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Air Fire Pentagram - the long awaited explanation
By Noel Eastwood
The Air Fire Pentagram and ADD/ADHD (a research article)
Astrologers are always seeking answers to questions that come before them. Scientists all, we aren’t bound to the rules of orthodoxy or tradition, though both lie within our profession. This article is ongoing research that I have undertaken over the past 5 years. My ‘other’ professional is psychology, specifically children, adolescents and learning. Astrology is a science, let no one tell us otherwise, and as such we need to challenge stagnant orthodoxy be it in universities, the powerful media or in our own profession. To begin I will first discuss some of the basics of this theory, and then tell you how it came about. I only ask that you read the entire article before you pass judgment, you are welcome to email me with your thoughts.
My work with children and adolescents with ADD/ADHD first drew me to the Air and Fire houses and the qualities they represent as triggers for a host of human behaviours and personality types. What frustrated me as a psychologist working in schools with these students was that there were no safe treatments, stimulant medication worked for most, but their parents would have preferred other alternatives. My first endeavour was to find out what caused these problems, next was to find out if there were safe alternatives.
I came upon the dominance of the elements Air and Fire quiet early in my research, and then slowly the Air and Fire houses began to show distinct promise as well. The Air Fire Pentagram itself is formed by joining the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 9th and 11th house cusps, the pentagram is focused on the first house. This pattern highlights the Air and Fire houses (except the 7th house) which are the intellectual, assertive and active houses of the horoscope. The 7th house is a dilemma, it just does not stand out, one day I will work out why it doesn’t seem to add to my theory.
In this article I frequently mention elemental ‘dominance’, I would like to quickly explain what I mean by that. You don’t need to have Sun in Air to be dominated by the qualities of Air. Nor does it mean that because you have Sun in Leo that you automatically have a Fire dominance. By ‘dominance’ I mean more planets and personal points of the chart in those signs, in this case, Air and Fire.
The Air element is intellectual, it dominates at the conscious mind level and is primarily disconnected from the emotions. Although Air dominated people can be very emotional it is in their personal acknowledgement and experience of emotions with which they struggle. We see Air dominance in lawyers, politicians, authors, successful businessmen and women and heads of corporations. These people have an abundance of intellect, are detached and can cut through an argument with their logical and rational minds, they are not swayed by emotion. Often, however, they are so detached from their emotional needs that relationships can be a problem, they fail to understand why people get so messed up with emotions, "Why don't people just use their heads?"
The Fire element is adventurous, it rules the physical / energy body and as such many Fire dominated people are actively engaged in sports and other physical pursuits. Fire also rules creativity and excites the individual to go forward and explore all that life has to offer. They are also found excelling in sport and business with their Air partners. They quest both physically and metaphysically because Fire also rules the quest for personal knowing. Adventure and fun times aside the Fire dominated person is often impatient with those who do not share their enthusiasm. The negative Fire type can be aggressive and explosive, temper tantrums with tears of disappointment can rule their lives. Fire dominated people come off a little better than their Air counterparts when it comes to emotions however, they will actively explore emotions as they try to understand and dominate them. They quest through therapy or workshops as they try to understand their emotional pain. This is not an intellectual pursuit like it is for the Air person, it is more about learning to stop the physical pain so that they can rise above it. They can be heard to ask, "Why is everybody so boring? Come out and play with me.”
The Air planets Mercury, Venus and Uranus seek information, not necessarily for personal reasons but just for the pleasure knowledge brings, knowledge is a joy in itself for the Air planets. Uranus is more Air (intellectual and instinctual) than Mercury and as such is the dominant Air planet. Air dominated people actively search out information, asking people questions, going through the newspaper and then writing it all down to catalogue or for show and tell later. Their greatest claim to fame is their conquest of the internet chat rooms (how many Air dominated people are online? All of them I think). and they can stay on-line all day and night with nary a break.
