Locational Analyst Julian Lee
On astrocartography maps, pioneering astrologer
Jim Lewis & the locational astrology revolution.
COPYRIGHT 1998 ADVANCED LOCATIONAL RESEARCH
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Q. How did you learn locational astrology?
A. By studying a lot of people, and lots of charts. I learn through observation. That's a fun way to learn any kind of astrology.
Q. Did you have any influences?
A. When I began to study astrology, I read the works of the greats, like Hand, and Erlewine. And I talked to a few astrologers. But I wanted to learn astrology fresh for myself. I was suspicious of handed-down ideas given in texts. It seemed like a lot of the "rules" weren't really true. So my greatest influences are the charts themselves, and the people I've known, especially my clients. It's like studying flowers instead of only books about flowers.
Q. You learn from your clients?
When I began in astrology I thought: The best thing would be to interview people while looking at charts. Normally astrologers talk first, and listen incidentally. They learn some things from books, then try to "perform" for the client; to "know" about the client in advance. But long-time astrologers get good because of their actual experience with real people, and the feedback they constantly get. You can double or triple that learning advantage by interviewing people first, with chart in hand. There is really no better way to learn astrology. You can constantly test out rules and theories that way. I always preferred to study "real life" this way, without too many preconceptions.
Then I got lucky when I started doing locational readings. From the beginning it seemed appropriate to first interview the client on their goals and desires. At that time they naturally tell you all about their life as it is, under their current locational chart.
This means every time I did a reading, I really got to know my clients from their end, and this tested, and deepened, my knowledge. I wasn't just assuming that I already knew things, which is a position astrologers tend to take. To work my way takes more time -- I do two separate sessions. But it's a better deal for the client and the astrologer. Really, I think any kind of astrologer would have a better practice if they listened more first. People love to be listened to. Many of them don't get much of that. Just the listening is almost worth your fee. It also shows respect to the client as a fundamentally free being, instead of "you are your chart and I know all about you because I have the chart."
Q. So you do a client interview and that's how you have learned locational astrology, too?
A. Yes. With the interview, I am daily finding out how people do with various locational charts. I get constant feedback on my theories and ideas, and have been able to develop reliable techniques and principles. Things different than what astrologers were saying.
Q. Such as?
A. Oh, I always hear astrologers say that the semi-sextile (dodecile) is a "minor aspect." Watching a lot of actual charts, it became obvious to me this is erroneous. Knowing differently allowed me to do readings that come out more accurately. So as an example, I would not recommend a location where the client's new forth house ruler was undergoing, say, a long-term progressing dodecile (semi-s.) from Saturn. That would make it a harsh location. I learned such things through my naive investigations. Without this knowledge (about the dodecile) astrologers tend to miss major problems in the client's life. Another case would be the Relocated Natal Chart itself. By a lot of real life observation and everyday testing I was able to see how vital it is.
Q. Do you have other qualifications?
A. Well, I live in a nice home, without trying. I love where I am. My daily life is pleasant and meaningful, and I have a successful practice. I have time to do the things that I like to do. I am 80% content. Are those good qualifications?
Q. Yes, but just being happy doesn't really qualify one as an astrologer, does it?
A. Well, I'm just saying that because I am a cure-oriented astrologer, you know. Everybody expects you to be have at least a decent life.
Q. People must want to know if your locational astrology has helped you.
A. Right. And that's a valid expectation, don't you think? I mean, if one's life is a mess, what does it say about one's "knowledge." Everyone naturally assumes also that I chose a good location for myself, and so I should be personally happy. The smart people are naturally going to evaluate a cure-oriented astrologer this way. They do the same with Feng-Shui consultants, etc. It's like: "Has astrology helped you?" There is something to the idea that you can't give what you don't have.
Q. Being a "cure-oriented" astrologer that must come up more, whereas other astrologers don't operate under such pressure.
