• Ilin Shieh

Astrology and Architecture

As an architect proficient in the workings of the sky, I am starting to see how personal charts influence our individual needs for home and hearth, which is then supplemented by mundane astrology, which affects and defines the general architectural trends of our time.



In terms of general trends, astrologically it has been very clear that we are at a time of great transition. There is no surprise in this - history itself is about continuous evolution through transitions. On a personal level we can say that life itself is one transition, that little dash, between our birth date and death date. So I don’t place extraordinary meanings on transitions, because that orientation invites the ego and incites fear. But as we can see from below, these bigger outer planet aspects do seem to occur more intensely during 2020-2021 than following years. So they become relatively important to assist us in understanding the times where we stand.


So the big events defining our current period (i.e. covid):


Uranus enters Taurus (2018-2026)

Saturn conjuncts Pluto (January 12, 2020)

Jupiter conjuncts Pluto (April 4, 2020)

JupiterRX conjuncts PlutoRX (June 30, 2020)

Jupiter conjuncts Pluto (November 12, 2020)

Saturn enters Aquarius (December 17, 2020)

Jupiter enters Aquarius (December 19, 2020)

Jupiter conjuncts Saturn (December 21, 2020)


Jupiter squares Uranus (January 17, 2021)

Saturn squares Uranus (February 17, 2021)

SaturnRX squares Uranus (June 14, 2021)

Saturn squares Uranus (December 24, 2021)

Jupiter enters Pisces (December 28, 2021)


Jupiter conjuncts Neptune (April 12, 2022)


Saturn enters Pisces (March 7, 2023)

Jupiter enters Taurus (May 16, 2023)

Jupiter Squares Pluto (May 17, 2023)


[Again I must emphasize that these aspects don’t make us any more “special” than any other times. Once-in-a-blue-moon conjunctions and aspects happen throughout time. It doesn’t make us more extraordinary. We are just using them to better navigate our current reality.]


By just looking at the outer planet transits of 2020 and 2021 compared to 2022 and 2023, we know that there were slews of deep changes and upheavals in 2020 and 2021. Then 2022 and 2023 is when we pick up the pieces, reflect, and integrate. Pluto is the big player in all of it, driving all sorts of necessary transformations for evolutionary purposes. This theme of destabilization and integration continues until 2026, when Uranus moves out of Taurus and into Gemini, where it feels more comfortable and in sync with its fellow air-based planet Mercury. There is going to be informational explosion at that point, potentially information-fatigue if we don’t watch it. But either way we’re looking at a time of great stimulation after 2026, where new and ingenious ideas flow left and right with ease. Before that, we are focusing on integrating the big shake-up, personal and universal, that happened in 2020 and 2021.


So given the deconstruction of past structures and the resulting instability in the overall environment, we are seeing a lot of need for personal space in order to process internal challenges that came up as a result of external and internal disruptions (from a spiritual perspective it’s all internal, but that’s a separate discussion). This is not a negation of communal space. We will have social needs regardless. But it speaks of a time of cocooning before the caterpillar becomes the butterfly. This is a general trend, one that I surmise is universal unless the personal chart strongly suggests otherwise.


So we are going to be seeing needs for personal space as well as communal space. The age for pure open concepts is over as we move from the Piscesan age to the Aquarian age. With Pisces, our routines are more fluid and we are more open to merging our needs with the needs of others. With Aquarius, we are no longer willing to sacrifice the parts of our individuality that we think benefits the greater good. It’s actually paradoxical with Aquarius - while it is all about sacrificing the one for the all, it tends to sacrifice others first before oneself. The image is one of the mad genius, who toils away in their secluded lab until one day they announce their big invention that would save the world and then seek to impose it on everyone else. Architecturally, this translates to an increasing need for privacy and also space for one’s voice to be heard when ready. This trend will continue past 2026, as we shift from the instinct to seek space and seclusion to needing it to offset information overload.


Make no mistake, we are not regressing into the Victorian times where hierarchical constructs separate the upper from the lower, and formal from the unrefined. All spaces are equal in Aquarian times, and we are looking to architectural trends and layouts that integrate individuality into a greater cohesive social structure.


Of course, this may be augmented or perpetuated by one’s personal charts. For housing and a sense of “home” and “replenishment,” I look to fourth house rulership and planets (1), and Venus (2) and Moon (3) placements. These three hold the key to “how” one can properly recharge in one’s abode.


