The Art of Chart Interpretation
Interpreting the horoscope is more than looking up a specific aspect in a book. We must understand all the aspects to a particular planet, what the patterns of the chart are, how the energies of the planets respond in different signs and the effects of house placements. These however, are the mechanics of chart interpretation, or the craft of astrology.
Here, we are looking at the art of astrology which, although the science and craft of the subject are necessary, cannot be substituted for the talents and instincts of the astrologer her/himself.
But what if you feel that you have these talents and instincts? How do you bring them forth and develop them?
Every good astrologer I have known, is drawn to the mystical influences of astrology, the knowledge that we are able to in some measure, understand the workings of forces far greater than ourselves. They are inspired by the apprehension of a Divine Pattern, a synchronicity of events and timing which can be comprehended and predicted. The accompanying sense of awe and mystery regarding this intuition is the spiritual foundation for the expression of the art of astrology.
As a painter must step away from the canvas in order to see the whole picture, so must the astrologer be able to back away from the chart in order to see the whole person and their place in the cosmos. This means that we look for a rhythm in the chart, a repetition of pattern, of meaning and of timing. Remarkably, when one approaches a horoscope with the mystical eye, this is amazingly easy to do. When you come to the chart with the certain knowledge that there is a recurring theme in the chart, something which provides the beat, around which all the other influences revolve, sure enough, you'll find it. Perhaps you'll notice that the client's 1st house Jupiter correlates with a crowded 9th house (the natural house of Jupiter). Then you'll note that Jupiter is in the sign of Aries and you find that Mars (the natural ruler of Aries) is in the sign of Sagittarius. Thus you have a pattern of Mars/Jupiter influences to start your interpretation, and you can begin to define other chart influences within this context.
This chart happens to be filled with conjunctions and trines. Boring...not! When we recognize that each aspect has the "flavor" of the natural horoscope, we can see that again the Mars/Jupiter colors continue to emerge. The conjunction is related to Aries and the trine to Sagittarius.
And so it goes. As I've said before, one needn't memorize everything in astrology in order to deliver a good interpretation, but if you solidly memorize and understand the basics, you can practice the art. This is because every part of astrology correlates with every other part. Planets connect with houses which connect with signs which connect with aspects which connect with patterns.
A good way that I've found to bring this point home, is to do this experiment with a chart. Using your favorite astrology 'cookbook' of interpretations and house positions, try juxtaposing the influences. For example, perhaps you are looking at a Venus in Leo. Look at this person as if they had the Sun in Libra instead. You see, we've just turned it around. You will find a remarkable degree of accuracy in interpretation by doing this, while imparting a "magical" depth of insight to your client, "Ooh, however did you know that?"
The same thing can work with the houses. Is there a 7th house Mars? What does this person look like with Venus in the 1st house? Figure it out, the interpretations are very similar, but this gives a bit more information.
Astrological technicians may be aghast at this technique, but the artisans of our subject will find that they've been doing something of the sort all along. This is a type of interpolation, combining the different "flavors" of the zodiac to find the special dish which is your client.