The Astrology Podcast
Transcript of Episode 266, titled:
With Chris Brennan and Carole Taylor
Episode originally released on August 5, 2020
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: email@example.com
Transcribed by Mary Sharon
Transcription released June 21, 2021
Copyright © 2021 TheAstrologyPodcast.com
CHRIS BRENNAN: Hi. My name is Chris Brennan, and you’re listening to The Astrology Podcast. This is episode 266, and I’m recording it on Wednesday, July 29th 2020 starting at 10:04 a.m. in Denver, Colorado. Joining me today is astrologer Carole Taylor, and we’re gonna be talking about the subject of aspect patterns or birth chart patterns in the natal chart. So hey, Carole. Thanks for joining me today.
CAROLE TAYLOR: Thank you, Chris. Thank you for inviting me. I’m delighted to be here.
CB: Yeah, I’m really happy that we could have this discussion today because just a few months ago part of the genesis of this discussion is that I was in a bookstore. And I came across this new book that I had never seen before which was a big sort of comprehensive introduction to astrology book, and it was actually your book. And I was really impressed by it, and it’s quickly become my new favorite intro to astrology book to recommend to people. So, I wanted to have you on the show today to talk a little bit about the book, to talk a little bit about your background in astrology, and then eventually to talk about a specific topic of aspect patterns which you have a chapter on in the book. Does that sound good to you?
CT: That sounds wonderful.
CB: Okay, excellent. So, let’s start by just introducing you to my audience. So, could you tell me a little bit about your background in astrology?
CT: Mhm. Sure. Yes. I guess it’s always been there. I think that’s probably the same for a lot of people. I was aware of astrology from a very early age. It wasn’t really on my radar though until about the mid ’90s. So then after the Saturn return, you know the way that goes. And so suddenly astrology was just there, and I decided to study it and very quickly got caught up in it. And actually in light of the topic that we’re talking about aspects and aspect patterns the whole harmonic thing, and the way that I came into astrology in the mid ’90s, the way that I really started to recognize it as something powerful was through music and through thinking about musical harmony. I was learning to play the guitar. I’d done a lot of singing in my younger years. I went to music college and so on. So, I was really into the whole sort of harmonic thing. And I discovered astrology, and I discovered the faculty of astrological studies. I discovered that they had a course in harmonics. I didn’t know anything about it, but I just really needed to study it. So I did the faculty’s diploma. That took me about five years. The professional diploma, very proud to have got that. And then that was in 2000 I gained that. And–
CB: And that’s what, the faculty of astrological studies?
CT: That’s right, the faculty of astrological studies. So that’s the school in the UK based in the UK but students all over the world. It’s been going since 1948, so it’s the grand old lady of astrological schools. Yeah.
CB: Yeah. It seems like one of the main and one of the most well regarded astrological schools, not just in the UK. But it also offers classes online, so pretty much around the world at this point. I hear of students who get their diploma from the faculty.
CT: Yes, absolutely. So, it was actually me that started the online classes in 2018.
CT: We already had a distance learning program by email, and we had classes in London of course. That’s the summer school that we have every year in Oxford. But I really thought that the faculty needed to do online classes, so we have this program of online classes. And it’s gone stratospheric really. We started with one very small class, and then it’s gone up to I think something like 10 running now. So, huge thing.
CB: Wow. Yeah, that’s amazing. So you spent five years studying at the faculty initially, and you got your diploma there and then eventually became a tutor at the faculty?
CT: Yes, that’s right. So when I got my diploma in 2000, I was invited onto council. And I took over from Sue Tompkins running the London classes and summer school, and I became vice president then president. And I became the director of studies, so I’ve done a lot of different things at the faculty. And so I’ve had a sort of 20 year–well, 25-year relationship with the faculty. So, it’s been quite a big part of my astrological life.
CB: Yeah. So they–
CT: I’m still a tutor there.
CB: They give you a lot of experience then teaching astrology and figuring out maybe what new students need to know or how people learn astrology best perhaps?
CT: Absolutely. I’ve taught probably hundreds maybe thousands of students over the years over that 20 years. And of course the faculty has always–we have a very comprehensive program of study. And it’s really about taking people from beginner stage and introducing the subject and then taking people right away through to professional practitioner, so I’m involved in all stages of that process. And that was very much my experience of learning astrology was I always knew right from the start of landing into it, harmonics aside, that I wanted to be a professional practitioner. So, actually a lot of the training work and the work outside of the faculty that I’ve done has been about that. So of course alongside my faculty career, I’ve had my own astrological practice for 20 years. I have clients all over the world. That’s kind of thriving. Particularly in these times, everybody wants to see an astrologer.
CB: Right. And you also have other degrees in astrological studies. You went back and did an MA program at one point, right?
CT: That’s right, yes. In 2014 I did the MA in Myth, Cosmology and the Sacred at Canterbury Christ Church University. So, that’s the program. It sadly just closed. They’re just seeing the law students through. But that was the MA that Angela Voss and Geoffrey Cornelius set up at Canterbury, and it was the most brilliant experience. It was transformative. It was designed to be transformative learning. And it was in some ways tangential to astrology, so astrology was a small part of what we studied, the history of it, the philosophy of it, astrology as divination as you would expect with Geoffrey. But it made me see in a different way, I think. And it brought into play something which had been there for a long time, but it was the idea of getting out of the literal and thinking much more from an imaginative perspective. And it’s changed the way that I practice much more on the divinatory side. I think astrology has– there is a strongly oracular element to it. It’s made me appreciate the work of Yang in a much more depth, Hillman. It’s made me think about astrology as an imaginative art. So, it’s really changed my astrology. So I gained a distinction in that. I always been quite academic I suppose on the side. And that started an interest in academia.
CT: From 2018, I’ve been teaching on the Sophia MA at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. So that’s the MA that Nick Campion set up. And, yeah, that’s been wonderful.
CB: Okay. So, that’s a program. You said the other program unfortunately is closed down. But the other Nick Campion’s program is one that’s still available if somebody wanted to pursue studies in an academic setting loosely related to astrology?
CT: Absolutely. It’s very much focused on astrology. It’s called Cultural Astronomy and Astrology, so it’s looking at expressions and uses of the sky in culture. A large part of that is astrology. Of course there’s the other side of it which is skyscape archaeology, sacred geography. So, there are different levels on which they study. I’m involved very much on the astrological side, so I teach on the sky and psyche module. And we look at the relationship between sky and psyche. We look at the Neoplatonist Plato and Neoplatonist Marsilio Ficino and then into the 20th century with Yang, Rudhyar, Liz Greene and so on. I also teach on the research module. So, I’m quite heavily embedded there really now and enjoying it so much.
CB: Great. Well, that makes sense. You have an entire career of teaching, and I love how you started that essentially or started your astrological career got kicked off with your Saturn return. Do you share your birth chart or is your birth data public?
CT: No, it’s not.
CB: It’s fine if it’s not. Okay.
CT: I’m not sure I’m that famous to have–
CT: I don’t have my own Wikipedia page.
CT: Do you want me to say my data?
CB: Well, I always ask ahead of time because it’s okay if a person–some people don’t feel comfortable sharing it. If you did feel comfortable, then people are always interested just in terms of biographical getting to know a person.
CT: I’m absolutely fine with it. I was born on the 22nd of June, 1963 at 3: 48 in the morning in London like 14 degrees of Gemini rising.
CB: Okay. I just realized because I usually use whole sign houses. But what’s your preferred system of house division?
CT: Well, I’m an equal house girl.
CB: Equal houses, okay. Let me switch it to that. Then–
CT: The second oldest system, I believe.
CB: Yeah, at least. So, let me put equal houses on. Okay, here you go. It’s not showing the degrees. But you said you have 15 degrees of Gemini rising?
CT: Yes. It’s 1408, I think. Yeah.
CB: Okay, and Mercury in Gemini in the 12th house somewhere close to the ascendant along with Venus in Gemini also. And the Sun in Gemini and the Moon in cancer. Great. Okay, so you have Saturn in Aquarius. So, that was part of your Saturn return. Was that Saturn in the ninth house?
CT: Yeah, absolutely.
CB: Okay, perfect.
CT: Absolutely. Yeah. It took me back to study days when I was young and the thrill of learning. If it wasn’t me that you were looking at, this as a client. I think one of the things that you discover in this chart very quickly is the idea of learning lifelong learning. That’s been very important to me. And I suppose Saturn was all about really consolidating it. And Saturn in Aquarius–What I wanted from astrology and I what I think a lot of people get from it, well, particularly this was for me. I wanted a subject that brought together all the things I was interested in. I was interested in mythology, I was interested in psychology, philosophy, history, I was interested in the art and healing. And I spent five years as a reflexologist working with clients with immune-related illnesses. So what I wanted really was a subject that would bring together all of those things that would somehow be holistic and integrative, and of course that’s astrology.So it fulfilled a lot of functions. But it made sense of my life, I think. And I hear that with students, they say that all the time. “It made sense of my life. It made sense of all the disparate strands. It brings everything together.”
CB: Yeah, that idea of it being holistic is really appealing and tying together a bunch of things that maybe sometimes seem separate but then turn out not to be.
CT: Absolutely, yes. Certainly for me in terms of different subject matters, astrology to me is a quintessentially Gemini or mercurial kind of subject. And there is that sort of hermetic inheritance with it, and it’s closely allied to things like alchemy. There’s a presence of Hermes I think all the way through astrological history, and of course Mercury is said to be the original ruler of astrology. We now have Uranus. I’m trying to sort of take over that space, and of course there’s something to be said for that. I do also think that astrology has a deaky Chironian aspect to it. So, there’s probably a number of tutelary deities that you could choose. But for me, being a Gemini with Mercury on the ascendant, Sun in Gemini in the first, there’s something about the complexity of astrology, the different branches of it weaving together all the different ways that you can take it. You know as well as I do, we can never get bored. You could spend three lifetimes learning astrology, and you’d never get bored of it.
CT: There would always be new things to study.
CB: Yeah, that’s one of the things I appreciate. It is it doesn’t matter how early you are in your studies or how long you’ve been studying it. Everybody is still learning, and you never really stop. There’s always something new to find in astrology, no matter what era you’re in in your astrological studies.
CT: Yes, I think that’s true. Being an educator in astrology for 20 years, of course students of– Because this is about dealing with people, to speaking to people. And a lot of the students who come into astrology they’ve not done any of that before. Some are trained as psychotherapists and counsellors, but many haven’t. And they’re making this great leap into an unknown space of working with people. So it’s hard enough to gain knowledge of the technical side of it and to weave your way through to sort of work your way through, “Which house system do I use? Which aspects do I use? Which aspect patterns? Do I do classical? Do I do Hellenistic? What about William Lily?” And so it’s a very complex subject for students to get their head around. And then on top of that, there’s the idea that you have to actually–If you want to practice this in astrology, you’re working with people. That’s a whole different set of skills. So I think, first of all, it is a lifelong study, And we’re always doing professional developments, all astrologers do that. And I think it’s a mistake to think that whenever becomes a master or a mistress of the subject you don’t ever master it, you just learn more. Students often say to me when they see their first client or in their first sort of year or so of seeing clients, the sheer terror of doing that.
