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Role of the Least-Aspected Planet in Astrocartography:
the nature of the Transcendental Energy:
of Plametary Symbolism:
Introduction to Transcendental Planets:
Travel, and the "Triple-zero" Transcendental:
biographies and events:
Least-Aspected Planet as the Spiritual Raison d'Etre:
Presidents & LAP Saturn:
the “Trigger Effect”:
LAP as the Focal Point of the Horoscope:
Rob Couteau in Wikipedia:
astrocartography essays on:
Elizabeth B. Browning
Richard E. Byrd
Arthur Conan Doyle
Queen Elizabeth I
John F. Kennedy
Robert F. Kennedy
II Kaiser Wilhelm
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Couteau in Wikipedia:
I. The Least Aspected
Planet as the Spiritual Raison d’Etre:
Interview in Astrolore magazine1
Congratulations on your recently published research into the role
of the least aspected planet in astrocartography. This is set
to be a “landmark” and has already generated massive
interest. Can I begin by asking you about the implications of
Couteau: The question that The Role of the Least Aspected
Planet raises is: how can a renowned intellectual or a famous
writer have almost no natal aspects to Mercury; a world-class
inventor have Uranus as a least aspected planet; or a well-known
philosopher, such as Nietzsche, have almost no traditional aspects
to Jupiter? Also, why those who have made such significant cultural
or historical contributions so often done so under the astrocartography
lines of their least aspected planet?
Astrolore: Explain the nature of the underaspected planet.
Couteau: Traditionally, least aspected planets (LAPs) are
believed to symbolize an unintegrated or “on-off”
togglelike expression of energy. My research, however, illustrates
the opposite: the least aspected planet is a primary psychological
symbol that helps us to realize what we are meant to accomplish
in our life. We can often see how this operates in the biographies
of highly accomplished people. Birth, travel, or relocation under
this line enhances the manifestation of the least aspected or
Transcendental energy. The symbolic qualities associated with
the planetary principle in question will manifest in the forefront
of the personality and in the professional life. In astrocartography,
locations under the Primary Transcendental line point the way
to “destined” encounters, yielding a larger social,
cultural, or historical significance.
Astrolore: How did you begin your research?
Couteau: For my initial research, I focused on very important
cultural contributors. If we study the research of Michel Gauquelin,
we see that really exceptional historical figures have an even
higher-than-average incidence of certain planets in angular positions
than do historical figures who have contributed less significant
things to society. In other words, while each group rates as statistically
higher-than-average, the really exceptional, legendary personalities
exhibit an even higher incidence of angular planets. Such figures
interest me, because I believe their contributions are rooted
in more than just personal sources. They are destined to accomplish
their work through what might be called inspiration or grace.2
Astrolore: The “hand of destiny” seems to be
strong in the lives of such people. Is the underaspected planet
the astrological signifier of such acts of grace?
Couteau: The least aspected or Transcendental planet seems
a likely candidate, for several reasons. With ordinary people
and, especially, with those who realize their potential in extraordinary
ways, the Transcendental principle symbolizes the precise form
of spiritual yearning: the spiritual raison d’être of the
person in question. In other words, it signifies a point of numinosity
in the psyche. How else to account for the fact that writers such
as T. S. Eliot, Herman Melville, and Bertrand Russell all have
least aspected Mercury and Venus–the “creative writing”
combination–or that personalities embodying a grave, overburdening
sense of social responsibility–such as Eleanor Roosevelt,
Harry S. Truman, and Simone de Beauvoir–were born with
a least aspected Saturn? (Among American presidents, LAP Saturn
and LAP Pluto occur with a higher frequency than any other planets.)
And time and again I found LAP Sun (which rules nearly mythic
fame) in such unlikely “least aspected” candidates
as John Lennon, Charlie Chaplin, and the ever more mythic and
dramatic John F. Kennedy. There are many other examples. Eventually,
I realized that the Transcendental planet represents a modus
operandi for wholeness.
The quest for
psychological growth is meaningfully reflected in the astrocartography
symbolizes. Transcendental experiences–events of the most
central import in a person’s life–often occur under
the rising, culminating, setting, or apparent midnight positions
of the least- or second least aspected planets. When these planetary
lines appear in proximity to each other, they create fields over
significant geographical locations. I refer to the combined effect
of such energies as Transcendental Midpoint-Fields (TMF). They
often play a role in helping us to realize our potential.
