AIR, WATER, EARTH, FIRE: THE PSYCHOLOGICAL TYPES
One sees what one can best see oneself.
— C. G. Jung
Long before psychology developed its endlessly entertaining pastime of dividing human beings into types. Renaissance philosophy posited four basic temperaments based on the theory of the "humors" in the blood. These were the melancholic (earthy), the phlegmatic (watery), the sanguine (airy) and the choleric (fiery). George Herbert, in one of his lighter moods, wrote in 1640: The Choleric drinks, the Melancholic eats. the Phlegmatic sleeps.?, What the Sanguine does is left to the imagination, but as he is "ethereal" or airy, we may assume that he probably philosophizes. Nowadays a man would be horrified if his psychotherapist announced to him in sonorous tones, "I am virtually certain that your problem lies in the fact that you have a choleric temperament", and there would undoubtedly be an instant demand for remittance of the hourly fee. But we still find these terms in use in our everyday speech, if only in the form of insulting adjectives, and they still retain their original connotations. In spite of the current vogue for "doing your own thing", the idea of types dies hard.
As Jung has shown in Psychological Types,(1) the apparently extraordinary fact that people do tend to fall into certain groupings by temperament has long been a preoccupation of medicine, philosophy, and the arts. Before that, it was the preoccupation of astrology, which offers what is perhaps our earliest description of typology. It Is consequently not surprising — except to certain schools of psychology which insist that we are wholly creatures of heredity and environment — that lung's four function types fit hand-in-glove with astrology's ancient division of the four elements. It is not a case of one being explained away by, or derived from, the other; rather, each is a distinct way of describing the empiric observation of the same phenomenon.
This phenomenon is the simple fact that although all people are unique, they also gravitate towards rough categories based on a fundamental way of seeing, evaluating, apprehending and interpreting life. Aside from being an amusing means of pegging one's friends and relatives, understanding something of this basic typology is an excellent way of learning that most difficult of lessons: that not everybody is the same as I am.
"Everyone thinks that psychology is what he himself knows best — psychology is always his psychology, which he alone knows, and at the same time his psychology is everybody else's psychology. Instinctively he supposes that his own psychic constitution is the general one, and that everyone is essentially like everyone else, that is to say, like himself . . . as though his own psyche were a kind of master-psyche which suited all and sundry, and entitled him to suppose that his own situation was the general rule. People are profoundly astonished, or even horrified, when this rule quite obviously does not fit — when they discover that another person really is different from themselves. Generally speaking, they do not feel these psychic differences as in any way curious, let alone attractive, but as disagreeable failings that are hard to bear, or as unendurable faults that have to be condemned."
(1) Psychological Types, C. G. Jung, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London 1971.
It will be immediately obvious what this typical human attitude can do to even the most promising of relationships. In more volatile relationships, like that of parent and child, its effects can be positively tragic. A married couple, or a pair of friends, may be able to fight the issue out and come to a greater recognition of each other's individual viewpoint, but a child cannot defend himself. He is at the mercy of the expectations and assumptions which his parents project onto him, and may pay for these for the remainder of his life.
The problem with any study of typology is that it appears to be a system, albeit a natural one; and although we can swallow classifications by species in the animal and plant kingdoms, we have an instinctive horror of being reminded of our own lack of individuality. It is an unwelcome truth. Few of us can really claim to be fully conscious human beings, expressing all that is potential within ourselves; most of the time we prefer to pretend that we are, while slipping with perfect ease into one or another of the typical behavioral patterns. We seem to imagine that individuality, like fulfillment, is not only our potential but our automatic right, and that it requires no effort; and we will do virtually anything to avoid facing the reality that we must work for it. Consequently, anything which implies that we can be grouped, like Jung's typology or any other piece of empiric psychological observation, is maligned as being a rigid structure which does not allow for any individual differences. This is not at all the case; the very fact that we share common ground with another segment of humanity, based on certain similarities in psychological constitution, allows us that much more scope for the creative expression of our own unique potential as individuals. Moreover, no map is the country. Jung's typology, like any other, is merely a pointer which affords us a glimpse of those basic patterns of perception, evaluation and response which we draw from the same collective source.
Because astrology is a symbolic system, it attempts to express through its imagery and its structure the energy patterns which underlie life and the human psyche as an aspect of life. The first statement that astrology has to make about life is at the same time childishly simple and unutterably profound: everything stems from the relationship of two polar opposites, whether we call these male and female, active and passive, yin and yang.
The zodiac, which symbolizes in its division of twelve signs the entire spectrum of potential of human experience, is therefore divided into two groups of six signs each: six masculine or positive signs, portraying different facets of the archetype of male, and six feminine or negative signs, portraying different facets of the archetype of female.
Masculine and feminine in astrology do not of course refer to our current social definitions of the terms, but rather to qualities of energy, as exemplified by the initial hexagrams of the Creative and the Receptive in the I Ching. Positive signs are associated with the qualities of extraversion, outgoingness, light. mind, activity, orientation towards ideas, the objective world and the future. Negative signs are associated with introversion, in-drawnness, darkness, feeling, sensuality, stability, orientation towards the subjective World and the past. That does not really toll us much. for this great symbolic polarization of life and of ourselves into male and female only hints at what each person must directly experience within himself — the endlessly struggling yet secretly identical opposites of his own nature.
Astrology makes a further statement, which we have already encountered: each man contains within him the seeds of wholeness, symbolized by the zodiacal wheel. But though this is his inheritance and his potential, he is likely to manifest only a part of it, and specialize according to his inherent disposition.
"We know that a man can never be anything at once, never complete — he always develops certain qualities at the expense of others, and wholeness is never attained.(1)
We have already seen that the inherent disposition, as viewed by both astrology and analytical psychology, exists from the very beginning of life. This disposition is mirrored in those parts of the totality of the zodiac which are picked out, highlighted, and made available to consciousness on the birth chart by either a planet being placed in a certain sign; or that sign appearing on one of the four angles of the chart. The interplay of ten planets and four angles gives the broad outline of what areas of experience, and what facets of consciousness, are most likely to be developed by the individual. Whether he can go further is a moot point, since most people never even get close to expressing the psychic potential of which the chart is a symbol, let alone surpass it.
To these statements astrology adds another. Male and female can be subdivided, so that there are two groups, of male signs and two groups of female signs. This basic structure of four is the cornerstone of astrology, in which it is reflected by the four elements: air. water, earth and fire. That this structure is archetypal and inherent in all human beings we know from the work of depth psychology during the last fifty years.
We all possess those functions of consciousness which Jung calls thinking, feeling, sensation and intuition.
"(An object) . . .is perceived as something that exists (sensation); it is recognized as this and distinguished from that (thinking) — it is evaluated as pleasant or unpleasant, etc, (feeling); and finally, intuition tells us — where it came from and where it is going."(2)
That we do not fulfill the totality of this structure we also know. Instead, we develop first one function, then another.
1)Modern Man in Search of a Soul.
2)The Boundaries of the Soul, June Singer, Anchor Books. N.Y., 1973.
Perhaps we will partially develop a third, but never really come to terms with the fourth, which remains largely unconscious. And we often seek in relationships a person who will embody, or enact for us, those aspects of the totality which we are unable, or unwilling, to express ourselves.
