1There is little doubt that aloneness is hostile to the human condition. In a primal sense, aloneness eliminates our potential for reproduction: alone, we cannot fulfill our instinctive human function to create facsimile; we cannot go forth, be fruitful, and multiply. In short, when we are alone, we do not have our Selves confirmed.
Elusive Grace, Common Fear
The Yin has no Yang. The Ascendant has no Descendant. One half the horoscope is without the other.
Relationship is what everyone wantsevery astrologer, psychotherapist, social scientist, clergyperson knows that. Relationship ranks with money and job success as the top targets of life development, as voiced by clients, patients, students . . . by everyone. Indeed, the role of relationship to confirm Self is not always focused upon another person: there is the relationship to God, to an idea, to a memory that can define identity powerfully. Difficulties in interpersonal relationships can drive a person to substitute other interaction; there can be alliance with the ephemeral, the revolutionary, the inspirational . . . and even the fixatedly delusional. The point is that it is the essence of relating to something that confirms and justifies existence.
Intimacywhich word is derived from roots meaning extremely inward, deeply withinconfirms identity deep inside, provides reflection of the Self from a significant external source; it embodies the Libran, Venusian archetype, the balance of ones identity. Intimacy invites in the significant other, the outer part of personal existence. Intimacy is the other hand that is necessary to create applause, to clap, to make the sound of contact; it is the other hand that is necessary to clasp for strength, to make the bond of togetherness, to leave aloneness behind. Intimacy is our relationship with the nearest representative of the external environment.
Astrologically, the Hermetic philosophy: As above so below, is completed through intimacy: the Midheaven-Immum Coeli axis is complemented by the cross-continuum, the Ascendant-Descendant axis, As within so without. Both axes together tell us who we are.
Yet, while intimacy is so clearly essential, helpful, safe-making, and fulfilling, it is startlingly elusive to attain. Its grace is very difficult for many of us to find. Surprisingly, it is common for us actually to fear intimacy, to fear that which we seek so intently. It is sad that we are taughtand we learnthroughout our lives, from early on especially, all the dangers of being intimatethe fears of getting too closewithout our being taught the refining grace within intimacy and how to attract holistic complementation with a significant other.
In the context of this study, this book, our hypothesis is that we do not understand intimacy and why it is elusive; we must find out what it is, within and for each individual.
We think we understand sexthe second part of this study. Too often, it is a mistaken substitute for that which we think promotes or confirms intimacy. We are so easily victimized by our sexual needswhen intimacy is not there to reassure us, when trust is not there to keep us safethat we quickly divert or repress those vital energies. We must find out how to live more confidently with the sexual drive and help the people we serve as astrologers to do so as well.
Even if we do not understand the make-up of intimacy, even though we fear being intimate and tend to repress sexual energies, it is still the human condition to expect fulfilling relationships with all their benefits! We seek relationships constantly; we assume them as our human right; we pretend about them with all kinds of socially keyed behaviors. And, all too often, in this common disposition, we become more alone than ever.
Early Conditioning and ValuesEven before each of us is born, a behavioral role-profile is established for us by society and our family. It prescribes by our gender how we are to behave for our entire life. It is on this role profile that our capacity for intimacy is built.
The doctor told us that were going to have a boy!
I dreamed so clearly the other nightand (what a coincidence!) my mother did toothat were going to have a baby girl!
This knowledge immediately sets into motion a cultural avalanche of role prescription, telling us how we will behave with the child who will be born; an identification process that tells us what is expected of the child, that defines who the child is for all to know. The babys room, clothing, and toys: blue for the boy, pink for the girl, shorts or dresses, trucks or dolls; the parents dreams for the child: football player or cheerleader, tycoon or beauty queenall are set in place and symbolized by the very name that will identify the child for its entire life: Jonathan or Anna, Rocky or Betty Sue, Ivan or Tanya. All in place even before we are born!
The cultural base for a male is a base that rewards aggressive behavior, strength and endurance, the absence of tears, being in control, fighting and winning (in sexuality and crime as well). The cultural base for the female rewards compliance and supportiveness, recognizes heightened emotionalism (moodiness as well), and projects family nurturing and much communication. When male and female relate to each other, the male is the leader, the female the follower; the male works hard and pays the family bills; the female aggrandizes the male, sexually in the main, and supports his plans for the family. Historically, the boy-child is preferred.1
While these roles have been adjusted somewhat in the last thirty years or so, the stereotypes still exist in our culture and they are conspicuous among adults today who are over forty, who inherited an even more rigid profile from their parents, and their parents before that.
Indeed, the expectancy for maleness is focused within astrologys Mars profile, and the expectancy for femininity is focused within the Venus profile.2 The man is attached to drive, success, and status; the woman is allied with beauty, peace, and popularity. As the child begins to develop, the balance among these traits responds gradually to the individuation process, as we shall see: one boy will grow to be less aggressive than another boy-man; one girl will grow to be less sexually interested and responsive than another woman. The large spectrum of individualized changes in the balance notwithstanding, the man is still expected to be in charge and be basically invulnerable; the woman is expected to be attentive and basically dependent, subservient.
These stereotypes are so well known and are now so openly discussed (which does not dilute their imprint during development) that much cultural humor (insight) has been attached to them. We know, for example, that the man driving his family car will never stop to ask directions; but the wife is expected to call for help at any time! The damsel in distress gives the man a chance to prove himself and save the day; the man asking for help exposes his vulnerability! This is an echo of the chivalric code, the behavioral prescriptions for knights of yore.
