Want versus Need in the Natal Chart

It’s really important to distinguish between what we want and what we need; often, we see them as one and the same or, much worse, confuse the two, or just plain misunderstand, thinking that what we need is only a desire, and denying it to ourselves out of misplaced frugality. We all have both wants and needs, and they’re shown principally by the Moon (needs) and Venus (wants) in the natal chart.

Noting that Venus has been tagged as representing wants, you may protest with, ‘But don’t we all need love?’ And you’d be right, of course we all need love, it’s just that the love we need must be delivered in the form of the Moon–the love we talk about with Venus carries other baggage: lust, jealousy, envy, greed, carnality, and the trappings of romance and courtship–all are forms of ‘Venus love,’ and not truly love at all, but desire. Love that is pure and untouched by these concepts is Amor, while Venus love that is other-directed and objectified is Eros. It remains to the Moon to show us true need, and the form of love that will nurture, comfort, and fulfill emotionally.

Does this mean we shouldn’t call Venus the planet of Love anymore? No, it just means that when we speak of Venus as representing love, we must hold in mind the awareness that the love Venus represents is that which is typically found in relationship, shown by its rulership of Libra (with the singular exception of the Moon as it carries the maternal love). Venus can also show something about love of the Self (as indicated by Taurus and natural rulership of the 2nd of Self-worth and assets/ talents)–and yet, again, this suggests an outward component to the love, as this focuses on our perceptions of ourselves via the physical, the abilities, and the possessions, including our relationship to the personal finances. Because we live in a material world (sorry, Madonna) there exists a material level at which we will inevitably assess ourselves–and so we take this into account when thinking of Venus, as well.

Neither the Moon nor Venus promises fulfillment of the spirit, though the functions of each can lead to this (the propensity largely indicated in the natal chart by a relationship of either to Neptune, Chiron, the Sun, and sometimes Jupiter). Spiritual love and ideals are the province of Neptune and the Sun (this latter as it represents the Soul itself), but again, these are not separate so much as facets of the concept of love we all carry.

So when we seek love, talk about love, speak of needing to find another to assuage our loneliness, to give our love to, in my estimation we really need to be looking, not at our Venus, but at our Moon, first. This idea was encapsulated in the pop psychology axiom, ‘You can’t love another until you love yourself,’ and indeed, if we have not found the emotional fulfillment demanded by our Moon, we are, in a psychic sense, unable to look away from our own needs, and thus unable to really see and commune with another.

What about desire? After all, we’re in a way programmed to go after what we desire and there’s nothing wrong with that, except that we go after our desires with the expectation that having them fulfilled will fulfill us, when our desires are more about possession than about completion. Our Moon needs, however, are about completion, in the sense that our psyches cannot function as a healthy whole without the sense of having been nurtured, and emotionally ‘filled up’–and we are back to the idea that we cannot give away what we don’t possess–in this case, the sense of completeness, comfort, and nurture that make up the essence of the love we think of sharing with another person.

See my book on The Astrology of Intimate Relationship for how to read a natal chart, and to compare natal charts, for relationship success and potential compatibility, here http://dogandsunflower.wordpress.com

17 thoughts on “Want versus Need in the Natal Chart

  1. neithonastrology August 14, 2009 / 5:16 pm

    Wonderful post, Judith! You have nailed this subject in my opinion.

    except that we go after our desires with the expectation that having them fulfilled will fulfill us, when our desires are more about possession than about completion

    Seen this far too many times, sadly enough.

    Thank you, Neith!

  2. Aello August 14, 2009 / 5:20 pm

    Sounds like a Moon-Venus conjunction in the natal chart would be a big help in reconciling one’s needs and wants. Though not in aspect, mine are both in Leo (but in different houses); would this make it more difficult to discern my needs from my wants?

    • juliedemboski August 15, 2009 / 8:35 am

      Hi Aello! I think this is a ‘yes and no’ answer–yes, it makes it harder to distinguish between the two when they’re in the same sign, but no, they can be sorted out via the matters of the two House placements. Say the Moon is in the 5th and Venus in the 4th–then we might expect matters of home and family to show the Venus needs (for instance, by carrying the same values as the family of origin) while Moon needs may be acted out through romantic relationships, creativity, or through issues with offspring–and the tendency might be to look to 5th House matters to nurture (which is in some ways inappropriate) and to look to 4th House matters to fulfill the desire nature (by having, perhaps, the biggest house on the block). There are a lot of possibilities, but I think House placements are probably the key to spotting the difference between wants and needs–thanks, Aello!

  3. william August 14, 2009 / 7:18 pm

    Therapist : “Do you feel sex is dirty?”
    Woody Allen : “Only if it’s done correctly…”

  4. william August 14, 2009 / 7:32 pm

    GAWD thats interesting…

    I assume you’re referring to your post just preceding?

  5. nray August 14, 2009 / 10:11 pm

    Great read. My Moon needed it and thanks you!

    Thank you, Neeti, and you’re welcome!

  6. Watergirl August 16, 2009 / 2:50 pm

    I enjoyed your post, and i understand it…but I just can’t seem to understand it as it relates to me. I have both my Moon and North Node in Taurus (2nd house). So does that mean that I NEED stuff? That just seems shallow. I am having trouble with this.

