by Bradley Naragon
From observation, the struggle to gain confidence in applying Evolutionary Astrology is learning to synthesize. Jeffrey Wolf Green was very outspoken about his dislike of cookie cutter astrology and ‘one size fits all’ mentalities. One can, with traditional study learn and memorize all the key meanings, words, and psychological dynamics of each archetype. What demonstrates one is truly grasping Evolutionary Astrology is one’s ability to see what the archetypes correlate to and synthesize the archetypal combinations while maintaining context of the core evolutionary signature of Pluto, the Nodes, and their planetary rulers.
Coming from reading Western Astrology books for years, when I began to learn Evolutionary Astrology I quickly discovered that some of my key correlations to the signs were changing. In Evolutionary Astrology the archetypes for house, sign, and planet are the same. The ‘Natural Zodiac’ illustration shows these correlations. When we say Aquarius, we mean Aquarius/Uranus/11th house. And when we say Pisces or Neptune, we mean Pisces/Neptune/12th house - the same archetype. If you fully understand the archetype of Mars and Aries, then you also understand the archetype of the first house. If you understand the archetype of Taurus from the evolutionary perspective, then you know what the 2nd house is all about, as well as the inner/yin side of Venus. For me, this is exciting because I always felt slightly confused about the differences between signs, houses, and planets. In some ways, the Evolutionary Astrology paradigm is simpler to learn, especially if one is starting from scratch.
The natural expression of an archetype represents a natural learning process. In
Evolutionary Astrology we talk a lot about distortions of perception due to man made religions and rules which have conditioned the consciousness. Out of this has come many distorted expressions of the archetypes. Due to conditioning within the present life, past lifetimes, and the collective consciousness we have internalized judgments about what is natural based on belief systems which are not in line with natural laws. As a result, many of us label natural human experiences as ‘wrong.’ When we see something as wrong or see our self as failing we may be unable to see or accept natural learning processes.
One of our Evolutionary Astrology mantras is ‘whatever is repressed, becomes distorted.’ When we have an aversion to seeing and/or experiencing something which naturally arises in consciousness, we typically respond by repressing it, (Capricorn) pretending we don’t see it, or project it outside of us. (Pisces - denial and avoidance) By repressing or avoiding, we are setting ourselves up to have this ‘thing’ reemerge in consciousness in subtle or gross distortions of its original expression. Eventually, we go through the natural process of deconditioning (Aquarius) in order to free ourselves from the limits of perception (Scorpio) which led to believing in distorted teachings, Sagittarius’s correlation to man made beliefs as well as truth, eventually returning to living in harmony with natural laws: Sagittarius’s correlation to all the Natural Laws set in motion at the moment of the manifest creation. Granted, this can and often does take lifetimes…..
In Evolutionary Astrology we also talk about the influence of evil. We always have a choice regarding how we respond or react to inner and outer experiences. We can get caught endlessly in the spiral of “I didn’t ask for this!” It is important to shift focus toward the choice we have regarding how we respond to “it.” The pull to the dark side leads to getting caught in these spirals in consciousness, reaching for the power one perceives was stripped away. From these places of pain, anger, hate, and fear the shadow expressions of the archetypes emerge. Personally, I see shadow expressions of archetypes as natural because good and evil are natural aspects of the manifested creation; not everything that is natural is good. Once we are caught up in the pull of the dark side, we exhibit being out of harmony with natural law. We have a choice to act upon the desire to return to a state of harmony. When we consciously refuse to return, we are decisively taking steps down a path of evil. So, with regards to the archetypes, we have natural harmonious expressions of archetypes, natural shadow expressions of the archetypes, and distorted archetypal expressions. Due to the complexity of life and the human psyche, we have an infinite combination of healthy, shadow, and distorted expressions. So, it is never as simple as saying it is just this or just that. What is simple is to always go back to an individuals choices and desires. This reflects how we care for and nurture the pre-existing inner environment of consciousness.