A. A cure-oriented astrologer has to take that scrutiny. In my case, I actually did not move to a place I thought was good for me, but that is another story. You go where you must go. But I do think people are best off seeking the advice of a counselor or metaphysician they admire a little, or at least is attractive to them. I believe people become more like their counselor, especially the more stock they place in them. It's not good when astrologers are wrecks.
I'm not saying it isn't noble to be a bohemian astrological theorist, hanging out in cafes, scribbling brilliant metaphysical aphorisms, while life is falling apart. I think that's romantic. I spent a summer like that on State Street in Santa Barbara. And I'm not saying people who are struggling can't be repositories of wisdom. But when I see a reader who lives in a dump, is unhealthy, and watches sitcoms all night, and I watch people come to them for advice on how to live their life, I think: "Something is wrong with this picture." One thing I've also noticed is that the people coming to the door seem a lot like that reader. With astrologers too, various kinds of people attract their own kind.
Q. You say you did not choose your best location?
A. Actually, no. I picked southern California to favor a certain daughter of mine who had a handicap. My object was to give her the best locational chart I could. At that time I mostly disregarded my own charts and voluntarily took on a few major negative factors, such as Uranus-4, and some other "honkers." At the time I thought I was untouchable. That is long story.
Any way, I think the best qualification of an astrologer is whether you help make lives better, either spiritually, materially, or both. Do your clients prosper? Do they at least get some joy, or peace, from talking with you? Do they become more radiant? With more faith in good things?
Q. We are going to speak about locational astrology, astrocartography maps, etc. You are not really an "original insider," in that field. You did not know Jim Lewis, etc.
Yes, that is so. As my best qualification, I can only offer success with my clients. (Sometimes I myself am amazed at what they write to me. And it makes me really excited to tell other astrologers about the Relocated Natal Chart!) Also, my exclusive concentration on locational study is a qualification. Like Jim Lewis, I'm a specialist. It's true I am not an insider, but that is one of my qualifications, too. Beware "establishment" astrology! I have no personal or financial stake in making out the Lewis discovery as perfect or complete. I haven't been hemmed in by friendships or diplomacy. It makes me a sort of enfant terrible, or "loose cannon" on the deck, and I fear I have made some enemies. But it gives me a more free mind.
I want to acknowledge that there are important astrologers who are also onto some of the same discoveries I talk about. For example, Zipporah Dobyns has been talking about the importance of the Relocated Natal Chart for some time, which I think says a lot for her as an astrologer. Others have become hip to it on their own, too, and are using it in their daily practice. The importance of the Relocated Natal is not something I discovered, I just blab about it more.
Q. You are an Aries?
A. Yes, and Mars in Gemini. The data is March 23, 1957, Des Moines, Iowa, 9:52 a.m.
Q. What about your technical skills?
A. Honestly, I am not much of a technical man. My interest is the observation and interpretation of charts, and then developing theories and principles from that. I also try to convey those principles to the average person in a way that they can understand. I stand by the Placidus House system, and feel it is most accurate in terms of the Relocated Natal rulerships. (I've tested it a lot in northern latitudes.) Analysis is what I love. I will leave the more Virgoan astrologers to haggle over technical controversies. Do you know what I think? An astrologer with good karma is always reading off of the "right chart." Astrology is actually no different than reading tea leaves in the end. I hate to say that. It's all about correlations in Nature. So you can get a reading off of the street life, the way the birds are acting -- anything you want.
Q. What is your opinion of Jim Lewis and astrocartography maps?
A. I believe that the late Jim Lewis is one of the most important and influential astrologers in all of western history. But the reason he is important maybe has not yet dawned on the astrological community.
A. Christopher Columbus came to the shore of America, and he thought it was the West Indies. He had actually discovered a whole new continent. Jim Lewis thought that he had discovered the validity of a few in mundo planetary positions, only. I am saying what he really discovered is: the validity of the Relocated Natal Chart. This chart produces positions similar to the in mundo positions, but offers a vast quantity of readable information. Like Columbus finding an entirely new continent, Jim Lewis happened onto a new, undiscovered astrological continent. Now we get to be like Daniel Boone, exploring the interior. There are all manner of fascinating things in the new continent. The Relocated Natal is loaded with thrills.
