A joint publication of: Astro Logos and Zyntara Publications



August 2007

 VAN Archive - www.Zyntara.com

In this issue: 

                          A special issue focusing on reading a natal chart

The Chart, the Sky and the Stars - A guide to reading a chart visually.

To subscribe or

Visual Astrology Blog
for additional articles

Lampeter University, Wales, UK - A Masters degree in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology, This exciting Masters programme will be taught through online live seminars and distance learning to students from around the world. Lecturers: Nicholas Campion,  Liz Greene and Bernadette Brady with other expert guest lectures. Commences in January 2008.

Enquires to Nick Campion, email: n.campion@lamp.ac.uk  and visit the web site (still being built): www.lamp.ac.uk/sophia/  

Star Workshop: The FAS, UK, is holding a fixed star weekend as part of its annual Oxford, UK Summer School on 17-19 August 2007. Lecturers are Clare Martin and Carol Taylor and they will be working with alignments. [See the end of this newsletter for more details]. If you are in the UK and love stars, then give yourself a treat. Brasenose College is a glorious residential college and Clare and Carol will take you on a wonderful sky journey.


. Here for the first time is an introduction on how to work with a natal chart linked with visual astrology. If you would like more examples of reading natal charts using visual astrology, then simply send us an email and let us know, or make a comment on the Visual Astrology Blog.   Enjoy!


The Chart, the Sky and the Stars
A guide to reading a chart visually.
by Darrelyn Gunzburg

A natal chart is threaded with themes and issues, made up of elements which form a much larger pattern. Yet as we become proficient at reading that flat chart, we forget that its essence comes not from a computer but from the three-dimensional, three-hundred and sixty degree view of the dome of heaven. “We see” versus “we calculate”.

As I wrote in the June issue of this newsletter, we are drawn to astrology because we love the stars, yet the modern world is full of astrologers who have become disconnected from the sky. We dare to laugh at those whom we say live in “flatland” yet we live in flat charts, separated from our tool of trade, the patterns in the moving sky. But having once seen the spectacular night sky full of stars, how can one go back to the single-plane chart? As the poet Tennyson writes in “Tithonus”, ‘The Gods themselves cannot recall their gifts,’ for once you have touched the sky as an astrologer, you cannot turn your back on it.

So if you, too, love the whole sky and want to use it in your consulting work, the question becomes: how can we add in Visual Astrology so that it complements rather than impedes what we see in the flat chart?

There are three components to Visual Astrology

The one we all know -  the natal chart - indicating the patterns of the planets embedded in the ecliptic.

The physical considerations of the chart - the rising and setting of planets - the role of the sky on the day the person was born.

The rising and setting of stars and how they link to the chart.

So let us begin with what is most familiar.

The Natal Chart

 “Lewis” born 7th July 1969 at 4:18 am in Vancouver, Canada, is a long-term client of mine who has given me permission to use his chart for teaching purposes.

The natal ecliptical chart shows the following themes and issues:

* The emotional needs of the chart - expressed through the Cancer Ascendant and its ruler, The Moon in Aries in the 11th house sextile Mercury.

Lewis gains emotional security (Cancer Ascendant) through working with groups which provide emotional challenges (Moon in Aries in the 11th house). Lewis’ thinking is coloured by his emotions (Moon-Mercury) suggesting he works best with people and people’s issues (Moon-Mercury). In so doing, they provide the vehicle of opportunity (sextile) for his writing or his mercantile pursuits (Mercury).

* The thinking, communicating, mercantile issues of the chart -  expressed through Mercury in rulership in Gemini in the 12th house making a partile mutable square to Jupiter in detriment in Virgo in the 4th house, Pluto, the South Node and Uranus.

 “Lewis” born 7th July 1969 at 4:18 am in Vancouver, Canada

The nature of this pattern suggests my client is either part of a large organization or institution (the 12th house) for whom he is the writer or spokesperson or in his writing he represents or is symbolic of an alternative group of people (Mercury-Jupiter and Jupiter in detriment).

