Astrological charts are demarcated by four primary angles, which provide important symbolic reference points for geographic, spatial, existential, and psychological orientation. The four primary angles are:
- Midheaven or Medium Coeli (MC)
- Imum Coeli (IC)
: The archetypal meanings and psychological functions of the four angles in the birth chart are a complex issue requiring more exploration than is possible in the following brief definitions. More detail concerning the four angles will be provided here at some future date.
The ascendant is the chart angle found on the left side of the chart that forms a horizontal axis with the descendant. The ascendant is located at the precise degree of the sign that was rising on the eastern horizon at the place and moment for which the astrological birth chart was calculated. In traditional natal astrology, the ascendant is typically associated with the persona, modes of self-expression, how one appears to others, and one's approach to life.
The descendant is the angle found on the right side of the chart that forms a horizontal axis with the ascendant. The descendant is located at the precise degree of the sign that was setting on the eastern horizon at the place and moment for which an astrological chart was calculated. In traditional natal astrology, the descendant is typically associated with partnerships and one-to-one relationships, how the individual is met and seen by others, and how individuals understand themselves through their interactions with others in close relationships.
Midheaven or Medium Coeli (MC)
The midheaven is the angle found near the top of a birth chart that forms the vertical axis with the imum coeli
through the chart center. The midheaven symbolically represents an existential orientation to that which is above us, in public view. Thus, in traditional natal astrology, the midheaven is typically associated with career, vocation, accomplishment, conscious aspirations, collective responsibilities, and one's public reputation. The Latin term medium coeli
means "middle of the heavens."
Imum Coeli (IC)
The imum coeli
is the angle near the bottom of the birth chart that forms the vertical axis with the midheaven through the chart center. As the point exactly opposite the midheaven, the IC symbolically represents an existential orientation to that which is below us, or pertaining to the private sphere of experience. Thus, in natal astrology, the IC is traditionally associated with origins, roots, the past, the family, the home, the private inner world, and the source of one's being. The Latin term imum coeli
means "lowest part of the heavens."
The term direct motion refers to the apparent motion of a planet along the zodiac or ecliptic in its normal direction, proceeding from west to east in accord with the planet's actual motion on its orbit. Direct Motion is the opposite of Retrograde Motion
The term retrograde motion refers to the apparent motion of a planet along the zodiac or ecliptic in the reverse direction (proceeding from east to west) from its direct or actual orbital direction (from west to east). Such apparent reversal of direction results from the orbital progress of the Earth and the planet relative to the Sun. Planets displaying retrograde motion are said to be retrograde, as in Mercury retrograde. The Sun and Moon do not display retrograde motion. Retrograde Motion is the opposite of Direct Motion
Stations and Stationary Planets
In their apparent movements, all planets (but not the Sun and Moon) exhibit both direct
motions. When their apparent motion changes direction from direct to retrograde, or the reverse, the planet appears to stop for a period of time before beginning to move in the opposite direction. That position and period of time during which the planet appears not to move is referred to as a station. Planets in direct motion that station to become retrograde are referred to as stationary retrograde. Planets in retrograde motion that station to transition to direct motion are referred to as stationary direct. Because the Sun and Moon do not exhibit retrograde motion, they also do not station.
Planetary Orbital Periods
From the Earth's perspective, the Sun, Moon, and each of the eight planets takes a different amount of time to move completely around the zodiac, resulting from each body's different orbital period. Here are the approximate orbital periods of each of the ten astrological planets:
|Moon||27.3 days (around the Earth)|
|Sun ||1 year (resulting from the Earth's orbit around the Sun)|
|Mercury||0.24 years (88 days)|
|Venus||0.62 years (224 days)|
|Mars||1.88 years (686 days)|
: The Sun, of course, does not orbit around another object in the solar system, but from the Earth's perspective it appears to travel completely around the zodiac once each year. Likewise, although the Moon orbits the Earth, it appears to travel completely around the zodiac every lunar month. Because the orbits of Mercury and Venus are closer to the Sun than that of the Earth, both planets take approximately one year to complete their journey around the zodiac, doing so in somewhat close proximity to the Sun's journey. During that approximately one-year period, Mercury completes more than three orbits around the Sun while Venus completes one and two-thirds orbits.
