This is the 11th post in Astro DIY – our very own ‘learn astrology’ column. Your fabulous mentor-tutor is Tabby Besley!
How’s everyone doing? How are your astrological studies going? I’ve been travelling around England (with a sneaky trip to a queer festival in Amsterdam!) over the last month and got to meet the lovely Beth in real life! It’s been a whirlwind trip but it was so nice to spend a few days in Manchester. I got to stay on the beautiful Empress and talk astrology into the night, visited the LGBT Youth North West Centre and allotment, got a tarot reading from Beth (go on, get your own!) and got nice and lost in the rain.
Astro DIY #11: Understanding patterns in your birth chart
So this time in Astro DIY we’re going be looking at the patterns planets make in charts.
Identifying what chart shape they make is a useful part of reading a birth chart – especially as it can add emphasis to certain planets in a chart, giving them more or less power.
Having awareness of the pattern in your birth chart can also give you insight on how you approach life, particularly around focus and goals.
The Bundle (also known as the Cluster) is produced when all the planets are grouped together within a third (120 degrees/5 consecutive houses) of the chart. This suggests that the person is highly-focused in one area – they may have a specialized career or approach to life and a limited range of interests outside of that. Look to the houses those planets occupy to see what area of life their strengths and resources lie in. There is great potential in this area, but it is good to be aware of what lies outside of it and the limited perspective you may have. People with a Bundle chart may find relating to others difficult and are at their best applying deep concentration and persistence to their specialized interest.
The Bowl pattern is when planets occupy half the chart, leaving the other half empty. The hemisphere where the planets are will show what your focus is.
This chart pattern shows a self-contained individual with great inner strength, who doesn’t need to rely on other people for satisfaction. The unoccupied half of your chart can show a challenge – a talent, quality or area of life that you feel a need to discover – and until you do it will probably feel like something is missing. People with Bowl chart shapes tend to be on a mission and always fighting for a cause.
The Bucket is like the Bowl, but with a handle, that is, when one planet or a conjunction of two planets (within 8 degrees of each other) are on the opposite side to the majority of planets, which form a Bucket. Your talents and strengths will be represented in the occupied area of the chart, and your goals and direction in the lone planet/s. The focal planet(s) show how you express your energies and where you want to achieve, often with a sole purpose.
In the See Saw pattern planets are grouped to form tight oppositions, two completely different types of experiences are calling and the person is pulled equally in both directions. They must decide whether to enter a continuous tug of war with these opposing urges, or whether there is a way to find a middle ground. Look to the opposing houses and signs to see what the urges are.
People with See Saw charts tend to always be able to see both sides of an issue, with a knack for reaching compromise between opposing points of view – they can be quite similar to a Libra personality.
The Locomotive pattern is found when the planets are spread out evenly occupying two thirds of the chart, leaving one third (two-four consecutive houses) empty. This indicates a strong desire to seek fulfillment, which is based on the feeling that something is missing. The planet that rises clockwise following the empty space in the chart acts as the ‘locomotive’, giving the individual a huge amount of drive and determination to achieve their goals.
People with a Locomotive chart tend to be able to accomplish any task and have a lot of energy. They will work relentlessly to do something, often in their own tried and true way.
If the planets are splashed all over the chart and fairly evenly distributed throughout the signs and houses (at least 8 of them), the Splash pattern occurs. This suggests that there is so many different interests that the person is likely to scatter their energies all over, making it difficult to be productive or accomplish one main goal. They will be well-balanced and feel like they can deal with any situation, as they have interest and awareness in so many different areas.
An individual with a Splash chart might find life frustrating when put under limitations or given too much focus.
The Splay chart can be spotted by the presence of at least two, but usually three pairs (or conjunctions) of planets randomly distributed in a ‘splay’ shape around the chart. If a chart doesn’t fit into any of the above categories, it is probably a Splay. This pattern usually shows three points of emphasis, someone who is not easily defined and can be quite intense. If in the three groups of planets one group only has one planet, this is known as the ‘reins’ planet which shows the real talent of the chart and leads the other planets.
Those with a Splay chart tend not to conform to rules and structure, usually having an individualist approach. Someone with a Splay chart may find that it’s hard to find a link between their different skill sets, so they may not obtain the full benefits of them. Focus is needed to make the most of their true potential.
There we go! These can take a while to get the hang of, so feel free to post your chart on the forums or comment with your birth date/time/place if you need a second opinion! There’s also lots of resources online that can give you more examples of what the patterns look like if you’re stuck.
Your homework: Work out the chart pattern of your own birth chart and share in the comments/forums how this relates to you. Then using either the charts of people you know or charts from the AstroDataBank, see if you can find one of every chart type.
Next time on Astro DIY we’ll be learning to understand the different aspects in astrology, which are vital to know for both understanding birth charts and your planetary transits/forecast!