Your external new year

While your natal ascendant is significant throughout your life, it does progress one degree per year. This progression shows how your view of life and way of relating to the world continues to evolve.

This change over to the next degree happens at the same time every year. This is your external new year and it shows when you start a new focus for how you look at life. To find out when it happens you need to do a little bit of math. It’s easy though.

If this feels stressful to you, skip it. There’s so much to learn about astrology and as you’re learning, take in what feeds your curiosity and lights you up.

For the daring, let’s continue.

One degree = 60 minutes

One year = 12 months

One degree per year = 60 minutes per year.

That’s the same as 5 minutes per month. So your ascendant progresses 5 minutes per month.

Look at the minutes of your ascendant, see how many minutes to get to the next degree and divide by 5. That gives you the number of months. Add that to your birth month and you have your external new year.

Let’s ballpark some examples:

Example 1: Say you were born in January and you have 14 degrees and 28 minutes on the ascendant (doesn’t matter the rising sign)

With 28 minutes on the ascendant that means it takes 32 minutes to get to the next degree. Divide that by 5 and you get about 6 months. Add 6 months to January and you get June. Your external new year is early summer.

Example 2: Say you were born in November and you have 10 degrees and 15 minutes on the ascendant. It takes 45 minutes to get to the next degree (60-15=45). Since 45 divided by 5 is 9 we add 9 months to November and get August for your external new year.

Example 3: Say you were born in July with 18 degrees and 44 minutes on your ascendant. You’ve got 16 minutes to the next degree. That’s about 3 months. Your external new year is October.

karmicastrology on Instagram

💫 In this post we are looking at your external new year based on the ascendant. It is one of three annual cycles that show in your progressed natal cart. The other two are based on your sun and midheaven.

💫 We’ll get into how the others are calculated and what each progressed degree means another time. For now, looking at when your ascendant makes this annual shift can help you to see why starting new projects seems to be easier certain times of the year and harder at other times.

💫 About a month or so leading up to the shift is a great time to come to closure on projects versus starting new ones. It doesn’t mean you can’t start something new near the end of a cycle, it means that you have more momentum towards closure than new starts.

It’s a great time to finish things up, make decisions on stuff you’ve been mulling over, clear the air with people, clear out clutter, purge, and gear up for a new year.

💫 Try not to get hung up on a specific date. You are looking for a time period of when you shift to the next cycle. Notice we are looking at a month for your new year, not a day. This is about looking at an energetic shift that happens over a period of time.

Let me know if you calculate yours and if you notice anything about this time of year for you 💖✨


Moon synastry and other fun facts

Moon contacts in synastry is one way of seeing karmic connections between people.


These connections can show shared experiences in other lives between the two people or they can show karmic issues with mom that are being stimulated by the relationship.

Either way, moon contacts in synastry show that your relationship with that person reaches into your karmic past.

I use the same orbs for synastry as I do natal aspects: 7 degrees for conjunction, square, trine opposition and 3 degrees for sextile and quincunx. Looser aspects are read a little differently than tighter ones.

I often get questions about why I use the orbs I do. Bottom line is that in my 40+ year experience reading thousands of charts, wider orbs do not convey the specific aspect meaning.

Remember, everything in your chart is connected even if isn’t aspected. This is why the deep and specific meaning of any placement comes from the context of the whole chart.

Every placement is a part of the whole that is you. It may be easier to see how pieces that share house or sign placements have a connection, just know that your life is the connection between in your chart.

For example, your north node may not aspect anything, but there is a thread of connection to it throughout your chart because it’s where you are heading in this life and everything in your chart has a play in that.

So much to explore about the moon in your chart. Swipe above for some comments on synastry and aspects.

🌙 The moon is historical, irrational, and part of your essential nature. If you have any Cancer placements in your chart, you may tend to hang on to issues and beliefs associated with that part of yourself. This also goes for whichever house Cancer rules in your chart.

🌙 As you’ve been learning astrology, what has your moon revealed to you? How had it helped you to understand others?

Where’s your moon? 🤎✨


Mars is Desire

Mars is our vitality. It’s the energy of passion. Mars gets us to take action.

