In my last entry in this series, I laid out some ground rules for the way we might approach and understand the way a person’s approach to spirituality is coded in their natal chart so that we astrologers, as persons engaged in spiritual care and “pastoral counseling,” can best target our own approach to these matters with our clients. I put out an all-call on Twitter for people who might be interested in having me delineate their charts for them in this matter, and the following three charts are the first set of those who graciously volunteered their data for this project.
In each case I’ve delineated the chart first and then gone back to the individual to determine what they have to say about their own spirituality. Let’s recall what the basic significations are which we’ll be taking under consideration:
- First, we look to any planets placed in the 9th house or the 3rd house (the spirituality/religion axis), and their dignities and fortitudes. Since these houses are by nature cadent, we’re not going to consider cadency by placement as much of an accidental enfeeblement as we would otherwise.
- If there are no planets there, we then look to Jupiter as well as the 9th ruler, specifically to their natural significations and placement, as well as to their dignities and fortitudes, including planetary motion, phasis, etc.
- In doing some additional research, I discovered some references made by Anthony at Seven Stars Astrology citing Mercury as the natural significator of rationality and critical thought, as well as Saturn as the natural significator of doubt, fear, challenge, and rot—so I shall be considering them as well from here out (briefly).
- We’ll also keep the ascendant and its ruler in mind as the general significator of the native themselves.
As we saw from the examples shared last time, essential dignity is not the only factor we need to take into consideration when judging an individual’s propensity to religiosity, as all three of the individuals judged in the last set had Jupiter in debility but strongly placed and ruling significant places in the chart. Wade made the comment that planets in debility, especially angular ones, sometimes tend to attract the attention of the native in such a way that they become major life foci, and I found this to be true in the three previous examples.
This time around, all but one of the charts have Jupiter in one of his signs, whether Sagittarius or Pisces; the remaining example has Jupiter in Aries in a day chart (though in this case the Sun is within 5º of the Descendant, so we may surmise that the chart could, in some ways, behave as a night chart). As a reminder, I’m using Placidus houses, Dorothean triplicities, Chaldean decans, and Egyptian terms.
Right off, we see that we have Pluto in the 3rd, but we’ll hold off on judging that for now. The 3rd/9th axis for this individual lies across Sagittarius and Gemini, so we are going to be looking first off at Jupiter and Mercury, as well as the Moon, and at Saturn. We might as well bring Venus into the mix too as we’re looking at the ascendant and its ruler, but let’s focus on Mercury and Jupiter for now.
As ninth ruler, Mercury happens to be in a mutual sign reception with Mars and is empowered because of that reception. Mercury is also in an angular house and further supported by the sextile from Jupiter which is still active yet separating at this moment.
This would be a passable Mercury on its own, but we also see that Mercury is co-present in the sign with restrictive Saturn, who rules the 4th (home and ancestry) and the 5th (creative work and self-propagation). Mercury likewise is under the beams—but not combust! Mercury is two degrees shy of making a phasis, emerging from the Sun’s beams presently—and will in fact do so within a few days of this native’s birth. I’m not content calling this a phasis yet but it will be presently.
Remember too that Aries is a cardinal fire sign, so we might adjudge that the native will approach matters of spirituality in a way that demonstrates motion towards initiating one’s own identity knowledge. I very specifically use the word “initiating” there for its specific overtones of religious initiation—this person will need to undergo some kind of initiatory experience to make their spirituality truly their own and to emerge from the influence of their upbringing.
Meanwhile, Jupiter rules the 3rd, the “religion” house as well as that of neighbors, etc. and is placed in Aquarius in the 5th house, a fixed air sign, supporting Mercury by sextile. Jupiter in Aquarius knows what it is that it believes and will nary be convinced otherwise (fixity of ideas is thematic), but because of Aquarius’ humane nature, and even moreso because of Jupiter’s rulership of the 3rd as well as the 6th, this individual’s neighborhood religiosity may aptly be described as a sense of familial obligation to tradition. If this works for the native, great, but if they feel they need to move forward in a different direction (as I imagine they would because of their Mercury placement), they must do so in conversation with the tradition whence they came.