CT: And I always say what you only know what you know. And actually, coming back to this idea of astrology as an oracular practice, a divinatory practice–And I don’t mean that in any self-inflationary way at all. I just think that if you enter into a sacred space in the chart and in the consulting space and when you’re in that space, something happens. And I don’t quite know what it is cuz there’s–People down the centuries have given different names to it. It’s an entry into the imaginal on some level, and something speaks in the moment. And if you’ve done your work diligently, then you can enter into that space. So I think for students who are first coming into it and just trying to learn the nuts and bolts and thinking about being astrologers, you work with what you know, you work with what you got. And you don’t scare yourself by thinking about all things that you don’t know cuz actually what you’ve got is enough for that moment, as long as you do your work diligently, as long as there’s a sense of integrity with what you’re doing.
CB: Yeah. It’s funny students sometimes put off doing consultations. Especially the more thoughtful ones, sometimes it seems like they put it off much longer than they should because they think that they need to know everything before they start talking to clients instead of just being prepared to share what they do know and being clear what areas maybe they’re not as strong on. But that’s tricky because half of learning astrology is–half of it is probably book learning and just learning the basic concepts and techniques. But then the other half, you can only learn once you actually sit down with clients and start reading charts for people.
CT: Absolutely. It’s stepping over the threshold really into when you actually start to do it. I remember the first client that I had, and I was terrified. And she had a packed seventh house. And of course she said nothing. It was the client from–It wasn’t the client from hell exactly, but it was a very tough one for me.
CT: Because she had all these planets in the seventh, I thought, “Well, she’ll say a lot. She’ll speak. She’ll speak to me.” Because she wants to interact. And of course I read it all wrong because actually I became her seventh house. And I did all the work.
CT: I did all the work. Yeah, you step over into that space. You learn a very great deal just in those first few sessions that you do. Yeah. In the last 20 years or so 25 years, there’s been a real move I think in astrology to professionalize. And I think it’s a wonderful thing. We have professional organization in the UK. There’s one in the USA, I believe. I’m sure there are in lots of other countries. And there is something there about understanding astrology as a consultative art that requires a certain level of commitment and commitment to one’s own professional learning. But I think, yes, you have to make your own relationship to astrology. I think it’s important to do that. It’s important to understand your own involvement and to understand why you’re in it. And obviously when you look at your own birth charts, you discover what kind of astrology you’re going to be. Are you more on the teaching side, on the research side? Is it consultancy that you’re interested in? And so on. There’s lots of different niches I think that people can take within astrology. You don’t have to sit down and do client work. You can do all sorts of different things.
CB: Yeah, that’s one thing I really appreciate about it is how many different areas there are and different ways to be an astrologer so that it’s not necessarily one thing which almost maybe goes back to that whole idea that you mentioned earlier about the mercurial or the hermetic sort of underpinnings of astrology and that ability to cross many thresholds or many boundaries.
CT: Yes. And it is an interpretive art. It draws on lots of different levels of experience. I think life experience is a good thing when you are an astrologer. I do notice that there are a lot of young people coming into astrology now. And I think there’s something there about it being a particular time for astrology. There seems to be, yeah, a lot more young people coming in, a burgeoning of interest. But I see also there’s a lot of pop astrology out there. There’s a lot of bite-sized stuff on the internet. It’s incredibly democratic, and it’s a wonderful way into the art. But of course there’s a lot more to it than that. So it does require a certain level of commitment if you want to work with clients, I think. And I’m quite surprised at the number of professional astrologers that don’t seem to go to see an astrologer themselves. They kind of put that aside when they stop being a student. They don’t do supervision. I think those things are very necessary if you’re going to practice. I think those things are necessary, so you’re always developing a sense of self awareness.
CB: Yeah, definitely. So speaking of that and speaking of the huge influx of new, younger students coming into astrology something that I’ve struggled with over the past two years, in terms of that is what book or books to recommend to new students of astrology. And so, like I said earlier, I was at a bookstore. It was a Barnes & Noble here in Denver, Colorado. I think it was in December or January. And I was just walking across the bookstore then I saw this beautiful display of astrology books that somebody put up. It was actually like almost by the children’s section, so I’m not sure why they put it there. But it happened to have your book which is titled Astrology: Using the Wisdom of the Stars in Your Everyday Life. And I sort of picked it up and started flipping through it, not really knowing what I expected to find. And then I was very quickly, really impressed by the book. For one, the initial thing that catches you is just it’s a very beautifully illustrated book. It’s a very beautiful book and very appealing book. But secondarily, it’s very comprehensive. And it covers a lot of different topics, and it goes into a fair amount of detail with some of the different topics that it does cover even though it’s doing so in a very broad–it’s giving you a broad overview of everything. And it never gets too dense or too overwhelming, but instead it sort of tries to touch on just about everything in one way or another. And I really appreciated that. So this book was published in 2018, right?
CT: Yes, that’s right.
CT: Just in time for the Christmas market. Yeah.
CB: So, what was the genesis of this book? When did you start working on it, or how did it come about?
CT: Oh. Well, again it was Sue Tompkins who was one of my tutors at the faculty. We’ve been friends and colleagues ever since and kept in touch over the years. And she put my name forward for it. Dorling Kindersley were looking for an author, and Sue thought that I would be a good one to choose. And up until that point, I’d done a lot of writing of articles. I wrote a lot of the faculty’s course material. Being director of studies, I contributed a lot to the course material. And I love the process of writing. But up until that point, the only thing that I’d actually contributed to in a book was there was a book by the faculty of astrological studies. They set up their own press. We set up the press in 2015, and we produced a book called Journey Through Astrology. And I contributed a chapter to that, so it’s 10 chapters of various tutors and someone at the faculty, Melanie Reinhart, Darby Costello. And that came together as a book, looking at the personal journey through astrology. That was the only thing I’d ever published up until that point, and I was co-editor as well. And so taking this journey with the Dorling Kindersley book was very interesting, and working with a major publisher was very interesting. And trying to distill everything into 500 words per double page spread is very interesting.
CT: Because of course astrology is so vast. But it was a joy to do. It’s a very ambitious book in many ways, it’s got two parts. So there’s a general introduction or looking a little bit of the history and philosophy. Then it takes you through all of the different component parts of the chart, all the nuts or bolts. And then it takes you through how to put that together in a whole chart reading. And then there’s a second part which is using astrology and different life situations, so everything from cradle to grave really, looking at money and finances, looking at professional life, parenthood, marriage, relationships, navigating lots of different situations. So, actually, in many ways that was the culmination of at that point–I did the writing mostly in 2017 beginning of 2018, so it was about 18 years that I had been a professional astrologer and doing teaching. And it was the combination really of that and all the client work that I had done, and it just flowed very easily. The writing flowed very easily. But I–
CB: Yeah, I love that.
CB: That’s very unique that you have the whole first half is the introductory stuff and learning the nuts and bolts of astrology, and there’s a little bit about the history and the philosophy. But then how the entire almost second half of the book is, you have it broken up into individual topics. If somebody had a question about career, how would you approach that with astrology? And it gives them a little introduction to that. Or if somebody asks about relationships, how would you approach looking at that in the birth chart? And that’s a very great idea especially for an introductory book. You don’t usually find that, so it was a really unique approach. I think so. It was ambitious of Dorling Kindersley to do it that way. Because of course, it was aimed at people who have maybe some knowledge of astrology but also people who are complete beginners. It’s a lay person’s book in many ways, so it’s an invitation in. Although I hope it’s of value to people who already know some astrology, a kind of companion to one’s studies. But what we wanted to do was to make astrology not only accessible and but not just the nuts and bolts, not just how do you interpret Venus in the 10th house or Mars in the sixth? I wanted to show, we wanted to show how you can bring all of that together. Because the most difficult part of astrology, of course, is integrating, synthesizing everything that you know into a whole chart interpretation. And of course when you do client work, people are interested in all sorts of different aspects of their life. They have come with many, many questions. There’s always a curveball question which you’re not expecting. So, I think it’s important that astrologers think about these different areas and how you can very quickly get the information that you need from around a chart. So, it was aimed at that really. And, of course, astrology applies to absolutely every aspect of life. You can apply it to every aspect of life. And I’m always stunned at how astrological configurations describe some of the most mundane ordinary literal often quite funny manifestations right away through to the most deeply psychological and often in the same configuration.
CB: Mhm. Yeah, definitely. That’s one of the funny things about astrology since it describes our lives, and a good portion of our lives deals with mundane topics and very basic topics. So, one of the things about your book is it’s very comprehensive. Cuz students will often ask, “If you had to buy one astrology book that covers everything, which one would you recommend?” And unfortunately there’s never really a book that covers everything, but my recommendation used to be Parker’s Astrology although it’s an older book that’s been in circulation and reprinted at different points a bunch of times. And up until recently, that was my main recommendation. But now your book sort of became that, and I was just curious to what extent you had that in mind as something you were almost replacing or something you aspired to do or be just as comprehensive as or even to exceed. Since to me, one of the things that this book does is it kind of replaces Parker’s as the book if you wanna buy one book to learn astrology with.
CT: Well, I’m very flattered. I’m not sure I set out to sort of knock Parker’s off the top spot.
CT: Parker’s has been out for a long time. It was one of the books that I read when I was a student. Yeah, it was a hugely fun book. I don’t mean that in any sort of superficial sense. It’s a very attractive book.
CT: So, in a way, what we wanted to do was something slightly different to that. They didn’t want to just do a rehash of what Parker’s was doing. And one of the things that Parker’s didn’t do was really to bring everything together and look at life situations and look at how to interpret charts and what happens when a person is faced with a particular kind of life situation. How can you use astrology to navigate through that? That was something new. So it wasn’t designed to replace Parker’s. It was really designed to do something slightly different, to provide all the necessary information like a sort of Encyclopedia of all the different pieces of information that you can gain from a chart. But then to do this interpretive and the centerpiece of synthesis, yeah, it’s given me a taste for writing. And of course now I’ve got several books on the go that I’m in the process of writing–
CT: –one actually on aspects and aspect patterns. So, yeah. Watch this space on that.
CB: Good. Well, that provides a nice segue into our main topic. Although really quickly, so this book when I came across it in the bookstore I actually came across two versions of it. And it seems like there’s one version that is very big and comprehensive, and that’s the one that I showed already. But your publisher also did a shorter version of the book, so the comprehensive version is titled Astrology: Using the Wisdom of the Stars in Your Everyday Life. But then it seems like they also published a shorter version that’s titled The Secrets of Astrology : a complete guide to sun signs, planets, houses, and more. And that’s essentially the same book that contains all of the intro to astrology, principles and concepts from the first half of the book but just doesn’t go as much or takes out the section in the second half that deals with addressing or delineating individual topics like career or relationships or travel or other things like that. Is that right?
CT: That’s right. The Secrets of Astrology is aimed at young people. It took the first part of the book, the nuts and bolts side of it and reworded it to be aimed at young people. They wanted to aim at round about the age of 10 12. So, that’s why it doesn’t have the life situations because obviously a 10-year-old doesn’t have a career or faced with ideas of what to do when you become a parent and so on. So, that’s why that was taken out as a sort of version for children.
CB: Okay. Well, that’s really funny cuz that’s actually the version that I found. This is the actual picture that I took while I was walking across this bookstore, and this display in the children’s section caught my eye. And that was the first version of the book that I saw. And then a friend of mine texted me 20 minutes later and said, “Was that you that was sitting in the children’s book section looking at astrology books?”
