I was recently asked wherever astrologers believe homosexuality could be represented within an individuals natal chart?, and found it to be a very interesting question that got me thinking; especially in relation to our ideals of gender, generalisations and an active search for cause and indicators of such a a path of sexual orientation – I feel that it is about time that I at least cast a casual eye on the subject itself.
(In reflection this is anything but casual, a bit long, winding and badly edited so I suggest that if you are up for it you grab yourself a nice cuppa)
In beginning this blog entry I feel that I could simply change the title to homophobic astrology as it seems it would better represent some of the works on modern astrology, that are sadly by and large either very homophobic or incredibly under informed on the reality of being gay.
It may be best to start with stating that I have always been sceptical in regards to this aspect of astrology, even though there are indeed may interesting points for an opposition to that opinion I have never being able to make peace with the ideals of a solid predestination in a sexual regard – as this seems to be quite rigid, hollow and not held within a state of reflection of the primary and secondary variations of an individuals chart nor the individual evolution of a person in both mind and body.
Personally without getting too much off the point I define homosexuality generically as the inherent state of being primarily sexually attracted to one’s own sex. Of course homosexuality and being gay itself is far more than just a sexual orientation but sadly our current reductive Virgoan society demands that individuals sexually polarise and identify themselves as either homosexual or heterosexual, instead of being somewhere in between or beyond a fixative label of orientation.
When I first began my path with astrology and being gay myself I undoubtedly like many other gay neophyte astrologers out there researched the topic, immediately I was struck by a number of problems:
The inadequacy of material available in astrology on same sex relationships or indeed on any aspect of homosexuality in astrological literature. What material that has been available, I have found to be superficial, moralistic, highly negative in tone, frequently flippant and often plain inaccurate.
To my knowledge the earliest study of homosexuality in an individuals natal chart was compiled by Karl Heimsoth in Germany in 1928. Sadly it is clear from his work that he assumed (as many astrologers and most of the general public still do) that homosexuality was a neurosis and astrologically linked it with Uranus hard aspects to the inner planets. Unfortunately as the researcher J Lee Lehman has pointed out the case studies he used were in fact not even homosexual.
(Heimsoth selected people he suspected of being gay, on “evidence” such as speech and walk. It is interesting to note that one person he selected was Edward the 8th later Duke of Windsor).
What little astrologers have written to date about homosexuality merely to my eyes underlines the still widely held notion that homosexuality is a neurosis, a departure from the “norm” and hence can be detected in the astrological chart.
But none of them have ever as far as I am aware backed this up with sound empirical evidence. The following quotes taken from an article by Peter Clamp which can also be found in some current astrological texts (that are currently widely available) are among some that I believe will support my view:
Derek and Julia Parker state that aspects between the Sun/Moon and Uranus “…are often present in the charts of homosexuals of both sexes.” They suggest however “…that students do their own research; the situation is usually not so clear cut”.
The reader may be as confused as I am by these contradictory statements. The first statement is fatuous or at the very least founded on some very strained interpretations as believe it or not (as my good friends Mark, Paul and Sandra will gladly testify) such aspects between the Sun/Moon and Uranus are “often” present in the charts of heterosexuals as well!
Moreover, if aspects between Uranus and Sun/Moon are often present in the charts of homosexuals, then the situation I would suggest is clear-cut. I suspect that the Parkers do not really know and are simply hedging their bets. Narrowing something as complex as sexual orientation to a single aspect in a chart seems dangerous, especially when dealing with a living evolving holistic discipline like astrology, so if one believes the truism that a person’s sexuality is reflected in the whole chart and is an expression of the whole personality, how often would “often” be?
Francis Sakoian and Louis S Acker in The Astrologers Handbook (which is a very popular paperback published by Penguin Books since way back in 1974) has associate the hard aspects of Venus/Neptune and Mars/Neptune with homosexual expression.
Regarding Venus square Neptune they state quite seriously that:
“…in extreme cases there are secret sexual debaucheries. Natives may be homosexuals.”
Without picking too much at the casually typed words of others (hec, who among us haven’t said anything easily interpreted in the contrary essence it was meant with) I couldn’t help but notice the proximity of the words “debaucheries” and “homosexuals”, a clear implication that homosexuality is a definite moral negative.
