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Archive for Friday 22nd July 2005

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Mercury Retrograde in Leo

Dear Earthlings and Other Space Critters:

This is a pretty big week for astrology; on Thursday, we had the second Capricorn Full Moon in a row, which is probably spilling over into the news and sending even the most calm people out howling at night.

Then we have the Sun going in to Leo on Friday, making an exact conjunction to Saturn and an opposition to Chiron; and we have Mercury going retrograde on the 23rd. With all the aspects and changes of the next few days, the world and our lives are likely to be particularly interesting, as we get our first taste of Saturn in Leo being activated by many aspects involving Leo.

When the astrology gets like this, keep your cool. Pay attention. It's like being on the highway when there are many on- and off-ramps clustered in the same place.

Meanwhile, I've written tons on Mercury retrograde. Here is a Google link to the 303 references I found (ridiculous, I know, but that's my job). There must be more about Mercury Rx in the archives of this column.

Today, for my 304th commentary, I will say this.

Mercury retrograde is normal. The reason this planet gets the "messenger of the gods" designation is because it shuttles around the sky like this three or four times a year. It's a cyclical process, and I look at the retrograde phases as a time to do a little less, slow down progress a bit, and attend to past business with more focus. This makes room for new ideas. The mind rests a little, and that's a really good thing.

Remember that every Mercury retrograde is different. Each time it happens, the cosmic pool balls are set up in completely different places all over the table. So it's a unique situation. However, there are few people who view this as a potentially constructive event, in part because there are not so many writers telling us that it is. Often, just a warning is sounded, which is a lopsided view.

We need to start writing and living some new myths about Mercury retrograde. The "don't sign, don't buy" stuff is getting boring. Yes, it's good advice, and make sure your systems are backed up. But I suggest we get creative and put this energy to work for us, and indulge the different viewpoints that it offers. One thing that people are famous for is getting stuck in a perspective. But the astrology changes and Mercury is one of the things that changes the most often and the most dramatically. Fortunately, this planet represents our modes of thought and communication.

Part of why Mercury retrograde is so challenging is because many people are not exactly what you would call flexible, and most are not devoted to creating -- creating whatever. And creating is what this retrograde phase seems to be about.

One way to look at Mercury retrograde is as a LOT of Mercury. The retrograde motion is the result of Mercury passing between the Earth and the Sun, so it's closer to us than normal. And then, at the closest, there is an exact alignment of the Sun, Mercury and the Earth. Two months later, with Mercury direct, there's another alignment, with Earth and Mercury on either side of the Sun. These two mercury-Sun conjunctions are the midpoints in the process; when Mercury conjoins the Sun about 10 days from now, that's midway through the retrograde. When Mercury conjoins the Sun two months from then, that's midway through the direct phase.

Let's look at the charts for Mercury retrograde, set for London. The first chart is for the "station retrograde" and the second is for the "station direct" about three weeks later.

This time around, we have Mercury going retrograde in Leo at the same time as Saturn has just entered Leo, and when the Sun has entered Leo. This is one of those cosmic coincidences, and it's also a lot of Leo. A planetary retrograde within a sign keeps that planet in that sign for an unusually long time, giving us a big does of the energy.

Mercury rules Gemini and Virgo, the 11th and 2nd signs from Leo, respectively. Based on that fact, there seems to be some kind of reassessment of the value of resources, and of values (both 2nd house); of the value of ideas (Virgo 2nd); of friends, of aspirations, and of professional wages (all 11th house factors).

There is an influence guiding the generally outgoing nature of Leo inward.

Here is the chart for the station retrograde, set for London:


What do we notice? Look at the Sun-Saturn conjunction in the 1st house. It's those two bits in yellow on the left, right below the horizontal line. Notice the exact opposition to Chiron in Aquarius. Do you see how the Sun, Saturn and Chiron all have degrees beginning with 00? That means they are in an exact aspect that splits one degree.

We find Mercury, in green, a little anticlockwise to the right. Mercury is making a lot of aspects: it's opposing Neptune in Aquarius at the moment, for example. I get "questioning assumptions and illusions" as the interpretation, and we're likely to get a reminder of just how important the presence of Neptune in Aquarius really is. More than any other factor, I think this is the one that's anesthetizing people into stratospheric cluelessness.