In astrology, the five inner planets are those whose orbits are inside Jupiter's orbit:
In astrology, the five outer planets include Jupiter and all planets whose orbits are outside Jupiter's orbit:
A circular zone or band projected onto the sky that is centered upon the ecliptic, or the plane created by the apparent annual motion of the Sun. From its early origins in Mesopotamian celestial divination, one of the primary functions of the zodiac has been as a celestial coordinate system for tracking current and predicting future positions of the Sun, Moon, and planets from the perspective of the Earth. For this purpose, the 360-degree zodiac circle is divided into twelve equal divisions or signs of 30 degrees each: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Aquarius, and Pisces. See Signs
Tropical and Sidereal Zodiacs
As the principal function of the Zodiac is to assist in mapping the movements of solar system objects, the zodiac is a coordinate system that is divided into twelve equal parts, known as signs. As there is no inherent beginning to a circle, theoretically there are an infinite number of starting points for the zodiac. In actual practice, however, there are two major zodiac systems in use, each with its own beginning position. The starting point of the sidereal zodiac, which forms the basis of Vedic astrology, is the first degree of the constellation Aries. In contrast, the tropical zodiac, which is the preferred system of Western astrology, uses the vernal equinox as its beginning point. Another major difference between the two zodiacs may be further elucidated by suggesting that the sidereal zodiac uses celestial phenomena for its orientation and system of interpretive meaning while the tropical zodiac relies upon seasonal variation for its system of organization and significance.
This term refers to the apparent circular orbit of the Sun around the Earth during the course of a year, as seen from the standpoint of an observer on Earth. This perceived circular course results, of course, from the Earth's revolution around the Sun. Constellations seen along the ecliptic form the original basis for the twelve signs of the zodiac. On a two-dimensional plane, all the planets appear to occupy a position on the ecliptic regardless of their distance from the Earth. As they move along the ecliptic during their orbits, the planets appear to move around the zodiac, passing from one sign to the next.
The twelve astrological signs are equal divisions of the zodiac. Each sign comprises thirty degrees and is named after one of twelve constellations that are in close proximity to the ecliptic. Each sign is also associated with a specific set of fundamental qualities, which have been variously described as temperaments, personality traits, types of energy, or essences. In Western astrology, taken as a whole, the twelve signs of the zodiac are said to represent the full range of human experience. The twelve signs of the zodiac are:
does not focus primarily on astrological signs, it is beyond the scope of this glossary to provide meaningful descriptions of each sign. Recommended resources for signs and their meanings include Robert Hand's Horoscope Symbols
(Atglen, PA: Schiffer, 1981), Stephen Arroyo's Chart Interpretation Handbook: Guidelines for Understanding the Essentials of the Birth Chart
(Sebastopol, CA: CRCS Publications, 1989), and John Jocelyn's Meditations on the Signs of the Zodiac
(San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1970).
The birth chart is composed of twelve divisions, known as houses, in which the positions of the planets and signs of the zodiac are represented relative to local time and space. While there are various house systems, each with its own way of mapping local space relative to the ecliptic, all house systems are predicated on the idea that each house is symbolically connected to specific areas of life or fields of experience, so that the first house is generally considered to be concerned with action and self-orientation, the fourth house with home and family, the seventh house with relationships, the tenth house with career, and so on. When a planet is located in a particular house, this implies that the archetypal principle associated with that planet will be expressed primarily in the areas of life or fields of experience associated with that house. Because archetypal astrology places more emphasis on the research of archetypal correlations with planetary aspects than on the significance of houses, a detailed explication of houses will not be provided here. Recommended sources include Robert Hand, Horoscope Symbols
(Atglen, PA: Schiffer, 1981); Bill Herbst, Houses of the Horoscope
, 2nd ed. (Woburn, MA: Serendipity Press, 2006), Dane Rudhyar, The Astrological Houses: The Spectrum of Individual Experience
(Sebastopol, CA: CRCS Publications, 1972); and Howard Sasportas, The Twelve Houses: Understanding the Importance of the Houses in Your Astrological Birth Chart
(London: Thorsons, 1998).
