1. What are ego planets?
Ego planets in astrology are what the Huber Method of Astrological Psychology call drives that meet the basic needs of Human beings as identified in Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of Needs model.
a. At the base of the pyramid; The needs for Physiological balance: sleep wake cycle, food/water intake, interaction between activity and rest, clothing and shelter, reproduction, to maintain health overall. These include the need for safety and security, protection from violence and theft, financial security, emotional stability, and overall maintenance of health by routine acts of taking care of the body.
In Astrological Psychology, Saturn is the ego planet that represents the drive that covers these areas and the family member for looking after these needs for children is the mother.
b. In the middle of the pyramid; The need for emotional belonging and affiliation, contact with others who love and accept us based on respect; reducing shame and building self-esteem; so that confidence and personal growth are possible. Leading to a positive sense of self-worth.
In Astrological Psychology, the Moon is the ego planet that represents the drive for love, belonging and self-esteem building.
c. At the top of the pyramid; The need for development of the mind and thinking for the sake of gaining knowledge and making decisions, using our will ability to explore and define our own goals in order to fulfill our potential as a person this is defined as self-actualization.
In Astrological Psychology the Sun is the ego planet that represents the drive to express the mind and find fulfillment being one’s own authority.
The psychological bases of these streams of thought are Abraham Maslow and his Theory of Human Motivation and Dr. Roberto Assagioli, psychiatrist and his Theory of Psychosynthesis.
2. Astrological Psychology attempts to discover through analysis of the horoscope based on date, time and place of birth the signs of these three important ego planets, aspects to them and identify which one is the strongest- responsible for integration of the personality on the personal level. When there is harmonization of these ego planets in meeting the needs for human motivation, then personal psychosynthesis is achieved. (Roberto Assagioli, MD)
But ego challenges are brought about by the unsuccessful expression of these drives when in contact with the environment; and how placement of the ego planets and aspects to them modify their being recognized by the environment or not. These placements along with aspect patterns involving the ego planets determine the degree of personal psychosynthesis possible. And I determine the potential for this by doing a horoscope analysis.
The color aspects to the ego planets determine how well the planet receives the color that is emotionally compatible with its nature and how effective the planet is in the house it is situated in as defined by its placement. (References, Luscher, Huber). Structural color and situational color combinations are assessed using the Luscher scale.
Figures of the Ego planets in aspect with drives at a transpersonal level can produce fear because these drives threaten our motivation and capacity to find stability in security (Saturn); stability in our emotions (Moon) and stability in thinking (Sun). Transpersonal forces are scary and alien to the ego. (Huber, The Planets)
a. The transpersonal planet Uranus drives the individual to develop creative intelligence through knowledge which can threaten the body’s sense of safety and security (Saturn). When Uranus is in aspect to Saturn, it creates a crisis that demands going beyond the secure boundaries set by our parents by applying individual intelligence- going beyond known boundaries of conventional thought. This can lead to a conversion experience which transforms familiar habits, set life-structures, scripts of interacting, and attitudes. Example: When one goes off to university, many ways we were taught by our parents are rejected and depending on how much integrity we have; new knowledge can by met with resistance by the outside world which can create a developmental crisis for the young person out on his/her own.
b. The transpersonal planet Neptune drives the individual to transcend emotional boundaries of who we love to become more universal (Neptune in aspect to the Moon). When we are betrayed of deceived by loving (Moon) those who would take advantage of our empathic understanding, compassion and sacrifice; then we can have a crisis. The task is transforming our resentment, anger and shame into love by forgiving those who did us wrong. Neptune is aspect to the Moon represents this problem. Example: Loving one who is an alcoholic who creates a dependency on our relationship in which we compassionately take over responsibility for caring for them while they continue to abuse alcohol and ignore their recovery goals.
c. The transpersonal planet Pluto drives the individual to transcend human mental activity (When in aspect to the Sun) to form a Divine relationship with a father image of God that represents an ideal. This relationship demands going beyond human capacity based on evidence and to develop faith in our spiritual path in spite of danger to our bodies and threats to our thinking patterns. Destruction of what our conscious minds tell us and transcending the known world requires seep commitment. Example: Taking the vows or a priest or a Nun.
Source: the Planets, Huber, Initiation rituals involving ego planets.
Note: There are numerous other aspect patterns with Ego planets of the Transpersonal planets which are beyond the present scope of this demonstration.
3. Strongest ego planet: With maturity comes the ability to regulate information and to optimize skills of a preferred function: be it developing the body; emotional value systems or thought processes.
a. When Saturn is the Strongest ego planet. It is associated with the mental function of sensation (Carl Jung) in which the body, finding itself in different conditions of health and illness, being rested or tired is a precious instrument of experience and action in the outer world. Resulting in the personality being practical and body aware. This may involve exercise, diet, or maybe as simple as looking good, taking more care over physical appearance.
b. When Moon is Strongest ego planet. When the moon is the strongest ego planet, contact is a keyword. The Feeling function identified by the Moon is associated with rational values based on subjective positive or negative attraction and/or repulsion. Emotional needs are diversified, changing and sometimes contradictory. You learn to differentiate between expression of spontaneous feeing because we see a sad film or suffering humanity, and being able to express our deepest emotional feelings about things which affect us personally.
c. When Sun is Strongest ego planet: When the Sun is the strongest ego planet, the person has to learn to develop their will. The Thinking function (Carl Jung) as identified by the Sun uses the mind as a valuable tool of discovery and expression. Its contents are constantly changing, embracing new ideas, setting new goals. The strong Sun affirms new experience and knowledge. (Hopewell, Astrological Psychology)
4. Intervention. Once the strongest ego planet is identified, depending on the developmental needs of the client based on her age and maturity level, I then will decide if the client needs to adjust to the developmental demands from the environment by using the technique of dis-identification by decreasing emphasis on the ego planet or accelerate the ego strengths of the 3 ego planets to bring about a synthesis of the personality. This is a process of firming up areas of immaturity (Assagioli, Roberto, Psychosynthesis: Individual and Society, Psychosynthesis Research Foundation, Issue no. 16,); by addition or subtraction of emphasis on the body, the emotions or the mind therapist facilitates balance in the personality.
