The Opposite Aspects: Astrology and other Divisions, Dualities, and Contrasts
The Opposition aspect represents tension, pull, a tug of war, and being torn between one thing and another. However, there is also a complementary element to signs that oppose, and there are shared similarities.
Our opposite makes for a fully functioning whole, but it still presents a great challenge. Opposite signs are directed towards different ends, and we can’t separate opposites, as both relate to wholeness. Jung conceptualized the development of the personality as an ongoing process with each separate aspect of the self, harmonizing and integrating as a single entity. If we disown a part of our a nature we usually meet it outside ourselves, as projection and it is usually with a lifelong partner who plays out an inner character and we are not always consciously aware of this happening.
According to Sue Tompkins The Contemporary Astrologer’s Handbook (Astrology Now) she says the “opposition appears through relationships,” and for that reason, behave as a mirror the individual “projects” onto the other, and this is especially due to its 1st-7th house relationship. Such opposition could include disagreements, opposite points of view, and also raising awareness of the self through others. The square represents stumbling blocks and tending to enact itself through work, material objects, and health. Though that is not to say that they wouldn’t appear in relationships. In general the individual would be blocked, frustrated, and challenged in those areas.
For those with oppositions in the natal chart it is important to balance out the energy, and in the face of such a polarity in the personality, it is here that we have two aspects of the self, equal in psychic energy that are meeting in the middle. Each sign has its own gifts and weaknesses and those weak spots are often filled by our counterparts. Moreover, some of the roles of the signs become redundant without the other, so they really are a dynamic team when acting in unity. Opposite signs represent the need for balance in the world, and within everything contains its opposite; this is a common idea that has lasted thousands of years.
In the Hermetic thought they were staunch believers in the adage ‘as above, so below’ idea of causality and the principle of vibration that states that nothing rests, everything is in a state of flux, and in constant motion. Therefore, all things vibrate, and all opposites are identical in nature but different in degree, each being relative to the other. One of Alder’s psychological ideas was that character was formed through two opposing forces, and in stating this it also amplifies the belief that people are dynamic, they are vibrant, a force to be reckoned with. The whole chart is energetic, pulling the individual in different directions, and in order for there to be self-development there has to be tension. The hard aspects are there for us to integrate different parts of our nature and also for growth.
It is not strictly the aspects forming the 180-degree opposition that we see these contrasts we also see it in the squares, it represents the innate differences with signs out of our element. Also, Scorpio, for example, has contained in this one sign such extremities that it can be the symbol of extremes, all or nothing, swinging from a deadening emotion inside to feeling alive through every inch of the body. Scorpio seems to represent the extreme of opposites in life and death, love and hate, ecstasy and agony and seems to embody this constant internal battle; they are often in a psychological war with themselves. The Sun and Moon are also opposite representing the conscious and unconscious parts of the self, the masculine, and the feminine. We also see more definite opposites in the signs adjacent, for our next door neighbors have many opposing traits. For instance, Aries is fast and Taurus is slow, and we can see the signs develop in such a way as to make-up for the apparent shortcomings of the previous sign, and the contrast of opposition as the signs progress on the astrological wheel is powerful, if not more intense, than the naturally opposing signs.
We can see this antithesis with Libra and Scorpio. The sign of Libra is all about beauty, symmetry, charm; the sign entails everything that is elegant, light, good and fair. Now, let’s compare this with the following sign, Scorpio, seeking to oppose those nice ideals with its dark depths, the reality of human nature, with the integral belief of an eye for an eye and whose values are not above revenge, its favorite kind of justice. The opposition aspect actually has a lot in common with the sign of Libra and the difficult balancing act, resulting in the inability to go left or right, and the characteristic indecisiveness of the sign. The signs have evolved, similar to an evolution in the way they have adapted, viewed as ascending, climbing ever higher to achieve the fullest possible expression. The signs have grown more and more complex throughout their development stages up until we reach the end in the twelfth zodiac sign, Pisces. Many a philosophical thought believes that everything existing has two sides, so here we have the twelve astrological signs and shades of human nature in six neatly formed pairs.
Aries and Libra the aspect of peace and war, struggling for equilibrium, love and battles are always part of the same equation. The great Trojan War started with an apple and the judgment of beauty leading to an epic war stretching for years. Libra is teaching Aries to compromise and use skills such as diplomacy to get what they want, and Stephen Arroyo called Libra the polite side of Aries. Our Aries friend teaches Libra to make decisions, take charge and take action and be more self-motivated. The cardinal signs/houses (1st, 4th, 7th, and 10th) from the Latin word Cardo are thought to be where “life hinges” they initiate the seasons, and life centers on the cardinal cross concerning the primary issues of the individual vs. others, and family and career these are all central life issues that all of life balances.