With Venus opposition Neptune the situation is worse: “There is danger of practicing or being the victim of subtle sexual seduction. This can in some cases manifest itself in homosexual tendencies.”
This implies that people with this aspect may be lured into sex against their will. Moreover linking “subtle sexual seduction” with “homosexual” reinforces subliminally, the totally unfounded prejudice that homosexuals are sexual predators preying on the innocent. Mars square Neptune elicits the following statement: “This aspect like Venus square Uranus or Neptune could indicate sexual deviation.”
But the authors also caution that this is only if other factors in the chart confirm this such as 5th House involvement. I would have thought this caveat would also apply to Venus/Uranus and Venus/Neptune aspects.
Perhaps one day these authors will enlighten us and tell us what these confirmatory factors are. I suspect like Derek and Julia Parker that they do not really know. Seemingly it is always the hard aspects that are associated with non-mainstream sex as if God is voicing moral disapproval through the hard aspects in the chart.
This is symptomatic of an ultra-simplistic and utterly naive view of the astrological chart, where numerous “easy” aspects means you are “good’ and numerous “hard” aspects means you are “bad”. Most astrologers know that a grand trine can be a binding curse as well as a blessing whilst a difficult T square can be the spur to great achievement. One could equally argue that so called “easy” aspects such as Venus trine Uranus and Mars trine Uranus indicates someone who is at ease with unconventional sex and has no problem with it. In some respects easy aspects can be as troublesome as hard ones as they lack the tension required for accomplishment and/or resolution.
In a later book Arroyo’s, Relationships and Life Cycles, the situation in which astrological elements seem to support homophobia does not seem to of improved:
“There’s often a certain coldness (about Venus/Uranus aspects), Uranus is always somewhat impersonal, and that, hitting Venus, gives a kind of impersonal tinge to their attitude toward emotional and sexual behaviour. You’re apt to find this manifestation of this interchange quite often, especially in women who go through lots of partners or who have gotten into homosexuality, although, again, the vast majority with Venus/Uranus aspects are not practicing homosexuals.”
Here Arroyo, like some other psychological astrologers, links coldness, impersonality and promiscuity with being homosexual with not a shred of evidence for this connection, reinforcing the hoary, unsubstantiated old cliches and myths about gay and lesbian people, and pandering to the homophobic collective shadow. He seems to be in need of taking his own advice and stick to the key meaning of planetary aspects. In its widest sense, any major aspect between Venus and Uranus in my view signifies an unconventional attitude to relationships and relating in general; the need for personal freedom and personal space (Uranus) has to be blended somehow with the desire to unite and share with another (Venus). This key issue prevails in all kinds of relationships, same sex or otherwise.
I feel that the modern astrologers needs to focus on the freedom/closeness dilemma, which is at the core of Venus/Uranus aspects and discussing this with the client if it is causing significant problems in her or his relationships. I believe it is the quality of a client’s relationships that is the really important issue for astrologers; beyond support and nurturing of this lineage of personal pride the mode of physical expression is and should be irrelevant.
Arroyo also manages to link hard Venus/Pluto aspects with “sexual problems”. He states that: “Homosexual or bisexual inclinations are not uncommon; and even in those who don’t act out all their urges, there is often an intense emotional resentment towards either the person’s own sex or towards those of the opposite sex.”
He does add that this resentment is also found in those whose sexual behaviour is exclusively heterosexual. But again as with Venus/Uranus aspects he is subtly demonising gay and lesbian people; the impression is being given that homosexuality is inherently unhealthy. The core issue regarding Venus/Pluto aspects in my view is that the need to relate is connected with the need to survive; there is a great fear of abandonment and loneliness.
The consequent feelings of extreme vulnerability produce a compensatory desire to control every aspect of relating. Inevitably the object of control gets free eventually and the fearful expectations are realised. This scenario is repeated until the individual gets wise to the situation.
The person eventually has to stand alone and must start the often painful process of forming a relationship with herself or himself whilst learning to let go of the “other”.