This implies that his writing, either focused and intense or obsessive and dogmatic (Mercury-Pluto), is best placed in an area that is radical and/or ahead of its time (Mercury-Uranus). Spun amongst these patterns is a love of learning (Pluto-Jupiter) and/or teaching (Jupiter sextile Neptune) in these alternative areas (Jupiter in detriment) and a willingness or desire to take risks (Jupiter-Uranus).

He also has the ability to solve stress and tension (the square) in a highly creative and flexible manner (mutable square). However, the fact that these planets are conjunct the South Node suggests that someone in his family pattern had possibly used bad judgement (Jupiter in Virgo) when it came to education and learning or was so over-obsessed with detail that it had turned into criticism and censure. Thus Lewis is the one in the family being asked to take a risk (Jupiter-Uranus) and find a new voice for the family (Mercury square the nodal axis).

* The ego, identity and vitality of the chart - expressed through the unaspected Sun in Cancer in the first house.

From his father-figure Lewis learns to be strong in the world (angular Sun) by articulating (Sun ruling the 3rd house) his feelings and emotions (Sun in Cancer). He can, however, at times feel engulfed by his emotions or cut off from them (unaspected Sun in Cancer) and thus has to learn to link the two so that he can access his emotions at will.

* The relating needs of the chart - expressed through the Venus-Mars/Venus-Neptune opposition across the 6th-12th service axis with Venus making a partile trine to Uranus.

This opposition suggests that his drive and motivation can be used to inspire others (Mars in Sagittarius in the 6th) and his idealistic ideas (Venus-Neptune) utilized to change social networks (Venus in Gemini in the 12th). Yet in so doing he is forced (the opposition) to find a new position for how he uses his personal creativity (Venus-Mars).

* How the chart takes on responsibility  - expressed through the unaspected Saturn in the 11th house.

From the disciplining figure he learns that he most easily takes responsibility in groups (Saturn in the 11th house) when he is in a business or intimate relationship (Saturn ruling the 7th house) but this comes at the price of change (Saturn ruling the 8th house). Being unaspected, this is another area where he can, at times, feels overwhelmed with responsibility or unable to take on the mantle of authority until he learns to form a bridge between these two feeling states.

All of this makes sense in the light of my client’s biography. My client is gay and chooses to work for large gay organizations. His professional career began with co-ordinating the International Lesbian and Gay Association in Brussels, Belgium. He then moved to London and worked as the project manager for a gay men's education agency which provided condoms and lube packs to gay men in London. He currently works as the International Policy Officer for an AIDS organisation and in 2006 was appointed the project manager for the Collaborative Fund for HIV Treatment Preparedness.

In this way, continually in the firing line as the front runner (Mercury conjunct the Ascendant and square the nodal axis), his writing and communicating gives a credible voice (Mercury in Gemini) to the alternative issues of gay men (Mercury square Pluto-South Node-Jupiter-Uranus/Jupiter in detriment).

After his Saturn Return, in the middle years of his life and embodying the difficulties of being an "out" gay man, my client began a successful writing career as a published poet and short story writer (Venus-Mars/Venus-Neptune) which has at its core the gay zeitgeist of modern life.

The Visual Component of Lewis' Chart

Considering this from a visual perspective gives other insights to these natal aspects. Whilst the Moon and Saturn are too wide and in different signs to make what we would consider to be a natal aspect, visually they occupy the same space in the sky, the width of your hand when held out from your body.

More importantly, in Assyrian astrological thinking, Saturn represented the king and Sin, the moon god, could empower or disempower other planets or stars either by travelling above or below them. In Lewis’ chart Sin, the moon god, rises over Saturn. Indeed over the next few nights, Sin will move closer to the Sun as it is already in its third quarter phase.

