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The Icarus Effect
(The Variety of Sexual Lifestyles in the Horoscope)
by Christopher A. Weidner

-- translation Matyas Becvarov --

"When you take hold of the world where it lets itself be taken hold of, where it has the secret of darkness, where it is still chaste, where it has not yet been loved and violated, where saints have not yet interceded for it and criminals have left no bloodstains
When the new status has been created
When the logical consequence is no longer drawn in any mind
When finally, finally comes
Then jump up and tear the miserable old order apart.
Then be different, so that the world changes, so that it changes its direction, finally!
Then set off into it yourself!"

(Ingeborg Bachmann: The Thirtieth Year)

Polarity as Dogma

    "If I had to elevate an astrological principle to the level of dogma, it would surely be the principle of polarity." [1]  As in the case of Dane Rudhyar, so has astrology since time immemorial upheld the idea that every phenomenon should be understood as a two-sided medallion, divisible into two poles which condition each other but are in essence opposite. Equally long-standing is the rendering erotic of this pairing of opposites in the concepts "masculine" and "feminine." The handmaiden of those concepts is the notion that the division of the two sexes and their experience of sexual desire rests on the magnetism of polarity.

    Behind that magnetism lies a mythical promise of salvation; it is assumed that in the "desire for a fusion of male and female poles" human longing finds the fulfillment of its search for a return to the lost paradise of unity, for "in the love between man and woman each is reborn" and the "overcoming of human dividedness" is achieved. [2] 

    This article focuses on the complications which arise from that dogma when one looks at the variety of sexual lifestyles through the lens of a polarized cosmos. Homosexuality will serve as a primary example in the discussion. It is hoped that the analysis will show the dilemma into which assumptions of sexual polarity must inevitably lead, and how such polarized thinking necessarily opens the door for discrimination and marginalization.

"Anatomy is Destiny"

    The assumption runs: "The law of polarity is the law of life itself" [3]  and this paradigm shows itself in human sexuality, namely in the polarity of the sexes: "A human being is born either male or female." [4]  The next step is the assumption that anatomical sexual polarity, which derives from the rather reductionist concept of penis and vagina as a lock-and-key arrangement, has also a psychic parallel, that is to say: a masculine character and a feminine character, each of which exhibits polarized qualities and complements the other. "Anatomy becomes destiny" (Freud), because biological gender determines as well the character of a human being belonging to a particular sex.

    What is considered to be "typically" masculine or feminine, however, is subject to socio-cultural definition, which each society in its own time and space, and for its own purposes, constitutes as normative. Consequently, in the social sciences there has been established a differentiation between biological identity (sex) and socially-influenced sex role behavior (gender), which fact calls into question any natural correlation between anatomy and character. The humanities, as well, which still in some instances cling to the notion of a psycho-physical polarization of the sexes, can formulate no uniform statement on the matter, and so it is claimed that by and large "the efforts to find genetic and biological causes for sex-role differentiated behavior" are "fruitless." [5] 

    The formula Body = Character and the deduction that a particular character points to a particular biological gender has taken its place in astrology up to the present in the following way: particular characteristics based on the culturally defined ideals of masculinity and femininity are fixed upon, then raised to the level of the "norm," and subsequently transplanted as biological first facts into human nature. Planets or other elements of the horoscope which ostensibly correspond to these characteristic are assigned the gender characteristics of their correspondent and also become either "masculine" or "feminine."

    As early as Ptolemy one can find the assumption which underlies this practice: it is the notion that the sexes by their very nature can be differentiated each from the other, the masculine side associated with heat, the feminine with dampness. Ptolemy comes to the conclusion that the nature of planets, which embody either watery or fiery characteristics, should be correlated with one or the other sex. Thus he identifies the Moon and Venus as feminine planets, whereas the Sun, Saturn, Jupiter and Mars form the masculine group. [6] 

    This approach takes on particular importance especially in synastry, since partnership is usually understood within the context of that promise of salvation through the overcoming of gender polarity by complementarity. These normative masculine and feminine characteristics, supposedly "written in the sky," return once again in their application to concrete figures within the sphere of interpersonal experience. According to such logic, "Venus in the horoscope of a man" represents that which "he seeks in a woman as an ideal mate," and "Mars in the horoscope of a woman ... explains what she seeks in a man," for "the planet the energy of which is opposite the sex of the person in question ... is usually projected onto a specific object." [7]  It commonly results that the gender-typified planets find their significance interpreted differently, according to whether the subject of the chart is a man or a woman.

    The difficulty lies in the fact that one "forgets" (or remains ignorant of) the socio-cultural origin of these gender typifications, which leads to a situation where the sex-role differentiated qualities -- and they vary between times and places -- become a priori categories in and of themselves. They become unchallenged and sacrosanct paradigms, which ostensibly existed before any socio-cultural fixation of them occurred and even precipitated that fixation. The most recent example of this tendency is the rendering of these preconceived notions into archetypal ideals in the depth psychology of C. G. Jung, which has played a significant role in the development of "modern" astrology.