In the early homelife and in schooland in the public mediathe little boy or little girl is treated according to these culturally prescribed behavioral profiles. The parents parents taught this practice and lived it. The parents will now continue it and, in the process, become the founders of our value structure, that which accompanies us for better or worse into much of our life.
Indeed, our developing culture will alter some of the colors and balances of the stereotypes, of our value structure, but the distinctions and thrusts remain identifiably male-female, Mars-Venus. And even more than by teaching these behaviors in the early home, the parents influence the children mightily by modeling these behaviors themselves.
The parents will have also grown up fighting the war between cultural behavioral expectation and their individual needs to exhibit certain specific behaviors. The result, the patterning of the behaviors into routine, becomes their identity. How sensitively and fairly our parents traffic with each other in terms of their individual identity is now put upon their children and displayed to them vividly.
Ask yourself the following questions:
Did your father ever say, Doris baby, I love you! or Johnny baby, I love you!? What have you carried forward from that scenario?
How much of the time was your father there? Was he active and engaged with your growing upor only when it suited him? If he was tyrannical, was his behavior with you different than it was with your brothers and/or sisters? How did that make you feel about yourself?
How did your father relate to your mother? What affection did you ever see between them? When you were a teenager, did your parents sleep together in the same bed? What tone did your mother and/or father set when talking with you about sexuality? What values did you walk away with there?
If your mother was in your way, might she have been acting out onto you her frustrations with her husband? Was that why she competed with you? Was she jealous of her husbands attentions to you, though passive and more pal-like than paternal? Was she running things to justify her marriage decision long before and to emphasize her role-behavior as a woman? Had she subjugated your father into passivity? Why had she needed to do that? Why had he let her? This is an upset of the stereotype role prescriptions in our society; how is that affecting you now in your adult relationship?
If your father drank too much, why do you think he did; how might you have been involved? How do you excuse him? If you dont excuse him, what feelings toward him do you still carry with you?
If your mother was sickly much of the time, why do you think that was so? How do you excuse that? How has that role she played touched your life now?
If your mother was the perfect saintly flower, why did she have no say with your father? What skeletons may have been in their closets? What may have been unspoken between them? How have you brought her bear-it-in-silence poise forward into your life as a woman or a man?
These questions are not surprising questions; they are perfectly routine channels of thought with regard to the roles played out by all parents in our culture, acting out their developmental problems individually and in relation to each other and then patterning their parental behavior for their children. And, no matter how dreadful it wasor, some may say, because it was so dreadfulthe children very often go on to marry echoes of their parents! Right now, you can name people whom you know well who have indeed married their father or mothersometimes several times! This is the developmental phenomenon of getting back to unfinished business, and it is, believe it or not, how many of us are most comfortable! We are used to the roles that are being played; and, in that those behaviors are predictable, life is secure; there are no surprises. We act the same way our parents did. We think there is something right about that, and we pass it all on to our children.
Perhaps your father died or left the family before you could settle things; how do you feel about that? If you idolize your father as the paragon of excellence, are you sure of that image or do you desperately want to see it that way? Maybe youre covering over some dark things with that bright image. You were the apple of his eye, but what did he do authoritatively to lead you to the best way for you? How do you yourself or your significant other live up to that model in your mind?
Tough questions, for sure, but I have heard many thousands of responses to them over many years, and I know that these questions are not unreasonable. I also know that these questions, discussed with objectivity, knowledge, and grace, can present helpful, liberating answers. They can bring a new, long-overdue focus to personal identity, improving the trust we have in our personal value system or adjusting that value system significantly. This in turn allows us to get closer to the poise that allows intimacy and leads to glowing relationship.
It goes without much reiteration that, as the child works full time to establish a value system to be used to shape thought and guide behavior, the approval of the father in our society is of prime importance. The mother has done the birthing; there is a bond there with the child that is primal; but the relationship with the father is the first foreign one the child has. The father must be won over to confirm who we are. When these relationships with the mother or the father are out of balance, are bewildering, threatening, or non-existing, the entire developmental system of the child is challenged very strongly.
We shall see shortly that these developmental tensions, these conditions of growing up, are strongly suggested in horoscopes in many ways. Incisive conversation and helpful therapeutic discussion can be initiated very quickly. The astrologer-client relationship then develops strength and significance quickly, through empathy, a very important dimension of intimacy.
Our Individual NeedsAs soon as we are born, as we enter into the role-prescription arena, our individual development begins as well. Within the set stereotypes, a child with the Moon in Sagittarius, for example, is going to try to develop individualistically differently than the child with the Moon in Capricorn or Scorpio, or Pisces or Cancer. While the child must toe the gender-stereotype line, obey the patterning passed on in one fractured way or another by parents who have already been through it, her/his individual dimensions start to show through, looking for reward, for reinforcement. These individual traits are going to challenge the patterns and the system. The keenest developmental tension takes place within the interaction between the childs inner environment and his/her external environment.
From the very first moments of life, parents are constantly looking for their own traits within their children. These are the traits that are initially most rewarded with cooing, gurgling, extra bedtime stories, desserts, favoritism in the family, approval of a spouse, money for a new car, inheritance, etc. We children take that parental reinforcement and wear it as a badge of superiority; we base our evaluations, support, and criticism of others upon those reinforced traits. They define us.
