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The Astrology Podcast

Ep. 155 Transcript: Answering Birth Chart Questions from Listeners

The Astrology Podcast

Transcript of Episode 155, titled:

Answering Birth Chart Questions from Listeners

With Chris Brennan and guest Kelly Surtees

Episode originally released on May 7, 2018


Note: This is a transcript of a spoken word podcast. If possible, we encourage you to listen to the audio or video version, since they include inflections that may not translate well when written out. Our transcripts are created by human transcribers, and the text may contain errors and differences from the spoken audio. If you find any errors then please send them to us by email: theastrologypodcast@gmail.com

Transcribed by Andrea Johnson

Transcription released August 25, 2023

Copyright © 2023 TheAstrologyPodcast.com

CHRIS BRENNAN: Hi, my name is Chris Brennan, and you’re listening to The Astrology Podcast. This episode was recorded on Tuesday, May 1, 2018, starting at 3:27 PM in Denver, Colorado, and this is the 155th episode of the show. For more information about how to subscribe to the podcast and help support the production of future episodes by becoming a patron, please visit theastrologypodcast.com/subscribe. In this episode Kelly Surtees is joining me to take some questions from patrons and other listeners of The Astrology Podcast about their birth charts and to demonstrate how we would go about answering those questions from a technical perspective. Hey, Kelly, thanks for joining me today.

KELLY SURTEES: Hey, Chris, thanks for having me. I’m excited for our little experiment today.

CB: Yeah, so this is an experiment. I’ve been wanting to do something like this for a while. So this is a sort of twofold experiment. On the one hand, we are experimenting with demonstrating how a professional practicing astrologer would actually go about answering questions from a client and what sort of techniques and technical approaches are to answering certain types of questions. And then on the other hand, I’m also doing an experiment with livestreaming. This episode is being livestreamed to YouTube right now, and there’s a live chatbox where we can take some questions or comments from listeners. So I’m not gonna be able to focus on the chatbox too much ‘cause I don’t want to be too distracted from the matter at hand. And in the future I’ll probably have like a moderator or somebody who helps to take questions from the chatroom.

But, yeah, part of the genesis of this is that I haven’t been doing consultations for a year or two; I stopped when I was writing my book to focus on that. And then once I got the book out the podcast really dominated a lot of my focus and time each month. So I’ve been wanting to get back to reading charts, but I wanted to find a way to merge that with what I have to do with the podcast at the same time. And I thought this might provide an interesting opportunity for doing that by taking a bunch of questions from listeners and then actually going through how we would interpret those charts in a podcast episode. So that’s part of the experiment today.

KS: Very cool.

CB: Cool. All right, so, yeah, thanks for joining me. Let’s go ahead and start. I’m gonna share the chart for right now.

KS: So we did get some charts and questions submitted. You did a call-out, didn’t you, Chris?

CB: Yeah, so what we did for this—we were a little unsure about whether to take them live. So I actually did an experiment last night where I did my first livestream and I just took questions from the audience. And that was actually kind of fun and interesting, but it’s a little bit more of a wildcard in terms of you’re not really sure what you’re gonna get, and you just sort of do things on the fly. So today what we did is we took some questions ahead of time, and then I sort of ordered them and wrote them down in a document and cast some of the charts ahead of time. We didn’t otherwise do any prep for this. So this is still largely on-the-fly, but it’s a little bit more of a middle-ground between taking questions live from the audience versus basically prepping ahead of time, like during a normal consultation.

So part of the purpose of this is to show off what an astrologer’s approach would be to answering certain types of questions. And while this doesn’t completely recreate what an actual consulting setting or a consultation setting would be—because we don’t have the person in front of us to provide feedback or for us to ask them questions or what have you—it’ll at least show people a little bit of the technical approach, and I think we’ll be able to reflect on some of that while we’re doing this and talking.

KS: Yeah, I’m excited. Chart consult work is fantastic. It’s kind of magical. And there’s a lot of pieces, a lot of moving parts, I guess. So it’s good to be able to show like a slice of that.

CB: Yeah, I mean, maybe that’s worth reflecting on here at the start. A normal consultation is typically two people having a verbal exchange with one another and actually talking over, let’s say, a 75-minute time period, right?

KS: Yeah, 60, 75, 90 minutes, somewhere in that range; that’s sort of a common timeframe. And you’re right, it is more of a conversation where there is a bit of back-and-forth. So we’re really just gonna be sharing I guess the astrologer’s side—showing a little bit of the insights or the ideas that an astrologer might bring to a consult, which then are explored through the conversation of the consult itself, I guess.

CB: Right. So it becomes more of a dialogue a little. On the one hand, the astrologer has the abstract placements of the birth chart which gives certain indications. But then through dialoguing with the client, it comes alive a little bit more, and I think the astrologer gets a clearer picture of how the placements are actually working out in the person’s life. Not in the sense of like cold reading them or picking up on clues or something like that, but there is a difference in terms of hearing the specifics and the details about how some of the broad archetypal placements have played out in a person’s life that I think helps to clarify things a lot more immediately when you’re actually talking to somebody compared to here, where we won’t really get a lot of feedback from the individuals directly.

KS: Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. And, I mean, the nuances—you’ve got the theory or the technical component of what this planet should do or what it should look like. And then nuances or the specifics of that—it’s lovely to be able to kind of meld the two through that dialogue.

CB: Right. ‘Cause, additionally, there’s different ways that a single placement could manifest. So maybe there’s a broad archetypal meaning of that placement, but then you might have two different people in two different lives who have manifested it in archetypally similar but—still in terms of the specifics—somewhat different ways.

KS: That’s a really beautiful distinction, Chris. I’ve actually been looking for that phrase when the placement points to archetypally-similar experiences but the archetype could manifest in four or five different specific ways. It’s just sort of checking in with the client about which specific manifestation of this archetypal experience you’re working with basically. And the other thing—this is the beauty of doing chart consult work if you are passionate about astrology—is that you get to better understand how the archetypes can manifest through the dialogues you have with your clients.

CB: Right. I mean, that’s one of my favorite things. One of the cool things that they don’t tell you early on is that every astrologer, every consultation that you do, you actually do learn something new because each chart is unique and each person’s life represents a unique manifestation of every single placement. Even if you’ve seen similar themes, or you’ve seen it work out in similar ways before, there’s still gonna be some unique spin about that specific person’s life that’s gonna teach you something new as the astrologer about how each placement can work out.

KS: Yes, and that’s the best part.

CB: All right, cool. All right, so we’re gonna be missing a bit of that component, but I think that’s all right. In the future, we can maybe experiment with having people on. Like last night, I actually brought some people on webcam with mics and everything else for impromptu, brief consultations, which was fun and interesting in and of itself. But here, we’re just gonna sort of demonstrate more of the technical component from the astrologer’s perspective. So let’s go ahead and jump into our first question then. So I went ahead and removed all last names. So to everybody I said, “Please send in your birth data and your chart and your question and your name, and if you have to be comfortable having that data shared publicly,” and everybody said that that was cool who submitted a question. I went ahead and removed all last names. So we’re just gonna be on a first name basis with everyone whose charts that we’re reading today. And the first question that I got—or the first question that we’re gonna talk about—was from a patron named Brianna who was born December 26, 1987 at 10:02 AM in Willmar, Minnesota. So I’ve got the chart up, and I’m sharing it right now. Can you see it okay?

KS: Yes, I can. So she’s Aquarius rising.

CB: Sure. So she has 8° of Aquarius rising. And her question is—I tended towards the questions that were a little bit briefer or more concise just because I felt like it would be hard to read the super-long ones. So here’s the question that she sent in. She says, “I’m learning about dignities and debilities right now, and I used the point system to find that Mars is the most dignified planet in my chart, followed by Saturn. I have a day chart, so how does this affect my Mars’ behavior? [My main question is basically] does a super-dignified malefic planet in a day chart act with more maleficence, or does the highly dignified state lead to more mitigated and constructive Mars? I know none of this takes into account the aspects [that] Mars is making.” So that’s basically her question. It’s partially a question about how dignified malefics act, and when you strengthen a malefic by giving it zodiacal strength does that make it, in terms of the native, more positive or more negative.

KS: Yeah, and that’s a question that students often have. “Mars (or Saturn) is my out-of-sect malefic—this is a great example—Mars is in Scorpio in the 10th house. What do I do with that?” Do you want to jump in first, Chris, or do you want me to?

CB: I mean, I can give my answer first if you want.

KS: Okay.

CB: So one of the things I was talking about and demonstrating last night that I think is worth repeating—and I’ll probably repeat a bunch of times today—is always the first thing I look at in a chart is, is it a day chart or is it a night chart. So Brianna was already familiar with this concept of sect, and so she was already taking it for granted as part of her question. But part of the presumption underlying the question is why Mars would otherwise tend to be the more challenging planet in her chart, and it’s because she has a day chart, because the Sun is above the horizon, in the top-half of the chart. So automatically, right there, just based on sect, we would know that Mars is gonna tend to be more challenging for her because she has a day chart, whereas Saturn is gonna tend to be more constructive, because Saturn acts more constructively in day charts. If this was a night chart then it would be the reverse and Saturn would be more challenging and Mars would be more constructive.

So part of the thing underlying her question is Mars has already been identified as the more difficult malefic in her chart because she has a day chart. However, because Mars is in Scorpio—and therefore has some zodiacal strength because it’s in its own sign—does that therefore mitigate Mars and make it less malefic, or does that strengthen it in a negative way and make it more malefic? So my answer to that is actually that dignified malefics tend to act better—and this is both the traditional answer to this question, as well as the one that I’ve found in experience. When a malefic is dignified by being in its own sign or exaltation, it usually tends to act in a way that’s more constructive and beneficial for the native. So that would be a positive mitigating factor as far as she’s concerned, the fact that Mars is in its own sign.

And typically that means that even if that planet still represents the most difficult planet in the chart—it’s still gonna manifest some of its more negative significations—if you have major mitigations like that, usually you don’t see the worst-case scenario end of the spectrum. But instead even though it’s the most challenging planet in the chart, it tends to be much more moderate. If you looked at somebody else’s chart who had Mars in the 10th house in a day chart, but it wasn’t in Scorpio, and it was in some other sign where Mars didn’t have any dignity or mitigation, you would see them experiencing things in a much more challenging way in terms of the 10th house compared to what she’s likely to experience. So that would be my answer. Where would you go with that?

KS: Yeah, the other point, Chris, we probably should say is that we might approach these things slightly differently. We might come from exactly the same place, but I think that’s also the beauty of a different astrologer’s take; although I think on this one we’re absolutely on the same page. What I have observed with planets like this—this Mars which is technically the out-of-sect malefic because it’s a day chart. This Mars has a high level of being functional because it is in a sign where it’s got some great dignity, and it’s in a house where it can be productive. And Mars particularly can be quite useful or productive. These are not necessarily technical terms, but we can do something with this Mars energy, particularly when it shows up around a topic like career.

It just seems to be that we can use that Mars in service of one’s work or one’s profession and sometimes that can be working in a way that reflects the nature of Mars. So taking some initiative, maybe showing a bit of leadership. I mean, it is Mars in Scorpio, so there may be some strategic or research component. There may be an analytical or a diagnostic component because planets in Scorpio really like to dig in and do that deep, problem-solving. So I agree. I think the technical term used is the ‘mitigation factor’. This is actually a really well-functioning, out-of-sect malefic, and you’re not gonna see the classic problems, or you’re not gonna see extreme difficulties, I don’t think, to do with this Mars. Yeah, so that’s how I would go about it.

CB: Sure. And one of the things that’s challenging I find when trying to explain that to a client is that their reference point is just their own life. And so, they may have already experienced some challenging things within that area of their life; in this case, let’s say, career because it’s in the 10th whole sign house. But one of the challenges from the astrologer’s perspective is you have to explain that that might be challenging to you, however, there are many worst-case scenarios that you could be experiencing in terms of this placement and it’s not likely to be that bad for you. So that’s a little challenging. As the astrologer, you’ve seen dozens or like hundreds of placements like this, or worst-case scenarios, and you’ve heard how the extreme, worst-case scenario can work out in sometimes very rough, very traumatic ways. But it’s hard to sometimes convey that to the client in terms of making them understand what the full range of possibilities are and how theirs is somewhere in between the most extreme and the most mild.

