The predictive value of planets’ degrees in our Natal Chart
The very moment I started my astrological practice more than 25 years ago, I was thrilled to see how the key events of my life coincided with the symbolism and number of degrees of planets of my Natal Chart, identical to the age I was when they happened. Venus at 12 degrees
Under the thirties
That which impressed me first and most deeply me was my brother Thomas’s loss. Even though I have several siblings, he was the one I better went along with. He was Gemini like me, we agreed on numerous matters, and from the moment of our births he was Tommy and I was Jerry: people laughing at our names was our reminder that the little twins of our Sun sign were somehow incarnated in the popular cartoon’s duo. Mercury in my Natal Chart is the ruler of the 3rd house of siblings and it is placed in that shared Gemini and in the 12th house of losses, including self destruction. He is at 16-something degrees of that sign, and my brother took his own life when I was 16 years and four months old (this approach works within a one degree orb). As Mercury is also my Ascendant ruler, the episode was not only important, but it meant a radical turning point in my whole existence.
Venus in my Chart is at 18-something degrees of Cancer. At that age I fell in love for the first time in my life in the most conventional sense, hopelessly indeed. It may be a normal age to fall in love, although it usually comes about earlier. In my case it happened precisely when it coincided with the natal degrees of the planet of love, which in this Chart has his only major aspects as part of a sentimental waterish Grand Trine involving the ruler of partnership’s 7th house and the romantic planet present in the loving 5th house.
At this very same age, with exact degree and minute coincidences, I also staged my first wide range plays, with artistic Venus united in trine to Neptune in the 5th house. Moreover, it took place with the death of a best loved foreigner friend who died in a tragic accident at sea abroad. Venus rules the 11th friends’ house and the aforementioned aspects happen to the ruler and present in the 9th house indicating oversea (also ruler of the 6th, the derivative 8th from the 11th, meaning friend’s death) plus Pisces and Neptune, the sea.
Uranus was at Leo 26º54’ when I was born. On my 27th birthday I divorced my wife in a sudden and definitive decision, even though things were not okay since long before. The orb range of the event and the degrees of Uranus, the planet of separation, is only a month (if one degree equals one year, five minutes equal one month). For me this was a happy occurrence that started a new pleasant and positive life cycle, adequately reflected by Leo.
Don’t ever forget the Ascendant
Most meaningfully, my Ascendant is placed at 23 Gemini, and I came across Astrology exactly at that age. Near my 23rd birthday, I had my first astrological consultation. It was so intense and effective that I asked my astrologer for recommended readings and immediately started to study by myself. The next months I continued in group contexts, and after, in the Buenos Aires Astrological Center, always within the one degree orb of that age. More than a half of my life has been strongly bound to Astrology, my main income source and social practice in the last two-and-a-half-decades, so this was not by any means a minor occurrence.
That is the reason why each time I rectify or even take a look at a Chart, I try to find out what happened to the person at the age corresponding to the Ascendant’s degree, because it usually relates to fundamental contents that leave their mark forever.
Alas, having no less than three planets at 11 degrees, that is Neptune, Jupiter and Saturn (plus the Nodes), I can’t associate anything relevant with that specific age, except for certain sudden intellectual maturation processes. Jupiter and Neptune are strongly related to the 9th house by rulership or presence, but those processes had already started one or two years before. Is something maybe wrong with the basics?
The search for a reason
Here arises a pure common sense issue: should this correlation work only the first thirty years of life corresponding to the thirty degrees of a sign? Of course it shouldn’t, I’d say. So we may have arrived to the point in where we should be attempting some brief theoretical reflection. Namely, how do we explain this phenomenon’s inner working? My conclusion is quite simple: by the symbolic direction of the zero degree Aries point. In the symbolic directions we move a planet from his natal place, making him advance a certain amount of degrees corresponding to a certain quantity of years and according to a particular “key” or rate, in order to see which other natal planets or points he will be having aspects with from that new placement. The most classical and popular rate is the so-called Ptolemy’s, where one year of life equates to an increment of one degree. For example, in my Chart, Pluto is at 7º35’ Virgo conjoining the 3rd house cusp. When we add the 16º24’ corresponding to the age I was when my brother died, it squares from 23º59’ Virgo my natal Ascendant within one degree, which is the orb usually used by astrologers for this technique. As Charles Carter brilliantly showed in his classic Symbolic Directions, there are many other rates, some of them extremely efficient, such as 2º30’ per year or 5º per year, my two favorites for counseling and predictive purposes, not only because of their efficacy, but because their one degree aspects reflect smaller time units than a year. We can explore them changing the “user defined arc” in our astrological software under the routines usually called “directions.”
