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Interception is defined as follows: one (or two? rarely three) pair of signs in the chart does not appear on any house cusp, but instead is contained within houses that are larger than 30 degrees. Of course, this can only occur when one uses unequal house systems, since equal house systems have houses of 30 degrees.


Wickenburg presents the initial idea that whatever house system we use, the ascendant and the MC will remain constant. It is only when calculating the intermediate house cusps according to the table of Houses, that we will have differences, in the case of unequal house systems. And it is the latitude, in the table of Houses, which determines the result. So Wickenburg proposes that somehow this is an illustration of the effects of Destiny vs. Environment (symbolized by the latitude). The MC does not change , so your final "destiny" ("calling", "destination") does not change, but the environment's influence will appear, in that it may or may not support you along the way.


If we look at the chart, we see 12 houses, 12 signs, a perfect circle of symmetry. This circle is based on the fact that everything works in polarity. For every point there is an opposite and equidistant point. And our 12 houses and 12 signs work in pairs opposing and complementing each other. This polarity is so very important because it brings on objectivity. For everything , there is an equal and opposite thing. And so the scales are balanced. If we think about the polarities of the 6 pairs of signs in our chart, we are constantly trying to balance them. And when an interception occurs, it is as if the balancing of the scales must be done in the dark. Instead of being able to see at a glance, whether or not your scales are balanced, between Aries and Libra, for example, you are in total darkness (no objectivity) and you must feel your way slowly and tediously, to figure out whether the scales are tipping this way or that way, and what needs to be added or removed on either side to bring them to a balance. Of course, the easiest thing to do would be to be able to switch the light on, and see clearly. This is what can occur, when the interception is unlocked.


Alice Miller "describes an interception as a hole in the chart. Psychologically, it describes an area missing from the childhood developmental environment. With an intercepted chart, during the formative years, there are neither mirrors nor ego instructions involving the signs and planets within the interception. This leaves us with a psychological, or social, disability. (…) by the current description of optimal family interaction, it signifies a dysfunctional birth family."


Chris McRae sheds light on the way interception functions. She describes the psychological process involved as an "intensification due to internalization".  She explains that "when we internalize a basic need it gains a great deal of intensity. It becomes a need we struggle to fulfill in our outer experience. (…) The internal expression may create certain frustrations for a period of life and should not be considered an impairment or a personality flaw but an opportunity of internal growth and understanding in those sign urges".


If we think about the 6 polarities in terms of our needs and dilemmas, we can try to define the 12 signs as follows:

Aries and Libra: the need to initiate action, bravely discover and assert our desire versus the need to share with others and maintain harmony.  If Pisces is on the cusp of Aries, it is necessary to translate idealism into action. And with Virgo on the cusp of Libra, analytical work must be put at the service of others; the results of your efforts must be shared.

Taurus and Scorpio: the need to get tangible results and produce something of value versus the need to combine resources and transform (accumulate vs let go). If Aries is on the cusp of Taurus, you may be seen as a leader, but you also need to acquire the endurance to create something lasting. And with Libra on the cusp of Scorpio, "diplomacy" may overshadow your inner power and intensity, robbing you of the chance to transform, and regenerate.

Gemini and Sagittarius: the need to think about a variety of ideas/ information, and to communicate efficiently versus the need to broaden your understanding and find meaning (your own philosophy). If Taurus is on the cusp of Gemini, stability and attachment to material results may stifle intellectual curiosity and mental stimulation, and fixed ideas may close the channels of communication. And with Scorpio on the cusp of Sagittarius, a deep, powerful and intense approach gets in the way of expanding the mind to future possibilities, to optimism.

Cancer and Capricorn: the need for emotional growth and security versus the need for goal achievement and social status. If Gemini is on the cusp of Cancer, you may have a mental approach to a variety of experiences but you may have difficulty confronting and dealing with emotions. And with Sagittarius on the cusp of Capricorn, it may be challenging to figuring out how and when to stop expanding (over-extending) and define appropriate limits which would allow you to build something solid out of your philosophy.

