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AN ASTROLOGICAL STUDY
of Psychological Complexes

by Dane Rudhyar
1966


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Chapter Four
Astrological Indications of
Father and Mother Complexes

No birth chart can give the complete assurance that the native displays a mother-complex or any other complex. It can show unbalance in polar functions, tensions developing between normally complementary energies in the body and the psyche, emphasis caused by strain-producing circumstances of one kind or another, especially stressful crises of growth and their at least approximate timing. But the astrologer can only determine tendencies, and at best their relative strength. He cannot ascertain what the actual life will be as a result of such tendencies, even if they should appear as strong complexes; for no one can tell from a study of birth chart whether the individual will be a weak neurotic living an unnoticed and meaningless life tyrannized by complexes, or will be able to transform the rigid psychic structures of the complexes of childhood and adolescence into a lens or any other kind of psychic apparatus through which the spirit can act, and so acting, move human society.
      By "spirit," here, I mean either the "individualized" spiritual Entity responsible in a transcendent manner for the birth and development of the personality as a whole or a "collective" racial or generic Power that uses the personality (and its neuroses or psychoses) in order to affect, constructively or destructively, a social group, a nation or the whole of mankind.
      Anyone seeking honestly to correlate the findings of astrology and those of modern psychology is obliged to admit that there can hardly be any point by point correspondence between the two. No one astrological factor represents any one complex; no one particular planetary position or aspect can tell us whether a person is an introvert or an extrovert. Indeed, the greatest difficulty for the modern "scientific" mentality in acknowledging the validity of astrology is that any astrological factor can mean a large variety of things, and that any psychological characteristic or happening can be represented by various astrological factors or combinations of factors.
      The scientist (and the modern psychologist usually tries to be a scientist in his field) proceeds in his work by a technique of analysis and exclusion. Whether he speaks of the mother-complex and of a psychological disturbance like schizophrenia, names a physical disease under which a variety of symptoms are covered, or calls any cat a representative of the biological family felidae, the scientist makes his definitions by considering a number of concrete phenomena which appear similar. At the same time he eliminates those that are not common to the group. The common features are then stressed as characteristics of a class of phenomena to which he gives a name. The name represents what is precisely common to the group of phenomena, entities or events; and what is not common is at least temporarily dropped out of sight and called secondary individual traits eluding scientific inclusion in the group.
      Astrology, considered as a typical approach to life and meaning, operates in an entirely different manner. It does not start with concrete phenomena or entities, but instead with functional qualities and structural patterns, These qualities of being, or "archetypes," are seen as dynamic centers of functional activity in any organism, system of events or conceptual whole. Each center of activity is defined in relation to other centers and to the whole. As to the concrete phenomena which the scientist observes, these, for the astrologer, partake of the characteristics of several or all of these centers of activity. Every quality (every planet, sign, house, etc.) is included in every event or entity.
      In other words, when the psychologist speaks of a father-complex of a particular kind, he has in mind a definite set of psychological characteristics which can be found in all father-complexes of this kind; and having in mind this set of characteristics, he excludes automatically all "secondary" traits in the person which do not belong to the definite set called father-complex. But, when the astrologer speaks of Saturn he means a principle of activity or quality of being which is found in everything. Everything includes some Saturnian activity; every birth chart contains all planets, all zodiacal signs, all houses. Everything is in everything. The characteristics of every level can be found in the corresponding sub-levels of every level. Nothing can be excluded from anything; no feature can be eliminated from any organic whole as non-characteristic.
      This means that if we speak of a father-complex we cannot say astrologically that it is a Saturn-category, or even that it can be described by the relation of Saturn to the Moon alone, everything else being ignored just as the scientific psychologist purposely ignores every other feature in the total life of an individual when he says that this individual suffers from a father-complex. Indeed, there is or should be no such thing for the astrologer as a "father-complex" in general; for, to him, the birth chart as a whole represents the individual person as a whole, and what the psychologist calls father-complex (by isolating a number of characteristic psychological features) has roots and ramifications in every factor of the birth chart. The astrologer sees, or should see, in the chart the symbolic representation of a whole person who is both healthy and sick, strong and weak, etc.; while the psychiatrist deals primarily with a disease which he seeks to cure a disease which is a category of specific phenomena, and in many respects an entity.
