Imagine for a moment that Western astrology and Vedic astrology are two separate camps located near each other out in the woods. They engage in largely the same practices, but each camp has their own particular spin on thing and speaks in their own special dialect. For the most part though they tend to ignore each other.
Then one night each camp decides to send another spy over to the other one to listen in on their conversations, to see what they could learn from the experience the other group is having.
The next morning the Vedic spy returns to his camp, smiling. “I’ve got good news folks! There is this thing we aren’t using called the Midheaven, and it’s fantastic for stuff like career planning!”
The Western spy returns to his camp and sits down on the ground and rests his face in his hands, looking miserable. “Bad news, people. I’ve just discovered something else terrible that Saturn does…”
You’ve got to be careful when translating Vedic concepts into Western astrology and vice versa. Many techniques from one system can work in the other system, but as any professional translator can tell you certain subtleties in one language are hard to convey in another. I’m reminded of an early experiment in computer translation where the English phrase “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” was translated into Russian. The Russian translation came out as saying “the meat is good, but the alcohol is diluted.” This is the sort of thing that can happen when you translate Vedic astrology concepts into the Western system: not only will meaning be lost, if poorly done you’ll come across as just plain stupid.
If you are into Western astrology but want to learn more Vedic, I encourage you to keep the charts and the observations you make separate from each other. Both can be surprisingly accurate, but they speak essentially different languages. You can describe yourself in terms of your height, weight, build, hobbies, and occupation — or you can describe yourself as a carbon-based bipedal hominid who requires an oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere, dihydrogen monoxide, and a temperature range of between 280-300 degrees Kelvin. Both of these descriptions would be entirely accurate, but one is best suited to a dating profile, and the other one is best when first communicating with the Ambassador from Planet Zoolak… otherwise you’ll just sound weird and won’t get the results you were looking for.
I’ve had just enough experience with Vedic astrology that I wouldn’t necessarily bill myself as a Vedic astrologer, but I’ve learned enough to know which concepts import well and which ones don’t. On occasion here I will be presenting certain Vedic concepts that are particularly useful alongside Western techniques. I’ve already written one such blog entry, and you can see it here.
I’ve taught Western astrology before, and whenever the subject of Vedic comes up I encourage my students to learn more with the joke/warning that “if you are learning Vedic astrology and having fun with it, you’re probably doing it wrong.” Vedic tends to come across a lot more pessimistic than Western astrology does. It isn’t really, but both Western in Vedic astrology have distinctive you points on The Human Condition call me and to a Westerner that can often come across as gloomy.
Just relax. I will attempt to make this as enjoyable and painless as possible. Keep that in mind when you read the next sentence.
NEXT TIME: Sade Sati… the other awful thing Saturn does to you.
The issue of relationships come up a lot in my line of work. Astrologers have been looking at the dynamics of how people relate to each other — and have even put together many arranged marriages — for centuries now. So it’s natural that we would have a number of techniques that involve determining how well or how poorly a couple will function together. One of those techniques is a particularly powerful one, yet also one that is easily misinterpreted: the composite chart.
An astrologer will usually start interpreting the relationship potential for two charts by looking at what we call synastry: that’s where we see how each of the planets in the chart pf Person X connects to all of the planets in the chart of Person Y. A composite chart is when you take the mathematical average of the two charts and put them together. If your Moon is at 10 degrees Aries and your partner’s Moon is at 10 degrees Gemini, then your composite chart will have a Moon of 10 degrees Taurus.
This creates a third chart, which tells us a lot about the nature of the relationship itself as opposed to simply how those two individuals act towards each other. As you can imagine, this produces a lot of very useful information. However, in my experience, a composite chart can be incredibly misleading if you aren’t objective about it.
I recently wrote two blog entries about a readers marriage… Part One is here and Part Two is here if you didn’t see them already. GN had a question about leaving a marriage, and without even looking at the spouse’s birth chart I was able to dig up a fair deal of information about the marriage and what it’s going through now.
Since then I have had a look at the chart of GN’s spouse. Looking at the synastry between the two of them would take at least another two blog entries, but here is their composite chart:
Unlike my previous entries on this particular couple, the composite illustrates clearly the forces that brought them together and the forces that are pulling them apart. This chart has two of the aspects that are most likely to guarantee relationship success, and some features that are very likely to lead to some kind of breakdown.
Sometimes relationships are like cockroaches: horrible things that are very hard to get rid of. Sometimes relationships are like ice cream: delicious but doomed to not last long. And many relationships take turns at being both.
Here is what is best about this composite chart… and what could be most misleading if all you want to hear is good news:
- Sun conjunct Venus is usually a sign of warm mutual feelings and an ability to generally like each other.
- Jupiter conjunct descendant is an excellent sign for Mutual understanding and support.
Furthermore, we see Mars Trine Saturn, which is often an indication the negativity that invariably arrives eventually in a relationship can be dealt with in a constructive manner. Moon and Mercury conjunct and sextile Saturn lends a sort of emotional durability to the entire situation.
