The Art of Chart Interpretation - A Step-by-Step Method of Analyzing Synthesizing & Understanding the Birth Chart by Tracy Marks (1986).pdf

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rsBN 0-916360-29-6
Introduction.. ..... . ....... ... ...... . ............ 7
Special thanks to David Perloff and HeidiRuthchild
for their editorial andproofreading help,
and to Paul and Martha Marks, myparents,
for many kinds of encouragement.
Principles of Interpretation - 13
A Preliminary Note - 15
Synthesis Worksheets - 18 through 21
1. The Chart as a Whole . . ... ... . . . . ... .... . .. . ... 23
Predominant Element - 23
Weakest Element - 25
Library of Congress CataloginginPublication Data
Marks, Tracy, 1950-
The art of chart interpretation.
Predominant Mode - 28
Weakest Mode - 30
Planetary Pattern - 31
Splash, Bowl, Bucket, Locomotive, Seesaw, Bundle, Fan, Splay
Aspect Configurations - 36
Stellium, Grand Trine, Yod, T-Square, Grand Cross
Sun/Moon Signs & Relationship - 47
Sun conjunct Moon, Sun square Moon, Sun sextile or trine
Moon, Sun opposition Moon
AscendantIMidheaven - 53
Retrograde Planets - 54
ed. of: The art of chart synthesis.
Bibliography: p.
1. Horoscopes. I. Marks, Tracy, 1950-
Art of chart synthesis. 11. Title.
ISBN 0-916360-29-6 (pbk. )
O 1986 by Tracy Marks
2. Determining Planetary Strength ..... . . . .......... 58
Sun Sign & House - 58
Moon Sign & House - 59
Sun Ruler - 60
Ascendant Ruler - 60
Planet in Own Sign - 60
Planet in Own House - 61
Planet Rising - 61
Planet on Midheaven - 62
Planet on Nadir - 62
Planet Descending - 63
Stationary Planet - 63
Sole Dispositor - 64
Most Aspected Planet - 65
Unaspected Planets - 66
Other Focal Planets - 67
All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conven-
tions. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be
used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever (including photocopying)
without written permission from the publisher, except in the case of brief
quotations embodied in critical or scholarly articles and reviews.
Published simultaneously in the United States and Canada by:
CRCS Publications
Distributed in the United States and internationally by
CRCS Publications
(Write for current list of worldwide distributors.)
Cover Design: Image by Bradley Dehner
3. Aspects & Other Chart Variables . .......... . . . ... 68
Predominant Type of Aspect - 68
Absence of a Type of Aspect - 70
Conjunctions Within 3 Degrees - 71
Major Aspects Within 1% Degrees - 71
Important Minor Aspects - 72
The Art of Chart Interpretation is a revised, expanded edition of a work
formerly entitled The Art of Chart Synthesis (O 1979 by Tracy Marks).
This new edition includes extensive new material, including redesigned
worksheets and an entirely new Part 111.
Quotations by Liv Ullman are reprinted from Changing (O 1976,1977 by Liv
Ullman), with permission from Alfred A. Knopf Inc.
Parallels - 74
Mutual Receptions - 75
Lunar Nodes - 76
4. Preliminary Synthesis ......................... 78
5. Additional Considerations ...................... 80
12th House Complex; Solar & Lunar Eclipses; Angular,
Succedent & Cadent Houses; Most Elevated Planet; Eastern/
Western Division; SunIMercury Conjunctions;Midpoints
6. How to Synthesize
Determining the Primary Chart Characteristics - 84
The Role of Intuition - 86
Preparing to Interpret - 87
Introduction - 91
Charts A-E - 93
Synthesis Worksheets - 98
7. Author's Answers ........................... 118
The dilemma that most of us face, after we have learned
the meanings of the planets, signs, houses and aspects, and
have begun to delineate the bits and pieces of the chart, is
how to view the chart as a whole and determine its primary
characteristics. The vast array of planets and aspects so easily
becomes a dense jungle of twisted vines which prevents us
from discovering the trail that leads out of the undergrowth,
to the central meaning and purpose of the chart itself. Only by
becoming so familiar with each of the multifaceted parts of
the chart that interpreting the details becomes automatic, and
only by consciously focusing upon the overall pattern and the
chart's most outstanding characteristics, can we begin to
master the art of interpretation and synthesis* rather than lose
ourselves in the tangle of hundreds of interrelated variables.
