by Carol Willis
(C) Copyright by Carol Willis, 2000. All rights reserved.
This article is an introduction to astrological midpoints and how I use them.
Midpoints are an advanced technique, but even beginners benefit from an
overview of the subject and can plant the seeds now to grow into using
midpoints in the years ahead.
WHAT IS A MIDPOINT?
A midpoint is not a physical entity like a planet, but is a logico-mathematical
point of significance in an astrological chart.
A midpoint is the midway point between any two planets or other astrological
factors such as moon nodes, asteroids, angles, vertex point, part of fortune,
("transneptunian") planets, etc.
There are usually considered to be 2 midpoints between any two astrological
factors: a) the near midpoint, and b) the far midpoint. The near
midpoint is the nearest or closest
midway point between the factors, and the far midpoint is the farthest midway
point between the factors. The near and far midpoints are thus in exact
opposition to each other.
For example, the near midpoint of the Sun at 15 Scorpio and the Moon at 15
Capricorn is 15 Sagittarius. (The far midpoint is therefore at 15
If two factors are in exact opposition, which is quite rare, we could consider
both midpoints as near AND far. For example, if Venus is at 0 Aries 00,
and Pluto is at 0 Libra 00, either
Cancer and/or 0 Capricorn could be used as midpoints. This circumstance
is so rare that I've never seen it happen, and by using precise calculations
we can usually determine which is the true near midpoint.
In actual practice with regard to midpoints, I use only:
1) NEAR MIDPOINTS,
2) CONJUNCTIONS of planets and angles TO midpoints, and
3) a 1-DEGREE ORB.
The use of near midpoints and conjunctions only may not be a universal
practice among astrologers, indeed both are controversial, but I will admit to
the practice keeping me
more sane personally and professionally than the more detailed approaches that
tempt us to go overly "mental." In astrology, sanity counts
for a lot, and we need all the sanity we can get. :-)
There's a lot of information we can get from midpoints, especially in
retrospect after circumstances unfold, but at some point we have to know when
to quit, when to stop-cease-and-desist. Knowing when to quit
astrologically is high art. :-) Know when to hold 'em, and when to fold
'em. Buy low, sell high. In other words, a couple of well-chosen
midpoints go a long way.
We can calculate all of the near midpoints in a chart after selecting which
factors we want to include, then place resulting midpoints onto a table called
a "midpoint sort" for easy reference. Professional
astrological calculation software are a marvel at creating near-instantaneous
2 popular midpoints sorts:
1) Midpoints are sorted in ZODIACAL ORDER from 0 Aries through 29
Pisces, which allows you to see which midpoints are conjunct the degree of
your Ascendant, for example.
2) Midpoints are sorted into a GRAPH or MATRIX with selected factors running
along the top side and left sides, which allows you to easily find your
Saturn/Pluto midpoint, for
A MIDPOINT shows the convergence or relationship between two archetypal
factors in the chart. The weight or importance of each factor is
symbolicly equal at the midpoint, and the
two are perfectly blended, balanced, and EMPHASIZED at the midpoint. A
full range of manifestations is possible with each midpoint just as with the
various aspects. Here is
where I allow a midpoint to "speak" to me in any given moment or
situation, for the purpose or question at hand. If it doesn't speak to me, I
don't speak about IT - just a personal rule of thumb. Yes, midpoints can
be a useful intuitive or prophetic tool or mnemonic device.
I sometimes look at a midpoint as the "child" of two other planetary
factors who are its "parents." The child is the "next
generation" of unfoldment and possibilities. As such,
midpoints may subtly whisper a prophecy or exhortation about the future that
cannot be denied as time and experience unfold over the years, especially when
exactly on the ASC or MC, or just into the 1st or 10th houses. Indeed,
midpoints in key places can turn out to be major landmarks and signposts along
the path. Perhaps we can better learn to
use them wisely and earlier rather than simply acknowledge them after the
fact? Wisdom borne of experience needs to be the driver, rather than an
artificial sense of urgency to
comment. If one or two midpoints really speak to us in a chart, this can
be just the right amount of seasoning.
MIDPOINTS vs. ASPECTS
How is a midpoint different from an aspect, which is also a mathematical
relationship between two astrological factors?
The most obvious difference is a different kind of mathematical CALCULATION to
discern a midpoint vs. an aspect.
With regard to INTERPRETATION, aspects purportedly show certain KINDS of
relationships between the factors, but in my aspects article or chapter I note
that those kinds of relationship do not always play out in the ways
traditional astrology has indicated. Indeed we see at times quite the
reverse of what we have been led to expect. What we usually end up
getting is a range of manifestations of the aspect
Interpreting an aspect can be similar to interpreting a midpoint, with respect
to a combination or blending of what each planetary factor represents.