CB: And I laughed and said, “Yeah.” And they said that that was very in character for me. But that was how I discovered the other books. So, basically, the other one’s more geared towards kids I guess. But it seemed like the same sections of the book, so it’s not necessarily simplified or dumbed down too much. It just isn’t as comprehensive.
CT: That’s right. Yes, the idea wasn’t to dumb it down.
CT: Because children are very intelligent. They know what’s going on.
CT: And I think there’s something very instinctive about astrology because it’s this archetypal, this language of symbols. And even at a young age, I think and so many of the people I come across, so many of the students I come across, they say, “I discovered astrology when I was eight or nine or 10 or quite young.”
CT: And there’s something very instinctive about our connection to astrology. I think, anyway, it’s a mistake to speak in sort of baby tones to children. But you do obviously need to take out some of the things that are just not relevant. So, that was the idea there.
CB: Okay. That makes sense. Well, I would definitely recommend if people are trying to make a choice between the two to just go for the more comprehensive one even if it’s a little bit more expensive just because it’s worth it cuz of how much more it contains. And the version that I got from Barnes and Noble had some flashcards that it came with at the end for learning planets and signs and houses which was very useful as well. I don’t know if that’s an old versions or it’s just a little bonus. All right. I think that’s a good transition into our topic today where at one point in the book, you have a treatment of what you call aspect patterns. And I think there’s different names for this. It’s like I’ve heard it as aspect patterns or birth chart patterns or planetary patterns. I’m not sure if I’m forgetting any, but it’s just a general topic of different formations that involve I think three or more planets in a chart. I think that’s how you defined it in the book, right?
CT: Yes. Astrological listeners here will recognize the idea of aspect patterns, I hope. So just broadly speaking, yes, three or more planets brought together by aspect into a configuration. Well, I was going to say recognized configurations. Of course, there’s a number that probably most astrologers working in a sort of modern context, sort of broadly modern psychological context would recognize. And I only deal with that number in the book because of course there’s probably endless numbers of–not quite endless but numerous patterns that you could think about in a chart. And any chart is going to throw up combinations of Venus connected to the Sun which is also connected to Mars which is also connected to Jupiter and does that form a pattern. On the internet I came across just a few days ago some drawings by Michael Erlewine astrologer wonderful astrologer Michael Erlewine. And he’s given names to all of these patterns, these aspect patterns. But I assume that it was him that gave them the names, and there’s quite a few of them. As astrologers what we’re doing when we’re looking at charts is describing what we see, we’re interpreting what we see. But, of course, most astrologers will probably recognize a certain number of recognizable patterns like the T- Square, Grand Cross, the Grand Trine and so on. And that’s certainly part of the way in which I look at charts. I’m always looking for aspect patterns because I’m seeing those as they show something of a complex, they show something of an integration of planetary drives and archetypes coming together into a pattern of behavior or a pattern of experience which repeats itself again and again in lots of different sets of circumstances in the person’s life and their dynamic. And there are lots of different ways in which any one pattern might present itself in the course of somebody’s life. So I think it’s a dynamic energy, and it’s something that–I was quite surprised really in my astrological studies to see that the classical astrologers, traditional astrologers don’t really recognize these patterns. Because I didn’t come up through that route in my training. I was quite surprised to see that. But, yeah.
CB: Yeah, you would think aspect patterns seems like more of a recent thing. I know one of the earliest authors is Marc Edmund Jones.
CB: And I’m not sure he’s basically the founder of modern aspect pattern theory for the most part. I think he defined most of the standard ones today, but you’re right. It’s surprising that there’s not a lot of discussion of that in ancient astrology. There’s a little bit in Indian astrology like I did notice in the Yavanajataka in the second century that they do have some groupings of different sort of planetary standardized patterns that they’ll give different names to. But at least in the Western tradition it’s much more recent concept.
CT: Yes, I think so. Obviously, aspects go way back. And Ptolemy outlines them, Manilius outlines them. And we have sort of standard ways of seeing aspects. And then Kepler brought in, I think, the quintile, the bi-quintile, and the sesqui-quadrate cuz he was of course very interested in harmonics. Wasn’t interested in analysis, wasn’t even really interested in the zodiac. He was very interested in harmonic patterns. You’re absolutely right. I’m not sure that it was Marc Edmund Jones particularly that brought in the idea of these aspect patterns. He has the chart patterns.
CT: I’m perhaps not so familiar with Marc Edmund Jones’s work on, well, on aspect patterns but certainly on chart patterns, the locomotive, the bucket, the splay chart and so on.
CT: So, distribution of planets around the chart–
CB: Do you know who did introduce or who some of the foundational authors are that talk about aspect patterns in particular?
CT: Rudhyar talks about them. Yes, Rudhyar talks about them. He talks about the Grand Trine, talks about other patterns. He doesn’t talk about all of them, all of the ones that I would be familiar with. I don’t actually have any evidence to this, but my instinct would say that it was perhaps with the cosmobiologists with Alfred Witte and the German school at the beginning of the 20th century resurrecting the ideas of Kepler and looking at the chart in terms of harmonic resonance that really started to bring in the idea of a possibility of a pattern that resonates around the chart. Rudhyar talked about the idea of an aspect pattern being it has to contain planets that work around the chart into a sort of–it integrates planets from around the chart. So, really I think Rudhyar is the first one who’s really talking openly perhaps about about that in the 1960s and 70s. I’m trying to think of the other places where I think Carter talks about aspect patterns.
CB: Charles Carter?
CT: In the encyclopedia of astrology he said [unintelligible 00:41:07.08] ’30s ’40s.
CB: Mhm. Okay. Right.
CT: Something like that, into the ’50s. But I think really some of the patterns that I had considered when I was training to be quite standard, things like the mystic rectangle and the hard rectangle, the finger of the world and so on. I think they’re probably fairly recent.
CT: I think they’re probably very recent.
CB: So, let’s do maybe not an overview but just to touch base or to give a brief overview of some of the ones we’ll be touching on today which are ones that you talked about in your book. One of the ones that’s famous that people often talk about a lot is the Yod aspect pattern, and there’s also the T-square, stellium as a sort of aspect pattern, the mystic rectangle, the minor grand trine, the kite, the hard rectangle, and the grand trine which is one of the most simple and straightforward ones as well as some other minor ones like the finger of the world. So, those are all the ones that you have that you discussed briefly in your book. Where should we start? Should we start with the stellium as the basic one, or where do you usually start when you start talking about aspect patterns?
CT: I usually leave the stellium till last.
CB: Really? Okay.
CT: I know it’s first in the book. I usually leave it till last because in a way, it isn’t really an aspect pattern.
CT: And traditionally, of course, the conjunction isn’t an aspect because the planets are not looking at each other. They’re not literally not aspecting each other across the chart. And so I usually leave it until the end. I usually start with T-squares, but that’s probably cuz I’ve got one in my own chart.
CT: So, it seems like I’m starting from familiar territory.
CB: That was funny cuz that’s why I was gonna say we have to start from the stellium because I have a stellium in my chart, so maybe we’re both biased. We could start with the T-square. That’s certainly one of the most basic ones because it just involves three planets. So that, in terms of building blocks, is pretty straightforward.
CT: Yeah. Sue Tompkins says that something like 45% of charts have T-squares. I don’t know whether she did any qualitative research on that. But–
CB: Sure. Right.
CT: –yeah. [laughs]
CB: It feels–
CT: It’s a fairly common aspect pattern. You see it a lot. You see it a lot more than you do a grand cross for instance. Obviously, because there’s only three planets involved there.
CB: So, T-square is two planets that are in a close opposition that are both squared simultaneously by a third planet which is squaring both at the same time.
CT: Yeah, that’s exactly right. Exactly right.
CB: And what kind of orbs do you use for this? Is this something that needs to be relatively tight, or what sort of ranges might be involved if a new student is wondering?
CT: I have a set of orbs that I use which is pretty roughly in tune with the way that I’ve been taught which is it’s not the traditional way of looking at orbs. I’m looking at orbs of aspects rather than the idea of a planet having an orb around it. For the opposition and for the square also, I’m using an eight degree orb.
CT: So, there’s an allowable wall by the side of the exactitude of eight degrees.
CT: For me, it’s not an exact thing. It’s a bit like a photograph that comes into and out of focus around eight degrees.
CB: Okay. And, additionally, this is a kind of a side note. But I meant to bring it up earlier. So you said you used equal houses, and there’s a tradition of using equal houses that’s specifically from the faculty or one of the founders of the faculty, right?
CT: Yes. Well, the faculty was founded in 1948 in the UK. And at that time in the UK really equal house was I think the one that was the most popular, and it was the one that Margaret Hone used in her textbook of astrology. And Margaret Hone was one of the founders, one of the five founders along with–Yeah. So, in fact, there were five founders who founded the faculty out of the Astrological Lodge of London. And so the faculty started to use equal house. And it’s become a tradition really since then for the faculty to use equal house.
CT: I do sometimes stray into Placidus. Had my chart read in Placidus and Koch and in equal. Yeah.
CB: Yeah, it’s really cool. Placidus is usually such a dominant system in modern astrology at least in the US, and then whole sign has seen a resurgence in the past 10 or 20 years. But it’s interesting. The equal is so popular because of that lineage in the UK and specifically with the faculty, so I’m always interested in learning more about how that works or how you’ve integrated into your practice and things like that.
CT: Yes. I’m of the opinion that all of the house systems are valid, they all work. And again this perhaps comes back to this oracular element that actually when you go to see an astrologer, what you are engaging with, it has a sort of energy trail. And it starts with a question. It starts with the seeking, and it ends up in the consulting room or online with the astrologer having the chart reading. Because it troubled me for a long time that there were lots of different house systems. I think it troubles a lot of astrologers particularly students. They think, “Well, which one is the right one?” And actually I don’t think it’s the right question to ask. The right house system is the one that you’re using. And you can trust that what is going to be spoken about that comes from that house system is the thing that needs to be spoken about in that session because you know that you can’t get through everything that could be said about that person in your 90-minute session however long the session is. So, there is this sort of, yeah, divinatory element to it. And you have to trust that what you’re using is the right one. Equal house works for me. But I don’t discount the others, and I work– When I look at my own chart, I will look at my own chart in other house systems, too. And I’ve had some quite extraordinary experiences with–I had a reading with Melanie Reinhart once, and she’s Koch where my third house planets go into the fourth. And we spent the entire session talking about my father which I was totally not expecting. But it was the thing that needed to be spoken about at that particular time. And it was the end of a grieving process and allowed that grieving process to take place. So I think as an astrologer, you have to choose a house system that you think works, that has some sort of–you understand the philosophical and technical underpinning of it. You have the technical basis of it. It speaks to you, and you work with it. And it’s in your toolbox, as it were. So I don’t worry too much about, “Please, Miss, why do you use equal house?” sort of question that everybody always asks.
CB: Sure. Sure.
CT: Cuz so many people use Placidus.
CT: But Placidus I think was popularized very much–has been by the psychological astrologers, by Liz Greene, Howard Sasportas, Richard Idemon, and now Lynn Bell and Melanie Reinhart, etc. Well, actually, Melanie uses Koch. So many of them use Placidus.
