by Alison Price
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Dispositor Tree
A talk by Alison Price
Monday, May 9th 2016, 7:30pm.
Room 417, The Anvil Center, 777 Columbia Street, New Westminster, BC.
Close to New West Skytrain station.
In every chart there are standout planets and background planets. Come along and discover the important planets in your chart.
- You will find out how to use the ancient techniques of essential dignities.
- Take your knowledge one step further and construct your natal chart’s dispositor tree.
- Learn about the five dispositor tree structures and what each one means.
- Find any gateway planets and understand how the energy flows within your chart.
This talk will provide you with interpretation skills you can use right now in your readings.
Some handouts are provided. Please bring your chart. Intermediate astrology.
Under the auspices of the Fraser Valley Astrological Guild, members free, drop in fee $15.
Speaker: Alison Price
Alison Price is a consulting astrology in Vancouver. She believes in empowering you to live a creative life through the art of astrology.
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by Alison Price
Forecasting in astrology can be a simple Sun sign interpretations that any astrologer can do, or the more detailed and complex forecasting techniques which a professional experienced astrologer will provide. It depends on the level of understanding you wish to extract from your birth chart which route you will choose.
In astrological forecasting there are many things to consider for each chart that you look at. One of the interesting nuggets in forecasting is the relationship between your progressed Moon and transiting Saturn.
This connection deserves a second look but only in some charts. It is not always present and therefore can be dismissed as not worth bothering about. But in the few charts that this does occur, you need to fully appreciate exactly what is going on and how this dynamic situation will affect you and for how long.
If you do have this complex attribute in your chart the energy from the contact will be in play for ten to twenty years. This can overshadow other things being brought forward in the forecast data. Pee Moon and Tee Saturn can be the full story for many people and for years of their lives.
Your Secondary Progressed Moon (P-Moon)
The progressed Moon can travel up to just over three times around your chart in your lifetime. In doing so it makes all the possible aspects to all the planets and points in your chart. This speed and constant aspect contacts creates an endless variety for consideration for an astrologer.
As the progressed Moon takes +/- twenty-nine years to make one round of the chart it will therefore progress through each sign in about two years and five months (29 / 12 = 2.42y).
All things being equal and depending on the house system, the progressed Moon will spend a similar amount of time in each house .
Progressed Moon changing sign:
- You instinctively relates to sign attributes
- Your moods reflect the sign element changes
- You take comfort in the new signs meanings
Progressed Moon changing house:
- You become emotional towards the affairs of the house
- You feel at home in the new house
- Your habits move towards alignment with the new house
Transiting Saturn (T-Saturn)
Saturn keywords: Detract, static, pull, contract, steadfast, curtail, held-in and achieve.
Saturn moves about eleven degrees each year or, to put it another way, spends around two and a half years in each sign. Saturn takes about twenty-nine years to pass through the zodiac. You can experience up to three Saturn returns in your life.
Your Saturn returns are at approximately ages twenty-nine, fifty-eight and eighty-seven.
A Saturn return can be a one or three pass transit. The three pass transit is very important and should be accorded the correct amount of attention.
Saturn and Jupiter are very often the opposite side of a situation and, when they both bring in influence to bear, both can be negated.
Transiting Saturn by house
Saturn through the houses shows where you exert control, can achieve things and will succeed in the long run. Saturn can bring structure to chaos and create formal organization in which to work.
During a Saturn transit you will “draw the line” and maintain boundaries for yourselves. When you have a Saturn transit you may have to learn the hard way about the issues of the house.
It can be challenging when Saturn passes through some houses and you may have to tighten your belt and keep going.
Transiting Saturn by aspect
The four major transits from Saturn are those to it’s natal position. Saturn transits can bring maturity, the ability to take responsibility and a certain acceptance of what the world has to offer. It can also be where we exist under some limitations or imposed boundaries.
Saturn is an indicator of your father, father figures or older men in authority in your life and they may become a feature under a Saturn transit.
Transiting Saturn waxing square natal Saturn
Transiting Saturn square natal Saturn at about age seven most children are in big school and in the system and have to abide by timetables and rules.
Transiting Saturn opposition natal Saturn
Saturn opposition natal Saturn at somewhere in year fourteen is an indicator for puberty and physical maturity. Some adolescents can begin a casual job in the food industry for example, and start to earn a living in the big world.
Transiting Saturn waning square natal Saturn
Transiting Saturn square natal Saturn at the closing square happens around age 21 and is the threshold for adulthood.
First return at 28/30 the age of maturity where you stop blaming yoru parents for your woes and take ownership for your life.
Natal aspects between the Moon and Saturn
Moon conjunct Saturn
The issues of parents Mother (Moon) and father (Saturn) are closely linked. This person goes through life with their parents showing a united front to them regardless of what is really happening.
Moon square Saturn
This person has a life where their parents may disagree on how to bring the. Hold up. There may even be a question on the paternity or the child. This person has tension about their parents that they take forward into their own lives where they become the authority and the pattern continues.