5.Subpersonalities are ego states and identities in which there may be inflated or shame-based overidentification with one of ego attachments: body (Saturn), emotion (Moon) or thinking (Sun). And these ego states may need to be adapted to balance out and integrate these states to the benefit of the personality as a whole. The technique of dis-identification is used to bring about a personal synthesis of these overly developed ego identifications symbolized the Saturn, Moon and Sun aspects. On the other hand, where inferiority and shame detract from the sense of personal value in the world, strengthening the self esteem by therapist intervention is called for.
I assess the aspects between the three ego planets with Uranus, Neptune and Pluto which are called transformational planets. Aspects of these planets to the ego planets may challenge the pseudo ego forms by transforming them and causing through suffering- a need to transcend a negative experience, develop a positive self-image and develop a spiritual perspective. (Roberto Assagioli, Freedom in Jail)
6. In the first half of life until the age of 42, persons are involved in the developmental task of individualization The development of the personality requires a developing individual to identify with one of the ego symbols to facilitate the integration of the personality and become an effective agent in the world. In my astrological psychology consultations, I discover with the client their strongest ego planet so that they can, become aware of its existence, build on their ego strengths and deal with environmental pressures and problems, by applying their dominant function to solve issues.
After age 42, the developmental crisis of mid- life forces a frustration awareness with the environment on some level and requires a reorientation psychologically. Although self-actualization can be achieved by identification of a dominant function or ego planet, the confidence that is reflected by the strongest ego planet then becomes a point of departure in the second half of life. This process of psychological crisis due to lack of meaning in ego-based goals, challenges one to transform goals that are ego based to spiritual goals leading to a rebirth phase and feelings of new generativity. This process of reconciling opposites within our psychological life is called Individuation. The irony of this stage of ego integration, one it has been achieved, as we age, to grow spiritually one uses that new found confidence as a point of departure and learns tasks to dis-identify with ego desires, wants and roles which is vital in later life.
Reference for this concept and its application is Erik Erikson, Eight Stages of Man and Bruno Huber’s Life Clock; Carl Jung on Individuation.
7. I use Age Point (AP) Progression (Huber, Bruno and Louise, Life Clock, Hopewell Publishing, Knutsford, UK, 2005) to identify developmental tasks that challenge the client based on their age and what environmental issues need attention at a given time in their lives. Rather than making predictions based on transits of planets and their aspects to the natal chart, I use a developmental framework and choose Age Point Progression to time psychological crises in the life cycle.
Bruno and Louise Huber used the Life Clock (below) to reflect the movement of an Age Point (AP) through the twelve signs of the zodiac in a given lifetime. The AP moves at birth starting at the first house of the horoscope. It takes 6 years for it to move to the adjacent, second house and as it does so developmental tasks are to be mastered by the individual as she encounters the environment. The AP continues to move through all the houses taking 6 years to pass through each one until the age of 72 when it returns to the position in the horoscope where it started at birth. Then begins a second birth and developmental tasks take on a more significant meaning relating to old age and the elder experience.
As it moves, the AP highlights crises and opportunities due to psychological tasks that the individual meets in the environment of the house it traverses. As the AP contacts aspect patterns, it reveals personal innate attitudes and unconscious motivations impacting behavior. In the figure below, I compare the work of Dr. Erikson (in yellow) with Bruno Huber (in white) observing where developmental tasks overlap and what ages they do not in the two models of developmental psychology.
It is significant that dream images reflect the psychic conflicts that show up as conflicts in development occur. Using the Jungian method of Active Imagination, I help clients dialogue with dream images as they represent subpersonalities that would be dramatized at the time the AP contacts a sensitive point in the chart. Usually at the time of the consultation, clients have important dreams and the dreams may shed more light on what motivated the client to ask for help. In this way the dreams can reveal helpful images that resolve conflict happening on an unconscious level. (Grove, John. Life Passages: When Age Point Aspects and Dreams Coincide, Hopewell, Knutsford, UK, 2017.)
Highlights of Age Point Progression through the life Clock of Houses
8. The purpose of the exercises to dis-identify with ego-based sensation, emotion and thought—-
is to achieve a specific state of consciousness which has the affirmation of an identity with the higher self and the soul. ((Roberto Assagioli Freedom in Jail). To awaken our spiritual journey, become observers of our horoscope free to use our good will.
“What remains after I have disidentified myself with my body, my emotions, my desires, my actions and my mind? It is the essence of myself—a center of pure self-consciousness. It is the permanent factor in the ever-varying flow of my personal life. It is that which gives me a sense of being, of permanence, of inner balance. The ultimate goal of psychosynthesis and this psychology is to transcend aspects in the horoscope. To affirm our identify with this center and realize its permanency and its energy.
The secret of astrological psychology is to turn our backs on the ego attachments like a monk in deep meditation and transcend the desire, sub-personalities that are spawned by aspect patterns to our ego planets.
In Assagioli’s words:
“I affirm myself as a center of pure self-awareness and of creative and dynamic energy. I realize that from this center of true identity I can learn to observe, direct and harmonize all the psychological processes and the physical body. I Will to achieve a constant awareness of this fact in the midst of everyday life. And to use it to help me and give increasing meaning and direction to my life”.
Freedom in Jail, Roberto Assagioli Edited and introduced by Chatherine Ann Lombard, Quaderni dell’ Archivio Assagioli