      Saturn, in any sound astrology, is not an entity. It is a quality or principle inherent in all things whatsoever. And when we defined four basic functions in all organisms, we referred to types of activities found wherever there is life. To speak of functional disturbance is not the same as defining a disease as an entity (or exclusive class of phenomena) with a name; for this disturbance, if it is truly "functional" implies the entire bio-psychological or psychosomatic organism or personality an individual organism and a unique case. Each astrological chart is a unique case. Every moment is unique. The entire celestial pattern of any chart cannot be duplicated in billions of years. No human complex can be exactly duplicated, for it is the production of a whole individual; all his functions contribute to it or to its disappearance. A complex is the entire individual person operating rigidly and under stress in one direction.
      All of which is simply to show that it would be quite futile to pin down a complex to a particular astrological situation and to none other. What has to be understood, rather, is that, where a father- and mother-complex exists, its nature can be interpreted and traced back to its source by considering the astrological symbols of the corresponding function, Saturn and the Moon. But one cannot say a priori that a square of Saturn to the Moon, or any particular position of either planet will "cause" a complex. Indeed, no particular astrological factor "causes" any particular condition. It points to the source of the condition when the condition exists; and it only indicates the function and the department of life, experience and personality where it would show up, if it shows up at all.
      Rather, therefore, than list what might more likely than not (the famous deviation from a statistical average!) be considered to indicate the presence of complexes in a birth chart, we will see how some rather characteristic types of complexes register in the charts of individuals known to have had such complexes. And at the outset we shall emphasize again that where there is a father-complex, there is also a mother-complex of some sort, and that a complex can be produced as well by congestion (too much functioning) as by undernourishment and depletion of the organs or psychic centers responsible for the function.
      As an example, let us consider the famous French poet, novelist and statesman, Victor Hugo is a typical illustration of the Romantic personality with its emotional intensity, its rebelliousness against authority and formalism, its spiritual yearnings and its social humanitarianism; and he is one of the most constructive and steady, noble and creative manifestations of the type. In other words, he illustrates the positive type of parental complex, the complex used by the individual spirit (and also by the "spirit of the times") for creative ends.
      Because of this positiveness, we find that the Sagittarian Moon is in not a too stressful position, being in square to its Nodes and Mercury in Pisces (conjunct the North Node in the 5th house) but also in trine to a 10th house conjunction of the Part of Fortune, Jupiter and Saturn. Hugo's mother was a royalist Vendean, a strong character, and died when he was nineteen and already recognized as a poet. She had been separated from her husband, a fervent revolutionist, a military man with violent emotions. The child grew therefore in an atmosphere of great political tensions and conflicts, and being close to his mother, was made to consider his father as "a symbol of hated authority."
      His urge to become an individual different from all others (Saturn-Moon function) was thus energized by attachment to his mother and resentment against his father quite a normal pattern, especially for a Romanticist. In his case, however, bondage to the mother was successfully transferred to an inner psychospiritual level, perhaps thanks to the mother's early death; that is, it took the form of what Jung has called an anima polarization.
      We saw previously that the mother's function is to act as a protector, an intermediary between an alien or inimical outer world and the child, and an exemplar of efficacious adjustment to the demands of this outer world. When the adolescent succeeds in making his own adjustments to an environment he no longer fears, he may nevertheless feel insecure in relation to the inner world of the psyche, and to all the dimly experienced forces and images that crowd his unconscious especially if he is a sensitive person with windows of consciousness widely open to this unconscious realm. What he sees, what presses against these "windows" that open to the great darkness beyond the lighted realm of the ego-consciousness, may cause fear and insecurity; and it does the more so, the less developed the father function (Saturn) is within the individual. The less developed this father function, the more emphasized is the mother function within, or the dependence upon the physical mother. When the latter no longer dominates, then it is the mother-image within the psyche which receives the emphasis the anima, the Moon inside of the earth's orbit, which symbolizes a blending of the images of mother and ideal woman; thus, the Soul-guide, the Redeeming Woman, the Inspirer, the Muse.
