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Astro*Map Hi-Res 1988 Date Published: 11/14/2002 by Michael Erlewine
Bio: Michael Erlewine

Author Michael Erlewine Besides being the author/astrologer behind our top-selling Astro*Talk, TimeLine, and Friends and Lovers report programs, Michael is the man who founded Matrix back in the late '70s. Michael and his brother Stephen Erlewine (Stephen is still head of all astrological programming for Matrix) built Matrix into the leading producer of astrology software.

For many years Michael lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he was much in demand as a counseling astrologer specializing in relationship and vocational advice. He also taught astrology at local schools and colleges, working with groups of as many as 1,200 people.

Michael is also known for his entrepreneurial drive which, in addition to Matrix, led him to create the All Music Guide - the largest music database in the world - and the All Movie Guide, as well as several award-winning websites, including

Michael also founded the Heart Center Library, the largest astrological library in North America that is open to the public. He remains curator of the works contained in this library, tapping this resource for one of his pet projects - a complete astrological encyclopedia.

Today Michael lives in the northern Michigan community of Big Rapids with his wife of 33 years and his family. He still does occasional private astrological counseling as people from around the world continue to seek his advice.

Those interested in a personal reading by Michael may contact him at:



This program presents a fascinating method of learning about oneself that involves creating a map of the space surrounding the birthplace. It is very simple. If you were to walk outside your home at the moment of birth and look around you, the Sun, Moon and planets would all be in particular directions from where you stood. For example, you could perhaps point toward the direction of the Sun in the sky. If you could draw a line across the Earth in the that direction, it would pass through any number of cities. Those cities and places mark a path across the Earth toward the Sun. You would be examining the space surrounding your locale. This is why I termed this technique local space astrology. With the exception of Jim Lewis's Astro*Carto*Graphy, the techniques presented in Astro*Map were developed by me in the early 1970s, before home computers made the scene. At that point, all the calculations had to be done with pencil, paper and log tables. What a difference a program like Astro*Map Hi-Res makes to researchers into local space and its related techniques! The following section is designed to introduce the wide variety of techniques available in Astro*Map and to sketch out several possible scenarios for personal exploration and research.

If you would like to read more about these techniques, how they were discovered and their astrological use, I have included some material following this article written back in the 1970s.

Astrology is, above all, a way to get to know yourself and your particular orientation to the Earth and its surrounding environment. You will be working with two different sets of maps: geographic maps of the Earth and celestial sky maps. While these maps are very different, they are but different perspectives for graphing the same information. The birth year, date, time and place remain the same. In other words, nothing changes but the coordinate dimension (our perspective and attitude) — the way we look at this particular piece of time and space.

When we are working with the geographic maps, we overlay the celestial bodies and sky map to determine where the planets, stars and other deep-space structure were in relation to places (cities, towns, etc.) on the Earth. We want to find out our particular orientation (attitude) to the cosmos for any given time and place. For example, we know that at any given instant of time, the planet Mars is right overhead a particular place on the Earth. Astro*Map allows us to locate just where on Earth that is.

Local space techniques bring the heavens down to earth. Planets and stars are no longer "out there", some far off and unconnected objects.

In fact, we exist in a vast web or matrix of connectivity.

In fact, we exist in a vast web or matrix of connectivity. The Earth is set, as a jewel is set, in time and space. All of the various planetary motions are inter-related and synchronized, like some vast cosmic clock. More important, as the Earth turns, it orients or points first toward one part of the heavens and then another. At any given time the planets are in exact points in space from where we now stand.

Thus the planet Jupiter may be to our west at birth. Not only is it to the West, but a straight line drawn from where we stand toward the direction of Jupiter passes thru a particular series of towns and cities. In fact, if we extend that line, it becomes a great circle stretching around the celestial sphere. Starting from where we are, our Jupiter line stretches out toward a particular planet and ends up describing a great circle in the heavens (and on the Earth), returning at last to a point just behind us — a full 360 degrees. And this entire great circle and the straight line that describes marks our particular orientation to that great planet Jupiter.

How significant and useful that relation is up to us to determine. I am certain that many will have no awareness of any connection. Others, like myself, will explore that Jupiter line and learn a lot about ourselves and that planet. Jupiter is connected to vocational matters, how me make a living or simply put: the way we go (our path) thru the obstacles of life. For example, I travelled along my Jupiter line and took up residence in a town in that direction. It was in that town that I discovered my particular vocation (astrology) and I did not leave that town until that vocation was well set in my consciousness. In other words, I found success in life along my Jupiter line. Later, I moved elsewhere (along other lines) to strengthen and deepen that vocation.

World Local Space Map For starters, you will want to enter your complete birth information and check out the local space planet lines (great circles) plotted on a map of the world. [World Map, Local Space Planets] This will give you an idea of what countries and areas of the world at your birth were oriented toward the various planets. And, since the world is a large place, you will want to zero in on the state or (country) where you were born for a close-up view of all this. [Try the U.S. Map, Local Space Planets]

Take your time. Study your particular maps in the light of what cities you have been (or not been) to. And travel is not the only indicator. Where do your friends and not-so-friends live? Where are your business partners? Examine every relation and form of communication you have as regards its direction in relation to your birth map? What does it suggest or tell you? Don't forget to examine planets that are close to the horizon in altitude or near the East, North, West, South compass points. This is shown in the upper left and right hand corners of your screen.

