Astrology Secrets Revealed by ERIC FRANCIS

Divisions of a Sign


September 30, 2005


Good day Eric!


Thank you always for sharing your wisdom. I am a little frustrated being at the end of my sign. Every time I read a horoscope, it usually explains how it will affect March and early April born Aries. I also realize how different the March Aries are from the early April ones and the late April Aries, like myself. Can you give me more insight to how a sign, in this case, Aries is broken down into different phases within a sign?


Thank you!







Dear MJ,


It seems we're on a late Aries roll today, as we approach a lunar eclipse in this region of the sky later this month. I know that there are some astrologers who divide up "March Aries" types and "April Aries" types, but I am not one of them. It's true that people can come up with some innovative ways of interpreting the calendar that are surprisingly insightful.


Also, there are a lot of ways that signs are divided using classical techniques. But first, let's handle the "end of the sign" question. This is often referred to as the cusp. From what I have read, signs don't have cusps -- houses do. The division of a sign is a clear line; it is an actual angle that the Sun makes to the Equator. The division of a house, on the other hand, has a nice wide margin of transition where the themes merge and blend. It is based on a calculation, not the location of anything in particular.


It is also true that there are times when the symbolism of being a Sun Aries, but close to Taurus, is too good to miss. There are times when being born the first day of a sign has a vivid image connected with it. There are times when anything can be read as a symbol. However, a good starting point is to consider house cusps as transition areas and signs as more or less clear lines.


[The visual irony here is that in most astrology charts, the houses get the lines drawn in ink, making them seem firm, and you have to use your imagination and follow the numbers to see the divisions of the signs -- making the signs seem fuzzy.]


But on April 17, you're actually not born so close to the edge of Aries. The Sun still has about three days to go before reaching Taurus, so I would hesitate to say that you qualify as an edgy placement, invoking a lot of ideas about what it means to have the Sun in the last two degrees -- various themes of special growth situations which I have found to be meaningful.


This all being said, you are born with the Sun placed in the last "decanate" of Aries (also called a face, a division of the sign into three) and you're also in the last "term" of Aries (a division of the sign into five). So by two methods of reckoning, your Sun is in the last division.


Here is what we learn from that. The divisions are each ruled by a planet. This is a way of assigning an energetic quality to that particular little zone. Now, for reference, these two qualities (term and face) are not used so often by astrologers; and face is used more than term, which is practically a forgotten concept unless you're one of the freaks who likes collecting dusty old books.


The last term of Aries is ruled by Saturn (cousin Yasmin says that Rob Hand once pointed out to her that all the last terms of all the signs are ruled my Mars or Saturn -- which the ancients considered difficult). Since the Sun (the planet you have in that term) and Saturn (the term ruler) are considered rather different energies, this is considered challenging. Also, Saturn is supposedly a kind of opposite energy to the sign Aries. So that's considered challenging -- by the ancient ways of thinking. However, I can think of few energies better for Aries than Saturn, precisely because Saturn offers so much of just what Aries is typically lacking.


As for the face, or decanate ruler, in the last decanate, this would be Venus. When you consider the energies of Sun, Venus, and Aries, how does that add up in your mind? Hmm, it sounds adventurous, a little tense, perhaps a bit self-centered. Venus, according to the old rules, is in its "detriment" in Aries, so there is a comment being offered here.


We are getting a look at why the end degrees of the zodiac are considered challenging.


Here is a little more modern view, quoted from an article I wrote last year called Revolution of the Willing. It pertains specifically to the last two degrees of each sign, but we can borrow something from the spirit of the idea in relation to what we've just read. Begin quote:


Kirsti Melto in Finland wrote to me a few minutes ago about a discussion unfolding on the Finnish astrology list. She said, "Raimo A. Nikula described how there is always a paradox involved in last degrees: they can be not only 'punishing', but also be spiritually very rewarding, because the individual has in his possession the whole extension of the sign. He said that you can't tell whether it's going to be punishing or rewarding only by looking at the chart. The last phases carry the possibility to purify the soul so that new life experience is possible, but first you may have to face those things which rise from the unconscious. He said that he has noticed that it's not the last degree which is the most difficult one, but he thinks it's the degree just before, the 28+ degree."


End quote. Here is the table of Essential Dignities that I am referring to.


I hope this clarifies things rather than makes them more confusing.