Charting Method for Exploring Conscious Awareness©
Version 1 David Monroe, August 21, 2016
Much of astrological practice is based on the use of the natal chart, a progressed chart and transits to either-or-both of those charts. For the purpose of this text, these charts and their conventional use will be referred to as ‘the standard practice.’ Some interest is given to Solar and Lunar Returns, but not much. The use of midpoints, Uranian planets, harmonics and other methods are considered as overlays to the standard practice.
A charting method for exploring Goethe’s attainment of conscious awareness, and for other present-day people following this path, will be presented in this text. This alternative method is tailored to this specific subject and is more applicable than the generalized ‘standard practice’ approach. But first we need to consider some background information.
The following topical areas will be discussed.
- Comments on Goethe and Steiner; providing some specific information on Goethe.
- Fitting a chart and its usage to this exploration; defining a chart’s concepts to address the nature of Goethe’s path to conscious awareness.
- The transiting Moon to natal Sun Return in detail; explaining the construction of these charts and the methods for using them.
Comments on Goethe and on Steiner.
Rudolph Steiner (1861 — 1925) is a more recent German philosopher who had a deep appreciation of Goethe. He noted that his own teachings under the Anthroposophical Society (which can very broadly be seen as both incorporating and greatly extending Rosicrucian and Theosophical thought) were not publically discussed in the 1700s outside of mystery schools and closed circles. Yet, much of Goethe’s writings, especially the Faust works, gave veiled exposure to that knowledge. This ‘occult’ knowledge was in reality an open secret, its tenants having been accumulated over the centuries from ancient peoples and groups like the Greek philosophers. Still, the general public was concerned with the issues of daily life and not ‘theoretical niceties.’
Goethe and his friend Schiller asked, through the magazine “die Horen”, “How can a man living in the every-day world reach the highest ideals, and establish communion between the super-sensible and that which belongs to the world of sense?” (Quoted from the Second lecture on the “Fairy Tale” by Dr. Steiner, Nov. 27, 1904). Goethe used the fairy tale, “The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lilly” as an attempt to both answer this question and to make Schiller’s essays more accessible to the German public. The fairy tale was also a summation of his thoughts that marked a complete cognition of his own conscious awareness.
Note: Wikipedia writes that “Rudolph Steiner was was an Austrian philosopher, social reformer, architect and esotericist.” And, “at the beginning of the twentieth century he founded an esoteric spiritual movement, anthroposophy, with roots in German idealist philosophy and theosophy; other influences include Goethean science and Rosicrucianism.” Steiner’s writings, like Goethe’s, were extensive and influential. He was, among many interest, a student of Goethe’s life and philosophy.
The second lecture, noted above, cites an early part of the Faust writing expressing Goethe’s belief that more advanced beings existed in contemporary society, beings who are further ahead on the evolutionary ladder leading to the super-earthly spheres, although they too are incarnated in bodies. We can see this idea as represented primarily by the Old Man in the fairy tale, and to a lesser extent, by the Beautiful Lily and the Old Man’s wife.
The issue of how one experiences and balances one’s sensuality and logical mind as a means of both living in the physical world while striving to attain re-attachment to the spiritual world is a big charting challenge. I am at a loss as to how to approach exploring Goethe’s attainment of conscious awareness using ‘standard practices’.
Fitting a chart and its usage to this exploration
What will a ‘charting method’ have to work with? What will it seek to find? Which astrological tools will likely be of most use? We can start to answer these questions by referring to the fairy tale and to Goethe’s core philosophy.
Goethe refers to the ‘sensual world’ and the ‘super-sensual world.’ The first is a life based on our feelings, our reactive modes to life’s changes, our basic needs for food, comfort, security, etc. The most appropriate astrological symbol for these issues is the Moon. The latter relates to Goethe’s use of logic and seeking of knowledge as a tool to consider and formulate plans and goals. The most appropriate astrological symbol for this is the Sun.
The fairy tale portrays an intertwined group of characters, needs and outlooks, and an unfolding of events that lead to a mutually experienced conclusion. Goethe’s own life and work involved others, intertwined interests and efforts, an outlook that guided his direction, and a conclusion. Astrologically, we need a tool to define a flow of events along a time line. In some cases, a day-by-day view may be required.
Given the personal nature of one’s life, the natal condition will need to be included as part of the chosen charting method.
Return charts, or cyclic charts, are an astrological tool with a long history of usage. The concept is simple. When an astrological body such as the Sun or the Moon returns to its natal chart position, a chart for that moment is created. Each person has one Solar Return and twelve or thirteen Lunar Returns each year. The Solar Return chart focuses upon one’s character, vitality and intent. This chart is often used as the basis for studying events in one’s life, as events tend to result from one’s attitudes, plans and actions. The Lunar Return chart focuses upon one’s feelings and reactive nature to the daily changes that impact life. This chart is applied for a variety of reasons; to explain one’s feelings (depression, anxiety, love, relationships), to assess what current changes are to be dealt with (family, past events, home situations).