If I were out in a social situation and happened to throw out the comment ‘Aries is the best sign!’ I’m sure I’d get some comments from the peanut gallery. Aries has gained itself a tarnished public image and stereotype of being a selfish, impulsive, sometimes violent asshole. And, well, there is no denying that we can correlate this behavior to Aries. But that does not mean we understand this archetype’s essential nature. There is nothing wrong or bad about the Aries/Mars/1st house archetype in its pure or natural form. We all have ‘Aries’ in us! Simply put, the Aries/Mars/1st house archetype is about instinctual action, it is initiating, it’s energy, it’s the desire that starts a whole new cycle of experience, and the natural trial and error process of self discovery within this. Aries often acts before thinking because that is the nature of instinctual action - there is no forethought! How exciting!?! Aries can be a bold, courageous leader. It is misplaced to assume Aries’ root nature is violent, warring, and destructive. The Aries archetype does naturally get expressed as destructive, toward oneself and/or toward others. These shadow expressions of the Aries archetype are clues which can lead us to the wounded self. Out of the unhealed pain and wounds of the past, one acts in ways that are perpetuating a cycle of violence and/or destruction. Evolutionary Astrology is a psychological tool. Why does this Soul have these particular evolutionary pressures and challenges? When we understand an archetype’s essential nature and observe the archetype’s varied expressions, we gain clues into the psychological reasons why the one is creating or responding to life in the ways that they are.
In the Natural Zodiac, Mercury and Venus correlate to two signs and two houses. All the other planets correlate to one sign and one house. In the case of Venus, the 2nd house/Taurus side of Venus correlates to our relationship to our self, our own needs to survive, our own resources, what we value, what we feel in our body, our sexual nature, self value, self worth, and anything we internalized. This is the yin inner side of the Venus archetype. Libra and the 7th house correlate to the outer side of Venus; the yang outer experience of relationship. Libra/7th house/Venus correlates to our relationship needs with other, giving, receiving, listening, entering the social sphere, comparing and contrasting, equality, justice, and fairness. With Mercury, Virgo and the 6th house correlate to the inner yin side of Mercury. This yin expression of Mercury is mental energy turned inward and correlates to self analysis, self improvement, self adjustment, and necessary humbling experiences and crises which catalyze this evolutionary process. The outer yang side of Mercury correlates to Gemini and the 3rd house. The yang expression of the Mercury archetype is the mind turned outward, mental curiosity, the process of discovery, communications and writing, the logical labeling mind, and taking in through the senses any and all information coming into awareness from the immediate physical environment and the world around us. The definition of senses here includes the six senses of sight, sound, feel, taste, smell, and thought.
Because the zodiac has 12 signs with a starting point and an end, we have a 12 sign sequence. There are natural relationships that emerge out of this phenomena. For example, we have a first half and a second half to the zodiac. The first 5 signs represent a process of personal evolution. The 6th sign is a transiting stage before starting the second half. In the second half, the first 5 signs represent the individual evolutionary process within the social sphere. The 12th and final sign is another transitional phase.
Each sign naturally has a sign before it, and the sign that follows it. It is important to understand the meaning of the zodiac as a whole process and each sign’s phase within this process. That which is new, Aries, emerges out of all that has culminated and dissolved into the pool of collective consciousness and potentialities: Pisces. It is natural that what has begun, Aries, will take root and become established: Taurus. From this grounded place, there is a natural process of discovering the immediate environment via the sense organs: Gemini. What has begun, Aries, taken root, Taurus, and discovered the world from it’s place in it, Gemini, is almost ready to take a form: Cancer and Capricorn. The question, Gemini, which defines this natural crisis is ‘which form will it take?’ Entering the Cancer phase marks navigation of this evolutionary crisis.
The shape and form ‘it’ takes reflects the nature of what begins at the start with Aries and interacts along the way with all pre-existing conditions and forces impacting its formation. The environmental conditions and limitations therein, Cancer, are part of the stress for the form, Capricorn, to represent the original desire/potential: Aries square Capricorn. Once a form has been taken, we have a natural process of identification with this form that leads to an ego: Cancer. From this form/ego, we see its expression emerge. What was seeded at the start, Aries, now reaches fullness of outward manifestation: Leo. In Leo, the original individual purpose is actualized. This completes the individual evolutionary process within the first five signs.