My judgment would be that the spiritual practice of this individual is Mercurial in nature, investigatory by virtue of the 9th cusp’s placement in Gemini and has as one of its major themes the sense of emergence from patriarchal influence, even though it will be bolstered by this native’s ability to remain connected to their communal traditions in some meaningful way (3rd house ruled by Jupiter, who supports Mercury via sextile). That said, the obsession with which they might pursue those connections could cause them to overcorrect in one direction or the other, especially if they try to separate themselves from the influence of older and more powerful men (Pluto on the 3rd cusp, Mercury is combust while the Sun is the sect light, Saturn co-present with Mercury in 7).
The native responded:
“ ‘The native’s story of religiosity and spirituality is going to be about emerging from underneath the influence of tradition and ancestry to come to a spiritual horizon of their own discovery.’ I just want to say that I strongly resonate with this quote and this is basically a very small sum of my spiritual journey.” The native’s parents raised her in Christianity, but later in life, the native proceeded to find her own spirituality through philosophy. She notes, “my solar return for 2017 really brought the notion for the self-discovery to come up. It was a 9th house profection year for me and I had a stellium in that house. That year, I changed to a philosophy major.)”
The native also wrote that “the native will approach matters of spirituality in a way that demonstrates motion towards initiating one’s own identity knowledge” was an accurate statement, reporting, “a topic that I am very strongly interested in is the philosophy of identity and how to go about creating and sustaining one. It’s interesting that you said an initiatory experience, because that most definitely happened. The wheels on creating on my spirituality remained dormant until I discovered astrology.” The native also confirmed that I don’t quite she indeed experienced obligation to follow the spirituality of the people surrounding her, saying, “I do have a very strong need to overcorrect myself to connect myself to communal settings.”
Here, the 3rd/9th axis lies across Libra (11º48’ on the 3rd) and Aries on the 9th, with the Sun placed in the 9th in his exaltation and ruling the ascendant. Right off the bat, we have a notable portent that the question of spirituality and religiosity will factor in prominently not just in the native’s life but in the very way the native lives in and moves through the world. As we saw with the previous native, their will is oriented towards initiating identity learning, that is, establishing who it is they are in the world, and moreover in this instance, the realm of life where that plays out is the field of spirituality and religion.
Lilly writes that the Sun in the 9th “shewes much piety in the Native, gives religious Preferments, and makes admirable Preachers” (Christian Astrology 612). The Sun is exalted and joined with the North Node—to which point Lilly also writes, “if Jupiter, Venus, or North Node possesse the 9th… the Native proves a good Christian, and a lover of Religion wherein trained up” (612). That the Sun is exalted and “dialed up” due to the North Node’s proximity is an important factor in this native’s story of faith.
If we look at the 9th ruler, we see an exalted Mars in the 5th in Capricorn. This native engages their religiosity through the mode of creative expression and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they have a tendency towards the ancient and eldritch in their practice, as is apparent with Mars’ placement in this Saturn-ruled sign. I’d also note that Fortuna’s placement in the 3rd suggests the significance of incisive writing, communication, or networking to this person’s livelihood—but a more important indication of the same is the 3rd ruler being Venus, who also rules the 10th and is placed in her domicile conjunct the MC.
Let’s look at Jupiter, while we’re here: Jupiter is one of the chart’s final dispositors (the Moon and Venus are the other two, but neither of those have planets answering to them). If we follow the chain of dispositors, the Sun answers to Mars, who answers to Saturn, who answers to Jupiter. Mercury answers to Jupiter as well. So whatever skepticising or limiting factors may be present within the native’s life are beholden to this more prominent spiritual principle. Jupiter lies on the 8th house cusp in Pisces, where he has rulership. This is a religiosity that would rather dissolve into a cloud of prayer than have anything resembling a systematic theology (Mercury is in fall and detriment in 8th), and any attempts to systematize a conception of belief will not work for this native.
I also notice Mars’ application to Jupiter by sextile from the sign of Jupiter’s fall, suggesting a kind of creative tension that might emerge when the native’s roots and religion (4 and 9) butt up against the native’s creative self-propagation and their experience of death and the demands placed on them by other people (5 and 8). In fact I wonder whether the native’s roots and religion might become prominent fodder for the material the engage with in their creative endeavors, if they choose to do so.
Also of note here is the Moon’s application, from the 11th house, to the opposition of 9th ruler Mars from Mars’ sign of fall after having opposed Neptune. The sign of the 11th house is double-bodied and mutable, We see too that Mercury rules the 11th, and is placed in a double-bodied mutable sign as well (again, Mercury’s detriment and fall), suggesting that particular affiliations with societal groups, denominations, or other such entities will not be a comfortable one, despite the native’s desire to seek out emotional security through their attachment to group affiliation—and this will engender no small amount of change in the native’s life.
