My friend Chrissy in her book on the black hole game – One Way of Looking at Man – says that there are three key misconceptions that we suffer from as human beings: that we are our personalities, that our mind pictures are real and that we know what we need. In my own experience and in terms of other people I have found these insights to be true. Many people identify completely with their personalities. The result is that they are not able to stand back from their own perception of the world and their own reactions to it, to be able to consider their emotions and reactions more objectively. They are also not able to see the world through others eyes. Sadly, we all fall into this trap to greater or lesser extents, but when we do so, we are unable to learn because we cannot reflect clearly on our own point of view to see it as just that. The second point that we think our mind pictures are real is a tricky one. Even scientists espoused to view that they perceive the world open mindedly on the basis of evidence get caught on this one. Only by realising that all our perspectives are just that, including what we determine to be real or true can we keep an open mind. Of course, paradoxically, the perspective that all truth is relative is also a mind picture – it might not be…! Humour seems the best response to this one – not taking ourselves too seriously. Lastly, if I look back at my own life and reflect on the experiences that have been most valuable and which I have learnt most from, I have to conclude that I do not know what I need, since I would never have chosen these experiences for myself at the time!
As well as these three misconceptions applying to ourselves they also apply to our view of others. We tend to identify other people with their personalities; we can get caught in thinking other people’s mind pictures are reality and we tend to think we know what other people need. Talking to people that I have met over the last few weeks about Syria and reflecting on my own and others black holes recently (I have Chiron conjunct Saturn) I realised that there might be a fourth common misconception and this is that we are our fate – we also assume others to be their fate. It is Bashar al-Assad’s fate to be a tyrant killing his own people in Syria. It is easy to identify him with his fate. Fate and personality are intimately connected here. To a large extent our personality is our fate (as most astrologers would recognise); we do not consciously choose our charts but we cannot escape them either. Since we tend to treat other people as if they were their personalities – if they are abrasive or awkward we dislike them or avoid them – we in effect treat them as if they are their fate. In this respect again Astrology is so valuable. Once you know they are Venus-Saturn rising in Aries for example, you immediately appreciate the difficulty the human being has being landed with this personality. Similarly, we cannot escape our transits. When you look at poor Bashar al-Assad’s chart, you can see that he was born on 11th September 1965, with the Sun exactly conjunct Pluto-Uranus opposite a Saturn-Chiron conjunction in Pisces (with his moon probably involved as well). He is also born on 9/11, the anniversary of the Twin Towers. At the moment Chiron is conjunct his Saturn-Chiron and probably his Moon opposite his Sun-Pluto-Uranus conjunction and it is only going to tighten again in the coming year. What a fate! It would be very easy to identify the poor man with his fate. This is perhaps the dangerous side of Saturn – that we judge others and measure them according to their fate, rather than seeing them as human beings with a particular fate.
Personally, I think Bashar al-Assad deserves our compassion – who would swap places with him? That is not to be naive about his personality but to be compassionate to the human being. I have a particular vested interest in this compassion on the basis that I think all those poor people born with the Sun tightly aspecting this extreme and uncomfortable opposition in 1965 deserve our sympathy and understanding, particularly those born exactly 3 months later with the Sun on the ascendant t-squaring this opposition – imagine how difficult that must be! Especially when you know you should be working but you’re spending your time writing a blog….