CB: Sure. Well, and there’s not a huge difference if you’re using different quadrant systems and just moving the intermediate cusps a little bit. That’s not like a huge difference compared to jumping to equal houses where the cusps will be much different or jumping to whole sign houses where the cusps are much different. Yeah. But just quickly for anybody that’s not familiar with equal house and if I can just use your chart again as an example, you just identify the degree of the ascendant. And then you measure 30 degrees forward downwards, and that becomes the first house. And then you measure 30 degrees from there. And that becomes the second house and so on and so forth, correct?
CT: Yeah, that’s right. So you end up with an MC/IC axis as you can see in the chart in my chart here. The MC/IC is floating, and the MC can land anywhere between the 12th to the seventh house depending on your latitude and ditto with the IC anywhere from the first through to he sixth depending on the latitude and the time of day that you were born.
CB: I love that because that’s also true of whole sign houses, but in quadrant houses that doesn’t happen at all. So do you end up interpreting that in equal houses? Do you still pay attention to the degree of the midheaven and where it falls or what equal house it falls in? Or does that not necessarily play any role in equal houses?
CT: No, absolutely you do. And, obviously, that’s the fourth 10th house axis there also. And then you have the MC/IC. And so you have the potential for there being a slightly different thing being said by those two axes. And in my experience, there is something personal, interior, something quite private about the MC/IC axis. So the IC becomes not so much our legacy from the past which the fourth house very definitely is our sense of our roots and our family roots and our inheritance from our family. The IC becomes this place where that we have to identify, we have somehow during the course of our life have to identify as being the route that we want to come from or the route that we want to put down in order to be in the world as an individual. And I think the MC is perhaps less about fulfilling the expectations of the ancestors or of our family, of our parents and doing something which is entirely unique to us. So, this free floating MC/IC axis is actually quite helpful I think in giving us two different places in the chart where we can see roots and flowering, home and profession, if you’d like. I also like the idea that what the equal house system does is it gives you the nonagesimal. So it gives you the point that’s 90 degrees above the horizon above the ascendant where the most elevated planet will be in my chart which you haven’t put in of course. It’s Chiron, the healing planet, planet of healing.
CB: Oh. Yeah, let me put that up.
CT: Yeah. No, that’s fine. That’s absolutely fine. That’s my most elevated planet.
CT: So, the equal house system gives you the chance to do that.
CB: And it shows–
CT: And it’s right on the nonagesimal point.
CB: –also the most elevated point of the zodiac or the ecliptic coincides with the nonagesimal which is the 90-degree point relative to the ascendant.
CT: Absolutely. Absolutely. And I’ve often noticed that that is the thing that people know you for the most. And perhaps this is particularly so for me because my MC is in the eighth house. There’s something about the work of the MC taking place in this much more interior space. We’re reaching for a sense of our vocation through that. And of course it comes through the 10th house too, but that’s more the outer manifestation of it, the route that we’ve sort of obviously chosen to take. And it says something about the professional choices that we make as a result of the lineage that we’ve come from. So, it’s directly connecting back to the fourth house. So, yeah.
CB: Okay, I like that. Thank you for that. I appreciate it. So, all right. So, back to the aspect patterns and back to our very first aspect pattern which is the T-square or sometimes known as the T-cross. So, we’re talking about an opposition between two planets and then a third planet coming in and squaring both of them. So I guess that’s one of the things that’s unique about this right from the start, and this is one of the things that’s kind of left out of the ancient textbooks is they’ll all interpret these in isolation. So they’ll tell you what happens when you have like the Moon square Mars or they’ll tell you what happens when you have Jupiter opposing Saturn in isolation, but they won’t tell you what happens if you have like Jupiter opposing Saturn and both of them are squaring Mars or what have you. Because in any actual chart, you have to synthesize together the positions. And that’s part of the uniqueness of any birth chart is taking all of the different isolated positions into account and then producing a combined delineation. And I guess that’s one of the things that aspect patterns are useful for is forcing you to learn how to come up with combined delineations relatively quickly and relatively early.
CT: Yes. Yes, I think so. People are endlessly complex. And I think the aspect patterns really do justice to that. I wouldn’t want to try and do a chart reading without looking at them. Of course, there are some people who don’t have the recognized aspect patterns. That doesn’t mean to say the whole house are complex, but you can see each of those aspect patterns. So taking the T-square, for instance, there’s the idea of two planets in opposition. Therefore, there’s a sense in the person that those are two places in their chart, those are two places in their life, two different desires or drives that the person themselves finds it difficult to reconcile. The apex planet is somehow trying to mediate between the two, so you can start to see how there’s a dynamic with the T-square which funnels the energy through the apex pattern through the apex planet. Because the square is about–it comes from the number four and go all the way back to Pythagoras and Tectractus, the idea of number symbolism. And four is the number of manifestation and being in the real world. So there’s a sense of– And a two of course is about opposition and dichotomy and being split into two places, into two separate senses of identity. And the apex planet and the T-square attempts to find a resolution to that, and it’s a very active seeking of resolution because it’s funneling two squares, funneling the energy through two squares into the apex planet. So, there’s work involved in it. There’s a sense of the T-square being a bit like the hammer on the anvil. It’s a bit like being in the heat of the blacksmith’s shop trying to craft something. And people who have a T-square in their chart are very often in this constant process of perfecting a set of skills, and it’s that apex planet that really drives the action. And it’s that constant sense of working at it which helps to resolve the tension but also uses the dynamic of the tension of the opposition. I think it’s interesting to think about if you have an aspect pattern, this is actually so of aspects too to think about in terms of what the world was like around you when you were young. And very often if you go with a client if go back into childhood years, you can start to see how the person has identified the planets in the T-square or in the grand cross particularly with the heart aspect patterns. They’ve identified those people. They’ve identified those planets as belonging to people, so they see that in the world around them. So, the T square might suggest if there’s a dynamic tension going on in the parents’ marriage and relationship, there’s an opposition in the child’s chart. And they can see dynamic tension in the world around them. And so they start to project the energy of the planets in opposition onto the two parents, and then maybe the child themselves becomes piggy in the middle or there’s a sibling that acts out the apex planet. So as a child you start to see this. You start to see that aspect pattern dynamically in the world around you, and then it becomes the reality. It’s obviously your aspect pattern, so it’s how you are as a person. But it’s also reinforced in the real world around you. So that T-square, it doesn’t even have to involve the seventh house or Venus. You can start to see how that’s going to be a dynamic in relationships, in professional relationships, in romantic relationships, in absolutely everything a person does. It’s a huge driver. People with a T-square tend to be dynamic, always working, never letting themselves off the hook. There’s always more work to be done, and it’s particularly around the apex planet. “I’ve got to get this right. I haven’t quite got there yet. The sword isn’t quite sharp enough.”
CB: Yeah, I like that. But there’s at least the potential for resolution for it in some way, and there’s almost a sense of optimism in that way since the opposition itself can sometimes be more tense or can lead to like a standstill between those two planets. But with the square perhaps there being some sort of outlet potentially.
CT: Absolutely. Yes. If you just have an opposition in the chart, there’s a sense that something doesn’t get resolved. There’s a feeling perhaps if something doesn’t get resolved. Although I think also there’s something about aspects, all aspects, no matter what kind they are. In a sense of trying to become a conjunction, they’re trying to resolve themselves. An opposition by itself without the T-square, without the apex planet is trying to resolve itself by finding activities or ways of being professional outlets skills which consciously and dynamically and creatively bring together those two opposing sides. There’s the idea of going into one side and feeding and being in that place and taking experience from that and then bringing it back into the other side, bringing the experience back to the other side and just oscillating between the two. When you’ve got a T-square, you’ve got this apex planet that’s really–Yes. There can be a sense of resolution briefly I think that was a job well-done. And then you’re off. T-square people are great goal-setters. There’s always more to be done.
CB: Yeah, I like that and that idea just because that’s something that comes from the idea of hard aspects as well as that tension sometimes leading to movement or leading to productivity. And I guess one of the ways that you interpret this or one of the things that you point out is that if you have a close T-square part of your access point for interpreting it is understanding the commonality between those planets. And one of the commonalities is that they’re all going to have the same modality or quadruplicity in terms of the signs that they’re located in, right?
CT: Yeah. Absolutely, unless it’s out of sign.
CT: You’re going to have a cardinal T-square, a fixed T-square, or a mutable T-square. And they all have their different flavors that cardinal tends to be the most dynamic as a sense of being always in constant motion. And the fixed T-square karmic fixity is very good at staying the course, so sort of long-term goals and projects. And as a sense of the personality is carved out of experiences of being put into maybe quite high pressure situations. A person with a T- square anywhere, any kind of T-square is unlikely to be happy in long-term, in situations where there’s a great deal of ease and there’s no goals to be set, there’s no things to be achieved. But fixity is there for the long haul. So there’s a great deal of resilience bound up in that. It’s almost like a war of attrition. “I’m just gonna sit here and wait until the problem has been solved.” And the mutable T-square, mutability has this sense of setting goals but never really–always being taken in lots of different directions and never really settling on one thing. So, there can sometimes be a sense of dissatisfaction with a mutable T-square. You want something to happen, but you don’t quite know how to go about doing it.
CT: But there’s a kind of dancer quality to a mutable T-square, and I have known people with a mutable T-square who actually–particularly one I know with Venus and Mars involved who was a dancer. And she makes a virtue out of being light on her feet but being incredibly dynamic at the same time.
CB: Mhm. I’m going through, and I’m trying to find some examples. I don’t know if you know of any offhand of T-squares. I’m just doing a search through Solar Fire.
CT: Yeah. Yeah.
CB: And one of the ones that came up was I guess Diana. Princess Diana had a T-square involving the Moon conjunct the south node opposing Uranus, and both of them are squaring Venus which is kind of interesting in fixed signs. I don’t know if that’s one that you’ve used before as an example.
CT: I haven’t. I haven’t used Princess Diana’s chart for a long time. They played a clip of her on the television the other day in the UK television.
CT: And it was the interview that she did with Martin Bashir where she was talking about–the phrase she used was, “There were three people in this marriage, so it was quite crowded.” I’m talking about Camilla Parker Bowles and if–[laughs]
CB: That’s a great analogy for a T-square.
CT: Absolutely. There are so many different levels on which you could interpret that T-square. And, of course, some of them will be incredibly private. And it’s difficult to talk about Diana because she was so–yeah, she had astrologers who talked about her.
CB: Right. That was–
CT: And they shouldn’t have. They went to the press, but they shouldn’t have.
CB: That was part of the complicated history of some things that happened with astrologers and her that–And that actually had some repercussions in the astrological community at one point, didn’t it?
CT: Absolutely. Yes. So, the faculty’s diploma you have to sign a code of ethics. And as far as I know the history, there’s only ever been two people who’ve had their diploma taken away. And they were the two people who went public with their private knowledge of Diana because they were her astrologers. So, it’s difficult talking about Diana I think because–Yeah. But in the Moon Uranus opposition, you see the independent woman in that T-square. And you see her juggling those roles and particularly bringing in the nodal axis. There’s something there about juggling the roles of mother but also this incredibly beautiful style icon. Maybe one of the ways in which she managed to find her place in Moon in Aquarius opposite Uranus, there’s something there perhaps about feeling like a stranger in your own home, the search to find a place to rest and to feel comfortable about being different in the way that you think about things or having a slightly different take on life.
