What, exactly, is a midpoint?
A midpoint is the ultra-sensitive middle ground located between two planets or points that — when occupied — symbolically creates a mechanism by which two disparate parts of the horoscope can interact. This interaction can take place even if there is no obvious connection (such as a natal aspect) between the two planets or points. The flavor of the specific interaction is further defined and refined by the nature of the planet or point — the Focal Point — that occupies this supremely sensitive location.
However, we shouldn’t make midpoints more complicated than necessary. The whole midpoint concept is actually more logical than magical. When a Focal Point is at the midpoint of two planets or points it is — by definition — an equal distance from both. It creates a symbolic bridge or conduit by which the two different energies are motivated to interact or coalesce.
In this regard, the Focal Point (present either natally or by transit, progression, or direction) is the facilitator of the interaction between the two planets represented by the midpoint. If this all sounds pretty simple, I would have to agree.
Why use midpoints?
Even more so than aspects that connect two planets or points, midpoints connect three different planets or points and thus can contribute a more detailed suggestion of expectations as a result of their planetary ménage à trois interaction.
Further, aspects may be challenging and difficult (squares, oppositions, etc.) or easy and helpful (trines, sextiles, etc.) but midpoints — by their very nature — always suggest tension. The tension described by a midpoint is difficult to ignore. We’re motivated and driven to do something with that influence. By being aware of the polarities of this potential — both positive and negative — we can determine how best to use this influence.
Where do I begin?
Every novice astrologer learns keyword associations for the planets, signs, houses, aspects, and then probably proceeds to study rulerships. By utilizing this knowledge base of concepts and keywords, the midpoint process can be rapidly learned. I believe that midpoints represent the next logical step to enhancing our interpretative skills.
Although often considered advanced or complicated, the inclusion of midpoints as a part of natal analysis is actually an easily incorporated method to enhance depth, detail, and specificity of the horoscope analysis. Once we recognize the subtle yet powerful impact of midpoints, we will certainly want to include them as a permanent part of our analytical repertoire.
The Midpoint Picture Equation
The nomenclature of a midpoint picture is described by the equation:
A = B/C
The Focal Point (planet or point) A is located in between (at the midpoint of) planets or points B and C.* The midpoint picture equation succinctly describes the inherent tension that connects the three points and forms the basis of midpoint analysis.
There are three simple steps to use midpoints:
Identification — Before the advent of computers and quality astrological software (I’m a dedicated Win*Star Plus user), midpoint analysis required complicated calculations that only a quadruple Virgo would willingly tackle. Fortunately, the process is now greatly simplified. The software can quickly identify midpoints and midpoint pictures for us. By using a Midpoint Sort and/or a Midpoint Tree, we can easily determine midpoint pictures and then focus our time and energy on the analysis and interpretation of the midpoints rather than on tedious mathematical calculations.
Interpretation — As we begin to interpret and assign descriptive meanings to midpoints, we quickly realize that this quest isn’t nearly as complicated as we thought. Our accumulated knowledge of astrological keywords is easily placed in a context that allows us to reap the considerable benefits of midpoint analysis.
No astrological measurement always means exactly the same thing in every chart. Rather, we learn that the eventual manifestation of a particular measurement is largely determined by free will and the individual’s motivations and degree of involvement. As with other astrological measurements, no specific midpoint picture is exclusively good or bad. This polarity of expectations exists in midpoint interpretations and describes the positive potential as well as cautionary concerns.
Integration — The process of combining or synthesizing disparate astrological influences together represents a challenge for any astrologer. Masses of unconnected measurements are of little use unless they can be combined together in a rational and meaningful way. Each successive measurement allows the astrologer to further clarify and better understand the forces at work in the horoscope.
Some Examples of Midpoint Applications
When a planet is unaspected (not making a major Ptolemaic aspect with another planet) we can use midpoints to better understand this planet that isn’t integrated very well with the rest of the chart. By evaluating midpoint pictures — particularly where the unaspected planet is the Focal Point — we can gain insight into how this planet’s essence can be expressed or realized.
When a particular question is posed by the client. If a client were to ask for more detail about their career or vocation, for example, we could examine midpoint pictures where either the Midheaven or the ruler of the 10th is the Focal Point. This approach can typically supply detail and nuance that might otherwise be elude us.
When Transits (or Progressions, or Directions) are identified. When a transiting planet aspects a natal planet, we’ve come to expect that the transiting planet imparts its influence on the natal planet. Using midpoints, we can go further and extrapolate that the transiting planet triggers all midpoint pictures where that natal planet is the Focal Point.
In an interesting permutation of this principle, we may have a transiting “easy aspect” such as a trine triggering an inherently tense midpoint picture For example, if Transiting Uranus was trine Natal Saturn and Saturn was the Focal Point of the midpoint picture Sat=Me/Pl, we could reasonably say:
There is a current focus (the transit) on a window of opportunity (the trine) to enhance structure, stability, and establish necessary controls (Saturn) by using the power of words, thoughts, and ideas; communicating profound, deep concepts; persuasiveness; communicating a new perspective (Me/Pl)
Midpoints can illuminate details and nuance in the horoscope and provide us with considerable additional insight. The enhanced detail that midpoints contribute can help us to give our interpretations and predictions an additional depth of meaning that would be impossible without them.
* When using a 90-Degree Sort or Tree, Planet A is either conjunct, square, or in opposition to the location in between Planets or points B and C.