Under the right circumstances, like when a relationship is a relatively new or things are going relatively smoothly, it would be easy to look at these factors in the composite chart and declare the whole thing to be a profound and unmitigated success. Except of course, there is also bad news…
That Sun-Venus conjunction is in a close square to the Uranus-Pluto conjunction. That kind of aspect in a composite might make for lively fun at first, like a spirited game of Monopoly. Ultimately though, it can easily break down into power struggles and underhandedness and a lot of backstabbing, intentional or otherwise. It certainly isn’t helping that transiting Saturn is opposing/squaring that aspect now.
The Moon in this composite chart may be in a nice place in regard to the relatively dangerous planets Mars and Saturn, but is also conjunct the midpoint of those two planets. That is never an entirely comfortable place for the Moon to be. An unhappy Moon makes for an unhappy chart.
Just as it is easy to ignore the bad news when things are going well, it’s easy to overlook the potential good when things are going badly. I think that, based on my experience, this is why so many students of astrology use a composite to justify a bad relationship that they want to stay in — or to dismiss one they want to leave but have a hard time describing as being all that bad.
This is why I think it’s important to get an objective outside opinion when looking at one’s astrology, either your own or that of someone else you are in a relationship with. All the astrological technique in the world is of limited use if you aren’t being objective about things.
Here is an example of how that works. Thanks to the miracle of the composite I believe I have discovered My Ultimate Twin Flame Soul Mate Super Awesome Marriage Partner, and here’s the chart that proves that!
This is a composite for me and international movie star, producer, director, and former adult film actress (and fellow Canadian) Sunny Leone. Whatever you do, please do not Google that name from work. But just look! Look at that composite chart! Look at how fantastic it is!
Moon and Jupiter both within conjunction range of the Ascendant and each other? Woo hoo, that’s fantastic! Saturn and Uranus both making aspects to that Moon-Jupiter-Ascendant? That will make things both exciting and more stable! Venus opposite Pluto? What an incredible depth of emotion!
This of course completely ignores Sun square Neptune and Mars square Saturn, which indicates there is something inherently delusional about this relationship and that things could turn ugly under the right circumstances. Like, for example… if I were to actually approach Sunny Leone with this incredible true astrological wisdom about us as a couple, which would undoubtedly result in some combination of her screaming and running away and /or an intervention by security or police. Sunny Leone doesn’t know me from Adam and has undoubtedly had many stalkers appear, most of whom are probably even more dangerous than me. Also: she’s married, which just complicates things even more.
So yeah… objectivity. It counts for something. If you need objectivity about your relationship call me write me for details about doing a reading. And if you’re reading this, Sunny Leone? Heck, I won’t even charge you, because obviously it’s Cosmic Destiny or something.
Okay, okay, jeez Sunny… I’ll stop.
Astrologers fall all over themselves trying to explain how Neptune works in a birth chart and in transits. Liz Greene wrote a brilliant, phone-book-sized volume about it that still came out largely as a stack of metaphors.
I’ve tried to boil down Neptune into simple, easy to understand terms today. And in the tradition of Neptune itself, today’s entry is also a secret message to all the Pisces out there. Pisces loves little notes clandestinely passed to it in the back of the class.
Neptune is a drug. Avoid drugs, we’re told by the public service announcements, and your life will be a better place. And who am I to argue with public service announcements?
Here are some drugs to avoid today, and I’ve made it all as metaphor-free as Neptune itself will allow:
Being drunk is a loud party with no ride home. Marijuana is flipping through the channels looking for news but only finding cartoons. Ecstasy is dancing to the beat of a song that’s ruining your hearing. Mushrooms are like realizing that everything is alive, and everything is moving, and your house is running away. Heroin is a world where nothing goes wrong, ever, even when the roof cave in on you. Cocaine is all the speed of the Autobahn, with a thousand times more and deeper potholes. Caffeine is a commissioned salesman on a roll, and who cares if the store is closed? LSD is seeing what God sees, only to wonder later if God wouldn’t rather have cable instead. Nicotine is five seconds of clarity and ten seconds of death. Ketamine is like being in a giant hamster ball at the rodeo. Salvia is like sitting in a hot bath with a head full of helium.
Of course, “drugs” aren’t the only thing we drug ourselves with…
Religion is half an answer in an oversized hat. Spirituality is a muscular ditch-digger without a shovel. Politics is a band of attacking monkeys with written justification. Society is a beauty contest where you’re the only contestant and everyone else is a judge. Materialism is a starving man filling his face with styrofoam packing peanuts. Community is an angry mob with torches that accepts you… today. Romance is a beautiful child who screams for cookies every ten minutes. Sex is an itch you’d gladly tear your skin off for one day, and just a rash the next. Patriotism is a loyalty oath directed towards the empty drum you hide behind. The Internet is a room full of parrots all offering advice, all at once, all caked in each other’s crap. Astrology is a weatherman who can’t make it rain or stop raining. Love —
Love is the reason we’re all here, and is not the dominion of any one planet.