The approximately three-year period when Saturn completes its 29-year cycle around the zodiac to return to its original position in the natal chart. The first Saturn Return occurs between the ages of 28 and 30 and the second between 57 and 60.
For more on the Saturn Return, see Saturn Cycle
(Tarnas, Cosmos and Psyche
Another planetary transit cycle in which distinctive archetypal correlations can be easily recognized in individual biographies is the Saturn cycle, approximately twenty-nine and a half years in length. All individuals go through the first Saturn return transit from about the age of twenty-eight through age thirty, a three-year period in the course of which a characteristic complex of biographical events and experiences seems to occur with remarkable consistency.1
During these years individuals tend to experience their lives as distinctly coming to the end of an erabringing the years of youth to a close and initiating the person, in an often challenging way, into the principal period of mature activity in the world in engagement with the established social order.
In examining many hundreds of individual biographies, I observed that during the years from age twenty-eight to thirty, a tangibly different, usually more serious posture towards life, work, long-term goals, security, parents, tradition, and established social structures tended to emerge. At this time, the wider aspirations and wanderings of youth seemed to undergo a transformation, becoming focused on and grounded in concrete practicalities and particular commitments: vocational, relational, intellectual, psychological, spiritual. Significant relationships often came to an end, and others of enduring consequence began. Modes of being that had characterized the preceding years were now outgrown and decisively left behind as no longer appropriate, or ineluctably taken away by changing life circumstances. The consequences of past actions and events tended to emerge and require assimilation, and a growing tendency to engage in serious self-reflection and biographical retrospection was typical.
In coincidence with the Saturn return transit, the challenging realities of life and death, time and aging, loss and adversity, work and responsibility became dominant concerns in a distinctly different manner from how these same realities were experienced in one's teens or twenties. Equally characteristic during this three-year transit was a definite sense of existential compression or contraction, generally accompanied by obstacles, limitations, and frustrations of various kindsfinancial, physical, relationaland often including a definite encounter with human mortality, finitude, and fallibility. For some, the years of this transit near age thirty marked a psychological transformation that brought an end to the more creative, adventurous, open-minded and free-spirited youthful self and the establishment of a more rigidly conservative, constrained, and risk-averse personality identified with the status quo and unquestioned conventional values. By contrast, many others seemed to resolve this archetypal transition through the strenuous forging of a synthesis of the aspiring, creative impulses of youth with the structuring, stabilizing, disciplining, foundation-building impulses of maturity.
In either case, the often noted, fairly easily recognizable difference between individuals who are over thirty from those younger than thirty seemed to be associated with the decisive emergence in just these years of personal qualities and life circumstances whose common qualities all seemed to be comprehensible in terms of the Saturn archetype being potently constellated at that time.2
The following description by Gertrude Stein, from her early work Fernhurst
, well describes a characteristic form of the life transition that consistently coincides with the Saturn return period:
It happens often in the twenty-ninth year of life that all the forces that have been engaged through the years of childhood, adolescence and youth in confused and ferocious combat range themselves in ordered ranksone is uncertain of one's aims, meaning and power during these years of tumultuous growth when aspiration has no relation to fulfillment and one plunges here and there with energy and misdirection during the storm and stress of the making of a personality until at last we reach the twenty-ninth year, the straight and narrow gateway of maturity and life which was all uproar and confusion narrows down to form and purpose and we exchange a great dim possibility for a small hard reality.
