I’ve been reading The Astrology of Fate by Liz Greene and have finished the section on the twelve astrological signs and how each sign copes with its Fate– as in the struggle between individuality and Spirit. I’m not an astrologer but couldn’t resist the title; I’ve definitely received more than I bargained for. I see it as an intense book written for better understanding the dark nights of the soul.
“Fate,” says Greene, “ensnares us through the body’s passions and desires. Fate enchants but also avenges transgressions of the natural law. Fate is not wrong, but the heroic in us may seek to transform or overcome them.” She adds, “We can’t transcend our Fate through spiritual techniques, but there may be wisdom in seeing the inner image of what is showing in outer events.”
Greene uses myths of the Greek and Roman gods and goddesses to tell her astrological stories; it seems we humans are all at war with either our Dark Mothers or Terrible Fathers. We are living, working, to accept and understand the results of the decisions made with our Shadow Selves. Greene says that how we live with our Fate is influenced by when we are born and her insight applies to both our sun signs and rising (ascendant) signs; for example, I would read Taurus for my sun sign and Sagittarius for my rising sign. What she writes also applies to the male and female genders of each sign.
I have have mostly used the author’s words as I try to ‘get to the point’ for each sign, though in some cases I have summarized. I also plucked sentences from many pages of interesting information on each sign. It is a long, deep book and, as I’m not an astrologer and can’t be sure I’ve fully understood what she has written, please read about the signs below using your own common sense and insights.
ARIES will overthrow the old order and, asserting independent, individual spirit, enact fierce competitiveness. It is a desire for freedom—but there is only one god. Aries is about that which must be redeemed from the grip of the Terrible Father, whether this be a love, an idea, a philosophy or a creative endeavor that is not valued by the ‘fathers’ of the world. Because his battle is with God, the Father, Aries must be fully conscious of what he is doing, and needs to reverence the deity against which he strives. If the son remains devout, the encounters with Terrible Father create inner authority and Aries can then handle the responsibility of the kingship he has fought for. If he is arrogant, he will not enter the place of his personhood. Without this struggle he remains the eternal son and never enters the place where he embodies his manhood.
TAURUS must meet the dark face of the monster-tyrant, the monster avid for the greedy rights of ‘my and mine,’ at some point in his life. The earthy power which allows the tyrant to accrue his wealth is the gift of Taurus, but then he must ask himself, “Whom do I serve? God or myself?” The bull is not evil but if allowed to run the man, it will lead to his destruction. (Hitler, Lenin and Marx were all Taureans.) He must realize that the power of the bull is not ‘mine,’ and that it is to be directed at a transpersonal goal. Taurus must encounter and tame the beast by learning to dance with the bull. The ego must come to terms with this dark, bestial bull–its coarseness and its grace.
GEMINI represents the twins, one evil, one good. Twins are special, perhaps touching the divine. Gemini possesses some power that works in opposition, one part trying to destroy the other. The light twin has something to learn—nothing less than death and regeneration at the hands of the dark self. It is the contest between two halves of oneself, the conflicting experiences of bondage to a mortal body with its sense of loss and death, and exaltation to the realm of spirit and eternal live. Conflicts with rivals can lead to a deep appreciation of the ambiguity of life and the mystery of a dark-light god. With Gemini, the jealousy between siblings, the conflicts with opponents, are contests between two halves of oneself—the reconciliation of opposites within.
CANCER has a mystical element strongly at work that can sit side-by-side with the more maternal and personal qualities of the sign. Cancer, the upstart hero, threatens the Mother’s rule and the battle to free oneself from her is often pronounced and difficult. The Dark Mother would rather destroy her child than let him escape her domination. The dark face of Cancer is the overpowering bond to the Mother that may drown him. The light face is the potential to midwife images of the unconscious. Cancer is driven to seek the Divine, at one with God before physical birth and again at the end of life.
LEO’s quest is to develop its unique individual essence and its search for the Source. For Leo, it is about the battle between the developing ego and its instinctual roots that must be tamed. [It] is an image of the power of consciousness, vested in it by the Self, which breaks the ‘curse’ and cleanses the unclean, freeing the individual of the ‘uncanny barriers’ which rise from the dark world of the unconscious. He is ego power at its most glorious . . . Passionate emotionality precedes the recognition of unconscious contents. Kingship is, in the most profound sense, connecting with his capacity to wrestle with his passions. There is an alchemical work to be performed, self-realization of the deeper Source, which is the holy quest for the Grail.
VIRGO is disgusted with disorder, chaos and wasting of time and substance, just as the goddess Astraea sees the orderliness of nature and is disgusted with humanity. For Virgo, justice must be restored. Virgo is a combination of upright Astraea set side-by-side with the orgiastic lunar harlot goddess, posing enormous conflict for Virgo. He or she struggles with these opposites throughout life, trying to encompass them both, for the fate of the sign does not seem to permit splitting. With a strong moral sense coupled with grossly immoral behavior, Virgo searches for openness to the flow of life and a willingness to trust the natural order. Virgo learns to bestow one’s bounty as one wishes according to inner law, rather than satisfying expectations to gain rewards. Soiled goods offend Virgo, yet all humans are soiled by life. The maiden must die to become the Mother.
