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AN ASTROLOGICAL LOOK AT RELATIONSHIPS…
Maggie Kerr (AAT.Dip.Couns.)

When I ponder the story of western society’s progress over the past four thousand years (Age of Aries and Age of Pisces), my sense of the quality which is most precious, and the source of inspiration, is the drive to “individuation”. This was the foundation stone of Greek philosophy and the rights of the individual live at the heart of the ‘humanitarian principle’. Wars and revolutions are fought for this. So astrologically speaking we can say that we have been Solar or Sun driven, and this is primarily secret men’s business. Secret women’s business has involved birthing heroes, nurturing them, sacrificing for them, and waiting for them to come home!

The male impulse is also Mars driven, so men have fought for peace (which is in itself a huge irony!), and stashed away their softer feelings as they raged and conquered. They left them at home with their women. Consequently we see that our “his”tory (not herstory) has involved repression of the “feminine”, women, and consequently the Soul generally in western culture.

Over the past 100 years we have experienced a major acceleration in human evolution, as we pass through the transition from the Age of Pisces and prepare for the Age of Aquarius (the next 2,160 years). The Spiritual seed which was planted 2,000 years ago with the birth of Christ, and other avatars who founded world religions has been the essence of this Piscean age, which actually began a new 25,600 year Great Year or cycle of the ages. So Aquarius is the 2nd stage of a process which began 2,000 odd years ago, and requires that we develop the “Spiritualising Principle” by taking it to the next step i.e. beyond idealism through conflict.

So it comes as no surprise that during the past century there has been a process of re-integration of feminine essence and power. This received a huge jolt in the 1960s, when the modern feminists began their fight for equal rights and inclusiveness. Humanity instinctively goes about the business of evolution you see, and somehow deep within our collective memory and purpose, we know that if we are to evolve into more Spiritually motivated people we must re-kindle this Soul quality which was lost along the way. The ideas which live at the heart of most spiritual traditions tell us that our quest in life is to find the uniting between our left and right brain function - the yang and yin - Spirit and Soul - the Sun and Moon - the conscious and unconscious parts of our nature.

From this perspective then, it is really no surprise that our personal relationships are under pressure to change accordingly. And changing they are. The traditional stereotypes of men and women are falling away. We hear that nearly half of all marriages end in divorce, single parenting is quite the norm, many people are choosing not to have children at all - so what indeed is going on? What ever happened to falling in love and happily ever afters?
To answer this question let’s look at a few models and ideas.

Astrology And The Whole Person Process
When we apply modern psychological ideas to the astrological framework we see the planets as the many “voices” which make up our psyche. The psychologist Carl Jung called these “Archetypes” which are “patterns of emotional and mental behaviour”, and we are all driven by these as both individuals and as a group. So each voice in our psychological makeup must be ‘well’ and functional, if we are to ever aspire to become a “conscious individual”.

* ILLUSTRATION - The Planetary Tree - click here -
This illustration of the Planetary Tree is how I perceive the relationships between the planets on a psychological level. As you can see there are the male and female “lines” with the neutral or mental planets between them. Space does not permit an in depth analysis, however a brief outline goes along the lines of:
The potential for wholeness within us requires that we integrate both the yin and yang lineage of archetypes within us. The yang path to individuation of the Sun must be supported by the energy of the ‘safe’ will (Mars), the capacity for self responsibility and authority (Saturn), which in turn leads to true empowerment both on an inner and outer level (Pluto). Ultimately for the true Spiritualisation of our Solar ego the Plutonian “Higher Will and Purpose” must be brought into alignment.

The yin path within the wholeness process requires that we become “Soul Centered” and learn to respond to our true intuitive feelings (Moon), and become “safe” in them, so we may link with and nurture the authentic Self (Sun). This requires clearing and healing our lower emotional nature, where we are at the mercy of our old, unsafe emotional reactions. Venus serves the Moon by attracting relationships so we can learn to love and be loved and this allows our sense of worth. Jupiter brings us opportunities for growth based on our sense of meaning and faith in ourselves, and arising from this then, Neptune offers inspiration and clarity so we may have a true relationship with our Soul (Moon - the Soul memory is stored within our Moon sign) or Higher Self.

Mercury is the “messenger” (Mercury rules our ‘mind and mouth’) who links the male and female aspects within the whole person. Chiron contains the crisis which leads to Uranus’ awakening of our potential for conscious evolution. This forges the link to the transpersonal or Spiritual energies of Neptune and Pluto in turn. Ultimately we are here to open the Solar Heart Centre, so we may feel the Lunar Soul essence and feel and express love and compassion! So there you have it! The potential for wholeness in a nutshell. If only it were that easy!

