What’s Cooking in the Astrology Kitchen?

Friday November 26th 2010
Take some onion, pepper and feta… or some planets,
some stars and some intuition

We each develop our own tastes in astrology. Some like it hot, some like it cold and some like a quick stir-fry with a dash of transits and a sprinkling of midpoints.

A couple of things that I came across recently started me thinking about the ingredients astrologers use to interpret charts.

What is a stew without onions?
What is a chart without…?

Here’s the first thing. A few weeks ago, I looked at a chart for a friend. He was feeling pretty low, but in fact his chart looked good. He has a transit from Neptune to the descendant, but that is so long-lasting and vague that it couldn’t entirely explain the weight he felt on his shoulders.

It wasn’t until I looked at his soli-lunar midpoint that I started to find a way in to his gloom. Saturn had just finished transiting that point in his second house. From there I was able to see first, that his feeling such a lack of self worth would indeed pass and second, how he could look at his situation differently.

Now I rarely use midpoints. I get plenty of information from the unvarnished natal chart as it is, plus transits and progressions. If it’s obvious that one of the big Fixed Stars is conjunct something crucial, I use that. If there’s a very exact minor aspect, I use that. By the time all these factors come into play, I have a lot to work with.

But after my experience with my friend’s chart, I started wondering if I should use midpoints regularly – until, while perusing Donna Cunningham‘s Skyscript, I came across the second thing that made me start to question astrological ingredients.

DC is surely one of the best and most experienced cooks in the astrology kitchen. She’s smart, she’s sensitive, she’s clear  – and above all she’s accurate. So you could have sautéed my enchiladas when I read that she doesn’t do progressions.

The doyenne of California cooking
with a recipe for perfect astrology.

That is stripped down.

And she doesn’t do retrogrades. Refreshing.

And I know she doesn’t mess around with asteroids, centaurs, theoretical planets, Arabic parts etcetera.

This is the astrology equivalent of Chez Panisse in California or The River Café in London, where I have consumed memorably, madly perfect meals on various occasions.

Here’s the method. Take a few of the finest raw ingredients, put them together perfectly, don’t mess about. Dine.

So if Donna Cunningham is the Alice Waters (matron of Chez Panisse) of the astrology world, who’s Liz Greene? I have her down as Claudia Roden – scholarly, intellectual, impeccable – but maybe she’s more Martha Stewart with her diverse business portfolio. The Parkers are obviously Mrs Rombauer and the whole Joy of Cooking team. Rob Hand is Julia Child. Jonathan Cainer is Nigella Lawson. (I could get into the cross-dressing). Is Elsa the Anthony Bourdain of the astrokitchen?

Now I’ve managed to sidetrack myself on the slippery slope of celebrity chefs. Back to the ingredients.

Here is one recipe for a natal chart:
Take 12 houses. (Don’t get into a discussion about house systems, please.)
Add 12 signs.
Add Sun, Moon, Mercury, Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Pluto, Uranus and the North Node.
Mix in trines, squares, oppositions and conjunctions.
Add Ascendant and Midheaven.
Allow to simmer in brain.
Spicy extras: Chiron, Ceres, Juno, Vesta, Pallas.

Here’s another
Take 12 houses.
Add Sun, Moon, Mercury, Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Pluto, Uranus, the North Node, Chiron, Ceres, Juno, Vesta, Pallas, Nessus, Sedna, the Vertex, Lilith. Eris, Pholus, Ixion, and Varuna.

Add 12 signs.
Add Ascendant and Midheaven, Vertex and Part of Fortune.

Calculate Arabic Parts.
Add a handful of Fixed Stars.
Calculate midpoints.
Interpret again.

I know which one of these will give you a more satisfying dish to dine on.

Here’s the start of a recipe I don’t follow
Discard all houses…
and another one that begins
Adjust for sidereal time…

Do do you prefer fusion astrology or meat and two veg?

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  1. Lachesis says:

    Entertaining and profound! And apologies in advance, but I’ve been distracted from work for the last hour musing over the celebrity chef twin of Russell Grant!
    Seriously, though, for me, a simple recipe with the best ingredients, created by an expert chef, works every time.

  2. Christina says:

    and who is the astrology twin of Jamie Oliver – or maybe…

  3. Anonymous says:

    Well you haven’t addressed a obvious question: which chef are you Christina? Your last post with its scalpel-sharp dissection of N-S Korea was verging on the Heston Blumenthal. But you can also be cosy, warm and poetic – like Nigel Slater.

    Whatever. Keep your astrology on the boil and we’ll come back for seconds.

  4. Donna Cunningham says:

    Too funny, Christine! You can always be counted on for a fresh look at our timeless field.

    (What’s especially funny about it to me is that with my Aries Moon, I’m the least likely to get a positive review on my cooking. If you can’t nuke it or bake it, I don’t make it. I dust my stove top off to make spaghetti or soup a couple times a month!)
    Donna Cunningham

  5. Christina says:

    Gosh – anon – it’s very kind of you to say so. I’m touched. I can tell you that in the kitchen, I’m far more Nige than Hest. But as you’ve noticed on the astrology, I have the odd attack of Blumenthalian lateral thinking.

    And Donna – you cook up enough good astrology to make up for the lack of haute cuisine at Chateau Cunningham.

  6. Vesta says:

    I had problems with logging in, but it could be me, I’m having other tech problems too. :/
    A simple recipe is good for the most part, but I’m finding (on this spiritual journey I seem to be on!) that the only way to understand where I’m at is to look deeper. So that’s midpoints, progressions, and whatever else I find that seems outlandish to help explain the inexplicable.
    Years ago, when this all started for me, I was spooked. Ok, scared! 😀 Magic isn’t supposed to be real and what’s all this stuff outside normality? There’s a lot I haven’t revisited yet, midpoints being one. It is strange, I think I am a no-nonsense meat and two veg kind of person, yet here I am being pushed into searching for more.
    So, in summary, there’s something in it, all this other freaky weird stuff, but use it when you feel you need to, like you did for your friend, otherwise it’s probably too much and unnecessary. Like why would you need a hammer to crack a nut.
    I like the idea of astrology chefs and different people specialising in different things. That’s interesting. 🙂 You want gourmet from the gourmet chef, and chips from the chippie. haha It’s dinnertime… !

  7. Isy says:


    Maybe it’s my Jupiter in Gemini that makes me appreciate both approaches. I find the dwarf planets focus the signal, as it were. Also, they help me triangulate on an idea, as I second-guess myself (good old Gemini, seeing both sides of an issue.) But then, when I get rid of them and look at the lovely fresh turkey, avocado, tomatoes, and dash of balsamic vinegar on the clean white plate, I can see the original ideas that were there all along anyway. So, do I need more faith in myself, or do I need to do more charts until the triangulation is no longer needed?

    Either way, it’s good: thermidor, or steamed with butter.

  8. Elsa says:

    Oh wow! I’m flattered to be included. Thank you. I just saw this after all these years. And you’re not the only person to compare me to him – there must be something to it. 🙂