Can a planet conjunct itself? Or is this only possible when it conjuncts its antiscion? That is the paradox. Let us take a closer look.
It is the antiscion which leads to this tangled question. What is an antiscion? It is a mirror point that has its axis at the points of the solstices (0 deg. Cancer/0 deg. Capricorn). The antiscia are reflections in relation to this axis. So a planet at 19.30 deg. Taurus has its antiscion at 10.30 deg. Leo. But the closer you get to the solstice point the trickier it gets. A planet at 0.00 deg. Capricorn has its antiscion at 29.60 deg. Sagittarius. It is conjunct its antiscion!
Now an antiscion is considered to be the shadow of the planet and when the antiscion of a planet conjuncts another planet it is as if the other planet is conjuncted bodily, but in a covert or hidden way. So at 0 deg. Cancer and 0 deg. Capricorn the planets shadow conjuncts itself. Hence the question, “Can a planet conjunct itself only here and nowhere else?” But then isn’t a planet always conjunct itself, wherever it is?
How does one solve the paradox?
There are two things you have to do. First you have to view the chart as being in movement. Secondly you have to engage your Imagination. What is a mirror point? What does a mirror reflect? What happens to your reflection when you move? If you move to the right, in which direction does your reflection move? What happens if you and your reflection are identical and you then move forward? Physically this is impossible as the closest you can come is to touch your nose to your reflections nose. But in your Imagination you can move through the mirror to the other side. It is then a point of transition from substantial to insubstantial and vice versa. Now consider what a solstice is. The Sun has reached its highest or lowest declination. At the winter solstice we have the shortest day and the longest night of the year. These two points can be thought of, among other things, as gateways that lead either into birth (0 deg. Cancer) or into death (0 deg. Capricorn).
“…they affirm that Cancer is the gate through which souls descend, but Capricorn that through which they ascend, and exchange a material for a divine condition of being.” Thomas Taylor ‘On the Homeric Cave of the Nymphs’, Select Works of Porphyry, p. 155*
At the winter solstice point the mirror flips, the critical point has been reached. The long dark night that extends itself over time does not come. The longest night makes way for longer days.
What the solsticial point shows is the balance between the actual and the potential. Birth and Death are potentials of each other. So yes a planet can conjunct itself. It carries both its actuality and its potentiality. The antiscia of a planet shows a potential, which is insubstantial because it has not yet been realized. But a planet carries its potential at all times. It has it and moves towards it.
*See John Frawley’s article “Homer Sweet Homer” in the Astrologer’s Apprentice No. 21 for a more detailed consideration of the solstices. His article first pointed me to Thomas Taylor’s translation and Commentary which is in itself very interesting and highly recommended.