Astrology and the Games People Play: A Tool for Self Understanding in Work and Relationships

Chapter 2: Putting the Self on the Scales

See the Magician high on the wire
juggling three different balls
above a cheering crowd.
His skill is practiced
his fingers know each shape and weight,
his quick sure wrists adjust the toss
as they arc in an even flow.
This momentum is a balance all its own.

No matter what your personal Sun sign is, try to approach the Transactional Astrology method of weighing the ego spheres by focusing your mind  With our on the symbolic principle of the balancing scales.
''Libra cap'' on, so to speak, our task is to learn how to survey, measure and evaluate the relative personality strengths of an individual based on an assessment of the relative potency of the three ego spheres, Parents Adult and Child.

This disciplined and evaluative overview will open up the deeper personality structures, revealing the psyche's hidden energy interactions which form the inner composition of the whole self. To be accurate in this undertaking, we must be fair, we must be compassionate and we must be objective With faith in both our reasoned and intuitive processes we will seek to probe and understand the workings of the inner psyche. Developing this balanced insight is the first step to healing ourselves or in reaching out with understanding to another.

Our tools for developing this deep psychological/spiritual perception lies in discerning the dynamics of basic planetary aspects, those significant geodetic ankles formed by the planets in the natal chart. Don't let the technical sound of this language bother you. It is as simple as cutting up a pizza. Specifically we must learn to discern the nature of the angular relationships of each natal planet to their key ego sphere planets of Sun, Moon and Saturn. These aspects are fundamental to an evaluation of the ego spheres. Lets get started!

A good approach is to think of an aspect as a goematical piece of pie involving two planets and the earth. The angle the two planets on the rim create at the apex, or the earthy point of the piece of pie, indicates the type of dynamic energy or psychological qualities this planetary pair will generate.

There are six angles or aspects which form the most important pieces of the pie. These classic angles are the building blocks which which can be used to identify how planetary/psychological energy manifests in the psyche. Learn these aspects and their meanings as faithfully as you studied the traffic signs to pass your drivers test. For like traffic signs, aspects are astrological signals which tell us of the nature of the psychological interior. And if one must travel that interior road, or journey inward with another, we will benefit by what our aspect map tells us about the terrain and where the passage might be difficult.

Aspects and Personal Dynamics
To illustrate these six major aspects and their importance, lets consider (see Figures 6,7,8,9,10 &11) the six basic angles between the Moon and Mars. The Moon, of course is the Child Ego Sphere, it symbolizes our emotions, nurturing, and feelings. Mars is a planet of our deep drives for survival, for sexuality, for hunting, fighting, defending, competing. How these two energy sources interact is determined by their relative natal positions to one another. Lets take a look.

We start with a conjunction, Figure 6, which is not a piece of pie, but a dot, for the planets are standing side by side, within 0 to 9 degrees from each other. If these planets were people they could smell the other's perfume and cologne, know who's bigger than whom. Conjunctions are close planetary contacts and like people, some planets seem to like each other better at close quarters than others.

For Moon and Mars this conjunction position is a little too close and there is a great amount of tension, emotions run high, feelings and tempers can be passionate. It would be easier for the Moon if it were Venus next to Venus is a more harmonious planet and not so likely to peek the Moon's emotions.

Mars conjunct Moon is a little like having a big brother around. There is always an undertone that something may happen.
Tempers can flare. And when Mars, our metaphorical big brother isn't out trapping bugs, he's picking on the soft famine Moon to harass its temperament. It's his way. There is a Walt Disney naturalist movie on bears which points out that bears express affection with a slap. This is Moon/Mars. The Inner Child has to deal with wide ranging temperaments and potentially even abuse.

Now see what happens as the Moon moves to the sixty-degree or sextile position, see Figure 7. This aspect looks like a piece of pie and there is a playfulness to this position. The planets are apart now, but still close enough to appreciate this new distance. There is more freedom of movement, more subtleties. Mars is not smothering the Moon, as in the earlier conjunction. The Inner Child is not restricted by the temperment and energies of Mars. Big brother is not sharing your space. There is room to be an individual.

