ARIES POINT AND VERTEX
The Aries point, or vernal equinox in the tropical zodiac, is a NODE. It marks the place where the sun crosses the equatorial plain going north. Think of it as a Sun/earth node, as opposed to the Lunar nodes which involve the Sun/earth/Moon).
In the Uranian
system, the Aries Point, or AP, also links to zero degrees of all the cardinal
signs (as seen on a 90 degree dial). Every chart—natal, progressed or
horary—has the AP at exactly the same zero degrees, yet each chart will be
unique as far as the house placement of this degree and the planets and other
points that relate to it. Think of the AP as a 0 degree cardinal cross involving
Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn.
90 DEGREE DIAL
The AP represents a movement (cardinal) from an inner quality to an outer manifestation. It orients us towards the world at large—society, public events and all relationships propelled from the individual to the collective. Sometimes it represents a "spectacular out rush of energies... and involvement with the world at large" (Celest Teal: visit her site at: http://members.tripod.com/celestteal/
The AP also seems to relate to meetings with those famous, repsected or expret in their field.
0 As the first degree of Aries, this point suggest how our “will to be”, or sense of I AM, moves out from the subjective and into manifest reality.
0 As the first Degree of Cancer, this point suggest how our need to love and nurture, our sense of “I Feel”, moves from the subjective into the world.
0 As the first degree of Libra, this placement says, “I relate”, suggesting how our drive to interact with others in socially significant ways moves from our inner world and out towards other individuals.
0 As the first degree of Capricorn, this placement says, “I produce”, suggesting how our urge to bring tangible results moves from “self” to society as a whole.
Isabel Hickey would have said that it the AP is the initial point where the spirit incarnates, the starting point of the SELF. By house and aspect contact, the AP indicates how we project out into the public, meeting life in distinct ways that the collective recognizes, acknowledges (or judges) and remembers us by.
What does it mean if a planet or point conjuncts the AP?
Don McBroom calls the AP the “Power behind dominant traits and public projection. He says, “…the AP can be an indicator of an individual's Potential for Public Projection. Often this measurement was uncannily related to the person's claim to fame or for what they will be remembered. When there was direct contact between a specific Planet or Point (i.e. Ascendant or Midheaven) and the AP (within a two-degree orb), there was frequently a distinguishable relationship with the energies traditionally associated with that planet that was publicly observable in the individual.”
Read his article at:
When a planet or point conjuncts the AP the nature and energy drive of that planet has the added thrust or urge to express collectively. It may also represent what the public at large recognize most readily in us, or remember us for.
Sun-AP Can mean our energy, vitality and drive seeks to express through society. People see us for our solar qualities and we propel our creative drive into the collective. The famous individual.
Moon-AP Suggests that our inner world of feelings, reflections and intuition expresses in public ways, and these qualities are noticed by the collective. The famous psychic.
Mercury-AP Can mean our intellect, thoughts and ways of communicating capture the public eye. We are recognized as being witty, bright, mercurial, and clever. The famous writer.
Venus-AP Can mean our sensual, accommodating ability to connect and bond with others moves out into a greater social arena. People see us for our capricious, artistic and ingratiating qualities. The famous artist.
Eros-AP Suggests our passionate desire for erotic transformation is noticed by the collective. People see our potent energy as tantalizing or threatening, according to their own views. The famous courtesan.
Mars-AP Suggests our assertive, direct and action oriented qualities grab the attention of society. We are seen as commanding, raw and imposing. The famous warrior.
Jupiter-AP Can mean our leadership qualities, expansiveness, optimism and call for justice capture the attention of the collective. We are seen for our vision, immensity, and joviality. The famous world leader.
Saturn-AP Suggests our ability to build tangible results through persistent and sustained effort is highlighted by public acclaim. We are seen for our ambition, caution and pragmatic detail. The famous corporate director.
Chiron-AP suggests renown for our ability to teach, understand, strive for the impossible and restore compassion. We are seen as a healer for those who have lost faith or are in despair. The famous Guru.
Uranus-AP suggests our ability to make sudden changes, rebel against dogmatic convictions and break out of the safety zone is noticed by society. We are seen as surprising, inventive and inspiring. The famous revolutionary.
Neptune-AP The longing for the divine and the desire to merge with the collective unconscious is captured by the projection of society. We are seen as the public want to see us. The famous movie star.
Pluto-AP The ruthless drive for power and control is noticed socially as it wrestles with the need to plumb the depths of the unconscious mind. We are seen for our potent qualities, the dark hero who can be transformed. The famous eccentric.
Ascendant-AP Being known for personality traits and interactions in the world. Having famous friends!