In their apparently naive fashion, fairy tales also tell us about this basic quaternity of functions of consciousness. In tales originating from every part of the world and from every period of history we find again and again the same motif. There once was a king who had three sons. The two eldest were wise and handsome and strong, but the third was an idiot, at whom everyone else laughed. This is a splendid symbol of the way in which the human psyche works, for the leading function of consciousness is the king — who inevitably, in these tales, has some kind of problem which usually involves illness, sterility, or approaching death, or the attack of a foe beyond his power to outmaneuver. The two eldest sons always attempt to solve the problem, and fail; and it resides with the idiot, the Holy Fool, the least valued, humblest, and apparently most inadequate aspect of ourselves, to find the solution and save the kingdom.
Now it is great fun to decide that I am a thinking type and you are a feeling type, and that is why I am clever, observant, articulate and reasonable while you are always so emotional, bloody-minded and irrational. This is a game we all play when introduced to the study of typology, in much the same way as the uninitiated play the zodiac game. Of course I am always charming, courteous and considerate because I am a Libra, while you are obviously nitpicking, overcritical, self-centered and narrow-minded because you are a Virgo. Whether astrological or psychological, typology can be used as a wonderful catch-all for other people's shortcomings, and it is more often than not misused in just this way. In the first place, we are afraid to take it seriously; in the second, we usually learn from it only what is comfortable while ignoring its deeper implications; and in the third, everyone is really secretly convinced that those things he values — according to his type — are in reality the best of all, and everything else is actually a little inferior.
However, there is an automatic penalty in this game of typecasting The problem of understanding which functions of consciousness have been emphasized to the possible exclusion of others, and the lifelong struggle of coming to terms with and knowing the Other who exists within oneself, lead into much deeper waters than a superficial interpretation of function types would suggest. And suddenly, one finds one is no longer playing a game; or, if one is, the stakes are much higher than one imagined. The human psyche strives towards wholeness. This underlying truth of psychology is a terribly simplistic yet overwhelmingly important statement, which must be experienced to be fully understood.
Wholeness does not mean perfection. The man who has spent many years cultivating a fineness of intellectual perception and expression, yet who can neither express nor understand his feeling nature, is not whole. Nor is the man who has developed a rich and full feeling life and many meaningful personal relationships, if he cannot understand how to reason or how to see the "objective" and fair viewpoint which can uphold principles and allow for individual differences. Nor is the practical realist with the world of facts at his disposal, who has expressed the full flowering of his organizational abilities, yet cannot see where they are leading, and cannot find any meaning or inner spiritual sense to his life. Nor yet is the visionary or the artist, who lives in a world of endless possibilities yet who cannot cope with the simple mechanics of earthy life, and cannot actualize his myriad dreams. How many of us can claim to function freely and happily with all the possibilities inherent within the psyche? Why are we so compellingly attracted to, or repelled by, those who seem to embody lifestyles and values the importance and workings of which somehow elude us?
Although the zodiac is a symbol of wholeness, such wholeness is not contained in any chart, because there are only ten planets to contend with, only seven of them in any way "personal" in the sense that they refer to the personality or ego structure of the individual; and there are twelve possible signs, and twelve possible houses or sectors of the birth chart, in which they can be placed.
There are also innumerable combinations possible in the angular relationships between the planets. Every chart contains an overemphasis and an under emphasis, and so does every human psyche; it is the nature of the animal. An understanding of typology, therefore, is not a classification system. It is a road map which can tell you where you start, and where your first turning is likely to be; where your car is liable to break down, and what you can do to repair it; and where, hopefully, you will arrive in the fullness of time.
Inherent in the pleasant recognition of those functions of consciousness which are "superior" — that is, well-developed, reliable, and under the control of the individual's will — is the much less pleasant recognition that there is a problem with the opposite functions, which are "inferior". These functions are often unmanageable, erratic, unpredictable, excessive, rather childish or primitive, and colored by a peculiar quality of autonomy which, when they erupt, cause people to say things like, "Oh, I'm sorry, I just wasn't myself," or, "Something must have come over me." Such apologies are meant to conceal the fact that we are even more mortified than others when the unconscious asserts itself on its own and moves us to behavior we cannot explain and do not desire."
Opposite functions are called opposite because they cannot work together. Feeling and thinking, for example, are two totally distinct modes of evaluating or recognizing experience; one of them. feeling, is wholly subjective and is performed without logic, based on personal response, while the other, thinking, is wholly "objective" and is dependent on logic, at the expense of personal response. We possess both these functions in potential, but we will use primarily one and not the other; and they cannot both be used at once. The values inherent in each are totally different, and do not mesh. It is possible to back one up with the other, but not to use them simultaneously. Many people base their values wholly on one and pretend the other does not exist.
Intuition and sensation are likewise opposite functions, because they represent two totally distinct modes of perception. Intuition is often called perception via the unconscious, and it involves a disregard for the physical reality of an experience or object so that the meaning, the connections, the past, and the future possibilities of the object may be seen in one unified vision. Sensation, on the other hand, is precisely what the word implies: it means perceiving through the senses, and the senses will register only that which is tangible and possesses form. Therefore sensation looks at the surface of things in great detail, examining precisely what something is by its form, while intuition looks behind, through, around and away from the surface, so that the purpose and implications may be discerned.
If feeling is the primary mode of evaluating experience, the thinking function will have an "inferior" quality, which is usually expressed as opinionatedness. If thinking is the primary mode of evaluating experience, the feeling function will have an "inferior" quality, which is usually expressed either as coldness or as sentimentality. If intuition is the primary mode of perception, the sensation function will have an "inferior" quality, often expressed as carelessness or impracticality; and if sensation is the primary mode of perception, intuition will have an "inferior" quality, often shown as gullibility or fanaticism.
The "inferior" functions, besides being somewhat primitive, have another interesting characteristic: they are habitually projected and appear to us in the guise of other people or situations who torment us with that very aspect of life we can least capably handle. Then, of course, the inferiority (or what sometimes looks like sterling superiority) appears to belong to somebody else, which is always more comfortable than when it is in oneself.
"The unconscious of one person is projected upon another person, so that the first accuses the second of what he overlooks in himself. This principle is of such alarming general validity that everyone would do well, before railing at others, to sit down and consider very carefully whether the brick should not be thrown at his own head."(1)
1) Civilization in Transition. C. G. Jung, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London 1964.
Whatever the function of consciousness with which we identify, we must acknowledge the existence of its opposite within us. This is almost always extremely difficult because — unlike those "faults" of which we are comfortably aware, not really feeling them as faults — the awkwardness of the inferior functions is a genuine source of pain and inadequacy if it is even partially conscious. Consequently we find many people creating an artificial set of responses which they may call feeling, thinking, sensation or intuition, yet which are poor mockeries of these things, which fool no one except the individual himself, and which have a flagrant ring of insincerity.
Recognition of one's identification with a single aspect of consciousness does not mean that one is doomed for a lifetime to only express this one facet of himself. People are not static, and the psyche always works towards a balance. One grows towards one's opposite. This is at the same time one of the greatest struggles, one of the greatest joys and one of the most meaningful aspects of living experience.
The Element of Air: The Thinking Type
The intellect in every one of us is God.
The element of air is another way of expressing, in language more typically a product of an age when man was closer to the imagery of the unconscious, what Jung means by the function of thinking. Air, considered astrologically, is a positive, masculine element, and the airy signs — Gemini, Libra and Aquarius — are usually described in astrological textbooks as being detached, communicative, interested in the world of ideas, and favoring rationality. They are in short, civilized.