When the Moon and Mars are shifted to make an aspect of ninety degrees they form the square position, see Figure 8, a very dynamic and powerful angle. Squares promote movement, the energies of the planets need to change, there is an inner pull that must be followed. In the conjunction the planets are almost too close, in the sextile there is a playful exploration of freedoms but in the square there must be action. The position is not static, something must budge.

The square was considered a bad aspect by the old astrologers. Being in the employ of kings, noblemen and wealthy merchants, these ancient astrologers had clients who resisted change. Thus Squares, the ninety degree aspect were viewed with suspicion and considered dangerous for they threaten the status quo. Today astrologers view squares with a different eye. Squares are the yeast in the dough, the doers, the active motivators that make things happen, that challenge. If squares bring about change, then the change was undoubtedly needed.

What modern astrology does advocate is ''square control," you identify where squares are working in your Transactional Astrological personality map and understand that where there are squares there is a potential for volatility. It is prudent to give that area specialit attention. For example the Moon square Mars is a strong aspect, gives the personality the Inner Warriors that Robert Bly writes about in his book, IRON JOHN. One with this aspect can summon up the inner warriors to protect oneself and others, one has the drive to compete, to struggle, to survive. But one also has to be sure that these warriors don't go off like a hair trigger, that one doesn't get mad over little things, that your temper may get out of control.The one hundred and twenty degree point or trine, is often the most loved aspect, see Figure 9. You can feel the ease in planetary and personal relationships where this equilateral energy is present. The dynamic of the square is gone and the angle of the trine makes for a sense of flow. The ancient astrologers loved the trine as much as they worried about the square. The trine is often considered the "great goody giver," bringing harmony and expansion to the status quo. Modern astrologers have toned down this adulation of the trine to a realistic evaluation. Trines do represent harmony, easy flow and often a manifestation of latent energies in a productive and constructive way. However, trines can represent being soft, of relying on natural talents and not digging deep and developing real fortitude.

For the Moon/Mars trine represents a wonderful blending of the energies of the Inner Child with the instinctive survival hunches of Mars. These people make for great lovers, good diplomats. They don't seem to grow old as quickly as other mortals and are sensitive in their emotional outlook.

Where's the catch you ask. The catch is in motivation. The square can push. The trine can make you lazy. It represents the things you do most easily and while this is wonderful. With trines there is a tendency to be passive about our talents: to not practice enough: to rely on innate skills and not push to new levels. Consider it like lovers who fall into easy romance, don't work on their love and separate when a real challenge comes along. Or it is like an social fad that can only go so far before it fails to amuse and falls to the wayside.

Trine management is needed. An individual must apply discipline to their talents. How many times have you seen an individual who was a good musician (Moon Trine Neptune to mention just one aspect that could apply here) who could have been a great musician, yet refused to practice, to work. Such reliance on a natural ability is not managing a trine, not nurturing an innate ability. To succeed takes more, it takes work. Squares and trines are like salt and pepper, you need both for the best results.

The inconjunct, or one hundred and fifty degree position is a very perplexing aspect see Figure 10. It is in a class of its own, the dense aspect. It follows the trine in sequence and represents a new emotional situation where we may not know exactly what to do, where we may have to make adjustments. The energy between the planets wants to move to the point of opposition where their polarity can reach definition, but there is new turf which must be mastered, or at least transverses. The way is not clear, the clarity of the opposition is yet to come. Often people complain of a mental heaviness, or denseness in areas ruled by this aspect.

The inconjunct aspect is a signal to cut yourselves some slack and give yourself some room to grow. The ''gravity'' of situations seems to pull more. Mars inconjunct the Moon are people who do not own their own anger. In this realm beyond the trine, there is a desire for achievement and harmony, but there is also a fear of asserting the full mowers of the self, a worry that your own anger, spirit of competition, or inner drive is not adequate. Like the little girl who grows up in the shadows of a big brother who has all the limelight: there is a doubt that your feelings count enough to merit attention.

While of course the feelings indicated by this Moon/Mars inconjunct are significant, it takes time for the Inner Child to learn how to cope with accepting their validity, to ''own'' them. For many this is a most difficult aspect for its psychological dimensions are so inward, so subtle in its need for adjustments.

