The Radial Diagram – An Alternative To The Midpoint Tree

In the previous post I showed how a midpoint relationship could be visually portrayed through the use of a Venn diagram.

Typically, a chart element will be connected to one or more midpoints depending upon the orb used.  Multiple midpoint configurations are typically presented as “trees” in the majority of software programs available to astrologers, with the “lead planet” shown at the top and the midpoints ranked below.  An example of such a midpoint tree produced from Solar Fire is shown below:


In this example the midpoints are ranked according to the order in which they fall in zodiacal longitude.  Other sorts may arrange the tree according to the proximity of the orb.

The use of the letter “d” indicates that the midpoint is direct – that is, the planet at the top of the tree will be either conjunct or opposing the midpoint in the chart.

Where multiple midpoint combinations are present, there is the potential for interpretation to become complicated.  This is perhaps one of the reasons why many astrologers avoid midpoints altogether, as they often say there is too much information to deal with.   But to ignore midpoints is to overlook important factors that are not normally apparent when using the conventional chart wheel which emphasises signs and house cusp divisions.

The radial diagram is something that I have been looking at quite recently as it struck me as a way of presenting the same data as that shown in the midpoint tree, albeit with a radically new interface:


In this example the midpoint connections are exactly the same shown as in the tree above but where the tree portrays these relationships as a linear structure, the radial emphasises the importance of the central planet, in this case the Sun.

Rather than treating the midpoint combinations as a straight line, the radial implies a more “holistic” relationship where all pairings are seen to radiate out from the core and are equal.

Does the visual representation of these midpoints really make a difference?  Maybe not.  But my instinct about all this is that the way in which chart data is set out influences to some extent the way we think about astrology, and thus how we go about constructing a narrative about what is actually manifesting in the person or event under scrutiny.

A Portrayal of Astrological Symmetry Through The Venn Diagram

The use of midpoints in astrology goes beyond the conventionally accepted model of two-part relationships, namely aspects, by providing a radically new framework in which to understand how chart elements interact with each other.

The midpoint in its most basic form could best be understood as a “three part aspect” if such a description is valid.  In essence it brings together two individual chart points and by extension a third component, whether natally or by progression/transit.

The standard accepted nomenclature for a midpoint combination is the forward slash symbol (/) and the equals (=) sign to denote which chart elements exist in a three way relationship.  Thus the midpoint between Sun and Moon is written So/Mo and So/Mo = Ju would indicate that the midpoint is occupied by Jupiter as the third factor.

Let’s take a look at a combination in a chart known to me personally.  The combination is the Moon’s Node occupying the midpoint of Mercury and Uranus.  Usually this would be expressed as:MWS289

Sometimes the manner in which things are portrayed influences our perceptions of how they operate.  As in the above example, what does this symbol actually mean and what can we do with it to enhance our understanding of what is taking place in the natal chart?  By itself the symbology and nomenclature are sterile unless imbued with meaning.

Enter the Venn diagram:

MWS287The same relationship is being displayed but in a much different format.  In this case the Venn diagram portrays the tripartite link between Node, Mercury and Uranus as interdependent factors.  All three operate in tandem.

Why is this important in the context of chart interpretation?

First of all in this particular chart the Node is at the direct midpoint of Mercury and Uranus, that is the distance in degrees of longitude between the Node and Mercury is also the same as that for the Node and Uranus.  This is where the symmetry comes in.  Think of the Node in this example as the fulcrum or centre, with Mercury and Uranus being on opposite sides of the see-saw.

Secondly, the three way relationship will be telling us something very different to an aspect.  If the Node had been in a trine, square or conjunction with Mercury or Uranus alone then the interpretation would take on a different meaning.  The fact that it is taking on the combined qualities of Mercury and Uranus means that we have to approach the interpretation in a different way.

The first thing to do in getting to grips with the meaning is to thoroughly understand what the Me/Ur midpoint means.  It is in fact a midpoint that has some connection with astrology.  We could postulate that it is a combination that has to do with unusual or unconventional thinking.  The brilliant midpoint researcher Reinhold Ebertin linked it to mathematical and engineering ability.

In the Cosmobiology school of thought, the Lunar Node is considered to signify connections and alliances.  My experience has borne out this view to be correct, although I would argue that it also represents connections that are not always of a social nature, something I intend to address in a later article.  But to keep matters short, the Node is quite a good descriptor of the social links a person might form, very much in the manner of the 11th house as representing friends and societies.