Norm and Anti-Norm

    According to the polarity principle, the union of man and woman stills the longing for unity not only on the level of the body, but also on that of the spirit. This has important consequences for the area of sexuality. Since polarity "naturally" operates between men and women, heterosexuality becomes the "norm." All other forms of sexuality become contradictions to this natural law, become "anti-norms," a case in point being homosexuality, since by the definitions of gender polarity a man (positive pole) cannot possibly react to another man (likewise positive pole) with attraction. The theory of the original bisexuality of man's psyche -- popular since Freud's time -- does not offer much help, despite the fact that many astrologers take it readily to hand, usually in the Jungian permutation of animus and anima. It is assumed here that the individual, on his or her path to becoming a fully contributing and mature member of society, suppresses that portion of his or her essentially bisexual nature which is disjunct with biological sex. So may a "masculine" man still have feminine aspects within himself, but they are repressed into the subconscious so that the masculine characteristics dominate. With regard to the matter of a polarized force of attraction between the sexes, this new twist in the old formula still leaves everything just as it was before. Experiences outside the planned program of repression, especially in childhood years, can result in a disruption of regular sublimation: a man becomes "effeminate" or a woman becomes "masculine" -- which shows the Jungian obsession with anima and animus. Here again, attraction between two men or two women is precluded as a matter of course, since they must repel each other as a result of their polarity.

    Erich Fromm puts this type of thinking into perhaps its most drastic expression when he writes with unconcealed coldness in The Art of Loving: "The homosexual deviation from the norm comes about because the polarized union does not take place, and as a result the homosexual suffers from the pain of his unresolved dividedness, which moreover reveals an inability he shares with the average heterosexual who cannot love." [8] 

    Homosexuality is explained here as "inversion," as "distortion" of the traits of character appropriate on the part of one's own sex in relation to the opposite sex. In the realm of astrology such thinking leads, for example, to the notion that this circumstance can be measured from the afflictions of the planets which ostensibly represent attraction to the opposite sex. Even today this clichée continues to be bandied about, the "proof" called on as authority being found in the image of the effeminate queen or the "butch" lesbian. It is now common knowledge that such extreme and obstreperously obvious lifestyles apply to only a small portion of the homosexual population. There is at play a dynamic inherent to the nature of the norm/anti-norm mechanism: the constitution of those who form the "norm" depends in large part for its definition on what is defined as the "anti-norm." Each category conditions the other. When it began to be the case that homosexuals were excluded from "normal" society, no time was lost in assigning to them those qualities which were considered complementary within the norm. So the "proper" man defined himself in contradistinction to a "false" man, who in caricature corresponded to the "womanly" homosexual -- under the continuous assumption, of course, that the natural complement to the "masculine" is the "feminine." The fact that many homosexuals finally began to identify with characteristics assigned to them in their exclusion may find its foundation in the fact that society had quite enough patterns for the development of heterosexual consciousness and so fostered for heterosexuals a frictionless incorporation into the structure of society, whereas for other sexual lifestyles a much greater quotient of self-awareness was necessary, since they found no checks in pre-programmed modes of behavior. Consequently, the "stepping across the established bound of gender " means "in a certain sense a calling into question of one's own existence" [9]  ; one stumbles into a kind of vacuum, into a social no-man's-land, in which one's courage can fail in face of the freedom one claims, so that one retreats into the stereotyped patterns of marginalization rather than suffer a complete loss of identity. Such an understanding reveals that even the "typical" gay or the "typical" lesbian is nothing more than a product of society's moral categories, and does not necessarily represent a quality of being particular to the homosexual eo ipso.

    In astrology the line of argument which leads to the condemnation of so-called deviant sexuality usually includes two criteria:

    It matters not how these notions express themselves in the horoscope according to the interpretative practices of astrologers [10]  ; the search for indicators of anti-normal behavior has never stopped, since one proceeds as a matter of course from the premise that heterosexuality is the norm and, as such, need not be indicated in the horoscope.

The Myth of Man and Woman

    But how has it happened that eroticism and sexuality have been pressed into the corset of the heterosexual norm? In point of fact, this is a speciality of occidental tradition which, with the invention of the mechanism of norm and anti-norm, erected a science of sex, a scientia sexualis (Foucault). It is a science of confession, which with busily pursed lips has cataloged and systematized all the manifestations of the "perverse." The methods of medicine and psychology, developed in the 19th century, replaced as the "sex police" the methodology of the Christian confessional, which had as its object to track down every sexual secret and rip it out of humanity's clutched hand. The physician, the psychologist or the therapist brought human sexual behavior out into view to make it speak, forced its expression and interpreted it according to the "scientifically" construed canon of normalcy, only to turn again and plant it back into the human being, who had from that point forward to identify with it. "Tell me how you love, and I shall tell you who you are" would be a good catchword for this process, where an individual's sexuality and personality are conflated. So it came to be, and continues to be so today, that sexuality is considered a particularly crucial criterion for an individual's definition of self. Sex is "the medium by means of which people seek to define their personality, their sense of taste. Above all, sex is the means by which people seek to become aware of themselves." [11] 