This very familiar scenario transcends gender and sexual orientation and there is no justification, apart from perhaps a covert need to reinforce an intolerant, heterosexist position and one’s own fragile sense of normalcy, to bring in homosexuality.
It must also be stated though to his credit that Arroyo does add: “… not all gay people have Mars/Uranus aspects motivating them. There are other factors too.” while I am unsure if this is to discredit the entire homophobia alignments the “other factors” seems more then open to abuse and far from being above reproach.
Another writer John Townley has looked at the traditional associations of Uranus with sexual perversion and like Charles Carter has yet to find any real link between sexual perversion and the natal aspects of Uranus or indeed of any other planet.
In his review of Townley’s book, F. Richard Nolle suggested that astrologers should “…revise their opinions of the importance of natal Uranus in sexual deviation, or perhaps society may be overdue for a reevaluation of what really constitutes abnormal sexual experience.”
Unfortunately in many astrological and analytical circles we are all still waiting.
Wim van Dam’s book Astrology and Homosexuality draws similar conclusions to both John Townley and Richard Nolle. He was unable to find in his research any significant correlation between any planetary aspect such as Venus/Uranus and homosexuality. He found that all existing theories on the astrological indicators of homosexuality fail to fit all or even the majority of cases.
In frustration it seems he resorted to the Hindu “namvamsa” chart, which seems to be based on the 9th Harmonic (40 degree aspects) and claims to have discovered some significant results. With gay men, van Dam found difficult aspects between the Moon and Saturn either in the natal or namvamsa chart to be very common, in fact he claims in ¾ of cases.
He also uses conjunctions between the 9th harmonic chart and the natal 12th harmonic chart with regard to the Moon, Saturn and the “debilitating”: house cusps 6 and 12. But the number of charts he uses is only 10, too small to be taken seriously in the statistical sense. 2 of these charts are easily ruled out of court; in chart 5 the orb between the 9th harmonic Saturn and natal Moon is too wide (even when I was trying to support the argument) whilst in chart 12 the natal Moon and natal Saturn are sextile, which hardly constitutes an afflicted Moon. Richard Nolle rightly comments that difficult Moon/Saturn aspects may be found equally regularly in heterosexual charts.
Even Van Dam admits that no one signature will ever fit all cases. My feeling is that if there is a homosexual astrological signature, it should be apparent in the conventional 12th harmonic natal chart. Linking the 9th harmonic chart with the 12th harmonic natal chart admits of too much special pleading for me as well as doubling the chances that hard Moon/Saturn aspects can occur.
Additionally, if there is a homosexual signature in the chart, it has to follow that there must also be a heterosexual signature against which it can be compared.
Betty Lundsted, in her book, Astrological Insights Into Personality, has little doubt that homosexuality can be diagnosed from the chart. And she seems to have little doubt that homosexuality is neurotic too. She associates the hard aspects between the Moon and Venus with female homosexuality but presents no real evidence to back her assertion.
With the Moon/Venus conjunction, she states: “…if the rest of the chart agrees, this aspect may indicate a homosexual female. Often the lady she falls in love with is fifteen to twenty years older than she, since she may be looking for a mother substitute. She has difficulty considering the idea that she may be tied to Mother in some kind of incestuous manner.” She continues thus: “If a woman is homosexual and the rest of the chart doesn’t look like she has reason to be, this aspect is one that will help to find the key to why she is the way she is.”
There are a number of misconceptions put forward here. Betty Lunsted clearly belongs to the “nurture” school where homosexuals are supposedly and independently “made” by their environment. She seems to be referring to some kind of homosexual Oedipal Complex; this idea has been widely accepted in analytical circles, though there has never been any real evidence for it. It merely accorded with the accepted prejudices of the times and therefore no one has really questioned it until recently.
When she talks about the Moon square Venus aspect the stereotyping becomes quite farcical.
“…she may function on a homosexual level; everyone is so busy diagnosing her ‘homosexual problem’ that they never look into the underlying cause – a fear of motherhood, a rejection of the biological role.”
This idea is just hearsay and without foundation. There is this mythical quite prejudicial perception that not only do homosexual men and women lead a freer and less onerous lifestyle compared with married people, they are deliberately avoiding having children by being gay or lesbian.
