Remediating Planets in the Birth Chart Part 1

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Ellen Burstyn. Wikimedia Commons. CC 3.0.

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This article is the first in a series in which I will be exploring difficult planets in the birth chart and what to do to make life with them easier.

A premise of this series is that while some personal qualities and outer events in life may be beyond one’s control, the one thing that is always within control is one’s chosen response to the various challenges in life.

Astrology, through its symbolic language, offers the ability to be aware of one’s internal potholes and sharp turns to a very precise and at the same time very broad and expansive degree.

Astrology also potentially offers balm to the same issues it defines. Therefore a persistent personality issue or external event could be ameliorated using astrological principles that identify the issue.

A planet or planetary combination can point to personal characteristics and behaviors as well as external actions and events that can present a continuous source of trouble. In the case of a continuous issue a remediation is most effective.

The issue can present itself in the natal chart as a permanent fixture in the life, or can enter the life for a particular period and then depart.

The most troublesome planet in the birth chart can change from one point in time to another, depending on a number of factors.

Remediation simply means making a situation better. It means reducing suffering and sorrow. It can be done by awareness, mindfulness, or implementation of remedy.

At this point I want to ask and respond to several questions that may arise naturally at this stage of exploring this topic. I am starting from the assumption that humans have a degree of control over their choices which then shapes personal experience of life.

Is it possible that a problematic persistent external event or situation can be remediated, and if so, how? 

Some situations are out of our hands. They seem to be written for us. These can be one time events, or lingering events that are beyond personal control but can be overcome, or at worse, God and the Universe forbid, a lingering event that is terminal.

But sometimes we have to deal with in-laws or problematic co-workers or bullying internet trolls. And beyond confrontation and trying to influence them to see things differently, the only thing that can be controlled and changed is one’s personal response.

Sometimes life hands us an unfair betrayal that inspires deep doubt — like when entrepreneur and designer Sarah Shaw experienced all of her investors pulling out their funding at once after 9/11, and got threatened with being sued if she used her trademarked legal name on any other venture.

Sometimes we want to be in a deep love relationship and we seem to be eternally single.

Sometimes we have a child born with a medical condition and we did not anticipate our lives going that way.

Sometimes we have a child and we did not foresee our lives going that way.

So the question morphs into: Can the more impactful one time events be remediated away? Not always, but the situation can be accepted as the life that was offered and then we can make choices about how to live life from there.

All of these things are in a range of possible undesirable things that happen amongst life’s undulations, that the chart can indicate  and that a skilled astrologer would be able to note and offer counsel for.

How can a non-chemical personal quality or behavior be remediated?

Relatively speaking these are the easiest of all remediations because they can be addressed by identification, sincere desire to change the experience, and effort of will applied to improving the situation.

If one is deeply depressed – find the source and take the appropriate action to address the depression.

If one is deeply in rage (suppressed rage is related to depression) – find the source and take the appropriate action.

And so on for various behaviors and presentations.

Do we even need astrology to do this? 

All that is required to make a profound improvement for the better is self awareness, will, and a prayerful connection to the divine of any kind can only help.

Astrology is a shortcut and a blueprint. It slides open the opaque pane to the past that frames events in a comprehensible storyline. This is healing. Astrology also lifts the veil to the future, allowing actions in the present to be taken that can smooth the road to a more positive experience of future events — sometimes years or decades in advance. An astrologer can pinpoint a potentially problematic situation in the birth chart and offer ways to work with it and around it.

So let’s move on to the specific troublesome planets that I will be exploring in this first part of the series.

In this article I will be focusing on the Hellenistic concept of malefic planet that is contrary to the sect in favor. This planet would be either Mars or Saturn, and the configuration it is part of. This planet can present issues in a static and predictable way over the course of a lifetime as a permanent part of the birth chart.

In plain terms that means either the planet Mars or Saturn, depending on if the person was born during the night and day.

Mars is more problematic in day charts than it is in night charts.

Saturn is more problematic in night charts than it is in day charts.

In this article I will be exploring the malefic out of sect and the house it occupies in the chart of model and actor Ellen Burstyn.

Ellen Burstyn
Click to enlarge.


I was recently listening to a podcast interview of her  from which I gathered the biographical material for this analysis. The birth data in the chart below is rated Rodden A.

Ellen Burstyn has a night chart so Saturn is the most difficult planet in her chart in this analysis.

Saturn is in its own sign of Aquarius which gives it some strength. Namely it shows that that part of Ellen’s life is granted a certain kind of ease that comes with doors opening easily for her. But this is not without its Saturnian quality of effort and persistence. Since Saturn is the malefic out of sect, there is also hardship associated with this part of her life. The strength of Saturn’s position does not remove the hardship, but layers on an additional particular quality of ease that exists concurrently with it, or emerges at certain points as the spiral of her life unfurls.

The fifth house has to do with children, romance, pleasure, the arts, and entertainment.

A life event illustrated by this placement is that Ellen Burstyn had an abortion at the age of 18, right before she first moved to Texas to start her career as an actor. Abortions in 1950 were illegal. She says in the interview that it scarred her as a traumatic experience for the remainder of her life. As a result of the illegal abortion, she could never get pregnant again.

This unfortunate one time event that impacted her for the rest of her life is illustrated by Saturn in her nighttime chart.

Yet that Saturn is also powerful by being placed in its own sign:

Later on in life Burstyn adopted a son, who turned out magnificently despite the turbulence in her life. She says in the interview that it is this she is most proud of in her 81 years of life. They have been together since the day he was born In 1961.

In the year she adopted her son, the topic of children acquired amplified importance in her chart. She was 28 years old, in a 5th house profected year. The importance of the time was further compounded by Jupiter’s activating transit to that house and its conjunction to her natal Saturn.

So it could be that a potential remediation is the impactful and deep choice to adopt a child. This fulfilled a desire that Burstyn had and helped her to cope with the consequence of the political situation of her day, which made having a destructive illegal abortion necessary for her at that time.

This dramatic and weighty example illustrates the unfolding of a life. The sequence of events as they happened were propelled by the momentum of Burstyn’s spirit, and possibly what was written for her at the moment she became embodied.

While it is possible that an astrologer could have offered counsel that would have intervened in her having unfortunate events associated with pregnancy and children, it is unlikely. And it could be that that placement would have manifested in a different way.

There is always an appeal to grace that is possible when it comes to any challenging placement in the chart or situation in life. Astrology simply helps us to know what to ask for. But it does more than that by allowing for the identification of the area of life that would be problematic and the possible course of action that would help to remedy it.


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California based astrologer in practice since 2014. Blending traditional astrology with Yogic/Vedic philosophy, and wisdom teachings, art, poetry, literature and spirituality.

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