However, we may be picking up on the more mysterious side of Neptune, as Mercury, Neptune, and the lunar nodes make what's sometimes called a "mystic rectangle" -- that is, an aspect found in the charts of people with psychic and healing gifts.

Note the late Aquarius Moon sextile Mars. That's an excellent balance of individuality and collective thinking, and the Aquarius Moon has a cool temperament that can apply that Mars energy with some awareness. Note also that the Moon is sitting quite close to the Mars-Pluto midpoint and is actually sextile both.

Venus is prominent, in early Virgo. Uranus in Pisces is trine the ascendant.

Next, here is the chart for where we end up three weeks later:


Looking at the two charts together, what stories do you see? What do you feel developing? Drop us a note if you would like.

Here are some of your questions for the week. And don't forget to check in over at Planet Waves, for our August update, much on Leo and lots of pictures of cats of every shape and size.

Dear Eric,

As I read your thoughts on Saturn moving into Leo, I threw the I Ching and got #55, Abundance, where I found this: v "But such a time of very great culture also carries hidden dangers. For according to the universal law of events, every increase is followed by decrease, and all fullness is followed by emptiness. There is only one means of making foundations firm in times of greatness, namely, spiritual expansion. Every sort of limitation brings a bitter retribution in its train. Abundance can endure only if ever larger groups are brought to share in it, for only then can the movement continue without turning into its opposite."

-- I Ching (The Book of Changes)
The Commentaries on #55 Abundance


Please write on.
Sally, Cancer/Sagittarius/Sagittarius
(and a real fan)

Dear Sally

Thank you for that. Something to ponder -- and words to live by: particularly, "Abundance can endure only if ever larger groups are brought to share in it, for only then can the movement continue without turning into its opposite."

Dear Eric,

I am launching a newsletter and right now, I am hustling to try to get it out before the Mercury Retrograde.

Question, what should happen or is to be expected if I put it out during the beginning of retrograde? My partner in graphics seems to think that one can rise about the retrograde and carry on as usual, however, I know better. Would the time that the newsletter goes out be considered the birth of my newsletter, or is the birth considered when I began to work on it?


Dear A

Anything worth doing is worth waiting three or four weeks for Mercury to station direct. The fact that you're ready to go at the time of the station suggests you might not be ready. If it were my project, I would wait till the station direct. You will improve your work, have new ideas, and find flaws in your thinking that can be turned around into creative benefits. Waiting does not guarantee success, but it raises the probability of it substantially. But you can only find out what you will learn and develop in the next three weeks by pausing and seeing what's there for you.

The station-direct is August 16,

Astrology and Medicine

Hello Eric,

Your latest column states that "Jackie Robinson suffered from diabetes, which is often about a lot of internalized anger." As a registered nurse, this sparked intense curiosity about how I might intertwine medicine and astrology for a better patient outcome. Is this possible?

Thank you

Dear Susi

My observation about diabetes was not based on something I read, but rather something I observed from working with clients, and sensed energetically. It was not based on proper medical astrology but an observation that rather more or less showed up over time. Listen to people enough and you start to get a sense of what is troubling them and why. Sometimes it's useful information, and sometimes it's not.

Health is one of the most important concerns people seek advice about (astrological or otherwise), and I think that astrology has a lot to offer, as does tarot. But you have to be careful -- very careful.

Health is an area of life where people are extremely open to suggestion, susceptible to their deepest fears, and caught in a great many beliefs that make astrology look sane and rational. Using astrology medically takes training and practice, and requires a sensitive touch, and you really have to know what you're talking about before you make a concrete statement. It also helps to have some functional ability in a healing art.

According to the Jim Lewis "Encyclopedia of Astrology," the great Greek physician Hippocrates is said to have required his students to learn astrology.