Other ways to examine altitude:

  1. Place the horizon on the map and see how close the planets come to it [World Map, Local Space Planets, Horizon]
  2. Another, and perhaps better way to examine altitude is to look at a chart wheel in local space with the Show Planets option turned on. Examine the altitude column and see if any planets are less than ten degrees in altitude.
  3. And last, perhaps the best way is to select the Local Space Analyze option. This will show not only the horizon and compass strength but also weight these different factors and give you an overall ordering of the planets in terms of prominence.

Relocation Next, you will want to relocate yourself to the various other places you have visited and/or wish to go. Again, don't forget to examine the altitude and compass points for planet action. Compare the change in planet strength (Local Space Analysis) from place to place with your particular experience of those places. It will be helpful to look at the local Space chart wheels as well as the maps, since here the altitudes are listed for easy reference.

And don't forget that one (if not the) most important indication of planet strength is when the city is near the direction of that planet's line on the map. If a planet line runs near a city in question, that a very powerful indicator. What you are exploring is your unique perspective and orientation to the Earth and the heavens — your particular attitude.

Prime Vertical Don't forget to explore the prime vertical coordinate dimension as well. Perhaps, it can wait until you get used to the standard azimuth maps and wheels. Still, keep this dimension in mind. It is every bit as important as the azimuth local space maps. In fact, the prime vertical is the natural complement to the azimuth projection. They are like the cross-hairs on a gun sight. You need both of them to get a fix on your target which is yourself.

Where the azimuth local space chart has to do with action and outreach on our part, the prime vertical dimension has to do with reaction, the response of the world to us. In a word, the prime vertical tells us about that which is fated or destined for us, the areas of life that will happen automatically and don't require effort on our part. The prime vertical charts those areas of life where we can't help but be involved. It is our destiny. None can say no to us where the prime vertical (and vertex) are involved. It is fated.

Discovering Local Space Astrology

I want to relate to you a powerful new way (new to me) of coming to know ourselves thru astrology. It involves another kind of map or chart of our birth moment, a map of the space surrounding the birthplace; and this form of topo-centric astrology we call the astrology of local space. First I should tell you how I happened on to this fascinating approach.

I was involved in an attempt at understanding the many different house systems that astrologers use, trying to decide which, of all of them, might be the best for my purposes. For several years I had not used any house system at all, but only the four angles of the chart, in a kind of protest or disgust at the lack of agreement among astrologers concerning systems of house division. It seemed rather strange to me that there were so many competing house systems. For many years of my astrological practice I lacked the necessary mathematical background to decide for myself which of the many house systems made sense to me. I could only read about the merits of each house system and take the word of those who supposedly knew. I came to use the Campanus system of houses because some of those astrologers that I respected most used this system. In recent years, I had been learning enough spherical trigonometry on my pocket calculator to be able to make my first attempt at solving the mystery of house division.

I have always been a slow learner; so I had to sit down with an equatorial star-map of the constellations and attempt to draw out graphically the various ways of dividing space and time — in hope of being enlightened as to which house system had the most going for it. Of course, I wanted to draw out the house systems using my own natal chart. This was kind of complex, for I had to calculate, using spherical trigonometry, the 360 degrees of my radix horizon and plot this curving line on the star-map.

All house systems agree on the validity of the horizon, and so I felt this was the place to start. This proved to be a most worthwhile exercise. I soon became aware that regardless of which house system was used, what was of interest to astrologers was not the 360-degrees of the horizon, but just those few places where it crossed or intersected the familiar zodiac or ecliptic.

... house systems are concerned with different ways of sending meaningful lines to intersect the zodiac ...

In other words, house systems are concerned with different ways of sending meaningful lines to intersect the zodiac; and these intersecting points are then the cusps, or sensitive points, for that individual — a kind of astrologer's acupuncture points. Laying these different house systems out on a map helped a great deal to understand what in fact the various house systems were, but I yearned for some simpler way to deal with it all. I reached a point where I took the problem into my own hands and said, "O.K. Michael, let's suspend judgment on which of all these house systems is best and do something very simple; that, although perhaps unsophisticated, will make sense to you." I started off by making the center of the house system the place where one is born, and I put the pole of the system overhead — the pole of the birthplace; and instead of using more complex methods of division, I divided the surrounding space into a simple pie of twelve divisions radiating out from the birthplace. This represented on the earth (geographically: see our cover) and thru space (astronomically). This, then, would be my very own house system! The points where the twelve radiating lines intersected the zodiac plane would be the house cusps or sensitive points in this system.

I was, at this point, as `bad' as the other astrologers who had developed their own systems. I did find that, although this method of house division was quite radical compared to the more familiar systems, the particular cusp degrees of the zodiac had already proved significant and were already favorite and previously noted points along my zodiac. I had, in my own way, stumbled upon what I found out was already known as the Horizontal House system, which, along with the Campanus system, represents one of two obvious and complementary ways to divide the space surrounding a birth into equal parts. The astrologer L. Edward Johndro calls the Campanus System "the ferris wheel", and the Radiant or Horizontal System "the merry-go-round." Astrologer Charles Jayne has been pointing out the need to investigate this Horizontal system of houses for many years.