Air is the only element in the zodiacal wheel which does not contain any animal symbolism; Gemini and Aquarius are both represented by human figures, the Twins and the Water-bearer respectively, while Libra is portrayed as an inanimate object, the Scales. Air is the element which is most typically human, the furthest removed from instinctual nature; and it is the human kingdom which has developed — or perhaps overdeveloped in the last two hundred years — the function of thinking as its great gift.
All three airy signs, although different in their modes of expression, share the need to relate life experiences to a preconceived framework of ideas. This framework may come from outside, culled from the books, teachings and conversations of others, or it may come from within, painstakingly created by one's own laborious mental processes; but the existence of the framework is all-important and there is a tendency to take all experiences and seek in them the underlying pattern of logic which will make them conform to this preconceived structure.
Thinking primarily differentiates, through logic, between "this" and "that", and it will be apparent why the air signs are associated with a temperament which collects and categorizes information, weighing one thing against another, and forming a philosophical framework out of the bits and pieces.
The airy type — and this does not necessarily mean an individual born under an air sign, so much as it does one whose chart as a whole contains a predominance of airy factors — will usually resemble, in general and in particulars, the qualities of the thinking type as Jung describes him. He has all the blessings of that type — the highly developed mind, the sense of fairness and capacity for impersonal assessment of situations, the love of culture, the appreciation of structure and system, the courageous adherence to principles, the refinement. He also has all the failings of the type — in terms of the "inferior" function — and these are euphemistically expressed in the typical characteristics ascribed to the three airy signs: Gemini has a horror of being pinned down in personal relationships, Libra is notorious for sitting on the fence and refusing to commit himself, and Aquarius is known for his cool detachment and distaste for the emotional displays which so often form a part of personal relating.
In other words, the airy type has a problem with feeling. Implicit in the preponderance of air on a chart is the likelihood that the world of personal feeling exchange will be the biggest problem of the individual's life — although he may not know it until his wife leaves him — because feelings, unlike everything else which comes under his microscopic eye, cannot be classified, structured, analyzed, or fitted into the framework.
There are many Aquarians, women as well as men, who pride themselves on the fact that they never cry, because they see displays of emotion as weakness. This is a rather questionable virtue considering what is inevitably building up in the unconscious through such unwarranted underestimation of the feeling function. Ask a typical Geminian what he feels about something, and he will begin, "Well, I think..." When you tell him you want his feelings, not his thoughts, he often simply does not know what he feels and must go off for half an hour to find out. Gemini being Gemini, he will probably not come back again; and you have lost him because you have been too "possessive" and "demanding". Then there is the characteristic Libran's habit of simply avoiding anything to do with the dark emotional undercurrents of relationships because they aren't "nice"; he prefers to dwell in the ivory tower of his romantic ideals, working out precisely how he would like his relationships to be, and wondering why things never come out that way. And we should not forget that classic Aquarian quote, made to the woman who complains that in forty years of marriage she has never received either flowers or any overt display of affection: "But I told you I loved you when we married. Isn't that enough?"
Is it really everyone else's problem? Or could it be that the airy type, whose cool objectivity and sociability have earned him the reputation of appearing to be the most "normal" of the types, has a rather infantile approach to the world of feeling? Could it be that he must appear detached, controlled and reasonable because he is really terrified of what might be boiling away down in the depths?
Some airy people are only too aware of the uncomfortable autonomy of their feeling function, and treat it as though it were some kind of dark beast which occasionally escapes through oversight, but on good days remains behind bars so as not to disturb the smooth order of rational life. Other airy people are completely unconscious of their feeling, and mistake for what they cannot genuinely express a variety of superficial substitutes: displays of sentiment, monetary donations of a well-publicized kind to charities, and a kind of saccharine moist-eyed response to "dogs and children".
One might, of course, ask why it should be necessary to stir up the beast; surely life would be better if it remained tame, and one did not have to be bothered with such messy stuff as emotions? When one considers the great gift of consistent and harmonious behavior which the airy type usually expresses, why complicate matters? Fine, if you are prepared to live in a cave like the Yogi Milarepa, concentrating your energies upon melting snow — but not when you live in a world with other people. It is not that there is something "wrong" with the airy type, or that he is "abnormal"; he is himself, and as such is right for himself. But unless he learns something about the world of feeling, and develops some capacity to relate on a feeling level with others, he remains hopelessly blind to feeling values, and is capable of much unintentional cruelty. One not very pleasant example of a repressed feeling function and its subsequent eruption is the Weimar Republic and the development of the Third Reich, prior to the last war — a problem on which Jung has written extensively in Civilization in Transition.
In the present decade science, which is built upon thinking principles, runs the perpetual risk of seeing its discoveries utilized for mass destruction if it cannot retain some awareness of feeling reality and the fact that knowledge by itself, without the wisdom of the heart, is not only incomplete but downright dangerous. If one can excuse inferiority of feeling in his personal life because "it doesn't hurt anybody", he should consider the broader social implications. Usually, however, somebody is hurt on a personal level, and more often than not it is the airy type himself.
One of the more tragic aspects of all this on a personal level is that the air sign personality, because he is rarely in touch with his deeper feelings, is also generally oblivious to everyone else's. Thus it comes as a rude jolt when someone close to him begins to express dissatisfaction with a relationship, or departs with a loud slam of the door and a parting shot about his coldness and insensitivity. If he is the one to terminate the relationship, he usually believes that by still "being friends" everything is made all right, and is rarely aware of the pain he may cause. If he is the one rejected, he is usually forced to learn what he fears most about himself: that underneath the cool mind lies a dependency of feeling which, although often unrecognized and unexpressed, is so potent that the departure of a partner or child can completely shatter the foundations of his life.
Another pitfall which often awaits the airy type is the kind of fatal fascination which Professor Rath, the stiff, pedantic pedagogue incurs for Lola Lola, the cabaret singer in the film The Blue Angel. No personality type is quite as prone to this sort of emotional excess as air, because when the airy individual's feelings take him over, they do so with a vengeance. His thoughts, once so crystalline and clear, are then dominated by his feelings and by the individual who has received the projection of this unconscious side of himself; and as long as he remains ignorant of the deeper levels of his own nature the other will appear proportionately more loving, warm, forgiving and sympathetic — one aspect of feeling — or fickle, capricious, unpredictable and a true embodiment of elemental nature in all her moods. The maternal aspect of feeling, and its fascination for the airy person, is also portrayed in many fairy tales where the beloved is long-suffering and can redeem through her patient acceptance, like Patient Criselda; the more volatile aspect of feeling is portrayed by those tales where the hero falls desperately in love with an Ondine, a mermaid, a mysterious creature of the depths with a woman's body and a fish's tail, who in the end either leaves him or destroys him.
Some of the objects of the airy person's fantasies can lead him on a merry dance straight to hell — the hell of his own vulnerable and childlike feeling nature. But we create our own fates through the creative power of the unconscious, and when an individual finds himself in this kind of situation it is very likely because this is precisely the situation he needs to help him become conscious of his feeling function. Air has a magnetic attraction to water, which symbolizes the opposite function: feeling. Even if the partner is not really a suitable hook — that is, if the other's chart does not show a strong emphasis of planets in water signs — somehow he or she will appear ideally watery when clothed with the unconscious projection. Air is notorious for being a poor judge of partner, because he chooses everything according to reason until Eros chooses him. Then he has no choice at all, but is under the domination of the unconscious. His insistence on logic and consistency in all things will inevitably provoke such stress in the unconscious that he dooms himself to an eruption of the inferior function when the pressure becomes too great to bear.
