Five Major Asteroids
Astrologers today commonly use 5 asteroids: Chiron, Ceres, Juno, Pallas Athena, and Vesta.
Chiron is known as the "wounded healer," and there is often one or more major wounds or traumas around the sign and/or house of Chiron in a person's chart. There can be decades between such wounds, so no one can afford to be complacent in these areas. Getting over the wound or trauma may involve realizing one's spiritual identity beyond worldly personality and ego, winning at a soul level while losing externally, and only later over time coming into one's own authority in the world in a particular subject area or niche. Chiron by conjunction in relationship synastry can bring great attraction and common interests, then sudden, inexplicable and bizarre reversals - the potential for mutual growth is enormous if the parties don't destroy each other and themselves in the process. Chiron very close to the Ascendant in relocation charts can be severe in health matters, and unduly problematic when tightly close to the other angles as well.
Ceres is largest of the major asteroids, and had to do with nourishment and nurturing, helping to bring comfort. Ceres like a combined Taurus/Cancer/Venus/Moon influence. Ceres is nearly always auspicious in no matter what configuration we find it. Ceres conjunctions and midpoints in synastry enhance the quality of any kind of relationship due to the desire of the Ceres person to provide comfort, patience, and unconditional love to another. Ceres in relocation astrology points to places to raise or work with children, grow gardens, or be involved in agriculture.
Juno asteroid relates to marriage, partnership and collaboration. Like Venus, Juno by sign can tell us some of the qualities one prefers in close associates, and by house, where and how we're likely to find these people. Juno conjunctions and midpoints in synastry provide points of attraction and greater likelihood of long-term collaboration. Juno in relocation astrology points to places where potential partners and collaborators reside or are "from" (where they were born, grew up, or lived for a long time).
The asteroid Pallas Athena has to do with wisdom, intuitive development, a balance of intuition and logic, strategy, science, the genetic code and biotechnology. Pallas may also deal with sexual intimacy among women, as seen by aspect and synastry.
Vesta asteroid is the "keeper of the flame," guardian of the truth and other spiritual and cultural values. Vesta is of special importance to "old souls" who have a sense of mission and purpose, who "hold the space" or "create a context" for what is of great value. In synastry, Vesta is a comfortable hearth of gentle warmth and good feelings. In relocation astrology, I've observed that old souls like to be on their Vesta local space or MC lines, feel a sense of mission and purpose there, as well as a warm fuzzy enjoyment of the little things in life.
Miscellaneous Astrological Factors
An astrological chart is in the shape of a circle with 12 pie-shaped sectors. The 12 sectors or wedges are the "houses" of your chart, what I call "the areas of human concern" such as: self, home, partner, career, friends, children, and much more.
Having no planets in a given house doesn't mean nothing is going on in that area of life for you. To get clues to that area of life, we use the ruler of the empty house, its house position, sign, and aspects. Of course, all of this is related to the Sun, which is the focal point of your chart. Your chart is a whole pattern, integrated by your consciousness, ethics, and your soul's desire for experience.
There are different house systems for determining how many degrees are in each house of a particular chart. The Koch house system has become very popular among American astrologers in the last 10-15 years, though Placidean system is still popular in the U.S. as well. Equal House system is common in Great Britain, and Campanus system is used in the Scandinavian countries to handle higher latitudes there. Additionally, there are other, less commonly-used house systems.
The Ascendant (also known as the rising sign) is the sign rising in the east at the time of your birth. The Ascendant is calculated based on: 1) your full date of birth, 2) exact time of birth including a.m./p.m., and 3) location of birth (city/state/country).
The Ascendant or rising sign has to do with how you appear to others, what people first see about you, your outward personality, your image, your "calling card" in the world, how you project yourself, something about your physical features and body, and often shows natural gifts and talents that are easy for you to further develop.
The Midheaven (Medium Coeli or MC) is the highest point, the point at the top, of an astrological chart. The Midheaven sign and the ruler of the Midheaven, may give clues to your career, public reputation, and relationship to those in authority. The Midheaven (as "end-of-the-matter" in 7th house relationship questions) and MC midpoints deal also with close relationships and their outcome.
