Category Archives: Birth chart

Locational Astrology

In today’s post, Helene Schnitzer introduces us to locational astrology. Wherever you are, I hope you enjoy it! ~Pat

Usually, when reading a horoscope with a view to prediction, the question we ask is when things are going to happen. In addition, Locational Astrology is asking where they are going to take place.

[headline h=”5″]Early Techniques[/headline]

Locational Astrology is really a very old branch of our art. Ptolemy, who lived ca. 150 AD, established the first list of correspondences between certain places and astrological signs. These lists were expanded and refined during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Still, they would not go much further than, for example, “Italy is a Leo country, so being an Aries, you should have a lot of fun there,” or “London is a Gemini city, so as a writer or merchant, you should be doing well.”

Horary Astrology also makes use of the locational descriptions attached to the signs. However, this also doesn’t go much further than, “The planet signifying your lost cat is in Scorpio. It’s probably stuck in a murky swamp nearby.”

Eventually, the directions of the wind were attached to the various signs as well. For example, Taurus would be connected to the South, Scorpio to the North, and so forth. But there was no consensus; one astrologer might tell you to look for your lost cat in the North, whereas another would send you in a completely different direction.

[headline h=”5″]Local Space [/headline]

This lack of consensus was remedied with the development of so-called Local Space. This technique works with the astronomical reality behind the horoscope. For example, the Midheaven in the chart indicates the highest point in the sky, which the Sun reaches at noon. Therefore, the Midheaven is always pointing to the South. The Ascendant in the horoscope signifies the point on the horizon where the Sun would rise, i.e. the East. If a planet was situated in the eleventh house of the chart, i.e. between Ascendant and Midheaven, it would consequently be pointing towards the South-East. On the basis of this simple reasoning one can erect a Local Space map that shows in which directions the planets were pointing at the time of someone’s birth.

The theory, having been proven correct many times over, is that one evokes a planet’s energy by going into its original direction. For example, buying your groceries under your personal Moon line will likely give you exactly the nutrition you want (unless the Moon was strongly afflicted at birth). If you do the same under your Saturn line, you may find that your “fresh” vegetables are wilting and your bread is stale or sold out altogether when you arrive at the bakery.

A Local Space map is very useful within your home and local community. You can also take it with you when traveling, to help orientate yourself in a foreign city. However, your map loses its potency after about fifty miles from where you are at the time, due to the curved surface of our planet.

[headline h=”5″]AstroCartoGraphy
[/headline]

In the 1970s, Locational Astrology was revolutionized when American astrologer Jim Lewis developed AstroCartoGraphy. His genial realization was that, had you been born at the same date and time but in a different place, certain planets would have been positioned on one of the four angles of your horoscope.

The so-called angles are the Ascendant, Midheaven, Descendant and Immum Coeli (lowest point of the horoscope, bottom of the chart). They are “incidental,” which means they depend on time and location, due to the rotation and tilted axis of the Earth. Any planet situated on one of these points has prominence and tends to strongly express itself in the life of an individual.

Lewis’s theory was that a person could emphasize a planet’s effect by relocating to a place where this planet would have been on an angle at birth. Calculating where this would be, he found that each planet/angle combination forms a line circling the whole planet more or less vertically. At some points, these lines cross each other, forming a so-called paran, a line where two or more angular planets are at work and which circles the Earth horizontally.

Since Jim Lewis developed this technique and called it AstroCartoGraphy, it has helped many thousands of people to find the right location for their specific purpose – be it a career move or simply a relaxing holiday. However, should you consult an astrocartographer, please do not expect miracles. Remember, if it’s not in the natal chart, it won’t happen!


Helene

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Helene Schnitzer is an astrologer living in Glastonbury, England. Her specialities include Traditional, Horary and Hellenistic Astrology, and Astro*Carto*Graphy. Click HERE to read her full bio.

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Ask Real Astrologers: Dreading Saturn Transit, Help!

Looking for AnswersThis week’s question comes from Janeta in Australia:

I have my Saturn in the twelfth house and the last time I had that, between 2002 and 2004, I separated from my husband and lost my mother. I am dreading this period, as I am also involved in a challenging relationship and was just wondering if I am repeating some lessons.

Janeta, there’s no reason to dread a Saturn transit through the twelfth house. It’s actually one of the milder transits of Saturn.

