Star Crossed Lovers
In my first year as an astrologer the most relentless question I've fielded in over 500 sessions has been "When will I meet my soul mate?" Astrology has always had a lot to say on the subject of love. The answers aren't always what people want to hear but they are almost always what people need to hear.
When I first started studying astrology my inquiry was personal and not at all concerned with synastry or compatibility. This is perhaps somewhat unique since en masse people tend to approach horoscopes on a daily basis to learn more about their love life. Money and career questions probably take a close second. Yet as I delved deeper into an understanding of my karmic situation via my natal chart I eventually found an astrological understanding of love and compatibility that made sense to me.
My most advanced understanding of this piece of my chart, and this subfield of astrology, came after a breakup with a girlfriend last winter, 2010. It was an incredibly painful breakup yet ultimately it served a wonderful purpose. As we parted ways we both had a sense that our relationship had been destined; it had been productive even though it was ending. This relationship had burned off some kind of hardened wax that had perhaps been attached to our souls for many lifetimes. Several months after the breakup I ventured out onto the dating scene via an online dating website and I found more astrological evidence to support my developing "love" theory. Professionally over the course of 500 charts this past year, most of which included the questions "When will I meet my special someone?" and "What should I look for?", I've also noticed the exact same love trends and now I finally feel that I have my first organized thoughts to present on the subject of love and astrology.
Not Everyone is Destined for Love
This has been the most important statement I've learned to make both to myself and to my students and clients. Not everyone is destined for a life-long harmonious and lasting partnership. Many people live with the illusion that everyone deserves or needs or will find that "special" someone. The gritty truth of the matter seems to be that love and partnerships are a medium through which some souls choose to evolve, but the point of any relationship, the function from a karmic and evolutionary point of view is transcendent of the desire for a partnership that often accompanies the question, "Will I find my special someone?" The inevitable truth of partnership is that it will grow us up and evolve us into more individuated beings in one way or another. It will force us to examine more of who we are.
This is not to say that souls cannot fuse together or that all souls are not one soul. But it has been clear to me after seeing so many relationships end in archetypally predictable ways that the first priority of the soul seems to be individuation. If a relationship helps a soul achieve this while simultaneously fusing deeply with another being then good, and if not, then the relationship is likely to end. By the same token, relationships that feature a high degree of individuality, evolved spirituality and non-attachment on the part of each partner seem to last longer. It's as if most relationships we have are actually experiments in self sustenance and self acceptance than they are in fusion or oneness. I realize that this is not a popular point of view, but let's break down the logic before we assume that we're being selfish when we talk about relationships furthering independence.
I'm visiting with a client I will call Lorraine. Lorraine has Neptune sitting on the border of her descendant, the cusp of the 7th house, in the sign of Sagittarius. Lorraine could also be a woman with the planet Jupiter in the sign of Pisces on the cusp of the 7th house. Either way, we have a strong outer planet landing on the place in the chart where others and intimate friends or partners or exchanges with people in close settings will happen. Lorraine has idealized every man she's been with, philosophically and spiritually. Every man she's been with she has known from "many previous lifetimes," in her own words, and there is always a perfectly reductionist explanation as to why things didn't work out, "If it's meant to be then it's meant to be," or "there's always a reason for everything," and finally, "my real soul mate is out there going through exactly what I'm going through; suffering to find me too."
From an astrological point of view Lorraine's explanations regarding her love life, and her history of many relationships coming and going like dream states, are predictable. A Piscean/Sagittarian blend, a Jupiter/Neptune dimension sets the stage of her intimate encounters with other people. Lorraine will have a tendency to idealize partners both before and after the fact. Seeing Lorraine fall into delusional dream states with men and then continue to idealize both their importance and the spiritual depth of her romantic encounters is astrologically typical. It's one aspect of how Neptune will influence that dimension of Lorraine's life: partnerships. The fact that she also uses broad minded, optimistic philosophical statements, sometimes typically dogmatic and trite statements like "it all happens for a reason," to explain her disappointing encounters with men, flying over the fact that these relationships keep (Neptune) dissolving, is also typically Jupiterian or Sagittarian.
