by Garth Allen, American Astrology [reprint in 12/74]
So entangled in details are we most of the time that we often overlook the ore useful broader patterns for chart interpretation. Quite inadvertently, some time ago, we came to a realization that the people we knew or knew about whom we greatly admired or envied had a tendency toward birthcharts with natal plants monopolizing one of the three horoscope "grounds." From a colleague comes yet another word of verification that this generality holds true in everyday practice. Why not try making this experiment too, for the fun of it as well as the enlightenment it is sure to impart?
Take from your file the horoscopes of all the people you personally know, or know much about, and tabulate the "ground" positions of every planet. Now, by ground we mean the house-classification whereby the cusps themselves are the centers rather than the boundary markers of the houses. For example, the 3rd house extends from the middle of the 2nd to the middle of what is ordinarily called the 3rd. The foreground consists of the 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th houses viewed in this manner, the angular cusps defining their true centers.
The middleground areas are the 2nd, 5th, 8th and 11th houses, while the 3rd, 6th, 9th, and 12th zones comprise the collective background of the horoscope. It is this matter of using the cusps as centers instead of commencers that raises doubts about the applicability of the familiar terms angular, succeedent and cadent for the grounds. Common usage has so corrupted the definitions that a new terminology is probably called for. Still, when this department uses the expression angular for instance, we mean foreground, and we will continue to do so until someone comes up with an acceptable phrasing.
Having tabulated all the natal planets in the array of your friends and acquaintances' charts, circle or mark those of the people you honestly deem most worthwhile knowing, best balanced, least prone to think the worst first, instinctively more understanding about human foibles, and so on. In other words, which of the scores of souls in your collection have superior personalities, are mentally healthy? In these evaluations try to eliminate the bias of loyalties, and the pressure of stereotypes, so that you don't automatically overrate your best friends, favor those agreeing with you politically, and unduly compliment your pastor who may be a hit in the pulpit, but a pariah to God. In cases hard to judge, let their psychological stature be your guide, observing the old axiom that big people talk about ideas, average people talk about things, and little people talk about... people.
Having ample entries, and of course good judgment of character, you should see a pattern of comparative ratios emerging as you count the totals of planets in the fore, middle, and back categories. The middleground boasts a greater proportion of the planets of your preferred personalities, doesn't it? This would seem to indicate that it is advantageous to have a planet, either benefic of malefic it matters not, in the middleground rather than angular or cadent. Why this should be so is not clear to us yet, but it probably arises from the fact that angularity means over-emphasis, and cadency, weakness. It is comparable to the use of the medical suffixes "-osis" (too much, an excess) and "-penia" (too little, a depletion), if we may be permitted to repeat a Pow Wow Corner metaphor used a couple of years back. Succeedency strikes a happy balance, hence is naturally conducive to better mental health as a heritage from the horoscope. Note that we are by-passing the traditional rulerships of the houses as a plausible clue, for this could lead us too far afield and, besides, we are concerned here with personality, not eventuality.
Succeedent-type people seem better able to take things in stride than those with most planets herded toward one end of the horoscopic spectrum. They suffer less wear and tear from life's more taxing experiences and react more thoughtfully and gratefully to life's blessings, resulting in personality patterns the rest of us wish we ourselves, our kids, and our coworkers might have. It is remarkable how much commotion a succeedent-heavy individual can survive. Anyway, try the experiment, and keep in mind the value of looking at the broader patterns of a chart before you tackle the lesser items riddling it.
Middleground Characteristics (Garth Allen)
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- Jim Eshelman
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