So How Does This Apply To Relationships?

Until recently our cultural conditioning impelled us to play out some of our planetary voices, and deny others. Men are ‘yang’ so are expected to enact their Sun, Mars, Saturn and Pluto as a natural expression of their maleness. However, women also have these planetary drives but were not supposed to express them. We expected our men to do it for us. Conversely women are “yin” so instinctively express the Moon, Venus, Jupiter and Neptune, and men have by and large expected their woman/wife to express, or take care of these for them!

So my point here is, that in recent decades women are beginning to take back their right to express their own Sun potential to be an individual, as well as to be assertive (Mars) toward their own goals (Saturn) and have their own personal power (Pluto). The outcome here also implies that women are now expecting their men to take responsibility for their own Moon (feelings and self nurture), Venus (meeting their own emotional security needs), Jupiter (providing their own sense of faith and optimism), and Neptune (responding to their own instinctive and intuitive nature).

Hence the popular term SNAG or Sensitive New Age Guy which has emerged of late. Many women expect this of men now, as they go about the business of living their own interesting, exciting, adventurous (and exhausting) lives in their own right! Our men are supposed to be able to cook and clean and care for the kids, and power dressing women are quite the norm. The trouble is that many women have become quite tough as a result of this drive for autonomy and freedom. My experience in counselling practice, shows me that many women are also very much in need of healing back into a gentler quality, so they can remember that we are essentially compassionate, protective and nurturing creatures.

My sense of our current time within the drama of human evolution tells me that we are in the midst of a ‘great experiment’, as we all attempt to reconcile these two sets of energies within our natures. This applies to both men and women!


So How Do We Do This?
What is required to open and synthesise the feminine or Yin lineage of planetary archetypes? Well let’s have a look. With the Moon as the ‘light’ which focalises this energy system, the essence here is feeling. We cannot know the joy of the creative heart (Sun) unless we can feel it, and yet over all the years of my counselling work the issue of feeling lies at the heart of most peoples’ unhappiness. So many of us received messages when we were small telling us not to feel - it is too dangerous to feel because there’s a good chance we will have to admit to our feelings of loss and grief and despair and so on.

* ILLUSTRATION Transactional Analysis Diagram - click here -

In the Transactional Analysis model illustrated (Eric Berne), we see the Child Ego state is ruled by the Moon. This is the part of us which feels, and has needs. So feeling and needs are inextricably interwoven within the expression of our “inner child”. If we received messages from our parents telling us to “think with your head not with your heart”, and “stop that sookie crying - get up and get on with it” - and so on, then we not only closed down our ability to feel our grief and pain, we also can’t feel our joy and passion and excitement! We also closed down our ability to allow ourselves to need, or meet our own needs, let alone ask for them to be met by others!

From this point we obviously don’t feel very valuable and worthwhile. So our Venusian voice is undervalued, and operates dysfunctionally as unconscious obsessive compulsions (there is a link here to Neptunian addictions), rather than free choices being made by us, based on Venus’ capacity to go out and serve the Moon to get her needs met. In the T.A. model Venus also lives in the Child Ego State. When we were small (beginning from age 1 at the first Venus return) we began to comply and adapt within our environment to try and get our needs met.

How we learned to do this will be based on our Venus sign and house and aspects. Venus is the “Adapted Child” who learned to “please them to get along around here”, and many people (especially women) are still trying to “please them” to get stroked and loved. But guess what - it doesn’t work! And then Mars, the “Free Child” who also lives in the “Child Ego State”, becomes angry and frustrated, because all our attempts to comply and please are not bearing fruit! So our dysfunctional Mars, Saturn and Pluto voices kick in, and we try all our power and control games to get our needs met!

So an important aspect of the healing to wholeness journey requires that we become aware of our compliance patterns, and begin to learn to meet our own needs or cleanly ask with our ‘functional’ Mars will, for our needs to be met. This is obviously primary theme territory for very Libran and Taurean types, as both these signs are ruled by Venus.

The Jupiter connection here includes themes of ‘belief’ and ‘meaning’. If we don’t feel worthy enough (Venus) to be in the world safely (Moon), then we are not going to believe the world is a very safe and nurturing place. So meaning goes out the window! I have had a number of people question why I have ascribed Jupiter within the feminine line, as we are familiar with him mythically as a more Heroic archetypal function. I do not debate that within a certain level of the Greco/Roman mythic tradition he indeed fulfills a more animus orientated function. However, this tradition is primarily patriarchal and not particularly Soul Centered, so in my simple energy system I see him in a more feminine role.