Leo and Aquarius: the need for creative self-expression and for recognition versus the need for this creativity to serve social concerns (beyond ego concerns). If Cancer is on the cusp of Leo, it is not enough for you to care for and nurture others, your will and creative strength need an outlet. And with Capricorn on the cusp of Aquarius, it is not enough for you to be a respected part of social structure, your individuality and difference must be given a chance to shine.

Virgo and Pisces: the need to analyze and perfect the self and put it to service versus the need to accept things the way they are, let go, and experience faith. If Leo is on the cusp of Virgo, you may be seen as stable, fixed, reliable, but inside, you doubt yourself and cannot find ways to correct yourself and become useful. And if Aquarius in on the cusp of Pisces, your difference and uniqueness leave your vulnerability misunderstood, and you cannot reach faith from behind the "glass" of Aquarius.


McRae points out to the fact we should not minimize the influence of an interception: even a single pair of interception can actually affect 50% of the chart. She explains that if one pair of signs is intercepted and therefore somehow blocked and delayed in its expression, this will affect how the native will express the pair of signs preceding the interception and the pair of signs following it. In total 6 signs are affected, that is, half the chart.


How to unlock the intercepted polarity? The first door is actually the house cusp, and its key is its ruler. One must become very good at the process described by the sign on the cusp, and an expert at using its ruler in whatever sign and house it finds itself. Then, you bump into something you didn't even know was there: the interception. Now you must look for a second key, somewhere else: the intercepted sign's ruler. By placement, this ruler can give hints about how and where the intercepted sign's needs went unanswered and unmet by your environment. This may have happened either by a lack of something, or on the contrary, by an over-emphasis. The house it is in will point out the area where a new and personalized approach will be necessary.


Here are some keywords associated with each house placement, to represent the themes needing to be addressed differently from the way one's environment addressed them, either by under or by over emphasis.


If the ruler is in the 1st house: self-image, appearance, personality.

If the ruler is in the 2nd house: self-worth, personal resources, talents, values, economic stability.

If the ruler is in the 3rd house: educational requirements, academic skills, speech function, community participation, relations with siblings.

If the ruler is in the 4th house: personal foundation, sense of belonging, security, family background, roots.

If the ruler is in the 5th house: creative and recreational interests, procreation, entertainment, risk taking.

If the ruler is in the 6th house: daily routine, work, body and health, daily management, co-workers.

If the ruler is in  the 7th house: interpersonal relationships, marriage, partnerships.

If the ruler is in the 8th house: intimacy, sex, deeper meaning of life, death, separation, shared resources.

If the ruler is in the 9th house: religion, higher education, principles, morals, ethics, philosophical ideals, prejudice, fanaticism.

If the ruler is in the 10th house: success, recognition, fame, authority, your "place" in terms of "standing".

If the ruler is in the 11th house: larger community within which you interact socially, friends, social causes, dreams, hopes, aspirations.

If the ruler is in the 12th house: spirituality, karma, mysteries of life, social service, sacrifice, secrets, privacy, suffering.

The ruler shows where something must and can be done to help unlock the interception. If it is also intercepted, it is twice as hard, and it is twice as important to find your answers within.


The chart has a mechanism of symmetry as we mentioned, and therefore interception happens in two parts: if one pair of signs is locked in two houses, then one pair of houses is locked in two signs: these are the intercepted houses, or duplicated signs. In other words, one pair of signs is repeated on 2 consecutive house cusps and "intercepts" a pair of houses. Is this nature's way to compensate for the frustration of interception, Wickenburg asks? Because, here, in the intercepted houses,  there is a chance for the native to make an impact on the environment, rather than the other way round. Here you are seen, and so here, you have a responsibility. The planets ruling the duplicated signs work overtime, and the duty, here, is to transfer the energy from the first house to the second house with the same sign. Because you are already very well versed and developed in matters concerning the first house, dwelling on it will not promote growth and development. Things are too easy, and so you need a new outlet: the area described by the following house with the same sign. In the same way that we first have to master a positive expression of the sign on the cusp of the intercepted sign in order to access the interception, again we need to transfer our expertise of the 1st house in duplicated signs to the following house, in order to grow into our very best potential. Once the activities of the 2 houses are somehow integrated, then the interception begins to unlock.


