The Marduk dragon – restored Ishtar Gate at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin
Hi Everyone, this is one of my favorite astro-techniques, straight from ancient times!
Get ready to be blown away because this is a rich and magical aspect of astrology. Not many astrologers use it in modern times, but I find it extremely valuable.
The word ‘Draconic’ is from the Latin ‘ draconem’ (nom. draco) “serpent, dragon,” from the Greek drakon (gen. drakontos) meaning “serpent, seafish.” In astrology, the Caput Draconis is the ‘Dragon’s head’ or North Lunar Node and the Cauda Draconis is the ‘Dragon’s tail’ or South Lunar Node. The Draconic chart, or Draco/Draconic Zodiac then, is another reference system for plotting the chart but instead of starting 0 degrees Aries at the vernal equinox as the familiar Tropical Zodiac does (the one we use in Western Astrology and is calculated at astro.com etc), The Draco Chart begins 0 Aries at the Moon’s North Node.
Hang on! It’s not a complex as it sounds!
It just means that instead of the node being at the particular degree you’re accustomed to seeing it, it is ‘dialed back’ to 0 degrees of Aries. The planets all stay in the same houses and have the same angular relationship (aspects) to each other as in the tropical zodiac (T) charts but the signs and degrees are altered. Here is an example.
This will help you fully understand how this ‘other zodiac’ is determined. Or skip on to the next Para if you simply want to trust the ancients philosophy here.
To find YOUR Draconic chart, you can subtract the North Node in degrees of longitude from 360 and and add the difference to all the planets and house cusps. In the case above, the North node is 1 Pi 27 which (rounded) translates into 331 degrees of absolute longitude. Subtract that from the full circle, [360-331=29]. Add  degrees to every planet, point and angle and you have the Draconic coordinates. For example, the Sun in the tropical chart above is 13 degrees Sagittarius. We add  degrees to it [13 Sag + 29 = 42 (-30) or 12 degrees of Capricorn.
For those not wanting to learn the basis for this zodiac yet, you can go Astro.com and choose Extended Chart Selection, then click the Natal Chart drop-down option and click Draconic Chart.
Below is the Draconic Chart for the exact same moment as the tropical zodiac chart above. All the planets are in the same position by house and aspect but the signs have shifted the exact number of degrees the North Nodes was away from 0 Aries.
Like the North Node, the Draconic chart says something about where we are headed, if we chose to reach out, and also like the South Node, it says something about where we have been, what’s comforting, familiar and secure. Some think of the Draco chart as as the “purpose” behind the soul’s intention and link it to a sense of destiny or fate.
I like to think of the natal Draconic chart as a layer of “soul fabric” that lies underneath the outward personality. You can’t see it unless you look deep. Like the silk lining of a jacket, we never think about it being there and it never fully shows, yet it is a substance that makes the wearing of the coat more comfortable—a better fit—and when the breeze flips up an edge and we get a glimpse of that contrasting color and silky texture, we go “ahhh”.
The Draconic chart is something like that.
In this metaphor there is no “blending.” The Draconic chart is not woven into the natal chart like a tweed. It is the satin underneath, distinct and of its own, usually different, nature.
If you were born in 1950, 1969, 1987, 2006, check that your Node is exactly 0 Aries. If so, then your Tropical and Draconic charts will be identical, suggesting that your soul fabric is a perfect match to this lifetime’s expression.
Consider the Draconic chart and it’s relationship to the NODES. In the Draco system, the North Lunar Node is ALWAYS Zero Aries and the South Lunar Node is always 0 Libra. This is a major hint as to the meaning and purpose of the chart.
The Nodes, which have so much to do with unconscious patterns from the past and new conscious directions towards the future, are the points in the chart that say “This is where you have been and what is comfortable (South) and this is what you can experience if you reach out into the new and unexplored (North). Life is a balance between the two and the Draconic chart resonates with this theme—where we’ve been and where we are going. Remember, everyone has the SAME nodes in their Draco Chart. That is a KEY to understanding the principles at work.
To top it off, the Lunar Nodes in the Draconic chart are ALWAYS on the Zero degree Aries point! Talk about destiny meeting intention! (North Node on the AP)
North Node as the first degree of Aries, suggests how our “will to be”, or sense of I AM, moves out from the subjective and into manifest reality. The Node here gives everyone an incredible sense of self-assertion and WILL to move forward, IF they choose to develop it.
