The Sun enters Scorpio tomorrow at 2:09 am EDT, emphasizing the tone initiated by Mercury’s station retrograde in that sign yesterday. Eric focused on the potential for this astrology to get us to look at the ways we are in denial, and to begin bringing those situations into better integrity. Today, the denial theme is joined astrologically by the idea of codependence — and the role alcohol plays in our ability to perpetuate those cycles.
Consider for a moment the psychological drama triangle first described by Stephen Karpman (often called “the Karpman triangle”) and used in transactional analysis. The triangle consists of a Persecutor, a Victim and a Rescuer. The model describes situations in which people tend to take on these roles (and can switch roles) to perpetuate unhealthy dynamics that in some way feed unspoken (or unconscious) wishes and needs.
The Karpman triangle does not describe actual emergencies where someone genuinely needs saving from harm (such as a firefighter saving someone from a burning building set on fire by an arsonist). In this case, “… the Victim is not really as helpless as he feels, the Rescuer is not really helping, and the Persecutor does not really have a valid complaint,” according to transactional analyst Claude Steiner.
The magical glue holding together the people playing these three roles is denial. At some level, Persecutors have convinced themselves they are right to do what they do to the Victim and refuse to see their actions as abusive or manipulative. Victims do not see themselves as to blame for how they ‘always end up in this situation’ and give away their power. Rescuers tell themselves they ‘are just trying to help’ and are ‘good people’, when really they get something out of keeping Victims helpless. The underlying objective is to justify the feelings they get to feel — rather than fostering healthy relationships or healing for oneself.
So where does the astrology come in? Today — with retrograde Mercury setting the stage in Scorpio — the asteroid Vesta in Virgo squares minor planets Pholus and Ixion in Sagittarius. In Virgo, Vesta’s themes of devotion and sacrifice can go one of two ways: either toward a clearer, more hands-on type of service to humanity and one’s own creative flame; or toward a type of self-sacrifice fueled by self-criticism and a crisis of self-esteem.
Ixion tends to represent the ability of anyone to be capable of anything, in a ‘no ethics’/’no integrity’ sense; Pholus is not only indicative of the runaway reaction, but also serves as a caution about alcohol consumption (or overconsumption). Much cruel behavior over the course of history has been perpetrated under the influence of booze, or excused or justified because of it.
Squares create a kind of inner tension that urges us to act. Vesta-Pholus-Ixion, fraught as it may seem with the potential for self-undermining behavior, is simply asking us to take a closer, clearer look at the behavior patterns we’re engaged in. Denial is thick and sticky, and we humans have become masterful at accepting its shiny colors rather than looking beneath the gloss.
If we look a little closer at the astrology, we see minor planet Hebe conjunct Pholus and Ixion. Hebe was the cupbearer to the gods, and Eric and Martha Lang Wescott have delineated Hebe as being about codependency. For the little umbrella in this cocktail, Bacchus (god of drunken revelry) is entering the Uranus-Pluto square by way of a conjunction to Pluto in Capricorn; this issue concerns all of us.
Alcohol in moderation can be a lovely accent to a meal or a moment; but what it does it tell us when we look at just how much alcohol is consumed the world over? There are bars and liquor stores in every corner of the globe, and it’s not so people can accent a meal or a moment.
So many people are trying to drown pain, trying to shore up their denial. Why is living so excruciating for so many?
How many people are perpetuating a sense of detachment though their drinking, and how many people have learned this ‘skill’ from their parents? This detachment is another potential shadow form of Vesta, as she appears in the Karpman triangle — and alcohol (plus similar substances, and their emotional equivalents) is a fog machine that obscures what we could be now and deters awakening to that truth.
In Elisa Novick’s column this weekend, she described the connection between spiritual/karmic healing on an individual level and how it can ripple out into our family, ancestral, tribal and national systems, and beyond. The question for you now, whether alcohol is involved on a personal level or simply culturally, is: What are you serving?
Are you choosing, in your decisions, actions and inner examination of your motives, to serve forward-looking integrity — integrity that honors the past by looking to acknowledge its truth? Are you serving backward-looking guilt that perpetrates familial or ancestral patterns and denial? If you’re willing to be brutally honest with yourself, how often do you find yourself acting out one of Karpman’s codependent roles?
The astrology is describing a crux point, a moment in which it may be possible to actually get somewhere: a moment of clarity.
With Eric Francis