The Saturn transit you experienced from 2002 to 2004 wasn’t in your twelfth house but your eighth house. Saturn’s tour through the eighth house is decidedly much tougher and sometimes corresponds to the loss of an important person in our lives (emphasis added). In your case, it was much harder. Not only was Saturn opposed to transiting Pluto during that time – a very intense aspect in and of itself – but the eclipses were in the same signs and therefore also in your eighth house. It really was a Saturn transit from hell, and not just for you.

Saturn takes about 29 years to go around the chart and won’t be in your eighth house again until 2030.

Saturn enters your twelfth house on December 11 and will stay until he crosses your Ascendant in September 2013. That transit will be far more significant, and I strongly recommend that you get a complete astrological reading at that time, as many things in a person’s life do tend to change when Saturn crosses the Ascendant. But that’s almost three years away, so you don’t need to worry about it right now.

For the time being, while Saturn is in your twelfth house, you have a chance to tie up loose ends, clear your plate, and get rid of anything that isn’t working for you. That could well include relationships with people who drag you down and take more than they give back to you. And the choice likely will be yours to make – unless you cling to a relationship long past the time when it should be over. In that case, life has a tendency to hand us situations that force us to let go of what isn’t serving us.

In my observation, the worst thing that tends to happen while Saturn is in the twelfth house is that we feel ineffectual and isolated. Dealing with people can seem hard, and we might give up even trying. It can be somewhat depressing, although it doesn’t have to be. “To everything, there is a season.”

This is no guarantee that people you love won’t die or go away. That’s always a possibility in life, and astrology can’t take away that fear or uncertainty, nor should it be used that way. But I can say with relative certainty that this Saturn transit will not be as difficult as the one you experienced before. You can relax, Janeta, to the extent possible in our troubled times.

I hope that helps, and thank you for a very pertinent question that I’m sure many others will identify with.

Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

Got a quick question? Click here to contact Ask Real Astrologers. You must use this form to contact me, or I won’t get your question. I do read all of your questions, although I am sorry that I can’t answer them all. If you need immediate guidance or in-depth advice, please contact me for a private consultation. THANKS!

Ask Real Astrologers: Can a Venus Return Predict Love?

Looking for AnswersThis week’s question comes from Amanda in New York City:

I was wondering what your thoughts were on the value of calculating a Venus return chart. Do you feel it can indicate or predict events on the romantic front for the coming year? Also, what happens if your Venus seems to return more than once? I have my Venus in Scorpio which was forward, then retrograded, then returned again!

Before I answer your question, Amanda, I want to briefly explain a “return” for those who may not be familiar with the term. A planet is said to “return” when it makes a complete orbit around the chart and comes back to the exact degree, minute, and second of its position in your birth chart.

The most common planetary returns astrologers interpret are the Solar Return, which happens every year around your birthday, and the Saturn Return, which occurs every 28-29 years. The Lunar Return happens once a month (rarely twice), and these, too, are fairly popular. But in theory, return charts can be cast for any of the planets that orbit the Sun in a human lifetime.

While Solar Returns are taught along with basic chart interpretation and are covered in many astrology books, there’s not a lot out there on Venus returns. So I have to start with the caveat that my experience with Venus Returns is entirely based on my own observations, and in fact it does suggest that this method of prediction can be very insightful. 

That said, a lot of my observations have been in hindsight, which is always 20/20. It’s not so easy to predict what will happen and when. Of course, the same can be said for transit charts. We can see that something is in the works, but there are always many potentialities in an energy pattern, and if you know enough about astrology to be asking advanced questions like this, then you already have the power to shape the outcome.

Occasionally, a Venus Return chart is exceptional, and in that case we can predict that the period between now and the next Venus Return will be exceptional. It makes sense intuitively that a three-part Venus Return is in itself unusual, and that does suggest a potentially life-changing event. We typically use Venus in the chart as an indicator of love and romance, but she does have influence over some other areas of life as well.

To determine what area of your life will be most affected, we need to examine all three charts in depth and look for the patterns. This is a detailed study and beyond the scope of this column, but I did take a quick look at your three charts, Amanda, and there are some patterns that emerge right away.

