Posted by: Donna Cunningham | February 28, 2009

Pluto and the transiting Antiscia–not Over ’til It’s Over

©2009 by Donna Cunningham

 Of late, my guides, ghosts, or whatever have been nagging–er, I mean prompting–me to look into the obscure astrological aspects called antiscia. I haven’t thought about them in years, and in fact, I didn’t believe that anyone had written or lectured much about them since my one-time teacher, Charles Jayne crossed over into that great astrology congress in the sky. It appears that the recent resurgence of interest in classic astrology texts has resulted in several articles about them on the internet that we’ll refer to later.qmarkmanshadowdualbd-a2d

The antiscia (Charles pronounced it an-tih-sha) are a seldom-used aspect between two natal planets, between a natal and a transiting planet, or between two people’s planets in a chart comparison.

It’s said to represent a covert or hidden connection which can sometimes be helpful, sometimes difficult. It depends on whether the planets are complimentary to one another (like the Sun and Moon, or Jupiter and Mercury, or Venus and Mars) or whether they are difficult (like Saturn to the Sun or Neptune to Venus).  Others claim it creates a kind of mirroring between the two planets, or some sort of shadow effect–the Greek word ‘scia‘ means shadows. Vague, no?  Even covert.

That doesn’t answer the question of why we should find them even remotely interesting or pertinent today. It’s because antiscia have as their origin the solstice points of 0° Capricorn and Cancer, and right now, for the first time since the 1980s, we have one of the slower moving planets–Pluto–crossing 0° Capricorn.  The last such ingresses into Capricorn were Neptune in 1984 and the pair of Uranus and Saturn in 1988. Before that, the last time Pluto went into Capricorn was in 1762, Neptune did it in 1820, and Uranus in 1904.   

To cut to the chase, those who are most directly affected in these next few years are those with planets or the Ascendant or Midheaven near the end of Sagittarius.  If you have one or more in that range, and you thought Pluto was finished transforming you, think again! A natal planet at 29° Sagittarius finds its transiting antiscion at 1° Capricorn, when both planets are an equal distance from the Sun’s solstice point at 0° Capricorn. Other of Pluto’s antiscia points in the near future are: 28° Sag at 2° Cap; 27° Sag at 3° Cap, 26° Sag at 4° Cap,  25° Sag at 5° Cap, and so on. (Antiscia is plural, so a single such aspect is an antiscion.)

For more explanation of the meanings and uses of antiscia, I will refer you to the article, “Parallel and Antiscion: A Paradox for the Solstice,” at qmarkmanmanybooksconfused-a2d There is a also related type of aspect called contra-antiscia which is just about TMI for me! For those who want technical details and classical origins, Deborah Houlding discusses the ancient Greek and Latin roots at

She says, “The theory underlying antiscia appears to have been influenced by Pythagorean philosophy, which claimed that every force in the universe has a balancing counter-force…The Greek term ‘scia‘ means shadows.  At some unknown date the philosophy of ‘opposite-shadows’ or ‘reflective-degrees’ was incorporated into astrology in the belief that each degree of the zodiac has its own counter degree, mirroring its distance from the solstice axis on the opposite side of the chart.”

If you’re wondering why I wrote this post, so am I.  I did it mainly to get my guides, whoever they might be, off my back. And to alert those with late Sagittarian planets that there’s more where Pluto came from.  Research the internet–I’ve got nothing more to say on this arcane topic. If any who read this have more info on what it all means in real life (NOT the technical part, pleeeeeeeeease), I’d welcome your comments.  (And, boy, did I get comments!  Do have a look!)


Let me just say that it’s been a source of bemusement that this particular post has consistently wound up in the top ten list of all my posts. It was done, frankly, as a bit of appeasement to some dearly departed astrologer (again, Charles Jayne comes to mind), rather than as something I was actively watching.  It was written in late February, and the article is long since buried on page 35 or so of my list of posts–except that at least a couple of times a week, I get a flurry of visits to it.  It must be a current question on the forums, since this is the first time since 1984 that an outer planet has crossed either 0° Capricorn or 0° Cancer.

qmarkmanhangcliff-a2dHave you heard of that Big, Bad t-square everyone’s talking about during parts of 2010-11 that consists of Pluto in early Capricorn, Uranus in early Aries, and Saturn in early Libra? The one that whole conferences are planned around and special issues of magazines and journals?

