A Short Course in Natal Chart Interpretation
The Principal Theme
The movement off the Moon onto the Sun is the process at work at the centre of all natal charts. The planetary pattern built around this pattern and the houses it involves will produce the tendencies of the personality and the experiences we draw to ourselves.
This configuration of luminaries, planets and houses expresses the soul’s strategy for a lifetime, which will take into account past life tendencies, karma, and the invitation to break new ground. It creates the Principal Theme of our lives.
The strategy can take a variety of forms. For example: it may set up the theme of a determined removal of the individual from the house occupied by the Moon and from those things governed by it; it could set up challenges in trying to move into the house occupied by the Sun and securing the things associated with it; or it could produce an alignment of Moon and Sun in a sign, in order to allow the Sun to draw on past experiences and give an exceptional expression through its house and sign.
Typically, a conscious person will devote years of the lifetime in learning from their theme how to manage their life and avoid certain patterns of thought and behaviour. This is how we open up our consciousness to new awareness.
Whatever form the strategy takes, and how easy or otherwise we find it flowering in the house of the Sun, will be determined by the extent to which the collective influence of the other planets are supportive of the Sun.
The aspects made by each luminary with the other planets must be studied carefully.
This is a suitable point to look at the planets and at what each represents in a natal chart and its relative strength vis-a-vis the Sun. If the aspects formed are more supportive of the Moon, then the process of letting go of the grip of the past will be harder and more reluctantly undertaken. And the effects of this will impact upon the life because there will likely be repetition and a lack of creative fulfillment.
The planetary hierarchy, which determines which planet can influence another, is based upon speed of motion. The slower the planet, the more influential it is, and it operates by taking over the planets with which it is in aspect and making them express themselves with the infusion of its energy. For example, the Sun, forced by a stressful aspect to express Plutonian energy, is a very different central organiser of a life from a Sun expressing Jupiter’s energy.
In the table below, reference is made to ‘banishing principles’. In their different ways, the banishing principles, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, each move awareness on by forcing it away from what has become familiar to it through its evolution up to the present. The idea of banishing principles becomes more meaningful in the context of the Houses. We will return to this in the next paper.
In a Natal chart
If in aspect, influences the expression of
If in aspect, influenced by
An old idea of self
In the present lifetime, the old idea of self attracts things which are familiar to it from past life and provides a base in our young years to strike out from.
All other planets
Communication and Connection
Shows how well or how challenged we are in the matter of communicating and interacting with others.
All other planets except Moon
Love and Harmony (harmonious relationships)
Discloses who and what we love and value, and with what and with whom we experience.
Moon and Mercury
All other planets except Moon and Mercury
Organizes the present reality to provide coherence, direction and to recognise opportunity.
Moon, Mercury and Venus (i.e., the inner planets)
Mars, Jupiter & Saturn (i.e., the superior planets), Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto (i.e., the outer planets)
Energizing drives and passions
Provides the energy to pursue the things which are physically and emotionally attractive to us; depending upon place-ment, it will support or distract the Sun’s attempts to provide a coherent and consistent direction.
Inner planets and the
Superior and outer planets
Expansiveness and inclusiveness
By sign and house position shows where we feel most confidence, at ease in being ourselves.
Inner planets, Sun, and Mars
Saturn and outer planets
Restriction, control, and obstruction
Shows old habits of mind brought through from past life often through the example of one of the parents, which attract certain kinds of situations and circumstances which are challenging to us in the present lifetime. The house will show the area of life in which this restraint is at work; and the sign will show the level on which it works: mental, emotional or physical
See: Turning Saturn Around
Inner planets, Sun, Mars.
First of the three ‘banishing principles.’ By house position, Uranus shows from which area of life we will be liberated; the sign shows the nature of the energy which will achieve this opportunity.
See: Uranus Custodian of Our Development in our website Archive
Inner planets, Sun, Mars, and superior planets
Neptune and Pluto
Second of the three banishing principles,
Neptune dissolves structures to release the spirit. The house position shows in which area of life this process will take place; the sign shows the level on which it will occur, mental, emotional or physical.
Inner planets, Sun, Mars, superior planets, and Uranus
Destruction and transformation
The third of the three banishing principles, Pluto teaches us through revealing experiences and tendencies, often unrecognised by us, which are controlling our lives from below the threshold of consciousness and of which we must free ourselves. The house will show the areas of life in which we are susceptible to this control; the sign shows whether it is working through the mental, emotional or physical aspect of being. They may be personal to us or they may be generational.
All other planets
- All the other planets and the Sun itself can dominate the Moon which is the fastest moving of the 10 major celestial bodies. The nature of the aspect they create, if any, will determine whether there is cooperation or interference in their relationship. Harmonious aspects from Mars, and the superior planets can strengthen the Moon and make it more difficult for a person to replace it at the centre of the life. Challenging aspects from these planets can make the early years uncomfortable and insecure. Whilst this does not guarantee that this will drive a person into the arms of the Sun, it will issue a challenge that, as an adult, a conscious person may eventually take notice of.
- The Sun can dominate the Moon, Mercury, and Venus. It is not astronomically possible for Mercury and Venus to get far enough away from the Sun for the relationship between them to be seriously challenging, although no aspect at all between them can also create tensions, and the conjunction aspect produces excessive amounts of energy, which is rarely positive in its effect. People with Mercury conjunct the Sun -- known as Mercury combust -- talk incessantly, usually about themselves. Those with Venus conjunct the Sun are demanding of attention and regard in a way that tends to exhaust and alienate others. The Sun, however, can challenge the Moon through any of the major aspects: conjunct, square quincunx, and opposition. This can introduce great tension at the heart of a chart because it will not compromise with the Moon and permit the comforts, security and a harmonious integration with the new experiences being brought into the life, which are achievable when the Sun and Moon are in harmonious aspect.
- The Sun can be supported (harmonious aspects) or commandeered (stressful aspects) by Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. When the aspects are supportive, the planet lends its energy to the Sun; when they are stressful it imposes itself on the Sun and makes it do its bidding. In such cases, the Sun remains the central organiser of the chart, but it is infused with energies from the slower moving planet.
- The role of Saturn, determined by the aspect it makes with Sun, will always be something to be studied carefully. When it is in harmonious relationship with Sun it will give sobriety, patience, and a willingness to persist. When in a stressful aspect, it blocks and challenges. In harmonious relationship with the Moon, it brings in the need for effort and realism; in stressful aspect, it will deny an individual the nurturing they expect and want. Whilst this does not guarantee that this denial will drive that individual into the arms of the Sun, it will issue a challenge that will make us consciously review our life, our goals, and our strategies.
In the chart you are working with:
- Collect up all the aspects received by the Moon and thrown or received by the Sun. Ascertaining the aspect the planets make with each other should be undertaken after this initial task.
- What is the relationship of the Moon and the Sun? Is there harmony or conflict of intent at the heart of this chart?
- Which luminary receives most aspects from the other planets of aspects? If it is the Moon, are those aspects harmonious or challenging?
- Is the Sun in aspect to Mars or any of the superior or outer planets?
- Does the Sun throw positive aspects to the inner planets? If so, does this assist the creation of circumstances and relationships that are supportive of its creative flowering?
- Is Mars in harmonious aspect with the Sun? If so, it will lend it energy, if not, it will create distractions.
- What is the relationship of each luminary to Saturn?
A Short Course in Natal Chart Interpretation