Understanding Chart Movement by Bill Herbst

Published with the kind permission of Bill Herbst

When people begin to study astrology, their first efforts usually revolve around memorizing the meanings of the various symbolic elements – planets, signs, houses, and aspects. That’s fine so far as it goes, but learning all the separate pieces doesn’t prepare students to understand what a chart is and how it moves.Charts seem to be static, but they’re not. They’re just stop-action. Everything is actually in motion. Understanding those motions is a great help in knowing how to read the map.

To that end, a visual metaphor may come in handy.

Imagine that you’re in a helicopter about 2,000 feet above the ground. Next, imagine that you can look down directly beneath you to see a circular railroad track. This track is divided into twelve different sections. It might help to visualize the ground inside the track as if it were a pie, where we’ve cut the pie

into twelve slices.

On the track is a train. This train has twelve cars in all – the engine, ten Pullman cars, and the caboose – and the length of the train just happens to be exactly the same as the length of the track, so that the front of the engine touches the rear of the caboose.

UNDERSTANDING CHART MOVEMENT

Track = Houses

The track is like the houses with their twelve numbered sections. This circular section of track doesn’t move, of course. It just sits there, fixed in the ground. In much the same way, the houses appear to be fixed in the chart. The 1st house is always on the left (or east,) the 7th always on the right (or west); the 10th is directly overhead, and the 4th directly underfoot.

Each pie-shaped section inside the track represents one house. If we wanted to get fancy, we could imagine various coordinated color schemes to represent the qualities of each house or section of track. For instance, we could use reds for the 1st, 5th, and 9th houses, green for the 2nd, 6th, and 10th, yellow for the3rd, 7th, and 11th, and blue for the 4th, 8th, and 12th. Or we could use different colors to blend the elemental quality with the modal or axis relationship – pastels might work. But it’s your visualization, so hire your own imaginary painters and do it up however you wish. For now, just imagine that the track has twelve sections.

Train = Zodiac and its Signs

The train of twelve cars represents the zodiac, with its twelve signs. The engine represents the sign Aries while the caboose is the sign Pisces. The train moves continuously around the track, but very slowly. Our train is just a “local” – once each day it makes one round trip, a complete circuit of the track.

This is what happens in the heavens from our vantage point; as the Earth turns on its axis, we here on the Earth’s surface have the experience of remaining stationary, and we perceive the heavens around us turning one complete cycle in a 24-hour period. That’s why the sun appears to “rise” and “set.” Some idiot critics have accused astrology of not knowing the “objective” motions of the solar system, implying that we don’t understand that the earth revolves around the sun. Well, that’s just silly. Of course we understand. That’s not the point.

The issue is one of perspective. No one speaks of “earthrise” or “earthset.” We talk in terms of our own subjective experience – sunrise and sunset. For the most part, natal astrology is a human-centered discipline. We attempt to symbolically understand the cosmos through the lens of an individual life, so we use that person’s unique perspective. Duh. In fairness, astrology does offer heliocentric charts, for those who want to see things from the viewpoint of the Sun. But that’s another story entirely.

From our viewpoint, the zodiac train makes one trip around the house track every day. As a general rule, each car (sign) takes roughly two hours to travel over a certain section of track (house), although that varies because the train doesn’t move at a constant speed, instead fluctuating through gradual accelerations and decelerations. So imagine the train speeding up a little then slowing down again as it makes its daily circuit around the track. [For the technically-minded, this is referred to in astrology as “signs of long and short ascension,” but for now, just think of the train moving once each day around the track.]

So far so good. Next we’ll add the planets, and this is where the metaphor gets interesting.

Passengers = Planets

The planets are like passengers on the train. How many passengers are aboard? Traditional astrology uses ten bodies (the Sun and Moon, called “lights,” and the eight major planets). Since the 1970s, science has identified literally thousands of other bodies in the solar system, so astrologers now have the option of adding many other symbolic passengers to the train – asteroids, comets, etc. Some astrologers’ charts are littered with passengers, while other astrologers prefer to stick to only the major bodies. I personally use eleven celestial bodies in my chart – the ten standard ones plus another called Chiron.

