The Vertex is a point located in the western hemisphere of a chart (the right-hand side) that represents the intersection of the ecliptic and the prime vertical. In astrology, it is considered an auxiliary Descendant. The Anti-Vertex is the point that is exactly opposite the Vertex. Some astrologers refer to the Vertex as the “third angle” of a chart.
Use of the Vertex in astrology is debated: some astrologers swear by it, and others question its validity. Those who use the Vertex generally feel it is a point of karmic or fated connection. Some consider it a point of “wish fulfillment”. It is perhaps most widely used in synastry. The Vertex is said to be activated at major turning points in our lives, most notably when we meet a significant other or end a significant relationship, and some believe it is triggered when there is a birth or death.
The vertex is a theoretical point in the heavens where the ecliptic-the apparent orbit of the Sun around the earth-crosses the prime vertical-the plane that runs at right angles to the meridian and divides the celestial sphere from front to back.
The vertex/anti-vertex is only theoretical to the degree that the Ascendant and Midheaven are as well. The Ascendant is the point were the ecliptic intersects the horizon (instead of the prime vertical). The North and South Nodes of the Moon, also points of theoretical intersection, are found were the path of the Moon rises and falls across the ecliptic. They are all illusory because there is nothing really out there at that point in space-no fixed star, no asteroid, no planet-not to emphasize that the ecliptic itself is the imaginary path of the Sun around the earth.
Illusory or not, the vertex falls on the western side of the chart, with the anti-vertex found exactly 180 degrees away, on the eastern side. As with the Ascendant and Midheaven, an exact birth time is necessary to calculate the vertex. There is no point working with it unless you have one. That is the first rule.
Three things can trigger, coincide or activate the vertex: transits, people and places.
- Transits to the vertex can bring inner and outer events corresponding to a pivotal point, significant encounter with another or a sudden change of perception. The transiting planet activates the symbolism of the vertex, coinciding with a major or minor event. Keeping orbs tight and sticking mainly to the conjunction will bring more consistent results. A transiting conjunction from Mars would likely be more noticeable than a transiting trine from Uranus, although sometimes that is not the case. The magnitude of the effect depends on the prominence of the vertex itself, its relationship to other factors in the chart and the occurrence of other transits, commensurate or disparate. Along with transits, students are encouraged to consider progressions, converse progressions and directions.
- Meetings with significant people, as seen through synastry and composite charts, may also link strongly to the vertex. (Think of people as constant transits.) When one person's inner planets or asteroids (Sun through to Jupiter), angles, nodes, vertex or certain Arabic parts conjunct the vertex, there can be a feeling of fate, destiny, rightness or wrongness about the encounter. Something in the contact with that person may have the ability to create profound change in the native, over a long or short period of time. The change may be perceived as pleasing or acrimonious, the conjunction often reflecting the former, the opposition the later.
- Our location on the planet can awaken the vertex as seen through relocation charts and astro-carto-graphy. When we relocate, the vertex may become more prominent by changing house or aspect to an angle. The relocation vertex can signify places where meaningful encounters of a particular nature seem to happen more consistently.
The house positions of the vertex/anti-vertex can offer clues as to where we may experience turning points, meetings with destiny or fateful encounters in life. As noted earlier, the vertex falls usually between the fifth and the eight house, on the western side of the chart, with the anti-vertex 180 degrees opposition.
In the fifth/eleventh house axis, there could be a propensity to experience fateful romantic or creative encounters (fifth house) through contacts with friends or groups (eleventh house). In the sixth/twelfth house axis, the turning point, or spin out, could effect our day by day living, or our link between psyche and soma (sixth house) through contact with those in the helping professions, those less fortunate or through dreams and creative fantasies (twelfth house). In the seventh/first house axis, sudden epiphanies could radically effect socially significant partnerships (seventh house) through an experience of projecting ourselves out into the world (first house). In the eighth/second house axis, destiny may arrive in the form of an erotic encounter or intense research (eighth house) perpetrated by a desire for pleasure, security or peace (second house).
The vertex/anti-vertex by sign can signify the way we may experience activation to this axis. Aries/Libra could indicate issues between personal will and sharing, where Taurus/Scorpio may be about security versus risk. Gemini/Sagittarius could contrast knowledge and vision, where Cancer/Capricorn could emphasize protection versus enterprise. The Leo/Aquarius axis might highlight self-expression as opposed to group participation where the Virgo/Pisces might compare structured boundaries and limitless longing.
The Vertex is almost always found on the right or occidental side of the horoscope. The exception occurs in extreme northern latitudes. The occidental side of the horoscope is co-dependent and other-directed so that the Vertex represents characteristics, attributes, qualities and skills to be cultivated in this lifetime through the demand and urging of other people. For those interested in esoteric astrology, my theory is that the Vertex indicates the Ray energy to be cultivated in this lifetime – a shift in the personality, astral or mental body.
When there are transits or progressed aspects to the Vertex, the qualities of the Vertex sign will be emphasized. Under favorable aspects, we are drawn by people (indicated by the House position) to express the aptitudes of the Vertex sign. Under afflictions, we seem to have problems with the Vertex sign energy.
In cultivating Aries energy, you will be drawn into taking charge in emergencies, taking the initiative and developing fast solutions to crises situations. There will be no time to coordinate efforts. Circumstances in the life will force you to pick up the reins of leadership and react to emergencies as a trouble shooter. You will be commanded to be your own person rather than stay on the sidelines, waiting for someone else to do it or ducking out completely.