The Fire planets Sun, Mars and Jupiter represent the urge to move forward, life is an adventure. We see 'wisdom' as part of the Fire trait too, both Sun and Jupiter rule the quest for wisdom and insight. The quest for insight, ‘Know Thyself’ is an essential and natural urge for the Fire signs. The physical pain they feel is essentially emotional: impatience, anger and sadness are projected outwards as aggression, and criticism just feels awfully painful. They will react aggressively until they learn to understand and control their emotions. Jupiter appears to be more dominant than the Sun in the Air Fire Pentagram theory and is therefore the dominant Fire planet.
To summarise, these elements are both expressive and active, they dominate the charts of our most successful athletes, business people, politicians, religious leaders and criminals. It can be seen in the charts of those who explore and attend personal growth workshops as they seek knowledge and a greater understanding of themselves and their world. But there is another side to these two elements, they also appear to rule Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD).
Children and adolescents with ADD display the symptoms of poor concentration, day dreaming and are easily distracted, they just can’t stay on task for long. As part of the ADD typology there is an additional group, those who also have impulsivity and hyperactivity problems, called Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). It was found that both groups had a dominance of the elements Air and Fire in their charts. Those with more Air had a tendency to be inattentive and suffer from concentration difficulties, they couldn't stay on task for long before their mind started to wander off into dreamland. Rarely finishing their work these children were given Ritalin to help them stay on task and learn in school.
The data I collected also suggested that children with ADHD (impulsive and hyperactive) were dominated by Fire more so than with Air. It appears that the more Fire in their charts the more impatient and aggressive they became and the less able they were to sit still and listen. The more birth data I collected the more the picture came together.
Significant shifts in temperament appeared when Jupiter was involved with the Moon and Sun by conjunction. It was also seen when he was in any of the five houses indicated, 1, 3, 5, 9, and 11. Jupiter became the most significant planet for ADD/ADHD in my research population. What I noticed was that when Sun, Moon or Jupiter were in Air or Fire signs or houses the chances of ADD/ADHD increased dramatically.
If there are Air and Fire signs on these house cusps then it became a double whammy. The extra active and expressive energy becoming almost too much for the system to bear. Too much Air turns concentration into distracting day dreams, too much Fire turns motivation into impulsive hyperactivity. Neither act in favour of their elemental strengths but extend way beyond into their negative polarity. It appears that too much of a good thing is not so good anymore.
Further to this I also found that when Jupiter was conjunct the Ascendant either in the 1st or from the 12th or if he was in the 5th or 9th houses he tended to increase hyperactivity and impulsivity (ADHD). Jupiter in the Air houses, the 3rd or 11th, tended to reduce attention and concentration (ADD). Even though we think of Jupiter in the 3rd house as a chatterbox, you will notice that they are easily distracted and wander off on a tangent halfway through their conversation.
When more planets resided in these five houses than the other houses there was a tendency towards ADD/ADHD as did a stellium or a dominance of trines. A stellium is a Fire pattern because of its Aries connection, it is a combination of planets, a compression of energies that seeks outward expression. The trine doesn't act aggressively, however it tends to make the native lazy and inattentive often adding to ADD if the other factors are present.
The major turning point in this theory was finding that no single planet dominated the ADD charts. Mercury, the ruler of the conscious mind, didn't lift off the charts as significant. Mercury is not comprehensive enough even though he is said to rule mental cognition and our conscious mind. Mercury Retrograde made no significant impact either, nor has any focus on Mercury been shown to be involved with ADD. Uranus on the other hand has popped up occasionally in these charts but not frequently enough to be a dominant feature, therefore I can’t place him in the same demanding role as Jupiter. One might also consider Neptune or Mars to be involved with attention, concentration, impulsivity and hyperactivity, but again these individual planets did not play a significant role with these children.
Human personality is diverse and each individual is unique, this can be seen in the complexity of the horoscope, and again it is emphasised in the distinctive genetic codes of our DNA. Both astrology and bioscience illustrate the wide variations in personality types, thus we cannot assume that something as complex as concentration or impulsivity be ruled by a single planet, sign or point in the chart. Long live astrology for it illustrates the rich diversity of human personality.
The more I looked at these charts the more I became aware of the patterns that began to be formed, Air and Fire plus a few pointers such as a stellium, in any house or sign (but dynamite if in Air or Fire) and Jupiter conjunct Ascendant, Moon or Sun. In fact I have seen Jupiter in an Air or Fire house to be enough to initiate concerns for ADD.