CT: And maybe some of the ways in which she resolved it was through–well, firstly through sixth house things. She was obviously involved in a lot of service-orientated work, and she was very good at creating relationships. And I was just thinking about when she was the first person to publicly put her arms around somebody who was dying of AIDS in a hospital, and it was a game changer in terms of attitudes towards AIDS and HIV. And so maybe there’s something there. But also styling herself, for somebody beautiful having this incredibly different kind of style, she was unlike–In the way she dressed and the way she acted, the way she presented herself as a woman, she was unlike anybody. So I think she used that T-square very well.
CB: Yeah, that’s a really good example. And so it brings up a few points just about aspect patterns in general. One of them being that it’s one of the first things that sometimes astrologers go to cuz it’s one of the first things that will catch your eye on a chart especially if it’s very close, if it’s within a few degrees. Different astrologers have different styles. But if you draw aspect lines in your charts for example, it just automatically–you’re gonna start seeing these patterns pop out to you. And that’s therefore gonna draw your eye, and it become–One of the episodes I did last month was first steps in interpreting a chart, and certainly for some astrologers one of the first things that they will notice is if there is an aspect pattern in the chart just because it kind of draws your attention to it right away as soon as you start looking at a new nativity.
CT: Yeah. Absolutely. Diana also has a kite in her chart. I think in the version that you showed, it’s not showing the trine between Chiron and Neptune.
CT: But she’s got her son involved in there and also Mercury and then the two rulers of the chart–Actually, is it Scorpio rising? Oh, no. Sorry. Yes, it’s a Sagittarius rising. So, sorry.
CB: Yeah. Sure.
CT: It’s probably what I just said.
CB: Okay, let me–No, no. It’s good.
CT: Yeah, there’s very powerful Mars-Pluto conjunction right up at the top there which I was thinking of her work with land mines. She worked with a landmine charity, and she was very brave. In many ways, she was very brave. And we know that Mars-Pluto in Virgo has a kind of a feistiest quality. Vulcan deity is the idea of craft, making a craft out of something. But she was incredibly brave, incredibly forthright in her own way. And the kite pattern which we can come on to later, picking up the idea of the grand trine and then this opposition from one of the planets through to again an apex, that Mars-Pluto is the dynamo really of the kite pattern.
CB: Okay, so she has–
CT: So the idea of going into dangerous places and overcoming–
CB: Right. She’s–So–
CT: Yeah. So, it’s–
CB: So, just to describe it for people listening to the audio version, she has the Sun at nine degrees of Cancer. And it’s trine to Neptune at eight degrees of Scorpio, and then both of them are sextile to Pluto at six degrees of Virgo which is also loosely conjunct Mars at one degree of Virgo. And both of those are opposing Chiron at six degrees of Pisces, so that creates the kite pattern in her chart.
CT: Yes, that’s right. That’s right.
CB: Got it. Okay. And one of the other things this is bringing up and making me realize as just a basic principle is that when you have a really close aspect pattern such as a T-square like she has in her chart, that also means that those degrees are going to be really sensitive so that if you have a major transit or any transit that hits one of those planets, it’s sometimes going to hit all of them at the same time. So that’s one of the things perhaps just in terms of the theory that makes chart patterns really important is that it’s activating multiple aspects at a time anytime one of them gets aspected dynamically through some timing technique.
CT: Yeah, absolutely. You can’t see any of the planets in isolation and it’s important to see it as a whole pattern. And sometimes, if it’s a slow-moving planet like Neptune or Pluto, the string of transits can take several years. So, we see here with Diana’s Moon Uranus opposition square to Venus, a transit is going to hit that Uranus first because it’s at 23° of Leo, and then it’s going to hit Venus which is 24° of Taurus, and it’s going to hit the Moon at 25° of Aquarius, and then it’s going to hit the nodal axis at 28. So, there’s a whole outworking of that range of the transits to that T-square and you’ve got to see the whole thing as a complete process. I can’t remember her transits at key times and whether that T-square was being activated, but anybody listening who’s got a T square, yes, absolutely don’t see it in isolation and sometimes it can take several years and it’s a life changing experience to have a transit that picks up a T-square, absolutely a life changing experience.
CB: Yeah. I’m not familiar with her transit history, but I’m imagining if Saturn came to 24° of Taurus and let’s say station retrograde around there, then she would not just be having transiting Saturn conjunct Venus which would have its own delineation but also, simultaneously, she’d be having a transit of transiting Saturn squaring her Moon which is its own important transit and also transiting Saturn squaring her Uranus. So that’s like three transits that even just in isolation, all get activated at once except what they’re doing is also activating the aspects between them like the Moon Uranus opposition and the Venus Uranus square and so on and so forth.
CT: Yeah, absolutely, absolutely.
CB: So that almost ties it back to the idea of harmonics that you started with and that first interested you as your recurring interest in astrology and music is this reminds me of how wind chimes, for example, if you have like three chimes and you run something across all three of them, they have different tones depending on when you hit them and what the order is and their length and everything else and it’s like that in a way except if it’s really close, they’re all going to get hit and they’re going to resonate in that specific tone all at the same time.
CT: Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, that’s a wonderful analogy. It’s a wonderful metaphor for what is happening. And also on another level, you can see a T-square, Kepler did this whole piece with music and mathematics and aspects. And if you’re into harmonics as an astrological technique and of course, that’s started to really land in, I don’t really know the history of harmonic charts, I have to confess, but I know that John Addy, British astrologer was working with them. He was coming from a Neoplatonic perspective, the work of Kepler and so on. He’s very interested in harmonics. And then we have the work of David Hamblin and so on working in harmonics. And harmonic charts are very interesting because they’re of course taking number and using that to create a spin off chart which resonates to that particular number, but I’ve noticed with aspect patterns because they are based in number. So here you have the idea of two and four in the opposition and the squares two and four and so you can think about the chart as being the song that we sing and that sounds a bit whimsical, but I don’t mean it in a whimsical sense. It has this very direct connection to musicality, to music, to harmonic, to the harmonic series. So, if you were to take the numbers in the chart and you could actually create a song out of it, you could create not only a physical pattern out of it, but also a song out of it. And a T-square type of song isn’t a tinkly windchime. It’s obviously something a little bit more, it’s the bassoons at the back of the orchestra, sort of big roar or it’s something coming alive perhaps for the first time. T-square material sometimes lies dormant because we’re too afraid to do something with it. If you’ve been allowed to be boisterous as a child, you’ve got Mars at the apex of a T-square, if you’ve been allowed to be boisterous as a child, fantastic. If you haven’t, you end up having say Uranus transit to that Mars apex, light blue touch paper and stand well back. There’s no formula really for describing these things. You have to just connect to what you see. You connect to what you see.
CB: Yeah. That sequence of the planets getting activated at the same time, it’s something that a person’s going to experience on different levels and just have repeated experiences of having that activated on different levels throughout their entire life because for example once a month, when the Moon moves around the chart, it’s going to for example hit that T-square and activate that aspect pattern once a month and Mercury will do the same or the Sun will do the same once a year and Venus somewhat similar and then Mars will do the same thing every two and a half years and Jupiter every 12 years and Saturn over the course of 30 years will aspect that pattern in the same way. So that’s probably also connected in terms of that music or sound analogy just in terms of the order in which the notes are hit, but also the duration of at what points in your life are those notes going to be hit and how long of a duration is it since a Moon transit will be much quicker than a Saturn transit, let’s say?
CT: Yes, absolutely. And of course, the Moon sees everything or brings everything to us through the lens of the unconscious, through habit, through knee jerk response to the world around us. So, you can see that in that continual circuiting once every month, it becomes our response according to the T-square, our sense of that’s how the world is and that’s how I have to be in the world becomes reinforced again and again. And it’s reinforced, as you say, through Mercury, through the Sun, through Venus, through Mars. We’re in situations where we have to respond through our T-square almost every day of the week, every week of the year. So, it’s not just these bigger transits that happen once in a lifetime that are going to bring that T-square alive, it’s continually being activated. So, it really is embedded as part of our makeup and our sense of how the world is and how we’re expected to respond in a given set of circumstances.
CB: Right. So that’s our first aspect pattern, that’s the T-square. There’s a second aspect pattern that is very similar to that which would be the grand square which would be basically the same thing but when you add one more additional point on the other side of on the opposition of the apex so that you have two planets in opposition and they’re overlapping.
CT: Yes, that’s right. So essentially, a grand cross. It’s just exactly as you would expect it to be. It’s two oppositions and then each of those planets, those four planets is connected to each other by squares.
CB: Let me see if I have an image I can share. It looks like I don’t have an individual one. But from the page of your book, let me see if I can just zoom in here. There we go. All right.
CT: So, unlike the T-square where you’ve got the energy funneled. It’s dynamic because there’s a sense of movement, the person feels a sense of movement and it gives the possibility as you were talking about before for some resolution and a sense of satisfaction before you set off again on another set of goals or things to be discovered or done. With the grand cross, it’s a much more closed-circuit pattern. There isn’t anywhere for the energy to go so it’s quite high octane, but it’s also quite high intensity and pressure I think felt from the inside. There’s no outlet in other words, so it perhaps feels to the person as though they’re in a pressure cooker state. And that might particularly be so for a fixed T-square and there might be a sense that there’s no way out, you feel as though there’s no way out, you’re always in the state of tension. And I think with all of our charts, anything that you have and there’s always good stuff and there’s always stuff that is challenging to us, if we do this conscious piece of magic, if we actually try to find activities and ways of being in the world, things that we can embrace, things that we can do which consciously use the energy instead of unconsciously letting it dominate, then we do something very creative. I think it’s when we’re not consciously aware of a particular habit pattern or a particular behavioral response that it can turn self-destructive. But the grand cross is a very, very dynamic pattern. And again, you have the idea of cardinal fixed or the mutable and that really is the sense of constant motion, I think. Really, it’s a sense of constant motion.
CB: Yeah, I like that because it integrates and helps you to understand also the idea of looking at a chart and getting a sense of if there’s a preponderance of placements in certain zodiacal qualities that are dominating the chart such as preponderance in either by element like Earth, air, fire or water, or by modality or quadruplicity which is cardinal fixed immutable. So, if you have a grand cross, then right away you’re probably going to have a preponderance of energy in one specific modality of cardinal fixed or mutable which is immediately going to tell you something important about the chart or important about the person’s life.
CT: Absolutely, yes. I mean, in looking at a chart, the preparation that I would do before seeing a client element and mode balance and polarity balance too are the first things that I look at because I want to get some sense of the person’s temperament, the wave of them, the warp and the weft, the wave of them. But absolutely, right. So, if you’ve got a grand cross, then you’re probably going to have a lot of particular modality. I’ve got lots of charts strewn about here. I’ve got the chart here of for Thor Heyerdahl which is one that fascinates me and I don’t know if you know who Thor Heyerdahl was Thor Heyerdahl, I suppose I should say. He was a Norwegian explorer, ethnographer and explorer. It should be. It should be.
CB: How do you spell the last name again?
CT: H E Y E R D A H L, Heyerdahl, Heyerdahl.
CB: I don’t have it in my current file. Would you mind giving me the data? What was his first name again?
CT: T H O R like the thunder god.
CB: Okay. Sorry, what was the last name again?
CT: H E Y E R D A H L
CB: Okay. And birth date?
CT: 6th of October, 1914.
CB: What time?
CT: 4:40 p.m.
CT: In Larvik L A R V I K in Norway. V for Victor.
CB: Okay. Sorry, Norway. Okay. And is it supposed to be late Aquarius rising?
