Strategy of natal chart analysis

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Jim Eshelman
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Strategy of natal chart analysis

Post by Jim Eshelman » Sun May 07, 2017 6:49 pm

Planets are the primary factors of a horoscope. Everything you examine is a variety of modification or conditioning of the respective planets.

In each main category of planetary conditioning, determine the very strongest factors - things so strong that nothing will contradict them. (Seeming contradictions at this level must co-exist, not overwhelm each other.)

Among constellations, the Sun and Moon signs are strongest, along with a stellium (four or more planets in one constellation). Mars is next most important. Anything else is of substantially minor importance by comparison (though the other placements have meaning and, as a second-string look, you might particularly want to include the Mercury and Venus signs).

Regarding angularity, planets are progressively stronger according to how close they are. Regarding the horizon and meridian, anything within about 3° is incredibly strong, out to about 7° is striking, anything within 10° "counts." (Measure this in Prime Vertical longitude, i.e., the mundoscope.) Closer wins over farther, and the closest generally prevails. In a close call, Ascendant and Midheaven are stronger than Descendant and IC. For Eastpoint/Westpoint and Zenith/Nadir (squares to the Ascendant), the maximum orb is 3°, and 2° is preferable. EP/WP contacts should be measured in Right Ascension, since they are RA squares to the Midheaven. Ecliptical squares to the Midheaven seem to cap out at 2°.

Regarding aspects, "strongest" is often confused with mode of manifestation. Strength is purely a matter of proximity (smallness of orb), but the type of aspect, the planets involved, and the angularity often will affect the outcome.
** TYPE OF ASPECT: Conjunctions, oppositions, and squares express far more dynamically than trines and sextiles (even though trines and sextiles of about the same orb will be roughly as strong, but in a nondynamic expression).
** PLANETS INVOLVED: Sun and Moon aspects are overwhelmingly the most important (other considerations, such as orbs, being comparable) because they most dramatically integrate the other planetary energies into the character core. Aspects just among outer planets (Jupiter outward, and moreso Uranus outward) have much less personal importance.
** ANGULARITY affects expressibility, not strength of the aspect. Thus, a foreground close hard aspect is a powerful urge that finds ready expression; a background close hard aspect is a powerful urge that seems to be denied expression. The latter, therefore, may be important in identifying health issues or areas of psychological conflict.

If you want to consider Houses, then the Sun and Moon houses (or those of a stellium) are the most important and powerful.

General tactics:

1.Start only with the strongest expressions in each category and form a synthesis from these too strong to be denied parts of the character.

2. Look for common themes that reinforce the same idea. Also look for contradictions, and know that the individual will need to find a way for these comparably strong, but seemingly antithetical, traits to coexist.

3. After you have a basic synthesis of the nature from the above, layer in less important factors, making sure that they are viewed as fitting into the primary thrust.

4. You may then wish to go planet by planet and analyze it in its own terms: Say, take Mercury and assess it by its angularity, sign placement, and aspects.


Relative aspect strength:
Aspect orbs (relative partility or exactness) determine aspect strength. It is helpful to group aspects in three columns:

Class 1: Conjunctions & oppositions within 4°. Squares, trines, and sextiles within 3°.
Class 2: Conjunctions & oppositions within 7°. Squares within 6°. Trines, and sextiles within 5°.
Class 3: Conjunctions & oppositions within 10°. Squares, trines, and sextiles within 7.5°.

Read column A first (and suppement with luminary aspects from column B). These are your first-string, super-strong aspects.
Continue reading in progressively larger orbs until you have enough nformation for your purposes, then stop.
I always read Col. A. I usually read Col. B. I almost never read Col. C, though I admit that they are technically effective.
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Re: Strategy of natal chart analysis

Post by SteveS » Mon Feb 19, 2018 4:33 pm

Has there ever been Sidereal Research on a planetary ruler of a Sun Sign being much more potent with partile/tight aspects, than the same planet not being a planetary ruler of a Sun Sign. Or, did Fagan/Bradley allow more weight with aspects involving the ruler of a Sun Sign?