With aspects other than
the conjunction, more than one house is usually involved, and these houses can
enter into the interpretation. With conjunctions, just one house is
normally involved. Likewise
with the location of a midpoint, ONE HOUSE serves as the residence of that
single point. Further, conjunctions in a house ALSO have their near
midpoint in the same house, thus
acting as a double whammy, underscore, or extra emphasis, which is perhaps
part of where conjunctions get their power.
We can do advanced synastry (comparing one person's chart with another) by
looking at conjunctions of Person A's planetary factors to Person B's
midpoints, and vice-versa.
I recommend including the Vertex (VTX) point at every turn of this process, as
the VTX acts as a secondary descendant and has a lot to do with relationships
possibly even karma between persons. I routinely include VTX in midpoint
In actual practice, using midpoints in relationship analysis and fine-tuning
is something that astrology students and professionals are more likely to do
over the years in mulling over their own lives rather than for clients, as the
level of detail with midpoints can quickly become overwhelming, and thus
becomes effectively useless if done extensively or exhaustively. Also
the mulling is mostly speculation and research. However, noticing one or two
midpoints in counseling a relationship in crisis, in addition to other
astrological and life factors can be very useful and not overwhelming - here
midpoints can be likened to adding a dash of cayenne or a twist of lemon, or
like ringing a miniature crystalline bell.
STUDY EXERCISES - Keep an astrological journal for notes as you do these
1. SUN TRANSITS TO NATAL MIDPOINTS. Print out a midpoint sort for
your natal chart in zodiacal order from Aries to Pisces. Observe the
transits of the Sun over each midpoint,
conjunctions to natal midpoints (1 degree orb) as the Sun "lights
up" the each midpoint in turn each year. The transiting Sun
symbolizes to me the soul's desire for experience in present time, and its
transits to the natal midpoints can be as windows into new levels or
dimensions of life-experience. This exercise not only is a kind of map
of personal growth for the year, it also is an exercise in subtle observation
and the study of midpoints.
2. MOON TRANSITS TO NATAL MIDPOINTS. When a major life
circumstance occurs, especially those of emotional impact, or unexpected, see
where the transiting Moon was at the time and which natal midpoint(s) it may
have conjoined. Here we will often see a need to react, respond, use
instinctive intuition, protect self or others, and other lunar themes as
they play out in moments of present time. This is a curious study owing
to its complexity, only really practical to do in retrospect or after the
fact, but in so doing we learn more about the nature of planetary triggers and
3. MIDPOINTS IN HOUSES. When you study the houses of your chart,
notice which midpoints fall into a particular house. When you consider a set
of midpoints in a house, do any planets really stand out? Does the set
of midpoints being in that house speak to you in any way? Write down any
observations or realizations that come to you as you consider midpoints
through the houses of your natal chart.
4. In an EVENT CHART, look at midpoints on and very close to the angles,
and Conjunctions of key planets and midpoints. A key planet would be the
planet(s) that represent the theme of the event. The Moon and angles represent
the immediacy of the event.
In doing the annual Sun transit exercise above, you'll begin to develop your
own theories, interpretations, "pet" or favorite midpoints, and may
cultivate particular days out of the year to pursue activities related to
Many astrologers favor the Sun/Moon midpoint, and Venus/Mars midpoint for life
integration and romance respectively. I have not been able to substantiate
their enthusiasm for the above midpoints in connection with the alleged
My favorite midpoint is the Saturn/Pluto midpoint - I call it an
"initiatory" midpoint, having to do with opening the door of the
soul of the prepared aspirant to spiritual initiation, direct encounters with
God/Spirit. Saturn/Pluto also seems to have a lot to do with good and
bad karma, and karmic testing, especially in synastry. I recommend doing
a mini or full retreat on the 3 days surrounding the transiting Sun conjunct
the Saturn/Pluto midpoint: the day
of the exact conjunction, and one day on either side of the exact conjunction.
Follow a simple, orderly, beautiful, devotional, inquiring and contemplative
path at this time,
leaving much of time for solitude and spontaneity. These 3 days each
year are outstanding for vision quest, ideal for teens age 16+ who
passionately seek spiritual awakening and
understanding to be initiated. Uses of classical and traditional music,
drumming or other percussion instruments such as piano, yoga, and being alone
in nature may be helpful to create a suitable context.
My favorite midpoints in synastry are conjunctions to the Ceres midpoints for
care and comfort, and the Vertex midpoints for special relationship
In a natal chart, I especially like to look at midpoints on the ASC and MC,
and just into the 1st and 10th houses, regarding talents and expression (1st)
and fame, career, and/or professional reputation (10th).
FREE BIRTH CHART