When you are ignoring or suppressing your Mars, you may find yourself focusing on what other people are doing versus putting your energy into going after what you want.

If you find yourself feeling chronically annoyed, that could be a sign that your Mars feels stuck.

If you keep thinking about how someone else should or shouldn’t be living some part of their life, that could be your inner self screaming for you to pay attention to your own desires.

The essence of Mars is desire and passion. Mars is what you want. It’s your ability to be thrilled and excited. It’s the energy of your physical body, and it’s what moves you to action.

From Instagram

Clear expression of Mars includes feeling energized and taking inspired action. If you believe your Mars is stuck or could use a boost, look at how it’s placed in your natal chart and consider how you can support it.

🤎 If you’re feeling that chronic annoyance, ask yourself what you’re not tending to in your life. If you keep thinking about what someone else is doing wrong, be open to seeing what you need to do differently.

🤎 Your Mercury, Venus and Mars are about your personal human experience. Up level your life by healing your mindset (Mercury) owning your priorities (Venus) and are being willing to take action (Mars) that moves you into the natural flow of life.

🤎 If you’re struggling to glean something from your chart, remember that you have a direct line to your soul without it. You can get all your answers from the source of you 24/7. Nurture that inner dialogue.

You are loved ❤️


Sextile and Quincunx

Sextiles are about opportunities. You are able to more easily access one energy via the other and are exploring that in this life. A sextile is especially helpful if one of the pieces is in a difficult aspect as the sextile shows a way of embracing the other energy.

Quincunx (also called inconjunct) is called the karmic neutralizer because one energy has been used to shutdown or neutralize the other. This is a subtle aspect that is powerfully felt making it difficult to understand within yourself. Working through this is a lifelong process.

Sextile is a 60 degree angle
Quincunx is a 150 degree angle
Both have a 3 degree orb

Sextile and quincunx are subtle yet still powerful aspects. They both use a tight orb of just three degrees and both tend to be felt and understood in layers over your life.

✨ Mars sextile Mercury shows opportunities to get these energies to work more easily together. For example mind and body, reason and ambition, communication and action. If Mars or Mercury is also in a challenging aspect, leaning into this sextile can help with the challenges.

💫 If Mars is also square the moon, leaning into your sextile can help you to deal with the inner struggle between Mars and Moon. Communicating about what you want, taking a more reasonable look at what you desire, improving your mind body connection can help you act in a way that’s more fulfilling, more satisfying.

⭐️ Mars quincunx Saturn shows struggles with being able to go after what you want. Your sense of responsibility can shut down your own desires and ambition. Your ambition and passion can shut down your sense of responsibility or ability to define healthy limits. You’re learning how to connect the two. You’re learning that you also have a responsibility to yourself, that healthy boundaries can support your physical health, passions and ambitions.

It can be challenging to see how a sextile or quincunx is expressed and experienced. They may be less obvious, but are just as present as the other aspects.

The key to a sextile is to look for opportunity for how you use them together and support that. You’ve had repeated experiences in other lives where you’ve used them together and you’re growing skills in this life.

The key to a quincunx is to understand that these energies can operate at the same time and this life is an opportunity to see that. You’ve had repeated experiences where they neutralized each other and used one or the other. This life includes learning to use them together.


Squares are forced awareness

Pieces in your natal chart that square force awareness of each other. It’s like an internal competition between parts of yourself. Each trying to get your attention.

Square is a 90 degree angle within 7 degrees. The 7 degrees is the orb of the aspect.

Most aspects in your chart are not exact and the orb is how much difference from exact still creates an aspect.


Saturn 20 ♒️ 48
Uranus 18 ♉️ 55

No rounding up of minutes, so this is not a square. It is 7 degrees and 14 minutes different and must be no more than 7.

Mars 13 ♒️ 24
Moon 6 ♉️ 10
(Not square)

Squares are compelling aspects. They create a sense of obligation. While they are challenging, they also can be productive.

Squares show karmic history where the energies were repeatedly in conflict with each other, or where you achieved something at the expense of the other so now you’re being compelled to always consider the other.

