by Carol Willis
This article is an introduction to astrological midpoints and how I use them.
Midpoints are an advanced technique, but even beginners benefit from an overview of the subject and can plant the seeds now to grow into using midpoints in the years ahead.
WHAT IS A MIDPOINT?
A midpoint is not a physical entity like a planet, but is a logico-mathematical point of significance in an astrological chart.
A midpoint is the midway point between any two planets or other astrological factors such as moon nodes, asteroids, angles, vertex point, part of fortune, Uranian
("transneptunian") planets, etc.
There are usually considered to be 2 midpoints between any two astrological factors: a) the near midpoint, and b) the far midpoint. The near midpoint is the nearest or closest midway point between the factors, and the far midpoint is the farthest midway point between the factors. The near and far midpoints are thus in exact opposition to each other.
For example, the near midpoint of the Sun at 15 Scorpio and the Moon at 15 Capricorn is 15 Sagittarius. (The far midpoint is therefore at 15 Gemini.)
If two factors are in exact opposition, which is quite rare, we could consider both midpoints as near AND far. For example, if Venus is at 0 Aries 00, and Pluto is at 0 Libra 00, either 0 Cancer and/or 0 Capricorn could be used as midpoints. This circumstance is so rare that I've never seen it happen, and by using precise calculations we can usually determine which is the true near midpoint.
In actual practice with regard to midpoints, I use only:
1) NEAR MIDPOINTS,
2) CONJUNCTIONS of planets and angles TO midpoints, and
3) a 1-DEGREE ORB.
The use of near midpoints and conjunctions only may not be a universal practice among astrologers, indeed both are controversial, but I will admit to the practice keeping me more sane personally and professionally than the more detailed approaches that tempt us to go overly "mental." In astrology, sanity counts for a lot, and we need all the sanity we can get. :-)
There's a lot of information we can get from midpoints, especially in retrospect after circumstances unfold, but at some point we have to know when to quit, when to stop-cease-and-desist. Knowing when to quit astrologically is high art. :-) Know when to hold 'em, and when to fold 'em. Buy low, sell high. In other words, a couple of well-chosen midpoints go a long way.
We can calculate all of the near midpoints in a chart after selecting which factors we want to include, then place resulting midpoints onto a table called a "midpoint sort" for easy reference. Professional astrological calculation software are a marvel at creating near-instantaneous midpoint sorts.
2 popular midpoints sorts:
1) Midpoints are sorted in ZODIACAL ORDER from 0 Aries through 29 Pisces, which allows you to see which midpoints are conjunct the degree of your Ascendant, for example.
2) Midpoints are sorted into a GRAPH or MATRIX with selected factors running along the top side and left sides, which allows you to easily find your Saturn/Pluto midpoint, for
A MIDPOINT shows the convergence or relationship between two archetypal factors in the chart. The weight or importance of each factor is symbolicly equal at the midpoint, and the two are perfectly blended, balanced, and EMPHASIZED at the midpoint. A full range of manifestations is possible with each midpoint just as with the various aspects. Here is where I allow a midpoint to "speak" to me in any given moment or situation, for the purpose or question at hand. If it doesn't speak to me, I don't speak about IT - just a personal rule of thumb. Yes, midpoints can be a useful intuitive or prophetic tool or mnemonic device.
I sometimes look at a midpoint as the "child" of two other planetary factors who are its "parents." The child is the "next generation" of unfoldment and possibilities. As such, midpoints may subtly whisper a prophecy or exhortation about the future that cannot be denied as time and experience unfold over the years, especially when exactly on the ASC or MC, or just into the 1st or 10th houses. Indeed, midpoints in key places can turn out to be major landmarks and signposts along the path. Perhaps we can better learn to use them wisely and earlier rather than simply acknowledge them after the fact? Wisdom borne of experience needs to be the driver, rather than an artificial sense of urgency to comment. If one or two midpoints really speak to us in a chart, this can be just the right amount of seasoning.
MIDPOINTS vs. ASPECTS
How is a midpoint different from an aspect, which is also a mathematical relationship between two astrological factors?
The most obvious difference is a different kind of mathematical CALCULATION to discern a midpoint vs. an aspect.
With regard to INTERPRETATION, aspects purportedly show certain KINDS of relationships between the factors, but in my aspects article or chapter I note that those kinds of relationship do not always play out in the ways traditional astrology has indicated. Indeed we see at times quite the reverse of what we have been led to expect. What we usually end up getting is a range of manifestations of the aspect over time.
