What is a complex?

  1. Charcot – identifies a complex as ‘an idea’ or ‘group of ideas’ that ‘settles in the mind in the fashion of parasites’.
  2. Janet – suggests that a complex is an ‘idée fixe subconsciente’ that, having split off from the personality as a whole, wields enormous (unconscious) power.
  3. Freud- attributes to complexes a combination of mythological and emotional significance – for example, Oedipal complexes, the incestuous childhood triangle leading predictably to desire, fear, guilt, aggression, and shame.
  4. Adler – focuses on inferiority complexes, which he believed led to compulsive (and dangerous) power drives.
  5. Jung – connects complexes with archetypes, or universal psychic patterns, that absorb personal experiences like a sponge.

images.jpegAstrologers can zoom in on your complexes, like a bee to honey, so to speak. This does not take years of therapy. Whilst there are many potential complexes at work in your natal chart, the ones most like to give problems are those energised in some way. The usual suspects include angular planets, singletons, squares, and oppositions. Sextiles and trines can be problematic too but won’t pack as much punch. This is because you can relate, at least in part, with both sides of the equation. Conjunctions are a sticky wicket. They can play out for years without you even realising that they’re there, so much do they make you feel like ‘this’ is exactly who and what you are.

Complex-of-Guilt

From time to time – when the moment is ripe by transit or progression – the complex will explode:

  • Projection – often, we project one side of the (complex) equation onto another person and then wage a battle against him/her. For example, if you have Sun square Saturn, you might pick fights with authority figures like teachers and bosses and then wonder how/why you always get flattened. Equally, you might find people  pick fights with you for no apparent reason. Either could manifest but if you have a strong Saturn (in Capricorn or Libra) and/or lots of earth in your chart, you probably will experience the latter. By contrast, if your Saturn is in Aries, Sagittarius, or Leo (fire), you will probably experience the former.
  • Somatization – sometimes the complex manifests in your body as illness. This is neither better or worse than projection – just different. For example, if you have Sun square Saturn, you may suffer from depression, heart problems, or even skin disorders. That there are physical or physiological causes for your ailments doesn’t detract from the fact that there is still an underlying complex in play. Although I do not practice medical astrology, I can speak from personal experience that most illnesses/complaints can be traced back to our charts, transits, and progressions.

Although you can never get rid of your complexes, you can learn to express their energy more constructively. This helps to avoid them feeling like fate. Work with your astrologer to identify the complexes at work (any combination of two, three, or more planets will constellate a complex of some kind with some being more potent than others). Then find a good therapist to help you to integrate them.

469image-500x500.pngCommon ‘father complexes’:

Sun/Saturn Father = Authority figure Did you feel rejected/unloved by your father because you are never good enough?
Sun/Neptune Father = Victim/Absent Did you feel your father was never there for you?
Sun/Jupiter Father = Source of good fortune Did you feel that father was always a good ‘hit’ for a loan or increase in your allowance?
Sun/Uranus Father = Illuminating force Did you feel that your father was so impersonal, so powerful that you were afraid of him?
Sun/Pluto Father = Source of (divine) retribution Did you feel that your father always won at your  expense?
Sun/Mercury Father = Educator Did you feel that your father always had something useful to share?
Sun/Moon Father = Nurturer Did you feel that your father was more like a mother than a father to you?
Sun/Venus Father = Beloved Did you feel that your father was placed high up on a pedestal, always out of reach for you?
Sun/Mars Father = Militant Did you feel that your father was always picking a fight with or on account of you?

 

  1. Very interesting. What about the influences of both the rising and moon signs. I exhibit more of my rising sign attributes than my sun.

    • That makes sense! According to Liz Greene these are indications of temperament but they don’t work the same was as do the complexes – which actively form our personalities through projection (usually) and somatization – the idea is that the complex catches your attention somehow that not all is well and hence calls on you to refine and /or fix it – if you have any planet within 10 degrees of your ascendant then that could be acting like a complex fuelling energy into your ascendant – complexes don’t need to be negative though – that’s where we often get it wrong – especially when they sit well with your temperament a a whole (i.e. Jupiter conjunction Sun in a fiery chart). That might be most pleasant indeed but still needs refinement to get the best from it. On the other hand, Jupiter square sun in an earthy chart could be harder and need more work because although you’ve still got Jupiter and the sun acting in concert you probably farm out either or both sets of qualities onto others without realising that you’ve got them for yourself!

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