Nevertheless, there is no doubt that the strongest one is the very simple one-degree-per-year direction. It centers in the magical value discovered by the Babylonians considering the apparent Sun’s movement through the Zodiac during a whole day (taking one step forward the secondary progression’s symbolic equivalence of the rotation period [day] with the translation period [year], the two main movements we experience dramatically in Earth as living beings). Value rounded in order to coincide with a circumference arc resulting from the harmonic division of the circle by the three first prime numbers (2³ x 3² x 5¹ = 360).
In ancient and modern Greece, the degree is called moira (meaning “a part”), and Moira also means “destiny” (the share or apportioned lot in life, symbolizing the fate assigned by the three dark ladies, such as the Latin Parcae or the Germanic Norns). Therefore, the notion that “our degrees are our Destiny” feels exhilarating. And needless to say, our whole astrological system bases its meaning referring itself to a starting point. This Aries zero point or Vernal Point springs from no less than Earth’s two main motion planes intersect: translation for the Ecliptic and rotation for the Equator. Hence, it is not unreasonable to think that the Aries point (AP), the most important in Astrology, advances symbolically since our birth one degree per year and gradually activates by aspect the Natal Chart’s components according to their degree positions.
Beyond the thirties
Henceforth, we can postulate that when something is at 11 degrees, it is going to be also active at the age of 41 (11º + 30º, that is a whole sign), given that the AP is going to be aspecting it by symbolic direction. As I said, Jupiter, Neptune and Saturn were placed there at my birth, and when I was 41 I met the most important partner in my life so far, either in terms of quality of love, commitment or duration: Jupiter rules my 7th house, Neptune is in the 5th house, and Saturn ruling and occupying the 8th house may connote deep commitment and intimacy issues.
In the Chart, there is also a close trine from Mars to Pluto, both at 7 degrees, that coincides with two meaningful incidents: on one hand, when I was 37 years old (30º + 7º), I was appointed Director of the foundation with which I am strongly involved since I first approached Astrology. Mars rules and is placed in the 10th house of authority, while Pluto rules the 5th house related to teaching and occupies the 3rd house of studies. On the other hand, back then I was directing three plays for teenagers with a strong therapeutic trait written by a psychologist involved in social health issues: one was on AIDS prevention, another one on anorexia and bulimia, and another one on alcoholism and drug addiction. They were experienced by some ten thousand school students under the auspices of the WHO (World Health Organization), and I know positively that many of them were strongly impressed in a decisive way. Its social dimensions explain why it should be indicated in the Chart: in the aforesaid trine, Pluto in Virgo, the health sign, rules the 5th house of drama and youngsters, while Mars may show my role as stage director and the big amount of energy I had to devote to it every day.
Other planets’ degrees also worked adding 30º, that is, a whole sign, such as the Moon at 15º33’. Previously, when I was fifteen and one half years, my elder brother was the first sibling to marry, and in the next twelve months, my other two sisters followed suit and my aforementioned brother Tommy died. Needless to say this sequence affected very much my mother and the core structure of my family (the Moon meaning all three: mother, family and marriages). At that time I had already become an addicted opera fan and had decided that I would become an internationally famous opera stage producer. Teenager deliriums, because of course I didn’t, even though that dream went on for more than a decade. But I did direct many plays, continued enjoying opera and even more films, becoming a true movie buff but not daring to materialize my dreams of making myself a picture. And thirty years latter, something happened deeply related to that Leo Moon teenager period, when at 45 years age I had the opportunity of directing in Italy an ambitious and risky motion movie on a very famous Argentine opera and achieved an important personal fulfillment, suitably symbolized by the sign placement of the Moon and actualizing in such manner a very cherished puberty yearning.
The years prior to the film, I had to abandon the theatrical activity because of my university Linguistics studies. I completed them and attained my two degrees with honors when I was 46 years old, coinciding with the firstly mentioned Mercury in Gemini (16º + 30º = 46). The ruler of the 3rd house of studies, it is in the very same degree of the Sun, both trine to Saturn in its sign and in aspect to Jupiter alsoin its sign and placed in the 9th house, showing thus academic achievement. But the matter doesn’t end here, because AP aspects have much more to show us.
