Management of Measurement Constructs

Cusp Concepts, Interception Insights

The two great axes (circles) with which we work so importantly in astrology are, of course, the MC-IC and the ASC-DSC. The former is determined by the time of our birth, and the latter is determined by the place of our birth. Together they define our mundane orientation in life, and they are vital -indispensable- as determinators in the process of rectification.

The House systems we use are arbitrary (sub)divisions of time and space that personalize life experience. The systems are devised to give some manageable interpretative order to the all of everything; sectors (called Houses) are formed and are magically-empirically given significances in terms of specific life activities and our subjective evaluations of those activities. There are some 50-60 House systems, divisions of time and space.

In all House Systems except those based upon Equal House projections from the Ascendant or the Midheaven, the Ascendant and Midheaven are always the same. Only the interior House cusps (2-8, 3-9, 6-12) vary, not extremely, but sometimes two-four degrees.

A century ago, during the grand time of astrological learning and marketing in England, a great deal of importance was placed upon the interior House cusps. This focus worked also to define the Placidian (devised by Placidus de Tito) System as the standard House System (departing from the Campanus House system that had been used by Lilly and others long before in England). We have inherited the preference for the Placidian System in our times now, and we still sense that the interior House cusps are critical, that they are tense areas judgmentally dangerous to our interpretations.

Students ask often, "What about a planet on the cusp or very, very close to it? Which House is it in?" Or "In the Placidian System, this planet is in the 11th House, but in the Koch System (still another House System from Germany), it's in the 10th! Which is it?"

In our modern holistic, psychodynamic perspective about life experience, the specific demarcation of the House cusps is permeated by the spill-overconcept: one marked focal point in a House affects everything else. --Assemble twelve full glasses of water in a tight circle, with the glasses all grouped together and touching each other as tightly as possible. Add a bit more water to one of the glasses (a planet emphasis in a particular House), and the overflow of water, the effect, will spill over into every other glass (zone of experience). How I regard myself (2nd House) will affect how I give of myself to others (5th House), how I maintain relationships (7th), and what kind of giving I can expect from others (11th), etc.

If a planet is poised in between Houses --in the sense of the spill-over concept-- is the cusp perhaps the middle of the Houses? We must infer from the whole horoscope into which field of experience to place the planet's emphasis; we simply ask our client a question and judge from the client's reality response where the planet is focussed in the client's experience. --But let's recognize honestly that life is NOT so cleanly demarcated to lead us to expect perfectionist measurement to reflect it! Our astrology organizes guidelines only; we relate those guidelines to the reality being lived by the client; we continuously adjust interpretation to an individualistic "fit."

Margaret Thatcher, retired Prime Minister of England [born October 13, 1925 at 9:00 AM, GMT, in Grantham, ENG -"A" data, Rodden collection] has Saturn at 13 Scorpio 46 and her Ascendant at 15 Scorpio 16. This Saturn in every conceivable view is on/in her Ascendant, not relating primarily to the 12th House. Saturn rules her third (mind-set) and is superbly aspected. The British media named her "the iron lady", certainly a saturnine description. --Her Moon at 28 Leo 38 late in the 9th House certainly relates dramatically into affairs of the 10that 3 Virgo 51 [a take charge personality].

Presumably, each of us has his/her own portion of time-space configured (systematized) individualistically. Perhaps the Placidian System is the best lens through which to see all this; the astrologer looks through the lens (System) that best suits his/her view of life. Then, the astrologer as the medium for interpretation, assimilates the client through the astrologer's time-space continuum, but always with respect and perspective provided by the client in his/her time-space continuum. -This is why, when I might look at Jeffrey Green's Horoscope, I use my Placidian System, while Jeffrey himself sees his life through the Prophyry House System. [And, of course, when he looks at my horoscope, he sees me through his personalized space-time continuum.

The interior House cusps simply do not present a problem -except to those astrologers bound by rigid measurement rules, looking for laws that are fatalistic and unyielding. If I see Saturn or Venus in the 9th House, say, 1.5 degrees away from the Midheaven (note: applying to the Midheaven), my experience tells me that this planet is probably in both Houses, but more significant to the Midheaven. Beyond this, what is more important for sure, is the aspect condition of the planet in relation to the House(s) it rules! --Please see the Rulership Dynamics" section in Synthesis & Counseling in Astrology.

Interceptions When you peel an orange, note how the sectors are uniformly fat at the orange's "equator" and how they narrow toward each pole. This is what happens with the projections of our House Systems -our divisions of space and time- from any given spot on earth to capture the positions of the planets at any given time in life. It's not hard to visualize how our perception of the sky bunches up, narrows, the farther we go toward either pole. The Signs bunch up within our projections of House Systems.

I have worked with many, many Norwegian horoscopes, some born so far North that the mathematics of the Placidian System will not apply (and therefore, a switch to, say, the Koch System is required). I have seen the Sun in the 3rd House making a sextile, square, trine, and opposition (all of them!) to planets in the NINTH HOUSE! The 9th and 3rd Houses were so extended, so grand, and, at the same time because of the narrowing phenomenon, the other Houses were gradually so very, very small in degree size. -Interpretively, there is no real problem: rulership dynamics break up the House cluster and spill-out holistically through the horoscope (life experience).

Double interceptions are the norm in England and northern Europe, etc.. Triple interceptions should not raise an eyebrow too far!

An old teaching was that "interception" connoted "imprisonment", a planet being caged in somehow, limited, held apart, This is not in any way tenable; the old teaching was really just an extension of a hoary horary principle into natal interpretation.

The astute considerations about interception within interpretation are three:

1. Rulership reference to a particular House is doubled (or tripled)! The aspect condition of Mercury and Venus will both apply to the House with, say, Virgo on the cusp and Libra intercepted within the House.

2. Arc and Transit time periods going through the House are protracted. The Interception adds degrees to the House -makes it bigger-therefore planets take longer to transit the area; similarly Arcs take much longer to go through the House, as does the Secondary Progressed Moon. Think what this can mean in terms of such added activity emphasis in the 10th House, for example.

3. Significance of the House is increased. Because of the possible location of planets in the intercepted House and the extended duration of transits and Arcs there (or aspecting planets there), much more development is absorbed within the concerns of the House. It did not surprise me recently when a client with six planets in the 9th, with an interception there, announced at the outset of our consultation that she was an international lawyer and had traveled to 48 countries for women's rights.

Next Update: May 10


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