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Concerning "Negativity" and Personal Orientation to Life 
19th-Feb-2008 10:56 am
the Moon and Stars
Hi, folks. I've had an interesting experience recently.

I became affiliated with a local metaphysical shoppe and began to offer astrological readings through it, however in a complicated discussion with the owner of that shoppe I was recently informed that some people feel my readings are "negative." I find this concept terribly intersting and am interested in hearing some of your opinions.

I sometimes joke that the nature of my readings is to tell people how and why they're neurotic. Of course, that's not the entire process that is at work in the interpretation of an astrological chart, but some of it is involved. I believe people consult astrologers, healers, clergymen, psychotherapists, and other kinds of professionals when they are in times of crisis, and that we do a great disservice to others when we take payment for telling them that they are wonderful and that everything is going to be fine. I'll cut this entry here as I don't know how long it will become.

My personal belief is that it is the duty of the astrologer to unearth the patterns described in the natal horoscope which are being triggered by present-time crises, symbolised by current transits and progressions. Often, I think, when people hear that they have something to do with the challenges that are occuring around them, they recoil into the polarity mindset of positive-negative, and this, I fear, is one of the downsides of astrology at the social level. Because frequently, people who have an interest in metaphysics share a particular worldview, and often these are the individuals who come to astrologers for assistance. And this worldview, in my experience, appears to describe a particular kind of Neptune problem.

The native having Neptune emphasised in his horoscope, of course, is someone who is concerned in some way with birthing some kind of collective mystical vision. In Sun-Neptune people, the feeding of the sense of individuality is tied up with a longing to reunite with the whole; and one lacks living motivation to persist with life when one cannot see in others what one sees in oneself, and vice-versa. Moon-Neptune people seem to need to embody maternal qualities at a global level regardless of what the personal consequences of this may be; or conversely, they may need to experience the world and society as a kind of surrogate mother who will provide for and comfort them. Mercury-Neptune people often seem to reason by connecting things that someone else's intellectual process might see as horribly disparate, and see life as an interwoven network of emanations from a single cosmic origin. The Saturn-Neptune native might feel the need to materialise a vision of a future Utopia of some kind, or alternatively may reject the personal responsibility for having to "materialise" or "do" anything. Of course these are very trite, cookie-cutter interpretations which probably contain some hint of literalism, but my point here isn't to write a "cookbook." Because what seems to be the case in highly Neptunian people, whether its angular or heavily aspected or whatever, is that along with whatever kind of mystical vision of a damaged world returning to an originally blissful and wonderful condition, also comes an apparent longing to not have to face the requirements of the material world or the personal psyche, resulting in an escapism by virtue of working on "karmic" issues, cleansing the aura, drinking alcohol, prayer, feng shui, meditation, pretending, and other substitions for taking responsibility for oneself and for one's interaction with the "outside" world. Frequently, this personality interprets inferrences of a need for action, or inferrences that one might need to accept responsibility for something, or inferrences that one's plight has something to do with oneself as a personal affront tinged with "negativity." The response is not just one of personal offense though, as it is tinged with a religious fervor characteristic of Neptunian ideal of a world of perfect light.

In the shoppe owner's horoscope, the Sun is placed in the twelfth house making no major aspects to any other planets in the horoscope except for one wide trine to Neptune (with an orb of 7'58"). There is a semisextile to Jupiter in the first and a quincunx to Chiron in the seventh. Sun is conjunct the ascendant with an orb of 7'54", yet aspects to the angles act rather differently to interplanetary aspects, since they are not planets representing psychic functions which "act back", and seem to serve rather as lightning rods that ground the planetary energy into some aspect of physical life. The conjunction of an almost unaspected sun in twelve to the ascendant would describe a native who embodies and lends voice to social dictates, familial patterns, and the aspirations of the personal father with hardly any consciousness or control over that process.


