Report for Sarah Ferguson

An Interpretation of Your Birth Chart


Steven Forrest





This sample report compliments of:

Christine Bennett

0418 226 961



The Sky Within


Sarah Ferguson
Oct 15, 1959
9:03 AM GMT +00:00
London, UK
000W10'00" 51N30'00"







House Cusps






01 18Sc13'






02 12Sg52'






03 13Cp20'






04 07Pi01'






05 00Ar48'






06 24Ar34'






07 18Ta13'






08 12Ge52'






09 13Ca20'






10 07Vi01'






11 00Li48'






12 24Li34'


Planets within orb of 1.5 degrees of the following
house cusp are displayed and interpreted as being in
that house, except the Ascendant which uses 3 degrees.

Orb Conjunctions with Sun or Moon are 8 degrees.
All orbs are set according to Steven Forrest's methods.



Copyright 1985-2003 Matrix Software, Inc.



by Steven Forrest

Using Your Birthchart as a Spiritual Guide

A woman has a baby and is blissful about it. Another one does the same, and spends the rest of her life dreaming about how she might have been a ballerina. The same choice: having a kid. But only one smiling woman.

Nobody has a generic formula for happiness, at least not one that does the trick for everyone. That's where astrology comes in.

The birthchart, stripped to bare bones, is simply a description of the happiest, most fulfilling life that's available to you... personally. It spells out a set of strategies you can use to avoid boring routines, bad choices, and dead ends. It lists your resources. And it talks about how your life looks when you're misusing the resources and distorting the strategies -- shooting yourself in the foot, in other words.

All from a map of the sky?

Hard to believe. But think for a minute...

"How can the planets possibly affect us? They're millions of miles away." Astrology's critics are fond of rolling out that argument. But it doesn't hold water. Go out and gaze at the moon. What's really happening? Incomprehensible energies are plunging across a quarter million miles of void, crashing through your eyeballs and creating electrochemical changes in your brain. We call the process "seeing the moon." Certainly the planets affect us. The question is where do we draw the boundaries around those effects?

Let's go a step further.

Open your eyes on a starry night. What do you see? A vast, luminous space, full of shadows and light. Now close your eyes so tight they ache. Where are you now? What do you see? Again, a vast, luminous space, full of shadows and light. Consciousness and cosmos are structured around the same laws, follow the same patterns, and even feel pretty much the same to our senses.

"As above, so below." Just as the starry night awes us with its vastness, there's something infinitely deep inside you, a place you go when you close your eyes, a place that's beyond being an Aries or a Gemini or even a specific gender. At the most profound level, a birthchart is a map back to that magical center. It describes a series of earthly experiences which, if you're brave and open enough, will trigger certain states of consciousness in you -- states that operate like powerful spiritual catalysts, vaulting you into higher levels of being.

In the pages that follow, you'll tour your personal birthchart. But don't expect the usual "Scorpios are sexy" stuff. You are a mysterious being in a mysterious cosmos. You're here for just a little while, a blink of God's eye. You face a monumental task: figuring out what's going on! In that spiritual work, astrology is your ally. How will it help?

Certainly not by pigeon-holing you as a certain "type."

Astrology works by reminding you who you are, by warning you about the comforting lies we all tell ourselves, and by illuminating the experiences that trigger your most explosive leaps in awareness.

After that, the rest is up to you.



Freud divided the human mind into three compartments: ego, id, and superego. Astrologers do the same thing, except that our model of the mind differs from Freud's in two fundamental ways. First, it's a lot more elaborate. Instead of three compartments, we have ten: Sun, Moon, and the eight planets we see from Earth. As we'll discover, each planet represents more than a "circuit" in your psyche. It also serves as a kind of "Teacher," guiding you into certain consciousness-triggering kinds of experience.

The second difference between astrology and psychology is that astrology's mind-map, unlike Freud's, is rooted in nature itself, just as we are.

The primary celestial teacher is the Sun. What does it teach? Selfhood. Vitality. How to keep the life-force strong in yourself. If the Sun grew dimmer, so would all the planets -- they shine by reflecting solar light. Similarly, if you fail to stoke the furnaces of your own inner Sun, then you'll simply be "out of gas." All your other planetary functions will suffer too.

