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Choosing the Right Chart

Choosing the Right Chart

I grew up in New Orleans. When most people think of New Orleans, they think of the French Quarter. Many visitors to New Orleans never leave the French Quarter. And yet the French Quarter represents less than a half percent of the size of the city. If all you know of New Orleans is the French Quarter, you don't really know New Orleans.

Astrology has the same problem.

When most people think of astrology, they think of natal astrology, which focuses on a unique birth chart. Natal astrology can provide a lot of answers, but only to the right kinds of questions. If all you know of astrology is the natal chart, then you don't really know astrology. 

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How to Build Dispositor Trees [Video Blog]

How to Build Dispositor Trees [Video Blog]

A dispositor tree is a diagram of a chart that shows the hierarchy of rulerships. It literally maps out who reports to whom, and functions as an astrological organization chart. It only takes a minute or two to create a dispositor tree, and they can often give you a key insight into how to approach the chart interpretation.

However, you can't interpret a dispositor tree.

The position of a planet in a dispositor tree does not suggest the importance of the planet in the chart. 

This video is all about dispositor trees. I'll explain what they are, and show you how to create one. But most importantly, I'll talk about how to use them.

Recent Comments
Anne Kelly
Kevin, Thank you for a great video! Which is more relevant, or stronger, or useful: the ruler of your ascendant (say, Mercury) or... Read More
Sunday, 21 August 2016 16:49
Kevin Burk
Anne,Terms like "relevant," "stronger," and "useful" only have meaning in specific contexts. In a natal chart interpretation, you'... Read More
Sunday, 21 August 2016 17:21
Anne Kelly
Thank you so much, Kevin, that is so helpful. And thank you for reminding me of the importance of context. You guessed correctly:... Read More
Sunday, 21 August 2016 17:27
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Sex in the Natal Chart: Where to Find It

Sex in the Natal Chart: Where to Find It

I was recently teaching the lesson in The Real Astrology Academy Online Natal Astrology Class when I introduce the houses. When I got to the 8th house, I reminded my students that the 5th house is the house of sex and love affairs, and commented that the only sex that belongs in the 8th house involves an extensive leather wardrobe and safe words.

I've always liked that joke. But then one of my students commented on it, and I started to realize that it's not, in fact, remotely accurate. More importantly, it's not remotely practical. I realized that there is no situation where you would ever look to the 8th house for information about a sexual relationship, no matter how adventurous or unconventional that relationship is.

And the worst part about this was I realized I could no longer tell that particular joke.

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Steve Jobs: An Astrological Portrait

Steve Jobs: An Astrological Portrait

Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple Computers, was one of the pioneers of the modern computing age. Jobs transformed our relationship with computers into something deeply personal and human. While his professional accomplishments and vision continue to shape the future, we continue to be fascinated by the question of Steve Jobs, the man. His management style was famously aggressive; he was demanding and unreasonable, and required excellence from everyone. His personal life was complicated by his strained relationship with his first wife and daughter. And yet, as we will see, Jobs struggled with a significant split between how he experienced his authentic Self, and how he was perceived by the world.

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How to Say “I Love You” With Lumber: An Astrological Guide to Finding the Perfect Gift for Your Romantic Partner

How to Say “I Love You” With Lumber: An Astrological Guide to Finding the Perfect Gift for Your Romantic Partner

Valentine's Day is fast approaching, and with it the annual panic that comes with having to find the perfect gift for your romantic partner. No other gifts are quite so tricky. Birthday gifts and holiday gifts can be whimsical or practical, and sometimes even a card is sufficient. The Valentine's Day gift, however, must convey the depths of your feeling, the breadth of your passion, the strength of your commitment, and, if the florists and jewelers have their way, the majority of your paycheck.

The Valentine's Day gift, in short, must be the very embodiment of love and romance.

The challenge is that love and romance don't mean the same thing to everyone. The traditional Valentine's Day gifts of flowers, candy, romantic dinners, and lingerie are not universal symbols of love and affection. And the wrong gift can create unexpected challenges in your romantic relationship. 

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Claudia Previn
I've seen this mismatch in action -- and experienced it myself. This is such worthwhile information about how to appreciate one's ... Read More
Monday, 01 February 2016 13:36
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Free Will and Mercury Retrograde

Free Will and Mercury Retrograde

Recently, a popular astrologer sent out a popular newsletter where he proclaimed that the sky is falling. Apparently, this newsletter contained some dire predictions about the upcoming Mercury retrograde period. I say "apparently" because I don't follow this astrologer; however many of my Facebook friends do, and they were only too eager to warn everyone about how awful this upcoming Mercury retrograde will be for everyone.