Thus we could say that Sin is challenging or altering the power of the king as it climbs over it. Since “the King” for Lewis is the way that he takes responsibility in groups, the challenge to this could be the emotional concerns from within the group, or towards the gay groups with whom he works. 

In the natal chart, the Moon in Aries suggests a degree of independence and challenge in groups. However, visually the Moon is in the cord of the southern Fish, implying that Lewis is connected with a group that swims in the opposite direction to the mainstream. 


In the natal chart Saturn is unaspected, suggesting a pure energy that he consciously he has to learn to access. However, visually Saturn is in the foot of The Ram (the constellation of Aries). The foot of the god is where it touches the earth and having a planet there adds a teaching dimension, grounding it and/or allowing it to give birth to something. For Lewis to have his Saturn here suggests he can offer steadiness when he is within the group, and an educating focus when he represents the group.

  Saturn in the foot, adds education

More visual components...
In the natal chart Mercury sits on the Ascendant in rulership but in a different sign to the Ascendant. However, visually Lewis’ Mercury sits at the confluence of three constellations. It is located at the end of the tip of the southern horn of The Great Bull of Heaven, at the top of the club of Orion, the great hunter and warrior, and also under the foot of Castor, one of the Great Twins. Thus the
focused, intense, alternate nature of the Mercury in the horoscope can be seen as conflating three concepts:

         A weapon that pierces from the Great Bull.

       A weapon that gives victory from Orion.

c.       The ability to tell stories from Castor, one of The Twins,
and by the telling, teach.

You can see what I am doing here, firstly allowing the horoscope to express the natal themes and issues, and then considering how the visual sky pictures inform and deepen these issues.

But there is more.

Mercury visually in the sky between three constellations.

Adding the Stars to Lewis' chart

The third piece we can add are the stars themselves. Starlight will print out the full listings of Heliacal Rising and Setting stars (see VAN August 2005 and July 2006)  and parans.  Brady writes in the Visual Astrology Newsletter of  August 2005:

“… [the Heliacal Rising] star and its ancient myths provides one with a deep sense of one's inherent nature, one’s inherent gifts or deep-seated ancestral issues that are pushing or pulling one through life. The star has journeyed through the Underworld and is now emerging into the light not as a tabla rosa, blank and empty awaiting your life to imprint it but instead ready for you to reach into its myths to gain insight into your feelings of personal life mission and personal abilities, and gifts you have within you that you can use to complete you mission.”

The Heliacal Rising and Heliacal Setting Stars are the two great anchor points in Lewis’ life. Bellatrix, the star in the left shoulder of Orion, is Lewis’ Heliacal Rising Star. Brady in Starlight notes that it indicates a person who knows that their success comes from struggle”. It is easy to see how this has manifested in Lewis’ life by him being a gay man working in the area of gay men’s sexuality and health. Arcturus, the star in the hem of Bootes, the Hunter who now Farms, is Lewis’ Heliacal Setting Star. Arcturus symbolises the transition from one state of being to another and offers Lewis the wisdom and vision to make fundamental shifts in his life. Brady in Starlight notes that it indicates someone who is “always seeking a new pathway”. Lewis is pulled forward in life by Bellatrix in order to reshape that life through Arcturus.

Where the natal chart offers independence and challenge in groups for Lewis’ Moon in Aries, and the visual astrology shows the Moon rising over the Saturn, implying a challenge to his authority in groups, now we can look at the star parans that are connected with his Moon.

A star is said to be in paran with a planet when a the planet is on any of the four points of rising, culminating, setting, or on the Nadir, and at the same moment in time, for that location, the star is also on ANY of the same four angles or points. For those uncertain about what this looks like in 3D, go to this link: http://www.zyntara.com/starlight_tutorials_skyparans.htm

All of Lewis’ parans in connection with his Moon occur in the middle years of his life (culminating), the years after his Saturn Return, the years of maturity:

Vega is culminating as the Moon is rising
A compassionate leader, someone who cares

Vega is the star in Orpheus’ Lyre and is linked with magic and divine spells, for the best expression of music is spell-binding. It adds charisma to Lewis’ Moon so that his feelings and sentiments are deeply and profoundly felt by groups.

