There was a mystery chart challenge posted in Skyscript’s astrology forum by Tom Callanan a couple months ago. Tom posted three charts without names or birth data and asked readers to see if they could figure out which was a musician. Later, before revealing the answer, he also noted that one of the charts is of a Roman Catholic Cardinal and another is of an American football player too.
At that time, in early March, through private correspondences, my friend, Kate Petty, and I both accurately matched all three charts to the proper occupations. She also did so publicly and I think I may have done so on her Facebook wall additionally. However, the purpose of this post is not to brag about being able to often match charts with occupations, but to delight in the fact that the ancient techniques for delineating occupation which I’ve discussed in this series were the ones that we used, i.e. our methods were objective and replicable, not intuitive.
I discussed the technique in the post Astrology of Profession or Calling | 1. Technique. The basis of the technique is found in comments made by Ptolemy, Paulus Alexandrinus, Rhetorius, and other Hellenistic astrologers who commented on their work. There is some variation within the technique and it is by no means the final word in delineating actions and occupation. Every astrologer adapts the technique to their needs. This technique provides the best foundation you’ll get for delineating profession, as you identify those planets that are most significant in terms of skills and themes developed within the context of one’s calling. There are many other more specific indications that can then be used in the hopes of narrowing down profession a little more accurately.
In a chart challenge situation, the technique will never be 100% accurate, as it’s not the final word on occupation, my adaptation is not perfect, and profession is also delineated with special combinations, but still it shines in such differentiation tasks. Therefore, I’d like to go through and show how the technique itself performs on these three charts to lead to objectively obvious decisions which happen to be correct. Before reading on, please familiarize yourself with the chart challenge thread and my explanation of the technique.
Below I reiterate what I stated about the technique in the first post, but perhaps the simplest explanation would go something like this: planets strongly “pertaining” to the 10th, MC, and Lights give strong significations regarding the culminations of personal striving and one’s calling, while those strongly “pertaining” to the 1st and the Ascendant give strong significations regarding the personality, innateness, and self-identification, and planets which are generally strong tend to show broad pervasive influences upon the life circumstances.
When it comes to “pertaining”, I’m speaking primarily of being in a place, ruling a place (i.e. having a type of dignity there), scrutinizing the point (i.e. aspecting it within 3 degrees), strongly advancing toward the angle (i.e. advancing within about 15 degrees), being in a “stake” of the place (1st, 10th, 7th, or 4th from it), and otherwise regarding the place or point.
These things are all types of “testimony” that a planet “pertains” to the place or point being investigated in a way that offers important signification. Most of these form the basis for later almuten or “winner” techniques, which are sophomoric mechanized ways of evaluating the degree of testimony a planet has in such matters. It is a better idea to use your experience as a guide and combine various factors that make a planet pertinent over a matter with what you know of the natural signification of the planet and its general strength. One of the problems with “winner” techniques is that there is a tendency to consider one planet as always the most significant, when there may be many significant planets which become relatively more prominent than each other at different times in the life through timing techniques. In other words, we want to know the range and the relative pertinence of each planet, as well as which planets stand out and by how much.
Pertinence to actions:
- MC: Strongly advancing to MC.
- Places: Order of importance – 10th (place of actions), 1st, 7th, or 4th, (i.e. the “stakes” of the 10th), 2nd or 6th (i.e. triplicity of the 10th), 11th, 5th, 8th.
- Rulership:Dignity in 10th or Ascendant (or to a lesser extent at the MC). (Planets scrutinizing the Ascendant or MC, i.e. aspecting them within 3 degrees, should also be considered)
- Phasis and the Lights: In phasis, or a bound ruler of a Light (esp. of sect light).
- Advancing/Retreating: Advancing planets are stronger than retreating ones, in the sense of being “louder” in the life, and this is a continuous variable.
- Lights: The Lights (Sun and Moon) naturally signify prominence and power, so a strong relationship between one of them and a planet make the planet more generally strong.