South Node as the first degree of Libra says, “I relate”, showing how our drive to interact with others in socially significant ways moves from our inner world and out towards other individuals. Because it is “from the past” it can indicate a feeling of too much reliance on “what others think” or letting others do things for us, or even run our lives. In this Libra – Aries polarity we have to make our own decisions and find how growth comes form our own experiences and adds to our capacity to relate.
In the Draco chart, there is no “sitting on the fence” or hesitating about “what to do” if we want to seek our destiny, and any aspects to the natal chart can be quite instructional. Remember, the ONLY thing different in the Draco chart is the signs of the house cusps and the signs of the planets. This tells us about an underlying orientation that we have, but may not always see.
There are two main ways to work with the Draconic Natal Chart. It can be read as a stand alone, checking the difference between the orientation of the signs (element, polarity and modality) in the natal chart, and it can also be read in aspect to the natal chart. The fist technique is works best if you compare the two Zodiacs planet by planet, cusp by cusp. For example if the Natal chart has the sun at 2 degrees of Gemini in the 10th house, we might say there is a need to communicate widely and knowledgeably in ones chosen profession–to feel distinct, this person needs to shine before the public in a sharp, dynamic, witty way. If the Draconic sun is there (it will always have the same house position and aspects) in the sign of Capricorn, there may be an underlying need for that public recognition to reap tangible results–something Gemini alone is not too concerned with. It also amps ambition. Going through all the planets and angles in this way brings insights.
The second technique is a way of comparing aspects between planets and points otherwise not revealed. The measurement, remember, is the distance of any planet from the North Lunar Node. If, for example, the original natal chart has the Moon 32 degrees ahead of the North Node and the Draconic Chart has Saturn at 2 degrees of Taurus (32 degrees ahead of the Draconic North Lunar Node or 0 Aries) there is a conjunction between the Moon and Saturn that otherwise would not have been obviousd. This can explain much in charts were there is no original aspect between planets but a powerful conjunction in the Draco to Tropical charts.
Below is an example of a natal chart (inner wheel) with the Draconic chart placed around the outside as you might place transits or progressions. Here many contacts are seen that are not apparent by the natal alone. (D) Saturn is conjunct (T) Mercury and Venus, (D) Pluto is conjunct (T) South Node, (D) Uranus is conjunct (T) Chiron, and (D) Jupiter is conjunct (T) Part of Fortune.
With this kind of comparison it is best to keep orbs tight. Look particularly at conjunctions and/or oppositions within 0 – 2 degrees of orb. Remember, all the planetary aspects in each chart are identical. What is going to be interesting is how the Draco chart relates back to the natal. More examples are in the tutorial below.
The main thing to keep in mind is that there are TWO zodiacs in play here.
Synastry describes the technique of comparing the natal or progressed charts of two or more people. It literally means ‘stars in the same place’ such as when one person’s Sun is conjunct another person’s Moon. All aspects between the two charts are important, the angle, or type of aspect, being less relevant than the actual link. Each planet contact brings its own symbolism to life in a relationship and evaluating them in synastry charts can supply information as to the needs, purpose and desires that are awakened when two people meet, connect and interact.
People are like permanent transits. When you meet someone who has their natal Jupiter conjunct your natal Sun, it’s like having Jupiter on the Sun whenever they are around! This is an easy contact to spot when comparing the tropical zodiac natal charts but they many also have their Draconic Pluto on your Mars, and that might feel a little different. It might also go a long way in explaining some intense dynamics in the relationship that might not otherwise be obvious.
There are several ways of using the Draconic zodiac in relationship comparisons. You can look at Draconic to Draconic or Draconic to Tropical natal or progressed charts. In this way, there may be connections under the surface that aren’t obvious in the Tropical Zodiac charts but make a lot of sense when they show up in the Draco. Here is one example:
In this chart the (T) Mars of one person is conjunct the (D) Mars of the other. There is no Mars aspect in the tropical synastry and the feisty, sexy, battle & banter nature of the union is well explained by looking at the Draconic links. There is also a Jupiter/Mercury/Venus contact not see in the Tropical charts alone, and boy can these two talk!
Another method is to make a composite (midpoint) chart of the Draconic natal’s. This may be very different than the tropical composite and progressed composite charts, shedding new light on the purpose and energy of the relationship. Some useful exercises for reading these charts will follow in the tutorial below. Draconic Transits
Transits to the natal Tropical chart from Draconic positions can be insightful as can the reverse–Tropical transits to the Draconic Natal. Again it may be most instructional to keep orbs tight, within a few degrees, and focus primarily on the conjunction and opposition, at least to begin with.