However the number of lesbian women and gay men who are having children or want to have children is steadily increasing in the more “liberal” countries of the world. Moreover the reason why they have not had children before is obvious; it is because of numerous social prohibitions such as discriminative legislation, negative moralising from established religions, physical intimidation and social ostracism. So much for the freer less onerous lifestyle.
After all this Betty Lunsted does add a face-saving footnote which really only makes matters worse:
“Not all homosexual women are avoiding motherhood. Determining homosexual behavior is at least as complicated as determining heterosexual behavior. The subject is too vast to be discussed with any clarity here.”
Having just stated that the underlying reason why women become homosexual is the avoidance of motherhood, Lundsted now says this is not always true. I would add this is rarely the case. Some heterosexual women do not want to have children but they are not stigmatised and pathologised purely because of their sexual orientation! Female and male homosexuals just “are”.
I feel astrologers and psychologists should stop trying to treat them as people who are “imbalanced” and ipso facto can be “balanced” through chart analysis. They are little better than those who try to “cure” lesbians and gays through some form of reparative therapy. The only “choice” homosexual people have had in practice is whether to come out in a hostile world half of whom would still like to see you dead or hide behind a heterosexual front.
The view that homosexuality is a “problem” is the result of very narrow political, social and cultural ideas about sex; the Christian religions view sex as purely procreative denying its wholesome perfectly natural recreative component. And people still like to think it is a choice despite mounting scientific evidence to the contrary to maintain their persecutory and judgmental stance and avoid confronting their own sexual shadow. Rather than own the devil within they collectively project the devil without.
People who have a problem with homosexuality from my experience have a problem with sex in general and the whole Plutonian side of life, but rather than openly acknowledge it, prefer to take the easy option and project their repressed instinctual “shadows” on to lesbian and gay people. Homophobia is symptomatic of the general community’s fear and pathologisation of sex itself, a fear which is conveniently projected on to a scapegoated sexual minority.
Moreover, if homosexuality is as vast and as complex as Betty Lunsted suggests (and she’s right about that) I really question her authority in including any references to it in her book. And if determining homosexual behaviour is as complicated as determining heterosexual behaviour I find it hard to understand why she can still maintain that she can ascertain homosexuality from the astrological chart.
This of course presupposes that heterosexuality too can be ascertained from the chart, which the majority of readers would regard as completely nonsensical. One can therefore imagine how lesbian and gay people feel about the whole patronising business.
Betty Lundsted’s book is still in print (and a copy rests on my shelf if anyone wants to borrow it) She may have changed her position in the meantime. But I wish she and other psychological astrologers would come out and say so.
Since the early 1980s there has been a deafening silence from astrologers on this whole issue and I suspect it may be the silence of indifference, ignorance or embarrassment.
Thus far we have had the following planetary aspects (hard ones of course!) linked with homosexuality by the following noted astrologers:
Sun/Uranus – Derek and Julia ParkerMoon/Venus – Betty Lunsted
Moon/Uranus – Derek and Julia Parker
Venus/Mars – Betty Lunsted
Venus/Saturn – Liz Greene
Venus/Uranus – Frances Sakoian& Louis Acker, Stephen Arroyo (maybe)
Venus/Neptune – Francis Sakoian& Louis Acker
Venus/Pluto – Stephen Arroyo
Mars/Uranus – Stephen Arroyo
Mars/Neptune – Stephen Arroyo, Francis Sakoian& Louis Acker
Mars/Pluto – Stephen Arroyo
It is quite evident that astrologers do not agree at all as to what planetary aspect or aspects are associated with homosexuality. In my journey of acquaintanceship with astrology, I have heard nearly every zodiac sign linked to homosexuality bar Leo. (Though I await it!).
I think it is time astrologers stopped theorising about homosexual signatures in the natal chart because it is quite clear from their own highly conflicting unfounded and muddled evidence, there are none. Writers like Stephen Arroyo have hinted at other factors in the chart which need to be looked at in relation to homosexuality but neither he nor anyone else has ever spelt them out to my knowledge. The reason is that either they do not know or they are just not that interested.