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Re: Strategy of natal chart analysis

Post by Jim Eshelman » Mon Feb 19, 2018 4:48 pm

SteveS wrote:
Mon Feb 19, 2018 4:33 pm
Has there ever been Sidereal Research on a planetary ruler of a Sun Sign being much more potent with partile/tight aspects, than the same planet not being a planetary ruler of a Sun Sign. Or, did Fagan/Bradley allow more weight with aspects involving the ruler of a Sun Sign?
I don't understand the question. Can you give an example?
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Re: Strategy of natal chart analysis

Post by SteveS » Mon Feb 19, 2018 6:18 pm

OK, recently I was asked by a new contact (female) to look at her natal chart (link below). She wanted me to tell her the natal reason why she has had 3 divorces in her life. I told her because she was born with a tight Venus-Saturn opposition, and she responded: I bet you tell all women who have terrible divorces the same thing. I then said oh no, you don't understand, there is a very sound reason I tell women with potent Venus-Saturn symbolism a possible problematic situation with their love life, and then showed her Ebertin’s COSI book which was falling apart and told her to read aloud the Principle of Venus-Saturn which states:
Inhibitions in love life, suffering through love.

After reading, she then looked deeply at me and said:
I am now very impressed.
I then told her Venus rules her Sun Sign Libra, therefore Saturn probably wrecked more havoc on her love (Venus) life than most other female natives born with Venus-oppose Saturn, without their Sun Sign being ruled by Venus. She then told me she belonged to a female group of divorced women and hinted a possibility for booking all of them in my new free Sidereal Astrology teaching classes, but only to discuss their Natal Charts in a group setting. You see, women here in the South never have been exposed culturally to the truths of astrology and the deeper 'WHYS' for their terrible divorces or other crisis. I may be discovery a new mode of teaching Sidereal Astrology, at least here in the South--through certain groups.

This recent episode, prompted me to ask my original question. BTW, i am not an expert on comparison charts, but I really like the conjunctions in our two charts, combined with the transiting Jupiter action. She also just happens to be a communication expert with Social Media (look at her Natal Mercury action.) She is discussing with me about taking me and my free Sidereal Astrology teachings public. :)

https://imgur.com/a/qdR4q
Last edited by SteveS on Sat Feb 24, 2018 5:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Strategy of natal chart analysis

Post by Jim Eshelman » Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:09 pm

Given the astrological traditions of "ruling sign" importance, I have long looked, on and off, at whether the Sun-sign ruler has an unusual importance. For the most part, I haven't been able to tell that this was a valid doctrine. Theoretically, though, I've kept thinking it should be.

My logic on the matter is that, since Virgos (for example) are more Mercury-driven, Mercury matters should matter more to them. An Aries whose chart showed his or her power compromised would feel it more acutely. A Taurus or Libra would feel the whole effect of Venus matters than would other people.

It still sounds like a good theory. I just can't substantiate it in practice.

In your friend's case, there is, however, another principle that I think might apply. Because Saturn is exalted in Libra, a Libra Sun is already one way of saying that Saturn and Venus have comparable strong impact on the nature of the identity - there is already a Venus + Saturn component very deeply buried into he psyche. The fact that there is a Venus-Saturn aspect just means that the same message is being delivered more than once, and is particularly strong.

I don't recall Fagan or Bradley ever commenting on this, certainly not more than in passing.

PD = She has a pretty badly placed Venus: Background, in its fall, and opposite Saturn.
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Re: Strategy of natal chart analysis

Post by SteveS » Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:10 am

Jim wrote:
It still sounds like a good theory. I just can't substantiate it in practice.
Yes, probably something buried in ancient astrological history. I sure do hope I can look at all the natals of the divorce women's group, will be a good pilot study.

Jim wrote:
PD = She has a pretty badly placed Venus: Background, in its fall, and opposite Saturn.
Exactly, I noted this factor. It has been my experience, natives with prominent Venus-Saturn symbolism experience love break-ups in more painful ways.

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Re: Strategy of natal chart analysis

Post by SteveS » Sat Feb 24, 2018 6:02 pm

Kelly told me she is finding it difficult by habit to give-up her Tropical Scorpio Sun Sign, but since I told her she was a Sidereal Libra, she now has read the traits for a Libra, and says yes, with all the Venus things she has surrounded herself with during life--has to be a Libra. :) Next, her Sidereal Pisces vs Tropical Aries which will be much easier for her to accept.