How do we learn this teacher's lessons?

Start by realizing that when you were born the Sun was in Libra.

Perfect equilibrium. That's the spirit of the Scales. When Libra realizes its evolutionary aim, the nervous system is as still as a dark pool on a windless summer evening. Outwardly, Libran energy often looks as though it's already there: it seems graceful and balanced, even unflappable. Inwardly, it's another story: the Libran part of you is tuned as tight as the high string on a violin. Spirit gave you some advice back before you were born: don't pluck it. And don't let anyone else pluck it either.

Inevitably, with your terrific sensitivity, you'll get rattled from time to time. What can you do about it? Watch a ballet, or any other beautiful thing. The outer harmony will internalize; you'll sigh, releasing tension. That's the Libran evolutionary strategy in a nutshell: flood your senses with perceptions of beauty. It will soothe you, lifting you closer to the unbreakable serenity which is the true goal of this sign of the zodiac.

With your Sun in Libra, on the deepest level of your character you are an artist. If you look like one outwardly, painting or playing an instrument, so much the better. Even if you don't, your essence is still charged with aesthetic sensitivity. Cultivate it, and you'll feel as though you've come into yourself.

You were born with an instinctive tolerance for paradox. Everything has two sides, and you'll almost always consider both. This gives great clarity of mind, but also presents a problem. Be careful you don't get caught between two equally attractive or (unattractive!) possibilities and just freeze there. Life will crystallize around you again and again in that form: you'll be faced with a parade of morally or practically ambiguous situations. You'll understand them far better than your more dogmatic friends. The question is whether you'll be able to make a choice and get on with your life, burning bridges behind you.

We can take our analysis of your natal Sun a step further. When you were born, that solar light illuminated the Eleventh house. What does that signify?

Start by realizing that Houses represent twelve basic arenas of life. There's a House of Marriage, for example, and a House of Career. Always, we find an element of "fate" in our House structures; the "Hand of God" continually presents us with existential and moral questions connected with our emphasized Houses. How we react and what we learn -- or fail to learn -- is our own business.

One brief technical note: Sometimes the Sun, the Moon, or a planet lies near the end of the House. We then say it's "conjunct the cusp" of the subsequent House, and interpret it as though it were a little further along... in the next House, in other words.

What do you want out of life? What are your priorities? What kind of old person are you in the process of becoming? Those are core Eleventh House issues. The challenge here is to accomplish something many people talk about but few actually do--lead a life; that is, create your future according to your deepest interests and values.

The planetary forces focused in this segment of your birthchart are Teachers dedicated to helping you find the threads of your destiny. They describe what you were born to become -- and warn you of how you look when you're off course.

"House of Friends" is the old name for this part of the birthchart, although "House of Acquaintances" is perhaps more accurate. Intimacy isn't the issue here; teamwork and networking are. But clear priorities must come first, or all those talking faces serve no purpose. They just tie you up in pointless social interactions.

With the Sun in the Eleventh House, you're majoring in a couple of closely related subjects: group dynamics and the formation of life-strategies. Increasingly, you'll find yourself in positions of leadership... but not dictatorship. That is, you'll be working to hold together often contentious crowds of individuals, and you'll be needing to do that with diplomacy rather than brute force. For those team-projects to be ultimately successful, it's critically important that you know exactly what you stand for personally. Every year or so, try to get off by yourself for a couple of days and think about what you've accomplished, what you're doing next, and how you've evolved since last year. One more point: The second half of your life will tend to be more dynamic and colorful than the first half; it takes you a while to get up to full steam, but when you do, there's no stopping you.

The next step in our journey through your birthchart carries us to the Moon.

As you might expect, Luna resonates with the magical, emotional sides of your psyche. It represents your mood, averaged over a lifetime. As the heart's teacher, it tells you how to feel comfortable, how to meet your deepest needs. While the Sun lets you know what kinds of experiences and relationships help you feel sane, the Moon is concerned with another piece of the puzzle: feeling happy.

When you were born, the Moon was in Aries.