Wickenburg defines the duplicated signs/intercepted houses in terms of powers:

-Intercepted 1st house (same sign on 1st and 2nd house cusps) gives us  the power of personality: make your personality an asset, use your personal power to produce value.

-Intercepted 2nd house (same sign on 2nd and 3rd house cusps) gives us the power of productivity: acquire new skills, new information, new associations and communicate your values.

-Intercepted 3rd house (same sign on 3rd and 4th house cusps) gives us the power of knowledge: use information in emotionally gratifying ways, not just collecting info for the sake of it, but finding what info allows you to make your base secure.

-Intercepted 4th house (same sign on 4th and 5th house cusps) gives us emotional power: use your past experiences, your inheritance, and emotional strength, to be creative. Express your emotional power.

-Intercepted 5th house (same sign on 5th and 6th house cusps) gives us the power of creativity: use your creativity in a productive enterprise, use your talents in your work. Have fun and express yourself at work.

-Intercepted 6th house (same sign on 6th and 7th house cusps) gives us the power of daily management: work in partnership.

-Intercepted 7th house (same sign on 7th and 8th house cusps) gives us people power: use your ability to attract relationships in order to find opportunity to regenerate. Learn to do the work involved in actually maintaining the relationship.

-Intercepted 8th house (same sign on 8th and 9th house cusps) gives us the power of regeneration: use your experience of the process of death and rebirth to develop a philosophy embracing the meaning of that experience.

-Intercepted 9th house (same sign on 9th and 10th house cusps) gives us the power of convictions: act on your convictions, stand for them in the public eye. Build your career on your principles.

-Intercepted 10th house (same sign on 10th and 11th house cusps) gives us the power of influence: use your earned social position for a social cause which can benefit from your professional skills.

-Intercepted 11th house (same sign on 11th and 12th house cusps) gives us group power: become aware that group work for social change can bring about healing on a larger scale. Move on from involvement to compassion.

-Intercepted 12th house (same sign on 12th and 1st house cusps) gives us power of the past? of inner life? of karma?: perhaps some karmic mission was left unfinished. Unconscious energy is projected outwards. Bring it out and show others how to live in accordance to one's inner life.


The mechanism behind the interception in a chart works like the system of a japanese safe-chest with secret drawers. If you open the drawers in a specific sequence you can access a secret compartment hidden under one of the regular drawers. If you do not follow that sequence, you are not able to access the secret compartment which is where the valuables are usually hidden…. It is the same for the intercepted signs. If you find the first key, ruler of the house cusp, and then the second key, ruler of the intercepted sign, you are then able to access whatever is contained in the interception: the intercepted planet. This planet also rules other areas of the chart where fulfillment will depend on your unlocking the interception. Again, this is why they commonly assign delays, hard work and frustration to intercepted planets.


-Intercepted Sun (and the house of Leo): a particularly challenging situation, because the sun is meant to integrate all other planetary energies with full consciousness. The sense of ego, purpose, importance, needs to be built alone. The power of the will, and the essence of the personality remains elusive until you find the voice inside of you.

-Intercepted Moon (and the house of Cancer): this may point to the past, to the relation with mother. It is the protective function which may be hindering growth because of obsolete past emotional reactions. Confronting and addressing intense emotions will be necessary.

-Intercepted Mercury (and the houses of Gemini and Virgo): the messenger, the mediator between the different parts is not accessible. You have no access to the necessary information, you are unable to communicate. You need to gather information from hidden, unusual sources, and find the freedom to communicate and learn in your own way.

