Developmental Lessons For Libra: “The Other Side of The Game”

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From the onset, it needs to be said that the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts, so when I write about sun signs, there are factors in the entire chart which are capable of heightening, suppressing or refining this energy.

As we proceed to look at the Libra archetype, the focus is now on the meaning of the scales’ function. After all, what exactly do scales do? They balance and they weigh.

Webster’s dictionary defines both a scale and a balance as:
“A beam that is supported freely in the center and has two pans of equal weight suspended from its ends.”

Next, let’s examine the definition of weigh:
” To consider carefully, especially by balancing opposing factors or aspects in order to reach a choice or conclusion.”

This is the essence of the core life energy of Libra.

A large portion of Libra’s stimulus contains the balancing of their own ego recognition with the social acceptance of others. There is a continual weighing of what pleases others and the recognition of their own identity.

The process is lived out through the archetypal characters of the “nice” woman/man, the diplomat, the peacemaker, the smooth operator and the negotiator.

With this sign, the psychological need rests in being seen as attractive, fair, kind, and popular, and what better way to do that than to hold a continuous interest in what makes other people tick? To present yourself as charming and engaging, which in turn, puts others at ease and helps them feel important. An insightful quote from Alfred Adler, the Viennese psychologist, illustrates this point:

“It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow men who has the greatest difficulties in life and provides the greatest injury to others. It is from among such individuals that all human failures spring.”

Taking a look at all of the cardinal signs: Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn, I would cast them all as possessing their own unique type of intelligence quotient:

Aries energy is inclined toward kinesthetic and leadership intelligence, Cancer is solidly rooted in emotional IQ. While Capricorn’s practical and managerial IQ is stellar,

Libra excels in social intelligence.

Libra energy is neatly attuned to seeing the “other side of the game” and opposing viewpoints seem to take on a particular fascination as a means to see “how the other half lives.” Libran’s are even inclined, to an extent, to take on the observer’s role when viewing themselves.

Like anything else, when this orientation is taken to the extreme, it tends to over function, which then presents itself as a dysfunctional display of behavior.

Consequently, an individual’s healthy social awareness has now denigrated to a stifling straitjacket because he/she is afraid to make a move or decision out of fear that someone will disapprove. Or, the “other’s” point of view has been under consideration so long, that they’ve completely forgotten about their own wants, needs and identity.

This is the time where the words of Albert Camus call for heavy consideration:

“To give oneself has no meaning unless one possesses oneself. You can give only what you have.”

After all, Libra: for you to be FREELY supported in your CENTER, you must BALANCE the weight on both ends: yourself, and the other side.

Image : USA Today

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Moon-Venus Contacts in Synastry : “It’s a Love Thing”

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As a counseling Astrologer, when writing about synastry, which surveys relationship potential and compatibility  between two people (as suggested by their birth charts), one of my main responsibilities is to be an “opener of doors” and an interpreter of potentials and possibilities. No narrative between two individuals is a static, fixed one.

Advancing the art of synastry requires creativity, and a  far-seeing telescopic lens devoid of the “by rote” recitation of familiar and stale scenarios which couldn’t revive themselves even using the most powerful set of defibrillators.

In addressing issues surrounded by compatibility, our birth charts serve as a basis, foundation or a tool.  Then, the people breathe life into it, catapulting themselves off the paper into real-time, as to honor and support the unfolding human being.

Let’s take a journey into the realm of the Moon and Venus. These two planetary archetypes are firmly rooted in Astrology’s “intimacy network.”  Let’s make no mistake: they can be great friends and cohabitants, symbolizing a cozy synthesis of both what we WANT and what we NEED.

When Moon-Venus contacts are experienced between two people, there’s a GRAND OPPORTUNITY to create a “safe space” or a “heavenly haven”, if you will.  A place where you both enjoy the company of one another and there’s potential for an airtight trust that’s built on a keen emotional understanding and the desire of both partners to be in tune with one another’s innermost needs. The relationship possesses a heart barometer that each person checks frequently out of immense concern for the other.

The home and hearth are something to be cherished here, and the meanings travel far beyond the mundane “brick and mortar” definition. When it comes to the nurturing of the union between partners, a spirit of mutual cooperation can be present in service of furthering a heartfelt and erotic bond. Whether you’re a Woman or a Man in the relationship, these contacts suggest a deep and genuine appreciation for feminine principles: receptive, yielding and containing energy which is open to intuitive insights, emotional memory and the welcoming of sensitivity with open arms.

In Robert Augustus Masters’ work entitled “Emotional Intimacy: A Comprehensive Guide For Connecting With The Power of Your Emotions“, he gives an outline of some factors in synergistic combination which constitute emotional intimacy. Here are five which illustrate Moon-Venus contacts working at an optimal level:

(1) Being sufficiently well acquainted with our emotions so that when one arises, we recognize it, can name it, and acknowledge what we’re doing with it.

(2) Relating TO our emotions rather than just FROM our emotions, so that we neither fuse with nor dissociate from them

(3) Listening to others deeply, both to what’s being said and what’s NOT being said.