You will be forced to develop a sense of self-worth and material self-sufficiency, not relying upon others for support and not being obligated to others. You may be drawn into helping others achieve financial security or make value judgments for another. Freedom is found through financial independence. Esoterically, it is associated with the ability to let go, to simplify that which is complicated and to extricate by eliminating indebtedness. This can be for self, as well as others. Speak your truth when necessary and honour your own values and principles. Be willing to stand up for what you believe to be true.
You will be drawn to teach, to present your own ideas and to back up the information with facts. Gemini will draw you into a relationship or work activity that will demand that you learn to be flexible and to do more than one thing at a time. Flexibility is often connected with allowing others to change their minds, something that Gemini does quite easily.
You may be forced to debate and prove your views or to relay the messages of others correctly. You may be forced to prove your believability, choosing your words correctly and not relying upon generalities. Such an individual may not like the pressure of facts but this will ultimately build confidence in communication skills. You will learn that in theorizing you give your power away, being at the mercy of others who fight with the facts.
In this life, you will be pulled into dealing directly with the public, with the media, with the emotions of others— often this starts with the emotional issues in the family, depending upon the Vertex House position. In dealing with the emotional issues in your relationships with others, you will be drawn into soothing troubled water and nurturing others’ needs. You may also be drawn into dealing with issues connected with women in general. Cancer is the sign of the masses, mass trends and Universal Consciousness. This position can provide and opportunity to assess and spot trends on behalf of the public interest.
The natural tendency with the anti-vertex in Capricorn is to appear authoritative and unemotional. Now you are to learn compassion for the feelings of others. In this lifetime, you cannot let others down. You must get emotionally involved and care!
In this lifetime, you must learn to get personally involved so that you gain recognition for yourself and not share the glory with the group. You are to learn to be creative and to cultivate Self-Expression and Willpower. The tendency is to fade into a group rather than individualize. Individualization is the task at hand. A personal approach to dealing with people is needed rather than a detached and objective orientation.
I have a good friend with the Vertex in Leo. Her natural tendency is to give to the group without individual recognition. I cannot help but feel that there is much frustration when the group and her partner gets the recognition and she does not. Even her writing style tends to be philosophically Aquarian, lacking in a personal revelations. When this point was hit by a transit, she found it impossible to gain the personal recognition. The timing was wrong.
In this lifetime, the individual will be drawn to provide a service which brings something to a practical, useful order. Since the anti-vertex is in Pisces, the individual already understands and has experienced confusion but now you must learn to bring order out of chaos. Remember, Virgo rules useful service, not servitude. One client has this Vertex in the 7th and she is an accountant, working on the financial chaos of others.
In this lifetime, the individual will be drawn into learning how to bridge opposing factions, to mediate compromises, to restore fairness and to bring harmony out of conflicting issues in order to re-establish peace and order. Because the anti-vertex is in Aries, the individual must not allow personal desires to influence the situation. The individual must not take sides or impose the personal ego. The need is to detach the self, make no judgments and establish harmony that would benefit the whole rather than any specific individuals.
In this lifetime, the individual will be drawn into dealing with that which is complicated, matted and ensnared. Plutonian issues connected with the abuses of power can be involved, fighting for the rights involved with exploitation issues. The individual maybe drawn to working with the finances of others, assisting them in achieving security and empowerment. I have one client who was compelled to investigate death/dying issues, learning to transform and heal, learning metaphysics in order to help others.
Since Taurus is the anti-vertex, it is too easy to stay in one’s comfort zone, taking the line of least resistence, not jeopardizing personal security and comfort. You must give strength and courage to the concerns of others, overcoming the fears that make you too comfortable with the status quo.
In this lifetime, you must go beyond the facts in order to see the Big Picture. You may be drawn to give testimony wherein you must draw conclusions from many facts. The Gemini details may look good for now but they do not serve in the long run. The individual must teach at an expanded or philosophical level based upon the accumulated facts— extracting wisdom from what you know. Go beyond the facts to the truth of the matter. Do not get bogged down with superficial, gossipy information. You will be drawn to deal with philosophical, spiritual or moral issues in connection with the Vertex House position.
The individual will be called to develop skills in responsible leadership. It is essential that you learn to accept duties and obligations for a future control. Leadership and organizational ability go hand-in-hand and you must learn patience to cultivate these skills. Do not allow your emotions and fears to interfere with a realistic attitude in administration. It is essential that the individual not allow the needs of home, family or feelings of insecurity to impede in fulfilling your destiny and thereby rise to a position of respect.
First, you must learn tolerance for the differences in others. This would be particularly true if Saturn and Earth-Water signs are strong in the chart. If Uranus and Fire-Air signs are strong, the individual must learn how to coordinate one’s efforts with other independent, task oriented types. Regulating Uranian people is a hard-learned lesson! Since the anti-Vertex is in Leo, the individual must guard against allowing one’s strong subjective and “MY WAY” opinions to interfere with cooperation. The lesson is to be detached and impersonal.
Any prejudices will come back to haunt you in this lifetime. Learn to be a good friend, to be a part of group effort rather than trying to shine on one’s own. When tolerance is not an issue for the individual, I find that there is some difficulty working with group energy. One client felt that she needed to learn to function and protect herself while working within groups.
In this lifetime, the individual is to cultivate sensitivity for the intangibles rather emphasizing the pragmatic, the materialistic and the fine points fo detail. The individual will go through experiences that bring out compassion, the ability to listen with empathy to the concerns of others, and experiences that will make for greater sensitivity to the suffering of others. Another lesson is to let go of criticism. With the anti-Vertex in Virgo, it is easy to zero in on the details, the flaws and imperfections, losing sight of the whole. Learn to go with the flow. Do not judge by rules but rather by instinct and compassion.