Libra feels incomplete without the other, often needing a partner, they also long to please others and are affected by all things disharmonious. The Venus-ruled sign are learning from Aries how to apply the self without the worry of upsetting others, one can never truly be individual until one learns to stand alone, otherwise one constantly bends and folds, sitting on the fence of life in fear of upsetting the apple cart. Aries is about self-interest, what the self is doing and is less concerned with others, but the sign is also an advocate for the weak and the trodden on in life. Aries stands at the beginning and uses the phrase “I am.” The ram is focused on the self rather than the not-self. We rarely have to wait for Aries while we tell Libra to hurry up and make a decision. This is easy for Aries it is born in the first sign before any other adaptation or further experience has occurred. Libra brings people together, the bridge maker, the sign of justice. They settle quarrels, hence making a wonderful lawyer, relationship advisor, or peacemaker.
With Taurus and Scorpio and Taurus’ self-acquiring wealth there wouldn’t be any wills, legacies, other people’s monies, we wouldn’t merge our finances with a partner. The acquisition of wealth also equals power and brings these two together on the financial stakes like no other. The sign of Taurus without the element of change [Scorpio] would stagnate, the sign is rooted to the spot, there is stillness, peace, and there are usually a Scorpio-type crisis, uprooting the individual creating movement by force. Scorpio is teaching Taurus about delving into its deepest psychological depths to find a deeper meaning in life and not be overly attached to the material world. The Taurean is a sign of preservation remaining in a fixed state; it will teach Scorpio about stability, the quiet life, and one that is drama free. It involves the self-preservation of Taurus vs. the Self-destructiveness of the Scorpio’s nature. Taurus teaches its nemesis about building something tangible while Scorpio tears a structure down.
Our dear Scorpio is often a bit of an expert when it comes to regeneration. Regrowth usually means something that has been damaged or lost. Pluto is often a prominent transit for those that have undergone amputation, the loss of a body part. The basic security needs of Taurus hate crises, threats and being in danger, and Scorpio feels the exhaustion of such urgent transformations. At times, Taurus doesn’t want to be bothered by things, it likes to be left in peace, and can be of a placid nature. However, when the sign is angered, and it takes a lot of pushing to stir our beloved Taurus into violence, but its temper easily matches the Aries or Scorpio and can be as equally brutal. Taurus is the sign of nature, whereas Scorpio is concerned with evolution and we are well acquainted with Darwin’s Survival of the Fittest, a strong feature in the psychology of Scorpio.
Taurus has two feet firmly planted on the ground, and as is usual with earth-water polarities earth is solid where water is fluid, has movement, changes state. The axis is also one of sexuality from the touch, senses and the tactile nature of the Bull to the penetrating nature and the orgasmic force of the Scorpion. Taurus is thought to be the sanest sign on the zodiac wheel; by default it doesn’t make Scorpio insane, they just have more complicated emotions. Taurus is simple, Scorpio is complex and less obvious, and this is a feature of all the water signs. Both are protective signs wanting to retain what one possesses, whether objects, possessions, relationships or power. The axis is one of insecurity, and a threat to that security stirs up trouble from these signs, especially when you mess with their possessions, and try and take what they desire most. Taurus mostly fixes onto material things, Scorpio holds on to emotional power and has the famous hypnotic control. Taurus is the strength we find on earth and its natural resources and is self-sustaining, depends on its physical eyes to see and sense things, whereas Scorpio is the supernatural, symbolic of the cycle of life and death, the occult and magic, rules fate that unknown force changing things forever.
With Gemini and Sagittarius, we focus on the aspect of communication, this element as seen in the pure and simple intellect of the Gemini the first air sign. The mutable signs are usually in a state of transition, getting ready to change and so they have a sense of flexibility, a state of restlessness. Gemini wants to talk about life and Sagittarius wants to philosophize and find meaning, understanding in those words. From bus passes to passports it is Gemini that travels short distances and Sagittarius who goes the long distance, whether its physical, mental, or spiritual. Communication is Gemini’s job and we have Sagittarius’ breadth of knowledge taking it further. Gemini is factual and could teach its opposite about the details and Sagittarius has beliefs and the furthering of concepts. Both signs are versatile and adaptable and love learning and are incredible fun. Gemini tends to be cooler in expression, whereas Sagittarius has passion and vigor when expressing something.
All the mutable signs can be commitment-shy, both need lots of freedom. Gemini keeps things short and can be a little tricky. Sagittarius is more long-winded, boastful of knowledge, preachy, speaks bluntly, both tend to proud of what they have learned. The Sagittarius is highly principled and values honesty and the truth, possessing high ethics, and may not like the sneaky approach of Gemini the master of wit, small talk, and gossiping. The higher mind vs the low mind, with Sagittarius it is talking about large concepts often god, religion, philosophizing about different subjects and a general love of exploring. Both are excited by learning. The mercurial sign is curious but doesn’t always see the big picture, they enjoy puzzles, word games, phones, books, and information whizzing through at light speed. Gemini is very inventive doing many things at once running circles around everybody.
