Synastry, Transits, Progressions

Of all the posts on this site, the ones about astrology charts get the most hits. I’m not sure why; I can’t possibly be the first result when someone Googles astrology. But since that seems to be what many people are interested in, I thought I’d write a bit more about it.

An astrology chart is like a fingerprint—it’s unique. Sometimes people ask, “What if two people were born at the same hospital at the same time?” Well, I don’t know. I’ve never seen a case like that. But I think that there’s a lot more to a life than a star chart, so while some of the themes in those two hypothetical lives might be similar, their lives wouldn’t necessarily be the same. If you look at a family—that’s a number of charts interacting in what we call “synastry.” Synastry is a fancy word for taking two people’s charts and comparing them to see how those two people might (or might not) get along. Most people use synastry to look at love relationships, but you can use it between parents and children, between siblings, between coworkers, anyone you might have a personal relationship with.

Synastry is handled in a couple ways. I usually look at the individual charts and see where planets interact, whether one person’s planets fill empty houses in another person’s charts, etc. But there’s also a way to create a composite chart that more or less shows a picture of the potential relationship. I don’t have much experience with these, so I can’t really say much about them. But my understanding is that you read the composite chart in the same way you’d read a natal chart.

Things get complicated when you consider transits and progressions. When you look at the current placement of planets in respect to a person’s chart, you’re looking at transits. If a natal chart is the big picture of a person’s life lessons, their obstacles and advantages, transits are more immediate things happening right now as the planets move. Transits are what daily horoscopes are based on.

Progressions take the planets in the natal chart and, well, progress them. They show where the planets would be now if progressed . . . by various methods*. Progressions can indicate change in a person’s life cycle, as their planets shift and so does their Midheaven and Ascendant. Again, I don’t look at progressed charts very often, but it’s an interesting idea. In fact, even as I write this I find myself thinking I should go look at my progressed chart.

If you’re ever curious about your chart and want to know where to get yours, I generally use (which is free) but also have on my phone a professional app called TimePassages that works well, too (not free). For the most accurate results, you’ll need to know where and when you were born—not just the date, but the actual time, which is usually on your birth certificate. Or, if you have a mother like mine, she calls you every year on your birthday at the exact time you were born and reminds you of all the pain she went through.

I catch a lot of grief from my scientist friends and religious family members about this stuff. For the record, I find it interesting, but I still firmly believe in our ability to make and change our own circumstances. Your chart is only as important and influential as you allow it to be. Nothing is inevitable. I find looking at my chart sometimes gives me perspective. However, I don’t let it dictate my life. How you handle yours is up to you.

* Methods for determining progressions vary. Some astrologers move each planet forward one degree for each year of the querent’s life (solar arc progression), some do it by moving the chart forward one day for each year (secondary progression). Those are the two most common techniques, but there are others. You can see them on the Wikipedia page for progressions.

Sun Conjunct Ascendant (pt 2)

One of my most popular posts is the one I wrote titled “Sun Conjunct Ascendant” which actually talked more about Aquarius than anything else. So now I’ll tell you about the actual aspect, or really, my experience with it. Specifically, however, I’m going to discuss what it means between two people (what astrologers call “synastry”) when one of them has their Natal Sun on the other’s Ascendant. (Sounds kinda dirty, doesn’t it?)

First let’s recap the function of your Natal Sun. In astrology, your Sun shows your core being. It doesn’t, however, always show how others perceive you. That’s determined more by your First House, which is where your Ascendant comes in. Your Ascendant is the sign where your First House falls.

For example, my Sun is in Sagittarius, but my Ascendant (aka “Rising Sign”) is Aquarius. So I come across to others as more like an Aquarius, though deep down I’ve got a lot of Sagittarius happening.