Many of us, when we begin interpreting charts, feel that
we must cover everything-every planet, sign, house and
aspect. If we don't, we fear that we may be neglecting some-
8. Example Interpretation (Chart E) ............... 127
9. Astrology as a Counseling Tool ................. 143
The Aims of the Astrologer - 144
Qualities of an EffectiveAstrologer - 148
The Astrologer's Problem Areas as a Counselor - 150
Astrology & Your Shadow: Overcoming Fear
and Negativity - 154
10. The Astrological Counseling Process ............. 155
The Astrological Session - 156
Initial Contact & Guidelines for Conducting the Session
Interpretation & Advice - 159
Drawbacks & Constructive Uses of Interpretation
Interpretation: What, When & How?
Advice-giving in Astrological Counseling
Counseling Interventions - 166
Useful Counseling Interventions
Your Astro-CounselingIssues
*This book was in fact originally entitled The Art of Chart Synthesis.
However, this new edition has been extensively revised and expanded,
including redesigned worksheets and an entirely new Part 111, as well as
many other substantial improvementsand clarifications.
we can always: 1) consider several of the minor characteris-
tics; 2) give a comprehensive delineation of one of the areas
of life (most frequently love or work) which is the client's
primary concern now; and 3) answer questions which were not
answered during the initial interpretation.
Consider a color wheel. How vivid each color is when
viewed separately, but spin the wheel and notice that as the
speed increases, each individual color becomes less distinct.
At high speed, all that can be seen is white. Only by stopping
the color wheel and viewing each primary color one by one
again can we experience and appreciate each shade and hue in
all of its infinite richness. Similarly, only by paying attention
to the 5-10 most distinctive characteristics of the chart, by
studying and interpreting each of these in depth, and by relat-
ing them to each other, can we develop and communicate a
clear picture of the natal chart rather than a whizzing blur of
planets, signs and houses.
Consider now a newspaper article. A reporter presents the
details of a story in descending order, the most important
information first, then the next important, and finally the
least important, so that it may be cut if there isn't enough
space for the complete article in the paper. The reader may
glance at the first sentence or two and distill the essence of
the article; he/she is oriented from the very beginning. The
rest of the article elaborates upon the first few sentences,
filling in more information as it goes on, and does not for a
moment lose the central focus, which gives all the details
coherence and order.
If we want to give ccherent readings, we can learn from
the newspaper article. We must determine what is most impor-
tant in the chart and what is least important. We must develop
the ability to focus upon the essentials of the chart and allow
the inessentials to be dealt with only when the most significant
information has been presented as clearly and completely as
possible. But unlike a news writer, we will dialogue with our
audience; we will want to make sure that our clients under-
thing important, or failing to give a complete picture of the
influences operating at birth. But in covering everything, we
often end up covering nothing, because we fill our minds and
our clients' minds with so many minute details that all that
remains for all concerned when the reading is finished is a
foggy blur.
Some of us may approach a chart by interpreting it house
by house, beginning with the first house and moving counter-
clockwise around the wheel. Others may begin with the Sun
and consider every planet in turn-Moon, Mercury, Venus,
etc. Still others may attempt to transform chaos into order by
considering each area of life important to the client-love,
work, home and family, etc., and interpreting all the planets,
signs and houses associated with it.
