Interceptions in the natal chart are when a sign is totally encompassed by a house. This only holds for house systems that allow for different house sizes in different locations like Placidus – NOT Equal House System or Whole signs, for example! An intercepted sign doesn’t rule any house of its own, and therefore its expression is considered to be dormant or blocked, until it can be accessed (often in an explosion)…or at least, that’s the most commonly held theory. Please note that when one sign is intercepted, its opposite sign is always intercepted as well. Any planets in intercepted sign (“intercepted planets”) would also be inhibited in their energy expression. Often, the key to “unlocking” the intercepted sign or planet’s energy is through duplicate signs (explained further down), the slow transit of an outer planet, or a progression that passes through.
I have read about a more progressive theory on interceptions that I really like, and it makes more sense to me than that old, traditional astrology that is so negative and fatalistic! This theory is from Evolutionary Astrology. Essentially, the energy is only dormant in an intercepted sign if its ruler is weakly placed in the chart. For example, if you have Aquarius intercepted in your 4th house (so Capricorn is on your IC and Pisces is on the cusp of your 5th house), with no planets in it, and its ruler Uranus is in your 12th house with only a weak sextile to another planet and no other aspects. Then and only then do you need to explore your intercepted Aquarius energy, because it hasn’t yet been integrated into your experience!
If you have planets in your intercepted sign like I do, or you have a very strongly placed sign ruler (say, in the above example, Uranus was conjunct your Sun trine your Moon…a prominent planet!)…then you don’t have to keep exploring its energy, because you’re already using it.
So which is it for you? If you have intercepted signs and/or planets, do you feel that energy is “blocked” from its purest expression, and why?
A key to understanding a block is a) the house it’s in, and b) the duplicate signs in your chart. The house and its ruler (in our example above, say the 4th house and its ruler, Capricorn/Saturn) determine what life area you are experiencing the blockage of expression. The ruler determines whose “permission” you need to express it. So, if you have Aquarius intercepted in your 4th house with a weakly placed Uranus, you may have trouble expressing your originality and experiencing freedom (Aquarius) at home/with family (4th house stuff). You need Capricorn’s “permission” to do so…so you may only act quirky through traditionally acceptable means (like on Halloween when its ok to be weird!), or once you are the head of your own family.
Duplicate signs are the ones that cusp two houses, which you will have in your chart if you have interceptions, because it’s mathematically impossible not to have two duplicate signs if you have two interceptions! (See my chart above. The intercepted signs/planets are circled in purple, and the duplicate signs are circled in blue.) These are also a way of understanding how to express your intercepted energy, if need be. As you can see in my chart, I have Aries intercepted in H1 and Libra intercepted in H7, each with a fair number of planets, so according to the evolutionary astrology theory, I don’t have a blockage. But if I did, I could look to the duplicate signs – Gemini, which rules both H3 and H4, and Sagittarius, which rules both H9 and H10. The joint activities of those connected houses, and the energy of Gemini’s ruler Mercury and Sag’s ruler Jupiter in my chart, would be avenues through which to express my sense of self (Aries) and achieve balance in partnerships (Libra).
Finally, as with everything else in your chart, your intercepted signs will eventually be affected by transits and progressions. You can’t escape this… no one can get away from eventually experiencing all the energy in their natal chart! So in the example above, eventually that person will have a Saturn, Uranus, Neptune or Pluto transit to Aquarius, and it will “unzip” that energy. Or, they will have Progressed Moon move through Aquarius, and have to deal with that energy on an emotional level or in their relationships.
Do you have well-integrated interceptions, or do you feel like you still need to explore that energy?