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Although the Sun is often considered to be the determining factor in planetary strength in an Astrology chart, it is important to take into consideration any emphasis within the natal chart as well.

For example, someone with a Capricorn Sun, although very much an achieving sign, could be an individual that is introverted and subject to challenging conditions when releasing emotion. Because emotion is represented by the Moon in our charts, much of course as far as emotions are concerned will depend on the Moon’s positioning and sign emphasis within the natal chart.

Continuing with the example of the Sun in Capricorn, let’s say that this individual has a rising sign of Leo. Leo, as we all know, is not submissive or introverted. Leo individuals will speak their mind; they will want control and can be very aggressive when pursuing their objectives. Anything Leo represents is far from quiet or reserved unlike a Capricorn individual. This Leo influence will change the expression of our example individual with a Capricorn Sun.

Continuing, let’s say that this individual has five planets in the fifth house, which is naturally ruled by the sign Leo. This placement of the five planets will now intensify an already outspoken and extroverted individual (even though they have Sun in Capricorn). The five planet placement again softens the Capricorn influence at least with respect to being subdued and introverted.

The need for recognition and an extreme need to achieve will now become a primary focus of this individual in our example. They will work exceedingly hard to make a name for themselves and stop at nothing to reach their goals. This individual would now be seen as aggressive in their pursuits, while the Capricorn without the added emphasis of Leo would slowly (and perhaps behind the scenes) work towards a similar objective. Leo’s influence adds to the flavour of this Capricorn Sun individual. This would be particularly true if for example they had the Sun (inner self, core identity), Mars (energy and drive, passion and action) and let’s say Mercury (mind’s focus and thought process) in this fifth house position.

Now put the North Node (life’s purpose) and perhaps Jupiter (expansion and grow) in this house as well and we now have a very strong emphasis of Leo influence in this chart.

It would be somewhat different if Saturn (Karma, restrictions, life lessons) was placed here or Neptune (illusion, inspiration, psychic development).

It is imperative to decipher and expand on what the whole chart is saying. Always take into consideration the planets and their positioning and any emphasis as well.

In deciphering the story a chart is telling, it is also important to take into consideration the number of aspects to any one planet. A planet with many aspects to it can play a central role in determining planetary strength; however, if all these aspects had a wide orb, they may still have an impact although certainly not have the same powerful they would have if they were in tight aspect. The type of aspect also changes the strength of the influence being made.

In deciphering the story, it is also important to see how many planets fall into each element and quality. When calculating, using the Sun and Moon we give two points to each, the rest of the planets we give one point, the Ascendant and Midheaven also count as one point each and the Nodes each have half a point.

I, personally, do not use the asteroids or the part of fortune when calculating points for influence, although they certainly have their part in the overall story of the chart.

If you have a total of 6 points or greater in any given element (air, water, fire and earth) or quality (cardinal, fixed, mutable), this will signify an emphasis in the element and quality. For example if you have 7 points in Cardinal and 6 points in water, the water cardinal sign which is Cancer would be emphasized and could be a determining factor when deciphering the chart for strength.

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