Sometimes we only get at our self-hatred by indirect means—by examining what we hate in others. We have probably all had the experience of taking an immediate dislike to someone we've just met...and maybe had it pointed out to us none too kindly that we disliked that person precisely because they were too much like us in some unpleasant way. What we reacted to so strongly in them was actually something in ourselves that we don't like to face up to.
This goes for Sun signs as well. My teacher, Richard Idemon pointed out that the signs you hate tell a great deal—not necessarily about the sign per se—but about yourself. By the psychological mechanism of projection, we "disown" parts of ourselves that we don't approve of and assign them to someone or some group outside ourselves. "Me? Yearning to be passive and helpless instead of self-sufficient? No, it's those Pisces!"
If you've gone no further than Sun signs so far, you may be surprised to find out that you are carrying around in your birth chart the signs you love to hate. Following the connections between signs, planets, and houses in Table One, you may find them in unsuspected places. If you have your Sun conjunct Jupiter but can't bear Sagittarians, you are practically a Sag yourself! If you hate Aries with a passion but have Mars on the Ascendant, perhaps you hate an aggressive, competitive facet of yourself. Can't stand Gemini? Could that be where you have your South Node? Do Virgos set your teeth on edge? Strange...if you have several planets in the sixth house, you have such a lot in common! Look for the signs you hate in your own chart—you may find out you are projecting an important, disowned piece of yourself onto other people
Then there is the confessional brand of self-hatred...so named because it happens when we feel called upon to examine our faults, and it generally has a moralistic cast. "Why am I so BAD? What makes me do these terrible things? It is BAD to be so competitive!" Often in these cases what we are doing is identifying with one facet of our chart at the expense of another, often major facet. The part we identify with and want to be like is often one our parents approved of as "good," while the part of ourselves we disown is what our parents told us was "bad." Cultural conditioning plays its part too...in our culture, it is often considered "bad" or "unnatural" if a man shows strongly Venusian characteristics. Actually a strong Venus in a man's chart is neither good nor bad, but only an intrinsic piece of his nature.
The qualities our parents fostered and approved of are often reflected in our Rising Sign (also known as the Ascendant4.) The sign on the Ascendant reveals our mask or tools for trying to get along with others. The Ascendant is not our essential self... the Sun and Moon are far more basic to our character.
Many people are totally identified with their Ascendant. One friend was much more
4 The zodiac sign on the cusp of the first house is called the Ascendant or Rising sign. This sign, determined by the precise time of birth, is one of the three most important factors in the chart, along with the Sun and Moon. It represents our outer personality, the characteristics people first remark on when meeting us. It also shows the mask we wear in social situations, which may or may not show our true nature.
open to astrology once she found out she had Pisces rising. "I always thought I was more like a Pisces. Why, Leos aren't nice people!" She was meek and not at all dramatic in appearance despite being a double Leo5 —that is, with both Sun and Moon in Leo. A double Leo who shows no Leo at all is a Leo in a heck of a lot of trouble. I call that kind of trouble "getting trapped in your Ascendant."
One client who was trapped in her Ascendant was a Gemini with Sun conjunct both Uranus and Saturn. She had Cancer rising, and this was what most people saw of her— mother to the world. When I pointed out to her that she really didn't have a motherly bone in her body, she admitted that she really resents having to take care of all those people. "But it's BAD to be the way you described my Sun!" It took her a long time to accept that not only was it not bad for her to be her Sun, it was more real and more truly herself. I told her I felt she was brilliant and that she was wasting a lot of time mothering people who did not appreciate being mothered. She might do more for humanity in the end if she concentrated on developing the tremendous potential of her Sun. As in this case, considerable self-hatred can occur when the basic natures of your Sun and Moon or Ascendant are in disagreement because their signs are incompatible.
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