I find it interesting that everyone has specific favorite astrological methodologies and concepts. Over time, I have found that I tend to gravitate towards midpoint analysis. Midpoints provide additional detail that flesh out a story that the standard aspects don’t/can’t always highlight. They are like little configurations all over the chart that reveal specific complexes of energy and expression. Digging into this particular area of an astrological chart can offer some of the deepest views of the individual or entity.
Surprisingly, this particular area of study is relatively new. It was made popular by Reinhold Everton in his landmark, “The Combination of Stellar Influences” in the 1940’s. I won’t belabor you with the lengthy rationale underlying the existence of the mechanics other than to say that IT WORKS.
Operationally, it is fairly simple to find as it is literally the midpoint of the shortest arc between two planetary bodies. Granted, it may not be easy to simply eyeball a midpoint. Sometimes, it helps to “crosswalk” the degree position by sign to the degree position on the 360 circle, add the two together and then divide by two. For example:
- The Sun at 10 degrees Scorpio is 220 degrees of a circle.
- The Moon at 15 degrees Leo is 135 degrees of a circle.
220 + 135 = 355/2 = 177.5 which crosswalks to 27.5 degrees in the sign of Virgo. For this example, 27.5 Virgo would represent the midpoint of the Sun and Moon.
While some of these calculations might appear daunting, you can also use software to assist. Solar Fire offers midpoint “trees” that provide a helpful visual to quickly identify the relevant midpoints. In regards to free online-based programs, astro.com offers this functionality as well.
Once the midpoint has been identified, then we need to locate any aspects to this sensitive point. For this stage of the analysis, it is recommended that the aspects are isolated to only the hard aspects (I prefer only conjunctions and oppositions) with an orb that is less than two degrees. For this example, if Mercury is forming any aspect to the midpoint of the Sun and Moon it would be written as follows: Mercury = Sun/Moon.
The planetary body aspecting the midpoint can be viewed as expressing the combination of archetypal influences from all the involved bodies. This is where astrological delineation can become the most creative and experimental because of the exploration and blending of multiple archetypes. It is both complex and fascinating in offering delineations that can be very unique to the entity.
In order to illustrate their impact, I selected the chart of the United States for a quick analysis of five midpoints that appear to be extremely resonant with the manifested culture. Only conjunctions and oppositions were considered for this abbreviated analysis. The number in parentheses represents the degree of orb for any midpoint contact. Finally, because of the continuing debate on the correct chart for the United States, I specifically ignored any midpoints that involved the angles or the Moon.
1) Chiron = Sun/Pluto (.18) – Addressing over aggressive expressions of power. A competitive drive for power. The transformation of the self in order to learn the appropriate use of power. An obsessive survival drive based upon domination of others.
Chiron’s placement in Aries is tough. Astrologer, Melanie Reinhart, made the following observations of this Chiron placement:
- “Grandiose displays of bravado and fighting spirit compensate for the pain, self-doubt and fear underneath…
- …we may wound ourselves with a militant self-sufficiency, becoming unable to ask for help and support in our conviction that we must ‘go it alone’.
- …we find individuals with this placement who struggle until their will is so inflated that they appear as virtual personifications of will, drive, energy and enthusiasm. A rugged, pioneering quality sometimes characterizes this Chiron placement.
- …struggle hard to find something they can do which will bring them the sense of being they lack. They may set themselves wellnigh impossible tasks, loaded with all the intensity of a search for confirmation that they exist.
- You gain strength through conquest and fighting difficulties, but you must also learn the lesson of how to be the ‘noble rival’ to those with whom you compete.”[i]
Generally speaking, the expression of this energy can be described as an obsession to be the best, to win and survive no matter the cost. This is a symbol of competitive aggressiveness that goes to such extremes that it either wounds itself or others around them. In the United States, this specific wounding has manifested in a variety of ways. In one example, it can be seen as the battle for the lowest price even if that equates to not paying a living wage to its workers. It involves taking advantage of human rights violations abroad for low-cost labor. And historically, it involves the use of slavery in order to eliminate labor costs completely. All of these manipulations and exploitations are echoes of Pluto’s archetype run amok, but the involvement of the Sun highlights that these manifestations are part of the core of the country’s identity. This is why any criticism in this area invokes and triggers extreme (and somewhat perverse) reactions…because it is viewed as an attack on the self and how it handles and expresses its power.