Courage! That's what Aries is all about. Traditionally this sign is represented as the Ram -- a fierce, frightening creature. That's a pretty good description of how this energy looks from the outside. Inside, it's different. Not the Ram, but the newborn robin, two days old, just hatched from its shell, living in a world full of creatures who think of it as breakfast. Does it cower? No -- the little bird flaps its stubby wings and squawks its head off, demanding its right to exist. That's Aries: the raw primal urge to survive. Existential courage.

Courage is a funny virtue -- it has to be scared into a person. In the evolutionary scheme of life, Aries energy has a disconcerting property: it draws stress to itself. You can choose a life of risk and adventure. Or you can choose a life of one damn thing after another. Refuse the first, you'll get the second.

With your Moon in Aries, your heart is learning some hard lessons in courage. Like everyone else, you have feelings, needs, desires. Satisfying them isn't so easy. Circumstances crystallize around you in which, unless you find the "Spiritual Warrior" inside yourself, you'll go hungry. Sometimes that means recognizing that hurting someone with the straight truth is far kinder than being "gentle" or "self-sacrificing."

To feel comfortable, you require drama in your life. You need to feel the "edge" sometimes. You may get it from sailing in a hard wind. You may get it from riding a bicycle a little too fast. You may discover it in a steamy, intense, confrontive interaction with someone you love.

If you don't feed your Arian Moon the fiery experiences it needs, you tend to get temperamental, bossy, and needlessly competitive. But that's not your true nature -- just an "occupational hazard" that goes along with this volatile lunar position.

Going farther, we see that your Moon lies in the Fifth house of your chart.

Pleasure -- that's Fifth House territory. It's as though God marched you off the end of the cosmic diving board with the words, "Go down there and try to have a good time!" That sounds pretty lightweight, but think about it: feeling good in this world isn't so easy! We've got global pollution, schizophrenics with AK-47s, ego-maniacs with nuclear warheads... not to mention disease, taxes, mosquitos, cars that won't start....

How do we feel real pleasure here on planet Earth? Alone, the "pleasures of the flesh" can't cut the mustard; money, alcohol, orgasms -- they help, but they're not enough... just look at the usual life-expectancy of a "purely physical relationship." Where to turn? To the pleasures of the mind, the heart, the soul! The joy of learning. The spiritual high of athletic excellence. The bliss of meditation. And, perhaps above all, the sheer pleasure of creative self-expression.

Astrological force is focused here in your birthchart. It offers joy -- and warns of the addictions that can overcome you if you miss that joy, or seek it all in one place.

With the Moon in the Fifth House, there's clearly a playful streak in your character, a desire to express yourself whimsically and creatively. Trouble is, it's fairly easily abashed. Your evolutionary challenge is to keep that "child within" alive and confident, despite the wounds of life's early years. You have a terrific imagination. You can build inner worlds before breakfast. Make sure you enjoy the bliss of expressing that fantasy-life. If you don't, you'll try to make up the pleasure deficit in less healthy ways: stupid self-indulgences, typically with food or sex.

There's a third critical piece in your astrological puzzle -- the Ascendant, or rising sign. Along with the Sun and Moon, it completes the "primal triad." What is it? What does it mean? Simple -- the Ascendant is the sign that was coming up over the eastern horizon at the instant of your birth. It's where the sun is at dawn, in other words. In exactly the same way, the Ascendant represents how you "dawn" on people -- that is, how you present yourself. It's your "style," or your "mask."

The ascendant means more than that. It symbolizes a way you can help yourself feel centered, at ease, comfortable with who you are. If you get its message, then something wonderful happens: your style hooks you into the world of experience in a way that feeds your spirit exactly the kinds of events and relationships you need. Your soul is charged with more enthusiasm for the life you're living -- and you feel vibrant, confident, and full of animal grace.

When you took your first breath, Scorpio was lifting over the eastern horizon of London, UK. Let's begin our analysis by considering the meaning and spiritual message of the sign of "The Detective".

The Scorpion! A spooky image for a spooky sign. There's a scary side to life. People get terrible diseases. Kids get damaged. Old people are forgotten. Everybody dies. Socially we're conditioned to avoid mentioning those things, or to mention them only in ritual contexts -- like jokes or political speeches. For Scorpio, the evolutionary aim is to face those shadowy places. To make the unconscious conscious. To break taboos.