The rule of fifteen
Most classical 20th century astrologers used the set of major and minor aspects divisible by 30, plus the ones divisible by 45 (semisquare and sesquisquare). The maximum common denominator of 30 and 45 is 15, and many researchers found that every angle that is a multiple of 15° is operative as an astrological aspect worth being considered. This includes not only the major aspects of 0° (360°), 180°, 120°, 90° and 60°, plus the minor classical aspects of 30°, 45°, 135° and 150°, but also the less known aspects of 15°, 75°, 105° and 165°. All of them were used by such noted scholars as: John Addey, Edward Johndro, Theodore Landscheit, Laurie Efrein, Edith Wangemann, Kay Kavender, Wendel Polich, Anthony Nelson Page, John H. Nelson and Zane B. Stein, among others. They have been observed for years in the Buenos Aires Astrological Center and I have myself confirmed their relevancy during decades. Introducing them, the AP may also be able to aspect other points of the Chart with these angles during its symbolic movement of one degree per year, co-occurring with moments of our lives according to the planets’ analogies.
As an example, my father had his Sun and Ascendant in Aries with a very prominent Mars. My Midheaven in 10 degrees of Aries describes him very accurately, especially considering that Mars in my Chart is also placed in the 10th house (in fact he was a military men, an engineer and quite violent). He died when I was 25 years old: if we add 15º to the 10º of the Midheaven, we arrive to the age in which took place the most important situation I ever experienced with regard to him.
In principle we may not associate Venus with journeys. But in this Chart it rules by exaltation thePisces 9th house cusp, and as I already pointed in a previous example, its only aspects are with Jupiter in its own sign in the 9th house and the other ruler of the 9th, Neptune, placed in the 5th house, all three making up a nice Grand Trine. Being at 18 Cancer, if we add 15º, we have 33º, the age I was when I made my longest trip in my life until now (in other words, at that period the directed AP reached Taurus’ 3rd degree, making a 75º aspect to Venus). After three months in India, I had my first stay in Greece, sealing a new personal phase related to a country which I would after visit frequently and which I would honor in my fatherland with several community undertakings related to Hellenic culture. Venus is placed in Cancer and rules my 4th house, so besides having encountered many relatives with whom now I am very close, as soon as I stepped there I felt that I had finally found my real home.
At this point, we can see that no planet of the Natal Chart was able to escape to this perspective: all of them (some of them in fact more than once) plus the Ascendant and the Midheaven. I have seen this look work all too much in the Chart of my parents, siblings, friends, clients and leading figures. I chose my own case to expose it in order to cover exhaustively the correspondences, but we can verify these principles in a significant enough number of events in any given Chart.
In predictive terms, we may not know a priori when a particular age is going to express strongly the number of degrees of each planet, but we have two possibilities here: to see which planets are more less coinciding with our current age (or any forthcoming one) and consequently analyze them, or to consider the degrees of the planet, and subsequently, add 15° to find the different ages in which it is potentially active. Let’s suppose it were at 5 degrees of a given sign; it would exhibit the specific symbolism it carries in the Chart at the age of 5, 20, 35, 50, 65, 80 and/or 95 years. Which of these are worth being taken in account depends on extra astrological considerations. But once we have one or more that we would like to evaluate, we can take a look to our concurrent progressions, solar returns and transits to see if they show an analogous symbolism confirming the planet’s indication.
Before concluding, I would like to stretch this view one step forward. Even though our old dear tropical positions may suffice, I have seen this approach work with almost equally good results in other Zodiacs. I’d love to say it works in the Draconic, either based on the Mean Node or the True Node positions, but regretfully I can’t, in spite of the fact that I am in love with Draconic Astrology for more than two decades. Instead, the Sidereal Zodiac reveals itself positively eloquent. Due to my lengthy practice with Vedic Astrology, I consider the positions resulting from Lahiri’s Ayanamsa, given its effectiveness (Fagan & Bradley’s SVP, with its one degree difference with Lahiri, didn’t prove to me equally accurate for this approach).
