Culture Clash

I first published this letter using erroneous data; my sincere apologies to Ms A!  If some of the analysis is familiar, it’s because a portion, specifically concerning potentials in Mr X’s chart, stayed the same, as the data I used for him was correct. 


I love your site and your writing. Thank you so much for making them so easily available.

Mr X and I have been together 2 years, and have lived together the last year of it (still do).

Here’re the things about being with him that are hard for me: he’s an active alcoholic (he admits this); he’s undocumented (was deported for a DUI a few years ago but came right back); and his culture encourages his alcoholism, as well as general unaccountability to me. I actually ask for very little in that way, just that he let me know if he’s going to be out all night drinking or on a job. For some reason he can’t seem to do this consistently, and it scares me.

Here’re the things about him that I appreciate: I feel in my bones he’s faithful to me sexually; he seems to aspire to be a model father (we’re pregnant with our first child, due at the end of August); he works for himself doing construction and handyman-type stuff, perfectionistically and with exceptional integrity, has no trouble getting / keeping clients, and making a livable living; he’s cute, energetic, funloving and charming; he’s a frighteningly charismatic dancer and brilliant actor (the acting seems to give him access to all levels of society); though uneducated he’s extremely smart; his anger is easily roused, inky, and slow to leave, but he has great control of it physically; he seems to love me…what else…well, he seems, so far, like an all around generally good guy, really, besides the addiction and cultural/citizenship stuff. I know two years isn’t a terribly long time to be with someone, but that’s what I see so far.

His drinking and culture do both scare me a lot, though, especially when I think about our having this child together (we’ve been told it’s a boy). We recently moved to the countryside, away from a lot of other undocumented Hispanics, but for the past year or so lived in his apartment complex, which houses nearly 100% undocumented Hispanic families. I moved in with him ignorant about the culture but with an open mind, sort of as you might imagine a proper white American liberal would. Having heard so much about Mexican Family Tradition, I was surprised to see so many “families,” with an apparent husband and wife, which functioned like single-mom households, the husband filling a role something like a financially contributing, but unaccountable and chemically addicted, teenage son.

This sickened me. I couldn’t bear the idea of raising a child with these examples for adulthood (the women’s tolerance bothered me as much as the men’s immaturity). I reached a point where I had to move, and we did. We now rent a gorgeous cottage close to nature (in a canyon) rather than the cockroach-infested, crumbling, cracker box housing he’s used to. I moved us largely for my own sanity, but also hoping that the peace and dignity of this place would eventually impress upon him that he deserves better than what he’s used to.

We’re physically distant from that environment, but my boyfriend’s current jobs and friends are still mired in it (and his social life is very important to him). We both work, and will both probably need to continue to after our baby is born (we are not rich). I came into this relationship thinking of myself as a writer and generally creative type but have transformed into this unbearable (at least to me) Church Lady Teacher type, and have not written, not really, since before we met.

This is getting really long…I’m sorry. I guess, essentially, I do find him fascinating and love him, and am hoping for the best in this thing. Any insights you might have into how we will work together as parents and as lovers; how we will/won’t fulfill our own person destinies in the context of being together (if you can even see such stuff in the charts); and what will become of my partner’s addiction, would be appreciated.

Thank you so much.


Dear Ms A,

Thank you, and you’re welcome!

And you’ve done an excellent job laying out your dilemma. The question really becomes, what can you live with?

Your chart ruler, Venus, is in the 7th at 29 Scorpio, signalling that Venusian subjects will be a focus of this lifetime–and that love and relationships will have an urgency behind them, particularly in terms of how sexuality relates to love. You need to get it all worked out. Mr X has his Neptune at 00 Sagittarius cross-chart conjunct your Venus–you can’t see who he is (the obscuring quality of Neptune) even as you are easily aware of the value of his personal assets and talents (Pisces rules his 2nd). His Neptune says that he is likely to project a fantasy of who you are, and what your needs are–and with the placement at 00, Mr X is just learning to deal with Neptune in a Sagittarian form–one that may convince him that the freewheeling, man-in-charge, macho cultural stereotype is completely an appropriate way to behave, and this is in part due to the nature of Sag, which sees a ‘bachelor’-style freedom as a right, not an option.

Your Chiron/ Ceres/ Moon conjunction in Pisces is conjunct his Chiron in Aries, and the wounds and potential for healing are seen in each other; but, what each needs is markedly different, due to the differing signs. Mr X’s wounds are Self-assertion, ego, and image related, likely stemming from not feeling totally supported or adequate as a man (Mars, ruler of Aries, as symbol of a man’s ‘ideal Self’). For you, A, the wound is likely received from the Collective, and as it relates to this relationship, your awareness of being an outsider, with vastly different standards and priorities, is likely a manifestation of this. The culture clash hurts, emotionally (Moon) and brings forward the desire to negotiate circumstances–and this may feel maternal to him–but at the same time, since the cultural standard from which he comes puts women in a kind of maternal role toward all men and the spouse in particular, once the courtship phase is over . . . then in his eyes, likely no harm, no foul, you may actually come across to him like the women with whom he grew up.

