The Role of the Least Aspected Planet in Astrocartography.
Planetary Symbolism in Astrocartography and Transcendental Astrology,
by Robert Couteau.
All text © Copyright 2017 Robert Couteau
Pablo Picasso relocated directly under the line of his least aspected planet–Primary Transcendental Sun–positioned precisely above Paris in its Transcendental Imum Coeli position, where he became the most celebrated painter in modern history.
Tsu Lai fell ill. He lay gasping for life while his wife and children gathered around crying. Tsu Li came to see him and said, “Shhh! Get away from him! Do not disturb the transformation!” Leaning against the door, he said to Tsu Lai, “Great is the Maker! What will He use you for now? Where will He send you? Will He make you into a rat’s gizzard or a snake’s leg?”
Tsu Lai replied, “A son must go wherever his parents tell him to go! East, west, south, or north. Yin and Yang are no other than one’s parents. If they brought me to the verge of death and I do not obey them, then I am only being stubborn. They are not to be blamed. The great earth burdens me with a body, causes me to toil in life, eases me in old age, and rests me in death. That which makes my life good makes my death good also. If a skilled smith were casting metal and the metal should leap up and say, ‘Make me into a famous sword like Mo Yeh!’ the smith would surely consider it an ill omen. Now, if by chance I were being cast into a human form and I were to say, ‘Make me a man! Make me a man!’ the Maker of Things would certainly consider me an ill omen. Now, if I regard heaven and earth as a great melting pot and creation and transformation as a master smith, then where can I be sent and not find it fitting? Thus, calmly I sleep and freshly I waken.”
–Chuang Tsu, Inner Chapters, “The Great Master,”
trans. Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English.
If we view the birth chart as a symbolic portrait of the soul, the question naturally arises: What is the focal point of the horoscope? Over the course of many years of observation, one principal symbol has emerged as the most likely candidate: that of the least aspected planet (LAP).
What follows is a history of this idea, as well as information on how the least aspected planet manifests in astrocartography or in “astro-mapping.” This is presented in a manner that assumes the reader may not be versed in more complex astrological terminology. I have included an introductory discussion of such things as Transcendental Midpoint-Fields; most aspected- or Leading Planet Midpoint-Fields; and Transcendental Intersections (where the lines of the least aspected or Transcendental Planets cross). The biographical case studies in chapter II examine how such phenomena are reflected in the astrocartography of famous (and infamous) personalities.
A reader recently asked: Can you briefly define the least aspected or Transcendental planet (LAP)?
The LAP symbolizes who we are at a core level. It is a planetary symbol of the soul. It represents something essential about what we are meant to do in this particular lifetime: about how this core energy is meant to manifest in the three-dimensional world.
Conversely, the “MAP” or most aspected planet reflects the more superficial aspects of ego-consciousness (rather than the deeper, core level of the psyche). I compare the MAP to an “automatic pilot”: a habitual pattern of behavior. Because the MAP is so heavily aspected, it is often difficult to bring its energies into conscious focus. While the least aspected planet reflects one’s greatest talents and potentials for success, the MAP often symbolizes the principal shadow issues and energetic blockages that we encounter in life.
Most aspected planets signify a tendency to overdo things or to place an excess of energy into something that does not reflect psychic wholeness (our true life-task). The MAP resembles a split-off or autonomous agent: one that doesn’t work in harmony with the other planetary energies or with the central focal point of the psyche. Most aspected planets reflect hyperactive yet useless efforts and expressions of psychic energy, while least aspected planets reflect a more productive and meaningful manner of expressing our creativity.
In earlier versions of The Role of the Least Aspected Planet, I spoke of the LAP as occasionally representing an untriggered energy. Further observation, however, has proven that the LAP is rarely–if ever–untriggered. The LAP is active from the moment of birth (the moment symbolically portrayed in the horoscope). It is the central symbol of who we are and of what we are meant to accomplish. Relocation to the astrocartography line of the least aspected planet will reinforce or further highlight this energy, but a better way of speaking of this is to say that when people are instinctively drawn to living under the LAP line (as they so often are), what we are witnessing is a dovetailing of inner energy (psyche) and outer symbol (astrocartography).
Psyche is a field: one that operates within time and space and between soul and matter. In some way, psyche is reflected in physical matter and the outer world. If this is so (as quantum physics implies and as depth psychology explicitly states), then we carry the LAP symbol internally, just as we personify its essential nature in our outer movements. On the mundane level, this may mean relocating to an area that falls under the line of the least aspected planet. (There is also the curious phenomenon of so many births occurring precisely within such LAP regions. For more on this, see my FAQ: “Psyche as a Field” and “Midpoint-fields / Quantum Fields.”)
The most aspected planet (MAP) often absorbs so much energy that it short-circuits the proper functioning of the horoscope, i.e., the bundles of psychic energy symbolized by the planets. For example, someone with a Leading- or most aspected Moon may be hypo- or hyperemotive and suffer from childish outbursts or from repressions of emotion that prevent him from utilizing the energies symbolized by the LAP. This isn’t a question of the LAP being untriggered (again, an extremely rare thing) but, rather, of the most aspected planet short-circuiting the proper flow of psychic energy. Someone with a hyper-Moon complex will need to learn emotional detachment in order to rein in his Leading (most aspected) energy: to refocus it on the creative tasks symbolized by the least aspected planet.)
