Alignments and Phases: Part I

Category: Measuring History Essential Concepts
Published Date
Written by Tony Dickey Hits: 2552

My most strident criticism of present day astrology is too much of it misses the forest for the trees. In this case the trees are planetary alignments; the forest is the period between alignments, the phases.

Alignment versus Ingress

For definition, an alignment is a longitudinal angle or transit between two or more bodies. An ingress tells us when a planet enters a sign. Across much of the 20th Century ingresses dominated mundane astrology. A planet entering a sign was supposed to signal a shift in energy or direction. I once held strongly held this belief, but less so now. I think it still has validity, but not enough work has been done to catalog ingresses to history. Hard aspects,quadrature alignments to some, can replace the ingress model. The quadrature alignment model—Rich Tarnas calls it Archetypal Astrology provides a much richer map of history. Each quadrature alignment resonates to every other and the entire cycle, providing a more robust view of history. 

Why Hard Aspects?

basicwaveHard aspects are 0, 90, 180, 270 or 360 degrees are also known as quadrature alignments. They get that name because they arrive at quarterly points of the 360º arc. In terms of reading history mundane astrologers should prefer them. Unlike the soft aspects 60, 120, 240 and 300 degrees, quadrature alignments depict a distinct shift in state or direction. At the Vernal Equinox, 0º, the days and nights are of equal length; same thing at 180º, the Autumnal Equinox. Where they differ is after the first day of Spring day hours increases, the opposite of Autumn. Equally important, both equinoxes imply states that appear at the soltices, the longest and shortest stages, respectively. Thus, description at one hard aspect describes every other one; one describes the entire process or cycle. In theory, this dynamic applies to every planetary cycle. In theory, we can determine what will happen throughout a cycle by knowing what occurs at some of its hard aspects or quadrature alignments. I do not think you can say that about planetary ingresses.

Alignments versus Phases

wave-orbit-comparison-seasonsWhat many mundane astrologers miss is how a quadrature alignment inaugurates a season or a phase. A Vernal Equinox describes more than equal  night and day hours. They also imply the features of Spring, showers, flowers and allergies, etc. At the Winter solstice we expect shorter nights and higher precipitation in northern climes. Thus, a solstice or equinox, the sun in hard aspect to itself, indicates not only a shift in day/night ratios, but what we can expect during the season or phase it inaugurates. If the quadrature alignment model works, the same dynamic among operates among synodic pairs, the cycle defined by longitudinal alignments between planets.

Phase Dynamics

Relationships between alignments and phases work similarly, but differ in that alignments are static, phases are dynamic. Alignments indicate an exact point that does not change. Phases describe the change that happens between alignments. 


Phase Details

  • 1st Phase-0º-90º: seed moment to first test: new concepts emerge and develop to an initial test of validity
  • 2nd Phase-90º-180º: first test to full realization of what concept means
  • 3rd Phase-180º-270: full realization to full implementation of concepts
  • 4th Phase-270º-360º (0º): full implementation to relinquishment

This arrangement is easy to describe by a familiar synodic pair cycle:the apparent relationship between our moon and sun:

  • lunar wave
    1st Phase-0º-90º: New Moon to First Quarter Moon (has the moon disappeared?)
  • 2nd Phase-90º-180º: First Quarter Moon to Full Moon (there's the moon and we get an idea of how a cycle develops) the moon gets fuller until it reaches full illuminated
  • 3rd Phase-180º-270: Full Moon to Last Quarter Moon depicts the reverse of the first phase
  • 4th Phase-270º-360º (0º): Last Quarter Moon to New Moon. Second phase repeats in reverse as moon “disappears”

In a couple days I will detail how this plays out among outer planet synodic pairs, the ones that match best the scales of history. It will help you see history in away most historians cannot: holistically.