I have many fond memories of the hours I have spent in class instruction from a person who looked more like she should be teaching cooking on television, instead of astrology. As with trying to be a good cook, one always needs to have the basic knowledge and skills of the kitchen, before venturing further if one is to be competent enough to complete a meal that one might enjoy and feel satisfied with. One of the basics my teacher emphasized was the importance of keywords in delineating any chart. Keywords and our ability to work and to combine them are the fundamental rudiments needed to create and weave a picture from the aspects of the planets with new and different insights. She gave us many examples of unusual ways to tie the keywords together to give diverse view points. As one puts into action these methods, they become so part of one’s routine, that in time one forgets when and how it all began. As time goes by, we begin to simplify and pass over some of the important steps to hasten the process. This definitely happen to me, as I was gently reminded about the past when I was reviewing my class notes. I have totally forgotten about what steps I have dropped or lost through time using keywords until they were brought to my attention again.
My renewed awareness of the subject matter came to the forefront as my interest in the early astrological writers has increased. With my concentration and curiosity becoming more intense in the method the early stargazers used in determining and delineating a chart with such precision, I began to notice how subtly the keywords were used in their delineations. What clinched this for me is when I read an article by David Roell of Astrology Center of America, whom I deeply respect, giving credit to the keywords for his excellent interpretation of the chart of Howie Mandel. One thing I felt my teacher did not emphasized enough was the use of the elements and the essential dignities in choosing the keywords and the importance of their level of influence in their reaction to each other. When assigning keywords to the planets, signs, aspects and houses, the condition they are in, in respect to the whole chart needs to be considered before making any judgment. Arrangement of the keywords in the order of their strengths is another important consideration, as this will subtly influence the delineation. What I have noticed is that these subtle forces are like Trojan Horses which can and are the deciding force of victory or defeat. In other words the subtle influences can make a difference between a good or better interpretation of any chart.
I have also been taught that to get a quick analysis of the person of the chart, the best way is to evaluate the Sun, the Moon and the ascendant of the chart. The Sun giving the essence, the Moon the giver and who nourishes, the ascendant is the picture of the person the world sees. For an example in my own chart Virgo is on the ascendant with Gemini on the midheaven, the Sun in Taurus and my Moon in Gemini. Mercury is happy and works well with Gemini and Virgo, while the Moon is nervous and the Sun in Taurus is indifferent. In arranging the keywords, Mercury attributed to Virgo and Gemini are first, then follows Taurus, which is the subtle key to it all. I have never felt that Virgo represented me; as most astrologers assumed I am a Gemini and I never was too articulate about my appearance or my surroundings, and this always befuddled me, until I saw the importance of keywords. Knowledge is important like the chart indicates, but a possession not being put to good use or appreciated is not in the nature of the bull. This makes Taurus the Trojan horse which upsets the applecart. The choice and the order of the keywords determines the clarity, as my own chart has definitely given me more meaning, compassion and understanding of myself. This is the power and the gift of the keywords.