Squaring the Circle Warp and weft of painted Light Flying your colours
People live at the bottom of rainbows” ~ Tom Glibbery, AGE 3
There is more to the story of the Current Draconic and the Reflexes than you might imagine. The work I have related in the Techniques section on the Current Draconic (qv) took me off in a most unexpected direction!
The next thing I did that day was to mark every one of the tabulated Transiting Node points on a suitably enlarged chart-wheel, each point labelled with the planetary pair it brought together (just as you would label midpoint degrees.) Such a wheel is, as you can imagine, smothered in data, and very like the "black chart" once drawn for our entertainment by Geoffrey Dean at an Astrological Association Conference many years ago, containing few noticeable gaps! But life itself has precious few gaps - a point which the author of "Recent Advances In Natal Astrology" omitted to make; a full life is not an amorphous blur of generalised activity, any more than it is experienced in occasional loosely connected bursts of action and reaction. No, indeed, it is made up of a more or less rapid succession of discrete, inter-related inner and outer events that stand out against each other like the bright or subtle colours of a complex tapestry, yet tightly woven.
Looking at such a wheel, then, what does one see?
First, that some groupings of planetary pairs, including Angles, are tighter than others, so that they are called into action at approximately the same time under the same Nodal transit.
This shows graphically that each of these pairs is related by the same arc of the circle. It also shows that in their particular planetary zodiacs (see Ronald C. Davison's work) they fall on the same pair of degree-axes, and these are the very ones they mark here on this wheel.
Secondly, the phenomenon of the Antiscions/ Contrascions (which for simplicity I now term ‘Reflexes’) creates a four-fold symmetry in the wheel layout, the same pattern of pairings repeated, but mirrored, on each quadrant of the circle. This means that, as this author has been intrigued to observe empirically for very many years while wondering why, the pattern of life-events does not roll on in a repeating sequence like a wheel, but proceeds in a series of mirrored parabolas about the four foci of the Cardinal Points.
Further examination of the wheel shows how useful it is overall; for added to the above is the rapid reading of aspects:
Planet pairs found on or near the Cardinal Points are actually conjunct, opposition or square each other in the sky, and therefore in octaval, dynamic, 4th -harmonic relationship.
Pairs at 0̊ of the Fire or Air signs on this wheel are bodily in trine or sextile, so in the harmonious, undemanding relationship of the 3rd harmonic.
Pairs at 15̊ of Fixed signs relate through the higher octave of the semisquares and sesquisquares (or sesquiquadrates) - the 8th harmonic.
At 24̊ Leo/ Aquarius, 6̊ Taurus/ Scorpio, 12̊ Gemini/ Sagittarius and 18̊ Cancer/ Capricorn, all the 5th and 10th harmonic pairings are picked out - our giftedness and moral responsibility.
The 7th/ 14th harmonic pairs are revealed at Taurus/ Scorpio 21̊26', Cancer/ Capricorn 12̊51', Virgo/ Pisces 4̊17', Libra/ Aries 25̊42', Sagittarius/ Gemini 17̊09', and Aquarius/ Leo 8̊34'... the inspirational area of our lives.
All you have to do is work out the natural aspect degrees from 0̊ Aries and see what is there.
The same applies to all other harmonics: read along the wheel naturally from the Vernal Point, pairs conjoining in a given harmonic will be instantly visible. Transparent overlays would serve this purpose very well. Normal orbs apply.
A number of the pairs are likely to fall in degrees occupied by individual natal planets or angles, Tropically, Draconically etc. It follows that all bodies found at or close to the same degree will respond simultaneously to the transit of the Moon's Nodes, creating recurring themes in one's life-history. It is possible that this effect extends to other types of transit (that is, implying that a planet as well as a spatial Node can be the Origin of a zodiac - and we are back to Ronald Davison's contention that this is so.) To date there is evidence that suggests at least the slow planets from Saturn outwards generate "zodiacs" in just the same way, and contribute to the Destiny patterns at their own level of meaning.
Squaring the Circle
One trouble with the plotted wheel as it now stands is its size and visual complexity, useful though this is. Returning to the original idea of rotation, it is desirable to plot the planetary and angular data in such a way that it is both clear and uncluttered.