And you don’t come across like a “Church Lady Teacher type”–that feeling within you is seated directly in the culture clash you’re experiencing, and in that stimulation of the Moon/ Chiron/ Ceres, which sits in your 12th and permeates your expression, unbidden. This isn’t a bad thing; it’s his Arian Chiron in proximity trine his Neptune in Sag that brings it to active awareness and convinces you you’re appearing that way, though that isn’t typical for you. But, with this gathering in Pisces, you may be prone to accept his projections (Sag is a teacher vibe) and with Moon ruling your 4th of deepest Self, you may be seeing, judging, and disliking these energies, convinced that that’s really what you are deep inside. churchlady02

Your Uranus/ Pluto conjunction is exactly quincunx his Sun; he is drawn to the intensity of your uniqueness, and sees both your free-thinking and your intelligence as having potential to transform his Soul. He is aware, though, that these qualities in your require him to adjust; as well, you feel you must moderate these aspects of your personality in order to honor his Soul’s essence–a tough, and ongoing, bargain that may keep you both just slightly off-balance.

His Earth/ Vesta is opposed his Moon; his material needs are sacred to him, and he may either embrace these as ‘what a woman needs as a proper environment’ (projected, Moon involvement–which it sounds like he has done) or he may (perhaps at a later date) find the importance of sex, the home, and those things he finds sacred as creating too much of an emotional drain on him. The Moon in a man’s chart stands for his emotional state, his mother, and the way he sees women in general whom he doesn’t regard as sexual objects–and it’s an important energy to understand in relationship, as even the hottest pairing cools, and the man steps back to regard his partner, at least to some extent, in the same light he sees all women, so this aspect set is indicative of one of the attitudes he brings to the table.

Mr X has an exact Moon/ Venus/ Juno conjunction, which is also conjunct his Sun, that falls in his 1st House. I don’t think you have ever really seen the exact nature of Mr X, and what he truly thinks of women, as the entire time you’ve known him this complex has been under a Neptune transit, obscuring your perceptions of him and his perceptions of himself. We have some clues, though, in the perfection of the Moon/ Venus/ Juno, all in Aquarius, which implies that he wants and admires an intelligent, strong, nurturing, and Self-empowered woman–you fit the bill nicely.

Your South Node is conjunct his Neptune, and your Saturn is exactly conjunct his North Node, both of which signal involvement and ‘pull’ that is almost subconscious in nature. Your Sun is conjunct his Uranus, ruler of his intercepted 1st, and we have a hint that you express things for and about him that he finds difficult to express himself, specifically ideas about the modern world and roles, independence, and the place of higher thought in everyday life.

I can say this with some certainty: Mr X will not change who he is; he is very invested in continuing to conduct himself as he wishes, which will unfortunately continue to be behavior that shows little regard for your fears and priorities; all his wishes for change, or admiration for your independent and modern nature, are passive. I’m not saying he’s a bad guy, by any means; I am saying that with him, what you see is what you get, and he has no conscious or active desire to change–that transformation he hopes will come through you is one that he hopes for in a very abstract way, and as well assumes nothing in his own life or psyche would actually alter one iota!

Mr X will remain very much the same over time, barring some major incident, the most likely of which would be Pluto’s eventual conjunction to natal Mercury (approx 2017)–this transit shows the potential of major change to his behavior that affects the partner and child(ren) (Mercury rules his 5th and 8th, with the conjunction happening in the 12th, and possibly indicates an affair or creating a child with another–by then he’ll be 47, and this would be a reaction in line with the aging, machismo-oriented mentality).

The prominence of Neptune in the cross-chart contacts points up both the way the relationship is in some ways the fulfillment of an ideal, and how alcohol and illusion (the kind that keeps him believing you’ll be happy within his culture eventually, and you believing he’ll change, perhaps leaving his culture, or at least its values, eventually) are definitely a permanent feature between you–and this is only pointed up by the long-term Neptune transit mentioned previously. His Sun falls in your 11th, suggesting he is, in some way, a dream come true, and seen very much as a friend; your Sun falls in his 9th, emphasizing for him your ‘foreignness’ and the knowledgeable/ teacher part of you–see, you really are receiving his projection!

Though it sounds like in many ways you are happy for now in this relationship, it really boils down to how long you and your child will live with someone who does drink regularly to the point of dangerous irresponsibility (DUI) and who does not, in the end, see you as a true partner. Cultural influences can give us many assumptions we never question, and upon which we base our lives; you are not like that, being open to the new and always thoughtfully observing, but Mr X is precisely like that, and I’m afraid it becomes a matter of how long you will accept, by virture of major cultural difference, not being seen and treated as a full partner in life, which I’m convinced at some point you will both want and need.

My very best wishes to you and to Mr X–as you say, he has many good qualities–and congratulations on your pregnancy! I hope you’ll consider coming back here and sharing a little about your new little one when he arrives. I encourage you to write–not only will this help you to work through those things you may not be totally conscious of, but I suspect you have much to share that others will find illuminating.

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