Q. Explain the relocated natal chart.
A. You draw a natal chart as if you had been born someplace else, and you find that your house setup comes out altered. Planets move into new houses, houses take on different signs on their cusps, etc.
Q. So in the Relocated Natal, what changes are the planets-in-houses, but not planets in signs, or the aspects that they make to each other?
A. Correct. In relocation we can change the way your planets sit in the houses, and house rulerships. In astrocartography terms, I initially made a move to Alaska to be near a "Jupiter Dsc" line as well as "Sun Asc." This meant that Jupiter was going to be on my Seventh House cusp, instead of in my Fifth where it was natally. Luckily I was curious enough to order a "Relocated Natal Chart" for the area. When I got it, I saw that the factors on the linemap were all visually present in the Relocated Natal. I could see that, yep, there was Jupiter sitting on the new Seventh House cusp, whereas my natal had it in Fifth. This was represented on the linemap as a line called "JU-DSC." Then there was my Sun now sitting at First instead of in the 11th. This was marked by a "SU-ASC" line. I said to myself, "Aha! That's where these lines come from." Now, I didn't understand at that time that he was arriving at his lines using a different reckoning, but I did see that they approximated the RelNat positions. I got a lot of other RelNats and saw how they usually included whatever factor the astrocartography map showed, with some aberrations in the 1st and 7th axis because of the different technique he was using.
Q. In other words, the astrocartography "lines" may be really expressions of a few relocated natal chart factors.
A. They can be viewed that way, and that is what I am saying. I am saying that Lewis really stumbled onto the Relocated Natal and it's importance. Now, by comparison an ACG map shows only a small portion of the RelNat factors. When they say in the ACG promo that "astrocartography is a technique of mapping a horoscope onto a world map," it's stretching things a lot. It would be more honest to say it's a way of plotting 2 percent of your horoscope onto a world map.
Q. What is the difference in studying an area using an astrocartography map, and studying the Relocated Natal Chart for the same area?
A. Well, there is a lot more to see in a RelNat. For example, in my case, I had taken on a new ascendant -- Pisces instead of my usual Gemini. My Alaskan money house had a different ruler, Mars was now in my 2nd instead of 12th, and many other items were evident once I saw the RelNat. None of these things are depicted on linemaps. But if you want to know how income will go in a new location, you have to look at the second house--the house of money. A "Jupiter-Midheaven" won't save you if your actual money house is bad. That means occupants of the house, ruler of the house, transits and progressions to the ruler, and transits to the occupants -- all the good, classical stuff. But you won't see any second house information on a linemap. You can only see it in a RelNat.
Q. So you think that those other items are important, too?
A. Yes, they are. Back then, novice that I was, I didn't see why they shouldn't be. In my astrological studies up to that time, I had always seen the chart handled as a whole, with effects given to planets through all the houses. In classical astrology, everything in a natal chart is meaningful and interpretable. So I assumed that if some things in the RelNat was going to "work" -- like my new Jupiter-on-Dsc -- why wouldn't other parts of the chart "work" also? Jim Lewis seemed so confident in his brown booklet -- that these angular conjunctions really produce certain phenomena. Like, Venus at Dsc would attract to you pretty females, a Pluto midheaven could get you murdered, and so on. So it seemed he thought that these locational influences produce definite results.
Q. So you decided that the Relocated Natal was really the discovery, and started working with it as a whole, even though the in mundo positions produce differences around the 1st-7th axis.
Q. And what are you finding?
A. I have found that the entire relocated natal chart 'works,' not just parts of it, and is more accurate and useful than any linemap.