This entire, complicated process takes place in the formative early years of our life and is practiced and reinforced further as we children interact with other children. We express ourselves to others as our parents teach us to do, or, in the absence of their involvement, as we are influenced by close friendsusually children with similar problems at homeor by our exposure to the public media, etc. So many problems can enter into this process. These problems undermine self-worth, establish vulnerabilities, and set up fears of personal exposureall of which work against intimacy, comfortable sexuality, and productive relationships.
John Steinbeck has written, It is the nature of a man as he grows older . . . to protect against change, particularly change for the better. The social orderas it has been for generationsmust be preserved somehow. Society is based upon accumulated samenesses; that is why the Israeli personality, the Egyptian personality, the German stereotype, the Italian, the American are still the same after two hundred or two thousand years.
The prescriptions (the commands, expectations) of the external environment, focused as our super-ego (guiding censorship), are taken on through the parents, the schoolteacher, the boss, the government, the God, driving a hard bargain with emerging individual expression, with any possible divergence from the norm. The external environment may support these attempts for us to be ourselves, reward those attempts, but most often it punishes them to one degree or another. Most often, we are kept in line to be predictable, to be of the mold.
We adjust. Or do we really? Just think of something as out-of-individual-control, as unchangeable as body height. What reward is there for a girl who is too tall; or a boy who is too short? Think of the years and years and years of looks, mutterings, ostracizing, the pressures for overcompensation, the private times of anguish, all beginning with the parents, implicitly or explicitly, in the home environment establishing the values of our condition!
We can push this further into deeply private issues, if the male sees that his penis is smaller than the norm established through observance of other males; if the female sees herself as conspicuously divergent from the model stereotype of beauty (and/or what her parents expect of her). Self-worth is challenged in development; silent self-deprecation can occur; feelings of inferiority begin; vulnerability is established; the capacity for intimacy is jeopardized; relationships suffer.
Our astrology reflects the beginning of our individuation: it shows us the individual overlay of individualized needs placed upon societal prescription.
The Suns light energizes our entire system, in the sky and in our being; its light goes everywhere, reflecting to one degree or another on every body in the solar system. The Sun fuels our system. My Capricorn energy, for example, courses through my bodily system and enters into my life, invigorating all my faculties to one degree or another.
The principle focus for the light of the Sun is upon the Moon. Using the Suns energy, the Moon symbolizes the reining need of the personality. There are 144 possible Sun-Moon blends by sign, and these are covered in text images, developed and explored throughout my thousand-page Synthesis & Counseling in Astrology, The Professional Manual (Llewellyn, 1994).
The major consideration for us is that the reigning need of the personality (the Moon), fueled by the energy of the Sun, drives the entire personality to fulfillment. This individual drive must constantly adapt to societal prescriptions and react to reward and punishments (fulfillment and frustration), beginning with the parents and extending further into the external environment throughout life.
I have the Sun in Capricorn and the Moon in Leo: In this blend, the energy to organize and deploy resources is showcased for fulfillment: self-dramatization is the mode for persuasion and the call for appreciation. Social evaluation of what one does is taken very personally as evaluation of the personality. The need to be loved is of paramount importance within ones work. Measurements of emotional awareness are necessary elsewhere in the horoscope to soften the picture and help with acceptance. This is basically who I am. Now: how do my faculties for thought, for relating, for energy application, for learning, discipline, dreams, etc. help me fulfill that primal predisposition?
Every childs Sun-Moon blend presents a challenge to the parents, which is all the more difficult if the parents have no idea about the astrology of their child. All parents must face how they can support this growth best, wisely, efficiently in their children. That is the key. That is what is so often not recognized or not respected by the parents (then, extended further: by the spouse, by employers). And this is how fears of criticism, devaluation, and the anxiety about not being understood creep into the personality. Relationships, as we shall see, are the place where these fears are painfully focused. Intimacy can develop only from personal self-respect and the trust that showing Self to another will not attract criticism, the process of criticism that is most often patterned deeply in the early developmental years.
In relationship, this inner requirement for us to be ourselves confronts the similar, complicated construct within someone else. The two internal environments try to relate. One must trust the other person in order to be safe, eventually to experience intimacy.
Carrying my personal example further: my father abandoned my mother and me when I was nine. I have no memory of any interaction with him whatsoever before that, or after. My mother seemed to delight in my self-dramatization drive (she had the Sun in Aries, and the Fire-sign affinity with my Leo Moon perhaps helped). And fortunately, when she remarried, my stepfather had no axe to grind, and he delighted in who I was becoming and, more than any soul possibly could, championed and supported that individual growth in me. I was lucky.
The rest of the planets define subsidiary needs: Mercury, how we need to think to be efficient; Venus, how we need to relate; Mars, the kind of energy we need to apply, how we need to apply it, in order to gain fulfillment; Jupiter, the kind of reward that we find most gratifying, the parameters of our learning process; Saturn, our efficiency with the necessary controls we face in the external environment; Uranus, the individuating intensification of who we are; Neptune, the creative visualization process that helps us dream, challenges our perception, and easily touches our faith; and Pluto, the focus of personal empowerment and perspective.
These subsidiary needs, learning faculties, vectors of development come to focus within the wholeness of our personality, serving the reigning need symbolized by the Moon. Planets relate by aspect, and the aspect condition suggests the quality of the interrelationship. Mercury in Capricorn (the need to hear the grass grow, to know detail) is the potential, but when Saturn, as an example, squares it, it will suggest a modification of individual expression, perhaps a somberness or seriousness; Mercury squared by Neptune will take on a different individual expression, etc.
