The Astrology Lab

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The 8th house in astrology: The monster hiding under your bed. (It’s you)

The 8th house is home to the heaviest feelings, the darkest desires, and a very irrational, subjective state of mind. It’s where we find some of our most powerful, all-consuming emotions and drives. If I had to describe the 8th house musically, it would be comparable to Meg Myer’s “Desire” or Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C# minor (Op 3, No 2). It’s when your blood is simmering beneath your skin, from anger, from betrayal, and you start fantasizing about your plan of revenge. It’s when we’re so deeply depressed, we consider the worst alternative. When we’re passionate. When we obsess over a person, an outcome, an idea. We all have the 8th house in our charts, but those with significant planets or the nodes in the 8th house will feel the intensity more than others.

The 8th house correlates astrologically with the sign of Scorpio or Pluto. So imagine that Plutonic energy wrapped up in a tiny sliver of your natal chart, and anything that lands in that house immediately plunges straight to the depths and lives there. Planets in the 8th house have emotional depth unseen to the eye, unseen to probably 99% of people that the 8th house person interacts with on a daily basis. It is a private house, the most secretive of all 12, and yes: 8th house people can keep a secret better than anyone else. Sometimes, even from themselves. Those with significant planets/luminaries in the 8th house are either very comfortable with their darkness or running from it. Ultimately, the goal is to integrate those darker aspects of self with the rest of you. You can’t be at war with yourself forever. Accepting those urges and emotions is where it all starts, and often this entire process is triggered by some sort of traumatic relationship or event.

If you meet someone with planets in the 8th house, chances are you don’t know them as well as you think. There will always be aspects of their personality that are completely private, known only to themselves or to a handful. But they do have a distinct, mysterious allure. You keep peeling away layers but can’t quite reach the core. Many 8th house individuals struggle with issues trusting and being vulnerable in relationships. When the trust of an 8th house individual is broken, they might struggle to forgive. And they’ll never forget. Fool me once, shame on you; that’s the only chance you get. Scorpionic personalities are not known for their forgiving nature. They’re known for their sting. Often 8th house personalities can get in their own way, over-analyze, obsess (no, really, obsess) far beyond the point of self-destructiveness. They’re curious about the depths of others, and sometimes even project their own nature onto those outside themselves. There could possibly be some interest in psychology and understanding the motivations of others. The individual’s maturity level depends on how conflicted the planets are falling in the 8th house and what life experiences have taught them. If a conflicted moon, squared by multiple planets for example, that 8th house moon may be considerably more self-destructive than one with trines, sextiles, and no hard aspects to it. Generally with age comes wisdom and integration of 8th house energies with those not so dense. 8th house individuals make loyal friends, accepting therapists, intense lovers, and some of the most ruthless opponents you’ll ever meet. If you get on their bad side, anyway. I wouldn’t suggest that.


The Vertex and Anti-Vertex in Astrology

The vertex is a relatively new angle of study in the astrological world. It was only discovered in the mid 1970s by Edward Johndro, and research seems to be lacking ever since, especially on the point opposite the Vertex, deemed the Anti-Vertex. Technically speaking, the Vertex is the point found at the intersection of the Prime Vertical and the Ecliptic. The west point is called the Vertex, while the east point is called the Anti-Vertex. If you plug your chart information into the Astrodienst website (which you can do for free), you can easily calculate your vertex placement that way. From what I’ve learned and experienced over the past ten years studying astrology, the vertex plays a heavier role in charts where it is closely aspecting another angle or a planet. Charts that don’t have their vertex forming those close aspects may not see its effect as much in the three predictive measures commonly used: progression, transits and lunations.

The vertex is about having faith in something larger than us and trusting the timing of those unseen forces. The vertex itself is that unknown factor, the magical connection between everything, our inner knowing and outer manifestation, unexplained synchronicities, dare I say “God”? The alignment of ourselves with something beyond our awareness, and being able to sense the push and pull of those forces in our lives. Many astrologers toss around the word “fate”, but there is always free will that trumps any astrological forces. Even the vertex. However, those unseen forces (astrology and otherwise) are always there whether or not we’re aware of them, comply, resist, ignore, or align with them.