    And here the birth hour of homosexuality supposedly struck as well: "Homosexuality appeared as one manifestation of sexuality, as it was degraded from the practice of sodomy to a kind of inner androgyny, a hermaphroditism of the spirit," which means: as it was fed into the mould of polarity between the sexes. "The sodomite was a man who made a mistake; the homosexual is a species." [12] 

    This discourse became sharper through the detour into astrology taken by the reception of psychological models. In the framework of darwinian psychology heterosexuality had necessarily to advance to the position of "healthy" sexuality, because the only valid type of sexuality which could be allowed was that which led to procreation and consequent perpetuation of the species, and such sexuality requires the copulation of a man and woman. But such a reduction of sex can be legitimized only in this instance. Despite occasional tendencies to the contrary in the present, those who assign to sex single goal of producing offspring are in a minority, at least in our culture. But in that mode of thought homosexuality was assigned to the realm of the unnatural, just as happened to any type of non-coital sexual practice -- even among heterosexuals. The most important argument to the contrary, however, is the fact that human beings have the capacity consciously to refuse to procreate; human sexuality, in contradistinction to sexuality among animals, has become independent of continuation of the species and appears more to follow a pleasure principle than an obsession to insure the birth rate, as Freud himself recognized.

    If this case indeed obtains, then human sexuality has nothing whatever to do with a biologically mandated heterosexuality, and therefore nothing to do with a correspondent polarity between the sexes. The opposite sex as the only "natural" object of sexual attraction is a notion which does not correspond to the reality of human sexual behavior. Every attempt to bind sexuality to the necessity of a masculine-feminine pairing must now reveal itself as as an exercise in morality with a socio-cultural motivation, seeking to achieve the control of reductionist normalization on the sexual relations between people.

    It is astonishing how despite that fact the myth of love between man and woman as the only possible path to happiness has established itself in psychoanalysis, which discards the opportunity to recognize homosexuality and all other variations of human sexuality as legitimate varieties of sexual experience. Kinsey, who produced one of the first major reports on sexuality based on empirical, statistical methodology, thus admits with an air of resignation: "It is a hallmark of the human mind to prefer bipartite divisions in the classification of phenomena. Things are either one way or the other. Sexual behavior is either normal or abnormal, socially acceptable or unacceptable, heterosexual or homosexual; and many people refuse to believe that there exist here many degrees of variation between the two extremes." As a result, he concludes: "Our thinking would be clearer if the terms disappeared entirely from our vocabulary, for then sexual behavior could be described as something which occurs between a man and a woman, or two women, or two men, which would be a more objective representation of the facts." [13] 

    "Modern" astrology, however, still clings to the polarity of all living things, which has as its ultimate effect a conflation of procreation and love in a sort of ideological-mythical groundswell -- and thereby excludes homosexuality as an "unnatural" phenomenon.

    Homosexuals consequently find themselves shut out of the society of those who love. The dilemma finds its astrological expression in the supposed inability of the homosexual to project outwardly toward the opposite sex the principle of polarity, which supposedly lies at the very root of the ability to fall in love with another person. The homosexual man, for example, is believed to have interiorized that projection, or in the conceptual framework of Jung: he is obsessed with his anima. Venus and the Moon are on that basis assumed to be the primary indicators of the projection of the anima. Should the homosexual instead project his Mars or his Sun (an interpretation which may at first seem a stroke of good insight), the results will still not be satisfactory, since any other homosexual man ultimately has the same problem. Attraction between two such men remains precluded, because parallel poles repel one another ...

    Let us face the facts: the categories of a masculine-feminine polarity as the basis of adequacy simply cannot be applied to homosexuality. Two conclusions proceed from that fact: either homosexuals are incapable of love, or the polarity model is, quite simply, false.

The "Sex Police"

    Those who espouse gender polarity in astrology necessarily leave themselves open to the charge of discrimination. And in my opinion it is useless to mumble token sentiments of tolerance to try to back out of that tight corner. Such a response demonstrates nothing more than the inability to move one's thinking outside the ruts in which thought has run previously. By perpetuating these antiquated principles, many astrologers -- more or less intentionally -- contribute to the business of marginalization and stigmatization in a time which needs tolerance and acceptance as much as ever.

Two examples serve to illustrate this point.

    In her book Relating, Liz Greene describes homosexuality as "the result of a complete repression of unconscious figures, which ... react antagonistically and overwhelm consciousness, when the ego handles them with arrogance or scorn." [14]  Greene falls back on Jung's framework of archetypes, which in this context -- as we have seen earlier -- represents nothing other than a system that places socio-cultural allegories and symbols into the realm of the instinctive and attempts to see archetypes as concrete entities, beyond the reach of the individual to shape, and archived in the files of some collective unconscious. This approaches a kind of bookkeeping for dream symbols. As a result, myths are endowed with a deterministic power, outside space and time, which ostensibly holds the key to the decipherment of human existence. It matters not what we do, what we desire -- there stand the archetypes before us. This construct makes the use of concepts like animus and anima especially suspicious, since by some wonderful coincidence they just happen to correspond to the social canon of that particular historical period. Just as Fromm, Greene believes homosexuals to be incapable of loving when she cites Jung: "... Animus and Anima [can be realized] only through a relationship with the opposite sex, because their projections are effective only in that context." [15] 