I normally don't do "written" readings as I like to make a little counselling session out of a horoscope analysis; however a written reading was what I did for her as it was what she requested. When she offered some feedback concerning it, she remarked on how surprised she was that I could see from the horoscope how wonderful her father was, as he had always understood her and validated her 'sensetivities,' but was quiet. I was alarmed, because that was not the interpretation I offered, but it was what she saw. And forgive me, but I am reluctant to interpret a paternal relationship characterised by Saturn in the fourth, Neptune conjunct IC, and a nearly unaspected Sun in 12th as wonderful. A classic Neptune tactic is to mask disillusionment and disappointment with idealisation, and these configurations describe a psychic inheritance from father of woundedness, impotence, escapism, and an inability to lay a foundation upon which the individual identity of a child can be built due to his own personal instability.

This could all remain entirely invisible however, for Mars, Uranus, and Jupiter conjunct in the first house, all squaring the ominous Neptune as significator of the elusive father and of her own idealism about life. This first house stellium implies the capacity of the native to carve with the power of a bulldozer whatever path for herself she would prefer, without regard for any kind of obstacle. It is a configuration that implies tremendous masculine power with Uranus as the shaper of the (perhaps generational or collective) goal, Mars as the principle of active pursuit, and Jupiter implying a sense of entitlement to the desired target. As these are in Cancer, the goal likely is to establish a surrogate mother of sorts, which can coccoon her while providing a vehicle for her own maternal drives toward others. Aside from owning a metaphysical cafe', her background is as a restauranteur; her fortunes were earned with a kind of "down home" cooking. This could comfortably overcompensate for her own lack of mothering in early childhood, described by the Virgo Moon squared Mercury and Venus in 11, describing a mother with interests and ambitions outside the home which could have made her ambivalent about wanting children. This together with a Sun that is more than likely unconscious or at least strained, leads back to an idealised father who was a victim and who could redeem her from the horrors of a world and a mother "out there."

Of course, if I spelled all of that out in a horoscope reading, I suspect that calling me negative would be somewhat justified. But I don't do that in readings most of the time, and I certainly wouldn't in a written report.

I was, however stunned, when I perused the horoscope of her best friend and business associate for whom I had done a reading with this theme in mind. Her Sun was only aspected in sextile to the Moon and a very wide square to Saturn, with Neptune in hard aspect with Moon, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus. Uranus/Mercury are conjunct the IC and Pluto is in the fourth. This woman is one who frequently feels "negativity" and uses incense and various healing modalities to remove negative energy from her environs and her person, as if to satisfy a paranoid anxiety. I recognise that two charts by no means constitutes a statistic, but I've begun to look in the other horoscopes I have on hand and am continuing to watch the charts of individuals with weakly aspected or unaspected Suns, difficult placements in the fourth or conjunct the IC, and heavy Neptunes.

I'm going to start looking for this signature in the horoscopes of all people who have an obsession with what they call "negative" and cannot practice any modicum of acceptance toward this part of reality, neither have they any modicum of willingness to acknowledge negativity or darkness within themselves. Negativity, for said individuals, is something to be banished; and it is certainly not something to be looked at within oneself. I am curious what these individuals would do if a "negative" person came to them for a reading or a healing. I would hope they would at least pray for him or something, rather than banish him.

I should state here that these observations aren't entirely objective, as no one is more upset than I am that I have to face life the way I do, but neither Saturn nor life back down to me. If I could get away with escaping through metaphysics, drugs, prayer, smudging, meditation, drinking, religion or shutting life down and out in some other way, I sure would do it. Perhaps this is why I resent people who are capable of using mystical means to damn certain facets of themselves to the unconscious; I envy them. I'd love to be right all the time in my own mind and see negativity only around me but never within me, but alas.

How do you relate to negativity? How are your Sun, IC, and Neptune proportioned?
19th-Feb-2008 08:17 pm (UTC)
strangely, i was writing about being told that my astrology wasn't nice last night - essentially that i'm "negative". i said that i once gave an actual useful interpretation of a chart and an astrologer became passive-aggressive with me. i find this is typical. metaphysical junkies don't seem to like me as a whole, and that's fine. i'm okay with being the jerk.

people often want to live a delusion, claim the world is degraded or degrading (evil, ugly, wrong, stupid, etc) often at the fault of someone else. after all, they're aspiring to some form of ultimate happiness, and clearly the road to this achievement if things went their way is squeaky clean and always "right". this is a common human emotional thing to do. you can also check the ascendant/7th house for general projections about where one focuses their dislikes, although it's a chart-wide thing. indeed neptunians seem to be more active about theirs - god forbid they own up to anything.

