Roberto Assagioli: Prophet of an Open-ended Life
Discussion of the horoscopes of famous people is subject to the issue of questionable data. Following our Virgo Mutable Dilemma, in which the chart of Carl Jung was interpreted, three conflicting birth times were discovered in a variety of astrological literature. All give him Aquarius rising, but the times spread over about 1 1/2 hours following the chart we used. Since I have never tried to rectify Jung’s chart using events in his life, the exact house placements of some planets will have to be considered uncertain as of this time.
The varying birth times for Jung were discovered by Lois Rodden who has been embarked for several years on a major effort to track down, classify and publish birth data for well-known people. Several new books of such data will be published soon, by the American Federation of Astrologers and by Astro-Computing, offering the fruits of Lois’ efforts. Assagioli’s chart is one of the horoscopes from her collection. We have tried to verify the time by writing to a former associate of his in Italy, but she has been unable to provide any additional information. Although we have no conflicting reports, such as exist for Jung, I will continue to consider the chart as tentative until we have further confirmation.
The first impression one receives in looking at the horoscope is the major focus on idealism. As readers are aware, I am taking our newest minor planet, Chiron, to be similar to Jupiter in representing a search for the absolute in some form. We may seek knowledge, moral imperatives, or just the freedom to pursue our quest for whatever we have turned into a “god”. Chiron in high focus seems to indicate a person with strong optimism and energy. Like Jupiter, when part of the personal identification (rising, conjunct Mars or a ruler of the 1st house, in Aries, etc.), it can range from “I ought to be God and somehow save the world,” to “I am God and will take what I want from the world.” Nazi leaders, who had the largest proportion of rising Jupiter in any group studied by the Gauquelins, exemplify the latter. Assagioli seems a good candidate for the former, with Chiron conjunct the Ascendant but with the balance of the chart supporting high idealism and empathy. Chiron is listed to the degree, since our formula for its orbit is not certain at the time of Assagioli’s birth, but it should be accurate within one degree.
The idealistic emphasis in the chart, including an association with idealistic work, is shown repeatedly. Jupiter in its own sign, Sagittarius, is in the 6th house of work, the details of the job which are needed to do it well. Pisces is in the 10th house of career or status in the larger sense of how the world sees us, how we use power and deal with it in the world. Putting Jupiter, as one ruler of the 10th house, in the 6th house repeats the statement. Neptune, modern ruler of Pisces, is in Taurus, connected to the means of livelihood, and in the 12th house to repeat the theme of idealistic work. Vesta, as a key to work, is in the 9th house.
Other facets of the chart that relate to career would include air, indicating a need to deal with ideas and people; a desire to gain knowledge and share it as part of the work. Mercury is in the 10th house. Neptune, ruling the 10th, is conjunct Pluto in Gemini, and Pluto rules the 6th house. Mars, ruling the Aries in the 10th house and co-ruling Scorpio on the 6th house cusp, is in Libra. Pallas, which I take as a key to the Libra principle, especially to its capacity for counseling, is in the 10th house. Vesta, key to the Virgo principle, is in Aquarius, while Ceres, the other Virgo asteroid, is in the Aquarian (11th) house.
The chart also says three times that the work should be partly Leo in nature. The Sun, ruler of Leo, is in the 10th house. Mars, ruling both 6th and 10th houses, is in the Leo house (5th). Saturn, natural ruler of the 10th and ruler of the last corner of the 6th house (since 2 degrees of Capricorn fall there), is in the sign of Leo. The presence of Leo associations with the work indicate a need to be creative in the job; to influence people and get a response back from them. It shows a need to take pride in the work, to feel power through it and to have power over what is done. The heart must be engaged in the job for full satisfaction.
We can also connect Cancer to the work with the Moon in the Cancer house in the sign of Virgo. Cancer work can be anything that provides either physical or emotional needs for the public; feeding, clothing, housing, or comforting them. The Leo-Aquarius nodes on the cusps of the Gemini-Sagittarius houses are appropriate for teaching and writing, but adding Libra and Cancer pulls toward the more lasting, closer contacts of the counseling relationships. Virgo and Pisces can be associated with any sort of healing work. Yet, with the fire emphasis added to the Aquarius, he would want to do his work in his own unique way. Founding a new school of psychotherapy is totally appropriate for the combinations we have discussed. Founding a school which draws heavily on fantasy techniques is as appropriate for the Pisces prominence as is Assagioli’s recognition of the spiritual dimension in humans. Many of the leading psychologists and psychiatrists of the modern age, steeped in the materialistic principles of 18th century science, are unable to deal with spiritual issues.