Also in our American life where there is no coercion in custom and it is our right to change our vocation so often as we have desire and opportunity, it is a common experience that our youth extends through the whole first twenty-nine years of our life and it is not until we reach thirty that we find at last that vocation for which we feel ourselves fit and to which we willingly devote continued labor.3
In researching hundreds of biographies to examine the nature of each individual's life trajectory, I regularly observed that the succeeding three decadesthe person's thirties, forties, and fiftiescould be seen in retrospect to have been decisively shaped by the structural transformations that took place during the first Saturn return transit between the ages of twenty-eight and thirty. One's first symphony is composed and first public concert takes place (Beethoven); one's major professional association is established (Shakespeare becomes a member of the Globe's company of players and their chief playwright); one's pivotal career appointment is received (Ficino as head of the Platonic Academy of Florence, Luther as teacher of biblical theology at Wittenberg, Kepler as Imperial Mathematician in Prague, Galileo as professor of mathematics in Padua, William James as lecturer in science at Harvard); one's first significant achievement occurs (Marie Curie discovers radium and polonium, Niels Bohr formulates his theory of atomic structure); one's first significant public recognition takes place (Newton is elected to the Royal Society, Georgia O'Keeffe has her first exhibition at Alfred Stieglitz's gallery, Duke Ellington begins his five-year engagement at the Cotton Club); one's first major public act takes place that defines one's subsequent career (Demosthenes's first major speech before the Athenian Assembly, Martin Luther King's participation and arrest in a protest against racial segregation in Atlanta).
Other biographical patterns with a comparable archetypal character were equally evident during these years of the Saturn return, age twenty-eight to thirty, as for example the tendency to take on a new level of personal responsibility and achieve a new degree of personal independence (Margaret Fuller becomes editor of the Transcendentalist journal The Dial
; Abigail Adams, with her husband John away in public service for most of a decade, raises their family and runs household, farm, and business largely by herself from age twenty-nine, establishes her own independent sensibility and finds her own voice in writing her letters). Or one leaves the wanderings of youth to enter one's mature calling ("The irresponsible days of my youth are over," Tennessee Williams wrote of the moment, age twenty-nine, when he received a telegram in Mexico from the Theatre Guild that requested him to return to New York for his first Broadway production).4
One's first film is directed (Truffaut's The 400 Blows
, Godard's Breathless
, Fellini's Luci del Varietà
, Bunuel's Un Chien Andalou
); one's first mature work is produced (Kafka writes The Judgment
and The Metamorphosis
, F. Scott Fitzgerald writes The Great Gatsby
, Camus writes The Myth of Sisyphus
and The Stranger
, Saul Bellow writes The Dangling Man
, Allen Ginsberg writes Howl
); one establishes one's public persona (Aurore Dupin employs the nom de plume George Sand and publishes her first novel Indiana
, Samuel Clemens publishes his first literary work, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County," under the nom de plume Mark Twain). Or one meets the mentor or model for one's subsequent development (Augustine meets Bishop Ambrose, Melville befriends Hawthorne, Freud studies with Charcot, Jung begins correspondence with Freud, Pablo Neruda encounters Federico Garcia Lorca). Or one moves to the location and cultural milieu in which one's life work will begin to unfold (Leonardo moves to Milan to work in the court of Duke Ludovico Sforza, Rousseau moves to Paris and meets Diderot and the encyclopedists, Gertrude Stein moves to Paris and establishes her salon at 27 rue de Fleurus).
The Saturn return transit generally coincided with what might be called a period of biographical crystallization, visible not only in external events such as those just cited but also in a certain solidifying of the individual's psychic constitution and establishing of the basic structure of the personality. William James believed that after age thirty a person's character was "set in plaster." Yet depending on the individual's specific response to the pressures and circumstances of these critical years, this maturation and solidification could actually entail a new level of personal autonomy and self-reliance that had been unattainable in the years just before, a new confidence grounded in self-knowledge and the sense of having found one's direction or purpose. Many factors seemed relevant for understanding the variability among the experiences of different individuals during this period, including differences in how the person led his or her life before the transit and differences between the birth charts of the individuals involved.