-Intercepted Venus (and the houses of Taurus and Libra): your capacity to value and appreciate, and to form valuable relationships is not available. Venus functions as a magnet, but here it is not able to attract what you want and the types of people you would like to interact with. Your environment does not help you to establish your worth or your personal needs.

-Intercepted Mars (and the houses of Aries and Scorpio): the initiator: how to act upon your desire? Again, you have had no help, no training, from your environment. You end up doing too much or too little, until you find your own style.

-Intercepted Jupiter (and the houses of Sagittarius and Pisces): the "great benefic" , the "guardian angel" , needs freedom to explore, experience, and discover the meaning behind the experience. Here the environment does not offer access to those experiences .

-Intercepted Saturn (and the houses of Capricorn and Aquarius): the great teacher, training you in discipline, responsibility, limits, boundaries, structure, order, self respect. Here you cannot access that inner teacher easily, and have trouble finding your place. You must come up with your own structure, carve out your own place, with little input from your environment.


The last 3 planets operate on an unconscious, impersonal and indiscriminate level. They may be more complex to access, or understand.

-Intercepted Uranus (and the house of Aquarius): the rebel, the maverick, who is able to be an independent individual, original and unique, detached but also connected to the rest of humanity. The environment doesn't offer opportunities for exciting experience, for expressing that rebel in you. Again, you may end up doing too much or too little about it.

-Intercepted Neptune (and the house of Pisces): the believer. Here the environment does not offer positive concepts of faith, inspiration, spirituality. Even when you do finally access the source of your inner faith, chances are that, again, the environment is not attuned to it.

-Intercepted Pluto (and the house of Scorpio): the phoenix, the creature in us who is able to die and be reborn from its ashes. Your ability to transform and hence contribute to evolution is not supported by an environment which offers no chances for regeneration. It is not able to recognize your ability to make a difference in the big picture.


When we study the progressions and the transits for a chart, we are able to see the timing for the unlocking of intercepted signs and planets.

A slow planet transiting an intercepted sign, making aspect to an intercepted planet, is very noteworthy. A progression which brings an intercepted sign onto a house cusp, or a planet out of an intercepted sign, etc…


According to De Faria, because interception is of Saturnian nature (restrictive), the Saturn cycle is also key to understanding the unfolding of interception. He believes that nothing is likely to occur in terms of unlocking, before the first Saturn return. He also calls the phase after an interception has been unlocked a rebirth. It is an interesting idea because it points out to the fact that nothing will be the same again after you have managed to access the energy trapped in the intercepted signs and planets.


From his book, some examples of celebrities who have intercepted planets in their charts:

Picasso, intercepted Sun, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune.

Woody Allen, intercepted Sun, Mercury, Jupiter.

John Lennon, intercepted Venus, Neptune.

Miles Davis, intercepted Moon, Mercury, Saturn.

Madonna, intercepted Mars, Neptune.


(c) Laetitia Kanafani, 2012


This article is mostly based on Joanne Wickenburg's work presented in her book “Your Hidden Powers: Intercepted Signs and Retrograde Planet”s. Additional references included are Chris McRae's book titled “Understanding Interceptions: A Key to Unlocking the Door”. Mc Rae is an important and notable reference on the subject of interception, since she herself lives and works at a high latitude (in Canada), and therefore meets interception in more than 80% of the charts she encounters. A quote from the work of Alice Miller, who wrote “Heralds of a New Age: Interceptions” illustrates the inner process involved with interception. And as a conclusion, reference is made to the work of Duke De Faria, from his book “Interceptions: Cycles of Spiritual Unfoldment”.


"Don't take for granted the power of (retrograde planets) or intercepted signs.

They make the chart unique. They make life complex.

They describe powers and potentials waiting to be unleashed. "

                                                                                                                                    Joanne Wickenburg

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