(An excerpt from my forthcoming book.)
The term peregrine is much misunderstood in astrological practice. Nicholas DeVore in his Encyclopaedia of Astrology defines it as being “Foreign, alien. Said of a planet posited in a sign where it possesses no essential dignity: where it is neither dignified nor debilitated. … However, no planet is reckoned peregrine if it be in mutual reception with another.” Essentially, this traditional understanding of the term derives from its literal Latin root, pelegrinus, meaning an outcast, wanderer or outsider. Clearly the term implies a being who is not at home, with all the resultant discomfort such a condition confers. Astrologically then, here is a planet that is not in any sign of dignity or debility, nor is it in its own triplicity, term or face, nor is it in mutual reception by ruler, exaltation, triplicity, term or face. It has no natural connection, good or bad, with the position which it occupies.
If you imagine this placement as a person, then clearly, he is going to struggle to get anything done. If you were suddenly transported into an environment where you knew nobody, you were considered out of place, strange or undesirable, you were unable to speak the same language as others, you had no home, no shelter, and no means of making yourself secure then you would find yourself in a fairly threatened state. Indeed, you would be catapulted into a very real struggle for survival.
This is exactly what happens when a planet is found to be traditionally peregrine. It is considered a very unfortunate situation, because there is no support, the planet is homeless and vulnerable and it cannot therefore project itself because it has no secure base from which to operate.
Noel Tyl extended this concept to include the incidence of unaspected planets, those which have previously been termed ‘feral’. He has received some criticism for this from various astrological students who cite the potential for confusion: they claim that he is using a previously earmarked term for a new concept, which of course is confusing. Fundamentally however, this view fails to comprehend that Tyl is not referring to a new concept at all, because an unaspected planet is unable to project itself since it has no secure base from which to operate, in exactly the same way as a planet without essential dignity. It too is pelegrinus. Indeed, I would argue that a feral planet is in the majority of cases much more peregrine than a planet without essential dignity. Our understanding then must not be limited to a specific rendering of ferity or essential dignity or debility, but we simply have to gauge: how peregrine is this archetype?
When we understand the depth of peregrination, for whatever reason, then we begin to understand how desperate – if you like – is the situation for that archetype. If we again liken the peregrinated planetary energy to a person placed in an alien environment then we can quickly grasp some of the very urgent and compelling contingencies of that situation. The person with no home, no security, no means of making themselves understood will be forced to muster enormous focus and energy simply to stay alive. Starvation or hostility are real threats that must be countered, the person that is outcast has to work astoundingly hard just to operate at the level that everyone else simply takes for granted; it is that or perish.
Granted, some do perish. Severely peregrinated nativities are very often tragedies in the making.
Before we move along further let us consider the technical arrangement of peregrination by aspect. In my work I generally use an orb of 6 degrees for the conjunction, opposition, square and trine and an orb of 3 degrees for the sextile to determine whether a particular planet is peregrine. I consider no other aspects at this stage.
This does not mean that we discount wider Ptolemaic aspects, nor do we ignore the influence of minor aspects. We are simply making a determination at this juncture about the ease of expression of a given planet: a planet that does not have access to an ‘obvious’ aspectual outlet will struggle to express its quality, therefore the native will overcompensate or alternately carry on with life seemingly oblivious of that facet of their nature. So a chart with peregrine Moon might, for example, evince a quincunx between Sun and Moon which ought to be quite urgent, but it is not an aspect which expresses itself powerfully, even if it is quite intense; the major aspects alone have this effect; so whilst we can say that there is an innate dissatisfaction with the results of expressing his needs, this in itself is not a ‘big enough channel’ for the lunar quality. It does not have the required bandwidth. Only the major aspects within this fairly tight orb structure have the requisite bandwidth for proper archetypal expression.
If we use the example of peregrine Moon, one of the key qualities of the lunar archetype is a sense of emotional attachment to the myriad rhythms of life: a severely peregrinated Moon in its detriment or fall, very often creates a life that is characterised by disconnection, a separateness that in a difficult sign, such as Scorpio can become deeply uncomfortable. Contrast this with peregrine Moon in the opposite sign of Taurus: there is a disconnection with life, but it is entirely comfortable, safe and protective, the native has no desire to connect; indeed, it is in making the connection that insecurity is felt, life is better inside the bubble.
So, herein lays the nub of the peregrination issue. When the energy cannot be easily expressed due to some severe friction, due to a lack of bandwidth then the themes of that placement are writ large on the life arc, either through being over-experienced or utterly absent. In the former case, the quality of that experience becomes paramount; if the placement is inherently uncomfortable then inevitably it will colour the entire life-situation with discomfort.