Moon square Saturn is someone that feels responsible for everything. They would love to relax and leave things up to someone else, but struggle to do that. It’s hard to fully trust everything will work out unless they are the responsible one. They are learning how to create healthy boundaries.

Venus square Mars struggles with going after what they want, because they often question the importance of their desires and ambitions and wonder if they’re good enough to pull it off. They can also get stuck trying to figure out their priorities that they end up doing nothing.

Squares are stimulating. ✨ People that have a lot of squares are often competitive and rarely idle. They keep moving.

💫 Moon square Saturn is someone that feels responsible for everything. They would love to relax and leave things up to someone else, but struggle to do that. It’s hard to fully trust everything will work out unless they are the responsible one. They are learning how to create healthy boundaries.

✨ Venus square Mars struggles with going after what they want, because they often question the importance of their desires and ambitions and wonder if they’re good enough to pull it off. They can also get stuck trying to figure out their priorities that they end up doing nothing.

If you do get stuck with one piece in a square focusing on the other can jump start you.

💫 Mercury square Mars can get stuck over analyzing what they should do and spend more time talking or thinking versus doing. Engaging in some physical activity or taking some kind of action helps to break the over analyzing and can then get you moving on a clear path that makes sense.

Check out the caption for more of an understanding of squares. 💖

If you have a square, tell us how you experience it. 💕 Sharing something in your chart helps you to understand it more and reading the comments of others can broaden your understanding of astrology.


Oppositions: you can’t get there from here

Aspects are angular relationships between pieces in your chart. An opposition is just what it sounds like, the pieces directly oppose each other. They are 180 degrees apart, plus or minus 7 degrees.

Oppositions show past life experiences where the energies worked in opposition to each other. It happened enough that you developed beliefs that they can’t work together. This life is an opportunity to change your beliefs.

There are multiple ways that an opposition can be read. The specific meaning for you will depend on your chart. Everything is always reinforced in the chart, that’s how you focus in on your specific meaning.

Here are a few examples …

Mars opposite Saturn is someone that may believe it’s irresponsible of them to pursue their ambitions so they may struggle to fully own their desires.

They may believe that if they set healthy boundaries, they will anger people they care about.

Mercury opposite Pluto may have been killed or in some way destroyed because of something they said. They may now struggle in some way to speak their mind.

They may get stuck in analysts paralysis when they try to reason things through and struggle to make decisions by over thinking them.

Venus opposite Jupiter may struggle to be honest with those they love or to feel like it’s unethical to make money doing something they love.

They likely had lives where their values were not in line with their ethics and may be carrying guilt or shame that needs to heal. Religion may have interfered with love.

Whatever the opposition in your chart. It’s crucial that you see it as an opportunity and not a punishment or that you’re doomed.

You came in choosing to see this in a new light, to heal your experiences and learn that these energies can coexist in you and work together. Continued in the caption.

Do you have oppositions in your natal chart? If so, what insight do get from them?

🤎💫 You can still have an amazing life even if you have difficult aspects. I have a shit ton and my life is really good. I also have some beautiful aspects, and I know you do too. We each come in equipped to handle our agenda.

🤎✨ No matter what’s in your chart, life improves when you’re willing to be honest with yourself, face your flaws and fears and deal with them. When you do, you heal.

Try not to think of your chart as a dead end. See it as your launching off point. 🚀

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Equal House: what it is, how to get it, why you want it

Equal House is a house system where the ascendant is the first house cusp and then every house begins with the same degrees and minutes. With equal house, the ascendant degrees and minutes set the cusp for each house. All signs and houses are fully present. All areas of life are fully available.

When you get your chart cast online, the default is usually placidus. Change it to equal house and if necessary, make cusp margins zero, none or off. You want the same numbers around the chart, every house cusp has the same degrees and minutes.

Example of equal house

I use equal house, because I find it to be the most accurate. It is integral to the system of astrology I use. My readings are accurate and compelling because of the system I use. I’m not psychic. Everything I share with clients is in the chart.

