Management of Measurement Constructs

Analytical Techniques July 31, 2004

Retrogradation Review and Rx Patterning

As we devour our learning of astrology, our appetites tend to demand that everything we observe and measure must mean something, have analytical substance.

In the sense that the whole is the some of its parts, and in the sense that the microcosm reflects the macrocosm, everything in the horoscope does mean something. –But not all the “somethings” are monumental in the uniqueness of their measure (as is Saturn-rx, for example), and some things gain significance only when they are grouped together (as with a preponderant Element or Mode emphasis; as with gender emphasis, dispositor patterns).

We can see this with retrogradation, the apparent backward movement in the zodiac all planets show periodically. We know that retrogradation is a parallax manifestation: our view from the surface of the Earth of a planet slowing in its orbit, projected against a stationary zodiacal reference backdrop; our orbital speed on Earth changes the angle of our view of the slowing planet, and it seems to move backward.

When Mercury is retrograde we have every reason to feel, to anticipate –through the Houses ruled by Mercury—a counterpoint, a second agenda perhaps, the mind giving more than one layer of significance to behaviors, usually in specific areas of our life. Michael Jackson has Mercury-rx, ruling his 5th House and his Ascendant (Childhood-children and Self). Hillary Clinton has Mercury-rx exactly on her Ascendant ruling her Midheaven (relationship projection and professional status)! Monica Lewinsky has Mercury retrograde in Cancer conjunct her Sun at the Midheaven (emotional relationship and status). Princess Diana also had Mercury retrograde in Cancer conjunct the Sun, Mercury ruling her 7th.

Similarly, with Venus retrograde we can expect that the life turns to a great degree on a relational pivot, and the Houses it rules usually dominate much of life activity and experience. When it is retrograde, emotional fulfillment is not easily forthcoming, there is a discontentment, a struggle; there is something else involved, a second agenda that is getting in the way, and this is seen through other aspect structures reflecting early life development and the patterning of behaviors. –Hitler had a severely problematic Venus-rx (conjunct Mars and squared by Saturn); Saddam Hussein and athlete Magic Johnson also have Venus-rx.

In the knowledge that Mercury and Venus are always very close to the Sun (never more than 23-degrees or 44 degrees away, respectively), they “work” together. Any combination of two of these bodies (or all three) in conjunction speaks of idealization: the life energy, the mind and the relational senses are brought together in some way that expects perfection. Billy Graham has Sun-Venus in conjunction in Scorpio. Adolf Hitler’s Sun-Mercury conjunction on the Descendant is most telling. Pope John Paul II has Mercury-Venus in conjunction in the 9th House. And recall the examples of Monica Lewinsky and Princess Diana cited above. –And this planetary posture can easily be complicated by retrogradation.

With Mars retrograde, we can expect the energies we use to get things done to “go in” before they “come out.” They go in for reflection, editing, censorship, adjustment, strategizing. Saddam Hussein also has Mars-rx conjunct his Moon in Sagittarius. Pope John Paul II has Mars-rx peregrine, ruling the 9th.

Jupiter retrograde suggests a reliable inner resourcefulness, a capacity to be content with and benefit from being alone. It is as if the inner rewards of Self are easy to come by and are significant in behavioral development. –This is not necessarily a religious or spiritual dimension; it is more often a practical philosophical organization of awareness. Key examples: Dustin Hoffman, with Jupiter-rx rising, ruling the 11th; baseball great/civil rights symbol Jackie Robinson, with Jupiter ruling his 5th.

Saturn retrograde, in my opinion, is perhaps the most insightful external measurement entrance to human behavior that we have in the social sciences. It suggests a legacy of inferiority feelings taken on in the early homelife in connection with the paternal relationship: a father taken out of the picture early on or present and passive, or tyrannical … either or all so as to deprive the child of the authoritative love-connection in growing up. This is a very, very telling measurement, which must be managed with great care. [Full development of this thesis, now reinforced with many thousands of case studies over the last 25 years, is presented in Tyl-Synthesis & Counseling in Astrology –The Professional Manual, pages 35-49 especially.] --Key examples for study: Princess Diana, Marilyn Monroe, Queen Elizabeth II, Betty Ford (with Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn all retrograde); Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Robinson.

A Shift of Observations

The planets Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto have their retrograde periods as well, of course, but meanings are difficult to grasp … if indeed there are meanings for the Trans-Saturnians retrograde.

As I was developing the thesis of Hemisphere Emphasis some 30 years ago, the Emphasis correlating with a psychodynamic “first impression” of an individual, I realized that multiple retrograde planets, say three or more, almost always seemed to be grouped in the same hemisphere of the horoscope. This led to my working analytical approach of seeing the hemisphere opposite the hemisphere holding the retrograde grouping as the dominating, emphasized hemisphere.

If the emphasized Hemisphere is to the East, we can expect defensiveness to permeate psychological development; if to the North (below the horizon), unfinished business in the early home; to the West, giving oneself away to others; and to the South, potential victimization, being pushed around by others. –Now there are dynamic reasons behind, within, and around these very stark deductions –that are practically undeniable—and they are covered here on the website in part: see Archives below, select July 15, 1999; and in full in Synthesis & Counseling in Astrology, pages 5-34 especially.

So, we have the outer planets when retrograde significant for their grouping balance tendencies within the observation and evaluation of Hemisphere Emphasis. This is a very strong measure, establishing the base of further analytical development.

Next Update: August 31, 2004


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