Friday, January 13, 2012

Astrology Basics: The Square and Harlow Winter

A natal chart shows the placements of the planets in the sky at the time of someone’s birth. To the average person, it may just look like a lot of dots in a circle, but to an astrologer, it reveals the patterns and tendencies in that person’s behavior and needs. The planets, while very far apart in our sky, look closer together when placed in the natal wheel, and connections between them can be seen by tracing certain mathematical angles between the planets, such as the 90 degree* angle, called a square, which is featured in Harlow's chart below. The connections between planets are called aspects.

Birthday girl Harlow, daughter of Nicole Richie and Joel Madden, just turned 4 this week. She has a square aspect in her chart between the planets Venus (middle right) and Uranus (top middle). Venus is the planet of relationship. It's connected through the square to the planet Uranus, which is a planet that drives us toward freedom and individuality.

Venus is how we establish connection with others, but Uranus, valuing freedom, tends to avoid anything that will tie it down. Harlow's special challenge with Venus squaring Uranus is to get her needs met for connection without sacrificing her need for freedom and individuality. The feeling of planets squaring each other usually feels tense and uncomfortable, but it's that tension and discomfort that continues to get our attention, and pushes us to work toward finding a way to make our conflicting needs work! As she forms friendships, she will be working out this challenge of collecting friends, but feeling tense or cramped when they expect too much of her or want to latch on too tightly. But she'll get the hang of it as she grows and will learn how to be independent but not alone.

*A degree is a unit of measurement. They are marked by the degree symbol following the numbers by each planet in a natal chart. There are 360 degrees in a circle. Each sign is divided into 30 degrees, so counting restarts at 0 when entering a new sign. To find an opposition, locate any planet in a natal chart and note its degree number. Then count 6 signs from there in either direction and see if another planet lands in the same degree (give or take a few degrees) in the new sign. That’s an opposition! If you’re not sure, or you don’t have a copy of your natal chart, you can calculate one for free instantly online at!
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