Q. For example?
A. Well, in Alaska my Ascendant had changed from Gemini (my natal) to Pisces. I realized after less than 6 months that I was taking on the personality traits of Pisces. I had developed an interest in meditation, became less verbal, and got a little woozy and disorganized. People actually started guessing Pisces for my sun sign. I had put Mars into my second house, and I later realized I had become very impulsive about spending. I counted up one day and was mortified to find I'd spent $2,000 on books in a year. I took on a Sagittarius midheaven, and I came into a much higher and easy-going professional situation. I realized all of that might be significant. I started to look at the relocated natals of other people. I found that if they had been living with them long, the relocated natal seemed to describe their life at least as well as their natal charts. Later I realized that the Relocated Natal actually seemed MORE accurate than the natal. Then, when you start watching transits to the RelNat versus transits to the Natal, it'll really blow you away. It makes you stand up and notice. Astrology comes in from the cold at that point.
Q. Now, what about the traditional natal chart. Could it be that you haven't given it it's due. You said that you became an astrologer studying location from the beginning...
A. Well the person who introduced me to astrology was a traditional astrologer, like everyone else. And the books that I read were all based on the natal chart. And I bought all that, about the natal chart, from the beginning. For my first couple of years as a professional I was reading off the natal chart, like everyone else. But I had these two parallel tracks going from the start. I had seen the RelNat, so I was always watching that, too, and comparing. It was through watching the two of them for a while that I finally jumped ship. But it took me a little while to unbrainwash myself, and register the obvious. It's when you start watching transits to the RelNat that it really jumps out at you. Like, watch Saturn go through your natal 2nd House, and then watch it go through actual your RelNat second house. (Assuming you've moved.) Or watch Venus hit your natal nadir, and them compare it when it hits the nadir in your current RelNat. The RelNat transit will bring the pretty people to your house, maybe bearing food and gifts. It'll really shake you up once you start watching it. You'll realize you have another chart. And it's like getting a front row seat on astrology, instead of 20 rows back--which is where most atrologers are sitting now. You get to see things the ancients were seeing--very clear renditions of astrological house phenomena--and you realize why they were more "fatalistic." They had a more clear working astrology because people didn't move around much in those days. So what Lewis has really done is rediscovered the real natal chart. It's the Relocated Natal.
Q. You said you thought Jim Lewis didn't comprehend the import of his discovery.
A: I don't think he did, or else he would have quickly led us to study the Relocated Natal Chart. It's more interesting and fun. It has a "money house" and other neat stuff. The idea that the Relocated Natal actually 'works' is a profound discovery. It rocks the foundations of astrology. This is the real discovery that Jim Lewis actually made. But since he didn't speak in those terms, it makes me think he didn't realize what he had actually discovered.
Q. What do you think might be the reasons Lewis, and then other astrologers, haven't spoken in terms of the entire Relocated Natal?
A. It may have to do with controversies over the sensibility of various house systems and the fact that there are anomalies or inelegant features to various house systems, i.e. astrologers can't really agree over Placidus, Koch etc. By using in mundo positions, Lewis could step aside that problem and present factors on the maps that were at least technically accurate. I think it also has to do with a kind of astrological "dogma" around the primacy of the natal chart. It may also relate to the work of Michel Gauquelin, which was the rage in Lewis' time and validated angular conjunctions. Intelligently, Lewis took that as "solid ground" and developed a map that worked from that safe ground.
Q. So you think Gauquelin research induced Lewis to focus on only angular-house conjunctions?
A: Yes. We seem to have, in astrocartography, an astrology in which the entire chart is thrown away and only the four angular house cusps are considered important. It's as we have a very limited astrology -- defined by a non-astrologer scientist -- enshrined in astrocartography maps. But of course it helped that angular conjunctions are a sure thing to watch. In other words, those conjunctions are strong and they do show up locationally. So it was a more sure bet for Lewis to focus on the angular conjunctions anyway. People would get definite, noticeable confirmations with them. It's like dropping your fishing line right in the spot where you know there is a fish, even though there are many other fish of various kinds elsewhere in the lake. You can move to a Mars-Dsc and really see the action right away in your seventh house. Or it's like a carpenter pounding a nail only where he knows there is a stud, even though there might be better places to pound, also having studs.