J Lee Lehman is one of the very few astrologers who have statistically tested existing theories on homosexual signatures. She found that none of the theories were valid. Moreover she thinks that the main reason why none of these theories stood up was the invalid premise on which these theories were based, that homosexuality is pathological and abnormal. This makes a lot of sense to me.
Looking for astrological signatures presupposes that homosexuality is abnormal and it is significant after thousands of years that no astrological consensus has ever been reached on what chart signature or signatures can be linked with it. I suggest astrologers give up this futile and demeaning research and start treating their lesbian and gay clients like everyone else, which is the underlying message of this whole article.
I would have to agree with the position Marion March and Joan McEvers adopt in their book, The Only Way To Learn About Tomorrow. They express great scepticism about homosexual signatures in the chart. They quote recent estimates that 1/6 of the population is bisexual or homosexual and logically conclude that they cannot all have the same astrological signature anymore than the heterosexual majority.
Astrologers seem to be in accord with the view that neither race, religion, nor gender can be detected from the astrological chart and I firmly believe sexual orientation should be added to the list.
March and McEvers, like most astrologers, continue to view homosexuality as behavioural, as psychologically problematic caused by poor parenting. They do however commendably “correct” themselves in their following book on relationships, The Only Way To Learn About Relationships. Here they refer to recent scientific studies that strongly suggest that homosexuality is rooted in biology. Indeed the scientists involved in the research have stated unequivocally that they would not be spending all their time and money researching the “gay” gene unless it was implicitly understood that homosexuals are born not made.
Liz Greene in her book Relating stated way back in 1978 that the topic has been “exhaustively explored”. Contrary to Liz Greene, I find that the subject of “Homosexuality” has been exhaustively ignored by astrologers and Jungian analysts (which was the point of view the book was written from) who seem to treat it as irrelevant, a minor aberration of human behaviour not worth worrying about.
In fact we have had to wait until 1989 for the 1st serious monograph on homosexuality to be written from a Jungian perspective and even then other Jungian analysts questioned the need for it.
“While amongst Freudian and Adlerian psychoanalysts, homophobia most frequently takes the form of pathologisation and condemnation, amongst Jungians, it typically takes the form of neglect.”.
It is only in the last 10 years that some Jungian analysts have started to take it seriously in their considerations of the human psyche after pressure from feminists, lesbians and gays sympathetic to Jung’s work.
Carl Jung himself rarely mentions homosexuality in his Collected Works and his followers seemed to have unquestioningly followed suit. When they do deign to comment on homosexuality, they tend to emphasise what they perceive as the negative rather than the positive aspects.
Liz Greene’s use of the word “exhaustive” in 1978 is significant in that it implies that for her, everything has already been said on the subject, which is hardly the case even in the more enlightened open 1990s. The first ever collection of essays on same-sex love from a Jungian perspective only came out in 1993, which hardly constitutes an exhaustive flood . Liz Greene comments that astrology has “…its arsenal of preconceptions and misconceptions about sexuality”.
It is unfortunate that in my view like other psychological astrologers she has added to them herself with regard to homosexuality.
I bear in mind that books like Liz Greene’s Relating were written over 20 years ago when gay liberation and gay affirmative psychotherapy was in its infancy. She is one of the very few intrepid astrologers who have attempted to write at any length about the astrology of homosexuality, which is why I will be commenting on what she has written at some length. She initially tries hard to adopt a non-judgmental, tolerant stance, questioning the whole concept of sexual normality.
Tolerance however is very different from acceptance. Tolerance to me implies a superior/inferior position and whilst she strives hard to be fair in an intellectual sense, I detect a distinct unease about the subject in Chapter 6 of her book, Relating, entitled
“The Sex Life of the Psyche”. She rightly states that nobody can judge whether different forms of sexual expression are normal or abnormal. Additionally, like Marion March and Joan McEvers, she thinks there is no clear way of telling whether one is homosexual from the natal chart.
The tone initially is seemingly tolerant, fair and balanced, the appearance liberal and non-homophobic
But after this, I believe she shows a darker side and her writing reveals far more about her own relationship to homosexuality than about homosexuality and its relationship to astrology in general. After cloaking herself with the language of tolerance and saying that homosexuality is not a sickness, she appears to contradict herself.