Even in less dramatic relationships between the thinking and the feeling type than heroes and mermaids, we may hear the following traditional dialogue:
"Why are you in such a bad mood, dear? You've been cold to me all evening."
"What are you talking about? What mood? I feel fine."
"But I know you're in a bad mood. I can feel it. Tell me what's wrong."
"I tell you I'm perfectly all right. Why do you always have to demand my constant attention?"
"But I'm not being demanding, it's just that you're being very bad-tempered with me. . ."
"If I'm bad-tempered it's because you make me that way, always demanding and invading my privacy. . ."
Those who recognize this parody may well ask what can be done about it. It seems as though one finds someone who truly understands, and then turns out to be a stranger. The airy man or woman will always find his greatest challenges and his greatest potential for growth in those situations where another's feeling, or his own, blocks his path and presents an obstacle with which his intellect simply cannot cope. His richest relationships will be with feeling types, for they are both his greatest fascination and the reflection of his own inner self.
"To the constantly reiterated question 'What can I do?' I know no other answer except 'Become what you have always been,' namely, the wholeness that we have lost in the midst of our civilized, conscious existence, a wholeness which we always were without realizing it."(1) Ibid.
The Element of Water: The Feeling Type
Where does reality Lie?
In the greatest enchantment you have ever experienced.
— Hugo von Hofmannsthal
And so we come to the element of water and the watery signs: Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces. The true watery type — and once again, this is not necessarily an individual born with the sun in a water sign, but rather someone whose chart suggests as a whole the preponderance of this element — resembles very closely Jung's description of the feeling type. Nothing is quite so important to the water signs as personal relationships and human values, and without them the world is barren, devoid of hope or joy. Anything will be sacrificed in order to preserve relationships, and it is typical of water to create any kind of crisis necessary, even at his own expense, to evoke a feeling response from his partner. The breath of life to the water signs is the world of feeling, and this includes the entire spectrum, shading from very light to very dark. In feeling there are no fine lines of distinction based on principle — "this" is not distinct from "that". Everything, rather, is an aspect of a constantly flowing and ever-changing sea in which everything is one and all differences are merged. The only differentiation water makes is whether a feeling feels right to him; but it is neither "good" nor "bad".
The symbolism of the water signs contains three cold-blooded creatures: the crab. the scorpion, and the fish. In dreams these images are usually connected with instinctual, unconscious energies which are close to the archaic natural roots of man and very remote from the world of rational, differentiated human thought. Most of the water's evaluation of life is done at an unconscious level; and of these signs it may truly be said that the right hand doesn't know what the left is doing. Water simply responds, and his responses to any personal situation are almost unerringly accurate and appropriate. In contrast, air's responses are contrived, based on principles, usually appropriate in theory, but completely wrong for the particular human situation in which the individual finds himself. While air is busy forcing himself into behavior consistent to a preconceived framework, water is unpredictable and will respond to each situation as though it had never happened before.
The watery type is usually well-acquainted with the darker side of human nature, which earns these signs their reputation for compassion and empathy. There is the inherent capacity to feel what another feels, and to assess things in what appears to be a totally irrational way which can be infuriating to the airy type. who must reason everything out. "Why don't you like him?" says air, and water replies, "I don't know, I just don't feel good about him." "But you must have a reason." "I don't need a reason. I just know." "But surely you don't expect me to accept your judgment without a reason!" In this situation, water, who usually feels intimidated by air's superior capacity for logic, will usually make up a reason so full of half-baked opinions, generalities and pretensions to intellectual acumen that it is no wonder air views water as being a not particularly intelligent type. Intelligence, however, is not the problem; water is in fact usually more intelligent than air, in terms of wisdom and insight into people. When he is put on the spot, however, he will show his own inferior thinking; and since our age places great value on intellectual dexterity, water tends to be underestimated. In our modern educational institutions it is the gifts of the mind which are nurtured and encouraged, not the gifts of the heart.
Water has all the blessings of the feeling type — sensitivity to atmosphere, subtlety, charm and insight, a strong sense of values in human relationships, and the capacity to bring individuals together and instinctually understand their needs. Even Scorpio, much maligned because of his impenetrable facade of cold ruthlessness and his usually unjustified reputation for sexual excess — emotional excess would be a better description — is a true feeling sign with a soft heart underneath a tough carapace. At the same time, of course, water also has the failings of the type, and these, too, are expressed in the classic sign descriptions we have inherited from ancient astrology. Cancer tends traditionally to be clingy, possessive, clannish and fearful of the future; Scorpio has a reputation for emotional fanaticism and a kind of dark, heavy, brooding atmosphere which makes every relationship resemble a scene from Othello, and Pisces is notorious for his gushing sentimentality, his romantic escapism, his vacillation, his unpunctuality, vagueness and lack of principles.
Water, in short, has a problem with reason, and is usually completely unaware of the steady flow of irresponsible second-hand opinions, judgments, negative criticism — both of self and others — and Water can be rather infantile about the world of ideas. It may seem charming to many men to have a woman who knows "absolutely nothing about all that political stuff," because "its way beyond" her, yet who can "cook a good meal"; but this unconscious inferiority of thinking has a particularly ugly face when it surfaces as malicious gossip, backbiting, and a kind of ideological fanaticism. In their milder form such characteristics make for someone who consistently tells others how they should live; in their more extreme form they are splendid ingredients for the creation of a good terrorist.
There is a typical story concerning a woman who had a close, although innocent, association with an IRA terrorist wanted for several killings and bombings. When asked why she did not turn this man into the police, she replied, "But he's really a very nice man when you talk to him, and he never did anything to hurt me." This little example says a good deal about the less pleasant repercussions of inferior thinking. Water lacks objectivity, and nothing which does not come into the watery type's personal field of vision, nothing which cannot be related to through feeling, has any real significance. The mind boggles when one considers what a world would be like populated wholly by feeling types. There would probably be no world, for any objective concern for humanity would be secondary to what is good for me and mine. Just as the thinking type must develop an awareness of personal values in order to avoid unconscious brutality, the feeling type must develop an awareness of objective values to avoid a differently motivated but similar brutality.
One of the greatest problems water encounters is that, through his overemphasis on feeling, he can easily alienate those whom he cares for most — because he simply cannot understand that there is a world outside which requires energy and attention. Although he is always responsive to pain in others, he is often incapable of understanding objectively that people think differently and have different needs and values, and tries to smooth the overwhelming blanket of his solicitude over everything which disturbs his sense of harmony in the same way. In doing so, he may not realize that some people find it not harmonious, but simply suffocating. In personal relationships water may often be the one who exits due to a feeling of being injured or emotionally rejected; in such situations he will usually have found someone else who is more "responsive", only to discover with horror that the new lover has a different face but is in fact the same person as the old. Water tries to mother everyone — and this is true of men who are true watery types as well as of women — without seeing that some children want to be allowed to grow up. And the watery type may unleash the destructive criticism of his undigested thinking on his own children, under the guise of what is "best" for them — unconsciously fearing the day when they will draw away and sever the feeling link which is his sustenance.
