In Plato’s Symposium, we learn that humans originally consisted of four arms, four legs, and a single head with two faces.  But Zeus, most powerful of the Greek gods, feared the humans’ power and tore them asunder, condemning them to eternally search for the other half of themselves – their soul mate.

That’s as good as any explanation for the magical, mystical, and most importantly – fated – union you can feel in the presence of another.   For many, it’s the most beautiful, moving, and transformative experience for which one could ever hope.   I’ve had it.  Have you?

So why is it that – more likely than not – it all ends in tears?

Astrologically, the ‘soul mate’ phenomenon is inevitably bound up with Neptune – which moves in mysterious, illusive ways.  Neptune is counter logical and doesn’t play by the rules.  Neptune is of another world, luring us into pursuit of a glamorous dream that takes us to places we’d never otherwise willingly have gone.

We all need some glamour in our lives.  But when the dream is over you need to move on.

Does this mean you can never have a long-term relationship with your Neptunian ‘soul mate’?  Of course not.

What it does mean is that unless your soul mate relationship has more holding it together than Neptune contacts, when reality shatters your rose-coloured glasses, either you or your beloved will be sneaking out the backdoor with a grin.

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The following is a brief outline of the various ‘soul-mate’ synastry aspects between your chart and another’s  (the closer the aspect – the stronger the effect):

Neptune/Moon – the Moon person has an earthy stability that makes the Neptune person feel safe.  The Neptune person sees the Moon person as the only one able to provide much-needed non-judgemental love.  Neptune believes the Moon will always be there for her.  Initially the Moon responds positively to Neptune’s needs and does all she can to provide sympathetic care.  But as the bonds grow stronger, the Moon often becomes progressively more possessive; Neptune then feels overwhelmed and quietly slips away.

Neptune/Mercury – Neptune views Mercury as a clever companion and guide who can provide insightful answers to Neptune’s pressing questions.   Often the dialogue between these two is poetic and inspired.  Yet both planets (given the circumstances) can be shameless liars.   Neptune uses her mirroring powers to please at all costs.  For Mercury (governed by the god of tricksters and thieves) truth is always a relative business.   In the end quarrels and misunderstandings are inevitable – and it’s what each of you do then that matters.

Neptune/Venus – this contact has provided inspiration for poetry and fiction from the beginning of time – for it inevitably involves the pain of illicit (and often unfilled) desire.   While Neptune fantasizes about the physical consummation of a mystical love, Venus waits impatiently (and perhaps indefinitely) for Neptune to take action.  The problem is that Venus wants to be loved through (and for) her body – while what Neptune really loves is Venus’ soul.  This aspect reflects the intoxicating feeling of ‘being in love’.  Yet often it only produces a broken heart.

Neptune/Mars – the sheer strength of the sexual pull between these two ensures trouble.  Neptune sees Mars as her invincible champion– tough, potent, decisive, and ready for battle.   In turn, Mars feels fulfilled with a worthy cause for which to fight.  Yet if Neptune can’t acknowledge her dependency on Mars, she’ll undermine him so as to ensure he doesn’t go off crusading for someone else.  Often this results in the classic ‘not tonight but maybe tomorrow’ script where Mars is kept eternally waiting.  On-going frustration may draw cruelty and violence from Mars.  The less Neptune understands her own capacity for aggression, the darker their relationship becomes.

Neptune/Jupiter – involves a profound sense of shared religious or spiritual commitment.  Jupiter’s quest for meaning and optimistic vision of the world provides Neptune a solid hook for her own – often inarticulate – yearnings.    Yet because both Jupiter and Neptune share a taste for the boundless, this aspect can end up with the blind leading the blind.   Jupiter cajoles Neptune into some folly into which Neptune happily follows.  When it all goes wrong (as it usually does), disillusionment inevitably follows.