For example, we look at Albert Einstein. His chart below*:


His fourth house is Virgo, ruled by Mercury in tenth house Pisces. Pisces ruler Jupiter is in ninth house Aquarius, which is ruled by Uranus in Virgo in the third, which goes back to Mercury. We find that his sense of abode has an overwhelming theme of Mercurian communication, expediency, with a need to make fast changes (Uranus) on the whims of his sudden and genius insights. Then we look at Venus, the planet that allows one to receive the nectars of life and be replenished. It sits in Aries in the tenth along with his Mercury and Saturn conjunction. The ruler of Aries, Mars, sits in seventh house Capricorn, which answers back to Saturn Aries in the tenth. For him to feel replenished he needs to be seen, to be revered, almost, under the public eye, and be a leader at the forefront. He needs to feel like the authoritarian (though a compassionate one) who leads the way. And now the Moon, where we look for emotional stability and fulfillment. It sits in sixth house Sagittarius, ruled by Jupiter in the ninth, which answers back to Uranus in the third. It screams of teaching and communicating and professorship. And note that I don’t mean he needs to be a professor, I just mean even if he is a beggar on the streets, he will have the impulse to profess something that is original, analytical, and so well-thought out that no one can easily refute him.


So now we take the summary of the above. There is a very public quality about his fourth house, which supposedly is the most private of all twelve houses. The home and hearth to him is actually tied to connecting and professing. He feels the most balanced when he is actively communicating. It may take him a while to really spit out what he wants to say, as Saturn is conjunct Mercury in his natal chart, but what may be a speech impediment would eventually become expert instructions as Saturn matures. So in his case, if he were to come to me for home renovations, I would keep his sleeping quarters at a minimum, because he will not spend much time there. More emphasis would be put on the living room, or a “great room,” where it would serve as a multi-purpose reception/meeting room/classroom for people coming in and out. Lots of chairs, mobile tables, blackboards, even, where he is free to move and make changes to the space as needs arise. No clunky furniture that he cannot easily maneuver, unless his subjects provide the labor. Essentially because the fourth house goes to the tenth, his home becomes his office, where he is seen and feels natural as such. There is no need for privacy. So you would think that someone of Einstein’s intellect would love to be shut away from the world to ponder the secrets of the universe. But no, he gains more insight and self-realization through interacting with others. Privacy to him is not about space itself, but what he reveals to another and what they are capable of receiving from him. His chart tells me he is an extrovert who recharges through people. Interesting isn’t it?


In conjunction with mundane astrology, if he were to live in our times, I would perhaps suggest a den attached to his “great room” where he can get some self-reflection time here and there, but he’ll never need it for long. Another suggestion I would make is the indoor/outdoor space where he can completely open up one wall for open circulation so people can continue to visit during pandemic times.


And now let’s contrast that with Demi Lovato’s chart. Her chart below*:


She is a fellow Leo sun/Leo ascendant, and I feel a lot of affinity towards her chart. She has a big, bold, and beautiful trine and sextiles that form a kite on the MC/IC, so we naturally expect her to go far and fly high. Let’s take a look at what rejuvenates her.


First the fourth house. We see Pluto in its home sign Scorpio, and its traditional ruler Mars in tenth house Gemini. Then the ruler of Gemini, Mercury, is found in twelfth house Leo, which leads back to the Sun in first house Leo. I call this a curious case because the need for both privacy and publicity exits in her chart. Pluto in the descendant clearly denotes a need to transform in private. It describes a person who will always need personal time to process internal struggles. Going through the-dark-night-of-the-soul isn’t just in times of major transits for her, but almost a necessary ritual when settling into the home and hearth. And yet we see this condition modified by Mars in Gemini in the tenth - the need to spearhead and lead in a very public manner. And we also see the ruler of Gemini, Mercury, in the twelfth house together with Chiron, indicating again the need to communicate with her higher-self in private to heal any wounds past or present. And then we shift back to Leo Sun, the requirement that she be seen after the healing.


