In 1980, T. Pat Davis wrote about Revolutionizing Astrology with Heliocentric.1 She mentioned feelings of wariness and caution, even resentment, yet she finally had to concede the immense value of the heliocentric viewpoint. Through copious research she developed a method for combining geocentric and heliocentric planetary positions in one chart.
Planet-centered Astrology is the study of natal and other charts set for specific times of events, questions, or transits. Like the helio chart, the chart centered on a planet reveals the nature of the larger mind of that planet's energy. This article focuses on Mars; any planet could be the center of such a chart.
At a time in history when we f ace the very real potential of utter destruction of life, there is a need to expand man's understanding of the universe. Scientists have provided both the computer power to construct planet-centered charts and spectacular pictures of the planets and their satellites. The unfolding of a universal plan places investigative capabilities in our hands, along with an impelling curiosity to understand this solar system and its place in the greater community of the galaxy or universe.
Who Came Up With This Idea?
Mark Lipson, a computer programmer and astrologer at Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado, is developing software and doing work on planet-centered charts which, when completed, will include certain satellites of each planet (Figures I and 2). Mark first mentioned Aricentric (Mars-centered) charts because he had followed Phobos and Deimos, the satellites of Mars, in his own life, tracking thought and action cycles in personal work through transiting Aricentric charts.
Yet, who needs the Aricentric perspective, let alone Pluto- centric? However, these charts have been given serious consideration through a study of mythology and correlation of Phobos with Mars' Aries energy, Deimos with Mars' Scorpio energy
Initial Work with Planet-Centered Charts
It is not always a simple matter to set aside egocentric activity in order to get an objective sense of the energy of an- other planet. Goals in this context included:
- single-pointed focus of attention (This condition of mind allows the planetary perspective to arise more clearly.);
- mindfulness; attention or awareness of what arises (This condition permits observation of whatever arises.);
- awareness of the focus within a panorama;
- presence (This condition implies a sense of the present moment within the flow of past and future, not isolated from personal experience, yet distinct in itself.);
- unconditional positive regard (This condition encourages a poignant appreciation of the broader planet-centered perspectives.).
My approach to planet-centered Astrology was, and is, a contemplative one. First, try to get a sense of the planet and its energy, much as one may get information from the earth. Second, after initial writing on each planet, look at charts for family, friends, students, and clients to confirm the findings. Third, discuss your writing with colleagues to discover inconsistencies and to amplify ideas.
Why Use Planet-Centered Charts?
The geocentric chart provides a detailed and precise map of very personal thoughts, feelings, and events. It also gives indications of spiritual or transpersonal values of import to individual clients.
The planet-centered chart expands understanding of planetary energies by shifting the perspective from inside ourselves to outside our ordinary experiences. The familiar framework of the zodiac is essentially the same for all the planets; how- ever, each planet has its own unique view. These unique perspectives enrich astrological understanding and expand knowledge of transpersonal connections to the universe.
Mars, Phobos, and Deimos
In the geocentric chart, Mars represents energy. Hot and dry, Mars is delineated in a one-sided manner, often viewed as malefic, sometimes seen as useful in a back-handed sort of way. Keywords for Mars include selfish, impulsive, spontaneous, desirous, determined, and devoted. The following diagram represents a continuum on which to measure the terms active and courageous to get a sense of the constructive and less constructive sides of Martian energy.
Defiant ------------------------------ Dynamic
(less constructive) (more constructive)
The Greek view of Mars was utterly one-sided: even Zeus despaired of Ares (Mars) ever maturing into a balanced personality. Yet, Mars rulership of Aries exemplifies a developmental framework in which Mars is the creative impulse to grow, hence rulership of the vernal equinox. The Aricentric chart amplifies our view of Mars energy through aspects formed among planets and Martian moons. Phobos and Deimos have been characterized from antiquity by the most awesome mythological qualities: terror and fear. Terror, the sudden panic sometimes experienced, is associated with Phobos. Fear, a cultivated sense of the forbidding unknown (or the known), is given to Deimos. Phobos and Deimos also show the breadth of creative energy and provide hope for even the most difficult natal Mars. Rather than remain limited, learn to develop a balanced usage of this energy. Using the Aries\Scorpio rulership of Mars and Ares\Aphrodite parents of Phobos and Deimos, the following characteristics emerge:
|Phobos Expression ||Deimos Expression|
|accidents ||inspiration |
|agitation ||emotions (generally) |
|boldness ||devotion |
|creative action ||creative thought|
|the passion of action ||the passion of thought |
|compulsive action ||obsessive thought|
Due to the orbital speed of these moons (Phobos transits the zodiac more than three times per day and Deimos transits it in about thirty hours), their movements make exact timing of events and births essential. Such movement means that Phobos and Deimos are potential indicators in any rectification of birth times, as well as delineators of individual differences in multiple births.