I use a system of astrology that is based on what I learned from my mentor and others I studied with, as well as the thousands of readings I’ve done over 40+ years. In this system the timing, geography and details of other lives shown in the chart require equal house.

Here’s more on why I don’t use whole sign or placidus.

In ancient times, the early astrologers looked at the planets in relationship to the zodiac, and created a map starting with the rising sign. This soon evolved into equal house, where the ascendant’s degrees and minutes set the wheel of the chart.

Placidus started to become popular in the 17th century. Unfortunately it causes houses to be disproportionately sized and some signs get intercepted (swallowed up). Placidus also doesn’t work at extreme latitudes.

In the early 1980s some folks came up with whole sign as a simplified way to cast a chart that addressed issues with the placidus method. They promoted it it as the original house system.

In the 1990s, Robert Hand started writing about it, though he acknowledged that it was originally not a house system per se, rather a layout of the zodiac.

Whole Sign eventually became trendy, because it’s easy and gives you houses that are equal and all signs are fully represented. You start with the rising sign at zero degrees and use zero degrees for every house cusp.

The problem with whole sign is that it messes with your placements. If your ascendant is in the first few degrees of your rising sign, it may not change any house placements. For the vast majority though, it changes something, often several things, AND you miss the significance of having a planet placed in a house ruled by another sign.

When casting your chart using equal house, make sure you have the same numbers around the chart as you have on the ascendant. You may have to set house margins to zero to do this.

I use a tropical zodiac with an equal house chart. I find it to be most accurate, and love the wholeness of it. Also, in the system I use, determining the timing, geography and details of other lives shown in the chart requires equal house.

Ultimately you gotta do YOU! This is my groove and it works for me.


Aspects to Pluto

Pluto is the higher octave of Mars. Mars is your physicality and desire. Pluto is your life force, your drive to survive, your choice to live. Pluto is your base of power, your ability to choose and transform. Pluto is creation and destruction, the phoenix rising from the ashes.

Pluto courtesy of NASA

When Pluto forms an aspect to another piece in your chart, the energies interact within you and impact how you feel empowered. Pluto may show control issues, obsessions, beliefs in transformation and your decisiveness.

Conjunctions form unified systems. The energies fuse and you don’t distinguish between them. You confuse them and think they are the same.

Venus conjunct Pluto believes love is something to die for. If you love me, you’ll die for me. Love and beauty are power. Love can transform you.

Squares are forced awareness. The energies are constantly stimulating each other, each forcing an awareness of the other.

Moon square Pluto hungers for control. Emotions are often intensified, and they have a deep need to feel they have a choice. Their mother was most likely controlling and they may have an enmeshed or codependent relationship with her.

Trines are a harmonic flow. The energies are distinct, though you easily connect them.

Sun trine Pluto generally believes they are in the driver seat of their life. They are generally able to make decisions, though they can feel very unstable if they aren’t able to choose. Their personal empowerment feeds their sense of who they are and will feel out of it if they aren’t able to choose, or are somehow disempowered.

Oppositions show separation where you don’t know how to get from one to the other. Each makes the other seem impossible.

Saturn opposite Pluto is someone that struggles with responsible choices. Their sense of responsibility makes them feel as if they have no choice and pursuing that which makes them feel powerful makes them feel irresponsible.

Sextiles are opportunities to create flow. There is a connection that can be nourished into a deeper, more fluid connection.

Mercury sextile Pluto believes communication and logic opens up options. Thinking rationally opens up possibilities. Taking or writing can be empowering.

Quincunx is the neutralizer. It shows deeply held beliefs about how each part can shut down the other. They are subtle to observe but deeply felt.

Jupiter quincunx Pluto struggles with being in integrity and personal power at the same time. They may blurt out the truth in a way that sabotages their options. They may make choices that feel cynical, because they struggle to have faith while feeling empowered.

Aspects are angular relationships between pieces in the chart. The orb of an aspect is how close the pieces have to be for the aspect to form. It’s the plus or minus part, since most aspects aren’t exact. I use a 7 degree orb for conjunction, square, trine, opposition and 3 degrees for sextile and quincunx.