KS: Yeah, and that’s something that I think every astrology has to kind of hold some awareness around. We bring a huge amount of technical awareness or theoretical understanding to each chart, but what the client brings is just their lived experiences. And, yeah, finding that kind of language with them, this would be some of the things that I might think—it’s a Mars-level problem. Mars-level problems can be annoying, but they’re often manageable or you can remediate them. Especially with a Mars like this, that has the mitigation already of the sign and the house factor, maybe early in her career there was some outburst or impatience that interfered with some of her career opportunities, for instance, if we take that 10th house topic. But possibly, or potentially, there’s that ability that settles down, or that she’s able to find a way to just know that tendency she might have and work around it and to move forward in her career regardless, if that makes sense. ‘Cause, as you say, Chris, sometimes you can see a really difficultly-placed, out-of-sect Mars in the 10th, which is much harder to overcome and may it may not be possible potentially, but this is not one of those Mars 10th house placements.

CB: Right. Worst-case scenarios or some negative scenarios of Mars in the 10th house could be like strife when it comes to a person’s career. Having conflicts with superiors or bosses. Having a boss that’s out to get you or actively works against your interests at some point. Feeling frustration or anger surrounding one’s career and one’s overall life direction as a sense of frustration. Although that might be a better keyword for Saturn, but certainly issues surrounding anger in one’s career for sometimes good reasons and other times bad reasons can be major themes. I’m trying to think of some worst-case scenarios I could compare this to versus a mitigated Mars. Can you think of any major client stories of a Mars in the 10th house that was really rough?

KS: Not with Mars in the 10th, I don’t think. Yeah, so I’m trying to think of some of the worst-case scenarios. Yeah, I think the strife, the aggression at work. The feeling of maybe being attacked by a boss or superior at work is something that could be there. The funny thing—this is just something that I’ve observed—is that when you get these out-of-sect malefics showing up around work—as we’ve said it’s a productive, more functional version of that—sometimes what the person does is they actually have a career that is targeted towards working with symptoms of that problem in society.

For instance, one thing I have seen with a Mars in Cancer that was somehow connected to the 10th is working with young males who have anger problems. And this is that idea of ‘does the chart describe the person themselves or the people around them’, and it was sort of like, okay, that’s how that difficult Mars in the 10th—or maybe it was aspecting the 10, I can’t remember off the top of my head—was showing up. Their work was about helping remediate a problem which is described by the nature of that out-of-sect malefic. So Mars in Cancer, yeah, there was a client who worked with youth—and young males specifically—who had some very strong issues to do with anger. And so, I thought that it was interesting that the problem described by the planet shows up, but the person was working to support those people rather than was that person with that problem.

CB: Yeah, that’s a really good point. And I’m glad you brought that up ‘cause that makes me think of one classic example of that that I’ve used in lectures, which is Angelina Jolie’s chart.

KS: Oh, yes.

CB: Actually let me pull it up really quickly. So this is Angelina Jolie’s chart, and she has Cancer rising, with Mars in Aries in the 10th whole sign house. And, again, this is another one of those instances where it’s the most difficult planet in the chart ‘cause this is, again, a day chart. However, it has some mitigation both because Mars is in its own domicile, as well as the fact that Jupiter is also there in Aries in the 10th whole sign house, and she ended up manifesting that partially in the way that you talked about. I think it was after she did the Tomb Raider movie—I think it was Southeast Asia—she ended up becoming very interested and focused on humanitarian efforts, especially helping children from war-torn countries who had gone through major traumatic events and loss, setting up foundations in order to help children and things of that nature.

KS: Yeah, this is a great example, Chris. I’m glad you mentioned this chart. Yeah, I think there was some connection to Vietnam, which is where Angelina adopted her first son from, I think. And, yeah, working specifically with children who had suffered horrific physical injuries and trauma from war. So that’s what you can do when you have some of these Mars placements, if you like, connected to the 10th house.

CB: Right. And I thought this was interesting ‘cause the child part is being imported partially because it rules the 5th house because Scorpio’s on the cusp of the 5th whole sign house. And then it’s in the 10th, so it’s sort of importing those ‘children’ significations into the area of career and reputation.

KS: A hundred-percent. I mean, this is also I think probably—well, I know I do it, Chris; you’ve just done it. So, yeah, what is the other topic tied to this planet? And in the listener’s example, Brianna, I think she had Aries ruling the 3rd house perhaps.

CB: Right.

KS: And then this is a question or something I would want to bring up with the client: How are the topics of the 3rd house—whether that’s education, whether it’s communication, whether it’s strategy, whether there’s some connection to sibling—how do they tie into this 10th house Mars, for instance?

CB: Right. That’s interesting in her chart because she has Jupiter—which is in a day chart, so it’s therefore the most positive planet—in the 3rd house ruled by that Mars, which is then importing those 3rd house significations of things like communication into the 10th. So that would definitely be the area that we would focus on in terms of career significations, but also the potential for gifts or positive windfalls or abilities in that area that might be able to work out well or work out in a constructive fashion. ‘Cause that’s the other thing about dignified planets and dignified malefics—sometimes they can act as a special talent or tool that the person is able to use to their advantage.

KS: Yes. And this is Jupiter in a fire sign, in a day chart. I mean, it’s Jupiter in a day chart. I know Jupiter technically takes all the power in fire, in the day, but Jupiter in a fire sign just seems to be a little bit more productive. I mean, it’s Jupiter in a day chart, so it’s gonna be helpful. Jupiter rules the Midheaven degree. So it’s interesting that there’s sort of that connection between the ruler of the Midheaven and the ruler of the 10th house by whole sign, that one is in the other sign.

CB: Right. That’s a really good point. I didn’t even catch that, but that is a good point. And that does bring Jupiter even more into the context of some of the career significations because the degree of the MC falls in Sagittarius in this whole sign chart.

KS: Yeah, yeah. And this is probably the point where in a session the client is not feeling very excited or interested in some of the topics and points that have been raised and will start to want to share their experiences or how this shows up for them. And that’s the beauty, and then the conversation kind of carries forward from there.

CB: Right. Yeah, I wish that she was here right now ‘cause we would talk to her and ask her some questions, and then there would be either validation of or some pullback saying, “No, that’s not been an area that’s come up before,” or some confirmation that, “Yeah, this is an area that I’ve gravitated towards career-wise,” and we would have that dialogue and then continue to explore. ‘Cause once you get that feedback, you’re able to refine which areas the life has already gravitated towards and which specific manifestation that’s gone down, and then that becomes a process where you can further clarify what’s going on in the chart for both you and the client.

KS: A hundred-percent. And I was just thinking, it’s almost like there’s discussion. So, initially, when you sit down in the consult, there’s discussion, which usually you, as the astrologer, are going to be initiating or leading. Then there’s an opportunity for feedback and exchange, where the client will contribute or comment on what’s been said. And that allows you, the astrologer, to refine what you’re doing or where you’re going, and then we just carry on and go deeper into the process.

CB: Right. Definitely. All right, at least for the limited purposes of this specific question that was asked, I think we’ve covered enough already.

KS: Yeah.

CB: If people want to find out more information about that, you should definitely check out I believe it was Episode 28 I did with Michael Ofek. We did a whole episode on mitigating factors in traditional astrology, one of which is planets being dignified zodiacally, but there’s also other important mitigating factors like configurations with benefics and other things like that. So check out that episode, Episode 28 of The Astrology Podcast at theastrologypodcast.com for more information about that. All right, so let’s move onto our second question. And this question was submitted by a listener named Jessica who asked, “How will the major midlife transits present themselves in my life? What may show up, and how can I best prepare?” And she was born June 7, 1977, at 2:24 PM in Seattle, Washington. And if I calculated everything correctly, she has 3° of Libra rising.

KS: Okay.

CB: She’s partially asking about this because she’s in that range of midlife, being around 40 or the early 40’s, and especially one of the major transits that’s associated with that is the Uranus opposition, which happens in the early-to-mid-40’s. It’s like there’s already a general concept out there that exists of—

KS: I’m going to the ephemeris for our listeners.

CB: Ephemeris. Yeah, I’ve got my ephemeris within reach as well.

KS: Sorry, you were saying the midlife transits, Chris.

CB: Uh, yeah, just that there’s already a popular concept of the midlife crisis around the early 40’s to mid-40’s. And I think astrologers often associate that with the Uranus opposition, which happens around that timeframe. So, in her case, her natal Uranus is at 8° of Scorpio in the 2nd whole sign house. And so, as soon as Uranus transits or ingresses or enters into Taurus here in a couple of weeks, that’s really gonna be the beginning or the onset or the initial phase of her Uranus opposition, which eventually will go exact a year or two or three from now.

KS: I think it’s 2020 ‘cause her Uranus is at 8 Scorpio. It’s not till mid-2020 that the Uranus opposition will happen. The other transit that is connected to the midlife transits, if you like—I think there’s a series of three. So there’s the Pluto square Pluto, which tends to happen in the late-30’s. And she’s already had that because her natal Pluto is at 11 Libra, and currently Pluto is like 21 Capricorn, so that’s done and dusted. And then the other transit is Neptune square Neptune. So that’s the one that she’s actually in the middle of now because Neptune is moving through the middle part of Pisces squaring her natal Neptune at 14 Sag. And I guess because of the Sun-Jupiter opposite Neptune natally, that may be where that question is coming from.

Yeah, this would be a client—one of the things I might say to them is, “Look Uranus opposite Uranus is definitely coming down the pipeline, but there’s a few things that you will be exploring or working through beforehand.” And the Uranus conjunct the Venus-Mars conjunction in her natal chart would be something I would potentially want to discuss.

CB: Yeah, let’s just mention it really quickly.

KS: Sorry, I just dived in.

CB: That seems huge. So she has natally a conjunction of Venus and Mars at 1° of Taurus in the 8th whole sign house. And that Venus is ruling her Ascendant and Mars is ruling her—well, Venus is ruling both her Ascendant and her 8th house, and Mars is ruling her 7th and 2nd houses. So that’s gonna get hit by Uranus as soon as that ingress takes place. So that’s what you’re talking about there?

KS: Totally. And because Venus rules the Ascendant, I would be really honing in on that. The Venus-Mars conjunction natally would be a significant thing that we might want to discuss because Venus is the Ascendant ruler. But, yeah, the Uranus transit to that conjunction—I think that would be the above-the-fold lead with this type of event that I would go with.

CB: Sure, and it’s really interesting. I mean, for me, one of the things I pay attention to anytime a planet—even an outer planet—ingresses into a new sign is just the notion that any exact aspects that it’s going to make eventually in that sign will start building up at that point. And sometimes that’s gonna be more of a quiet buildup, and other times it’s gonna be more obvious. But, typically, if you’re paying close enough attention there is some shift in the person’s life at that point where the circumstances that will eventually culminate at the exact aspect will start to constellate in the person’s life at that time.

So, for me, I think that Uranus opposition begins already as soon as Uranus goes into Taurus for her, but it’s just not gonna hit that full high point or full fever pitch until it gets to 8° of Taurus and opposes her natal Uranus at 8 Scorpio. But the idea that things are already gonna start changing is probably emphasized already by the fact that Venus-Mars conjunction is so early in Taurus. Therefore you’re already gonna have this very important Uranian-type event take place really early on after that ingress of Uranus into Taurus.

KS: Agreed, agreed. I mean, one of the really interesting patterns in Jessica’s natal chart is—oh, hang on, let me just summarize. One thing I learned when I got into more traditional astrology—which is what you’re talking about, Chris—is as soon as the transit planet enters the new sign, the transit has begun. So the idea of anyone with Saturn in Capricorn has begun their Saturn return transit, even though the transiting Saturn may be degrees and years away from hitting your exact Saturn, so we’re building into that.

CB: Right.

KS: Yeah, what’s interesting for Jessica is there is a little bit of a weird pattern here. The degrees aren’t exact, but when we’re talking about Uranus coming into Taurus and activating new things, it is the Venus- Mars conjunction, but there is also the sextile up to the Midheaven. And when the Uranus opposition becomes exact, transiting Uranus will also be sextile the natal Moon, which I think was 8° as well in Pisces.

CB: Mm-hmm.

KS: And so, I agree, Chris, completely. We’re gonna start seeing these ‘shiftings’, if you like, or these stirrings—this restlessness, this desire to shake things up, make big developments or to turn life upside-down in some way that leads to more freedom or more independence from these Uranus transits. And because for this client it would be Uranus coming into the 8th house, it does make me think of changes to do with finances and how that can be part of the decision-making process. And one thing I’ve been observing a lot is, the 8th house—if this person, Jessica, is in a relationship—the financial change may actually have to do with a partner: a romantic partner or a business partner that then has that flow-on effect on her. It may be her own tax situation or an investment of hers, which tend to be a little bit more 8th house money topics. But there is definitely this feeling that we’re getting that we’re jumping on a roller-coaster and we need to think about differences.

