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Mapping the Psyche

An Introduction to Psychological Astrology, by Clare Martin

Libra
  • Cardinal Air
  • Ruler: Venus
  • Exaltation: Saturn
  • Detriment: Mars
  • Fall: Sun

Libra is a cardinal air sign, which is important to remember because, as the Venus ruled sign of one-to-one relationships, it is often automatically assumed to be a water sign. As a cardinal sign, Libra has very strong views about justice, harmony and civilized behaviour. Libra is refined. It rules all the civilized arts - the theatre, concert halls, art galleries, as well as the laws with which any civilized society conducts itself. Saturn, which is exalted in Libra, is very comfortable in this sign, since Saturn also rules laws. The function of Libra, as indicated by the symbol of the scales, is to balance the system.

Sometimes it is revealing to imagine what it would be like to completely remove a sign from the zodiac and to think about what would then be missing. Without Libra, for example, there would be no beautiful objects in our homes, no statues or gardens or parks in our cities, no graceful buildings or boulevards, no orderly queues, or manners or etiquette or polite consideration for others. All these Libran qualities are what make civilized life gracious and pleasant. Libran rules and laws and contracts make it possible for us to live together in harmony in the confidence that those who break the laws of civilized living will be justly punished. The Venus ruler of Libra is not the sensuous, physical, earthy Venus associated with Aphrodite. This Venus is more akin to Athena, the warrior goddess who was born from her father Zeus' forehead, fully grown and fully armed, with a sword in her hand. Her function was to protect heroes and brave warriors and to bring the arts of civilization to mankind. She is the patron of architecture and all the aesthetic arts.

There is a famous statue of Justice on the top of the Old Bailey in London, which I am sure you are familiar with. This female figure holds the sword of justice in one hand and the scales of justice in the other. In a sense she is an exact representation of the Aries-Libra axis in the birth chart. Libra is about aesthetics, about structure, style, grace, balance and harmony. As far as one-to-one relationships are concerned, Libra creates the contracts which define the agreed behaviour between two people, whether in business or personal relationships. Ideas and theories and concepts of peace and harmony and justice are Libra's strengths.

As a Venus-ruled sign, there is always something charming, graceful, pleasant and attractive about Librans as well as a kind of androgynous quality. There is something rather feminine about the men and rather masculine about the women, which denotes an inner as well as outer balance. How things look and how people present themselves are important to Librans, and Libran taste and style can be relied on when it comes to interior decoration and fashion, since they have a sophisticated appreciation of balance and harmony. As intellectuals, it is likely to be the Librans at a ballet or concert who are following the score to ensure that the particular art form is performed correctly - the right way. Water and fire people, on the other hand, will simply be immersed in the emotional tension and drama entering completely into the mythic or emotional experience.

It is genuinely important for Librans that the world and other people behave fairly, that 'justice is seen to be done' and that there is an equal balance of give and take in relationships. Librans believe strongly in contractual relationships, so that: 'If I do this for you then you will do this for me,' and 'If I am there for you, then you must be there for me.' There is always a quid pro quo where Libra is concerned: nothing is given unconditionally by Libra because this upsets the balance. But remember that this is not a water sign, and Libra gets very uncomfortable when emotional issues are stirred, because emotions tend to be uncivilized and messy and often unfair, which is not Libra's arena at all. From this point of view they can be very unrealistic about relationships.

Audience: But I thought they were romantics.

Clare: Oh yes, but as an air sign they tend to be in love with love as an art form or style. They want everything to be 'nice' - 'the whole nine yards', right down to the red roses, the candlelit dinners, words of love and soft music. A legal or marriage contract is a promise to behave in a certain way or to do a certain thing. There is nothing that upsets Librans more than when they feel they have been giving more than they receive, or if a contract has been broken. That is deeply, deeply upsetting and will normally trigger the surprisingly powerful and raw emotions which Librans normally try to avoid.

A good example of this is the film, The War of the Roses, which some of you may have seen. The film begins with an extremely civilized, intelligent married couple, played by Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. They have a beautiful house and a manicured garden, the 'right' pictures on the wall, beautiful cars, they belong to the right social set and have respectable careers. In short, they have everything that the air signs could wish for. What they are not in control of, however, is their emotions, and the film is a terrifying tale of disintegration as the emotions take over and destroy everything they have created together.

Audience: Yes, I remember the terrible things they did to each other. It was a very disturbing film.

Clare: They ended up attacking each other with knives, running over each other's pets and generally behaving like crazed monsters. They are not at their best, Librans, in that kind of arena. They are very, very good when manners, diplomacy and charm are required. That's their best function. They are very skilled diplomats, excellent arbitrators, wonderful statesmen, and often have a tremendous gift for flattery. It is a kind of genuine looking for the best in others, so that they can be seen in the best light themselves.

