SEX FACTORS IN THE PERSONALITY
Wherever there is life, there also the principle of polarity operates. This may be because, as biologists are now realizing, life essentially implies positive and negative electrical phenomena. All cells are electrically charged, and the nerves operate on the basis of electrical currents. In the total nervous system of a human being, two great subsystems oppose each other in their action; health results from their dynamic equilibrium. Indeed, all activities require the release of electrical charges, and electricity has a bi-polar character a positive and a negative aspect. In the human organism, many functions are at work. Health is present when these functions operate harmoniously and in rhythmic interdependence.
Ancient Chinese philosophers expressed this rhythmic, self-regulated character of all life processes in the Tao symbol in which two forces of opposite polarities, Yin and Yang, are shown to be interrelated within a circle. The picture is not static; it represents a bi-polar process. It illustrates the yearly rhythm of the seasons, and the astrological zodiac is a symbolic expression of this bi-polar process.(1) What I call the Day Force refers to the "masculine" polarity, Yang; it has the least strength at the winter solstice (the symbolic Christ birth). The Night Force, Yin, is at the apex of its power then. Through the winter months, the Day Force increases (and the days become longer); the Night Force decreases. The two forces have equal strength at the spring equinox; at the summer solstice, the Day Force reaches its maximum power, the Night Force its lowest ebb. Afterward, the Night Force waxes in strength while the Day Force wanes, once more to become equal at the fall equinox, and so on.
The principle of polarity also operates in the realm of life as what we call sex. The earliest forms of life were not classified according to sex. The uni-cellular organism divided itself into two, each half becoming an independent unit which also divided, and so on ad infinitum. A human being is born male or female; but until about the third month of gestation, the embryo in the mother's womb has in itself the germs of both the male and the female organs; the structural differentiation which occurs afterward is not absolute. The male body retains something of the potential female organs, and the female body displays structures related to the male set of characters. Indeed, the full bodily expression of sex comes
only at puberty, even though the actualization of such a fullness of sexual manifestation has been going on since birth. As Freud has stressed (and overstressed!), the dynamism of this process conditions important aspects of the infantile consciousness, especially before the age of seven (the traditional "age of responsibility"), when something else theoretically happens. In a very real sense, one cay say that the sex forces build, or power the building of, the child's body. But the body represents only the outer aspect of personality. To this outer aspect, one must add an inner aspect, which is usually called the "psyche." A human being is composed of both a body and a psyche; every individual person has an inner life as well as an outer life. The forces which have brought forth the male or female character of the body are not the only ones. In and through the male body, a female psyche also is active. It can be said to be derived from the primordial female characteristics existing during the pre-sexual phase of embryonic growth.
In other words, the fecundated ovum in the womb is both male and female in potentiality; and when the "germ" of the male functions becomes dominant and the embryo gradually develops rudimentary masculine organs, the female germ does not disappear. We might say it does not entirely lose its strength, but it grows in a direction opposed to that of the sex-building male germ. It develops along "countersexual" lines i.e., psychically.
In the male embryonic body nearing birth, the sex glands produce hormones which not only affect the growth of the physical body, but also build what we might call a masculine type of neuro-intellectual adaptation to the outer environment of the future child. In the case of a female infant, the female hormones likewise build a feminine type of adaptation to the conditions of the future girl's existence. For instance, in the male infant, the countersexual feminine energies also operate. They operate within the subconscious as a potentially compensating factor in the inner life. They may seem non-existent in the boisterous all-American boy of 9 or 16, but this is largely because of the special nature of the American society; in France and in numerous Oriental countries, a boy before reaching puberty often has an almost feminine charm and his eyes may seem strangely open to psychic vistas.
If some physical or organic shock occurs in childhood or adolescence, the sexual character of the youth may be affected, blocked, or deviated; then the countersexual factors (feminine in the boy, masculine in the girl) have a chance to manifest more clearly. They then influence the psychic or
mental fields of the personality. This may even produce "psychosomatic" results, or at least condition the development of a somewhat unusual personality perhaps imaginative and artistic in the boy; intellectual, scientific, or actional in the girl.
Any experience which decreases the tone of, or gives a negative emotional value to, the sexual factors in the growing personality of the youth tends thereby to increase the influence and actual effects of the countersexual life principle. It is almost as if, during the summer months which should be an outdoor period of life, a long stretch of very bad, cold weather forces one to pass the days indoors and to focus one's mind upon occupations best performed inside the house. For this reason, many religious disciplines have stressed ascetic practices to shock the sexual part of the nature into near collapse, allowing the countersexual energies of the psychic life to emerge powerfully from their subconscious abode into the field of consciousness.
