Hard Aspects: Nothing but Trouble?

lddddQuestion: Do Hard Aspects indicate an insecure personality with a life full of struggle?

Well, somewhat, but who doesn’t feel insecure and battle against something personally. My advice would be to keep all of our dents, bruises, scars, it makes us interesting. If we want to be boring, well-adjusted, and even tempered with a chart full of soft aspects: sextiles and trines (bear in mind, I have come across some psychopathic and unsavory charts with a LOT of easy contacts, go figure), then never lose it, no extremes, contours, corners knocked off, as some psychologists say. Imagine how uninteresting reading a book would be without the heroine involved in some gut-wrenching self-encounter, some kind of confrontation with the mother or father, lover; the world at large. What if life contained no drama, painful revelation, or struggle? More importantly, what if we never experienced the great feeling of overcoming, with effort, some immense trial? Let’s be honest, our life would end up being something of a yawn fest, and we would get real slack. The hard aspects (conjunction, square and opposition) indicate those significant moments of our existence, along with those intense feelings stirred within us about some issue regarding ourselves. Without the narrative of a difficult and challenging life, nobody would be turning the pages quickly in anticipation, as it would lack oomph. The universe isn’t a total jerk we, too, receive ease throughout our allotted time here on this planet.

One can also recognize modern astrologers tendency to sometimes sweeten the interpretations of the harder aspects by claiming they are the very essence of our “spiritual growth.” In truth, hard aspects ain’t gonna be plain sailing; they sometimes cause problems, create compulsions – lead to complexes. In a lot of psychological astrology, it points towards a difficult planetary contact on a birth chart as forcing us to make a choice, implying that a conflict lies between two aspects of our nature. In the beginning, we are not shown how these two conflicting sides of the personality can be reconciled, sometimes we live out one side and project the other. We usually have lessons, later on, revolving around how to balance these aspects of our nature, without having to always experience these greater excesses of energy, frustration, and difficulty with expression. We are also advised to find an outlet for the hard aspects and raise our level of consciousness with these contrasting elements so that they don’t act out destructively when left buried in the unconscious. Difficult contacts heighten energy around particular themes concerning the planets involved, they are prone to over-excitement. In The Astrology of Personalty, Dane Rudyhar recognized that everybody is motivated to evolve in the direction of psychic wholeness, realizing there were also archetypal forces in the individual struggling to transform.

According to Doris Hebal:

 When I started studying astrology many years ago, I read all the available books on the subject. Unfortunately, most of these older texts are filled with what I call “wrist slitters’ statements. Based on these interpretations alone, if you have mostly “hard” aspects you are worthless and nothing good will ever happen to you. For instance, Sun square Mars denotes a person with a violent temper who is capable of murder or who will be murdered; physical violence is endemic to the aspect. I have Sun squaring Mars in my own chart, and, although I have been angry at times, I have not seriously entertained the thought of killing someone, no one has yet killed me. Nor do I continually encounter violence.  This sinister interpretation has its roots in the historical perspective of people who lived centuries ago. In simple terms, Sun/Mars aspects mean self-motivation. But in the dark ages, when a majority of people were serfs or slaves with little power to direct their own lives, a serf with the self-assertiveness of Sun square Mars would probably have been beaten or killed. In that society, a Sun/Mars square wasn’t very auspicious. Today, the self-motivation of this aspect is considered to be very useful in directing your life.

The hard aspects are hard, plain and simple. By nature, they are designed to create struggle, angst, and seem hardened to our inner plight for release. True, they can make us or break us at times; they can make us steely or tough, give us tremendous power. They can be exhausting, wearying, back-breaking, soul-crushing, and uncomfortable. As Beyonce sings, who needs a degree when your schoolin life’?

We all look for an escape route from pain and hard work, and it’s not really about seeing things as “good” or “bad” in life, human growth comes in many forms, goes through many different phases.

“The old concept of chronological, orderly, symmetrical development of character died when it was discovered that the unconscious motivations are entirely at odds with fabricated conventions. Human beings do not grow in perfect symmetry. They oscillate, expand, contract, backtrack, arrest themselves, retrogress, mobilize, atrophy in part, proceed erratically according to experience and traumas. Some aspects of the personality mature, others do not. Some live in the past, some in the present. Some people are futuristic characters, some are cubistic, some are hard-edged, some geometric, some abstract, some impressionistic, some surrealistic!” Anaïs Nin, The Novel of the Future

Not everything is meant to flow easily in life, not every poem rhymes; sometimes the paint is cracked, and the metal is rusted. Let’s face it, difficult aspects make us care more about what happens, they can be hard, so we have to be harder, learn how to handle it. The hard aspects can make us say, ‘Oh it’s heavy. Oh it’s hard. It isn’t easy.’ Hardly any aspect of life is free from conflict and hard aspects do have this tendency to create knotty problems, but what we really need to ask is how the aspects of our personality have shaped us as a human being? What have we been forced to confront? Such aspects in the personality certainly make up a large part of who we are as people. Hard aspects make us human, however, they are not the most pleasant weather to endure, but they help us to grow, develop and form as individuals.

What used to be regarded as “difficult” aspects in a chart are then sugar-coated with all sorts of idealized and flowery language, and the fact that some of these aspects indicate not only real problems for the person but also major defects or negative qualities in the character is ignored. It seems that it is time to be realistic about ourselves and view of life. Life is full of difficulties and problems. That is what makes it such a profound learning experience for the soul. If we view the birth chart as a comprehensive symbol of an individual’s life potentials and life pattern, then that symbol must include indications of these crucial life problems, these areas of life wherein we can learn major lessons which further our growth. By Stephen Arroyo