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Re: Strategy of natal chart analysis

Post by Jim Eshelman » Sat Feb 24, 2018 6:09 pm

SteveS wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 6:02 pm
Kelly told me she is finding it difficult by habit to give-up her Tropical Scorpio Sun Sign, but since I told her she was a Sidereal Libra, she now has read the traits for a Libra, and says yes, with all the Venus things she has surrounded herself with during life--has to be a Libra. :)
FWIW, here's my summary of Sun in Libra, reduced to a tight core of ideas:
Relationship-centered. Polite, warm, affectionate; possessive, jealous. Enjoys beauty, comfort; often artistic. Appearance-conscious (vain). Tease (self & others: entice, deny, gratify). Peace (appeasement). Justice (righting wrongs). Shrewd, intense, secretive. Feminine thrives better than masculine. Optimistic futurist (personally, socially).
And here is my core on Venus-Saturn oppositions:
Work, duty, devotion give especial pleasure. Also, various restrictions (even hardships) in love. Work (with an eye to service) is inherently gratifying; ordinary pleasures may be delayed or sacrificed for responsibilities. Many seem comfortable alone (unpartnered), though there is rarely any sexual restraint (often quite the opposite). Childhood hardship or deprivation often exists (physical or emotional) that shapes adult patterns; many move far from their birthplace to restart their lives. Sober, responsible. Willing to pragmatically sacrifice (even sell-out) whatever they need to, for something more important to them.
BTW, Steve, I'm spending most of this weekend seeing how far I can get in prepping the interpretation module for SF. I decided that I could go ahead and summarize the current note sets (and call them PRELIMINARY SUMMARY rather than SUMMARY, implying that the traits aren't re-vetted). All the Sun-signs and aspects are done, and I've finished the Moon-signs up through Cancer (or otherwise I'd give you the Pisces summary for her).
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Re: Strategy of natal chart analysis

Post by SteveS » Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:19 pm

Jim wrote:
BTW, Steve, I'm spending most of this weekend seeing how far I can get in prepping the interpretation module for SF.
8-)

Kelly has a son BO who is going to put in Ebertin's "Principles" in the my interpretation module next month. I have been experimenting with several ladies who have had multiple divorces and instead of me telling them WHY they have experienced these multiple divorces astrologically with words coming out of my mouth, I have been pointing out the Signatures of their Natal Charts (partile and angular hits, very malefic).--Then I let them read Ebertin's "Principle" meanings and - (negative) manifestations out loud to all. I have been letting them do this in a group session with all being able to see each others Natal Signatures and hear each read out loud Ebertin's delineations. They are blown away and are having a blast in this group session. These are all new interested students in astrology, except for Kelly with a little knowledge. Kelly has organized this group session and afterwards asked me if I could somehow get Ebertin's words generated with my astro program. I said this could be done but I really don't know how. She said BO her son could easily do this task for me. When you are finished on your end with the interps module, I think I will get BO to combine yours with Ebertin in my SF. I think this will be a powerful tool for other students and astrologers as well. What are your thoughts? Will post some Natal Charts with multiple divorces later. Very interested Jupiter transit to my Asc Jim. :)

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Re: Strategy of natal chart analysis

Post by Jim Eshelman » Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:35 am

In a more private part of the forum this morning, a forum member asked, "Any recommendations for how to get past just looking up the interpretation and giving them? … How did you get good at it beyond just reading interpretations?" I answered him similarly to what I've written before, but also differently - so thought I'd add it here.


That's not an easy short-answer at all - I've so far taught 11 3-hour classes this summer addressing this very question. The important thing to keep in mind, I think, is the 80-20 rule: You can get 80% of what you need if you know 20% of the material. Until you feel secure, less is more. Your mind can only neurologically manage the synthesis of about six things at a time anyway, so you're going to be left with mechanical rendering instead of understanding unless you can get a chart down to about 6 or fewer things that matter.

These six things (or, preferably, fewer) can be clumps or clusters - looking for places where the same message comes from multiple places. Also, think of the planets as representing fundamental needs clusters based on the summary here (second post of this thread):
https://solunars.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=31#p110
So, for example, a close hard aspect between Venus and Pluto is a driving, intense intertwining of the affection needs (loving and being loved, giving and receiving nurturance, affiliation, sex, shared play) with the authenticity needs. You can still look this up (and should), but this will get you on the right track more quickly.

When you look at a natal chart, you will of course see competing and contradictory things because we all have contradictory characteristics. Stronger ones tend to overwhelm weaker ones (but without making them go away). The strongest characteristics, though, will not be suppressed by much of anything, and they need to coexist. That's one of the best keys to the most interesting parts of a person: Seemingly contradictory (or even incompatible) expressions that coexist and the person has had to live his or her life learning what to do with all of this, how they can peacefully (or even dynamically and creatively) coexist.