The opposition or one hundred and eighty degree angle now has our example planets the Moon and Mars facing each other: see Figure 11. The pie is divided in half. The opposition represents the zenith, the greatest distance possible between two planets.You might find it easy to remember by calling the opposition the face off. This position of two planets facing each other, one on each side as if pulling the Earth in two directions. This pull brings to sharpest focus the boundaries of their two planetary energies -revealing the nature of their polarity. The key to handling oppositions is to learn to bring things together, to discover ways to resolve these two polarities. For example when the Moon and Mars are in opposition there is the need to bring into synthesis the Inner Child's playful and sensitive nature with the aggressive and sexual energies of Mars. This means learning how to be sensitive and still stick up for oneself, how to be playful but not hurtful, how to enjoy sex, how to appreciate the creature comforts of life.

Note that the opposition is the exact opposite of the conjunction where the planetary energies are squeezed together. In the conjunction the slower moving planet will dominate the relationship. In an opposition however, the planets have room to manifest their powers. Comedians, for example often have several oppositions in their charts--that's what gives them their ability to look at life from such different and humorous points of view. The focus of the opposition is that the difference of the two planets can be clearly manifested, which creates a tension which must be resolved.

The successful interpretation of aspects in weighing ego spheres comes through developing an understanding of these elemental angles, to have digested these basic principles so you can see how they work with the different planets. This is the way to have the personality of yourself, your lover, friends, coworker open up for you. Planets aspecting the ego spheres supplies all the clues to understand how a personality is structured, where a person is strong, where weak, where they hurt, where they shine.

See Appendix A for an analysis of the meaning of each of the Major Planetary Aspects and the Ego Spheres. This will give you some grounding in meaning of the aspects upon which you can build.

Remember the reason for studying aspects is to learn to weigh the Ego Spheres, to determine the psychological baggage at each level. This is the very basis of transactional analysis and the spring board to insights. Make notes of your own, consult with other astrological resources. Develop a real experience with these aspects. They are the building blocks of all astrological work. See how your own analysis adds up to what you will read in this book.
Then learn to adjust the combined input. Make it a habit to look at a chart from several points of view. Because we are all different, we need to be flexible make adjustments when needed. This will make for accuracy.

The Weighted Value of Aspects

Now that you can see and understand some of the rudiments of Now that you aspects, lets turn to the next important step in this weighing process: the ranking of the aspects in three categories:

Color Code Aspect
red Hard Conjunctions, Squares 90, Oppositions 180
blue Flowing Sextiles 60, Trines 120
green Dense Inconjuncts 150

The trick is to take the natal chart of the individual you are analyzing and look at what is called the planetary aspectarian, which is astrologer for a ''list of aspects. Return to John Lennon's chart, Figure 3. Note the aspectarian, a grid or list of all the aspects each planet makes in this, John's chart.
Look for the aspects of the planets to the Ego Spheres, Sun, Moon and Saturn. The computer has done all the calculations and conveniently labels and lists them for you Getting a prepared chart with an aspectarian can save you a lot of time. However it is possible to do this by hand by using the planetary positions and your knowledge of the degrees of the different aspects.

It is important to understand the concept of orb when looking ataspects, especially if you are preparing your own chart from the information in ephemersis. The key idea of orbs is similar to horse shoes: if it is close enough it counts. You will not find too many planetary aspects in your chart that are exact. That is, exactly 60, 90, 120 degrees, etc.

The key is to allow an ''orb'' which means that if the Moon and Mars are 85 degrees apart, they are within orb, close enough to 90 degrees to be considered a Square. Got it? Allow a 9 degree orb for conjunction, oppositions, squares and trines. Allow a 5 degree orb for sextiles and inconjuncts. If the planets are not ''within orb'' they are not considered an aspect and don't count in the analysis work in this method. Consider the example of horse shoes, a ringer is an exact orb, those shoes which fall within the distance of the peg the open ''U'' of the shoe are ''counters|'. that is within orb. Al1 others do not count in a tally because they do not ''measure up." The shoe doesn't fit. In other words, close not only counts in horse shoes, it counts in astrological aspects.

You now know about aspects and how they are classified as Hard, Flowing or Adjusting. The key is balance. If an ego sphere has more Hard aspects, it will be overly aggressive: and more traumatized sometimes because of battles scars. If there are more Flowing aspects the ego sphere will be talented, but perhaps lazy. If there are more Dense or adjusting aspects the ego sphere will lack self confidence adding a constant worry modality to the neurosis system. This quick summary will be broadened by the chapters to come. For now, as a beginner you know the rudiments about aspects and their psychological indicators.