Q. So you're saying that the astrocartography map works, but there is more to know about a location.
A. Quite a lot more. A whole chartful more. And this is the true revolution in astrology, which the Lewis work has broached. Did you know that every relocated natal chart contains well over one hundred technical factors if you count all aspects to houses, transits going on, etc.? And usually there are about a dozen major factors present, with a lot of meaning and influence. Look at your locational money-ruler, and watch the transits hit it, and see it affect your money supply in that location. You'll see the whole business of astrology comes back into sharp focus. But of course, you won't see any information about the second house on an astrocartography style map.
What Lewis was seeing was some of the sure-fire, indubitable colors of the Relocated Natal. He thought he had reached India, but he had really discovered North America. I use this analogy: Make an etching of a maple leaf on a piece of paper. Right off you'll see the upper stem and ridges of the leaf show up on the paper, but if you rub a little longer, you'll see the entire form. Actually that's not the best analogy, because many things left out of astrocartography maps are quite big, like Uranus in 2nd for example. You look at a map and it shows you'll have a "ME-ASC" in St. Louis, so that means you'll talk a lot in St. Louis. But the map fails to inform you that Uranus will enter your new second house in St. Louis, which will usually bring you major financial fluctuations.
Q. Do you think that these additional line markers should be placed on astrocartography maps, then? Would that make them more reliable?
A. There's a big problem with that. As mentioned, any relocated natal chart, just like a Natal, contains well over a hundred technical factors. I would say that anywhere you live, there are always about a half dozen factors of vital importance. So how would would one of those maps look with six lines drawn across every speck of space? Of course it would be unreadable. Some astrologers soon saw the limitations of the Lewis recipe. So maps came out showing more RelNat factors as lines. The "Astrolocality" version by ACS will give you a line indicating Saturn-Square-Descendant, etc. Such maps have a lot more lines on them. When the typical person looks at one of those, they often throw up there hands, thinking they are too complex. And yet those maps are upping the percentage of RelNat info to maybe 10 percent. So you can see the problem.
map in the
standard ACG recipe, showing the incidence of planetary
other words, people might not use
A. Maybe so. Lewis developed a product that was more appealing to the the average consumer. From a marketing perspective, that was smart. But as to knowledge, such maps are really dumbing us down. You'll see astrologers recommending, say, a "Sun-Asc line" to some mother with children and completely ignoring the house system; fact that Saturn may slip into her new Fifth house, that Pluto will soon afflict the new Fifth House Ruler, etc.
is derived from from the same birth data (Julian Lee) but shows
Lots of lines!
Lots of planetary
factors everywhere you live. But even these maps leave off critical
like house rulers, transit info, etc. If you really want to see the ink
cartridge go dry,
Q. So this brings up an obvious question: Which is more important, the Natal chart or the Relocated Natal?
Well, that is the big question, and the astrocartography discovery is basically shouting that question into the faces of astrologers every day now.
Q. So how do you answer that question?
A. Well, I don't want to be coy, but I hope you will read "Location and Your Life." I answer it in the book.
Q. How about just a hint.
A. Well, the orthodox line of astrologers is that the natal chart has primacy and these locational influences must be "secondary" or something. But let me ask you: If I can get 'murdered' under the Pluto-MH, am I to figure that my murder will be just a "secondary" murder? If a man attracts pretty females and ends up married under the Venus-DCS, are we to expect the women to be mere phantoms, and the marriage just a "secondary" marriage?
The problem is really interesting because it strikes at the heart of astrological orthodoxy. It's notable to read Robert Hand in his book, Planets in Transit. In the intro he uses Richard Nixon as an example to show how transits work. As if his explanations were not complete, he finally resorts to bringing in Nixon's relocated natal for D.C. He points out how Nixon's Washington RelNat took on a Neptune-in-tenth. (Nixon was born in Fullerton, Calif.)
He basically shows us Nixon's Neptune-10 RelNat, sort of like, 'And by the way, this is sort of interesting' Then he quickly demurs with an orthodox retreat: 'Of course you know, a Relocated Natal chart is only secondary, folks.' (I am paraphrasing him.)