She states that homosexuality often (there’s that precise word “often” again) involves a complete repression of unconscious figures, a state of mind that does not sound too healthy to me; in fact it sounds downright pathological. Her discomfort with the subject I feel is further exposed when she comments on Freud’s concept of latent homosexuality.
“…it is also a pity that Freud’s concept of ‘latent homosexuality’ should still be an old bogeyman for many individuals who feel that expressing the transsexual side of their natures will somehow make them homosexual. If anything, the opposite is likely to be true; for what we call homosexuality is often the result of a complete repression of unconscious figures which – like any other component of the unconscious – will become antagonistic and overwhelm consciousness if they are treated with arrogance or contempt by the ego.”
Ironically, Freud himself unlike most of his followers was in some ways fairly relaxed in his attitude towards same-sex relationships and this may be reflected in his concept of latent homosexuality. But Liz Greene seems to be unsettled by the very idea that “heterosexual” people may also have occasional sexual feelings towards people of the same sex, ignoring Kinsey’s concept of a sexual continuum between homosexuality and heterosexuality.
She dismisses Freud’s view and labels homosexuals in the process as walking hotbeds of unconscious repression to reinforce her argument and maintain heterosexual normalcy. What unconscious figures are being repressed she does not say; I assume she is referring to the Soul Image, the animus/anima concept, the unconscious masculine/feminine images which are supposed to be present in all of us.
Erin Sullivan in her insightful book Dynasty – The Astrology of Family Dynamics hammers home the point that “astrology is not gender-biased”, that ” masculine and feminine do not necessarily always refer to men and women.”.
Astrology itself unlike the various psychologies has no problem with homosexuality; whether one is in a straight or same-sex relationship the same planetary and sign dynamics apply. The astrological chart does not discriminate, only astrologers do.
I suggest that Jungians are challenged to enlarge their concept of anima/animus to include the homosexual, transsexual and bisexual experiences of life instead of rigidly adhering to a restrictive, non-inclusive, heterosexist model. Again astrology shows the way. The energies represented by the planets go beyond gender, beyond masculinity and femininity and are dynamic in their own right.
I cannot see anything particularly dynamic about a stereotypical union between an uncommunicative knuckle dragging man who spends all his time down at the pub with his mates (perhaps he is “animus” possessed!) and his neglected wife who stays at home all the time.
But this scenario is stereotypical and cliched just as mincing queens with vanity-ridden animas lisping their way around the gay bars is. The human psyche is in my experience “…Byzantine in its complexity” and we should try to grapple with this complexity and explore it instead of abrogating our responsibility and saying it is all too difficult. Homosexuality, far from “neutering” the fundamental masculine/ feminine, eros/logos polarity actually broadens and enriches it and frees all of us from bondage to narrow and inhibiting stereotypes.
Homophobia is in reality a form of self-hatred, a conscious or unconscious hatred of one’s primeval instincts masquerading in a projected form of hatred for a sexual minority. Coming to terms with our own homophobia means we are all free to be ourselves with our unique blends of feminine/masculine and it is astrology, above Jungian Psychology, above all other psychological systems that clarifies this through the natal chart.
Partly through Jung’s influence, Liz Greene seems to be perpetuating homosexual stereotyping and adding to rather than detracting from astrological misconceptions about sexuality. The closer I look at Chapter 6 “The Sex Life of the Psyche” from her book Relating the more concerned I get as it seems to portray such a hackneyed, distorted view and indeed out-moded view of the supposed homosexual psyche and experience and the astrological aspects that she associates with it. She quotes random opinions on homosexuality to show confusion about the subject.
They would be forgivable if they were at least witty; instead she merely trots out jokes such as “all interior decorators are homosexual” that were worn out even in the 1970s.
On the one hand, Greene suggests that homosexuality is “chosen”. Then in the next paragraph she admits that homosexuals perhaps “…are truly ‘born’ with their propensity.”