Astrology offers a very revealing picture of the processes which have just been outlined, for in the Sun and the Moon, we find symbols of the sexual aspect of human nature, respectively, in the male and female
bodies; while Jupiter and Saturn give us significant clues to the activity of the countersexual forces in the masculine and the feminine psyches, respectively. The Sun (male) and the Moon (female) are the "Lights" of life on the earth's surface. The Sun is the primary source of all energy on the planet; it is the active releasing principle, the fecundator and dynamizer of all life processes. As to the Moon, I believe that we can never fully understand its astrological and occult significance unless we realize that it does not refer only to the earth's satellite as a material globe but, rather, that it symbolizes what ancient astrologers called "the sublunar realm" that is, the entire space around the earth outlined by the monthly revolutions of the visible Moon. This sublunar realm is, as it were, the matrix (or, if one prefers, the aura or electromagnetic field) inside of which our planet and, therefore, humankind as a whole exists. In this sense, our astronauts will not have fully left the earth's sphere until they are able to go beyond the Moon and (symbolically, at least) to rise from the "hidden side" of the Moon which is always turned toward outer space and away from the Sun.
The Moon, therefore, symbolizes the traditionally "mysterious" aspect of sex in the woman; and the changes of appearance of the Moon represent the female cycle of ovulation and menstruation and the bioglandular moods of women. Likewise, the Sun in astrology stands for
the sexual body-building power of sex in the male person. With the Sun and Moon, we are essentially dealing with the outer biological and sexual aspects of man and woman. Moreover, the sexual power operates through organic structures which are "ruled" by Venus and Mars in both sexes: Venus referring to the testicles and ovaries, Mars to the mechanisms of release of the sexual energies.
When we come to the countersexual aspects of the total human individual, we enter a realm in which a great deal of elucidation is needed, at both the psychological and the astrological levels. I relate such a countersexual aspect to Jupiter and Saturn. Marc Edmund Jones long ago spoke of these two planets as the "social planets" and, in another context, as the "planets of soul." In the most basic sense, they refer to whatever emerges from the living together of human beings; they deal with the organization and maintenance of communities, social and religious institutions, and nations. Jupiter refers to the social sense thus, to the rhythms of group feelings, the companionship between people who share common interests. Saturn is specifically concerned with the place that any member of a group or community rightfully occupies and the social function he can perform efficiently when at his proper place and under his legal, socially guaranteed name. Saturn thus refers to the problems of defining, stabilizing, and keeping secure this place and mode of operation in the group.
Saturn and Jupiter deal with collective factors in the human being; the Sun, Moon, Mars, and Venus (the organic instrumentalities-building planets) with individual factors. I have shown in my books that these two principles individual and collective are the two most basic polarities in
all forms of existence. The Day Force in the cycle of the year (the Chinese
Yang) actually manifests in life as the drive toward individualization; it builds limited, clearly defined organic systems and outwardly operating personalities. The Night Force (Yin) operates as the drive toward
socialization and the building of more or less large collectivities of individual units.
The emergence of an infant human body out of the womb and, in larger evolutionary terms, of the first living organism out of the sea is
the outcome of the drive toward individualization; and sex (i.e., the process of self-reproduction and self-multiplication) is a force acting at the very core of such a drive. But the newborn and, later on, the self-sufficient mature individual is not alone in the world. He could not exist and unfold his human birth potential alone. He is born within a
group, a collectivity of human beings; and it is this collectivity and its tradition which provide this individual human organism with what he needs, at both the biological and the mental level i.e., food and the knowledge, language, and social institutions absolutely required for the fulfillment of any individual personality.
What we call the "inner life" of a person is conditioned mentally by the language, symbols, and collective thinking attitudes of his or her society and culture; it is conditioned emotionally by at first taken-for-granted patterns of interpersonal relationship, the parental example, the contagion of group feelings. Even if the individual rebels against the ways of thinking and the ethical, religious, and social ways of living of his family, group, or nation, this rebellion itself is conditioned by and starts from the primordial sense of "belonging" to the group.