The native has reported that he is a musician and writer and works a day job while engaging in any number of creative venues with his free time. He was raised in a conservative Christian tradition and became an Episcopalian later in his life. He also spent some time in discernment for holy orders in the Episcopal Church (Sun in 9th!), though did not ultimately move forward in that process and instead began practicing Zen Buddhism while maintaining his connection to the Episcopal Church. He jokes that, at his funeral mass, he would like the Berlioz requiem to be played, the celebrant to say the mass in a hushed and terrified whisper, and the homily to be a Zen roshi screaming once and then sitting in silence while the congregation waits, bewildered, for what’s going to happen next.
Here, the 3rd cusp lies in Capricorn and the 9th in Cancer (the cusp of each being at 5º50’). We have no planets in the 9th, and in the 3rd, we have the Sun, who is just shy of the 5º mark of being on the cusp of the 4th. For all intents and purposes then, I’ll read the Sun in the 3rd, which Lilly says “doth increase the signification of goodness,” suggesting a natural inclination toward some sort of neighborhood practice.
The 9th is ruled by the Moon, who is placed in Sagittarius in the 2nd house. She separates from the square of Saturn and is actively applying to the conjunction of a peregrine Venus: we would expect this native’s approach toward spirituality is one of seeking out expansive and aesthetic expressions of beauty. Venus herself applies to the sextile of Mercury in Aquarius, and she applies from the sign of Mercury’s detriment. Neither Venus or the Moon are received by Mercury, and as the Moon will reinforce this connection by crossing Venus and immediately pushing her virtue to Mercury, I would suppose that that her significations will be regularly challenged by a searching scrutiny that invites the native to consider the social and societal impact of their spiritual dalliances.
Because Jupiter is well-placed by sign and in an effective house (though not as effective as one of the angles would be), we further expect Jupiter’s natural significations to be able to shine forth, especially in the native’s relationship to their finances or in their self-propagating work. The fly in the ointment here, however, is the presence of both Mercury and Saturn in an angular house (4th), where both of them have extensive opportunity to act but will have to rely on their dispositors to accomplish anything. Jupiter applies to Saturn from an overcoming square, pressing his agenda onto Saturn doubly since Saturn is ruled by Jupiter here (and Jupiter is the only final dispositor of the chart), yet Saturn regards the 9th cusp with a trine, suggesting that he almost has one hand stabilizing what could be an over-emotional, nigh charismatic spiritual temperament.
This individual will encounter barriers and restrictions anywhere they are making attempts to expand their horizons to include religiosity, and particularly as far as finance and fun are concerned. Given Saturn’s rulership of the 3rd and 4th house we would expect these constricting influences to emerge from the native’s neighborhood, siblings, parents, and upbringing. In particular, their dalliances with their concept of the divine will be watered down by incisive rhetoric from the groups they have found themselves allied to as well throughout their upbringing, almost as though their expanding and optimistic vision for what the world could be will be under constant scrutiny and will meet constructive resistance that ultimately yields and serves to provide them with a structure that allows their expanding beliefs to flourish.
The native responded:
“The sentiment that connects with me the most in your write up is the presence of an expansive religious influence mitigated by scrutiny. Despite being very receptive to a whole array of possibilities concerning invisible influence on human life, I feel obligated to filter these interests, somewhat, when presenting myself and my ideas. I think scientific materialism is short sighted, but I also think it’s reasonable for people to be weary of religion, and spirituality, for being exploitative, or heavy handed, in a lot of cases. I practice magic and have always felt there’s something deeper to the experience of life than just surface humanity, but I also remain agnostic, sensing that I won’t prove anything to my family and my community by religion alone. It feels like a charge to translate an internal optimism into material results that directly improve the lives of others.”
If we’re going to talk about charts with dignified Jupiter, this would be a chart for the ages, considering Jupiter’s rulership of both the ascendant degree and the midheaven, his elevated placement in the chart, and his strong essential dignity. It should be no surprise that spirituality, religiosity, and values are of tremendous import to this individual. Jupiter is, however, retrograde, and the Sun-Jupiter opposition for this cycle is coming very close to perfecting while the Sun is in one of the signs of Jupiter’s detriment, highlighting a tension between ego identity and spirituality that may become emblematic of the native’s life—and this tension emerges most strongly in regard to the native’s experience of their parents or upbringing and their partners, where they may in fact feel confined by the tension. Their sense of duty or obligation is at direct odds with their very nature.