Jupiter is an interesting planet, and his rulership of Sagittarius is spot on, both are irresponsible and fun loving. They draw upon the rich mythology of the rascally God of the Gods, Zeus, and the sex and party mad centaurs. Both archetypal forms engage in irresponsible, addictive behaviours, both run rampant through our society devastating families through gambling and alcoholism. The addictions are seen as emanating from the flaming loins of Zeus and the half-man, half-horse centaurs.
One question that can be answered regarding the close link between Jupiter and ADD is through the social and relationship problems that people with ADD often experience. People with ADD frequently have problems fitting into society, they misread body language so badly that they often put their foot in their mouth, or say things too loudly having to return the next day to apologize. Jupiter is excess, he is the drunk at the party who flirts and makes a fool of himself by groping and exposing himself. Jupiter is so over-the-top with his behaviour and often has so little regard for others that he is often ostracized and rejected by his peers. Just look at Homer Simpson or the teenagers in those American Pie style adolescent movies. Again, too much of a good thing is no good at all.
One thing that stands out of course is the absence of the 7th house. I just haven’t been able to find the research data that allows me to bind the 7th house into the pentagram. Sure, some charts involve the 7th house but when an Air or Fire sign is on its cusp or it contains Jupiter it does not appear to strengthen or trigger the effect, so I have decided to leave it out. I suspect that because the 7th house represents ‘others’ the native might attract people with ADD. I am sure that there is a logical explanation, after all this is on-going research, if anyone can come up with an explanation they are welcome to contribute.
The elements Air and Fire are also signs of success due to the activation of their principals of energy, motivation, creativity, intuition and intellect. We find a dominance of Air Fire Pentagram in those most successful in their fields of endeacour. However when these traits dominate the psyche there is also the possibility of a personality which may eventually harm the native’s interpersonal relationships and the realization of their ambitions – in short they can ‘screw-up’.
Air Fire Pentagram children require guidance and support, astrologers need to read the chart for their individual strengths and weaknesses to best advise parents on how to help. Managing an ADD child or adolescent is one of the most difficult tasks set a human being, so be nice to any parent of our Air Fire Pentagram children and offer your support.
What can a parent of an ADD child do? We all need a supportive family, a healthy diet free of junk food, suitable home rules and the strong guidance of a mentor through the turbulent adolescent years (traditional cultures use their uncle or aunt). Strong limits and boundaries will help the pentagram person maximise their strengths and be able to handle their weaknesses in their formative years. One strategy is to redirect their energy rather than confront it, this takes practice. These children do mature and improve with age especially if they have Saturn and/or Capricorn strong in their charts. If you cannot help them, then set limits on your exposure to them, because they can burn-out the soft, fuzzy boundaries of the Water types as easily as they burn through the practical solutions of the Earth signs.
Medication works in most cases but many parents are, rightly, against anything unnatural for their children, however I have yet to see any natural medicine work other than a complete abstinence of junk food. Unfortunately most parents burn-out long before they can enforce this on their ADD children.
It is therefore to science that we turn, to understand why amphetamine works to speed up a distracted or sluggish mind. 'Speed', the drug of choice for yuppies and teenagers at rage parties, increases beta brain wave activity to such a point that there is little need for sleep for several days. University students use it for writing essays and before exams to keep their mind sharp and creative, but there must be a safer alternative than drugs.
One field of science that shows an astonishing 85% success (cure) rate is EEG neurofeedback (also called EEG biofeedback). Neurofeedback measures brain wave activity via sensors attached to the scalp. Training the brain to reduce or increase brain wave activity eliminates the symptoms of ADD and many other disorders. The changes are also permanent.
People with ADD (and ADHD) have a dominance of the slow theta waves (4 to 8 Hz, deep trance and sleep states) which induces distraction and inattention when they are trying to study or stay focused. They therefore learn to reduce their theta waves and in its place produce more beta waves (concentration, attention and focus) in the 'sensory motor rhythm' of between 12 and 15 Hz. This training permanently and significantly reduces mood swings (most often it eliminates them) and increases attention. Students, sports champions as well as sufferers of depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, epilepsy, brain injury, migraine and many many other disorders are helped if not cured with this treatment. This may eventually prove to be a ‘miracle cure’ for those with the negative side-effects of the Air Fire Pentagram.