On occasion, the achievement of maturational independence and individuation seemed to inhibit or close down the sources of creativity that were previously accessible in youth, as if the spontaneous influx from a kind of creative wellspring could not survive the transition into maturity. With certain highly creative young artists, the crystallization of personality and maturational pressures of the Saturn return period resulted in an individuation that both climaxed and effectively ended the more freely experimental creativity of their twenties (a creativity that typically began during the Uranus square Uranus transit of the late teens and early twenties). A notable example of this pattern is the case of the four Beatles: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. After the period of brilliant group creativity sustained through their twenties, from 1962 to 1969, the four musicians decisively moved away from each other in the course of their Saturn return transits, preferring individual songwriting, bringing forth their first solo albums, and establishing marital relationships that precluded the close creative bond of the preceding years. The work the four men produced during their respective Saturn return periods between age twenty-eight and thirty, which began in 1968 and extended into the early 1970s, marked the climax of their creative lives, as embodied both in their extraordinary final albums as Beatles (the double White Album
, Let It Be
, Abbey Road
) and in the first solo albums that each produced. After the age of thirty, their individual efforts seldom attained the creative brilliance of their youth, as if that particular form of creativity had flourished best as a kind of spontaneous collective influx through the group mind of the young Beatles, and ceased to thrive after the assimilation of the Saturn principle of maturity, separation, self-reliance, and serious engagement with the realities of the individual life associated with the period of the Saturn return.
I found that individual variations in the experiences during this period also closely corresponded with the other outer-planet transits that happened to coincide with the Saturn return, transits that varied from person to person according to their uniquely configured natal chart. (Only a transit of a planet to its own natal position happens to everyone at approximately the same time of life, as with the cycles of transiting Uranus to natal Uranus and of transiting Saturn to natal Saturn that we have been discussing.) The specific quality of the events and responses that occurred during an individual's Saturn return seemed to be affected by the distinctive character of the archetypal principles associated with these other coinciding planetary transits.
Such a case is vividly exemplified in the life of William James, whose Saturn return transit happened to coincide with the once-in-a-lifetime transit of Uranus opposite natal Sun, a transit that I observed consistently coincided with periods of sudden personal emancipation and creative breakthrough with a sense of self-awakening or self-liberation. When James was in his twenty-ninth year, he experienced a crisis of depression and anxiety that reached nearly suicidal intensity. This emotional crisis was closely linked with his sustained philosophical struggle with the nature of free will and determinism, both scientific and theological. He experienced this struggle at a personal level in the form of a general sense of oppressive existential constraint and moral impotence. One day while reading the work of the French philosopher Charles Renouvier on free will, James suddenly saw his way clear to a resolution of the crisis, deciding that "my first act of free will shall be to believe in free will." From this pivotal moment can be traced the subsequent unfolding of James's life and thought, with his distinctive lifelong philosophical commitment to human freedom, individual autonomy, creative unpredictability, and pragmatic flexibility in response to an indeterminate open universe.
Human freedom is . . . a special case of universal indeterminism. My future, though continuous with my past, is not determined by it. Just so the future of the world; although it grows out of the total past, it is not a mere result of that past. If I am creativethat is, if human freedom is effectualthen the world is creative, if for no other reason than that I am part of the world. What is constant in my behavior is the result of habits which never entirely lose their flexibility. In the same way the constancies charted by the laws of science are only more inveterate habits.5
James's case exemplifies a distinctive synthesis of the two different archetypal impulses at work in correlation with the two transits. On the one hand, we see the characteristic biographical tendencies of the Saturn return period: the occurrence of a personal crisis involving an encounter with mortality, a general sense of existential contraction and enforced maturational development, a life decision establishing an enduring personal commitment and philosophical perspective, the crystallization of lifelong character traits, and the occurrence of a pivotal development establishing the direction of one's career (his appointment as lecturer at Harvard). On the other hand, the outcome of this period also bore the distinctive archetypal character of the Promethean themes and qualities typical of a major Uranus transit to the natal Sun: the sudden personal emancipation from a constraining reality, a new and unexpected sense of freedom of the self, a newly awakened capacity for the active assertion of the individual will, the discovery of a path of self-expression liberating one's creativity, and a new experience of creative indeterminacy in the world itself.