The Descendant is on the far right of the chart, at the 7th house cusp, opposite the Ascendant. The Descendant has to do with relationships, the "other" in life. Marriage or business partners, open enemies, opponents, and/or the general public can be represented by the Descendant or ruler of the Descendant.
The Vertex Point:
The Vertex point is found on the right side of the chart, and has been called an "unconscious Descendant," and is a very sensitive point having to do with relationship and partnership matters. Another person's planets conjunct one's vertex can be highly significant in a relationship. Vertex midpoints in synastry also pertain to the nature of close relationships. Conjunctions to the Vertex and Vertex midpoints in synastry often have a "karmic" feeling about them.
The Nadir (Imum Coeli or IC) is the lowest point in the chart, the 4th house cusp. It could in some sense be considered the "bottom line" of the chart, and its sign and ruler say something about what helps the person to feel secure in the world, what helps them feel like they belong, what they need to be comfortable in the world. The Nadir and/or ruler of the Nadir very often point to a successful career focus as well, even though we normally associate career with the MC and 10th house.
The Part of Fortune:
The Part of Fortune is not a planet, but a mathematical calculation based on the position of your Ascendant, Moon, and Sun. The Part of Fortune acts similarly to a Jupiter influence by sign and house, giving support for the activities of that house.
Planets at 0 or 29 Degrees of a Sign:
The 29th degree always brings a great fullness of whatever that sign represents. For example, Venus at 29 degrees Pisces would have compassion, intuition, refined aesthetic sense, spiritual and romantic love. I find the focus is very much on the sign in question, in this example Pisces, and then when the planet goes into the next sign by transit or progression, there is a big burst of energy, a mini-explosion into a new area, a new way of being.
Planets at 29 degrees and at 0 degrees are very powerful, one in an experienced, confident, even masterful way, and the other in a fresh, innocent, and impulsive way that demands attention.
Now in a natal chart, the 29 degree planet will likely progress to 0 degrees of the next sign fairly soon after birth, so both influences operate. The person still has all the 29 degree sign experience for the course of the lifetime, yet branches out and moves into the new sign as well, giving lots of possibilities since adjacent signs are quite different.
Later, the planet may progress into yet another sign, which adds even more richness and complexity to the way the person creates his life. We pick up so much experience and perspective as we go along, this makes for a very rich lifetime if we can appreciate it.
Planets on the Cusp:
A cusp is a point marking the ending of one sign and beginning of another, or the ending of one house and beginning of another. You may hear people speak of their Sun sign as "on the cusp," for example on the border or cusp of Libra and Scorpio. If the person has not had his chart professionally calculated, he may not know what his Sun sign actually is. He is one Sun sign OR the other, but he may speak out of ignorance, and may have been told he has qualities of both signs because his Sun is near the cusp. I disagree with this interpretation. If a person has his Sun near a cusp, I say he has qualities of both signs only if he also has planets in the other sign in question, for example a Scorpio who also had planets in Libra. See also notes on 29 degree planets above.
Transits and Progressions:
Astrologers update a chart with transits and progressions, meaning they add present-time information to your natal chart to show major trends, growth, opportunities, challenges.
Transits are where the planets are in present-time and how they relate to your natal chart (birthchart). Astrologers look mainly at "major transits" of the slow-moving planets (the outer planets in our solar system) when placing transits on your natal chart in order to view major trends.
Progressions are a mathematical calculation only, yet reflect major trends or directions in life. The progressed Sun shows major soul cycles, staying in a sign for 30 years. A progressed planet changing sign reflects an opening or breakthrough in the way you do things or approach some aspect of life, and signals the closing of a door on an earlier chapter of life ("been there, done that") and the opening of an entirely new chapter of life. The progressed Moon moves around your chart at about one degree per month, staying in a sign for 2 1/2 years, and shows an area where you have a lot of psychic attention at that time in your life.