maslowFigure 1.2 Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Clients may or may not be motivated to face up to their basic needs both in therapy and in astrological consultation, instead of gratification of their fantasies, wants or desires. To accomplish this, their ego needs must be recognized and supported by the therapist or consultant as they present them. First, there is the physical need for safety and security, which is achieved by building trust in the first encounter. The consultant expresses that this is a private and confidential session and returns requests for service promptly.
There is a correlation between Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and astrological psychology’s development of ego planets. On the first two bars of Maslow’s pyramid are Physiological needs and Safety (See Figure 1.2). These refer to nourishment and growth in the first four years of life, where 70% of development is physical. A parallel situation for the client in psychotherapy or astrological consultation relates to the provision of a secure framework in the client-consultant relationship where confidentiality, privacy, physical comfort and relative anonymity are the social norm.[i]
This physiological bar correlates with the genetic endowment of the human being and relies to a great degree on the ‘average expected environment,’ based on the client’s early parenting on which the fulfillment of her/his hereditary endowment depends. The connection with astrological psychology is the correlation of the client’s psychological drive for security and safety with the planet Saturn’s horoscope placement. Saturn’s placement and aspects are symbolized by the daily routines leading to safety and security of the child initiated by the mother. Saturn’s patterns and aspects are identified in the natal horoscope and represented by the Mother’s caretaking of the child. The Mother makes sure the child is fed, comfortable as to warmth or cold, clean and hygienically cared for, and established in the routines of the sleep-wake cycle. Saturn’s quality in the horoscope can yield a great deal of information about the nature of the relationship between Mother and child, and form the structure of safety and security of physical functioning relating to Maslow’s physiological and safety needs. Thus, in the astrological psychology consultation, the consultant provides safety and security for the client, a Saturn role, as a nurturer in this relationship. He/she provides consistency, structure based on the client’s needs, and routine care for his/her client based on set appointment times. The office décor meets her needs for comfort, a nurturing environment, and relative security. The client is physically place in the office nearest to the door so that he/she can find easy exit if needed.
The second ego need is to be loved and have a sense of belonging. The love/belonging bar on the Maslow pyramid (Figure 1.2) correlates to the Moon in astrological psychology. This is the drive to contact others for the purpose of getting sympathetic love and emotional connection. Good emotional development means the child can reach out with trust to others, expecting a return of love and understanding. The Moon with its aspects and placement in the natal horoscope reveals the subjective point of view of the child as to how his emotional needs are met/not met. Thus, in an astrological psychology consultation, as in therapy, application of Carl Rogers’ concept of ‘unconditional regard,’ given by the consultant to the client, must convey empathy and understanding, not judgment.[ii] In this way, we allow the spontaneous inner child in the client to contact the therapist.
The third ego need is correlated with the self-esteem and self-actualization bars on the Maslow pyramid (Figure 1.2), and is symbolized by the Sun in astrological psychology. Qualities of the Sun refer to the psychological drive for thinking, conceptualization, and willing, which eventually can bring about self-realization and give a sense of purpose to the individual, once basic needs are met. Assessment of Sun principles by the therapist, can help determine whether the client has clear thinking, good problem- solving capacity, and the potential to awaken the strongest ego planet. The astrological psychology consultant sets goals that align with the clients’ strengths, not his/her own. Therefore, at the beginning of a consultation, one must ask why the person is seeking consultation and try to focus on ‘the presenting request’ during the session, using the chart inferences to direct the flow of communication. A respect for the independence of the client is paramount to a good consultation. For the therapist, aligning with the presenting problem of the client is the initial goal of treatment. When the client suffers from a negative feeling or ego state in a consultation, the astrologer does not ‘rescue’ her from her struggles but, using empathy and applying active listening skills, is gently supportive as she works through her struggles.[iii] Once he leaves the consultation, he/ she must function independently so we do not encourage dependency of any kind in a consultation. [i] Langs, Robert, MD, Rating Your Psychotherapist, Ballantine Books, NY, NY, 1989. p.209.
[ii] Rogers, Carl. Client Centered Therapy, The Riverside Press, Cambridge, Mass. 1951.
[iii] Gordon, Thomas, Parent Effectiveness Training, Three Rivers Press, NY, NY, 2000.
Information on the quality of the ego planets as they relate to the meeting of basic needs is determined by the exact birth time, place and date of the individual, and this data is calculated on a computer program by the astrological psychology consultant to erect the natal horoscope. The consultant’s assessment of the client’s strongest ego planet is determined by its placement in the house system and its planetary aspects. Ego growth and development through identification and development of the this strongest ego planet must be recognized and strived for enhancement if personality integration is to be met.
