The other day, a friend of mine called me an astrologer. I definitely don’t feel like one. I don’t feel like I know enough, especially compared to the astrologers I know, and of them, especially the ones who have been certified through organizations like the International Society of Astrological Research. I have helped people understand their own natal charts and the natal charts of their children, but I like having some cred.
Whatever I am, an astrologer or just a very curious person, I thought I’d take a deep dive into astrology in this post. My website name is an astrological aspect (sun opposition moon, which means that there was a full moon at the time of my birth). I keep talking about sun signs (aka the sign you look up for your horoscope) in my posts as well. I’ve been in a horribly didactic mood lately, so I might as well go all in and talk about how astrology can help you understand your family.
Today is my brother’s birthday (June 28th). He’s two and a half years younger than me and is also a full moon baby (Cancer sun, Capricorn moon). I don’t know his birth time because I really just started getting into this and my mom is quite evangelical and thinks astrology is ridiculous. So I’m not asking her.
Let’s start with my planets first.
Ascendant (or Rising): Capricorn
Mercury: Sagittarius (retrograde)
Mars: Leo (retrograde)
Jupiter: Cancer (retrograde)
Saturn: Virgo (retrograde)
My generational planets are Uranus in Scorpio, Neptune in Sagittarius, and Pluto in Libra. There’s some interesting things to talk about with both Uranus, as it transits to Taurus next year (it is opposite Scorpio), and Pluto, which is squaring, or at a 90 degree angle with the current transit of Pluto in Capricorn. It’s hard to say what is going on for us Gen Xers as Pluto is going through Capricorn. But I will definitely write about how Pluto in Capricorn is affecting me, doubly, in another post.
A few pointers:
- Your ascendant or rising sign is the zodiac sign that was rising on the eastern horizon at the time you were born.
- If you have a rising sign that is the same as your sun sign, you were probably born early in the morning (and I was).
- Every sign has some element to it (triplicity):
- Fire: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
- Earth: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
- Air: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
- Water: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
- Every sign also has another kind of quality called a quadruplicity–basically, how a sign functions within a season:
- Cardinal: Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn–they start off seasons
- Fixed: Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius–they keep the season going
- Mutable: Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces–they close out the seasons
- Every zodiac sign has a luminary or planet ruling it (I use the old school rulers).
- Sun rules Leo
- Moon rules Cancer
- Mercury rules Gemini and Virgo
- Venus rules Taurus and Libra
- Mars rules Aries and Scorpio (Pluto is the modern ruler of Scorpio)
- Jupiter rules Sagittarius and Pisces (Neptune is the modern ruler of Pisces)
- Saturn rules Capricorn and Aquarius (Uranus is the modern ruler of Aquarius)
Still with me? All these groupings will impact personality and actions. You start combining these natal planets and put them into signs, and then put them into houses, and then put them at degrees 0 through 29, then you can get a real specific sense about a particular aspect about a person (e.g. I have Jupiter in Cancer at 0, retrograde, in the 7th house).
The planets also have their own personalities and like hanging out with some signs more than others. It seems like if you know some Greek and Roman mythology, some of this will make sense already.
All this information–and I haven’t even talked about what the houses do (which are ruled by both zodiac signs and planets)–is why I don’t feel like an astrologer. It’s a really vast subject. But all these signs and planets and how they relate to each other in transit and natally–they explain things like self-expression, communication styles, and romance preferences.
So, by looking at how natal charts can interact with each other, you can also get a sense of how people can interact with each other, for better and for worse.
Back to my chart.
My chart has most of the planets “above the horizon”, in houses 7-12 (The natal chart starts at the 9 o’clock position and goes counterclockwise). So that means a public life. I’m pretty wide open about my life, to much distraction. My north node (who I am destined to be) is in Libra, and it’s somewhat conjunct (adjacent) to Pluto in Libra.
A little primer on retrograde planets
Retrograde means that a planet will look like it is orbiting backwards from our viewpoint on planet earth. How that affects us here is that we get to review certain things that are associated with that planet. Mercury retrograde, probably the most famous one, will deal with communication and travel. I was born under one, so it’s been said that for me, I will have an easier time communicating. It honestly all depends on what sign Mercury is in at the time and what house it falls in as it transits. Some retrogrades are easier to handle than others. Mercury retrograde is commonly felt because it’s the fastest planet.