So what happens to Lorraine and how do I speak to her as an astrologer? What is the therapeutic goal? The goal is to get Lorraine in touch with the fact that she is not owning this particular complex of her psyche. She is acting as an unconscious medium for a natural force. She is identifying with or being dominated by a "God." And she will continue to repeat the same karmic pattern, interacting with men and relationships in the same predictable way (transits will give us clues as to some of the timing of these cycles) until she grows sick of it and decides to separate herself from her 7th house karma. At some point Lorraine will realize that she has been a puppet for an unconscious aspect of her psyche and she will stand up to that god, that daemon, and begin to have a conversation. Someone will disappoint her beyond the reach of her Sagittarian optimism or free spiritedness. Someone will disappoint her, or she will disappoint someone, beyond what can be reduced by Neptunian idealism, self-aggrandized past life narratives, or pat answers.
The point I'm making is simple. Neptune on the cusp of the 7th house is a strong indicator that someone will get to know the mystical dream space through encounters with partners. They will get to know fantasy and delusion and fusion, and the differences between these things, by way of intimacy with others. As an astrologer the sooner I explain this bit of gritty realism to someone the less they have to concern themselves with questions like "When will my soul mate come?" and the more they can concern themselves with a practical question, "When will I start owning and relating in a real way to Neptune?"
For someone like Lorraine the answer to her question is not a moment in time, somewhere in the future. It's also not a soul mate; not yet. The answer to her question is the experience of herself in a more authentic way. Lorraine needs to separate her soul from the karma of Neptune on the 7th before her relationships stop acting as karmic lessons. She needs to know what that Neptunian aspect of her psyche is capable of and what god she is dealing with on what stage as she evolves in a far broader way than the question "When will I finally be happy?" In fact, more often than not the overwhelming desire for a partner is a desire to not feel so alone, which from an astrological point of view is a refusal to step fully into the totality of who we are as individuals. Lorraine doesn't know it, but the best partner for her, the one least likely to end by teaching her that she really isn't alone, even if she doesn't have a partner anymore, is the one who has let go, to some extent, of the same question of finding a soul mate.
But let's be clear, it's not as simple as saying, "I will find someone once I don't desire someone." This is tom foolery and magical thinking. It is highly unlikely that any partnership we could find in this lifetime will not still be serving the purpose of individuating us and detaching us further from the heavier karmic notions of love and partnership that most of us will carry no matter how well we get to know Neptune on the cusp of our 7th house. The point is that more consciousness and more love of who we are, separate from the rest of reality, is actually what deepens our ability to feel and experience fusion with another, and with the rest of reality, in an evolved way.
This is not the same thing as saying that we are ultimately or absolutely separate. What it is saying is that we are ultimately separate and united at the exact same time and that partnerships and intimacy are an incredible medium by which we learn what this actually means and feels like. Any spiritual practice that attempts to damn dualism is still dualistic. Any spiritual practice that attempts to dichotomize the ego and the higher self as things ultimately working against each other is based in judgment. These spiritual practices will continue to manifest relationships in life that serve to illustrate the evolutionary purposefulness of one's enemies and ones afflictions (the shadow of the 1st/7th house axis). Similarly people with Neptune on the cusp of the 7th, like Lorraine, will idealize other people as "the source"; the undifferentiated wholeness they believe permeates life yet they secretly feel they are separate from (evidenced by their unconscious desire to fuse fully and find ultimate redemption in a romantic partner).
The truth is that everyone is destined for love. And partnership may or may not serve in that evolution. Additionally not everyone will experience partnership as redemptive or as healthy or as something free from suffering. But the more that people know what unconscious psychic material resides inside of themselves the more they can free their soul from its grip. An unconscious planet becoming conscious is like waking up to realize that what was once a demon inside of you is now an angel. What was once a curse is now a blessing. It's like finding a new power animal. Good astrologers will help us start to become conscious. They will not simply say, "Next November looks good for love. That special one is coming; just sit back and wait!"