(4) Remaining emotionally transparent and non-defensively expressive of whatever is arising in us, be it pleasant or unpleasant.

(5) Being FULLY vulnerable.

Ladies and gentlemen, of course there’s a flip side to these dynamics, which holds the possibility of operating in quite a dysfunctional manner.

An appropriate culinary comparison to the Moon and Venus would be comfort food and sweets. Both, when consumed and enjoyed in moderation, don’t necessarily have detrimental, long-term effects. However, overdoing it is a different story. One could easily conjure up a scenario where both partners are racking their brains to come up with the last time they actually participated in a meaningful activity as an independent entity. In fact, that whole phrase sounds foreign and perplexing.

Oddly enough, when suffering from he stupor  that sugar shock brings on, all the partners can locate is 15 to 20 extra pounds and remnants of an expired gym membership. What was once healthy interdependence has now morphed into insatiable attachment hunger. The fulfillment which results from adult sharing has now given way to the fussiness and temper tantrums reflecting infantile behavior.

Like any other contacts in synastry, much depends on the attitudes, maturity and focus of the people involved; with the emphasis being not so much on whether the aspects are cast as “harmonious” or “inharmonious”, but rather uncovering, through a wide open quest, the most constructive potentials for operation of the planets in question.

Take a listen to Pete Rock’s “It’s A Love Thing” featuring CL Smooth

The Courage To Explore: Intimate Relationships & What Lies Beneath

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It’s amazing how relationships can move so swiftly, from the point that says: ” I really want to get to know you better.” “I accept every part of you.” “For better of for worse.” Or, “what we have is SO real,” and then revert to a dismal: “Clearly, you weren’t who I thought you were.” “You fooled me.” Or, the best : “You fake ass mother f%$&*% !”

How do our relationships vacillate  to such extremes in a matter of months, weeks or even days?

My contention is that over idealism and intoxication, compliments of “fairy dust” can blind us to the possibilities that something more complex and sinister lurks beneath the surface. In many cases, we outright refuse to acknowledge the shadow which pervades intimate relationships.

Actually, the force is only “sinister” if we choose to ignore the dark, as if it doesn’t exist. Otherwise, these dynamics can assist us in arriving at a deeper place with our partners, if that’s what we truly want.

Additionally, it’s important to understand that we must deal with the shadow, not only in our relationships with others, but also in our MOST intimate relationship: with OURSELVES.

To plumb the depths of our psyches isn’t a journey for the faint of heart. There’s a considerable risk of discovering contents which we’re uncomfortable with.

You know: those which increase our heart beat, incite nausea and cause us to squirm. We feel this way because if ANYONE discovered that these thoughts were a part of our psychological framework, we feel as is we would be immediately be judged, ostracized and rejected.

However, what bears consideration is that these very same contents, while acknowledged and given a constructive outlet for expression can serve is as an agent in our development and ultimate transformation.

Much of the time, during the beginning stages of a relationship, a decision is made by one or both partners to engage in strategies which are designed to cover up the parts of ourselves which we deem as being “ugly”. We construct a veneer of bullshit  and call it ourselves, and no matter how sophisticated our tactics may be, every time we turn around, the bullshit is there, just hanging out.

As a result, between two people, intimacy is stifled and given a snowball’s chance in hell” of developing because it can’t surface in an environment so ripe with dishonesty.

Generally, we’ve bought the bill of goods society has sold us: telling to us that we can have a genuine relationship without being genuine. We’ve been told that the correct course of action is to hide our blemishes and make only the acceptable parts of ourselves visible.

The lingering hope is this: by the time the other person recognizes all of our bullshit (there’s that word again), they’ll be so invested (a mortgage, 2 or 3 children deep, etc..) that they won’t have the strength, sanity or peace of mind to fight for their own well-being and “at least we’ll have somebody”.

We’ve somehow become convinced of the notion that navigating difficult territory is something to be avoided at all costs. We strive to avoid pain any way that we can, thereby creating more of it because of our refusal to deal with it when it was knocking at our front door, staring us in the face.

In virtually every area of life, we’ve  been told that we can get what we want through some type of shortcut. Get rich quick, lose weight fast, a holiday meal to go in a box, quick, earth shattering astrology readings, and the list goes on.

It’s more accurate to say that successful relationships don’t materialize via mystical and magical means. The willingness of both parties to share, seek mutual understanding, create space for the honoring and expression of feelings and emotions and confronting aspects of ourselves and the other that are difficult to deal with are all part of this process.

For explorations sake, let’s follow the theory that when we feel vulnerable in relationships, we associate that with weakness. So, we go searching for a “mask” to wear that’s going to help us not appear so weak. Automatically, this obscures what we know of and desire to express about our true self. The act naturally puts shackles on our ability to experience life more deeply with another person. Immediately, limits are strapped into place and there’s only so far that we can go.

We forget that we’re human beings and life contains many dimensions which aren’t filed under the category of niceties and bliss.

While this may be an unpopular view, it doesn’t detract from its validity. I would also encourage everyone to ask themselves the question whether one of their purposes for developing intimate relationships stems more from the desire to gain a certain amount or type of social acceptance, or to explore deeper aspects of themselves as a catalyst for personal and collective growth.

