If I told you that I was quite shy as a young child and adolescent, and became more outgoing after moving to California, what would you guess changed in terms of my Ascendant? I think most readers would guess (correctly) that I moved from a water Ascendant to a air Ascendant. In fact, I moved from my birthplace, which had Cancer rising (mother-identified, family very important, retiring) to a location where I had Gemini rising.
This kind of development—or personal compensation—occurs rather often. The careless, carefree individual moves to a different area and becomes more dedicated, responsible, and reliable. The person locked in an ivory tower of intellectualism changes residences and develops more sensitivity and empathy. The insecure individual finds him/herself and gains greater confidence in another part of the country. And so on.
With the mirror of astrology, we can focus on what is most important to us. With relocational astrology, we may choose to emphasize certain parts of our horoscope (because we want certain themes or personal drives to be extra strong or active in that area). We will often compensate for something that has been overdone or overdeveloped by concentrating on a less-emphasized area of our chart (and psyche) in our new location. This can include brief periods such as visits and vacations, as well as longer periods of time.
It is an important topic—and one that is neglected by many astrologers. I’ve seen dramatic cases over the years—both in my mother’s and in my own clientele. And, like all of astrology, its greatest value is helping us to understand ourselves better (all the nooks and crannies of our psyches) and to develop positive expressions for aspects of our nature that have been negative (or not helpful) in the past. Astrology is an incredible tool for transforming lives and helping us gain more happiness and fulfillment.
Since my mother was an astrologer, I sat in on classes when I was eleven and twelve years old. Zip (Dobyns) had been calculating relocated charts for years and years, so I knew that the horoscope for where you are living now can often be as important as your birth horoscope. For clients who had moved any distance from their place of birth, Zip regularly calculated two double wheels: one for the place of birth with progressions in the outer ring (and working with transits from the ephemeris). The second double wheel was a birth chart based on the relocation with the progressed positions (including angles) for that relocated horoscope. (If the clients had not moved very far, Zip put the relocated angles and house cusps in little boxes just inside the birthplace cusps—so she could quickly and easily see both sets.)
Sometimes the current patterns for the relocation were more dramatic than for the birthplace. (And sometimes the birthplace horoscope was more emphatic.) One case was a gentleman who married late in life when progressed Venus reached his relocated Ascendant. Another case was a sudden elopement with transiting Venus conjunct the relocated Descendant. The astrology of relocation reaffirmed the importance of the angles of the horoscope. Over and over again, we would find the Ascendant and Midheaven having strong aspects when significant events were taking place.
One of the greatest gifts I got from my mother was a philosophy that affirmed the positive in life. Her focus was on helping clients to find constructive outlets for all their different drives—even the ones that conflicted with one another. She helped people to see alternatives—and to find positive forms of expression even for the “tough” transits and progressions. So, Zip was not a fan of relocating purely on the basis of astrology, but she did pay attention to how the patterns would change. And, she would discuss with clients what was in high focus in a new location—how they might best work with the potentials in that area.
I only know of one case in which my mother actually counseled someone to move. It was a couple who seemed to have a “folie a deux” where they were living currently. That particular location put Neptune on the Midheaven for both of them. Zip felt that was just too much extra emphasis on motifs with which they were having a tough time anyway. She suggested that they consider moving someplace else.
Some clients had inspirational stories. One moved to a city that put Saturn conjunct her Ascendant—a placement some people would avoid for fear of depression, pessimism, constriction, or heavy-duty interactions with authority figures. This woman started her own business and was hugely successful. (Yes, she did work very hard for it!)
Astrologer Maritha Pottenger
Copyright © 12-31-1969, Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd.
Maritha Pottenger (San Diego) has taught astrology all over the world for 25 years. She is a recipient of the Best Lecturer award from the American Federation of Astrologers, and has been a guest speaker at International Society for Astrological Research conferences; American Federation of Astrologers conferences; National Council for GeoCosmic Research conferences, and United Astrology Congress. She currenlty writes for The Mutable Dilemma (a quarterly astrological journal), mindbodysoul.com and Ziff Davis (Yahoo Internet Life). She also wrote Planets on the Move: The Astrology of Relocation, with her mother, Zipporah Pottenger-Dobyns.