 Facies is culminating as the Moon is rising
Emotionally experiencing violence or turmoil

Facies is a nebula in the face of Sagittarius, The Archer. It is the penetrating stare of a lethal weapon, incisive action without regard for others, producing either a great leader or a great dictator. Since it is the only difficult star in Lewis’ parans and connected with his Moon, it therefore suggests someone who is strongly emotionally focused, someone who is not afraid to encounter the emotionally “hot” issues around gay men’s health and sexuality.

 Pollux is culminating as the Moon is setting
To want to bring reform or change through knowledge

Pollux is the star in the head of the left or shadow twin of Gemini. Twins represent the universal struggle with polarity, the blending of opposites, hence they offer Lewis the ability to tell a story. Connected with his independent, challenge-orientated Moon, the stories he will want to tell are those that can in some way transform groups.

The only other paran that enters the pattern in this time period is Acumen with his Mercury:

Acumen is culminating as Mercury is on the nadir
Difficult, or tedious, mental endeavours; stressful financial dealings

Acumen is the star in the left or shadow side of the tail of Scorpio. This is the sting that erodes and weakens, either through gossip or health issues. The way to deal with such issues is always to confront them head on in the clear light of day. Since it is connected with Lewis’ Mercury in rulership, he has the ability to handle mental stress. This paran echoes the visual placement of Lewis’ Mercury above, sited as it is at the confluence of three constellations.

One could say, then, that it is in this middle period of Lewis’ life where he emotionally engages with his writing and produces some of his best work, forged as it were in the furnace of attack.

In summary then…

Whilst in this Newsletter I have only been able to touch on the broad brush strokes of delineating Lewis’ chart incorporating all three perspectives - the Chart on the Ecliptic, the Chart in the Sky and the Chart and its Stars  - I hope you can see what riches lie herein.

For me, the flat chart comes alive with much deeper resonances when I incorporate visual astrology and parans and allows the client to step into a far more luxuriant landscape, often softening what may seem difficult and insurmountable natal aspects. It also allows me, every time I construct a flat chart, to acknowledge the sky from which we first began this journey, how it touches the earth and how it partners our natal chart and, in so doing, to connect with the network of astrologers who are my past and the sky that is my present.


Note: If you have a question about visual astrology you can ask it on the Visual Astrology Blog.




Starlight Software (2002) Barnswood and Brady:Zyntara Publications


If you love mythology and would like to find out more about the personal significance of the fixed stars in your chart, then this is the weekend course for you


 Fixed Stars & Deep Sky Myths

with Clare Martin & Carole Taylor
17th – 19th August 2007


at the

Faculty of Astrological Studies

Summer School

Brasenose College, Oxford

The fixed stars were once a central feature of chart interpretation, but over the centuries they have retreated to the outer edges of our consciousness as the focus has gradually shifted to the planets.   The result is that we have lost touch with a major extra dimension of our charts, a dimension which reveals fascinating new levels of meaning and interpretation. 


We will spend the weekend identifying the major fixed stars and in the cardinal, fixed and mutable signs and breathe new life into them by reconnecting them to the ancient myths of the constellations to which they belong. We will explore the four royal stars of Persia, the stars of Orion, Sirius, Spica and other key stars which tell stories of mortality and immortality, heroes and heroines, the bull of heaven and celestial dragons, as you watch the fixed stars come to life in your own chart. 


For more information, write to the Summer School organiser carole.taylor@astrology.org.uk or visit the Faculty’s website at www.astrology.org.uk

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The software that allows you to work with the whole sky in your astrology is Starlight and it can be explored on the Zyntara home page where there are also online tutorials.