Astrolore: How do such energies manifest psychologically?
Couteau: The two least aspected planets, besides indicating
a locational plexus, portray the essential personality and the
principal motifs in the psychological portrait. For instance,
in the case of Nikola Tesla, we have “the inventor / of
wireless communication,” “the intellectual / of electricity.”
His Uranus / Mercury Transcendental pairing aptly portray his
life, his principal accomplishments, the manner in which his mind
worked and how he created. Another example: there’s a quotation
in Hunter Thompson’s book, The Proud Highway, on
Jack Kennedy that beautifully sums up J.F.K.’s Primary Sun
/ Secondary Saturn Transcendental pairing: “He had a capacity
for backing off and watching himself perform, and later commenting
on what he’d seen and heard ... He seemed like the only
man who knew what was happening.” This illustrates a perfect
combination of drama (Sun) and reality (Saturn)! To use a darker
example, Adolf Eichmann, in charge of the deportation of the Jews
to the gas chambers, was born with Secondary Mars and Primary
Transcendental Pluto, illustrating a horrific potential for “energizing
/ forces of mass destruction” (Mars / Pluto).
Astrolore: Are Transcendental active in the astrocartography
of mundane events?
Couteau: Historic events often yield significant Transcendental
patterns. During the secession of South Carolina, which triggered
the Civil War in the States, Mars / Pluto formed a Transcendental
Midpoint-Field over the American states that were principally
involved in the war: thirty-two of the thirty-four United States.
The two excluded from the Transcendental field–California
and Oregon–were the two that remained relatively uninvolved
in the war (because of their distance from the conflict). In the
Civil War, the Mars / Pluto Transcendental pairing symbolized
an “aggressive, violent, militarily directed / social and
Astrolore: What’s your system for gauging the aspects
a planet receives?
Couteau: I use a three-point system for gauging traditional
major aspects, minor aspects, and aspects to the Midheaven and
Ascendant. I followed the aspect orbs suggested by Robert Hand
in his Horoscope Symbols. Hand is widely respected in the
field, and so I thought: here’s a baseline that most of
us can more or less agree with. (I only made a minor adjustment
with a couple of minor aspects, which I explain in my book.) Everyone
is free to experiment with their own system. I found that this
was the one that worked the best.
Astrolore: It’s surprising there’s so little
literature on underaspected planets.
Couteau: Underaspected planets have been largely ignored
or, at best, given scant attention. Bil Tierney’s book
on aspect analysis is an exception, and I relied on it when writing
about Transcendental Astrology. But their positive and singular
role in determining the life goal and in symbolizing our central
psychic orientation has never before come to light. Now, I hope
this will begin to change.
us to achieve balance and wholeness, the symbol of the least aspected
planet posits to our true or future personality. That’s
what the underaspected planet represents. A spiritual yearning
directs us toward a distant, future goal; we seek what we are
becoming. What we seek isn’t yet fully conscious or understood
or worked out or resolved. And that’s why it’s so
exciting–we’re giving birth to an unknown something,
and that something is the undiscovered Self.
do that without some help from “above” or “below”–or
wherever “it” is. That’s why I chose the term
Transcendental. This planetary principle symbolizes a psychic
energy that links our conscious talents and concerns with something
largely transpersonal or transconscious. It forms a bridge: a
means of transcending dualism, of transcending an either/or position.
Carl Jung often wrote about the tertium non datur or “reconciling
third.” In other words, a means of standing above opposites
and of establishing an entirely new ground or plateau, and upon
that level we find the new horizon of the Self.
This is precisely
what the Transcendental symbolizes: a focal point in the psyche,
through which opposites are joined in a transcendent union. Again,
this would only be possible if there was something deep within
us that transcended a mere ego structure: and the linear experience
of a specific, personal life. That’s why I speak of inspiration
or grace: these are the means through which the Transcendental
principle manifests in three-dimensional time and space. The Transcendental
portrays a key symbol that we must personify on this journey.
Astrolore: What about overaspected planets?
Couteau: These symbolize either hypo- or hyperactive psychic
tendencies that interfere with a proper psychic balance or wholeness.
Often, they lead to compulsive, hubristic behavior. The overaspected
principle may be a bit dangerous, especially later in life, because
it represents tendencies that we’ve relied on too much:
habitual behaviors that tend toward one-sidedness. Such planets
symbolize aspects of consciousness that we have compulsively depended
upon. Therefore, in geographical terms, they point to geographic
areas where we may overreach, become inflated, and suffer a fall.