At that point, I was still interested in those twelve little points where the radiating house lines intersected the old familiar zodiac. Then something very important began to occur to me. I began to see that the horizon was a complete circle in itself, just as the zodiac is, stretching a full 360 degrees around the heavens. Instead of considering the horizon as a necessary means to get at and define these zodiacal pressure points, I began to follow on the star-map the line of my radix horizon thru the heavens to the point where it intersected the plane or line of the zodiac on this map. This point was, of course, my ascendant at 7+ degrees of Sagittarius. But my eyes kept going past the ascendant, following my natal horizon until it intersected another line: that of the plane of our palaxy, at which point the first shock rolled in. My horizon intersected the galactic plane in the constellation Cygnus (the swan).

At this point, I will relate a more personal story to make clear what was happening. Over the past years, I had been assembling a book containing stellar points and planes, Astrophysical Directions, and in the process I had to calculate and plot quite a few maps of the heavens. In this way, I came to know and develop a sense of the major constellations in a much more intimate way than I had before. Throughout this work, I noted a "fixation" on a couple of constellations in particular. Above them all, I had a special reverence for the constellation Cygnus. On repeated occasions, for no reason I could determine, I had felt such deep identification with this constellation and what it seemed to signify that tears came to my eyes. Now I find that Cygnus was one of the two constellations where my own particular horizon crossed the great plane of our galaxy — a kind of galactic descendant and ascendant; the other being the constellation Vela, the sails — also a constellation to which I had always been very sensitive.

Well, at this point I had to laugh. What, I said to myself, if the entire 360 degrees of the horizon of my birth is as sensitive as the node where it crosses the zodiac (ascendant), to which we respond? Did I have a galactic and supergalactic ascendant and new sets of constellations or "signs" to come to know?

Here, I will shrink a long, and to me, beautiful story and just say that this discovery was the first of a great many such mini-enlightenments I was to have as my awareness grew beyond the limits of traditional zodiac. Over the next few months, I traced myself thru these star fields in some kind of personal odyssey and came to understand much more concerning my particular orientation or attitude toward the cosmos: first and not least, that I had one at all!

I searched through my collection of horoscopes to see how my friends and acquaintances were oriented. I was discovering the strength and power of the local horizon. I had accepted and used the ascendant and vertex and other sensitive ecliptic points in my work, but always with the accent on the zodiac. It had never occurred to me that in each case it took another plane to bring these nodes or points of intersection into existence — in this case, it was the plane of the horizon. And yet I had, in a subconscious way, used the horizon in all my work. I could now see that each individual had a kind of unique orientation or attitude to the whole cosmos and that in the horizon we had a power plane capable of revealing much more about oneself than just those sensitive points which relate to the zodiac.

At any rate, I began to explore the whole of the heavens from my personal point of view. And, for a time, I forgot the zodiac and instead began to inquire into these other planes and thus came to learn a great deal that was new about my own attitude and orientation to my birth event, to my life. Somewhere during this time, another idea occurred to me that proved to be most compelling: the horizon also traced a path on maps of the earth, as well as the heavens. I had calculated, by this time, a complete chart of the planets positions in the horizon system using the system's equivalent to zodiac longitude and latitude called azimuth and altitude. How, I wondered, would the directions of the planets in my horizon chart relate to directions and cities on this earth?

I soon developed the trigonometry needed to answer these questions — quite a prodigious undertaking for me and thus began a real magical mystery tour through my life history. Although I have lived in several different places, the one major move in my lifetime up to that point had been from Lancaster, Pennsylvania (my birthplace) to Ann Arbor, Michigan. Of course what I wanted to know was: What direction was Ann Arbor from Lancaster? That is, what degree and direction did Ann Arbor occupy on my radix or birth horizon?

And here rolled in the second great shock wave. It turns out that Ann Arbor is right in the direction of my natal Jupiter position on the local space chart — within 2 degrees. In other words, a move to Ann Arbor was a move in the direction of my natal Jupiter. Jupiter rules my ascendant and its position above the 7th house cusp had makes it very prominent in any analysis of my chart.

I wondered at such a coincidence and set out to answer some of the other questions that now began popping up in my mind. What about the other places I had lived, or to which I had travelled or thought of travelling to? The history of my travel came before my mind... some places of joy and learning, others of sorrow and pain. I plotted the directions and calculated the charts for all of these places, and what I found through reading these charts was overwhelming; it marked my initial surrender to what now appears to be, for me, a major discovery in my personal astrological life; that of local space.

I erected different local space charts. These amounted to maps of the space surrounding each place as if I had been born there, rather than at Lancaster. The story of my life and self, interpreted and confirmed through my reading of these local space charts, in a word, moving.

Let me cite an example of the sort of thing I found. I am well known to my friends as being a homebody. It is very difficult for anything to induce me to leave my home in Ann Arbor, Michigan. At one point in my life, however, I sold everything I owned. My wife and I moved north to go into the green plant business, to manage our own greenhouses. I actually left Ann Arbor and moved away! It so happened that we were a couple of years ahead of our time in offering fine, green, house plants to people; the demand for these plants and the plant store craze did not appear until later. We lost everything in this venture. On the material or investment plane, it was a disaster.