Typical problems for astrologers using these charts relates to using the charts to find answers outside of the symbolic basis of the chart, or the frustration of advancing or progressing the chart so as to determine when the chart’s messages may be expressed. So, let us look at these ‘Return’ charts a bit more closely.
Since the Sun and the Moon astrologically represent Goethe’s ‘sensual’ nature of our life within the common world and our ‘super-sensual’ nature as we try to understand and grow within the world towards an affinity with our spiritual beliefs, it would make sense to consider combining these two factors into a Return chart.
The Moon, due to its faster movement through the zodiac, and its historical role as a change agent, would best represent the ‘sensual’ world. The transiting Moon would reflect the fast pace of a life in the midst of changing influences.
The Sun, as a symbol of our core character, intent and life-style, can play the role of a long-range stability factor. The natal Sun will be the reference point for the transiting Moon to play off of.
We need to explore this concept of a transiting Moon to natal Sun Return more closely. How will such a chart be read? How will we advance it or use it as a timing device and to explore both periods of time and daily segments of time? How flexible will it be to serve the needs of both the capable astrologer and those who fall into the category of ‘early studies’ or ‘casual’ astrologers? And, will it fit our needs to portray the nature and unfolding of events in which people meet crises in their life and find a path towards, and cognition of, conscious awareness?
The transiting Moon to natal Sun Return in detail
My first exposure to the fairy tale was during a study group’s review of an article in the autum-winter issue, 2013, of Being Human. This magazine is published by the U.S. Antroposophical Society. The article is “Goethe’s Spirituality as Revealed in The Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily,” by Rudolf Steiner, translated by Frederick Amrine. The article was originally published by Steiner in 1899. Historically, this is close to Goethe’s life period, 1749 to 1832.
At that time I was in the final stages of preparing for publication an astrological book focusing on the use of the Moon and Sun within cyclic charts. This approach mirrored the balancing of life’s intent and lifestyle with the emotional impact of changing conditions.
As the discussion that evening progressed, I intuitively understood that Goethe’s fairy tale was full of astrological symbolism. Even though Goethe himself seemed oblivious to ‘astrology’ beyond a general cultural awareness common at that time in Germany, I “knew” that his charts would depict his excitement and awareness on that date when he read his friend Schiller’s essay and conceived of the now-famous fairy tale. Rushing home that evening, I quickly calculated the charts and was delighted with what was revealed. That night was May 17th, 2015. In the many months since then I have been impatient to complete and publish my book and then to start work on exploring Goethe’s charts and their application to others living now, in our time, who have had their own versions of achieving conscious awareness.
So, just what is this chosen charting approach?
The natal Sun represents our life force, intent, life-style, core of our character. Jeff Mayo, formerly associated with the Faculty of Astrological Studies in London, noted that the Sun is, above all, an integrating force. The Moon, particularly the transiting Moon, represents the changes that impact us, both from within and without. How we choose to react is determined by our chart, our level of conscious awareness, how we choose to manage our life. This is the first foundation pillar of my charting approach.
The second foundation-pillar is for charting to present life as a ever-continuing cycle. Being able to place oneself within one (of many) definable cycles of meaning, and to view the unfolding of that cycle day-by-day provides a different understanding of a life in the midst of change and enfoldment. Contrast this with ‘standard practice.’
The natal chart provides a potential template of character attributes and interests.
The progressed chart presents an overall development focus which can be segmented into time frames spanning as much as a year or two to as little as a month or so.
The transit chart provides a triggering influence that can be traced across both the natal and the progressed charts. This triggering influence is altered by the sensitivity level of the natal configuration to the progressed and transiting aspects — some combination are reacted to, others are not reacted to.
What exactly will a Return or cyclic chart portray?
- The natal chart also provides a template but is not seen as a development template but is treated as a character and life-style indicator.
- The cyclic chart (presented as part of a bi-wheel display) reorients the natal chart within a short term framework of life experiences (house) due to the natal configuration being placed within a different house-expression structure.
- The cyclic chart angles reflect ‘power’ or trigger zones. The angles are the key points in a cycle much like the seasonal solstice and equinox points. Planets (natal or transiting) have more expressional potential in these zones.
- The planet(s) most associated with the chosen cycle == in this case, the Sun and Moon — are primary triggering factors. This is related to the cycle chart being based on the natal Sun and conditioned relative to the transiting Moon’s cycle being transposed upon the Sun.
We now need to consider just how the Sun and Moon can be used within a cyclic chart.
First, let us consider the relationship between the charts to be used.
