Virginia Satir: Humanity as Family
Virginia Satir’s primary counseling focus has centered on working with families, and her life focus has been her work. One can hardly imagine a more appropriate chart. Her Moon on the MC marks the professional mother, involved in some kind of nurturing work, whether it is feeding people, clothing them, or providing emotional comfort. Her stellium in Cancer in the 11th house includes the Sun surrounded by Pluto, Ceres, and Venus. The close Saturn conjunction with Antivertex is connected to the Sun since Venus falls in the middle. Normally, a Sun-Pluto conjunction in Cancer would rush into early marriage, while a Sun-Ceres conjunction in Cancer would have a large family. However, in the 11th house, it is possible to adopt humanity as one’s family. Venus, ruling the MC and Saturn, ruling the 6th house, both placed in Cancer, repeat the connection of work and taking care of people.
Satir’s own identification with work is also a repeated theme. Mars is in her 1st house in Virgo, a strong statement of the need to accomplish and the potential of service and healing being part of the natural self-expression. Mercury, ruler of Virgo and therefore part of the identity since Virgo is in the 1st house, is in the 10th house, repeating the need to achieve. The Antivertex, operating as an auxiliary Ascendant, is conjunct Saturn and Venus (ruler of the MC), again repeating identification with career and accomplishment in the world.
Additional keys to the type of work include the node of the Moon in the 6th house, as further support for a nurturing career dealing with the public. The strong air emphasis in the work areas suggests that communication will be important in the job. Uranus in Aquarius is in the 6th house; Mercury in Gemini is in the 10th house; Pallas, often associated with counseling as a ruler of Libra, is also in the 10th house in Gemini, and Vesta, key to work as a ruler of Virgo, is in Libra in the Gemini house. Venus, ruler of the MC, and Saturn, the natural ruler, are both in the Aquarian (11th) house. The Aquarian emphasis also suggests the need for independence and variety in the work, often associated with a Professional who directs her own affairs.
The descriptions of Satir in action always include her personal warmth, charisma, and sense of drama; all appropriate for her Leo rising. She is the source of the now widespread phrase about the importance of showing affection by hugging people. I’ve had trouble tracking down the exact wording, but my memory is four hugs a day for survival; eight hugs a day for maintenance and twelve hugs a day for growth. With seven factors in Cancer (including the Antivertex) and three factors in Leo (including the East Point as another auxiliary Ascendant), Virginia Satir certainly has a chart dominated by this combination which I consider the warmest in the zodiac. Yet the coolness of the air and Virgo is also very present. The juggling act of life demands integration of these very different forms of expression, with room for the detached, objective intellect; room for the emotional warmth and closeness; room for the achievement of career. We may resolve the dilemma in a variety of ways. We may marry and have a family first, and later have a career. (That was my choice). Or we may try to do both at the same time. Or we may choose a career that includes warmth and closeness, as Virginia Satir has done in choosing to practice therapy with families, helping them to function together with love and mutual support. Her life has touched and enriched many families over the years, so that we can say that humanity is her family. Her chart suggests the futile search for the perfect love, as is so common in our culture, with Chiron in Pisces in the 8th house and Sagittarius in the 5th house with Jupiter (its ruler) in its own 9th house. This search for the ideal in personal relationships, added to the need for freedom shown by a first house Mars and the massive emphasis on Aquarius including the 11th house, added to the identification with work, may have prevented a life devoted to one mate and family, but a great many families have gained much through her efforts. Perhaps there is no perfect solution to the dilemmas of life: to finding a way to express and experience all the 12 sides of life. Perhaps all we can do is be as conscious as we can of the inherent conflicts between these different but all valuable parts of life and of our particular ways of trying to integrate them. If growth is the name of the game, our own and the facilitation of growth for others, Virginia Satir has lived a bountiful and effective life.