The aspects are like plumbing lines in a twelve-story building: energy is piped from the central source in different ways into different departments of life experience. These departments of life experience are the Houses of the horoscope. And the key Houses in this discussion of individuation and intimacy are the Parental axis (4th and 10th Houses), Self-Worth (the 2nd), and Relationships (the 7th).
We can understand easily that a young boy with the Sun in Cancer, for example, and the Moon in Pisces (the probability of being highly agreeable and pleasant; his personal statement probably diluted by what others want; highly intuitive; a tactful, sailboat personality), and perhaps Mars in Pisces as well, may not please his parents easily, within the stereotype expectations for a boy. The softer nature of this boy could easily clash with the fathers more powerfully anchored persona. The father could easily lose interest, and this child then easily withdraws. How might the childs sensitivity be misinterpreted? What would be the pattern of the parental reaction? Would the mother come to the rescue (the child could have Venus square the Nodal axis)? Would he become a so-called mammas boy?
What about the young girl whose astrology calls for individuation that is decidedly away from the Venus norm? Would she be labeled one of the boys, one of the guys? How would that fit in where? Would the parents be terribly disappointed in relation to their imaginings for the child even before she was born?3
I remember painfully that when my mother and I were living alone for three years or so, she fell and hurt her back severely. I was pushed into doing much housework (my Cancer Ascendant surely opening me to this). She well-meaningly put an apron on me, and I did not mind. I was taking piano lessons and loved it. I was bright and very sensitive. I had no role model as a young male. Although I was much bigger than almost everyone else, I was pudgy and clumsy; I had grown so fast. And then my mother bought me a bicyclea girls bicycle, probably not knowing any different. I was teased terribly for two years! My middle initial J was converted by the other, more masculine boys to Nole Jane, mispronouncing my first name in the process.
What did that do to me? What could that have done to me? Was I self-respecting enoughfrom my mothers influence and my earliest understandings of who I wasto withstand it?
When my mother remarriedprobably in the knick of timeeverything changed in what seemed an instant: I very quickly became coordinated and strong, a prominent athlete, my aptitude for music flourished and became a special reference of achievementand, yes, I did extract some revenge on those old friends (and this delights me still a half-century later!), i.e., with my physical and mental strength I commanded their appreciation of me and I got it.
It is quite sobering and instructive to realize that each person reading these paragraphs has some drama of identity formation to share along these lines. Each of our clients does too.
The points now emerge: how can we trust who we are becoming unless we have parental involvement and support? How can we organize the values that guide behavior and feelings without putting our personal needs and the prescriptions of the environment in good balance? How strong are we with our sensitivities, our vulnerabilities in life, to speak of them without fear to someone else, beginning with our parents, especially the parent of the same gender? These are the requirements for, the grace of, and the rewards from intimacy; and this is the magical self-sustaining trust possible in relationship.
Chart 1: Frances
This first example horoscope is the first horoscope that came before me on the day I determined the title and path of this book (p. 15). It is a perfect example of all we have discussed so far, and I am very grateful to Frances for allowing us to share it.
Orientation outline to the horoscope [presented throughout this book in the style developed strongly in The Creative Astrologer (2000)]:
Western hemisphere emphasis (giving herself away to others; leaving herself behind, perhaps even undeveloped); and to the North (below the horizon), unfinished business in the early homelife.
Sun-Moon blend in Gemini: energy for brightness, diversification and communication, possible restlessness and indecision; ingenuity and intelligence; needs education for anchor and refinement.
The Sun-Moon position is a tight New Moon: according to the ancients, usually a difficulty for development, a delayed development, since the Moon has no light; the wide square to the Sun and the Moon from Saturn in the 7th corroborates this, plays into it, and the
observation starts to define a personal vulnerability; Saturn is also tightly square to the Midheaven, one arm of the parental axis; Saturn rules the Ascendant and, in its aspect activity, suggests a depression of
Pluto, ruler of the Midheaven, is (widely) quindecile to the Ascendant,
suggesting a difficult time developing self-empowerment, perhaps
a constant quest to do this.
Pluto is squared with Mars, co-ruler of the Self-worth 2nd; there is a stress in the self-worth profile; Pluto rules the 9th House as well and, in this tension structure, suggests that the education was interrupted as well.
The developmental tension is decidedly in the early home environment and will be played out in relationships: the Sun and Moon, both squared by Saturn, are co-rulers of the 7th House of relationships.
Mercury is the final dispositor of the horoscope (in its own sign),
is conjoined with Venus (cerebrated idealization, usually an
overcompensatory, defensive device) and will be focused strongly within the sex profile since Mercury rules the 5th and the 8th and Venus is co-ruler of the 8th.
There is an Air Grand Trine (slightly broad, but invited by the clients developmental situation) which is a defensive closed circuit of intellectual and/or social self-sufficiency.
And finally, there is the important statement of Uranus conjunct
the Aries Point promising an unusual individuation finally
emerging into the public view (Frances is a talented astrology
student) and Mars is oriental, rising last before the Sun does,
suggesting a strong promotional ability, a salesmanship, a
persuasion, even a teaching modality in expression.
From this outline, it is not difficult to anticipate the developmental scenario in early life, the defensiveness of self-worth vulnerabilities, difficulties in relationship because of the early patterning and accumulated vulnerabilities, and the keen mind working overtime privately to protect against emotional anxiety with others [the Air Grand Trine, the loneliness of the New Moon, the retrogradation of Mercury, suggesting a second agenda; the Sun-Moon pipeline into the 7th through the square with Saturn]. The challenge for intimacy is hard for Frances to face.