Chart #1 is the natal chart which represents the subject. This chart may be relocated to the subject’s present home area.
Chart #2 is the Moon to Sun Return chart which is based on a chosen period of time during which the transiting Moon reaches the natal Sun’s zodiac position.
Chart #3 is this same Moon-to-Sun Return but altered or advanced from the ‘Return date’ to an ‘event date.’ We do not need to consider the remaining charts at this point.
The Advanced Daily chart, #3, is derived from the Return chart. The ‘advance’ utilizes the daily rate of advance of the Sun-at-noon from day-to-day. This, on average, amounts to a bit less than one full degree. Remember that the Sun moves 360 degrees in a year which is comprised of 365.25 days. We are dealing with cycles here. The natal chart depicts where we were located within a time when many cycles were in play. The Return chart, used here, picks up on the Moon’s continuous cycle relative to the natal (fixed) Sun. The Return chart is advanced on this Moon-to-Sun cycle at a rate this equals the Earths daily rotation. This scheme utilizes the most basic cycles that we live within.
Second, let us be specific about the difference in charting between the ‘standard practice’ and the ‘Moon-to-Sun Returns and Advanced charts.’
- Standard Practice:
Natal Chart: A static portrayal of the sky and planets as appearing from the birth location. A house (segmentation) structure is envisioned, relative to the rising (Ascendant) angle. The natal house structure is often used for all the other charts.
Progressed Chart: A chart derived from the natal chart, extended forward based on one day scaled to represent one year. This symbolic time chart is used to portray personal development and life-trends as the planets slowly move forward and is compared to the natal chart’s planets and angles.
Transit Chart: A chart representing a specific day, the planet positions are viewed relative to their relationship to the natal chart, and in some cases to the progressed charts.
- Moon-to-Sun Returns and Advanced charts.
Natal Chart: A static portrayal of the sky and planets as appearing from the birth location. A house (segmentation) structure is envisioned, relative to the rising (Ascendant) angle. The house structure applies only to the natal chart and how it influences the natal planet interpretations.
Moon-to-Sun Return chart: The t/Moon’s return to the n/Sun position creates a chart with unique angles and a house structure. Relative to the Return chart, the natal chart and planets are placed (using a bi-wheel chart) in an altered house or life-expression structure — representing a changed, temporary life environment. The Return chart’s planets are transiting planets for that Return-date the have relationships to the natal chart and natal planets.
Advanced chart: This is derived from the Return chart by diurnally advancing the Return charts angles by a value equal to the Sun’s daily advance as measured noon-to-noon. The angles and house structure slowly advance, the transiting planets move ahead in their actual positions and relationships. The fast moving Sun, Moon, Part of Fortune and the angles become timing triggers as they make various contacts to other transiting and natal planets.
Third, let us examine Goethe’s transiting Moon to natal Sun Return for the period which covers his reading of Schiller’s essay and his conception of the fairy tale.
On the basis that some readers may not be overly familiar with charts, this section will define some basics.
- The natal Sun (Circle with a dot in the middle) is shown at the top of the chart within the outer ring.
- Next to the Sun is Mercury, shown as a circle with a crescent laying on the top of the circle and a cross below. Note the dark arrow.
- Next to Mercury and the arrow is a vertical line representing the zodiac position directly above us. Some might call this the zenith, but it is the point in the sky where the Sun rises to its highest point. (Yes, this is a map of the sky about the Earth from the perspective of where we are at). We call this point the MC which represents one’s goals in life, one’s status and public image. This point is marked at 22 degrees, 8 minutes in the sign of Leo.
- A horizontal line bisects this chart-diagram. To the left side are two dark arrows; one points to the point identified as 8 degrees, eighteen minutes of Scorpio. This point is the Ascendant and is where the due-east point of our location projects out and intersects the ecliptic circle which we call the zodiac. This is the point of ‘personality’ and where we live and the actions we might take. Near this point, marked by another arrow, is the glyph for Mercury. We have already been introduced to Mercury earlier. That Mercury was the natal or birth Mercury position. The planet is no longer there but has moved on in its continuous cycle about the Sun. At the date and time of this chart, transiting Mercury was very near the chart’s Ascendant degree. Note that the natal and the transiting Mercury are both near the four major angles — as defined by the two major axis’ of the chart (the vertical axis and the horizontal axis).
- Transiting Moon is the glyph seen as the double crescent near the top of the chart within the inner circle. It is in contact with the natal Sun. Note the given degree positions. This signifies that this chart is indeed a ‘transiting Moon to the natal Sun Return.
- Finally, at the lower part of the chart an arrow points to transiting Pluto. Pluto signifies, among other things, rejuvenation, the end and the start of things as related to ‘transformation’, irrevocable change, destruction. All astrological symbols have multiple, but related, meanings.