One way is to emphasise the four-fold symmetry by drawing rectangles joining the degrees of planets and angles with their Antiscions and Contrascions - then to abolish all symbols by colour-coding these planetary rectangles according to tradition (or experience, where tradition was lacking.)
Rotating the two wheels against each other then, to cross-connect rectangles at their corners, enables one to see which planets or angles are meeting and joining forces from Current Draconic to Tropical; and from the corresponding shift of the Aries Point to see which Tropical zodiac degree will be occupied by the Node in transit to effect this blending of energies.
This still leaves us with a difficulty; it would be useful to be able to plot the Signs as well somehow, along with the planetary pattern, dispensing with symbols altogether.
To keep things reasonably simple, the best option has turned out to be a straight change from colour-coding planets to colour-coding the rectangles according to the sign the generating planet bodily occupies.
When this was first tried (after many changes of mind on the most apt colours - should a sign be coloured for its ruling planet? If so, which one?... or should its element be the determining factor?) the outcome was a huge surprise. For as soon as the decision had been made to use the elements as a colour-basis, and three colours had been found for each of the Fire, Earth, Air and Water signs, as the patterns built up something was happening that had not happened with planetary colours - they were generating a vivid sense of the person' presence.
To verify this odd phenomenon more charts had to be tried; and each time the person could still be felt as if they were standing by, invisible but recognisable by the aura they brought with them.
Apparently the chosen colours reproduced vital personal energies that the planets alone, despite their geometry, failed to convey. The elemental energy of each occupied sign was communicating a living quality of that person.
To get fully to grips with this, a lot more work has been needed, abandoning transparencies for paper chart-forms. Another crucial stage was reached when thin lines of colour were rejected in favour of broad bands; these, the width of entire signs, seemed very coarse and clumsy, but the remedy was quickly found in a further "fine-tuning" of the colours to a total of three dozen, each identifying one of the thirty-six decans, giving expression to the nine moods of each element. In this way, "Life's rich tapestry" has become a living, vivid reality. The Decan holding the planet determines the colour of the now narrow rectangle of Antiscions/ Reflexes, and offers enough room to combine all four decan-colours involved, should the need arise (there are often two or three.)
The presentation of angles is still something of a problem, as their nature is totally different to planets and so cannot join their geometry. To date, this has been partially resolved by filling any white areas of the map with the decan-colour of the Ascendant, as it is this that is most usually expressed.
Friend after friend, celebrity after celebrity, has come "walking through the door" as the file of small charts has built up in an extraordinary kaleidoscope of colours.
The Kaleidoscope Shifts
But after all that we have explored, this is still barely the beginning - the main work has so far been confined entirely to Tropical charts.
Look again at the plotted wheel of rectangles, or at the birth map as colour-weave. If you take just one quadrant of its geometry and hold a mirror perpendicular to each of the two radii, visually you would recreate the original symmetries; it would remain the same cosmic Mandala. This is exactly what a kaleidoscope does, introducing pattern through double reflection. Here instead, we have not mirrors but a resonant field of standing waves, with preferred resonant response equidistant to the two major intersecting axes of the Ecliptic Great Circle.
My feeling is that there is somewhere a real though subtle boundary in space, defining that Great Circle; and that the presence of a planetary influence at any one point (note I am not saying a planet) sends two lines of energy out, parallel and perpendicular to the Equator, which "bounce" at the invisible boundary like snooker balls off the side cushion and run off again at right-angles to meet at the zodiacal point opposite the impelling planet. This would form the Reflex rectangle of Antiscions and Contrascions.
Returning to the child's kaleidoscope: if we shake it a little the colourful fragments move, and create instantly before our eyes a totally new pattern of relationships. Its components have not changed - only their arrangement. If we shake our astrological kaleidoscope, even the colours change ... and we do this in a sense every time we shift from one level of astrological perception to another, from Tropical to Draconic, to Sidereal, to Heliocentric. Houses could be included, but these do not function in quite the same way, being the means of locating our activity, which then emanates from one or another level of our being according to the zodiacal framework.
Showing our True Colours
The realisation that there might be Reflexes working in the Draconic zodiac analogous to those in the Tropical (assuming that any Node generating a zodiac also generates its own cross-axis and dependent resonance field) has meant that it also must be tried; and more piles of little glowing charts have since accumulated.