CB: Yeah, the keywords for Uranus, for me, are always ‘unexpected disruptions’ or ‘unexpected changes’. And sometimes that can be constructive ones. Sometimes it can come from within the person themselves where they just suddenly have the urge to start making radical changes in their life. Other times it can be events that are either other people in the person’s life or other circumstances where that energy sort of comes into their life from the outside and there’s this notion of unexpected, radical changes. For her, it’s interesting that there’s like a blend between those two. ‘Cause normally if it was the ruler of the Ascendant and it was 1° of Taurus, we would say maybe some of those changes are gonna come from within you, or have to do with you specifically, since the ruler of the Ascendant is the planet most closely connected with the native in the chart. But the fact that Mars is also there conjunct Venus in the same degree—at 1 Taurus, and it’s ruling the 7th house—makes me think that it’s also tied in with a partnership: either she’s already in a partnership and some unexpected changes happening within the context of that, or if she’s not in a partnership then some sort of relationship coming into her life that ends up changing things in an unexpected way.

KS: Completely. And that’s one of the signatures within the fabric of this natal chart—that the ruler of the Ascendant and the ruler of the Descendant are conjunct. So there is that sense that those parts of life are activated in tandem at the same time.

CB: Right. And I like that you mentioned that both of those are sextile the degree of the Midheaven, which is at 4° of Cancer. From a Hellenistic perspective that’s a major mitigating factor for planets that are in difficult houses. If a planet’s in a difficult house—like the 8th or the 12th or the 6th—but it’s configured or aspecting the degree of the Midheaven within 3°, then usually you’ll tend to see some of the more positive manifestations or significations of that difficult house placement come to the forefront. So that’s where you do definitely get more financial significations having to do with the 8th house rather than issues pertaining to mortality or something like that.

KS: Yeah, I’m glad you mentioned that, Chris. ‘Cause I think that mitigation of planets in the 6th, 8th, or 12th houses in aspect to the Midheaven is a really important one ‘cause it can change the nature of that planet quite profoundly. It’s connected to the Midheaven more than it is placed in that house, if you like. It gives it a bit of an out or an outlet.

CB: Yeah, ‘cause it’s another one of those things, like with sect, where so much of the discussion in the generation of astrologers that came in in the 1960s and ‘70s and ‘80s were really into modern psychological astrology. They would look at things like a Saturn return or a person’s Saturn placement and they would see that, well, some people go through that transit and it works out very well, and other people go through it and it’s a disaster; as a result of that it’s clear that Saturn is not always malefic and therefore that was the justification for rejecting the distinction between malefic and malefic altogether. They said, “Let’s just get rid of this distinction and stop referring to benefics and malefics at all because clearly sometimes the malefics can be constructive.” But then that’s where the concept of sect comes up where there are technical reasons why sometimes one person’s Saturn placement can work out more constructively and another person’s Saturn placement can work out in a more challenging fashion, and sometimes you can see that if you’re paying attention to specific technical things in a chart.

So I feel like this is another one of those things where sometimes people will point out that this person had a very positive manifestation of the 8th house or the 12th house, and this person had a very negative manifestation, so let’s not make any distinctions like that at all in terms of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ houses. But oftentimes I find the people who are able to work out those placements more constructively—at least more consistently in their lives—tend to have mitigations, like that configuration to the Midheaven.

KS: Yeah, it’s really such a powerful point. And it’s almost like a bit of a lesson or a clue as to the importance of having the whole picture or the whole process rather than just one part of it.

CB: Yeah, exactly.

KS: ‘Cause this question was about how might the midlife transits trigger her, what I think we’ve done is we’ve sort of honed in on potentially the more significant of the midlife transits because the Uranus opposition is activating these other components in the chart. The Neptune square Neptune transit for this person, for Jessica, is a little more significant or juiced-up, if you like, because in her natal chart the Sun and Jupiter are opposite natal Neptune, and then transiting Neptune is kind of creating this temporary T-square, if you like. Transiting Neptune square natal Neptune, but transiting Neptune will also be square the natal Sun at the same time. Now the Sun doesn’t rule an angular house, for instance, but it is still the sect light, so I think that would be something for her to be aware of as well potentially.

CB: Sure. Definitely in terms of the Neptune transit and that natal opposition between Neptune at 14 Sag and the Sun and Jupiter conjunction at 14 and 16 Gemini.

KS: Yeah, the Neptune-Sun part is just starting in the middle of 2018. And I think the part I would probably want to explore with the client would be the Neptune-Sun component more than the Neptune square Neptune piece.

CB: Sure. Yeah, I mean, that can be a really interesting transit. I mean, it almost sounds cliché and kind of like modern and psychological—one’s sense of self and Neptune passing over that, and going through a period where you don’t have a lot of clarity surrounding that, or you have a lot of questions and a lot of nebulousness surrounding who you are. For her, I would think that that’s gonna have to do with questions surrounding what she believes and what her belief systems are and suddenly a much greater sense of—maybe not porousness—but ambiguity surrounding what her beliefs are what she thinks about the world because the Sun is in the 9th house, or that Sun-Jupiter conjunction is in the 9th house. But then also because the Sun is ruling the 11th house of friends, somehow issues surrounding groups and friends and social movements that she’s a part of, and how those are tied into her belief systems, part of the underlying complex that that transiting Neptune square is activating questions and some nebulousness surrounding those topics in her life.

KS: Absolutely, absolutely. I mean, I know it does feel like a cliché, but those Neptune keywords or those Uranus keywords—they do exist for a reason: the ambiguity, the uncertainty—you know, that sense of, “I’m not sure who I am anymore,” or “I’m not sure what I believe,” and “I’m not sure who my friends are,” or “I’m not sure what my place is in this group (or this organization or in this community).” And it is confusing. And I think one of the phrases I often share with clients around Neptune transits, particularly to the Sun—well, I guess these are just Neptune keywords—it’s about slowing down. If you’re driving on a foggy highway late at night—which is the feeling of what being in the middle of a Neptune transit is like—you have to go a bit slower, and you’re trusting your instincts rather than reading the street signs because you can’t actually see the street signs anymore. So it does draw you into more of an internal space. And it’s just sort of messy and fluid, and it’s not clear, but that’s part of the process for the length of the timeline of that transit.

CB: Sure. Yeah, I mean, I think ultimately it should be more positive ‘cause that’s probably the more positive area of her chart, just having a day chart, with that Sun-Jupiter conjunction there in the 9th whole sign house. And then speaking of that Saturn placement in the 11th, the other final, major, sort of quasi-outer planet transit that she would have during the ‘midlife crisis’ is her second Saturn opposition, which will start happening as soon as Saturn moves into Aquarius in 2020.

KS: Yeah, I think it’s December 2020, just to keep all the conspiracy theorists happy. Yeah—and will have the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction. That’s a story for another time.

CB: In Aquarius?

KS: In Aquarius, yeah. Yeah, so it’s December 2020.

CB: Okay. So that’s another major one that will be coming up—the Saturn opposition and that tension between whatever that 11th house placement is. Earlier in life, Saturn in a day chart in the 11th often manifests as difficulties or inhibitions or fears surrounding friends and groups and just the process of making friends or being in groups, but then later on becomes a strength as she gets older, especially after the Saturn return, and something that she becomes more comfortable with. But there’s still occasionally surmountable difficulties that come up within the context of that topic at different times in life.

KS: Yeah. And I’m really glad you mentioned this transit, Chris, ‘cause I think it often gets overlooked as a ‘midlife’ sort of thing. And I sort of feel like the Saturn opposition that happens in the early 40’s—it’s like the ‘middle of the middle’ cycle, and it really does create this sort of pivoting or shift around a person’s Saturn experience; or the nature of the Saturn story in their chart. And all the other outer planet transits aside, I think this is really critical and fundamental to the creation of one’s backbone or strength for the second half of life. So that’s a really good one. Yeah, I’m glad we mentioned that.

CB: Definitely. And that’s one where if she was here, we would talk to her and we would ask her some questions about what her Saturn return was like—I guess it would have been between 2005 and 2007—because that would have set the stage for the next 30 years of Saturn then moving around her chart, especially reaching some critical turning points when it hits those hard aspects. So when Saturn transited through Scorpio a few years ago and made the square to its natal placement, and then whatever was initiated at the return back in the mid-2000s, reaching another critical turning point when Saturn goes through Aquarius and hits the opposition.

KS: Yeah. And a really fun, useful thing to do with a client is to work back to those intervals. And Saturn is probably the best cycle to do it with, but you can do it with Uranus or Neptune. Certainly you can do it with Uranus. But, yeah, going back to those square points or those previous conjunctions just to pull the story forward. What happens when this planet makes a transiting aspect back to itself for you? And how do you want to go forward with that insight?

CB: Right, ‘cause that’s one of the greatest keys. I’ve always said this especially about profections and zodiacal releasing—but it’s also true of studying outer planet transits in general—that the greatest key to prediction in astrology is studying a person’s history and their past, and figuring out what their past life trajectory is up to this point and how that meshes with their chart, and then projecting that out in the future based on the transits and the other major alignments that you see coming up.

KS: Yes. And not to borrow a term from the financial services industry, the best indicator of future performance is past performance. So whatever’s happened in the past we’re gonna see coming forward. Because what we do when we do this, as you were saying Chris, is we’re starting to build a narrative or a set of themes and topics that are specific to that planet in this chart. So it’s like getting to know how this planet shows its qualities specific to the unique features or nuances in the chart at hand. And this is the beauty of working with astrology over time—whether people are doing it for themselves or you’re working consistently with one astrologer over time. Both of you really start to get to know how the chart responds and what tends to stir up certain topics or certain experiences.

CB: Right, definitely. And what specific 11th house manifestation of that Saturn transit has been experienced in the past? Because there’s a greater likelihood of that being the direction it goes in the future—or other placements like that. She has the ruler of the 11th house of friends and groups in the 9th house of religion and beliefs and philosophy and foreign travel. For her, that might work out one way. There was a chart that we looked at last night for a guy that was here named ‘OccultFan’, or that was his handle, and he had the ruler of the 11th, I believe, in the 9th, or vice versa. And when I was delineating that 11th house of friends and groups and 9th house of religion and beliefs and philosophy, he said that over the past few months he had just become a Freemason. And so, that was how he was manifesting that transit in a unique or specific way, whereas I’ve seen other people who became involved in astrological groups. So a group of like-minded people or like-minded friends who have a similar focus on a particular philosophy or outlook. Yeah, so knowing which specific manifestation the person has gone with in their life, after you’ve identified the broad archetypal direction that it should go in, can then be useful for being able to make more specific statements about the future.

KS: Yeah, absolutely, absolutely.

CB: Cool. All right, well, I think we’ve covered a lot then in terms of this. I mean, do you want to make any final statements about this one, or shall we move on?

KS: I’m happy to move on. I think we’ve answered the questions there for sure.

CB: Okay, cool. I think the next one is from a listener named Eunice.

KS: Yep.

CB: So she says her birth data is December 25, 1995, in Santa Clara, California, at 2:22 PM. She has 25 Taurus rising. Her first question is, “Am I bound to have terrible friendships? My 11th house ruler is in the 8th house, and my Saturn is in the 11th house.” So she has Taurus rising, and Saturn is in Pisces in the 11th whole sign house, and it’s ruled by Jupiter in Sagittarius in the 8th house. She says, “I struggle a lot with forming good friendships and keeping them.” And then she has a secondary question, but that might be sort of separate, or we’ll hold that for now and maybe focus on the first one.

KS: Okay, so she has trouble forming friendships. So this is where I’m like, okay, what trouble do you have forming friendships? Is it that there’s trouble meeting people, or that there’s an imbalance in who’s sort of giving and participating within the friendship? I mean, those would be some of the questions that immediately come to mind. There’s two interesting things that I see right away: yes, the ruler of the 11th is in the 8th. I’m not sure just that would make me say ‘trouble with friendships’. I think that the nature of friendships exploring 8th house topics could be one other possibility. This reminds me of a chart—because there’s someone in the chart circle that I’ve got, that I know, and they’ve had a lot of friends who’ve passed away. This chart doesn’t have what that other person has in their chart, but because the ruler of the 11th is in the 8th, maybe that would be something to discuss. The Moon is—

CB: What was that? Wait—she had a friend who—

KS: I know someone who has a lot of friends who’ve died.