Midheaven-AP Being known for social achievement through career, mission or profession. Woring with famous people!
North Node-AP Being known for following the path to the future. Having a famous guide!
South Node-AP Being
known for redeeming the path of the past. Being a guide to others.
What Orb is used with the AP?
Orbs are always controversial. Some astrologers use a 2 degree orb, allowing anything from 28 degrees of the mutable signs to 2 degrees of the Cardinal. I use a little tighter, say 1.5 degrees either way. As in all things, if it acts like it is in orb, then it probably is! Still, the idea here is to keep it tight.
How is the AP different from the MC and the Asc?
The ASCENDANT describes the way we put ourselves out into the world: “Hey, this is my personality! This is how I initiate things and assert myself. This is how I look.”
Isabel Hickey said the Ascendant was the window through which we view the world and that seems to work both ways. It is often the way the world sees us, on a PERSONAL level. Think of Aries as the natural ruler of the Ascendant and first house with its emphasis on personal self-awareness. This is Me, Here Now!
The MIDHEAVEN is not personal, like the Ascendant. It is public. It has to do with our social standing, career in life, mission or profession. Now, instead of personal appearances (Asc.) we are in the realm of PUBLIC APPEARANCES. This is our social identity and often reflects how we interact with “the public” or the collective. The Asc. is individual identity, the MC is social identity. Think of Capricorn as natural ruler of the MC with the Sea-goat’s ambitious, pragmatic (and sometimes mystic), social awareness.
The Ascendant is always that moment of ascension, and the MC is a moment of culmination. The AP, however, can occur anywhere in the 365 degrees! It is always 0 Aries but where it falls is unique to us (if we know our birth time!)
By contrast to the Asc and MC, the AP is a solar node. It’s energy is about INSTIGATION, beginnings, and action, not in terms of personal needs and drives or even for career or profession, but for Solar manifestation and distinction. It is not so much how you see the world or leap (or tip toe) into activity (Ascendant) and not so much what you will encounter and express as you pursue your social ambitions or mission in life (MC).
The AP isn’t so much how we interact with society (MC) but how and WILL the world see us! It can indicate the relative “fame” of an individual (or infamy) and how society at large or world events may effect our lives. We are not all touched equally by these kinds of things!
The AP has to do with who, or what, in society, we notice and, like the two way window of the Asc., who or what will notice us.
According to the Uranian School, the AP is also our concept of the world, people in the public life and our approach to manifest reality!
What about the house(s) where the AP is found?
The AP is literally, and symbolically, the point where the spirit (SUN) enters manifest reality (EARTH). For everyone, that is an ARIES thing (or a cardinal thing: action, initiation, inauguration). WHERE that initiation of spirit into matter occurs, is what becomes important. What house is it in? What area of life will evoke the feeling of connection to and action with the collective? The answer here tells us where it is we “begin” in relationship to the world at large.
What about midpoints that include the AP?
The authors of
"Working with Astrology" state that the Aries Point and the midpoints
to it were considered by Alfred Witte to be of great
importance in every chart, and next in importance only to the MC.(pag.
For Robert Hand the
Aries Point, which was used by the Greeks and
also in the beginnings of our modern horoscopic astrology, is very subtle. “It isn´t an energy supply like a real planet but it is considered like the last one because it forms aspects and it can be the focus for the combinations of midpoints”. ( "Horoscope Symbols", Robert Hand)
The AP is the connection to the world in general, our link to manifest reality. To unravel what this means, look at the CLOSEST planet or mid-point between 28 degrees of mutable and 2 degrees of cardinal signs in your chart. What would that be? What does that say about your relationship to society? How do they see you?
What about Transits or progressions to the AP?
Transits to the AP awaken the way and means of projection out into the collective, tending to indicate events more public than private, more famous than obscure.
To unravel the meaning of transits to the AP, start by observing the planets, asteroids or points that are transiting. What dose that transit want to wake up? What does it need? What does it have to offer? Answers to these questions will help in understanding what the AP means in practical terms, and how that applies to the immediate moment.
All comments or experiences with the AP are welcome on the forum!
* * *
Anyone Seen Vertumnus?
Considering the Vertex in the Natal Chart
Most astrologers who have ever lived spent their entire careers without taking into account the vertex. This node-like point was not postulated until the 1930's-40' when L. Edward Johndro coined the name. He, and his followers, did attribute significant meaning to the vertex, although Johndro apparently grappled with its relative value more than once. Is the vertex really effective? The following article invites students to consider this question, experimenting with their own charts to find answers for themselves.
What is the vertex?