Your Venus returns took place on September 17 and October 28 (retrograde), and the third and final one will occur on December 10. The thing that leaps out at me is the position of Mars and Venus. On the date of your first Venus Return, Venus and Mars were conjunct in your fifth house of love and romance. The conjunction was separating, which isn’t as powerful as an applying conjunction, but it’s still significant. By the last date, on December 10, Mars will have advanced to a very tight, applying sextile with Venus, and he’ll be on your Venus Return Descendant conjunct the lunar North Node. Venus is in the fifth house again.

I would interpret this as a “karmic” signature, with a very strong possibility that you will meet a soul mate before your next Venus Return, which will be in mid-October 2011. You might already have met this person, in which case you’ll become more involved in the coming months.

I hope you’ll write and let us know what happens. And thanks for a great question, Amanda!

Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

Got a quick question? Click here to contact Ask Real Astrologers. You must use this form to contact me, or I won’t get your question. I do read all of your questions, although I am sorry that I can’t answer them all. If you need immediate guidance or in-depth advice, please contact me for a private consultation. THANKS!

Ask Real Astrologers: Why Am I Feeling So Weird Around People?

Looking for AnswersThis week’s question comes from Michelle in Southampton, UK:

I’ve been feeling really confused lately about being around other people. Normally I know who I am and that naturally directs how I should act and I get along with people well enough if they are compatible with me. Lately it seems as if I am confused about “who to be” around others, as if I don’t really know which part of myself to share with them … or something. I have had difficulties with a Libra that I was briefly dating and people I am obliged to be around every day, with whom there is no hostility but frequent awkwardness. What is going on???

Well, Michelle, I don’t suppose transiting Neptune exactly on your Ascendant at 25 degrees Aquarius would have a thing to do with it.

Neptune has been straddling your Ascendant since the beginning of the year, and that alone would explain the weirdness you feel. And your description of not having a good idea who you are anymore? Those words could have been lifted right out of the astrology textbook. Confusion, fog, being in a daze … that’s Neptune for you.

The Ascendant is the face you wear when you’re out in the world. It makes sense that how you come across to others and how you sense others’ perception of you would be very confused with the planet of fog, illusion, delusion, and confusion on your Ascendant.

Neptune went retrograde in late May and just turned direct last week. He stationed – stopped while shifting phases – dead on your Ascendant, and he’ll be there pretty much for the rest of the month.

Since Neptune is on your Ascendant, that means he’s opposite your Descendant, which marks the beginning of the sector of your chart that rules close personal relationships. So it also makes sense that your closest relationships are thrown into confusion. Dating while Neptune is on your Ascendant can be a tricky business, indeed. You are very susceptible to seeing with rose-colored glasses at this time, and you may fooled into thinking you’ve found The One, when later you’ll look back and wonder what on earth you were thinking.

To complicate things further, Neptune isn’t alone on your Ascendant right now, but he’s in conjunction with Chiron. That likely accounts for the awkwardness you describe.

Once Neptune crosses over solidly into your first house, some of the weirdness will die down. However, this is the beginning of a period of several years in which you will go through changes in your personality that may totally alter your idea of who you are. It is very possible that you won’t know yourself as well as you used to, because you will be very different than the You you used to know.

The standard advice I give while Neptune is in your first house is to check in periodically for a reality check with a friend or family member you trust. Listen to them, and take their advice seriously, even if your first reaction is to dismiss it out of hand.

I hope that helps!

Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

Got a quick question? Click here to contact Ask Real Astrologers. You must use this form to contact me, or I won’t get your question. I do read all of your questions, although I am sorry that I can’t answer them all. If you need immediate guidance or in-depth advice, please contact me for a private consultation. THANKS!

Ask Real Astrologers: How Often Do We Get a Saturn Return?

Looking for AnswersThis week’s question comes from Chiara in Alghero, Italy:

How often does Saturn return in a person’s chart? I’m pretty sure my Saturn returned around 2000 and would like to know if it is planning on returning again anytime soon. It caused some major damage the last time it came around.

Chiara, Saturn takes about 29 years to orbit the Sun, so that’s how long it takes to return to the exact degree it occupied in your natal chart. That means everyone has a Saturn return at about 28-29 years old and again around 58 and then in their late 80s.