Moon opposite Saturn
This person experiences diverse views from each parent or opposite view which may develop into outright conflict between their parents. The parents will play them off against each other. This placement frequently brings confrontation and flip flopping in discipline for this child.
Of all the planetary progressions the Moon needs close attention as the whole mood of the life shifts during the time it takes to pass through the natal chart and ingress the signs and houses. These subtle changes which happen over a two to three year period are often easier to appreciate in retrospect. As an astrologer you need to be on the lookout for this phenomenon in your chart.
The Moon (mother) and Saturn (father) can be at the root of many issues faced by people. So much so that this phenomenon (the Moon aspect Saturn lockstep) may easily dominate the whole life. Resolution is to be found in the natal placement of the Moon and Saturn and the energies need to be accepted into the life of the individual. This is likely to be challenging.
Pee Moon Tee Saturn Forecast Lockstep
Transiting Saturn takes twenty-nine years to transit the zodiac and the progressed Moon takes twenty-nine years to transits the zodiac. If there is a natal aspect between the Moon and Saturn it will be held in place by the movement of these two planets with one transiting and one progressed.
Difficult aspects (hard) are exacerbated. Although transiting Saturn will retrograde for periods and perhaps break the aspect it will reform when Saturn goes direct, is fast and reapplies the aspect.
Natal Moon aspect natal Saturn – orb
Depending on the tightness of the orb of the natal aspect between the Moon and Saturn this aspect may be in orb, by progression, for the lifetime of the individual.
Over time it will ease away but this could take many years. It depends if the aspect is applying or separating. For example if the Moon is applying an opposition to Saturn it may hold the opposition for longer than if it is already separating in the natal chart.
In the natal chart if the Moon and Saturn are in a fourth harmonic aspect that is either a conjunction, square or opposition. This needs a further look.
If the Moon and Saturn are sextile or trine it just makes it an easier relationship throughout. Only bother about the fourth harmonic aspects.
How long will it be?
Each chart is different but many people will have an aspect between the Moon and Saturn. The first thing to look at is whether there is an aspect between these two bodies.
Second is the natal aspect applying or separating? This will show how long the aspect will be in orb. If the aspect is applying from 8 degrees then it could be applying for years and then become exact and finally separating for ten years.
This time of”being in orb” varies in each case but will still be long time.
Well for someone with the Pee Moon Tee Saturn in aspect, the energies of the two planets are connected for much if not most of their life.
It is well known that the Moon and Saturn can be many things both separately and together but when there is a link between the Moon and Saturn by aspect in the chart, it is always the parents that come together.
Moon as mother
In your chart your Moon shows how you see your mother and your experience of her.
If there are two sisters with different Moon sign this indicates their different experience of their mother even though she was the same woman they experienced her differently. This can be seen with eldest child, middle child and youngest child situations where each one has a different Moon sign.
It suggests how she nurtured you and tells how she mothered you. Was she super cuddly or a bit cold or somewhere in between? Did you get beautiful clothes to wear or your brother’s hand-me-downs? What about her cooking?
As an adult you will remember your mother’s treatment of you forever. It is where you learnt how to care and how to provide nurture for yourself and others.
Saturn as your father
Saturn in your chart shows your father and older men like uncles and grandfathers. It shows how you experienced him and his fathering.
It shows father figures and men in authority over you. These people were (and are) teachers, headmasters, the police and judges.
It shows whether you dad was there for you, or a bit distant or an absentee father.
Well placed Saturn shows how you respect authority the law and if you respect your elders or not. Do you give your seat to a senior when on the bus? Do you call old men “Sir” or does it choke in your throat. All of these things are shown by your natal Saturn.
Your transiting Saturn and progressed Moon return
Much has been written about a Saturn return. Even people outside the astrological community know of the Saturn return. But what of the progressed Moon return?
It happens around age 29/30 and can be a time for change and of going back to basics as promised in the natal chart.
Any return brings the energies of the planet back to its true meaning for you, as the planet in question returns to its natal position in your chart. At this point it remakes all the natal aspects it has that are part of your natal chart interpretation. So aspects other than to the Moon or Saturn from either will be realigned.
Once you realize that your Saturn return is around the same time as you progressed Moon return you can see how they can be different for each person.
- There is only one progressed Moon return in each cycle.
- There can be one or three Saturn returns in each cycle.
Return sequences possible
- Saturn returns before the progressed Moon return
- Progressed Moon returns before the transiting Saturn return.
- Saturn return one hit
- Saturn return three hit
- Saturn return before and after progressed Moon return.
When you realise the potential implications of a simple Moon Saturn aspect in a natal chart it opens the door for further investigation of the long term effects of this phenomena. Parental issues may not be the only thing to think about but they may be laid as a full background stage for the life of the person.
As always care should be taken when interpreting charts and all situations will ideally be related back to the whole chart for a full rounded forecast.
by Alison Price
Of all the things you can do with astrology I believe that electional astrology is the best.