Interpreting an aspect can be similar to interpreting a midpoint, with respect to a combination or blending of what each planetary factor represents. With aspects other than the conjunction, more than one house is usually involved, and these houses can enter into the interpretation. With conjunctions, just one house is normally involved. Likewise with the location of a midpoint, ONE HOUSE serves as the residence of that single point. Further, conjunctions in a house ALSO have their near midpoint in the same house, thus
acting as a double whammy, underscore, or extra emphasis, which is perhaps part of where conjunctions get their power.
We can do advanced synastry (comparing one person's chart with another) by looking at conjunctions of Person A's planetary factors to Person B's midpoints, and vice-versa.
I recommend including the Vertex (VTX) point at every turn of this process, as the VTX acts as a secondary descendant and has a lot to do with relationships and attractions, possibly even karma between persons. I routinely include VTX in midpoint sorts.
In actual practice, using midpoints in relationship analysis and fine-tuning is something that astrology students and professionals are more likely to do over the years in mulling over their own lives rather than for clients, as the level of detail with midpoints can quickly become overwhelming, and thus becomes effectively useless if done extensively or exhaustively. Also the mulling is mostly speculation and research. However, noticing one or two midpoints in counseling a relationship in crisis, in addition to other astrological and life factors can be very useful and not overwhelming - here midpoints can be likened to adding a dash of cayenne or a twist of lemon, or like ringing a miniature crystalline bell.
STUDY EXERCISES - Keep an astrological journal for notes as you do these exercises.
1. SUN TRANSITS TO NATAL MIDPOINTS. Print out a midpoint sort for your natal chart in zodiacal order from Aries to Pisces. Observe the transits of the Sun over each midpoint, conjunctions to natal midpoints (1 degree orb) as the Sun "lights up" the each midpoint in turn each year. The transiting Sun symbolizes to me the soul's desire for experience in present time, and its transits to the natal midpoints can be as windows into new levels or dimensions of life-experience. This exercise not only is a kind of map of personal growth for the year, it also is an exercise in subtle observation and the study of midpoints.
2. MOON TRANSITS TO NATAL MIDPOINTS. When a major life circumstance occurs, especially those of emotional impact, or unexpected, see where the transiting Moon was at the time and which natal midpoint(s) it may have conjoined. Here we will often see a need to react, respond, use instinctive intuition, protect self or others, and other lunar themes as they play out in moments of present time. This is a curious study owing to its complexity, only really practical to do in retrospect or after the fact, but in so doing we learn more about the nature of planetary triggers and synchronicities.
3. MIDPOINTS IN HOUSES. When you study the houses of your chart, notice which midpoints fall into a particular house. When you consider a set of midpoints in a house, do any planets really stand out? Does the set of midpoints being in that house speak to you in any way? Write down any observations or realizations that come to you as you consider midpoints through the houses of your natal chart.
4. In an EVENT CHART, look at midpoints on and very close to the angles, and Conjunctions of key planets and midpoints. A key planet would be the planet(s) that represent the theme of the event. The Moon and angles represent the immediacy of the event.
In doing the annual Sun transit exercise above, you'll begin to develop your own theories, interpretations, "pet" or favorite midpoints, and may cultivate particular days out of the year to pursue activities related to certain midpoints.
Many astrologers favor the Sun/Moon midpoint, and Venus/Mars midpoint for life integration and romance respectively. I have not been able to substantiate their enthusiasm for the above midpoints in connection with the alleged results.
My favorite midpoint is the Saturn/Pluto midpoint - I call it an "initiatory" midpoint, having to do with opening the door of the soul of the prepared aspirant to spiritual initiation, direct encounters with God/Spirit.
Saturn/Pluto also seems to have a lot to do with good and bad karma, and karmic testing, especially in synastry. I recommend doing a mini or full retreat on the 3 days surrounding the transiting Sun conjunct the Saturn/Pluto midpoint: the day of the exact conjunction, and one day on either side of the exact conjunction. Follow a simple, orderly, beautiful, devotional, inquiring and contemplative path at this time, leaving much of time for solitude and spontaneity. These 3 days each year are outstanding for vision quest, ideal for teens age 16+ who passionately seek spiritual awakening and understanding to be initiated. Uses of classical and traditional music, drumming or other percussion instruments such as piano, yoga, and being alone in nature may be helpful to create a suitable context.
My favorite midpoints in synastry are conjunctions to the Ceres midpoints for care and comfort, and the Vertex midpoints for special relationship connections.
In a natal chart, I especially like to look at midpoints on the ASC and MC, and just into the 1st and 10th houses, regarding talents and expression (1st) and fame, career, and/or professional reputation (10th).