    Brigitte Hamann, taking her cue from developmental psychology in Lebensmuster [= Life Patterns], builds her arguments on the proposition that homosexuality arises "from an inward disorientation ..." Supposedly it is "less a true sexual impulse than a lack of clarity." [16]  In her opinion the causative factor is sex-role inversion on the part of the parents, i.e. "when the mother expresses archetypically male qualities" and "fathers ... characteristics, which belong to the archetypal Mother." In addition to this standard falling back on archetypal idealizations, Hamann insists on a parallelism between body and spirit to which human beings, their personalities, and even their genitalia are reduced: "A man represents by reason of his anatomy the principle of penetration, conquest, overpowering, and self-assertion, whereas a woman by virtue of her body symbolizes absorption into the self, a certain passivity and the ability to allow feelings ..." The "mixing" of "body and the expression of character of the opposite quality" leads to "sex-role friction, in which the child cannot identify clearly the sex to which he or she belongs." Following this line of thought, "an 'unmanly' man" becomes " a [real] man, when he is together with another man," because in the end effect "being together with another person of the same sex is often simply a search for the self." [17] 

Farewell to Truth

    The question of alternatives arises now. The discussion up to this point has attempted to sharpen awareness of the discrimination caused by polarized thinking, and I would like to quote Mariana Valverde as a way to sum up: "Men and women do not react like metal filings on a magnet, and the images of key and lock, lid and pot and all the other functionalist and fatalistic metaphors one sees bandied about simply do not suit. They attempt to represent heterosexuality as the norm by suggesting that it is a destiny laid upon humanity by Nature. Heterosexuality is not destiny. It is one possibility of choice -- or, to put the matter more exactly, it would be a possibility of choice if our society were more pluralistic and less rigid in its offering of sexual alternatives." [18] 

    So before we consider other models, we must bring about a change in our structures of thought from a totalitarian desire for uniformity to an acceptance of pluralism and variety.

The conclusions of the present analysis can be summarized as follows:

    In the final analysis we must bid farewell -- whether we like it or not -- to any attempt to uphold the sole truth, since "the productive is not sedentary, it is nomadic!" (Foucault)

The Soul is Sexless

    I reject the necessity of drawing conclusions about inner gender on the basis of biological gender, and of thus basing sexuality on the power of attraction to the opposite sex. "L'âme n'a pas de sexe" -- "the soul has no gender" -- and those characteristics thought to be "typically" masculine or feminine are culture-specific parameters which have been incorporated into the human psyche through the process of fitting the individual into the socio-cultural context of the present. I therefore distance myself from the general assumptions that anatomy is destiny and that there exists a natural, essential difference between men and women. I ascribe those differences to social processes.

    In the framework of those processes I have mentioned the mechanism of norm and anti-norm, i.e. how the constitution of what is established as behaviorally "normal" excludes that which does not comply with the required rules and paradigms, but in so doing doubles back upon itself, as it were, to describe the contents of its own normality. It is not the strategy of this mechanism to work through repression or prohibition, but rather to use definitions which produce customs by means of which criteria are set down, and on the basis of which judgment is passed about whether one belongs to the fold of society or not.

    For sexuality, the norm has clearly been established to be heterosexuality, which has moved away from its justification through procreation but has yet entirely to dispense with it. It results that all other sexual lifestyles appear as negatively polarized opposites to the norm, as disorders of or deviations from "the natural," although in the conceptual framework I have put forward heterosexuality occurs rather as one option among a variety of choices.

    We have seen that in the case of astrology the dogmatization of particular "laws" like the polarity of all living beings and the basis of sexuality in the model "men and women attract each other" simply contributes to the perpetuum mobile of discrimination and marginalization.

    To continue with this line of reasoning, it must be formulated for astrological praxis that there are no specifically masculine or feminine planets or zodiacal signs, and that acceptance of such attributes involves acceptance of social convention, which has nothing necessarily to do with the reality of the sexes.

    Other models of interpretation must come into effect for the description of sexuality, models which consciously eschew judgments based on femininity or masculinity. In my search for such models I began a while ago a study in which I gathered and analyzed the horoscopes of people known to have had homosexual experiences. The results I put forward here derive from that study. The phenomena described below are a product of my dealing with sexual styles which do not conform to the norm.

The Masks of Sex

    The question poses itself: what is sexuality and where in the horoscope can it be located? The first question cannot be answered by a single definition: sexuality appears to be whatever we believe it to be -- and that situation corresponds exactly to the mirror image of whatever establishes itself as socially normative in its own historical period. We can perhaps attempt to describe what fundamental assumption we find, which reality sexuality has taken in that particular here and now, which mask face it presents to us at that moment. But in fact we can find no generally applicable models (despite the fact that some are touted as such). We find instead a plurality of models, based on individual constructions. Therein lies the answer to the second question, if it is assumed that neither planets nor zodiacal signs have a particular gender-based nature in and of themselves.