Technically the vertex is an axis, with the anti-vertex at the other end. The anti-vertex is how we make sense of vertex experiences or other’s vertex experiences. I think the best way to describe the vertex is through metaphor: picture a girl letting go of a balloon and watching it disappear into the sky. Trusting, letting the forces beyond her control take over. The anti-vertex on the hand is like watching a spider weave its web, trying to make sense of those complex connections and recognizing the role we all play in our lives, what we catch for ourselves so-to-speak. A vertex experience would be running into a person the day after dreaming about them. The anti-vertex analysis of that, at least on my end, would be to look into the astrology and look for any common patterns. There are other ways to look for patterns. I’ve found that anti-vertex people LOVE Myers-Briggs personality typing. Love it. Whatever is necessary to make sense of reality. Keep in mind that everyone’s ‘reality’ is different though as we each sign up for a unique experience here.

Another way to think of the difference between the vertex and anti-vertex involves loci of control, where the vertex represents an external locus of control and the anti-vertex an internal locus of control. Ultimately, we should all strive for balance. That’s why the vertex has an opposite point and forms an axis in the chart. You need one to have the other. The vertex inspires the questions while the anti-vertex tries to find answers.

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The Astrological South Node

Let’s talk about the South Node. In synastry or chart comparison, anything the south node touches turns to that feeling of instant comfort with someone, attraction, familiarity. That South Node “it just flows! It’s like I’ve known you my whole life” kind of magic. That’s how it feels at first, anyway. It’s not until you’ve been in south node relationships for some time when you realize the toll it’s taken on you. In the natal chart, the south node represents where you’ve been, what you’ve mastered, what you’ve overdone even to the point where past patterns formed are now more detrimental than helpful to your life and mental health. Often with the South Node, we will see one’s self-destructive psychological mechanisms they rely on stemming from fear, though the cause of that fear varies based on house, sign and aspects. Where we get in our own way of happiness or success. The South Node will always be an important part of ourselves, regardless of how much progress we make.

The nodal axis itself, to me at least, represents our unique “settings” controlling our experience of life. Diving more into metaphysics here, but say we sign up for this life. We choose to come here to learn certain things, to grow in certain ways. To have certain experiences. The North/South Node axis SHAPES our personal growth experience here, it tells us where we may have karma (South Node), and where we can look for growth, balance, healing, and wellness (North Node). The North/South Node axis tells us what actions we can take that will bring us fulfillment, wellness, and success (North Node), and also what actions that will hold us back, keep us in the past (South Node). I hope that helps clarify the difference. It is ALWAYS important to consider the North and South Node rulers and any aspects (namely conjunction/opposition and squares) they make to other planets, midpoints and angles as well. To provide a quick example of rulership, if your South Node is in Cancer, it’s ruler would be the Moon. Say the moon in this chart is in Aries, heavily conflicted with multiple square aspects. It’s probably safe to say that that person is working out some Moon (emotion)-related South node karma manifesting as impulsive over-reactions, insensitivity, things like that. Side note: If you don’t identify with your North and South node from personal study, I might suggest looking into Sidereal astrology as a comparison to see if those rulers/signs make more sense to you than tropical. I’m currently on the fence about which system to use, so I’ve been using both for research and comparing. But we won’t get into that right now! 🙂

So what about synastry? The South Node DRAINS anything it touches in time. It’s all sunshine and flowers at first, but you’ll more likely than not develop some unhealthy dynamics depending on each person’s communication and maturity. The effect may be more immediate or take longer to manifest, it could be subtle or distinct. I’ve had instances where the first date with someone’s South Node tightly conjunct my Mars (energy, life force) instantly drained the energy out of me where I was exhausted afterwards! I’ve also experienced the instant ease of a moon-south node contact or sun-south node that overtime develops into criticism and self-projection of personal preferences and dislikes. Usually the South Node individual projects their life lessons and node-tailored personality expression preferences onto the Sun or Moon person and unconsciously restricts that person’s zazzle/core essence (sun) or emotional expression (moon). The sun or moon may not even realize this is happening at the time. They may unconsciously adapt their expression to meet the South Node person’s desires, but it’s never enough. Only after walking away from a south node relationship does the planet person realize how much it dimmed their light. It’s the south node person’s influence. Because in South Node’s world, certain characteristics are subjectively good and bad based on their karmic path. But the South Node person’s path is not the same as the planet person’s path, and having that close relationship blurs those lines.

