A Journal of Inner Work and Therapeutic Arts
Immanence and Identity in Plural Personality
Richard Dagan

Studies Index...

Matters of House Division and the Jupiter-Saturn Schism.

15 November 2012

17 March 2015, Saint Patrick's Day: I've rewritten the last few paragraphs of this study to reflect current considerations. Whether I'm working with tropical (sayana), sidereal or other types of chart, my base system of house division is Whole Signs. While this system is emphasized in the recension presented at the end of the study, illustrated by the resonance of planetary placements and work-through dynamics in the radix, we conclude that sometimes two or more approaches simultaneously hold true. When that happens, we need to change the rules to accommodate the insight afforded by our maps.

In Search of the Best House System is a comprehensive essay originally published in the International Society for Astrological Research (ISAR) journal, International Astrologer, Leo 2007:79-83. Author Alova presents a technical evaluation of some 24 House Systems and identifies the "best" on the basis of whether the system can be meaningfully applied at polar latitudes, the cusps depend on latitude, and the ASC and MC respectively mark the first and tenth houses. The Topocentric or Polich-Page System is the clear winner, but the commonly used Placidus System is a close second, despite the fact that it also fails at arctic latitudes. I found Alova's explanation for the rise and continued popularity of the Placidean quite interesting, particularly since I haven't found it as accurate as other systems — e.g., Koch, Equal House, Regiomontanus.

[...D]uring the Renaissance in Europe when astrology experienced a revival, many people were not highly trained in mathematics. The Placidus House System has one very convenient characteristic: the positions of the house cusps at different times and latitudes can easily be listed in a table, and one can calculate the needed cusps by simply interpolating between neighboring values in the table. Computation is quick and easy, and requires only simple mathematics. Thus it was easy for those of moderate means and education to construct horoscopes.

The Placidus House System also became popular because, in astrological practice, it actually works quite well. Interpretations of horoscopes bear out.

When I began studying astrology in 1970, the system I learned was Equal House (Margaret Hone). Pluto tenants the 1stH in that system, but drops into the 2nd with Placidus — a placement which, despite my frequent bouts of impecunity, has never felt right. The 1stH placement, on the other hand, is highly resonant.

Alan Oken presents an interpretation of Pluto in the First which is consistent with my experience — the 2nd placement, not so much.

Source: The Horoscope, The Road and Its Travelers. Alan Oken. NY: Bantam. (1974:132-3)

The regenerating, transforming, or completely annihilating tendencies of Pluto manifest themselves [...]

a. IN THE 1stH as a great need for solitude on the part of the individual [...] Pluto rising marks a loner, someone who is constantly undergoing a process of transformation which is tested through sporadic attempts at social interactions. [...] The life is filled with drastic endings and constant new beginnings directly related to inner growth.

b. IN THE 2nd in financial circumstances. When it is well-aspected, Pluto in this position can act as a "never-ending fountain of gold." But when it is afflicted it can suddenly withdraw rewards worked for over a long period of time. [...] Pluto works for long periods underneath the surface of apparent activities before its manifestation appears in the physical world.

In his highly praised book on the evolutionary significance of Pluto, Jeff Green provides more elaborated interpretations of Pluto through the Houses. His descriptions of Pluto in the First suggest an archetype or theme involving the initiation of new actions and desires reflecting a new cycle in evolutionary development.

Source: Pluto: The evolutionary journey of the soul. Jeff Green. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn. (1996:314-349.

This [...] normally creates an identity crisis as the individual feels deep inner urges to break free from the past that binds [...] or is perceived to prevent growth. The past, of course, represents familiarity, and thus, security.

He writes of evolutionary impulses operating on an instinctual level, as urges rather than well-formed thoughts. He advises that one act on these urges "at a gut level", following them if it feels right, not following if it feels wrong. The sensibility of these urges will be knowable after the fact. "Following the inner instincts and impulses [...] will lead the individual into the discovery of new paths and experiences that allow for the actualization of new dynamics and dimensions of the personality."