Now, as the Draconic chart relates more to one's past self and what it has brought to enrich and inform the present incarnation, one might not expect to re-experience the person concerned "walking through the door" in the same way as before. And it hasn't happened as yet. But, reasoning that just as the Draconic catalyses the Tropical and gives its life meaning, so should the Draconic colours add something recognisable of the inner person to the Tropical, I have tried holding two patterns up together under a strong light - and again the true individuality shone through; the sense of deeper knowledge was indeed there.
The next obvious step is the Sidereal chart. Often dismissed by Tropical Fundamentalists, it has to have something essential to say, otherwise half the world has been romancing for thousands of years. Without the framework of the Sidereal Zodiac, based on the constellations, there would be no precession of the Equinoxes to mark the cycles of the Ages within the Great Year. There is one copy of ‘In Search’ dating from 1960, in which A. P. Nelson Page strongly criticises the Siderealist Cyril Fagan for just as blinkered a view as his "Tropicalist" opponents: "I am convinced that Fagan really has rediscovered the fiducial for the Fixed (Sidereal) Zodiac but that his insistence that it should be used instead of the moving Vernal Point exclusively, is a very grave mistake and illusion ... let me say that both Zodiacs are fully justified in theory and in practice. Also, thanks to Fagan's remarkable discovery, he has made possible another that with time will prove of tremendous importance to the whole science of astrology and that is, that both Zodiacs must be used in conjunction with each other ... rather than apart as is the case today."
Colour-work with the Sidereal chart yields remarkable insights. What transpires is that some people "walk through the door" in their Tropical kit, but others arrive far more formally dressed.
Those whose presence is most vividly recognisable in the Tropical colour-pattern make less impact with their Sidereal; but there are a number of cases where to meet the Sidereal colours is to encounter the person one knows, and the Tropical pales into near-insignificance. Why should this be? It is necessary to study a good number of people sufficiently well known, in order to find out. The feeling that grows more and more out of this study is that one is recognising the person known best in the role that history - or duty -has called upon them to fill, albeit often a small and humble role. It is axiomatic that men and women tend to introduce themselves in terms of their roles; also that as we grow older and mature, the personality can become almost indistinguishable from the public persona demanded and created by one's role and society's expectations. To the extent that we are then fulfilling our contract with society and showing ourselves capable of carrying responsibility, to live in the Sidereal may be seen as a measure of growth. This is also because, sidereally, we have moved beyond our often egotistical personality needs and the drives of appetite to the consideration and fulfilling of those needs that are not our own, and in some lives this shift may even be global.
I asked Ron Davison on one occasion how he perceived the Sidereal Zodiac; and it was his answer that first offered me this view of Sidereal as connected with human history, and thus with the collective life of the human family. Nelson Page expresses a similar view in the above-mentioned article; and the same idea is supported by the manifest culture-shift at each change of precessional Age. Aware of it or not, every one of us has our place in human history - how can we not be aware of this, now that we know even the flap of a butterfly's wing might alter the course of hurricanes?
As the Tropical and Draconic colour-patterns blend vividly when combined under the light, it is necessary to ask the same question of Tropical with Sidereal. An odd thing happens here - and I must stress that this is a very right-brain and hence subjective approach to astrological understanding, so others of you may not have the same experience - in that these two charts, the two levels of personality, seem rather like the two south or two north poles of a magnet; they feel as though they are pushing apart - as though one can be only one of these selves at a time. Combining Sidereal with Draconic however, brings a vivid sense of the person one knows both filling their role and bringing to it a great commitment and conviction - exactly as one would hope from a combination of social duty and the soul's karmic vocation.
This begs the obvious question: why then consider paying any attention to aspects formed by resonance between Sidereal and Tropical as we do between Tropical and Draconic? My answer is this, that as cross-dimensional "empathetic" resonance appears to be a law in the astrological cosmos, any transit, progression, direction or synastry contact to a given degree from any zodiac level is bound to stimulate through resonance all planets, nodes, cusps, Reflexes and direct midpoints found at that degree or in exact dynamic aspect to it, at any other dimensional level. And according to this same law, bodies and active spatial points in certain degrees will cooperate from differing levels in the same nativity, since they are always subject to simultaneous stimulus, intermittently from planets, and frequently from transiting angles. But even though elements of several levels, of several "selves", may be vigorously active in a moment of experience, the combined activity will manifest on only one personality plane, either the Tropical/personal, or the Sidereal/social. Whichever of these is the "carrier" personality, it will be infused with other levels of soul and motive according to the individual's current state of overall growth.
