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THEMES OF DEPRESSION -
SOME IDEAS AROUND MARS, SATURN AND PLUTO

Maggie Kerr (AAT.Dip.Couns.)

One of the most common themes I find myself counselling in the course of my daily practice as an Astrologer is the
“Big D”…Depression. Now this might not sound like a very exciting or interesting topic for an article, however during the course of my investigations into this area I’ve found some very basic ideas which have actually led me to understand that the Big D. is actually a very fascinating aspect of the human condition, which definitely warrants both exploration and discussion.
Indeed depression in its’ varying degrees is actually something which we all have in common! It is also a piece of territory in our culture which still holds a taboo, as very few people admit to experiencing it or understand much about it - much the same as grief. They both get labeled as “bad” feelings and consequently largely denied and repressed, and therefore not valued or utilised in any sort of meaningful way!
I have included here an illustration of the Planetary Tree - click here as I perceive the relationships between them on a psychological level. As you can see there are the male and female “lines” with the neutral or mental planets between them. It isn’t my purpose to explain the whole link up here in depth - however a brief outline goes along the lines of:
The potential for wholeness in each of 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 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 this function within the authentic Self. This requires clearing and healing our lower emotional nature, where we are at the mercy of our emotional reactions. Venus serves the Moon by attracting who and what we need, thus developing our sense of worth. Jupiter brings us opportunities for growth based on our sense of meaning and faith in ourselves, and in turn inspiration and clarity (Neptune) so we may have a true relationship with our Soul.
Mercury is the messenger who links the male and female aspects within the whole person - Chiron contains the crisis which leads to the Uranian awakening of our potential for conscious evolution…again forging the link to the transpersonal 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 “come from love”!


O.K. so there’s the game plan as I perceive it (bearing in mind these ideas originate from many other Esoteric teachers far greater than I!) So now back to the theme of said article. The two types of folks most prone to depression in Astrological typology are Capricorns and Scorpios… i.e. it is the Cap. and Scorp. components in each of us which enact this experience. So there’s a Mars/Saturn/Pluto thing going on here, which places us in the yang lineup in my model. Thus my simple reasoning tells me that at the heart (Sun) of themes of depression, lies a belief that the individual does not have the right to express their true and free will and take responsibility for this expression.
So let’s explore Mars for a minute. Mars is the principle of energy in action. Mars serves the Sun so we may take action and assert on our own behalf - the archetypal warrior. The first Mars return at age 2 sets the scene for establishing an individuals’ capacity for self will, and depending on how a little person is responded to at this vital point will set the stage for later will expression. This is known as the “anal” stage in Freuds’ development model, which he describes as “active-aggressive development”. In Eriksons’ emotional development model he describes this stage as “Separation - Autonomy versus Shame & Doubt”.
The successful outcome here is meant to be “Self Control and Will Power”. The keynote themes here are expressed through toilet and food - and I’m sure all of us who have been through the delightful stage of raising a two year old can easily remember our own feelings of rage and impotence, when said toddler is raising hell attempting to impose their will over ours! Interesting to realise that our own power and control issues are literally in our face during this process, and it isn’t hard to see how the transference system operates here, as our child responds to our own “stuff” accordingly - thus fulfilling (i.e. taking on board unconsciously) the core issues of the family system into which it has arrived.
So if the small persons’ will is overruled by one or both parents (Moon Mars hard aspect if it is Mum, and Saturn Mars for Dad), then feelings of rage, shame and impotence are buried within the psyche, and expressed as behaviours which either under or overcompensate the true feelings. So on the one hand we may meet the very compliant and seemingly pleasant personality type, who has tremendous trouble dealing with aggressive or angry people, and experiences many projections of their own disowned rage (I’m so nice…they are so angry!). Conversely the person may become overtly aggressive, but still be incapable of cleanly asserting their will.
In the Transactional Analysis Model Eric Berne offers us the 3 Ego states of Parent, Adult and Child. The 3 Ego States are drawn as follows: > click here -

 

We can see in this model that Mars represents the “Free Child” which is the part within us which has the right to express its’ will - it is also the part which contains joy/fun/wicked and the “wild child”. Hence the acting out of wicked/wild/angry if the child in us believes it is impotent - or if this rage is denied or suppressed…you guessed it…depression results. So Mars passes his now frustrated/blocked energy down to Saturn and Pluto in turn. So Mars becomes “dirty”, and spirals down into a cycle of using up all the nice fresh clean energy in frustration and immobilsation!
This leads to another important idea here, which says that depression is a signal from the psyche that old feelings which have been denied need to be felt and released - grief, guilt, shame…the whole box and dice. Hence for many folks accessing these old feelings is essential to “shift” the energy which is blocked. Rebirthing and various forms of active psychotherapies are appropriate here. The deeper and older the depression the greater the work may have to be - however, I feel that even in the case of chronic cases, mobilisation of the will is the key.
Our Saturnine fears also contribute to the immobilisation of the will - these fears keep us powerless and feed our Plutonian unconsciousness. Impotence on both physical and emotional levels, is the shadow side of clean and potent expression of our Solar urge to be “the self who we truly are”. Redecisioning old belief systems, and putting our energy into creating new ones is obviously also essential if we are to access our clean Mars energy and become this true and authentic Self. In terms of the psychospiritual whole Self, work is usually required to open some level of faith and trust in a sense of belonging - i.e. accessing the yin lineage of planets - thus enabling the Soul to nurture and support the healing process.
This can only be a brief attempt to discuss an area which is complex to say the least. I make no claims to being an expert in this area, I am simply aware as the result of my own, and observation of so many others’ journey through fields of depression, that I have come to understand it as an experience which can be rich and ultimately very rewarding. Depression phases are often the precursor to new life stages - very balsamic in nature - gestative and developmental. If we can understand that these deeply introspective phases in our lives, are the time for releasing the past feelings which are part of a phase in life which is drawing to a close, and quietly nurture ourselves whilst our Soul is preparing us for the next phase of growth, we can contain the feelings of loss and separation. From this place faith and trust can be born.


May you all shine and grow in this new Millennium - Maggie Kerr

References:
Howard Sasportas The Astrology and Psychology of Aggression Dynamics of The Unconscious
Liz Greene Depression Dynamics of The Unconscious
Roberto Assaglioli The Act Of Will

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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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