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ABC Basic Delineation #7 Date Published: 2/01/2001 by Marion March
Bio: Marion March

Marion March is a noted teacher, lecturer and writer on astrology, as well as a valued astrological counselor in her own right, and the mentor of many younger astrologers. With Joan McEvers, she is the author of a series of comprehensive instructional books: The Only Way to Learn Astrology in five volumes, which has gone through many editions, and has been translated (and published) in several languages besides English including German, Spanish and Portuguese.

Chart Patterns

A horoscope is like the individual it represents; it should first be seen as a whole before you take it apart. The fact that the Sun is in Gemini, the Moon in Aries and the 8 planets placed at various points in the zodiac is of no real value unless they are also seen in relation to the pattern of the entire chart and applied to the whole context of a person’s life. Ultimately chart delineation is broken down into the details of signs, houses, aspects and other factors, but to derive full understanding from these details, you should first have a total concept of the horoscope, to see it in its entirety, or, as I call it in my teachings, to get an “overview.”

An important part of this “overview” is what I call chart patterns. Astrologer Marc Edmund Jones was the first one to make use of patterns which he called focal determinators. Jones classified these patterns, which are basically geometric forms, into seven types which can easily be recognized. Astrologer Robert Carl Jansky added an eighth type and also renamed some of the patterns.

Joan McEvers and I, in our book The Only Way to Learn Astrology: Vol II – Math and Interpretation Techniques, describe all eight patterns, and in the next few [ABC Basic Delineation articles] I will do the same, but in more depth. In our own research, we found that chart patterns tend to pull the individual in a definite direction. Not all horoscopes fall into one of the eight patterns and you should not try to create a pattern where there is none. Not every person has an overall motivation or is pulled into a direction. Some people feel freer than others, and some may change their minds many a time along the way, whereas the ones that fall into a true pattern seem quite set in that mold.

Finding the Pattern

In establishing the pattern, be sure and use only the 10 planets. In drawing the horoscope, it helps to put the planets in one color and any additional factors (nodes, parts, points, etc.) in another.

Jones uses a totally visual approach, Jansky uses a mixture of visual and mathematical. For example, the splay pattern, which Jansky calls the tripod divides the horoscope into three distinct areas where planets are bunched together, the rest of the chart is empty. Jones feels that if it looks like three areas, that’s good enough. Jansky feels that in order to be a perfect tripod, the three areas should be linked by trines from at least one of the planets in each bunch. Obviously the Jansky method is even more potent, since it incorporates a visual as well as an astrological direction. But we do find that both approaches work.

With some practice you will soon look at a chart and recognize if any of the eight patterns is involved. You will also learn which basic psychology each pattern suggests, first by using some of our keywords, then through your own experience. For example, a splash pattern will indicate a person who can “splash” in many directions, take a broad view and be multi-interested. The seesaw pattern, where two groups of planets oppose each other, is likely to pull the individual into two opposing directions, shifting the mphasis back and forth, yet teaching the person that through balance much harmony can be achieved.

The eight patterns to be discussed are:

The Splash Pattern – All 10 planets well divided around the wheel.
The Bowl Pattern – All 10 planets lie to one side and occupy only half the chart.
The Bucket Pattern – 9 planets form a bowl while the 10th, a singleton, looks like a handle.
The See-Saw Pattern - Two groups of planets oppose each other.
The Locomotive Pattern – All 10 planets occupy 2/3 of the chart, leaving 1/3 empty.
The Bundle Pattern – All 10 planets are bundled in 1/3 of the chart, leaving 2/3 open.
The Fan Pattern – 9 planets are concentrated into 1/3 of the chart, the 10th stands by itself.
The Splay Pattern – Three distinct points of the chart are occupied, leaving the rest empty.


Next issue: the Bowl Pattern is analyzed.


[This article first appeared in the Fall, 1984 issue of Aspects Astrological Magazine]


© Copyright: Marion March





Other articles by Marion March

March, MarionABC Basic Delineation #1

March, MarionABC Basic Delineation #2 – The Overview

March, MarionABC Basic Delineation #3

March, MarionABC Basic Delineation #4 – Britain Hails a Future King

March, MarionABC Basic Delineation #5

March, MarionABC Basic Delineation #6 – Correct Birth Data

March, MarionABC Basic Delineation #8 – Basic Chart Patterns

March, MarionABC Basic Delineation #9 – Basic Chart Patterns

March, MarionABC's of Delineation: The 'See-Saw' Chart Pattern

March, MarionA Different Approach to Vocational Aptitudes

March, MarionHey Baby! Interpreting the Chart for Small Children

March, MarionThe Many Faces of Pluto

March, MarionSaturn - Teacher, Taskmaster & Friend



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