written and posted in 1996, but significant revision and expansion
of content March 11, 2009)
you're hungry for a little info regarding the ever illusive astrological
Vertex and its interpretation? Well... you've come to (or rather
stumbled into) the right place! It would seem there's not much
good, solid info that's ever been written about the Vertex...
you found this popular Vertex article via Google - and it's your
first experience traveling with me - then I'll warn you that I'm
an irreverent iconoclast with a warped sense of humor.
Intro Vertex Remarks
In 1996 I chose to moniker the astrological Vertex with the nickname:
"Destiny's Gate"... it feels nice being responsible
for the coining of a term... even when it's only the relatively
obscure astrological Vertex.
to the dictionary, the Vertex is: "the summit, the highest point
reached in the apparent motion of a celestial body or other points.
Taken from the Latin - vertere, meaning 'to turn.' "
the horoscopic chart, the astrological Vertex is calculated as
being the point located at the intersection of the Ecliptic (path
of the Sun) and the Prime Vertical, a plane that divides the celestial
sphere into front and back.
If none of that mumbo jumbo chart calculation stuff makes any
sense, then don't worry too much about it. It's primarily here
for those few certain pesky eggheads (who are generally greatly
offended by my referring to them as pesky eggheads) that might
possibly know what to do with it and/or like to think about such
order to aid you in more fully understanding what the Vertex potentially
represents, you'll have to first bear with me as I discuss what
I call the primary Incarnational Axes.
Incarnational Axes – "Openings to Transcendence"
Through the passing of years I came to the conclusion that there
were three primary "incarnational" chart axes that tend
to be of foremost significance when looking at any type of chart.
And we're all, of course, rather familiar with these three incarnational
three primary (and familiar) incarnational axes are the:
Ascendant/Descendant axis - magnetic axis
• the Midheaven/IC axis - gravity axis
• and the Lunar Node axis - karmic (or fate) axis
have had experiences of the soul’s transcendence since
time immemorial. Yet we continue to wonder...What do these experiences
prove? Do they offer a genuine vision of reality, or are they
only products of human imagination? Are they rooted in human
desire, in the wish for immortality, in projection?
are certain special moments in life, call them “openings
to transcendence,” when we confront a symbol and see reality
much as the Unconscious (according to Jung) sees and regards
it [reality] all of the time. At this level, the psyche knows
no difference between spirit and matter. They are identical.
Figures from both dimensions of reality are experienced as woven
of the same threads.”
excerpt from Jungian Analyst and author Dr. Murray Stein’s
lecture on "The Reality of the Soul" 2000
word transcendence comes from two Latin words: trans and escendo.
Trans literally means "across." Escendo means "to
climb." So transcendence literally means "to climb across."
As Dr. Stein explains: an opening or signal to transcendence allows
us "to climb across" the artificial division between
spirit and matter.
astrologically, the incarnational axes of the birth chart act
as entry points or (put another way) as “openings to transcendence.”
These astrological “openings to transcendence” are
sensitive to all the various planetary symbols: the Sun, the Moon,
Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.
Did I forget to mention that I later decided there is a fourth
incarnational axis that I now look at and consider...
The Fourth Incarnational Axis
The astrological Vertex is actually part of a two point axis
comprised of the Vertex and Anti-Vertex... and
as a chart axis... if your Vertex is located in 10 degrees of
Scorpio, then your anti-Vertex is located in 10 degrees of Taurus.
like all self-respecting incarnational axes, the Vertex/Anti-Vertex
axis generally functions as a "gate," "funnel,"
or "transcendent opening" into the astrological chart.
Vertex/ Anti-Vertex axis is for good reason (that
I'm about to explain) also nicknamed the Electric Axis.
astrologers have devised fascinating distinctions between the
Vertex and the Anti-Vertex, with the Anti-Vertex generally having
the more negative and/or lessor effect. In practical experience,
I haven't noticed much of a difference.
to the "nature of the beast" - in any astrological chart,
the Vertex is normally found lurking around in either the 5th,
6th, 7th, or 8th house.
In Astrology (the Nitty Gritty)
So anyway, based on the astrological Vertex being located on a
"turning point" in your sky chart, it then probably
has something to do with "turning points" in
your life. It does. Based on it being located in the 5th through
8th houses, then you can also bet it quite often has something
to do with "meetings of people." Again, it does.
Here's my personal astrological rule of thumb definition
of the Vertex: the astrological Vertex is a sensitive
point on the chart (any chart) that during unusual, extraordinary
times feels like an electric, fortunate "turning point"
or a meeting with "Destiny's Gate."
mentioned above, all self-respecting axes function as "gateways,"
"funnels," or "openings" into the astrological
chart. As such, when a birth (natal) planet is conjunct your birth
Vertex/anti-Vertex axis it may typically add strength to this
planet's placement and its potential efficacy in your life.
practice, the Vertex often feels like a compulsive, yet
fortunate experience and meeting up with destiny that you couldn't
avoid (even if you wanted to). According
to Bill Meridian (Mountain Astrologer, June/July 2001),
astrologer, Charles A. Jayne who (along with Lorne Johndro) first
proposed using the astrological Vertex, "felt this point
was fated and that it represented matters beyond our control."
was Johndro that nicknamed the Vertex the "electric ascendant."