Conscious Sexuality is More Advanced
To my knowledge and based on what I've seen in the lives of my clients, this is mostly true. It's not that some particular sexual practice as a law or as something in contrast to something else is "better than." By saying conscious sexuality is more advanced it is not my wish to prescribe or condemn. Conscious sexuality, more than simply withdrawing from relationships or sex, is a way of life that produces a healthy dialog and more consciousness of our natal chart and our karmic situation in relationship to someone else's. Sexuality can be a technology of consciousness that refuses to become identified with certain lingering biological evolutionary operating systems and old karmic "stuff." Let me try to explain before anyone immediately calls me a Victorian prude!
As I've dialogued deeply with Ayahuasca over the past 6 years, and for several of them was entirely celibate (traditionally so) I've come to understand what I believe is a very ancient and perennial truth about sex energy (at least as a man). Women seem to have a deeper and more primitive connection to the interconnected matrix of biological life; the rhythm of it all (the Moon). From that point of view I'm not sure that the explosiveness of orgasm has ever been as "necessary" or as "addictive" as it has been for men. I'm sure some women would disagree.
When men carry their seed for long periods of time two things seem to happen: the sense of interconnection, the psychic malleability of life, increases and so does the potential for deeply connected intimacy. Over three years of celibacy anytime I lost seed by accident or in dreams, etc, I noticed a sharp drop off in psychic receptivity and sensitivity. I noticed that my unconscious patterns, my tendency to identify (to use Lorraine's example) with something like Neptune on the 7th (soul mate lust), or a desire for constantly new and invigorating sexual experiences was much much higher. Whereas when I was circulating my sexual energy (but not releasing it) I shared a much more intimate dialog with my psychic complexes. I could literally talk to my psychic gods. I was working with them more dynamically and felt less dominated by their control. I will admit that as someone with a Capricorn Moon "control" is a word I also sometimes suffer (to be fair). Yet I've noticed in my partners that with those who practice some form of moderated sexual release (as simple as not NEEDING an orgasm all the time or NEEDING intimacy to feature sexual satiation) there has been a higher degree of intimacy, less need for sexual satiation, and the relationship has lasted longer and produced more growth in my life.
In my clients lives I've witnessed the same phenomenon. Marriages or partnerships that feature tantric sexuality or some lucid or conscious relationship to sexual intimacy, especially on the part of the man, last longer and feature better synastry in the charts. Another way of saying this is that partnerships will feature more unconscious playing out of the respective planetary dynamics if there are not conscious sexual practices involved. I don't believe this necessarily excludes orgasms for men or women. But I am convinced that often enough sexuality is unconsciously Neptunian or Plutonian; it is a frustrated attempt to either fuse entirely with something we feel we are separate from and long to return to (God), or it is a way to act out frustrated urges that we are probably dominated by in behavior and psychology on a daily basis. Of course neither of those mythic urges are "bad," and to some extent I believe it is inevitable even in conscious intimacy that these mythic dimensions be explored. Even healthy. We can just as easily suppress or repress our natural sexual urges because of unconscious "control" issues (and I've gone back and forth on this issue myself!). But the key word, again, is "consciousness." We do not want to be dominated by our karma sexually so it's important that our sexuality be awake. We want to be slowly birthing out an identification with the pure, unconditional nature of our soul.
What We Don't Own We Get Owned By
The last thing I've noticed is that people attract astrologically what they are not yet conscious of. This goes beyond just "how you will approach relationships as a sphere of life," like Lorraine's example. This spreads into subjects like what type of suns and moons or elements and signs or mars and venus placements you will attract. Put simply, people will attract what they don't know how to relate to in their own natal charts. Some examples.
Let me use another client. Jessica I will call her. Jessica always attracts incredibly independent men. Athletes. Military men. Adrenaline junkies. Corporate suits with temper problems. Can you guess what sign rules her descendant? She has Saturn in the sign of Aries on her descendant. Oh, they've all been older men of course! But in the meantime, Mars, which rules Aries, is in her 12th house in the sign of Virgo. She has a father who was a tough guy, a military man, but privately he was very insecure and covered up for it by ridiculing her and her mother (he was a Capricorn with a Virgo moon). Guess what happens when Jessica gets closer to these independent Aries/Saturn men? They start to ridicule her in private and in deeply manipulative, unconscious psychic ways (Mars in Virgo in the 12th house). Is the overall lesson that Jessica is screwed because she will always attract this kind of man? No way! Not even close.