What I’m realizing now is that each end of that t-square will also be at the antiscia of 0° Cap/Cancer.  (At 0° Aries or Libra, Uranus and Saturn are 90° from 0° Capricorn. They are also at the contra-antiscia points, but puleez ask someone else about that. We’ve reached the outer limits of my math savvy and/or interest.)  Perhaps that’s what’s keeping the antiscia aspect in people’s awareness.

What does it mean, then, that the t-square in early cardinal signs is also, by default,  at the antiscia/contra-antiscia points?  I have yet to run across anything  cogent and detailed that anyone wrote about the natal or transiting impact of these aspects on actual people’s lives.  In order for me to believe something is significant, I need direct and specific clinical observations about what happened with these aspects: CASES, not theory from the middle ages or some Greek or Chaldean philosopher.  (Sorry, Charles, Robert, no disrespect intended. You know that I know I’m not worthy!)

All I can reasonably surmise is that–IF this aspect were of any  great significance–it would intensify the effect of an already intense transit. My long-term observations of the outer planets in combination is that where such an aspect has formed–as Pluto, Uranus, and Saturn also did in the 1930s–people who have those degrees in  their birth charts are directly and personally impacted by the historical/social events that transpire, whereas those who do not have those degrees or hard angles to them are not so personally affected.

(Observations about Pluto-Saturn aspects and Saturn-Uranus  aspects are OPIL v3 2014 smdetailed in their respective chapters in The Outer Planets and Inner Life, Volume 3, available at

And, no, if these degrees ARE prominent in your own chart or the chart of a loved one, kindly don’t ask me to look at it.  Be merciful to an old lady–I am thoroughly, completely, and irrevocably retired from doing individual charts .

More Articles about the Lesser-Known Aspects:

More Posts about Pluto on this Blog: 

FREE EBOOKLET FOR SKYWRITER SUBSCRIBERS ONLY:  a 50-page excerpt from my out-of-print book, The Moon in your Life, also known as Being a Lunar Type in a Solar World.  Read more about it here: NEW: FREE BOOKLET FOR SKYWRITER SUBSCRIBERS!  If you’re already a subscriber and want a copy, forward your most recent email notification to me at  To sign up for a subscription, go to the top right hand corner of the blog and click on “Subscribe.”

Art credits:  Like most of the art on this blog, the drawings here come from  I am very fond of this particular character, whom I call question mark man because so many of the drawings have question marks or bemused expressions on his face.  I guess I identify with his puzzlement about life and the dilemmas we meet.  Life IS a perennial puzzle, is it not?  Always a surprise ending.  I’d dearly love to know who the artist is so I could write a fan letter, so if you ever run into him/her, do let  me know.


  1. This explains alot, and I thought it was just Saturn coming back to square my moon, again.
    I have 29 deg. Jupiter in Sadge in my 8th house.
    Thank you so much for posting this…I will now do plenty of reasearch.
    birth info: 10/23/60, 7:09pm Kearny, NJ

  2. Do these types of antiscia aspects also have a bearing on natal/transiting planets that match up?

    (I mean , such as T Venus opposed Nat Venus)

    I have every outer planet in aspect with itself except for Saturn at the moment. and every inner planet but the Mercury doing the same thing.

    • HI, EJ, I’m not entirely clear on what you’re asking. It sounds like you’re talking about transits in general…like transiting Venus opposite natal Venus. Antiscia are a particular type of transit, but very technical and mathematical, so not easy to spot or else they’d be mentioned more often. From what you say, you must be in the midst of your Midlife cycle, where transiting Neptune square natal Neptune, transiting Uranus opposes natal Uranus and so on. A great many authors have written about that, so if it applies to you, Google midlife cycle +astrology or midlife crisis +astrology, and you’ll find all the advice you never wanted. Donna

  3. Hi Donna
    What is the correct pronounciation of antiscia? I feel it should be anti- (as in the prefix) and -scia (as in science but without the last -nce), but some people are pronouncing it anteesha with the emphasis on the (short) ee.
    The latter seems incorrect, do you agree?
    An online search only gave me the pronounciation of antiscion at:
    This was pronounced as anti-sigh-on.

    Thanks for your article!