The Scorpio part of you is deep and penetrating. It has little patience with phoniness or hypocrisy. Trouble is, a little phoniness or hypocrisy often make life a lot easier for everyone! Be careful of becoming so "deep" that you lose perspective. In the Scorpion part of your life, you could slip into brooding and heaviness. So laugh a little! And find a few friends you can talk to. Do that, and you'll keep you balance well enough to find wisdom.

With Scorpio rising, we find something of an astrological paradox: the sign most concerned with penetrating the innermost reaches of the psyche is charged with the task of creating the exterior of the character! It's not a natural combination, but what happens is that your style tends toward intensity and probing. You make eye contact easily. A wall of energy radiates from you, carrying an unspoken message: "There will be no phoniness between us. Either tell the truth, or take a walk." Some people will choose to take the walk! But others will immediately find themselves overwhelmed with a desire to "confess" something to you. "I've never told anyone this before, but..."

To feel centered, you need to experience a lot of eye-to-eye intensity. There must be drama in your life; there must be truth; and there must be passion.

What have we learned so far? Quite a lot. Astrologers use the primal triad of Sun, Moon, and Ascendant in much the same way people who know just a little astrology use Sun signs. The difference is that while there are only twelve Sun signs, there are 1728 different combinations of all three factors. So when we say that you are a Libra with the Moon in Aries and Scorpio rising, that's a very specific statement.

Here's a way to make those words come even more alive. Traditionally, signs are connected with Bulls and Sea-Goats and Scorpions -- creatures we don't see every day. But we can translate those images into more modern archetypes.

We can say you are "The Artist", or "The Diplomat", or "The Lover". Those are just different ways of saying you have the Sun in Libra.

We can say you have the soul of "The Warrior", or "The Survivor", or "The Daredevil"... your Moon lies in Aries, in other words.

We can add that you wear the mask of "The Detective", or "The Sorcerer", or "The Hypnotist". Those images capture the spirit of your Ascendant, which is Scorpio.

You can combine those archetypes any way you want. And you can go further: Once you have a feel for the three basic signs in your primal triad, you can make up your own images to go with them. Whatever words you choose, those simple statements are your fundamental astrological signature. It's your skeleton. Our next step is to begin adding flesh and hair to that skeleton by considering the planets.

Unsurprisingly, planets can gain prominence in a birthchart through association with the Sun, Moon, or Ascendant. These three are power brokers, and any linkage with them boosts a planet's influence.

We find exactly that situation in your case. Jupiter lies in your First House, a part of the chart which is really just an extension of the Ascendant. Thus, Jupiter adds yet another tone to your "mask," modifying and deepening some of what we've already seen.

Take all the planets, all the meteors, moons, asteroids, and comets. Roll them up in a big ball of cosmic mush. They still wouldn't equal the mass of the "King of the Gods" -- Jupiter. Exactly that same bigness pervades the planet's astrological spirit. Jupiter is the symbol of buoyancy and generosity, of opportunity and joy. At the deepest level, it represents faith... faith in life, that is, rather than faith in anybody's theological position papers.

Jupiter stands in Sagittarius. This is an important piece of information -- maybe a pivotal one. Being human is tough sometimes. When you need to boost your elemental faith in life, your answer lies in following the Way of the Gypsy. That is, break out from under the tyranny of the familiar and the "practical." Stretch out into amazement and adventure. Start a Quest... or just hit the road.

In your chart, the "King of the Gods" reigns in the First House -- traditionally the "House of the Self." A bright, positive, expansive quality radiates from you... even when you're feeling rotten. In the old days, astrologers viewed a first House Jupiter as lucky. There's some truth to that, in that you usually end up getting what you want. But spiritually you're learning that fulfilling desires, especially flashy "Hollywood" desires, doesn't always deliver the advertised bliss.

Your own birthchart is complicated by the fact that, at your birth, Mars was aligned with the Sun... or "conjunct" the Sun, to use the proper astrological term. Thus, the energy and spirit of that planet is fused with your solar identity. In a sense, you are an "incarnation" of Mars."

What can that mean? Start by understanding the significance of the planet.