CB: Okay.

KS: And it’s weird—like every few years this person’s friends seems to have some sort of experience and dies.

CB: Yeah.

KS: So I just checked their chart. The ruler of their 11th is combust the Sun, which is different from this.

CB: Yeah, I mean, what’s funny about this is I think I used that as an example in my book. I had a client who had the ruler of the 11th in the 8th, but then it was like heavily maltreated by an applying conjunction within a degree to Mars in a day chart or something like that. So it was kind of like a worst-case scenario and she only had one friend growing up, and that friend passed away when the two became adults, and then the person was not interested in forming any friendships at all in the future.

KS: Yeah, so I can see why there might be some worries, but I don’t think just having the ruler of the 11th in the 8th on its own would be enough to trigger that. We would need that maltreatment I think as well.

CB: Yeah, for the worst-case scenario. I mean, what’s funny and interesting about this is the issues are present with the 11th house—primarily due to having Saturn in the 11th whole sign house—but it’s like the best possible scenario otherwise in terms of that because it’s a day chart. So immediately one of the things I think we’re looking at right here is the experience of somebody who’s a little bit younger. So she just recently completed her second Saturn square. So she hasn’t reached her Saturn return yet.

KS: Oh, she’s in her early 20’s, okay.

CB: Yeah, so she was born in 1995. So I make that distinction—and I’m gonna bring it up a lot today ‘cause it’s a really core component to my astrology about sect—that people with night charts tend to have more problems with Saturn, and people with day charts, it tends to be more constructive. But when people are younger that’s not necessarily true, or that’s not necessarily how it’s experienced to the extent that people with day charts still experience that Saturn placement as being pretty rough, especially when they’re young. And it’s oftentimes not until they get older that eventually it becomes like a source of strength or something that they get used to or something that they get over in some broader sense. So what we’re hearing here largely—or where I would go with this—is we’re hearing somebody that because they’re a little bit younger, they haven’t fully mastered or gotten a hand of that Saturn placement yet.

And so, they’re dealing with some of the common things that you might expect from Saturn in the 11th house, which is Saturn tends to be more restrictive. It tends to say ‘no’ to things. And if it’s in an area like friendships then sometimes it can say ‘no’ to friends for whatever reason, in some broad archetypal sense. Whether it’s due to internal fears on the part of the native and where Saturn is placed in the chart from a psychological and a modern perspective—one of the things I’ve always appreciated about the modern approaches is the notion that Saturn indicates where a person has fears or apprehensions. So perhaps part of it is coming from the native themselves in that they have great fear and apprehension surrounding that part of their life, and that’s part of the reason it doesn’t go as well as it could.

On the other hand, sometimes it can just be things that are outside of the person’s control, like bad luck. Like you had a really good friend growing up, but they moved away and you never saw them again. Or you’re just not in the right place, at the right time, and therefore you have a hard time forming those bonds or meeting up with people that are of like mind in a way that you fully click. And that’s not necessarily your fault, it’s just the way things played out. So whatever that is I do think it’s something that’ll get better—especially in this chart—with time. One, because it’s a day chart, and, two, because Jupiter ruling Saturn, and being placed in its own sign in a day chart, and forming a superior square where it’s overcoming Saturn is a condition of bonification, which is gonna render Saturn much less malefic and much more constructive than it would be otherwise, and I think that’ll become clear as this person gets older.

KS: Yeah, I think that’s beautiful, Chris. I think the two little bits I would add is the Saturn placement definitely tends to improve over time as long as Saturn is not maltreated or significantly dysfunctional or restricted. And this Saturn is not—it’s just sitting in the 11th house. It is in a day chart. It’s got the overcoming influence from Jupiter. It’s just Saturn. I think you made a really good point about the fact that based on the age of this person, they’re still figuring it out. And one of the things which I did get from more modern astrology but I have seen bear out in practice—the house that Saturn sits in can be an area of life—provided all other things being equal—it can be an area of life that just takes a little of time to warm up and for us to kind of get our groove on there. So that tends to be an area of life that gets more satisfying or more fulfilling as we get older. And the qualification there of course is provided it’s not Saturn in a night chart, or there are no other more difficult factors.

The other piece too, given this person’s age—we’ve talked about the Saturn square—they’ve just had a period of time, late 2016 and then 2017, where transiting Saturn was making an exact degree-based square to that natal Saturn, which is gonna create some stronger-than-usual feelings of restriction, limitation, or lack around perhaps that 11th house Saturn, which would be temporary because they were tied to that transit. I think the topic of friendship is really important for this person because the Moon applies a sextile to Jupiter. So there’s that idea of the ‘pushing’ light or the ‘pushing’ energy of the Moon. So I can see that friendship is maybe important or a highlighted topic for them, and I think we both agree that as they get older this is gonna improve basically. To answer their question, they’re not destined to have no friendships or bad friendships, I guess, forever.

CB: Right. And that’s also good ‘cause the Moon’s applying sextile. So the Moon is at 27 Aquarius in the 10th whole sign house, and it’s applying within a degree or so to a sextile with Jupiter in the 8th. That’s another one of those mitigating conditions. So it’s not just a planet in a challenging house being in a close aspect to the Midheaven, but it can also be to a planet that’s in an angular house—like the 10th. If it’s a close aspect within 3°, it can act as a major mitigating condition. So that’s actually helping out Jupiter, that applying sextile to the Moon. It’s not just good for the Moon, but it’s also good for Jupiter.

KS: Yes.

CB: So the last thing I would mention here is just one of the things that’s gonna be funny is I would venture to make a prediction about this chart. But at some point when she’s older—it’ll probably come about during the time of her Saturn return or after her Saturn return—she’s gonna find at some point in her life that her career actually ends up being tied up with friends or groups or social movements because Saturn is the ruler of her 10th house. And so, something that initially she struggled with or felt that she lacked or wasn’t very good at earlier in her life, with that Saturn placement in the 11th, will at some point become an integral part of her career, with Saturn ruling the 10th house, and that’ll end up probably looking really ironic to her in retrospect.

And the last thing I would say as a constructive suggestion about where potentially to go with that—because Saturn is also ruling the 9th whole sign house of religion and belief and foreign travel—that there’s gonna be some part of the 9th house component that she might want to look to in terms of looking to people with similar beliefs or a similar philosophical or religious outlook. That might be a good area you could gravitate towards in terms of looking for friends or trying to find people who you might connect with and actually build long-term relationships with. It’s probably gonna come from that 9th house area since Saturn is ruling the 9th, and it’s placed in the 11th.

KS: Yes.

CB: All right, so, anything else about that one?

KS: I did just see something—‘cause this is what happens when you look at charts. There is a little sextile from Mars to Saturn in the chart, and it is technically separating. Mars looks like it’s 19.26 Cap, with Saturn at 19 Pisces. So I’m just wondering if some of the challenges potentially could be the interference of Mars, given that Mars would be the out-of-sect malefic for this person. And then I think, again, because it’s a separating aspect, it is something that can be worked with or overcome with time. But it looks like just a little bit more effort is required, but we can definitely get this part going.

CB: Right. That’s a really good point. So Mars in the 9th house in a day chart is also the area of some of the greatest difficulties surrounding religious matters or beliefs or education or foreign matters. So, on the one hand, while Saturn ruling that and importing that over into the 11th house might end up working out well, that’s also an area where some other challenges are gonna come through at the same time. So it’s not necessarily super easy. But, yeah, that sextile with reception—even though it’s separating—I think would be helpful in mitigating that a little bit, especially the exaltation at the same time.

KS: Yeah, ‘cause it is a productive Mars. It’s a Mars that we can use to do something with.

CB: Sure, sure. All right, cool. Well, that was a good question. Thanks for submitting that. So why don’t we move onto the next one.

KS: Perfect.

CB: How are we doing on time? Where are we at, at this point?

KS: I think we’re about an hour in. So I feel like we’re going at a nice pace.

CB: Good. Okay, awesome, we’ll keep it up. And we’ve got 60 people watching us live, so that’s awesome. And thanks to everybody that’s participating in the chat. There’s a lively discussion about sect and questions about when it becomes a day chart or a night chart and if there’s an intermediate phase between day night. Somebody suggested whether that creates like a third category. A listener named Arian suggested that as a question for those issues where it’s like right in between. Maybe that’s something we can talk about later. All right, so, let me pull up the next question.

KS: I mean, it is a good question because for people born right around sunrise or right around sunset, the distinction in the sky is not clear between day and night and sometimes it can be tricky to clearly determine the sect differentiation.

CB: Yeah, and we were going over this a little bit last night—and I think we had a question about it later—because there are some charts where it’s really close to either the Ascendant or Descendant, and just below the horizon, and you do have this question of whether it’s still day or whether it’s night at that point. And I’ve come up with a range where if it’s like up to 6° below the Ascendant, in the morning, then potentially it could be a day chart, or I’ve seen charts that act like day charts in that instance, whereas it tends to be a little bit tighter—the range tends to be tighter by the Descendant. But usually I still find that it ends up being one way or the other rather than both, or rather than somewhere in-between. I mean, it would be interesting if you ever had a case where it was clearly acting as both, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen that, just to answer that question quickly.

KS: Cool, yeah. So if the Sun is 6° off the Ascendant, on the 1st house side, you consider that a day chart, and then a smaller orb off the Descendant.

CB: Yeah, like I’ve seen it up to 3° below the Descendant. I’m still getting a feel for that range ‘cause it’s a lot more murky. But I’ve seen a few where it was just like a degree or two below the Descendant and it was still acting like a day chart, where Saturn was still the more constructive malefic and Mars was still much more challenging.

KS: Yes.

CB: ‘Cause that’s basically how you rectify it. And what you have to do with those charts, where there’s any ambiguity in the sect, is you’ve gotta quickly in a consultation—I would do rapid-fire questions to try to see which malefic they tend to respond more negatively to, and that’s usually how you tell.

KS: Okay, okay. And if we’re thinking about it from a consulting perspective sometimes you have to check in with the client. If you’re checking in, “Do you have ‘Mars’ problems or ‘Saturn’ problems?” or “Do you have ‘Jupiter’ help or ‘Venus’ help?” you don’t ask the question like that. You’ve got to come up with some phrases specific to Mars or Saturn in the chart. “Do you have problems with friends ‘cause you have Mars in the 11th?” or “Do you have problems with money ‘cause you have Saturn in the 2nd?” and that can help clarify, I guess.

CB: Yeah, you’ve gotta have a pretty specific idea of some specific scenarios for certain placements that you would expect, you know, Saturn in the 11th, in the chart we were just looking at, and asking questions like, “Have you had problems with friends or forming friendships?” But then you run into an issue where you’ve gotta then gauge from an objective standpoint, as the astrologer, whether those are surmountable difficulties that they’ve had in their lives but is not worst-case scenario, or if they’ve actually experienced some really great trauma or hardship in that area that probably justifies the malefic being contrary-to-the-sect or what have you.

KS: Totally.

CB: So that can be challenging, but that’s part of the dialogue process that occurs. Okay, so, let’s go ahead and move onto the next—

KS: Yeah, next chart.

CB: Next question. So the next one comes from a patron named Maren. And she was born August 24, 1998, at 5:27 PM, in Houston, Texas. So she has 19° of Capricorn rising, and she says, “I have a pretty afflicted Mars, particularly with its square to Saturn.” Let me make sure I’m sharing this properly. There we go.

KS: Perfect.

CB: Okay. So she says, “I have a pretty afflicted Mars, particularly with its square to Saturn. What kinds of advice would you give for this placement and aspect, specifically in terms of the areas of life it’s tied into?” So she has Capricorn rising. It’s a day chart, with the Sun in Virgo, in the 9th whole sign house, in the top-half of the chart. The natal Mars placement that she’s talking about is Mars at 2° of Leo in the 8th whole sign house. And she’s focused—or she’s asking in particular about the square from Saturn, which is located at 3° of Taurus in the 5th whole sign house, conjunct the degree of the IC. So hers is one of those charts where the degree of the meridian or the quadrant Midheaven falls in the 11th whole sign house at 6° of Scorpio. And so, the IC falls at 6° of Taurus conjunct Saturn and widely squaring Mars. So, yeah, where would you go with that question? Or how would you approach this one?

KS: Yeah, so it’s basically about the ‘Mars’ problems, isn’t it? A pretty afflicted Mars.