Astrological charts depict the sky about our location at a given time and date. The chart and the Earth rotate once each day. In that sense, the chart is also like a giant clock. Ancient peoples used the sky to tell and mark the passage of time.
We can indulge in some simple astrological interpretation for this chart, using what we know from above. With the Sun and Moon together, we have a new Moon situation which gardeners see as a time to plant, others see this as a time to initiate plans. Since this joining up of the two most powerful symbols occurs near the top of the chart, we can say that this chart will cover a period where Goethe’s status and life work may be affected. With both natal and transiting Mercury near two of the four key angles of the chart, we can assume that Mercury’s symbolic meaning will be strong. Mercury represents talking, writing, listening, travel, the logical mind. All of this will be evident to Goethe during this period. The doubling-up of this symbol at/near angles is rare — this will be a big talking, sharing period. This new understanding and contact with others will be transforming for Goethe (remember Pluto?).
So, using just these few symbols from the ‘power zones’ (the angles and angular zones), we already have an applicable and accurate assessment of the Moon-Sun Return chart. It fits with Goethe’s recorded life events.
Third, we can look at modifying the Moon-to-Sun Return to reflect the passage of time and the changing conditions in Goethe’s life. The Sun represents one’s intent, life-style and direction. The transiting Moon moves to different positions rapidly throughout the month. Here we can see the t/Moon at 19 Scorpion in the first house (pie shaped segment below the Ascendant (and the two joined arrows).
These charts reflect the continuing unbalancing and rebalancing of life under changing daily conditions. That is what the Sun and Moon depicts. Check out this chart.
- Note t/Moon and n/Pluto at 29 degrees Scorpio (just below the Ascendant and joined arrows). Goethe will react (Moon) to a transformational experience (Pluto) that will personally affect him (Moon and Pluto in the first house of self and feelings).
- t/Pluto remains near the bottom vertical angle. This lower angle represents starts and endings. Transformation will commence in this period. Since we have a ‘doubled up’ Pluto at the angles and in an angular zone, Pluto will take on a strong emphasis in Goethe’s life at this time.
- In the several days since the Return chart, the MC angle (at the top of the chart) has advanced some seven degrees. This angle is now midway between n/Mercury and n/Sun-n/MC. In other words the chart is shifting such that it is close to being realigned with the natal chart’s angles. This is essentially a re-birth situation. Whenever this occurs in any Return or cyclic chart, the subject is likely to face a life-changing opportunity or challenge. Again, this ‘advance’ of the chart is tied to the daily progression of the Sun at the MC day after day. This is called a ‘diurnal’ (or daily) advance.
- We have another combination of symbols to look at. Note the “K” at the top of the chart with the small circle below it. This is the symbol for Chiron, a small body that orbits between Saturn and Uranus. In cyclic charts, Chiron is often equated with a need to make an adjustment. The opposition to Pluto indicates an effort must be made to manage the influence of the transformative process he will encounter. Pluto is doubled-up in this chart, Pluto will be important. Pluto’s transformative change theme is important.
- Finally we have Saturn (the lower-case ‘h’ symbol with a little cross on the up-leg) along with the natal Ascendant near the daily chart’s Ascendant. Saturn represents caution, reserve, slow acting, planning, strategic thinking, dutiful effort. This caution reflects Goethe’s general demeanor. So what might it mean? Note t/Saturn near n/Part of Fortune in the seventh house and opposite the Ascendant. His sense of reserve will be subject to the Part of Fortune’s “change and chaos” symbolism. In other words, Goethe will be required to consider firming up his beliefs, dealing with the changes that are presented to him, accepting a new level of ‘being.’
These several points, when blended together, show us that this day will cause upheavals in his life. As we move towards this day from a few days earlier, or as we move beyond this day, we can see the evolving changes in his life related to this event.
Fourth. Now, consider the aforementioned ‘standard practice.’ The three primary charts used generally involve study and careful assessment for each chart. Then comes the more difficult part. How does a progressed chart, when it makes contact with the natal chart, affect the natal chart and what does it tell us of the general developments that are likely in the yearly period of life? Then we have to consider the transiting planets that may come into some form of contact with any of the planets anywhere within the natal chart. What will they mean? How does the transiting chart support or conflict with the progressed chart. When will these interacting factors ‘happen’? Consider this:
It make take an hour or two to make a good effort in understanding the interactions between the three charts and to come to the point of being able to make definitive statements of what will happen and when it will happen.
It takes only a few minutes to assess the Return chart and a few minutes to step through the daily charts to find one expressing power and impact (due to planets at the angles). Simplicity is augmented by the ease and accuracy of interpretation, and the timing.
The reader will need to confirm these statements and this method of astrology for themselves.
Moon-to-Sun Returns are excellent tools for tracking and understanding what unbalances life and how/when it can be re-balanced.