CT: Yes, that’s right.
CB: Okay, let me share the chart. Okay, there we go.
CT: So, you can see a fixed grand cross with the Moon in Taurus and the third opposite Mercury Mars conjunction Scorpio in the 9th. And then there’s another opposition between Jupiter, Uranus and Aquarius in the 12th, opposite Neptune in Leo in the 6th. Yeah, a fixed grand cross. And just to let you know a little bit about him, yeah, he was an explorer. His idea was that, and there is provenance for it in the scholarship, the first idea anyway was that the people from the coast of South America had sailed off westwards into the Pacific entered in balsa wood rafts and they had arrived at the Polynesian islands because he noticed that the myths of South America some of the myths accorded with the myths of Polynesia, particularly the Sun god who was called Kon-Tiki. So, he made this balsa wood raft, this traditional boat, made it and they went to Peru and he went there with a crew, they made balsa wood raft and they sailed off into the Pacific thousands of miles on this balsa wood rafts, there was about 12 men or something on this balsa wood raft so is this high drama mission, this flinging yourself into the complete unknown, this death-defying journey out into the Pacific. I mean, they could have lost their lives at any stage and he was the captain of the ship.
Interestingly, there’s no fire in his chart. He has not a stitch of fire, but he has this grand cross, this fixed grand cross with the Mars and the Mercury in the 9th house. It’s a kind of fiery house. And there’s so much grit and determination in that story. They made it to the South Seas. The balsa wood raft broke up just as they were reaching to land so they survived the journey. But you can see how that’s an approach that somebody with a grand cross might have to life which is you bite off something that’s more than you can chew and then you just go ahead and chew it anyway and you make something out of it. And this is a fixed grand cross so even before you even look at the planets, there’s just the sense of incredible resilience and survival against all the odds. So, I think he really used that grand cross heat and he went on lots of other expeditions across the world on any one of which he could have lost his life very easily. So, he learned about leadership and he learned about survival and it was the making of him, really. He had a lot of trouble on other levels on a personal level with his wife back home and his children which obviously, they were left at home, but quite an extraordinary life. And he wrote a book on this called The Kon-Tiki Expedition. It kind of shows my age. It was a hugely popular book in the 1970s [Carole laughs] when I was young.
CB: So, but it demonstrated that it was possible and that the people could have sailed that far through the Pacific in order and that could have then demonstrated how that happened.
CT: Absolutely. Everybody said, “You’re a fool. You’re mad. You’ll die on the way.” Of course, with somebody who’s got a grand cross, that’s red rag to a bull.
CB: Yeah, especially a fixed grand cross. So that’s a really good example of the determination and conviction and willingness to see the course through to completion no matter what the odds are which might be more likely if you have such a preponderance of planets and fixed signs.
CT: I think so, yes. I think so. And that’s a life choice. So, it’s a choice to take on something of that magnitude and you could say that perhaps, this was somebody who was just sitting at home, I hadn’t found their motivation that that’s when the grand cross energy starts to become problematic. When you’re out on the high seas battling the winds and battling starvation and the loss of death at any minute, that’s when the grand cross person really comes into their own. You obviously don’t have to go out on the high seas to get that kick, but it’s the sense of yeah, the endurance thing, doing something which allows you to develop that sense of endurance and then you’re changed forever by that experience.
CB: All right. Yeah, that is a really great example. So, let’s see. Is there anything else about grand crosses that are unique in addition to being an extension of the T-square and more because of those two oppositions are much more intense version of that especially since it doesn’t have the pressure release valve that the T-square has where it has that apex planet that’s allowing for an outlet for the opposition. With the grand cross instead, you just get a continuation of it with necessarily no specific outlet per se?
CT: Yes, I think so. I think so. And paradoxically, it’s that very thing which creates the sense of dynamism in it that you’re constantly in a state of motion or constantly in a state of action or readiness. Yeah. But again, going back to this idea of how things might have seen to a child, you can see how it would be very easy for that person to identify in the world around them a sense of that everything is in a state of high tension. And clients that I’ve seen in the past with grand crosses, they don’t come up very often, but when they do, you very often get a childhood story of great psychological complexity. It depends partly on the planets involved, but a great psychological complexity in the family of origin and a sense that one has come from this very complex background where perhaps the child felt it was their task to try and bring together different warring factions or try and resolve something, but there’s always that sense that you haven’t resolved it. So, I think it can be incredibly dynamic, but it can also feel for the person or so something has been left undone or unprocessed or unresolved.
CB: I’m thinking of a question. I’m searching through my files for other examples of T-squares or grand crosses and one of the questions I realized that some listeners or some new students may have is whether in your opinion or how you use this technique, if it has to only involve planets or can other points in a chart act as one of the legs of a grand cross? So, for example, the Ascendant or the nodes whether they can be used as part of that to fill out the aspect pattern in your opinion.
CT: No, not in my view. I mean, what you get, of course, is if you’ve got say Mars square to the nodal axis, it still produces a sense of tension and that Mars is somehow a pivot point in the story of the nodal axis, but it isn’t a T-square. And it isn’t a T-square because the nodes are not psychological drives in the same way as the planets are. So, it’s not creating that sense of a psychological personality dynamic. It’s saying something very important about the role of Mars in the overall life story of that person, but I wouldn’t call it a T-square. So, for me, there have to be planets at each of the points for any aspect pattern.
CB: Okay. I’ve been doing some research on World War Two and the use of astrology in World War Two, and one of the interesting charts I had been working with was Rudolf Hess who has definitely at least a T-square between Mercury at 13 Aries opposing Saturn at 20 Libra and squaring the Moon at 16 Capricorn. But then there was just a little question about whether we would treat this as a grand cross since his Ascendant was at the other side of that at 17° of Cancer.
CT: I personally wouldn’t. I would treat that as a T-square, but of course, it is still bringing in the Ascendant but I still think it would have the quality of the Moon being the apex planet. So, there’s a very strong pool there and of course the Moon is the ruler of the chart, it’s ruling the Ascendant so there’s a very strong pull over towards relationship. So, I would imagine that he would identify relationship as the point of resolution as the place to go to in order to resolve the tension between the opposition.
CB: Right. And that tension in opposition is between Mercury in the 10th house and Saturn in the 4th house of the parents and of course, unfortunately, the way that he tried to resolve that in terms of relationships was with having relatively close working relationship or partnership with Adolf Hitler. So that might be not one of the best resolutions of relationship 7th house dynamics in history.
CT: Well, it probably worked for them. [Carole and Chris laugh] It’s very difficult to talk about it as an outsider to that, but you can say that yeah, there’s a need for relationship, there’s a need and Cancer rising needs family, needs connection and tribe. The person that you identify as being able to bring you into that tribe perhaps is the person that you’re having a relationship with. And of course, 7th house and the Descendant are not just about romantic relationships, it’s about the sense of other. So, there’s a sense perhaps of wanting to nurture others, that Moon in Capricorn on the Descendant wanting to nurture others and be nurtured in return so that’s a very powerful dynamic there. But I would expect him to be pulled into relationship all the time and for that to be the crucible, really. You can think with the opposition between Mercury and Saturn, you’re talking about the parents and I was thinking about the parental relationship being potentially described by the Moon on the Descendant. There’s something quite powerful there about family, about the parents’ relationship as being somehow seminal to his experience. I confess I don’t really know anything about his history. I certainly I don’t know anything about his childhood.
CB: Yeah, I don’t know much about his childhood. I mean, the Saturn in the 4th does make me wonder about having like a stern father or seeking the approval of the father and if that wasn’t something dynamic that he wasn’t playing out later in life. Some of the things you’re talking about in terms of seeking partnership, having the ruler of the Ascendant there and having that be the apex of the T-square was making me, when Hitler and Hess were arrested and thrown in prison for trying to make a coup in the 1920s, Hess ended up partnering up with Hitler and helping him write Mein Kampf, so that was like his 7th house stuff playing out. But then eventually, the Nazis rose to power and Hess was like the second in command, but then eventually later, during the war got sidelined and then he did this crazy stunt where he flew to the UK in order to attempt to broker a peace deal, but ended up just getting thrown in jail and then Hitler was very upset by this and somehow astrology was in play where Hess may have done that partially based on some astrological advice. And then the Nazis rounded up all of the astrologers and threw them in concentration camps at that point. So that’s actually an episode I’ve been researching recently that I hope to do at some point in the future. Anyway, not to get too focused on that or to draw us back to our previous chart pattern, but
CT: And I think it’s just interesting that we look at people’s biographies and think they’ve always been an adult because you think about the things that they did when they were an adult, but wind that back and you start to see some of the underpinning of it. I mean, that’s classic psychology, of course, isn’t it? But there’s a story there about parents and mediating between the parents or trying to find some resolution to that.
CB: Yeah, especially when you see like Saturn angular in one of the angular houses because you’re right, and especially when a person is younger and they have let’s say a heavy 7th house transit. After he was born when he was about let’s say seven years old, we know that Saturn would have transited into his 7th house and would have transited over his Moon as that apex planet and that’s probably not him necessarily forming relationships, but instead probably some early experience of his parents’ relationship or marriage at that time and tensions there that then left an impression on him.
CT: Yes, it’s entirely possible. It’s entirely possible. But anytime the Moon is involved in any configuration, it’s what we experience in the world around us. He would have experienced this T-square. He would have experienced it on a physical level and he would have identified it in the people around him in the dynamics around him. And anytime that the Moon is involved, it goes in under the radar, we’re not conscious of it. So, it embeds itself in the physical and becomes psychosomatic. Absolutely.
CB: Right. Okay. So that’s the grand cross. One of the other ones that’s similar to that would be the rectangle pattern, or would that be the next one the mystic rectangle, or where do you usually go from here?
CT: Well, there are different ways that you can look at it. Yes, I mean, we can look at the hard rectangle, for instance, which is based on hard aspects and then flip over to the mystic rectangle. Those two they have a similar dynamic, a similar pattern but just different aspects involved. We can look at that as a pairing as it were.
CB: We can also do the grand trine if you wanted to move on to something completely different, so it’s totally up to you.
CT: Yeah, let’s do the grand trine.
CB: Okay. Yeah, let’s do that. That’ll get us into a much different headspace in terms of what we’re seeing specifically and what aspects are involved compared to the other ones. So, a grand trine occurs when you have not just two planets that are in a trine which is 120-degree aspect, but you have the two planets that are closely in a trine and then there’s a third planet that is forming a trine to both of them as well so that it creates a big triangle across the chart.
CT: Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. So, the whole pattern resonates to the number three which the Pythagoreans amongst you will know as the number of ease and harmony, reconciliation, mediation. And that’s really the key to that aspect pattern. These are planets that typically will be linked by element, so you’d have fire or Earth or air or water grand trine. And when they are like that, we get this deep reservoir often unconscious, not something we necessarily describe ourselves as. We describe ourselves as our T-squares. You know, what’s Carole like? She’s like a T-square. That’s how I would describe myself. It would take me some way down the conversation to get to my grand trine and talk about that, but it’s there as a deep reservoir of skill, of talent, of feeling, of dynamic, of action which we take for granted in ourselves often and we don’t tend to feel motivated. Typically, we don’t tend to feel motivated to develop that side of us but yeah, it’s just a natural part of who we are. We don’t question it. We tend not to question it.
