The Fixed Dilemma
As our readers are aware, the basic approach to astrology which is presented in our journal involves the concept of twelve sides of life, all of them positive and necessary for a whole life, but presenting challenges if we are to integrate them successfully. The nature of the challenges can be deduced from the nature of the different parts of life. The goal is to express or experience each of the twelve parts of life in its own appropriate place and way. We seek to avoid repressing one or more (and becoming ill as a result); to avoid projecting, meaning finding someone else who will do that part of our nature for us, usually to excess to make up for our deficiency; to avoid displacing—manifesting action in inappropriate ways, a “right” thing but in the “wrong” place; to avoid imbalance where part of life is simply neglected by too heavy emphasis on a conflicting form of action. It is also important to remember to enjoy what we are doing, of the twelve ways of “being in the world,” not stay concentrated on a different one. Unfortunately, many people manage to stay unhappy much of the time by staying focused on what they don’t have instead of what they do have.
Some of the “natural” conflicts inherent in the nature of the twelve sides of life can be seen most sharply in the three “grand cross” patterns of astrology; the cardinal, fixed and mutable crosses, or dilemmas, as I prefer to call them. Remember that when the natural conflicts are successfully integrated, the different parts of life become complimentary. We took the name of our journal from the mutable dilemma, and discussed some of its forms in our first issue—Sagittarius 1977. A reader requested similar treatment of the cardinal and fixed dilemmas. Maritha offered an analysis of the cardinal challenges in the Virgo issue, and the series is completed here with the fixed dilemma. Remember that we may list zodiac signs for convenience, but the same message is present when the planets that rule those signs are forming the stress aspects, or when the squared or opposed planets appear in the appropriate houses, the first house symbolizing the same principle as Aries (instinctive self-expression in action), the second house like Taurus (capacity for pleasure from the physical-sense world), the third house like Gemini (ability to learn and communicate), etc.
Of course, in a real chart, a grand cross is likely to involve parts of all the dilemmas; for example, fixed planets may be in cardinal signs in mutable houses. But if we are clear about the basic principles involved, we can make sense of the mixtures. Just remember while reading about the fixed dilemma that when listing Taurus, the same portion of life is symbolized by Venus and by the second house. Letter 5 of our astrological alphabet includes Sun, Leo and the 5th house. Letter 8 includes Pluto, Scorpio and the 8th house. Letter 11 is expressed by Uranus, Aquarius and the 11th house.
The fixed dilemma involves power and a variety of sensual pleasures. In one sense, the four parts of life we call “fixed” can be thought of as a gradual relinquishment of power. In another sense, they represent a shift of direction or target in the use of the power. Taurus (and other forms of letter two) as key to our physical pleasure includes money, possessions, appetites and the aesthetic in general, whether we create beauty or just enjoy it. It symbolizes our own money, possessions and appetites, and we have the right to indulge them in our own way, on our own terms.
Leo (and other variations of letter five) represents the ego drive to use our creative power to affect other people and to get a response back from others. This may be as simple as loving and being loved. The actor on stage is applauded. The teacher holds the attention of the class. The salesman-promoter persuades others to do his will. At the physical level, Leo is the orgasm and the procreation of children. Where Taurus may be totally self-involved, Leo requires an outreach and a response from the “out there” if there is to be full satisfaction. So we may feel that Leo involves more power than Taurus; power over people rather than only material things. But the “things” are really totally subject to the will of the owner, while the Leo power has to take into account the feelings of the people, and to temper the power if a positive response is the goal.
Scorpio (and the rest of letter eight) calls for learning to share power with “equal others.” Where Leo sought a sense of superiority, and we do all need to feel pride in ourselves somewhere, and to receive some validation of our worth from others, Scorpio must learn to handle power in close peer relationships, with a mate. Your rights vs. my rights; your pleasures vs. my pleasures; your possessions vs. my possessions; how can we give and receive and share? Scorpio seeks self-knowledge through the mirror of the mate, and learns self-mastery out of respect for the rights of the mate. Where Leo power flows out, Scorpio power turns in, as is true of all fire and water respectively.
Aquarius (and the balance of letter eleven) symbolizes the relinquishment of power except for power over knowledge. The Gestalt prayer exemplifies letter eleven; no one is here to live up to another’s expectations. “If we meet, it’s beautiful; if not, it can’t be helped.” With letter eleven, we have friends, without any limits but also without any commitment—casual, superficial, accepting. It is easy to accept when you don’t have to live with someone.