Neptune/Saturn – involves a meeting of archetypal opposites.  Saturn (the strong, worldly, paternal figure) overtly builds while Neptune (elusive, vulnerable, and distinctly of another world) subtly undermines.  When Saturn-Neptune aspects go wrong, they go very wrong.    They can generate an intensity of anger and need to inflict emotional pain that becomes unbearable for both parties.  However if handled with care (and maturity), this aspect has the greatest potential for healing.  Neptune can offer Saturn a tangible sense of hope and faith while Saturn can offer Neptune the stability through which she can become her most creative self.

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What I’m going to do is split every single one of them into two halves (regarding Zeus’ solution to the overambitious human androgynies, Plato, Symposium)

Astrological oppositions are dynamic.   They pull us off balance to catch our attention.  They force growth.  They require psychological projection, conflict & challenge, confrontation, and finally (hopefully) compromise.  Apparently there is no way to avoid oppositions.  Like castor oil, they are good for us – like them or not.

Oppositions divide the circle of unity by two.  God created man in his own image; the God-image lodged in a creature of earth is both a (1) union of oppositions (matter and spirit), and (2) disunion with the divine. [1] In Judeo-Christian traditions Eve and the snake get the blame for this because the tree of knowledge gave awareness of dichotomy (i.e. good & evil – life & death).  Paradoxically, this awareness is what signals our birth of consciousness into earthly existence.  We are no longer at one with God.

Although dichotomies, dyads, and duality are central to every aspect of life, they have a bad reputation.  Polarization, splitting, and blame are popular remedies.  It’s as if we must go completely off balance and experience the extremes before heading for middle ground.  Have a look at the newspapers; this certainly seems to be the case.

Alternatively, as a solution I suggest détente; I envision this as a Mercury/Venus function.[2] Mercury facilitates intercourse between the opposing parties like a shaman realigning the relationship between body and spirit.  It is interesting that Alice Bailey considered Mercury  – not Mars – to be the esoteric ruler of Aries (the sign of ‘action’).  One might then suggest that ‘thought’ is the basis of ‘action’ and should precede it – not the other way around.    While Mercury does his realignment thing, Venus diplomatically smoothes ruffled relations long enough for each to get in touch with his own values and make choices accordingly.

Many religions focus on the reunification of the ‘two’ with the ‘one’.  My Judeo-Christian legacy bequeathed me a jealous and angry God who is, himself, split between the halos of heaven and the eternal fires of hell.  Perhaps it is through a positive attitude (Mercury – the alchemist) and a between relationship with the ‘tree of knowledge’ (Venus – living with our choices) that we can find our way back to ‘The Garden’.


[1] Edward, F. Edinger, The Bible and the Psyche, Individuation Symbolism in the Old Testament, Inner City Books, Toronto, (1986), p. 21.

[2] The key to détente (a phrase coined during 1965-1972 as a solution to the US/USSR Cold War/ Arms Race) may be demonstrated by Henry Kissinger (who was heavily associated with the concept).  He has a heavy Venus/Mercury influence (Gemini/Libra) and Chiron in Aries opposite Saturn/ Moon in Libra that runs across his 3rd/9th houses.  He also has Sun/Mercury (conjunct) in Gemini in the 10th house.

NOTE – artwork borrowed from http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/ToeTagJaneDoe/tag/jakebaddeley-paintings/

  • Libra (earthpages.wordpress.com)

Yes, with all my heart I am my Father’s child.[1]

Athena was formed in the image of the Father; she was not borne by a woman but sprang fully grown from Zeus’ head.

This is why Athena is the only goddess to have personified ‘reason’ – traditionally the privileged enclave of men.

It is through reason that Athena conquered the traditionally female emotions (such as rage, jealousy, and fear) that hold the rest of us back in civilised society.   She wore the head of Medusa on her on her breastplate to symbolise her civilising achievement.   By looking to Father for direction, we women in civilised societies are encouraged to do the same.

The Father image we women internalise comes as much from society as from our personal Dads.  While Dad may be supportive of his daughter, western society’s Father is not.  I suggest that we women are successful – not because of Father – but in spite of (or in reaction to) him.  Recall that Athena’s glorious birth resulted from Father’s fear of competition.