There was a time when casting the horoscope for diagnostic purposes was as commonplace as feeling a person's pulse. The horoscope, cast for the time a person took ill (not the first symptoms, but either when they took to their bed, or the time of the first diagnosis), was one of the most trusted diagnostic tools, and from what I have read, through the Middle Ages, doctors would consult the chart for guidance about both diagnosis and the proper herbs to prescribe. In many ways, herbalism and astrology are the same system, linked through many correspondences, and relying on something called the Doctrine of Signatures.

This is a Medieval concept that says that there is a scheme of nature; that the universe is holographic: that is, that there are many images of the same thing presented in the natural world.

Medical astrology assigns astrological signs to parts of the body -- starting with Aries (head) and down to Pisces (feet). These are parts of the body where there is emphasis where a planet is in a sign and house.

To give an example, Leo is the sign of the Sun, which is gold, and which is associated with the heart. Even in modern homeopathy, the remedy aurum metallicum (gold) is used as a heart remedy. The many systems of astrological birthstones are a holdover from this system of correspondences and signatures, and many forms of using astrology medically (particularly in India) rely on the use of amulets and stones as the remedy, or part of it.

In my own work, I would say that I've found astrology to be moderately useful at sussing out medical issues, and I've seen that the chart can significantly represent what is happening with a person health-wise beneath the surface. But I am not specifically trained in this work, nor have I devoted myself to it. (I've taken the more spiritual-psychological approach, at which astrology truly can excel as a tool.)

In contemporary times, we can also use astrology to facilitate awareness of the mind-body connection, which can be quite helpful as a healing aid. This is also true of tarot.

One method I have found useful is to use the process to get people to open up and discuss their problems and feelings; this alone is therapeutic.

People who are normally reserved will divulge their inner complexities when it's done over a tarot spread, and this can reveal something close to the root of their struggle. For a lot of people, just having the opportunity to talk is an aid in itself. For the practitioner, they will gain insight as to what is going on inside the patient -- their thoughts and feelings -- and thereby be able to give a more holistic advice.

By using tarot or astrology, a sort of distance is put between the patient and his problem, so it is not so difficult to talk -- the conversation is about the reading, not about him/her. Or you could say that the divination tool allows the patient to shift their point of view and get another perspective.

The help that this provides is not merely the placebo effect. It is very often true that what is bothering us is emotionally at the heart of what is bothering us medically. I think this is a pretty safe use of tarot for opening up a discussion and getting a look at what's going on inside a person's psyche.

Astrology can work the same way; I've written lots about exploring the events and feelings of past transits, particularly Chiron transits, and it's often true that when we check these events and experiences that information arises in the course of the discussion that helps people get a sense of what's really happening with them. We really need to never underestimate the power of a person talking about what's troubling them. In homeopathy, a branch of medicine for which I have great admiration, talking about one's problems is the patient's whole contribution to the healing process.

I think these are the safest, most benign uses of astrology and tarot in contexts where one is not a trained medical astrologer or at least horary astrologer. But for those interested in the field, there are medical astrology books listed here, with the most famous above.

And here is an article on astrology and homeopathy.

Empty Houses

Dear Eric,

I was just looking at my chart and I wondered: do the houses where I have no planets or aspects in them have an effect upon me? Such as those areas being not very important in my life, for example my partner has no planets in the first house. Would that mean she has no personality, only joking. But you see what I mean, I would be grateful for any feed back as the subject of houses is not covered much in newspapers or magazine astrology and I haven't come across much info in any of the books I have read about this particular subject.


Dear Steve

I covered the empty houses issue in the May 6 edition, here. It's a frequently asked question, so I want to re-post the link. Thanks for writing!

Eric Francis - May 6

Clarification on Anita Bryant's Retro Mercury

Hi Eric,

I've just read your Saturn in Leo articles [in this space, past two weeks], and one thing I really want answered that's been bugging me for years -- you say about Anita Bryant that her Mercury retrograde in the 8th house makes her a delusional spokesperson for sex.

So does a retrograde planet basically create a monster/warped version of itself? I ask because I have Venus retrograde in Scorpio in my 2nd house, with the Sun and Uranus right on top of it. What does this retrograde Venus mean and how can I learn to make the best of it -- whatever it is? I've searched a lot and have never found anything that addresses natal retrograde planets.

