop by building on what has gone before. The progressed chart unfolds over time from a base point in time i.e. the natal chart.

Situations that occur in life must have been in the natal promise to start with.

Fibonacci aspects

  • Conjunction (1)
  • Opposition (2)
  • Trine (3)
  • Quintile (5)
  • Semi-square (8)
  • Baker’s dozen (13)

Missing Ptolemaic aspects

In this sequence of numbers we see that the square (4) and the sextile (6) do not appear. Nor will the semi-sextile (12) aspect.

So what?

Well, astrology is a system of patterns and symbols.

We happily take chart divisions from one to twelve and for the simple reason that every number is represented.

We are also ok to extract the hard aspects in the eighth harmonic (1, 2, 4, 8) and call them manifesting aspects.

Surely if the Fibonacci sequence occurs in nature and so is part of the Earth experience should we not consider this group of aspects in a particular way?

Quintile

Perhaps because the quintile aspect is found in the Fibonacci list that is our first clue. Quintiles are closely associated with your creativity and genius.

13th Harmonic a Baker’s Dozen

What about the thirteenth harmonic?

Keywords transformation and values. This is not an aspect that is widely used in general astrology but can it be somehow associated with the meanings of the others in our sequence, maybe following the quintile theme?

I’m not sure, but using the Fibonacci aspects in a particular way as a group is a theory that has been buzzing in my thoughts for a while now. I wanted to put these ideas out there for consideration.


 

Mars conjunct Saturn

Mars conjunct Saturn

by Alison Price

When Mars and Saturn get Together we Take Notice

Mars is all about action, energy and competing. Saturn favours control, form, strategy and concrete results.

The imagery is of the young guy in a red shirt honing his skateboarding techniques in the hard landscape of the city park.

How many times has he tried this jump?

Who is watching? His competition, the other young guys, or the pretty girls?





Mars Conjunct Saturn in the Signs

Every two years Mars moves around the chart and catches up with Saturn.

Traditionally Mars was known and the lesser malefic and Saturn as the greater malefic. It is probably not politically correct to use these phrases anymore and yet there is some truth in the labels.

We look to the ruler of the sign that the conjunction is happening in to understand what is going on.

As two planets join forces in a sign one planet will be better placed than the other and its energy can be accessed easier.

Mars will compete with Saturn and when Mars is applying to the conjunction it will rise before Saturn.

After the exact conjunction Mars will rise after Saturn.

Saturn spends about two years and three months in each sign (depending on retrograde periods) so sometimes a conjunction is repeated in the same sign twice.

Mars and Saturn will be conjoined next in April 2022 in at around 22 degrees Aquarius.

Find which house the conjunction will occur in your birth chart as this is the house for this conjunction.


Mars Conjunct Saturn in the Houses

First house

Start a diet. Mars is great for beginning things and with Saturn in your physical body sector, you can control your body size.

Second house

Start a mad-money plan. Decide you have a limited amount to spend on whatever you want and stick to it.

Third house

Take a course that will build on your strengths and bring you closer to your life goals. You can achieve good marks now.

Fourth house

Family dynamic relationships can benefit from you breaking down borders with close members for everyone’s benefit.

Fifth house

If you have kids they may need some guidelines this week as they test your patience. Make plans to give birth to your creative expression.

Sixth house

Sweat it out on the weights at the gym. This is a chance to expend energy to form your muscles and tone your long term health.

Seventh house

If you have been held back in asking someone on a date you now have the courage. If in a relationship you could thrash things out for mutual benefit.

Eighth house

If you are holding yourself back now is a time to examine any limiting strategies and bring things into the open.

Ninth house

There may be travel frustrations. You may experience difficulty if you are writing exams now because you have the desire to rush.

Tenth house

Promotion and putting yourself forward is favored now. Actively engaging in your career path is a good strategy.

Eleventh house

Competition is high. You want to win but perhaps at the expense of your team. You may be singled out and put forward as the front man or woman to represent your group.

Twelfth house

Your energy may be at low ebb. It is probably good to rest if you can. The best way to handle this period is to make master plans-of-action to be used later.




Aspects Applying and Separating

by Alison Price

Information Overload

Astrology is a subject that tends towards the, “I thought I knew what I was doing until I began to learn it” type comments.

Students have mountains of information to process and any method for remembering the little details helps.

Scientists believe the act of learning is improved when you approach a subject from many avenues. Techniques may include; to listen in class, to read a book, to take notes, to make a collage, to put it to music or to watch a movie.

All of these practices create new pathways in your brain which reinforce the original information storage.

Building many roads to Rome lets you recall information better when you try to retrieve or remember something, for example, during a client consultation.

Planetary Speed

A planet’s speed is determined by its distance from the Sun. The closer it is, the quicker it moves. The exception is the Moon which has the most daily movement.

The planets listed by speed are; the Moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Chiron (depends), Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.

  • An applying aspect occurs when a faster planet moves towards a slower planet.
  • An aspect is separating when the swifter planet pulls away from the sluggish planet.
  • An exact aspect has zero orb.

Note any retrograde motion as this will change the status of the aspect.

The Solar Fire Aspectarian

On the Solar Fire aspectarian (the triangle of blocks with the aspects listed in it at the bottom of the chart sheet), there is an “A” or an “S” this tells you if an aspect is applying or separating.

Solid or dotted

Conveniently there is an option to show applying aspects with a solid line and separating aspects with a dotted line in the chart wheel.

In Thick and Thin

Set your program to display thicker aspect lines if the orb is tight and thinner if it is wide. You can select a different color for each type of aspect.

Here is a method to remember the difference between applying and separating aspects which you won’t forget in a hurry. Cast your mind if you will to the fun activity we all love.


Applying aspect keywords

  • A close encounter
  • Initial fumbling
  • Pending main event
  • Coming soon
  • Heat and friction
  • Anticipation
  • Pressure builds
  • Imminent arrival
  • Future expectation

Exact aspect keywords

  • Exquisite
  • Perfection
  • Partile
  • Together
  • Ultimate
  • Fleeting
  • Release

Separating aspect keywords

  • Time for a nap
  • Knowing
  • A memory
  • Glory days
  • History
  • Fading

The difference between applying and separating aspects is clear. Perhaps you can ponder this next time you have a slow Saturday night.