In this case then, Nn = Me/Ur may speak of connections with astrologers or an astrological society, or connecting with those who are brilliantly and mathematically minded.  It may describe the native as someone who is independently minded, or expresses radical thoughts when in the company of their peers.

The use of midpoints helps the astrologer to get to the nuts and bolts of what is going on in the natal chart.

Books That Influenced My Thinking

Astrology books of a high calibre are, in my experience, usually difficult to come by.  Some publications tend to advocate ideas and techniques that are unprovable or unreliable when put to the test, or merely articulate fanciful theories about how the author thinks astrology works.

These are a list of the books that stand out and helped to advance my own ideas about the nature of astrology.

Horoscope Symbols by Robert Hand (Whitford Press, 1981)



The first book I read by Robert Hand as a student was “Planets in Transit”, but it was during a conversation with an astrologer at a psychic fare in 1995 that this particular work was recommended to me.  It does not fit into what I see as the astrological “cookbook” variety but contains many lucid insights from a renowned astrologer.

The chapter on two-part combinations is indispensable for understanding how midpoints work, and in my view this should be required reading for every serious student of the subject.



The Spirit Of Numbers by David Hamblin (The Wessex Astrologer Ltd, 2011)



Harmonic astrology was a no-go area for me for a number of years, even though I had come across David Hamblin’s original book “Harmonic Charts” in the late 1980’s.  It is still a relatively little understood area of astrology and for some time I struggled to make sense of exactly how harmonics worked on an interpretational level.

The Spirit of Numbers is one of those few books that breaks new ground.  In his original book David looked at the prime numbers Five, Seven and Nine but in his latest work he goes much further by examining the nature of the higher primes up to and including the number 31.

Using and understanding harmonics seems to me to be largely a matter of changing the perceptual lens though which we normally view astrology.  Most students are trained to see the chart through the perspective of two and three series aspects, but this book shows that there is a hidden world beyond the conventionally used aspect series which can throw an entirely new light on what is actually occurring.

Working With Astrology by Michael Harding & Charles Harvey (Arkana, 1990)

MWS288This is a unique book that truly breaks the mould and poses many serious issues about what I see as the “structural” problem in astrology.  That is, the way in which chart data is presented influences to a large extent how the astrologer sees what is happening.

The authors make a very profound point when they state that “one of the commonest errors in astrological literature …. is the statement that the birth chart is an accurate map of the planets as they appear from a specific place on the surface of the Earth, set for a specific moment in time. It is not. It is a distorted attempt to fit a highly-complex set of geometric relationships into a simple diagram”.

If one statement deserved to be printed in large, bold letters and displayed across the door of every institution claiming to teach astrology, then this would have to be it.  The basis of symmetrical and harmonic astrology is laid open here, although for interpretations one would have to consult other books.




The Technical Astrologer – An Introduction

My aim in creating this blog site is to articulate ideas that have arisen over the past number of years in regards to astrology both in theory and practice, and to outline my concerns about where I believe astrology has gone wrong.

I began to take a keen interest in astrology at the age of 17 and later went on to complete formal studies with the Mayo School of Astrology based in the UK, attaining their diploma in 1998.  Up to this point my education in, and understanding of astrology, was based largely upon the traditional or classical model which it seems still appears to be popular today.

Over the past three years my belief system in astrology has undergone a dramatic shift almost to the point of collapse, as I have struggled to reconcile the limitations of traditional astrology with the new ideas that emerged in the 20th century, namely the work of Alfred Witte and the Hamburg School, Reinhold Ebertin and the research into harmonics pioneered by John Addey.

My concern is that astrology, as it currently stands, has been largely undermined by the proliferation of Sun-sign stereotyping which has provided fertile ground for attack by the scientific community.  In addition to this it has also trivialised astrology to the extent that serious, intellectual discussion is nearly impossible outside of the subject.

I also believe that there are a number of technical questions which astrologers have not properly addressed, and which need to be tackled.   Amongst these are the house system controversy which would probably merit a blog in its own right, and the problem of aspect orbs.  These questions are, amongst others, topics which I hope to be covering as the site progresses.

Ian Delaney

DMS Astrol.