So first, take inventory of the chart: Ask yourself what the few, strongest factors are in each category. What are the strongest signs? (Sun and Moon for sure, layer in Mars if you want and include a stellium influence.) What are the strongest angular planets? (Distinguish angular from the rest and, if several are angular, distinguish the closest from the others,) What are the strongest aspects? (Usually close hard aspects that include at least one planet no farther out than Mars; but there are several interlocking considerations: hard vs. soft shows its dynamism, closeness of orb shows its strength, angularity shows its outward expressiveness, luminary involvement shows it being more intimately tied to the character core, etc.)

You are looking initially for a central core idea about a person, from the fewest, strongest possible factors. This core idea will be everything from a single planet that defines more or less everything about them to the other extreme of "You have several more or less distinct voices and themes in your character that don't have an obvious relationship to each other but coexist."

In this week's class, we looked at three people's charts that differed on how easy it was to find the core factors to synthesize for a first impression.

The first chart was Libra-Cancer man with Sun a few minutes from conjunct Venus, and Moon tightly square both of them. This made for a very strong Venus statement, so we were able to begin just talking about the Venus temperament. (Being able to talk about a single planet takes you quite far! Just think "Kid Gloves" and run with it.) The chart BTW only had one foreground planet, and that (Neptune) was quite widely foreground; and both Sun and Mars were in Libra as part of five planets in that constellation. As we started rounding it out, a general feel developed with a feminine-energy leaning (and his life has been committed to the arts): Venus and Moon ruled luminaries, Moon and Venus in their own signs vs. Sun and Mars were debilited, Mars background and poor by sign, but widely conjunct Sun and tightly trine Jupiter (meaning, it was strong enough to hold it's head up proudly and give moral courage) - the main point is, we were off on a roll!

The next chart was a young woman with a few distinct clumps in her chart. First, she's a rough-and-tumble variety of Hub-Rim, a Scorpio-Capricorn. Second, she has what is probably her defining aspect structure, Moon conjunct Venus and both square Pluto very tightly angular (Moon-Pluto square is 0°01' wide). Third, she has a somewhat more widely foreground exact Mercury-Urans conjunction in Scorpio. That's the big stuff (and I haven't even mentioned the closely angular Jupiter on WP.)

So, she has the fairly "butch" and potentially harsh Scorpio-Capricorn, yet the malefics are background and the benefics acutely foreground - she has the strength for whatever she needs but comes a ross harmless and (when she opens up) charming. But she's acutely private and, most importantly, just doesn't leave room for other people to define her or feed her any BS about her life, and she's acutely curious with a mind that thinks outside conventional paths and (again) outside other people's answers. At this point, you can set the astrology aside and just talk to the person about the person!

The third example was my chart, which I've spent so much time with that I'd lost track of much it isn't monothematic. There isn't a lot of recurrence of themes to make the astrologer's life easy. The big factors are easy enough to identify: Luminaries in Virgo-Aquarius, only Moon angular, and the key hard aspects Venus-Pluto, Jupiter-Uranus, Mercury-Saturn, and Mars-Neptune, to be rounded out later by the others. But to start synthesizing this chart, you have to look at atypical overlapping themes, e.g., the way Virgo and an angular Moon have certain overlapping themes, the obvious places Virgo and Aquarius meet, the way that the Mercury-Saturn resembles Virgo, what I consider the "hidden gem" of my chart: That its two closest (quarter-degree) aspects, Venus-Pluto and Jupiter-Uranus, boil down to well-aspected Uranus and Pluto - which, with the Aquarius Moon, takes the chart in its own "outside the box" directions.

Those are examples of how to start boiling a chart down to a few core themes.

Final tip: Be willing to look stuff up! Hey, **I** look stuff up - even my own stuff. I do know how astrology works, but my interpretations are based on data analysis that has isolated particular predictable traits, weighted according to how I think they are most likely to manifest in people living here and now, so I'd rather reread what I've written than make stuff up. To make this easier, grab the interpretation template (a Word file) from the following thread:
https://solunars.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1928#p13406
Note the second one, "alternative that does not require Solar Fire." It's just a Word file with core interpretations preloaded. You use it by making a copy of the file and then deleting everything that doesn't apply to the chart you're examining, and in a minute or two you end up with a series of notes that have helped you isolate the most important factors.
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