Ever since I first opened Derek and Julia Parker's book The Compleat Astrologer, I have been fascinated with the patterns formed by planets in astrological charts. One of my first astrology teachers stated definitively that it would be a mistake to become dependent on the aspect lines drawn on charts, and I happen to agree with that assessment. Nevertheless, the patterns in charts reveal a higher level of relationship among the energies of the planets. When three or more planets merge their energies in a pattern, they reveal the personality of the individual and we can anticipate the timing of major events in that person's life more easily.
People are fascinated by the patterns in everything. We marvel at the neat spiral patterns of the seeds in a sunflower, the near-perfect five-pointed patterns of apple seeds in the cross section of the fruit, and the varieties and styles of handwriting and print script. We observe the patterns formed by clouds and predict the weather. We use the pattern of DNA to unravel the mysteries of genetic inheritance. Patterns are everywhere! I have found that my clients are fascinated by the patterns of lines in their charts. Not only that, they recognize that their own patterns follow them, even when the pattern is highly unusual in some way.
Some of the patterns in my book have names that describe their fundamental qualities. The Bowl indicates the potential for containment; the Locomotive foretells movement of a specific, directed type; the Seesaw suggests a particular type of mental balance between different perspectives. Even the non-astrologer can observe these patterns that consider the entire chart.
Other patterns interweave the energies of specific planets, and some of these patterns also have names. The T-Square, for example, is named after a carpenter's tool that describes a 90-degree angle, and this angle is at the heart of the T-Square pattern. The Kite pattern reminds me of a paper kite that has two sticks to help hold its shape. The Star of David involves six planets equally spaced around the chart, forming two triangles.
For me, one key to in-depth astrological interpretation lies in understanding these two kinds of patterns that reveal psychological tendencies. Even infants show us personality traits that are consistent with their charts.
In over thirty years of professional astrological consultation, I have encountered only two charts that did not contain readily visible triangles or other patterns of lines. They defied interpretation in many ways. The individuals were somewhat contrary and skeptical of anything outside their personal views of the world. When I began to study the minor aspects, I found the patterns in their charts that I had initially missed.
The basic reason that astrological patterns work, in my opinion, is that they show where planetary energies flow, and they describe the quality of that flow. If the flow is difficult or virtually non-existent, the pattern may reflect difficulty in moving from one life experience to the next. If the patterns suggest a striking imbalance of any kind, then the personality will usually show imbalance in unique ways.
I do not believe that chart patterns indicate psychological dysfunction, although they may explain certain behaviors in neurotic or psychotic individuals. Rather, I have found that the patterns show where your interests tend to flow, where your emotions tend to take you and where your intellect focuses. A seemingly difficult pattern could indicate your psychological tendency to overcome problems in a certain way, and thus could reflect useful habit patterns. A seemingly easy pattern could show that you take life as it comes and therefore fail to strive for perfection.
When I teach students who are new to astrology, I introduce the patterns and then the details. Once a pattern is identified, showing how the energy flows, then I look at the specific planets involved to see what energies are involved in the flow. The pattern describes the style of interaction, and the planets describe what is interacting. Some of you naturally gravitate to the factual details of the planets' placements in signs and houses, while others can intuitively grasp the patterns more easily, and then gather detailed information. By having both resources at your disposal, you can understand a chart in far greater depth, and you can therefore discover more creative choices for yourself or your clients.