The Vertex: a Turning Point of Fate
Photo credit by Vitó; creative commons license
Oh, the Vertex, what a game–he’s hiding all the cards.
The Vertex is in charge of finding treasure in the dark,
And watching over lucky clover–isn’t that bizarre?
Every little thing the Vertex does
Leaves you answered with a question mark. (“The Reflex”—Duran Duran)
Okay, so I like to dance through my house when I’m alone and sing old 80’s tunes that I’ve rewritten to apply to astrological terms. I can’t help it—I hear the term Vertex and immediately want to sing, partly because I was such a fan of Duran Duran in the early 80’s and partly because the meaning of the Vertex intrigues me. I’ve found it to be very…telling.
What Is the Vertex and How to Find It
I first discovered this tidbit of astrology when I was looking at how asteroids affect an astrological chart. My initial mistake was in thinking that
the Vertex was just another asteroid to investigate, like Juno, Pallas, Ceres, Chiron, Vesta. In fact, the Vertex isn’t an asteroid or celestial body at all. It’s a point on the astrological chart. To be specific, it’s the point where the ecliptic crosses the prime vertical, but if you want to know where yours is and have no clue what an ecliptic or prime vertical is (which is most people), hop over to http://www.astro.com and calculate yours free by creating your own natal chart. It’ll show up on the right side of your chart, somewhere in the fifth through eighth houses. My Vertex is in my Seventh House of Partnerships, so mine is especially relationship-oriented. A Vertex in a different house would have a different feel to it.
The Vertex is sometimes called a secondary descendant and usually influences fateful meetings, particularly significant breakups and first meetings. Its opposite point is called the Anti-Vertex, which some believe to be even more important. For example, it’s said that Sun conjunct Vertex in synastry (studying two charts, as in a relationship) means an instant, love-at-first-sight attraction. In any case, the Vertex/Anti-Vertex line form a new Descendant/Ascendant axis with special meanings in relationships.
The meaning of the term is literally “a turning point.” Think of it as a point that everything else revolves around, or simply as a sensitive spot that can be rubbed either sweetly or a little raw by contact with any planet or asteroid and take on the influence of that planet. It’s useful for telling how we’ll react to someone and even for foretelling when we’re likely to meet a special person.
How the Vertex Is Activated
The Vertex is activated in one of two ways: through other people (look to planets and points in synastry charts) or through timing (look to planets and points in transits, progressions, and even solar return charts).
In synastry, a planet or point’s conjunction with the Vertex shows a strong connection between two people. This is felt most in a tight orb (2 degrees or less). Outer planets, such as Pluto, Uranus, and Neptune are more generational and mean that a whole group of people near that person’s age will affect the Vertex, so the inner planets are much better to judge the effects in synastry.
I’ve seen the charts of couples who have the Vertex of one conjunct the Descendant of another, Vertex conjunct Sun, Vertex conjunct Juno (the Marriage asteroid), and/or Vertex conjunct North Node. These are all high compatibility signs and it’s obvious in their relationships. In my own significant relationships, I’ve never had a Vertex conjunction, though I have recently had several online discussions with a man who has his Vertex conjunct Vertex of mine. His Anti-Vertex conjuncts my Sun, too, a very good sign. However, we have not yet met face-to-face, so perhaps I’ll have an update eventually with first-hand experience of these conjunctions.
While synastry charts, including the Composite and Davidson charts, can show the effects of planets and points on the Vertex, charts showing the effects of transiting planets on the individual’s Vertex should not be ignored. The Sun, Moon, Venus, and Jupiter tend to have positive, expansive results when they are transit the Vertex. Saturn tends to be very harsh and restrictive, with that feeling of being pinned down. A personal example of this was when Saturn crossed my natal Vertex (a relationship broke up), then retrograded over my Vertex (his relationship cemented with someone else), and then crossed my Vertex a third time (an event in their relationship changed him into a bitter and angry person I no longer recognize). Saturn conjunct Vertex was very much like being run over by a semi, then a few months later having that semi back up over me and a few months later drive forward over me the third time just in case some part of me hadn’t been crushed. I’ll have a lot of activity there again in the late summer as most of my personal planets transit my Vertex, and it’s all good this time. (Yay! I deserve good after that Saturn-Vertex hell.)
For more of a long-term forecast, it’s interesting to look at the Vertex in a progressed chart. When the Moon crossed my Progressed Vertex, I underwent a phenomenal emotional change. Part of it was that I formed a solid emotional attachment to a new person in my life, but I also came to a turning point in another relationship and walked away without a backward glance. My Vertex was definitely colored an emotional, mothering shade as the Moon’s transit lit it up. This effect lasted for several months and was quite intense, and if the Vertex is supposed to be related to “destined encounters” and “fateful meetings,” then that one certainly qualified.
Another way I like to use the Vertex in readings is with Solar Return charts. A Solar Return chart predicts the major themes for the year, starting near the birthday when the Sun is again at the same degree as when the person was born. In years where I’ve had children or a significant new relationships, I’ve had Vertex in the Fifth House of my Solar Return chart. I have one friend whose Vertex is conjunct his Sun, and he’s joyously getting to be a full-time dad for the first time. Another friend is facing a life or death situation with his Solar Return Vertex conjunct his natal Vertex, both in the Eighth House. The year that transiting Saturn contacted my natal Vertex three painful times showed up as a conjunction in my Solar Return—and that feeling of restriction was with me almost the entire year. The last year—and final straw—of my marriage, my Solar Return Vertex was in my Solar Return Seventh House of Parterships and conjunct my natal Descendant. So it’s always a good indicator to me of where there’ll be significant turning points, based on the House as well as other planets and points, particularly ones in conjunction.
So go, find out where your Vertex is in your natal chart. Look at your upcoming transits and look at significant past transits and what you were doing in your life then. Get a feel for how those transits feel to you, how they affect you. Look at your Progressed charts and your Solar Return. Then check out the position of the Vertices in your synastry chart with that someone special. Once you understand how the Vertex works in your life, you’ll never look at your astrology chart again without considering the Vertex or, as I imagine Duran Duran might have said if they’d been singing about the Vertex instead of the Reflex, the Vertex is in charge of finding your treasure in the dark.