Okay, so what happens when your Sun is conjunct someone’s Ascendant? Well, in my personal experience—and I’ve had this happen fairly often in my life, where either my Sun is on someone’s Ascendant or vice versa—the Sun person pulls the Ascendant person into their orbit. While there is definitely mutual attraction of some kind, the devotion seems always to be stronger on the side of the Ascendant person. The Sun person feels a bond, too, but it might be more like a deep friendship, while the Ascendant person often falls head over heels for the Sun person.

Depending on the nature of the Sun person, he or she may struggle with the pressure of the Ascendant person’s love. And depending on the nature of the Ascendant person, he or she might become clingy. There’s so much more to synastry, but the thing about Sun conjunct Ascendant is that it seems to go one of a few ways: either the two people are devoted to one another for life; or they form a terrible, co-dependent relationship in which the Sun person may use/abuse the Ascendant person; or the Sun person runs far and fast because the Ascendant person is so intense.

Remember, though, that none of this is written in stone, so to speak. Being aware of your chart and how it intersects with others’ gives you a starting point for planning accordingly. And planets and stars move. They’re dynamic, and so are we. You choose how to behave or react, so choose wisely.

#TBT: 1997

So astrologically we’re at the end of one 19-year cycle and the start of another. And I kind of felt like looking back at what I was doing 19 years ago, which would have been 1997. That was the summer I worked on the Hope Floats set. I was an extremely poor college student—like, barely scraping together my share of the rent. Trying to divide my time between the film set and my actual job, the one that paid. Trying to stay afloat. It was a tough time. And I do recall very clearly the night I came home from a late shoot and my then roommates were sitting in front of the television because Princess Diana had died. I was so tired and so overwhelmed with my own life at that point that it barely registered for me. I hardly watched the news; I never had time for it. Meanwhile, I was also starting my final year at UT Austin. No idea what I was actually going to do with my life at that point. Life had been school for so long that I couldn’t comprehend that there was anything more TO life than school. I had a vague notion that one got a job after graduating, but . . . ::shrug:: My values were shifting at that time as well; I was no longer completely buying into the church group that was attempting to force me in a very specific direction. In short, it felt like a lot of shifting was going on.

So now what? Well, I’m still struggling to make money with my writing. And I’m still juggling various aspects of my life, but I’m getting better at it (or so I like to believe). Though I haven’t watched the news since Peter Jennings died, I do manage to stay informed at least a little. And I’m long since out of uni but still feeling my way along my path. I know I want to be a writer—I am a writer. I continue to work on establishing myself. As for my values, they remain fluid when it comes to religion but fixed when I consider right and wrong; like pornography, I know it when I see it.

Things are still shifting, but in good ways. Life is no longer school, or at least not my school so much as my children’s. Life is family and writing. I try to keep them balanced in equal measure. Not each day, no, more like: This is a month in which more family things are happening. And here is a month in which I must bang out a book or script.

The last 19 years have been interesting, certainly. I wonder what the next 19 have in store.

Mercury Rx

Mercury goes retrograde today and will be through September 22nd. If you know even a little about astrology, you’ve probably heard tell of the Mercury Rx (Rx is the symbol for retrograde) horrors. Cars and computers stop working, you end up stuck at the airport with all flights cancelled, etc. It can and does happen—even when Mercury isn’t moving backward.*

Conventional wisdom states one should not begin any new projects, buy any new technological gadgets or cars, or travel during Mercury Rx. Of course, sometimes this can’t be helped. So you should at least build in contingency plans, extra travel time and so on during these three weeks. Also, the past can rear its sometimes ugly head at this time. And if emails and texts go awry, or there is major miscommunication between you and others, feel free to blame Mercury Rx.

But Mercury retrograde isn’t entirely useless. It does serve a purpose. All “re” things are actually encouraged at this time. Revision, review—anything that causes you to go back over old ground and re-examine. Mercury is usually a fast little planet, but in retrograde he’s asking you to slow down. While you may not be able to completely clear your schedule, see if you can’t lighten it a bit during Mercury Rx.