No doubt you can expect garbled communication, missed connections, technical difficulties, traffic, travel delays, errors and omissions, lost luggage, electronic gremlins, and extended time on hold waiting to speak to a poorly-trained technical support person. These are all significant because, as you well know, these events only ever happen when Mercury is retrograde. The rest of the time, life is blissfully free of any disruption or inconvenience.

Oh, wait. It's not.

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Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail (Unless You’re a Capricorn)

Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail (Unless You’re a Capricorn)

The New Year has many wonderful traditions: parties with friends, champagne toasts, the big countdown, and, if you're especially lucky, a midnight kiss. But there's one New Year tradition that I'd like to abolish: resolutions. 

Every year, billions of people set goals for themselves at the start of the New Year. We make promises to ourselves to change our behavior, make better choices, and improve our lives. And if any of those promises survives intact through Valentines' Day, it's a miracle. 

Why is it that almost all New Year's resolutions fail? Astrology has the answer — and it's all about timing.

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Five Reasons Your Birth Chart Can’t Call You Gay

Five Reasons Your Birth Chart Can’t Call You Gay

Regrettably, one of the more frequent questions I get asked is some variation of, "How can you tell someone's sexual orientation from the birth chart?" I say regrettably because the short, and entirely accurate answer, "You can't," rarely satisfies anyone. It never satisfies astrologers who have their own pet theories about the "gay aspect" or the "gay signature" in a chart, and I've just about learned not to engage in those debates. At least not directly. 

I was hoping to bury this particular land mine in one of the other articles I'm working on about understanding and defining the context of astrology. Alas, this specific issue has come up three times in the past week or so — twice in two different "Ask Kevin" questions, and once in an email exchange with another astrologer — and that's the kind of coincidence I've learned to notice. 

It is not my intention to make anyone wrong, and I'm also not invested in changing anyone's mind about this subject. It is my hope that I can provide additional context and information about certain beliefs, which, in turn, may shift your perception about what they mean. I'm doing my best not to piss anyone off. Unfortunately, most of us have difficulty distinguishing between "In light of this new information, you may choose to reconsider your position," and "You, personally, are wrong, and therefore, you are a complete idiot."

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What to Do If You Discover the Birth Time Is Wrong

What to Do If You Discover the Birth Time Is Wrong

Eventually, it's going to happen. You'll spend hours preparing a chart, and then you'll discover that you've got the wrong time of birth. And the looming question is, "Can this chart be saved?" 

Watch the video to learn what changes when you adjust the time of the chart. It might be a minor inconvenience, or it could be a major catastrophe.

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When Is Astrology Not the Answer?

When Is Astrology Not the Answer?

There's an old saying, "When you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail." Broadly, it means that when we're skilled with a particular tool, we tend to use that tool in every situation, without considering if it's the right tool for the job at hand. Most people encounter this when dealing with health issues. A surgeon will almost always recommend surgery to fix any problem. Surgery is the right tool for many health issues, but it's not the right tool for every issue. If you break a finger, you want a doctor who will put it in a splint, not one who will schedule you for an amputation.

Hammers are powerful, versatile, tools, but not everything in the world is a nail. Astrology is also a powerful, versatile tool, but it's not the right tool for every situation. Not everything in your life is a nail.

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Limited Possibilities: Cultural Context in Chart Interpretation

Limited Possibilities: Cultural Context in Chart Interpretation

One of my students in the Chart Interpretation Forum explored the idea that Mae West's chart seemed to point to a career in politics. West's chart suggests a tremendous amount of charisma and a need to express her individuality in a very big, extroverted way. And when you also include West's Mars in Aquarius in the 10th house, which seeks to take humanitarian action in a very pubic arena (and which is also heavily involved in West's identity and personality), it does indeed suggest an inclination towards public service. Whether that career in politics would be distinguished or successful is another matter entirely. West's strong personality also carries a strong 12th house emphasis, which brings up self-sabotage and hidden enemies; plus, her Mars is retrograde, which suggests resistance and backlash surrounding her public actions. On reflection, this describes a typical career in politics, including the scandals and public humiliation.

Everything about this interpretation was astrologically sound and well argued. There was just one problem: it was virtually impossible.

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The Outer Planets: It’s Not Personal

The Outer Planets: It’s Not Personal

I've noticed that many astrologers seem to take the outer planets personally, and this is a huge mistake. The outer planets are extremely important; however, you have to understand what they represent, and how they function in the context of the natal chart. Most astrologers have a general understanding of how each of the outer planets expresses. What they lack, however, is the context that allows them to incorporate this information in specific, practical ways in a natal interpretation.

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