CB: I mean, first, do you accept the premise of the question? She say, “I have a pretty

KS: [laughter]

CB: Well, no, it’s a genuine—

KS: It is a genuine question. And actually that’s a really good starting point. I’m not sure that I would consider it quite as seriously afflicted as she might.

CB: Right. ‘Cause really quickly a really important thing—again, a common issue that we sometimes need to digress and talk about is meta issues in consultations that these questions bring up. Typically, a lot of times when you see clients they sometimes will have some background knowledge in astrology, whatever that is, and therefore they’re gonna approach asking you questions about their chart with some presumptions about what they do or do not have in their chart, or what planetary placements are prominent or strong or weak, or what have you; there’s a lot of assumptions that a person can approach things with. And unless you just magically happen to have the exact same approach to astrology as your client—which 95% of the time, 90% of the time you’re not—or maybe you would say 99% of the time you’re not; every astrology is somewhat unique. There’s gonna be some things where you’re gonna disagree with some presumptions that they’re making about their chart, and you might have to either set them right, or you might have to present a different perspective in some way, “Well, I might not fully agree about that, but instead I would look at it like this.”

KS: I’m so glad you brought this point up, Chris. I’m just like having a big smile on the inside and on the outside. Because often when students come in—or clients that have a bit of a background in astrology—they can sometimes come in really worried about certain things. And you think, “Okay, I can see where you’re coming from. But there’s a few other pieces of information or an insight that maybe you’re not aware of.” So in this case, exactly, I’m like the person, just the way their question is phrased—Maren seems to be super worried about this particular Mars. But I can see there’s a couple of things, yeah, we can talk about that maybe could be termed a little bit limiting, but there are some other things that I think could be potentially productive. So this is a really good meta point to make that you won’t always agree on the other person’s interpretation. And it’s not about having an argument or pulling rank, it’s not about that. It’s more just saying, “Have you thought about these other things?” or “There are a couple of other factors that are at play that might shift this a little bit basically.”

CB: Right, definitely.

KS: Yeah, because as far as afflicted Mars’ go, okay, this Mars is in the 8th house, and it’s square Saturn. Fair enough, there’s some stuff there. I mean, sometimes you look at Mars or another planet, and you think, “That planet is locked up in prison. I’m not sure what that planet is gonna be doing.” That’s not what this Mars is basically. One alternative viewpoint of this Mars—it rules the Midheaven degree, and it is placed in such a way that it squares the Midheaven. So we’ve got the ruler of the Midheaven in a direct, degree-based aspect to the Midheaven, and that adds a level of productiveness or functionality. If we can get some topics or some focus out of this Leo Mars in the 8th house, we can really apply them to move forward in one’s career. We do have to deal with the square from Saturn. And so, one of the frustrations of a Mars in hard aspect to Saturn is that the Mars’ stuff, or the Mars topics, want to move forward faster, or sometimes prematurely, and the Saturn component is saying, “We’ve got to take more time. We’ve got to do more preparation. We’ve got to slow down.” Sometimes the way a Mars-Saturn can be configured, the Saturn does become a blocking factor. Sometimes it’s just a shift in pace, if you like. So that’s kind of how I’d start with this, Chris. How would you dive in with this?

CB: Yeah, definitely, I agree with everything you just said. I mean, one of the points I liked that you made is that Mars is ruling the Midheaven, and it’s closely configured to the Midheaven within a few degrees. Because one of the things that I notice oftentimes, especially when people are really concerned about a negative placement—and I’m not necessarily saying that she’s doing this—but sometimes people can overhype how negative the placement is, and sometimes they can not notice some of the mitigating factors or some of the positive things that it has going for it. And I appreciate that sometimes because then you can point that out when there are some notable or semi-notable mitigating factors that indicate that it’s not necessarily like the worst-case scenario.

So this is another one of those where we’ve got either an angle—in this case we’ve got both. Either an angle or an angular planet that’s closely configured to a planet that’s otherwise in a difficult house that is therefore helping to counteract some of the more significant significations and pushing it in a more constructive direction than it would be otherwise. So Mercury being square to the Midheaven is doing that—or Mars being square to the Midheaven is doing that, even though it’s in the 8th house. And then also in this chart, the Moon is at 3° of Libra, where it’s separating from a close sextile with Mars. And that’s also helping it out in terms of that otherwise difficult placement in the 8th, and is gonna help to push it in a more constructive direction than it might otherwise. So it’s still the most challenging planet in the chart because it’s Mars in a day chart, in the 8th house. But I don’t think that Saturn square is necessarily hurting Mars as much as she might feel like it is.

I mean, I think I would go with you in saying that that probably will manifest or lead to feelings of or literal situations of being held back or told to slow down, or told ‘no’ when she’s wanting to move in certain directions. Especially directions that are tied in with either 4th house matters (since Mars is ruling the 4th house of the parents and the home and the living situation) or potentially 11th and 10th house matters (since the MC is in Scorpio in the 11th whole sign house) And so, Mars is ruling the place of friends and career. So there may be some instances where things take longer, or she’s blocked from moving as quickly (or sometimes impetuously) as she might like. But because this is a day chart, Saturn, in some instances, might be more helpful and beneficial and constructive in the long term, even if it feels subjectively very frustrating and burdensome in the short term.

KS: Yeah, I had that same thought too. I thought, well, theoretically or conceptually the Saturn is actually maybe more useful or more productive in this chart. So it’s in Mars’ interest to take those cues from Saturn, even if they are frustrating in the immediate timeframe. The only other thing that I thought—which sometimes I like to do when we do have a pretty dynamic aspect—is Mars rules the Midheaven, for instance—so one of the topics associated with Mars would be career—and Saturn rules the Ascendant. So Saturn sort of is her, if you like. It’s her, or her body, or just her in general.

CB: Right.

KS: And I wonder about the tension between her, and what she’s interested in, or what she likes to do, versus what some of the demands or requirements of her career might be, and whether there’s a little bit of frustration there around, “I want to do this, but my job requires me to do that.” And I think that a level of that, in a way that is not detrimental or destructive to her, would be an appropriate manifestation of having the ruler of the Ascendant square the ruler of the Midheaven.

CB: Right, definitely. That’s a really good point. There’s a heavy 4th house component here that’s either pertaining to—

KS: Yeah.

CB: Either the home and living situation or the parents. And so, is it the parents’ or family expectations or something like that that’s causing the tensions that are coming from Mars, and Mars being in the 11th house and being other people’s money, or financial ties that otherwise are creating blockages or sort of forcing her to go in a certain direction that creates internal tension—with Saturn itself ruling the Ascendant—and therefore representing her and the direction that she otherwise might like to go?

KS: Totally. And that’s where in a client session there would be lots of juicy things to talk about. One of the possible manifestations of this could be your parents want you to do ‘X’ in your career, and they will pay for you to do that, but you actually want to do ‘Y’, and then the tension is how you navigate that basically. And, again, just like we got to in the earlier chart, this is like where we are at the launching-off point where we’d want to then get some feedback from the client and that would help us refine further.

CB: Yeah, we would ask especially about that Saturn placement in the 5th house and its conjunction with the IC and if some of those topics surrounding parents and family and other things like that have come up already at this point. I’d also want to ask about the transit of Saturn through Scorpio at the Saturn opposition that would have happened a few years ago—that would have activated both of those placements in the Saturn-Mars square—and what themes came up at that time. Because we would expect to see a continuation of those themes starting in 2020 when Saturn goes into Aquarius, and we have the next Saturn square that squares that natal Saturn placement and opposes the Mars. Yeah, there’s a lot of questions and things we would probably ask in order to, again, just get a sense for the life trajectory with those placements so far. ‘Cause we can identify the general area of life and some of the topics that it should be tied into, but actually figuring out the specific manifestation in her chart in order to have more context is a sort of crucial factor.

KS: Absolutely. Yeah, there’s a couple—like Pluto is going over this person’s Ascendant. Saturn is squaring their Moon this year, 2018. So you could certainly see with that maybe underlying frustration or tension. Yeah, there’s a lot that you could keep talking about with this person.

CB: Definitely. But it’s not necessarily as afflicted as it could be, and it’s got some significant mitigations. So while it will still be a point of challenge occasionally and struggle, I wouldn’t necessarily worry about it too much.

KS: Yeah. And sometimes these ‘Mars’ things—it’s like an irritation. It’s like a stone in your shoe. And it’s like you gotta deal with it, or maybe you slightly have to adjust your gait to accommodate the fact that this little thing is slightly rubbing, but you can still move forward regardless. There are certain factors in charts where there will be, “Okay, you cannot go forward with this,” but, yeah, this is not one of those types of Mars placements.

CB: Right. And now that you mention that, actually I’m now realizing and remembering the impending transit that’s coming up where Uranus is gonna ingress.

KS: Yes.

CB: And this is one of those instances where the Uranus ingress really does matter. Like we actually got a lot of questions—

KS: Totally.

CB: And we were talking about this before we started the recording. A lot of people were just like, “What does the Uranus ingress mean to me?” And you were saying, Kelly, it’s because oftentimes people assume that it’s a big outer planet transit, so that’s a big shift, and therefore it’s gonna mean something.

KS: For everyone.

CB: Right. But, in fact, there are some charts where it’s not gonna hit a lot of stuff. And so, it may not be anything major to write home about, or it may not be in the immediate future; whereas there’s other people where it will start hitting major parts of their chart really soon.

KS: Yeah, I mean, Uranus will station at 2.30-something degrees in the middle of the year, which will be exactly square Maren’s Mars. And Uranus will also trine her Sun, just for extra stuff. And then it’ll be 2019 where Uranus comes back into Taurus, re-squares the Mars, and then conjuncts the Saturn. And I guess we could say to Maren whatever’s coming through, the next 12 to 18 months are really gonna bring this particular aspect to the surface for her with that Uranus trigger.

CB: Definitely. And definitely some unexpected changes in that area. Since it’s hitting Saturn—and Saturn’s the ruler of the Ascendant—one of the keywords I was talking about last night for transits to the ruler of the Ascendant was changes in the sense of self. And that keyword—it’s a modern keyword, but it’s really still true even in a traditional context where the 1st house is the house of self, and the 7th house is the house of the other. And it’s interesting seeing the different ways when the ruler of the Ascendant gets hit by a major transit—especially an outer planet transit—that there can be changes and transformations in terms of the person’s sense of self and who they are sometimes in an internal sense of like ‘who am I’ and ‘why do I act the way that I do’ and ‘what are my motivations in life’. But other times it can be much more literal to my sense of self in terms of ‘what is my appearance’ or ‘how do I look’ or ‘how do I present myself to other people’ and ‘what is my general direction in life’ and things like that.

KS: Yes, yes. I mean, we could keep going for hours probably.

CB: Sure. So I would just say that there will probably be some changes, some unexpected changes in terms of the sense of self in the future that may cause some tensions in terms of that Mars square. And whatever it is that that’s importing from the 4th house or the 11th house creates a set of tension in life between Saturn and Mars

KS: Absolutely. And I just realized of course that because of the way Uranus’ cycle works—this conjunction of Uranus to Saturn—it’s that once-in-a-lifetime, most intense trigger when Uranus does make that conjunction to a planet. So the Mars-Saturn fabric is there, but it does feel like there’s something special or significant around the choices and changes that come through—whether she chooses them or whether she’s responding to them—that are helping her, as you were saying, really discover something about herself that’s integral to how she goes forward.

CB: Right. And that might be tied in with what you pointed out with the Sun in the 9th house and something about her beliefs or her studies. It’s obviously tied into the financial axis because Saturn’s also ruling the 2nd house and Mars itself is placed in the 8th house. So we’re getting themes of her money or possessions or financial sense of self-worth versus whatever ways other people’s financial matters are tied into her life. Yeah, those are all sort of coming into play with that square basically.

KS: Totally.

CB: All right, well, I think we—

KS: That’s the magic of chart work.

CB: Right. I think we went over that sufficiently, or have gone as far as we can without talking to her directly, but, hopefully, we’ll hear back. And, hopefully, some of the people—if we did answer your questions—maybe you can post some comments or some feedback in the comments section for this episode once I release it on The Astrology Podcast website. So, hopefully, it’ll be up by the end of this week or in a few days. All right, so let’s take a look at the next question. So the next question was submitted by a listener named Jen. And she says, “My question for you and Kelly is what do you think my best and most challenging planet or placements are? What techniques would you use, and how would you interpret it? What would you advise to overcome the challenges and enhance the positive sides? I’m most interested in how you both would interpret my cardinal T-square and my Moon node placement?” So this is her chart. She was born September 26, 1989 at 8:23 AM, in Reading, Pennsylvania, and her Ascendant is at 19° of Libra.