  4. Hi Donna
    Thanks for your article!

    I find an easy way to find the antiscia of planets is to use calipers on a printout of the chart. Place the one leg on the position of a planet and the other leg on 0 Cancer or 0 Capricorn. Lift the first leg, swing it over to the other side of the Cancer/Capricorn axis and you have the antiscion point.

    What is the correct pronounciation of antiscia? I feel it should be anti- (as in the prefix) and -scia (as in science but without the last -nce). I have, however, heard some people pronouncing it as anteesha (with the emphasis on the (short) ee) but this doesn’t sound right to me!

    I found the pronounciation of antiscion from the online pronounciation dictionary at:
    This was, as I expected, anti-sigh-on.

    Hope you can help!

    • HI, Martine, That sounds like an excellent way to find the antiscia, especially the ones that are more than a few degrees. As for the pronunciation, it’s been many years since I’ve heard anyone say the word. My guess would be ann–tih-sheee-uh. Donna

  5. Hi!
    I’m wondering if this antiscion stuff applies also to the Ascendant?
    My Ascendant is 28 or 29° Sadge. Any suggestions for what things in my life I could look at to see which antiscion degree (Cap 1 or 2°) might best apply, i.e. would tell me more about whether my Asc degree is 28 or 29…?
    And, OMG, with a 12th house 20°Sadge Sun in addition to the Asc – and with transiting Pluto conjunct natal Sun/Asc life experiences ranging from father’s suicide to end of marriage & divorce, to losing my job, to moving cities, to health problems, to a sexual abuse situation and legal stuff – I was definitely ready for the Pluto transit to be over. (However, I also have Mars 6°Cap, Merc 9°Cap and Venus 17°Cap, in the 1st house, so I guess there’s more to come.)

    Looking forward to your reply!

    • You’ve surely been through the Pluto Mill, haven’t you? Nobody has yet to give me a satisfactory explanation of what a transiting antiscion translates to in real life terms, but it would be hard to believe it could account for all that grief! Perhaps it simply means that you get to a new stage with processing and healing that traumatic series of events and finally get some resolution.
      As for which degree is your true Ascendant, that would involve rectification, and you’d want to look back to events of the late 1980s, when Uranus and Neptune crossed the same area of your chart. The Sabian symbols for both degrees might have some relevance, too. (I really became persudaded of he correctness of my Ascendant when I read the Sabian Symbol: “the Indian princess goes to college and brings the knowledge home to her people.” That really capsulized what my lifework has been about, and it was even more strongly confirmed at the age of 47 when I discovered the family secret that my grandfather was half Comanche. (Check out the Sabian Oracle in a recent post, “Fabulous Freebies for Astrology Lovers.”
      Say, you’re not the Annicka that created those gorgeous metallic astrology glyphs, are you? I’ve lost track of her over the years.
      Hang in there, you’ve got a ways to go to process all those losses. Donnba

  6. Thanks so much for your response and your warmth! Yeah, it’s been a rough ride, really, but it’s better now…still sorting things out, but not suffering blow after blow since some months. So whatever impact the the antiscion degrees have, it’s clearly milder… And yeah, I’d say it’s been more about review and integration since Pluto went into Capricorn.
    I’ll check out the Sabian symbols too.
    Looking forward to reading your articles!
    PS. No, I’m not the Annicka you mentioned…

  7. Hi again Donna

    On the topic of antiscia, I just discovered that the man I’ve been seeing since a few months has the following antiscia links to my chart:

    –his 25°Cap Sun –> 5° Sadge = 0° conjunct my Sun/Moon midpoint

    –his 10° Sadge moon –> 20°Cap = 3° conjunct my Venus (17°Cap)

    –his 7°Cap Merc –> 23° Sadge = 3° conjunct my Sun (20° Sadge) and 5° conjunct my Asc (28° Sadge)

    –his 11° Cap Mars –> 19° Sadge = 1° conjunct my Sun

    Is that a relevant way of applying antiscia, or is that stretching it?

    Anyway, I’ve decided I want to do the astrology course with you – I’m just looking for the right moment to start!


  8. I’m not clear on the answer to the “ascendant” degree, concerning this anticia. I don’t have planets at 29 Sag, but that IS my ascendant degree, and I’m curious if it is significant for the ascendant, and what effect on it? Thanks very much. Have always loved your work.