sun, gemini, 9th. IC capricorn, saturn in 1st trine my sun. my neptune's at the bottom of my chart like this lady here, 3rd house sagittarius. it's not closely aspecting many planets, depending on your orb rules. sextile pluto of course. sextile moon and jupiter by about 4 degrees, square my already 12th house mars by 7 degrees, trine my venus by 7 degrees, square my ascendant by 8.

i don't believe in right/wrong, good/bad, positive/negative. i might use the words to describe a situation, but at core it's all meaningless.
20th-Feb-2008 03:00 pm (UTC)
Very interesting stuff... that we are accused of negativity simultaneously. I think I rather like that.

Of course we know our horoscopes and our personalities seem to have some remarkable similarities, and I just had to have a peek at "our" transits to see what was hitting us both. All I could see that was really, really tight was Jupiter hitting our south nodes, and Mars opposing our (ta-dah!) Neptunes. I guess Jupiter would be highlighting our apparently inborn brutally realistic and practical natures while the Mars (in Gemini) opposition to Neptune (in Saggitarius would describe an intellectual breaking away from optimistic collective values and ideals. Of course the breakaway itself wouldn't be a new thing, but the transit might have required the flexing of some "negative" muscle. It would seem rather appropriate that a watery type would call airy types "negative."

But alas, our respective Neptunes are our own, not theirs. Perhaps our entire generation believes on some level that to share an uplifting worldview and outlook would save us and everyone else. However if I dwell on that idea too long, I fear it may cause me to become fiercely negative.
19th-Feb-2008 10:00 pm (UTC)
I know this problem. :)
I think there's negativity and then there's the cartoon that the new age movement has made out of it. "Flight into light" doesn't do many people very much good for long. I also think, though, there are some people for whom ripping the bandaid off would be too damaging and not useful at all if it cripples them. I think this chart above could be one of those. Although there is the Virgo moon, that is the odd man out in this chart to a certain extent, and especially in a situation where he might not be inclined to trust you in that moon place without deeper contact and more time.

I am very much someone who looks to the chart to see what you should watch out for, not to panic someone, but to encourage them to live their chart at it's higher vibrations and to leave them with a feeling that they are well equipped for that challenge. With someone feeling like bad things are coming and they should just try their best to deal and hold their nose until it passes, I don't think that's effective or good therapy on any level. But if we're talking empowerment that someone else doesn't want to take on because they don't want to see that anything difficult could come their way, then yeah, I think you are in the wrong shop :)

Have you read Stephen Arroyo's books, especially Astrology, Karma, and Transformation? I love what he says about Neptune and it seems like you've got a really good understanding of it.
Got a website I can visit for my curiosity?

20th-Feb-2008 10:48 am (UTC)
i am the same way - i really try to focus on the potential of the chart, and then outline what the stumbling blocks are that could be keeping the person from achieving that potential.
20th-Feb-2008 03:45 pm (UTC)
I think you are right about this particular chart; but at the same time, I think the defenses of the psyche are extremely powerful. So while I do believe in having tact, carefully choosing what to say and how it should be said, I also feel that if I "slip," that a mysterious "something," be it Spirit or the a protective sheath over the unconscious, prevents that individual from hearing it or from understanding it. I didn't bombard her with ugly reality, as I suspect my own grasp on that is less than complete; but the challenges I did outline for her quickly were forgotten. While complaining about her time being monopolised, I reminded her of something that was in her analysis, and she replied "frankly, I don't remember."

I agree with you about the Moon in this chart. In general when I do a reading I see two characters battling for control of the personality, usually portrayed by a stellium, an angular planet, a luminary, or something of similar magnitude; but in this chart I saw three. One character is the first house stellium; another is the Neptune/Saturn/Sun thingy; and another is the Moon squared Mercury/Venus. Of these three, I think the latter is actually the weakest, because the personal mother doesn't have a particularly maternal flavour in the horoscope; Aries on the midheaven is disposited by Mars conjunct Uranus, which of course has values of its own; but these are not maternal values. And being her only planet in an Earth sign, I suspect she would be less likely to relate to the Moon than she would even an outer planet. She reverted to the classic "Dad was wonderful and mum was terrible. I have a good relationship with her now, but in childhood, she was a villain." One thing I never took into consideration was her age; I suspect that if these things haven't been integrated following a Saturn return and a Uranus opposition, that might not happen. I think these three characters will always be in battle with the first house stellium keeping the unconscious parental figures repressed, unless perhaps Pluto forces some of them awake when it opposes them. Unfortunately she has an ailing husband whose life she doesn't expect to continue terribly long, and thus, she has a perfect hook to project Pluto on. It's her husband, and it has nothing to do with her.

