The question of Happiness in the Natal Chart
São Paulo, April 2013
This article is a translation partially adapted from the last chapter of my new book, The Practice of Medieval Astrology. Many of the techniques were described inside the book, so it is supposed to the reader to have some knowledge on them.
The medieval astrology had a teleological criterion to identify happiness, which means that happiness was linked to the realization of certain goals proper to each creature.
Just as the heart has for purpose to pump blood, it is normal and healthy when it does it adequately. In the same way human beings can achieve happiness by acting accordingly to his own creation purposes. The traditional astrologer is able to delineate these purposes studying the natal chart.
The first thing to take into consideration is that the possession of material assets is unable per se of bringing happiness. However extreme cases of poverty, next to the lower scale of Ptolemy can impede and obstruct happiness.
When we find such difficult conditions they usually go together with a low vitality because of the cadency of the planets and of certain points, especially of the Part of Fortune, which plays an important role in the chart.
Moreover, the very knowledge about the world, values, emotions, and the way to deal with it all,can bring or deny the occurrence of happiness. It is not enough do the right thing or have the right products to be happy. Also it is supposed to have the right attitude in relation to the things we have. Someone who gets angry over little things cannot be happy as someone who does not give importance to trivial things.
Leaving aside extreme cases of poverty, in order to cover the majority of ordinary people even in humble level, we all have a role to play in terms of our own talents and abilities.
Such talents are seen in the delineation of the Professional Significator, an especial medieval technique that looks for a planet which is the responsible for the native´s natural skills (see Ptolemy “The quality of Action”, Tet. IV.4 ).
Work in a field that has everything to do with one´s inner talents is a factor that enables happiness. In our society frequently people are forced to change jobs in order to survive even not perform ong their own skills, and this is for sure something that prevents happiness in the modern world.
The astrologer is not frequently sought for advice about who the native is or in order to give orientation of how to live life to feel better .However looking to a chart the astrologer can see if the native will be happy during his whole life, if he will pass through bad periods and stages of unhappiness, if he will be unable or unwilling to overcome them and also know if a nativity is prone to every conceivable misfortunes but through wisdom will be able to achieve balance and learn to live well in certain kind of environment.
We learned that Medieval astrology was not preoccupied with psychology and this is true, because in those times did not exist any room for individualistic purposes. But it is not true that Medieval astrology would not be able to use psychology or, saying in other words, to sink deeply into the native´s soul and into his mind, being able to give important opinions to improve mental health.
There were several protocols for analyzing happiness in a natal figure as for example having strong and angular benefics not afflicted by the malefics, luminaries in good places, etc. If benefics and the lights were weak and declining from the angles and the malefic planets were stronger by placement, the central areas of life would be full of struggle and difficulty.
The protocols of the differences also give testimony about happiness because even if biological life is maintained because of the development of science the natives pertaining to the first differences are not able to reach the fulfillment of life. As a matter of fact, the study of the tradition referring to lenght of life remains important, since if the source of life is vigorous, the nativity has structural basis to support and transcend the existential setbacks and accidents.
Generally speaking in order to know if the chart is prone to happiness or not the medieval astrologer looks at the following areas:
The 1st House shows the body and health and therefore some provisions and talents. By outlining the temperament we use the primitive qualities of the Ascendant sign, its ruler or almuten and planets aspecting the Ascendant. Weighing such qualities is one of the ways to discover the native´s temperament, i.e. if we are dealing with a sanguine, melancholic, phlegmatic or choleric person. So we come to know how the native reacts, whether he tends to be social, sad, happy, angry, depressed, etc.
Moreover, Ptolemy and Schoener used to look at the planet with more dignities in the sign of Mercury and Moon, Abu Ali at the planet with more dignities in the Ascendant sign and Lilly at the significator of manners.