  9. […] Libra, and Aries).  Newly updated to include these observations, the article can be seen here:  Pluto and the transiting Antiscia–not Over ’til It’s Over.  I hope this doesn’t upset the antiscia militia, but I remain skeptical, though certainly […]

  10. Whoa! I wondered what was happening to my daughter…she isn’t the same person she was before (not in a positive way, either).
    She has her Sun at 29 Sag, her Midheaven at 0 Cap, her Ascendant at 0 Aries AND she is having a Saturn return!
    I hope she survives!

  11. I hope she survives it as well! Good grief! Makes me wonder also… not only is my Ascendant almost halfway past the 29 degree Sag, I also have a stellium in early degrees of Cancer… Saturn at 1, with Mercury, Sun, and Venus just a few steps ahead. I don’t need any more challenges right now either, with just having Pluto cross back and forth over my Ascendant in the recent past, as well. Good luck to your daughter!

  12. Lets all hope that this unpronouceable (sp) ‘shadow’ aspect has only vague and shadowy implications for us born in late Sag.
    Am trying to deal with it all one degree at a time,

  13. Donna, have researched by accident the 30th dgr in 2003 when i rtnd to the Divine study which began in 1969. Upon retiring, with computer generated charts was quicker, thrilling.
    The Columbia shuttle incident 1 Feb.2003 drew my interest and the sunrise birth charts for every crew member had one or more natal planets in the 29+ dgr (30th). Studying their careers evident how compelled they were in their quest to go beyond, further.
    Another is Angela Hewitt a Canadian pianist of renown b. 26 July 1958. a sunrise chart natal Mercury is 29:59:20 Leo… has recorded all of Bach and still going forward w/other composers.

    By personal experience natal and by progressed entering the 29:00:00 dgr had reached a crisis in life that resulted in a protective state of being, like untouchable, un alterable time in life. In the instance of P/Pluto chgd to 29+dgr 18 Oct.1972 until 1 July 2009 ingressed Leo. Nothing could tempt me to go astray, nor entered my mind. Pluto in 12th seemed i had a shield of protection The incident of occurrence was disabled with full leg cast from hip to toe, while my Mother and Grandmother both hospitalized at the same time. Grama passed away, was not able to get there, in desperation had cried out for help and instantly relieved, energy departed from all extremities, found myself at complete ease. My progressed Jupiter Rx has been in this 30th dgr since kindred spirit dprtd this world and i searched for reason to live, Jupiter ingressed from Pisces to Aquarius had to be directed in a new way to love, something worthwhile. It is children, animals and any who cross my path.
    The 30th dgr does give us that cnxn to the Christ degree 30 Pisces and we can see this protection (intervention) in the current transits this year.

    Others with natal cusp in 30th dgr are compelled without ceasing in their expertise and area of natal chart. We already have seen P/angles in 30th dgr before compelled to change, relocate, and new beginnings.

    I searched everywhere for explanation of this dgr and it became confusing referring to this as the 29th, when it is the 30th dgr. Perhaps no one has written adequately about this yet. From experience and research it is evident the power from within is unstoppable. The astrologer i have known is awesome, with 4 points of 30th degree influence by birth

    Admire your zest for life and gifting to others, wanted some assist to explain more. You must have experienced 30th degree yourself !

    • Thanks so much for giving us such good examples of the 30th degree, Claire. It’s not one I’ve looked into. Donna

  14. I have Sun-Moon-Pluto parallel (the later pair within minutes), Moon in the end of the 8th, Moon quindecile Pluto, Moon opp. Scorpio Mars (thus opposing the) Mars- Pluto conjunction, Moon in mutual reception to Venus square Pluto, Sun on the midpoint of the square semisquaring both Pluto and Venus, plus 2 semisextiles to Pluto from Jupiter and Uranus, plus the typical Pluto-neptune sextile, plus a sextile to N.Node in Leo and (subsequently) a trine to the S. Node. I should also mention: Pluto sesquiquad. the MC, Pluto conj. Lilith.

    If the antiscia thing is valid, then Pluto falls exactly on my DC. And it’s not that I don’t love my Pluto (I do, it balances my virgoan narcissism and my 1st house me-first attitude forcing me to relate),
    but I’d rather if it fell on the White House, or directly on your head Donna (no offense, please!)

    Not that it wouldn’t make sense!

    P.S. If anyone asks, Virgos are not narcissistic snobs, just humble people who lack serious ambition drive.

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