Green also discusses reactive emotional responses (anger, anxiety, restlessness, impatience) associated with this process, including the projection of negative feelings onto others, or turning them against the self "for the self-created conditions that now lead to a sense of containment and confinement". There is much more, including sexual issues and identity, but the main theme is the initiation and exploration of desires and actions which will lead to new discoveries and directions, opening uncharted dimensions in personal development.

These ideas are familiar to me and quite relevant, though I hear "voices" rather than experience gut-level urges and there is far more self-directed effort to engage, analyze and work through emotional reactions in my case — not quite in keeping with the raw, break-free exploratory force Green seems to be describing. Perhaps I'm getting a bit ahead of myself there, since Green's description is dealing with Pluto in isolation, not engaged in a complex psychodynamic with a solar stellium, Venus, Neptune R, Chiron R, etc. So, let's take this a little further and look at the significance of Pluto in the 2nd.

Green interprets the archetype or theme of Pluto in the Second as an evolutionary process involving metamorphosis in patterns of relating to oneself and others. The process promotes a fundamental reevaluation of value systems. Again from Green (317-22, passim):

[...] intense self-examination. Through inner confrontation the individual can eliminate and transform existing self-perceptions and the value associations upon which they are based. [...I]t is very common for the individual to experience an essential break-down or loss of personal meaning. [...] The degree of intensity, conflict, resistance and confrontation [...] depends upon the individual's willingness or unwillingness to change. [...T]he individual can become aware of new personal resources from within that can be used to establish either a new means of making a living, or to regenerate and reexpress the current means [...]

One is unable to find "meaning, value and relatedness" in the current livelihood, or one needs to expand upon and reformulate activities to reflect newly emergent dimensions of self. In either circumstance, the sense of confinement promotes action. But there can occur loss without conscious intent. Here, Green opts for a karmic explanation and the idea of retribution. In that respect, I think, he drifts off the mark. To be sure, the unintended or unanticipated loss of livelihood may result in an emotional shock that induces self-examination — I've certainly experienced that — and the result of such self-examination may involve new efforts to achieve self-reliance. You run into a problem, you adapt, you try something else. But here we're talking about inner-hidden-deeper-secret evolutionary drives, not necessarily consequential or the result of some past-life circumstance. Evolutionary drives might well involve issues of self-worth and confidence, themes going to identify growth and stability. Green tells us that the 2nd Pluto process "symbolizes that the Soul desires to transform the existing value systems through which the individual gives personal meaning to his or her life [...] to eliminate all the old value associations, possessions, and ways of relating to oneself and others so that new patterns and associations can manifest."  I can see that happening in other circumstances too, with Pluto in an entirely different House.

While I find these ideas of interest in the sense that my life path has frequently involved financial instability and a minimalist existence, my primary focus does not involve resolving that problem. Even when I attempt to address it — not as a point of focus but simply to get things under sufficient control to do what I feel impelled to do — I achieve the minimum and am quickly off in pursuit of other inwardly driven goals relative to or in response to the influence of Pluto in the 1stH.

The developing demise of a website on which I have worked for more than 10 years might illustrate an adverse Plutonian influence in the 2nd, but this event is more readily appreciated by the current transit of Pluto in Capricorn, from where it squares my natal MC, North Node, Apollo, Venus and Vesta complement (conjunct transiting Uranus) in Aries.

In the Equal House system, Saturn in the Second more consistently describes my financial concerns and ongoing problems with personal resources. Saturn in the Second trines the Taurus stellium (Sun, Algol, Capulus, Mercury R, Moon, Lilith, Part of Marriage) in the Tenth, but that does not improve my financial situation per se; rather, its influence primarily seems to foster analytic understanding and calm when psychoemotional issues or concerns about poverty and security become destabilizing. As it happens, Pluto is square the Taurus stellium and sextile Neptune R, which in turn is biquintile Mercury R and Moon. Saturn is roughly midway between Pluto and Neptune R. The Saturn-Juno-Mars grouping, all in Virgo, serves to focus creative drive on matters of psychoemotional stability and an intrapsychic sense of security, not outer-world.

A major dynamic at play for me is Jupiter opposition Saturn. This schism is rather like a beating heart in my chart. Dana Gerhardt's essay on these two planets is an interesting read.

