The angles in the birth chart
The angles in a birth chart are of great importance, since
it is through the angles that we meet and relate to and connect with the
outside world. The angles function as doorways into the world - they provide
us with our basic physical and spatial orientation and pin us down into
our incarnation. They are like our personal cross of matter or tree of
life, with the Ascendant/Descendant axis reaching out horizontally to connect
with the world around us, and the vertical MC/IC axis providing our central
stability, our root system from which we draw the strength to grow tall
in the world.
Using the natural zodiac, you can see that the parental axis is vertical and hierarchical. The natural signs on this axis are Capricorn and Cancer, and the planetary rulers are Saturn and the Moon, symbolising parent and child. The natural elements are earth and water, indicating that this axis concerns our basic need for safety, support and containment. The MC/IC axis also describes our biological origins, the relationship between our parents, and therefore our primal experience of the masculine and feminine. This remains a powerful influence for our entire lives, and one that is repeated in our adult relationships to the extent that our relationships are driven by a need for security, safety and a sense of belonging, or by the need to resolve parental issues or childhood insecurities and fears. We all have valid dependency needs, because we have all been children and we all have, or become, parents.
The horizontal relationship axis, on the other hand, represents our potential for equal, adult-to-adult relationships. The natural signs on this axis are Aries and Libra, and the planetary rulers are Mars and Venus, the adult manifestations of the masculine and feminine principles. The natural elements are fire and air, signifying the desire for self-expression and communication in relationships. There is, of course, an inherent tension between these two sets of opposites, between the parental axis, which is yin in character, and the relationship axis, which is yang in character. Jung wrote: 'In the square the elements are separate and hostile to one another and must therefore be united in the circle.' In the birth chart, the opposites are already potentially united in the circle, and our task is to bring these axes into a conscious, creative and dynamic relationship with each other.
Four is the minimal number by which order can be created and represents the pluralistic state of the man who has not yet attained inner unity, hence the state of bondage and disunion, of disintegration, and of being torn in different directions - an agonizing, unredeemed state which longs for union, reconciliation, redemption, healing and wholeness.
- 3.) Jung, C. G., 'The Psychology of the Transference', in The Practice of Psychotherapy, CW16, trans. R. F. C. Hull (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1954) [hereafter Jung, CW16], p. 42.