If that was confusing, here’s an example. We have Jack, a Sagittarius North Node and Jill, a Capricorn North Node. Say Jill’s Sun and Jupiter are conjunct Jack’s South Node in Gemini and Jack’s Ascendant is conjunct Jill’s South Node in Cancer. Jack unconsciously projects his strong preference for Sagittarian qualities (because his North Node is in Sagittarius) and dislike for Gemini-characteristics (because his South Node is in Gemini) onto Jill. Jill being heavy in Gemini senses how Jack reacts to her Gemini expression and holds back. On the other hand, Jill unconsciously projects her strong preference for Capricorn qualities and her dislike of Cancer-characteristics onto Jack. But since Jack’s Ascendant is in Cancer, he finds that she is critical when he expresses those Cancer traits and unconsciously restricts himself to keep Jill around.

Venus-South Node isn’t so bad, perhaps because the nature of Venus is to please and it’s more amiable to South Node’s desires. It’s those tight Sun, Moon, or Ascendant conjunct South Node contacts you’ve got to watch out for in synastry because they often manifest with unhealthy dynamics. The South Node finds fault with the planet and feels held back, and the planet person feels their expression is hindered and the South Node is unjustly critical towards them. If you’re not able to objectively appreciate the other person and what makes them unique outside the context of your own nodal axis, sometimes the best option is to move on.

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The Astrological 7th House: Common Misconceptions

Hi everyone,

This post is a little random, but I figure I might as well write a bit since it’s been a minute. So. Have you ever noticed how in astrology all the 12 houses are person-centric except for the 7th house? By that I mean that most astrologers attribute the qualities of the descendant (7th house cusp) or any planets on that cusp or in the 7th house as characteristics of others outside of ourselves. In chart comparison articles, the 7th house is said to describe our ideal partner, or an undeveloped area of our personalities that we unconsciously draw to ourselves through partners/people external to ourselves.

The 7th through 12th houses are the ones usually dealing with the world outside of ourselves. But why is it that houses 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 have to do with our personal interaction with the outside world/people in it while the 7th house is all about who we attract to ourselves? To elaborate, let’s explore the 10th house starting out. Also an angle, the 10th house represents our highest aspirations, our lifetime goals, our public image, our footprint that we leave behind, our reputation. What we’re known for. The 11th house represents how we behave with friends or online even, our dedication to humanitarian causes, our participation in groups. The 8th house represents our private self, similar to the 4th house but a little darker it seems. The 8th house is all about intimacy and transformation. All of these other houses have to do with our relationship to that area of our lives, how our personality emerges, shifts, takes on a little different coloration in the various external areas of our lives. But why then does that rationale not apply to the 7th house of relationships?

I’ve been told by astrologers and online articles that my Pisces Descendant means that I attract people who need help, or those who are extremely spiritual and connected to the “divine”, or those with escapist tendencies. It has nothing to do with me outside of the fact that it represents who I’m attracting to myself. I’m going to firmly disagree with this interpretation though, through both experience and logic. It is not logical to say the 7th house represents something outside of ourselves while the remaining 11 houses represent our personal interaction with the world. I’d like to suggest that the 7th house represents, as the first of the external houses, how our personality emerges in that external realm of relationships with others. The 7th house is still us. It’s not a hidden, unconscious aspect of ourselves like 12th house planets may be. The 7th house is how we interact with others. Who we become when we interact with others. If the first house is our personal identity and lens through which we view the world, the 7th house represents how that personality shifts when others are in the picture interacting with us. If a person has Pluto on the descendant, many astrologers would jump the gun and say “That person attracts pushy, manipulative, strong personalities into their lives.” However, my interpretation is the opposite. If a person has Pluto on the descendant, I say that that person can come across to others as pushy and manipulative in relationships, even if unaware of this themselves. If a person has Jupiter on the descendant, most astrologers would say that they attract partners or people who are expansive jovial personalities, partners who are philosophers or religious, or who travel a lot, or perhaps the person met their partner in another country. Common interpretations I’ve read. However, I would argue that, on the contrary, a person with Jupiter on the descendant personally expresses Jupiterian qualities of expansiveness, excess, philosophical inquiry, and maybe overdoing it a little with romantic partners. Buying them too many gifts, blowing up their phone non-stop with excitable texts and just coming on too strong, but not out of manipulation. Just wearing their heart on their sleeve. Yes, I’ve met and dated the two people I described above. One with Jupiter on the descendant and another with Pluto on the descendant. Pluto on the descendant was one of the most manipulative people I know.