The watery type is more often the one who is rejected in relationships, largely because if his little personal world feels good to him, he does not bother to wonder whether his partner might need more stimulating intellectual pastures in order to grow. Water has a tendency to live through others, which is always a highly dangerous pursuit; its effect on the other is like that of the mistletoe on the oak. The parasite suffocates his host.
Water is magnetically attracted to air, and if these two types could cease their endless skirmishing they could learn much from each other about their own unconscious lives. Water's greatest challenge lies in those individuals who cannot readily respond through the language of feeling; for the thinking individual will inevitably provide an opportunity for his feeling partner to awaken, open his eyes and take a long, refreshing breath of the clear air of the heights.
The Element of Earth: The Sensation Type
The trouble with always keeping both feet firmly on the ground
is that you can never take your pants off.
— J.D. Smith
The element of earth correlates with the function of sensation; and since one purpose of this function is to determine that something exists, earth gives the impression of being a fairly accessible, even simple type. We relate to the world of objects through the senses, and it is difficult to discount or repress our response to objects in the way that many people discount or repress thoughts, feelings or intuitions — particularly in an age when most of the empiric sciences have given their stamp of approval only to that which has concrete form. In consequence, most people find the element of earth fairly easy to understand — except the earthy person themselves.
The earthy type is usually described in the astrological textbooks as practical, efficient, full of common sense, sensual, "realistic", well-organized and fond of money, security and status. This description applies to all three earth signs: Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn. The function of sensation is the "reality function", and in this sphere the earthy type excels, managing somehow to make order out of the random array of stimuli which assault the senses by relating to each one individually, savoring it, learning its nature, and moving onto the next. In this way, he builds up a body of facts which allows him to deal with each successive situation in the most efficient manner.
The earthy type has all the virtues of Jung's sensation type. He is at home with his body, frequently identifying himself with it, and is usually healthy because he can express his physical desires directly. He is at home with things, and can usually manage money and responsibilities in an effortless way which is mystifying to those who are more intuitive by temperament. He has a gift for actualizing his desires, and this capacity for "earthing" shows at its best when combined either with thinking, to produce the careful empiric thinker, the impeccable researcher and statistician, or with feeling, to produce the happy sensualist, the affectionate lover and father, the patron of nature and of all beautiful things.
The earthy type also has all the potential failings of over-emphasized sensation coupled with inferior intuition, and these are once again aptly summarized in the traditional descriptions of the earthy signs. Taurus is notorious for his dogmatic narrow-mindedness. his over possessiveness of what he considers to be his property, and his tendency to reduce the subtlest and most complex of life's experiences to a philosophy of "Either I see it or it doesn't exist." Virgo proverbially cannot "see the forest for the trees", and becomes lost in a maze of detail and irrelevant trivia without ever seeing the point of his unceasing labors or realizing that some people appreciate a little chaos in their lives. And Capricorn has a rather unpleasant reputation for justifying the means by the end and molding his behavior to the appropriate social expectations; this enables him to enjoy the status he seeks without sacrificing anything of himself to get it.
In other words, while earth excels at the accumulation of facts, he misses the significance of the connections between the facts, the relationships that link them with common meaning; and while he manages with ease the complexities of the world of objects, he is liable to miss the inner significance of his own life. The earthy type, being sensation-oriented, possesses as his inferior function a rather primitive intuitive sense. In some cases, this stunted intuition beleaguers him with irrational fears and vague apprehensions of a negative kind which perpetually interfere with his simple black-and-white world. In other cases, he represses intuition entirely and lives in an endless gray twilight of labors and routines that gradually increase the pile of objects around him while doing nothing to ease the hollow space within him — which cries out for some sense of purpose, some feeling of being part of a larger life, and some hope for the future which can allow him to rest from his labors and enjoy the present in a creative way. Another way of describing the earthy type's problem is that he does not know how to be a child, nor how to play. He is old when he is young; and unless he can break loose from the treadmill of his bondage to what he calls reality, he is especially liable to fear death as the final reckoning — a definitive summation of his own life, whose underlying significance has somehow eluded him.
Earth has a longing for what he calls the spiritual, although this is frequently expressed as a secret fascination or "belief" in ghosts, psychism. and other para-psychological phenomena without any understanding of the implications inherent in the existence of this sort of "supernatural" world. He will often be found pursuing a love-object who personifies his idea of the medium, the inspiratrice, the guide who can in someway share with him the secrets of the cosmos and alleviate the dull ache within. Unfortunately those who are in touch with the inner mysteries cannot parcel them out like bread and cheese, because such intuitive experience is wholly individual, intensely personal and cannot be explained in the concrete form which earth likes his explanations to assume.
The earthy type can accept nothing unless it is backed up by the testimony of his senses. There are earthy types who are like dogs bound by a long lead to a post; they run round and round, yet can never get beyond the circumscribed length of chain, which is forged by their insistence that the senses are the only means of apprehending reality.
The earthy type may be a wonderful builder, provider, homemaker, and conscientious servant of the needs of those he loves. His worst sin in this case is his lack of vision, which can stifle those close to him and crush his own, as well as others', nascent creativity through his over-insistence on the practical. "Why are you wasting your time on that rubbish?" says the earthbound father to his son who Is learning how to paint/play piano/ study philosophy/master the architecture of smoke-rings. "You should be out learning how to make money."
The truly serious damage that such attitudes can do to children is well known; we have an entire generation of dropouts and runaways who have rebelled violently against earthy values consistently forced upon them by well-meaning parents — parents who, having lived through two world wars and a severe economic depression, have forgotten that the future always contains new possibilities. Sensation values only that which it can perceive, and it is bound to miss a lot as a result. The fact that one might want to "waste" one's last shilling on hyacinths for the soul is an outrage and an insult to the hours of labor the earthy type has spent to provide others with the things he believes they want, because he wants them himself.
Earth, if he is reasonably satisfied sexually and has a situation gratifying to his need for material stability, will generally stay in relationships which would drive the other types wild. Because he bases his reality on what is in front of him, the fact that his partner is physically present means to him that a relationship exists. At the same time, the subtler nuances escape him, and often his partner does as well. On the other hand, the unconscious Intuitive side will sometimes erupt as a fascination for someone who embodies life, vitality and chaos, which of course brings chaos into his own carefully ordered world. Often the fascination will be for a religious or spiritual movement of some kind, and this is one of the stranger expressions of inferior intuition: an intense and sincere but gullible religious fervor.
Here the unconscious intuitive search for meaning in life is structured and crystallized by the senses into dogma, which attempts to define God, put spiritual reality into concrete form, and translate the numinous into sacrosanct objects — an adherence to the letter of the law, in other words, and obliviousness to its spirit. The Spanish Inquisition is perhaps a good example of inferior intuition breaking out through a heavily sensation-oriented culture: the rigorous and fanatical coercion of belief into one structure, outside which any individual is a heretic who must be physically destroyed, admirably exemplifies the ugliest face of inferior intuition. Most witch hunts — whether conducted by a band of seventeenth-century Puritans, a band of twentieth-century Puritans wearing the mask of excessive "realism", or a band of old ladies of both sexes impelled to shove the Christian message down the throats of poor benighted heathens, neighbors and friends — smack of inferior intuition projected upon an appropriate scapegoat.
