Thursday, December 17, 2015
Polarity in Astrology, and Permanent Masks
Greetings, my astrologically inclined lovelies and uglies. It's been exactly a month since my last post. Frankly, I've been too busy wearing another one of my work hats, as well as too depressed about current events, to write. I don't really feel like repeating my last post to explain the more recent mass shootings, political madness, and global warming issues -- though I suppose I will have to write more about the Saturn-Neptune square at some point, as it is not over by a long shot. In fact, this will be the defining aspect of 2016. I think of it as a combination hangover / wake-up call in the aftermath of the tumultuous Uranus-Pluto square of 2012-15. But enough on that. Before I start on my next work project that has nothing to do with waxing astrological, I feel like getting back to basics. One of the most ignored tenants of astrology is also one of the most fascinating: polarity. The quintessential symbol of polarity is the yin-yang symbol: everything must contain a drop of its opposite. A good concrete example of zodiacal polarity is the solstice, which occurs twice a year. In the Northern Hemisphere, the days are now at their shortest, yet as soon as winter is born on December 21, the days start to grow longer -- meaning that the opposite season, summer, is also born. This also holds true on the Summer Solstice: as soon as summer is born, the days begin to shorten, so a drop of winter is contained at the height of summer. Every house is connected to its opposite house by an axis, so that a planet conjunct the cusp of a house will be felt on the opposing house cusp like a fish tugging on a line. Especially if these house conjunctions occur between the Ascendant and the cusp of the 6th house, it is very, very hard to keep in mind that such planets are felt by others -- that such planets affect your relationship with others. This is because houses 1 through 6 are all about the "I" in you, from self-identity and physical body (1st house) to self-worth, value system, and personal finances (2nd house) to how you think and communicate (3rd house) to your home (4th house) to creative self-expression and romantic style (5th house) to your job and health (6th house). Naturally, there are other facets to the first 6 houses; for example, siblings and neighbors are found in the 3rd house. But the first 6 houses, just like the first 6 signs of the zodiac (Aries through Virgo), are mainly about the self, while the second 6 houses and corresponding second half of the zodiac (Libra through Pisces) are more about relating to others. For example, the last thing a Virgo Rising native wants in his or her life is chaos or vagueness. Someone with a Virgo Ascendant, even more so than a Virgo Sun (though of course a Virgo born around sunrise will also have Virgo Rising), defines him- or herself through orderliness, if not downright neat-freakness. Interestingly, Virgo rules schedules, while Pisces is the domain of the more mystical-sounding rituals. Yet for Mr./Ms. Virgo Rising, a schedule has the profundity, comfort, and ecstasy of a ritual. Perhaps this is because Virgo Rising is so detail-oriented that its true religion is to keep tabs on everything, to know where everything is -- ideally, in its "right" place. Yet every house is connected to its opposite, so Mr./Ms. Virgo Rising finds the chaos or vagueness, all right: in the 7th house, the realm of one's "better half" (hopefully) in love, as well as any business partners. This can get especially frustrating for a Virgo Rising because contracts, an important facet to the 7th house, are antithetical to the nature of Pisces, which prefers not to make plans but to go with the flow and keep all options open. (This does not mean that someone with a Pisces Sun will refuse to put anything in writing; I am talking about the purest manifestation of a sign, which is not the same as considering the complex energy of an individual's chart, which contains 10 planets in various signs. That said, it is a rare fish indeed that cottons on to contracts, blueprints, and clear-cut answers.) Remember how your mother or grandmother warned you as a child that if you kept making that nasty or silly face, your face would wind up freezing that way? Well, in the case of a planet conjunct the Ascendant, it's the truth. A Rising Planet can be likened to a mask (or costume) that cannot be removed; in time, it becomes the native's true face and flesh. This is because planets, which embody various kinds of energy, are always more powerful than the zodiacal signs, which are zones in the sky that need planets to express their nature. If our hypothetical Virgo Rising native has Venus conjunct the Ascendant, that means that others (in other words, those important, one-on-one relationships coming from the 7th house) will see him or her as beautiful, affectionate, romantic, and artistic -- a sweet cupcake who wants to keep the peace. And since planets are more powerful than signs, this perception will be correct... until, that is, Mr./Ms. Virgo Rising can no longer ignore Mr./Ms. 7th House's greasy stove top, the farm of dust bunnies frolicking across the living room floor, or the fact that a crucial or keenly anticipated experience cannot happen due to poor or nonexistent planning. This is because Venus in Virgo does not just crave order -- this placement loves it, and will fight for it even if it normally avoids conflict. A planet will always modify the nature of the ascending sign. Personally, I consider Pluto conjunct Virgo Ascendant to be the Clark Kent position: all I need is a pair (or three) of cat-eye glasses for my persona to appear dorky, bookish, and slightly eccentric (thanks to my also having a 1st-house Uranus). But my few true intimates of the 7th house know better, and for that, I am thankful.