Coincidentally, in the same Spring/ Summer 1960 issue of ‘In Search’, Nelson Page's article is followed by a reprint of Maurice Froger's seminal piece on the "Nodal Horoscope" - ie the Draconic. The Editors saw fit to comment on its inclusion: "Maurice Froger is one of France's fine astrologers. We have reprinted this article on a Zodiac commencing with the Moon's North Node since it could be important and has been neglected (my italics) ... for more information about such a Nodal Zodiac see also Aldo Lavagnini's article in the Summer 1959 ‘In Search’." That was well over 50 years ago; and incredibly, despite such encouragement from Charles Jayne, Alfred Emerson and others, plus the hard work done by Froger, Davison and more recently by Dennis Elwell, Jacob Schwartz, and the author, the importance of and increasing need for an Interdimensional astrology that addresses all the needs - temporal and spiritual - of many-selved humanity, have not yet been acknowledged as widely as one might have hoped or indeed expected.
To recapitulate so far, then: the development of the colour-weave from the initial catalytic idea and its subsequent application to three Zodiacs, has led to an intuitive understanding of the dynamic interrelationships between the Tropical, Draconic and Sidereal patterns as they express three levels of our human selfhood. This understanding has been further tested by asking intuitive non-astrologers to describe the person sensed in the given pattern; the rate of rapid and accurate recognition of key characteristics through response to the colours alone has so far been extremely high, and when the test subject has finally been named, the reaction has been, " Oh yes, that is definitely N... !"
Given that these three levels of colour/ energy/ patterning are productive of such clear personality identification, we here have proof from a fresh direction that more than one fiducial point can generate a zodiac. Not only Ronald Davison has maintained this to be true: among other champions of Sidereal, Draconic and of course Heliocentric Zodiacs, Zipporah Dobyns had the self-same intuition and introduced the idea twelve years ago to the readers of ‘Cosmecology Bulletin’ (No.6, September 1977) as the Synodical Zodiac - " Phase Angles as another form of the 12-letter alphabet. " And of course Phase Angles themselves are central, as she reminds us, to the pioneering and meticulous work undertaken by John Addey, plus an increasing number of colleagues, in astrological Harmonics. She also realised the principle of complementarity outlined in the second section of this introduction - " If planet A is in the Aries phase to planet B, at the same time planet B is in the Pisces phase to planet A ... the Fixed signs always pair up, while all other pairs include one Cardinal and one Mutable." But I do not know for certain if she took the idea as far as phase-analysis by degree and minute, or looked for cross-resonances. The whole concept of Empathetic Resonance - a very useful term employed by David Lorimer in his fine book, "Whole In One" and central to his philosophical argument - demands our attention, as it would seem to underpin so many of the less understood properties of lived experience.
What is emerging seems to be a law that any given fiducial point in space (and/ or time?) may generate a "zodiac", a twelve-phase sequence of distinctly differing energies, the meaning and application of which depends upon that fiducial planet or spatial point - BUT that a true Zodiac is one that expresses life at a given level, in a given dimension, and such a Zodiac can only be generated from a significant spatial node (especially an Ascending node) such as the Vernal Point, the Dragon's Head, or that unidentified node in the larger cosmos that initiates the "Fixed" or Sidereal Zodiac.
This work on astrological colour prompted me to make some reference diagrams, and these follow here:
Those above are the colours generated by decanates in the five signs of the natural pentagram beginning at 0 Aries: Aries, Gemini, Leo, Scorpio and Capricorn. These five are the 'yang' signs concerned with the magical life.
Those above are the colours generated by decanates in the seven signs of the natural heptagram ending at 29 Pisces: Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Libra, Sagittarius, Aquarius and Pisces. These seven are the 'yin' signs concerned with the mystical life.