Today we’re looking at Chart Patterns, a really interesting way to look at how your planets are grouped in your chart.
They are seven arrangements or patterns the planets form within the circle. We call them bundle, bowl, seesaw, bucket, splash, locomotive and splay.
Marc Edmund Jones first described these patterns in the 40s, associating them with distinct personality types (in natal charts) and prognostic indicators (in transit, progressed, returns or horary charts). Let’s stick with natal charts for now and play with this a little.
Only the ten planets are considered in determining the chart pattern. Leave out the Nodes, POF, asteroids, trans-Pluto etc. to get to the core pattern. If you add too many elements, everyone becomes a Splash!
Seesaw - Planets occupy two opposing areas of the chart. Focus is on binary opposites requiring objectivity, awareness and balance.
Bowl - Planets all within 180 degrees. Self contained and strong core values. Focus on the activated hemisphere.
Bucket - Bowl pattern with one planet in the opposite arc--the 'handle to the bucket. A strong focus with much energy pivoting around the singleton planet.
Splash - Planets evenly distributed around the chart - scattered interests, diversity, flexibility and wide range of interests.
Bundle - Planets all within 120 degrees. Focused interest in the houses occupied. Intense, determined, relentless.
Locomotive - Planets occupy 240 degrees of the chart, the remaining 120 is empty. Emphasis is on the first and last planet to rise. Much drive, energy and enthusiasm.
Splay - Planets create three points of emphasis - highly individual, grounded and confident. Focus on occupied houses. If grand trine, the element dominates.
For the discussion, look at your chart, discover the pattern and think about what it might mean to the focus you have you in your life. What lights you up, how you approach your aims and goals, what has the most importance?
Let’s look at a few different chart patterns and what they might say about the personality type. Will Smith, with a BUCKET chart pattern, is a great example of a person of intense focus. He came from ‘nothing’, built his life from the ground up, and has a work ethic that would impress Saturn. Clearly it does impress Saturn! Check out some of his core value statements:
I strive to be like the greatest people who have ever lived. – Will Smith
I’ve always considered myself to be just average talent and what I have is a ridiculous insane obsessiveness for practice and preparation. -Will Smith
Stop letting people who do so little for you control so much of your mind, feelings and emotions. Will Smith
Can you see from his Chart Pattern ONLY why he might have this level of focus and determination?
Check the “handle” of the Bucket. What does that say?
Another Libra, and a wonderful example of the LOCOMOTIVE Chart Patter is Ursula K. Le Guin.
She’s a powerful woman, born in a time when gender equality was not the norm. She’s dared to be different in her craft and in her life, excelling at taking her forward thinking ideas (Uranus) and bringing it into a tangible form for others to enjoy (Saturn). Note the “engine” and the “caboose” of her Locomotive.
My imagination makes me human, and makes me a fool; it gives me all the world and exiles me from it. - Ursual K Le Guin
When you light a candle, you also cast a shadow. - Ursula K Le Guin
The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty; not knowing what comes next. - Ursula K Le Guin
Check out Robert Downey Jr’s SEW SAW Pattern. The focus is powerfully placed in the occupied houses, and there can be a constant contrast and opposition.
Where do you think his oppositions would come from? How might they be integrated, or do they always remain “either/or”?
If I could eat whatever I wanted every day, I would have Domino’s pizza with pasta carbonara inside every slice. And at night, I would have Neapolitan ice cream until I felt absolutely toxic. And then I would drift off telling myself, ‘It’s going to be O.K… It’s going to be O.K. you’re going to train in the morning.' -Robert Downey Jr
I guess the issue for me is to keep things dynamic. -Robert Downey Jr
Do I want to be a hero to my son? No. I would like to be a very real human being. That’s hard enough. -Robert Downey Jr
What's your chart pattern? Let's talk about it in the comments.
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