Management of Measurement Constructs

Managing Midpoint Pictures

As my career has developed, I've learned greater and greater respect for Midpoint Pictures in horoscope analysis. At the same time, I've noted so often that astrologers tend to be scared away from these very helpful insight-portraits by the sheer multiplicity of Midpoint Pictures that are generated by their computers. Most astrologers don't get into the center of midpoint picture-power to learn the elements of midpoint synthesis. -As I see it, there are three problems: organization of data, understanding "three-cornered" synthesis, and integrating Midpoint sense into analysis.

In Synthesis & Counseling in Astrology, pages 303-334, there is a concentrated presentation about Midpoints, which are used throughout the 1000 pages of analytical studies in the Handbook. And under "Analytical Techniques" Archives for December 30, 1999 on this website, there is a rich presentation about Midpoint synthesis. Let me add still some more information.

Organization of Data I strongly recommend a "90-degree Midpoint Sort". With this choice/command, your software/computer will give you all horoscope positions that are conjunct, square, or opposed to the midpoints of all planets and points in the horoscope. If you take a 45-degree Sort, you will be dealing with so many measurements as to be ultimately confusing and exhausting. With the 900 Sort, you're dealing with "hot stuff"; you can get a grip on it easily!

Remember: you will have already gotten your "first impression" of the horoscope through the techniques of Hemisphere Emphasis, the Sun-Moon blend, dominant aspects, and rulership dynamics. With that "feel" and orientation in mind, here is the tip: you can logically expect that the Midpoint Pictures will echo those initial synthesis observations. The key then become that, when you spot a Midpoint Picture that adds a new dimension to the initial synthesis observations, you have discovered an important addition to insight.

For example: Art Buchwald, the world celebrated humorist/writer (October 20, 1915 at 1:00 PM in Mount Vernon, NY) is one of the funniest, chuckling people ever! At first glance, his horoscope shows imagination, communication energy (check his 3rd House ruler), great ego-absorption (Moon in Aries), and a driving situation having to do with his mother relationship (Pluto squares his Moon). BUT, there are also the Midpoint pictures of Saturn=Neptune/Pluto ("Grief, weakness, torment") and Saturn=Moon/Mercury ("possible depression"). This means Saturn is at the midpoint of Neptune/Pluto and opposed the midpoint of Moon/Mercury. Additionally, there is Midheaven=Moon/Pluto ("one-sided emotional intensity"). -These dimensions are certainly not what we would expect within a humorist!

In consultation we would have to pursue where those feelings of grief, depression and emotional intensity -one-sided and ego-orientated, possibly linked with his mother--- where they come from within his development. And it would not be surprising to learn that Buchwald is a clinically diagnosed manic-depressive with a mother story "for the books."

"Three-Cornered" Synthesis The key to understanding the synthesis of three planetary/point symbolism points is this: take your keyword-"feel" for the aspecting planet or point [Sun is "illumination", Moon is the personal need system and/or mother, Mercury is "thought or mind", Venus is "grace", Mars is "energy", Jupiter is "opportunity and/or rightness", Saturn is "control", Uranus is "disruption," Neptune is "suppression," and Pluto is "power management."] and know that the equals sign (=) describes conjunction, square, or opposition (in the 900 Sort) to two other planets(points) that synthesis through your keyword-understanding of them.

For example: Buchwald, as we've just seen, has Saturn=Neptune/Pluto: controls are involved with personality suppression (Neptune) and personal empowerment (Pluto). He is pressed in or down by developmental circumstances; he must fight through much to fulfil the "numero uno drive" of the Moon in Aries. The key then for the analytst is to find out WHY there is this dimension in his personality development; where did the "controls" originate. Mother is an easy answer within this horoscope.

The MC=Moon/Pluto picture says it clearly: the mother influence is detrimentally influential (in strong developmental tension) to his ego status (MC). [Buchwald's mother was institutionalized early in his life; he was farmed out as an orphan, etc.; and note that his Uranus conjoins the Nodal axis, i.e., mother usurping individuality.]