So: avoid all Neptunian drugs today, and everything will be as wonderful as it is in a public service announcement… for 15 to 60 seconds at least…
Last time, I covered the basics of what one looks at in the birth chart as far as potential for marriage or long-term relationships. This time, we get into the heavy duty technical details of one specific relationship facing difficult times. If you love that sort of thing, read on — it will illustrate the complexities that go into doing a reading. If you’d rather cut to the chase, skip the technicalities, and get some answers: go ahead and read the last section of this blog entry.
Normally when I do an actual reading for someone I don’t go into such painful detail as to the techniques and terminology that goes into it. In this case though, for illustrative purposes, I’m laying it all out in full detail. No, this will not be the quiz for 40% of your final mark — so relax.
Is the present marriage that I am in likely to end, when, under what circumstances, and will there be another for me, and when?
Right now must be an interesting time in your relationship. On the one hand, you’ve got all these transits (details below) destabilizing the situation. On the other hand though, you are currently experiencing your Saturn Trine. That transit tends to lend stability to a person’s life one way or another, and seeing as Saturn is the ruler of your Seventh House you’d think that this would be good news for your marriage. In some ways it probably is, but stability is not always a good thing. If things are running well for you, then stability is great. However if you’ve been in a shipwreck and you’re clinging to life by hanging on to the wreckage of your life boat, looking around and seeing that you’re in a stable situation (“Yup, still no rescue in sight, same as yesterday”) doesn’t help much, does it? To which I can only respond: yes, but at least you’re not in Shark Country.
Of course you can use that stability to strengthen your resolve to either fix things or get out, depending on what you want. But with the other transits you’re having, it’s hard to know exactly what you want, isn’t it?
Let me answer the last part of your question first. If next week you told me that you broke up with your spouse, I could easily give you time frames in which you might very well find yourself married (or in a committed relationship) again. However: keep in mind that even if you do break up with your spouse next week and meet your ideal dream mate the week after, the transits that led to the breakup of your marriage will still be in place. Have you ever noticed how often people get out of a turbulent relationship and get into another one soon afterwards, and even if that second relationship should in theory work fine there’s always trouble? People will tell you that’s because you need time to work on your self, and that’s often true. What I’m saying is that a transit that breaks up your marriage this week is going to be too big a transit to be over with by next week.
With Saturn as the ruler of your Seventh House cusp, and with your Saturn taking a very helpful trine from Jupiter in your birth chart, I can make a general observation that you will generally do well with your committed relationships and probably won’t have too hard a time finding one or making one work. Saturn as ruler of your seventh implies a certain desire for and understanding of the need for stability in a relationship. As with so many things in life though, you’ve got to be careful what kind of foundation your building that relationship on.
This is all in spite of the fact that your Saturn in Aries is technically a “debilitated” placement. If you think that a debilitated planet means you’ll never get good results, then you’ve never been on the receiving end of Muhammad Ali’s Mars in Taurus.
Astrologically speaking, the biggest problem with your marriage right now is transiting Pluto passing through your Seventh House, square your Seventh House ruler, Saturn. You may have noticed that Saturn is a very slow planet. One way or another you are unlikely to find the stability you want in a committed relationship for the next year or so. In time Pluto will move on and will eventually cross over your Seventh House cusp, which in its own right will bring more dramatic changes to your marriage and/or committed relationship. That won’t be kicking in until towards the end of this decade, so write me and ask about that then.
After having written well over a thousand words in an attempt to answer your relatively simple question, here’s the punchline: not only is your marriage adapting and evolving rapidly, you and your attitude towards committed relationships in general is also changing. You may very well have an idea in your head now as to what you want out of a marriage, but regardless of what actually happens I’m willing to bet that two years from now that image will be significantly changed — and may be much better suited to who you are.
Now, here’s the good news. Even though Pluto is going to be square your Seventh House ruler for the next couple of years, it will also be in trine range of your natal Uranus and Pluto for the next three to four years. The issues that are manifesting now that are causing problems for your marriage may simply be the birth pangs of a new and better you, regardless of the outcome of this particular marriage.
Pluto transits can be a wonderful growth opportunity, but it would be wrong of me to sell them to you entirely in those terms. Pluto transits often suck. They blow things up. Calling a difficult Pluto transit a “wonderful growth opportunity” may technically be true, but it’s also a little like calling your flooded basement an indoor pool. Then again, maybe your basement needed renovating anyway and you just kept putting it off until now.
You have free will as to how you deal with things, and so does your spouse. By laying out the general circumstances and the timing involved, even in a situation like this where I can’t give you a distinct yes or no answer, astrology can still be of tremendous use. We now know that whatever it is that is making trouble for your marriage won’t be going away tomorrow, or next month. So: what do you do?
Yes, it is difficult for me to answer your original question very simply. Life is often like that. A complex problem usually has a simple solution… and it’s usually wrong.