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Mapping the Psyche Vol. II

An Introduction to Psychological Astrology, by Clare Martin

Volume II: The Planetary Aspects and the Houses of the Horoscope

Lesson Four: Polarity and the Angles

This evening I want to spend some time looking at the six pairs of polarities present in every chart. We will then go on to look at the meaning of the angles. The birth chart tells us that, from the moment of our birth, we are confronted with a series of polarities. It is these polarities which cause us to become strangers to ourselves, divided, split, separated and fragmented, with the result that we keep meeting the split-off parts of ourselves in other people or in the world 'out there', not realising that they belong to us.

For the individual, the struggle to deal with irreconcilable opposites generates the development of psyche. Individuation, in other words, is made possible through the tensions caused by the neurotic aspects of the personality. [1]

I want to spend some time considering the signs and the houses as six pairs of complementary opposites because, as Dane Rudhyar wrote, 'It simply does not make any sense to try and define the meaning of one end of an axis without including in the definition the meaning of the other end'. [2]This approach helps us to work with the mechanism of projection, which is one of the most important ideas in psychology and in psychological astrology. It is also much easier to understand what something actually is, if we study at the same time what it is not. So we are going to spend this evening caught up in the drama of opposites, which is, of course, what makes life so interesting.
Like a pendulum, the more extreme one pole becomes, the more extreme the opposite pole becomes. Whenever we identify consciously with one end of a polarity, the opposite end is constellated in the unconscious, compensating for and balancing the consciously held position. Have a look at this table of opposites. In the last column are words describing the extreme opposites of the same spectrum. We already know from last term that opposites are inseparable; they repel and attract each other in equal measure. The interesting question, which is not necessarily clear from the birth chart itself, is where do we stand on each of these axes - where are we consciously identified?

Natural zodiac and house axes

Houses Signs
(natural zodiac)
Planets
(natural rulers)
Psychological dynamic
1st/7th Aries/Libra
Fire/Air
CARDINAL
Mars/Venus Axis of relationship
Self/not-self
Me/you
Autonomy/compromise
Self-assertion/
cooperation
Desire/acceptance
Personal goal/context
2nd/8th Taurus/Scorpio
Earth/Water
FIXED
Venus/Mars (Pluto) Axis of exchange
Mine/yours
Valuing self/other
Dependency on self/other
Retention/release
Incorporation/
elimination
3rd/9th Gemini/
Sagittarius
Air/Fire
MUTABLE
Mercury/
Jupiter
Axis of exploration
Learning/teaching
Information/meaning
Intellect/beliefs
Student/teacher
Near/far
4th/10th Cancer/
Capricorn
Water/Earth
CARDINAL
Moon/Saturn Axis of structure
Child/parent
Home/world
Private life/public life
Belonging/
self-sufficiency
The clan/the hermit
5th/11th Leo/Aquarius
Fire/Air
FIXED
Sun/Saturn
(Uranus)
Axis of identity
Self/society
Individual/collective
The heart/the head
Personal good/ common good
Autocracy/democracy
Egocentric/altruistic
6th/12th Virgo/Pisces
Earth/Water
MUTABLE
Mercury/Jupiter (Neptune) Axis of devotion
Order/chaos
Control/trust
Duty/compassion
Form/content

In fact, it is not uncommon for people to consult an astrologer precisely because a situation in their lives, or a relationship, has become polarised. In such cases, they may find themselves veering dramatically from one extreme end of a polarity to the other, not realising that the two poles are fundamentally connected. One of our major tasks as astrologers is to 'hold the opposites' for both ourselves and our clients. This is always an uncomfortable and difficult thing to do, but it can protect us from colluding with our clients, on the one hand, or from taking an unhelpful 'problem-solving' approach on the other hand.


  • 1.) Guggenbuhl-Craig, Adolf, From the Wrong Side: A Paradoxical Approach to Psychology (Dallas, TX: Spring Publications, 1995), p. 143.
  • 2.) Dane Rudhyar, The Astrological Houses, p.15

 

nach oben


The Book"Mapping the Psyche, Volume 2"

First published 2007 by the CPA Press, BCM Box 1815, London WC1N 3XX, Copyright © 2007 by Clare Martin.
More Information about the Book.

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