At Virgo, we reach a transitional phase which prepares someone or thing to enter into social sphere as an equal: Libra. Within this transitional phase, Virgo, there is a natural process of refinement, adjustment, and humbling of the ego, Virgo, following the phase of full self expression: Leo. Having made the necessary Virgo adjustments, we leave the first half of the zodiac and enter into the social sphere in Libra, the 7th sign. Here we are learning equality, equanimity, egalitarian principles, balance, how to give and receive, and how to listen to others. Next, in the Scorpio phase of the cycle, the relationships that have been initiated, Libra, become evolutionary forces: Scorpio. If we choose immersion or amalgamation with an experience or person(s), osmosis and evolution follow, along with the karmic consequences for the choice: Scorpio. The form, Capricorn, goes through metamorphosis in the Scorpio phase of the cycle. Emerging from the cocoon of metamorphosis, we expand back out into the world. The Sagittarius phase results in an expanded awareness and increased understanding of life following the Scorpio evolution. Naturally, the power gained, Scorpio, is now disseminated into the larger world: Sagittarius. The Sagittarius process includes the evolution of beliefs or direct knowledge that has been perceived in Scorpio. The new expanded perspective, Sagittarius following Scorpio, naturally reconditions the consciousness, Pisces and Capricorn where Pisces correlates to consciousness, and Capricorn to conditioning, leading to new definitions of reality and judgments of the experienced conditions therein: Capricorn.
The structure of consciousness, society, or any ‘thing’ is not static. Change, Aquarius, is a universal constant. In Aquarius we bear witness to shifting; to changes and casting off of old patterns, routines, and structures which have defined reality up to this point in time. The final transitional sign of Pisces picks up where Aquarius left off; the Capricorn forms that began to shift, change, crack and shatter now fully dissolves and disintegrates back into dust, soil, water, and the ocean of all that is. In the final transitional process, Pisces, ‘it’ returns to the pool of collective experiences. Metaphysically, within the Soul’s journey, all conditions, definitions, and structures which are not rooted in our true authentic self will eventually need to be caste off/liberated from: Aquarius. This ongoing process of liberation and transformation, Aquarius, is part of the path of returning to who we really are. Aquarius here correlates to the authentic self: the Soul’s natural blueprint. This final transition is the to return to ultimate truth and the Source of all life; the return to the ocean of spirit from which we came: Pisces.
As stated previous, it is important to know each individual sign in context with its place in the cycle of the zodiac. Each process naturally leads to the next; preceding signs represent what has come before and succeeding signs represent what will come next. Aquarius is about deconditioning because it follows Capricorn, which correlates to the existing conditions. For the Leo phase of the cycle, we contextualize its meaning as the 5th sign, sandwiched between Cancer and Virgo. As briefly discussed above, Leo naturally follows Cancer; the Cancer phase in the cycle being the formation of ego and identity that then nurtures the outward manifestation in Leo. In Leo this process of willful manifestation reveals the full creative potential that emerged in consciousness way back in the start of the cycle: Aries. In Leo we see the most gross outward, self important expressions of ego. Ego is Cancer, Leo is the expressions of ego, and Virgo is the humbling of ego. Virgo, following Leo, is preparing the consciousness, as it exists in Leo, for entering the social sphere as an equal: Libra. But when in a Leo/5th house phase, we are not yet in the Virgo phase. It is necessary for the fullness of expression to develop. Often, the ‘hero’s journey’ in Leo has a moment when one ‘hears the call.’ In Leo, there is a sense of special destiny. If we are in the Leo process, we have yet to fulfill and/or complete a special calling or destiny. The Leo phase could last a minute, an hour, a day, a month, a year, or lifetimes, depending on what we are looking at. Naturally, for the 5th house Pluto Soul, or the Pluto in Leo generation, we are talking about Souls in a process of lifetimes heeding their special calling. In Leo we are the center of the universe; in Virgo we are a grain of sand on the beach. Yet, within the Leo phase, evolution occurs through the polarity, Aquarius. With this inclusion of the Aquarius archetype, self objectivity goes hand in hand with self importance of purpose, Leo, resulting in a healthy balance, and sure and steady evolution.