I compare the most aspected planet to an overcharged circuit that
may short-circuit, especially when we relocate to an area under
examples: Hitler’s second most aspected or Secondary Leader,
Saturn, was positioned over western Russia, where he overreached
and suffered his penultimate defeat. Leading Planet Intersections
signify regions that are especially challenging. Amelia Earhart’s
most aspected or Leading Moon and her Secondary Leader, Pluto,
formed such a Leading Planet Intersection near the location of
her final disappearance, indicating that she had there overreached
or had in some way overestimated herself, resulting in “emotional
turmoil / and death” (Leading Moon / Secondary Leader Pluto).
Astrolore: Where’s your research taking you in the
Couteau: My next project is involved with the study of
Transcendental Nations: planets that are least aspected when a
particular nation is officially formed.
It’s interesting to think of a country with a longed-for
spiritual goal; often, spirituality is seen as a purely personal
Couteau: Nations thrive for as long as they embody their
spiritual principles. I don’t mean spiritual as “religious”
per se. I refer here to the Zeitgeist or “spirit that moves
us.” When transcendental patterns outlive their usefulness,
it’s time for a new “Transcendental Nation”:
a new symbol with which to portray the future personality of the
Just as with nations,
the same principle is involved in the creation of human life.
We embody a transcendental principle. Eventually, when we’ve
done all we can to embody and to serve it, then we outlive our
usefulness to that energy and we seek, through death, to incarnate
a new transcendental portrait: a new life.
Astrolore: Thank you for sharing what I’m sure will
quickly become recognized as an extremely valuable contribution
to the field of astrological research.
Couteau: Thanks for inviting me to participate in Astrolore.
1. The complete transcript
of the interview is reproduced here for the first time. It was
originally published as: “Underaspected Planets & Astrocartography:
Introducing Transcendental Astrology. An Interview with Robert
Couteau.” Astrolore. The Astrology Magazine (Poole,
UK). Sep. 1998, pp. 36-41.
2. “One is least
related to one’s parents: it would be the most extreme sign
of vulgarity to be related to one’s parents. Higher natures
have their origins infinity farther back, and with them much had
to be assembled, saved, and hoarded.” Nietzsche, Ecce
von Franz: “Pregnant women very often dream that in
the realm of the dead, things guard them. For instance, threads
or materials are guarded and enter them and make the child. Now,
if you want a rational, reductive interpretation, you can say,
‘Yes, obviously. That’s the genetic substance from
the dead ancestors ... and in the woman it is now weaving a child
... a new child in her body from the body of millions of dead
ancestors....’ That’s if you take it purely reductively,
But there seems
to me to be something psychologically equivalent.... I have been
amazed by such dreams of pregnant women, that a child is conceived
or fabricated–motifs of weaving, of manufacturing something
in the realm of the dead, the realm of the ancestors, and which
is now, through the womb of this woman, going to enter life. It
is as if the woman were instrumental in bringing something out
of the land of the dead back into life, in a wider sense than
just the biological explanation.” Marie-Louise von Franz,
The Cat. A Tale of Feminine Redemption, p. 48.
symbols of the Self, collective symbols of the Self, wear out.
Religions, convictions, truths, they all age. Everything that
has been talked about too much and which has for a while ruled
human society is deficient in the sense that it ages. It becomes
mechanical, too well known, a possession of consciousness.
People feel that by knowing about it they have it…. But
if the highest values wear out, if they lose their shattering
numinous quality, then naturally there is a great danger. And
that’s why, for instance, keeping taboos degenerates into
simply keeping formalities without seeing any meaning in them.
One is no longer moved by the myth which is behind every taboo.
‘Oh, that damned old story again, I’ve heard it twenty
times. So what!’ That again comes from this negative quality
of human consciousness in that it becomes blasé; it becomes the
owner of truth, and if you can own a truth, if the truth does
not own you but you own the truth, then the situation is the wrong
way around. That is partly a deficiency of human consciousness
and another part is naturally that human situations change. That
is the inner reason for the renewal of the kingdom, of the need
for the renewal of the kingship.” Ibid., p. 24.
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Nodes / the Triple-zero Transcendental
Interview in Astrolore
American Presidents & LAP Saturn
The LAP as a metaphor of the soul
Zones of Intensity
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