Pale red Mars suggested blood to our ancestors, and they named it the War God. That's an effective metaphor -- Mars does represent violence. But today we go further. The red planet symbolizes the power of the Will. Assertiveness. Courage. Without it, there'd be no fire in life. No spark. Where your Mars lies, you are challenged to find the Spiritual Warrior inside yourself, the part of you that's brave and clear enough to claim your own path and follow it.

Mars lies in civil Libra. It's as though the Warrior has gone to charm school! Libra is peaceful, diplomatic, consensus-seeking. Reflexively, your Mars pursues reconciliation, mutual understanding. But there's one offense that fires your rage: that's willful injustice. Spiritually you are learning a lot about building bridges of respect and fairness -- without slipping into the trap of hollow forgiveness and whitewashed grudges.

With Mars occupying your Twelfth House, the "War God" stands between you and the realization of loftier states of consciousness... not as an obstacle, but as a bridge. What that means is that you've come to a place in the spiritual journey where, if you're going to go further, you need to become braver. The point is that, despite the pretty words in inspirational books, there's something frightening about entering higher levels of awareness, and that very jitteriness is holding you back. Hence, your "guru" is the "Cosmic Warrior."

While a fairly large number of people have Mars in that sign and house, the fact that it lies conjunct your Sun gives it special emphasis. By pushing the strengths it suggests toward their limits, you charge your solar vitality, approach your destiny, and set the stage for fullfilling your spiritual purpose.

Your birthchart displays another area of heightened activity: the Twelfth House. The reason for that is simple -- there's a lot of planetary activity. With Mercury and Neptune in that area of your life, it is charged with activity, soul lessons, and opportunities for personal development. Before we even consider the planets separately, our first step is to explore this piece of existential real estate in broad terms.

Slipping the bonds of ego, letting consciousness expand beyond the narrow framework of personality -- that's the terrain of the Twelfth House. A planet here stands between you and higher states of consciousness, not as an obstacle but as a bridge. For that reason, it's helpful to view such a planet as your "Guru" or "Master Teacher."

The very existence of a planet in this part of your chart tells us that in this lifetime you're ready for a quantum leap in awareness. But to accomplish that, you must practice a very specific "yoga." What yoga? That depends on the planets involved.

Before we identify that spiritual discipline, there's one more point -- your planetary "guru" is rather insistent. If you avoid the methods the Teacher suggests, your poor ego will take some hard knocks. To the old astrologers, this was the "House of Troubles." That's a fair description of what's in store for us if we choose to maintain our usual attachments, ignoring the call of the inner worlds.

Mercury buzzes around the Sun in eighty-eight days, making it the fastest of the planets. It buzzes around your head in exactly the same way: frantically. It's the part of you that never rests -- the endless firing of your synapses as your intelligence struggles to organize a picture of the world. Mercury represents thinking and speaking, learning and wondering. It is the great observer, always curious. It represents your senses themselves and all the raw, undigested data that pours through them.

Mercury is seething in Scorpio. That combination links your mental functions to the penetrating, soul-searching logic of the Detective archetype. Unerringly, your intelligence seeks out hidden truths and lies agreed upon, always drawn into the realm of the taboo. Spiritually you are learning a lot about intellectual courage, especially when it comes to unraveling painful human situations.

With the traditional "Messenger of Gods" occupying your Twelfth House, your intelligence is much concerned with the investigation of consciousness itself. You trigger greater psychic sensitivity and spiritual awareness in yourself when you flood your senses with incongruous, surprising, stimulating information or questions: What's the sound of one hand clapping? The trick here lies in using the intellect to trip the intellect.

You're lying in your bed, going to sleep. Suddenly a jolt runs through your body. You just "caught yourself falling asleep." Where were you two seconds before the jolt? What were you? Astrologically, the answer lies with Neptune. This is the planet of trance, of meditation, of dreams. It represents your doorway into the "Not-Self." Based on the sign the planet occupies, we identify a particularly critical spiritual catalyst for you... although we need to remember that Neptune remains in a Sign for an average of a little over thirteen years, so its Sign position actually describes not only you, but your whole generation. Its House position, however, is more uniquely your own.