Now, in my local space chart I have triple conjunction of the Moon, Uranus, and Saturn to the same degree; in anybody's astrology, this has accounted quite a strong focus. The move into the greenhouse business was a move precisely — to the degree — into (or toward) this triple conjunction! I had actually moved into my Moon/Uranus/Saturn conjunction! It was as if we had gone there to wrestle and come to terms with my Saturn (or with Satan, you might say) — and come out the wiser for it. For this experience, as hard as it was, ended many more superficial fears on my part concerning loss. We lost, what to us at that time was everything, and still our life went on. And so I could go on, telling the story of my life as confirmed through local space charts. I won't though, but will pass from a personal account to a summary of what we have found through research into local space charts since our initial discovery.

What had impressed me thru this voyage of discovery was the potency of the entire horizon as opposed to just a couple of its points (ascendant, vertex); and that somehow the orientation of an individual to the cosmos made a difference — or was reflected in behavior and activity at the supermundane level. It took me quite a while to develop the faith or let myself believe that God was so thorough in his influence as to be all-pervading down to the finest details.

It was a while more before I could entertain with grace the idea that this same orientation or attitude was reflected as much upon the map of the earth as upon the map of the heavens. Another way of putting this (and this is, to me, the beauty of local space astrology), is that Heaven and Earth are interchangeable — or are in the last analysis, one living entity — a single whole. This is made ever so clear in the local space chart, where every object in the universe, celestial and mundane, has an equal and valid position. Not only the planets and the stars, but on an equal basis cities, countries, and even the local water tower or friends' houses can be represented. All that concerns us is the direction in space; the orientation, not the distance. In local space the heavens and earth, the celestial and mundane (or geographic) spheres, exist side by side and are interchangeable. A star is a city is a neighbor. We can walk towards, write letters to, or get up and travel into, for instance, our seventh house: and what is perhaps more important, we do!

More startling yet, we can travel into our natal planets since they also represent a direction on the globe in the chart of local space. Here, in a hopeless intermingling of the various planes of reference and of objects, a strange, and I must confess, somewhat magical view of our world begins to unfold and emerge: one in which every city and friend becomes a radiating center of influence.

In this sphere, the long tradition of witchcraft and magic begins to become understandable; here local dieties and preferred directions become the rule and the world seems a tangle of significance. The psychedelic character in local space charts is unmistakable and appears to be intrinsic to the system. The world appears as kind of a grand talisman or vast ritual ground; and the closest popular image of a similar nature in modern consciousness is the remarkable world of Don Juan as generated by the author Carlos Castaneda. Here is no "subtle plane", but a personal landscape painted in bold and clear strokes and tailor made to fit the psyche of each individual. A world where the modern man is learning to move across the face of this earth in an endless dance of adjustment and tuning of his radix — of his self. Individuals driven in particular directions on a checkerboard world, unable to resist travelling toward a goal that is no particular place on earth so much as it is a direction imprinted within them; the direction of a force or planet; "There! where Power hovers", to use Don Juan's expression. In a word, here is perhaps the must vulgar astrological system, where the obvious is enthroned and the subtle unnecessary.

Let me go over some of the basics again. In simple terms the local space chart is a map of the 360 degrees of the horizon surrounding an event such as birth, with the various planets' positions plotted on it. The map represents the full circles or plane of the horizon, rather than only the two points at which it intersects the ecliptic (known to astrologers as the ascendant & descendant). The wheel of this chart then describes the horizon of a place, much as turning around on one spot we might look toward the East, South, West, and North.

In this coordinate system, the fundamental plane to which all else is referred is, then, the horizon of the observer; and the positions of the various planets as they appear from this location are projected onto the horizon using the coordinates, azimuth and altitude. Azimuth is this system's equivalent of the zodiac longitude and is measured, for our purposes, from the East direction, thru the North and on around in a counter-clockwise direction — in the same way that we measure the traditional signs and houses. Altitude, analogous to ecliptic latitude, is measured above and below the horizon to the poles from 0 to 90 degrees.

The single most important use of local space in the astrologer/client relationship, in our experience, has been in locality shifts. "Where would be a good place for me to live?" is one of the more frequent questions asked this astrologer during a reading. In the past I have made use of the quite valid and useful traditional technique of adjusting the RAMC of the radix to the new locality and coming up with a new Ascendant, and so forth. The radix positions then are read in terms of these new angles. local space is by nature suited to express both celestial and geographic positions on one map or chart. Its special nature introduces several concepts not encountered in other techniques. Let us take a look at some of these.

As I mentioned before, one can also plot the positions of cities and places on the earth on the map of the local space; so our next project then will be to translate all the important cities in our lives into their equivalent positions on the radix local space chart. We should be sure to include not only the places we ourselves have lived or visited, but also the cities that we have always thought we might like to visit — that bring a warm feeling to mind, and so forth. The positions of cities where friends and not-so-friendlies live, where there are business relationships, etc. should also be included. We then examine these places in terms of their positions (or directions) on the local space chart with these thoughts in mind: Are these cities in aspect, in particular by conjunction or opposition? Are they in alignment with planets in the chart? In what quadrants and houses do these cities fall, and are any on the angles?