Transits of any kind are often associated with outer events. Although this may be an accurate association, the initial effect is usually an inner one. Some part of the psyche, some interior figure or archetype, awakens. Concurrent with the nature of the transit, house and sign position, once awake it generally starts looking around for recognition. That means it looks for a crown, a throne and lots of patronage. If the recognition is readily forthcoming and conscious awareness is placed on the needs, desires and offerings of the figure, what it represents can transform into what we consciously express without a hint of an outer event. We simple add the new aspect of being into the multiplicity of ourselves.
If, on the other hand, the needs and wants of the figure are denied by consciousness, we will meet them outside ourselves. Jung said “We people our lives with bits or ourselves,” and what we deny inwardly we bump into in the daily life as a person, place or thing. In this case, the event can be disruptive. This disruption, (or exhilaration), insures acknowledgement of the waking archetype, one way or another.
To sum it up, remember, the entire chart needs to be considered when evaluating Draconic Zodiac transits. Those, and the other major and minor Tropical transits and progressions. for example, if there is a Saturn transit to the Sun with a Draco Jupiter transit to the Nodes, the Draconic transit may be less prominent. If there is a transit to the Draconic Moon and a Tropical New moon conjunct the Ascendant, the impact can be far greater regardless of the outer planet transits. Draconic lunar events can also be considered as a “timing” device like Mercury, suggesting when major transits may manifest in an inner or outer event.
Step One: Construct your natal Draconic Chart by using a computer program or by subtracting the North Lunar Node in degrees of longitude from 360 and then adding that figure to all the planets and house cusps.
Step Two: Start a page with columns. On the left, list all your planets out from the Moon, Sun etc to Pluto (include Chiron and any asteroids you like) It would start for example, like this:
1. 2 23′
Step Three: Add a few key words to describe the ORIENTATION of each planet in that sign. Focus mainly on what it “Wants, Needs and has to offer.” You can be as brief or elaborate as you like.
1. 223′ – Loves communication, offers curiosity.
Step Four: In the right hand column, place the Draco sign and degree and its orientation. Focus also on “Wants, Needs and has to offer.” It might look like this:
1a. Tropical 223′ – Loves communication, offers curiosity.
1b. Draconic 1525′ – Loves deep feelings, offers sensitivity.
Continue on with this until all your planets are listed. You can actually SEE the difference in orientation by polarity, element and modality. The Draco positions say something about that silk lining, what is underneath your tropical needs and orientation. Remember: This doesn’t negate your tropical chart or BLEND meaning. It ADDS a new dimension.
You can expand on this by comparing transits, progressions and synastry placements to other people as well.
Step Five: Do the same exercise above using your Tropical house cusps in the left hand column and your Draconic house cusps in the right. It might look like this:
1a. Tropical ASC. 10 34′ – Initiates in unique ways, zany energy.
1b. Draconic ASC 29 12′ – Initiates after much analysis, quick mind.
Continue this through all 12 houses, focusing on the needs of the signs as they apply to the qualities of each house. You can take this further by considering the rulers of each sign on each cusp and were they fall in both the Tropical and Draconic chart. In the example above, the (t) Asc is ruled by Saturn and Uranus where as the (d) Asc is ruled by Mercury.
These above exercises are a great way to become familiar, step by step with your Draconic Chart.
Step Six: Find any aspects (look for the conjunctions and oppositions first) between the natal Tropical placements and the Draconic. As in the chart example above, consider the conjunction between (d) Saturn and (t) Mercury/Venus. How does that make the natal chart different? What is underneath the Mercury/Venus conjunction that was not obvious before?
Now, approach this at the level you feel comfortable. You might want to run your Draco chart and compare the sun sign, Moon and Ascendant. That’s plenty to start with. Others of you will go through the whole tutorial. It’s all good. My goal here is to inform you of this other zodiac, and give you the tools to get started.
So, any questions? Insights? Let’s all discuss them in the comments.
Let's talk about Parallel and Contra-Parallel of Declination aspects.
It's a mouthful, but I have a quick video tutorial to cover the astronomy involved. Don't worry if it doesn't sink in straight away. There won't be a quiz. We'll cover questions in the comments, and focus more on the practical results of having a parallel or contra-parallel aspect.
The Parallel Aspect of Declination is formed between two or more planets with the same declination or distance north or south of the ecliptic. If the planets are both North or both South of the ecliptic, the parallel aspect is read as a conjunction. If they are the same declination but one is North and one is South, then the contra-parallel is read as a 180 degree opposition.