Are the will and thinking (Sun) determined to guide the individual through life as a thinking type? Are the body (Saturn), presentation of appearance and rituals of a physical nature the features that secure the personality through sensation and the nature of reality? Do the emotions (Moon) and their value judgments determine which of two alternatives subjectively feels right when making decisions?
In my practice, both as astrological consultant and therapist, many of my clients are confused by distortions of their ego needs, which hinder their awareness of the strongest ego planet or psychic faculty that will provide consistent behavior and choices. They can be distracted by their wants/ desires in an environment that may not support good development. Their sub-personalities take over, creating an inauthentic self. Whether a client is in psychotherapy or an astrological consultation, the goals are the same. Huber was wise to recognize the priority of ego integration and development before the achievement of higher levels of consciousness. Regression to meet desires, passions or wants on a continual basis, hinders our awareness of higher consciousness attainment. That is because these behavior patterns cannot be sustained and are not stable enough to lead to an authentic level of self-esteem that will allow for receptivity to the more transcendent vibrations of universal love (Neptune), universal humanitarian improvement (Uranus), and transmutation of the ego (Pluto). So, it is vitally important for the consultant to identify and support the predominant ego function that guides the personality toward achieving confidence and building self- esteem through its application in the real world.
Astrological psychology supports the concept that we build on our ego strengths through our awareness of them which results in how well we adapt to environmental pressures or not. We gain confidence in the one ego planet that consistently works for us. Then we apply our efforts to integrate our personality by application of the body, or the emotions or the mind as faculties bringing a consistent method of understanding and working into our place in the world. This is an unconscious process for some, conscious for others, facilitated by an astrological consultation and the awareness of the individual concerned. Integration through identification of the strongest ego planet or archetype is the most important type of goal setting, and is the focus of psychotherapy as well as astrological consultation because it seems to build into the integration of the lesser developed, two ego planets.
As we mature we find that ego strengths and dominance is not enough to sustain us. Because as we age, we lose our ego attachments to our jobs; our relationships through deaths of parents; close friends and/or lovers; our bodies through weakening and disease and finally we may lose our mental sharpness for accessing our autobiographical memory information efficiently. As these psychosocial realities that we built our lives on diminish through aging, we can find that the Huber method of Astrological Psychology discovers more psychological growth ahead as we continue to preserve our physical and mental health in old age. Achievement of a healthy ego is a precursor to the next stage of awareness: the deliberate realization of Self through understanding of the universal archetypes of the transcendental planets as they relate to and expand ego consciousness. Thus, the goal of self- actualization (Figure 2) involves putting some distance between one’s ego desires and gratification of them, so that one can be receptive to higher levels of awareness.
Self-esteem that results from surmounting the crises and opportunities, brought about by achievement of psychosocial tasks, is the foundation for the next step in awareness—self-actualization. It is true that a degree of intuition is needed to be motivated toward achieving non-material goals. A yearning based on the realization that there is something more, beyond mere ego gratification, can be realized once basic needs are met. Identification with spiritual and universal principles that are beyond our self-interests in individual ego gratifications alone (see Figure 1.2); this is the goal at this stage of development.
Huber’s Psychological Age Point Progression through the 12 Houses, exemplifies the struggle with ego conflicts in 12 environments that can enhance our development when we complete the psychological tasks inherent in each House. A consultation using astrological psychology’s AP progression and transits can trigger an awareness that there are higher states yet to be developed beyond the levels of ego attachments. States of consciousness that are beyond healthy ego development and good self-esteem can set the stage for one to reach into the transpersonal realm of spiritual awareness. The consultant is tasked to re-frame the threats to ego integrity that identification with transcendental realms represent for older clients and, at the same time, reinforce for the client what she has already accomplished. Steps of passing through to a transcendental awareness and experiencing the higher realms of consciousness requires completion of the 52 Life Passages. These are not accomplished neatly and perfectly but noisily with the banging of drums, the playing of music, and working out much inner conflict. There are stages of awakening on the way past psychosynthesis and awareness to the transpersonal Self between the field of consciousness and the middle and higher levels of the unconscious. These require quieting of the ego because the ego corrupts and distorts the higher vibrations from higher realms.
For those coming to an astrological consultation, integration of the personality and receptivity to spiritual experience can unfold only with psychosynthesis, as the sub-personalities lessen their influence. Those clients can become aware, with a therapist’s or a consultant’s prompting, of the existence of their sub-personalities and learn to decrease their power. But work on developing ego integration and putting to rest ego distortions is not within the scope of practice of an astrological consultant. It is totally in the hands and efforts of the client. Consultants can refer clients to psychotherapists, who can work on these issues if a client is receptive. This is especially pertinent when a client’s behavior leads to distortions of reality and maladaptive or self-injurious behavior.