LIBRA desires everything in proportion, rather than one thing at the expense of another. Libra fears the consequences of the choices he makes, yet he must choose for he cannot have his cake and eat it, too. The issue of choice progresses from the necessity of deciding where one’s values lie, and the ensuing conflicts, into glimpses of the deeper dilemmas where the gods themselves are revealed as double-faced and needing the help of man’s consciousness. In Libra lies the unnatural faculty of rational judgment, which is the potential for resolution of conflicts within the unconscious psyche. Libra’s laws are the moral and ethical codes of society. Libra is inclined to the good, the true and the beautiful, and a code of not human, but universal ethics. Libra lives for proof of the deity who holds the perfectly balanced scales and he grows toward this understanding through imbalances, extremes and violations of the law. When Libra learns that the gods may not be as just as man who reflects the nobility of the human spirit, his role of bringer of civilization and reflection becomes genuine and dignifies the nobility of the human spirit.
SCORPIO must confront in greater depth and more frequently the dragon of instinctual life and its terrifying and destructive power. The dragon lives within us all, but for Scorpio there is a cyclical collision and increasingly profound confrontation with the dragon’s realm.
The battle to free the feminine from the blacker face of nature is an integral part of the journey for both sexes born under the sign of Scorpio. Scorpio’s quest is to bridge the gap between the earth and the spiritual realm. The difficult combination of spirtualised eroticism and eroticised spirituality is a handful for Scorpio. The object is to transform the terror and paralysis of the dark rage that cannot be conquered by brute force. Scorpio, despite his susceptibility to pride and egotism, cynicism and power-lust, nevertheless does not cease to aspire toward an experience of love, which is ultimately his redemption. Half sexuality, half spirituality, reconciliation is possible by making the best of both worlds.
SAGITTARIUS reflects the emergence into collective consciousness of a spiritual principle that is greater than the dark feminine, greater than the doomed and fated life of the body. The search for Spirit that transcends fate and death is the ceaseless quest of Sagittarius. He is as much bound to the world of human ties and commitments, the world of morality and decency, as he is to wild promiscuity. Sagittarius is endlessly fertile with boundless creativity. He is restless, inconstant and inventive. He can give wise counsel to every man but himself. He is wounded by the collision of his benign nature with the darkness and poison of the world. If he can bear to face this wound, he is immeasurably strengthened because he will produce with his gifts in more practical ways. Sagittarius, part beast whose eyes are turned to the immortal half of his being, pays the necessary price of caring for the suffering body he has so long ignored.
CAPRICORN is the polarity of the father-son: The avenging father whose strict and structured rules of life collide with the lusty, libidinous goat-like desires of the son. Capricorn feels ‘now’ is only a trial run, therefore it is not worthy of full commitment; he awaits a more satisfactory relationship with ‘one day.’ He is not prepared to become the father because he fears the destruction of his fantasy. But the son must become the father, die to renew the old king. The father must face the son’s rebellion only to find it is his own youthful spirit he thought he had outgrown long ago. In this way, father-son experience the duality within themselves. The principle that causes the son his greatest suffering, the rigid, guilt-ridden, narrow, fearful, paranoid old king, is the same principle that gives him the endurance, determination and foresight to struggle through that that blocks him.
AQUARIUS is exemplified by the Titan Prometheus, who battles his father and ultimately takes the side of humankind—against the gods. He is the cosmic social-worker. Aquarius strives to raise man beyond his animal origins but he suffers with the sin, in the god’s eyes, of having betrayed the gods. Aquarius combines genuine altruism with profound doubt. His self-expression, self-confidence is hampered by perpetual concern with the power and viewpoint of the group. The traditional fields of endeavor, science, invention, social welfare, psychology and astrology are tainted with the loneliness of higher consciousness. Aquarius must help others; in this way some small portion of the loneliness is alleviated.
PISCES’ symbol is the two linked fishes, said to be ambitious, libidinous, voracious and avaricious, an emblem for vanity in the world of earthly pleasures. One fish is the great fertility goddess who is devouring in her primordial world of instinct. The second fish is her son, the redeemer, Christ, who is also damned. The theme of redeemer and victim, to save and suffer, is very close to the heart of Pisces. Pisces is the world of water, irrational and mystical. Pisces spans the spiritually sublime world of his father god and the mad, ecstatic depth and dark savagery of the mother god. Flesh devours flesh and Spirit redeems through devouring flesh.
At the end of the section on the twelve signs, Greene says:
“It is not merely comforting, but sometimes transformative, to sense and know that we as individuals are part of a pageant and that our little personal problems, dilemmas and suffering are lent dignity by the ancient story.
“Our potential and the things we cannot change are given us at birth and shape our lives, and offer dignity both to Fate and individual choice, and permit the possibility of “gladly doing what I must do.”