Thanks very, very much,


Dear Julia

Your question is a good opportunity to clarify the difference between a specific case of interpretation, and an astrological rule or principle. What I gave was an interpretation; there are more helpful and general guidelines that I've included in another edition of this column, which I've linked to below.

But monster-warped? NO!

Use these basic ideas for understanding a retrograde natal planet:

1. Something that points to the past (including past lives, if that's in your belief system).
2. A talent or skill that was turned off as a child so as not to threaten the caregivers.
3. A point at which the person is "hung up" or seeking to make progress that's not necessarily so easy.
4. A place where the client has gathered a lot of energy they need to express.

(For an interesting exercise studying a retrograde planet, look at the secondary progressions and see at what age the planet turned direct. There will be an interesting revelation about the retrograde planet at that age. Secondary progressions are the year per day method. If Mercury, for example, turned direct 12 days after the person was born, then inquire about their 12th year and you will get the story.)

As for Sun-Uranus-Venus retrograde in Scorpio 2nd: that sounds powerful. Very powerful. It sounds like your life is truly based on an inner search for values. Try the experiment above and see if and when Venus stationed direct for more information. Also, you need to understand the function of Mars and Pluto (rulers of Scorpio) to understand the story behind that Scorpio setup.

But I will give you a four-word translation: BE GENEROUS WITH YOURSELF. That is, give yourself to others. You have a lot to offer. But you won't know until you go for it. Of course, you've probably figured this out, in which case I would say that you need to learn to feel good about who you are and what you have to offer. You have plenty; and you're innovative and in a bizarre, unique Scorpio way, extremely free-spirited.

Just remember, that probably did not sit well with your parents with you were three years old, or 14 for that matter. So you may have been trying to tone it down your whole life. Forget it. Just be you.


Let's reconsider Anita's chart and why I made that comment -- which I would have been very reluctant to make had I not just read up on Anita Bryant's silly shenanigans (her monumentally large, national gay-bashing campaign back when you could get away with that in the mainstream media) -- and had there not been other significant factors in the chart which supported my statement.

Remember that factors you may share with her do not necessarily apply to you in the same way. They may; they may not; but you are a different person, and you handle your karma differently. This is true for all comments by all astrologers in all articles and books: take it as a commentary, an idea to consider; and check the ways it's true for you. Then check with other writers and see what they say.


For reference, here is the Wikipedia entry on Anita that gives her basic story, as well as great insight into her chart, if you make the connections.

For focus, let's just interpret her Mercury and look at all its various conditions. The method of reading the chart one planet at a time is a good way to sort through the potentially overwhelming amount of information that a chart presents.

We see Mercury just inside the 8th house. (Once again, to count the houses, you start with the one on the left just below the horizontal line and count anticlockwise.) The 8th slice of the chart contains a little green planet, which is Mercury, as well as a circle with an X, the Part of Fortune. The Sun is also in that house, which is significant, because it places a major life orientation on that house, which is the backdrop to everything.

My keywords for the 8th house are death, surrender, sex, jealousy, money, inheritance, power/control over others or which they have over us, secrets, and -- note this please -- partnerships where any of these themes come into play. Note as well: I've read recently that the 8th house had no direct association to sexual matters until Alan Leo, an eminent British astrologer born in 1860, noticed or ascribed that association. But at this point in history there can be no doubt that the 8th tells us a lot about sex; in the words of David Arner, one of my early teachers, "the sex you want."

Anita has Pisces on the 8th house cusp. That fact alone suggests she's either very sexy, very confused about sex, that sexuality is a really big factor, or some interesting combination. All of the above turn out to be true. There is also a mystical aspect to sex for her; we combine the mystical aspects of Pisces and the sexual aspects of the 8th. There is also a boundary issue; the 8th is all about associations and exchanges with others, and if there is a sign capable of having no boundaries at all, or compromised boundaries, it's Pisces. Not always -- but it's a real possibility (look where Pisces occupies your chart and see for yourself!). Pisces wants to bliss out and be one with everything, and for that, you can't have a lot of walls or concepts in the way.