Thus, the MAP is “grounded” by the LAP: by forcing the MAP to serve it and to be channeled into tasks symbolized by the least aspected planet, the LAP provides the means through which the MAP learns its proper measure of expression.
This is why I refer to the LAP as the ultimate focal point of the horoscope. All the astrological energies must be channeled through the unifying symbol of the least aspected- or Transcendental Planet.
As a footnote to this, the Secondary LAP will sometimes appear to be operating in an atypical manner. The second-least aspected planet is so intimately involved with the Primary LAP that, although it remains one of the most active energies in the chart, it acts in such accord with the Primary LAP that, to the unskilled observer, its presence will seem negligible. For example, we have a client with Primary Jupiter and Secondary Mars: an energetic man who can work for many hours without interruption and whose strongest feelings of adventure, ambition, and drive are focused on a typically Jupiterian quest for things related to the “codified wisdom of the soul”: the social or institutional preservation of fine art, philosophy, spirituality: the experience of personal enrichment upon making contact with a “soulful” culture. Therefore, his Secondary Mars lends an immense vitality to things of a Jupiterian nature. His Mars manifests in various other ways: dynamic male friendships, an interest in erotic art, a sense of “fighting” (Mars) for what is “ethically” right (Jupiter), a need to “battle” (Mars) within the social-collective so that the soul will be “preserved and expanded” (Jupiter) within yin-oriented institutions (e.g., cultural institutions of higher learning and spirituality such as colleges, universities, and churches). Thus, we have an active and dynamic Mars earnestly applying itself to the soul mission, the latter symbolized by Primary Jupiter.
The significance of these Primary and Secondary Transcendental pairings is further illustrated by their presence in the horoscope sectors or “houses.”1 While the least aspected planet is the symbolic focal point of the psyche, the horoscope house that hosts the Primary Transcendental–the “Transcendental House”–reveals how and where this crucial energy will most dynamically and creatively manifest. Although more research needs to be done regarding this phenomenon, I make occasional references to the Transcendental House throughout this work.
1. Houses: the tradition of dividing the horoscope or celestial circle.
What is Transcendental Astrology? Why have so many of those responsible for cultural, historical, or creative contributions lived near the line of their Primary Transcendental Planet? What is the significance of a Transcendental Midpoint-Field? How is a Transcendental Planet defined, and why is its significance so crucial in the life of the native? How does the Transcendental energy manifest in psychological functions and in temperamental traits? What role does the Transcendental play in precisely timed historic events, and why have astrologers never before noticed its function? Can anyone benefit from relocating to the vicinity of his Primary or Secondary Transcendental Planet?
Meaningful planetary placements: A brief history
“Fame is a result of outwardly realizing a great inner potential for success.” To the extent that this is true, we are left to wonder why some realize their potential for achievement–and attain the fame or notoriety that may accompany it–while others do not, even though they endure just as noteworthy a struggle to accomplish their goals.
The thesis put forward in The Role of the Least Aspected Planet attempts to answer this question, at least from one unique perspective. Relocation astrology–the art of casting a horoscope not for the actual birthplace but, instead, for a desired location–is probably nearly as old as astrology itself.1 Two events in recent history, however, have significantly enriched the tradition.
With the statistical research of Michel Gauquelin, astrology seemed to gain a foothold on the path to recognition as a quasiscientific pursuit. By studying planetary positions in the births of high-achievers (culled from the Who’s Who?), Gauquelin claimed to have discovered a higher-than-average placement of certain planets consistently located in certain positions. These positions were the four key angles of the traditional zodiac: the Ascendant (or the degree of the zodiac rising at the eastern horizon at the moment of birth); Midheaven (or degree of local apparent noon); Descendant (or point opposite the Ascendant, where the setting Sun appears); and Imum Coeli (or “bottom of the sky”: the point opposite the Midheaven, corresponding to the position of the Sun at local apparent midnight.
At the moment of a person’s birth, the planets are each positioned somewhere between these four cardinal points, as visualized from the earth. What Gauquelin seemed to have discovered was that the points corresponding to the four angular demarcations are actually meaningful: that high achievers are born when certain planets are in close proximity to the points. His work seemed to provide a statistical verification of the significance of these four symbolic “portals” of the human psyche. (Whether Gauquelin’s work was truly based on scientific probability or was, instead, based on “metaphoric possibility” is something I will explore later on.)
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IV. Psychic inflation - Summary of Planetary Symbolism - Transcendental Planets
V. Nodes / the Triple-zero Transcendental | Appendices: Orbs / References / Data
Additional Maps | Notes | Bibliography | FAQ
I. Interview in Astrolore | II. Transcendental Nations | III. American Presidents & LAP Saturn
IV. World Events | V. Numinous Consciousness
The LAP as a metaphor of the soul
Zones of Intensity
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