The first Saturn return typically is the most disruptive, unless you’re one of the fortunate few who got your act together very early in life. If you’re not on the right path, or if you’re frittering away your gifts and talents and acting irresponsibly in general, your first Saturn return may bring crises that force you to grow up. Even if you’re pretty well on track, other things can happen around your Saturn return to take you to a new stage in life. Sometimes people get married or have their first child at this time.

Your Saturn return was not in 2000 but in 1998. Because your natal Saturn is in your first house, close to your Ascendant, transiting Saturn was in your first house, which is often a difficult time even when you’re not going through a Saturn return. In January 2000, he was still in your first house, but Jupiter also was there, and that should have helped alleviate some of the difficulty of a first-house Saturn transit. Moreover, by the middle of the year, Saturn had left your first house entirely.

Whatever “damage” occurred in that year, we can’t attribute it to your Saturn return. There were lots of other things going on, though.

In 2000, Chiron and Pluto were conjunct, and that was a difficult combination. They were in your eighth house, which is associated with death and transformation. If you lost loved ones in that year, it wouldn’t surprise me.

Also in 2000, Saturn was opposite your natal Neptune, and that also can be an extremely challenging transit. Emotionally, you don’t feel like yourself, and you may go through a period of depression.

Transiting Saturn and Pluto weren’t yet in close opposition in 2000, but they were in opposite houses in your chart, so your finances were under intense pressure.

As for your second Saturn return, it’s several years away, and it should be much easier. And in any case, a Saturn return is nothing to fear. It’s an important milestone in life. While it may bring heavier responsibilities, working hard pays off, and you get the rewards, too.

I hope that alleviates some of your concerns, Chiara, and thanks for writing.

Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

Got a quick question? Click here to contact Ask Real Astrologers. You must use this form to contact me, or I won’t get your question. I do read all of your questions, although I am sorry that I can’t answer them all. If you need immediate guidance or in-depth advice, please contact me for a private consultation. THANKS!

Ask Real Astrologers: How Can Scorpio Get Along Better at Work?

Looking for AnswersThis week’s question comes from Sarah in London, England:

Will relations with colleagues improve? I know Scorpios are infamous for being misunderstood, but this seems to be an ongoing theme for me. I perceive my behavior or reactions as either trying too hard by being too nice or reticent and withdrawn, which can leave me vulnerable to people making assumptions about who they think I am.

Sarah, as you probably know, you are a Rising Scorpio, in addition to having the Sun, Mercury, Venus, and Mars all in Scorpio. With Scorpio on the Ascendant, that means you have Taurus on the Descendant – the cusp of the house associated with one-on-one relationships – and the ruler of Taurus is Venus. In addition, your chart ruler, Pluto, is in the eleventh house, which has to do with your circle of friends and your business network.

No matter how you cut it, your über-Scorpio personality is very much a factor in your relationships, and there’s not much you can do about that. Trying to be someone or something you aren’t just isn’t going to work for you.

You’re right about Scorpio being misunderstood. That’s because people tend to fear what they don’t understand, and Scorpio is an intensely powerful sign. I’ve often observed that Scorpios seem to be plugged into a cosmic energy source that isn’t accessible to anyone without strong Pluto or Scorpio in their charts. You have that, and it’s like carrying around a loaded weapon. Moreover, anyone who has been on the receiving end of Scorpio’s sting has learned to keep their distance.

What you’re describing is the essential dilemma of Scorpio (or anyone with strong Scorpio in their chart). On one hand, you crave intimacy and merging with another on a soul level, yet you tend to keep people at an arm’s length for fear of being annihilated. The fact is, we’re all vulnerable to being hurt if we open up our hearts, but eventually we learn that we won’t cease to exist if someone we love hurts us. Scorpios who are aware of their power also fear that they will annihilate others, and I think that stops them sometimes from being who they’re meant to be.

As for the assumptions, people tend to judge others by their own moral values and beliefs. There is simply no way to control what others think of us. In other words, we’re all vulnerable to being misunderstood. That said, Scorpio does seem to have this problem a bit more than others, because of the tendency to be secretive. With co-workers, you may have to work at being more open with information that concerns them. If it doesn’t, then what you do in private on your own time is none of their business.

I would urge you to work on stepping into your power and making no excuses for it. The key is to wield your power for the good of the collective and not just for your own personal gain. It’s not an easy mission, but you are more than equipped with the tools you need for the job.