In Evolutionary Astrology, everything evolves through polarity. The opposing sign relationship is very significant because it represents how any given archetype evolves. While all Evolutionary Astrologer’s who study Jeffrey Wolf Green Astrology are aware of this principle as it pertains to Pluto’s polarity point, which represents the evolutionary path for the Soul, Evolutionary Astrologers as a whole can grow a lot in their practice and interpretation by remembering to apply this principle to all planets in the chart. For example, in looking at a chart how many times do you consider Venus’ polarity point? If the North Node facilitates the evolutionary path of the Soul, Pluto Polarity Point, and the ruler of the North Node facilitates the individual developing what the North Node symbolizes, how much insight we can gain by looking at the polarity point to the ruler of the North Node? If the North Node is in Libra, how much more significant does Venus’ polarity point become? I encourage you to try this; it is quite fun and you may get a lot of new thoughts and perspectives about yourself or others evolution and experiences.
In addition to considering each sign’s preceding sign, succeeding sign, and the opposite sign, each sign has two signs it is in a sextile relationship with, (2 signs before and after it) two signs that are naturally squaring, (3 signs before and after) two signs that are naturally trining, (4 signs before and after) and two signs that are naturally inconjunct. (5 signs before and after) For any given sign/archetype, these are the eleven natural archetypal relationships. I’m saving sextiles, trines, inconjuncts, and the fixed and mutable crosses for future articles on the natural zodiac. Like I said, it’s a big topic.
Now we dive joyfully into the squares of the cardinal signs! Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn form the ‘Cardinal Cross’ in the Natural Zodiac. We have inherent tension existing in the crosses within the zodiac. Squaring signs have potential to help build energy if one can navigate the crisis in action, first quarter square, or crisis in consciousness, last quarter square, these relationships symbolize. At times, squaring energies feel like they are working at cross purposes. When we say Aries naturally squares Cancer, we are speaking to an universal experience we are all familiar with. When something new arises, Aries, there is a natural stress within the uncertainty of knowing what this new thing will bring. Something new could be having to move, a new home, having a ‘new’ health condition, cold, sickness, or disease, news your partner is leaving you, becoming a parent, desiring a new job or relationship, or anything one can imagine that arises as ‘new’ in life and/or consciousness. The evolutionary intention within the sign of Cancer is to be secure within oneself, maturing, Capricorn polarity, beyond holding onto external things for security. Yet, it is natural to have emotional attachment to the things in our lives that provide us comfort, nourishment, and nurturing: Cancer. So, when we say Aries squares Cancer we are talking about the natural tension between Aries, something new, just emerging in consciousness which may take away comforts, leaving us feeling vulnerable: Cancer. The new threatening our emotional security results in this crisis in action. Will the new desire or thing, Aries, interrupt our life? Will I still have my teddy bear, my blanket of comfort? Will I still have my home? Will I still have this relationship? Will I still have my family? Will I still have the thing that I identify with that provides me security? Aries square Cancer.
So, if you understand what we mean by ‘Aries naturally squares Cancer,’ then you have the necessary tool to understand the relationship between a planet in the first house and a planet in the fourth house, even if they are not in an exact square. The planet in the first house correlates to ones ongoing process of self discovery and becoming. The planet in the fourth house correlates to ones emotional security. An individual does, from within oneself, challenge their own sense of security! There becomes a need to learn to identify, 4th house, with a constant state of becoming: 1st house.
Now, let’s say we look at a chart where the Moon is in the first house. This combines these two archetypes which have a natural tension: Moon/Cancer and 1st house/Aries. This tells us that the first house Moon individual will be in a continual process of discovering, Aries/1st/Mars, their own identity: Moon! Naturally, we regulate emotional experiences to arrive at some place of familiarity and emotional security, Moon, but as soon as the 1st house Moon individual identifies with something, it is already of the past. In so doing, one sets themselves up for another emotional crisis in the future because they will naturally be rediscovering themselves. They are not what they once were; the security of the past is gone! This process requires reforming one’s self identity over and over.