Putting it All Together -- A Picture is Worth a Thousand Shrinks

Our next step is to show you how to take the natal aspects that are within orb and attach them to the chart of three Ego States, finishing the Transactional astrological chart and creating an evaluative map. This visual will present an analysis so striking that patterns will literally leap from the page to your eye. The Ego sphere with the most aspects is the most charged with mental and emotional energy.

Ready? To illustrate how this works, lets look at John Lennon's chart again. We already know the position of John's planetary ego states, review Figure 4, with its sparse skeleton. The next step in creating a complete transactional astrology chart is to add the planets that are in aspect (within orb) to John's Sun, Moon and Saturn. Look at John's natal chart again, Figure 3. You have just learned that the aspectian at the bottom of the chart shows all of John's aspects. You need only pick out the major aspects in aspect to Sun, Moon and Saturn. There are three areas to consider:

1: John's Saturn has two hard aspects, a Mercury opposition and a Jupiter conjunction. One dense inconjunct to theSun.
2: John's Sun has two dense inconjunct aspects one to Saturn and one to Jupiter.
3: John's Moon has three flowing aspects-- trines with Mars, Neptune and Uranus; two hard aspects--an opposition to Pluto and a square to his ascendent; one dense adjusting aspect to Venus.

Weighing the Spheres

When we attach this information to John's Transactional Astrology Chart and it takes on a shape of its own, Figure 12. Note that all the Planets which make an aspect with an ego state are attached with a line and symbol representing the nature of the aspect, trine, square, etc. For example Mars is represented by a line and a triangle representing a trine to the Child Ego State or the Moon.

One of the key reasons for utilizing Transactional Astrology Chart is that you can get such a quick over view of the astrological/ psychological makeup of an individual. Our task in determining the strength or ''weight'' of the chart is to ask which ego sphere has the most aspects and what kind of aspects are they?

It is instantly obvious that John Lennon's Inner Child / Moon in Aquarius is the most aspected or heavily weighted ego state. This sphere fueled this great Beatle's success and the inner trials he went through can be understood in a large part by the dynamics of his inner child. Lets look at each of John's Ego States as an example of how quickly Transactional Astrology can cut to the heart of the matter.

There are six aspects to John's Child Ego Sphere. The three flowing trines from Mars, Neptune and Uranus give John his ability to be playful to have great stamina, to love the unusual, the creative, the bizarre. The trine to Neptune in particular gives him a great fantasy life, a dreamer mentality, an interest in alternative states of consciousness, mind altering substances as well as visionary utopian inclinations. The trine to Uranus, makes him almost compulsively creative, a person that hates to repeat himself, a risk taker.

The hard aspects tell us another story. The Pluto opposition to the Moon tells of a deep problem with women, with his mother, of possibly traumatic problems related to the mother . Certainly   John ' s   feelings of isolation when his mother left   him home alone during the German bombing of England is represented by this dark aspect . John tried to resolve this in his song, ''Mother . '' The Moon ' s square to the Ascendent adds a deep need for   compulsive play in John ' s life   . It is as if after   all the early trauma, he must make up for lost time, time he will never regain.

Most interesting is the inconjunct, moon to Venus. This aspect shows how unsure our famous Beatle was in his view of women, and the true nature of his own feelings about being lovable. John actually had quite a bit of doubt about his ability to be loved. at least for being loved for himself alone, and not his many achievements. The desire to be in show business, sensation in some ways-shows John's need for something to attract a woman. Yet there is also the desire not to be loved as a star, a performer, but on his ability understand intimacy and intrinsic worth. There is the gnawing doubt that he is not lovable without his ability to impress.

Clearly John's Moon or Child Ego Sphere is a complex contradiction of great creative talent, trauma and inner insecurities. It is the driving force to his primal energy. More planetary contacts and energy are active here than any Ego Sphere, so the Child's impale on the personality has to be very dynamic. Looking at John Lennon's life it is apparent that his Inner Child was a large player, that it has the lion's share of John's psychological energy. He and Yoko were ''Two Virgina," two children and the world media was their play pen.