The mighty Mercury occupying that house says that this is an important subject area for the lady; but retrograde in Pisces? Wow. It does not really know anything for sure, and is very susceptible to the influences of others. To their great benefit; the Part of Fortune is there.

Mercury is making an aspect -- a big one. It's opposite Neptune in the 2nd house. Neptune is in Virgo. The 2nd house is the house of self-esteem and personal values. It's also the house of our personal views on sexuality and our inner feelings about our sexuality. Virgo + Neptune in that house say there's a high likelihood of self-esteem issues on all these counts. Virgo itself is enough of a clue: Virgo can be ruthlessly self-critical, and when you see that combined with the 2nd house, keep an eye on it. However, with Neptune there, it's like there's a huge cloud, and also that sense of the mystical.

Wilhelm Reich, the one successor to Freud who really took up the cause of understanding sexuality, suggested that overdoing mysticism is the big substitute for truly embracing our sexuality. (He also said that when sex is repressed, this indescribable mystical feeling, astrologically represented by Neptune, is typically used by religion and tyrants to gain control over people.)

Note something interesting: Mercury rules her 2nd house, HER values. It is in Pisces in the 8th house, the house of other people's values. Neptune, conversely, is a ruler of Pisces, her 8th; it's in the 2nd house. The two planets are in mutual reception. She has quite a lot of confusion about what her values are and what belongs to others. This is why she is a "spokesperson" and not someone who expresses her own original ideas. This is why she was so worried about everyone ELSE'S sexuality.

From what I am reading, Fundamentalist Christianity was always her platform for making her anti-gay statements. We can see from her 9th house that she's basically on a religious trip (lots of planets there), and that it's an old one. She has Jupiter and the South Node present -- Jupiter and the 9th being about religion, and the South Node pointing you as far back in the past as you would like.

So we have the image of a kind of zealous religious mystic who has her mind on sex (Pisces Mercury retrograde, 8th) and probably feels quite guilty about it. I see a person who sends herself negative messages that she picked up as child (retrograde Mercury), which she then broadcasts. Her message is further complicated by having a low opinion of herself; by being based on a regressive (past-oriented) idea; and by being quite confused.

But she is also driven by a MOTIVE -- represented by the Mercury conjunct the Part of Fortune, which represents HER personal fortunes, which she thinks are going to come from outside her (8th house).

Would I have said all of this to a client with this same configuration? Never. But what I would have done -- assuming this person did not come in with a clear idea about what they wanted (unlikely, given the chart configuration) -- would be to check some Chiron transits to the alignment, and to other sensitive parts of her chart. The necessary information for a real conversation would have come out. In 1977, we have transiting Chiron exactly conjunct her Saturn in Taurus, for example.

This was the year she was hit by a pie in the face by a guy named Tom Higgins. That banana cream pie seems to have ended everything. She is lucky that people used kinder tactics on her than she did on them.

If you would like an example of an alternative interpretation, if you handed me this chart, I might say this is a person could be a sexual healer -- that's the high vibration side of that 2nd/8th configuration. Had she dealt with her own stuff, she would have made an AMAZING therapist and writer, because she has the power to really get inside people and understand them.

Or it's someone who will do something like gamble away a sizable inheritance in Las Vegas, or be a con artist. There is no actual sense of worth, just confusion about it. The retrograde status of Mercury points to the past, including her personal past; she was, at that time, a spokesperson for going back to Neanderthal values on the respect of other people and what they do. And the good lord only knows what happened to her as a child.

I've addressed retrograde natal planets several times before on this site, this link is to my Q+A retrograde special: There are also a few others there, if you poke around my archive page (go to the archive page, whose link is at the top of the page, and then use the "find" feature in your browser to find all the times retrograde is mentioned in an article title).

Relocation and Astrocartography

Dear Eric,

I am a happy subscriber and check your front page every day. Thank you for sharing your astrological, political, social and spiritual insights (all beautifully written) with all of us. I am grateful to you.

With all the relocating you've done, I'm curious to know if you've ever used relocation astrology to see what places would work well for you. Or perhaps you're of the philosophy that you will always make the best of any situation?