These systems of interpretation may work for some astrol-
ogers and some clients. But they lack an essential element
necessary to giving a meaningful reading-attention to priori-
ties, to the central meanings of the chart above and beyond its
multifaceted characteristics. Without this focus, the most
prominent issues of the chart are likely to be lost in an array
of minor issues. Without this focus, clients have nothing to
grab onto to help them relate all that is told to them in a
meaningful and unified way; as a result, they forget most of
it or consider it in only a superficial manner. Covering every-
thing does not help clients to assimilate everything; most
often, it overwhelms and confuses them, so that they are less
sure of their identity and direction when they leave the room
than when they entered.
If we want our clients to emerge with clearer mental pic-
tures of themselves, including the understanding of their pre-
dominant strengths and talents, and the weaknesses and
conflicts which can become strengths and talents once they
develop the desire and resolution to transform them, we must
aim for quality and depth of insight in our readings rather
than quantity and breadth of scope. After we have spent at
least an hour on the most distinctive characteristics of a chart,
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stand what we are saying. Therefore, we will explore each
facet of the chart that we deem important in the utmost
depth-imparting all that we know about that characteristic,
astrologically and personally. We will listen to our clients and
let them relate what we are saying to their own lives, so that
they assimilate its meaning and ramifications in their own way
and are able to distill a grain or two of wisdom from the ex-
This book is primarily concerned with interpretating the
most outstanding features of a chart. It is not a comprehen-
sive manual on chart interpretation. It does not interpret the
meanings of the planets in signs, houses or aspects, nor does it
tell all there is to know about patterns, planets on angles, the
phases of the Moon, etc. When only the bare essentials are
presented, astrology texts will be recommended which deal
with that particular topic in more depth.
The purpose of this book is to provide a valid and com-
prehensible method of synthesizing the natal chart. This
method depends upon the use, at least initially, of a work-
sheet for determining the essential characteristics of a chart.
In the beginning stages of chart interpretation, only a system,
an organized method, can help us to create order out of chaos
and to penetrate to the central issues of an individual's chart
and personality. After we have used the worksheet five or six
times, the process of synthesis will become quick and auto-
matic, and the form itself will no longer be necessary.
What is the nature of this worksheet? Basically, it is a list
of characteristics to look for as we first examine a chart. Not
everything that many astrologers consider important is in-
cluded on it; some traditional and modem techniques are
emphasized, while others, which do not really seem to merit
the attention paid to them, are ignored. But the worksheet,
nonetheless, will enable us to list the 15or 20 most important
characteristics of any chart, and then to reduce these to the
5-8 which should most demand our attention. We can best
prepare to give a reading by filling out the worksheet for a
chart, and then by spending 20-30 minutes reflecting upon
the issues which we have determined are the most significant.
The process of notetaking may be helpful in reaching a clear
understanding of the chart and presenting it to our client in
an intelligible manner.
The example section of this book includes several charts
of famous people which we can use to practice our synthesiz-
ing abilities. They are also "guessing games" for us to play, for
the charts are unidentified. In the section following the charts
and worksheets, we will discover the identity of each chart, as
well as the author's opinion of the central features of each
one, and a sample interpretation.
The final portion of this book addresses the interactive
dimensions of chart interpretation, which require some under-
standing of the counseling process, and awareness of the needs
and feelings of the person whose chart we are interpreting. If
we are concerned not merely with imparting information, but
also with helping the other person to integrate and utilize the
material we are presenting, then we need to assess our own
interpreting and counseling process. It is important to learn
to express our knowledge in a way which benefits another per-
son, and to develop the skills necessary to facilitate his or her
own growth process. We may not only want to present "what
is" in terms of personality dynamics; we may also want to give
constructive guidance and help our client or friend translate
insight into action.
If there is any principle which we should keep in mind as
we develop the art of chart synthesis, it is this: Start with the
characteristics which are most extreme, most powerful, most
outstanding, and let the rest of the chart interpretation take
shape around them. Then we can be assured that although we
may neglect to cover a wide variety of characteristics and
issues when we are giving a reading, that we will not, by any
means, neglect to cover those which are vital and which will
continue to be vital throughout this person's life. By the end
of the reading, our client will probably have deepened hislher
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