John's Parent/saturn Ego Sphere has two hard aspects, indicating that he would be hard on his Inner Child, that he would want to be tough, focused in unusual ways. The opposition of Mercury to Saturn gave John his big mouth, his ability to talk rough, denounce the old order, to announce that the group is more ''popular than Jesus'' or to create that strange little books ''John Lennon in his Own Write."

This Mercury opposition not only made John a tough talker, the quip master, it made him a writer, a writer who had to deal with reality of pop formulas, of learning this format and transcending it. There is also an anti-authoritarian bite to this aspect which made him question the rules of our culture.

The conjunction of Jupiter to Saturn, the Parent Ego Sphere shows John's great need to prove himself in a grand a ''Jupitarian'' manner. Jupiter is the planet of expansion, of seeking to shoot the arrows of our ambition high. Saturn is the critic, it always forces one to prove oneself to put up or shut up. For John, this meant great ambition and the driving need to be somebody to the world. It was not enough to have the desire to go in to music, John's Parent was pushing him to make it big, to show the world that he was somebody. It wasn't enough to be a ''want to be'' in a pop band, John wanted to really prove himself, to make real (Saturn) his ambition (Jupiter).

John's Adult/sun is his weakest Ego Sphere. Torn between a powerful, talented, emotionally traumatized Child and a critical Parent, the Adult Sphere is insecure, a state which is symbolized to the inconjunctions of Saturn and Jupiter. For John being one of the leaders of the peace movement, fighting authority, talking tough about the war, proclaiming the message of love, love, love, was easy. When this Beetle-person grew up, became a parent himself, a solo artist, had a wife, Yoke, now what? It was difficult transition into the Adult Sphere, one that lead him to become a ''house husband'' to withdraw for long periods of time ''watching the world go round." We will never know how John would have solved the riddles of the inconjuncts to his Adult, for he was gunned down just as he was about to emerge, just when he had gotten a handle on his own maturity, his own fatherhood, his recovered and transformed feelings about his inner self.

This brief look at John Lennon illustrates two of the many uses of a Transactional Astrology analysis of an individual. First it shows how quick, accurate, succinct and easy to interpret this method can be. With just a basic framework in astrology you are able to follow the astro-psychology. Secondly it provides information in a usable form which can provide insights on how to deal with a specific individual. What tactics one might use for success in a relationship. To illustrate this point lets return to the astroanalysis of John Lennon (review Figure 12).

How to Meet John

Lets ask the rhetorical question, What might be the best way to approach John? What would be a good way to get on the good side of our new neighbor? The first task is to decide which of the Ego Spheres might be most receptive for this venture. Certainly John's Parent is too verbal, too combative, too tough, the Saturn has no soft aspects. The Adult is too uncommitted, a Libra with two inconjuncts means John waffles.

This leaves the Child as the best Ego Sphere to approach. The Moon's trines to Mars, Neptune and Uranus tell the story. The best way to approach John is in a playful young at heart way, take him by surprise make him laugh. Amazingly enough this is exactly how Yoko chose to meet John. One wonders if she hadn't consulted an astrologer. What did Yoko do? She covered herself with a bag and approached John as he was previewing an art show. This playful act delighted the Child in John and he became immediately interested in Yoko. Truly an example of the right approach at the right time.

Synopsis of the Steps to Generating A Transactional Astrology Analysis Chart

Lets review the process for creating and then evaluating the Transactional analysis chart as well as giving some helpful hints as to how to use this chart as stepping stone to psychological discovery.
Follow the sequence given below:

1. Get the correct date, time and place of birth of yourself or the individual for whom you are creating the chart.

2. Have an astrology computer center compute an exact chart for you. Or use the information from library references to hand generate the date needed.

3. Create a ''bare bones'' chart with the three rings stacked perpendicular with the sign and degree of Saturn, Sun and Moon as the three Ego Spheres.

4. Look up the meaning of each Ego Sphere planet in its sign in appendix B, Major archetypes. This gives a basic ''feel''for each Ego Sphere in its ''pure'' or unaffected climate.

5. Write down all the planets making major aspects, (trine, sextile, squares, conjunction, inconjunct and opposition) with each of the Ego Sphere planets. Attach those planets graphically to the appropriate Ego Sphere in the Transactional Astrology chart.

