|A doorstep planet sits, like a sentinel, close to the DC|
A doorstep planet is one which sits, like a sentinel, close to the DC or the descendant area of the chart. It may be in the 6th or 7th house, but it's always the planet or planets closest to the DC.
It's usual, in astrology, to look at the sign on the AC/ascendant and the 1st house planets to assess how a person might come across to others. In the Huber Method of Astrological Psychology we still acknowledge this, but first of all we look to see what is on the "You" side - the DC side of the chart - to get an idea of what others might pick up first about the person.
It is very often the planet or planets close to the DC.
A few examples will illustrate this.
In my own chart I have Moon close to the DC. The Moon absorbs the feelings, needs and emotions of others, and is empathic. I've lost count of the times a complete stranger on a bus has poured out their problems to me. Of course, with a sensitive planet so up for grabs, I've had to learn ways to avoid this kind of thing so I don't get bogged down with the woes of others, but that Moon is an invaluable tool when working in an astrological counselling situation with a client.
This chart, that of a good friend, has several planets in the 6th/7th house area, with Jupiter above the DC and Mercury/Venus below it. Meeting him for the first time you would without a doubt be met with with genial sociable friendliness as you were regaled with traveller's tales of places visited and things experienced along the way. The doorstep planets would eagerly seek contact.
The current US Secretary of State, John Kerry, has no less that four doorstep planets, all clustered around the DC in his chart. A stellium like this can be blessing and a bane - which planet dominates? How can the individual separate out which one to draw upon in different circumstances? Saturn, Moon, Mars and Uranus offer quite a wide scope here! Note all four planets are in aspect to his Sun, putting him firmly in the driving seat when it comes to choosing which planet is appropriate. Saturn will be firm, Moon will add empathy, Mars brings energy and drive and Uranus offers a wider perspective and innovative potential. If they all work together, co-operatively, this could bring success in diplomatic initiatives.
These are just a few examples. Try this out for yourself on your own chart - draw on your life experience and observations of how you meet and greet others, and how they respond to you. And for more practical tips and ideas on looking at charts in this way, especially using the AC or "I" side and the DC or "You" side of the chart, see my book The Living Birth Chart.