By Rebeca Eigen
Having studied astrology for more than 25 years, I am still in awe of how much “universal law” has to teach us. Astrologers have the privilege of seeing a person's energy and karma through looking at the birth chart. We are trained to recognize and interpret what the person will struggle with the most by looking at the oppositions, squares, north and south nodes, stressful aspects or placements and challenging transits that are currently happening.
Both astrology and psychology speak to the character given to us at birth. As Carl G. Jung said, we are not born tabula rasa (blank slates). We are born with archetypal predispositions. Yet, after about the age of 30, (typically our first “Saturn return”), the choices we make about how we will live out these energies become clearly ours because we will begin to be more conscious of patterns in our relationships. The more clearly we see our psychological and spiritual blueprint best described by our birth chart, the more choices we can make. As we go through our lives experiencing all the events, situations, people, emotional reactions we are surprised by, staying in balance with others is clearly the goal of conscious evolution.
Who of us has not said to ourselves at one time or another, "Why did I react like that? …Who inside me said that? …Why did that upset me so much?” Situations that confront us daily in our lives will show us our own “Shadow” begging for acceptance. The Shadow, as defined by Carl G. Jung, is everything about us that is unconscious, unexpressed, denied, and repressed. Discovering it, accepting it and even learning to dance with it is not an easy thing to do. It takes work.
Who wants to see everything about themselves — the good and the bad — behind their mask or persona they wear each day? Who wants to look at where we might be manipulative, using sexual appeal to get customers or dates? Who wants to admit to talking too much after a drink or two when it would be wiser to be silent? Who would rather examine themselves, when it’s so much easier to blame others or to instigate a fight to get even for some perceived hurt? Are we really only hanging out with those who can benefit us financially, using people for our own selfish ends, creating groupies around us to validate our authority, etc.? Who wants to look at all of that? It's too depressing, so instead we see “others” as being that way. We project our Shadow onto others and convince ourselves that we have gotten rid of it. Nope. It’s still there. It will always be there like our “other half” because we are human. By making it conscious, we can truly get to our know our whole selves, our balanced selves. Accepting it in ourselves stops the projections and allows us to accept it in others and truly know them as well. If this sounds like a lot of psychology, it is. It is also astrology — the basis for understanding and balancing 7th House or relationship issues in all areas of our lives.
I have a good friend who is so easy to be around because I can be my total self with him. When I have an outrageous response, an irrational feeling or make a downright stupid remark, he will just say to me, “Well, that’s only one part of you. Don’t beat yourself up.” The kindness, the acceptance and the love that he extends to me daily makes me want to be a better person. This kind of love doesn't need the other person to be someone other than who they really are, and here is where astrology really comes in handy. Astrology teaches us to see the positive and negative aspects of every single sign. This is energy. These are the archetypes which are the foundation of this world we live in.
Many people will go into denial that they have any negative qualities at all. For example, people with Scorpio energy will display the negative descriptions of that sign: secretive, jealous, controlling or paranoid. These same people will then go into denial that they have any of those negative qualities at all. I have heard double Scorpios (Sun and Moon in Scorpio) say, “Oh, I'm not anything like that.” Then I’m around them for awhile and see that they are jealous if I spend too much time with others, think everyone is out to get something from them and manipulative but they don’t see it. That doesn't mean it isn't there. We learn about ourselves over time, and it takes a lifetime, maybe several more than that, to really know ourselves. The question to ask ourselves is do we want to? If we do, our birth chart will help us know who we came here to be, and we are all unique.
Doing Shadow Work Leads to Opening Our Hearts
Why is the 7th House — the House of Marriage and Partnership — so important for balance? The ancients also called it the house of open enemies. Romance advice columns tell us “opposites attract.” It’s no surprise that it is in our most important relationships that we do most of our polarizing as well as most of our Shadow work. We polarize all our negative qualities and project them onto our partners, our parents, our friends, our bosses, our children, but especially our spouses. An example of this would be, let's say you have Sagittarius on the 7th house cusp. If you are projecting your Shadow, you will see your significant others as dogmatic, rigid in their views because they are focused on what they believe in; you will see that they are blunt and rude because their honesty springs from an archetypal predisposition that has been theirs since birth. You might see that they overdo, overspend, are impractical and extravagant. If you look with love and compassion at this person who has Sagittarian energy, you will also see they are visionary and prophetic as they see trends in the future no one else sees; they are honest to a fault and you will know where you stand with them; they are generous to others with their time, resources and knowledge; and they share their wisdom that comes from experiencing what they teach. In other words, you will see both sides of them.
If we can accept ourselves with all of our faults and flaws, then we can accept others, and this is where doing Shadow work with our partners comes in. I am not going to naively say you have to be around people you don't like, but when you are married or you get really close to someone, get ready to see their dark side as well as their light. It's inevitable that the closer you get, the more you will see. And when I say “dark,” I am not talking about evil or unforgivable flaws; I am only talking about what is hidden from their awareness. Most of us take a lifetime to learn about ourselves. Along the way, we are also going to hurt each other at some time or other. We are all going to feel and experience the same situation differently. Understanding how the “Shadow Dance” works can ease this process.
For example, let's say you invite your friend over for dinner or to an event and they can't commit. They tell you they might be there, they’d like to but they are not sure so they leave you hanging. Over time, you notice they do it all the time as that is just the way they are. You can see this characteristic or quality in a strongly Mercurial person as Mercury is like quick silver, it doesn’t like to be pinned down. There could be some Gemini influence in their birth chart, or could even be a strongly Aquarian or Uranian emphasis in their character which makes them inherently unpredictable. You’re not going to change this person!
Another example would be a neatness, obsessive-compulsive person. They can’t stand to see things out of order. They want everything so clean that they mop the floor every single night before they go to bed! Who does that? Someone with a strong Virgo or 6th House in their birth chart. These are our human quirks and qualities that make us all different. As Robin Williams said in the movie, Good Will Hunting, they are our peccadilloes. If someone is going to love us, they’d better understand and accept all of who we are. And keep in mind that no one is just one sign. We will all have several that are part of our character, and as my teacher at the Jung Center, J. Pittman McGehee, says, “We are all a traveling road show of people.”
Listening to people’s stories and then looking at the birth chart, I am reminded that we all came here for a purpose. Every bit of who we are (no matter what it might look like to others) is a part of that purpose and must be embraced. Our hearts open wide when we look at another person’s birth chart and begin to recognize this ancient symbolic wisdom that can help us understand them and help them understand themselves. We are all unique, and we have our own specific energy that we have to work with.
I encourage everyone to get a reading from a good astrologer, especially if you are facing relationship challenges. There are also many astrological reports available on the internet. Some of them are even free. Read a report about yourself out loud to your partner. Even better, read each other’s to each other and then talk about both. The 7th House is an air house, which means we have to communicate honestly in order to come into balance with our partners. This is true of every relationship that is in our lives. What a great concept — being honest with each other instead of that vague Piscean/Neptunian “I’m so in love.” Yeah, you ask this person, ”What is it you love about your partner?" “Oh, I just love the way I feel when I am with him/her!” Those nebulous and unconsciously delicious days are over. BEST FRIENDS is where we are headed in the Aquarian Age with our eyes open and our hearts engaged in objective reality. Someone will be your best friend, or they will leave you or you them. Best friends are for loving, for living and for knowing that who you are is acceptable and worth loving just because you are you.