A couple of years ago I was reading a popular astrology blog and saw a post about a particular person’s chart. It really stuck with me, and I felt the need to explore it further.
So the question asked by the other astrologer was:
“Are some children more likely to be abused?”
This question touched a deep part of me, and my own knowledge and experience tells me “yes.” I also believe you can see the potential for childhood abuse in a natal chart, though one single questionable planetary placement doesn’t validate an entire narrative. A number of factors would be working together to paint that picture. Or, if you are looking back at the natal chart to learn some things about past history, you can see certain aspects as markers that affirm or validate the truth of the chart holder’s experience.
I had to explain to my husband, though, why I was feeling moody during the couple of days that I was working with that chart. I was retracing my steps through my own Underworld.
But is childhood abuse the problem in the chart below?
So here is the chart the other astrologer was working with. Let’s call the chart holder “Anna.” Anna believes that she was a victim of childhood abuse, specifically that she was continually being scapegoated by her family. She wants to know why.
That she used that particular word, “scapegoating,” at all was actually a big clue to what was going on in Anna’s chart.
Okay. Let’s look.
The first thing that strikes me is that Anna’s 4th and 5th hoses are oddly empty, and her 4th/10th and 5th/11th houses don’t take up very much real estate in her chart. I would be looking for Chiron, Saturn, or an outer planet in the 4th to describe difficult or intense conditions in the person’s early home and family life. The 5th house would typically also have something to say about children.
Gemini also speaks somewhat to the idea of youth, and it covers the 4th house and part of the 5th. Gemini is also on the 5th house cusp. To me, Anna’s chart is is oddly detached, for the most part, from anything that feels youthful or family-related. She does have that 6th house moon in Cancer, which tells me that Anna’s mother is a significant part of her story.
Anna’s Chiron, a placement I’d look to for bullying, in Aquarius and the 1st house. Well, we all have Chiron somewhere. The thing is, Aquarius, which is traditionally ruled by Saturn, is not about childhood.
Saturn is old and cold, not youthful and warm.
The mask Anna wears is intellectual, sophisticated, detached. She’s an exile. She’s a rebel. She’s too cool for school. Her Saturn is in the 11th house, just barely into Capricorn from Sagittarius. The 11th house isn’t youthful either; the youthfulness of the 5th house is way across the chart from the 11th. In the modern day, Aquarius is also ruled by Uranus. Uranus is shocking, sudden, futuristic. It’s electric. Boogie-woogie-woogie. It’s an eye-opener.
Anna’s Pluto is in early Virgo, but her Uranus is in Leo. Leo also has something to say about youth in the zodiac. Among the signs, Leo represents “the child” in astrology. But in the 7th house of, among other things, marriage and other one-on-one partnerships… well, marriage in the Western world is a topic for adults, not children.
Anna does have a pretty interesting 8th house. The 8th house is intimately related to death, taxes, and other people’s money. The 8th house is also about sex and power. It’s not just about sex itself, but also about the ways that sexual matters, even something as simple as one’s gender, have far-reaching impacts.
Eighth house matters are always intense. They can feel like life-or-death.
But again, this feels far more about adult experience than it does childhood experience. And there’s definitely a lot of intensity around Anna’s experiences and perceptions.
Virgo is on the chart holder’s 8th house cusp. Virgo can be so nitpicky and so critical and so very sensitive to the fact that nobody and nothing can ever be perfect.
Mars is in Libra/8th house. Mars is twitchy in Libra anyway. So it’s like South Node Aries/2nd sent his lackey, Mars, across the street into enemy territory. And Mars is standing on the neighbor’s lawn yelling obscenities. It’s a very wide conjunction, but between two very strong energies. You have to give a little, in that case.
Sun in the 8th gives Anna nowhere to hide. The Sun opposes her South Node in Aries and conjuncts her North Node in Libra.
This is where the value of Western evolutionary astrology shines forth.
Anna’s nodal axis is the key part of her story. It points to Partnership, which then turns around and points an accusing finger at her open enemies in the 7th house. It points to sharing, cooperation, diplomacy — everything to which the chart holder is not predisposed by nature.
Again, Anna’s Saturn (limits, restrictions, work, duty, boundaries) is in the 11th house and her Chiron (wounding) is in Aquarius. Saturn is the traditional ruler of Aquarius. Uranus is the modern ruler of Aquarius, which sends us back to her ascendant, and then sends us right back across her chart landscape to her Uranus in Leo/7th.
I suspect that Anna shocks people with her Uranian individuality, her Leonine pride and sense of entitlement. But . . . Uranus in Leo is about Anna’s own generation. All of those kids have at least a spoonful of Uranian individuality and entitled pride built into them. But for Anna, there’s a conflict there. Aquarius is cool and detached, while Leo is warm and engaged. Uranus traveling through Leo keeps sending electric shocks to Anna’s Aquarian persona.
The Generation Gap
The Generation Gap was pretty clearly defined during my parents’ and grandparents’ time. It eased off for a while a few years ago, and now it’s on its way back. But before we experience the collective or our generation, we experience . . . family. And that points to the adults who reared her.