KS: I love charts like this where it’s like, “Pick from two massively-dignified planets as to which one you want to be your best planet.”

CB: Right. So you’re focusing in right away on the Jupiter that’s in Cancer in the 10th whole sign house in a day chart versus the Saturn that’s on the other end of an opposition, which is at 7° of Capricorn in the 4th whole sign house.

KS: Yeah, sometimes it feels a little bit like splitting hairs when you’ve got two planets in either rulership or exaltation in angular houses because both of them, according to theory, will be functional or operational. They are both serving the chart to a high level of their ability. And then sometimes this brings in the question around is a planet exalted stronger than a planet in rulership or vice versa. Again, they are coming from slightly different places. They both have different things to offer, but they’re both offering those things, if that makes sense. So one of the things that I struggle with when I see charts like this is I wonder what purpose it serves to pick which is the better of the two when both potentially can be quite functional, and that’s something that I always sort of sit with.

Sometimes when I think, “Oh, do we want Jupiter or Saturn?” I mostly advise towards Jupiter, probably like most people. But there is a level of an inflated quality to a planet exalted versus a planet in rulership, and sometimes the more substantive or solid or stable possibilities can come from the planet in rulership. All other things being equal, which isn’t quite the case here, because the planet in rulership, Saturn, is sitting there right next to Uranus and Neptune. I mean, for me, I’d be weighing up between Jupiter and Saturn. Chris, would you have a different thought? Or how would you approach that point?

CB: Sure. I mean, if she’s asking what is her best planet and what is her most challenging planet, again, it’s just gonna default partially to sect for me. Her Ascendant’s at 19 Libra, and her Sun is at 3° of Libra. She was born shortly after sunrise basically, making it a day chart; therefore, Jupiter, which also happens to be exalted in Cancer in the 10th whole sign house, would be the most benefic planet in her chart. That’s true both in terms of sect, as well as in terms of just zodiacal strength and house placement because Venus is not necessarily at least classically amazingly placed being in Scorpio, in a day chart, in the 2nd whole sign house, conjunct Pluto; although it does have a major mitigating factor from that superior sign-based trine from Jupiter, which is actually very helpful. Whereas the most challenging planet for her would not be that Saturn down there in Capricorn in a day chart, in the 4th whole sign house, but instead it would be that Mars placement, which is in Libra in the 1st house.

And because it’s in the 1st house, because the 1st is the place where the Earth and the sky meet, traditionally in ancient astrology it had to do with the meeting place between the spirit of the individual, as well as the body of the individual. And as a result of that the 1st house always had this dual meaning of both the person’s mind and their character and their spirit, but also their body and their physical incarnation at the same time. So having Mars in the 1st house in a day chart is typically gonna mean there’s some Martian-type issues that come up either with respect to the mind and the character, or with respect to the body and the physical constitution.

KS: Oh, totally. I completely agree Mars is clearly the most problematic planet. So, Chris, your determination of picking the best planet in the chart is just to go with the in-sect benefic basically.

CB: Yeah, like for all intents and purposes, and barring other major, extreme mitigating factors, sect is automatically typically gonna indicate that pretty well. Generally speaking, it’s normally true—unless there’s major contrary indications—that Jupiter is gonna be the most positive planet in day charts, and Venus is gonna be the most positive planet in night charts. And then for the malefics, Mars is gonna be the most difficult planet in day charts, and Saturn is gonna be the most difficult planet in night charts.

KS: In the night charts. Yeah, ‘cause we had a few questions on this. I think part of the question is coming from the fact that in a scoring system—when you’re adding up dignities according to various methods—Saturn actually comes up with a higher number in this chart of dignity factors, even though to my best guess I would pick Jupiter over Saturn in a heartbeat. And it is a day chart, of course Jupiter is exalted. So I think that’s a point of clarification potentially for our listeners that the sect factor will be an override for a dignity count, if that’s how people are calculating their source or strength according to that method.

CB: Yeah. I mean, one of the things I would say to that—that dignity method, or that counting up, comes more from the later Medieval and Renaissance traditions where they tended to move more towards the focus of zodiacal strength and point scores, under the premise that you could assign everything like a point. You could tally it up and you’ll come up with a number, and one of them will be higher and one lower. But I think by the time they started doing that the concept of sect had been not lost, but it had started to be misunderstood to the point where I don’t think it was being applied properly; therefore there was a mistaken assumption that it wasn’t as useful as it actually is. So sect is like a hugely useful tool for figuring out not just the strength of the planet—‘cause it doesn’t tell you how strong the planet is necessarily, which is more about its zodiacal strength. But instead sect is much more qualitative in terms of telling you which planet is gonna manifest the more positive end of its significations versus which planet is gonna manifest the more negative end of its significations. And if we’re talking about ‘best’ and ‘worst’ in a qualitative sense then that’s definitely the reason why I would default to focusing on sect.

KS: Okay, cool. Yeah, and I think one of the things with the point system is I’ve always understood it to be a bit of a guide, that it can sort of help you qualify things as you’re pulling it together. But you don’t really want to use the point system necessarily as an absolute because it is only focusing on some factors; it’s not taking into consideration things like aspect or other mitigations potentially. And so, maybe that’s something for listeners who are really stuck on ‘how do I pick between two based on different things’, that could be something for them to keep in mind.

CB: Right, definitely.

KS: Yeah. And then was there a part of this question from Jen around which topics are kind of maybe connected or affected by best planet/worst planet in her chart? ‘Cause I could definitely say something on the worst planet topics.

CB: Yeah, go ahead.

KS: Did she ask that or no?

CB: Well, she asked, “What do you think the most challenging and positive placement is? What techniques would you use, and how would you interpret it?” which we just have gone over. And then, “What would you advise to overcome the challenges and enhance the positive?

KS: Okay.

CB: That’s basically it. So she’s partially asking what area would it manifest, and therefore what would you use in order to mitigate any potential issues.

KS: Okay, so with the Mars—which from the sect perspective is the out-of-sect malefic, so it’s difficult—I would also consider the fact that Mars is combust the Sun as difficult. Then we’re weighing testimonies or we’re adding up the factors; this Mars has got a couple of things limiting it. This is probably one of the trickier Mars that we’ve seen today compared to some of the other Mars questions that we’ve had.

CB: Right.

KS: And Mars rules the 7th house where we have Aries and the 2nd house where we have Scorpio. So the topics that Mars is responsible for or watching over—relationships and money, particularly to do with income, one’s saving or spending habits—they, to me, would be the areas where I might be having a bit of a conversation around. Are you satisfied/dissatisfied? These look like areas of your chart where there are perhaps some struggles or there are some difficulties. Maybe it’s taken you a while to figure these parts of your chart out, or you’ve got a bit of an issue specific to 2nd house or 7th house. And one thing I’m often saying when the planet is combust is that hidden feature. You’re not always seeing things clearly, or you might be overlooking factors, and so we would have a bit of a discussion around that. I think in Ben Dykes’ book, he talks a little bit about a planet—and I don’t want to put words in his mouth. But the word I often get from Ben to do with a planet that’s a bit tricky is this idea of something that’s ‘destabilizing’. And so, it might be tricky to build up a steady flow around money, or it might require a bit more effort to try and get some stability or continuity in the realm of relationships.

CB: Yeah, definitely. I think I would focus in on that as well. And that becomes a really tricky one for me sometimes when interpreting a planet like Mars, or a malefic in the 1st house, when it’s the most difficult planet, when it’s ruling something like the 7th house. Because sometimes that doesn’t end up at all being about something that the native themselves are doing, but instead it’s something about the people that are coming into their lives and the relationships they have that sometimes end up being detrimental or importing something that’s challenging into the person’s life that affects them in a direct or in a tangible way; and so that might be one of the pieces of advice. Like if we were gonna go out on a limb and try to give specific delineations of specific possible scenarios that could come from that, and things you could do to help mitigate or avoid it, it would just be, be careful about the types of relationships that you get into and that they are playing a positive influence on your life, especially in terms of your own personal finances and possessions. Making sure your association or relationships with specific people aren’t having a negative effect on you, either in terms of your body or your spirit, as well as your finances, 2nd house.

KS: Yeah, that’s beautiful. And it’s funny ‘cause I start to think about, “Oh, that reminds me of this client,” when you were saying ‘is it the person themselves or the people they draw into their lives with relationships’ because the ruler of the 7th is in a bit of a tricky condition.

CB: Right.

KS: So one of two things I’ve seen happen—either the relationships have been a bit of an unfulfilling or dissatisfying part of life because they’ve attracted maybe difficult partners, or they’ve just had some Mars difficulties; they’ve had maybe some friction or tension in the realm of relationships. The other ways I’ve seen it manifest is that they have drawn in a partner, they’ve got a relationship that is 80% great, and the other 20% is this massive problem that the person has to deal with only because of their partner’s circumstances basically.

CB: Right.

KS: And the specifics of that can vary widely. But the other way this can manifest is that there may be a very intense problem that is in this person’s life because of a weakness or a shortcoming of a partner that they’re involved with.

CB: Right. And of the things that’s additionally tricky about is that because it’s ‘under the beams’—because Mars is in such close proximity to the Sun—one of the ways that that was interpreted in Hellenistic astrology was that there was something about the significations of that placement that are hidden or not able to be readily seen. So Rhetorius delineates—when the ruler of the planet that signifies marriage in the chart is ‘under the beams’—it means that the person will be married in secret or will have a secret relationship. So this is one of those instances where it might be tricky even trying to have dialogue about this placement because some of the things that it’s importing into the life may not be immediately evident even to the native themselves.

KS: A hundred-percent. And that makes me think of Princess Diana’s chart where the ruler of the 7th is Mercury, which is ‘under the beams’. It’s a little further from the Sun than this one, but actually it’s still technically combust, I think. And I’m not saying that Diana’s example exists for this client, but I’m just saying Diana has this similar thing. And she married a prince who was in love with somebody else, so within the context of her marriage there were a number of secrets or hidden factors that only came to light after the fact. And I think that piece about the hidden or the not seeing—it is a tricky one to talk about with clients, but it can be helpful to draw attention to that. Because sometimes a client with this type of configuration can wonder—I’m not saying that this clients wonders this—but sometimes clients can be like, “I just feel like I’m missing something,” or “I always seem to pick the wrong people,” or what have you, and then we can talk a little further around this, from that configuration.

CB: Right, definitely. Okay, well, I think that’s a pretty good approach for how we would approach that question. The last thing I would just say is that this chart also has a major mitigation. In terms of talking about the overall T-square, I think you have the better end of this T-square because Jupiter is in Cancer in the superior position because it’s earlier in zodiacal order. And it’s more elevated in the chart over Mars.

KS: Yeah.

CB: So Jupiter in that instance—that’s actually a condition of bonification, where Jupiter is actually forcing Mars to be more positive or more moderate in its significations than it would be otherwise. So this isn’t even a chart where we would expect the extreme end of the negative significations that could come from some of those placements we were talking about. But instead they’re severely moderated, or there’ll be a positive resolution even when negative situations come up with respect to that placement in life.

KS: Yeah, I’m glad you mentioned that, Chris. And I think that holds the potential in the context of this chart for a more positive outcome at some point.

CB: Sure, sure. All right, great. So we’re getting towards the end of our time here. I noticed that one of the people who showed up earlier actually came into the room. So Maren is actually here. And I was thinking either we could—

KS: I think I know who this is. Yes.

CB: Okay.

KS: I think. I’m not sure.

CB: So she’s still listening. If she wanted to join us, she could, and maybe we could get some feedback from one listener from the charts on some of the things we were saying earlier. Otherwise, we could maybe just move on and do one more question before we wrap things up.

KS: If she’ll come in, yeah, definitely pull her in. When we were looking at the chart, I thought that chart looked a little familiar.

CB: Okay, so she says that she is interested. So let me give her the link, and we’ll invite her on. So maybe I should pull up the chart, so we can refresh it really quick, since that was a couple of charts ago.

KS: Yes. Think it’s the Mars-Saturn, Capricorn rising.

CB: Right. Okay, so this was the chart with Capricorn rising, Saturn ruling the Ascendant, placed at 3° of Taurus in the 5th whole sign house conjunct the IC, and then it’s squaring Mars at 2 Leo. And her main question was just about that Mars-Saturn square.