More commonly, inferior intuition in the better-balanced earthy type communicates itself as vague negative hunches. The earthy type tries to see the future and it comes back to him blackened by the soot of his own unconscious projections, so that others are invariably "out to get" him, nothing will "ever work out", and nobody is to be trusted. Taurus is famous for his horror of losing what he owns: Virgo becomes terror-stricken if anything in his carefully ordered world gets slightly out of order by the intrusion of some irrational, unexpected element; and Capricorn is well known for his suspicions of others who might attempt to take his position away from him. These are, of course, extreme examples. But one might consider Richard Nixon, who, with the sun in Capricorn and Virgo on the ascendant, has a strongly developed sensation function; and one might plausibly suggest that the unreasonable paranoia and suspicions of an inferior intuition led him to use those methods which inevitably brought about his political downfall. Most earthy types do not lead such dramatic lives, nor are they so extreme; but the dark world of fantasy is always a terror and a fascination for this deceptively simply type. The search for some kind of inner spiritual reality is absolutely necessary for the earthy type if he is to find his own wholeness, for his deepest unconscious need is a craving for meaning which, if it is not given room to live, will injure the concrete foundations upon which he has built his life.
Earth has a magnetic attraction to fire, and it is common to find those with a preponderance of earth in the horoscope seeking inspiration and drama from a fiery partner, earth/fire relationships are often less difficult than air-water relationships because sensation and intuition are what Jung calls irrational functions — that is, they are not irrational in the colloquial sense, but rather, they are unconcerned with judgment, either by principles or by feeling, but simply take experience and experience it. They are therefore less likely to try to change each other, and although there are some typical dialogues common to these relationships which generally hinge around accusations of one partner being too woolly-minded and impractical (fire) and the other being too narrow-minded and bound to habit (earth), the pairing seems to be easier — although not necessarily better — than air/water pairings. Earth tends to feel that he is always cleaning up after fire, and fire tends to feel that he is being nagged at and criticized for things he considers petty and unimportant. Earth wants guarantees that the future will be secure, and fire sees life as a gamble where nothing is secure and the real joy of living is to ride the changes creatively. Earth generally feels he is the giver in any relationship, because he expresses his affection in tangible forms; fire, on the other hand. is generally more self-centered and feels that he is his own best gift. But there is an unending fascination between these two opposite types, for fire seeks the stability and form of earth while earth yearns for the drama and spontaneity of fire's great vision.
The Element of Fire: The Intuitive Type
Man's perceptions are not bounded by organs
of perception: he perceives more than sense
(tho' ever so acute) can discover.
— William Blake
We come at last to the element of fire, which in fact begins the zodiacal cycle with Aries, and which is probably the most confusing element when an attempt is made to correlate its traditional attributes with those of Jung's intuitive type. This is partially because many astrological textbooks seem to accept at face value the traditional statements that fire is "warm", "outgoing", "self-centered" and "lucky" without questioning why he is like this and what truly motivates this curious temperament. There is also a considerable amount of confusion about what Jung means by intuition. It is commonly associated with mediums, seance parlours, and other assorted oddities which belong more to the realm of feeling.
"Because intuition is in the main an unconscious process, its nature is very difficult to grasp. The intuitive function is represented in consciousness by an attitude of expectancy, by vision and penetration . . . intuition is not mere perception or vision, but an active, creative process that puts into the object just as much as it takes out."(1)
June Singer describes intuition as,
". . .a process which extracts the perception unconsciously . . . Just as sensation strives to reach the most accurate perception of actuality, so intuition tries to encompass the greatest possibilities."(2)
1) Psychological Types.
2) Boundaries of the Soul.
If this is confusing to the reader, it is often more so to many intuitive types, who because they are given no insight into their own psychic constitutions by science and orthodox education — who generally claim that such a function does not exist — are often unsure and mistrustful of the very aspect of themselves which is most highly developed. Intuition is generally permitted to women, with a certain patronizing attitude — for it is never taken quite seriously by those who are not aware of possessing it — but there are as many intuitive men as there are women, and they suffer for this lack of understanding.
The fiery signs — Aries, Leo and Sagittarius — share a vitality and spontaneity which is often envied and sometimes resented by more peaceable types. They are children at heart, and are inclined to live in a world of fantasy where people are really knights on white horses, or princesses imprisoned in castles, or dragons which must be challenged and slain. The fiery type has a strong need to mythologize his experiences and relate them to an inner world which belongs more to the world of fairy tales than to "reality". It is no wonder that so many fiery types are drawn to the world of the theatre. The fiery type's behavior is often exaggerated, but it is unfair to accuse him of doing this purely to get a show; he is generally perfectly acquainted with his propensity for exaggeration, dramatization and love of color, but he does it for himself rather than for others, and it is more important to him to experience life dramatically than to accept the apparently drab and sometimes threatening world that more pragmatic types insist he recognize as the real one. "We can accept the unpleasant more readily than we can the inconsequential," as Goethe says.
Fire is considered in traditional astrology to be somewhat insensitive and egocentric, which he undoubtedly appears to be when it comes to the practical details of life. He possesses an inferior sensation function and tends to repress his awareness of objects in order to draw closer to the essence of a situation, its possibilities and its meaning in a larger context. It is not that he cannot be bothered with details; they are actually threatening to his way of perceiving the world. Fire is interested in the future, and in its endless potential. The past is to him like a novel someone else wrote, and the present is a series of doorways which can lead anywhere and which must be unlocked one by one. When confronted with the unpleasant demands of the material world, the fiery type may often drop a situation and move elsewhere, thereby earning himself a reputation for irresponsibility or callousness. He is neither of these; he simply cannot bear to be imprisoned.
The fiery type has a knack of perceiving the undercurrents in a situation and reaching a conclusion at a completely unconscious level, so that he suddenly has a "hunch" which often flies in the face of the evidence of the senses yet is unerringly accurate. What this involves is an appreciation of the components in a given situation simultaneously and as a whole, rather than the sequential process involved in thinking. He appears to have an inordinate amount of confidence in "luck", but it is rather an innate conviction that "something" — the unconscious — will eventually produce a solution which will get him out of his difficulties and pave the way to a rosy future. This is infuriating to other types, because fire's successful peering round the corner of the future is disconcerting to them and his failures even more disconcerting — because he is not in the least embarrassed by them. "It will all come right later." The fiery signs all share a kind of joie de vivre, an irrepressible childlike trust in the bounty of fate; and one who is deficient in this element may well stare in amazement at the way in which fire gambles with money, time, emotion, energy, and sometimes people. It is all a great game to him, and the object is not the winning, but the style of play.
Fire will often avoid more conventional paths of religious aspiration because he cannot bear to see life imprisoned in form. and he is also instinctively closer to the center because of his openness to the unconscious. He is often found in the world of business and finance, where he can satisfy his instinct for play by juggling with companies and fortunes. He will often come out on top in these fields, because he is not very seriously concerned about the results. The more introverted fiery type is likely to express his perception of the unseen currents of life through devotion to his own unique spiritual path, or through the arts, where the inner world of images and symbols captures his attention. Through art, he can create a reality which extracts the essence out of daily living experience and forms a myth which transcends the limitations of the historical time in which he lives.
