Love and Relationships in the Horoscope

Post by Bruno Huber

Bruno Huber introduces the subject of Love and Relationships in the Horoscope in this edited introduction to the chapter on the subject from his book Astrological Psychosynthesis.

Most contacts we make with other people are functional, such as in the world of work, in daily life, in interest groups, etc. Here the purpose of the meeting is the decisive factor, but, even so, the laws of social interaction still apply. A great deal of hardship is caused these days because in some businesses for instance there is a distinct tendency to ride roughshod over any personal considerations. We are expected to subject ourselves, willy-nilly, to purely utilitarian aims, and end up feeling like robots. It isn’t the monotonous work itself which is so degrading, but the fact that human values seem to have fallen by the wayside. This makes for a tense and frustrated work­force and for difficulties in creating an atmosphere of willing co­operation.

On the other hand, there are many types of associations which serve no immediate practical purpose. These are relationships in their own right where the laws of loving are all-important and rule our behaviour within this context. This applies to a number of different relationships. The first ones to spring to mind are of course the sexually oriented ones, which do not usually have a strictly functional purpose. Or there are various kinds which are loosely grouped together under the heading of friendship, which are more concerned with a mental and emotional exchange. We learn and receive from the other people, and feel enriched by them, and contribute something to them in return. Mixing up our expectations in these encounters may lead to complications, especially if we come up against ethical, religious or philosophical prejudices. And then of course there is total commitment, as in marriage, where the link is forged on all levels, sexual, emotional and mental, in the hope of achieving a har­monious blending, a synthesis.

Caring relationships also come under the heading of ‘love’, but they contain certain elements which may exclude them from the realms of pure love. They do rather have the tendency to be somewhat one-sided, because the carer approaches the situation with a series of assumptions about the person to be cared for. He or she wants to improve that person’s condition. And that creates an imbalance, because the two people who come together under these conditions don’t meet on equal terms. By the very nature of the contact the helper seems to stand above the helped, even if it only feels like that, purely subjectively, to the one who is at the receiving end. The carer, on the other hand, feels empowered, and therefore can’t relate to the other person in a free and relaxed manner.

Astrologically speaking, when we think about love and rela­tionships, we look in the first instance to the Moon, Jupiter, Mercury and Neptune, and of course to the two libido planets, Mars and Venus.

Planet Table

Planets

In our Planet Table, the left-hand column contains the feminine planets, and the right-hand the masculine ones. Planets in the middle column are neutral, with Mercury leaning towards the feminine and Jupiter towards the masculine. The Moon is the prototype neutral planet, and Neptune is the spiritual version of the lunar principle.

The three planets in the middle row (Saturn, Moon and the Sun) form the core of our personality. Through them the ego experiences itself in three different modes. Saturn concentrates on physical reality and survival needs. The Sun brings self-awareness and the will to grow in consciousness, wanting to shine and be creative. The Moon values feelings and contact with others.

Masculine and Feminine Planets

The masculine and feminine planets are goal-oriented. They come to the fore when we want to pursue a specific aim for which we believe their energy or talent may prove useful. Saturn and Sun respectively form the focal point for the Ego; Venus and Mars deal with life support issues, frequently on the subconscious level. Venus concerns herself chiefly with the processes of assimilation, Mars with movement. Uranus and Pluto are the spiritual planets, serving our inner growth.

Pluto is a dynamic planet with a powerful and concentrated effect. This ‘energetic’ planet, creates energies and directs them, more often than not in a down­ward direction. If he is not treated with respect, perhaps by people who steadfastly refuse to accept the spiritual dimension of human existence, then he may be unable to make his influence felt for quite a while. But if and when he then does manage to manifest, it will be rather like a volcanic eruption. When people choose not to respond to his higher intent he can be especially destructive, because he’ll affect them in his raw and uncontrolled state via the mind of the collective, with a disproportionately ‘mass-ive’ out­burst. He can also show himself via an obsession with power and an inflated sense of our own importance, which again is fed by collective energies.

Uranus belongs to Saturn’s group. According to past experience Uranus was given the co-rulership, together with Saturn, of the sign of Aquarius, a fixed sign, because, under normal circum­stances he has been proved to be static, and not dynamic. His dynamic phases and outbursts are only of a temporary nature. Uranus always strives for higher levels of awareness. But he only ventures forth when there are good reasons for doing so, and when he can be reasonably sure of success. Otherwise he prefers to do nothing drastic.

Sensitive or neutral planets

Any relationship auto­matically brings the central column into play (Neptune, Moon, Jupiter/Mercury). In the face of any type of contact we react with sensitivity. And the planets function by themselves, whether we will it or not, whether we try to block them or not. We can merely guide our subsequent reactions, but not our powers of perception in the first place.