Perhaps you can address this issue on your site or on Jonathan's if it's a question that interests you. I'm looking into it for myself. I'm a Pisces sun/Taurus rising with Saturn in Leo about to enter my 4th house -- and want so much to leave my hometown, but I have to wait until I finish grad school. Thanks for planting the seeds with the Taurus messages you've been writing.

I send you blessings in your new home of Paris and hope that you continue to find the city inspirational!

Warm wishes

Hi Carmen

Living different places has taught me a lot about the relationship between location and astrology. For those unfamiliar with the process, it's possible to "localize" one's astrology chart to see how it works other places in the world. In a moment I'll get into the two techniques to use astrology for locational purposes, but first a few personal reflections.

The more places I live, the more I see how locational astrology works, and that it works. And I see its limits, and also the ways we influence the situation. My favorite personal example was my choice in 2000 to move to the West Coast of the United States. When I did that, my chart wound up with Taurus rising and I had Neptune close to the 7th house cusp.

So that's a lot of Neptune; it's not only angular, it's in the relationship house. I was concerned about this. I had read in locational books about the "strange sense of isolation" associated with relocated Neptune on the 7th (which seems to be true quite often for people born with this position as well). There were other issues, too, but I wanted to live out West and my Neptune line goes right down the coast. I had also heard that if you have a well-aspected Neptune, things go better.

It turned out that I aimed for Seattle, and wound up on a little island, called Vashon Island, in Puget Sound. I had never been to the Pacific Northwest and had no idea that it existed as a discrete cultural entity as apart from the West Coast. That was a big surprise, but it took a while to settle in. Vashon and indeed the whole Northwest has a seductive, unworldly beauty and that I am sure was enhanced by looking at the world through the filter of Neptune all the time.

It turned out that this little island had quite an isolated feeling; it was often nearly two hours from point A on the island to point B on the Mainland via ferry (not 15 minutes, as the legend had it), and there were not a lot of people passing through the island. And I felt it was difficult for me to relate to many of the people who had been there a long time, or who were born there. It wasn't that I did not like them; it was that we just did not seem to really connect -- with a few rare examples.

When I moved to the island, I started creating fish tanks. So I lived surrounded by water, on the water, in an apartment full of fish tanks, feeling really lonely. This was despite the fact that I had some really good friends -- but the isolation of the place itself, and my emotional reaction to the place, and being on the Neptune line, piled up. The fish tanks flooded often. There was too much water; I did not feel a connection to the Earth like I did in New York (where I hung out down in caves quite a bit) and there was not enough fire. In fact, it was rare that one could make an open fire, due to the forest fire danger, though eventually I got a Chimnea outdoor fireplace that was legally equivalent to a barbecue so I could use that. But the people did not feel so fiery, and people tend to collect in a place based on the vibration of the place.

Let's add to this situation the fact that in the Pacific Northwest, a great deal of high quality marijuana is grown and smoked. Have you ever been to a pot trimming party, where they break out the trees and the scissors? Go to the Pacific Northwest and you'll find one. Cannabis was impossible to avoid and was yet another watery influence on the emotions, and one that I had to watch very carefully -- particularly given how boring the place seemed to this Brooklyn kid.

Now, had I moved to San Francisco, I would have had a much different experience of my Neptune line. It would have been the same line, but a totally different trip. The thing was, as much as San Francisco is one of my spiritual homes, and as much as I love the city and my friends there and its excellent heritage, I keep not being drawn there as a place to live. But I would have, in all likelihood, had an easier time than I did on Vashon Island, because San Francisco is a lot closer to my personal vibe than Vashon or the Seattle area. But in that curious Neptune way, I have never chosen to settle there, having had many opportunities to do so.

So, based on this and other experiences, I have developed a proposed locational astrology theory: if you're going to move onto a line, the place you choose on the line has to work with that energy. It's possible to have too much of an element based on both the line and the feeling of the place, and I had quite a lot of water in my four-year experience in the Northwest (water I could not swim in -- the beaches were rocky and the water was always about 55 degrees). The quality of the place and the quality of the line need to have a sense of balance and complimentary quality that works for YOU. In other words, if you move to New York and you wind up with Mars in Leo rising, that's a lot of fire. But if you want to be a big star, that's a good place to go, and you'll have the energy to keep up with the pace of things. If you want to be a poet or musician, you might want to choose a mellower line, or a mellower place on that line.