    The most individual and personal thing about anyone's horoscope is the structure of the Houses, since it has the greatest specificity with regard to space and time [19]  ; that is to say, nothing is more specific in its effects on place and moment than the movement of the house cusps on the basis of velocity. For that reason the cusps take priority in any consideration of phenomena at the level of individual existence. In this sense, individual planets cannot be the sole representatives of sexuality -- for example, Venus and Mars -- rather, one should look to the planets which rule or are placed in the house in question.

Lust vs. Faithfulness

    Usually the discussion of sexual themes takes as its interpretative focus the contents of either the Eighth House or the Fifth House. The Eighth House should, however, always be considered in relation to its position in the Third Quadrant, by which position it belongs to the arena of interpersonal relations, where the contents of the direct and indirect house contexts come into the native's field of experience, in the sense of a coming to awareness or an integration of those elements in the native's own being. It would be better to put the nexus of partner relationships in this portion of the chart, that is to say, the criteria which condition me as an individual to choose this person as partner rather than another.

    Sexuality in the sense of a creative act, however, unfettered by any form of morality, which self-absorbedly follows its desire for sexual experience in and of itself, is a matter of the Fifth House. Here one experiences sex as a part of one's own being, here one acts "as strictly as possible as an individual" [20]  -- regardless of the consequences which come from regimenting or controlling influences. It is the house of e-motion, the expansion of self outward, and here the representative of being is the Sun, which develops its radiative power and shines forth into space without hindrance. Since this construct better suits the reality of the sexes in our time than does the older one of contextual alliance associated with the Eighth House, with its fusion of marriage and love under the banner of Christian ethics and social control, I place the epicenter of sexuality in the Fifth House.

    The dilemma between sex and the choice of partner, between lust and faithfulness -- which shows itself even today difficult to reconcile and finds its representation in the square between the Eighth and Fifth Houses -- continues to exist, but it loses its importance as a determinant of the experience of sexual identity. As a rule, the rhetorical link made between sexuality and partnership has been undone, not least in the course of the so-called "sexual revolution." We no longer define ourselves as sexual beings only vis-à-vis our partner, but rather as separate individuals.

    Contemporary heterosexual partnership exercises, then -- and more so than ever -- a kind of bridge function between the experiential fields of the Eighth and Fifth Houses: it must fulfill a need for passionate, sexual experience and also furnish one that is "asexual" and based on obligation. It must continually come to terms with the expectations of love, marriage and the bourgeois nuclear family as elements of public life (Eighth House), while at the same time it must offer the means of integrating the springboard energy of sexuality into itself (Fifth House), which in popular opinion does not easily allow itself to be tamed in that way. The result is, on the one hand, a continual fluctuation in the formal status of pairing -- the "fuck and run society" (Botho Strauß) -- and, on the other hand, an increase in fullness of experience and the variety of the forms partnership takes.

    As we have explained above, however, the identification of factors which determine homosexuality in the horoscope can only be accomplished by assuming that it represents a disturbance of "normal" sexual behavior. Since the configurations proposed from various other quarters prove to be of no significance or rest upon the uncritical assimilation of prejudiced viewpoints, they must be turned aside as inadequate for the purposes of this investigation.

Sexuality Is Not Private

    Since my consideration focuses on the social production of sexuality, i.e. its definition on the basis of socio-cultural paradigms, it became necessary to find another path of approach to the horoscope which does not insist exclusively on assigning sex to the realm of the instinctive and private. Today especially Alfred Adler's quip -- "sexuality is not a private matter" [21]  -- shows itself to be on the mark, although in exactly the opposite sense of its original meaning. More than at any point in history it is public opinion which forms our image of the sexual ideal, and in the media -- particularly advertising -- our desires and fantasies are given substance before our eyes. So sex among us is not to be thought of either as private or in any way a form of the "purely natural."

    The key to this circumstance is to be found astrologically in the confrontation between the Fifth House and the Fourth Quadrant, which opposes it represents that area of the horoscope which can be demarcated as belonging to the socio-cultural arena. In my opinion no other area of the horoscope shows so clearly the interactive conditioning between behavior (Second Quadrant), consciousness (Third Quadrant), and the body (First Quadrant).

    Rather as an exception to the rule, I proceed from the assumption that the individual must not be understood to be in flat-out opposition to overwhelming social forces, a concept which in the case of sexuality has led to the myth of the liberating sex drive as a "natural" foil to the restrictive control mechanisms of society. The misunderstanding lies herein: we believe that sex is the most natural thing in the world and thus set ourselves up against society, because we insist that sex is bound up with our individuality and we think that having sex is tantamount to a revolt of "instinct" against the omnipotence of the Establishment. But one might also consider the possibility that precisely the Establishment and no other agent is responsible for installing into our understanding of ourselves the belief in a sex drive, in order to use it for its own purposes by transforming it into a strategically applied control mechanism. Too little attention is paid to the processes which enable our knowledge of sex to be seen as a socio-cultural construct, as a product of the dominant spirit of the times.

    The Fourth Quadrant can be considered the sphere of that dominant spirit of the times, in which domain the lines of power can be traced that seek to bind our entire being to the prefabricated structures of collective mentality. This operation is accomplished not by loudly proclaiming taboos, but rather by the silent tool of what I call the "look from outside."