The 1978 Concise Oxford Dictionary definition of homosexuality as a propensity for the same sex, I would suggest, is incomplete. From my experience, being gay is far more than just a propensity, an inclination, something you can put on and take off like a shirt; it is an integral part of one’s very being. One does not choose a lifestyle that runs counter to the mainstream, risking real social ostracism, endemic queer bashing, exploding bombs, soul murder by some psychoanalysts and potential familial estrangement unless this is so.
The only choice homosexuals have had up to now was whether to hide their sexual orientation, openly live it braving the inevitable hostility or self-destruct. Many do in fact self-destruct in adolescence, which is one of the major causes of the high youth suicide rate. The coming out of young homosexuals is often traumatic as families infected by collective homophobia are frequently hostile.
If homosexuality is chosen, then logically heterosexuality is chosen too, as according to Liz Greene we have a choice in the matter. I cannot think of any heterosexual person of my acquaintance who has consciously chosen to be so, for them it is just instinctive and ingrained; they don’t even think about it. I make the radical suggestion that the same could also apply to homosexuals. And recent scientific evidence increasingly supports the biological view.
If one is confused as Liz Greene appears to be as to whether homosexuality is genetic, behavioural or an indeterminate mixture of both, then I fail to understand how she can attempt to speak about the subject with any clarity or conviction particularly in its relationship to astrology.
Liz Greene has done a great deal in broadening and deepening astrological chart interpretation through her extensive experience as a Jungian analyst. But any psychological system is inevitably circumscribed by the peculiar characteristics of their originators and Jungian psychology is no exception. Carl Jung was a heterosexual man whose model of the human psyche is understandably heterosexually based and biased. He wrote very little about homosexuality to the extent where in comparison with his total output, he virtually ignored it. This is not necessarily a criticism of Jung; unlike some of his followers he quite correctly seemed reluctant to discourse on something he had little personal experience of. And so I get concerned when psychological astrologers like Liz Greene use the Jungian model of the human psyche in conjunction with astrology to deny homosexuals the right to be treated as psychologically equal to the rest of the population.
To illustrate my argument I will examine what Greene says about Venus/Saturn aspects in her book Relating. When she talks about hard Venus/Saturn aspects in men’s charts she reveals to me quite clearly that she regards homosexuality as pathological. She says that with difficult Venus/Saturn aspects in a male chart: “All kinds of by-products may ensue, ranging from coldness, lack of feeling and withdrawal to eventual homosexuality.”
The clear message here is that coldness, lack of feeling and withdrawal is associated with the homosexual state; male homosexuality for her seems to be about repression of feelings especially towards women. My perspective on Venus/Saturn aspects is that deep feelings are definitely there but there is a lid on them. There is a fear about openly expressing them, about showing love and affection and a caution about emotional commitment in all relationships, opposite sex or otherwise.
This caution is underpinned by a need for certainty, definition and security. To drag in homosexuality into this equation and imply that it is the ultimate result of denial of feelings is to completely misunderstand and misrepresent homosexuality.
Greene is doing exactly what Stephen Arroyo has done; comment on something negative such as violence and repressed emotion and then drag in homosexuality in the same sentence for no sound reason at all. I have found hard Venus/Saturn aspects affect all relationships not just those of the opposite sex variety. This is a classic example of the dangers in assigning different planetary energies to one or other gender and making sexist assumptions based on that.
If one regards the Venusian energy as the ability to relate, unite, join and harmonise, this ability is inhibited and restricted when combined in a hard aspect with Saturn. There is caution, fear and vulnerability around the whole relating business and a man or a woman with this aspect would have problems freely relating to anyone regardless of gender. But to conclude that this fear of relating in a man’s chart leads to eventual homosexuality is to my mind a ludicrous argument.
Liz Greene’s commentary on Venus/Saturn aspects is a classic example of how some analysts and astrologers can continue to wittingly or unwittingly pathologise homosexuality in covert and subtle ways whilst still publicly waving their liberal banners. Clearly for Liz Greene homosexuality is still very much a ” problem” because it is based on the repression of feelings and the alleged inability to relate to the opposite sex. Of course it depends what you mean by relating to the opposite sex.
I contend that men do not have to sex with women the whole time or any of the time in order to “relate” to them and vice versa. In my experience, many gay men generally relate to women very positively; they feel comfortable with them talking about feelings and emotions. And from my experience our most important relationship experiences are just as often asexual.
