Oriental Appearance: A Case Study

(Full Disclosure: For the moment I’m going to drop back from my current fascination with traditional astrology and revert to my previous incarnation as a New Age psychological astrologer.)

I seldom use the meticulous techniques that astrologer Marc Edmund Jones presented in Essentials of Astrological Analysis, but I recently came across a classic case of the planet of oriental appearance and its implications for the native’s vocation. To refresh your memory (assuming you’ve heard of it before), this is the “planet” among  Moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars that rises on the eastern horizon immediately before the Sun in its clockwise circuit of the sky. Its main significance is as a descriptor of the individual’s vocational aptitude, and the role is usually filled by Mercury (the “technician”) or Venus (the “artist”) since neither one ever gets very far away from the Sun. As we might suppose, Mercury favors left-brained* logical pursuits and Venus right-brained* creative activities. One uses mental acuity to the fullest and confers analytical ability , while the other mounts a more fluid, imaginative attack (perhaps too strong a word for Venus) that excels at visual comprehension and presentation.

The native in this instance is a talented graphic designer whose career path lies in promoting the client’s “brand” via the media of digital art. This individual has Aquarius rising, showing that his engagement with other people is unconventional, visionary and forward-looking. As the planet of oriental appearance, Mercury in late Aquarius sits in the 1st House within 8 degrees of the Ascendant, with the Sun and Venus conjunct in early Pisces right on its heels, followed at a distance by Mars and the Moon. Mercury is the planet of communication and Aquarius rules electronics, including computers and networking, so the vocational “signature” here is a perfect fit for the circumstances. In the world of traditional art, the graphic designer straddles the line between mechanical draftsman and fine artist, but the advent of the digital age has pushed the profession into the domain of the technological wizard, demanding a much more specialized skill set. While the Sun and Venus conjunct in Pisces (the exaltation of Venus) in the 1st House symbolize refined creative sensibilities, Mercury is their enthusiastic pitch-man.

The other piece of the puzzle is mental chemistry, which combines the position of Mercury in relation to the Sun with the apparent motion of the Moon on the day of birth relative to its daily average of just over 13 degrees of arc. Mercury ahead of the Sun with an accelerated Moon denotes “fast” chemistry, while Mercury behind with a lagging Moon imparts “slow” chemistry. One is brisk but also excitable in its cogitation, the other much more deliberate; all other combinations signify “normal” mental celerity. In the present case, the Moon in Leo is moving slightly slower than average, anchoring the eagerness of Mercury and tempering its facile sociability with emotional restraint. The upshot of the combination of oriental appearance with mental chemistry is a graceful melding of thoughtful self-promotion and patient circumspection, an altogether admirable fusion of personal styles. Mercury’s interplay with Jupiter and Saturn also deepens its character considerably, but that is beyond my scope here.

* A scientific study of 1,011 individuals published in 2013 casts doubt on the left-brain/ right-brain hypothesis, concluding that “neuroimaging data has not provided clear evidence whether such phenotypic differences in the strength of left-dominant or right-dominant networks exist.”


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