We have found that individuals tend to move toward cities that are also in the directions of planets that represent the particular kind of energy they may require at that time. An individual, for instance, needing to invoke the key to success, often obtained through Jupiter, may make one or several moves in that direction. Although this concept is so simple as to almost be embarrassing, this technique has shown itself to be of great value. In any case, its value seems to be substantial rather than hypothetical. The local space chart can show a concrete, measurable relationship of the individual to any place — a relationship which can vary from individual to individual, even in the same locality, as much as their local space charts vary from one another. Whatever may be the intrinsic character of a place — and places undoubtedly have this. A selection of people could react very differently to it from the point of view of each one's own make-up; moreover, each could react differently at different times, under different astrological directions, and coming to it from different places or geographical directions. Although the mathematics involved in this system may seem a bit complex, the application of its technique is simple and direct; and this does much to recommend it.

After the basic information in the radix local space chart has been taken in, we may want to construct secondary charts for the various localities where the individual has lived or travelled. These charts are equivalent to ones cast for this locality at the time of birth, as if one were born there. This involves a transformation of the radix positions as well as the more familiar shift around the angles of these positions. Aside from the initial direction from the radix of the locality shift, there are other factors to note. Thru a shift in locality, a planet (or even a city) may be brought onto (or away from) the horizon or an angle. We have found that a planet achieves high focus when on the horizon, in terms of its activity within the individual. In other words, we can adjust and tune our radix — and ourselves — thru locality shifts, much like we might tune a musical instrument.

Another objective that might be accomplished by a locality shift is to bring a yet farther away city to high focus — say, to an angle or in aspect to a planet, allowing a second locality shift to be made in its direction. This alters or modifies the psychic interaction of person and place by altering the direction of approach to it. The effect achieved would be quite other than that invoked by approaching it direct. Some of the magical quality of this dimension can be seen in the checkerboard-like world concept that emerges, where individuals not only move in relation to a planetary energy they require, but are ever adjusting and jockeying into position to achieve the most resonant move.

Apart from the focus achieved thru the angles and planets, we may compare aspects and whole-chart patterns with the radix local space chart, considering changes in orientation, and so forth. Another point of interest which has proven very useful in our work is examining the aspects that the planetary positions in the local space locality shift make to the radix local space chart; in particular by bringing one planet to a conjunction with another. As Charles A. Jayne has pointed out to me, this amounts to a progression of the chart thru space rather than time (a very elegant concept) for those of us, perhaps, who find it hard to wait! We have found that both the conjunction and opposition (the alignments) as formed by this progression in space, are most significant.

Here we include an example of this "progression in space" to illustrate this beautiful concept. In most methods of progression or direction, a planet such as the Sun, is moved thru time to a conjunction (for example) at another planet's position in the radix. The Sun may be brought to a conjunction with Venus using any of a number of methods to progress or direct a natal chart, and this Venus/Sun conjunction will be precise or exact at some particular moment in time. We may, for instance, look forward to our Venus/Sun conjunction in the 63rd year of life, and so on. Using local space techniques, we may be able to achieve this same Venus/Sun conjunction by means of a locality shift that would bring the Sun to conjunct the local space radix for Venus... in almost no time!

Perhaps modern man is developing an intuitive sense for self-adjustment and focus thru locality shifts — something that ancient man did very little of. It appears that one can enrich and complement various qualities of the radix thru location adjustment — bringing out needed energies at one place and time, moving elsewhere for another life episode at another time. These are some of the fundamental ideas with which we have worked thus far. The obvious value of these charts in the astrologer/client relationship should be clear. We have used these charts with success, and have found that many people are concerned with where they might live in order to bring their self into some resonant and satisfying focus.

The Astrology of Local Space

There seem to be at least several distinct levels or dimensions to our life, and depending upon the clarity of the day, our awareness may be centered in a dimension ranging from the very mundane on up thru an occasional sharing in some sort of more transpersonal or cosmic form of consciousness. It is becoming clear to many astrologers in these times that this multi-dimensionality of our life perhaps may best be represented and examined thru a series of astrological charts; and that an attempt to extract all levels of our life — the many quite different dimensions — from the geocentric ecliptic chart alone is bound to be a frustrating experience. In a word it is: un-necessary.

Astrologers make regular use of three very different systems of coordinates (whether they are aware of it or not) each time they erect a natal chart: namely, (1) the zodiac or ecliptic, (2) the equatorial system (right ascension and declination), and (3) the horizon system of coordinates. The actual distinction between these different systems of coordinates are lost to most of us, and they are jumbled together to form some kind of zodiac pie. It has become my realization that these basic physical planes of reference — the horizon, equator, ecliptic, and even the galactic and supergalactic planes — correspond symbolically to the various different dimensions or levels of our consciousness — as they exist NOW, in mutual interpenetration. These levels can be sorted out; and as astrologers I may learn to read these different levels as separate, yet related and whole dimensions of our experience.

Let me rephrase all of this. Our Universe, and therefore our Life, can be described or expressed in astrological terms using any one of several fundamental planes of reference: Ecliptic, Horizon, etc. These different planes and their respective coordinate systems are like different languages (or algebras), in that they each can express the same moment in time, the same planets — in fact, each can express the entire universe; and yet each orders these same objects and data in a different way so as to bring out and raise a particular dimension of reality above the general threshold of our life and awareness. Since our life and consciousness appear to flow thru, at least, several quite distinct levels, it is my conviction that the most sensible method by which to express or map these different levels is thru such fundamental ordering, or reference planes. As astrologers, our almost exclusive concern for the plane of the earth's orbit — the ecliptic or zodiac — and the relation of all activity to this plane results in a loss of contrast and dimensionality that the use of these alternative coordinate systems provide.