Audience: Isn't this a bit harsh?

Clare: Well, you are right to point this out because I know I have a Libran shadow! On the other hand, it is important to keep in mind that the qualities of the opposite sign are complementary and necessary for the full integration of each sign. In this case, Aries indicates that a strong sense of 'I' is essential if Libra is to function positively. As an air sign, Libra often doesn't understand that problems cannot be solved by the rational intellect alone. Shaking hands after a dispute attends to the form but does nothing to resolve the emotional undercurrent of the problem. The concept of 'peace talks' is a good example of this. The intention is to bring in rational detachment to solve a problem which often has very deep emotional roots, to put the problem on the table and look at it in a detached way in order to negotiate a compromise. Does this make sense to you? Obviously The War of the Roses resonated?

Audience: I am a Libran myself, and it was so horrible when I broke up with my ex-husband - exactly like the film!

Clare: What is so interesting when contracts are broken or ended, such as in divorce, is that on one level this is dealt with in a very civilized way through lawyers and through the law courts. This is where a pre-nuptial contract comes into its own, and indeed it must have been a Libran who invented these in the first place! It is a well known fact that Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones signed a prenuptial contract and that they share the same birthday - 25th September - so they are both Librans! Catherine Zeta-Jones also starred recently in a film called Intolerable Cruelty, with George Clooney starring as a society divorce lawyer. This was another excellent exploration of the contractual side of marriage, which hinged entirely around the subject of pre-nuptial agreements. The film was a good portrayal of the fact that no 'negotiated settlement', legal separation or divorce can help with the emotions or feelings which underlie such situations. Moving on - has anyone got any planets in Libra that they would like to look at?

Planets in Libra

Audience: I have Mars in Libra.

Clare: Mars describes how you defend and assert yourself, how you fight. With Mars in Libra, I suspect that you find it easier to fight for others than for yourself if you feel an injustice has been done. This indicates that you are probably a natural mediator and arbitrator, and you will feel comfortable in these kinds of situations. It is harder for Mars in Libra to stand up for themselves since they often intellectualise the problem and can easily find reasons why the other person is behaving in a particular way, arguing against themselves, if you like. On the other hand, this placement describes a 'just war'. If a contract has been broken, an injustice done, this can spur the Libran on towards righting the wrong, although this will normally be done with great style. Do you find that injustices will really get you going?

Audience: Absolutely.

Clare: Sally has Pluto in Libra, which is a collective placement well worth looking at. Pluto was in Libra from 1971 to 1983, which indicates that the collective corruption and decay which is ready to be brought to the surface, purged and eliminated will concern issues of equality, fairness, justice and trust. The Watergate affair of 1972 and 1973 in the US is one example. We could say that, until this time, it was collectively assumed that people in positions of power would behave in a generally ethical, legal and honourable way, and that the legal system could be more or less trusted to deliver justice. Now that Pluto has been through Libra, I think we are all much more aware of the corruption which exists under the surface in big organizations. But at the time, the Watergate affair was particularly shocking because on a collective level we still expected people in positions of authority and responsibility to behave ethically.

On a personal level, the burning ground for this generation will hinge around issues of trust and personal responsibility in relationships, which are likely to go through periods of breakdown and re-creation as those with Pluto in Libra struggle to find more honest, balanced and integrated ways to manage their relationships. This is very different indeed to the Neptune in Libra generation born between 1942 and 1956. This was a generation whose collective dream and longing was for peace, love and harmony. This was the hippy generation which idealized relationships and believed, in the immortal words of John Lennon, that 'All you need is love.'

Audience: So, with Pluto in Sagittarius at the moment, what is the corruption which is coming to the surface?

Clare: Sagittarius concerns higher education, the church and the law, and I think it is true to say that all these areas are under currently under severe pressure to get their respective houses in order. In the UK, universities are now meant to be available to all, and no longer places of privilege. However, this has meant that student grants have been replaced by loans, and universities are now under extreme financial pressure to survive at all. In the church there continue to be enormous struggles over the question of the ordination of gay priests and women bishops, not to mention the exposure of priests who have molested children. In Sagittarian terms, as God's representatives priests are not supposed to be bodily motivated at all, but all these issues have come to light since Pluto entered Sagittarius. In the legal world, the corruption of the Legal Aid system has now been exposed. Pluto adds fanaticism and obsession, which could describe the current growth of fundamentalism and the rise of religious cults.

nach oben


The Book"Mapping the Psyche"

First published 2005 by the CPA Press, BCM Box 1815, London WC1N 3XX, United Kingdom, www.cpalondon.com.
Copyright ©2005 by Clare Martin.
More Information about the Book.
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