The Moon symbolizes our need for contact. She is receptive and reflective, rather like a radar screen, scanning everything that comes within her range. She works rather like a filter, letting through some selected people but not others, keeping out those elements she doesn’t much like. In these encounters we experience ourselves in a feeling, a lunar, sense. She is also like a sensor which is directly connected to our ego. By seeing ourselves in contra­distinction to someone else, we become more closely aware of our own nature. The link is established automatically and creates a living tension between the two partners.

Both Jupiter and Mercury have the ability to respond, the willingness to receive and then to radiate back again. But these two planets don’t really have an ego function. Jupiter deals mainly with our senses, Mercury with interpretation. Mercury responds by analysing events in retrospect. Jupiter is more concerned with sensory perception, with being aware, with seeing, feeling, and experi­encing holistically.

Neptune is also receptive by nature, symbolising spiritual love and sensitivity, not so much the personal love embodied by the Moon, but rather the principle of love, its very essence.

By their position in the chart these sensitive, neutral planets show the extent and nature of our ability to relate to others. Jupiter and Mercury tend to concentrate on the physical, tangible world, the Moon is more interested in feelings, our emotional potential, and Neptune prefers to deal with spiritual, aesthetic values. People who respond to their surroundings predominantly through Mercury and Jupiter, the physical world, will find that, after a while, Mars and Venus will automatically follow suit, vibrate to the same frequencies, and the whole persona will develop strongly erotic qualities. The general condition of the sensitivity planets in the chart has to be considered carefully. What sort of aspects do they have to planets in the same column, or to the planets of the other two columns? Are they placed in a sign in which they can express themselves freely and spontaneously, without let or hindrance? And the house position is important too, in fact it is crucial, because for instance the Moon placed in a fixed house can be so restricted (possibly being very status conscious, or with a narrow moral code) that she will put up a block against normal human contact.

Motivation

For these four sensitive planets the chief motivation is to establish contact, to share, to love. But for the masculine and the feminine planets, the chief motivation is to live and to spread out. They don’t concern themselves too much with other people’s welfare, but with their own chance to survive, grow and assert themselves. They are therefore mainly self-centred, and rightly so. But with the sensitivity planets we tend towards altruism, or at least to consider other people’s needs and wants, because we don’t need to feel bigger and better than others, we want to meet them on an equal footing, to feel happy in their company and to share. Such thoughts help us to arrive at conclusions which will determine our future behaviour. We must take great care not to mix up the motivations of the life support planets (the preservation and safe development of our life) with pure love. This would be bound to lead to unhappiness. The more we muddle up these very different facets of our existence the more frustrated we’ll become. When life gets us down it can very often be understood in terms of this simple rule. True, it is vital for our very survival to ‘go forth and multiply’. We do want to stay alive, and we want to make our mark in society and to become significant individuals in our own right. That’s just how it should be. But this alone will not bring us lasting happiness; we also have a very real need for love in our lives, and this need too has to be met. Therefore we really have to find room for love in our lives; without love we can’t feel truly alive.

If love is lacking in our lives, we perish like plants left in a dark cellar. We may have enough food to keep us going, we may have a fairly satisfactory job which gives us self-esteem, but without love we can’t thrive. We may linger on physically for many a year, but we’ll become stunted, and not just in our bodies and our emotions but also in our intellectual abilities. We’ll become more and more one-sided, `ec-centric’, maybe concentrating on some very small facet of our existence, more and more unable to converse with other people or to understand their way of life. We’ll end up a stranger to all, likely to be avoided by our fellow men.

It is most important to keep this in mind when we deal with children. We teach them how to earn a living in later life, and maybe how to assert themselves, but we don’t teach them how to cope with their emotions and their relationships. Many of them in later life will feel deserted, misunderstood, maltreated, etc., and it will get progressively harder to snap out of such a frame of mind, leading to over-specialization, frustration and loneliness.

There is also a connection between love and intelligence. We learn a great deal through love. Relationships bring with them a wealth of experience and sharing, and enrich our mind by adding the human dimension to all the others. A well-functioning, well-balanced intellect needs to be not merely factual and functional but has to include human values as well. Basically our intelligence consists of observation/Jupiter, integration/Mercury, memory/ Saturn. But these in themselves don’t make for a well-rounded personality, or make us popular, open-minded, friendly, feeling on top of life. It is surely best, and certainly wisest, to embrace all three modes of behaviour symbolized by the three columns of the diagram, and to value all three, each in its own right, and to try to develop them equally.

The three basic motivations (cardinal, fixed, mutable)

The three columns of the Planet Table depict the three basic principles/structures/motivations of our human personality: self-preservation, self-expression, and the need for contact. These are fundamental and distinct motivating drives at all levels of human growth, and we find them repeated in the elements of the horoscope. Both signs and houses are arranged in the form of the three crosses. The fixed cross belongs to Saturn, the cardinal cross to the Sun, and the mutable cross to the Moon. Therefore it is the mutable cross which deals with love. It is also connected with learning, with growth in consciousness, and with understanding. Actually we only gain understanding with the help of the third dimension. Without it we are caught in constant polarity struggles between the fixed and the mutable cross, which forever confront us with either/or situations and looks for answers in terms of black and white, good and bad. Only the third dimension of love, of relatedness, brings about that quality of understanding, a finer differentiation of everything around us, no longer in just black and white but in many shades of grey as well, and in manifold nuances of colour.

