Direction and Destiny in the Birth Chart sounds profound and portentous. Yet Howard Sasportas’s wide-ranging spiritual and psychological insights presented in a down-to-earth and sympathetic way make light of the patterns laid down at birth which provide a template for the life ahead.
His death in 1992 aged 45 was a tragedy for his friends and for the astrological community who lost an original thinker and a bright light. His books The Twelve Houses and The Gods of Change remain along with his seminars from the Centre for Psychological Astrology which he co-founded with Liz Greene.
This book draws together three seminar strands of lectures and discussions on Vocation, the Moon’s Nodes and Helpers.
On Vocation – a summons from the deeper self, he impresses that we are not born expressing our sun sign, which is the heart of the chart, but need to reach out for it. “Your sun sign is given to you but also demanded of you. We are here to become what we are meant to be.” The First Saturn Return and the Mid-life crisis are points of adjustment along the way of becoming ourselves. On vocation there are perceptive comments on the 10th, 6th, 5th houses as well as Sun conjunctions with outer planets. With a recurring theme of the usefulness of Saturn – ‘you can’t get growth with it.’
The Moon’s Node – the path of destiny. He remarks they are often the key to the chart, which would be my experience also. “Usually the whole chart confirms or reiterates their theme.” He has a helpful link between the South Node and lunar energy – the pull from the past, acting instinctively, what comes naturally. As opposed to the North Node’s challenge to act rather than react, to be aware and make an effort. And he reiterates Tracy Mark’s point that both have to be taken together and it is helpful to rework the South Node energy rather than try to delete it.
Helpers: Moon aspects are highlighted stemming from mother/nurturing issues.
On Chiron – an archetype that comes in pairs. The victim is also the healer, including the one who comes looking for guidance. ‘If someone comes for help, the answers are there in the person. Something in them knows what they have to do.’ The astrologer can ‘enliven that part which already knows what to do, rather than telling what you think they should do.’
Which would also be my take – if an individual has an existential crisis the answer usually lies in the Node.
Howard was born 12 April 1948 1.46 am Hartford, Connecticut, took a Humanistic Psychology degree, moved to the UK, won a Gold Medal on the Faculty of Astrology diploma, graduated in Psychosynthesis, studied Transpersonal Psychology, set up the CPA with Liz Greene, edited a Penguin series of Astrology Books, had a consultation practice and travelled extensively for international lectures.
In his later years he suffered from ankylosing spondylitis, an inflammatory arthritis that caused some of the bones in his spine to fuse which crippled him and he contracted AIDs from which he ultimately died.
He had a chart with an extraordinary mix of inspired, adventurous, risk-taking, fun-loving energy sitting alongside punishingly difficult aspects. He had an uplifting Fire Grand Trine of a quick-witted 3rd house Aries Sun trine a friendly 11th house Jupiter trine Mars in Leo with his Jupiter opposition Uranus – making his astrological Uranus the driving planet in the performing, entertaining 5th house. His Uranus was sextile his Sun and both were inconjunct a Yod focal point Chiron and Midheaven, giving him not just the ability to be a healer and helper but also the necessity. He said: ‘I was led by an instinct, a feeling of being pushed along by the Yod formation of the Sun and Uranus to the MC – and it affected my choice of work. It drove me. I didn’t have to make a lot of conscious choices.’
His 4th house Taurus Moon conjunct a nurturing Ceres opposed his Midheaven and Chiron and squared onto a truly difficult combination of Mars, Saturn, Pluto in Leo in his 7th. His personal relationships would always present more problems than his professional life. His Fixed sign Moon square Mars, Saturn, Pluto also ruled his 6th house of health, giving a hint of the rigidity of his spinal condition which afflicted his later years.
My memory of meeting him was of a good-natured, charming, kindly temperament with little indication of the challenges he faced.
When he died on 12 May 1992 5.11pm London, the astrological influences were unusually very precise. Pluto was exactly conjunct his Midheaven, Jupiter was just into his 8th, the Sun was only a degree into his 4th and the North Node exactly on the cusp of his 12th. It would feel like a relief.
A lovely man, much missed.
Add On: Richard Idemon, another departed-too-soon astrologer, whose books The Magic Thread and Through the Looking Glass: A Search for the Self in the Mirror of Relationships were republished last year, was a contemporary of Howard Sasportas. He saw the birth chart as a labyrinth made up of a single magic thread leading through a maze to the heart of the chart. His relationship book uses astrology, mythology and Jungian psychology as ways to break free of old restrictive attitudes.
He was born 8 February 1938 9.37 pm Akron, Ohio and lectured on psychotherapy and psychology to astrologers, he gave talks and seminars extensively and internationally and was also a part-time actor. He contracted AIDs in 1985 and died by suicide two years later.
He had an exuberant and showy 5th house Sun, Venus, Jupiter in Aquarius so would delight in having an appreciative audience. He had a knowledgeable, much travelled and restless 9th house Gemini Moon; and an influential 10th house Pluto. His Uranus deeply buried in his 8th house was heavily aspected, being square his Mercury, Jupiter and widely Sun; as well as being on one leg of a yod sextile his Midheaven inconjunct the North Node.
Like Howard he had complicated relationship planets with a hard-edged, can-be-victimised, can-be-destructive Mars Saturn in Aries on his Descendant trine Pluto and sextile his Moon. He had another wide yod from Pluto sextile Neptune inconjunct Venus Sun.
I attended a memorable six day seminar in Italy that he gave with Liz Greene, when he had just been diagnosed with AIDs. The lectures were riveting but the undercurrents, not surprisingly, were very unsettling. When he died two years later tr Jupiter was trine his Pluto as he took control of his destiny. Tr Saturn was square his 12th house Neptune; tr Neptune was just into his 4th and tr Mars was on the cusp of his 8th.