Frequency Distributions

Continuing on from my last statistics post…

I’m examining the natal and progressed charts of 9 individuals within a social group, looking for patterns. Already, I’ve noticed interesting clusters around a few certain points of the zodiac, but today I looked at it a little differently: simply, as frequency distributions.

If we examining the archetype distribution at face value, it looks like this chart.

Frequency Distribution by Family (Unweighted) (1)

The purple line shows total values, and it seems that Cancer and Leo are the most dominant. Great, right? This group exhibits a lot of Cancer and Leo energy, right?

Maybe. But maybe not.

In this group, 4 of 9 people have birthdays around Gemini/Cancer season. Because Mercury and Venus are never more than 45 degrees from the Sun, we can expect a higher concentration of data points around the Gemini/Cancer/Leo quadrant of the zodiac (especially since we are also looking at midpoints between these seasonal planets).

In short, all data points are not of equal importance. A midpoint between two conjunct planets is pretty redundant, it doesn’t tell us anything more than what we could discern from examining the conjunction alone. And an aspect to a luminary or chart ruler carries more significance than, say, an aspect to a progressed planet.

To account for these differences, I created a weighted scoring system. Luminaries and angles were worth the most, while midpoints and loose aspects were only worth a little. Doing so showed me patterns were developing in Leo and Aquarius, and Taurus and Scorpio as well. I then tallied up scores by element and modality to better understand the impact.

The result was far more insightful:

Weighted Scores by Element and Modality (2)

As you can see in the chart above, there was an especially high concentration of Fixed signs, with Fixed Earth (Taurus) scoring the highest. While the first chart showed a prevalence of Cancer and Leo, this chart shows that Leo is indeed quite prevalent, but Cancer is not; in fact, Cancer (Cardinal Water) scored the lowest of them all.

This tell us that although this group shares a lot of Cancer placements, most of them are simply attributed to having lots of birthdays in the late Spring.

If you look at the first chart again, notice there’s an additional bump around Scorpio. Because Taurus and Scorpio are directly opposite each other, aspects made to one sign are also reflected in the other (mostly).

If we were to combine the natal and progressed charts of all 9 individuals, a la synastry, I believe we would see a Fixed Grand Cross. Though I am not measuring group behavior or dynamics, the Fixed Grand Cross tells us that this group is steady and reliable, maybe stubborn, and strong as hell. The each bring something different to the table, but put together, there’s very strong Fixed energy.

They’re not a group of doers (Cardinal), and they’re not wishy-washy either (Mutable). Rather, they’re stabilizers (Fixed).

Scorpio & The 8th House

I find most horoscopes for Scorpio and/or the 8th house maddeningly shallow. The scorpion is often reduced to some combination of “the occult,” “death and sex,” and “the underworld,” with the 8th house getting “inheritances” and “change/transformation” thrown in there.

Without knowing what these interpretations are based on, how would a casual observer gain anything from these descriptors? It can be difficult to apply these themes to one’s personal life. My advice in this situation is always: “go back to basics: modality, element, orientation”. For Scorpio:

Fixed + Water + Interpersonal

The modality wheel moves Cardinal — Fixed — Mutable. Cardinal initiates, Fixed stabilizes, and Mutable adapts. Scorpio perpetuates. It pushes, driving forward the energy that came before it with a steadying hand.

What comes before Scorpio? Libra, The Lover.

Libra, as an Air sign, is about social interactions; specifically, the mental part of them. Scorpio, being a water sign, is the emotional result of those social interactions. The result can last a minute or a lifetime, but Scorpio is a close-up of the moment of raw, emotional instinct that tells us who we really are: fight or flight. Aries may be The Warrior charging into battle, but only in the sense that he is an individual, initiating action. Scorpio represents the way the battle feels.

I’m paraphrasing here, but Liz Greene described Scorpio as “that which appears physical, but is really emotional in nature.” It is the kind of special intimacy that lies deep within us, and can change us forever as individuals.