That generation of adults, though . . . Pluto in Cancer. And, damn, they were moody about the family. The shadow side of Cancer is the classic smother-mother, which may also help to explain Anna’s relationship with her mother (again, that 6th house moon in Cancer).
The Pluto in Cancer generation dislikes the shocks and upsets of Uranus. These folks were still getting cases of The Vapors back then. They are hyper-sensitive and high-strung, especially about family matters. I envision a character with an undiagnosed case of pellagra from a William Faulkner novel.
My mother was born into the Pluto in Cancer generation, several years after the stock market crash of 1929. Mom also had a Grand Cardinal Cross splashed across her natal chart, which intensified all of her issues. Think about all of the babies that were born in the early 1930s with that Grand Cardinal Cross in their birth charts. That’s pretty intense.
My grandmother, though, (her mom) had been born during Pluto in Gemini. The Pluto in Gemini generation had busied themselves being curious about how stuff worked and inventing stuff like vacuum cleaners, batteries, and electric washing machines. But Pluto in Cancer wasn’t too curious about things. Times were hard, and the devil you knew was better than the devil you didn’t.
Now, my mom and my grandmother loved each other, but they had a fraught, itchy relationship. For example, my mother held a grudge against my grandmother for years because my grandmother gave away her favorite doll to “the poor children.” That grudge is SO Pluto in Cancer. Astrologer Caroline Casey famously called the sign Cancer “Scorpio in a housecoat.” Right?
Pluto in Cancer people are appalled and offended at the self-centeredness of the Pluto/Uranus in Leo generation. The Americans of the Pluto in Cancer generation suffered through the Great Depression. You helped people–especially your family. You shared with people–especially your family, because that’s what it took to survive.
So the Pluto in Cancer “body”–think of it in a similar sense to how the church, a collective of like-minded people, is sometimes referred to as “the body of Christ.” Thus the groupthink of this generation becomes visible. The shadow side of a collective’s energy comes into sharp focus. They pile on like NFL players when a ball gets fumbled.
Back to Anna’s nodes: let’s look more closely at her South Node. It’s found in Aries, and the 2nd house. This energy is highly individualistic and aggressive about their values, or about their money, or about what they consider to be “theirs.” I think of that bratty kid you sometimes see in the grocery store yelling MINE!! MINE!!
So what happens when you add to this mix the 8th house theme of other people’s money?
With the corresponding North Node in Libra, Anna’s karmic work involves balancing that individualistic, aggressive energy around her values, money, and possessions, especially where partnerships (Libra) are concerned.
I don’t think so. It’s not in Anna’s nature. She will stubbornly defend her right to her own stuff until her dying breath.
What’s going on for Anna is, I think, a systemic problem. It’s not childhood abuse; it’s the Generation Gap.
It’s the Pluto in Cancer “body” reacting to this aggressively individualistic, proud, and entitled-feeling Leo-generation person as if they are a virus.
The allergy metaphor works well too: This Leo person is like a single grain of pollen, and the Pluto in Cancer “body” is allergic to what it represents.
With all the 8th house angsty energy the chart holder has around sex, power, and money — even to the point where these factors can influence life and death — I wonder if Anna is a feminist, feeling an instinctive need to push back against the patriarchy.
With her South Node Aries and her Mars involvement, I also wonder if she was a powerful male in a past incarnation, who’s now come back to this plane to experience something quite different.
Anna’s problem isn’t her family, for the most part. It looks to me that whatever was going on in the family was about her mother wanting warmth and engagement–okay, possibly to the point of smothering–and that’s just not who Anna is.
Anna is not an abused child. Her problem is bound up in her own persona. But I can see where she would be scapegoated for the perceived wrongs of a whole generation: Family members are often easily accessible and present, so it’s just that they’re the most convenient people to scapegoat.
Anna looks to me like she was simply born ahead of her time, and she’s struggling against the sexual and financial boundaries imposed by society, the collective (Saturn/11th and Aquarius ascendant). This upsets members of the “body” who are heavily invested in preserving the status quo.
So Anna’s Wound really does exist. We all have Chiron somewhere in our chart. The question here is about how to direct her energy toward working with the Wound in a healthy way without validating her “childhood abuse”/Victim narrative. Because the childhood abuse narrative is not supported by her natal placements.
Here is what the other astrologer had to say about this chart:
“I may take some heat for this ala [sic] “blame the victim”. If I do, it’ll be because I’m misunderstood. In whatever case, I can take it.
Fact is, we come into the world and we already have energy. We already exude something. If you have ever been present when someone is born…well the air changes when the person comes into the room. This is not some innocuous blob being born. It is a complete human being, albeit in raw form.
Now here’s a little fact. Some kids are more likely to be abused than others. This is primarily because their energy in [sic] provocative in some way….”
It just seems really strange to me in the first place that a person with Anna’s chart would feel like a Victim at all. But we all wear the “face” of what’s going on in our 1st house. What what we see on the surface is only a small part of the picture of a person; it often doesn’t reflect what’s going on behind the mask.
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