The Look from Outside

    Its purpose is to confront us with the fact that we are "other," to force our attention upon the definitions of the "norm" by dangling before our sight the "anti-norm." One knows, for example, that one is heterosexual because one is cognizant that one is not homosexual (and thereby one knows as well that one is "healthy" because one is not "sick.")

    Norm and anti-norm are objects of the Fourth Quadrant and here particularly are represented by the exchange between the Tenth and Eleventh Houses, rulership of which is commonly ascribed to Saturn and Uranus respectively. I locate normative obligation in the Tenth House, for here all of us are equal in the face of the monumental rules of culture's game. In the Eleventh House, however, appear our possibilities to set ourselves apart from the mass of our teammates, because here individual elements come to expression and seek validity at the social level. Since norm and anti-norm seek to condition each other, I localize the effect of the "look from outside" in the Eleventh House, which goes beyond its obvious opposition to the Fifth House to show a direct relationship to the latter.

The Grand Cross

    In the course of our lifetimes various events play the role of the chastising "look from outside" which makes us familiar with the mechanism of norm and anti-norm. The purpose appears to be to root that awareness so deeply in us that we can no longer distinguish our own opinions from those which have been culturally instilled in us. The look from outside examines us, tests us and watches over our shoulder, it criticizes us continually and induces us to compare all the characteristics of our being with the conventions of society and to conform to those conventions.

    This process takes place first at the moment of birth. Here it is the physician who looks at us, assesses our anatomy and determines whether we are male or female. In the language of astrological dynamics this incident plays out in the square between the Eleventh and Second Houses. The fact of our humanity is, then, already prejudiced by gender: particular sex roles now await us, and it is expected of us that we fit ourselves into those roles. Our parents take over the work of the look from outside. They worry and fret that our development should fall within the bounds of the norm and our behavior within the realm of the socially acceptable. In this supervision they themselves are subject to the look from outside, which gives them a very clear idea of what ought not under any circumstances to happen in the character formation of their children. We can observe these processes in the dynamics of the relationship between the Eleventh and Fifth Houses. It is here that the patterns of the "right" type of sexual behavior take hold with increasing force, visible in the suspicion of many parents about whether or not their child will develop "normally" and in the fear of one day being confronted with a child's homosexuality ("What will other people think!") By this time a sexual identity will have formed, and with regard to the dynamics between the Eleventh and Eighth Houses, it matters not whether one is homosexual or heterosexual, the business to hand is simply finding a partner who corresponds to one's desires for (a) physical attractiveness and/or material "stability" (2 <--> 8) and (b) sexual compatibility (8 <--> 5).

    The interaction of Houses 2, 5 and 8 with the omnipresent Eleventh House (fig. 1) sets up the condition wherein we are subject in each of these arenas of life to misunderstanding our wishes and needs as really of our own choosing, when in point of fact they should be recognized as the products of a power strategy on the part of our socio-cultural context.

    In astrological terms, we see a Grand Cross among the fixed houses, which serves as the defining pattern for the realization of that ideational process. [22] 

Fig. 1: The Cycle of the Fixed Houses


A Talent for the Anti-Norm

    In the course of developing as an individual, some people show themselves susceptible to the possibility of going against the conditioning set by the norm. These people possess a kind of "talent" for the anti-norm. Rather than its content being fixed, one observes again and again that the anti-norm is interpreted on the basis of whatever corresponds to a countercurrent against the norm. Homosexuality is accordingly perceived simply as the sign of an anti-norm, when the norm is heterosexuality. When the day comes where criteria of sexual identity no longer have significance for the lives of individual people, questions about sexual identity will become simply beside the point.

    What is important here is how one is prepared to handle this confrontation: this is where one finds the freedom to shape things as an individual. If I hunt down the terrible beast of the "normal" and its expectations, I nonetheless remain in the passive role of a receptor of that norm, or else I invert my "faults" into "virtues" and set myself up as the benchmark for behavior in lieu of socio-cultural tradition.

    An individual fitted out with that talent has to a special degree the freedom of choice to develop against the grain of the well-worn and more secure paths of conventionality. But it is a question here of an opportunity which may present itself, but does not eo ipso bring about its own realization. To begin with, the renunciation of all premises with regard to identity enables one to step aside from the pressure to define oneself in relation to sexual criteria. Astrologically, the transition from the Eleventh to the Twelfth House -- in which the baton of Uranus is passed on to Neptune -- symbolizes the complete release of the individual from the value judgments of his or her society and marks the beginning of a journey toward new ideals beyond the boundaries of outmoded, culture-specific parameters.

    The degree to which this endeavor is successfully realized can hardly be determined with one-hundred percent accuracy, but the results of my study point quite clearly to a particular configuration which appears to indicate individual sexual styles, homosexuality or bisexuality in the case of the population I selected.