Here's how I typically use the Vertex (and the anti-Vertex):
Gate can (among other things) be:
person (and how they effect you)
in synastry, the most effective when another person's natal
Sun, Moon, Ascendant, Midheaven, Venus or Mars conjuncts your
natal Vertex or anti-Vertex. I've gotten a wee bit stingy
in my old age - and I only (90% of the time) use conjunctions
when looking at the Vertex and anti-Vertex. Also, the slower
a planet is... the more narrow my orbs tend to get when looking
at cross aspects with the Vertex and anti-Vertex.
time (when you meet a special person)
when a transiting planet conjuncts your birth Vertex or anti-Vertex.
Careful What You Wish For
Through the years, I've discovered that it's a whopping big
mistake to overly romanticize the Vertex and/or the people
that it brings into our lives. In this regard, I especially like
what my good friend Aussie astrologer Judy Crichton Weeks has
to say about the Vertex. In a nutshell, she feels that the Vertex
is a "relationship" point and a "wish fulfillment"
point. When the Vertex is involved, we may get exactly what we
wished for, but then again we might (or might not) get it in a
You (like me) may feel as if you've literally "wished"
this destined meeting with a person into existence. However, later
on (after everything's said and done)... she... er, I mean...
"Destiny's Gate" may not feel quite as "fortunate" as
you originally thought! Okay?
destined meeting often fills one up with the sense of needing
to bring something (or someone) to "completion." As
often as not, a Vertex person can complicate your life. You may
even find that you simply can't "let go" of that pesky
Vertex person (maybe for years or even decades) until the "business"
between the two of you is finished and/or somehow felt to be complete.
Boring Word Of Caution
here's where some I'm going to lose some of you...
previously mentioned, the Vertex is a sensitive point on the chart
(any chart) that during unusual, extraordinary times
feels like a fortunate "turning point" or a meeting with
folks first discover the Vertex, they usually go a little "hog
wild" with it! It seems like most us assume anything and
everything about us and our chart is going to be unusual
and extraordinary. It's not and we're not.
yes, there are those "unusual, extraordinary" times when
the Vertex (and/or the Anti-Vertex) on a chart gets "lit up" and
becomes very powerful. Then, it seems, that in every subsidiary
chart cast (in relation to that original chart) - the Vertex is
equally strong and "lit up."
then, there are plenty of other times when it (the Vertex) ain't
doing a blessed thing... there are plenty of times when (for example)
the transiting Sun or Venus is going to pass over your birth chart
and you're not about to meet a new and exciting lover (and/or
you're not going to come into easy money). Other times... it may
mean exactly that.
one small concrete example:
My birth (natal) Venus is closely conjunct my birth (natal) Vertex.
As such, I've gotten involved with two of the life changing (and
gut wrenching) "loves of my life," almost exactly at
the very moment the transiting Sun and/or Venus was passing over
my birth (natal) Vertex and/or anti-Vertex.
problem is that the Sun and/or Venus have also fortunately, once
each year, each passed over my birth (natal) Vertex and anti-Vertex
(so far, 108 some other times) when I didn't meet one of the life
changing (and gut wrenching) "loves of my life."
times that the Vertex did wisk someone significant into my life...
there was, of course, lots of other major stuff going on in my
chart and in their charts (including, in one case, where the transiting
North Lunar Node was exactly conjuncting her birth North Lunar
Node at precisely the moment we laid eyes on each other - and
that "puppy" only happens once every 18.5 years or so).
the example of the Sun or Venus passing over one's birth Vertex
and/or anti-Vertex generally appears to serve as a minor transit
that sometimes acts as a trigger for another more major transit,
secondary progression, and/or solar arc.
For all those folks who prefer and need solid, firm (1, 2, 3)
definitions of astrological points and symbols that you can always
dogmatically count on and use - the Vertex is going to be downright
frustrating and elusive. Questions arise, such as: "How do
I use it?" "How do I know when to use it?" "How
do I know when not to use it?"
I'm glad that it frustrates and confuses you. You may actually
be on the verge of learning something very important about the
true nature of astrology and artfully working with living, active
Chart Axes Rundown and Recap
Ascendant/Descendant axis is nicknamed the
Midheaven/IC axis is nicknamed the Gravity
Lunar Nodes axis is nicknamed the Karmic
(or fate) Axis.
finally the Vertex/ Anti-Vertex axis is nicknamed
the Electric Axis.
where she also discusses the subject of the Vertex and ever
so cleverly (and aptly) intuitively links it with the mythology
of the Roman god Vertumnus and nymph Pomona. Darn... but Kim's
Cycle of the Lunar Nodes in Individual Charts -
Part 2 of Dane Rudhyar's article "How To Interpret the
Lunar Nodes" at the Rudhyar Archival Project.
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