Reading the Chart
Part One: Chart-As-A-Whole
You have just finished erecting a horoscope for a person. You were
supplied with the birth data (day, month, year, time, place) and
you may have used an ephemeris, an atlas, and a table of houses
along with a hand-held calculator for interpolation. (I hope that
you are not using logarithms when calculators are ubiquitous.) Perhaps,
instead of the laborious calculations, you took advantage of one
of the fine astrology programs available for your computer. In any
event, you now have before you a horoscope of a real person who
is depending upon you for help.
You know the meanings of the planets, the meanings of the zodiacal
signs, and the meanings of the houses. Probably, you can talk about
the Sun or other planets in each of the twelve signs, and the Sun
or other planets in each of the twelve houses. Those are details.
Any good text book can tell you what those placements mean. Your
computer software might tell you these details. It sounds impressive
to the uninitiated, but you know that this is not good enough.
The experts have always stressed interpreting the chart-as-a-whole
before one looks at any details. You have but to look at the writings
of Marc Edmund Jones, Dane Rudhyar, Charles Jayne, Al H. Morrison,
Carl Payne Tobey, Alan Leo, and Grant Lewi, to name a few, to see
this theme repeated. How does one look at the chart-as-a-whole?
One starts with a basic horoscope, containing the Sun, the Moon,
and the eight planets. Of course, you will have a circle divided
into twelve houses, with a Midheaven and an Ascendant. Defer consideration
of the Nodes, the Vertex, the Equatorial Ascendant, the Fixed Stars,
the Arabic Parts, the Asteroids, and the Trans-Neptunian planets
My basic approach to reading the chart-as-a-whole starts with a
count of the triplicities, the polarities, the quadruplicities,
and house residents. I need to know how many planets are in fire
signs, earth signs, air signs, and water signs. Similarly, I need
to know how many planets are in cardinal, fixed, or mutable signs.
Following the precepts taught by Charles Jayne, I assign one point
each to each of the eight planets, and two points each to the Sun,
the Moon, the Midheaven, and the Ascendant. Thus, the total of eight
planets at one point each plus Sun, Moon, Midheaven, and Ascendant
at two points each leads to a total tally of sixteen points. Thus,
a particular chart might have a count of eight fire, three earth,
two air, and three water, or any distribution that adds up to sixteen.
Similarly, this chart might have a count of eight cardinal, four
fixed, and four mutable, or any distribution that adds up to sixteen.
This fictitious person would be strongly fire and strongly cardinal,
and most like an Aries.
As to polarity, the fire and air signs are considered to have positive
polarity and to be masculine. The earth and water signs are considered
to have negative polarity and to be feminine (receptive and psychic.)
So, for the fictitious person described above, there is a count
of ten positive and six negative. The total of sixteen is a check
on the arithmetic.
The next count concerns only the eight planets and the Sun and
the Moon, with the Sun and Moon again each getting two points. The
check total will be twelve (eight plus two plus two equals twelve.)
Each planet resides in either an angular, succedent, or cadent house.
This tally distributes the twelve points in the three house categories.
Next, I take a look at the chart-as-a-whole for the Temperament
Type, as described by Marc Edmund Jones. I have described the seven
Temperament Types in a previous article for Astronet. You can find
it by clicking on the following sequence: Learning Center; Advanced
Astrology; Advanced Astrology Archives; Advanced Astrology for 6/30
You are still reading the chart-as-a-whole, without detail. Next,
I look at the Lunation Cycle, as described by Dan Rudhyar. This
topic was thoroughly treated in a series of articles that I wrote
for Astronet. You can find them in the Learning Center.
All these steps permit me to get an over-all look at the person
before I examine the details of the chart. There are many more steps
which I will describe in future articles.