Now, Frances, with my guidance, had analyzed her horoscope herself and had sent it to me to be checked out. The following are phrases and insights presented in her words:
Energy to communicate with needs to be bright and clever, inform-ed and intense . . . unfinished business in the early homelife . . . restrictions in expressing [myself] caused from early developmental concerns that affect how I relate to others . . . a legacy of inferiority feelings brought on by the father and a potential for a father surrogate in later relationships [to settle the unfinished business].
[There is] social and mental self-sufficiency, a loner here. There is a fear of intimacy because of parental conditioning. Education was interrupted affecting professional development. This in turn affected self-worth, personal and monetary resources and state of mind.
There are suggestions of difficulty in shaping identity, which could result in health problems, mental illness, or self-destructive behavior . . . [Im] romantically idealistic in giving love and in fantasizing about love.
Self-worth comes from approval of others . . . idealism can run away with or interfere with good financial judgments . . . there is a prominent display of being different, rebellious, intense, inspired, and a love of travel [Uranus conjunct the Aries Point].
I certainly display a lot of antisocial behavior . . . I am very insecure about a lot of things, most importantly, a lack of education, finances, work and relationships. I need to develop this feeling of security within, and I think this is the key.
[In commenting specifically on the Pluto-Ascendant quindecile:] It is suggested that a strong need for personal power and importance is played out through relationships, but it will have difficulty being expressed because of unfinished business in the early home life . . . [therefore] needs are repressed. Fear of abandonment results in obsessive behavior to control the outcome in relationships. Oppressive dealings with others create upsets with those in authority. Compulsive behavior towards relationships leads to separation.
I was deeply impressed with the extraordinary honesty of this self-evaluation astrologically. Frances had developed an enriching, objectified view of her development. Now, she could knowingly make adjustments in thought and behavior.
Chart 2: Ruth
Chart 2 (p. 19) is Ruth. Here is a general analytical outline of her horoscope:
The Sun-Moon blend (Sagittarius-Capricorn) promises assertive
opinionation tied with realism, with a helpful dimension of idealism, a worldly sense, that encourages objectivity and compassion at the same time. To thine own self be true.
The Eastern Hemisphere emphasis of the horoscope suggests a
defensive nature. This is magnified by Neptune conjunct the
Ascendant opposed by Saturn-retrograde, ruler of the Self-worth 2nd.4
The early home focus is reinforced by Neptune, within the opposition with SaturnRx and at the Ascendant, ruling the 4th, semisquare the Moon.
Pluto opposing Mars in the 4th suggests a battleground in the giving of love (Mars rules the 5th).
As the complex assembles itself, we must note that Mercury, ruler of the 7th House of relationships, is not under developmental tension but the proximity of SaturnRx to the seventh cusp (arcing there
during the formative years of four and five) will probably bring
relationships into the quandary of developmental tension.
Venus in Capricorn almost always carries with it the sense of a delayed emotional development, in this case, the time to work out the problems in the early homelife before being comfortable with giving and receiving love in relationships (Venus rules the 11th, love-received; Mars, opposed by Pluto, rules the 5th, giving love); the
sextile between Venus and Mars does not eliminate the difficulties, but links the concerns for eventual resolution in support (sextile) of the
Some dynamic time measures leap out from the natal horoscope: Neptune=Ascendant [Solar Arc Neptune conjoins the Ascendant5] at just before three years of age, Saturn=Ascendant just after five years of age; and then the arcs MC=Mars at six, Neptune=JupiterAsc at
sixteen, and Neptune=Sun at twenty-three. These arcs suggest a debilitation (invalidation) even illness (Pluto rules the 12th and is opposed by Mars) for the personality and, curiously, the possible intrusion or rescue by spirituality (Neptune at the Sagittarius
ascendant, arcing over Mercury, Jupiter, and the Sun).
In our telephone consultation, Ruth corroborated precisely my opening statement about the Sun-Moon blend and the Eastern Hemisphere emphasis. I suggested to her that the short circuit requiring the defensive posture related back to the father and to some very difficult times between the ages of three and five.
Immediately, Ruth disclosed her condition in development at that time: she was seriously ill with rheumatoid arthritis from ages three to five; braces were put on her legs and ankles. When she was three, her father left the home, abandoning the mother and daughter; he then returned when Ruth was five. These were extremely difficult times for Ruth: she was told that she had a life expectancy of twelve because of her crippling disease, and the fathers departure suggested that all really was lost.
When I asked about the spiritual (!) dimensions within all of this, Ruth said that they were extreme, that she and her mother were part of a literal religious sect. Ruth went to intense religious schooling in the teachings of that sect, involving male dominance and exorcisms of demons, etc. When the Midheaven arced to opposition with Mars, Ruth was told she was possessed by a demon and that she had to submit to exorcism. Ruth said that, even at so young an age, she disapproved of what was going on and that she consciously played along with the ceremony, making all the appropriate noises and gyrations, just to please everyone.
At age four or five, at a church social gathering, Ruth was touched by a mysterious man who told her that, if she had faith, she would be cured. The next morning she was able to walk; she was cured; and the problems never returned!
Ruth changed schools (tr Uranus conjunct her Ascendant), and at the same time, her father, told that he was now demonized, committed suicide.