Jessica is letting partners, the men in her life, act out her Saturn in Aries and her Mars in Virgo. Her dad first appeared as the gods of Saturn in Aries and Mars in Virgo. This probably happened before she was able to become or interact with those planets for herself. Maybe it was meant to be that way. Maybe her soul set it up that way. Many wise people have said both parents and children choose each other. But the bottom line is that if I can show Jessica the pattern as an astrologer then I can help her realize her inherent unconditional freedom; her soul. Here is a transcript from a piece of our session:
"What did you like about these men?"
"They were strong and independent and safe. I don't like wet blankets or super emotional men."
"Do you think of yourself as strong and independent and stable?"
"Umm. More so now than I used to. Ironically it's been standing up for myself against all these assholes that has helped me though."
"And if you think back, when they were ridiculing you could you have made your own complaints?"
"Oh yeah, I was just too scared to because they weren't truly strong enough to take it. They could dish it out but they couldn't handle it coming the other way."
I explained to Jessica the karmic signature. It's not a bad thing to be attracted to stability, and it's not a bad thing to be picky or critical. But first and foremost realize that these were qualities you were desiring within yourself. The relationships helped you own these astrological qualities instead of attracting guys to act the planets out for you.
She said, "Well I can see that because now I'm in a relationship with a guy where I'm the stable one and I'm the one who picks on him for being irritating and needy."
After more time explaining things, what I was able to demonstrate for Jessica using her natal chart is that these are qualities that she has come to own within herself, these are psychic patterns she has now cultivated in her own life through these tenuous partnerships. I explained to her that if she didn't learn how to become those things for herself she would still be attracting the same old predictable Saturn/Aries/Mars/Virgo complex in her partners. However, NOW Jessica must also learn to be all of these things in a way that is moderate so that she doesn't simply mirror back the same extreme planetary attitudes she experienced on the receiving end of the complex; or else the cycle will repeat itself until Jessica starts to not only internalize the planets but learns to hold them and express them in positive ways. Someday it is possible that Jessica will attract a Saturn/Mars man that she can dance with rather than fight with. Someone she can grow old with instead of rely on for wisdom and maturity.
At the end of the session she said, "I've been doing more yoga, and I've suggested that the two of us spend time doing it together or even getting more intimate in a spiritual way, like eye gazing or even lighting candles or just, I don't know, not just doing it and then it being over until the next time. But it's like I have to provide the structure and passion for everything. So funny because I always used to want a man who wasn't so hard and mean. Now I've got the emotional guy, and I want a man whose like..stable and assertive like me but who also wants spirituality in the relationship. The grass is always greener!"
This is the evidence of evolution, and it's appearing in Jessica's dating life. And it will continue of course. She is in her late thirties. Several months after our session her relationship ended. She came in again for a follow up after her break up, looking a little sad but also wiser from the work. "So will I find the one soon?"
I smiled at her. "I think you're finding her. You're finding yourself. I know that's cheesy and predictable. And astrologers are suppose to predict the future. But it's probably true. Don't you think?"
"So it's not coming soon?"
"It just doesn't work like that," I said. "That's my opinion anyway."
And in all likelihood, even after all the work we had done in a few sessions together and how deeply Jessica knew this self-love business to be true, her question about a soul mate remained.
"So if I just keep on letting go of the expectation for a partner, then the partner will come?"
And sometimes I so desperately want to say to this woman, who is growing one painful relationship at a time, "Look, I just don't think it's in your stars." But then what would that say about my own chart and my own nagging question, Uranus perched like an eagle on my 7th house cusp in Scorpio asking me the same thing in the face of every single client I see and counsel, man or woman, "Are you the ONE?"
Join Nightlight Astrology this September 24th/25th for our "Star Crossed Lovers" Astrology retreat. We will be journeying to a beautiful Organic Farm in rural PA to star gaze, practice yoga, and study the subject of love and synastry in our natal charts. Cost is $100 and includes food/lodging/yoga and an awesome series of interactive workshops on the subject of love and synastry! We will be looking for drivers (who will receive a reduced cost) to form our carpool! To register or RSVP, or for more details, contact us at Nightlightastrology@gmail.com
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