These aspects are strongest when the orb is kept to 1 degree or less, so unlike a square where we allow up to 10 degrees of orb, the parallels are allowed 1 or maybe 1.25 degrees.
Parallels connect planets that may not otherwise be in aspect. They also magnify the intensity of any other aspect between the two planets or points involved. So if you have Mars sextile Saturn AND Mars parallel Saturn, you have a whole lot of Mars/Saturn contact going on.
The best way to get a handle on this is by example so everyone can get out their chart. (You can upload yours in the gallery, if you are a GVA Circle Member or Registered for Open Memberhship, if you want to share, check or discuss.) When you get your chart up you will see a list called 'declination' on the ‘additional tables (PDF)' option. If you are using another program or an ephemeris, look for the list of daily ‘declinations’.
They will look like this: 20°35’27” N (the N is for North. North is also represented by a + and South by a -). Make a list of any planets that are within one degree of declination + or - in your natal chart. If both are + or both – they are parallel. If one is + and the other – they are contra-parallel.
For example I have the Pluto at 23°17’46” N declination and the Jupiter at 23°21′ 7″ N so Jupiter and Pluto are parallel. They form wide sextile aspect by sign, so this parallel is an additional emphasis, pulling them into closer contact. Make sense?
We use the parallel and contra-parallel to discover planetary connections. It's also important in transits.
To demonstrate, here is a list or outer planet declination right now. Check to see if these are in aspect (1 degree orb) to any of your natal degrees.
Also, check your declination list for natal parallels and contra-parallels. They also progress and can be used in return charts, horary, event charts, etc. If you use them in your synastry chart comparisons, you'll find connections otherwise missed.
Give a shout if you want some help. I or other declination savvy GVA'ers will lend a hand.
You can take a screenshot of your declination list from astro.com and post that in the gallery too.
See you in the comments.
Ready to explore the amazing branch of astrology known as electional charts?
To get started with this different way of viewing a chart, realize first that it’s still a BIRTH chart, just not of a human being. It’s the birth of a relationship, idea, project or business. Working with these “electional” or Origin/first meet charts can be surprisingly insightful, and revealing.
Horary Charts – A horoscope drawn the moment a burning questions is asked. Use the time, date and place of the astrologer, the moment THEY hear (or read) the question.
Electional Charts – A horoscope drawn for the best time to take a desired action. Use the time/date and place of the planned event/signing, ceremony, launch.
First Meet/Genesis/Origin Charts – A horoscope drawn for the moment of the first meet/date/brainstorm/idea. Here we use the time/date and place of the ppl involved. If it’s face, the “birth place” is clear. If it’s an online “first meet” there are two charts, each with their own local date/time/place.
Once the chart is created (on astro.com for free or with your own fav astro software), the fun begins. Here are the basic tools you will need to read an election/origin chart:
Numbers 2 & 3 are very important as much of the old literature on reading electionals, horary and first-meet charts is black and white, good and bad where in reality, we make of the energy what we will. Keep an open mind. If Mars square Uranus falls in the 10th and 7th, it doesn’t mean that the new biz partnership is doomed. You do want to be aware of the kind of approach required, as in not trying to control and manhandle but putting a lot of innovation and empowerment into everything you do together.
We aren’t the way we are because of our birth data. Turn it around. We are born at a particular time because of who we are, and the same holds true for our ideas, our partnerships, our events and ceremonies. None of us come here with a clean slate. We have core values, beliefs, likes and dislikes from ‘before’, and so does anything that has a ‘beginning’ in manifest reality.
Law of Attraction says ‘like attracts like’. Everything in our lives is in alignment with our energy, our vibration. We get what we vibrate, which holds true for book launches, festivals, weddings, dates and brainstorm sessions. Astrology is not in contradiction to this notion. People, places, questions and ideas are born when they are (the sun, moon, and planets in a certain place) because that moment in time is a perfect match to WHAT they are.
In many ways, we read these charts just like a person’s natal. Working with electional and origin charts are great practice for honing your delineation skills including:
Rulerships – For a very basic tutorial on this, go HERE. If you just need a chart of the rulerships to brush up, see below. We use rulerships to identify the state and action of the relationships/meet-up/event. For example, if Sagittarius is rising in a first-meet chart, we know that Jupiter Rules the moment. We look at where and how Jupiter is placed to learn more about what the connection is all about.
Dignitaries – Not all planets are equally well disposed in each sign. They have their favorites and their challenges. Here is a chart of the classical dignitaries.
