Astrology Natal Chart Interpretation: Part 1
You must have a natal (birth) chart to practice with. You may use your own or someone else's. Using your own chart may at first be disconcerting, as you will initially encounter interpretations which don't make sense to you. That's more disturbing than doing if it were someone else. For the purposes of this lesson, you may refer to the chart for Albert Schweitzer. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952 for exemplary missionary work and is also known for his written works on Jesus and Bach.
When we look at the chart of a known humanitarian, we start with the positions of Jupiter and Neptune. Albert's Jupiter is in the 1st house, in Scorpio. This tells us that his benevolent nature had a strong streak of passion to it. He felt very deeply about the cause he was involved in. What the encyclopedia entry does not tell us, is that he had quite a temper and had a skill in manipulating others. This is classic Jupiter in Scorpio. Mr. Schweitzer was known for the support he was able to garner for his missionary work and this is a positive expression of that energy.
He has what's called an "out of sign" aspect between his Jupiter and Neptune. This is an interesting configuration for the student. His Jupiter is at 0 Scorpio and his Neptune is at 28 Aries. A "normal" sign opposition would have Scorpio opposing Taurus. But the opposition here is only a few degrees apart, with Jupiter in early Scorpio and Neptune in late Aries (remember, each sign is composed of 30 degrees).
There is also a new term to learn, which is "stellium". A stellium occurs when 3 or more planets are closely grouped together, creating a blending of their energies and power. It's one of those situations where the sum of the whole is greater than it's individual parts. The energies appear to "radiate" in a broader sphere than they would singly. Albert has a stellium in Aries which is very powerful, with Neptune leading the parade. Some astrologers may dispute the idea that the two symbols I'm including in this stellium are legitimate factors. They are the North Node (or axis) of the Moon which looks like headphones, and Chiron (funny looking "K") which is technically a planetoid. My experience has proven to me that these are powerful influences in the chart, so I include them.
So Albert has a powerful Jupiter/Neptune opposition. As oppositions go, this isn't bad since these are very compatible energies normally. Let's examine the other influences surrounding the matter. The Aries stellium is composed of Neptune, Moon, North Node and Chiron. The Moon's energy is a powerful emotional source. I don't have information about Albert's formative years, but the Moon's position shows that childhood conditioning contributed greatly to his need to unselfishly help others. What is difficult to determine with accuracy, is whether this happened from a good example or from a bad one needing atonement. His North Node talks about what he was on this earth to accomplish in life. This means the life lessons he needed to learn and what was perhaps new and frightening to him. Chiron says that this is the arena where he is personally wounded and has learned to heal others.
All of this opposes his Jupiter and, by default, his South Node as well. The South Node is the North Node symbol reversed and shows what we've already done. It's a wide aspect between his Jupiter and South Node, but we have to take into consideration that the stellium encompasses that same variance and draws it all in together. There is an energetic effect which bounces off what is being opposed. So his Jupiter is being more than usually affected by the South Node, making his attributes of benevolence sort of "been there, done that". When under stress he probably retreated to this well known paradigm.
What about the houses involved? His Jupiter and South Node are in the first house of personality, that which we assert about ourselves, or how we wish to be perceived by others. His Aries stellium is in the 7th house of partnerships, marriage or contractual relationships. Evidently his relationship with the suffering in Africa was of primary importance to him, as he lived out his life there (though born in Europe). He received an extraordinary degree of acclaim which would satisfy many 1st house requirements.
We will continue the interpretation in Astrology Natal Chart Interpretation: Part 2