Figure I shows the chart for a female who was chosen because Mars exactly conjuncts Neptune in the twelfth house, forming a prominent pattern with the Moon and Saturn, Mercury and Pluto. This individual has opportunities in abundance. She should be able to exercise her creative talents in many different occupations, yet the process is short-circuited again and again. The Mars-Neptune conjunction in the twelfth house indicates the nature of the problem. These two planets are likely to express in a subconscious vein, leaving her mystified about the results. In addition, there is continual confusion of Mars and Neptune energies when they arise together.
The Aricentric chart (shown in Figure 2) indicates that Mars tends to act on his own, separate from the natal conjunction, thus clarifying potential uses of Martian energy for this native. The inclusion of Phobos and Deimos in the chart (signified by PH and DE) shows what Mars is doing on his own behalf. The Earth is in the opposite placement from the natal Mars. Earth always is found in the opposite place from the planet which occupies the central point.
Thoughtful Deimos is in Pisces, indicating that the contemplative side of this woman's nature is consistent with her need for composure. Projects are planned in private with careful attention to detail. She is interested in Astrology and the occult. She has had unreliable love relationships. (This interpretation-is taken directly from Ebertin's description of Mars in Pisces, focusing on the contemplative side of Mars' energy.)
Active Phobos is in Cancer, behind her natal Midheaven. She is well able to perform the work of her career, establishing a flow of events and creating a satisfactory overall result. Still, she is subject to moods. Her actions rely upon instinct.
Neither Phobos nor Deimos aspect Neptune in the Aricentric chart. Even though Mars himself could care less about Neptune, this woman is constantly confronted by Mars and Neptune energies in tandem. The lack of contact in the Mars chart reveals the problem in a new light. Mars activities and Neptune energies are continually confused on the personality level because Mars tends to ignore Neptune.
The geocentric chart suggests possible solutions, as the ego- centered personality must be mobilized in problem-solving. Mars-Neptune sextiles Saturn, Mercury, and Pluto, providing opportunities to experience the energies in three ways. The Moon trines the conjunction, indicating conditions under which these energies are having their emotional effects. When she feels the Mars-Neptune beginning to upset her emotional equilibrium she can choose among three responses, each with its constructive or negative expression:
|1) Saturn || - misdirected energy, inferiority feelings |
+ define structure of events and conditions
|2) Mercury|| - become sensitive, thoughtless, or nervous |
+ communicate feelings and thoughts to
|3) Pluto|| - damage the situation by hardening of
heart toward others |
+ exercise personal power to enrich inter-
connectedness with others
|4) Combining the energies of the sextiles creates many additional possibilities.|
Utilizing a broad, nonjudgmental interpretation of Mars energy, Phobos and Deimos can show the mind of Mars in people's lives. If we ask, "Where is the mind of Mars taking me?" the answers reveal how to flow with Mars instead of feeling controlled by it. Further, we may ask, "How can I cultivate devotion in my life instead of aggression?" or "How can my energy draw upon my inherently compassionate quality instead of focusing on anger?" We do not need to look far afield for answers to these imminent questions. We can resolve them by examining our relationship to Mars, through the Aricentric chart.
Objects Included in Planet-Centered Charts
(in addition to the usual planets and Sun)
|Hermicentric (Mercury): ||none|
|Vencricentric (Venus): ||none|
|Aricentric: ||Phobos and Deimos|
|Jovicentric (Jupiter): ||Amalthea, lo, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto|
|Cronocentric (Saturn): ||(Mimas, Enceladus), Tethys, Dione, Rhea,
Titan, Iapetus |
|Uranicentric: ||Ariel, Umbriel Miranda, Oberon, Titania|
|Neptunicentric: ||Nereid and Triton|
(One could also include objects such as Chiron and a variety of asteroids, in these charts.)
This article first appeared in Today's Astrologer, the bulletin of the American Federation of Astrologers.