Neptune was passing through Scorpio. Thus, to trigger higher states of consciousness in yourself and to stimulate your psychic development, you may choose to follow the Path of the Sorcerer... that is consciously, intentionally to seek access to the power aspects of the Great Mystery, perhaps through the mastery of healing techniques, or a study of shamanistic traditions, or the use of divinatory methods such as astrology or the tarot cards. Without exposure to the purifying, soul-bleaching effects of what we could broadly call "magic," you tend to drift away from Spirit, losing yourself in the mazes of daily life.

Neptune, planet of transcendence, occupies the Twelfth House of your birthchart, where its mystical feelings are naturally linked to questions of spirituality and the larger framework within which life -- and consciousness -- operate. You were born with a terrific, and somewhat dangerous, gift: the ability to be your own spiritual teacher. You have sound instincts about the path to higher levels of being. Use them! Or your sensitivities will sooner or later overwhelm you, leaving you vulnerable to addictive behaviors.

Your birthchart shows still another area where planets congregate: the Ninth. By combining forces, Uranus and Pluto emphasize that department of your life almost as powerfully as the Sun or Moon would.

The House of Long Journeys over Water -- that's one old name for this part of the birthchart. Since you have energy focused here a fortune-teller would say, "I see travel in your stars." True enough, although a deeper way of expressing the same notion is that immersing yourself in cultures outside the one into which you were born is a pivotal spiritual catalyst for you.

There are other kinds of catalytic journeys. Getting a wide education, formally or informally, is one. So is anything that breaks up the normal routines of life and thought. Even learning to hang-glide.

Ultimately, in the Ninth House you weave a grand scheme of life's meaning and purpose, at least your own version of it. This is the House of Religion... provided we recognize that many major world religions have no churches or temples. Cynicism is one such religion. Existentialism, Materialism, and Science are others, not to mention Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism and so on.

If Uranus were the only planet in the sky, we'd all be so independent we'd still be Neanderthals throwing rocks at each other. There would be no language, no culture, no law. On the other hand, if Uranus did not exist, we'd all still be hauling rocks for Pharaoh. All individuality would be suppressed. This is the planet of individuation... the process whereby we separate out who we are from what everybody else wants us to be. Always it indicates an area of our lives in which, to be true to ourselves, we must "break the rules" -- that is, overcome the forces of socialization and peer pressure. In that part of our experience, what feeds our souls tends to annoy mom and dad... and all the "moms" and "dads" who lay down the law of the tribe.

With Uranus in Leo, the process of individuation for you is tied up with the Path of the Performer. That is to say, you strengthen and clarify your own Uranian identity through cultivating and polishing your innate capacity for creative self-expression -- and without that outlet, you're likely to clog up your life with unnecessary bombast and drama. Consciously chosen forays into the realm of performance, such as theater, music, or even the pursuit of athletic excellence, purify your sense of self, purging out the spurious "inner voices" you've swallowed sitting in front of the great wraparound television set of late twentieth century Industrial Culture.

House of Journeys -- that's the old name for the Ninth House, where your Uranus lies. The issues are broader; not just travel, but the whole process of extending our experiential frontiers. Uranus is your Teacher here and the lessons can be summarized this way: to find your true individuality, you must undertake a quest. That quest probably contains an element of travel -- the mythical journey "to seek your fortune." But it also involves a broad process of learning and stretching your philosophical views.

"Life's a bitch. Then you die." Go to any boutique from coast to coast; you'll find those words on a coffee mug. Meaninglessness. Like most truly frightening ideas, we make a joke of it. That's Plutonian territory: the realm of all that terrifies us so badly we need to hide from it. Death. Disease. Our personal shame. Sexuality, to some extent. Initially, Pluto asks us to face our own wounds, squarely and honestly. Then, if we succeed, it offers us a way to create an unshakable sense of meaning in our lives. How? Methods vary according to the Signs and Houses involved, but always they have one point in common: the high Plutonian path invariably involves accepting some trans-personal purpose in your life.

One more point: Pluto moves so slowly that it remains in a given Sign for many years. As result, its Sign position in your birthchart refers not only to you but also to your generation. The House position, however, is much more personal in its relevance.