The sidereal Ascendant calculated with Lahiri’s Ayanamsa is placed in Taurus 29º44’. At thecorresponding age I took the position of Secretary, Deputy Headmaster and founding member of the Buenos Aires Astrological Center Foundation: the Ascendant’s ruler Venus also rules the sidereal 12th house cusp, related to non-profit associations, and the sidereal 5th house cusp, associated to teaching. Significantly enough, I had had my first strong encounter with Astrology at the age of the tropical Ascendant’s degrees. I also took at the time my first long pleasure journey abroad, which included my first big scale astrological congress experience in Washington at UAC’92. The sidereal Ascendant ruler Venus also rules the 5th house of leisure, in a Grand Tine with Jupiter in the 9th house of voyages and Neptune in the 5th. Ascendant’s 29 degrees minus 15 equals 14, and at this age I decided that I was going to dedicate myself to the theatrical aspect of opera, which I had contacted previously as a raving fan when I was 13 years old, coinciding with Mars’ Aries 13º44’ position in the 10th house. As it also happened with the tropical Ascendant, at that time I sealed in such manner an active and concrete bound for decades with a central subject in my life, in this case, drama. The decision is also symbolized by Leo, the sign in which Pluto is placed with its 14 degrees. My first steps as a director fall together with Neptune’s position at Libra 17º54’ in the 5th house, being the ruler of the sidereal Midheaven at Pisces 17º14’ plus authoritative Saturn also at the 17th degree of its own sign.
The Moon, Sun and Mercury degrees’ matched to the purchase of my first house when I was 22 years old: the Moon is at 22º13’ of homely Cancer and rules and occupies the 2nd house of acquisitions, while Mercury at 22º42’ of earthy Taurus rules the 4th house of habitat (the 22nd is also the tropical degree of my Part of Fortune in the 2nd house). If we subtract 15º, we find ourselves with the situations I pointed out for my 37 years of age, which involved positive authority issues related to non-profit associations and theatre as social addiction prevention service, linkable to the 12th house Sun’s position.
I already have referred to sidereal Jupiter’s 18 degrees when I covered tropical Venus’ very same age: my first infatuation, with Jupiter ruling the intercepted sidereal sign in the 7th house and being part of a Grand Trine with loving Venus and Neptune in Libra in the 5th house. The long journey I undertook when I was 33 years old (18º + 15º) may be also connected to Jupiter’s natural association with travelling, including his placement in the far off 9th house. His sidereal ruler is Uranus, which at Leo 3º35’ (adventure) stresses the meanings of that age’s experience (3º + 30º).
Venus at 25º05’ Gemini is the ruler of the Ascendant plus the 12th and 5th houses. At a first glance, thestriking exactitude of its coincidence in terms of degrees and minutes with the age I was when my father died doesn’t bear the same clear correspondence with the episode’s symbolism. Unless we consider that the 12th house of losses holds fatherly Sun and that the 5th holds a classical derivative house meaning, being the 8th (death) from the 10th (parent). All the same, it was not a traumatic circumstance: on the contrary, it was the only time in my life that I was really close to him, and it was a peaceful and sweet experience, as one would expect from Venus.
But the planet’s placement in Gemini also may be related to the fact that in that very same moment I was involved in two important plays in parallel (Gemini): one in the National Theater with renowned artists and the other one dealing with culture’s and humanity’s complex duality, which inspired a well known critic to write in his commendatory review: “How to split up the irreconcilable twins?”.
Given that the biographical facts are not known world-wide, I trust it may not feel that I have beentampering with data. On the contrary, I really hope that this super simple astrological technique may have aroused the reader’s curiosity and might haveencouraged him to take a look at his own Natal Chart’s degrees or those of his closer relationships. Complete satisfaction guaranteed!
Chart data: Jerry Brignone, June 7th 1962, 8:31 AM BZT, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Ascendant: 23º03’ Gemini, Moon: 15º33’ Leo. Source: Birth certificate 8:30 AM, rectified 8:31 by himself and confirmed by different astrologers.
Jerry Brignone, CAP.ISAR, holds Honors Bachelor and Professor degrees in Linguistics from the Buenos Aires University (UBA), where he teaches. He is President and Director of the worldwidenoted Buenos Aires Astrological Centre Foundation (CABA, created in Argentina in 1961), where he teaches since 1988 and completed with honors its Postgraduate Program. Author of two best-selling books on astrological research, he has participated as a speaker in international congresses (USA -UAC 2008-, Spain, Greece, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Uruguay and Argentina) and he has delivered lectures on Astrology in several academic circles, including the Buenos Aires University, where he has also taught the subject.