In some signs, the power of a planet (energy) is able to flow without any kinks because it is in a natural alignment with that sign. In other signs, it is more convoluted, because the energy of the planet is contrasting or a resistant to the nature of the sign.
Ruler – Planets in the signs they rule are like being on easy street for expression. Home. Empowered.
Detriment – Planets in the opposite sign to the one they rule are in the ‘shadow’ sign, or ‘contrast/detriment’ or ‘resistance’. Their power is not as free flowing because the sign is not aligned to their mode of expression (put a warrior in a tutu . . .Mars in Libra, or put Saturn, a corporate executive, in a pre-school teacher’ outfit). The ‘detriment’ or shadow sign is always opposite to the sign the planet rules.
Exaltation – Every planet has one sign other than the rulership sign, that it expresses completely freely in – that is the sign of the exaltation. (Saturn exalted in Libra, Mars exalted in Capricorn)
Fall – The opposite sign of the exaltation is the ‘fall’ or give . . . this shadow sign is also a contrast to the easy alignment, and through contrast, we grow in experience, gain self awareness and become more self-aware. Fulfilled.
A planet in the sign of his rulership is like a person entertaining in their own house. They feel at easy. natural and in control. In Detriment or Fall, it’s like entertaining in another person’s house – not able to do as exactly they please.
Other things to check in the electional/first-meet chart is the Moon and her “applying” aspects. They show the actions that come next. Also note the house position of the moon and the lunar phase (the aspect to the sun). The moon is considered the co-ruler of the chart, along with the Ascendant ruler so we put a strong focus there. Also we look at mutual receptions, and maybe Arabic Parts and some fixed stars and asteroids. Don’t clog the chart up to start with though. Get the essence and then gradually add in other elements IF they have something to offer the situation.
Houses – You will want to have a handle on “where” in the chart we find the other person (if another is involved). This is where you build your journal as a resource, keeping notes on the houses that rule different types of connections – 1st – Self, 2nd – Aunts and Uncles, 3rd house is siblings, 4th, a parent, 5th, first child, lovers, 6th, employee, 7th, “the other” 8th, banker, 9th, guru, teacher, 10th, boss, a parent, 11th, friends, 12th, the unknown other . . . that’s just to get you started.
Each chart tells a story and as you practice with these electional and origin charts, you’ll start to understand what that story is.
I would love to look at one or two examples from the class to give you all a feel for how to jump in, so make note in the comments of the chart (is it a first meet, launch time or start up of a biz?) and have a link to it that everyone can click on and view. Obviously I can’t run through too many but you all can have a go. Let’s see what examples come up.
In the meantime, here is a chart of the moment. Let’s pretend it’s a first meet chart and I’m wondering “what to expect” of the energy of the connection.
Okay, now I wish I just met someone at this moment for real LOL! I didn’t time this out but really, look how cool it would be.
I’m a Gemini Sun and there it is, Gemini on the Ascendant, with the Part of Fortune. That’s me! Curious, flirty and having fun.
The chart ruler, from my perspective is Mercury, and he’s not thrilled to be in Capricorn but he’s “dignified” in the 7th house (because it is angular) and is applying to all kinds of fun aspects, ending with a trine to Jupiter and the Node. We might say that though I’d experience some shocks along the way (Mercury applying to a square to Uranus, (Yes , out of orb of 10 degrees but we are looking at all applying aspects by sign) but still, the feeling is all’s well that ends well with Jupiter node.
“They” (my hypothetical meet up person) are ruled by Jupiter (Saggo on the cusp of the 7th house of “the other”) and in his detriment (Virgo), but again, my ruler and their ruler are applying to a trine by sign. We would say that I have the better standing, the “hand” or upper hand/control, at least at the start.
The Moon is in the last hours of DARK, which isn’t what you’d plan for an electional chart. Make sure that the New Moon is complete, if you are planning an event. But still, Moon conjunct sun in the 7th bods well for this hypothetical connection. I would say we would definitely meet again, though with the dark moon and co-ruler moon square their ruler Jupiter, this intriguing other is committed elsewhere. The dark moon has a 12th house feel to it. We’d be sneaking around, for one reason or another! OR, we are collaborating on a mystery novel! Remember, keep an open mind on how the energy might play out.
All this from just looking at the rulers of the two people involved, and the co-ruler moon.
I hope it whets your appetite for more. Questions? Comments? Ideas?
PS THE author to read if you want to specialize in these kinds of charts is Ivy Goldstein-Jacobson.
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