In Medieval astrology, the delineation of the native´s psychology was made from Mercury (rational soul) and Moon (emotions, irrational soul). One of the attributes of human beings is rationality: usually, in the old tradition this meant to have strong rational faculties (manifesting as honesty, intelligence and power to do a good judgment) in harmony with the emotions.
To go further the classical authors also considered the role of a particular planetary significator, the Almutem Figuris.
Plato suggested in his dialogue Phaedrus that before the incarnation each individual soul was in the service or following one of the gods, set out as a planet derived from the procession of deities of heaven. According to his myth, this association with a particular god manifested itself in human life in terms of certain needs and attitudes, but in our earthly darkness and ignorance often we are unaware of the origin of these attitudes.
This idea is reflected in the calculation and delineation of the Almutem Figuris, a powerful planet in the natal figure, a spirit or angel linking the native to the divine. The Almutem Figuris affects the native´s thoughts, beliefs and character. The spiritual enlightenment may require us to open our eyes to this particular planet.
The Lots or Arabic Parts also can give us an idea of who is the native, if he has faith, if he is optimistic or not, if he is haunted by enemies, if he is quarrelsome, talkative and social, if he likes his family and partners, if he is lucky enough to receive support in his actions and has friends,etc.
All this kind of considerations and the techniques cited above can contribute for the question of happiness and can give an idea of who the native is.
Summarizing what has been said above, to find happy persons we have to look for those who even having some obstacles, have an emotional balanced life, a benevolent soul, a good health, being able to fulfill their own roles and social responsibilities successfully. Moreover, if this nativity is bathed by some principle of spiritual order this fact contributes to happiness.
Hundreds of Psychological Types
Combining these astrological techniques we can find hundreds of psychological types, and just to illustrate: imagine a person who belongs to a very low socioeconomic level (declining or afflicted lights, for example), an angry response level (choleric temperament), great talent for art (Venus as professional significator), a bad balance between the appetites and the reason(Mercury-Moon) and a belligerent tendency (Mars as Almutem Figuris).
Such combination of attributes are clearly part of an astropsychological delineation and they can describe an unhappy person, not because the native is poor, but because of the unfortunate amalgam of the personality traits.
After all, to proceed with the analysis of happiness, which is a psychological analysis, we must examine the Primary Motivation, a modern technique defined by Robert Zoller who learned it from his teacher Zoltan Mason. It is not exactly a technique described in the tradition, but it does not go against the classical principles, being merely a way to use them practically in order to know the utmost motivation in the native´s life.
The Primary Motivation is sought from the element and mode of the Ascendant sign. It is said that the masculine signs have initiative to reach their goals. The passive signs instead have as characteristic the need that something occur in order to satisfy their needs. Masculine signs are defined by the word “ go” and the feminine ones by the word “need”. The first ones act in the world and the second ones are passive. The Primary Motivation do not change in all the native´s life and not reaching it, as in the case of having the Ascendant rulers declining, is a recipe for unhappiness, since that the PM moves the native during all his life.
Depending on the house where the planet responsible for the realization of the Primary Motivation falls, we can say where the native performs or not the basic purpose of his life.
According to the conventional understanding of happiness, all people need money, friends, a balanced mind, etc. to be happy.
But people also have traits, goals and needs that are specific and individual. Besides the techniques cited above, the delineation of the Primary Motivation is a powerful tool, helping the astrologer to know deeply the native´s personality.
Therefore traditional astrology is not indifferent to the native´s psychology. Rather, it is able to assess the personality and character, and by delineating the Primary Motivation it turns into a very useful tool in counseling, since that it is evident that a native will be unhappy if he is unable to accomplish it through the ruler of the Ascendant.
Taking into account the Moon and Mercury, the Almutem Figuris, the temperament, the Lots and the Primary Motivation the traditional astrologer has in hir/her hands much information for , eventually advising about other paths to realize the Primary Motivation, even if the domicile and exaltation lords of the Ascendant are declining. Other ways can be disclosed by the triplicity and term lords and even by the decan´s lords: this can be important to the client´s whole life.