Aspects show up in your natal chart to illustrate patterns of beliefs formed in other lives. These patterns are formed by repeated experiences. They show what you came in believing. They show talents, struggles and lessons.

Aspects do not doom you or seal your fate. Difficult aspects show lessons. Your soul took on these lessons to grow and the universe has your back. By owning who you are and being willing to see life and yourself differently, there is no impossible lesson.

Squares, quincunx and oppositions show beliefs you brought in, but do not condemn you to a life of struggle. They are also beacons showing you where you can heal.

Trines and sextiles show talents and strengths, but these need to be nurtured or they can be parts of yourself you neglect, take for granted and the connections break down.

Conjunctions show how you’ve fused parts of yourself. Those fusions can offer great strength, as well as confuse you into thinking they are the same thing when they really are not. Awareness of how they work together can help you understand how to use them to your advantage.


Karmic Nodes in the Houses

The karmic nodes are the two points where the moon’s orbital path crosses the ecliptic. No worries if that doesn’t make sense. What I want you to remember is that they are always exactly opposite each other. Only by doing something completely the opposite of what you’ve been doing over and over again will you generate new growth.

The south node is a snap shot of relevant karma, it shows karmic patterns that cross many life times.

The north node is the goal of this life. It’s your soul’s north star for this incarnation and is always directly opposite the south node.

Let’s start by taking a look at nodes in the houses. These are super short descriptions, meant to get you started thinking of how the nodes are expressed here. As with all things, for a more complete understanding we look at the house, sign, degrees and aspects to the nodes.

There’s a balancing act with your nodes. You want to use the knowledge and skills of your south node (SN) to head towards your north node (NN).

The south node is NOT a disadvantage (cue rant music). It’s a rich history that you are using as a launchpad in this life.

✨ SN first house / NN seventh house

Your goal (NN) in this life includes understanding how to partner and navigate one on one relationships. You will have a lot of growth in learning what you bring to them, and what you need from them.

Your history (SN) includes being self reliant, so in this life there are lessons around how to depend on others and show up for them while still retaining a clear sense of self.

✨ SN seventh house / NN first house

Your history includes depending on others and in this life you’re learning to rely on yourself. Your goal is about getting comfortable with who you are and to trust that you can count on yourself.

💫 SN second / NN eighth

Your goal is transformation. Your history has been about your physical needs and learning to find your worth. You developed perseverance and are a survivor. In this life, you are learning that loss is part of life and to draw your strength from who you are and not what you have. You are exploring personal empowerment.

💫 SN eighth / NN second

Your karmic history has been painful. You’ve been through a lot of loss and paid a high cost for what you’ve learned. In this life, your goal is to find safe ground and embrace your worth. You’re a survivor and you are learning how to thrive.

✨ SN third / NN ninth

Your goal is knowledge and expanding beyond the life you know. You came in choosing to move out of your comfort zone and explore what is beyond your experience. You are challenging your preconceived ideas and may find yourself struggling with the question “do I want to be right or happy? Do I want to be right or be at peace?”

✨ NN third / SN ninth

Your goal is communication. You’ve spent so many lives learning and becoming wise, and in this life you’re here to speak up, to share what you know. You are striving to be a good communicator and to find your voice. Sibling relationships may also be an important part of your life’s journey.

💫 SN fourth / NN tenth

Family has been front and center for many of your lives. They’ve defined where you lived, who you married, your job, your status in the community, nearly every part of your life became defined by family and what they needed of you drive much of how you lived. This life is about finding your place n the world and discovering the life you want to live.

💫 NN fourth / SN tenth

You’ve been focused on who you are in the world and now want to focus on building your own little corner of it. You are now turning your attention to having space and being with people where you feel supported. You’re learning what it means to be part of a healthy loving family, and to feel at home.

✨ SN fifth / NN eleventh

You’re seeking connection. You’ve spent many lives trying to figure out who you are and what makes you happy. Now you want to know how you fit in, how you’re connected to something bigger than you and the lives you’ve lived. You’re drawn to community and want to feel like you’re on a team, you’re working with others to achieve goals and make the world a better place.