As a writer, I try to do rewrites and revisions during Mercury’s backward turns. Again, not always possible (right now, for instance, I have only new projects I’m currently working on), but I like knowing the planet’s power is with me for that; it’s sort of like turning my sails to catch the wind. Still, I don’t stop writing just because Mercury is retrograde any more than a boat stops moving just because the wind goes away from its destination. I simply adjust accordingly. Which is the whole point of astrology to begin with—it’s a compass for cosmic winds.

*Mercury isn’t actually moving backward, of course. Retrogrades are merely the appearance of planets moving backward from Earth’s viewpoint.

Ruling the Chart

Another little astrology diversion today as I’ve been learning about Ruling Planets.

Each zodiac sign has a natural ruler. But the planet that rules your sun sign may not be the one that rules your natal chart.

I’ll use myself as an example. My Sun is in Sagittarius. Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter. Lucky, right? But of all the planets that impact my chart, Jupiter is only 4th in line as far as influence goes. Pluto and Uranus are neck-in-neck for 1st prize there. Pluto just barely edges Uranus out, but then again Uranus rules my rising sign, so I feel them both almost equally.

How do I know which planet is in charge? Admittedly, I cheat a bit and use a site that does the math for me. (I can help you with it if you’re curious about your own chart.)

So what difference does it make which planet rules your chart? Well, there are a couple ways to approach it. For one, it can help to know where your strengths (and weaknesses) lie. Pluto + Uranus = transformation/intensity and the unexpected/creativity. Yay? Also, when your ruling planet is impacted by various transiting aspects, you likely will be too, more so than with the average transit. So it’s good to know which planets to keep an eye on. For instance, right now both Pluto and Uranus are retrograde. Less yay.

Of course, you should keep an eye on all of them, to an extent. They’re all in your chart, doing various things. But there is a hierarchy in your chart, and your ruling planet, well, rules.

Peter & Charles – In the Stars

I’m sad to have to admit having overlooked Peter’s birthday a couple days ago. A while back, you see, I established birthdays for him and Charles so I could have a look at their astrological charts and synastry. Yes, I’m that kind of a nerd.




You can see how it was love at first sight, and also how career is a stumbling block for them. Communication, too, is moderately tricky.

It’s a fun little exercise and a nice piece of additional detail to play with. Charles passed away some years ago (he was older by a few years, after all), but I have a feeling Peter is hanging on by his fingernails . . . Something of a recluse now, one of those pensioners who perpetually wears a cardigan . . . I picture him in a house made cavelike by wood paneling, lined with many bookshelves, a number of knitted afghans strewn about, and one ugly, threadbare armchair. Peter sits there and reads and sips tea. He’s slow but sharp as ever, isn’t interested in things like the Internet, telly works just fine for him, thank you.

That’s if you ever wondered what happened to them. And if you don’t even know who they are, read the novel.

Know Your Chart!

I’m going to digress into some astrology here, so if you’re here for the writing, scroll down to older posts. But if you’re curious or interested, I’m going to reiterate (again) why it’s so important to be familiar with your natal astrology chart when reading horoscopes.

My Sun is in Sagittarius. But though horoscopes are organized by Sun sign, they also make an assumption that your Sun sign is the same as your 1st House sign. This is true for some people, but most of us will have a different Rising sign (that’s the sign on your 1st House). I borrowed this image from Astrostyle to illustrate:

The Houses of an Astrology Chart
The Houses of an Astrology Chart

You can see each House has certain influences, and so whenever certain planets are in those Houses, you will feel their effects on those parts of your life.

But here’s the thing: Horoscopes assume the planets are in certain Houses based on your Sun sign being the same as your Rising sign. If they’re not the same, you’re reading the wrong horoscope. You should be reading your Rising sign.

And then, even that is only true some of the time.