Going further: we must be alert to Midpoint pictures that can reasonably speak on two developmental/experiential levels at the same time: for example, Venus=Saturn/MC. We look here for the grace of the Venus symbol to improve the job situation here; but, at the same time, we must look for the job situation to bring dryness into relationship (all work and no play?). [Think the symbolisms through.]

Please restudy the December 30, 1999 Archives in this essay category and practice every day understanding a few key pictures in the horoscopes with which you work.

Integrating Midpoint pictures into Analysis Four days ago in Hamburg, Germany, I sat with a lady whose horoscope was decidedly orientated to the East (defensive nature in development); Saturn was in the 11th square the Moon, ruler of the 11th (an enormous need for love, affecting her giving of love as an adult (Saturn rules her 5th)). Her parental significators were reasonably free(!), with the exception that Mars was square Jupiter, ruler of her 4th.

BUT, there was the glaring, blaring midpoint picture of Pluto=Mercury/Saturn ("Contemplating loss; fearing wipe-out; fearing abandonment").

I followed this lead in my opening discussion with her, linking a giant need for love with some sense of loss in the early homelife. My statement was just as simple as that. --My client's reply was, "My father was killed on the last day of the war (WWII) ." I asked if her mother had remarried, and the answer was no, not until she (my client) was 16.

Then, in our discussion, when I asked about the powerful transit of Uranus over her fourth cusp with transiting Pluto simultaneously on her Moon, ruler of her problematic 11th , at age 37, I learned that her husband went out "for a package of cigarettes and never returned."

I simply said, "and again, abandonment."

The singular natal Midpoint Picture, Pluto=Mercury/Saturn (get the feel of empowerment being undermined by depressed thought, possibly linked to the father) pointed the way for this deepest of fears, abandonment. The therapy of the consultation with the client, now 55, then became to learn objective assessment of that natal fear of abandonment and the actualities of its manifestations; to remove any blame from herself; and to establish respect for her strengths of endurance. And this would be set in the light of her future plans.

Constantly in my work with people, I see key midpoint pictures that spark insight in this way -perhaps one or two in each horoscope. My eyes have learned to sort out speedily from the ten or so 90-degree Midpoint-Sort pictures (two degree orb) the drivingly important synthesis picture or two that comes to the foreground in life development, beyond the analytical orientation I already have for the horoscope. Usually, these especially key pictures link outer planets (Saturn through Pluto) with inner planets (especially Moon, Mercury, or Venus) and/or personal points (especially the Ascendant).

My first client this morning has a conspicuously important AP=Sun/Moon=Saturn/Pluto. What might this say about relationships (Sun-Moon), especially with her natal Mars ruling her 7th and natally conjoined with Pluto?! -What about her Venus=Moon/Saturn ("restrictions in expression"; emotional unfulfillment). Do you feel these pictures working together to portray the individual's developmental challenges?

And, Oh, my goodness! Linda Tripp (November 24, 1949 at 8:00 AM in Jersey City NJ) shows a veritable Midpoint Museum in her horoscope. Just look at a few here: Neptune=Pluto/Asc, suggesting "Something paranormal influences situation; the fight against rumor; embarrassment to transcend"; Sun=Mars/Pluto, "a passionate attack to achieve an objective; intervention of some undeniable force or authority; upset of plans that is unredeemable"; and that objective is certainly shown by AP=Sun/Moon, precisely (and seven other pictures as well!): a craving for prominence and publicity dominating the personality (even with a 12th House Sun!).

Study this subject, please. Read the textbook. Go back and apply the measurement strategy to horoscopes you know very well. See what you come up with. It will always be helpful to your consultation process and to your client's understanding of life.

Final Note: Synthesis & Counseling in Astrology, in its Appendix, carries word images and descriptive phrases for every Midpoint Picture possible in astrology (over 1,100 of them!), for their use in natal analysis and Solar Arc interpretation.

Next Update: December 30, 2000


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