When we confront the full fixed dilemma, or partial mixtures, we are seeking to integrate these different parts of life. Aquarius in conflict with either Leo or Scorpio is one obvious form of the freedom-closeness dilemma. Both Leo and Scorpio want an intense, personal commitment while Aquarius belongs to humanity, or to the pursuit of knowledge, or just can’t stand limits. Leo needs to feel superior; Aquarius demands equality. Leo and Scorpio are emotional; Aquarius values the detached intellect. Taurus just wants to be comfortable, and can become passive-aggressive when jarred from its rut by Leo’s need to do something big or the Aquarius drive to go beyond the previous limits and try something new. The Taurus-Scorpio opposition can mean a variety of outer struggles over whose possessions or pleasures are being slighted; or it can be an inner struggle between appetite indulgence and appetite mastery, swinging from excess to asceticism; (eating vs. dieting, ambivalence over drinking, smoking, sex, spending vs. saving, etc.). The Leo-Scorpio confrontations are the most intense, and can lead to the most violent power struggles, as we seek appropriate ways to manifest outward power and stay alert to when we need to turn our power inward. In general, fire-water conflicts are the hardest to handle since they are the emotional elements and have trouble being rational, objective or practical about the situation.
Remember that putting the Sun in any fixed sign other than Leo, or in the 2nd, 8th or 11th house, makes it a part of the fixed dilemma. Pluto in Leo is a part of the fixed dilemma, as is Uranus in Taurus, Leo or Scorpio, and the respective house positions carry the same meaning. Remember also that the keynote of the “fixed” quality does not mean unchanging (Leo and Aquarius are both highly creative and leaders in moving the world) but rather “enduring self-will.” Fixed planets, signs and houses do change, but only on their own terms. No one else is allowed to push them into changing. So when we have a fixed dilemma within a chart, we have a beautiful potential for a stalemate or impasse. In my book Finding the Person in the Horoscope, I described the fixed quality as a combination grindstone and volcano. The irresistible force and the immovable object grind until the pressure builds to an explosion, but when the dust clears, the same old impasse is likely to be still there. In one sense, this makes a resolution of the problem harder, but in another sense, the individual often just learns to live with the situation, and the life in general is less disrupted than in people where the cardinal dilemma is the paramount one. It is the charts where there is a mixture of cardinal and fixed that mark the real power struggles with the world.
Since a great many readers will have been following the news of Jim Jones and the mass suicide-murder of his followers, I am sure many would like to see a copy of his chart. The following is a speculative time! We have only his date and place of birth, and not enough timed events to attempt a proper rectification. But even the little we have is instructive, and fits the description of the mixed fixed and cardinal person. Note that his Saturn-Vesta conjunction in Capricorn squares his Aries stellium (Moon, North node of the Moon, Uranus, Juno) and opposes his Jupiter-Pluto conjunction. Neptune and Pallas form octiles and tri-octiles to the cardinal T-square, and if the speculative time is accurate, the MC axis is closely involved also, with progressed Pluto and Uranus possibly exactly square and opposite the MC. Sun in Taurus and Mars in Leo give a bit of the fixed quality by sign and possibly by house, but if the Pluto-Uranus aspects to the MC are accurate, putting two fixed planets (natural rulers of Scorpio and Aquarius) in this high focus adds to the fixity of the nature. If the time of birth is close to accurate, we also have a Scorpio MC and an Aquarian Ascendant in Guyana, increasing the importance of these conflicted parts of his nature as keys to personal action (Ascendant) and his handling of power and Law (MC).
There are some interesting similarities to Hitler’s chart; the Taurus Sun became ego-involved in possessing and manipulating people as well as material goods, and two rulers of the 1st house are in the 7th and 8th houses if the time is accurate; Jupiter, ruler of the Sagittarius Ascendant, and Mars, the natural ruler of the 1st house. Putting forms of letter one, keys to personal identity and power, in the 7th or 8th house (other people) can lead to paranoia (I’ll get you first) in a person who lacks faith in a higher power. For all Jim Jones’ talk of God and religion, he increasingly tried to become God himself. The Sagittarius rising and Venus, ruler of Libra in the 9th house, in Aries, fit our previous description of the missionary; combinations of letters one and nine. “Look, world! I have found the Truth. Follow me.” Unfortunately, with a power struggle character and considerable basic insecurity, this can lead to the attempt to be God for other people. The more we lack faith in a higher power, the more we have to reassure ourselves that we have adequate power to handle anything. But the more power we need to accomplish that, the more we realize our inadequacy, increase our fear level, and have to demonstrate power to reassure and protect ourselves against a world full of our own projected hostility. Absolute power corrupts absolutely because it loses faith in a higher power.