KS: Cool.

CB: Okay, so, there she is. So let me promote her to a panelist. So, yeah, in the future, ideally, maybe we’d have more people who would join us live like this. Hey, how’s it going, Maren?


CB: All right, awesome. Were you here for that whole discussion, or did you join it late?

MAREN: I think I joined it when you started talking. I tried to find where it started, so I think I heard—

KS: Oh, she just got muted.

CB: For some reason it was muted for a second. No, we still lost you.

KS: The tech stuff is always the trickiest part.

CB: Oh, there we go. Now we can hear you again.

MAREN: Yeah, I didn’t really have the specific parent interfering with career manifestation at all really.

CB: Sure. So it’s like we had a general question about how the Saturn placement in Taurus in the 4th whole sign house conjunct the IC has played out so far, and then, secondarily, to get further clarification on that—if it’s not clear how it’s played out so far—how the early phases of Saturn in Scorpio went for you when you were going through your Saturn opposition. And Saturn was conjoining your MC. So what timeframe would that be, Kelly? Like 2012-2013?

KS: Correct. Late 2012, first half of 2013.

MAREN: Okay, so there would have been—not my parents’ divorce specifically—but a divorce in the family that did happen then. So that would make sense just because there was like a slight change in arrangement, I guess.

CB: Okay.

MAREN: Yeah, let me think, that would have begun around that time and then culminated in 2015, I believe. Yeah, that would have happened around that time.

CB: Okay. So you asked about the Mars-Saturn square in particular and how we would interpret that in terms of being afflicted or being the more challenging placement. I mean, how has that worked out for you so far? Or what have your issues been in terms of that square?

MAREN: So given I was essentially told a few years ago by an astrologer that it was majorly problematic, which made me worried about it. But then now I’m seeing that, yeah, it could be mitigated. ‘Cause I’ve been kind of waiting for it to show up in a problematic way, but it hasn’t exactly yet.

CB: Mm-hmm.

MAREN: But I would say maybe physical frustration—like inability flexibility-wise perhaps in terms of I want to pursue a career in yoga instructor training, but there’s some issues just regarding my own ability in that sense. I’m not sure if that would be the manifestation. ‘Cause when you said career, I thought, okay, maybe that’s the way it’s connecting in.

CB: Yeah, so wanting to pursue something, but not necessarily being able to due to physical limitations or aptitude. Is that what you mean?

MAREN: Right. Like extremely tense muscles for no apparent reason that are just impossible to work through with physical therapy and things like that.

CB: Okay. Yeah, that’s a pretty good Mars-Saturn sort of manifestation, I think. What do you think, Kelly?

KS: Yeah, totally. It’s almost like the square is then about Mars somehow interfering with the physical form; and that is why it’s so interesting to have the feedback from you, Maren. And it does then make me think about—I was just talking about this with a client yesterday—Mars can often be like a poison. And I’m not saying that you’re poisoned and you’re going to die or anything, but there may be something that you’re using as a supplement or a beauty product of some kind, or something environmental that is contributing to this. And so, there may be a supplement that you could take or stop taking. You might have to go on a bit of a discovery process to try and figure that out. There is a level of maybe a little bit of rigidity with the Saturn in the fixed sign being aspected by this Mars in a fixed sign, which is probably why you’ve come to something like yoga anyway, I guess, to improve the flexibility.

MAREN: Right. I will try to look into what I could be using or not using that could be involved with that. ‘Cause that’s interesting. I never thought about that in that sense.

KS: Yeah.

CB: How long has that been a topic or an issue that you’ve been having, where you’ve been wanting to move in that direction but have been running into setbacks?

MAREN: I’d say since about 10 years ago. So I was planning on being an actor for most of my life, and it was constantly an issue that I was physically tense, and when I’d then apply for roles it was problematic. So essentially my whole life—or not my whole life. I guess from the age of around 7 to 8, it became more noticeable, which is strange because that’s not exactly an age when you’d have the consequences for some extreme physical activity which is always present. And then once I decided to not pursue that anymore, when I still had other fitness outlets, something I’ve always had interest in, I just would notice that maybe I should move towards something that would solve that, such as yoga. It was just strange because I did gymnastics at an early age and it was constantly an issue. So it’s almost like I brought it about from this inherent past I didn’t have.

CB: Sure. I mean, 7-8 would have been your first opening Saturn square. That would have been 2005 through 2007. Saturn would have been going through Leo, so it would have been squaring that natal placement and conjoining Mars. And then you started doing yoga, you said, 10 years ago?

MAREN: Yeah, around then I started getting interested in it. And then it became a possible profession about a year ago, and that’s something I’ll actually be formally training in while Uranus is squaring my Mars on my Saturn. So maybe that’s the physical change. I’ve been wondering if that’s signifying a physical injury of some sort, just because of the houses involved and the 1st house.

CB: Sure.

MAREN: I wasn’t sure if I needed to be worried, but I think it might not be as bad as I’m expecting.

CB: Yeah, I mean, since December, Saturn went into Capricorn, so it moved into your 1st house. So, certainly, that would pertain to more of a long-term period of two or three years where there could be some changes physically. But sometimes that can just be in terms of a person’s health and fitness regimen and routine and getting more structured about certain things like that. I’ve seen people that become more focused on their physical body and just training and doing things that are hard in order to push their limits and get to new levels in terms of that.

MAREN: That definitely applies just because in about that time period that Saturn did move into my 1st house, fitness and exercise did become an even more prominent role.

CB: Okay. Well, that’s something then that we would probably expect to see build up as it gets closer to your Ascendant eventually. But, again, since it’s a day chart, it’s like that Saturn transit itself isn’t gonna be the major deal-breaker or hardship for you, but instead it’s just putting in hard work in order to achieve new levels or new heights or to overcome obstacles and boundaries. And then eventually there’ll be a continuation of that when Saturn goes into Aquarius because then it’ll square its natal position. So you’ll get a continuation of some 1st house themes.

KS: A quick comment on the health, since we are really in the realm for this Mar-Saturn for you, Maren, in the body. There’s a lot of dryness here: Capricorn Ascendant, Saturn in an earth sign squared by Mars. And dryness—it can be associated with things that are stiff or brittle. And so, I can see the remediation with yoga, for instance. But I’m also wondering about some remediations perhaps through diet or lifestyle with things like making sure you’re getting enough essential fatty acids, enough oils. And then from a lifestyle perspective, things like saunas or bathing, which is gonna bring a lot of moisture in. And then I do think about supplements, things like magnesium and B vitamins, which can contribute to musculature, if you like. And then lifestyle, the other thing would be music that is of a very ‘wet’ nature. So this would be music that is probably like spa-type music, which is not always pleasant to listen to. There’s some classical music that has more of a ‘wet’ feeling. It’s very ‘flow-y’. It’s got soft instruments—that type of thing. Just to try and bring a bit of softness in if you’re looking to take off that sharp edge of this, if you like.

MAREN: That’s funny that you say that because I recently got into 528 hertz music and things that I’ve been told apparently help productivity, so it’s funny that you said that. But besides that I’ll take into consideration the suggestions. Because, yeah, I don’t want to be tense, so that probably will help.

KS: Totally.

CB: Yeah, definitely. And I would just look back also and research your history of that time, when Saturn was going through Scorpio. Because if some of the things you mentioned between the ages of 7 and 8 happened—and that’s one of the times that it first manifested—then there probably would have been some additional development during that Saturn in Scorpio transit. And that will probably give you a lot of insight into what Saturn going through Aquarius is gonna be like once it hits that next square.

MAREN: Yeah.

CB: All right.

KS: Super interesting. And nothing on the money side, Maren? ‘Cause that was another topic that we had come up.

MAREN: Yeah, I guess the outside forces that may be could be indicated—like parents or money—that hasn’t really influenced the Mars-Saturn, or at least maybe it just hasn’t manifested yet and it will in the future or something. Because I haven’t necessarily been severely held back in a frustrating way in that sense.

KS: Have you had support? ‘Cause I wondered a little bit about Saturn on the IC. ‘Cause Saturn in Taurus—some people get really positive support from their family to do with finances. Has that been the case for you?

MAREN: Yeah, I would say that definitely is a more positive than negative aspect.

KS: Yeah. So even though the Mars is sort of tricky, the Saturn is still bringing you what it has to offer basically. Yeah, that’s really cool.

CB: Yeah. And that’ll be one of the interesting things, I guess, just in terms of the 8th house placements ‘cause financial matters is the main one that Kelly and I have been focused on. Well, we were just talking about finances because of Saturn ruling not just the Ascendant, but also the 2nd house. But even Mars in the 8th house, somehow relating to other people’s money in the long term would be a pretty typical manifestation of that placement. So it’ll be interesting to see, I don’t know, as you get older or have different life experiences in what way that does come up, not just with the Mars placement, but also having Mercury and Venus there as well. So that’s kind of like an important cluster in your chart.

MAREN: Right. Because I know that 8th house can signify other people’s money, and I’ve never had any interest in finance or anything. So, yeah, again, I’m just kind of waiting to see what that ends up being because it’s definitely not money-related. I can’t do numbers.

CB: Sure. Go ahead, Kelly.

KS: I was just gonna say, yeah, one of the topics of the 8th is other people’s money. I don’t think necessarily, for you, that you would have to work with other people’s money, for instance. But it may talk about a financial situation that’s a bit unique around a partner that you might have, so that could be a component of it. The other thing that I sometimes see when the ruler of the Midheaven or the 10th is in the 8th—and you actually have both as I’m looking at it now. The ruler of the 10th is Venus, and she’s in the 8th. Ruler of the Midheaven is Mars, and he’s in the 8th. It’s that desire to kind of work in a therapeutic or healing way, to kind of go into the 8th house space of maybe some anxiety or stress, or that psychological space, if you like; which I’ve now come to understand that the psychology association of the 8th house is sort of just a modern spin on what was actually a very old concept, that some of our worries or our paranoias kind of reside in the 8th house. And it may be in the future wanting to work in a way that helps people deal with that. You could do it therapeutically as a therapist of some kind. But there are many body therapists, for instance. People who work with yoga or the body who are working with emotional trauma as it’s held in the physical being. So there’s some other ways we could get the 8th house into the Midheaven or the 10th house, if you like, without you having to work with finance.

MAREN: Right. That has been an interest—helping professions. So that now makes sense how that could play out.

KS: Cool.

CB: Awesome. All right, yeah, I think if this was like a full consultation—and we were talking about career and things like that—I would want to pull up your zodiacal releasing periods and do a whole workup in terms of when the peak periods take place and other things like that.

MAREN: In your course, I just finished that part of the thing. So I actually have my natal transit chart thing pulled up.

CB: Okay. Yeah, I was trying to do it in my head, and it’s like your Spirit is in Sagittarius. So you started out in a 12-year Sag period.

MAREN: Yeah. Right now I’m in a Capricorn period and a Gemini level two, so nothing major right now.

CB: Sure. So you’re in the preparatory or the buildup phase or chapter that eventually builds up and peaks or sort of culminates when you hit a 30-year peak period. When is that?

MAREN: 2037. So I kind of have a while.

CB: Okay.

KS: That’s a—sorry, Chris, you go.

CB: No, what were you gonna say?

KS: I was just gonna say you’re relatively early in your life and your career. So I know 2037 sounds like a really long way, but you’ll just be in your late 30’s then, I think.

MAREN: Right. I actually had a question about zodiacal releasing, just a personal one. So I have Fortune in a fixed sign, and I have both malefics in fixed signs as well. So are all my periods going to be the most subjectively difficult? Is that just something to be expected? Does that imply that maybe they will not be as difficult as they would be because they’re peak periods?

CB: It means that you’ll hit the high points. And the most active periods of your career will probably take place during the fixed signs, but also some of your greatest challenges will probably also arise at those times. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the entirety of the peak period is experienced negatively or that it’s just bad times the entire time, but it just means that you’ll also run into some challenges and setbacks during that time although you’ll still be hitting the high points of your career. So for some people that doesn’t necessarily matter, or there’s something about the person’s career that incorporates that in some way so that it’s productive or characteristic of their career, but not necessarily in a terrible way.

MAREN: Yeah, it’s not necessarily coinciding, it could just be either/or, or a combination.