However many passengers we use, they’re all moving gradually through the train, very slowly changing seats, passing through one car until they run out of seats and have to move to the next car. They move backwards through the train, from the engine toward the caboose, and then round again – in a direction

opposite to the train’s movement over the track.

In other words, the train moves over the track once each day in a clockwise direction as the passengers move much more slowly through the cars of the train counterclockwise. All the passengers move through the train, from one car to the next, at different speeds. In fact, they travel through the cars at vastly different speeds.

For instance, the Moon, the fastest-moving body, is the astrological equivalent of a little kid with ants in his pants who can’t sit still and bounces from one seat to the next, changing cars about every two and a half days, or every two and a half “trips” the train makes around the track. To get through all twelve cars of the whole train takes the Moon one month, or roughly 28 trips. [That’s what a “month” is – the length of one passage of our Moon around the heavens.)

At the other end of the speed scale, Pluto is like an old man who can barely walk. He takes two steps and has to rest seemingly forever. Currently, it takes Pluto about 13 years just to move from one car to another. That means it will take him nearly 5,000 complete daily trips of the train just to get out of one car and intothe next. And that’s fast for Pluto. He stays in some cars as long as 22 years. All told, to make even a single passage through the twelve cars of the entire train takes him more than 90,000 trips. Since Mr. Pluto is very, very slow, it’s a big deal when he changes train cars (signs). Pluto moved into the “car” called Sagittarius in 1995, and he won’t make it into the next car, Capricorn, until 2008.

Relationships = Aspects

Since the passengers move through the train at different speeds, they often pass one another. Sometimes they sit in adjacent seats in the same car, and sometimes they can look out the window and see another passenger moving through the opposite car all the way on the other side of the circular track. The relationships of the individual passengers to one another as they move through the cars represent the geometrical or angular relationships planets form with each other as they move through the zodiac. These relationships are called aspects, and they highlight the changing energetic connections of one planet to another.

No wonder charts are complicated.

Now, imagine all this motion happening together. Everything is constantly moving, shifting, changing relationship to everything else. At any given moment, a certain passenger is in a certain car of the train, which is moving over a certain section of track, and the passengers as a group form a kaleidoscopic pattern; sometimes they’re all together, sometimes they’re spread out, sometimes they all occupy one half the train, leaving the other half empty. The variations are endless, and they never repeat exactly.

Take a Snapshot

If we took a photograph from our helicopter, freezing the various motions, stopping the action like a slice out of time, then we would have a picture of the train, the track, the passengers, and their relationships to one another. Signs, houses, planets, and aspects.

Erecting a natal chart by hand with ephemerides and tables of houses is like developing that photo in a darkroom, which is how most astrologers worked decades ago. We had to laboriously calculate the exact positions within all the various motions. Now, however, we use computers to erect charts, which are the

equivalent to digital cameras – instant snapshot.

That’s essentially what a horoscope is – a picture of all these complex celestial motions and their interrelationships, frozen at an instant in time, as seen from a specific point of view in space. In natal astrology, our point of view is that of an individual human being taking life’s first breath, establishing both bodily independence and the life-rhythm of prana. When we look at a natal chart with all those arcane symbols dotted around the circle, all those colored lines drawn inside the circle between the symbols, what we’re seeing is an accurate diagram of the different celestial motions as they were configured from that particular infant’s vantage point at birth. We’re looking at a mandala of that individual’s view of the solar system, his or her unique perspective on the cosmos. And we seek to understand the symbolic meanings of that time-space moment.

Learning the various movements is simple but essential. If you understand what you’re really seeing when you look at a natal chart, whether it’s your own or someone else’s, then you’ll have a tremendous head start toward using astrology with reverence as well as savvy.

© 2004, by Bill Herbst, all rights reserved.   www.billherbst.com

Bill Herbst resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota. To schedule a personal session,or sign up for the newsletter, send an email to bill@billherbst.com

 


Using Chi Gong to Treat Cancer

All over Shanghai there were people getting together every morning, hundreds of people in dozens of places, to practice these seemingly simple forms of exercise to fight their cancer. These groups were run solely by cancer survivors who had used this form of exercise. In Shanghai alone, there were almost 3,000 people in these cancer recovery clubs, and besides the exercise they also scheduled group trips, met for yearly anniversaries of members survival, and generally supported each other in their fight.