Right now, both Saturn and Pluto are retrograde, and both planets are a lot smaller. What you end up seeing are events that play out on a larger, global scale, like trends in business, politics, fashion, etc. Unless you’re a Capricorn or Capricorn rising, or have some other personal planet in Capricorn, you’re not likely to personally feel this years-long transit.
I’ve heard it said that if you have many planets in retrograde (I have four), it’s the sign of a past life as well as some deep spirituality.
Based on these planets, maybe you could call me a volcano on an island? Fiery planets, some cozy watery placements in Cancer, and some earthy placements. You can see how I compare to the rest of my family.
My brother, M, has a chart that is clustered mainly on the left-hand side, with the 12th and 1st houses holding the majority of his planets.
Mercury: Cancer (retrograde)
Venus: Gemini (retrograde)
Saturn: Virgo (I have this, too)
Since we’re both in that famous Gen-Xer/Millennial gap, he and I share the outer planets (Uranus in Scorpio, Neptune in Sagittarius, Pluto in Libra–he has all of these as retrograde!). But for this, it’s not really important. Those are generational planets and those are interesting to talk about with global events and how generational beliefs. That will be more relevant for my baby boomer parents.
So what’s interesting about my brother, besides the stellium (three or more planets in one sign) that my brother has in Virgo (in his first house), is that, beyond the astrology, my brother is developmentally delayed (DD). So much of astrology is about how we view ourselves, our self-concepts. I’m not sure how my brother views himself.
The Virgo stellium–I’m not sure what to say about it with the backdrop of DD except that my brother remembers details vividly and at times, even with his DD, he’s able to integrate those details–that’s what Virgo is about. When he was little, he was able to go get something my parents were talking about in another language–they didn’t ask him to do it, he just understood. His intelligence is just different, even though it’s poorly understood.
He’s definitely a Cancer–a very nurturing person who loves to give hugs. But he is quite temperamental. He’s been through a lot–we all have as a family.
I think if he ever was in a relationship (he sort of is?), all that Virgo along with his Cancer placements would make him a very nurturing person.
As you can see, he lacks fire and I lack air. My parents have both of those, but not that much of air. I’ll talk about how that impacted us later.
His north node is in Leo, which is my father’s sun sign. It’s interesting since that’s also a sign he’s probably already progressed into.
Capricorn (ETA on 6/17/18: it’s Scorpio!)
Leo (ETA on 6/17/18: it’s Virgo!) (retrograde)
Jupiter: Virgo (my brother has this planet placement)
The generational planets are Uranus in Gemini, Neptune in Libra, and Pluto in Leo.
My dad’s north node is in Cancer which means his south node is in Capricorn. These nodes on the moon show where we have been (south node) and where we are going (north node). Even through my father’s degenerating mental health, I think he was better able to relate to me and my brother on a soul level.
That my brother and my father have north nodes in each other sun signs–my instinct is that they definitely needed each other, at this time, for soul growth. They have the tightest bond out of us four.
So you can see that my brother and dad share a Capricorn moon–it’s within a few degrees of each other, probably conjunct. Sharing a moon with someone makes it really easy to be friends. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why they also acted more like buddies than father and son. They also share the same Jupiter in Virgo.
ETA: My father’s Mercury is conjunct my Saturn in Virgo–both retrograde.
So Saturn is your proverbial wet blanket, and I honestly did not want to hear my dad pouring his heart out to me. I had to give him some major boundaries in communication with me.
My father has impeccable penmanship and Mercury is exalted in Virgo. I wonder if this is a trait that Mercury in Virgo folks have…
My dad’s Mars being in Gemini–he definitely was a multi-tasker and had his hand in so many different projects. He also did a lot with his hands. He’s very handy in general.
Could this be a foreshadowing of his bipolar disorder? I have no idea. I haven’t studied psychological astrology, at least not yet.
Both my dad and my brother are primarily ruled by the luminaries, the sun (which rules Leo) and the moon (which rules Cancer), as well as a bit of Mercury (which rules Gemini and Virgo).