6. Look up the meaning of these planetary aspects in appendix C, ''Weighing the Ego Spheres.'' Consider the distribution of the aspects to the Ego Spheres, then evaluate and rank them according to their the hard, soft or adjusting qualities that are indicated. It is easy to see which has the most planets aspecting it. Good indicators to begin your study of the Ego Sphere are:

Which has the most aspects? Which has the least?
Which has the most hard aspects? Which has the most soft aspects?
Which as the most adjusting aspects?

These questions and ones that you will think up will supply the basis for realistic evaluation of the strengths and weakness of the Ego Spheres and will pave the way to an insightful evaluation of the individual's character, such as was done with the example of John Lennon.

Getting in Personal Touch With the Ego Spheres

Now that you have the chart laid out before you and can see how Ego Spheres are weighed in varying strengths according to the aspects to the planets, take some time to really analyze and think about this chart. Go through each of the aspects and planets involved and see how they connect. Get a ''feel'' for each aspect.
For example, if there are squares to the Saturn, feel and hear the voice of the demanding Parent. After you have done this, try the following method:

Approach each Ego Sphere and do a modified form of psycho-drama. Pretend that you are the Ego Sphere and act it out. Imagine how it feels to be that Parent, Adult or Child. Personify it in some way. Make it a pillow, a picture, a lamp shade, something to focus on as you begin to talk out loud to that part of the chart. Ask questions of it and then imagine how it would answer. Remember to do this out loud, actually talking to your personification of the chart symbol and acting out its reply. This may feel a little awkward at first. You may need to adjust a little to talk to a lamp as if it were a Parent. But remember you are alone and this imaginative dialogue can open you up to great insights. Your own subconscious and higher intuitive levels of mind will be called into service and the results will be rewarding. You will find youself saying things that will amaze you.

If the chart your are working on is your own, I strongly recommend that you tape record these sessions of voice dialoguing with the Ego Spheres. You will discover that in your psycho-drama things will come up. These issues will motivate you to know more about specific psychological conditions, even surprising memories of events that you may have forgotten. One of my clients rediscovered by voice dialoguing with her Child that she had run away from home once, had walked across town to her favorite aunts. This reawakened her to how much denial she had about the true traumatic relationship she had with her mother when she was a young child. Working through that pain rather than living the false fantasy that her childhood had been ''idyllic'' enabled her to get a realistic grasp on herself.

It is also important that you include in your notebook (suggested at end of Chapter any new insights or memories that this form of voice dialoguing produces. As these notebook notations grow and you continue to work with the Ego Spheres, big pieces to the puzzle of personality will unfold for you. Doing this notebook work is like mining ore, the more you dig the more nuggets you get. The ore is not going to jump out of the mine and onto your lap. You have to work for it.

Another important step is to develop an awareness for how your Ego Spheres react during your day to day activities. lf you are studying yourself, be aware of your words, your tone of voice, your gestures, your actions and thoughts. Develop the habit of asking yourself from time to time, ''What was the root of that behavior? Which Ego Sphere was talking?'' It is important to be aware of your own programming. As your awareness grows you ability to grow and change becomes more positive.

If you are studying your prospective boy/girl friend, you may want to see if you can tell when the different Ego Spheres are functioning in their personality. When is the Child active? What provokes the Parent? How mature is the Adult? Where does the anger come from? Observations like this will enable you to see if growth with this person is possible, if a relationship is something that could be worked out. More specific comparison techniques will be given in later chapters. And like a good musician, you must practice your listening and playing skills.

You may discover some tricky seas. The next chapter will illustrate some particularly challenging configurations of the ego spheres. Remember, the journey to discover the self in this life, reflects the greater journey of the soul. We are all travelers on a greater high way . One of my clients once wrote me:

The game is so real to us If a game is what it is.
It would be nice to know the score In terms not etched in pain.
I long for when it was Child's play.

I always liked this, enough to include it here. And let us not forget in context of life as a game, there is an umpire, time, whose simple cry keeps us going with a cry, ''Play ball!'' If play ball we must, lets learn to do our best. Let's look at some problems that must be flagged. We will learn these in chapter three.

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