Astrology Secrets Revealed by ERIC FRANCIS

Astrology Essentials: Intercepted Signs/Houses


August 19, 2005


Dear Eric,


I have been told I have Pisces rising intercepted by Aries. So my question is: What does this mean? It is frustrating because my printout of the signs, planets and houses does not show Aries or Libra! It shows my Ascendant as Pisces and Taurus as my 2nd house. Where is Aries? Also the other side of my chart shows Virgo as my 7th house and Scorpio as my 8th; where is Libra and what houses do they occupy? I hope you can fill in the blanks for me, so I can begin to learn more about my chart.







Dear RaeCarol,


The fact that Aries and Libra "disappear" into your chart is exactly what is meant by the interception.


Every house cusp goes through a sign. But often, not every sign has a house cusp. This is an interception. I don't know why this word was chosen. It does not seem to have any association with grabbing a football from mid-air.


While signs are all equal measures of 30 degrees, houses are of differing sizes, ranging from about 15 degrees to about 75 degrees (depending on when and where a person was born, and what house system the astrologer uses). In your case, Aries is part of the 1st house, and Libra is part of the 7th. But your chart has no house cusps intersecting Aries or Libra.


House cusps give expression to the energy of a sign. While a sign is a more general principle, a house is a more specific action on Earth. It is a place we live, and act out the story of our lives. Remember: a sign is a more general energy; a house is a specific expression. So when a sign lacks a house cusp, it may not have a particularly easy way to express itself. It's still working under the surface, but it may not be able to express itself easily.


Note that like many things in astrology, interceptions affect an entire polarity (two opposite signs, and two opposite houses), and to read the chart thoroughly, that polarity needs to be addressed in its entirety.


I scan each chart for interceptions as a matter of basic study, and I find very few with no interceptions. So to start with, it's a common property. But it's somewhat mysterious, and interpreting it presents a fun interpretation puzzle in the chart.


Most astrologers who note the phenomenon indicate the intercepted sign with brackets around the outside of the wheel, showing the edges of the sign, as contained within the house. This illustrates how the intercepted sign exists like a separate room within the larger house.


Think of the house cusp as a door into a sign. If a sign is intercepted within a house, there is no door leading to that sign. It can function like a sealed room within the house. There may be planets in there, but they can represent hidden properties that are more difficult to find or to express. The contents of the sealed room become very significant because astrology is almost always about raising what is less apparent to visibility and awareness.


Let's look at your 7th house, the house of relationships, as an example. Notice that while Virgo is on the 7th house cusp, no planets appear in Virgo; but several appear in Libra. One way to interpret this is to look for the ways in which you approach your relationships Virgo style, but the real emphasis is Libra. The four planets in that house certainly play a major role in the way you relate to others, but you're less likely to have access to that material in a conscious way, until you open the door to Libra.


The four planets are Neptune (which is retrograde), plus Chiron, Jupiter and the asteroid Juno, which is about marriage and marriage partners. Do you ever get the feeling that the real properties you seek in other people are locked away in a room that you cannot get into? This set of planets has a long history that's vital to your understanding of that house. One way to check for clues is to tell the story of 1994-1995, when Chiron passed by that region of your chart.


This grouping of Libra planets could have something to do with certain real properties or mental qualities of yourself being locked away in a room: in the form of being Pisces rising (always a bit confining), with Aries intercepted in the 1st house. Aries plays a significant role in your 1st (your identity!) house, but you're less likely to actually identify with it because there is no house cusp to give that sign easy expression.


Now, let's try a move that will give some proposed ideas about what this means for you. Typically, the ruler of the 1st house and the ruler of the 7th house say something about the relationship pattern -- what relationships feel like for you. That is, the two planets ruling those houses may or may not be in aspect, they will each have certain properties, and so on, and these (potentially) illustrate something about your life.


In your chart, there are two sets of 1st and 7th house rulers: the rulers of Pisces (1st) and Virgo (7th); and the rulers of Aries and Libra.


Pisces and Virgo each have two sets of ruling planets. They are Jupiter and Neptune in the case of Pisces; and Mercury and Chiron in the case of Virgo. If you study the relationships between these planets, you will begin to notice things. For example, one planet representing you, as Pisces rising, (Neptune), is square a planet representing your potential partners, or your ideas about them (Mercury, your 7th cusp ruler). Mercury square Neptune has to work for honesty, integrity, and honesty with yourself. It comes, but not always so easily, and the ways in which there are deceptions can be quite hidden and annoying. There can be a Polyanna view of life. Is there some way in which you play the role of idealist in your relationships (Jupiter or Neptune intercepted in Libra), but others play the role of practical realist (Mercury in Capricorn)? Are there struggles along these lines? Is there something else this pattern says to you? Remember -- the chart is made of symbols, and symbols stand for something else, specifically, aspects of your experience. If they show up in the chart, look for them in your life.