I myself have a little bit of everything, but Jupiter (which rules Sagittarius) seems to be my ruler. First decan Capricorns (born within the first 10 degrees) are ruled by Jupiter, too.
Across all three of our charts, there is a lot of 11th house (ruled by Aquarius, which is traditionally ruled by Saturn) and 12th house (ruled by Pisces, which is traditionally ruled by Pisces) planets. My brother and I have personal planets in the 12th house, so it’s time to talk about our mother, who I am calling a fire fish (you’ll see why).
Mercury: Aquarius (retrograde)
Mars: Leo (retrograde) (I have this planet placement)
Being baby boomers, she shares the same generational planets with my dad: Uranus in Gemini, Neptune in Libra, and Pluto in Leo, with the latter two in retrograde.
And now you can see why I call my mother a fire fish. I can see why my dad was attracted to her. Her Venus trines (60 degrees apart) his sun. A trine means the planets share elemental signs.
In this case, Venus in Aries (a cardinal fire sign) trines a Leo sun (a fixed fire sign). Her Mars is weakly conjuncts his sun. It’s a fiery, passionate connection, which was for them about evangelical/charismatic Christianity.
All About My Mother
So, what are the missing elements from my mother’s chart? Earth and water! What do the rest of us have in abundance? Earth and water! She basically gave birth to and married what she was lacking, especially with my brother.
Everyone else is much more airy (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) than me, but this lack of air created a very intellectual household. My parents are both very smart and our home had a library of books all over, in almost every room. Although I may not really relate to air signs, all of my family members have personal planets in air signs.
You would think that having a mom with a Pisces with a Sag moon that she has something for everyone. Well, not really. I really think my mother is ruled by her moon (emotional expression). Sags like freedom and expansion (Jupiter, its ruler, is an expansive planet–which can be good or bad).
I’m not saying that anyone with a Sag moon can’t have a family, but my gut says, even though I don’t know her birth time, that this moon would be more about exploring her horizons, meeting a lot of people, having fun outside the home.
And that’s what she does. She is actively involved in church (Jupiter and Sag love religion!) and really loves her friends and her family of origin.
Her north node is in Taurus, and I don’t really have much to say about that, although my Chiron and M’s Chiron is in Taurus. That is interesting to look at: pain. Chiron is the wounded healer. I definitely have a painful relationship with my mother and my brother’s relationship with her isn’t that great, either. His Chiron is conjunct her north node.
There’s so much more I could talk about when it comes to my family, but my mom’s Sag moon seems to be really the heart of my own issues with her. She’s a citizen of the world, and my serious relationships were with men who were just like that (neither of them live in the United States anymore).
Knowing this makes it easier for me to accept her as she is and also sheds light on who I am attracted to–just her moon alone!
Neither my Mercury or Venus are close to her moon, but they are conjunct her Jupiter. I think both of those conjunctions is why we can do small talk really well, especially about religion and spirituality (this is in Sag).
The ultimate goal for me is to understand why my family connected and disconnected in the way that it did. Astrology is a tool that helps me to do that. For example, all of us have Mercury retrograde natally. Would that leave to communication breakdowns like we had? I’m not sure. Mercury is retrograde at least three times out of the year, for a few weeks at a time. But it is interesting see that my parents have fixed signs for Mercury and my brother and I have cardinal and mutable signs, respectively.
It can get even more involved if you look at transits during key times for families, as well as looking at synastry (how two people vibe or don’t vibe together). For example, I looked at a transit chart of when I was being dumped by my first boyfriend–there was a Sun-Pluto conjunction, which can be a very explosive time. It helped me understand how and why this happened–even if I could feel it come a few days before.
Astrology can go much further than your sun sign and its particular quirks. It can help you with your partnerships, business, friendships, and children for starters.
I spoke with my Mercury in Cancer brother for a few minutes on his birthday. He didn’t have much to say. He wanted to talk more about old friends of mine than about himself. Cancer and Virgo tend to be other-oriented signs, so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. But it saddened me that the closeness we had as children has now disappeared behind a wall of loss and disconnection.
All I can do is show up for him when I can.