Flip through any history book and it will become clear  that Western men have purposefully perpetuated the myth of female irrationality and inferiority.  For our own good, our feminine intellect has been protected form the ‘burdens’ of education and rational thinking.

The daughters of educated men have always done their thinking from hand to mouth; not under green lamps at study tables in the cloisters of secluded colleges. (Virginia Woolf, Three Guineas)

Western men are seriously threatened by rational, intelligent, and well-educated women.   As Medusa, we are conquerable; as Athena, we are not.   Some women wish to be conquered by men; others do not.

The history of men’s opposition to women’s emancipation is more interesting perhaps than the story of that emancipation itself. (Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own).

Preservation of male supremacy spawns little interest for daughters to be formed in Fathers own image.  In fact the reverse is true.

Women have served all these centuries as looking –glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size.  (Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own).

So when deciding whether like Athena, we as women wish to be formed in the image of the Father, I suggest we first take a good hard look at what that image really represents.


[1] Athena’s comment taken from a translation of The Eumenides by Robert Fagles, The Oresteia, Penguin Books, 1977 (736-40).


There isn’t an immediately obvious connection between Aquarius and existentialism, but please – hear me out.

Ruled by the opposing forces of Saturn (status quo) and Uranus (breaking new ground), Aquarians are  faced with impossible choices like those highlighted in the myth of Prometheus.

Prometheus was an altruistic demigod with the gift of foresight.  Seeing primitive man unable to keep warm or cook his meat, Prometheus  had a choice;  either (1) accept the great god Zeus’ refusal to share holy fire with mankind or (2) take action against the status quo.  He ‘chose’ the second.   For his efforts, he was chained to a cliff where an eagle picked out his liver anew.

According to Richard Tarnas, the archetypal complex of Saturn-Uranus  expresses itself through polarities. [1] Never are these tensions more manifest than when Saturn and Uranus are involved.

Thus it’s not surprising then that Saturn-Uranus can result with the phenomena of ‘choice angst’, which was dubbed by Maureen Dowd (herself born with Saturn square Uranus) in her 2009 New York Times article “Blue is the New Black”, as “the modern disease”.

According to Dowd, too much freedom of choice is inherently stressful. Existentialists would agree. Understandably then, given the tensions between Saturn and Uranus, it’s on the horizon of the Age of Aquarius that choice angst is on the rise.  Further, because Aquarius’s role is naturally that of an unappreciated visionary, then like the existentialist (who emphasizes freedom of choice and personal responsibility in a hostile world), Aquarius feels the odd man out.

Even worse.  Although both existentialists and Aquarius (Prometheus) seemingly have choices in reality they don’t.

This is because in order to be true to his nature and purpose, (and to do otherwise is for existentialists the ultimate bad faith) Aquarius must shatter the status quo (Saturn) and break new ground Uranus).   In other words, Uranus always wins out where Saturn is involved.

It is for this reason that I suggest that real freedom of choice in the Age of Aquarius is the great Aquarian Myth.


ENDNOTE

[1] World Transits 2000-2020 – An Overview, Journal of Archetypal Cosmology, Autumn 2010. – According to Tarnas, this Aquarian interplay between Saturn and Uranus is exactly what we’re experiencing with the current polarization of American politics; conservative, reactionary parties, such as the Tea Party movement, define themselves as the force of freedom and rebellion, with a generally right-wing anti-progressive ideology (Saturn) yet consciously adopting the methods characterisation of radical protest movements and demonstrations (Uranus).  Saturn is in opposition to Uranus from 2007-2012.

Indeed, Tarnas suggests that the name ‘Tea Party’ itself reflects the interplay of Saturn and Uranus, a symbol of America’s own beginnings when the country’s eighteenth-century founding fathers (Saturn) also called for liberty and rebellion (Uranus).  Remember that Uranus (the modern ruler of Aquarius) was first discovered in 1781 at the time of the French and American revolutions.  Until that time, the astrological ruler of Aquarius was Saturn alone.