Data from the Study

    The following data are based on the criteria explained above, i.e. they are concentrated on the house rulers of the Fifth and Eleventh Houses and on the position of planets in those houses. In response to an advertisement I published in a newspaper, approximately 250 people made their birth data available. Only 189 of those data could be corroborated by public records, and only corroborated data were used. Additional use was made of the horoscopes of well-known people, in so far as they corresponded to the Group 1 classification of the IHL and were known generally or by personal confirmation of the facts to have been homosexual or bisexual. In that way, 67 additional horoscopes came under consideration in the study. The total number of cases examined comes, then, to 256. In the framework of the study, 27 people were invited to give a personal interview, in order to give an empirical check to theoretical concepts. To these interviews must go the credit for my ability to formulate in detail the theory given above.

    In the compilation of the following data no distinction was made between homosexual and bisexual individuals, because in my opinion the same phenomenon underlies both lifestyles; even though some differences in the structure of the horoscopes became evident, they appear not to have anything directly to do with sexual identity. The smaller proportion of women to men (one-third to two-thirds) could not be rectified, so any speculation about possible differences between lesbian and gay sexual styles must be set aside for the time being.

    Figure 2 shows a distinct predominance of the Sun/Uranus constellation in relation to the Fifth House in distinction to all other possible configurations, which mirrors exactly the dynamic of development for sexual identity I have elaborated above. Even if we we take into consideration all possible configurations of the horoscope according to house ruler and planetary position (Fig. 3), a clear predominance of the Sun/Uranus configuration still emerges.

    Sun/Uranus represents to my mind and in this context that "talent" for the anti-norm which enables the individual to develop counter-tendencies to dominant myths in the area of sexuality.

Fig. 2: Sun/Uranus in Relation to Fifth House Configuration (in %)

Fig. 3: Sun/Uranus in Relation to All Configurations (in %)


The Icarus Effect

    From a mythic-poetic perspective it appealed to me to give this configuration the name "Icarus constellation" [23] , since important parallels are apparent between the legend and interesting characteristics of the phenomenon I have described above. [24] 

Icarus, the son of Dedalus, must flee with his father from King Minos on the island of Crete. Dedalus makes wings for himself and his son out of feathers and wax, with which they manage to escape by flying away. But Icarus ignores the advice of his father and out of the sheer joy of flight flies too high, so that the Sun melts the wax in his wings, and he falls headlong in the sea and drowns.

    Leaving aside the rather bitter moral of this fable, we can see in Icarus the allegorical principle of the anti-norm and in his father the raised finger of the norm, warning us not to leave the "proper" path. Astrologically speaking we can, therefore, associate Icarus with Uranus, and Dedalus with Saturn. Icarus gives to his simple desire to fly toward the sun the upper hand over the necessity which limits his self-development. In my opinion this symbolizes the the assertion of the individual. The consequences are paid for dearly, but the stricture of individual need in favor of social goal is rejected. The Sun, originally the symbol of the divine will, is no longer a duty, but rather a chosen goal. The individual challenges the position of the creator as creator by setting against it his own self.

    The situation of the homosexual is similar. Becuse other people never find themselves confronted by the necessity of distancing themselves from the sexual norm, they never find themselves face to face with questions about the consequences of otherness. A much higher degree of self-awareness concerning the risks involved is required of people who espouse other sexual lifestyles. Because they cannot build on the common foundation of myths which conform to societal standards, they must construct their own myths in order to secure for themselves the position of their anti-normal behavior. But exactly this process is taken over by the dominant society; myths about homosexuality are current as preconceived ideas, and so every "coming-out" leads in the end effect -- however much personal struggle it may involve -- directly into the lap of conventional rule mechanisms. Put astrologically: the high flight of Uranus finds its end in the coming to pass of Saturn's warning. Whoever strays from the path finds himself once again in the ghetto of the Anti-Norm.

No to King Sex

    In the course of this discussion I hope I have shown that the societal mechanisms which produce "truth" about sex and attempt in their power strategies to diminish variety, can find socio-cultural expression in the horoscope. I wanted to go down a different path than that of the "revolt of the instincts," which has empassioned the world of astrologers for so long, and, in the words of Foucault, "move the curtains a bit to one side" in order to make room for other relationships, which in my opinion do much more to form our sexual identities. My work is much more like a change in perspective, one that leads away from the fatalistic belief in humanity as a piece of machinery fueled by instincts and hopes to open new paths that lead us beyond all those things which conspire to separate people from one another rather than emphasize their commonalities. How the discussion on homosexuality and other sexual lifetyles will develop, we do not know. But already tendencies show themselves -- even if they remind one in their prudery of the depths of premodern history -- which move away from the "More And More Sex" model toward other ways of constructing pleasures and loves, just as historically the one true kind of love, the one true kind of sexuality established themselves. When we understand that "sexuality at the deepest level is not something which power fears, but much more is something through which it achieves its aims" [25]  we shall perhaps also understand that we can escape the incessant sexualization of our beings by the "sex police" as we begin to see in the polymorphism of the sexes an expression of human freedom. Perhaps this is the form the transition from Saturn through Uranus to Neptune takes; when sexual categories no longer mean anything to us; when we must come to terms with other categories and finally realize that more people surround us than men, women, homo- or heterosexuals. "Perhaps that will be the end of this dreary wasteland of sexuality, the end of the monarchy of sex." [26] 