There’s a lot more I could say about your chart, and I didn’t answer all of the questions in your e-mail, because there just isn’t the space here for that. I think you would benefit greatly from a complete reading with a professional astrologer. I do them, but there are many others out there as well, and some much closer to home, if you prefer to do it in person.

I wish you the best of everything, and thanks for writing!

Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

Got a quick question? Click here to contact Ask Real Astrologers. You must use this form to contact me, or I won’t get your question. I do read all of your questions, although I am sorry that I can’t answer them all. If you need immediate guidance or in-depth advice, please contact me for a private consultation. THANKS!

Uber-Scorpion Bill Gates Turns 55

Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and one of the world’s richest men, turns 55 on Thursday. What better occasion than his birthday to make a few observations about the chart of a quintessential Scorpio?

Gates was born on October 28, 1955, in Seattle. According to Astrodatabank, his birth time was approximately 10 p.m., which gives him an Ascendant of just under 27 degrees Cancer. No one is born right on the hour, so this time is mostly likely a few minutes off. The sign is probably right, though, judging by his preference for V-neck sweaters like your father wore. It just screams Cancer!

As long as I’ve been an astrologer, Gates has been my model of everything Scorpio, which inspired me to start referring to him as “über-Scorpion.” All of the things we think of when we hear the word Scorpio can be applied to Bill Gates: aggressive, competitive, secretive, ruthless, defensive, obsessive, sarcastic, and intimidating, with a penchant for pre-emptive strikes. Scorpio doesn’t wait to be swallowed in a corporate takeover but swallows up the competition first. This is a risk-taker, an individual who doesn’t fear stepping right up to the line of the law and perhaps a bit over it. It’s all part of doing business.

There’s much that could be said about his chart, which has many clearly recognizable patterns – archetypal, you could say. But I’ll leave that analysis to someone else and concentrate on some broader observations.

I have a theory that Bill Gates had to be born a Scorpio in order to play his assigned role in this incarnation as transformer of personal computing. This is someone who aligned with his life’s purpose from a very early age. No matter what you might think of him or the PC, you can’t argue that he hasn’t had a powerful influence on how we use computers and, more importantly, how we communicate over the Internet. And this is where it gets interesting.

A few days ago, Gates’s successor at Microsoft, Ray Ozzie – himself about to retire – set the computer industry abuzz with a proclamation that the PC is dead. In its place we will have “software as a service” (SAAS) and something called “cloud computing.” It is a completely different model of computing, the equivalent of an empire crumbling in the wake of a new world order.

Gates left Microsoft on Jan. 7, 2008, ostensibly to spend more time at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the charitable trust he set up with his wife. When he left Microsoft, Pluto was in the early degrees of his sixth house, which is associated with one’s daily routine and service to humanity, and had just made a favorable trine to his second-house conjunction of Jupiter and Pluto (wealth and power). Saturn, meanwhile, had entered his third house, changing the way he communicated with others. With Saturn going down in his chart, his career was bottoming out. Apparently, he intuitively knew when to retire.

Over the summer, while the cardinal T-square was in full force, transiting Jupiter and Uranus were on Gates’s Midheaven, with Neptune and Chiron opposite his natal Jupiter-Pluto conjunction. That means Saturn crossed his IC (fourth-house cusp), and now Bill Gates is rising again, on a steady climb toward a second career peak.

Both Gates the man and the technology for which he is best known are transforming and evolving, and this seems somehow very exciting. Gates is moving toward using more of his wealth to help solve the world’s urgent problems, while the collective consciousness is channeling into new ways to expand the creative power of our minds and to connect with each other. We’re only one step away from getting rid of the material devices altogether and communicating telepathically.

It all seems so very Scorpio…

Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

Ask Real Astrologers: Is There Anything Positive About Venus Retrograde?

Looking for AnswersThis week’s question comes from Jennifer in Los Angeles:

My natal Venus happens to be both retrograde and in Scorpio. I have heard that when a person has a retrograde planet in a particular sign, that the inverted energies of the planet will reverse themselves, or “go direct,” when that planet goes retrograde in the same sign again. Sort of like two wrongs making a right.

