Why do I call this Planetary Astrology for the New Millennium? What is the difference between this approach and what went before? On the most basic level Planetary Astrology is based in the planetary transits and so is dynamic, while the prevalent, or at least the most popular, type of astrology, called Sun Sign Astrology, is based in Signs and tends to be static.
What sign are you? What did the daily horoscope say for Leo? Which signs are compatible with Libra? These are typical questions of this form of divination. It is based upon the theory that our Sun sign - the placement of the Sun in the sky at the time of our birth, dominates our personality and behavior. I am a Pisces because I was born on March 7. Anyone born from the end of February to the middle of March is considered to be a Pisces. Sensitive, dreamy, wishy washy, artistic, impractical are just a few of the adjectives assigned to this personality type.
In contrast Planetary Astrology is so dynamic and fluid that anything fixed evaporates in the face of the constant flux. For instance although I am a Pisces, my Moon is in Scorpio, which rules the home. So my wife tends to experience me as an intense turbulent fixed Scorpio rather than a sensitive, malleable and passive Pisces. Further the most dominant feature of my chart at present is Saturn transiting my Midheaven in Leo opposite my Jupiter in Aquarius, which corresponds with my coming out of the closet with this website. Also each planet rules a different phase of one's life, starting with the closest, the Moon, who rules early childhood, and finishing with the furthest away, Pluto, who rules the 80s and 90s, if you live that long. So presently in the 57th year of my life I am transitioning between Jupiter and Saturn. Jupiter resides at the base of my chart, and so has to do with my rich family and home life - raising two daughters and creating behind the scenes, while Saturn is at the top of my chart and has to do coming out of my family cocoon and sharing my life's work. Although the Jupiter side of my horoscope was more important when my children were at home, now that they have gone away to college cultivating my Saturnian side is of greater significance.
Complicating matters: besides our Sun we each have 8 other planets with their own Signs in our chart, not to mention our Rising Sign and Midheaven, each of which have a correspondence with our lives. For instance besides my Sun being in Pisces, my Jupiter is in Aquarius and my Mars is in Libra. While these influences are fixed at birth, the transiting planets are constantly revolving - stimulating them in different ways. The astrological permutations and combinations in and of themselves are infinite in variety and never the same. Added to this planetary complexity are sex, race, age, nationality, birth order, upbringing, socioeconomic status and myriad other factors, each of which influence our behavior. Hence to speak about someone as a Libra or a Scorpio is incredibly simplistic, similar to stereotyping someone by nationality, sex, age, hair color, or sexual persuasion. While having limited validity, many other qualifiers are needed to have any meaning. The point is that there are so many variables that influence our behavior that any sense of permanence or regularity is illusory.
Compounding the problem of Sun Sign astrology, is the Precession of the Equinoxes. This has to do with the fact that the Zodiac has shifted one entire sign in relation to Spring since Astrology was invented 2000 years ago. This is why we have moved into the Age of Aquarius from the Age of Pisces. (See my History of Astrology (N/A at present)). Rather than shift the signs with the movement of the Zodiac modern day astrologers, including myself, base the signs on the seasons rather than the constellations. This is called tropical astrology. Hence Aires is defined as those born in the month after the Spring Equinox rather than those born under the constellation of Aires. This means that a Libra is born under constellation of Scorpio and that Jupiter is presently in the constellation of Scorpio although tropical astrologers say that Jupiter is in the sign of Sagittarius. Certain astrologers have returned to assigning Signs by constellations rather than by season. This is called sidereal astrology. They say that it yields a more accurate personality type.
To sidestep this controversy and avoid any attachment to a false sense of a fixed personality Planetary Astrology focuses upon the dynamic planetary flow in relation to the individual. It is now-based rather than birth-based and emphasizes process over form. Hence planetary interactions are stressed rather that Sign placement. Instead of questioning what sign my Jupiter falls in, more important for this type of divination is how transiting planets are affecting my Jupiter right now. For instance the question of whether my Jupiter is in Aquarius (tropical astrology) or in Capricorn (sidereal astrology) fades in significance compared to the fact that at the end of July 2007 Mars Squares Neptune which is conjuncting my Jupiter. This manifested as an ear infection, which I'm recovering from, and the loss of my temper at work last night, which I apologized for. So Planetary Astrology deals with the question of how to deal with transiting planets rather than Sign placement.
Further Planetary Astrology emphasizes the nature of planetary energies rather than the personality characteristic of the Signs. The fact that Mars is squaring Neptune right now suggests to me that drive is in conflict with spirituality on general levels, which manifests personally as the inability to easily express my ideas. I am not dissuaded from pursuing this writing as much as I realize that it won't come easily. The personalities of Mars in Taurus and Neptune in Aquarius are secondary to the fact that they are in a conflicting relationship. Taurus and Aquarius are qualifiers rather than determining factors. In general Planetary Astrology looks at the Signs of the Zodiac as determining locations rather than personality types. Although it is possible to make certain broad statements about New Yorkers or Californians generalizations based upon where someone is located tend to be incredibly misleading.
To dispel any misconceptions about better or worse that may have been derived from this discussion I must add a disclaimer. Any type of meaning that is derived from astrological forecasts is based upon divine correspondences. Hence it doesn't matter which type of astrology is used - tropical, sidereal or planetary. The only thing that really matters is whether the diviner points you in a positive or negative direction. In general divination that victimizes is negative and divination that motivates and inspires is positive. This is the main criterion, not which type of astrology is used. Further astrology, in general, is like weather prediction - incredibly limited and imprecise. It's nice to have a general idea of what to expect but it's better not to rely on it, whether weather or astrological forecasts. The most important thing to rely upon is yourself, with astrology as an assist, if that is your inclination. Look inward to align yourself with the Universe, the Tao, God, or whatever you want to call the Divine that transcends the human realm.