Despite all the preceding, we have not exhausted the career potentials. We can comment that he was identified with his work, with Ceres in Aries, Mars ruling the 6th and 10th houses, and the Moon, ruling the Ascendant, in Virgo. When the need to achieve is part of the personal identity as well as part of the ego-fulfillment (Leo associations listed earlier), one will normally work as long as the life continues. Such people are almost incapable of retirement, even when they are independently wealthy. They work to achieve a sense of self-worth, not for money. The more the chart emphasizes Virgo or Capricorn, 6th house or 10th house placements, Vesta or Saturn, the more the individual is driven to accomplish and sometimes has to be ill to allow a relinquishment of the effort. The Sun-Moon opposition across the 4th and 10th houses is one of the keys to an inner struggle between the public life and his need for domesticity (home and family) or for a chance to just retreat into a nest once in a while.
Although we know that this is the chart of a healer and counselor, we could also have interpreted the emphasis on Venus and Neptune signs and houses as a key to artistic talent. It is interesting that Assagioli was able to bring his esthetic interests into his therapy by working with drawing and other media as part of the healing techniques. Sometimes deep emotions can be expressed with paint and crayon more easily than with words. The Venus-Neptune theme in the nature can be seen in some of the less common tools of astrology as well as in the usual planet-sign-house emphasis. The south node of Venus is conjunct natal Venus while the north node of Venus is opposite Uranus and the Arabic Part of Ascendant plus Venus minus Sun is conjunct Neptune. The nodes of Neptune fall on the already sensitized axes of the nodes of the Moon and the 3rd-9th house cusps. If we take Pallas and Juno as keys to Libra, we note that their south nodes fall just one degree from Mercury, one on each side so it lies at the midpoint.
While most of the emphasis so far has been on the spiritual, esthetic, intellectual, empathic potentials in the chart, we must also note that the fixed emphasis (by both signs and especially by houses) as well as the Sun-Saturn interchange (Saturn in the Sun’s sign while Sun is in Saturn’s house), both indicate a potential for determination. It is quite possible that Assagioli experienced some conflict between his strong air and water (which tend to live in the head and to avoid conflict, with the exception of Scorpio) and his fire and earth drive to make the world different. We can note the Saturn square to the Mars-Ceres opposition, and suspect that he did some head-knocking at times, wanting to accomplish more than was possible and running into the limits. Mars square Saturn is the classic form of personal will against the limits of the personal will, but the confrontation can come in many forms. We may fight time; the establishment; the judgment of peers; and so on. The potential for a struggle between the desire for home and family (Cancer rising, Moon in the 4th house, Juno conjunct Antivertex, Libra planets in the 5th and 8th houses), and the immense commitment to work has already been mentioned. Life should be big enough for both love and work, but to accomplish anything really big, other things have to play second fiddle. How we slice the pie of time and energy is a personal choice. We can’t do everything well! But the individual may keep trying, with the signs that search for the absolute (Sagittarius and Pisces) in the houses that search for flaws and are driven to do something productive (6th and 10th).
I do not have any information on Assagioli’s personal life, and even that says something about his work being his life. But, from his chart, we would expect his mother to play a major role in his sense of personal identity and in his choice of work. A change in the family situation is probable at around age 2 to 4, which may have been additional siblings coming into the home (MC conjunct Sun opposite Moon). The identification with the mother as role model (whether positive or negative) shows repeatedly with Cancer rising, with its ruler (Moon) in the 4th house, and with Ceres in Aries. The father, in contrast, is connected to the ego, with the Saturn-Sun interchange mentioned above; that is, with his need to do more than just be himself; his need to be respected and admired for his contribution; his need to feel powerful. It is interesting that the grand cross in fixed houses (and partly in fixed signs) can often show struggles in the area of power and/or sensuality or appetites, and that Assagioli has suggested that sexual urges may be sublimated. The fixed cross marks the need to integrate self-indulgence, self-expansion, self-mastery, and self-proportion, and we usually work it out through relationships with others. The solution of any of the astrological dilemmas is, of course, through making some room for each of the conflicting forms of expression so in the end there is room in the life for all and they become complementary rather than in conflict. It is easy to say, but not so easy to do.
It may be this inner conflict over the strong will of the fixed cross vs. the Piscean urge to yield; the sensuality of the fixed emphasis vs. the commitment to something higher, that drove Assagioli to concentrate on the reality of the will—a construct which is ignored or denied by many modern psychologists. The will was a basic issue for Assagioli, and resolving his own handling of the will and power is clearly a basic issue in his horoscope.
Someday I hope to learn how he met that challenge. In the meantime, we can conclude that like the rest of us, when he offered advice to his clients, he was also talking to himself. The world is a mirror, and whatever we are working on in ourselves will come at us from every corner of life until it is worked through and we start on the next growth goal. But, however he resolved his own integration, there is no doubt that the concepts and techniques of Assagioli will live after him, and will help many people to grow toward their own potentials. Saturn, ruler of the 8th house, in Leo, and Uranus, also ruling part of the 8th house, in the Leo (5th) house, show the possible fame after death as the 5-10 interchanges show the possible fame during his lifetime here on earth. As materialism fades and the world moves toward a deeper and wider faith, the contributions of Assagioli are likely to play an increasing role in the healing of humanity.