Pluto was journeying slowly through the sign Virgo. Thus the shadow material you are called upon to face has to do with the dark side of the Perfectionist archetype: surrendering to cynicism and defeat. In what part of your life or personal history have you chosen to take refuge in bitterness over the pain of continuing your journey? (If your answer is "Nowhere!" then congratulations... you're Enlightened... or not looking hard enough.)

At the moment of your birth, Pluto gleamed in the Ninth House... a part of the natal chart concerned with expansive adventures, and with philosophy. It is essential that you make contact, however brief or long term, with "foreign" cultures. Through the act of committing yourself to such a quest, a transformation occurs in your being -- and the capacity to fulfill your transpersonal mission arises. What is that mission? To forcefully encourage people to consider their lives from the viewpoint of meaning and purpose. This is the Path of the Preacher; follow it, but be wary of the pitfalls of self-righteousness and certainty.

In the final analysis, all planets are important. Each one plays a unique role in your developmental pattern, and failure to feed any one of them results in a diminution of your life. Just because the following planets aren't "having breakfast with the President" through association with the Sun, Moon, or Ascendant doesn't mean we can ignore them.

Look at a NASA photo of Saturn. The icy elegance of the planet's rings, the pale understatement of the cloud bands... both hint at the clarity and precision which characterize Saturn's astrological spirit. Part of the human psyche must be cold and calculating, cunning enough to survive in the physical world. Part of us thrives on self-discipline, seeks excellence, pays the price of devotion. Somewhere in our lives there's a region where nothing but the best of what we are is enough to satisfy us. That's the high realm of Saturn. In its low realm, we take one glance at those challenges and our hearts turn to ice. We freeze in fear, and despair claims us.

The savvy, ambitious terrain of Capricorn offers a region of profound spiritual challenge for you, as Saturn was passing through that sign at your birth. You must learn to steel yourself in the face of the Sea-Goat's shadow side: self-mechanization, and self-imposed emotional exile. Will yourself toward joy! Learn the discipline of spontaneity! And support that journey in practical, Saturnian terms by fortifying yourself with concrete skills and strategies -- especially ones pertinent to Saturn's House in your birthchart. Which House was that?

The Second! The arena of life where we must prove ourselves to ourselves -- or slip into crippling self-doubt. With Saturn here, you build faith in yourself brick by brick through taking on long-term, often solitary, projects that ask for everything you can do. Depending on the tone of the rest of your birthchart, that could mean anything from medical school to a solo trek across Greenland by dogsled. You weren't born with a lot of faith in yourself, but you were born with the ability to earn it.

Venus is the part of your mental circuitry that's concerned with releasing tension and maintaining harmony. Its focus is always peace, inwardly and outwardly. As such, it represents your aesthetic functions -- your taste in colors, sounds, and forms. Why? Because the perception of beauty soothes the human heart. Venus is also tied to your affiliative functions -- your romantic instincts, your sense of courtesy or diplomacy, your taste in friends. Invariably, this planet has one goal: sustaining your serenity in the face of life's onslaughts.

Venus was passing through Virgo. Thus, both your aesthetic sensitivity and your taste in partners is shaped by the keen-eyed discrimination of the Virgin. In the realm of beauty, whether natural or wrought by human hands, you have a taste for quality, for precise execution, for technical virtuosity. The same goes for friends and sexual partners -- you appreciate people with a no-nonsense air of competence and realism, people who assess themselves with searing honesty, then get on with the business of working on themselves.

With Venus in the Tenth House, your "cosmic job description" is Peacemaker, Counselor, or Artist. An old-fashioned astrologer would simply say you're lucky when it comes to work and status. That's true... in a way. But be careful: Life will dangle cushy positions before you like the worm before the trout... and they conceal the hook of emptiness. (How to avoid it? Go back half a hundred words and re-read your "cosmic job description"... those Venus-sign images describe the paths of joy for you.)


Your Lunar Nodes

The soul's journey

Here's a jolly baby. Here's a serious one. An alert one. A dull one. A wise one. Those are common nursery room observations, but they raise a fascinating question: How did that person get in there?

