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One of my students in the Chart Interpretation Forum explored the idea that Mae West’s chart seemed to point to a career in politics. West’s chart suggests a tremendous amount of charisma and a need to express her individuality in a very big, extroverted way. And when you also include West’s Mars in Aquarius in the 10th house, which seeks to take humanitarian action in a very pubic arena (and which is also heavily involved in West’s identity and personality), it does indeed suggest an inclination towards public service. Whether that career in politics would be distinguished or successful is another matter entirely. West’s strong personality also carries a strong 12th house emphasis, which brings up self-sabotage and hidden enemies; plus, her Mars is retrograde, which suggests resistance and backlash surrounding her public actions. On reflection, this describes a typical career in politics, including the scandals and public humiliation.

Everything about this interpretation was astrologically sound and well argued. There was just one problem: it was virtually impossible.

I’ve noticed that many astrologers seem to take the outer planets personally, and this is a huge mistake. The outer planets are extremely important; however, you have to understand what they represent, and how they function in the context of the natal chart. Most astrologers have a general understanding of how each of the outer planets expresses. What they lack, however, is the context that allows them to incorporate this information in specific, practical ways in a natal interpretation.

This is one of many key concepts missing from most astrologers’ education. Fortunately, it’s an easy problem to fix. All you have to do is consider what you already know about the outer planets, and then connect the dots.