I found that a similarly decisive threshold of transformation, with similar individual variability, consistently coincided with the second
Saturn return transit one full Saturn cycle later. Taking place during a three-year period approximately between the ages of fifty-seven and sixty, the period of the second Saturn return was typically marked by some form of culmination, completion, or cyclical closure of the processes and structures that had been established during the first Saturn return three decades earlier, including one's work and career, significant relationships, and basic existential attitudes. Again, a deep encounter with the limits and mortal realities of human existence was typical (as expressed, for example, in Tolstoy's great novella The Death of Ivan Illich
, written during his second Saturn return). An acute awareness that the end of life was now closer than its beginning characteristically intensified existential concerns about what one's life had accomplished, what values had been served, whether one's current commitments reflected the reality of the finite time remaining. The entire spectrum of motifs and tendencies associated with the Saturn archetype again seems to be constellated during this moment in life coincident with the completion of the planet Saturn's orbit: age, mortality, gravity of concern, self-judgment, duty, worldly status, work and value, endings of things, the passing of an era, a decisive maturational threshold.
The approach of the age of sixty generally seemed to mark a fundamental moment of biographical transformation with a quality suggestive of cyclical completion, life review, and structural reconfiguration in certain respects not unlike the first Saturn return. In this later period, however, the completion and reconfiguration was taking place after
, at the other end of, the thirty-year cycle of adult activity and responsibility in the world. It mediated the transition into what in traditional societies would be called the status of elderhood, whether this transition connotes simply age and the consequences of time and life's labors or a notably new level of societal responsibility, well-earned respect, personal gravitas, or wisdom grounded in long experience. Often the character of this period suggested the theme of reaping what had been sown, for better or worse. A new stage of life was beginning, at once older and yet also, sometimes, lighteras if a task has been completed, a burden lifted, an obligation dischargeda cycle of Saturn completed. Both Saturn return periods seemed to function as a kind of constricting birth canal that bodied forth the next stage of life.
Before and after these cyclical conjunction periods of the Saturn cycle near the ages of thirty and sixty is a further noteworthy pattern of correlations involving the ongoing sequence of quadrature alignments in the personal Saturn transit cycle after birth and after each conjunctionthe square, the opposition, and the next square followed by the subsequent conjunction. These quadrature aspects occur in intervals approximately every seven to seven and a half years, and last for about a year each time. The first Saturn-square-Saturn transit takes place near the age of seven; the opposition transit takes place around age fourteen to fifteen; the next square sometime between twenty-one and twenty-three. After the first Saturn return at the age of twenty-eight to thirty, the cycle begins again, continuing in approximately seven-year intervals throughout life.
I found that these transits marked with an almost clocklike regularity periods of critical transformation, maturational crises, pivotal decisions, and biographical contractions and stresses of various kinds. Transformative encounters with authority, with limitations, with mortality, and with the consequences of past actions were highly characteristic. Different forms of separation from parental, familial, or social matrices often occurred, requiring a new level of existential self-reliance, inner authority, maturity and competence, individuation, concentration of energies, and consolidation of resources, and bringing a fundamental realignment of one's life and character. Distinct patterns were often visible connecting one Saturn quadrature alignment period with anotherseven years later, or fourteen to fifteen years later, or twenty-eight to thirty years later.
I have seldom researched a biography for which I had sufficiently detailed records of the major inner and outer events in a person's life where I did not find the above patterning readily visible. What made these correlations impressive to me was the precision with which their character matched the archetypal principle with which the planet Saturn has always been associated in the astrological tradition. Equally striking was the way in which the additional qualities specific to each unique case consistently matched the other planets specifically involved by transit in that individual's life during those particular periods. In each instance, the basic Saturnian archetypal qualities and events that were characteristic of the Saturn alignment periods seemed to be given more specific inflections and further qualitative nuances in close correspondence with the other planetary archetypal principles being constellated at that time.