CB: That’s a good point. So hard aspects tend to provoke more obvious or tangible things because sometimes they’re an area of tension or sometimes discomfort, so it’s more obvious whereas trines and easy aspects can sometimes be things that aren’t as obvious because we’re taking them for granted and they’re not as prominent in our lives at least in terms of our perception of them even though maybe somebody else from the outside could look at that and say that’s something you have going in your favor, perhaps.
CT: Yes, I think that’s often the case. You have to remind a person with a grand trine that they have this set of skills, this set of talents. It is often something that we take for granted. We don’t tend to push ourselves to develop that, but grand trine in water might suggest again, depending on the planet, but might suggest a natural musicality or a natural sense of empathy and it’s just something the person would necessarily carve a career out of or push themselves to become the best violinist the world’s ever known, but it would be something that just sits there. Often, we want to enjoy those aspects of ourselves like the things that are described by the grand trine. So, it’s a place of indulgence or a place of… Yeah, we identify the things that we enjoy and that gives us a sense of release. And I think that’s important because of course even if you’ve got a grand cross, it’s very difficult to spend all of your time out on the high seas trying to look for Polynesian islands. You still need to have some sense of, never mind a grand trine, we use our trines to engage with the things that we find easy that flow that we don’t have to question in ourselves natural talents and that’s a big picture when it comes to a chart with the grand trine in it.
CB: Yeah, I like that. I’m looking through some of my example charts really quickly as I’m hearing some of your keywords and I’m finding some talented musicians like Billy Corgan and Kurt Cobain of Nirvana from the early ‘90s both had grand trines in water. So, Kurt Cobain has Jupiter at 25° of Cancer trine, Neptune at 24 Scorpio trine, Chiron, Venus and Saturn which are all conjunct between 24° and 28° of Pisces so creating a big water grand trine there and Billy Corgan was born within a week or two or within a few weeks of him so he has a very similar grand trine.
CT: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I think Cobain’s chart is just so interesting. I don’t assume that Kurt Cobain knew any astrology but just the idea of Nirvana for all that Pisces, and what’s the album? Nevermind, so it’s just so surprising or whatever.
CB: I mean, he knew a little astrology. Unfortunately, in terms of like astrology trivia, he had the most famous offhand reference to astrology in a suicide note where he referred to himself as a sad little Pisces which I always thought was a really striking example just given that he had a Pisces stellium but one of the planets or two of the planets involved were Chiron and Saturn.
CT: Yeah, yeah. I mean, again, just yeah, absolutely, this natural sense of empathy feeling, absorbing atmosphere, the grand trine in water absorbing atmosphere and being very impressionable and that’s a gift for a musician because it’s a little more difficult in the rough and tumble of life. But just extending this conversation out towards the kite pattern, of course, he has a kite so that grand trine is the part of the bigger pattern of the kite with the Pluto Uranus at the apex in Virgo right there on the Ascendant. And I don’t know a great deal about Kurt Cobain, but they say that he was actually quite dictatorial in terms of the sound that he wanted. He was very, very hard working, knew exactly what he wanted. So, in a way there you see the beauty of the kite pattern which is picking up all of that sensitivity and feeling and making something of it, crafting it into something through those Virgo planets, holding the reins and that’s the apex planet in a kite. It holds the reins, pause the natural world of talent and feeling from the grand trine into something practical or useful or busy.
CB: Yeah, and that makes me think of the other example which is very similar was Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins, you using that keyword of dictatorial where he has a similar grand trine, but it turns into a kite because of Pluto Uranus and the degree of the Ascendant all conjunct between 19 and 24 Virgo and on one of the most famous albums of the Smashing Pumpkins when they were recording it, he ended up being so unhappy with his other bandmates the way they were playing or how well they were playing that on the final recording, he went back and recorded all of the different musical instruments himself. So, he did the drums himself and he did all of the other instruments himself so that the final tracks really largely just represent him recording everything instead of the band in and of itself. So just in terms of your keywords there, I like that and how that fit in a very similar chart to Kurt Cobain’s. And it’s interesting because you pointed out so in both instances, we’re talking about an emphasis then on water sign placements and that’s one of the things that a grand trine is going to do is it’s going to automatically give you a much heavier emphasis on whatever that element is and whatever the nature of the element is and therefore that being a dominant archetypal trait either psychologically or in terms of how the life works out in general.
CT: Yes, absolutely. Yes. I mean if we’re talking about the kite pattern, we’ve got a sense of dynamic movement or a sense of taking what’s taken for granted but not taking it for granted. It’s given some kind of purpose. It has been given some kind of purpose. And you can imagine both of those musicians in the act of playing music or in the act of singing, in the act of being the front man of the band, they’re playing to the strengths of those kites because with the grand trine, you get in the zone, the idea of being lifted out of yourself. We see that sense of the Nirvana that comes through the ninth harmonic and the number nine and in a way, we have a resonance of that with three trines around the chart so we have three and three and three of resonance of that. So, we have this idea of in the grand trine itself is the sense of a Nirvana of wanting to achieve the state of complete release or complete and particularly in water there, a complete release or completely being taken up into a transcendental experience and Neptune is involved there as well and Pisces. But with the Virgo apex, it has to have some purpose. It has to have some worldly purpose or you can imagine that the technique, the craft, knowing how to play, how to sing the music it’s a crucible or it’s a container for it.
CB: Sure, so it makes it concrete because it introduces both a hard aspect but it also introduces a planet that is the apex that is in a completely different element than the other three planets that are involved in the grand trine itself. And so just to define that so really quickly because I don’t remember if we did, but a kite pattern is a grand trine where on one side of the grand trine, there is a fourth planet which is sextile to two of the planets that’s in the grand trine. And then by definition are by nature of that, the fourth planet that is sextile the two is also opposing the third planet, so it creates this opposition between one of the planets in the grand trine.
CT: Yeah, that’s right. So, it has a kind of backbone. If you think about actually flying a kite, that’s when it catches the wind and it actually flies in a particular direction. The wind flows along the backbone of it. But up until that point, it’s just flapping about and you can’t get it to get to the airborne.
CB: Yeah, that’s one of the sometimes criticisms I hear occasionally that modern astrologers make of grand trines that they can be because it’s easy or because it represents a point of ease in the life that it’s not always used to the fullest extent or taken advantage of in some way because it’s just something as you said earlier, that’s taken for granted.
CT: Yeah, absolutely. There’s that possibility. Also, there’s the possibility of too much of it. There’s no self-editing, there’s no checking. I’m thinking I don’t want to go on about grand trines in water because there are other ones to think about also, but there’s an excess of feeling. Because it operates often at an unconscious level, there’s the sense of being swept up in one’s feelings and overwhelmed by them and unable to check them. And again, if you can find a way of harnessing that, which of course as musicians both of those people did, that brings a sense of maybe satisfaction or bring you back down to Earth or whatever. But I imagine that there are times when it’s possible to feel completely overwhelmed by one’s feelings and to lose a sense of perspective. Once you’ve started to get lots of water in the chart, and if it edges out the air and the Earth and particularly the air, you get that sense of not being able to stand back from your situation and reflect on it or gain a sense of perspective. It feels cramped.
CB: Right, that makes sense. Okay, so that’s the kite pattern and the grand trine. I know we’re getting towards the end of this, so maybe we should just quickly touch upon some of the other more unique or elaborate chart patterns. I know one that people ask about very frequently is the Yod or the Finger of Fate or Finger of God pattern. So that’s when you have two planets in sextile which is the 60-degree aspect and then both of those planets are simultaneously in a quincunx or sometimes called an inconjunct with the two planets in sextile so that it creates an apex or a focal point.
CT: That’s right. Yes, yes. So, the sextile we know that the sextile has a sense of it brings together two planets that we know can work together and there’s a sense of enjoyment at using that energy and a sense of busyness, but the apex they’re throwing to quincunx is to the apex planet. So, the task there, the challenge for the person is to try and find a way of using the energy that’s bound up. Sextiles aren’t dynamic in the way that a square is. It’s not about work necessarily, but it’s about a sense of wanting to do something or to use a talent and to enjoy doing it but to put some work into doing that. And it’s trying to find its outlet through the apex planet, but it’s watered in a way because the quincunxes tend to, there’s a sense of not being aware of something, having to become conscious of something before you can start to really use that energy and it’s very often at the transit to the apex of a Yod that it starts to come alive and the thread start to be pulled together. So, it’s like the planets in sextile are waiting for something to happen. And it’s very often a transit or a progression or a direction that we know we want to put the energy of that into something, but we can’t find exactly what that thing should be, we can’t define it, the opportunity doesn’t come along or we miss the opportunity, we don’t recognize it when it does come, or we get in our own way, or we self-sabotage. And that can be a negative pattern for a while. Yeah, it can be a negative pattern. But I mean like all these things, it can be also very creative. Again, like everything, it’s about really becoming aware of one’s own behavior patterns.
CB: Sure, yeah. And the Yod is a weird one because when it’s activated by transits, it can often be strange because of how different the aspects are that it will make two different planets when it does make an exact aspect. So, I’m trying to think of an example where it’ll be like squaring one of the planets, but it’ll be forming like a trine or a sextile to another leg of the Yod or something like that.
CT: Yeah. Yes, I mean, they’re more difficult to spot in your transit sheets. It’s not as obvious obviously as a planet going over the apex. But yeah, these things do have an effect. They do have an effect.
CB: And do you use a closer orb for Yods for identifying the apex planet because it’s a minor aspect or what kind of orb do you use?
CT: Yeah, I tend to use 4° for a sextile and then 2° for the quincunx. Yeah. And there’s this whole thing, is it a minor aspect or is it not a minor aspect? Of course, Karen Hamaker-Zondag would say it’s definitely not a minor aspect. The faculty teaches that it is. But I think in a way, it’s in and of itself. I don’t think it’s minor in the sense of being inconsequential. And particularly if you’ve got a Yod pattern, that’s quite life forming. It’s quite life forming. I’m thinking of the chart of Oscar Wilde, the Irish writer, Oscar Wilde with two Yods in the chart. And there’s just that sense of things not quite lining up or misfiring or things don’t quite come together and a sense of perhaps dissatisfaction until a particular thing happens and then it does come together.
CB: Let me pull up his chart. So, where are the Yods in his chart? It’s not showing the inconjunct or the quincunx here.
CT: Okay, so he’s got a sextile between Saturn on the midheaven and the Moon in Leo.
CB: Okay, so 15 Gemini, Saturn to 15 Leo Moon?
CT: That’s right. And the apex and yeah, it’s the Chiron and pulling in the Jupiter also they’re in the 5th house.
CB: Okay. So, Chiron’s at 16 Capricorn and Jupiter’s at 19? And how did that work out for him?