Read More.
Filed Under:

Merlian News Podcasts with Kathleen Marden on the Betty & Barney Hill Alien Abduction

| by Merlian News & Team

In this two part podcast, Merryn Jose discusses with Kathleen: Betty & Barney Hill’s abduction story, the details of Betty Hill’s experience, the star map Betty Hill was given by the aliens who abducted her, Betty’s description of the aliens performing an amniocentesis on her before the procedure was developed in the medicine/science of her time, h er work with physicist Stanton T. Friedman, a nd more! For the past 21 years Kathleen Marden has engaged in UFO abduction research and investigation. She has used her background as a social scientist, hypnotherapist, and the niece of Betty and Barney Hill, the first alien abductees whose story stirred worldwide interest, to advance her career as a writer…

Read More.

Merlian News December 2017 Newsletter

Happy Holidays from Merlian News! We thank you for your support, and wish you and your loved ones a season of warmth, joy, and good tidings!

Read More.
Filed Under:

Japanese Pumpkin Side Dish by Nancy Mehagian

It’s the season for sweets, including pumpkin pie, but professional cook, Nancy Mehagian shares a side dish recipe for Japanese pumpkin that’s fast, healthy and delicious. Nancy has been a massage therapist and Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner in Los Angeles for nearly 30 years. She is the author of the culinary memoir, “Siren’s Feast, an Edible Odyssey”.

Read More.
Filed Under:

Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It

| by Cheryl Shainmark

I just finished reading “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It,” by Kamal Ravikant. I have to say that this slim volume completely jumpstarted a whole new spiritual practice for me. I don’t usually rave (in print, at least)… but this is one of the most accessible, transformative books I have ever read — and at 57 pages, you’d have to be in a coma not to get through it. Actually, if you are in a coma I will come and sit by your side and read it to you, because I want “Love Yourself” to be the earworm that gets stuck in your head. You’ll thank me later.

Read More.
Filed Under:

Meet Dawn Hayman, Animal Communicator & Spiritual Intuitive

Spring Farm CARES is an Animal and Nature Sanctuary located in the scenic Mohawk Valley of Central New York. From their website we read: We are home to an average of 250-300 animals including horses, donkeys, goats, dogs, cats, rabbits, birds and poultry. We also have a Nature Sanctuary of over 250 acres of forest, wetland, and grassland with several miles of trails open by appointment and for tours. We are also home to Animal Communicator/Spiritual Intuitive Dawn Hayman.

Read More.
Filed Under: ·

Excerpt from The Eagle’s View: Five Steps to Modern Mysticism by Paddy Fievet, PhD

As I mentioned before, I kept exploring the information that turned into this book because my initial Christian theology did not answer the many questions that plagued me for years. I had questions about awakening, questions relating to discovering who I was and what I was supposed to be doing on this earth. I had questions about my sense of intuition and why it was so dreadfully hard to explain it to friends and family in my younger years.

Read More.
Filed Under: ·

The Great Mysteries: Believing, Knowing, & Proving

Growing up, I never thought twice about whether there was an afterlife, or if it was possible to see into the past or the future, or how one could see things and events at a remote distance. My mother was a psychic, as was her mother and her mother’s mother before her. I knew as a child that I had inherited the “second sight”…. As a result, when people asked me whether I believed in things such as life after death, the paranormal, distance healing, or the mind’s ability to affect matter, I would tell them, “I don’t believe it, I know it.”

Read More.

Jude Currivan on Living with Cosmic Consciousness: Discussion Panel in NYC

You’re invited to a panel at the United Palace of Inspiration with Jude Currivan, Jean Houston and world-class scientists on how modern science is proving the ancient wisdom that we and the Universe are one: As we live in it, it lives in us. Experience how this unified reality allows you to co-create your existence and bring forth cosmic consciousness in your physical body. By becoming interrelated to everything and everyone you gain an evolved perception of reality so critical in our times.

Read More.