The Role of the Least Aspected Planet in Astrocartography.
Planetary Symbolism in Astrocartography and Transcendental Astrology,
by Rob Couteau.
All text © Copyright 2005, 2012 Rob Couteau
IV. On the Nature of the Transcendental Energy
1. Psychic Inflation and the Misuse of Transcendental Energy
Daedalus and his son Icarus were imprisoned in Crete. The father made them each a pair of wings, and with these they were able to escape. But Daedalus warned his son, “Don’t fly too high or the sun will melt the wax on your wings and you will fall. Follow me closely. Do not set your own course.” But Icarus became so exhilarated by his ability to fly, he forgot the warning and did follow his own course. He went too high, the wax melted, and he fell into the sea.
–The myth of Icarus, as retold in Edward Edinger’s Ego and Archetype.
Just follow the old advice
And my cousin the snake.
There’ll come a time when your godlikeness
Will make you quiver and quake.
–Faust, Part I.1
A word should be said here regarding the misuse of Transcendental energy, wittingly or otherwise, and the negative repercussions of approaching astrology in a utilitarian manner. As we have seen in several biographies, historical characters of dubious morality–such as Adolf Hitler, Adolf Eichmann (see below), Mussolini etc.–were destined to be born or to relocate almost precisely under the line of their Primary Transcendental. Although they were unaware of the notion of the Transcendental symbol, nonetheless, they were empowered by it, leading them to channel and to misuse the energy in their lives. This led to great destructiveness: worldwide and internally, i.e., destruction to the self-identity and soul. Indeed, the misuse of transpersonal power always leads to self-destruction. The Greek term hubris or hybris describes someone whose head is swollen with such forces, which results in exhibitions of personal grandeur, omnipotence, and glory.
C. G. Jung, whose work contributed so much to modern psychology (and to psychological astrology), has identified a process that he terms “the inflation of the ego by the archetype,” i.e., by the forces of the collective unconscious. What he refers to is exemplified by Icarus, who flies too high and whose ersatz wings melt, resulting in his plunge to the sea, i.e., he falls not only through the sky but also through the “hole” of his psychological complex. Thus, he is swallowed by the collective unconscious: the collective reservoir of archetypal energies that stand at the base of such personal complexes. The identification with (and improper use of) transpersonal, archetypal power results in the dissolution of his identity.
In the Icarus myth, the yang (masculine) and yin (feminine) principles are symbolized in their extreme forms. First, he approaches the Sun too closely and feels its intense, dangerous heat. He is lured into an overidentification with the yang aspect of the Self archetype. He has overreached; therefore, a reversal into an opposite condition occurs. An enantiodromia or “dynamic reversal” then plunges Icarus into the ultimate yin condition: dissolution in the “ocean” of the collective unconscious (the oceanic depths, the primal source of being).
Yet, the message in the myth is not that man cannot or should not creatively channel the archetypal forces: rather, it portrays the delicate balance that must be maintained (“flying” not too high; not too low). And that one must not, under any circumstance, lose one’s head, i.e., become psychically inflated or identified with an energy beyond the pale of mere human manufacture, origin, or comprehension.
His father, Daedalus, warns him to maintain a levelheaded approach. Daedalus escapes from the island and, with his waxen wings intact, safely “lands” (Saturn). Father Daedalus embodies the Saturn principle. He manipulates matter to achieve his ends; he respects the “laws of limitation,” and he never overreaches himself in the process.
In this positive application of Saturn, Daedalus teaches us the humbling lesson of fitting properly into the human dimension. In the story, the Saturn principle works in proper harmony with Uranus. The initial imprisonment on the island suffered by father and son is an indication that one of the yin or yang principles has reached an extreme form of expression and, therefore, needs to be reversed to achieve a new balance. The “invention” of the wings, an idea which must have originated through an “intuitive vision” (Uranus), provides a means of reversing the situation. Through a levelheaded, Saturnian approach (e.g., patiently collecting the fallen wings of the birds and painstakingly reassembling them, with melted wax, into a man-made apparatus), the “inspiration of invention” (Uranus) is concretized through a “practical, reliable method” (Saturn). This results in effecting a Uranian “reversal” or escape. Therefore, Saturn’s “patience, discipline, and structure” works in harmony with a Divine Uranian “inspiration.”
While the myth portrays outer events dramatically enacted, it also portrays an internal drama: identifying with an archetype and the “fateful fall” that results. This is why “Fate is the logical product of enantiodromia,” and why it is the “creator of all things.”2 While Icarus views his fall as merely a whim of fate, we know otherwise. Overreaching (i.e., an extreme yang or yin condition) always leads to an enforced reversal. (This truth was revealed in the I Ching over 3,000 years ago.)
How does all this relate to misusing Transcendental energy and misusing astrology in general? While we have mainly been concerned with the effect of inflation or deflation3 as regards overaspected or Leading Planets, here I want to discuss the inflated Transcendental energy, which we have certainly witnessed in the case of Hitler, Mussolini, Eichmann, and others.
With Leading Planets, the hypo- or hyperactive behavioral tendencies will often interrupt or usurp the focal point of the individuation process symbolized by the Transcendental Planet. Certainly, this is dangerous enough. But in the case of an inflated Transcendental, we have an enormously potent concentration of energy that is ordinarily manifested in everyday life. When the native is too closely identified with this psychic energy (when he feels as if it is his personal possession or creation), then an “inflated” point of view (that one is, rather than that one channels the archetypal force) results in a dangerous existential situation. The biographies of the above-mentioned despots exemplify such dangers.