The vertex is a theoretical point in the heavens where the ecliptic-the apparent orbit of the Sun around the earth-crosses the prime vertical-the plane that runs at right angles to the meridian and divides the celestial sphere from front to back. Already, it sounds fishy. A theoretical point?
The vertex/anti-vertex is only theoretical to the degree that the Ascendant and Midheaven are as well. The Ascendant is the point were the ecliptic intersects the horizon (instead of the prime vertical). The North and South Nodes of the Moon, also points of theoretical intersection, are found were the path of the Moon rises and falls across the ecliptic. They are all illusory because there is nothing really out there at that point in space-no fixed star, no asteroid, no planet-not to emphasize that the ecliptic itself is the imaginary path of the Sun around the earth.
Illusory or not, the vertex falls on the western side of the chart, with the anti-vertex found exactly 180 degrees away, on the eastern side. As with the Ascendant and Midheaven, an exact birth time is necessary to calculate the vertex. There is no point working with it unless you have one. That is the first rule.
What does the word vertex mean?
The word vertex comes from the Latin root word vertere, meaning to change, to turn, turn frequently or spin. It also can mean a crowning point, summit, top or crest. Words having this Latin root include vertebrae, (joint, having something to turn on) vertigo (dizzy, disoriented, spun out) vertical (from top to bottom) versatile (doing many things at once, to turn from one thing to another) and verticil (a circular arrangement around a fixed point, a whorl). The common theme here highlights change or movement, from one point to another, where the center remains fixed or the same.
Can mythology reveal anything about the vertex?
Yes. The Roman god Vertumnus has roots in the Latin word vertere, to change, turn or spin. Vertumnus was a lesser god of gardens, fruit trees and seasons. Youthful and alluring, he had the power to change himself into various forms, just as the seed changes from root, to branch to leaf to fruit. Vertumnus used this ability in his avid pursuit of the goddess Pomona.
As the myth goes, Vertumnus fell in love with a strikingly beautiful goddess (in some versions nymph) named Pomona. Although she rejected all suitors, he fed his passion with the sight of her by changing his form and passing her gardens daily as a soldier, a harvester, a fisherman, etc. Ignoring him, Pomona remained devoted only to the cultivation of fruit trees. Vertumnus persisted and one day he altered his form to that of an old woman, greeted her with a passionate kiss, and proceeded to enter her gardens.
Vertumnus, (as the matron), talked to the goddess, attempting to convince her of the rewards of relationship and the dangers of rejecting love. The qualities and integrity of the youthful god Vertumnus were discussed. Finally, "she" told Pomona the story of a young man who cruelly took his own life after being spurned by his hard hearted love. He told of how the gods turned the rejecting woman into stone, but still Pomona was not persuaded.
Finally in exasperation, Vertumnus dropped his disguise and stood naked before Pomona in his true form. She thought she was seeing the sun immerge from behind the clouds and in the glorious light of Vertumnus, she opened her heart and reciprocated his love. Together still, they attend the gardens and fruit tress of the countryside.
The theme of this myth centers on a seemingly chance moment where an outstanding event occurs. To Pomona, it was like an epiphany, a sudden turn of fate, a radical awakening of perception. To Vertumnus, it was at first a well planned strategy, then finally an act of spontaneous desperation. Imagine his surprise when Pomona finally received him!
Love, relationship and union are highlighted here, not just in the desire of Vertumnus, but also in the story he told of the young man's rejection and the tragic consequences that followed. The imagery of the gardens, fruit and vine add to the feeling of ripeness, an event finally ready to happen, a fruitful experience.
How significant is the vertex astrologically?
Here lies the debate. Some well-versed astrologers will say the vertex means relatively nothing. Others will say it is a point of great significance. If it does have meaning, what is it?
The vertex appears as a sensitive point linked to fateful encounters with others, seemingly sudden epiphanies, turning points in life and a destiny over which we have no control. Activated, it can synchronize with an experience of another whose effect registers as some degree of profound or extraordinary.
A strongly placed natal vertex (conjunct the horizon, in close aspect to a personal planet, in a critical degree or in the degree of the nodes) can indicate more consistent results.
What activates the Vertex?
Three things can trigger, coincide or activate the vertex: transits, people and places.
Transits to the vertex can bring inner and outer events corresponding to a pivotal point, significant encounter with another or a sudden change of perception. The transiting planet activates the symbolism of the vertex, coinciding with a major or minor event. Keeping orbs tight and sticking mainly to the conjunction will bring more consistent results. A transiting conjunction from Mars would likely be more noticeable than a transiting trine from Uranus, although sometimes that is not the case. The magnitude of the effect depends on the prominence of the vertex itself, its relationship to other factors in the chart and the occurrence of other transits, commensurate or disparate. Along with transits, students are encouraged to consider progressions, converse progressions and directions.