There are at least two basic factors to consider when examining the various coordinate systems available to us; and they are summed up in the familiar axiom, "As Above, So Below; yet after another manner." The first factor, "As Above, So Below", is an indication that the various coordinate systems may be ordered to form a hierarchy in terms of a progressive "inclusivity", or greater comprehensiveness. In other words, the galactic coordinate system includes the heliocentric within itself, the heliocentric includes the geocentric, the geocentric includes the horizon, and so forth. This represents the "As Above, So Below" portion of the phrase; and this "wheels within wheels within wheels" concept is well understood, and a popular one thru which to express the various dimensions of consciousness. In other words, a large frame of reference or coordinate system somehow involves information of a larger or more meta-physical kind when considered in relation to a more particular or less inclusive system.

The second factor to be illustrated in the phrase, "As Above, So Below; yet after another manner" while of equal importance is less well understood. The great reference planes and their respective systems of coordinates are not only inclusive of one another (that is, larger and smaller in relation to each other), but they are also inclined at different angles or attitudes to one another. In other words, learning to use and understand the nature of a more inclusive system such as the ecliptic or zodiac system, in relation to the equatorial or "right sphere" system, is not only a matter of ordering the information along a different plane (taking a larger view or picture); but also involves a fundamental change in attitude, or inclination. This shift in attitude, or reorientation of attitude, is an important concept for astrologers to consider and to absorb.

Let me present an analogy which might relate to interpreting these various planes in our everyday life. As a society, I are becoming ever more aware of the cosmic or transpersonal perspective as being associated with the idea of expanded consciousness, with a more whole-view, etc.; yet I have not understood on this same broad social level, that such a change in scale or scope may also involve a basic change in attitude: a fundamental change in the approach to life.

In other words, growing up is not just a process of taking a more inclusive approach, it can involve a change in attitude or perspective. We can no longer be inclined in directions we once were; and this must amount to a radical change — that is, change at "root" level — in our activity! Furthermore, a basic misunderstanding as to what is involved in spiritual growth has resulted from an attempt to view such growth exclusively as some kind of "enlargement"; one wistfully looks forward to growing beyond the particular terms of his everyday existence. This is a result of ignorance of the change in attitude — the change in point of view, or vantage point — that accompanies true spiritual development: a change very difficult to imagine or assess for one not aware that such change is a natural and expected part of any deeper initiation.

So much for metaphysics. Much of my own research has revolved around these various coordinate systems and the dimensions of life they describe. In particular, I have been concerned with the inclinations or attitudes of one system to another. I like to tell myself that the reason for this interest may be due to the fact that I was born with such a "bad" attitude toward some facets of life in this world, that vast changes in attitude on my part have been necessary simply for my survival. Let me repeat: these different coordinate systems are great languages or ordering of our total reality and each one raises to our attention its characteristic gestalt or whole dimension of life.

To my knowledge, L. Edward Johndro was the first modern astrologer to make a life-long concern the articulation of the difference between whole coordinate systems (ecliptic and equator). And in my opinion, a final assessment of Johndro's work may not deal so much in terms of his technical genius alone as with the scope and comprehension of his vision; and in particular, that focus of it relating to the essential differences between events as interpreted on the ecliptic or on the equator. In recent years, this research has been carried on and developed further by Charles Jayne, Theodor Landscheidt, and others.

Local Space Astrology

My own research has centered on the difference and relationship between the geocentric and heliocentric ecliptic systems and, in recent years, on questions of cosmic structure; in particular on an attempt to assess the meaning of the galactic and supergalactic planes as they stand in relation to one another, and to the zodiac. With these ideas in mind, I are ready to examine a most particular and fascinating system of coordinates: that of the local horizon. There is no intention here to document or "prove" the validity of this system in this very preliminary article. My purpose is to present the impression I have formed regarding the dimension of our life I have found to be mapped in the chart of local space; and to provide those interested with the means to calculate such charts. We would very much appreciate feedback and comments from those of you who investigate this very interesting dimension.

In simple terms, the local space chart is a map of the 360 degrees of horizon surrounding an event such as birth... much as I might look around us toward the East, West, North, and South. In this coordinate system, the fundamental plane to which all else is referred is the horizon of the observer; and the position of the various planets as they appear from this location are projected onto the horizon using the coordinates: azimuth and altitude. Azimuth is the equivalent of zodiac longitude in this system and is measured, for our purposes, from the East direction, thru the North and on around in a counter-clockwise direction — in the same way that I measure the traditional signs and houses. The chart wheel is as if one were standing in the northern hemisphere facing South. Altitude, analogous to ecliptic latitude, is measured above and below the horizon to the poles from 0 degrees to 90 degrees. It is worth the emphasis of repetition to stress that, from the standpoint of the local space chart, the horizon is the whole azimuth great circle as it ranges around the wheel of the chart — not simply the line described by the astrologer's house cusps I and VII, as our astrological habituations tempt us to think. This, then, gives a sort of "flat earth" perspective, as it were, the visible horizon being much like a magical circle. And, as tradition teaches us regarding the nature of the magical circle: the circle is realized to be the equator of a sphere which extends above and below the plane of the local horizon (apparent or rational horizon cut the infinite sphere in coincident circles). Here is a map, in space, of an event from a topocentric perspective, or local center; and thus, an astrology of local space.