Douglas and Naomi Moseley write:

“Developing an attractive personality does not eliminate the parts of ourselves that are unacceptable, they just become more disguised and layered over.”

Furthermore:

“People who are only willing to look at or be aware of one portion of themselves are essentially living in a delusion, well intended though that delusion may be. Behind their masks, they don’t know who they are or what they feel. The control they exert to present an acceptable self-image to others (and themselves) is likely to leave them numb and without passion. Major dimensions within the self are lost or repressed. Living behind a mask takes energy. The process of suppressing becomes so habitual that they forget how much energy is consumed by putting on a good, pleasant face and living up to an image.”

We stand on the rooftops and shout that we want someone to “love me for me” or “accept me as I am” and this raises two important questions: Are we willing to honestly reveal ourselves to the degree that genuine acceptance is possible and will we reciprocate?

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The universe is asking us to push ourselves to create strategies to relate as authentically as possible and discard that “shit eating grin” which we may have been carrying around with us for some time. The feedback from the cosmos is telling us that the jig is up and the masks no longer work. Can we face our own shadow? Can we vow to escape the morass of comfortable numbness and self-deceit?

If we can do this, we can jump-start true change in our lives. If not, we may find ourselves searching for discounts for costumes at Party City.

Notes: “Dancing In The Dark: The Shadow Side of Intimate Relationships by Douglas & Naomi Moseley

 

Astrology, The 1st/7th House Axis and Intimate Partnerships: Separately Together

In M. Scott Peck’s classic book “The Road Less Traveled”, the author emphasizes some very significant points regarding the definition of genuine love within the context of relationships. 

Peck states that a major characteristic in relationships that are truly loving and intimate, is the ability to make the distinction between yourself and the other person.

Although the act of coming together and being a part of each other’s spiritual reality is paramount, the individual identity of the two separate people must always be preserved if the partnership is going to be truly healthy.

Additionally, “the genuine lover always respects and even encourages this separateness and the unique individuality of the beloved. Failure to perceive and respect this separateness is extremely common however, and the cause of much mental illness and unnecessary suffering.”

Many intimate relationships begin with two people becoming mutually captivated with each other’s personalities. They’re both extremely attracted to  and excited about what each other represents.

However, the erroneous assumptions and miscalculations creep in when one, or both partners advocate for the union to dissolve or severely minimize their individual identities. 

It’s as if the parties involved are now asking the person they said they were madly and deeply attracted to, to relinquish their sense of self in favor of a composite identity represented by “we”.

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While it is certainly logical that a shift will naturally occur just because of the nuances of being partnered, the pressing question is if the destiny of the dynamic of couple hood has now exceeded that of individual purpose.

I quote again from Peck:

“In it’s most extreme form, the failure to perceive the separateness of the other is called narcissism. Frankly narcissistic individuals are actually unable to perceive their children, spouses or friends as being separate from themselves on an emotional level.”

Astrologically speaking, these challenges and dilemmas are “at home” in the 1st and 7th houses, which oppose, yet compliment one another.

Simply defined, the 1st house represents “us” and our identitieswhat we wish to project out into the world both physically and energetically.

The 7th house symbolizes “them” the “other” in our lives: spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, business partners and anyone whom we may deal with on a one to one basis. 

Along with other chart factors, these two houses, and the planets contained therein, contribute to the ongoing story of who we’re becoming, who we attract into our lives and the type of dynamics that need to exist in our partnerships.

 

We need not view the 1st/7th house axis as antagonistic, rather it would be in our best interest to ask more questions about what we see here.

What are my true relationship needs? What is my individual life purpose? How does my sense of self contribute to a collective destiny? Am I able to freely express and assert my identity within a relationship? In what ways is my partner different from me? Do I honor those differences? Does my partner respect my individuality?

The inability to come to terms with separateness in relationships can have a detrimental effect, as it can cause the once lively buoyant partnership to disintegrate into mundane numbness.  This phenomena is not only directed toward marriages and the like, but friendships, co-worker relationships and family as well. 

It’s vital that we examine OUR life purposes within a relationship as they pertain to US. That we avoid the age old mistake of placing the destinies and life tasks of others, no matter how close we may be to them, inside our own psychological framework.

Let’s remember that even though we may be “partnered” with another person, we both came to this earth with an individual mission to accomplish independent of the union.

Because two individuals unite, in no way does this mean that their personal work is done. It’s imperative that both people participate in experiences outside of the relationship realm in order to foster not only their sense of self, but also the growth of the entire partnership. 

Intimate relationships require time, energy and mutual sacrifice. However, let us consider a portion of the time invested as a solid foundation, or a directional queue toward our individual spiritual work on this earth, with this ultimate goal:

To honor our identities by fully participating in the experiences we need to fulfill our individual life purposes, while expending the effort and respecting the contributions needed to help an intimate partnership develop, thrive and ultimately flourish.
                                                                                                                                          
Reference : “The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth” by M. Scott Peck  

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