      Victor Hugo's 10th house Saturn is retrograde in Virgo 349', near Jupiter also retrograde in Leo 2959' (conjunct the regal star Regulus, and the Part of Fortune); and it is in opposition to a triple conjunction of Venus, Pluto and Sun in Pisces 3 to 71/2 which creates a very striking setting for a father-complex, with enough positiveness in the social (Jupiter) and creative (Venus) factors to suggest the possibility of a creative use of the complex by the individual spirit. The suggestion is further enhanced by a strong Mars trine to an 11th house Uranus (symbol of social idealism and reforming zeal) and in quintile (72 aspect, symbol of creativity) to a rising stationary Neptune in Scorpio (itself in trine to Mercury conjunct the Moon's North Node). Neptune rising controls the four planets in Pisces and the 5th house of self-expression. This all adds up to a powerful social regenerative and Romantic tendency, with a characteristic artistic focusing (Sun conjunct an exalted Venus) influenced by a political-occult ideology (Pluto) and an insistent humanitarian outlook the whole combination dominated by a proud Jupiterian sense of social importance and ambition.
      Saturn retrograde is most frequently a symbol of inner uncertainty with regard to the father-image. All retrograde planets suggest as a rule (with many exceptions!) that the corresponding biological functions have become compressed or repressed inwardly as a result of previous frustrations or external inhibitions. In Hugo's case, he was separated both physically and emotionally from his father; and this created a psychic emptiness which had to be filled. He filled it, partly by his love for his mother and all women (anima function), and partly by his Jupiterian-Martian ambition. The latter became colored by the very image of his physical father, the presence of whom he had lacked for his fully normal growth. The father was a revolutionist, a captain, an ardent man fighting for a social Cause; and unconsciously Victor Hugo, who had missed a physical father, made himself into a transformed likeness of his father. A conservative while his mother lived, he became (especially after the death of his father, when he was only 26) a revolutionist himself first, in literature; later in politics. And in both fields he reached fame and honor, even though at the cost of a political exile which lasted nearly twenty years.
      Saturn in opposition to the Sun, especially where the parental houses (fourth and tenth) are involved, reveals strain and stress in the Saturn function and thus in the relation to the father. It may mean dependence upon and fear of an autocratic father, or a cold and often critical evaluation of the father's behavior and character, causing or caused by estrangement. In Hugo's chart the opposition-aspect is made more intricate and far-reaching by the involvement with other planets. A natal Jupiter-Saturn conjunction has much to do with the social attitude of the individual, especially where the father's attitude leads to its establishment for, as I wrote previously, the father is the link between the home and society, thus between the two basic functional realms.
      Finally, I should stress the fact that the Saturn-Sun, etc., opposition occurs in the houses which symbolize traditionally the two parents a fact emphasizing the tendency toward a strong parental complex. Much discussion has been going on among astrologers as to which of the two houses represents which of the two parents. To me, the fourth house parent is the one whose image controls the focus of the inner life, whether it is the mother or the father. The tenth house parent is the one whose image controls the development of the public life. But it is probably far more sensible not to separate the parents or the two houses defined by the meridian axis, and to say that both parents and both houses refer to the basic function determining the roots of individual existence, the Saturn-Moon function. The meridian of any chart establishes the line of power and growth which extends from root to seed; and there can be no individual existence without both an inner and an outer life.
      While Victor Hugo's birth chart reveals a powerful stress upon the father-image and the resulting complex (which however he was able to use as a creative force in relation with a transformed and inspirational mother-image), when we consider the birth chart of Adolf Hitler, we find an abnormal emphasis upon a negative mother-image represented by an equally negative Moon, swollen up as it were by a conjunction with Jupiter, near the Moon's South Node.
      This Moon-Jupiter conjunction in the third house is the psychological key to Hitler's chart, (1) as it stands nearly alone in the below-the-earth hemisphere; and as the single factor in the empty half of the zodiac defined by an opposition of a 12th house Uranus and a 6th house Mercury nearly coinciding with the horizon. Marc Jones, who made the most complete study of overall planetary patterns in astrological charts (cf. his book "The Guide to Astrological Interpretations"), named such a basic configuration the "Bucket" type, of which he wrote that it reveals "at its best the real instructor and inspirer of others, and at its worst the agitator and the malcontent."(2)