Most of our psychological theory, either technically or in folklore, is developmental theory... abuse a child and he'll grow up to be a child-abuser, for example. But in the eyes of the newborn infant, there is already character. How can that be? One might say it's heredity, and that's certainly at least part of the answer. A large part of the world's population would call it reincarnation -- that baby, for better or worse, represents the culmination of centuries of soul-development in many different bodies. A Fundamentalist might simply announce, "That's how God made the baby." Who's to say? But all three explanations hold one point in common: They all agree that we cannot account for what we observe in a baby's eyes without acknowledging the impact of events occurring before the child's birth.

In astrology, the South Node of the Moon refers to events occurring before your birth, helping us to see what was in your eyes ten seconds after you were born... however we imagine it got in there! The Moon's North Node, always opposite the South Node, refers to your evolutionary future. It's a subtle point, but arguably the most important symbol in astrology. The North Node represents an alien state of consciousness and an unaccustomed set of circumstances. If you open your heart and mind to them, you put maximum tension on the deadening hold of the past.

As we consider the Nodes of the Moon in your birthchart, we'll be using the language of reincarnation. Whether that notion fits your own spiritual beliefs is of course your own business. If it doesn't work for you, please translate the ideas into ancestral hereditary terms. After all, it makes little practical difference whether we speak of a certain farmer weeding his beans a thousand years before the Caesars as your great, great, mega-great grandfather... or as you yourself in a previous incarnation. Either way, he's someone who lived way back there in history who sort of is you, sort of isn't, and lives on inside you--influencing but not ultimately defining you.

At your birth, the South Node of the Moon lay in Aries, the sign of the Warrior. Anyone looking into your eyes as you took your first breath would have observed the results of lifetimes spent learning the ways of courage: alertness, presence, a certain edginess. You've grown strong, tempered by the stress of countless battles, but now, like a Viet Nam vet who throws a knife through the wall when a car backfires down the street, you must learn a new lesson: the war is over.

That nascent ability to release the accumulated tensions and defenses appropriate to battle is symbolized by your North Node of the Moon, which lies in Libra -- the sign of the Balance. As we saw earlier, the North Node can be viewed as the most important point in the birthchart. Why? Because it represents your evolutionary future ... the ultimate reason you're alive, in other words. How can you accomplish this Libran spiritual work? The "yoga" is easy to say, harder to do: you must temper some of your tough independence, consciously letting go of your winner/loser instincts and your hunter/prey reflexes. To attune yourself to this gentle Libran energy, it helps to immerse yourself in the enjoyment of art and nature's beauty, and also to put yourself in positions in which you must interact trustingly with friends and partners.

There's another piece to the puzzle: The Moon's South Node falls in the Fifth House of your chart. This implies that previous to this lifetime you lived out the notion that "the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom." There has developed in your spirit a spontaneous immediacy... creative and joyful, but vulnerable to the life-derailing effects of whimsy and self-indulgence.

In this lifetime, with your North Node of the Moon in the Eleventh House, you must act to counterbalance those whimsical, self-indulgent tendencies... not so much because they're "bad" as because you've already learned everything you can from them. The time has come for you to take authority over the shape of your own life, establishing your own goals and priorities, determining in advance what kind of elderly person you'll become. Finish what you start!

And that's your birth chart.

Trust it; the symbols are Spirit's message to you. In the course of a lifetime, you'll make a billion choices. Any one of them could potentially hurt you terribly, sending you down a barren road. How can you steer a true course? The answer is so profound that it circles around and sounds trivial: listen to your heart, be true to your soul. Noble words and accurate ones, but tough to follow.

The Universe, in its primal intelligence, seems to understand that difficulty. It supplies us with many external supports: Inspiring religions and philosophies. Dear friends who hold the mirror of truth before us. Omens of a thousand kinds. And, above all, the sky itself, which weaves its cryptic message above each newborn infant.

In these pages, you've experienced one reading of that celestial message as it pertains to you. There are others. You may want to consider sitting with a real astrologer ... micro-chips are fine, but a human heart can still express nuances of meaning that no computer can grasp. You may want to order other reports, ones that illuminate your current astrological "weather," or that analyze important relationships. Best of all, you may choose to learn this ancient language yourself, and begin unraveling your own message in your own words.

Whatever your course, we thank you for your time and attention, and wish you grace for your journey.