Gemini is often viewed as immoral vs. the Sagittarian morality, but they are more neutral. The axis takes a study class in the morning, goes off to socialize, reads extensively and travels. Gemini alone doesn’t always further its learning, it is mostly confined to the immediate environment. We go from languages to foreign languages, and the sign of the twins has a mind associated with cleverness, wit and agility that never grows old, filled with facts and anecdotes. Sag is the wise sage, the learned one, knowledge that expands. Both signs are interested in life, they rule schools and universities as part of the learning process and both are mentally restless. Gemini gathers information and Sagittarius will try to make sense of the data. Gemini gets unattached to ideas remaining unbiased whereas Sagittarius often has a lot of opinions about everything. Gemini the student and Sagittarius is the teacher, so the axis can take the apprentice and the learner in the role of teaching, or the travel writer and plenty of other possibilities that await the great pupil of life.
With Cancer and Capricorn it is about the home and career and a powerful feeling of nostalgia for the past, the sands of time flow through them, and many have old fashioned ways. Both share a common interest in history, whereas Cancer it’s the family history book and holding onto past items, sometimes as an attempt to retain it, at times they might keep those objects in case they need them again. Capricorn’s interest can be in things old and ancient and anything that has a timeless quality.
Cancer, a water sign, longs for emotional security, Capricorn, an earth sign, wants material security. Both signs are incredibly defensive. Cancer can learn from Capricorn to toughen up a little, though. Some psychological schools will tend to believe that early conditioning may have an effect on the role we take as an adult. Cancer is emotional and sentimental and Capricorn aloof and unsentimental both signs are good at business with Cancer’s shrewdness, intuition, and carefulness teamed with Capricorn’s business manner, seriousness and discipline. Both signs can be miserable, anxious, fearful and defensive, as well as extremely self-protective. The Cancer attaches to family, clan, home, a country with both valuing security. Astrologer, Carter, says the natural opposition between these two signs is one of natural forming groups such as the family vs. organized ones. Cancer has the gifts of mediumship, and the axis is thought to indicate the nature of family karma. The sign of Capricorn helps with the crab’s dependency, emotions shifting like the tides with feelings of extreme sensitivity and moodiness. While Cancer teaches Cappy about sympathy, allowing oneself to be vulnerable, even though the sign has a hard outer shell, this is to protect the individual because they have a soft underbelly, they give and sacrifice, they are maternal, as well as being domestic. Capricorn teaches cancer about self-sufficiency, not being so helpless, needy and how to stay in control; they are also realistic and want to achieve something with their lives.
With Leo and Aquarius, there cannot be self-identity and uniqueness without differences without a mass of others to compare ourselves. The image of the king or queen opposed to the people, royalty, and the commoner shows how Leo likes to hold court in the astrological chart. Aquarius, the sign of liberation, views man as being equal. Leo’s focus is on what makes the individual special often developing a powerful sense of self-importance and shining as a unique person. Aquarius is team spirit, the group mind, but where else can the self truly shine, but in front of a group. A powerful need to be recognized exists in Leo, and they can also be strong leaders, directing the show.
Aquarius is interested in societies, movements, and the group shining as one with many heads. Leo brings warmth, magnanimity, generosity to any gathering. Aquarius is often more concerned with the collective man and the fate of everybody opposed to the struggle of one individual. As Osho says, “The individual seems to be so small and society seems so big, people think we can change society and then the individual will change…once you know the science of the individual it is applicable to all individuals everywhere.”
The Aquarian viewpoint is strikingly similar to a picture of earth taken from space, and through the natural ability to observe things from a great distance. When astronauts are in space they have reported having felt a “cosmic connection,” a shift in awareness one that would closely align with Aquarius and it has been said to be one of the most enlightening experiences. “When you go around the Earth in an hour and a half, you begin to recognize that your identity is with that whole thing. That makes a change… it comes through to you so powerfully that you’re the sensing element for Man.” – Russell “Rusty” Schweickart. It even has a name; The Overview Effect, you stand back and gain perspective; we can feel insignificant [the opposite feeling to Leo values] in self –importance in comparison.
With Virgo and Pisces in life, Virgo needs to sort, organize and prioritize and everything runs through a filter, then of course we meet Pisces, the sign that is unfiltered, everything comes through all at once. Virgo usually specializes on a particular skill, trains, and hones its focus. The neat, methodical Virgo, taking pride in their work and a job well done. Pisces seeks to wash the world’s ills away and is filled with great empathy playing the part of bringing the inspiration, art and emotion to the everyday world. The use of their mental powers is important to Virgo, they are often the secretary of the zodiac making sure there are no mistakes, editing, refining, and both signs are in service to mankind. The craft is most common to Virgo with their ability to use their sharpened skills and make something of use for the individual. The fine needlework, ability in the arts and crafts, creative writing are just some of the natural talents of this axis and is a strong part of the personality. Pisces finds it difficult to narrow any subject down there are too many infinite ways for Pisces, flowing all directions, a Kaleidoscope of colors, assuming all shapes. Pisces is the refuge away from daily life though it tends to take an extended vacation. In Virgo and Pisces we see both are the helpers of the zodiacal tribe fulfilling the emotional and the practical needs of those who want their service.