      The examples which Marc Jones gives, including Napoleon Bonaparte, show only one planet in the position of the "handle" of the Bucket pattern; but Hitler's Moon-Jupiter conjunction is close enough (Moon in 638', Jupiter in 815' Capricorn) to lead us to consider the two planets as a unit. As such, it indicates a line of release from the hemispheric concentration of planets above the horizon, which in turn stresses social consciousness and all matters of emotional relationship, especially as the Sun, Mars and Venus retrograde are in Taurus, in the 7th house.
      The Moon rules the 9th house which contains two factors of personal strength, the Moon's North Node and the Part of Fortune, the latter in opposition to the Moon-Jupiter pair. And Saturn in Leo is elevated in the 10th house, squaring the exact Mars-Venus conjunction, but in sextile to Uranus, in quintile aspect (72) to Neptune and Pluto, and in biquintile aspect (144) to the Moon and Jupiter the quintile series of aspects referring to what might be called "genius" or at least talent also in distant trine to Mercury.
      What we see thus is a strong Saturn focusing into the tenth house, through a series of aspects, the energies of all the planets near and above the horizon; but the Moon-Jupiter conjunction controlling the below-the-horizon realm (the private life) stubbornly stands. Saturn and the Moon are thus protagonists in a strange psychological drama. They are related through a biquintile aspect; an aspect of dubious psychological meaning which could be said to refer to the reactionary backwash of previous manifestations of creative genius. And here let me stress that there can be "genius" in destruction as well as in construction and it is in this direction that we should read Hitler's chart.
      I am not concerned, however, in this analysis with the ultimate fate of the late Fuehrer of a Germany led to a collective neurosis by the defeat and post-war chaos that followed the Versailles Treaty. I am dealing only with his parental complexes, which in turn provided the dynamic energy necessary for his violent and ruthless public rise. I see the father-image (Saturn) dominating his public life; then an over expansive mother-image (made receptive by the proximity of the South Node) forcing relentlessly the inner life into a condition of dependence to a peculiar Jupiter function. I see a birth chart with the last degree of Libra rising, thus ruled by a Taurean Venus which is both retrograde and exactly conjunct Mars, ruler of the 6th and 7th houses. And in this last-mentioned configuration (squared by Saturn) I see the shadow of emotional negativeness, of complete selfishness, and the suggestion that here we may well face a psyche controlled by some collective social power, or worse. Anyone acquainted with the facts of Hitler's youth, and with his chaotic relationship to his parents should realize the actual conditioning to which he was subjected in his childhood.
      Consider now the case of the Duke of Windsor, whose unusual destiny, his marriage, and what is generally known of his psychological reactions, unavoidably suggests a strong mother-complex. Here we find the Moon rising in Pisces 358' in distant square to a conjunction of Jupiter and Neptune in the 4th house (Gemini), and in exact square to the cusp of this house. Mars is in the first degree of Aries symbolizing the earliest stage of emergence from the sea of the collective unconscious in square to a Cancer Sun. Moreover, Saturn and Uranus are both retrograde, and co-rulers of the Aquarian Ascendant; thus we find again retrograde conditions being emphasized with regard to Saturn and the chart's "ruler."
      This factor of planetary retrogradation should, it is true, not be thought of as a certain symbol of complexes; yet it does signify a trend which usually is found inevitably associated with the growth of complexes. In the case of Oscar Wilde a typical instance of fateful mother-complex we find also the ruler of the birth chart, Mercury, retrograde (in Libra and near the Sun); while a ninth House Taurean Moon is located between Pluto and Uranus retrograde. Saturn is direct, but weak in Cancer (the sign of its detriment or debility) and squaring the Sun. And whoever knows about the elder Wilde and his home can trace easily the factual conditions under which his gifted son developed the paternal complexes which led him to fame - and to imprisonment.


1. I consider that Hitler had the last degree of Libra rising, and approximately Leo 8 at the midheaven. I presented long ago my reasons for such an ascendant, a few degrees later than the usually accepted one. The final collapse of Nazidom and Hitler's death during the last days of April, 1945, while Pluto was stationary on Leo 754', seem to have confirmed my judgment. Hitler was 56 years old April 20, 1945; may have died about the same day. Mussolini was killed (April 28) just after the full Moon (following the new Moon marking F.D. Roosevelt's death).  Return

2 In my book Person-Centered Astrology (C.S.A. Press, Lakemont, Ga.) I developed further Marc Jones' concepts and renamed most of them, adding several categories. I called the Bucket a "Funnel Pattern." In some cases it can be interpreted also as a "Wedge." What is conveyed by these names is "the idea that the power generated within the grouping of the nine planets is brought to a focus in a thin stream which is released through the narrow opening of the funnel." if one thinks of a wedge then "the power distributed upon the wide surface of the wedge is focused at the sharp end" (cf. p. 197 and 199).  Return






By permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill
Copyright © 1966 and 1976 by Dane Rudhyar
All Rights Reserved.



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