Before I dive into the techniques useful in this new dimension of local space, here is an impression of what it is all about: the general feeling of what portion of life is captured thru this coordinate system.

The most remarkable factor, and the key concept you may need in order to appreciate the particular quality of the local space chart, is that every object in the universe — whether celestial or mundane — has an equal and valid position in this chart. Not only the planets and stars, but on an equal basis, cities, countries, and even the local water tower or the neighbor's house can be represented. All that concerns us here is the direction of any object in space — not the distance. In other words, the celestial sphere and the mundane or geographic sphere exist side by side and are interchangeable! A star is a city is a neighbor. We can walk toward, write letters to, or get up and move into — for instance — our 7th house. Even more startling, we can travel toward our natal planets, since they also represent a direction on the globe in the chart of local space.

Here then, are some specific approaches I have found to be most useful in examining these charts.

The following remarks represent the most useful technique that has evolved from our research into local space. Space permits neither a gradual presentation of this information nor the history of, or sequence through which I arrived at these thoughts. Any technique is the very essence of a much larger experience; and every statement here should be investigated and tested out with local space charts in hand.

Once you have mastered the mathematics (programs that calculate local space charts are available from Matrix Software for most popular name computers.) involved in erecting these charts, and have laid them out on 360 degree wheels similar to those pictured herein, a probable series of questions you want to investigate may arise. Let us consider some of them.

Compare the planets in the local space chart with your geocentric natal chart. As you will soon note, the individual aspects between two planets can be very different in the two kinds of charts; also, the larger whole-chart patterns may indicate a different quality. A planet may achieve great focus in the local space chart that is not brought out in the Geo chart; and yet you may have intuited and sensed the added importance of this planet or principle in the make-up of the individual involved, and yet had no physical basis for your intuition.

The single most important use of local space in the astrologer/client relationship in our experience has been in locality shifts. One of the most frequent questions asked this astrologer during a reading is: "Where would be a good place for me to live?" I have made use of the quite valid and useful traditional technique of adjusting the RAMC of the radix to the new locality and coming up with a new Ascendant and so forth. The radix positions then are read in terms of these new angles. Local space is by nature suited to express both celestial and geographic positions on one map or chart. Its special nature introduces several concepts not encountered in other techniques.

Radix Local Space Charts Aside from the planetary aspects, there are two primary indicators of strong or high focus in the radix local space chart: (1) a planet is on or near the horizon (it has low altitude); and (2) a planet is conjunct to one of the four angles or cardinal directions. It is worth noting which of the planets is closest to the horizon, even if not conjunct. We use standard orbs for azimuth — although I haven't arrived at any final rules in this respect. It is also worth noting which planet is most elevated (has the greatest altitude). And the parallels and contraparallels also need investigation.

We are now ready to examine a technique that gets to the heart of what these charts are all about. At this point I have in front of us our radix local space chart, with the various planets plotted on it. As I mentioned earlier, we can also plot the positions of cities and places on the earth on this map; so, our next project then will be to translate all of the important cities in our lives into their equivalent positions on our radix map of local space. We should be sure to include not only the places I ourselves have lived in or visited, but also the cities that we have always thought that we might like to visit — that bring a warm feeling to mind, and so forth; the positions of cities where friends and no-so-friendlies live, where there are business relationships, etc.

We then examine these places in terms of their position (or direction) on the local space chart with these thoughts in mind: Are these cities in aspect, in particular by conjunction or opposition? Are they in alignment with planets in the chart? In what quadrants and houses do these cities fall? And are any on the angles? We have found that individuals tend to move toward cities that are also in the direction of planets that represent the particular kind of energy they may require at that time. An individual, for instance, needing to invoke the key to success often obtained thru Jupiter, may make one or several moves in that direction.

Although its concept is so simple as to be almost embarrassing, this technique has shown itself to be of great value. In any case, its value seems to be substantial rather than hypothetical. Next to, for example, some of the cumbersome and ultra-traditional place rulerships, proposed national birth-charts, etc. — most of them very arbitrary — the complex and confusing juggling of all these factors seem a rather specious approach to the locality problem, and their results rather tentative.

The local space chart is one of several valuable charts or mappings of the birth moment. It is becoming clear to many astrologers in these times that our life may best be represented and examined through a series of astrological charts; and that an attempt to extract all levels of our life — the many quite different dimensions — from the geocentric ecliptic chart alone is bound to be a frustrating experience. In a word it is: UN-necessary.

I would like to share a few experiences and thoughts with you concerning some of the structure in space beyond the zodiac and how it can be of value in individual development and growth. Let me relate a personal story as to how I first got interested in the deeper regions of space. Our research, as some of you will know, has centered on the difference and relationship between the geocentric and heliocentric ecliptic systems. My interest in the space surrounding our solar system was minimal. I was put off by the billions of stellar objects out there and, on a more basic level, by the ideas of coldness and blackness I had been programmed to associate with outer space. Distant space somehow represented the epitome of other-ness and foreign to me. I was embarrassed, in terms of astrological usage, by all of the books I had read on the fixed stars with the exception of L.E. Johndro's book, The Stars. How was I to determine the significance of these billions of stars and use them in my practice, when I had enough difficulty, as it was, using the nine planets?