You cannot escape from the pressures of your collectivity and your culture; your very revolt must use words and gestures inherited from the cultural-social past in order to take a form and become effective. Carl Jung has spoken of the collective unconscious, not only as the repository of the harvest of experience of perhaps millions of generations, but even more as the sea out of which arise the many small islands that we know as individual persons. Thus, when the biological soli-lunar forces whose work it is to produce an individual human organism succeed in completing their outward-oriented drive in the development of the sexual aspect of a human personality, male or female, they do so by pushing the countersexual forces back into the unconscious. These may not seem active in a personal, conscious, and willful manner, but they are there, conditioning the psychological climate of the individual, somewhat as the sea, its currents and the fog it produces, conditions the climate of the small island which has risen out of the water and sometimes a tidal wave may submerge the island of consciousness!
When Jupiter and Saturn are spoken of as "planets of soul," the term "soul" refers to the part of the total person which ever seeks to
complement the outward-oriented, self-conscious and conscious parts of the personality. Carl Jung spoke of this part as the anima in the man and the animus in the woman; he spoke of them as undifferentiated and often archaic psychic functions. They may manifest in dreams, creative fantasies, sudden intuitions, and super-normal faculties some of them now being called "parapsychological." They constitute the less obvious or "hidden" aspect of what the planets Jupiter and Saturn represent.
The individual person functioning outwardly as a male organism would fmd, if able to look into his psychic depths, a countersexual feminine power (the "anima"). It is this power which, unknown to the individual consciousness, urges him to seek not only social fellowship with other men, but also perhaps a dedicated participation in the collective activities of a group church, nation, or even humanity as a whole. The "soul" of a man is collectively oriented; that of a woman is individualistically oriented because, as the childbearer, her outer nature and sex functions have to be pervaded (in all normal cases) with a dedication to the human species, the existence of which she has to perpetuate.
Thus, the feminine type of intellect (also a part of her outer nature) is normally wide open to collectivizing social currents. A woman tends to conform to institutionalized religion and ethics as well as to fashion. But within the unconscious part of her psyche, the basic drive is toward individualization. If she eagerly accepts a state of dependence upon her husband (so glorified in Hindu culture), or upon Jesus as Divine Beloved (if she has transcendentalized her need for a love which will reveal to her her true essential self), or upon some Oriental Teacher, Swami, or yogi (who supposedly can provide a technique of self-revelation), it is because
her unconscious nature is forever seeking to reach a condition of individualistic integration. It seeks this through a process of identification with some exemplar, with a catalyzing personality or life situation. Saturn, the individualizer and stabilizer, is thus the symbol of a woman's inner drive; while Jupiter, the socializer, is the symbol of a man's semi-conscious or totally unconscious psychic yearnings.
This drive within the psyche may actually manifest as a deep, unclear compulsion seizing the man or woman and dominating his or her outer existence; but, in any case, it has as its foundations the countersexual forces. Very often what seems to a man or a woman to be the motive for actions, or the cause of feelings for a person or a situation, is not at all the
real motive or cause. A man may join a fraternal organization he thinks because this would serve his outer social or business interests, his power of self-expression; but the real cause may be that his "soul" is yearning for deep social fellowship and group belonging and this, in a sense, represents a kind of psychological "transference" of the infantile relationship of the boy to the mother in early childhood.
On the other hand, a woman may consciously believe that she is seeking the love of a man as an outlet for her sexual feelings while, in reality (unconsciously or semi-consciously), she is yearning for a transcendent power that would reveal to her what she essentially is as a spiritual being. Sex play may be more often than not a pretext, a means to an unconscious or dimly conscious end. The love act for a woman may actually be symbolic; the reality, deep beyond the symbol, is the catalytic process which, in some mysterious manner, will reveal her true self to her. It is, thus, truly an "initiation" occurring in her inner life an activity in which the unconscious countersexual part of the woman is the active factor. For the man, the act of love is normally a conscious expression of sex power, one of many events (or incidents) in his outer life.
For the woman, the planet Saturn symbolizes the figure of the solemn Hierophant who celebrates the mysterious rite of purification from or through whichever may be the case her sexual nature. Saturn is astrologically the father image because the father is (or should be, in natural conditions of life) the symbol of authority and mind power; and as the little girl feels in her psychic depths he has been her mother's "initiator." The girl, identifying her collective biological-social role with her mother, projects her unconscious yearning for individualization (which implies mental development) on her father. If the father is an unworthy or ineffectual screen for the projection, she feels frustrated and will subsequently tend to seek someone able to live up to her ideal image. She may develop a deep confusion in her quest because of mixing up the sexual and countersexual drives and this brings many an American marriage to divorce. The "inner" and "outer" short-circuit each other.
