Category: Psychology


Both my family and my wife’s family have some similar dynamics. We both come from devout religious backgrounds, we both come from families of five. In both families, there’s a male first born child who is significantly order than two younger sisters much closer in age. Also similar is the relationship dynamic between each of us and our siblings. The youngest sister has a good relationship with her sister and her brother. Her sister and her brother, however, do not get along. To be fair, both middle sisters are a bit exasperating.

The Leo/Virgo/Libra thing is similar. Little sister Libra gets on well with big brother Leo. They both like things bright and flashy and a little glam – like the 80s (note the return of the 80s for the Libra generation). Libra gets on well with persnickety Virgo as well. Libra understands Virgos need for care and skepticism. After all, Libra can’t be an effective judge without considering Leo’s big ideas in light of the details that Virgo looks after.

So Virgo gets pulled between her more confident siblings. But that’s okay, Virgo’s kind of happy that way. They prefer to stay in the background, doing the work, and leaving credit-taking for people who give a crap.

In order to get along, Virgo must praise the Leo. There’s nothing Leo likes more than to hear “Good kitty!”

Virgo’s a pleaser – as long as Leo is being a good kiity this isn’t too much of a problem. And Leo – Leo must do something harder. He must learn to allow Virgo the freedom to be as she is.

How to Tame A Lion

In our last episode, overbearing, insensitive [Pluto in] Leo finally aroused the ire of patient and compassionate [Pluto in] Virgo.

Boomer: You’re mean! I’m going to claw you! Rraow!

Virgo: Yes, well, violence is the last resort of the weak. Why do you feel such violence is appropriate?

Boomer [sniveling like a child]: Because you don’t like me!!!!!

Virgo: [sigh.] I never said that. You just confuse the gifts you give with our relationship. They have nothing to do with each other. I like you – when you’re not being overbearing, insensitive, aggressive and pushy. You can’t make me like this crappy “gift” you want to give me. You don’t need to buy me.

This Week: Taming the Lion

Boomer [faking hurt, since he just got found out]: I’m not trying to buy you! But say, how come you never help me?

Virgo: You never ask.

Boomer: You should offer.

Virgo: Why?

Boomer: It’s the nice thing to do. It shows you care.

Virgo [exasperated]: And how am I to know when you want my help?

Boomer: That’s why you offer. To find out.

Virgo: Waste of time. If you need help, ask for it.

Boomer: I’m not gonna ask, you have to offer!

Virgo [slowly and patiently]: I guess I have to make this really plain. I’m not going to offer. That’s what you want me to do, but I’m not going to do something just because you want me to. If you’re not gonna ask, you’re not gonna get.

Boomer: I’ll never ask! I’ll never ask.

Virgo: Then you’re gonna have a long wait.

Leo: But I got you this!

Virgo: Which I didn’t ask you to get – get it?

Leo: ….Ummm…. . . . . . . no.

Virgo [repressed sigh]: We’re back where we started. First, you shower with me unasked-for gifts and you can’t figure why I refuse to be grateful. Then, you try to push your way ahead of me and do what I’m perfectly capable of doing for myself, and you still can’t figure out why I refuse to be grateful. Your gifts come with strings. You expect me to read your mind and randomly offer help when I think you want me to. I don’t do that. The problem is not that I’m ungrateful, the problem is that you don’t understand for what I will be grateful.

Leo scratches his head: oh…..well, how do I do that?

Virgo [trying not to yell but not succeeding]: You have to ask!

At this point, if the argument gets this far, someone usually hangs up or storms out. Frankly, I’m surprised you’re still reading.

Only Virgo Can Sooth the Savage Beast

Next: Libra Brings Harmony

A Virgo’s Ire Aroused

One of the biggest issues between the generations is the issue of help and generosity. I have had this very argument with my Mom many times. It goes something like this.

Boomer (Leo): Look at this fantastic thing I got/did for you!

GenX (Virgo) [shrugs]: Ummm…yeah, it’s great…..

Boomer: Aren’t you going to thank me?

Virgo: For what?

Boomer: ….For that great thing I just did/got for you!

Virgo: Okay, I give up. Thanks.

Boomer: You don’t really seem very grateful…I’m kind of hurt.

Virgo: [sigh.] I’m trying to be polite…it’s just that I didn’t ask you for it.

Boomer: What does that have to do with anything?

