In the spirit of using the forward momentum of current planetary energies to take care of unfinished business (see my previous post), I am finally fulfilling my promise to explain how to find where a cosmic event is happening in your own birth chart.
For those of you who are new to my blog (welcome!), when I write about the New or Full Moon, I usually say something like, “Find out more about what this means for YOU by finding the house in your birth chart that’s being activated.” And then I get a flurry of emails from readers asking how to do that, to which I’ve been replying, “I’m going to write a post about that!” (Actually, initially I was planning to make a video about it, but got overwhelmed by technical issues…)
Why bother finding where the New or Full Moon is happening in your chart? While there’s a lot of great information you can get just from knowing what’s happening in the sky, you can get more detailed and specific about how that information applies to you personally when you know which part of your chart is being affected. With that awareness, you can work with the cosmic energy more consciously and effectively.
But First A Word about the Aquarius New Moon…
Before I get all astro-technical on you, I want to say a bit about the Aquarius New Moon, which will happen tonight at 11:21 pm PST. Each New Moon initiates a new cycle that highlights the themes of the sign in which it occurs. Aquarius is the sign of the rebel and revolutionary – the part of you that breaks the mold, breaks free from tradition and past conditioning, and follows your own internal navigation system instead of following the crowd. Even if you don’t have any planets in Aquarius, you’ve got the sign somewhere in your chart.
Aquarius represents the place in you that feels different from other people – the “outsider” – and you have the choice to celebrate that difference and act as an innovator and catalyst for social change; suppress it, cover it up, and pretend you’re just like everybody else; or separate yourself from society altogether, claiming that “no one understands me” and “I’ll never be accepted for who I am.”
As I mentioned in my last post, this New Moon squares the Nodal Axis, which intensifies the above themes and stirs up a feeling of being pulled, or possibly stuck, between past and future. Maybe you see the ways that you’ve NOT followed your inner guidance in the past because you were afraid of what others would think and of not being accepted. Maybe your passion is calling you in an exciting-yet-terrifying new direction, and you’re worried about appearing (or being) crazy for wanting to leave behind what seems “safe” but is sucking your life juice. Ideally, this New Moon presents an opportunity to identify and free yourself from fear-based attachments and self-defeating karmic patterns.
The Nodal Axis (the North and South Nodes of the Moon) travel in tandem with the Eclipse cycle, and this New Moon precisely squares (forms a 90-degree angle to) the Scorpio Solar Eclipse – an extra-potent New Moon that happened on November 13. What was going on for you then? What seeds of intention did you plant? The Aquarius New Moon is now catalyzing those seeds into their next phase of growth, calling you to take the next courageous step that revitalizes your passion and brings you closer to your dream for the future.
And Now – How to Find this New Moon in Your Chart
First, you will need a copy of your birth chart (you can get one for free on astro.com), for which you will need a reasonably accurate time of birth. The position of the houses in your chart depends on the time and place of birth, and if your birth time is off by even 15 minutes, the houses can shift significantly. If you don’t know your time of birth, and your mom isn’t a helpful resource, you could try checking your birth certificate (it’s sometimes on there). If you can’t track it down, you might consider having your chart “rectified” – where an astrologer determines your time of birth based on key events in your life (I don’t do this myself, but I can give you a referral).
As you look at your chart, you’ll see there’s an outer wheel of symbols – these are the 12 signs of the zodiac, which represent different energies and archetypes. Each sign is divided into 30 degrees, creating a circle of 360 degrees. The next set of symbols inside the wheel are the glyphs for the planets, which represent different parts of yourself or aspects of consciousness. You’ll see that each planet symbol has a number next to it – that’s the degree that the planet was at when you were born.
Below is the chart of a hypothetical person, let’s call her Stella, who was born on May 5, 1982 at 4:00 pm in Portland, Oregon. This is how the chart looks in the software I use, SolarFire, but I’m also including a link to the chart on astro.com: stella_chart
The birth chart is like a picture of the sky at the moment of birth. As the planets move through the sky, they occupy different signs of the zodiac, and different degrees (or portions) of those signs (e.g., when Stella was born, the Moon occupied 21 degrees of Libra).