Since the Transcendental is initially experienced as a spiritual longing, normally, the native does not mistake it for a personal acquisition. Rather, he becomes involved in the quest to understand and express it, usually in a variety of manners that require a sustained concentration and devotion. The latter conditions, indicating a certain “distancing” from the energy, are usually enough to indicate to anyone with common sense that one does not actually own or create such functions but, rather, that one’s core energies are the result of a long, age-old process of heredity and biological evolution, culminating in the progressive spiritual evolution of mankind. Even if the spiritual view is not consciously embraced, the biological viewpoint, predominant in our age of materialism, should suffice to ward off the inflated notion of a personal acquisition of what are obviously transpersonal characteristics.
And yet, common sense is not all that common. In the inflated psychic disposition of our despots, an identification with transpersonal powers resulted in their believing in, and being seduced by, their own personal propaganda. Overwhelmed by the numinosity of the Transcendental force, they expressed only its darkest, most primitive aspects.
Yet for each, an enantiodromian reversal manifested itself as fate: Mussolini was literally “reversed”: hung upside down; Hitler was forced back into the “underground” of his bunker (i.e., the “underworld” or unconscious condition), where he shot himself;4 Eichmann was deported and executed by those he had formerly taken such pride in forcibly deporting and executing: those upon whom he had projected his own inferior moral nature, by categorizing them as an “inferior race.”
This is enantiodromia visibly crystallized as external drama. Intrapsychically, enantiodromia continues to effect its reversals, its acts of nemesis. In the case of a dictator such as Francisco Franco, whose life seems relatively untouched by external dramatic reversals, we are left only to imagine the damage a hypertrophied ego wreaks upon the internal stuff of self and soul.
For those who are not in any imminent danger of becoming despots, dictators, or executioners, subtler dangers may lie in store. Whenever the archetypal yin / yang principles are approached for utilitarian reasons–even if those reasons are so-called spiritual growth–we are tempting the enantiodromian fates to challenge our one-sided approach with a rectifying act of nemesis: one that will produce unforeseen hardship. We practice astrology or channel the creative muse or communicate with the unconscious simply because it is the thing to do–in the same spirit of joy that a child plays a game: a blissful spirit of timeless wonder. To play this game for gain will always exact its price.4 In the words of the I Ching–which I have here opened at random: Any deliberate intention of an effect would only destroy the possibility of producing it.6
1. Translated by Louis MacNeice, cited in Jung’s Two Essays on Analytical Psychology, p. 140.
2. Stobaeus, Eclogae physicae, cited by Jung in Psychological Types, p. 425, para. 708.
3. See Jung, “Phenomena Resulting from the Assimilation of the Unconscious,” Two Essays on Analytical Psychology, pp. 139-155, in which he discusses the phenomenon of psychic inflation.
4. “[Hitler] had aged greatly in the last days; he now had a lot of gray hair, and gave the impression of a man at least 15 to 20 years older. He shook a good deal, walking was difficult for him, his right side was still very much weakened as a result of the attempt on his life.” Hitler's nurse, Erna Flegal, in an interview, as reported by Luke Harding, The Guardian (online), Monday May 2, 2005.
5. “Again and again people approach the unconscious for very well defined utilitarian purposes. You could even say that wanting to be better off, or wanting to be cured, is in a way still an egoistical approach ... Wanting to be healthy is to a certain extent a legitimate ego wish and therefore generally the unconscious cooperates with it, because it is legitimate to want to be normal, but sometimes if the person only wants that from the unconscious, after a while negative dreams come up showing that it wants to guide the person further and not just cure the symptom.” “Every utilitarian approach to the unconscious, or just wanting to make use of it, has destructive effects, just as, we are now beginning to realize, it has in outer nature. For if we only exploit our forests, animals, and the minerals in the earth, then we disturb the biological balance and either we or later generations have to pay a very big bill. Nature seems to want to keep its own balance and set its own purposes and have its own biological whole and does not want to be exploited by one-sided utilitarian calculations.” Von Franz, Individuation and Fairy Tales, pp. 28-29. “Often people approach the unconscious with an inner utilitarian or power standpoint; they want to exploit the unconscious in order to become more powerful themselves, to be healthier, to dominate their surroundings, or to learn how to get things in their own way [...] When consciousness assumes such an attitude the unconscious becomes trickster-like too. The dreams become contradictory, they say Yes and then No, left and then right, and one feels that the archetype of the trickster God Mercurius is dominating the phenomenon of the unconscious, leading the ego in a thousand ways up the garden path.” Von Franz, Shadow and Evil in Fairytales, p. 251. Indeed, many astrologers would be wise to heed this ethical approach to the spirit of occult inquiry.
6. The hexagram entitled “Inner Truth” (and see “Nine in the second place”; (Wilhelm / Baynes edition), p. 237.
Summary of Planetary Symbolism
II. Transcendental Biographies | III. Transcendental Events
IV. Psychic inflation - Summary of Planetary Symbolism
- Transcendental Planets
V. Nodes / the Triple-zero Transcendental | Appendices: Orbs / References / Data
Additional Maps | Bibliography | FAQ
I. Interview in Astrolore | II. Transcendental Nations | III. American Presidents & LAP Saturn
IV. World Events | V. Numinous Consciousness
VI. The LAP as a metaphor of the soul | VII. Zones of Intensity |
VIII. Complete Index of Names and Events | IX. Order Charts / Home Page / Contact
X. Search this entire site | XI. Purchasing Books about Astrology
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All text © Copyright 2012 Rob Couteau and cannot be used without the written and expressed consent of the author.
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