- Stations: Stationing direct within 7 days of birth makes a planet generally stronger or more prominent while stationing retrograde make it generally weaker.
As noted in the original post, I start with pertinence, and then use general strength pick out the more dominant planet or planets among the most pertinent ones.
Analysis of Charts
I will deal with the charts in a rather collective way. I want to note the first impressions of the chart that anyone should get when using this method for such a purpose. Rather than posting them here immediately, I want the reader first to view them on the thread here as one did in the chart challenge.
The first thing you want to look at is to see if planets are strongly advancing toward the MC, i.e. to the left of the MC degree within 15 degrees. None of the charts have this. Next, you want to look to see if any of them have planets in the 10th place, which is the 10th sign from the Ascendant, which in the first chart is Aries, the second is Taurus, and the third is Leo – all empty except for Moon in Leo in Chart 3. Next look at planets in the other “stakes” of the chart, which are the 1st, 7th, and 4th, in about that order of priority. Chart 1 has Venus (inSet featured image Capricorn 7th). Chart 2 has Mars (in Scorpio 4th). Chart 3 has the Sun (in Scorpio 1st) and Saturn (in Taurus 7th). We have planets with pertinence to action by place already, so we won’t keep looking at less pertinent places, except maybe for Chart 3 as we’d like to know which is most pertinent by place among Mercury, Venus, and Mars. However, all three are in the 12th of that chart, so the relative pertinence of each will have to be assessed without consideration of place.
So far our best candidates and their indications by chart number are as follows:
- Venus – the arts – the musician
- Mars – physical or dominance-oriented – the football player
- Moon, Sun, Saturn – all leadership-oriented planets – the Cardinal
Let’s look at rulership for confirmation. For Chart 1, we find that Venus also has rulership by triplicity and bound of the Ascendant and by exaltation and triplicity of the MC, while Venus also most closely scrutinizes the MC (sextile of about 2°), so there is strong support for Venus. For Chart 2, we find that Mars has triplicity in the 10th and rules the MC, while no planets scrutinize the MC or Asc, so there is a little bit of confirmation for Mars here. For Chart 3, we find that the Sun is domicile and first triplicity lord of the 10th, and that the Sun and Saturn both closely scrutinize the MC, while the Moon has triplicity at the MC, so all three are confirmed as significant, but especially the Sun. So far, we stick with the conclusion that the planets identified in the list above are most pertinent to actions and occupation.
Looking at Chart 1 we also find that Venus is the bound lord of the sect light, the Moon, as well as the bound lord of the Sun, with no planets in phasis. Furthermore, Venus is strongly advancing. Venus is the obvious choice, and we conclude that the first chart is of the musician, as Venus pertains to art and aesthetics (and sexuality/sensuality, etc.). Saturn is also relevant because Saturn scrutinizes the MC is strongly advancing, and dominates Venus.
Looking at Chart 2 we find that Mars does not rules the bound of either Light, but does rule the Moon, the sect light, by exaltation and triplicity. There are no planets in phasis. Mars is the most advancing planet in the chart, and there are no stations, etc. Mars is also domicile and first triplicity ruler of its place. The obvious choice here is Mars, clearly indicating Chart 2 to be the football player.
Looking at Chart 3 we find that Mercury rules the bound of the Moon and Mars that of the sect light, and only Mercury is in phasis. Mercury also receives the next aspect of the Moon. So out of Mercury, Venus, and Mars, we expect Mercury to be the most pertinent to occupation, tending more toward a thinking occupation. Altogether we see strong relevance for leadership and administration also because of the importance of the Lights and Saturn in signifying for profession. Without really strong signification for a cardinal specifically, we still rule this chart to be the best match for the Cardinal. Please note: I was not able to find Cardinal John Krol in the AstroDatabank so I cannot confirm the accuracy of the birth time used in the chart challenge.
These are indeed the correct matches, as was revealed in the thread on this page. So while this isn’t as much of a flashy technique as many of them used in that thread, it is systematic, objective, and finds its origins in the earliest strains of traditional horoscopic astrology.