The houses – the 12 pieces of the pie – are a way of dividing up the sky in order to bring more specificity about how these planets and signs are playing out in an individual’s life (or in the “life” of a particular entity – like a business or country – or an event). The houses, called “topos” – “topics” – by the ancient Greeks, signify different areas of life, realms of experience, or circumstances. They also correlate with phases of development. Cafe Astrology has a good overview of the meanings of the houses here.
A note on house systems: There are MANY ways to divide up the houses in a chart, and using different house systems can result in planets in your chart moving into different houses, thereby changing the interpretation of your chart. If you’re a serious student of astrology, I encourage you to experiment with trying out different house systems to see which one feels right to you. I believe there is no “right” answer when it comes to house systems – find the one that works best for YOU. If you don’t really care about the astro-technicalities and just want to learn about your own chart, keep it simple and go with whatever version of your chart you have in front of you. I use the Placidus house system, which is also the default system on astro.com.
Now we’re ready to find where the New Moon is happening in Stella’s birth chart. The New Moon is at 21 degrees Aquarius. First we want to find the symbol for Aquarius – it’s those double wavy lines that are on the cusp of the 5th House (on the line dividing the pieces of the pie marked 4 and 5). The 5th House begins at 0 degree Aquarius and ends at 1 degree Pisces (which begins the next house), so we can surmise that 21 degrees Aquarius is contained within her 5th House (the signs progress from left to right, counter-clockwise). The New Moon therefore falls in her 5th House, activating themes having to do with creativity, happiness, individuality, children and romance.
The process is going to be a little different with a chart from astro.com, so let’s take a look. In this version of the chart, you don’t see the degree numbers on the wheel (just little notches representing the degrees), so you have to look at the table in the lower left corner of the page, the one that starts with AC: 26 Vir (which translates to: the Ascendant, or Rising Sign, which is the cusp of the first house, is at 26 degrees of Virgo [you can ignore those other numbers after the sign]). This table gives you the beginning degrees of the 1st (AC), 2nd, 3rd, and 10th (MC), 11th and 12th houses.
We want to know about the 5th House, since that’s where we see the sign Aquarius. There’s no listing for the 5th House, so we have to look to the opposite house, which is house number 11. We see that the 11th House starts with 0 degree Leo; the 5th House will always start with the same degree for the opposite sign, in this case, 0 degree Aquarius. Did that make sense? So if you want to find out about the 8th House, you look at the opposite house – the 2nd House – which starts at 21 Libra. The 8th therefore starts at 21 Aries, the sign opposite Libra.
Since this New Moon catalyzes themes from the November 13 Solar Eclipse, we might also want to find out which house was activated then. The Eclipse was at 21 degrees Scorpio, which turns out to be right on the line between Stella’s 2nd and 3rd Houses (also called the cusp of the 3rd House). When this is the case, it’s useful to consider the themes of BOTH houses. Maybe the themes of one house resonate more strongly than the other, or maybe the themes of the houses are tied together. In this example, perhaps she planted seeds for a new writing project (3rd House) with the intention of increasing her income (2nd House).
Your turn – where is the Aquarius New Moon happening in YOUR chart? How about the Scorpio Solar Eclipse?
Was this little astro-lesson helpful? Comprehensible? Please ask questions in the comments section and I’ll do my best to respond! Wishing you a blessed New moon.
– Emily Trinkaus
In case you missed me on the radio last week, you can now listen to the recording of In Your Right Mind in which the amazing Moksha Lea and I talk about Candlemas, the Aquarius New Moon, the upcoming Mercury Retrograde and more (with dance breaks!!).
And – Calling All Priestesses! – join Katie Todd and me for our next Lunar Galactic Activation on February 25 at the Virgo Full Moon. All women are welcome and you can participate via phone (or skype) from anywhere in the world – join us live or get the recording. Find out more and register here.