Much might be written about the horoscope of Jim Jones if we were sure of the birth time. Even with a speculative time, we can talk about the potential for enormous commitment to work and consequent success with the Vesta-Saturn conjunction in Capricorn trine the Sun in Taurus. We can mention the exact Mercury-Neptune trine, both of them stationary-direct at birth hence thrown into higher focus, with Neptune holding the progressed trine all his life. The combination could have been a deep, protective faith if the power-drive had not finally led to the paranoia. It was one of the keys to the magnetism and almost compulsive oratory from childhood, especially when combined with the Sagittarius rising on the Galactic Center and Jupiter right on the West Point if this time is accurate. The Aries stellium and Mars in Leo contributed to the charisma but also to the self-absorption. The Aries-Capricorn squares represent a supreme battle between self-will and the limits of self-will; between self-confidence and self-doubt; between “leaving the scene” and responsibility. One is reminded of Teddy Kennedy, born 9 months later at a time which puts the major planets in the same houses with a similar angular T-square.
In the end, character is destiny. When we understand and change our character, we change our destiny. It is our choices that take us to greatness or to disgrace. Astrology can help us to make the choices wisely, with insight. The final decisive key to the outcome is spelled “faith.” What do you believe, trust, value, seek in life, with your mind (letter nine) and with your heart (letter twelve)? In the end, despite the heavy cardinal and somewhat less emphasis on fixity in Jim Jones’ nature, his faith was his undoing. If this time is right, natal Jupiter opposed his East Point (a key to identity); progressed Jupiter was quincunx his Ascendant (a key to identity); progressed Moon in the first house (identity) was opposite natal Jupiter, as well as quincunx natal Mars; progressed Ascendant was quincunx natal Jupiter as well as opposite natal Mars. We see a man divided against himself (letter one in conflict with letter one) but especially divided in his faith, whether it was lost or misplaced. The south node of the Moon as a lesson, falling in the 9th house if the time is right, just repeats the theme of a challenge connected to faith and to the capacity for cooperation, fair play, justice, the message of Libra.
So we are back full circle to where we started a year ago, with a focus on the mutable dilemma. In the end, your concepts of truth, reality, morality are crucial. Power struggles have their place in life in healthy competition as we test and build our strength. It is ultimately the soundness of our understanding of ourselves and of others and of life; it is especially the soundness of our faith that leads us to fulfillment or to destruction.
P.S. We spent a rather limited amount of time during our Research Day in the December 1-3 Mini-Intensive on 26 charts of individuals who feel that they have had a Kundalini experience. (24 of the charts are from Patrick Curry.) Most of our readers are doubtless aware of the Hindu theory that a power source exists in latent form at the base of the spine, and that it can be awakened by meditation so that it rises along the spine, activating other energy centers as it goes (chakras) until it reaches the top of the head to produce spiritual enlightenment. A fuller report of the patterns in these 26 charts will be included in a later issue of the Mutable Dilemma, but it is highly relevant to a discussion of the fixed dilemma to offer the results of an analysis by Jim Eshelman. Using only the 5 Ptolemaic aspects, with a 4 degree orb for conjunction and opposition and a 3 degree orb for square, trine and sextile, Jim found a striking emphasis on Venus, Sun, Pluto and Juno, with Moon and Mars somewhat involved. If Venus represents Taurus; Sun is Leo; Pluto is Scorpio, and we take Mars as co-ruler of Scorpio and Juno as a blend of Libra and Scorpio (as I have been suspecting), the emphasis certainly singles out the fixed cross minus letter eleven. Some of the combinations (Sun conjunct Venus; Sun conjunct, square or opposite Juno; Moon conjunct, square or opposite Pluto; Venus sextile or trine Mars; Venus conjunct, square or opposite Juno) had strong odds against their occurring by chance, and the cumulative emphasis on fixed planets is especially impressive. There were also more aspects to Juno’s nodes (both north and south) than to any other planet, and more squares and more trines to Juno than to any other planet.
The association of the Kundalini to the fixed quality, culminating in Scorpio which calls for the development of self-knowledge and self-mastery, seems very appropriate. All of the individuals who have discussed a Kundalini experience with me have emphasized the experience of tremendous power, often with a sense of it being beyond their control. Theoretically, it can be awakened before the person is able to handle it when meditation is overdone. For those who would like more information on the subject, I recommend Gopi Krishna’s first book which is just called Kundalini Yoga. We plan additional analysis of the 26 charts (now increased by 3), including study of the current patterns when the experiences occurred to the extent that we have the data, and we hope to get data of more individuals who have had the experience.