Virgo: The joy of generosity comes in finding out what the recipient really wants and giving that to them. You didn’t really do that.

Boomer: I don’t understand that. All giving is fantastic! [A religious Boomer might add: “Says so in the {insert religious text of choice}!”]

Virgo: To you, maybe.

Boomer: You’re so ungrateful!

Virgo: Your thing is awful. It sucks. Why would anyone want it all, let alone be grateful it was pushed upon them.

Boomer: I don’t understand you. I give and I give and you just criticize.

Virgo [patiently]: You give to control. You give what you want. You make no attempt to find out if I want anything at all, let alone a piece of crap like this! Why can’t you wait until I ask you for help?

Boomer [quickly]: You don’t have to do that! I already helped you! Here! I’ll help some more! Here’s another gift!

Virgo: You don’t get it, and I’m starting to think you are willfully ignorant. Stop trying to buy me off. Bribes disgust me. Your “help” and “generosity” are misplaced. In fact, I don’t see what you’re doing as helpful or generous at all, only as interference and meddling. Please … [with all the compassion she can muster] … take it to someone who cares.

Boomer: You’re mean! I’m going to claw you! Rraow!

Virgo: Yes, well, violence is the last resort of the weak. Why do you feel such violence is appropriate?

Boomer [sniveling like a child]: Because you don’t like me!!!!!

Virgo: [sigh.] I never said that. You just confuse the gifts you give with our relationship. They have nothing to do with each other. I like you – when you’re not being overbearing, insensitive, aggressive and pushy. You can’t make me like this crappy “gift” you want to give me. You don’t need to buy me.

Things really heat up in Round 2.

Leo & Virgo Continued

Because the mythological Virgo represents the virgin sacrifice – and she knows this – Virgo’s passion can turn to anger – flight attendant Stephen Slater’s famous tantrum is a good example of Pluto in Virgo anger. Virgos will keep it to themselves for a long time – some think of them as doormats – but eventually, they will get fed up and they will whip out the beast.

But it is also this sacrificial nature (Jesus represents the classic Virgo) that allows Virgo to understand better than any other sign the importance of rolling up your sleeves and doing the wetwork.

She knows full well that sometimes the someone who just has to stick her hands in a big pile of shit in order to pull out the diamond at the bottom will probably be a Virgo.

So Leo blazes a trail, and Virgo comes along behind, cleaning up the mess and making the trail walkable. Virgo-types like coming in behind someone and fixing everything up so it’s efficient. Efficiency is a hallmark of Virgo, and they will often make decisions based upon what’s most efficient. Pluto in Virgo types are even now transforming the idea of efficiency and work, to the point of redefining them so far that previous generations don’t recognize them.

Boomers tend to think GenXers are lazy, unmotivated and focused on minutiae. GenXers think Boomers are overbearing, unrealistic, and manipulative.

Virgo are not unmotivated, but they aren’t very ambitious. Leo likes to be the king lion, build an empire, run the show and get all the credit. Virgo cares about none of this. Virgo wants to take care of only what they can personally supervise, and the concept of taking credit is both meaningless and useless to them. Virgos measure success in other ways.

Next: Virgo argues with Leo

The Pluto in Virgo Generation (GenX) – so misunderstood. Often portrayed as overly critical, nerdy, childish control freaks, it’s rankled us as a generation for a long time. Virgos, being mutable (matrix) can also be very passionate when aroused. It’s just that they are often aroused by things that most people don’t even think about at all, let alone let themselves get passionate about. Virgos are also compassionate and they love to work – as long as it’s efficiently. Many Virgos live by a strict code known only to themselves.

So while it’s true that a Virgo’s negative reputation for a childish need to be right and certain amount of intellectual arrogance often precedes her, it’s just that she’s so into the process and the efficiency that it never occurs to her that this mode may alienate others. And frankly, my dear, as a generation, they don’t care. Because they know, in the end, they will be vindicated.

Continued

While there are surely major differences between the GenX and the GenY attitude, they share a surprising number of traits. I’ll get to that in a moment.

First, I ran across this entry at Raph Koster’s blog:

Recently I had a discussion with a management and leadership consultant, and we were discussing the generational characteristics of Millenials versus Gen X in the workforce, and we were talking about how a gamer mentality may have affected the way Gen Y behaves in the workplace: more likely to follow the rules, more likely to work in teams, more needful of reassurance, less creative and risk-taking, less likely to see the full scope of irreversible consequences of a choice, and less likely to see things in shades of gray. In a way, these sound like thinking trained by games.