Particularly when we recognise his dualistic relationship with Saturn, I can’t help but relate to these Lords of Karma as offering us Yin and Yang polarity. I believe that the getting of Wisdom (Jupiter) is primarily a very feminine affair, as wisdom arises from nurture and nature, not from any man made creation. It is not until we have a degree of Soul awareness that we are able to gently reassure ourselves that our Saturn tests contain our path to wisdom (Jupiter). It is also from this point that we are able to ascertain the truth that there are many paths to the Self, and we must find our own path, not just blindly follow someone else. The dissemination of knowledge (Jupiter) is also a feminine affair, and the wise teacher nurtures the pupil who is ready, rather than inflicting their version of truth upon all and sundry whether they want it or not!

Without a sense of meaning and purpose for our Souls’ work, we cannot take the final step out to Neptune, and open to the true faith and compassion which lives in the feminine. Neptune is the connection through the Crown Chakra which invites inspiration from the Higher Mind (Uranus on the Mental level), and is the source of our relationship to the Divine. Neptune is the part of us which seeks to merge with something greater than our limited self, knowing that the very nurture which is so essential to the Self, must be found within ourselves, before we can ever project outside of ourselves and find it in the world of relationship.

Neptune is also the higher octave of Venus, so when we are unconscious and still playing out the Venusian compulsion to “please them to get loved”, we will send Neptune out to bat, to dream up our “divine lover” in an attempt to create this merged state which we intrinsically need. The trouble is Neptune is the master of illusion and deceit, and how many of us can relate to the sense of frustration and confusion when the “perfect” new lover turns out to be merely human, and also invested in getting us to fill them up and make them whole! “Wait a minute that was what you were supposed to do for me! Now I’m angry with you because you are not what you are supposed to be”, says our Venus.

Neptune and Venus get together and participate in the Prince and Princess myths, replete with their need to be saved, or to save. Most of our western culture is still immersed in co-addictive and co-dependant relationship for this reason. So one of the tasks in healing this aspect of our Moon centered feminine, requires that we come out of this illusory energy system, and begin to live as whole people within our own right.

Neptunian emotional themes contain issues about ‘boundaries’. What is my personal myth about myself? (remember what was your favourite fairy story as a child and this will give you great insight!). Who am I when I am alone and not under the influence of someone else’s projection onto me, of who they want me to be for them? Do I act only under the influence of others, or am I self assertive and inspired? Do I try and rescue ‘victims’ and helpless others? Or am I acting out ‘poor me’ and ‘victim’ roles? Opening the door to let the light of truth on to these questions is very important, and if you are still the type of person who feels lost, lonely and needy when your partner is not around, and who feels like you have lost your sense of meaning, then you have a little work to do on your Venus, Jupiter and Neptune facets of your psychological makeup!

Does This Mean The End Of “Romantic Love”?

Good question!! Romantic love involves a state of ‘falling in love’ which impels us to want to merge with the beloved and loose ourselves in their warm embrace! I relate to this as the part of us which wants to unzip someone and climb inside!! We can’t eat (Moon), can’t sleep (Neptune), can and do make ourselves attractive (Venus) and generally feel quite splendid, unless they haven’t rung for a few days! In which case we drop into our fears of “not being good enough” and assorted other neuroses. Alas the sweet haze does not last! After a few short months we start to notice the warts and the toothpaste squeezing et al, and reality steps in. We also begin to yearn for the things this beloved is still not giving us (which we didn’t tell them we needed in the first place!) The “lovers” archetypes are Psyche and her God lover Eros. It’s a great myth and well worth a read of Robert Johnson’s “We. The Psychology Of Romantic Love”, if you’d like deeper insight.

As soon as we put the ring on the finger the archetypes change to Zeus (king of the gods), and Hera his wife. A very different story!! He betrays her repeatedly and she punishes the ‘other woman’ in all sorts of horrific ways. She doesn’t punish her husband, but plays out the long suffering wife (Moon, Venus & Neptune).

These archetypal themes are deeply imbedded in our “collective unconscious”, and we enact them without awareness. They also contain positive qualities of course, and the lovers myth tells us about the experience of merging (Neptune) which is necessary if we are to allow trust, intimacy and nurture (Moon). The Zeus/Hera story tells us of loyalty through adversity. However psychological models tell us that we are meant to begin to individuate out of the merged state after about 2 years, and begin to reclaim our individual status. Merged couples are said to be “symbiotic”, meaning that they form one individual set of 3 Ego States out of their two sets of Ego States. To do this both parties have to discount their Parent or Adult or Child. Most women discount their Child (ruled by the Moon) and take care of their partner’s feelings. The exchange here in traditional marriage is that the male partner takes care of her financial needs. Co-dependant and addictive relationships are all about this!