Natal Venus retrograde in Scorpio is INTENSE, to say the least. I would love your insight into this awkward astrological predicament, especially how it relates to re-visiting past-life relationships. In the last year, I have felt more stuck and helpless than at any other time. If you have any words of encouragement for this Venus in Scorpio retrograde time, I’d love to hear them.

Great question, Jennifer. I’ve heard that theory, too, and it makes sense on a certain level. However, I just haven’t been able to verify it in action.

In my observation, each retrograde is different, depending on the sign of the retrograde planet, the house it’s transiting in your natal chart, the aspects it makes with your natal planets, and aspects it’s making with transiting planets. This is also true of Mercury retrograde.

The most I can say with any confidence is that people with a retrograde planet or with a challenging aspect in their natal chart – for example, a fixed T-square – seem to do better than the general population during periods when that planet is retrograde or when there’s a similar configuration in the sky. The logical explanation for this is that they were born with that particular challenge and so learned early on to compensate for it. You’re in your own element in a way, while others are totally disoriented and running around unsure of what to do.

I’ve seen more evidence of difficulty when a person’s chart ruler is retrograde. That means Rising Taurus and Rising Libra may be experiencing a lot of obstacles and frustrations right now.

Beyond that, I’d say that the intensity you feel isn’t all from your natal Venus. You have Venus, the Sun, and Uranus all closely conjunct in your twelfth house, and you’re a Rising Scorpio, too! Now that is intense, and it also means that you’ve got so many things going on at once that trying to pin down what transit is behind which circumstances in your life can be nearly impossible.

That said, it’s a given that Venus going retrograde a degree shy of your natal retrograde Venus is going to have some noticeable effect, and I’d expect it to have something to do with revisiting your relationships or, even more importantly, taking a good, hard look at your general approach to love and intimacy. I have a feeling that you’re not attracting the kind of relationship that fulfills your needs, and this is a perfect time for getting to the bottom of it. If you know a good therapist, I would use these last few weeks of Venus retrograde to have a session or two and at least start exploring the possible ways you may be holding yourself back or even sabotaging yourself when it comes to love. This would be the most valuable gift you could give to yourself while Venus is retrograde.

I could also see how Venus retrograde in your twelfth house would trigger dreams and memories of past-life relationships, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if you encountered someone you knew in a past-life (or, as I prefer to call them, “other lives”). I’m seeing a lot of this these days, though, and I can’t say that it’s all due to Venus retrograde. The cardinal T-square, with Pluto at the apex, seems to be awakening these memories in many people. Venus retrograde in Scorpio simply reinforces this trend.

I would advise you to get a complete transit reading as soon as you’re able. There’s a lot going on in your chart, and I simply don’t have the space here to address it all.

Keep your chin up. Things are the way they are for a reason. See if you can accept the change in your life and let it takes its course. If you fight it, you’ll only dig yourself in deeper.

Thanks for writing, Jennifer. I wish you lots of love, courage, and abundance.

Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

Got a quick question? Click here to contact Ask Real Astrologers. You must use this form to contact me, or I won’t get your question. I do read all of your questions, although I am sorry that I can’t answer them all. If you need immediate guidance or in-depth advice, please contact me for a private consultation. THANKS!

Ask Real Astrologers: Am I Having My Saturn Return?

Looking for AnswersThis week’s question comes from Lauren in Vermont:

I’m 27 and lately I’ve been feeling kind of nuts and like my life is turning on its head. I’ve been reevaluating everything – career path, relationships, you name it. A friend of mine told me that a person’s Saturn returns (I’m assuming she meant to the same sign as in your natal chart?) around 27-28 years of age and that it can cause upheavals, but I’m wondering what exactly it means when your Saturn returns.

Could that be what’s behind all this existential confusion? How can I navigate it?

Lauren, both you and your friend are almost right. The Saturn return occurs when transiting Saturn makes a complete orbit around the Sun and returns to the same sign and degree as in your birth chart. Normally, this happens at 28 or 29 years old, although occasionally it can happen earlier or later.

Your natal Saturn is at 1 degree Scorpio, so you won’t experience your first Saturn return until the middle of October 2012. The first Saturn return sometimes can be accompanied by existential angst, but only if you’re completely off-course and living your life totally out of synch with who you really are. There’s nothing like a Saturn return to instill a sense of maturity and responsibility, toward others as well as yourself.