When used correctly an electional chart can make your life easier.
Everything has a time and place and this is where electional astrology excels.
It makes sense to go with the flow of the energy in the universe and not against it. This is exactly what electional astrology is all about.
Doing the right thing at the right time makes so much sense.
Why wouldn’t you use it?
Electional astrology is a technique used by astrologers to cast a chart to do something in the future.
An election chart it is set for a time and date in which you have selected, or elected, to do something later on. It could be cast for next week, next month or for several months time.
It has nothing to do with political elections or voting for your candidate.
What would you use an election chart for?
Electional charts (or elections for short) are excellent charts to use to select a date for marriages and wedding ceremonies. Because you can choose a time when the union is likely to grow and sustain the test of time.
Elections are strong when used to find a time to open a business or register a domain name which you want to flourish. Every new business deserves the chance to last and prevail.
In fact if you can use an election for just about anything in life.
How to set up an election chart
You have to reinforce the house in which the election is found. Astrologically all of the houses cover everything in life and when you choose to do something it will be in one of the houses.
You have to make the planet that rules the activity robust and have it prominent and in good condition.
The houses for elections
- 1st house – Cosmetic surgery, makeovers and haircuts
- 2nd house – Buying jewelry, art or financial instruments
- 3rd house – Short travel and weekends away
- 4th house – Buying or selling a house
- 5th house – Parties and conceptions
- 6th house – Job interviews and getting a new pet
- 7th house – Marriages and contracts
- 8th house – Signing your will and doing things you want kept secret
- 9th house – International travel, starting college and launching an advertising campaign
- 10th house – Business startups and IPO’s
- 11th house – Starting a group and mingling at social occasions
- 12th house – Going off the grid and being incognito
The planets for elections
- The Sun – Things for your personal benefit
- The Moon – Family and home related events
- Mercury – Interviews, exams, and brokering any deals
- Venus – Marriage, investing or decorating
- Mars – Surgery, sports events and running a marathon
- Jupiter – International vacations, starting college and publishing your book
- Saturn – Any business registration, company start or IPO and watches
- Uranus – Computers, software, apps and technology
- Neptune – Rehab, hypnosis and anaesthesia
- Pluto – Rejuvenation and spa treatments, surgery and donating blood
The list does go on and you can find the correct house and planet for everything in life.
Forecasting with elections
Before you confirm the election chart data for marriages and businesses, check the chart for future potential growth and sustainability with transits and progressions.
Make your move with the help of electional astrology.
By Alison Price
Image by Maria Carrasco
Forecasting interpretations can get complex. Reading transits quickly become confusing and it may seem like they’re out of focus.
You may start following Jupiter as it transits through your chart and Jupiter will offer growth opportunities as it passes by.
But what happens when it makes an aspect with another planet?
If Jupiter is square Saturn does it play out the same way for us all?
We all have our own charts and this is what makes the difference.
Take Jupiter square Saturn. These two planets bring the concepts of expansion and contraction together.
Whether you will experience expansion or contraction in your life depends on your chart. It matters whether Jupiter or Saturn is stronger in you natal chart.
Is either of them your chart ruler or do you have Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius or Pisces as your rising sign?
If one planet in a aspect rule your chart they’ll be stronger for you in general and will express themselves in your life in a clear way.
Cycles appear at all times. When you are on an up swing with one planet you may be on a down cycle with another.
The ability to see the difference between a transit from one planet which may or may not be overshadowed by another is the skill of reading transits.
Jupiter square Saturn is different for everyone. Don’t make the mistake of thinking one size fits all but understand what each planet’s energies are about.
Read each transit by itself and follow along with the cycle so you will have a better understanding of how to forecast.
Measuring planetary strength
Apart from the actual aspect involved to understand the strength of the two planets in a combination is the first step.
As the slower moving planets form and release aspects with each other it is good to know which one of the pair is a more important planet for you.
Pluto is important for you if:
- You have Scorpio rising
- The Sun is in Scorpio
- More than three planets are in Scorpio
- Pluto in the first or eighth house
- Pluto is your final dispositor
Neptune is important for you if:
- You have Pisces rising,
- Neptune in the first or twelfth house
- The Sun is in Pisces
- More than three planets are in Pisces
- Neptune is your final dispositor
Uranus is important for you if:
- You have Aquarius rising
- Uranus in the first or eleventh house
- The Sun is in Aquarius
- You have more than three planets in Aquarius
- Uranus is your final dispositor
Saturn is an important planet for you if.
- You have a Capricorn or Aquarius ascendant
- The Sun is in Capricorn or Aquarius
- You have three or more planets in Capricorn or Aquarius
- Saturn is your final dispositor
- Saturn is in your first, tenth or eleventh house.
Jupiter is an important planet for you if:
- You have Sagittarius or Pisces rising
- Your Sun is in Sagittarius or Pisces
- You have three or more planets in Sagittarius or Pisces
- Jupiter is your final dispositor
- Jupiter is in the first, ninth or twelfth house
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