The Family Scapegoat


If you have a family with a “Scapegoat,” you know who they are: the one who always gets blamed for the family’s issues and who consequently feels rejected and alone. When resentment, hostility, and irritation are directed on one family member, that person is cast as the victim of the family’s problems. Scapegoating is an act of bullying, exclusion, denial, and accusation in which one person is singled out and made to take on the blame and shame of everyone else.

The “black sheep” of the family is the person who everyone else avoids because of the humiliation they impose on the rest of the family. The astrological significators of being singled out as the family’s “scapegoat” or “bad apple” may differ from one family to the next. When Pluto is placed in the fourth, eighth, or twelfth house, it can be a sign of inherited complexes that haven’t been dealt with over the years. Pluto in a water house is often left to deal with some type of familial destiny, but they may be the agents of change and transformation in the family, so there are potentially positive elements to being the black sheep of the family if it brings healing to old conflicts. The water houses represent what is happening subconsciously inside the psyche of the family.

As a result of the inexplicable and complex feelings of guilt and persecution that a person with Pluto in the 12th house may experience, it is not uncommon for that person to take on the position of family scapegoat. Sometimes the person will have a hunch that something bad is hiding in the background and within their family tree, and research will reveal that there is a terrible history of abuse, cruelty, or violence running down the ancestral line. Pluto-ruled individuals may be manipulated into false confessions of criminal behaviour in an effort to induce feelings of worthlessness and guilt. Those born with a powerful Pluto are more likely to bear the burden of familial violence and shoulder the blame for issues. Contrarily, those with a significant Pluto influence aren’t reluctant to show their deepest emotions and tackle the toughest family problems head-on. Even so, the “black sheep” of the family is often the subject of much discussion and energy expenditure.

Some astrologers have theorised that children born to Pluto may feel like they don’t fit in with the rest of the family and have traits that are very different from those displayed by their siblings. The sick, bad, or deviant family member is typically called the scapegoat or the black sheep. Pluto in the water houses can represent a family’s dark past, a secret that has been kept hidden for a long time, a struggle that has gone unresolved or unacknowledged, or even a demon that has been passed down down the generations. When someone in the family is made to take the blame for problems, they may unknowingly internalise the blamer’s bad feelings. In the field of psychology, this person is typically referred to as the “identified patient” and may be viewed as the sickest or most troubled family member.

Saturn is another planet that may be associated with feeling guilty or responsible for others’ misfortunes. Those with Saturn in their horoscopes are more prone to blame themselves for problems in their lives, and the family member who is made to play the scapegoat by Neptune is more likely to feel like a victim twice over. When Neptune is in the twelfth house, it can act as a conduit for the world’s collective sorrow, suffering, sacrifice, and shattered dreams, while also connecting us to our long-lost ancestors. When planets are positioned in the 12th house, also known as the house of undoing, the native may find themselves the target or scapegoat of family feuds. Family history of mental illness, substance misuse, alcoholism, or emotional problems is a real possibility. Neptune’s position in the 12th house might cause its possessee to feel like a victim, or to blame themselves for their problems. Psychiatric disorders, victimisation, and unrealized aspirations may all run deep in the family’s past.

Planets in the 12th house have a tendency to withdraw emotionally from their families, earning them the label of “family scapegoat” and the burden of settling ancient scores. It’s possible that having Neptune in the fourth house is a symbol of an abnormal reliance on something at home as well as a sense of having suffered in the past. Those who are more ready to self-sacrifice to an image of a victim are more likely to be impacted by patterns in the horoscope that have this attribute, and Neptune is sometimes described to as the victim-redeemer. Sun-Neptune or Saturn-Neptune aspects are also possible; those born with them are eager to take on greater responsibilities. Some of these characteristics include a strong emphasis on the 8th or 12th house, as well as the presence of an introverted sign such as Virgo, Capricorn, or Scorpio. 

The influence of the Moon on the feeling of belonging to and being a part of one’s family may also be explored. The black sheep or scapegoat of the family may feel their best interests are served by severing all ties with the rest of the clan. It seems, nevertheless, that we’d rather tolerate some degree of destructiveness inside the family than be completely cut off from them.

Many people have a powerful need to identify with their historical roots, and suffer great anxiety if they are torn away from their place of origin. They would rather risk pain and even death than pack their bags and move somewhere else. Often we cannot understand why people persist in living on the slopes of active volcanoes which are guaranteed to erupt periodically, or remain entrenched in zones of obvious danger. For the same reason many people remain in miserable marriage or destructive families. The terror of being alone, a wanderer in the world is deemed worse than the suffering and claustrophobia of their situation. The Moon cannot bear isolation, and will often cling to a family demon rather than pursuing an unfamiliar independent angel. The Luminaries: The Psychology of the Sun and Moon in the Horoscope (Seminars in Psychological Astrology)

Uranus aspects are also given the label of “outsider,” and because of this, they march to the beat of a different drum. This may represent a member of the family who is seen as peculiar or especially distinct. Chiron in the natal chart is also another signification that represents wounds, as well as the feeling of being an outsider and different, and we can also look at the synastry of the charts of those who are scapegoating us.