Along with these unusual virtues, the fiery type also possesses some rather dramatic vices, and these are well expressed in the traditional attributes of the fiery signs: Aries has a reputation for an ill-tempered individualism and a Don Quixote-like tendency to tilt at windmills when everyone else wants a little peace and quiet; Leo is known for his sometimes overpowering self-centeredness and his tacit assumption that because he is a child of the gods, no one else could possibly be as well; and Sagittarius is notorious for his irresponsibility with promises, his horror of routine, and his tendency towards exaggeration and ''trendiness".
In other words, fire has a problem coping with the world, which is, unfortunately for him, full of objects and the presence of other people; and he must either conquer the world in grand style, or withdraw from it into his visions. The world may seem to thwart him at every turn. These frustrations may take the form of government structures, traffic laws, taxes, bills, the necessity of earning an income, and the problem of remembering to feed, clothe and take care of his body. The world of sensation is often a real stumbling block to the fiery type. This is not only true of dealing with objects, but also of dealing with society — which is generally conservative, at least twenty to fifty years behind the leaping intuition of fire, and consequently insensitive to the promise of his ideas and visions.
The fiery type may be wonderfully successful in business — if he is allowed to speculate rather than being chained to details — or he may have a clear perception of the deepest wellsprings of spiritual life within him; yet he often cannot leave the house without forgetting his car keys or his wallet, or drive down a street without incurring a traffic violation — if he can get his car to start at all. It is this kind of behavior which often gives him the feeling that society is against him, or denigrating his offerings. But it is really his unconscious senses which are against him. There are also many fiery types who can function well enough in society, yet who find their greatest enemy within their own bodies. There it appears as apprehension of physical illness or hypochondria which must be compensated by strenuous athletic or dietary disciplines, or as an underlying and often deeply unconscious feeling of sexual failure which creates much difficulty in relationships.
The fiery type is most prone to what we are pleased to call sexual problems, although these are not so much problems as a mark of his own and others' failure to understand his needs. Sex often means something different to him than merely a physical act; it is a symbol, as is everything which affects his senses, and the element of fantasy in his relationships is usually very strong. This often seems somehow "perverted" to more literal types. In fact, the elements of expectation, anticipation and romantic and erotic fantasy are often far more important to the fiery type than the actual physical act. This becomes a problem when he is extreme and can no longer relate except through fantasy.
As he often chooses a sensation-oriented partner, upon whom he projects his inferior function, fire is likely to be resentful because he feels as though he is expected to perform — a situation which can produce disastrous consequences. Impotence and frigidity, which are terms we tend to think of as physical problems, are common with extreme fiery types, but the difficulty is not really a physical one; fire simply cannot perform unless his imagination is with him, and if he cannot learn to appreciate sensual experience as a pleasure in itself, he may blame his partner for his failure. He must learn to relate to the body for its own sake; otherwise he may be driven to search from one relationship to another, always seeking the ideal image which in the end exists within his own psyche; and he will become dissatisfied with every partner because the experience is always less than the expectation.
Fire often overcompensates for his feelings of sexual inferiority by "proving" himself; thus we have the Don Juan of both sexes, seeking confidence through conquest. Because romantic situations may, for the extreme fiery type, begin as a fairy tale and end as a cage, he is sometimes unreliable in relationships. And because he also has a problem articulating his needs — often being unable to objectify them — his partner may be in the dark about why he has begun to stray. The usual response is, "I don't know, it's just that something is missing in this relationship." What is missing is his belief that there are no further possibilities to explore.
It is also the fiery type who fears being controlled through his sexuality, and who often gets involved in power struggles in relationships because he must keep the upper hand in order to protect himself. Or he maybe highly inhibited in expressing physical affection, which may be acceptable to an understanding partner but can be highly destructive to a child.
The fiery type is more liable than anyone else to sudden physical passions — which he calls love — that cause him to sever existing relationships rather brutally in order to pursue the desired object. This unfortunate scenario often ends with his sad discovery that "all cats are gray at night", and the new love-object is no more satisfactory than the old. Anyone familiar with the life of Henry VIII will recognize this pattern, which appears to correlate well with his Sagittarian ascendant and his extraverted intuitive temperament.
There is also an ascetic fiery type, who is intensely spiritually motivated and may forcibly repress his sensuality because he believes it to be evil. Lewis' classic story of The Monk is an excellent example of this pattern, as well as of the typical revenge of a violated unconscious.
One can see easily enough from this description the typical problems of earth-fire relationships, which have already been touched on. These relationships often have a highly magical or compulsive quality about them, but once settled, a familiar pattern emerges. The heart of the fiery type is true, but it is true to an ideal rather than to an individual; and unless he can make some contact with the reality of the senses, he stands to lose his childlike trust in the happily ever after. The result will be a trail of broken relationships and a sense of having produced nothing of permanence with his life. Fire, if his experiences are not to be "like a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing", must learn to understand his dark side so that he can anchor his visions and build something of worth in the world. His dreams are necessary to the world, but they must be communicated with some adjustment to the world's terms.
One can see more clearly now the inherent problem with all four temperaments: each of them sees, and values, a different aspect of reality, and each of them tends to assume that his reality is the only one. The descriptions given here of the four types are meant to be caricatures, and have been deliberately exaggerated; they will rarely be met with in the real world because no one individual is wholly composed of one element alone, or one psychological function. It must be remembered that we all possess all four; but there will inevitably be an overbalance and an under balance, and one function will be much more highly developed while one will remain relatively unreliable. It should also be remembered that by the age of thirty, most of us have at least two of these functions of consciousness developed to a reasonable degree, one "superior" function and one "auxiliary" function; the second backs up and enriches the first, so that our vision is more extensive. This "auxiliary" function will never be the opposite to the dominant one; if thinking, for example, is the main mode of relationship to life, either sensation or intuition will back it up, but never feeling. The birth chart will often give a clear inference of this pattern of development through the relative prominence of a second element. We may therefore speak of air-fire charts, suggesting an intuitive thinker; air-earth charts, describing an empiric thinker; fire-water charts, expressing intuitive feeling; and earth-water charts, portraying sensory feeling.
Sometimes a birth chart will show a dominance of two elements which imply equal balance of two opposite functions, such as air-water, or fire-earth. This almost always suggests great tension within the individual, for one end of this pair of opposites is likely to be expressed as the dominant function and the other end as the inferior function. The psychological drives symbolized by the planets in the "losing" element will then operate unconsciously, but because they are powerful on the birth chart they cannot be avoided and the problem of integrating the inferior function becomes critical. When an element is weak or missing from the chart, the function it symbolizes will usually be weak; but the individual may succeed in avoiding the problem for a long time. When the opposites are present on the chart, the problem is usually recognized early in life and continues to create a lifelong and often highly creative dilemma.
We are always unconsciously drawn to that which we lack, and these four temperaments are inexorably drawn to their opposites because relationships of this kind provide an opportunity to develop greater inner integration. There is almost always a great deal of projection in this sort of relationship, and the problems begin when each individual tries to remodel his partner. He is really trying to remodel himself, which is entirely possible if only he could realize the significance of his perpetual criticism.
