Autumnal equinox

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Today is the Autumnal equinox. Astronomically, the equinoxes are when Earth’s equatorial axis is perpendicular to the Sun. From our perspective, it is when the hours of day of night are (theoretically, at least) equal.

The first, waxing half of the wheel (from Aries in March through Virgo in September) is when the energy pushes outward to reach its fullness. The second, waning half of the wheel (from Libra in September through Pisces in March) is one of involution and introspection, when the energy is turned inward. Indeed, ‘fall’ is related to the period when the ebbing of the Sun (which began back in June at the summer solstice) becomes noticeable.

For people connected to nature, this time of year, when the Sun rises from the same place on the horizon for three days, is the time to begin the harvest – of food and of animals. Not only would the food, grains and wood get cut, dried and put up for winter. Too, those animals which could not be fed over the winter (based on the success of the harvest and the age and health of the animal) would be culled. It’s a hard truth but the outcome was that the family would be fed over the winter and the remaining animals would also have what they needed to survive the cold months.

With the Autumnal equinox, we are entering the third-quarter of the wheel. The first quarter (from the left edge to the bottom) shows the time from conception to birth. The second quarter is indicative of the time we learn of ourself as a unique person in a certain family. The third quarter of the wheel shows the time we begin to interact with others on a one-to-one basis.

The third quarter of the wheel is trans-personal, it’s when we move beyond the self and begin learning how to interact with others in an equal way (giving/receiving, listening/speaking, etc.). In the third quarter we experience the power of love, how it taps into energy that can lead to a reality that is greater than the sum of its individual parts. There is an intense, do-or-die quality to the third quarter which is sometimes referred to as the Quadrant of Manifestation.

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Architects of many ancient cultures built special features into their buildings that only showed themselves twice a year. The location, shape and details of many important buildings synchronized with the Spring and Autumnal equinoxes.

The Great Pyramid in Egypt was built so that, at midnight on the Autumn equinox, certain alpha stars of specific constellations shone straight down a specific narrow descending passageway. (In 3350BC and 2170BC, it was Thuban, alpha star of the constellation Draco, and in 2004AD, it was Polaris, alpha star of Ursa Minor.)

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The stepped pyramids of Chich’en Itza, Mexico are another astronomical wonder. The pyramids, which are dedicated to Kukulcan, the feathered serpent, have snakes running down the steps that appear to undulate with the sun of the Autumnal equinox. (They appear to undulate back up the pyramid with the sun of the Spring equinox.)

At the equinox, when the Sun moves into Libra, we have an opportunity to synchronize ourselves with Nature, ourselves, and our life. If this is important to you, reserve some time this afternoon (at 3:30pm or anytime of the day and night of September 22 or 23) to meditate. Balance and harmony are the themes.

Archetype correlations & House demarkations

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Now that we’ve understood how the houses get their basic energy, let’s discuss how the planets, signs and houses are inter-connected and few other fundamentals.

Each of the 12 houses in the wheel has a ‘natural sign’, a resonant archetype, that is similar in quality and character.

The correlations between the houses, signs and planets are not exact but they are resonant and natural, and they continue to evolve as humanity evolves. Not so long ago, western civilization only knew of planets out to Saturn. When Uranus, Neptune and Pluto were discovered (*), house rulerships and the archetypes adjusted to reflect these higher octave expressions and our newly-gotten galactic and spiritual awareness of ourselves.

For example, Aquarius was classically ruled by Saturn so, today, many people consider Aquarius to be ruled by Uranus and Saturn. Those two planets do describe the two ways that we make change and become less attached (Aquarius): incrementally, when feedback tells us we need to make slight adjustments, or catastrophically, because the needed slight tweeks were met with so much resistance. Saturn’s change is like rearranging lawn chairs. Uranus’s change is a revolution.


When one is born, one of the twelve constellations (the signs) is rising on the eastern horizon. That is one’s ‘rising sign‘. Chartwise, that sign rules our 1st house. Naturally, the sign opposite that sign becomes the ruler of the opposing house, the 7th house. This is the Ascendant/Descendant (ASC/DC) horizontal axis. This axis is the first beat, the initial spark of Spirit into matter, the Space of ‘Time and Space’.

The vertical axis is defined by the mid-heaven (MH) at or near the top, and the IC at the bottom. (Imum Coeli means, literally, “bottom of the sky”). The signs at these points, the 10th and 4th house cusps, are representative of (among other things) the parental connection and the structure and character of the ego. This axis is the second beat of Spirit into matter which brings Order into Chaos, and Time into Space.

There are various ways to calculate the cross-quarter demarkations, various ‘house systems’, ways to slice up the pie. All the house systems are based on mathematical calculations. Most popular is Placidius, and a lot of folks using Jeff Wolf Green’s Evolutionary Astrology, including JWG himself, use the porphory house system. I use the Koch house system (based on things I read in the writings of Dane Rudhyar as well as personal observation of charts under the various systems). I encourage people to discover for themselves which house system works for them.


(*) = Uranus was discovered by accident (unexpectedly!) March 13, 1781 when there were revolutions world-wide (Uranus rules unexpected events). Neptune was discovered September 23, 1846 when antiseptic was revolutionizing medical care (Neptune rules institutional healing). Pluto was discovered February 18, 1930, during the American depression (Pluto rules other people’s money and manipulation).