CT: If you put his chart into equal house, that Moon goes into the 11th. I’m not saying that you need to do that now. But the way that I would read, the way that I have read it in the past, he was somebody who thrives on an audience. He played to the crowd. He had a very strong sense of drama and pageant and appearance and had lots of friends and was very sociable and very connected to the theatrical community and the literary and dramatic communities, and perhaps that was a place where he felt comfortable. But also, at the same time, there’s a sense of with the Saturn on the midheaven there, a sense of wanting to be taken very seriously as a writer. He knew he had this talent. His writing and his drama brought together the best of those two planets in sextile. So, I’m trying to think of some of the lines that he wrote. If you know his plays, there’s a sense of humor, huge sense of humor, but they were also incredibly serious. He was challenging the morality of his day, the class system, the ways in which people behaved. But he was somebody who was very much a professional and public person, the apex of that Yod being the Chiron and the Jupiter there. In a way, perhaps, when you have Chiron in the 5th house conjunct to Jupiter, Chiron just on its own in the fifth, Chiron is the place where something doesn’t quite go right or we’re in a place where we feel we have to try and work to find our sense of belonging, we feel perhaps as though we’re outside of the system in some way. And one of the ways that you could perhaps read that Yod is that that’s perhaps what he was searching for a sense of legitimacy but also wanting to be the maverick because that was, of course, his talent. He said the thing that nobody else dared to say. It’s like the jester speaking truth to power. He used his plays as his devices to lampoon the upper classes. So, he’s trying to find a place to be taken seriously in that community but at the same time, recognizing himself as being an outsider perhaps and I think there’s something there about the top one of the tasks might be to accept or find a way of reconciling that outsider quality or that maverick tendency, that daring pushing the boundaries saying just the thing that’s taboo and knowing the effect that you’re going to have. And of course, you risk losing everything when you do that. But he’s kind of walking a tightrope. I think he did it very well. And certainly, in his drama, he did it very well.
CB: And you said he had two Yods in his chart, right?
CT: Yes. Let’s see if I can remember. I’ve got the chart somewhere here. I don’t want to shuffle papers to find it.
CB: I was trying to change the aspects to put the quincunx in and actually changed or messed up the display but here’s the displayed points. There we go. It’s showing it. Now it’s starting to show some of the inconjuncts.
CT: Okay. Yes, now the other one is Chiron to Neptune. That’s the sextile depending on your orbs, but Chiron intersects to Neptune sextile and then to quincunx is to the Moon. So, the Moon is also an apex planet. So, it picks up some of the same energy but it’s the Moon that’s also under some pressure or a sense of discomfort trying to find a way to express itself in a way that feels natural. Quincunx I think put us on the edge of our seat or there’s a sense of friction or discomfort. We’re trying to find our way. So perhaps, he’s somebody who wanted people to love him, was reaching out to an audience to try and find that sense of belonging and warmth and work very hard to try and create that.
CB: So that’s the finger portion is the apex planet and a Yod is supposed like the Finger of God or what have you?
CT: Yeah, that’s right. So, the Moon here at 15° of Leo, that’s the apex of the Yod as well as being involved in in the first Yod that we were just talking about
CB: Okay. And I actually just noticed there’s another one from Venus at 7° of Libra to Mars at 3° of Sagittarius which are in sextile and then both of those are almost quincunx to Pluto at 2° of Taurus. It’s actually a little wide. It’s like 5° with the inconjunct to Venus, but almost there.
CT: Yes. I guess I wouldn’t count that as a quincunx between Venus and Pluto. I mean, you could make a case for it. If it isn’t, then what you’ve essentially got is Pluto with just one aspect to it, even if it just has the two. But if it doesn’t, then Pluto just has one aspect to it which is the same as the quincunx to Mars from the 8th house Pluto I mean, he pushed the boundaries in what he… Although his plays were supposed to be humorous, they were humorous, but he was obviously danced. He sailed very close to the wind in a lot of the things that he said and of course, he fell afoul of the authority through the court case that he went through. Yeah, things unraveled.
CB: And I’ve heard that in at least in some books that the Yod is important, but that you can sometimes look to the degree opposing the apex planet as a sensitive point or a point of resolution in some way because it’s the midpoint between everything if you’re using midpoints.
CT: Yeah, I think it’s called a boomerang. I saw that written once. So, it’s the Yod with the opposites, you say the opposition so you got two semi sextiles to this opposition to so you get a kind of other apex if you like. Yeah. I’m trying to think of a chart that I’ve come across that in. I think Jane Fonda. I might be misremembering that. I might be miss remembering that. Fairly sure she has the Yod and the apex planet is conjunct the Descendant. I think it’s Pluto. I can’t quite remember. It’s a while since I worked with her chart.
CB: Here’s the chart.
CT: Yes. So, you’re in whole sign, so we just have to tip up a bit. So, we’ve got Pluto’s the apex on the Descendant and then that’s opposite Jupiter on the Ascendant and then we’ve got the Sun at 29° of Sagittarius and Mars at 29° of Aquarius. So yes, we’ve got a boomerang. I think that’s what they call a boomerang.
CB: Nice. Let me change it to equal really quickly just because that’ll really emphasize that much more with Jupiter right on the Ascendant. So, there we go. There we go. Yeah. So, 29 Sagittarius Sun, 29 Aquarius Mars, both of them quincunx to Pluto at 29 Cancer and then Pluto is opposing Jupiter in the Ascendant and Jupiter’s at like very early 0° of Aquarius so practically like 29.
CT: The image that that conjures for me is of an arrow being let loose from a bow. I’m just thinking back in the 1970s when she was protesting against the Vietnam War, there’s that famous picture of her sitting on the missile, and I just thought about that thinking of this Yod with the Jupiter or the idea of being motivated by this humanitarian cause and the government taking on the military, opposing that and using that Jupiter in Aquarius, that sense of humanity, common humanity as the fuel I mean, quite fearless in many ways.
CB: Right. And then also the pushback against that tremendous resilience it takes to go up against something like that.
CT: Absolutely, Pluto is the apex of a Yod. If you take the action, you risk transforming a situation. In other words, you risk an alchemical change. So, the fear there for the person might be to withdraw and not to engage, not to risk anything so that you don’t risk destroying something or changing a situation so irrevocably that you can’t go back. So, I think it takes an enormous amount of courage to access that apex planet. I think Pluto often takes an enormous amount of courage. Whatever it’s doing in a chart, we go into the depths, we’re taken into some alchemical change in that and we’re never the same again afterwards. I don’t know what the transits were at the time that she was doing this protest. I mean, obviously, quite a lot of her life was about certainly her early life protesting and being quite cause-driven. But yeah, so I can’t remember how many times, she was married a number of times and yeah, I can’t remember about her life story.
CB: Sure, so this has actually been a really great and long discussion, but we’re at two hours and 15 minutes. So, I think we might have to wrap it up even though I’m having a really good time and even though we haven’t covered every possible aspect configuration because I don’t want to keep you too long today. But I’m trying to think of if there’s anything that needs to be mentioned in terms of wrapping up just what we’ve covered so far in terms of aspect patterns or any points that we should have mentioned for somebody that’s new to this topic that we perhaps haven’t.
CT: I think we need just to bear in mind that an aspect pattern enacts itself, we experience it at all the different levels and the key really to understanding it, perhaps, is to think laterally in terms of your interpretations. So, we can think of it in terms of a behavior pattern, but we can also think of it as the way in which we have envisaged our early life and the people around us. If you think about the professional situations that you’ve put yourself in, the kind of things that you’re drawn towards, the kind of situations you’re drawn towards, are they places where you’ve been able to use that aspect pattern again and again? Because you’re drawn to those situations so that you can work something out, so that you can use that pattern. Some of that might well be unconscious. They very often appear in relationships, relationships that it doesn’t have to involve the 7th house or Venus as I’ve said before. You can find those things, your aspect patterns enacting themselves in the way that you relate to other people because relationships are one of the primary ways in which we work out who we are and find our place in the world. So, think about it on that level as well. Yeah. It isn’t just the grand stuff that we go through with the aspect patterns too, it’s also just the everydayness of life. Yeah.
CB: Yeah, that makes sense. I think that’s a really great note to think about to wrap things up. So, this is both something that they can be major overall statements about the life but also because they’re built into our chart in this way, there’s something that we encounter and experience on a day-to-day basis and it doesn’t necessarily have to be this big sweeping thing about our overall life. And sometimes that’s maybe even the danger of focusing on certain aspect patterns too much or some of the high-sounding names given to some of them like especially like the Finger of God or Finger of Fate, which I think sometimes maybe oversells the odd a little bit too much. [Carole laughs] Right, when it’s just describing your way you go about doing relationships or cleaning the house or not cleaning your house or your flat, whatever mundane manifestation that it ends up having in your life since this relates very much to your day-to-day life as well as your overall destiny or fate in some broader sense.
CT: Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. I mean, our lives are made with the washing up [Carole laughs] and the shopping and the daily acts of connection to people and phone calls and emails and all this man’s UCI, that’s where life is made. Perhaps that’s just something about my life. [Carole laughs] But yeah, for most of us, I think that’s what makes us. Then our aspect patterns are as much there in a daily conversation or in the way we go about weeding the garden or the kind of television programs we’d like to watch, the kind of novels we’d like to read. Yeah, I think it’s all there.
CB: Brilliant, I love that. That’s a great point to end on. All right. So, you said earlier you’re working on a book on aspect patterns, so we can expect to see that at some point in the future?
CT: It’s a bit of a twinkle in my eye at the moment rather than a fully formed anything, but yes. Yeah, I think there are some books out there on aspects, but there’s not a lot on aspect patterns. In fact, I don’t think there’s really anything. But I do think that they’re important. I think they need to be tackled.
CB: Yeah, that would be great. I mean, so you do have a treatment of this in your book. It’s a few pages long and it covers not just the ones that we talked about today, but also gives some keywords for some of the other aspect patterns that we didn’t get into and the book itself is amazing. Who is the publisher again?
CT: Dorling Kindersley.
CB: Okay. So, that’s DK publishing for short and people can find that book pretty much anywhere. It’s available on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. It’s actually relatively cheap, which is one of the other reasons why it’s a great intro book because even though it’s so thick and comprehensive, it’s still relatively affordable. So, the title of the book is Astrology: Using the Wisdom of the Stars in Your Everyday Life. And do you happen to know who the illustrator was that you worked with for the book?
CT: No, I never actually met. I think it was a woman, but I never actually met her. It was all mediated through the editor. Yeah, so I’m afraid don’t know.
CB: That’s okay. They did an amazing job with that. It really helps compliment your work or your text and everything that you wrote for the book. Aside from the book, you’re also working on a website right now that’s going to be launched before too long?
CT: Oh, yes, yes. It’s about time I got my website up and running again. So yes, it’ll launch within the next couple of months. Yeah, so that’s caroletaylorastrology.com.
CB: Got it, caroletaylorastrology.com. And then also, you’re still teaching at the Faculty of Astrological Studies?
CT: Yes, that’s right. That’s right. I teach in the London classes which at the moment we’re online, of course, with the COVID-19 situation. But we’ll be going back into London at some point hopefully over the next year. On the online classes and online seminars, I teach at the Summer School. I’ve got a couple of online seminars coming up on Venus and Mars if anyone is interested in connecting to those, that’s coming up this month. And I’m doing a seminar on the shadow, the astrology of the shadow at Christmas. The annual Christmas lecture for the faculty will be on the shadow.
CB: Excellent, that sounds great. So, I think the faculty website is astrology.org.uk., right?
CT: Yeah, that’s right. Yeah.
CB: Great. All right. Well, I guess that’s it for this episode. Thank you so much for joining me today. I really appreciate it.
CT: I’ve had a lovely time. Thank you so much. It’s been wonderful to be talking to you.
CB: Yeah. All right. Well, we’ll have to have you on again at some point once your book or other future books come out. But yeah, thanks for joining me. Thanks everyone for listening or watching this episode of The Astrology Podcast and we’ll see you again next time.
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