Clearly, Ruth was developing within a maelstrom of emotions, religious rationale, and the grievous insecurity of father abandonment. Then, the father dimension was compounded dramatically when Ruth was twenty-four [Neptune=Sun, with tr Neptune conjunct Venus and tr Saturn conjunct the fourth cusp]: she was in a relationship, and the man kept information from her until the last minute, that he would leave her and follow his job halfway around the world. Ruth was abandoned yet again.
Ruth shared with me that, in that relationship, she had been all right sexually, when there wasnt a lot of intimacy. He couldnt handle intimacy. Now, this is a garbled statement: did she do well because he did well, since there was no intimacy demanded from him (he couldnt handle it)? Or did Ruth do well because she could (had to?) separate sex from intimacy, and therefore avoid exposing her vulnerabilities, her fear of abandonment, etc.?
Ruth is now in a super relationship, apparently splendid in every way. But it has taken us three years to get it that way! My problem is my vulnerability, my fear of abandonment . . . the aloneness I fear . . . and I was putting all my father-stuff on him. I was using projection, big time!
The time needed to solve these problems caused a delay in her emotional maturation (Venus in Capricorn). Ruth worked hard to restore her self-worth by becoming her own boss and building a strong business, through meeting an empathic male who stayed the emotional course of her growth, and through her disarming honesty about herself (astrology study, Buddhism, and more) learning security within her identity.
Ruth is able now to trust herself with her partner, trust him to care about her weaknesses, fears, and strengths without criticism, rejection, or abandonment. She can now feel safe. This has restored Ruth almost completelyanother cure in her lifeand this intimacy that has finally arrived has bloomed beautifully within the strengthened relationship.
Chart 3: Henry
Chart 3 (p. 23), Henry, is the client who followed in my schedule right after Ruth. I say this to show that, while these lives disclose dramas that are highly individual, they occur within scenarios of development that are routinely seen. We are guided in each case by astrological dynamics (especially rulership networks among key Houses) and knowledge of the way our family culture raises children. When we are inspecting the tie between developmental tensions in the early home and the adult capacity for and trust of intimacy, we are dealing with a challenge common to us all; very often, analytically, the focus is not whether or not these fears are present but to what degree they are present. In each of these cases, we are tracking the links among the 1st, 2nd, 7th, 11th, and 5th Houses in relation to the 4th and 10th. We are seeing early home developmental tensions transferred into self-worth anxiety and relationship difficulty.
The outline of Henrys horoscope [be aware how a creative connectedness is developed throughout the observations]:
Northern Hemisphere emphasis: unfinished business from the early home.
Sun-Moon blend: the energies of uniqueness and the needs to be self-sufficient, right, and in control; the personality feels that it is indispensable. Work with others just proves the fact that the ego is indeed very important.
Air Grand Trineclosed circuit of social or intellectual self-
sufficiencyworks to defend against the Saturn retrograde
phenomenon; reinforced by Neptune quindecile the Midheaven
and Uranus square Venus, ruler of the parental 10th; relationship tensions promised through Uranus rulership of the 7th, sesquiquadrate Mercury ruler of the 11th (love needed, hoped for).
Moon-Mars opposition on the parental axis; highlighting mother, echoing SaturnRx conjunct the Nodal Axis (the mother runs the show, makes a dominant statement); the Moon is co-ruler of the 11th (a major link here to feelings of not being lovable).
The midpoint picture Venus=Mercury/Neptune is a very strong statement of romantic idealism, idealization; an echo in the pictures Node=Moon/Venus and Uranus=Node/Asc.
It is important to note that the Ascendant may be a very powerful royal statement here, configured on the ecliptic with the fixed star Regulus.
Henry was twenty-six at the time of our telephone consultation. He did not initially register/recognize any part of the SaturnRx profile. [When this happens, it may be that the client requires time to get underneath the father-image to the real role activity within the family, such is the defensive image-building created by the client to protect or aggrandize the father rela-
tionship.] Eventually, Henry was able to describe that his mother did run the show [a common manifestation of SaturnRx tightly conjunct or square the Nodal axis]: And I remember thinking how weak my father was to let this happen.
The mother became a formidable figure in Henrys narrative. Henry then opened up further about his father: He felt unloved by her [his wife] and was trying to work it out. What she loved was the image of the family; she had been abandoned by her parents.
Henry then said, My mother shaped my view of women, ideally good but also unable to deal with things; [they] cant cope.6 This is an extremely typical transferal of a parental norm of behavior from the parent to a desired (familiar) state of behavior for the child. This is occurring every time we hear someone say, Im really a hard worker like my father; in fact thats what causes . . . , or Ive inherited this anxiety about my appearance from my mother, for sure; she was always. . . .
Henry was making references to his emotional relationship difficulties, to women letting him down, confounding his life clearly, from an identification with his fathers perspective, his feelings.
And, in the same sentence with his references to his successful job, Henry juxtaposed mention of relationship difficulties with the evaluation of his job strategies and activities eighteen times within twenty-minutes minutes! That is hard to imagine, but it happened during the consultation [I heard it developing and kept score!]. By pointing this out to him, we could see dramatically how success on the job was being complicated by his intensely disruptive relationship life with women and business partners. Yes, Im successful in my work, but relationship after relationship broke my heart. My instinct is to love, to empathize, to want intimacy. All of this had driven him into a defensive structure, being separate from the flow, that of an aloof leader.
Henry had been a star: captain of the football team, handsome, talented, creative, had formed his own company, but everything was jumbled up with his enormous need to love and be loved reliably. Here again, we can note that Venus is in Capricorn, suggesting a delay in relational value development, in maturation with love matters [Mars square Jupiter, ruler of the 5th; Neptune square Mercury, ruler of the 11th; Mars opposed Moon, co-ruler of the 11th].