I’ll give you an example. This week a lot of horoscopes are focused on the coming Full Moon in Sagittarius. That Moon will be at 1° of Sagittarius. Now, I’m an Aquarius Rising, but because of the way my Houses fall, even the Aquarius horoscope isn’t correct for me when it comes to this particular Full Moon. The Aquarius ‘scopes assume this Full Moon is in my 11th House, but for me personally, it’s in my 10th. Which means I need to read the Pisces horoscope to get a sense of what this Moon will mean for me.

Are you cross-eyed yet?

Another example. My husband is a Sagittarius with Sagittarius Rising as well. Easy, right? Actually, not really. Because his Ascendant is at 25° of Sagittarius, meaning for the most part he needs to read Capricorn horoscopes to be accurate. Only 5 out of 30 degrees will be correct when reading Sagittarius. By which I mean, only when planets are in those last 5 degrees of Sagittarius will the Sagittarius horoscope read correctly for him.

This is why it is so, so important to know your chart and then also be familiar with current transits. I actually keep a printed copy of my natal chart handy to refer to when planets are aspecting so I can see where in my life the impact is likely to be. If you want to get your own chart, I recommend; you’ll have to create an account, but it’s free and they don’t spam your email. You’ll need to know not only where you were born but what time of day. Otherwise you won’t have an accurate Rising sign, and that’s the real starting point for your entire chart.

Not many horoscopes will get technical about what degree the planets are in, so that’s information you’ll need to seek out if you want to be sure of where a Full or New Moon, or some other aspect, is falling in your chart.‘s forecasts do have that info if you’re up for digging through them. And the aforementioned also has current planetary positions on the homepage sidebar. I myself use TimePassages software on my iPhone to check my daily chart.

I don’t mean for this to be an advertisement. I’m only trying to give you tools, should you be interested. Which, if you’ve read this whole thing, maybe you are? Meanwhile, feel free to ask questions, and I’ll answer to the best of my ability.


2016: Year of Justice

So I’m looking at my Solar Return (that is, my astrological birthday, which I explain a bit here), which is coming up soon. This coming year I’m a Libra, which is kind of cool since I have a lot of Libra friends and really like Librans in general.

But here’s the whammy: Next year my Personal Year (in terms of tarot) is a Justice year.

If you know a little bit about astrology and/or tarot, you might know that Justice is the tarot card for the sign of Libra. Libra is “The Scales” [of Justice]. The whole thing hinges on balance and fairness and doing what is right. And it hinges on karma—for better or worse.

Now I like to think I’m a good person and that I’ll be reaping rewards for my efforts next year. But there’s still something a little scary about having such a year looming.

I guess I’ll get the first inklings of how my year is likely to go when Peter is released on 15 January. I’ll say it again (and probably nauseatingly often): pre-order now! While you can get it at a discount! Click here for Amazon Kindle and here for Smashwords. Oh, and here is the UK Kindle version.

And don’t forget Giftmas! Visit Rhonda Parrish’s site for each day’s treat, and enter to win a bagful of goodies (including an advance e-copy of Peter or a hard copy of my novel The K-Pro):

a Rafflecopter giveaway

30-Day Writing Challenge: Day 21

21. Your zodiac/horoscope and whether you think it fits you

Oh boy. Here we go.

Again, if you are passingly familiar with me or my blog, you know I know me some astrology. I read charts as a hobby. And I’ve preached the word of not just looking at your Sun sign when reading a horoscope. In fact, I firmly believe it’s better to read your Rising sign [aka Ascendant] because it will assume the correct Houses.

Back up a minute. Let’s talk about astrology in basic terms first. A Sun sign is determined by which sign of the zodiac the sun was in when you were born. Because the sun makes roughly the same transit every year (our year is defined by the sun’s seeming motion through the signs, though really it’s Earth that is moving), the zodiac signs are static for each sign give or take a day. What I mean is, Sagittarius is more or less always November 22–December 21. But depending on the year, the sun might move into Capricorn on the 20th or whatever. Dates and times are important in astrology in order for charts to be exact—you need to know, in a snapshot, where all the planets were at any given moment. In particular, the moment of your birth. (But you can do a chart for any moment in time, and I do a yearly Solar Return chart for myself as well.)