[1]  Rudhyar, Dane. Astrologie und Psyche. Mossingen 1990; p. 219. [English original, cf.: Astrology and the Modern Psyche : an Astrologer Looks at Depth Psychology. 2nd ed. Vancouver, Wash. : CRCS Publications, 1976.] « Text

[2]  Fromm, Erich. Die Kunst des Liebens. Frankfurt/M 1994; p. 56f. [English version cf.: The Art of Loving. New York : Continuum, 2000.] « Text

[3]  Rudhyar, op. cit., p. 64. « Text

[4]  Rhudyar, op. cit., p. 207. « Text

[5]  Bolz, Annette. Sex im Gehirn [= Sex in the Brain]. Südergellersen 1992; p. 183. « Text

[6]  Ptolemy. Tetrabiblos. Mössingen 1995; p. 35. [English version, cf.: Tetrabiblos. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1980. (Loeb Classical Library, no. 435)]. « Text

[7]  Greene, Liz. Kosmos und Psyche. Frankfurt/M 1994; p. 54f. [English original, cf.: Relating : an Astrological Guide to Living with Others on a Small Planet. London: Conventure, 1977.] « Text

[8]  Fromm, op. cit., p. 57f. « Text

[9]  Butler, J. "Variations on Sex and Gender" in: Benhabib, S. and D. Cornell, eds. Feminism as Critique : Essays on the Politics of Gender in the Late-Capitalist Societies. Cambridge (UK): Polity Press, 1987, p. 128-142.] « Text

[10]  A summary listing is available in the article by J. Lee Lehman, "Die Deutung der Sexualität im Horoskop" [= "The Interpretation of Sexuality in the Horoscope"] in: Tyl, Noel. Sexualität im Horoscop. Wettswil 1995: p. 198f. [English original, cf.: Sexuality in the Horoscope. St. Paul, Minn. : Llewellyn Publications, 1994. (Llewellyn's New World Astrology Series, bk. 14)] « Text

[11]  Foucault, Michel. Von der Freundschaft als Lebensweise. Berlin o. J.; p. 25. « Text

[12]  Foucault, Michel. Der Wille zum Wissen. Sexualität und Wahrheit, 1. Frankfurt/M 1983; p. 58. [French original: La volonté de savoir, Histoire de la sexualité, pt. 1. English translation, cf.: The Will to Knowledge. The History of Sexuality, Pt. 1. London : Penguin, 1990.] « Text

[13]  A quotation from: Altendorf, Marion. Bisexualität. Pfaffenweiler 1993; p. 73. « Text

[14]  Greene, op. cit., p. 139. « Text

[15]  Greene, op. cit., p. 142. « Text

[16]  Hamann, Brigitte. Lebensmuster. Wettswil 1994; p. 112. « Text

[17]  Hamann, op. cit., p. 62f. « Text

[18]  A quotation from: Altendorf, op. cit., p.68. « Text

[19]  Cf. Roscher, Michael. Praxis der Horoskopinterpretation [=The Practice of Horoscope Interpretation]. München 1992; p.63ff. « Text

[20]  Rudhyar, Dane. Das astrologische Häusersystem. Reinbek bei Hamburg 1992; p. 63ff. [English original cf.: The Astrological Houses : the Spectrum of Individual Experience. Reno, Nevada : CRCS Publications, 1986. Reprint of: Garden City, N.Y. : Doubleday, 1972.] « Text

[21]  Adler, Alfred. Praxis und Theorie der Individualpsychologie. Frankfurt/M 1984; p. 196. [English translation, cf.: The Practice and Theory of Individual Psychology. London : Routledge, 1999.] « Text

[22]  Noel Tyl also understands the cross of the fixed houses as a "sexual matrix." However, he ascribes to the idea of the repression of instincts, by reason of which the Eleventh House has in his opinion fewer social dimensions. Cf.: Tyl, Noel. Sexualität im Horoskop. Wettswil 1995; p. 21. [Cf. English original cited above in no. 10]. « Text

[23]  This designation of the Sun/Uranus configuration finds mention in the work of Michael Roscher, as well, although in another context. Cf.: Roscher, Michael. Kritische Grade in der Prognose [=Critical Degrees in Prediction]. Nürnberg 1994; p. 54 and 104, named "Ikarusgrad." « Text

[24]  In the mytho-poetic method I suggest, no attempt is implied to stylize myths into archetypal contents. Rather, the power of allegory (which in Greek means "to speak otherwise") is given room to develop itself, i.e., with the help of mythical images -- which themselves underpin the paradigms of culture -- a different quality of discourse comes into play, which may stimulate the imagination and thought processes at a feeling level. « Text

[25]  Foucault, Michel. Uber Sexualität, Wissen und Wahrheit [= On Sexuality, Knowledge and Truth]. Berlin 1978; p.187. « Text

[26]  Foucault, op. cit., p. 186. « Text

Ed. N.: You can find more information about the works of Christopher A. Weidner (from Munich) on his own web site: Phoenix Astrologie.

To cite this page:
Christopher Weidner: The Icarus Effect
(The Variety of Sexual Lifestyles in the Horoscope)
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