However, I will add this about my Vashon Island experience. Neptune on the 7th is supposedly difficult for relationships, and it's true that I really struggled on the romantic level there. But something else happened, which is that I made some very, very solid friends there, people who feel as solid as another human being has ever felt in my life (the supposed antithesis of Neptune 7th). I founded my business there, and put together the team that still runs most of the project (not surprising -- I do a Neptunian business and Neptune rules my 10th house). And I did a lot of personal healing work that was facilitated by my sense of being alone. In this respect, you could say that there was a lot of water, but that I learned how to swim, or how to make an island and really live on it, or how to dive deeply.

Now as for charting techniques. There are two different types of charts that deal with this issue: relocation of the natal chart, and a mapping method called Astro*Carto*Graphy.

A relocation chart is basically your chart, but you change the location to your new place of residence, thereby obtaining a new ascendant and house arrangement. You must use the SAME time and time zone as that of your birth -- to preserve the Greenwich Mean Time of your birth -- but you change the coordinates. This creates a new ascendant. (If you switch both the coordinates and the time zone, you wind up with basically the same chart, or at least usually the same ascendant). The relocated chart is the chart for which you were "born at the same time in a different place."

It is a theoretical chart, and these have a bizarre way of working.

If you use an Astro*Carto*Graphy map, it's like looking at all the locations of the world at once. They offer the same information in different ways, and the map gives you more all at once. What I prefer to do is look at the map, then cast individual locational charts for each place the client is considering looking. However, the more I use the maps, the more I just get an intuitive sense of what is right and can give my feedback from that.

You can view an example of an Astro*Carto*Graphy map here, for Bill Clinton. It's not as complicated as it looks, or as complicated as he is.

In one sentence, Astro*Carto*Graphy is based on the angles. The lines on the map are the places where one's natal planets would show up in an angular house (1st, 4th, 7th, 10th) in any given part of the world.

As for your situation: Saturn going in to the 4th house, or over any angle (1st, 4th, 7th, 10th), can be a message that it's time to move, particularly from your home town when Saturn crosses the 4th. However, you say you have to wait -- "necessity" = Saturn. So I would say that a good image of Saturn in your 4th house is building a foundation.

But just make sure you set limits, get your work done, and move on if that's what you really want to do.

Also, watch transits to your Sun for more information, since the Sun rules your 4th.

Please note that in my reading several of the more popular books on locational astrology, I have noticed that they are unduly negative to the point of utter doom and goom. Please check many sources. Use your common sense.

The Galactic Core

Dear Eric,

Please could you point me in the right direction to find an ephemeris for the Galactic Centre? I found one for 1900 - 2000, but I would like to know where it is now. Many thanks if you can help with this.

Love and best wishes
Sue (aka Astral)

Dear Astral

The Galactic Core is a fixed point, so it does not orbit the Sun and thus moves extremely slowly. Because the Earth wobbles, all the fixed stars appear to move about one degree every 72 years. Based on this, the position of the Galactic Core as of this month is:

26 degrees of Sagittarius and 55 arc minutes. Sabian Symbol: "A sculptor at his work. The ability to project one's vision upon and to give form to materials."

I used the French-published Aureas Ephemeris to locate this position.

For those interested in the fixed stars, here is a chart to their locations and one version of their meaning. Remember that all the meanings are based on one point of view and others will provide many different ideas. You need to work with a point to really find out what it means to you.

And here is another resource.

Note that fixed star listings don't generally discuss the new points -- such as quasars, galaxies, black holes and other related points -- which are the modern equivalent of fixed stars.

If anyone is curious, I can get into those another week.

See you over at Planet Waves. New readers to this column will find my near-daily blog, much writing about astrology and a really cool photo gallery with many pictures from Europe and North America.

Additional research and ideas: Michelle Perrin

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