Again, the rationale for all of this is survival. At the core of the Aries quality is this quite blunt and visceral need. This becomes problematic when this drive is an over compensation that devolves in the domination of others or when this drive is blindly pursued at the expense of truly knowing the self.
In regards to its connection to other natal chart dynamics, this midpoint image does not stray far from any of the delineations that may be offered for the standard opposition between retrograde Mercury and Pluto. With this aspect, Mercury is heavily scrutinizing how power is used and leveraged as well as those who have it while the midpoint offers more details on how those power dynamics are connected and expressed through the country’s core identity in a manner that has created wounds.
Fortunately, Chiron’s placement in Aries can be more beneficial than any other planetary body because the awareness of its wounding can also offer healing in a manner that teaches. In other words, our recognition and correction of these issues will serve as a historical educational example of how to display assertiveness and a pioneering spirit without causing damage, destruction or domination. Most significantly, it also reflects an equivalent priority of the transformation or evolution towards actualization that exists beyond earlier stages of primal animalistic urges of survival.
2) Mars = Venus/Uranus (.21) – Motivated by a love of freedom and independence. A drive for creativity through technology and artistic innovation. Alternative relationships.
America was born just a few years prior to the birth of Uranus so the planet’s primary archetypal functions are burned into the DNA of the country. With the Sibly Moon, Uranus is the ruler of the country’s emotional mood and why many in the population are brought to tears when discussing the concept of freedom. This midpoint offers a strong correlation to this high degree of motivation connected to this love of Uranus’ archetype, except it also shows that they are willing to fight for it…and did. In recent years, this midpoint may also represent the alternative romantic relationships within the LGBTQ communities as well as their fight to be recognized and treated equally.
3) Jupiter = Neptune/Chiron (.20) – Problems with religion. Expansive nationalism as an expression of competitive ideals.
America’s aggressively competitive nature referenced in #1 is echoed with this midpoint. Here, we find the idealization of competition finding its expression through America’s need for expansion which can be connected through its wealth, but mostly through its nationalism (Jupiter is in Cancer). Dreams of aggressive expansion is a defining facet of the culture that has manifested repeatedly throughout the country’s history, most violently with its wars for the land originally owned by the American Indians.
4) North Node = Mars/Neptune (.41) – Drug problem. Suspicions in associations. Addiction to entertainment fostering laziness. Glamorization of violence. Weakened. Depression.
It should be noted that this particular midpoint is an opposition. In other words, the South Node is actually in conjunction with this midpoint. Also, Mars and Neptune form a square aspect to each other natally. All of this has manifested in the United States’ high ranking (within top five) for the highest percentage of depressed individuals. It seems unlikely that one of the richest, most powerful countries would also contain such a high concentration of depression, but this midpoint is a major contributor.
It also represents America’s obsession with movies, entertainment and fantasy along with its voyeuristic fascination with violent video games, stories, TV shows and movies as well. It should be noted that America’s support of gun rights has reached such levels of fervor that it could be described as somewhat sacred or religious.
Finally, America’s long-standing problems and epidemics with addiction and abuse of drugs and alcohol goes back generations and is heavily represented by this midpoint.
All of these dynamics are fairly stark in their visibility and this is due to the exacerbation of the square by the midpoint.
5) Sun = Mars/North Node (1.09) – Idolization of sports figures. Strong expression of identity across the world.
This midpoint conjunction involving the ruler of the Leo North Node is a powerful image. Some of this can manifest in the oft-cited promotion of “American Exceptionalism” or in the belief that the country is a “beacon of hope for the rest of the world”. In many respects, America is liked by many people and the country prides itself on showcasing its relations with others. But, when combined with midpoints #1 & 2, this midpoint also infers that this country will not hesitate to go to war if it’s freedoms and/or interests are being threatened by any indiscretion and will view every conflict as a personal matter against its god-like status. Essentially, it reflects the country’s warlike demeanor as a super power who will not hesitate to flex its muscle, if necessary.
Overall, these five midpoints paint a clear image of the major cultural dynamics that have become an intimate facet of the fabric America’s archetypal identity. There are other midpoints that I would classify at a lower significance, but I invite you to play around with them and explore their manifestation.
Ultimately, I hope this brief analysis shows the importance of these factors within an astrological chart.
[i] Melanie Reinhart, Chiron and the Healing Journey, Penguin Books, 1989, p.100-106.
[ii] Featured image provided via Shutterstock subscription.