Therefore, Scorpio represents:

  • Not death in the physical sense, but emotional: as loss, grief
  • Not sex/intimacy in the physical sense, but emotional: as vulnerability
  • Not finances in the physical sense, but emotional: as sharing

It is important to note that Scorpio is associated with the 8th house, but does not rule it. Signs do not rule houses, but they do represent similar themes.

When talking about the 8th house, most horoscopes I see from popular astrologers discuss the individual’s death, sex, and finances, but that’s far too simple and does nothing to help the novice understand themselves or their chart. It’s true, Scorpio and the 8th house include the darkest parts of life and ourselves, but they should be embraced, not feared.

If you can face your darkest fears openly, without aiming to overcome them but to work with them, you have found the key to your self. Avoiding your fears, tempting and sometimes necessary as it may be, ultimately exacerbates the problem. Face them, acknowledge and accept them, and work with them. Your growth will be immense and rewarding.

And ultimately, this sort of growth is transformative. That’s why change and transformation are common keywords for the 8th house. It is the emotional consequences of our social interactions, that ultimately change us in a deep, permanent way.

Loss, grief, and vulnerability can be difficult to discuss casually. Sure, for a simple horoscope’s sake, it’s easier to stick to the death/sex/money part of it all. Nonetheless, I wish more popular horoscopes included such nuance. Normalizing the discussion of our pain and grief would go a long way in healing us, collectively and individually, and we would do well to prioritize that. After all, that is the lesson of Scorpio.

Discussing The Signs & Archetypes

Perhaps one of my biggest obstacles so far in discussing astrology with skeptical friends is, undoubtedly, in explaining the signs of the zodiac.

Immediately, they cut me off mid-sentence with a confident smirk and something like, “So just because you’re born in a certain month, you’re gonna act a certain way?” They don’t intend to be condescending (and to their credit, they’ve been pretty open-minded and understanding with me), but they act like they’re pointing out the obvious, fatal flaw in astrology’s logic, and they’re incredulous as to how I couldn’t see it.

A lot of working with astrology involves careful consideration of the archetypes represented by the signs of the zodiac. It’s not enough to say “Leo is creative and playful,” or “Capricorn is hard-working,” you must understand why the sign is perceived that way — what is the underlying archetype, and in what ways can that archetype be expressed?

Capricorn, for example, is The Father, The President / Prime Minister. The archetype comes from the sign’s element-modality combination. Capricorn, as Cardinal Earth, is about initiating material action. Responsibility, self-reliance, duty. Handled well, that Capricorn energy can be focused, diligent, responsible, and pragmatic; but handled poorly, it can become rigid, fearful, unemotional, and repressed.

Knowing this is only helpful if you know how you tend to express that archetype’s energy, and figuring that out is, well, the whole point.

What bothers me about this is that discussions of the myriad ways in which these energies can be expressed requires a lot of talk about one sign individually — and to the casual listener, it sounds like we’re talking about Sun Sign Astrology, reducing a person down to one archetype. It’s a small misunderstanding, but it can cause major problems.

After studying the zodiac for a while, you start to learn what behaviors are emblematic for each sign, and you start to find yourself saying things like, “Ha — that’s such a Taurus mindset.” On the surface, to those whose only knowledge of astrology is Sun Sign, they think us fools for making such absurd generalities, when that’s not actually what’s happening.

We’re exploring all the ways Taurus can express itself, but it’s up to you to understand how you express that Taurus energy. No one is just one sign of the zodiac — everyone has all of them, they’re just in different parts of your life and expressed in different ways, some more strongly than others. Knowing what, if any, planets or placements you have in a sign will help you understand how that sign pertains to you.

This is rambling and not-super-well-thought-out, but it’s been bothering me for some time. I imagine I’ll keep coming back to this point in the future, hopefully with better, wiser wording. 🙂