The Twelve Letter Alphabet, sometimes called the twelve “Archetypes,” underlies much of the presentation of planets, signs, and houses in modern Western astrology.  In my view, this has led to the distortion of much of astrology’s fundamental symbolism. Many other astrologers have come to the same conclusion, yet this system persists.
This article, the result of many years of frustration with the conventional presentation of astrology, has as its goal that astrologers question their explicit and implicit use of the Twelve Letter Alphabet.   A case can be made for putting this system away forever, and I attempt to make that case here.  For newer students I’d like this article to be a “patch” to decrease their confusion and help them think things through when they encounter different versions of astrological symbolism.  For more experienced astrologers and astrology teachers, I would like to stimulate some long-overdue conversation.

I will focus only on the first house, the zodiac sign that is located inside the first house; the Ascendant; the ruling planet of Ascendant and the planet that is inside the first house. Click here for a large version of Mary Shelley's chart in a new window.

The Ascendant is at the 2nd degree of Cardinal sign, Cancer. A child expects to receive the emotional protection and also the nutrition and education from a mother, instead there is “a cold and dry Saturn”. Saturn can also be the authority in the chart. And indeed this Saturn ‘plays-out'. Mary loses her mother at the age of eleven days and her father is the parent who gives her basic education and ‘bringing-up’. (Her biography notes that Mary Godwin's mother died when she was eleven days old; afterwards, she and her older half-sister, Fanny Imlay, were raised by her father).