It is with this in mind that I would consider ferine planets to be in serious difficulty, which will be subjectively experienced most especially according to the conditioning of the sign in which they are found. In a sympathetic sign the sense of experiential discomfort for an unaspected placement would be far less than a planet in its detriment or fall, however, the drive or impetus to inclusion of that archetype would be intense in the extreme. A person with a feral Moon in Taurus would be compelled to express and integrate lunar themes just as powerfully as the person with Moon in Scorpio, but they would feel a great variance of discomfort in the condition accordingly.
This is where the concept of polarity becomes powerfully important, because it is time and again proved unhelpful to view opposite signs as separate, or even as opposed! Consider instead that they are a single entity, concerned with identical issues and themes, but approaching a shared objective from different ends of a spectrum. Both Taurus and Scorpio are concerned with security and safety, but while Taurus seeks material comfort (more is more, I will be safe in the physical world), Scorpio operates from an emotional perspective (less is more; the best things in life are free). Since the lunar principle is primarily one of comfort, security, safety and sustenance, there is no question that it is easier to realise those objectives through the physical and material route of Taurus than the protectively emotional route of Scorpio. The Moon in Taurus eats for comfort, the Moon in Scorpio finds comfort in not needing to eat; that’s a tough route to security by comparison.
Thus an unaspected planet looms large in the unconscious, becomes a kind of psychic collapse with an enormous event horizon, sucking everything around into itself in an attempt to be fulfilled. It can completely devour the entire life-direction in this manner, subjugating all other drives to its own fulfilment. For this reason, an unaspected planet experiences a major adjustment in terms of dignity and debility evaluation. If a planet is in a sympathetic sign, so the discomfort of it is not so keenly felt, you will of course have to moderate your analysis accordingly, but it will not prevent that energy from being equally as dominant in seeking its own fulfilment as a placement in an unsympathetic sign, but in the latter case the subjective sense of that archetypal energy might feel considerably more difficult and therefore that person will no doubt be experienced by others as more difficult.
This is the nub then of peregrination. It does not matter which condition qualifies any given archetype as peregrine, rather, the key understanding is that the archetype is out of place, struggling, in dire difficulty and the native’s experience of it will reflect that selfsame difficulty.
Therefore, and if you follow this philosophy, you will be able to grasp the emergent reality which it hints at: within the greatest weakness and difficulty lies our greatest potential strength and peregrination – in whatever guise – prompts the soul to create an imperative, as though it were laid out thus from the instant of birth: a great, wondrous arc leading tentatively to emancipation, if only we have the necessary quality to strike out for its marvellous conclusion.
Look at those cases where peregrination was not at all in evidence; by essential dignity alone, Muhammad Ali’s ‘weakest’ planet is Mars, and yet, here is the greatest fighter the modern world has seen. The same condition is found in the nativity of Mark Spitz. Julie Andrews’ weakest planet? Venus! And Albrecht Durer, whilst primarily an artist, influenced art theory, mathematics and Renaissance thought profoundly and Jupiter was his weakest placement. The list goes on.
But then, when peregrination is brought to its logical extreme, and we seek examples to underpin our suspicion, the circle becomes complete:
- Sylvia Plath who dedicated her short life to expressing her inner emotional life through poetry has unaspected Moon.
- John F. Kennedy, perhaps the archetypal leader of the free world, had unaspected Sun!
- Agatha Christie, the best selling writer of all time, has unaspected Mercury.
- Brigitte Bardot: unaspected Venus.
- Sylvester Stallone, the action hero: unaspected Mars.
- Germaine Greer, feminist philosopher and writer: Jupiter!
- Ted Kennedy, the most respected senator of modern times in the USA, had peregrine Saturn.
- Alan Watts, a thinker, writer and speaker of profound insight and unmistakable genius, had peregrine Uranus (as does Gary Kasparov and Barack Obama).
- For the ruler of film and fantasy, Neptune, how about Walt Disney?
- Peregrine Pluto is a difficult energy, and it is easy to spot the common theme in the list of those whose nativities evinced the unaspected placement: Buddy Holly, John F. Kennedy, his wife Jackie, Marilyn Monroe and Natasha Richardson.
What we see then is that where a planet is weak or lacking in dignity it creates a struggle which is felt experientially by the native, and this condition is enormously exacerbated through a lack of aspects. For the most part we will never comprehend the destinies of millions, who struggle through lives marred by the imperatives of such conditioning, but occasionally, prominence is thrust upon individuals and the themes of peregrination are writ large upon the world stage for all to see.
Thanks for this clarification, I have never seen it explained so thoughtfully – makes perfect sense….Love to you M x
Do you believe peregrine includes out of sign aspects or only within the same sign?