You are right. Wrong shoppe. Even if I wanted to I don't think I'd be able to shape my astrological work to fit the vision that she and others have for that shoppe. So I am going to have to find some other way to work with clients. That shoppe served a very valid purpose in my life though; as it was the vehicle through which I developed confidence in my competence as an astrologer who should be doing some professional work instead of exclusively free.

I have read a Stephen Arroyo book, but I don't remember which one; it may have been that one and it may have been "Psychology and the Four Elements." But it was a very long time ago. I should get copies of those

In an e-mail reply to her, I wrote something like, "I don't create the holes, I only put warning signs on them so that people don't have to keep falling in them if they don't want to.
20th-Feb-2008 05:42 pm (UTC)
"I think you are right about this particular chart; but at the same time, I think the defenses of the psyche are extremely powerful."
Oh yes - totally agree with your analysis here, and thank god for that mechanism, frankly.

Psychology and the four elements is also excellent.
20th-Feb-2008 03:52 pm (UTC)
Aye. Lost control of my touchpad there for a minute and mixed some things up and then posted before I was finished. Hell. Heh.

But no, I don't have a website. I am impressed with yours, however. I am not very accomplished as I only resolved to break into professional astrology a bit over a month ago. But we will see where time carries me.

Let's visit some more sometime.
20th-Feb-2008 05:39 pm (UTC)
Yeah - definitely. I am befriending you if that's alright :)
20th-Feb-2008 07:10 pm (UTC)
Of course it's alright; I've befriended you as well.
29th-Mar-2008 01:11 pm (UTC)
and I might add you do a wonderful job pointing out the negative without being gloom and doom about it.
20th-Feb-2008 10:46 am (UTC)
i try to do a bit of juggling to think about not only what the challenges and negative things are that i see in the person's chart, but learn enough about them through their chart to understand the best way to relate that information to them. it's hard for people to hear negative things in certain ways, but you can get the info across without putting it in some way that's really hard to hear. if i can see from someone's placements that they are going to be especially sensitive, or (like with unaspected sun in the 12th, actually, lord) that their challenges are larger than they are able to even really face, i try to use some tact or in some cases totally omit what i see because i understand the person just really can't hear it and it's not going to do them any practical good to hear it.

29th-Mar-2008 01:09 pm (UTC)
I can't add much comment to this other than to say I agree with you, and a healthy dose of negative news is sometimes necessary to alert the subject to the issues they need to work on to eliminate the negative from their life.

As an example...I have a pluto mars conjunction in my seventh house, square venus in my fourth. I have a history of bad relationships. And of course I adopted the "oh poor me, I'm the victim. why does all this bad luck happen to me?" attitude until I got a damn good wake up call from someone pointing out where my own power struggle and distrust issues were contributing to my problem. I wasn't a victim of unavailable or controlling men strewn across my path, I was choosing them.

Now that the issue has been identified, and I have owned responsibility for my roel in the problem, I'm seeing a lot less issues in my love life.
5th-May-2008 08:34 pm (UTC)
I want to apologise for not having responded in a more timely fashion. I've been off of LiveJournal for a little while as I have an on/off relationship with it.

Thank you for your comments. I've been having relationship stuff too which has forced me to own some things I'd rather not, but when I do own them, it makes my partner so much easier to live with, especially when he's not doing things exactly the way I think he ought. My Moon-Pluto conjunction gets set off fairly regularly, where I build my safe space in the relationship, then the safe space gets blown apart by black moods and eerie silences and gross criticisms, and suddenly I'm exposed and vulnerable and scared and in pain. I keep forgetting that it's not his moon.
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