1 In the case of personal transits involving the return of an outer planet such as Saturn or Uranus to its natal position, the Saturn return or the Uranus return, archetypally relevant events consistently began as early as 20° or more before exact alignment, and often continued as many degrees afterwards. In the case of the first Saturn return, relevant events and psychological changes typically began to emerge at age twenty-eight (sometimes as early as twenty-seven), and were strongly in evidence through age thirty. The second Saturn return coincided with a similarly extended wave of such events one cycle later, in the later fifties through age sixty.
2 The intensified activation of the Saturn archetype during the first Saturn return period between the ages of 28 and 30 reflects what in Jungian archetypal psychology is referred to as the constellating and potential integration of the senex principle, linked with a rapid transformation, and sometimes suppression, of the puer principle, or child archetype, with which the senex is in dialectical tension.
3 Gertrude Stein, Fernhurst (1904-05), in Fernhurst, Q. E. D. and Other Early Writings (New York: Norton, 1971), 29-30; quoted in Stephen Arroyo, Astrology, Karma, and Transformation (Davis, CA: CRCS Publications, 1978), 84.
4 Tennessee Williams, "Amore Perdida," Michigan Quarterly Review 42 (Summer 2003), 545. "The old seemed to be over. The new one had not begun yet. This was a time in between."
5 W. J. Earle, summarizing James's mature philosophy as having emerged directly out of his earlier psychological insights, in "William James," Encyclopedia of Philosophy (New York: Macmillan, 1967), vol. 4, 248.
The technique of comparing two or more natal charts to determine the archetypal dynamics between them. The comparison is made by juxtaposing the planetary positions of one chart with the planetary positions of another chart and analyzing the aspects formed between the two sets of planets.
In 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) defined a dwarf planet
as a celestial body orbiting the Sun that is not a satellite of another celestial body and that has sufficient mass to be rounded by its own gravity, but has not cleared its neighboring region of other objects. According to this definition, Pluto was reclassified as a dwarf planet. See Pluto
and also Plutoids
. This term is not identical with the term minor planet
, which is essentially identical to asteroid
is the term now used to identify a trans-Neptunian dwarf planet such as Pluto or an object that is likely to be such a body. The term was approved by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) Executive Committee on June 11, 2008, to refer to those objects that are not only dwarf planets but also trans-Neptunian objects. Pluto may therefore be referred to as both a dwarf planet and a plutoid. See also Dwarf Planets
and Pluto's Status as a Dwarf Planet
Pluto's Status as a Dwarf Planet
(Modified from O'Neal, "Seasons of Agony and Grace," 56.)
In August 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) voted to change the classification of Pluto from a planet to a dwarf planet, based primarily on a new definition of a planet that requires it to dominate gravitationally its orbital path around the sun, clearing away most other objects. See "RESOLUTION B5: Definition of a Planet in the Solar System," International Astronomical Union (http://www.iau.org/static/resolutions/Resolution_GA26-5-6.pdf
). On June 11, 2008 the IAU executive committee also approved the term plutoid
to designate the subset of dwarf planets that were also trans-Neptunian. Pluto may now be referred to as both a dwarf planet
and a plutoid
Nevertheless, considerable empirical evidence exists to support the association of a potent archetypal principle with the dwarf planet, Pluto. The archetypal associations of this body of evidence seem to be consistent with Pluto as the first discovered object of this kind, recognized by the IAU "as the prototype of a new category of Trans-Neptunian Objects" (see "RESOLUTION B6: Pluto," International Astronomical Union
). Because of the wealth and depth of this empirical evidence as well as Pluto's special, prototypical, or archetypal, status in this new category of dwarf planets, Archai
will, for the sake of both simplicity and archetypal accuracy, continue to refer to Pluto as a planet.