I have unaspected Sun in Aries (exaltation) with an 11 degree trine to my Moon in Sagittarius and out of sign 8 degree trine to Asc in Scorpio. While these are obviously modifying factors, your explaination does cast some light – much to mull, thankyou M x
*explanation* (sorry, my neurotic Virgo refuses to allow that to go uncorrected).
Your writing of Unaspected Planets absolutely had me tossing and turning all night. This is the beauty of self-awareness/astrology/healing, when difficult areas are brought to light, it makes them easier to bear somehow As if, now that they have a name, they have a place, and can actually be worked with.
I have Libra Rising and Venus is unaspected in my 4th H, 29 Cap. Your writing explained so much of my early years and the struggles with home and relationship, and the amount of energy I poured into examining them both! Nuts! And now, I’m a mom, happily married 12 years, yet still adjusting to “Family Life” because it feels like such foriegn territory, but also knowing it is a good place for me be. I know now, that I’m a good mom, or good enough. For a long time I was terrified I would foster the same relationship I had with my mother. I know now that I am different from my mom.
Great read and this continues to coalesce many ideas and thoughts I have had around the least aspected planets (LAP). I find the LAP’s fascinating and can’t find enough information in regards to them. I would highly recommend the work of Rob Couteau for anyone wanting to explore the least aspected planets (link below). It touches on exactly what Jeremy hits upon here in that the LAP or LAP’s in ones chart may be one of the most significant features of the birth chart if one is able to access the energies. Rob goes deeply into astrocartography and finding ones place to ‘trigger’ the transcendental energies symbolized in the LAP.
I found his readings on the improper manifestation of the most aspected planet(s) (MAP) to be incredibly insightful and useful in understanding ones habitual patterns that we continually fall prey to because it represents the most superficial aspects of ego consciousness.
Do you take into account aspects to Chiron?
No, only aspects from major points (Sun through Pluto). There is even an argument to say that any planet without a Ptolemaic contact with a Ptolemaic planet (Sun thru Saturn) is considerably feral. Good luck.
So I have unaspected Venus, Mars (I’m Aries with Aries rising) and Uranus. Which means I’m Brigitte Bardot, Silvester Stallone and Barack Obama rolled in one 🙂
Dear Jeremy, Where are you? Please write a small post for us, we miss you so much!
dear jeremy, i love your writing but maybe im just being a bit thick here re unaspected planets – don’t they overcompensate in the environment because the ‘soul’ at the centre of the chart is not picking up on their qualities through aspect? ie. shakespere hardly had any aspected planets, and it then makes sense re JFK, bridget bardot, etc..?
I have an unaspected 1st house Libra Venus widely conjunct my Libra ascendant which obviously is rather hard to miss. I also have the Pluto/Uranus conjunction in 12th house, opposing Saturn/Chiron in 6th, sextiling/trining Neptune in 2nd house. Since I read this post I have been wondering whether that somehow also can be considered unaspected. The only contact this aspect has to the personal planets is a Neptune-Mercury square. I certainly sense all transits to it very intensely.
Only read half of it 😛 But interresting it is! But what if the “lonely” planet have the potential to become really strong and powerfull just because of the fact that it is lonely, it may just have to go throught some transformation…I think of myself, grew up with my mentally ill parents and no sibling. I´ve gone throught hell but now I´ve earned some strong qualities just because of this! 🙂 (sorry my english, it´s not my language)
The picture is really scary :S
I have an unaspected 9th house Venus at 29 Cap, retrograde! Ouch, its always been a struggle to be accepted. Social discomfort has been a central theme in my life
Very informative article.
I have an unaspected Sun in Scorpio in the 11th house. So this suggests I am a leader in disguise? People often tell me that I am attractive and intelligent, and maybe so, but that doesn’t seem to lead to me having stable jobs or relationships. I have seen myself on videotape as part of a social anxiety group therapy, and even though I felt completely awkward inside, I looked like someone who….really had it together! I have experienced bullying and social exclusion, mostly in elementary school (my former best friends ganged up on me after I was identified for the gifted program and the teacher started making fun of me in front of the class for getting answers wrong) a past event that didn’t really come up in my adult life until I went through some career failures and I reached my early 30s never having been in a long term relationship. Overall I have not experienced the degree of belonging and connection with others that I would like to. I still want to be popular!! Not for its own sake so much as to have the spontaneity and freedom to totally be myself without fearing someone is going to make fun of me.
(I am not expecting you to give me therapy here, I just want to know if this is typical unaspected Sun stuff!!)
