Audre Lorde. Image by K. Kendall on flickr.

“The way you get people to testify against themselves is not to have police tactics and oppressive techniques. What you do is to build it in so people learn to distrust everything in themselves that has not been sanctioned, to reject what is most creative in themselves to begin with, so you don’t even need to stamp it out.”

Sister Outsider, 102

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This is the second installment of the series on Remediating Planets in the natal chart. To read the first part of the series click here.

For this installment of Remediating Planets the topic is planets under the beams of the Sun, the state of planets when they are about 9-15 degrees away from the Sun. A planet under the beams typically cannot be seen in the sky, since it is so close to the Sun that it either rises or sets with it, and is mostly obscured by its light.

In a natal chart, a planet under the beams of the Sun is said to perform in a hidden way, in secret, or to be a profound part of that person’s inner world but not so easily detectable in its outward form in that person’s life.  These are interpretive extensions of the planet not always being visible in the sky when under the beams of the Sun.

Every natal chart is a completely unique and never to be duplicated construction. Nonetheless, many people are born with the same planets under the beams of the Sun. Non-astrological influences account for variations in how, for example, two people with Jupiter under the beams of the Sun will experience and evince that placement — the social circumstances in which they are born, the social environment in which they live their lives, the resources they have access to, their character, their spiritual composition, and perhaps other influences.

Astrologically, the natal chart’s composition will have several factors that influence the expression and manifestation of the planet under the beams. Any progressed or transiting chart activation or annual profection will have an impact on the planet’s expression as well.

An astrologer and client might want to explore remediating a planet for any number of reasons.

  • To bring more happiness and to release unnecessary suffering

  • To stop the perpetuation of cycles of patterns of suffering

  • To add brightness, strength, opportunity, and possibility to the life

  • To bring the quality of an astrological configuration into a more functionally positive expression through awareness

Simply and straightforwardly,  these are all ways of healing by alleviating suffering and maximizing peace. Humans often need to do this in involved and meaty ways (no offense vegans) because our lives are multifaceted and dense with meaningful experience.

As I stated in part 1 of this series, remediation does not necessarily require the use of astrology. Remediation can be achieved through thoughtful and careful observation and reflection, prayer, therapy, or loving relationships with others. These can all help a person to detect an issue or a desire and to design a strategy to heal or enhance the life.

The benefit of using astrology to participate in this process is the time saved and certainty gained because of astrology’s specificity and systematic ways of knowing and detecting.

Remediating a planet under the beams could go like this:

  1. Identify the planet under the beams

  2. Identify the thing to be done – whether it is a problem to be addressed or a desire to be opened/achieved

  3. Identify the expression of the planet under the beams thus far

  4. Figure out the best way to remediate the planet, whether the remedy required is energetic, physical, active, passive, etc.

  5. Move forward with remediation, reflecting and adjusting as necessary


Audre Lorde was a black lesbian feminist activist poet.

Audre Lorde
Rodden Rating A. Click to enlarge.

Her chart and life provides an illuminating example of how remediation occurred with this chart coniguration. Lorde used self-analysis, art-making, deconstructing social dynamics, and emotionally clear self expression to publicly articulate her own experience. This served as a remedial for her planet under the beams, and was a way for her to generate her own life-affirming structures of identity.

In Lorde’s chart, Saturn is concealed behind the beams of the Sun. Like a New Moon, Lorde’s Saturn is just beginning its new cycle with the Sun, so it is figuratively young in this chart.

Like a young person just stepping out into the world, it is as if this planet is both ready to experience the world with the excitement of youth and meets the world with the naïveté of youth.

In fact, Lorde experienced profound challenges locating social infrastructure and support for her identities as a black lesbian feminist. She concerned herself with identities that were hidden and unseen, generated from the material of her own personal experiences.

 “[a]s a Black lesbian mother in an interracial marriage, there was usually some part of me guaranteed to offend everybody’s comfortable prejudices of who I should be”

Sister Outsider, 137

There were no public, popular instances of people she could identify with and use to model and create her own life after. She largely generated that process herself.

“How am I going to live with cancer and not succumb to it in the many ways that I could? What do I have to do? And coming up against, there’s no one to tell you even possibilities. In the hospital I kept thinking, let’s see, there’s got to be someone somewhere, a Black lesbian feminist with cancer, how’d she handle it? Then I realized, hey, honey, you are it, for now. I read all of those books and then I realized, no one can tell me how to do it. I have to pick and choose, see what feels right.”

Sister Outsider, 108

Since the Sun represents the self, it’s as if the planet under the beams is being absorbed into the person’s sense of identity, and they become keenly identified with the qualities, significations, and actions of the hidden planet — even as the planet may not be outwardly visible as an external reality.

Being under the beams, the planet is difficult to see. Likewise it can be the case that the significations of the planet can’t be seen, operates in secret, or is obscured in the facts of the person’s life.  In Lorde’s case, in the absence of a prevailing supportive social structure for the experiences generated by her identity, she defined and created an identity structure for herself — actively bringing the hidden Saturn conjunct the Sun out into the external life through this process.

Even though Saturn is under the beams of the Sun in this chart, Lorde’s natal chart shows that she has additional resources to tap.  Saturn in the 5th house of this chart has the ability to be seen by expressing itself through the strong Jupiter placement in the house that represents Lorde’s body and presentation, and initial identity to the world.

So here we get the sense that this very visible and active Jupiter principle — teaching, writing, synthesizing, making art, disseminating — is roping in the hidden Saturn and both amplifying its expression, giving it resources through the content of Lorde’s own identity, and allowing it to express itself outwardly.

Lorde’s concern with giving life to deeply hidden publicly unsanctioned creative life is a demonstration of how Lorde self-remediated.

“The way you get people to testify against themselves is not to have police tactics and oppressive techniques. What you do is to build it in so people learn to distrust everything in themselves that has not been sanctioned, to reject what is most creative in themselves to begin with, so you don’t even need to stamp it out.”

Sister Outsider, 102

Symbolically, Saturn indicates the metabolization of life, and the ability to meet it with a sense of self-direction and ownership.

In a chart where Saturn is under the beams, free of dignity and without support from strongly placed benefic planets, we might see a person who does not identify with responsibility or duty, or for some reason experiences obstacles digesting the realities of practical living. They might divest themselves from their own self-authority and seek structure to be offered from external sources rather than being generated from the self.

But Audre ran her fingers along the shape of Saturn and took on as a her own project of “the hard work of becoming herself”, and as a defining feature of her life.


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