CB: Yeah. I mean, usually it’ll focus in on the specific sub-periods and when each of those placements gets activated during the course of it. Just like right now, even though you’re in a 27-year Capricorn period that’s building up, there’s gonna be different peak periods and high points and low points during the course of that on the sub-levels, on level two and three. And that’s gonna be showing periods of shorter duration of high points or successes during different phases of your career, even as it’s building up towards something. So there’ll be similar things in terms of certain periods that’ll be the focal point, even once you hit the career peak for 30 years, and some high points and low points within the course of that.

MAREN: Okay, thank you.

CB: Yeah. All right, awesome. Well, thanks for joining us on the camera randomly today for this experiment. So this is the first time we’ve done this, and, yeah, it went pretty well. So thanks for joining us really quickly.

MAREN: Yeah, thank you.

KS: Great to see you, Maren.

MAREN: Yeah, you too.

CB: All right, well, I guess we will probably wrap up now. So let me stop sharing the chart.

KS: Yes, take Maren out of the spotlight. That was great.

CB: Yeah.

KS: So glad she could join us.

CB: Yeah, that was good. Also, one of the comments I’ve heard made recently—and I’ve made it myself—I’ve heard Leisa mention this recently where she was like sometimes it’s so much easier to talk to somebody who is in their 60’s or 70’s or 80’s because they’ve already done so much of their life, and so much of their chart has already played out in very specific ways. And the consultation is sometimes just about talking about things that they already know and showing how it showed up in their chart when they were doing all those major things that became characteristic things in their lives. Whereas when you’re talking about somebody younger, sometimes it’s more about trying to get a sense of major themes that haven’t even come up yet or have yet to arise.

KS: Totally. And actually something I really enjoy about working with clients in their 20’s—and that’s where the timing stuff comes in—is there’s a lot of possibilities here, and we’re gonna do some of these things earlier life, we’re gonna do some of these things in the middle part, and some of these things later. And I like the challenge of it. It’s which part are we gonna be doing first or now and then working forward from there because a younger person is still growing into their chart, if you like. Obviously I really like client chart work.

CB: I mean, there’s certainly a greater sense of optimism in terms of wanting to encourage people to make the most of whatever placements they have that you’re talking about and to mitigate or try to push things in a more constructive or positive fashion versus talking to somebody where major chapters of their life are already a done deal and that’s in the past and not something you can change. But at the same time some of the cliché experiences that I’ve had in the past about giving a delineation for somebody and saying that, “You have the ruler of this house and this house, and so these two topics in your life are probably connected,” and the person not necessarily resonating with that, or that not being a major theme in their lives, but then years later it arises as a major theme in a very literal way, and it becomes clear how that placement manifests in their life. I guess that’s the only downside or drawback in working with younger people.

KS: Yeah, yeah, it’s different, just depending on where people are, for sure, for sure. And, yeah, I find I’ve got to really think, “Oh, yeah, they’ve probably haven’t experienced this yet, but this is how the chart is put together.” So we want to hold space that this can come forward or is likely to come forward, if we can get into, “Oh, yeah, it looks like in your mid-30’s (or your early 40’s) something around how these two topics connect, that’s when you’ll start to see that potential.”

CB: Right. So maybe the final talking point to wrap this up is a meta question; this came up last month, at the beginning of April, the first episode of April with Eugenia and Adam Sommer, and we talked about this issue that sometimes comes up—and I’ve heard it said by different astrologers. For example, when I knew Robert Zoller 10 years ago, when I lived at Project Hindsight, he made this statement that always sounded really extreme to me at the time—and I always had some issues with it—that the astrology is always right. And he would go so far as to say that if you make a statement or an interpretation or a delineation, and the client says that they’re wrong, he would say that either they’re lying to you, or they don’t know it yet. And I don’t know that that’s necessarily true. It’s like Adam and Eugenia and I were talking about that, and they were sort of pushing that side where sometimes the astrologer is right but you don’t know it, or the person isn’t comfortable admitting it, or it hasn’t happened yet in their life, or all of the other various scenarios where the astrology or the astrologer could still be true, but it’s not immediately evident versus the other one, which is, what if you’re just saying something that’s completely off the mark or that’s not connecting, or it’s not a correct delineation, and sometimes figuring out which it is between the two.

KS: Yeah. And I think I’ve gotta bring my Saturn in Virgo into this piece. Astrology is always right, but the astrologer can make mistakes.

CB: Sure. So the astrologer’s ability to interpret what they’re seeing not necessarily hitting the mark, or not perhaps emphasizing or picking the correct delineations for the configurations that they’re looking at.

KS: Exactly. The astrology can be right. I mean, I do struggle a little bit with that word, but I understand the premise, and I agree with the premise of what Zoller has said here. And I tell my students that the astrology is right, and if you’re not hitting with a client, that’s usually a clue that you don’t fully understand the thing in the chart that you are talking about, or there is a nuance or a variation of that particular thing that you just haven’t learned yet basically. So I always think the chart is giving us what’s there, and the astrologer’s job—we’re working hard—we’ve got to interpret, and we’ve got to interpret in a way that makes sense for the client or that the client can connect to.

In the same way when we just spoke with Maren, some of the things we were talking about were the money side of it. And, for her, that had been more of a positive manifestation or it just hadn’t been such a big thing. And so, we have to then go deeper into our interpretation of what we’re talking about. And I know with Maren, she’s a little younger, so it may be that down the track something will come out. And part of the challenge of working with astrology is we’re looking to connect with the client today, to share something that’s relevant for what they’re dealing with, but also to give them insights around what to expect as to how certain things in their chart might shift through the course of their life. It’s a militant-sounding statement when you first hear it, that ‘astrology is always right’, but I agree with it.

CB: Sure. Yeah, and I guess I agree with it. It’s just that ‘astrologer’ component that makes me a little iffy. ‘Cause I don’t want astrologers to become overconfident in saying, “What I’m saying has to be right in some way.”

KS: Exactly.

CB: You also have to be able to analyze when you’ve said something wrong or when something isn’t correct, and therefore learn from that mistake and get better as a result of it.

KS: And that’s the whole point that the astrology can be right, but the ‘astrologer’ is fallible. We can and will make mistakes. We will not always get everything right. I agree completely, Chris, we have to be humble in that. We’re offering our best interpretation of this chart at this point in time. And that’s where the dialogue can be helpful because that can take us into a deeper ability to interpret what’s there, I guess.

CB: Yeah, definitely. One of the challenging things for me over the past 10 years in learning traditional astrology is this idea that sometimes there’s certain chart placements that might indicate a one-time event in a person’s life, like a major event, that in retrospect becomes characteristic, or you could look back in a biography and see a chapter about that thing that happened in their life. But sometimes certain placements are not necessarily things that are always activated for the entirety of life or are always evident as themes. So sometimes there are continuing themes. We were trying to zoom in on the Saturn cycle that Maren had gone through—the square and the opposition—in order to get a sense for the development of that placement in the chart as a dynamic process. And sometimes you can do that with things like the Saturn cycle, but other times certain placements and certain combinations are one-time events in a person’s life that may or may not have happened yet.

KS: Yes.

CB: So I was thinking of in Steven Spielberg’s chart, he had a specific combination where I think he had the ruler of the 7th and the 2nd. And sometime later in his life—activated by both profection and transit—he ended up having a major, highly-publicized divorce, which at the time was the most costly Hollywood divorce ever because of a specific set of circumstances. They did a prenuptial agreement on like a napkin or something, and the judge was like, “What is this?” and threw it out.

KS: Yeah, I remember that.

CB: Right. So it was like $100 million or something like that was half of whatever his fortune was at the time. So that was just like a one-time event for him, but it was a very specific placement that was built into his birth chart. But I could imagine that if an astrologer made a statement to that effect—even very generally speaking earlier in this life—it would have been hard to connect with that delineation. And one of the challenges that I run into as an astrologer sometimes doing traditional astrology and more predictive or event-oriented astrology is when to make a statement and expect that it’s gonna be something that the person is gonna connect with and recognize immediately versus when to make a statement as an open-ended prediction that may still manifest at some point in the future in the person’s life.

KS: Absolutely. And it’s walking a fine line. I think in the Spielberg case, the ruler of the 7th is in the 2nd, and I think it’s the out-of-sect malefic maybe. I mean, there could be a lifelong relevant statement to the effect of being a little bit cautious around financial dealings within the context of relationships as just something ongoing to be mindful of or to try and put some protections in place around. And then I think with the timing techniques they show when you might get the most extreme manifestation of that in a subjectively-positive or a subjectively-negative way, depending on whether the natal thing is described as productive and helpful or destabilizing and hindering.

CB: Right.

KS: Oh, you’ve got the chart there.

CB: Yeah, and here’s the chart. So this is Steven Spielberg’s chart. And that’s it ‘cause that actually ties into some of the stuff we were talking about earlier about sect and house rulership. And I think I used this example in a chapter in my book where I focus on the rulers of the houses.

KS: I feel like, yeah.

CB: Yeah, so he has a night chart. So Saturn is below the horizon; it’s set a little bit before he was born. And Saturn therefore is the more challenging malefic in his chart, and it’s placed in the 2nd house of his personal finances. He has Cancer rising, and Saturn’s in Leo. So Saturn in the 2nd house, and it’s ruling the 7th house of relationships. So actually I first stumbled across this chart because I think there was an astrologer—I forget who it was—who kind of pulled it up to me as like an ‘a-ha’ or like a ‘gotcha’ question. And he was like, “Here’s Steven Spielberg’s chart, and he has Saturn in the 2nd house in a night chart. So you’d think that his finances would be terrible, but he’s actually a millionaire. He’s very rich, and he’s been rich for most of his adult life. So how do you explain that?” It’s by looking at what houses it rules to understand what topics it’s importing into the 2nd house. And so, it’s ruling the 7th house and the 8th house, as Saturn in a night chart, and then it was activated as a sort of one-time event at that point, and he had that specific characteristic experience in his life.

KS: Absolutely. And it is a good chart ‘cause it does summarize some of what we’ve talked about today. And I think it also highlights the difference between having, say, a difficult planet in a house, and how it’s importing problems into that part of life potentially. The Saturn/money problem is not that you can’t earn money, it’s that in the context of romantic relationships there’s a bit of an issue potentially because the earning money can come more from the ruler of the 2nd and the place of that in a chart. And of course career potential comes from the ruler of the 10th and/or the ruler of the Midheaven. It’s funny, I’m giving a presentation in Sydney at the end of this week, and one of the points that I want to talk about in the career part is the difference between being successful in one’s career and one’s financial position because the two are not always the same. But anyway that was a really good chart to use at the end of our discussion. ‘Cause I know we could go all day, Chris, couldn’t we?

CB: Yeah, we could, and we pretty much have at this point. We’re about 2-hours-and-15-minutes in, so I think it is time to wrap it up. So thank you so much for joining me today, Kelly, for this experiment. This was kind of thrown together on short notice, but I appreciate you venturing into the wild with me for this experiment in astrology and technology.

KS: My pleasure. Thank you for having me. I always enjoy our chats and our shows, and I love being able to share with your listeners. So, yeah, anytime.

CB: Yeah. While I’m not currently taking any consultations, you are actually still scheduling consultations, right?

KS: I am. I am booking now about six weeks ahead. So I’m already well into June. But if anybody is interested, yeah, basically I’ve got spots open for June and July. And, yeah, I’m more than happy to do charts. It is one of my favorite things to do. So, yeah, anytime.

CB: All right, so people can find out more information on your website, which is kellysastrology.com, right?

KS: Yes, thank you.

CB: Okay, brilliant. And, for me, although I’m not doing consultations, I am teaching my online courses on Hellenistic astrology still, where I use many of the same techniques and demonstrate how to use them using example charts in pre-recorded videos that you can watch on my course site. So you can find out more information about that at theastrologyschool.com. So I think that’s it for this episode of The Astrology Podcast, so thanks everyone for listening. Thanks to everybody who showed up to the livestream. I really appreciate it. This was a bit of an experiment, but I think it went well enough that I’d like to try it again in the future and hopefully have more people on. I think the next time I’d actually like to do what we did with Maren at the end and have some of the people asking questions directly, so we can try to more authentically recreate what happens in a client or consulting setting, of making those statements and getting that immediate feedback one way or another and then going from there.

KS: Yeah, I think that’d be fantastic. Great resource for the students, for sure.

CB: Sure. Awesome. All right, well, thanks everyone for joining us today. Thanks everyone for listening. You can find out more information about the podcast at theastrologypodcast.com. And, yeah, I guess that’s it, so we’ll see you next time.