Many older long term couples remain merged all their lives, and don’t individuate until one or the other dies! After this he or she will either pick up their life and get on with it as an individual, and often fulfill themselves in new and exciting ways. Or the one left behind also dies, because the pressure to go it alone is just too great, and/or they don’t have the skills to do this.

So “the merge” is the first phase, “individuation” is the second phase, and “rapprochement” is the third stage of the relationship process. This is achieved once a couple have both claimed their individual potential, thus beginning to experience comfortable and contented union with their partner. They are both emotionally “safe”, and not trying to control each other, or limit the partner because of their own fears of abandonment, or lack of personal fulfillment.

Many couples are struggling in this process right now. Much of my counselling work involves people confused by their partner’s attempts to control and limit their need to individuate. Especially women, but often times men also, are attempting to meet the challenge of finding out who they really are, and release huge amounts of conditioning which put them in boxes where they don’t belong. Many people never “left home safely”, as emotionally they are still enmeshed in relationships which they allow to impede their progress. These are people who blame the ‘other’ for why they are unhappy, without taking responsibility for their own agendas and motives, and lack of courage to do their own ‘thing’.

These are exciting and risky times. The world is full of options. Our generations have opportunities unlike ever before to express ourselves as individuals. When we are in safe relationships we can experience nurture and support from our partners and families to dare to express our potential, and to have time and love, so we may do the same for them. This may sound idealistic, but it is definitely possible, and we need to carry this as a goal in our personal healing work.

Romantic love is not a casualty of progress. We may still invite the divine into our lives in the form of significant Souls who come to enrich our lives and bring us our lessons. As long as we don’t try and hang onto the dream that somehow our lives will be taken care of by this other person, then we can reap the joy of loving union. As long as we recognize that when we ‘fall in love’ we are actually seeing our own loving state reflected in the eyes of the beloved. As long as we realise that our relationship with the divine, inspirational, ecstatic experience is an inner relationship which we need to nurture and cherish, then we can safely fall in love, and know that we won’t loose ourselves along the way!

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THE PLANETARY TREE

Male DYNAMIC
NEUTRAL
Female PASSIVE

N Sun
FULLY INDIVUDALISED SELF EMOTIONS SAFELY CONTAINED
Lower ego under control of higher
Fulfill Self with ease - feelings of
excitement, joy, happiness with Self

M Moon
SPIRITUALISED SOUL CENTRED
Will Ability to have true feelings
Ability to admit needs & ask for
them to be met - safe nurture

O Mercury

HEALTHY MIND AND MOUTH
Inner link between all Planetary Voices
Effective communications Skills. Able to be heard & understood

Q Mars
WILL ENERGY FOR ACTUALISING SELF
Healthy assertiveness versus
anger & frustration Potency versus impotency

P Venus
RELATING SKILLS - SELF WORTH
Fulfilling versus unhealthy relationships Experience & creation of pleasureeeling valuable versus guilt/shame

S Saturn
GROUNDEDNESS - WORDLY SUCCESS
HEALTHY CENTREDNESS
Able to face fears & pass through them. Able to see Karma & challenges as OK

R Jupiter
EXPANSIVENESS -BELIEFS WHICH
GIVE MEANING & PURPOSE
Able to allow faith to nourish & sustain Growth & meaning through knowledge

W Chiron
CRISIS IN CONSCIOUSNESS
Essential as key to Transpersonal
Wound which brings us to healing

T Uranus
UNIVERSAL CONSCIOUSNESS
Group participation - unique Self
Inclusiveness V Separation

V Pluto
SAFE EMPOWERMENT
Self control versus control dramas
Transformative versus destructive
Personal will under control of Higher Will

U Neptune
SPIRITUAL INSPIRATION
Clarity & illumination v confusion Compassionate v addictive
Ability to “Dream” inspired reality


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In the Transactional Analysis Model Eric Berne created the 3 Ego states of Parent, Adult and Child.
The planets fall within the model as follows:

PARENT

P

Jupiter R
Saturn S
Nurturing Parent
Critical Parent
ADULT

A

Sun N
Autonomous Individual
CHILD

C

Moon M
Mercury O - (Little Professor)
Venus P - (Adapted Child)
Mars Q - (Free Child)
are all contained within the Child.

 

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Maggie Kerr is an accredited teacher, and counsellor in Astrology and psychotherapy and has worked for 20 years in the field. She has written the series Universal Astrology, which incorporates 5 Workbooks and is available as a correspondence course. To find out more, click here

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