Another note is important here: whenever the Sun and Moon are in tight square with each other at birth [the natal chart is a transit chart for the parents], we can reliably surmise that the parents were in conflict when the child was born. Henrys parental situation, though graced with prestige and excellent income, and all the sociometric trappings of a fine family, became heavy emotional baggage for him as a young adult. Understanding this, bringing realistic balance of it all into his life, building his job success away from an earlier persona and into a new one was the basis of therapy, helping to free Henry into efficiency with both his worlds.
Chart 4: Julia
Our next chart is Julias horoscope (p. 26), showing still another dimension pattern of early home tensions as they build up a fear of intimacy and work against relationship. Here is a brief outline of the horoscope, before we hear the story told in Julias own words:
Northwest Hemisphere emphasis: giving ones Self away to others, conditioned by unfinished business in the early home.
Sun in Libra and the Moon in Cancer: there is an indomitable need here to establish emotional security. The personality is probably flexible and adaptable to the point of self-sacrifice (Western
orientation) in order to please others in terms of emotional and home security.
SaturnRx phenomenon square Neptune11 (and Mars); Pluto7
conjoined with Uranus10 in the 4th, all suggesting much parental upset that gets played out later in relationships.
Uranus quindecile the Midheaven suggests that Julia will find her individuality by obsessively following a work path, a vocational thrust that defines who she is.
The Sun square with the Nodal axis highlights the mother
considerably importantly (in default from SaturnRx); the Sun square with the Moon suggests the parents were already in upheaval at the time of her birth.
Mercury5, 2 and VenusA, 6, in their own sign, are final dispositors
of the horoscope and both are without Ptolemaic aspect, peregrine: an idealistic projection (dissociated somehow, difficult to plug
in; therefore dominating) of how children or love (5th) should be framed as a personal self-projection, probably the idea of having
it better than I did.
Here are excerpts from a letter Julia wrote to me about her horoscope: My father, although present with the family, was not emotionally supportive of his family [note the separation; of us is clearly avoided] and caused a lot of emotional scarring. All this affects my ability to deal in a healthy intimate relationship.
Julias fathers mother had died when he was two, and he had been raised by a tough father and a disinterested stepmother. Her father had been physically abused throughout his upbringing. Julia sees her father as having the emotional orientation of a two-year old, seeing the world as totally revolving around him.
With Julias Sun square the Nodal axis, we can expect a tremendous emphasis on the maternal relationship. Julias mother made up for everything in the household as supportively as she could.
The parents were already in upheaval when Julia was born. [Sun tightly square Moon.]
I have many male friends, having graduated in Engineering and working in a mostly male field; I tend to feel more at ease with male friendships. I do tend to be very independent, but I believe this to be a mask. The mask is covering my strong fear of intimacy, needing to be loved and feelings of Im not worthy.
Note that a peregrine planet can be expected to run away with the horoscope; it searches for connection in developmental reality. Here we have a very strong Mercury in Virgo, not only suggesting the mind leading the way in terms of analysis and discrimination, but also bringing far forward self-worth concerns (Mercury rules the 2nd) and the concerns of love and her children (Mercury rules the 5th). Additionally, Neptune, ruling the 11th, is square with Saturn.
Julias first love fathered a child with her, out of wedlock, and abandoned her upon the childs birth. I realized that all the signs were there of a man who could not meet my very deep emotional needs. [As her father could not.]
After that relationship, I vowed that I would be very careful not to fall for the same type of man [her Mercury-in-Virgo discrimination strength]. Her next man: Given all the indications he gave me, I made a conscious decision that this man would be there for my child and me emotionally. [The 5th House prominence in her thinking and feeling; Venus peregrine as well in Libra.]
This man let Julia down by having an affair. Now: I am questioning my ability to make the right choices. I thought I was aware of why I had chosen to be in the relationship, but I just repeated the pattern!!! Now I am struggling with what is the best situation for my children. I want to break the cycle for their sake. I want to make sure that I provide them with an emotionally healthy environment so that they can grow up knowing what that feels like and recognizing when things are not right.
I have learned that, while I am working on my stuff, the other person needs to be able to intimately connect as well. In my case, both men have a hard time themselves with intimacy; my husband is very astute at disguising it [the difficulty].
For Julia, both men in her life had the same world-revolves-around-me orientation as her father did. Each abandoned responsibility. She suffered from all three men because of this. The family unit was threatened in each case [jeopardizing her reigning need crucially, the Moon in Cancer]. Julia had to rescue herself.
Chart 5: William
Our final chart in this section (p. 30), belongs to William.
The analytical outline:
Some unfinished business (Northern Hemisphere), defensive as well (Eastern Hemisphere).
Sun-Moon blend: the message needs to be I am a very deep person, reliable, and right as right; and you must recognize that and know how good I am for you. Excesses of emotional expression show up as the temperamental trappings for well-organized personal opinion and bias. Understanding the motivation behind the thrust for power is very important to success.
The horoscope seems dominated by Saturn in the 11than
enormous need for loveand its square to Mercury in Virgo, the
final dispositor of the horoscope, ruler of the 11th. The emotional excesses promised by the dramatic Sun-Moon blend are going to flow into all kinds of efforts to attract love and allegiance, to have proved to himself that he is lovable, deeply loved.