The likeliest explanation for your turmoil is Venus retrograde. As a Rising Libra, you have Venus as your chart ruler, so when she’s retrograde, you feel it more than others. However, you’re particularly sensitive to this Venus retrograde, because she’s in your first house, which is about your personality and how you approach life in general.

To complicate matters even further, Venus crosses your natal Saturn three times during her retrograde period. The first pass was on September 10. The next two will be on November 5 and December 3. That alone is enough to make you question every relationship you ever had. Under this influence, we sometimes feel lonely and isolated – that old “nobody loves me” feeling.

Normally, the Venus-Saturn conjunction lasts only a couple of days. But anyone with Saturn in late Libra or the first half of Scorpio unfortunately will have to endure this discomfort for a couple of months, and it may be more intense. If you’re considering breaking off a relationship, you may want to wait until after Venus returns direct on November 18. It’s very possible that the relationship in question isn’t meeting your needs and that it’s time to let go and move on. But it’s also possible, under this transit, that you’re seeing all the negatives and none of the positives. Sorry to have to report that. But I hope you at least feel better knowing what’s going on and that there is an end to it.

By the way, my family is from Vermont, and I have many fond memories of visiting St. Albans as a child and swimming in Lake Champlain. 

Hang in there, Lauren, and thanks for writing.

Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

Related post:
Should I Build a Bunker?

Got a quick question? Click here to contact Ask Real Astrologers. You must use this form to contact me, or I won’t get your question. I do read all of your questions, although I am sorry that I can’t answer them all. If you need immediate guidance or in-depth advice, please contact me for a private consultation. THANKS!

Ask Real Astrologers: Where Is Pluto Transiting My Chart?

Looking for AnswersThis week’s question comes from Jackie in Brooklyn, New York:

Every month, I visit the blogs, websites, and online forums of several astrologers who say that Rising Leos should have Pluto in their sixth house now. In fact, all of these astrologers say that my work life is being “transformed,” and it is in a way. I just started a new job that I love and I feel the pains and pleasures of fulfilling, challenging work.

However, when I pull my transit chart, it clearly shows that Pluto, now out of retrograde, is retracing his steps in the earliest degrees of Capricorn. This means that Pluto is still in my fifth house (and causing me a lot of romantic relationship drama for the past year and half!). My fifth and sixth houses were both partially in Capricorn at my birth. How should I read this current Pluto transit?

I just love getting this kind of question, Jackie, because it allows me to explain, once again, why generic horoscopes are of limited value. Since you know your Rising sign, you’re getting more out of them than people who read only for their Sun sign, but you very clearly understand the problem you’re bumping up against, and it can be frustrating.

While most Sun sign astrologers advise reading for your Sun sign as well as your Rising sign, that still doesn’t address the degree of your Ascendant. Reading for your Rising sign generally is more accurate, but you have to know the degree of your Ascendant and adjust accordingly. For example, if you were a late degree Rising Leo, it might be better to read the horoscope for Virgo.

If your Rising Sign is in the middle of a degree, as yours is, that makes it even harder to know which sign to read for. You ought to do pretty well if you read for both Leo and Virgo. According to Sun sign horoscope “rules,” Virgos now have Capricorn in their solar fifth house. But then it gets so confusing – all the more so when the astrologer writing the horoscope refers to you as a Virgo and talks about traits of that sign that don’t apply to you.

One of my favorite monthlies is written by Susan Miller, who is amazingly accurate provided you read for the right sign – and that could change throughout the year or even from one aspect she’s writing about to another. I sometimes end up reading pieces of four different signs to get a complete picture. You almost have to be an astrologer to figure it out.

Now, as to your specific Pluto problem … Pluto will not enter your sixth house until February 2013. So it looks like your romantic relationship drama is going to continue for awhile. Sorry.

I’ve been contemplating teaching a class about how to use online horoscopes to their best advantage. I also have a new means of writing horoscopes on the drawing board in an attempt to solve this problem for everyone. Watch this space in the weeks ahead for news.

In the meantime, there’s no substitute for a reading with a professional astrologer. It costs more, but it saves you a ton of time and guesswork.

Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

Related posts:
How Will the T-Square Affect My Sign?
What’s In Store for Taurus Sun?

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