Ironically, I’ve also met two individuals in the last 10 years with Pluto on the Ascendant as well. And in case you’re questioning orbs, these are all within 1 degree of conjunction to the angle. Most astrological interpretations suggest that the Pluto-Ascendant personality has darker, manipulative hues with a tendency towards all-or-nothing attitudes and obsession. That has not been my experience. In fact, that description aligns with my experience interacting with Pluto-Descendant individuals. Pluto-Ascendant, in my experience, manifests as strong personalities that you either love or hate, find appealing or repulsive. Radiating certain characteristics intensely, while (for example) dancing in a theater production or always displaying a strong sense of humor that you either love or hate. There’s a degree of magnetism or intensity involved, but that’s with or without interaction with other people. I hope that makes sense.

So please do your own research and draw your own conclusions about the 7th house! I’m not sure where some of these misconstrued interpretations come from, but it’s important to take them with a grain of salt and do your own research. As always, please share comments if you have anything to add, any personal experiences, or even if you disagree! The path to truth often begins with dialogue between people harboring differing opinions.

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Is astrology the code for the matrix?

I’ve been studying astrology for some time now, and while it’s proven itself through patterns–mostly through chart comparison and predictive techniques for me–one question always remains unanswered. Why does it work?  One reason astrology is so debated is because there’s no concrete deductive explanation. Astrologers can swear by the repeating patterns, but if everyone else isn’t able to make sense out of the “why”, integrate it into their worldview without issue…often, they’ll dismiss the “what”.

Why does so much importance fall on the sun and moon, specifically the nodal axis, lunations and eclipses, and the debated draconic chart? Why is the sun and moon the same size from our earthly perspective? For those of you who don’t know the astronomical explanation of lunar nodes, they are calculated by finding the intersection of the ecliptic (sun’s apparent path around earth) with the moon’s path around the earth. The ecliptic and moon’s path intersect at two points, exactly 180 degrees apart. In astrology the lunar nodes (north and south node) represent one’s karmic purpose on this planet. What are you here to learn? In what ways do you need to grow? What destructive traits/tendencies do you have that are better left behind you? Planetary transits and lunations to the natal north/south node are exceptionally revealing and consistent. Likewise, transiting north/south node passing over natal planets and angles have a similar effect. The nodes in synastry (chart comparison) have a strong influence on friendships, family and attraction. And it all boils down to the sun and moon. Sun – Moon conjunctions in synastry as well as having sun or moon conjunct the partner’s sun/moon midpoint is another major indicator for attraction and friendship when comparing charts. I’ve experienced both personally and can vouch for the sun/moon midpoint’s potency, but I want to encourage you to look into it for yourself.

And the draconic chart. While I’m still debating how effective certain astrological techniques are within the draconic, the chart itself is surprisingly accurate when comparing charts of family members, partners, lifetime friends. “Soulmates,” if you will. Draconic sun-moon and moon-moon conjunctions are common when the connection is so strong. Don’t believe me? Do your own research. My three closest female friends and mother all have their draconic moon conjunct, or in one case opposite, mine. What are the odds of that? If you’re unfamiliar with the draconic chart: It is calculated by placing one’s north node at 0 Aries and adjusting the rest of the chart accordingly. It’s better explained through example. Say your natal north node is at 0 Aquarius, 60 degrees from the 0 Aries point. To calculate the draconic chart, I’m going to move your entire chart forward by 60 degrees so the geometric aspects between planets stay the same. But, your north node is now at 0 Aries. EVERYONE’s north node is 0 Aries in the draconic chart. Since my mother’s moon is exactly conjunct mine at 17 Gemini in the draconic chart, that means that our natal moons are the exact same distance from our natal north nodes (Draconic north node 0 Aries –> drac. moon 17 Gemini =77 degrees apart). Hope that makes sense. So what’s the point of the draconic chart? It seems to show connections that run deep, deeper than one lifetime if you believe in that kind of thing. But it’s all based on the relationship of every planet and point in the natal chart….to the north node. And the north node is all about the sun and the moon. Common theme?