Following are three randomly selected charts from my files to illustrate the Air Fire Pentagram theory.
Matt is a typical ADHD adolescent with the dominance of 6 points in Fire and 3 in Air. He also has Air and Fire signs on the pentagram cusps 1, 3, 5, 9 and 11. Notice also that Jupiter sits powerfully in the first house and the 9th has a dominant stellium, Sun is in an Air sign and in the Air 11th house. All these point to a loud and aggressive adolescent who has a history of defiance and abuse, his family tree contains ADD and Bipolar Disorder, but when on Ritalin he is absolutely wonderful to be with. His family are completely normal, there is no domestic violence and it appears that he has simply inherited his parents genes for ADHD. When he is off medication he is violent and his mother fears for her safety when alone with him
Jason displays the classic Pentagram with the Air Fire cusps (1, 3, 9) dominated by Air and Fire signs, and he has ADHD. His Moon and Sun (in an Air sign) are both in the Air 3rd house and Jupiter is in the Fire 9th there are also 8 points in Air/Fire. This young man just doesn’t stop, he is wound so tightly that he springs from wall to ceiling to window in a single bound. He is loud, rude and has few social skills, rejected by his peers and a family who had no idea how to help, Ritalin was of little use for this young man.
Jenny is a lovely little lady, she wonders around her world completely self contained. No, she is not Autistic, but has the classic ADD inattention and lack of concentration, easily distracted and low motivation. We see a dominance of Air with Moon and 5 other planets in Air signs, plus some Fire with an Air stellium in the 9th house. We also see the loaded 5th (with an Air Moon) and 9th houses so demonstrative of ADHD. Jennifer is not a behaviour problem as such, not at this delicate age, but she could be as a teenager with her Fire houses dominating the chart.
The Air Fire Pentagram is an indicator of success as well as inattention and hyperactivity. Psychological research suggests that the direction people take in life depends on their genetic inheritance, opportunities, family support and guidance. Most natives with the Air Fire Pentagram will exhibit negative traits in adolescence, when they have a surge of testosterone and estrogen hormones pumping through their system testing their boundaries. Things settle down and they arrive at a semblance of normality when they reach about 21 years of age when their brain is almost completely myelated (the brain physically matures around 26 years of age). All is not lost, they just have to make their own mistakes and scrape their knees a few times to realise that they have too much to lose. They also come to realise just how important their family's love and support really are. Unfortunately the prognosis is not so good for those who are not rescued by well meaning family and mentors, the majority of prison inmates have ADD/ADHD.
One other thing that I have pondered is that sometimes ADD / ADHD behaviours are seen in children and adolescents but there is little in the charts to indicate it. This has come up a few times in my work. I have found that these young people have more severe problems, issues that delve into the deeper psychological disorders. When an outer planet conjuncts a luminary we see fundamental issues, issues of existence (life and living), arise in the native. These impact on the parental bonds and thus indicate extreme inner turmoil, anxiety and depression, and do not come into the Air Fire Pentagram category. I would say that this group would be diagnosed with Attachment Disorder or Reactive Attachment Disorder.
To finish off I would like to refer to the puer and senex characteristics expounded upon by the famous psychologist Carl Jung (1959, Collected Works Vol.9, Part 1). Liz Greene talks of the Puer Aeternus (eternal youth) as the archetypal Peter Pan, she says, “...the puer is more concerned with the aspiration towards eternal life, toward some experience of the spirit which will lift man out of the inevitability of mortality, corruption, death and bondage to heredity and fate.” (Greene & Sasportas, 1987, The Development of The Personality, p.226)
The puer is the young, immortal hero in myth, he is the eternal child-like warrior who prefers death to a meaningless existence. He is often portrayed as his mother’s favourite and born to perform special deeds, finally to die a hero’s death. ‘Live hard die young’, ‘If it feels good do it’ is their motto. The puer lives the Air Fire Pentagram, they often have classic narcissistic ideals and attitudes with an outer veneer of spirituality, wishing to live beyond the material earthly existence.