Now, you can read back through decades of astrological cookbooks and read the various takes on Neptune-10. These are books talking about natal placements. And typically they will say Neptune-10 gives "scandal in public life," "humiliations," "secrecy in career," etc. and "falls from grace." So should we think that Richard Nixon's fall from grace was only a "secondary" sort of fall from grace?
To take it further, I may have a client who can't get pregnant. We move her to place Jupiter into here 5th house and she gets pregnant and has a healthy child. So do we call the child a "secondary" sort of child?
Q. So are you saying that the Relocated Natal is just as important as the natal chart, or more, or less -- what?
A. Well, you just think it over. Watch your relocated natal as if it was your natal, and read my book "Location and Your Life." You'll figure it all out. It'll be exciting, I promise.
Q. You have commented on astrocartography maps, and you have spent your career studying locational influences. Could you comment a little on the Astro*Carto*Graphy text material such as the little brown booklet that comes with the maps, or the posthumous material?
A. Yes. You have to figure that there are many "cookbooks" in astrological literature. In other words, how many hundreds of astrologers have written books giving their take on this-or-that planetary factor: Moon in Cancer, Neptune in Third, Mercury square Uranus, etc.? It's common for an astrologer to have a career, then give us their contribution.
Locational literature will be no different, and there will eventually be other "cookbooks" presenting observations of RelNat factors. My book, "The Geostel Brownbook" is one of those, like the Lewis material. So first of all, the Lewis material can be viewed as one astrologer's attempt at a cookbook, albeit the first one attempting to describe RelNat factors. As with all astrological cookbooks, some will be better than others.
Q. So what is your opinion, given your experience with these locational factors, with the quality of the Lewis material?
A. Well, let's take the brown book. On the positive side I am amazed at the dense, pithy quality of those paragraphs, and yet they are too short. There is much more that can be said about those locational factors. As to the accuracy, I am impressed by some paragraphs, and not others. The Pluto-MH paragraph is very good, stunning really. The paragraphs on Venus are weak, making the planet seem almost ridiculous or silly. I feel his treatment of Uranus is too friendly. But he also takes an almost blanket negative view of the outer planets, which isn't always appropriate if one has, say a really well-aspected Neptune, and you want to be a songwriter. Some of the greatest things happen under strong outer planets. I love his paragraph on the Jupiter-IC, but I feel his take on Moon-IC is unfortunate, and a little strange.
What I think is of concern is that thousands of people are making huge decisions, affecting their lives profoundly, based on that little brown booklet. They have to realize it's just one guy's take on these influences.
One thing about his material is that it has a psychological orientation. This is to be expected since he came from a generation that stressed "psychological astrology" rather than the real-life approach of older astrology. So the brownbook lacks some color and specific examples. This makes me think that Lewis may not have went in for exhaustive observation and feedback from clients. That's understandable; he was a busy enough guy! So I think there is a lot of good extrapolation from archetypal symbols. But The Geostel Brownbook has new and interesting real-life detail. It comes from years in the trenches with several thousand clients.
I believe that locational astrology is the future of all astrology, and will sweep this country in less than a decade. And we'll have Jim Lewis to thank as the grandfather-pioneer in our time who found the gold vein. But what's really important that astrologers realize now, is this: The discovery is much greater than we thought.
Q. I see scads of material on the internet by a Robert Couteau about a "least aspected planet" theory, related to astrocartography maps. Could you comment on the Couteau material?
Yes, I have seen the material. But there are problems with it....
Click Interview2 to read Julian Lee's Critique of the Robert Couteau Astrocartography Research.
The ACG formula linemap for the world, for Julian Lee.
with all these
none of these maps will show you basic facts like the planetary ruler
the financial sector, the marriage house, and many other vital factors
in the location.
of Locational Consultant Julian Lee.
of Julian's Lee's guide to Astrocartography maps:
"The Geostel Brownbook"