So if the story line must be linear for us to understand, then it is this: that she needs the privacy to heal at her own pace so that she could shine bright and lead the way. And her deep Plutonian healing is what enables her to do such powerful work in her profession. And now let’s look at Venus, where it beautifully conjuncts Jupiter in second house Virgo. Her work is the source of her self-esteem and self-worth, and with the Venus-Jupiter conjunction, money and resources just flow to her with ease. Venus in Virgo is debilitated, so what should be lush and generous becomes more logistical and practical, rendering her less able to taste the sweetness of life even if she is endowed with plenty. And as the ruler of Virgo is Mercury in the twelfth, we again see the theme of needing to retreat to heal before she can fully embody, feel, and project her leonine/queen self.


And let’s look at the Moon before integrating all three pieces. The Moon is right on the MC opposing Pluto. Moon is exalted in Taurus. It is about luxury, the ability to indulge in the earthly five senses, and in the tenth house, the Moon clearly says she finds emotional replenishment in sensuality and enjoys a public display of opulence and luxury. And the ruler of Taurus, Venus, agrees in the second house, but then as we’ve analyzed before, everything goes back to reclusive Mercury before it can come back to shine again. The need for material enjoyment with the Moon further opposes the private impulses of Pluto. So to integrate all the orientations outlined above, what we end up with is the need for both public and private spaces. There is a note of distinction here that is important: she is not about keeping her private world private. In fact it would be her destiny to make public her internal processes, because we see that all roads eventually lead back to the Sun in first house, which means it is her destiny to bare all, regardless of her preference. So architecturally it is important to not “tuck” away the private spaces, and to make sure the private and public remain fluid where she could easily interweave the two in her own way.


In terms of space and style, her bedroom is generous and reflects her personal style, while the public spaces can be a display of luxury that she deems practical. Although the Virgoan Venus can subdue the level of luxury, the Moon in tenth nevertheless demands it. Programmatically, I see a meditation room of sorts attached to the public space where there could be a contrast between the opulence of the living room with the spiritual/release-and-let-go theme of the meditation room. And in navigating this supposed contradiction, she would feel replenished and supported in her transformations. She gains energy by communicating to the public what are very private processes. So that’s why I say spatially she needs fluidity between the private and public. Also, as opposed to the sleeping quarters being non-consequential in Einstein’s case, Demi’s bedroom and private quarters need to be almost as spacious and generous as her living room. The reason being her twelfth house ruler, Moon, is in tenth house Taurus. In her bedroom, she needs to feel supported by a level of materiality that is both practical and sensual, and be able to showcase it too when circumstances arise.


In conjunction with mundane astrology, I actually wouldn’t have to augment much. Her needs seem to be in alignment with the reflective trends of our times, so that’s taken care of there. If I nitpick, it would be that as she needs to have full control of her career in order to feel at ease, I might add a home office where she could easily work from home in post-pandemic times. And in looking at her North Node in fifth house Sagittarius, I would project that she needs to let go of being simply an information hub and conduit for others, either for business purposes or as some kind of social foci, and start expressing and free-flowing her creativity. Spatially, this means that she defines her own space not through the lens of her community's needs or her own impulse to be the leader of her circle, but through a free expression of her individual creativity that is richly informed by her own healing. This would give her an added sense of self-esteem and self-actualization.


So there you have it. Two different profiles seen from their personal charts with two different augmentations to align more with upcoming trends. Another important note is this: not every architectural dream is achievable with time, budget, and what I call destiny constraints. What I mean by that is not only personal timing, as in we may want something but the timing doesn’t allow it. But it is also the conglomeration of our personal karma vis-a-vis our given chart, our created karma, and our focus and intentions - all of which may enhance, allow, or prevent the convergence of such timing to arise. But what I truly want to point out is this, that regardless of the physical space and resources available to us, there is always the God-given ability to be creative within confines. And that is the true spirit of architecture. It is not about augmenting the built form until it suits us perfectly. No built form is perfect. It is just a tool that allows us to co-create environments that enable us to support and expand our experience of life. It also need not be only a physical manifestation. As suggested by the system of Feng-Shui, the unseen chi-flow is primary, and what's seen is secondary. Remedies are used to support maximum flow without needing to change the built form. That, in my book, is also architecture. The last point is this: know thyself. And this ties deeply to our universal path to becoming more and more conscious and aware. Not to prevent or push away anything, but on the contrary, to allow a fuller human experience. That can be another post in itself, and I’ll just stop and end there.


Namaste.


*birthdates reference from astrotheme.com, charts cast from astro.com

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TAROT ∙ ASTROLOGY ∙ METAPHYSICS

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