Moreover, Mars applies mutually to Jupiter by an overcoming square from the other sign of Jupiter’s detriment and ruling the 9th, almost as though the native’s experiences with a deep, searching, and exacting spirituality (Mars in Virgo angular) serve as a snare that presents the native with challenges throughout their life in the realm of coming to terms with themself as well as in their professional and vocational identity. Moreover, I suppose it would be difficult for this native to date or form collaborative partnerships with individuals whose beliefs or values differ from theirs.
At the same time, the Moon separates from the sextile of 9th ruler Mars, where she offended Mars with her sensibilities and application from the sign of Mars’ fall, and applies now to Venus, who doesn’t necessarily receive her but is amenable to her presence. Venus is situated directly on the 3rd house cusp suggesting that this individual’s experience of commonplace religiosity, so long as it remains unchallenged (which is unlikely due to Mars’ prominence and overcoming square towards Jupiter), will sit fairly well with them.
It’s also worth mentioning that the 11th ruler, Saturn, is in the 1st house, in Pisces, mollified somewhat by the sextile of Venus. Once again, Saturn attempts to structure, and he can’t do that very well in Pisces—this native’s relationship to structures and containers of faith will be difficult for them to navigate and they would likely do best with older traditions to have some sort of solid footing underneath the extreme expressiveness and forward-driving particularity they might otherwise pursue to their detriment.
This native, an artist (dignified Moon in 5 applying to the sextile of Venus in the 3rd) was raised in a conservative protestant environment and was involved with a number of evangelical campus ministries, but upon leaving college began studying Judaism out of a need to find an expression of faith that enabled them to be fully present to their sexual and gender identity. This person has a strong sense of values and has little qualm engaging with people with whom they disagree in sometimes spectacular fashion, but they care deeply about social justice and creating a more just world for all (Venus on the 3rd cusp, as well as opposing the 9th cusp, in Taurus). During their recent 11th and 12th house profection years, this native converted to Reform Judaism and is already exploring a possible career as a rabbi.
For kicks, I’ve included this native’s current solar return; they converted to Judaism about two and a half months after their birthday. This is a 12th house profection year, so the year ruler is Saturn. We see the telling mutual application of the Moon to Saturn right at the 4th cusp, which is the natal 11th cusp, while Mercury and the Sun gathered around the 9th house cusp—this is the natal 4th cusp. The Sun here, of course, rules the solar return 11th house. We might describe, briefly, this collection of significations as “entering into a new spiritual foundation.”
We see from the preceding examples that having a dignified Jupiter does not quite necessarily mean that the native will make religion or spirituality a major component of their life process, though it certainly can go in that direction. What I sense with this particular placement is that a dignified Jupiter demands authenticity in spirituality and will not suffer being sequestered to anything resembling “going along to get along,” unless, I suppose, said Jupiter had dominion over the 11th. Yet more research remains to be done regarding dignified Jupiter placements, and I’m especially interested in Jupiters that rule the 11th. The reason for this is because there’s a difference between pursuing an authentic spirituality as an individual, which is the case with each of the individuals above, and pursuing an authentic spirituality for you that happens to be the spiritual tradition in which you were raised.
Still more, we have seen here instances where malefics rule the 3rd or 9th house, and those malefic rulerships have almost served as factors to propel the native forward in their “spiritual journeys,” to use a hackneyed phrase of convenience. None of these individuals has necessarily found “ease” in their pursuit of an authentic spiritual position and praxis, but they have found what they sought (to my knowledge).
The next set of entries will look at arrangements that involve Jupiter in his exaltation and his fall (so, Cancer or Capricorn Jupiter placements) as thematic of that individual’s essential religious temperament, contrasted with the other considerations that Lilly and others have raised when judging a native’s propensity toward or away from spirituality. What I’d really like to do is look at the charts of a number of skeptics or hard-line atheists, though I don’t believe many of those will be lining up to volunteer their birth data. Such is the nature of the art, I suppose!
If you’d like to participate in my study, please get in touch! I’m extending a 10% discount on any of my services to participants.