Note that both rulers of your Pisces ascendant, the house of SELF -- Jupiter and Neptune -- appear in the 7th house, the house of OTHER. Further they are intercepted in Libra. Isn't that interesting? The planets representing YOU appear hidden in the house of the OTHER. The suggestion is that you have a very strong but hidden identification with the other and which may express itself as a kind of projection, wishful thinking, vicarious expression of yourself, or highly idealized idea of what relationships should be. In any event, if we use the rulers of Pisces and Virgo, we get all kinds of ambiguities, potential for confusion and slippery thinking.


Setting aside whether what I am saying is vaguely relevant to you, the real person (it may not be!), can you see how I'm going about using the chart as an interpretive tool? You can test what I say against your own experience, or make your own images with the chart.


Let's look at the second set of rulers, Aries, your intercepted 1st ruler, and Venus, your intercepted 2nd ruler. In the same way, we're going to take the planets associated with Aries and Libra and see where they express themselves in the chart.


These new rulers present a whole different picture -- entirely different. Notice that Mars, the (intercepted sign) ruler of your 1st house, is in the 5th house, conjunct Saturn in Cancer. That is interesting, all by itself. It gives a whole other picture of you as one less interested in partnership and more interested in creativity, and willing to work hard for it.


The ruler of Libra (your intercepted 7th house ruler), Venus, is in the 11th house, conjunct the Sun. The two are in a direct relationship (opposite). Both are closely conjunct other planets.


But if you look carefully, you will see Venus and Mars are in an extremely close opposition: Mars at 22 Cancer 13 and Venus at 22 Capricorn 05. They are separated by seven minutes of arc!


If I may, I'm going to propose a theory about how you relate to others. It's just a theory and I'm just an aspiring fiction writer, so consider it a made up story if you like.


You know it's your role to be assertive in your relationships (Mars rules Aries and you are identified with Mars). But you are cautious to the point of being reticent. I can tell because Mars is a bit insecure in Cancer, its retrograde meaning it's a little repressed or turned inward on itself, and Saturn is in the 5th house, which tells me you may shy away from taking real emotional risks, mainly because you were taught to as a child (Mars retrograde indicating a past issue). There was probably a time when you were very eager to take risks, but I would guess you got shut down (this is a subject for astrological counseling, the real work).


Venus in Capricorn conjunct the Sun, in the 11th house, is the sign of a strong leader. However, you continually appear to look to others to fulfill this role -- when you're the one who really needs to be doing the leading.


When you don't lead, you tend to retreat into your dreams and ideals, and I would imagine this is when things get difficult for you: as in less than honest, foggy boundaries, and other questions of power, communication and the definition of identity. There are many aspects to this chart that beg the question, "Who is me and who is thee?"


The resolution to this chart, if you ask me, is to live out those Venus and Mars placements in a real way. Look for relationships where the sex roles are clear. They may be innovative, but they will be vivid and definable. Sex roles, including actual sex roles where sex itself is concerned, are the light that will lead you out of the mists of your Pisces rising. In this aspect of life, you may be taking on roles of emotional leadership in rather unladylike ways. So be it. If anyone asks, tell them it's in your chart, or you figured it out from a lot of trial and error -- most likely true.


Which leads to the last theme I'll raise with interceptions, and this is a good generic interpretation that will get you pretty far. You can do all the work of analyzing rulerships like I've done above, and it always helps to look at the planets that rule houses and see what they are saying. But this abbreviated method I'm about to propose will provide you with a great clue for handling interceptions. I discovered it early in my astrological work, with a little help from Barbara Hand Clow.


When you encounter an interception, write down or ask the client to write down a list of things under the heading, "My Greatest Failures." Make it a good long list, or a meaningful one, or a painful one.


Then, when the list is done, cross out the title and write, "My Greatest Successes."


Then look at the themes of the interception, using a technique like I've walked you through above. How does it relate? You'll be surprised.


Catch you next week, and see you over at Planet Waves. New readers to this column will find my near-daily blog, much writing about astrology and a really cool photo gallery with many pictures from Europe and North America.