And then the unexpected happened. I had a dream, a very special dream. It was not an ordinary dream but one of those dreams that are more real than waking consciousness — that take months to understand and absorb. In my dream the astrologer L.E. Johndro appeared to me and his eyes were filled with light. There were rays or stalks of light coming out of his eyes. This strange being said but one word, "LOOK!" and with his arm turned and pointed to the Night Sky. I looked. The sky was filled with brilliant points of light. The stars and all of this starry material was clustered together to form the great glowing arch of the Milky Way or galactic plane. It was wondrous beyond description and in that instant my heart went out from me and filled this bright space. Never again have I had the feeling of being here on earth, warm and trembling before the cold and black of space. I became the space and light and reversed my polarity or attitude. I was a living representative of this mother galaxy. I was the spaceman!

From that night forward I began to venture beyond the zodiac in an inquiry as to the nature and structure of this universe. Here, in brief form, is what I found for myself: we are nodes or information aggregates. The universe is in intimate contact with itself thru us. The manyfold nature of the cosmic events is represented thru our self and lives. There is not only a correlation between these seeming remote cosmic events and our person, but an identity as well. Information coming from the Galactic Center, carried by electromagnetic and gravitational radiation from every last star and cosmic plane and event, passes thru us at all times. We are, in some way, a node or information complex caught in a matrix or web of manifestation.

The overpowering idea that occurs when we make some acquaintance with the universe and its structure is that there is no difference between out there and in here. We are out there! Our world and our self and relationships are a perfect reflection of what is and what is happening out there. Not an analogy, but an identity. Black holes, supernovae, quasars, and the like are not remote cosmic events, but this identical story is represented, reflected, lived, and acted out each day in our lives.

Information circulates thru the universe and our Identity or sense of our self is this very process of circulation. Identity is not a substance but a relationship, in fact, a circulation and a process of communion or communication. Not only is there a connection between our life and that of our Galaxy and universe, but: we are the connection.

A study of the structure of the universe, at any level, is a study of ourselves. The guidelines of cosmic structure help to illustrate the specific structure of our self. In summary, the idea that I am elaborating here is: astrology is not only a symbolic system of psychological discussion. The symbol is also, in fact, real. If we say it is an analogy, then the analogy is complete down to the limits of any specific example we might chose.

We are all time and space travellers. There are no better words that I know of than these of Emerson:

"All inquiry into antiquity is the desire to do away with this wild, savage, and preposterous There or Then, and introduce in its place, the Here and the Now. Belzoni (an archeologist) digs and measures in the mummy-pits and pyramids of Thebes until he can see the end of the difference between the monstrous work and himself. When he has satisfied himself, in general and in detail, that it was made by such a person as he, so armed and so motivated, and to ends to which he, himself, should also have worked, the problem is solved; his thought lives along the whole line of temples and sphinxes and catacombs, passes thru them all with satisfaction, and they live again to the mind, or are NOW."
— Essay on History

A process of self-discovery awaits those who would inquire into the nature and structure of this universe. We may read and study the history and record of astrology thru all of the books we have. We may return again and again to our favorite passages to make sure of what we have found there. But, sooner or later, each of us must turn away from the book and just live. We must become the book and only that lives which we have known for ourselves to have life, which we have lived. There is great value in a reading of the ancient wisdom and documents. What the ancients saw or discovered about themselves, the truth, is still true today. All of the law of the universe still exist to be known today. We are always free to leave off at reading about our life and cast off into an inquiry... our inquiry... and to live that life. We can learn to know what we are talking about.


© Copyright: Michael Erlewine





Other articles by Michael Erlewine

Erlewine, MichaelSaturn: the Sequencer

Erlewine, MichaelThe Value of the Heliocentric/Geocentric Comparison

Erlewine, MichaelThe Astrology of Local Space

Erlewine, MichaelThe Counselor: Midwife of the Psyche

Erlewine, MichaelTidal Vector Forces: Lunar Phenoma

Erlewine, MichaelBurn Rate: The Retrograde Phenomenon

Erlewine, MichaelThe Uranian Signs

Erlewine, MichaelTibetan Astrology

Erlewine, MichaelOutline of Major Tibetan Techniques

Erlewine, MichaelThe Tibetan Calendar: The 12 Months of the Year

Erlewine, MichaelTibetan Astrology: Appendix A

Erlewine, MichaelAstrological Signs

Erlewine, MichaelThe Planets, Signs, & Houses

Erlewine, MichaelZodiac Cycles and Signs

Erlewine, MichaelLocal Space Astrology — Relocation

Erlewine, MichaelLunar Gaps: Taking Advantage of the Lunar Cycle

Erlewine, MichaelThe Lunation Cycle: East and West

Erlewine, MichaelScience and the Lunation Cycle

Erlewine, MichaelInterface: Planetary Nodes - Part I

Erlewine, MichaelInterface: Planetary Nodes - Part II

Erlewine, MichaelGalaxy: Circles, Cycles, Circulation

Erlewine, MichaelGalaxy: Higher Order Structuring

Erlewine, MichaelThe Galactic Nucleus

Erlewine, MichaelHeliocentrics

Erlewine, MichaelOur Roots in the Sun



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