Venus in Cancer promises love-relationship needs in a swoon, with love needs hard to be fulfilled, they are so idealized (12th House); additionally, Venus10 is quintile (creativity) with Uranus and trine with Neptune, suggesting artistic dimension in the career.
And further: Venus is quindecile the Node, introducing a major
dimension of mother into the emotional love-need mix.
There will be a critical time in the family at age thirteen (SA Uranus=MC).
William will probably work at home as a freelancer (Moon in the 4th); Moon quindecile Midheaven.
Williams father was a passive figure in the early home, and his mother was enormously influential. When I asked William if he thought that his mother had favored him, had perhaps transferred affection away from her husband onto him, he replied succinctly, I was very special to my mother.
When I mentioned about love in a swoon, you could hear his deepest of sighs on the telephone.
With the Sun and Moon square at Williams birth, we can expect that his parents were in upheaval when he was born; this was so, and the parents split twice over the years, the key time being when William was thirteen.
The Venus appears to share dominance with Saturn: the former serves the latter, with the maternal influence and affection-rewards in early development setting the standards of identity acceptance, the powerful appreciation need established by the Leo Sun and Ascendant.
William feels that he is the antithesis of the person fearing intimacy. To the contrary, he tends to jump immediatelyand often too far, in his judgment, too quicklyinto deep emotional involvement. I need that kind of intimacy and depth in a relationship to the point where I seem constitutionally incapable of having a light romance or a casual relationship. I have discovered that I am always seeking my soul-mate and have a strong tendency to settle for nothing less.
William says that this giant need for love has led him often into wrong relationships, which he did not recognize as such until it was too late to extricate himself easily. I suggested to William that his father had not done his job and that the mother had overdone hers, that the balance was out of whack. I also pointed out that perhaps William (at twenty-nine) was meeting women not as mature as he in relationship dynamics.
Dealing with this aspect of my nature has been a major focus in my life in the last few years.
The difficulty profile in these cases is so common as to become clichéas mentioned previously, the astrologer must ascertain to what degree the developmental concerns intrude on the clients self-appreciation and poise in relationship. Astrologer Erin Sullivan says it well, The fascinating aspect of the family as an entity [is that ] it both enhances and annihilates the individual growing within it, through it, because of it.7
In his Care of the Soul, psychotherapist Thomas Moore observes that In a family you live close to people that otherwise you might not even want to talk to.8 He goes on to observe as well that the history of the family provides the many images with which a person is saturated all through adult life. Moore reaches a key point in his discussion, as we have reached here in ours: What if we thought of the family less as the determining influence by which we are formed and more the raw material from which we can make a life?
To appreciate this point is to see the beginning of therapy. We must see the family canvas upon which our identity is composed. In the seeing, we must achieve objectification. We must learn what we have carried with us from our past development. Then, we must see how fine we are within it all, and what adjustments we can make in our view of things (mindset) and behavioral patterns in order to present ourselves to the external environment more fulfillingly.
If we can turn our gaze from looking back, away from blame, we can look forward. We can build anew, or build further upon behaviors that had shown themselves to be effective in the past. We learn to see ourselves in a refreshed image. We stop making the same patterned mistakes, and we learn to trust who we are.
When we meet someone, we must know that that other person is going through similar developmental tensions. How much does the other person in the relationship trust who he or she is? Can the two of you relate with enough inner self-respect and confidence to show vulnerability, discuss fears, expose dreams? This ability will define intimacy. And while it is achieved through open, trusting communication, it is based upon individual appreciation of Self.
Henry (p. 23) is learning about himself strongly still. He sees that he is approaching his enormous relationship needs from his fathers perspective [we might say, almost inviting similar letdown and disappointment]. With his understanding, Henry must see himself more as a successful creative businessman (his image for development into the external environment) than as a star-smitten lover (the image from his past development). In this way, as he gains stature through his work, his own company, etc., he gains a refreshed, adult, more mature appreciation of himself and can relate to others more securely. And, most interestingly, Henry will begin to attract more relationships with other, more mature people.
For Frances (p. 15), her keen intelligence (Mercury in Gemini conjunct Venus in Gemini, ruling the 3rd) will help her free herself from past patterning. Becoming an astrologer, with skills particularly enriched by her having lived through so much of this difficult patterning, will give her an ever-broadening humanitarian base upon which to see how fine a person she is. Her problem will then become setting an example for her husband who is mired in similar aloneness and developmental difficulty.
Ruth (p. 19), has already made the transition. It took her and her patient, loving mate three years to accomplish intimacy. It worked, and she can now allow intimacy to energize her relationship and life even further.
Julia (p. 26), our last case, turned her attention to her husband. There is hope. Her quest was not simply to throw it all to the wind and to avoid repeating her mistake yet once again in another marriage, but to appreciate how she has survived that process to date, how secure she had now become within herself, and how she could use that as a way to be helpful to her husband and others. Unfortunately this effort failed, and we will study Julias divorce astrology in chapter 6.
Intimacy is the revelation of the most inner Self, without fear. It can only be accomplished through being a friend to yourself, as Thomas Moore so nicely puts it.9 When that inner friendship is not there, when the developmental weights and short circuits have not been recognized, inspected, and adjusted, we often cannot tolerate the self-criticism we have been patterned to feel, and we project it onto our relationships [recall Ruths projection (chart 2) of her father-upset onto her mate]. The difficulties in relationships so often mask, so often echo relationships with ourselves.
French essayist Michel Montaigne said it most penetratingly, some 400 years ago: The distance between us and others is the same as the distance between us and ourselves.