I don’t know Raph, and I have no idea what he does or doesn’t know about astrology, but his observation is a spot-on description of Pluto in Libra. Libra values fairness and structure, hence the teamwork and rule-abiding. Pluto in Virgo is too fickle and independent to work well in teams. Virgo types can follow rules, but they have a tendency to create their own elaborate set of rules that probably only applies to them individually (if you pardon the ham-grammared sentence).

The gaming, too is very Libran. Like all air signs (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius), Libra types like games and puzzles. They like intellectual challenges.

As Raph points out, they can be insecure – wishy-washiness is a classic Libra trait. Of course, neither Pluto in Virgo nor Pluto in Libra is particularly inventive or risk-taking. That’s the Pluto in Leo generation – the Boomers, the Me generation. But what Virgo is good at that Libra isn’t is taking something existent and making it more efficient. Efficiency is a hallmark of Virgo. Leo trailblazes, Virgo cleans up the mess and Libra evaluates the results.

Coming soon: Virgo and Libra in Harmony

Boomers vs. GenX

Why is there such an inordinate amount of angst between GenX and our parents? Well, I’m not sure why, exactly, but in astrological terms the problem can be described by the Pluto cycle. Most Boomers have Pluto in Leo, Most GenXer’s have Pluto in Virgo. So let’s check out the differences…

  • Leo is pushy and aggressive where Virgo is polite and accomodating.
  • Leo is impulsive and careless, Virgo is methodical and careful

    A Stately Leo

  • Leo charges through the trees, Virgo reads the map
  • Leo is extravagant, Virgo moderate
  • Leo values loyalty, Virgo values frugality
  • Leo jumps to conclusions, Virgo seeks answers
  • Leo is passive-aggressive and manipulative, Virgo straightforward and earnest
  • Leo is vain, Virgo practical
  • Leo is gullible and easily impressed, Virgo wary and sophisticated
  • Leo gambles, Virgo assesses
  • Leo is gladitorial, Virgo
  • Leo is dictatorial, Virgo egalitarian
  • Leo is selfish, Virgo sensible
  • Leo is demanding, Virgo reasonable
  • Leo is lazy, Virgo industrious
  • Leo is prideful, Virgo modest

    A Virgo in Leo clothing

Keep in mind all you Sun-Sign Leos and Virgos, this is not about Sun in Leo/Virgo. This is about Pluto in Leo/Virgo. These are generational, societal attitudes, not personal ones.

And anyway, we threw out the whole “I am a [insert sign here]. No, you’re not. You’re just human.

I’ll break these down in the next post.

Astrology is a coded language that can help us learn about ourselves.

Okay, that sounds like some New Age fairy gobbledegook, right? And inevitably, the question arises: Isn’t astrology just a pointlessly coded language? Doesn’t this just equate astrology with religion? Why talk in this code at all? Why not just speak frankly about whatever it is the code represents?

Astrology has three main purposes:

  • Psychology and Behavior
  • Character and Story Generation
  • Self-Reflection

What do all three of these points have in common? They’re really about learning. People are not rational, they are emotional. They are hard to teach. In order for someone to truly learn, they must buy what you’re teaching – we often use the phrase “buy into” to describe this. So really, learning is really just special type of selling, and people buy on emotion.

Astrology is a way to engage that emotion.

Another piece of the answer can be found in Dan Pink’s observations about autonomy, mastery and purpose, three elements critical to understanding yourself.

While astrology cannot predict events, when deployed as a psychological tool, it can predict behavior. Sort of like psychology with mascots.

Comments, questions, cookie recipies? More to come.

Copernicus’s discovery of the earth going around the sun blows astrology out of the water as a divination tool.

Below are three charts, all from today. The first shows Northern California, the second, Equatorial Guinea and the third, the North Pole.See how the first two are rotated versions of each other but the North Pole chart is a mess?

Northern California

Equatoria Guinea

North Pole

This is a graphic demonstration of how astrology as a divination tool stresses apparent motion. Of course, rational people know that the positions of the planets in reality is no different no matter where on the earth you are.

Astrology is useless for divination or fortune-telling or trend prediction. So what good is it?

The answer in Part 2.

See how the first two are rotated versions of each other but the North Pole chart is a mess?
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