Meetings with significant people, as seen through synastry and composite charts, may also link strongly to the vertex. (Think of people as constant transits.) When one person's inner planets or asteroids (Sun through to Jupiter), angles, nodes, vertex or certain Arabic parts conjunct the vertex, there can be a feeling of fate, destiny, rightness or wrongness about the encounter. Something in the contact with that person may have the ability to create profound change in the native, over a long or short period of time. The change may be perceived as pleasing or acrimonious, the conjunction often reflecting the former, the opposition the later.
Our location on the
planet can awaken the vertex as seen through relocation charts and
astro-carto-graphy. When we relocate, the vertex may become more prominent by
changing house or aspect to an angle. The relocation vertex can signify places
where meaningful encounters of a particular nature seem to happen more
What about the sign and house position of the vertex?
The house positions of the vertex/anti-vertex can offer clues as to where we may experience turning points, meetings with destiny or fateful encounters in life. As noted earlier, the vertex falls usually between the fifth and the eight house, on the western side of the chart, with the anti-vertex 180 degrees opposition.
In the fifth/eleventh house axis, there could be a propensity to experience fateful romantic or creative encounters (fifth house) through contacts with friends or groups (eleventh house). In the sixth/twelfth house axis, the turning point, or spin out, could effect our day by day living, or our link between psyche and soma (sixth house) through contact with those in the helping professions, those less fortunate or through dreams and creative fantasies (twelfth house). In the seventh/first house axis, sudden epiphanies could radically effect socially significant partnerships (seventh house) through an experience of projecting ourselves out into the world (first house). In the eighth/second house axis, destiny may arrive in the form of an erotic encounter or intense research (eighth house) perpetrated by a desire for pleasure, security or peace (second house).
The vertex/anti-vertex by sign can signify the way we may experience activation to this axis. Aries/Libra could indicate issues between personal will and sharing, where Taurus/Scorpio may be about security verses risk. Gemini/Sagittarius could contrast knowledge and vision, where Cancer/Capricorn could emphasize protection verses enterprise. The Leo/Aquarius axis might highlight self-expression as opposed to group participation where the Virgo/Pisces might compare structured boundaries and limitless longing.
The vertex is a point in the horoscope that can indicate a sense of destiny working through another person or outstanding event. It may be stimulated by transits, progressions or directions, other people (synastry/composite) or a change of location. The house and sign position can offer clues as to where the change or turning point may take place and in what way. All students are encouraged to watch the vertex in their own charts, determining for themselves the relative value. After all, we never know when Vertumnus might enter our garden in the guise of someone else, offering an unexpected turn of fate!
Calculating the Vertex-
Most astrology software programs offer the option of calculating the vertex in the chart.
To find the Vertex by hand, you calculate the Ascendant at your co-latitude. That’s the Ascendant at 90 degrees, minus your latitude. The IC becomes the mid-heaven and, using the table of houses, you look up the “Ascendant” (Vertex) associated with the new MC and latitude.
OR, you can go to AstroDienst
and include it in the many chart options, calculating it on line for free.(I
would double check the hand calculations against their computer results at
first, just to make sure.)
The Zodiac Master,
Dr. Z, Destiny's Gait, http://www.thezodiac.com/notworth.htm May 2002
Hand, Robert Horoscope Symbols, Para Research Inc, Inc. Gloucester, Ma USA 1981 pp 85, 88-89
Hone, Margaret The modern Text Book of Astrology, L.N. Fowler & Co. Ltd. Romford, Essex 1951 pp 133
P. Ovidius Naso, Metamorphoses (ed. Brookes More) book 14, line 609, Gregory R. (ed.) The Perseus Project, http://www.perseus.tufts.edu May 2002
New Larousse Enclyclopedia of Mythology, Felix Guirand (editor) Hamlyn Publishing Group Limited, Middlesex, England 1959 pp 211, 218
Bulfinch Mythology, The Storyof Vertumnus and Pomona, as told by Thomas Bulfinch. http://www.pantheon.org/articles/v/vertumnus.html May 2002
Mythography:Exploring Greek, Roman and Celtic Myth and Art: Vetumnus and Pomona http://www.loggia.com/myth/pomona.html May 2002
Turner, Chris, Erlewine, Michael, To Vertex or Not to Vertex, Zodiac Gazette: Pro & Con @ http://www.starflash.com/zodiac/pro-con/vertex.html May 2002
Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1898)] (12.57) Gregory R. (ed.) The Perseus Project, http://www.perseus.tufts.edu May 2002
VERTEX AND CRITICAL DEGREES
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