    • juliedemboski August 16, 2009 / 3:25 pm

      Hi Watergirl,

      Having both the Moon and the North Node in Taurus in the 2nd House suggests to me that you are moving in the direction of appreciating your physical/ material surroundings at a new level, and that you emotionally need to learn this–that you will find meaning and nurture in it. The assumption that appreciating the material world is shallow is just that, an assumption, and fails to recognize that we are physical Beings called upon to interact through and with the material world that surrounds us–and thus everything has a spiritual basis, because we are dealing with both nature and our own creations, all the time–hardly a shallow thing, in my view. Good luck, Watergirl!

  7. hitchhiker72 August 17, 2009 / 5:53 am

    Thanks for this, Julie. I’ve Moon in Cap, and I *need* more structure than I care to admit…

  8. Watergirl August 19, 2009 / 1:47 pm

    Thanks Julie for your advice and support. Shallow was not exactly the word i was looking for, and unfortunately it’s still not coming to me. But i do see that my home is very important to me. I am certainly not a great housekeeper, but when i buy things i put a lot of thought into the purchase. I take great pleasure in things as simple as taps for instance, and if they’re ugly, it always bothers me. Not a great deal, but it’s there. So yes, my physical surroundings/home does affect my emotional well-being.

  9. william August 20, 2009 / 1:30 am

    so interesting because-
    the recent moon journey thru Cancer, 1 degree on solstice and last degree at “eclipse of the century” makes this article
    rather a bit more pertinent than otherwise I should think.
    “if we have not found the emotional fulfillment demanded by our Moon, we are, in a psychic sense, unable to look away from our own needs, and thus unable to really see and commune with another.”
    And Aquarius so active this year, almost seems like a conspiracy for a sense of community… nah… couldn’t be…
    so interesting such penetrating thought and clear writing
    about vastly complex concepts- and connecting with these thoughts seems to open something deeper within as if cosmos itself takes over the education and informs— something about that dichotomy between moon and venus
    like, raises other questions and insights (which are addressed here, but feel there is more yet somehow… hmm) something…

    Thank you, william. If you have some thoughts you’d like to share, perhaps we should discuss a guest post? You know where to find me!

  10. william August 24, 2009 / 3:12 am

    Just the entire span of Cancer being traversed like that in July so amazing. The moon is so much more than “need” of course.
    It is our connection to our soul in every way, all the rhythms
    and subtleties of inner mood, all the cycles,monthly, daily,
    weekly – the tides etc.. The moon is much indeed. To be in touch with the rhythms of nature that is the liberating thing.
    I read about this “inversion” of the moon which basically results in depression and is the consequence of one’s upbringing rendering us out of synch with our own soul’s subtleties and rhythms. To re-establish contact is freeing.
    (look at the environmental influences of formative years.)
    In this regard the moon is important to relationships- but more than love, the moon is about this connection to our souls … Why it gets this bad rap of “neediness” is hard to
    justify. It is the fulfillment because it is the soul, and getting out of synch with it’s rhythms produces depressive focusing on life’s sufferings like an on/off switch, (without appreciating our naturally sufficient strength to endure!) it is an illusion totally that we have not the strength.
    Not so much love, but these rhythms of moon…they are everything-
    (and there was venus in gemini, the creative and expressive, the word- how appropriate to be there. The generative Venus. And in 12th house ! Very exalted and cosmically oriented.)
    That eclipse was conjunct my moon in the 11th. An interesting day…what is going on with these eclipses?
    Someone should trace them back, probably a process would unfold- that would be a worthy project ! And the series of mercury retrogrades as well seem to tell a story… that would be an interesting book indeed…

    Well said, william. I think our definitions of ‘need’ are not the same; you see it as a negative, while I am using the word to describe something vital to the health–certainly not something to be judged. I would also hesitate to define the Moon as a link to the Soul, without pointing out that all energies are links to the Soul, with the Sun the astrological main symbol for the Soul. To name the Moon the Soul-link is to invite ourselves to confuse the emotional perceptions and feelings with with the essence of the Soul, and in that way to perhaps treat the feelings as sacred, with too much reverence, and not recognize that emotion is simply a viewpoint filter, allowing us to see what the Soul responds to. I would agree, though, that inversion of the Moon is both a cause of and symptom of depression. And as to your idea that someone should study these cycles, this has been done, notably by Jude Cowell with the eclipse cycles, and retrogrades by Erin Sullivan.

  11. william August 31, 2009 / 12:44 am

    Also heard that eclipse is last there ever shall be of such duration, by next time moon will have floated a bit in it’s orbit never able to acheive that duration really….
    Like final goodbye of moon in a way perhaps, pretty odd…
    Such a gesture of finality must be huge in scale of things…
    a maturation of things on evolutionary scale? (mommy!)

    (by the way, I don’t know anything about astrology, why I don’t write articles… I mean, just what I pick up on net bits and pieces…) Would love to study it seriously sometime tho’.
    just very serious life effects brought me here…eclipses- hm.

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