The moon is full in Aries! Every full moon the moon and sun are in a dynamic, oppositional relationship. No matter what sign the two luminaries are in, themes related to the Sun & Moon are up for reflection. The sun & moon are rich with symbolic meaning. I'm going to focus today on how they relate to the body and emotions.
The sun traditionally was seen as symbolic of the material realm, the body and physicality while the moon is often seen as symbolic of the unseen realm, emotions and psyche. Just as the sun & moon are very different yet intimately connected, so are the body and emotions.
Emotions live in, originate in and are expressed through the body. We heal the body by healing our emotional world and we heal our emotional world through healing our body. While this post is mostly about some older thinkers on this concept, I cannot recommend Bessel van der Kolk's book "The Body Keeps The Score: Brain, Mind & Body in The Healing of Trauma" enough for more information on this connection!
The following analysis of the body and emotions through the eyes of three of the most influential minds in the history of modern psychology I wrote last year. I was reminded of it, and many things I was learning about the connection between the body and emotions recently and I wanted to share it with a larger audience.
I hope to be sharing a whole series of thoughts on the mind-body-spirit connection in the coming weeks because it is so important in the current world atmosphere to stay connected to our bodies. I start with some background on the topic and then the second half is dedicated to an astrological analysis.
Trauma, collective and individual, has a tendency of disconnecting us from our bodies. It is worth repeating that people disconnected from their bodies are easier to control, which we will go into more detail about later in this article and future ones in this series.
Freud, Jung, and Wilhelm Reich. Reich you probably have not heard of because he was erased from history books, but he was basically the founder of modern western somatic psychology (mind-body connection). We did not have the term "body language" until Reich. He was a student of Freuds, as was Jung, and like Jung, he eventually split from Freud in theory.
If your therapist has ever guided you through a breathing exercise, or initiated breakthroughs by calling attention to what your body was doing, thank Reich.
The term libido is commonly used to reference sexual drive or sexual energy, and while that is how libido was originally framed by Freud, in his later models the idea was more that libido was an overarching energetic organizing principle of all "constructive human activity", (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2019). Jung kept the word libido but thought of it as more all encompassing “psychic energy”, (Conger, 1998). Reich was fascinated by the libido and thought of it not just as psychic sexual energy or just as psychic energy but as a real, tangible and measurable force that “empowered the psyche”, (Conger, 1998 & Daniels, 2008).
Reich also believed that people develop a muscular armor from the repetition of learned ways of being in the body (Sassenfeld, 2008). This muscular armor can manifest in seemingly miniscule ways in which a person moves their body and, essentially lives in their body and this often creates blockages in the libidinous body, which in turn manifests in neurosis (Sassenfeld, 2008). Jung had previously noted that mental processes “express themselves simultaneously in somatic (physical) ways”, and realized that “the patient’s body becomes a main indicator of complex activity in the psychotherapeutic context”, (Sassenfeld, 2008).
Jung consciously chose not to focus on the body or how to work with it in analysis though, as opposed to Reich who, departing from his teacher Freud, thought the therapeutic process was more difficult if the physical boundaries that the muscular armor created in an individual were not addressed first (Sassenfeld, 2008). From Daniels (2008), "He [Reich] said, don't work with the deeper layers of the unconscious until the defense mechanisms are identified, because the resistance will hold the neurotic behavior in place even if the meanings are understood". Jung was more abstract and philosophical about the body-mind connection, "It is the body that gives bounds to the personality," (Sassenfeld, 2008).
Reich's ideas about how to observe the libido and its health and work with it in therapy included just paying attention to the little, or big, things a person does with their body and how they manipulate the space around them, and bringing attention to these things (Sassenfeld, 2008). We communicate with our bodies and know how to do so because of our "tacit knowledge", we just know, but usually are not conscious of how or why we know (Sassenfeld, 2008). Bringing conscious attention to what the body is doing and why is one of the most commonly used techniques of somatic therapists, for helping people reestablish the connection between their sense of self and their body.
Astrological Analysis of Freud, Jung & Reich
In the photo are Freud, Jung and Reichs' western tropical birth charts with the locations of the heavenly spheres at their moment or day of birth.
All three of them share major placements in the sign of Taurus, a Venus ruled earth sign associated with the physical body, its senses and its pleasures. Venus is perhaps more associated with the physical body than the sun & moon in modern astrological approaches. Between the 3 of them, they have a very close conjunction of Sun, Moon and Venus in Taurus!