Source: Jupiter and Saturn - Astrodienst. Dana Gerhardt, Astrodienst.

Jupiter and Saturn are the "social planets," orbiting between the personal planets (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars) and the transpersonal (Uranus, Neptune, Pluto). While the personal planets symbolize our inner world, Jupiter and Saturn represent society — the outer world. Their conjunction every twenty years signals a social shift, a new wave of cultural expectations and experiences; this crests at their opposition and dissolves into another new wave at their next conjunction. In the birth chart they suggest our societal fate, based what we hope is possible "out there" and what we fear is not. At the visible limits of our solar system, this good cop/bad cop duo patrol our personal unknown, all that mystery beyond us — which is everything really, until experiences are interpreted by this pair and crystallized into a point of view. That's the insidious part: what Jupiter and Saturn discover about our world eventually becomes our world. Conditioned to expect certain experiences, we'll either use Jupiter and Saturn as springboards to reach our highest potential or as giant barriers to hold us back. Indeed, as the reality structure inherited from our elders and the freedom to transcend the same, Saturn and Jupiter are the de facto architects of our world.

Jupiter and Saturn "suggest our social fate, based on what we hope is possible 'out there' and what we fear is not". And in chart analysis, particularly in the case of hard Jupiter-Saturn aspects and their extensions, many factors come into play in our evaluation of the psychodynamics going to that social fate, or, more fundamentally, our desire and capacity to participate in the social milieu. Some authors apply highly moralistic interpretations to these Jupiter-Saturn aspects, suggesting fluctuation between self-knowing and fundamental doubts regarding self-worth. Added to the mash are notions of laziness, poor understanding of personal capabilities leading to over- or under-estimation of competence and talent, fear of competition, need for constant reassurance and support, willfulness, irresponsibility and immaturity (see e.g. Robert Pelletier on Jupiter square and opposition Saturn — PDF). Should they even approach relevance in identifying maladaptive behavior, such negative pronouncements certainly do not rise to the level of psychological analysis.

In The Karmic Journey: The birthchart, karma and reincarnation (1990:43-4), Judy Hall writes of past-life patterns indicated in hard Jupiter-Saturn aspects.

The past-life patterns connected with aspects of Jupiter (the Optimist) and Saturn (the Pessimist) involve the profligate and the miser, the person who lives on hope and the person who lives in fear, over-indulgence versus self-denial, and self-expansion against repression; they are exemplified in the extremes of the manic depressive. The Jupiter-Saturn square in particular indicates that the soul has had many opportunities to advance in past lives, but failed to take advantage of them, and must now struggle with adverse 'circumstances' [...]

Liz Greene describes Saturn-Jupiter conflict as a "sharp dichotomy between intuitive perception and practical observation" and one which "symbolize[s] a choice between the faith which stems from an intuitive recognition of purpose in life, and the fear which stems from identification with and consequent control by the forces of one's environment." [...]

The challenge of Jupiter-Saturn aspects is to integrate the intuitive perception of the oneness of life with the personal responsibility and self-discipline which Saturn has to offer, and thereby to find both meaning and inner direction. [...]

Saint Patrick's Day, 17 March 2015.
Meh. Again, while I don't buy the past-life framing, Hall's take on the dichotomy is serviceable, as is Greene's; both approaches address the hard aspects in abstract terms, however, and have little to offer with respect to psychodynamics.

For example, my Jupiter and Saturn are opposed and contraparallel (orb = 145'45"). But Jupiter tenants Pisces, conjuncts Anubis and Hekate in the 8thH-E, 9thH-WS, and trines Uranus in the 12thH-E, 1stH-WS. Uranus and Pluto (1stH-E, 2ndH-WS) are parallel (orb = 010'42"), acting in tandem. Saturn is quintile Uranus (orb = 214', taking the max orb as 220'), and that makes Uranus the work-through point.