In short, Liz Greene has done little in her book Relating to correct the negative image that homosexuality has in astrology, and in fact has continued to perpetuate negative homosexual myths and stereotypes. Whilst she warns against being judgmental, she simultaneously denies homosexuals the right to be treated equally with heterosexuals in a psychological sense. Jungian psychology reflects the personality of its originator; it is heterosexually biased and fails to recognise and incorporate the reality and the validity of the homosexual experience.
The current fierce resistance to the androgynous view of the psyche amongst the majority of its followers is testimony to that. Liz Greene’s book “Relating” psychologically discriminates against homosexuals and from my point of view has done more harm than good in raising people’s levels of acceptance towards sexual minorities. I find it hard to conceive that she would write this chapter on “The Sex Life of the Psyche” in exactly the same manner now as she did in 1978. She may or may not have modified or altered her position in the meantime but I have not heard or seen anything to that effect. I presume she stands by what she has written.
But the fact is that Relating is still in print, still very popular, yet still disseminating what I believe are grave misconceptions about homosexuality. The only comment she appears to have made on homosexuality in the chart since 1979 has been in The Inner Planets – Seminars In Psychological Astrology Volume 4]. And it is significant that she only comments on it when prompted by a member of her seminar audience.
When she discusses Venus/Moon aspects, she states that the same psycho-astrological dynamics apply to homosexual as well as heterosexual relationships. One planetary energy is consciously “owned” whilst the other is projected on to the partner in the relationship. The theme is the same for everyone, balancing the need for security with the desire for erotic fulfilment.
Greene appears to have shifted to a more androgynous view of the human psyche than before, implicitly accepting that homosexual relationships operate on the same fundamental logos/eros polarity as heterosexual ones which is quite a different position to that which she adopted in Relating.
Yet Relating continues to be printed unaltered, and in my opinion, continues to badly misinform readers about homosexuality and its relationship to astrology. Above all, it subliminally reinforces the widely held view that homosexuality is inherently inferior to heterosexuality and continues to help to create a climate where gay and lesbian people are treated as second class citizens.
No wonder her main character of “Victor” resisted analysis. In fact many gay and lesbian people including me have resisted analysis until recently because of the entrenched homophobia in analytical circles (I was astonished to read that until 2002 there were still no “out” gay psychoanalysts in Ireland).
People may well ask why it has taken so long for someone like me, on a blog like this to question what has been written by astrologers in the last 20 years.
The answer I feel is partly “internalised homophobia”.
When one has been bombarded throughout life with highly destructive remarks from the collective about one’s sexual identity, there is a tendency to unconsciously take some of it on board. I have worked hard on my own internalised homophobia and now see things very, very differently.
What Liz Greene wrote on homosexuality in Relating during the 1970s was, believe it or not, a considerable advance on anything written before that by astrologers. But in the context of the nineties and naughties it is no longer tenable and has become objectionable because of its heterosexist bias and unconscious homophobia.
The same comment can also be made about the very questionable comments on homosexuality and its supposed astrological significators by Stephen Arroyo, Betty Lundsted and others.
In conclusion I would suggest that searching for a homosexual signature in the natal chart is a complete waste of time and quite irrelevant. This search in itself seems implicitly homophobic. There is absolutely no consensus of opinion amongst astrologers about it. The multitude of astrological signatures that have been suggested are just hearsay and are not backed up by any serious empirical evidence.
There is no evidence or authentic tradition that the hard aspects (square, opposition and sometimes conjunction ) between Mars/Venus and the outer planets are more likely to be linked to homosexuality than heterosexuality.
The fact that astrologers have suggested this link in the past speaks volumes about the prevalent ill-informed prejudices against gay and lesbian people.
Moreover, the search for an astrological signature for homosexuality presupposes that it is abnormal in some way. The fact that this search has been spectacularly unsuccessful speaks for itself. Sexual orientation like race, religion and gender cannot be detected in the chart; the chart does not judge whether a person is normal or abnormal and neither should we.
The same dynamics exist in homosexual relationships as well as heterosexual ones. The planetary energies are ultimately beyond gender and belong to us all.