Reviewed by Karin
What else would we expect from Liz Greene: this is a fascinating and
complex book which explores the human psyche in a psychologically and
astrologically well-founded manner. It is a book that apparently deals
with 'the others' - with psychopaths, madmen and scapegoats. And yet,
the reader can feel that this also concerns him or her, and thus the
book becomes highly personal.
In all three parts of the book, Liz Greene explores extreme
states of the psyche astrologically. They are transcripts of seminars
she held at
the "Centre for Psychological Astrology".
What are the characteristics of a psychopath? How does
a person become a psychopath? Is the potential to become a psychopath
hidden within each of us? What makes the difference?
Starting from a general perspective and leading up to
the particular, the author explores the psychological and astrological
are commonly associated with psychopathic behaviour. After a detailed
explanation of the clinical definition of psychopathy, Liz Greene looks
at several examples of people who are considered psychopaths. What do
the 'Oklahoma bomber' Timothy McVeigh, Charles Manson, Slobodan Milosevic,
Dr. Mengele and the 'Moors murderess' have in common?
Can we see the psychopath
in the horoscope?
It is fascinating, for example, that Moon and/or Venus often play
a dominant role in charts of people whom we consider as psychopaths.
In fact, the charts of a lot of allegedly "unfeeling" and "cold-blooded"
psychopaths have an emphasis of the water element. Surprising?
From a psychological point of view it becomes clear that these people
have often had difficulties to cope with their strong
sensitivity and emotions in their past. They found it easier
to lock their feelings away and keep them 'water-tight' so that they
didn't have to feel them.
But they have found other outlets for their watery side: they use their
strong capacity for empathy to 'slip into their victims' skin' and find
out about their weaknesses and fears in order to exploit them ruthlessly.
To the psychopath it may "only" feel like striking back, like
a revenge for their own hurt feelings...
So, are all people with an emphasis on water psychopaths? Or:
What makes the difference?
In her exploration of people who are considered as psychopaths, Liz
Greene searches for indicators that distinguish the paths of those
people from the paths taken by the 'ordinary'.
The comparison of charts of supposed psychopaths and 'completely normal'
seminar participants shows that the horoscope can indicate which themes
a person has to deal with in the course of their lives, however, it
doesn't tell how these themes will manifest on a concrete level. The
horoscope doesn't show whether someone turns into a psychopath or not.
An accumulation of certain astrological signatures can point to difficult
psychological structures or patterns which can suggest a tendency towards
psychopathy ("illness of the soul"). However, the astrological
signatures by themselves do not suffice to recognise the potential for
a psychopath or to explain such a development of these "sufferings
of the soul". As always, the environment, socialisation, family
patterns and history play an important role - and not least: the level
and the free will of the person concerned.
Even for experienced psychological astrologers, who should consider
the above as self-evident, it is essential to remind themselves that
this is the case. It is all too tempting to discover the "illness" in
the horoscope, especially when dealing with such extreme states of the
psyche. However, once these states are manifest, the chart can help
to better understand the inner structures and patterns of personality.
Part II: Mental Health and
What is normal? Aren't we all a little 'mad'?
Liz Greene explicitly uses the word "madness", despite the
politically correct tendencies in psychology. In this part of the book
a phenomenon from which many of us would rather keep their distance.
The author describes the phenomenon by telling about the myths which
explain the different types of madness. In ancient
people believed that madness was sent as a punishment by the gods whose
concerns had been neglected or disrespected by this person. This view
may appear antiquated
at first sight but it soon acquires actuality when we start looking
at the 'gods' as 'the gods within ourselves', the gods who are part
of our own soul. All parts of our soul want to be recognised. If we
too much, they will "run amok" or at least show themselves
in ways which we would not consider "normal" anymore.
In modern psychology, and with the discovery of the Unconscious, the
gods were 'banned' into the depths of the psyche. We can view them as
archetypal patterns in which the madness manifests.
Did you know, for example, that Dionysos' madness can result from the
denial of the irrational, of chaos and the imagination? It manifests
in excess, ecstasy, loss of personal boundaries and intensity of feeling.
Astrologically, these themes correspond to Neptune, Jupiter
and Saturn. Structure and chaos are in conflict. It is caused by the
suppression of the powerful life force which then bursts out and destroys.
Aphrodite takes revenge on those who deny or suppress their passion.
She punishes them with erotic obsession to the extent of destruction.
Astrologically, we can look at the signatures of Venus, Pluto and possibly
But also Hera, Artemis, Uranus and some other gods would punish disrespect
with madness. These are also covered extensively in this chapter.
It becomes clear that the different disorders (or diagnosed mental
diseases) are "exaggerated versions of the individual's innate
temperament, which have become excessive because
the "I" or
Ego has lost - or never possessed - the capacity to stand its ground." The
"I" is resonant to "mad" strategies
for dealing with these inner powers. The Ego cannot contain
and direct these
powers but is helpless and at their mercy. Liz Greene compares
the Ego which cannot cope with the conflict between opposing forces
to a football that is tossed to and fro between them.