Recently I watched a video of a man talking about how lobsters grow. Lobsters continue to grow, despite living in a rigid exoskeleton. When the internal pressure becomes too intense, they go under a protective rock, shed their old exoskeleton, grow a larger exoskeleton, and then re-emerge. His point in this story was that there is a natural build up of stress and pressure for the lobster before it goes through this growth process. Similarly, stress and discomfort are a natural part of the growth process for humans. Cancer/Moon/4th house correlates to ‘our protective exoskeleton;’ our ego and everything around us which provides security. Mars/Aries/1st house, as the lower octave of Pluto/Scorpio/8th house, represents the leading edge of evolutionary processes. It is a natural process by which we evolve and grow to have our security challenged: Aries square Cancer. Understanding the Natural Zodiac relationships in these ways allows us to gain a perspective of life where we can contextualize our challenges. From this perspective we increase our ability to accept and gain objectivity toward naturally stressful evolutionary processes which threaten our sense of ego security.
A client came to me the other day who had the Aries on the 4th house cusp. I immediately saw the inherent tension within this archetypal combination. Again, how is one suppose to become secure within their self identity, 4th house/Cancer/Moon, when it is a continual state of becoming: 1st house/Aries/Mars? She shared a story of how she grew up identifying as heterosexual, then discovered she was a lesbian, and then later met a man she fell in love with. When she had identified as a lesbian she honestly thought she would never date another man again. This story represented her ongoing process of rediscovering, Aries, her identity: Cancer. After talking, we both saw more clearly how this process was happening throughout her whole life, in big and small ways. Her own process of rediscovering her sexual identity became a metaphor for living in a state of becoming, and the challenges within this constant process.
This person’s 4th house ruler, Mars, happened to be in Capricorn in the 1st house. So, again we have a bit of a paradox being presented to us by this combination of Mars, and 1st house energy within the sign of Capricorn. One way to look at this would be that one desires structure for a sense of security: Mars in Capricorn ruling 4th. This was true. However the paradox within this was the freedom needed within the desired structure. She gave an example of a job in the construction business which she left because of how rigid the work conditions and expectations were. It wasn’t just leaving a bad job; her experience of this was truly stifling and suffocating to the life inside her. Interestingly enough, she also had been project manager within the construction business! There was clearly a need for her to have the freedom to act, Mars, with her own authority: Capricorn. She was in an ongoing process of discovering this: 1st house Mars Capricorn.
Aries is akin to a horse at the gates ready to charge forth. The gate holding the horse back correlates to Capricorn. Aries, in pure form, is a dog off leash going instinctively where scents lead. And then “SQUIRREL!” it impulsively shoots off in another direction. As human beings with such complex egos and psyches, we are greatly challenged to live in the now, in a constant state of becoming. If we get to our root level of consciousness, all the desires and fears which are rising and falling constantly, Aries, are overwhelming to our daily security, Cancer, unless we have done a lot of deep personal work to be both self aware and simultaneously have some objectivity. We control, Capricorn, our own behaviors, Cancer, and limit our impulses, Aries, to maintain a sense of self stability: Taurus. Taurus naturally trines Capricorn; there is a support and harmony between these two archetypes. In the above example, discovering a structure or organization which allowed her the freedom to act with authority helped resolve this crisis; creating stability while providing needed room to move. Finding a job which allowed this experience was a real trial and error process: Aries.
Aries naturally squares both Cancer and Capricorn. We have tension when we are bringing forward something new or taking action because it challenges emotional securities, Cancer, AND the current routines and roles: Capricorn. When something is new, it is unknown and unpredictable. We lack the security of knowing the outcome. If we take a new job, new = Aries, job = Capricorn, there is a natural tension within this experience. We don’t know if we are doing things right or how we may be judged and evaluated. What is ‘normal’? What is expected? Expectations from others correlates with Libra. Expectations specific to the work place or career correlate with Capricorn. Normalcy correlates with Capricorn where normalcy correlates with the consensus of anything. Thus are we being judged relative the normal expectations of others in the work place or career. Are we being judged, Capricorn, by others as being normal or not: the ‘rights and wrong’s according to these normal standards of judgments.