It is quite fascinating to observe how people will manifest this basic motivation in accordance with the Sun’s position in one or other of the crosses. Even if they don’t want to admit it, because it would be contrary to the expectations of their parents and of society in general, it is still noticeable. Quite often, when someone wants to express their true nature, they are driven to do so in secret. This is especially true of people whose Sun is on the mutable cross. Because nowadays the cardinal and the fixed crosses are much valued, they turn out people who are efficient and successful in the eyes of the world. People whose Sun is on the mutable cross are less fortunate in this respect, as they feel obliged to appear efficient and successful, although it doesn’t really fit in with their basic inclinations. They’d much rather spend their energies on meeting others on a personal level, to mix freely, to give and receive affection, to be accepted, to learn and grow in wisdom and understanding. If a sensitive planet (Moon, Neptune, Mercury, Jupiter) is in a fixed house, it feels ill at ease because it is expected to behave contrary to its true nature. Try as it may, it will never be able to conform whole­heartedly. This creates stress, and is one cause of today’s prevalence of stress-related disease. We can tell from a chart the amount of stress to which a client is subjected, by finding out how many sensitive planets are located in unsuitable signs or houses. This is an amazingly reliable gauge of the degree of stress for specific individuals. Naturally we all have to suffer a certain measure of stress; hardly anyone will have all their sensitive planets in mutable signs and houses.

The three basic laws (economy, power, love)

Each column of Planet Table corresponds to a specific type of energy. The currents rise upwards from the planets in the bottom row (Venus, Jupiter/Mercury and Mars). These three distinct and separate types of energy can be likened to three essential life-preserving instincts, as they serve the purpose of facilitating, each in its own way, the smooth expression of their characteristic function. The more we manage to use each energy appropriately in its own domain the more successful and happier we’ll be. More often than not our problems in life are caused by our trying to use energies for jobs for which they are quite unsuitable, by mixing up their fields of activity. For instance, if we allow the energies of self-preservation (Venus, Saturn and Uranus) to spill over into the middle realm of feeling and experiencing, we’ll only succeed in creating trouble for ourselves, because the middle (lunar) column is ill-equipped to fulfil life-support tasks.

There are also some basic laws which may help in our dis­cussion of these forces. Three fundamental precepts regulate our lives. All our activities are under their sway; they are controlled by them. We have to live our lives in accordance with them. If we should use the wrong energies for the wrong job, then something is sure to go amiss, although the damage may not become apparent at once. Maybe it won’t manifest until years later in the form of physical or emotional illness. Perhaps we’ll suffer some form of breakdown only towards the end of our lives. After all, we can see all around us that many people seem to live lives in which they can’t be true to themselves for many a year. But in the end the reckoning is sure to come; we’ll have to pay a high price, forfeits to fortune so to speak. To feel truly fulfilled in life we have to try to be ourselves as much as possible, and not pretend to be someone else. But whoever can afford to live like that all the time? We all have to compromise and give way to a certain extent to the pressures of the world in which we find ourselves. That surely is normal and unavoidable. And of course our innate tendencies are far from perfect for a start (as can be seen by our planets by sign and aspects!) But at least we can try to learn.

The three basic laws are: the law of economy, the law of power, and the law of love. The law of economy guarantees that we can survive and exist. We find suitable food, we look after it, and we store it safely. All this serves to protect and to safeguard us. For this law we have the energies of economy at our disposal, and that’s where and how we should use them.

The energies available to us under the law of power are the ones which perform work. They have the specific purpose of bringing about physical activity and promoting physical growth. Every­thing connected with the process of growth, expansion and all movement is nourished from this source. It is pure energy which we can translate into actual practical motion.

The law of love is of a totally different kind. The laws of economy and power help us to exert control. We want to control the world around us and the circumstances under which we live, to regulate them to serve our purposes. We want to be boss. They are basically adversarial in nature. True, we can make good use of them to promote and guarantee our survival, to be assured of a healthy and comfortable existence. But they do not help us to foster an awareness of our surroundings. It is the law of love which leads us to include other people in our considerations. In fact this law demands that at times we choose deliberately to function unecon­omically, not in control, but spontaneously, unconditionally. To be unconditional, free from ulterior motives, that’s the charac­teristic of the law of love. If we have questions of economy in mind whilst we are in the process of establishing a new contact, then we restrict it from the start. And considerations of self-esteem and self-assertiveness are also out of place. As long as we insist on such an attitude, love cannot flourish freely. It will impose unfair con­ditions, set limits and, in extreme cases, may even totally ruin our ability to love at all.

To read more, see the book Astrological Psychosynthesis.