My other planets have major aspects, but if you use essential dignity (I don’t know how to calculate accidental dignity etc.), it looks like I have peregrine Mars (Sag), Moon (Leo), Jupiter (Leo, but I was born in the daytime!), and Saturn (Virgo). Venus (Scorp) and Mercury (Sag) are in detriment.
eek….looking like some hurdles here….
When will your book be published? I have a peregrine moon (gemini) and am would love to read your book asap. Thanks.
I have unaspected JUPITER in Scorpio in the 6th house, I struggle with understanding religion but I also need to feel a spiritual person, whenever I try and block it out completely I feel like I am dissolving, so it;s a constant push and pull of ideologies in my head.
THANKS so much – I was worried that my Sun at 4 Libra 45 (4th house and inspected) was peregrine – but as I read your article, that it is in fall means that although it feels like a failure, at least it’s not peregrine?!
Does an unaspected Chiron count?
Yes, it does.
I have an unaspected Saturn in Sag in my 12th house. I feel like live is a constant struggle. Any advice?
A family member has Mercury Cazimi, and yet the Sun aspects no other planets. Is this ‘peregrine’, or does the Mercury aspect dispel the Sun’s isolation?
If the conjunction makes no aspect to any other planet (that is conjunct, opposite, trine, square or sextile) then it is what is called a peregrine island. It is disconnected from the rest of the chart and may act as a kind of peregrine conjunction.
Thanks for clarifying what constitutes a peregrine planet. No conjunctions, oppositions, trines, squares or sextiles are made to this Mercury Cazimi, so based on what you are saying, this natal patterns does indeed constitute a peregrine conjunction. This person has just passed their 18th birthday; I am quite close to them, with a naturally-occurring ‘mentor’ relationship forming. They seems very much in the centre of things, socially, and yet very much alone…searching for answers to questions that they feel they cannot address to the rest of the family. With Pluto conjunct the AC in Sag in the 1st house, and the Mercury Cazimi also in the 1st house, together with a stellium of 4 planets in the 2nd house, spanning Capricorn and Aquarius, they seem to be making the first steps of breaking away from family (and social) conventions. I know this path all too well!
Hello Jem Neal,
Thank you for such an informative article. I am studying my own Peregrine planets and I feel rather overwhelmed, as I have my Sun in Leo in the 9th House, Jupiter in Virgo in the 9th House, and Mars in Libra in the 10th House all peregrine. My AC is in Sag. Often I feel like my life mission becomes distorted and I continuously seek out my identity and my life purpose. I have a huge drive to achieve but once I get there, I’m no longer satisfied and I’m ready for my next challenge. I also fear confrontations but can harbor great resentments and anger, especially toward authority or people lacking integrity. I guess I was wondering if you can give me some insight on the nature of the unaspected sun, jupiter, and mars. Any feedback would be appreciated.
Excellent article! Thank you so much for the great explanation 🙂
I am a cancer sun with an unaspected capricorn moon.
I’ve always felt like the eternal orphan, and completely fearless!! Very warrior-like inner strength. I don’t suffer from loneliness. I’m more prone to self-isolation than integration. Life on this planet makes me feel like a complete stranger however. I’ll never, ever ‘fit in’ here, despite arduously trying.
There are so many pro’s and con’s to a ‘ferel’ planet. I am trying to express my moon through artistic endeavours which should work well with venus conjunct MC. We shall see!
Emotional landscape throughout life is extreme emotions which i keep to myself, or i completely detach emotionally and am able to make ‘head’ decisions without emotions colouring/tainting the decision.
The best quality i’ve had from my moon position is a massively robust intuition!! I can’t control it at all unfortunately but when intuition knocks, it’s always right. I can ‘sense’ everything. People have emotional frequencies they project which i have a keen sense of….handy to have that when others clam up emotionally. I can spot a liar a mile away, and a bright soul will have my radar positively glowing!
The downside is the isolation. Ha!! The darkest isolation possible.
Ferel planets allow us to really indulge in the ‘duality’ of that planet – to its extremes. Takes practice to handle those energies and wisdom to express them appropriately!
Thank you! Finally an explanation for the different descriptions. I am reading Noel Tyl’s Synthesis and Counseling book and could not figure out why his definition was different. I understand the concept and connection now of the definitions. Grateful I am….
I don’t understand the one for Pluto… I have this placement, also a singleton. Am I doomed to suffer?
I have Jupiter peregrine by aspect and essential dignity, retrograde, and in detriment in virgo. I also have a fan pattern in my chart and it just so happens that Jupiter is the handle. What do you think?
It will be a struggle to actualise that Jupiter, but you will feel the need to do it. Improving your health and wellbeing will be important challenges for you in life.