If we could stand on our little mountain peaks and survey the landscape while realizing that others stand on different peaks and see a different landscape, we might appreciate that the richness of life only becomes available when there is a sharing of different realities, and when one recognizes the worth of another's values. And we cannot do this until we have ceased to scorn, reject, and fear our own inner "inferiority". Fire can learn to live with, and learn from, his earthy partner only when he is willing to experience his senses at their fullest, and acknowledge their importance; earth can accept and learn from his fiery partner only when he has confronted his own deep longing for freedom from bondage and has recognized that vision is as important as the form in which it is housed. Water can learn to relate to and appreciate air when he understands that not everything in life can be evaluated by his own personal feeling responses; and air can begin to understand and learn from water when he acknowledges his inner feeling needs and recognizes that human relationships are as valid a field of human experience as the world of ideas.
The Birth Chart and The Psychological Types
It is always difficult to "type" a chart, and it usually cannot be done without some personal knowledge of the individual. In fact, if we are to use astrology in a productive way to aid the process of self-understanding, we must be able to relate to the individual first, and directly experience something of his identity, before considering the birth chart to see how this reality will be expressed. The person comes before the chart, a fact which many astrologers are prone to forget. It should be remembered that the chart may as easily be that of a chicken, a horse, a building, or an opera society; it is the reflection of a moment in time. The chart is not human; the individual is. The horoscope maps out a set of potentials, but one cannot say what the individual has done with that potential; and there are many important factors which are not reflected on the chart, the most important being the sex of the individual.
Men and women tend to respond to different aspects of the birth chart, and will make a very different living reality out of this map of possibilities. It is not as simple as counting up the number of planets which occupy a particular element, for the specific planets will affect this tally and so will the sex of the individual. For a man, the masculine planets such as the sun and Mars seem to be more "accessible" — that is, the energies which these planets symbolize are more readily available to masculine consciousness. The feminine planets such as the moon and Venus seem to be more accessible to feminine consciousness. As we have seen, the planets group themselves into male and female in the same way that the signs do, and the principle of femininity may be said to be symbolized both by the six feminine signs — Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn and Pisces — and by the four feminine planets — Moon, Venus, Neptune and Pluto. The principle of masculinity may be said to be symbolized by the six masculine signs — Aries. Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius and Aquarius — and by the four masculine planets, Sun. Mars, Jupiter and Uranus. Mercury is an androgynous planet and appears to deal with synthesis; and Saturn, most mysterious of the planets, may be considered feminine but appears to shift from one side to the other and is also rather androgynous.
Many other factors will affect the balance of elements on the birth chart. One cannot evolve a formula to extract the psychological type of the individual from the horoscope; one must first experience it in the individual, and this knowledge should then be applied to the chart Otherwise Jung's typology becomes an inanimate structure, rather than the living reality upon which he based his work. A good deal of intuition is necessary to see which parts of the chart have been "highlighted" by being developed in consciousness. People also overcompensate at times when they are aware of a lack in themselves, and this tendency is peculiar to human nature but is not reflected within the chart itself.
For this reason a horoscope done by post, based on birth data but with no direct knowledge of the individual, is likely to be a dismal failure from the point of view of psychological exploration. Astrology used in this way is an interesting characterological map, but can do little as a tool to help the individual on his journey towards self-unfolding. But once there is some feeling for the individual's orientation, which must come from personal contact rather than from the chart, it is easy to see how planets in the "unconscious" elements are likely to function and what may be done to help integrate them. Certainly a dominance of a particular element will suggest that this function of consciousness needs to be developed; but it may not lend itself to such development without conscious effort, particularly if it is an "undifferentiated" function.
There is another problem to "typing" a chart, a phenomenon which June Singer in The Boundaries of the Soul, calls the "turn type". This is an individual who by natural temperament should have developed a particular "function but who because of the influence of a particularly powerful parent, or the pressures of social or educational demands, has been forced to violate his natural inclination and develops another function instead, often the "inferior" one, in order to psychologically survive. This always causes great damage and a strong inner feeling of inferiority, for if one identifies with what one does least well, a price is bound to be exacted. The process of breaking through the layers which mask the real identity is not an easy one, and the individual often cannot accomplish it alone. Here the chart will offer significant clues; for where there is a predominance of a particular element, unchallenged by a concurrent emphasis of the opposite element, yet where the individual is not using the former, there is a strong suggestion that something has interfered with the natural line of development. For example, an individual whose chart shows a bias towards the element of water and no emphasis in air, yet who is disconnected from his feeling nature and finds it difficult to cope with his emotions, may be suspected of being a "turn type."
Sometimes the "turn type" is produced by something more complex than one insensitive parent. In our society we tend to assume — possibly not without historical and biological reason, but perhaps with unreasonably rigid expectations — that the world of thinking and sensation belongs to men and the world of feeling and intuition to women. This may be true in general, and on an archetypal level; it may have been true for most of our past history. But it is possible that the division is less sharply demarcated than before, and it may not apply to the individual, who always contains all potentialities within his own nature. There is reason to suppose that the more dominated we are by our biological and historical heritage, the less we are able to use the individual blueprint of the birth chart; and there is also reason to suppose that part of what the contemporary Zeitgeist involves is the capacity to balance this heritage with an increasing awareness of the potential for individual development. There are as many men born with a bias towards the feeling function as there are women, and as many women with a bias towards the thinking function as men; and while it previously may have been difficult for a person to transcend his circumstantial factors and avail himself of this bias for his own unfolding, such transcendence seems to be increasingly possible as we enter a new era in the development of human consciousness.
The pull of the past creates its own pain. The feeling-oriented man, for example, with a preponderance of water on the birth chart, or the intuitive man, with a preponderance of fire, often learns early in life that others will consider him weak, effeminate, cowardly, irrational, or latently homosexual if his natural predisposition is given free rein. Such men sometimes learn to be very different from their natural temperaments in order to "make it" as a man "should". The feeling type's own negative thinking will help him along to this conclusion, since he is terribly prone to swallow social values whole, without thinking them through and questioning their applicability to his own situation. And the intuitive type's sense of inadequacy about being "capable" will often cause him to question the value of his visions. There is then an enormous split between the real identity and the mask, and a very uncomfortable need for which one must overcompensate.
This also applies to the thinking woman and the sensation woman, who are often described as "butch", cold, ambitious, heartless, unfeminine, brittle and neurotic if they follow their natural inclinations into the world of ideas and mundane achievement. Inferior feeling will conspire to help the thinking woman along with her lack of self-acceptance because she feels inadequate in personal relationships; and inferior intuition will often convince the sensation woman that she is dull, boring, unimaginative and only equipped to be the servant of those with greater gifts. Such women may either become armored Amazons, or attempt to develop the "inferior" function by playing the role of the overbearing, ambitious mother and wife, who wears a mask of sentiment and effusive emotional display over a cold and steely determination to make something of her children, her husband, and anyone else who happens to be her property. Somehow one must find the delicate balance between the physical sex, with its accompanying psychological bias, and the inherent disposition suggested by the horoscope at birth.
This is no mean task, particularly if those factors oppose each other. Yet such oppositions, if they are handled gently, with understanding and without doing violence to one pole or the other, can lead to a truly rounded and enriched individual.
The world-is full of "turn-types'' and they damage themselves and others without realizing that the true self lies imprisoned and suffering beneath an impenetrable armor of other people's expectations, Jung's advice is to "be what you have always been", and this is the real path to inner integration and to relating with others. One of the greatest assets of the chart with its interwoven patterns, especially if taken in conjunction with typology, is that it can provide a richer, more comprehensive picture of what one has always been — which is also what one can potentially be.