We’ve all heard stories of crazy people doing crazy things around a full moon. Lunations and eclipses falling on personal planets and angles usually indicate that there’s some stuff going down in your life, be it a solar eclipse on your ascendant and you become a lifetime vegetarian or a full moon on your south node when a close friend reveals he has feelings for you. Two small examples. Lunations and eclipses have been rendered significant by the astro-community for a long time. And there it is, sun and moon again.

What exactly is the sun and moon in the natal chart? I’ve read countless descriptions of the sun vs. the moon in astrology, but my take on it may be different in some ways (and alike in others). The moon, to me, is who we are when no one is looking, our emotional instincts, reactions, processing. My moon is in Aries in the private 8th house, so it takes a while for people to see the Aries. The tendencies emerge over time, especially in intimate relationships ruled by the 8th house. The sun seems more in tune with our highest good, expression of the divinity within us perhaps? The sun is by nature more objective than the moon, sees the larger picture. The sun gives our solar system life, so in our chart perhaps it represents the spark of divinity (soul) that breaths life into our bodies. But can you really see the soul in an astrology chart? If past lives exist, then wouldn’t it be true that we’ve all had multiple charts at multiple times, each representing the experience we’re signing up for? So what is the sun then? All questions, no answers. I know.

I view astrology as a kind of code to our reality. Dive into this metaphor with me. Say our reality is a video game with multiple players, and the video game is something we choose to play to develop certain skills/attributes and have certain experiences. But we can fine tune what we want to develop through the kinds of people and situations we attract to ourselves during our life. So, we select an astrological chart that represents our lifetime/game personality and the experience we want to have. So say, I was born on XX/XX/XXXX. My natal chart is like the coding to my player in the game. When astrological transits hit my natal chart in certain ways (i.e. transiting planets/nodes or lunations), it activates my ‘code’ to have certain experiences. Certain people are in my life that activate my code in certain ways to bring out aspects of my player personality so as to create learning experiences that I want to learn. And of course, I have some freedom in it all. I can challenge and dismiss all lessons and hide from it. Perhaps, I can rise above it like Neo in the Matrix. I had to, guys. Come on. You didn’t think this article was going to end without a Matrix reference did you? Think about the metaphor though. It seems to make astrology a lot easier to explain. What if our earth-sun-moon system is sort of like a video game, or a three dimensional matrix within a larger dimensional reality where we come to learn certain things? We can’t check all the boxes for skills, growth, lessons, etc. at once so we narrow it down through the intricacy of our chosen natal chart. When people, transiting nodes and planets, progressions and lunations hit our natal positions, it triggers certain things to happen and they tend to follow a theme. The north node represents a major growth goal. Astrology is mostly geometry after all, at least when it comes to chart comparison and predictive techniques.

Energy should also be considered though. Some people believe sacred geometry can be used to organize and focus energy.  If it works down here on earth with crystals, then it would follow that energy could also be ‘organized’ by planets and luminaries. What exactly does the spiritual community mean by energy though? In her Convoluted Universe series, Dolores Cannon writes, “I have heard much about everything being composed of energy and the shape and form is only determined by frequency and vibration. Energy never dies, it only changes form.” I have a hunch quantum mechanics is going to pave the road for a (dare I say) unification of science and some of these new age theories. Vibrating strings. Frequency. String theory anyone? Our natal chart represents an energetic time stamp that shapes our experience this lifetime on earth. That’s why astrologers look at first meeting charts and other event charts too. But does that mean that every time something is born, be it an animal, a plant, a manufactured car, a work of art or an idea….that it’s energetically stamped with an astrological chart? One thing I struggle with, regarding my spirituality, is knowing we live in a magical world where synchronicities happen day after day, and yet….how do you explain the bacteria? The more I learn about the tiny scientific details, the more issues I find trying to merge my understanding of the physical world, at least biologically, and what I know to be true of the spiritual one. This is one conundrum I have no answers for. Maybe Dolores does, but I haven’t finished her books. Is it possible that our physical world is just that, a physical world. And human beings belong to that world as breathing, biological beings? But there’s more going on here and we all know it deep within ourselves. I don’t have the answers, but I’m always trying to learn more.  That’s all I’ve got for now. Feel free to leave comments/insights.