Variations on a Theme of Self-Sabotage, Act 4

Hi Julie, My relationship quandry…my husband has just been diagnosed with diabetes and I do not want to deal with it. What is the matter with me? He seems happy to always have to be at the doctor’s or taking more medications and I become very rude to him when he starts discussing it. I feel he can best help himself by eating right and trying to get away from all those prescriptions. He is now up to a dozen a day. Am I being completely cold in this relationship? Should I try harder? Thank you.

Hi T,

First, I don’t think it’s unreasonable for you to balk at taking on your husband’s health burdens, and it seems specifically that you may feel this way because he appears to glory in the ritual, routine, and attention that comes with a chronic health condition. There are two things to look at here: why does your husband seem to need this particular kind of attention so much? and, what underlies your reaction to his situation?

When we look at your husband’s chart, we see recent transits that likely brought this health condition forward (T Saturn conjunct natal Mercury, ruler of the 6th of health), and we also see that he has been under quite a bit of stress emotionally (T Pluto recently contacted natal Chiron, and is now square his Moon). His natal Moon is in Aries, a position that naturally calls for him to be the center of attention on the emotional front, and a Pluto transit to first Chiron, unearthing hurt at a primal level, then the Moon, bringing an intense effect that may have felt to him like obliteration, could have triggered (or at least, greatly exacerbated) the natal emotional requirement to put ‘Me First.’

Your uncharacteristically unempathetic response shows in recent transits to your own chart, transits that likely have left you feeling much less of a need to engage deeply with others if that engagement was draining to you in some way, especially emotionally. Transiting Saturn has been over your Vesta, suppressing your feeling of commitment to the home front and the sexual partner, and perhaps lessening the idea that one must uphold those sacred institutions (like marriage) that you are normally a strong supporter of; and transiting Neptune is conjunct Juno in the 5th, obscuring from your view your natural means of empowerment, one venue of which is through the romantic relationship. So, the coolness you’re feeling right now is not surprising, nor does it indicate a cold heart or indifference–it’s just the way the wind’s blowing for you, currently.  And, with ruler of the 7th posited in the 2nd natally, the state of your significant other feels like it relates directly to your Self-worth and Self-image–so an ill partner may read as something to get away from, rather than coddle, support, or indulge.

And it does feel like indulgence to you that your husband is engaged in–and here’s where we must lay it all out. His behavior is undoubtedly too involved in relishing his own illness, but this seems to be an indication of his Moon’s needs, and right now, this illness which has shaken him to his core (whether this shows or not) needs to be acknowledged as a ‘Big Thing.’ Irritating as it may be, he truly needs to put all his energy and attention into dealing with this illness, as at present the illness defines him emotionally–and if the illness gets taken care of, then he’s taken care of, nurtured, loved, too.

For you, though your reaction is totally understandable and one with which many will sympathize, if you love your husband, you need to take a step back and get a slightly more objective view of things. You seem to be reacting out of your own need to separate your sense of yourself from your partner, and this is certainly fine, but ultimately Self- and relationship-sabotaging, as love and relationship require that we see and acknowledge the needs of our partner, and right now he needs you. The Moon rules his 7th, so every emotional assault he suffers tends to make him turn to you for support. There is also the matter of you judging him; though the amount of attention he needs may seem over-the-top to you, variation in need must be recognized (of course, there’s the matter of, if you’d known when you got together how needy he was, you may not have gotten together–but don’t we always have knowledge of the depths of our partners all along, whether we admit it or not? And so we must see that we choose them both because of and in spite of their qualities).

I think if you give your husband’s emotional needs all the ‘Me First’ attention and support they require, you will find within your husband, not the emotional black hole I believe you anticipate, but instead a renewed confidence and Self-assurance that was probably a big draw for you initially in the relationship in the first place. Approaching his needs with a non-judgmental attitude and a willingness to fill the bucket indefinitely will, conversely, shorten the time during which you must deal with his exaggerated need, so, though it may be contra-intuitive for you, I would suggest you give him the ego and emotional support he needs, especially because, we should note, Mars is a prominent part of the equation, and he may feel that his manhood is threatened along with his health–your job is to let him know it’s not.

My best to you both,


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

Are You Too Clingy?

We all have insecurities; often they are very very particular to who we are and what we’ve experienced. We can see those vulnerable areas in the natal chart, the general psychic spots that we may try to protect, or that may make us flinch when they’re touched. Sometimes we armor them, keep them hidden, even try to put them forward as strengths; other times we may try to deal by wearing these vulnerabilities like a badge that says, “Have mercy! I’m wounded here–never ever ever touch, or you’re a bad person!” An understandable manipulation, when we feel we have no alternative. We may even use them to bond with others; “Look, I’m trusting you, baring the soft underbelly of my emotional Self” and again the message may be, if you injure that sensitive spot, you are in the wrong. It can make relationships a minefield of tender and forbidden areas that only make us even more sensitive than we might otherwise be. romeo-and-juliet-4

So where does clinginess come in? As a reaction (one of many possible) to our fears of inadequacy or potential hurt. That links clinginess firmly to Saturn, which may be unexpected; we tend to see Saturn as making rigid boundaries, putting things in a box, wherever it goes, but Saturn represents both our fears and ambitions–and what better sums up an intimate relationship than as an amalgam of potentials of hurt and togetherness (the kind of togetherness that can change our reality, our lifestyle or even our status, all expressions of Saturn).

Clinginess is essentially a persistent demand, very Saturnian: I must be reassured things are the way I want them to be, expect them to be; not a healthy attitude, which in this case we can define as someone feeling the strength and confidence to interact with others in a way that supports autonomy for all. This can be very subtle, though, and can spring almost without our realizing it from the bonding process itself; as soon as there’s a ‘we,’ there’s potential to lose our boundaries. When we do, it’s an unspoken statement of distrust, of our mate, our relationship, and ourselves.

We can also look for information in the state of our Mars (how straighforward am I?), our Venus (what do I expect from relationships in general, and love in particular?), our Neptune (how closely am I aligned with my ideals, with fantasy, with deception or delusion?) and Chiron (under particular circumstances that link the primal hurt to others).

Association with certain Houses also brings more of a chance that relationships will be affected by a placement or rulership, with the 5th (romance), 7th (mate, partner, all others), 8th (other people’s resources), and 10th (what others see, who don’t know us personally, our reputation), though we can’t forget the peripheral influence available with the 3rd (communication), 2nd (Self-worth), 11th (friendship), and 12th (subconscious influence). For instance, Saturn in the 5th is far more likely to figure in the romance scenario than Saturn in the 9th.

Do we all have a bit of clingy possibility in our charts? Yes. How do we prevent it? Chiefly by not placing fear at the center of our relationships. Once fear has a toehold, many many unflattering Saturnian behaviors can spring from it. Factors that combat it can include a strong Sun (firm sense of Self and identity), a well-supported Venus (Love!), and a Moon that expresses in the positive (good emotional outlook–goes a long way toward squelching fears).

Next up: a ‘Clinginess Quiz’ to ferret out the ways we might be wrapping ourselves, vine-like, around our sweethearts! 

Try my books, including THE ASTROLOGY OF INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP available in pdf by email! and my astrology blog here