In my last post, I drew an analogy between the mechanics of the well-known board game, Clue, and what goes in a birth-chart in Astrology.
Just as Clue hinges on the intersections of three individual symbols drawn from three different sets of them, so, too, does Astrology.
In Clue, we need to connect a suspect, a weapon, and a room in the mansion where the game takes place. This gives us the answers to who committed the crime, how they did it, and where they did it.
In Astrology, we answer the exact same questions (who? how? where?) by substituting in the astrological terms of Planets, Signs, and Houses, respectively. Or, as I said in that previous post:
In Clue, we can say this: “The SUSPECTS act, the WEAPONS tell us how they act, and the ROOMS tell us where they act.”
You only have to swap in the appropriate terms to see how the three main sets of symbols work in Astrology: “The PLANETS act, the SIGNS tell us how they act, and the HOUSES tell us where they act.”
We can extend this analogy even further.
First, when I played Clue as a kid, the game only offered six suspects. In Astrology, though, the corresponding symbol-set of Planets traditionally held at least seven members…and the more modern a given astrologer’s viewpoint is, the more additional members she or he may be tempted to work in on top of those original seven (these additional members can include Outer Planets, Dwarf Planets, Asteroids, Planetoids…). It can get pretty crowded in a chart cast by a modern astrologer! But to keep it in Clue terms, imagine that the mansion is playing host to, say, 10 or 11 possible suspects instead of the original six.
Next, let’s agree that in this telling of it, there are a dozen possible types of weapons to choose from, too, instead of the game’s same original limit of six.
Let’s also update the weapons’ availability to the suspects. In the Clue game, there was only one example of each type of weapon on hand. This meant that if, say, Mr. Green had the one and only knife, then none of the other suspects could have used a knife. But for our purposes here, let’s rework this so that there are as many copies of each weapon-type available for use as there are suspects. This means that while each suspect can still have only one weapon, they can each use the same type of weapon if that’s the one they all favor. So we might see an iteration of the game unfolding in which not only Mr. Green, but all 10 or 11 of the suspects are wielding knives, and no other weapons are anywhere in sight. Or, alternatively, all 10 or 11 suspects can each be carrying a different weapon not duplicated by anyone else at all. We’re dealing with a rich and varied armory here!
To translate the above back into astrological terms, we’re saying that each Planet can be located in only one Sign. Rare exceptions can occur if a Planet happens to be sitting exactly on a dividing line between two Signs – if this comes up for you in a chart, then imagine that Planet as being sort of like a Clue suspect holding a different weapon in each hand, and trying to choose between them…
We’re also saying that more than one Planet can occupy a given Sign (just as we’ve agreed for purposes of this extended analogy that more than one Clue suspect can carry the same type of weapon). And some Signs in a given chart can have no Planets making use of them at all, just as some Clue playings will see certain weapon-types in the armory going unclaimed by any of the suspects.
Finally, instead of the nine rooms in the Clue mansion, we have 12 Houses in an astrological chart. This is where all the action takes place. Any Planet (= suspect) can take up residence in any of the Houses (= rooms), and with the unusual exceptions of Planets parked on dividing lines between Houses, no Planet can be in more than one House at a time. Multiple Planets can, however, reside in a given House simultaneously. And just like with the Signs, it’s also possible for any of the Houses to be completely empty of Planets in a chart.
So think about this in Clue terms. In our next run-through of the game, we might have Miss Scarlet outfitted with a revolver in the study. Maybe Mrs. Peacock is also carrying a revolver (because, remember, unlike in the actual game, here we’re allowing for multiple samples of any weapon-type), but she’s relaxing in the lounge. And then we might have Professor Plum also fixing himself a drink in the lounge, but he’s toting a candlestick. Imagine that the rest of the suspects are each similarly equipped with a weapon and scattered around among the other rooms of the mansion, with some of the weapon-types probably going unused in this go-round of the game, and some of the rooms probably standing unoccupied.
Now we can translate this into astrological terms. Suddenly, we’re looking at somebody’s birth-chart instead of the Clue board. This person has their Venus (= Miss Scarlet) in Scorpio (= revolver) in their Twelfth House (= study). They also have their Moon (= Mrs. Peacock) in Scorpio (= revolver), but it’s next door in the Eleventh House (= lounge). And then their Mercury (= Professor Plum) is in the Eleventh House (= lounge), too, but it’s in the adjacent Sign of Libra (= candlestick).
In either the Clue or the Astrology context, we’re still looking at a self-contained setting (the mansion versus the chart), in which active forces (suspects/Planets) are doing things in certain ways (weapons/Signs) and in certain areas (rooms/Houses).
One more post in this series is on the way, in which we’ll cover the concepts of Aspects and Planetary Rulerships in Clue terms…