Unfortunately most puers never make it far on their spiritual journey, they frequently fall when they discover the wealth and sex (and alcohol and drugs) that their journey often brings in its early stages. They generally stay at the spoilt, immature brat stage and throw adult sized tantrums when they don’t get their way. We see both males and females with these traits, the tarot reader at the fair, when at home she is a vicious self-centered tyrant, or the cult guru with his small following who gives personal sexual ‘kundalini awakening’ lessons.
Liz Greene states that the signs Sagittarius and Gemini are strongest along with Jupiter and Mercury powerfully placed in the chart—such as in the first house or conjunct a luminary. Hmm, still sounds much like the Air Fire Pentagram to me. I would like to add that Mercury and the other inner planets play more of a role in the puer personality than they do in straight ADD/ADHD.
Senex is the term for the traditionalist, someone who is stuck in ‘tradition’ mode. They don’t want to try something new, preferring the same café, the same meal, the same clothes, the same everything. The senex is Earthy Saturn, Capricorn, Taurus and a touch of Virgo. We see the senex in traditional fields like historic trusts, churches, universities and schools.
Here we have the new and the old, the idealistic youth and the wise, mature traditionalist. We need narcissistic puer people, they are our adventurers, our visionaries and our heroes, it is their corruption that we don’t want. We also need the traditionalist senex who provides us with wise counsel and stability along the ‘path’ and hold society together with ritual. This is seen in ‘rites of passage’ ceremonies, where the youth is initiated into adulthood through ritual acts. For example the first menstruation of a young women is celebrated by the whole Fijian village in song and dance, the ‘birth’ into womanhood. Young men are circumcised at puberty to bring them forth into the warrior or men’s world. We need youthful vigour and we need the wisdom of age, and we need ritual to perpetuate our way of life.
Keys to the Air Fire Pentagram
* there are 6 or more planets in Air and Fire elements
* a stellium in any sign (this is a Fire pattern)
* a Grand Cross in any element (this is an Air pattern)
* a Grand Trine in any mode (this can act as both an Air or Fire pattern)
* planets in the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 9th and 11th houses
* Air or Fire signs on the Pentagram house cusps increases the effect twice fold
* Jupiter in an Air or Fire Pentagram sign or house
* Jupiter conjunct Sun or Moon or Ascendant
* Sun and especially the Moon, in an Air or Fire sign or house
Key words for the Air Fire Pentagram
Bright, sharp, intelligent, nervy, inattentive, distractible, irritable, irritating, annoying, worrying, nervous, impetuous, impulsive, hyperactive, driven, ambitious, entrepreneur, innovative, creative, imaginative, inspirational, adventuresome, spirited, leadership, loyal, intrepid, attention seeking, annoying, bothersome, moody, mood swings, greedy, selfish, egocentric, amoral, inconsiderate, narcissistic, unempathic, arrogant, destructive, immature, childish, child-like, confident, self-esteem, expressive, emotive, change agent, intense, dramatic, drama queen, enthusiasm, joyful, happy, insensitive, lack of compassion, active, forceful, yang, masculine, strength, powerful, dominant, aggressive, logical, rational, analytical, critical, abstract, mind, thoughts, interactive, social, consciousness, questing, spiritual, highly sensitive to their immediate environment, not so sensitive to other people’s needs, will reflect environmental situation (if someone around them is angry they will feel angry but not realise it—they react without processing this into consciousness), revolutionary, rebellious, puer, fun, intuitive, eccentric, mad professor, freedom seeking, strong sense of justice, perceptive, clever, smart ass, detached, competitive, temper, impatient, tantrums, outrageous, manic, demanding, planning, ordering, categorising, technical, mathematical, spaced-out, dreaminess, in-their-heads, space cadet, goof-off, day dreamer.
There is no real conclusion to this article, research is still on-going. I welcome your constructive comments on this theory.
Noel Eastwood is a psychologist and astrologer practicing in the ACT, Australia, he specializes in psychotherapy and EEG biofeedback with children and adults.
More on EEG biofeedback, treatment that works www.addbiofeedback.com
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