You know, in working on this study several years ago, I was preoccupied with matters briefly described above, worldly problems, issues of limitation affecting finances and project continuity; these were chiefly considered with respect to the Jupiter-Saturn opposition, which I've described as "rather like the beating heart of my chart". That image remains useful, from my perspective, but it can't be appreciated out of context, without due consideration of the work-through dynamics in the gestalt.

For many years I have been wont to place Pluto in the 1stH, proundly espousing the line I incorporated from Oken's work referenced above: "Pluto rising marks a loner..." But now I see that 2ndH Pluto more precisely describes me with regard to the quest for purity in values, as it conjoins the solar stellium in psychospiritually challenging squares and contributes to our core kite formation as well as other key dynamics.

Uranus, similarly, was my main squeeze in description of 12thH unconscious priorities, linked with the PoF and a host of other factors, points (eg, EP), asteroids (esp, Osiris), and fixed stars (esp, Sirius). That was all well and good and, indeed, though I've been aware of the possibility that Uranus equally applies to me in context of the 1stH, the concept did not strike home again, did not present so prominently, till quite recently.

Why? Well, chiefly because I've been able to focus on transformative process and initiatives for a great many years, to the exclusion of many mundanities. True, I've lived in poverty, with very limited means, but I've been able to achieve what remained important to me. And that had very little to do with outer-world practicality. In fact, as Sedgwick describes the significance of radix aspects to the Galactic Center, pointing out that these natives often feel as if they're visitors here, from another planet or dimension, so it has been and remains for me — Chiron R, Ceres R, and many more factors, including the Vertex, present proximal the GC.

Until recently, transformations per Pluto commanded centerstage. The reality is that they continue to, fundamentally, but there has always been a Uranian current there too, and this energy now challenges me to innovate, create something new. Transiting and progressed influences go to review and reenvisionment, clearing away the outmoded and ineffective, distilling and retooling, allowing invention to break through — that's our cogmap read — a transformation about which I am not yet prepared to write — or rather, about which Shenjiva will soon deal, in new studies, briefs, verse, and visual arts. Could be something else too...

But regarding the matter of house division, I now use Whole Signs in pretty much everything we do. And I realize that my old desire to find the 'true' system, one that best describes the nature of my process and informs me of the larger reality too, and facilitates the working-through of my issues, is better addressed if I eschew the complicated and apply the simplest, historically used, and that happens to be Whole Signs. But I will use whatever works, adapt and innovate, depending on the task at hand.

In this WS sidereal chart, Fortune is within 5º of the 1stH, so we treat of it as resident in the 12th, but as 12/1-active. Here we're using Lahiri ayanamsa, but a similar result obtains with my preferred ayanamsas, Pushya-paksha and Rohini-paksha.

For example, the Whole Sign tropical locus for Part of Fortune is 1stH Cancer; in WS sidereal, however, making eash rasi a house, the locus of Fortune is 12thH Gemini. Most other systems of house division I might apply in my studies find Fortune in the 12th, which seems to me the best fit, conjunct the Asc; exceptions include the Vehlow-equal, which positions the Asc at middle of the 1stH, so encompassing Fortune in the 1st, an option also available in Vedic sidereal charts, where, again, instead, I choose to read each rasi as a bhava. I can apply a 1stH locus to Fortune, of course, but such construal isn't nearly so persuasive; it doesn't seem to get to the deeper truth. Rather than facilitating work-through, a sense of focal dissonance ensues because we can't properly place Uranus, Fortune, and Pluto — no single tropical system resonates nearly so in-tune as do two, in this case: Whole Signs and Equal. So, using a combined approach, we read both Uranus and Pluto as 1stH-actives, and hold Fortune as a 12thH focus. Or we might simply shift to Whole Signs sidereal, read Fortune as 12/1-active, and Uranus in the same sense, in virtue of its parallel with 1stH Pluto.

Many interpretations are possible here, but the thing to remember is that we're using the maps as tools, not being bound or hamstrung by the rules.

Adapt, improvise, overcome... For some studies, two or more approaches prove simultaneously true. We simply change the rules — suspend the idea that it's only legitimate to use one system at a time, and that there ought not exist conflicting but equally veridical truth. We transcend the apparent conflict to apprehend the truth.