A little explored area of astrology is reading conjunctions as a means of explaining all aspects.
The conjunction is the beginning of a cycle, and any aspect, no matter what it is, grew out of the last conjunction that occurred between those two planets.
Here is an example: I have Mars at 0 degrees 24 minutes Virgo and Neptune at 10 degrees 30 minutes Libra. So they are just about 40 degrees apart — a novile aspect. Noviles are aspects of the future, that is, the interaction of the two planets is something we are developing in this lifetime, something we are growing into, moving toward.
When I check in the ephemeris to see when Mars and Neptune were last in conjunction, what I do is go back to the last time that Mars was in Libra. When I do this I find that at that time Neptune was in about 7 Libra, and in fact it was in that degree — 7 Libra — that Mars and Neptune conjoined. The Chandra and Omega symbols for 7 Libra are, on the surface, very different from each other. the Chandra symbol is “A group of old ladies gossiping excitedly,” and the Omega symbol is “The Great Wall of China making a huge shadow.” I favor the Omega symbol, since the Chandra symbol seems trivial. But whenever a symbol seems trivial its important to look more deeply into it to see its cosmic implications.
The old women of the Chandra symbol are finding stimulation through imaginatively entering into the lives of other people. It feels to me that the way they bounce information and ideas off each other needs focus. Otherwise this activity could be just random and negative. At best, though, it can become a meditation on human nature and life, an activity of speculation that leads to insight and a deeper awareness of the workings of desire.
In the Omega symbol the Great Wall must be being seen at dawn or sunset, when the sun would be low in the sky and hence casting a huge shadow. To me the Great wall is a tremendous symbol of trying to shut something out, and of seeking protection. At night the shadow grows bigger and bigger. At dawn it starts to grow smaller and as the Sun rises it shrinks more and more.
There is something in this symbol about limits that is very important. The old ladies can’t really know all that is happening surrounding those people and events about whom they’re gossiping. Their knowledge is limited, but can be filled in by speculation. The greater a limitation the more potential it has of creating darkness.
The reason I chose this Mars/Neptune aspect in my chart is that I am currently experiencing transiting Neptune opposing my natal Mars. With these extremely slow moving transits involving the outer planets it can be very helpful to go back to the natal chart and study the original relationship between the two planets, for this will help you to see what the person is learning from the transit.
I very much feel, now, that my own personal and psychological limits are looming large in my mind — larger than every before. And like the old ladies, I’m thinking and thinking and doing much speculating. We might say the old ladies are “chewing” on information. That is what I feel like I’m doing. And there is this huge wall in front of me, which represents my biggest psychological blocks, and I am seeing how those blocks have overshadowed me for a very long time.
What to do? What I feel is that the wall needs to be respected. Its there for a reason. And, ah yes, it now comes to me, I’m trying to invade new and unknown territory within myself. I am needing to climb the wall and explore what’s on the other side. And to do this requires a refining (Neptune) of my ability to assert myself (Mars). Neptune always forces us to access our intuition. And so when I act (Mars) I am being forced to not just think endlessly about the rightness and/or wrongness about what I’m doing — not get caught up in all the inner gossip, but am needing to let that pure, inner Neptune voice guide me over the wall and into these new lands.
This is an instance of how the degree symbols can and will unfold if you allow yourself to be with them, allow them to sink into you and work their magic in your psyche.