A man's inner longing for fellowship and sharing of which the Christian Communion and earlier forms of "sacred meals" taken in common in a mystic brotherhood are the religious expressions may also become confused and materialized when mixed up with the outer drive for power and wealth. These constitute a "socialized" kind of sexual and ego-building activity. Religious movements and secret brotherhoods (such as original Free Masonry) become easily perverted or, at least, materialized as the "outer" invades the "inner" and the body draws the soul into its vicious circle of desire.
The difficulty in making use of the foregoing psychological facts and astrological concepts in the study of an individual's birth-chart is that several other factors may enter into the picture and affect the person's character and life. Above all, pressures from the environment, particularly the nature of the actual everyday relationship between child and parents at an early age and at the time of adolescence (the latter especially for the girl), can considerably alter the natural development of the personality.
This relationship operates at both the inner and outer levels and differently at each level.
For a boy, the mother is outwardly represented in the birth-chart as the Moon. The mother normally envelops the child with attention, care, and love. He depends upon her for his well-being and for his meeting as successfully and happily as possible the everyday difficulties of existence. This outer dependence may tenaciously persist after adolescence, and the young man may transfer it to his wife. But there is also a subtler form of relationship affecting the boy's inner life, for he normally identifies himself with his mother in a communion of love participation. He and she constitute a "we"; they belong together until perhaps this we-feeling is shattered by the mother's carelessness or lack of real love. If the we-feeling is shattered, the boy will carry through his life a psychic sense of being wounded or a feeling of inner emptiness. He will then seek to fill this emptiness by developing a social and Jupiterian yearning for fellowship, for being loved by his equals, for belonging to a group.
Thus, in a man's chart, the position of both the Moon and Jupiter have to be considered, in addition to that of the Sun, which is always an indicator of the basic drive for outer self-expression and self-aggrandizement, sexually or socially. The instrumentality of this drive is the Mars function (which rules all muscles and organs of action), and also the Mercury function (which deals with the intellect and its associative memory). The mutual relationships (aspects, Parts, etc.) existing between these planets should enable one to make a relevant picture of the sexual and countersexual forces at work in the total personality of the man.
In a woman's chart, the Moon represents her female nature and also, during childhood and adolescence, her relationship to her mother, whom she normally wants to imitate. Even if she dislikes and rebels against the mother's behavior, she may eventually see herself repeating some of her mother's life patterns. Since the countersexual aspect of a girl's personality is represented by Saturn, the aspect between the Moon and Saturn is quite revealing. When these two planets are in opposition, it is quite possible for the girl to completely overcome, sooner or later, the outer bodily pressures of her sexual drives upon her inner soul consciousness and mind. Yet a negative result can also occur in some cases some kind of disassociation of the inner and outer life.
A conjunction of the Moon and Saturn may indicate the beginning of a new cycle of life (if one believes in reincarnation) or a confused sense of insecurity, as if one were functioning in a new and unfamiliar spiritual
environment. It may mean emotional involvement with the father; his presence and influence may so strongly polarize the girl's nature that ambivalent feelings of quasi-incestuous attraction and guilt are aroused. Whether this complex reaction remains in a hazy subconscious background or, on the contrary, haunts the conscious personality, depends theoretically on the planetary contacts between the father's and the daughter's charts.
A close contact between a man's Jupiter and a woman's Saturn can be
an indication of a karmic relationship whose roots reach deep into the past; a typical symbol would be a Romeo and Juliet situation. When a man's natal Sun is conjunct Jupiter, his personality tends to become a forceful expression of a deep inner compulsion to fulfill a superpersonal purpose. President Johnson was almost a representative of this situation; but the presence of Mars rising between Jupiter in Leo and the Sun in Virgo confuses the meaning of a conjunction which is neither close nor in one zodiacal sign. The best example is the great prophet, poet, and yogi, Sri Aurobindo, whom his disciples consider an "avatar," i.e., the embodied expression of a divine destiny and purpose. He was born with the Sun near Jupiter just rising in Leo.
A retrograde Jupiter in a man's chart and a retrograde Saturn in a woman's chart tend to more sharply differentiate the inner from the outer life, the countersexual from the sexual aspects of the personality. But, I repeat, all such indications are subtly psychological and should hardly be considered in a superficial and quick chart analysis. They belong to a new type of psychological astrology which goes hand in hand with a psychology oriented toward a realization of the total meaning of the individual person.
1. cf. The Pulse of Life (Shambhala Publications, 1970).