I’m using Sagittarius as an example because my Sun sign is, in fact, Sagittarius. But there are more important things in a Natal chart (what we call that snapshot for the moment you were born) than where your sun is. Or, if not more important at least as important. The Rising sign is one of these.

When you read a generic newspaper or online horoscope for a sign, you have to wonder: How can this be true for the billions of people that share this one thing in common—that the sun was in the same place in the sky when they were born? And the answer is, it can only be true in a very superficial way. And not everything you read will even apply because of other aspects in your chart that may be stronger or weaker than what the astrologer is assuming for the sign.

And here’s why I say read your Rising sign more than your Sun sign. When an astrologer writes a horoscope for a sign, it assigns that sign as the First House and reads the chart from there. But your Rising sign is your First House in your chart! So if you want the horoscope you’re reading to better reflect where planets really are in your chart, read your Rising sign. (Mine is Aquarius, btw.)

How do you find your Rising sign? You need to know not only when you were born, and where, but the exact time of day. If you know all this, I recommend going to, plugging in the info, and getting your chart made for free. Your Rising sign, or Ascendant, will be whatever sign is at 9:00 on your chart. Astrological charts are read counterclockwise from 9:00.

I could go on and on (and feel free to post questions if you have any), but today’s prompt was to answer whether I think my sign fits me. Well, my Sun sign is Sagittarius, and I think it fits. I do love travel and philosophy and higher learning and publishing. And my Rising sign is Aquarius, and I think that fits, too. My Venus is in Scorpio, and that definitely fits. My North Node sits directly on my Midheaven and that accurately describes the direction of my life. So yeah, I think my chart is accurate for me, and why wouldn’t it be?

The truth is, we all have every sign in our charts. We all have bits and pieces of each personality, and our charts show where and how those bits and pieces flare up. What sparks them. But it takes time and learning to read everything in those charts; there are a lot of moving parts. “Venus in Scorpio in the Ninth House” means something very specific. “Venus in Scorpio in the Ninth House square Saturn in Leo on the cusp of the Seventh House” means something even more specific. And these are aspects that highlight parts of my personality. Having learned how to read my chart, I see myself reflected in it quite clearly.

Many people would say that people who read horoscopes will always try to twist the facts to make it seem like the horoscopes are true. But I see it the other way around. For so long I felt like horoscopes didn’t make sense, they were never right. When I learned what to really look for, though, I was able to distinguish the accurate ones from the glib. Better yet, I can look at my chart on any given day and guess for myself what I might be facing. I don’t though because it’s not worth the time and effort to do it every day. Only for special occasions. And that yearly birthday ‘scope that gives me an idea of the year to come.

The Wheel Turns, the Scales Balance

Yesterday (or early this morning, depending on where you are) there was a New Moon in Libra, the sign of the Scales. A New Moon is the beginning of a new cycle; the Full Moon is the culmination of a cycle. That doesn’t necessarily mean things start and end in two weeks, although it might. But it really depends on what project or goal is being started. It might take a month (a whole Moon cycle), or it might take those six months until there is a Full Moon in Libra.

In any case, I definitely got a taste of things. I had both good and bad news and some in-between. Very Libra, very balanced.

The good news: a short fiction piece of mine will be featured on the February 10th episode of No Extra Words.

The bad news: an agent who’d asked to read some of Changers gave me the “just didn’t connect” line yesterday.

The in-between: the small publisher looking at Changers acknowledged receipt and said it might take a few months to get back to me. They asked that I let them know if the status of the manuscript changes.

Also, I made great progress on the Peter edits yesterday and finished them up this morning. The manuscript is back with my editor now.

So, yeah, balance. Better to get good and bad news in a day than just bad. Hopefully there will be more good ahead as well.