Until we settle into a routine with a position it is hard to feel secure. Over time, Capricorn, we begin to have increasing security in the role and also begin to form identification, Cancer, with the position: Capricorn. How does one define who they are? If you ask this question, it is common for someone to begin to define themselves based on what roles they perform in the world as well as talking about their family, home, and origins: Capricorn/Cancer. “I’m a manager for the fish hatcheries. I am also a parent of 3 children. I live in Squim, Washington.” It is far less common to define oneself by what one wants to become: Aries. And it is natural that we compare who we are to others: Libra.
Libra/7th house/outer side of Venus correlates to all relationships outside of our self. Within the social sphere, we encounter a diversity of different perspectives of life; as a result we naturally compare and contrast our personal experience with others. Libra is where we give and receive within relationship, where we listen to others. In Evolutionary Astrology, Libra is known for going to extremes in its process of learning balance and equanimity. Relationship needs oppose the impulse to go off and do whatever desire arises: Aries. In its simplest from, Aries opposing Libra is then tension between what I want and desire, and our participation in relationships.
So often how we act, Aries, and behave, Cancer, ties into wanting to be liked and accepted by others: Libra. Peer pressure correlates to the Cardinal Cross. We learn from society what it means to fit in. When we are not fitting in we receive this message from others: Libra. The Capricorn square to Libra represents the crisis of social and cultural conditions which create social expectations, social limitations, hierarchies, and extremes within relationship roles. As a result, there exists expected social behaviors which influence how one chooses to act: Aries. When we conform socially, Libra and Capricorn, it is to feel secure: Cancer. We may think that we have matured, Capricorn, beyond the insecurities of having our behavior and actions conditioned by whom we are around: Libra and its natural trine to Aquarius. However, if we honestly analyze ourselves and place ourselves in the situations where we most care about what those around us think of us, we may find we still modify our behaviors to appear to be who we want those others to think we are. A truly mature person reaches a place of being secure within the vulnerability of just being. Coming from the USA, I know that modeling vulnerability as a sign of maturity is not a normal part of role modeling most are exposed to: Cancer/Capricorn.
It is common to find discomfort in giving and/or receiving depending on which role one is in. Gender dynamics, social judgments, the interplay of oppression, and an individual’s past correlate to Cancer and Capricorn. The resulting inequalities correlates to Libra squaring Cancer/Capricorn. Libra, as a sign of fairness and equality, has a natural tension with the socially prescribed roles and positions we are expected to fill. What happens when we desire to do things our own way: Aries ?
Capricorn square Aries correlates to this tension of social/cultural conditions limiting individual actions. While Aries square Cancer is the crisis in action, first quarter square, Aries square Capricorn is the last quarter square: crisis in belief. What do we believe when we are told we can’t or aren’t allowed to, Capricorn, do what we want to do: Aries? From Capricorn’s perspective, Aries disrupts the routine and structure unless conditions of reality allows the new to come into being. From Libra’s perspective, Aries disrupts the existing surface level perceived harmony and peace. While this type of tension is uncomfortable, it is natural and healthy to actively work with it.
Cultures aligned with natural laws, Sagittarius, understand the importance of listening, Libra, to both the voice of the youth and the Elders: Aries and Capricorn. Both offer wisdom. The natural tension between the two is healthy for the all the relationships within the organism we call the tribe/clan/group/community: Aquarius. In fact, this level of inclusion is important to the survival, Taurus, of the group: Aquarius.
I hope this article provides you with a taste of what it means to work with the Natural Zodiac. There is simply so much to draw from in just one sign relationship! In future articles we will continue this journey of exploring the Natural Zodiac with Evolutionary Astrology.
Thank you to Rad with the School of Evolutionary Astrology for help in editing this article and for clarifying a few of the correlations.