of the Self
"The individual disposition is already a factor in childhood; it is innate, and not acquired in the course of a life." - Carl Jung
When you look at many charts in this way, you begin to see that the chart represents the parents' psychological legacy. Whatever they have actualized, individually and together, is passed down to us as a gift, something that works easily for us. Whatever they haven't actualized is passed down as our life's work. I like Jung's statement about parental influence in Memories, Dreams, Reflections. He said, 'I feel very strongly that I am under the influence of things or questions which were left incomplete and unanswered by my parents and grandparents and more distant ancestors. It often seems as if there were an impersonal karma within a family which is passed on from parents to children. It has always seemed to me that I had to answer questions which fate had posed to my forefathers, and which had not yet been answered, or as if I had to complete, or perhaps continue, things which previous ages had left unfinished'.
While it is true that our parents create us biologically and psychologically, it is also not true. There are a number of esoteric traditions (Plato, Plotinus, etc.) that suggest that we choose the time, place, and circumstances of our birth. We choose our parents to reflect, to act out for us, to imprint upon us, the complexities of our individual destiny.
I like this idea. Whether we believe in past
lives as literal events in time or not, it allows us to place our
experience in the realm of the archetypes, in the realm of divine play.
We can imagine our parents as messengers, conveying the character and
flavor of the gods, in the form of a complex drama, acted out for our
"...looking at the actual parents via the symbols of the birth chart provides us with an objective, living, familiar model for reflecting upon the subtle and complex archetypal world that lies within us. This approach sees through the prevailing attitude that suggests that we grow despite our parental influence; that if we could only overcome our poor parenting, we may possibly become whole again. We become whole not despite our parent's wounds, but because of them, through them. Archetypal psychologists tell us that we meet the gods through our own wounds, but our wounds are part of an inheritance. We stand on the shoulders of (wounded) giants."
My primary astrological interest lies in exploring the all-too real material that we naturally project in our day-to-day relationships. I agree with Rilke, who said, "For one human being to love another; that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation." If we can describe the struggles that we will encounter in our relationships from the birth chart at the very moment of our birth, then those struggles obviously have very little to do with our partner. If we can gain some insight into the inner struggles that we brought into this world, we can see the footprints of the gods in what otherwise feels like the ongoing, inescapable power struggles and petty squabbles in our relationships. Then we can recognize our partner as a mirror and a gift to our soul work, especially in those areas of our interaction that feel like anything but a gift... This principle applies across the board to all of our relationships, whether with a partner, a boss, children, friends, etc.
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"A Jungian Approach to Astrological Counseling"
"If we could see through all our
projections down to the last traces, our personality would be extended
to cosmic dimensions."
Marie Louise von Franz