A simple search for information on the Taurus archetype will land you with statements such as, "...Taurus is the Zodiac sign specifically associated with survival "through an awareness of the senses," or the idea of epithemia being associated with the Taurus archetype,"the instinctive urge for touching, caressing, and procreation," (thezodiac.com/epithemia).
Siregar, further states:
"That which integrates the material and spiritual dimension of Taurus is something else that has always been so present, yet also so frequently ignored: awareness of the body. The body enjoys sensual pleasures, and inhabiting the body is the only way to Be. One can only be present and mentally quiet to the degree that one inhabits the body. Most of us dwell primarily in our minds, which is why we are collectively insane.
Because our society does not emphasize meditation or body awareness, most of us do not know that restless, busy thinking is the very soil of suffering. All healing approaches that encourage presence in the body help us to move from mental insanity to consciousness, and into healing, loving presence. The current collective trend of spiritual understanding appears to be about, not transcendence or ascension, but embodiment or descension" (2001).
So we see it is established that one of the primary windows into the archetype of Taurus is the body.
Further explaining the chart, Freuds chart is in the centermost ring, Jungs in the second ring and Reich's in the outer ring. I've highlighted where we can see in the sign of Taurus, Freud was born when the sun was at 16 degrees, Jung was born with the moon at 15 degrees and Reich was born when Venus was at 13 degrees and his ascendant was at 10 degres, all of Taurus. The sun and the moon and ascendant are the three most important parts of a persons chart, the big 3 is what they are commonly referred to.
And here we have all three of these men with one of these big 3 in the sign of Taurus, highlighting the importance of the body in each of their work in its own way, but also highlighting how Reich was the one to figure out the idea of "embodiment". Out of all the big 3, it could be argued that the ascendant (the sign that was rising over the eastern horizon at the moment of birth), says the most about a person's self-image, identity, health, vitality and how they generally carry themselves and steer the ship (body) they have been given. Reich is the one whose ascendant is Taurus, and then also has Taurus' planetary likeness, Venus, in Taurus too, where it is said to be "at home" and very comfortable and able to express itself, exactly conjunct the ascendant, effectively rising at the moment of his birth.
So the sign and planet most comfortable with and in touch with the senses and body, are what was rising the moment Reich was born, and he was the one of the three men arguably most in touch with his own body, as well as being known as a founding father of ideas about the therapeutic value of working with the body.
In addition to his Taurus story Reich's life is telling, his life is also telling the story of his fiery Aries sun and Sagittarius moon. Fire is extroverted. Fire is loud. Fire ignites. Reich was the most extroverted of the three men by far and has the most fire in his chart.
On today's full moon in Aries, Aries' planetary ruler Mars is strongly placed in it's home-sign of Aries, and retrograde, meaning Mars is spending extra time in Aries and considered strengthened. Mars can represent our sense of will, drive, energy and in a sexual and otherwise sense, libido. Mars, and all that it symbolizes in us, has a lot going for it right now but is not without impediments and challenges. It is worth considering that a way through and over these challenges our sense of libido may be experiencing right now, is through the physical body. Move your body. Get in your body. Let your body want what it wants.
I'm excited to continue this conversation with coming posts about the body as shadow, Gandhi's obsession with the body as a path to liberation, and the effects fear and trauma have on our body. I hope you stay tuned!
By the stars,
"To darkness are they doomed who worship only the body and to greater darkness they who worship only the spirit..." ~ The Upanishads
Siregar, M. (2001) The Spiritual Dimension of Taurus. The Mountain Astrologer. Oct/Nov 2001. Retrieved from https://www.astrologyforthesoul.com/taurusholisticview.html
Conger, J. P. (1998). Jung & Reich: The body as shadow. Berkley, CA: North Atlantic Books.
Daniels, V. (2008). Lecture notes on Wilhelm Reich and his influence. The psychology department at Sonoma State University. Retrieved from: http://www.sonoma.edu/users/d/daniels/reichlecture.html
Encyclopaedia Britannica. (2019). Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved September 27, 2019 from https://www.britannica.com/science/libido
Sassenfeld, A. (2008). The body in Jung’s work: Basic elements to lay the foundation for a theory of technique. The Journal of Jungian Theory and Practice, 10(1), 1-13.