The relatively strong and stable Ego has
the capacity to appease the inner gods and use their powers constructively.
It is certainly worthwhile to work at becoming such a stable Ego.
It is interesting that Liz Greene considers break-downs to be potential
break-throughs. Rigid structures break down and contain the potential
for change and for healing the self. A break-down can
therefore be a
"transitory form of madness".
The "madness" of others can help to encourage
some thoughts about our own lunacies or follies and our own "everyday
In the third part of the book Liz
Greene states that turning "someone into a scapegoat
[...] is a universal problem". The scapegoat is part of
every mythology and every culture, modern and ancient: She explains
that in so-called primitive societies, the scapegoat ritual is part
of a religious framework which aims at the cyclical renewal of a society
through ritualised cleansing of its sins.
Again, Liz Greene approaches the theme from a mythological and archetypal
perspective, followed by reflections on the individual and collective
meaning in our daily lives. Again, we are dealing with ancient motives
and patterns which 'populate' the individual as well as the collective
psyche. We all carry elements of the scapegoat within us but some identify
more with it than others. Astrological patterns or constellations can
help us understand why a person or a nation turns into a scapegoat or
its opponent, the persecutor.
While being a scapegoat used to be a "sacred" task in ancient
times, we have lost this connection in our modern world, and we only
suffering with this role. In mythology, the scapegoat
- and the word can be taken literally, since it was indeed a goat that
was sacrificed or sent into the desert - played an important role, because
on the sins of all and atoned for them as a representative of the others.
In Christian culture, this concept is represented by Christ who takes
upon himself the sins of the people and dies in their stead. Thus, the
scapegoat used to be both impure and sacred. It was a "vessel
for healing". Who would nowadays look at it that way?
Most of the time, the scapegoats are "the others", those
who don't conform with the current norm, who are different and who deviate
the collective because of some special feature or peculiarity. In short:
those who are unique in some way. This peculiarity or uniqueness might
consist in kingdom or
in physical or psychological illness, in madness or magical powers.
The astrological symbol for uniqueness is the Sun. We tend to search
for the scapegoat outside ourselves because, unconsciously, we feel
that there is a scapegoat or persecutor within each of us. Scapegoats
very common in areas like race, religion, social class, or sexuality.
On a psychological level, criminals, for example, who are turned into
scapegoats, take on the shadow projections of the collective. They
Liz Greene extensively discusses the scapegoat as a psychological complex
and comes to the conclusion that, when confronted with the scapegoat,
we find ourselves in a room full of mirrors. The scapegoat always deals
with parts of ourselves which we consider "bad" and therefore
don't want to acknowledge as parts of ourselves. It is easier to project
The astrology of the scapegoat
Taking Slobodan Milosevic as an example, Liz Greene shows which astrological
factors play a role in developing a scapegoat complex. Milosevic even
finds himself in the double role of the scapegoat. On the one hand,
he becomes the persecutor (in Kosovo) who turns all people other than
into scapegoats, and on the other hand, he himself is made a scapegoat
by the Western nations and the USA exactly for doing this.
It turns out that the most significant factors are Saturn, Chiron and
Pluto, and to a certain extent Neptune and Uranus. These are often in
aspect to the Sun, Moon or the personal planets. This personality is
to the current Zeitgeist which is symbolised
by the outer planets. People with hard aspects between Sun and Saturn,
for example, might tend to take the collective's opinion of themselves
very seriously. This can lead to fear of not being 'good enough' - a
central part of the scapegoat complex.
If a complex assumes control over the psyche, it avails itself of the
horoscope and uses it to its own ends, and the way the signs, aspects
and houses express themselves
is coloured by this archetypal pattern. It is not the indivudual who
is at the center of things, but the complex determines what happens.
The meaning of awareness
The more aware we are of the topic of the scapegoat - individually
as well as collectively - the more likely we will be able to find creative
expressions for the complex: for example, by being a helper rather than
a victim. The less aware we are, the more helpless we are and at the
mercy of the complex.
Liz Greene recommends that we find ways to work with the scapegoat
complex so that its original, sacred meaning can once again resurface.
We cannot rid ourselves of the complex but we can deal with it in more
creative ways. By consciously accepting the sacred task of the scapegoat,
we can reconnect with the Divine.
All three parts of the book are fascinating to read, and the most important
message for me personally is this: It is always easier to see the crazy,
bad or unwanted things in the other, but we are always thrown back onto
ourselves nevertheless - if we allow it to happen. Now, how do I deal
with the fact that I have the astrological signatures of psychopaths,
madmen and scapegoats or persecutors in my own chart? What makes the
difference between me and them? Is it not that much, in the end?
A book which offers many astrological and psychological insights into
the dark sides of the soul. A book that raises questions that are
all but easy to answer. A book that makes us think about ourselves.
In my opinion, it is worth facing up to the "Dark of the Soul".
The Dark of the Soul.
Psychopathology in the Horoscope.
This book can be ordered at: