Grace's Saturnian Journey - Shadowed Planets

One of the most important yet least known aspects of Jim Lewis's Astro*Carto*Graphy system of interpreting locality maps is the concept of a "shadowed planet." Astrologically, this type of planet often can be found underlying repetitive problems such as those we see when a person drinks too much, or perhaps can't hold a job. This type of planet is connected with something not well integrated into a person's psyche, but which nonetheless will seek manifestation. In order to understand the way in which these planets eventually intrude themselves into our lives, first consider the things that can set them off, so to speak.

Any planet in a person's birth chart can be "triggered" in a way that in a sense unlocks its true nature, as represented by its general condition in the birth chart. There are three basic triggers: temporality, personality, and locality.

Temporality refers to transits and progessions, which come to aspect the planets in a chart at fixed and predictable times. Though temporality is extremely predictable, it is mostly unavoidable, as we can't prevent transiting or progressed Venus from squaring our natal Saturn, as one example.

Personality refers to personal interaction with another person as it is colored by the contacts between plants in both charts. This is both unpredictable and unavoidable, as we usually have no way of knowing another person's chart at the time we first "lock on" for good or ill.

Locality refers to the angularity of our birth planets at various places around the world. This one is mostly predictable, and mostly unavoidable if we are able to choose where we live or the places we travel to. We can't tell transiting or progressed Venus not to square our natal Saturn, but if there is a place on the globe where both are on an angle, and thus very strong, more often than not we will have the option not to go there.

Keeping that in mind, consider those conditions in a birth chart, shown in the table following, that can make a particular planet an odd man (or woman) out.

Possible Indicators of a Shadowed Planet

  • in a cadent house (3rd, 6th, 9th, but particularly 12th)
  • stressful aspects, especially from outer planets
  • square or opposite the Sun or Moon
  • generally on the western (other' side of the chart), though particularly in the 6th through 8th houses
  • debilitated through sign placement
  • unaspected
  • a singleton
  • "combust" by being within a degree of the Sun

The above can be especially true for any planet which is "not self," such as Venus for a man, or Mars for a woman. The outer planets (particularly Saturn) also tend to be "not self" for both sexes, and thus tend toward being shadowed in and of themselves.

As an exercise in finding shadowed planets, consider this example chart, which is that of a woman named Grace. Saturn in the 7th is the Sun ruler, but this planet, which is, as noted, nearly always shadowed, is on the west, reinforcing this. Mars is placed in the 12th house in Pisces, a mutable water sign, and is a singleton—all of which contributes to making it shadowed. Since this is the chart of a woman, Mars would most likely be a problem for her anyway, but this is almost certain, given its placement. So we can see for this woman that Saturn and Mars are definitely shadowed, and even though this is not unusual for her sex (since Saturn archetypally represents the father and Mars is the opposite sex), they are shadowed for her even more than usual. Also, Saturn is exactly square the Moon, and as a woman identifies with his Moon, this is one more reason to consider Saturn as highly shadowed. Despite this, neither planet is badly aspected overall. Mars is part of a loose Grand Trine with the 7th house and the 4th house and it widely sextiles the Sun. Saturn itself is sextile the Sun. Because of this, despite the fact that we can see both planets as shadowed, they do not represent any sense of urgency or crisis.

How might the triggers affect Grace, and when? The one that can be seen most clearly by an astrologer is temporality. In 1984 the progressed Sun in Grace's chart moved to 19°11' Aquarius, at which time it had just passed its opposition to the Moon and was exactly square Saturn. To an astrologer this should have indicated that during this time the whole Moon-Saturn problem in this chart would demand some sort of conscious acceptance. Similarly, in 1984 there was a Saturn return, and therefore transiting Saturn was square Grace's progressed Sun. During that period, the progressed Sun was activating Moon square Saturn, while transiting Saturn at its own natal place was adding its own insistent pressure at the same points in the chart.

In addition, as we'll see, Grace's life changes around the time of the Saturn return involved all three triggers - temporality, personality, and locality - something which is in fact not too uncommon.

Next: Caught in the Middle