✨ NN fifth / SN eleventh

You’ve spent a lot of energy trying to save the world and now you’re trying to figure out who you are and what makes you happy. What brings you joy? What inspires your creativity and what can you imagine for yourself? Time to take risks and do things without a safety net. You can rely on yourself to recover if you fail.

💫 SN sixth / NN twelfth

You’ve spent so much energy being in service to others that you came in a bit burned out. It’s as if you feel just living is exhausting. As you find ways to experience sanctuary and recharge, you will be able to allow your empathy and compassion to guide you to not not connect with others, but to face your fears and envision a fulfilling life.

💫 NN sixth / SN twelfth

Time to get real and fully step into your human experience, to put into practice the spiritual practices you’ve focused on. You’ve tended to escape and ignore much of the activities of daily life and this time you are here to embrace them. You’re learning lessons around service and healing and how to enjoy having an earthly experience.


Full life includes empty houses

Houses are areas of life experience. Houses with placements show areas you came in giving specific focus. Your empty houses are important too and part of your life.

With an equal house chart, all areas of life are equally and wholly represented in your chart. You have all of it. You can have an empty first house and still be self aware. You can have an empty second house and still have stuff. You can have an empty seventh house and still partner.

You experience all the houses. The sign you have on the cusp of each house and the planet that rules that house give insight into that area of life even if you don’t have any planets in it. Also, your empty houses often get energized through progressions, transits and interactions with other people.

When an empty house gets activated you may find yourself surprised by new interests or feel like you’re “going through a phase.” With the 4th house you could find yourself particularly interested in cooking, researching your ancestry or changing something about your home.

Empty houses can sometimes show blind spots. For example, the first house is the zone of self. An empty first house often shows someone that doesn’t fully consider the impact on themselves or their life when they agree to something. There can be a delay in seeing it.

If you have an empty first house, it’s helpful to consciously ask yourself about the impact on you and your life when you agree to something. Give it intentional consideration. If this changes what you’re willing to do, own up to it. Looking at your Mars is helpful in understanding why the first house is empty.

If you have an empty 7th house you can still find a life partner. Many people in satisfying long lasting relationships have an empty 7th house. Likewise, people going through painful divorces or breakups often have placements in the 7th house.

When a house is empty, it just means you came in not initially investing in major life lessons in that house. With an empty 7th house, you may have a life partner, but your purpose and karmic contract do not require one.

Many people in satisfying long lasting relationships have an empty 7th house, and people going through painful divorces or breakups often have placements in the 7th house. People with an empty 9th still travel. Everyone has empty houses. Empty houses do not mean an empty life.

Understanding your whole chart, includes your empty houses. One of the beauties of an equal house chart is that all areas are fully represented. Empty houses do not equate to an emptiness in your life. We all have them.

If you are newer to astrology, the big take away from this post is to not worry about them. Having an empty 7th house doesn’t mean you can’t have a partner, an empty 9th doesn’t mean you won’t go to college or travel. Don’t sweat the empties.

As your chart progresses, empty houses get stimulated, so you will have lessons and experiences focused on that house. Where someone’s sun lands in your chart shows the area in your life where they can significantly impact your growth, so that’s another way that houses gets energized for you. Transits also can stimulate an empty house.

If you are farther along with astrology, I’m encouraging you to look at the empty houses as part of the stories in your chart. Looking at why a house is empty gives meaning and nuance to the rest of the chart. It’s too much to dig into a post, but here are a few tips.

Look at the natural sign and ruler of that house in your chart, as well as the planet that rules the sign you do have there for insight.

For example, if you have an empty first house, look at Mars in your chart as well as any Aries placements you might have. Also look at the planet ruling your rising sign, since it is the first house cusp. If you have an empty 11th house, look at Uranus, any Aquarius placements and whatever planet rules the sign on your 11th house for insight into why you left it empty.

You will often have placements in the sign that naturally rules that house, so an empty 1st with Aries placements or an empty 11th with Aquarius placements. The house could be empty, because you felt you were leaning on enough old history coming in that you didn’t need to focus your attention there this time. If you don’t have placements in this case in Aries or Aquarius, then look to the planets.