Spotting toxicity with Astrology
There has been a lot of debates lately surrounding toxic relationships, toxic people, and I thought to myself, what does Astrology has to bring to the matter?
First we should probably define what toxic means. This definition is purely personal and not everyone has to agree with me.
What is a toxic person?
- Someone who is intentionally or not, dishonest
- Someone who is intentionally or not, emotionally manipulative (taking actions or displaying an emotion in order to obtain a result which is self-serving and in disregard as to what is wanted or healthy for the other person)
- Someone who intentionally or not, repeatedly disregards another person's boundaries.
- Someone who intentionally or not, lacks empathy for other humans
- Someone who has little regards for their actions and their consequences
- Someone who is consistently unaccountable
Toxic versus pathologies
If you're interested in reading about the signs of people with high narcissim or people with dark triad personality traits (which includes psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism) I have blog posts on these subjects.
Toxic personalities & their victims
Today I wanted to take a different approach and talk about what kind of pointers we would want to look for to identify / protect yourself from someone with toxic traits, and what we would want to look for to identify people who repeatedly fall for / attract people with toxic traits. I will say - an important part of recognizing toxic personalities is to listen to your own body and own intuition, regardless of what you see in Astrology - but of course, people who are usually victims of toxic personalities often have lost temporarily trust or access in these signals and emotions. As a result, I'm summoning the help of Astrology to study and identify patterns, but please - always refer to how you feel when in doubt.
The first thing to note that is very interesting Astrologically speaking, and yet that makes perfect sense if you give it some thought ; we actually pretty much find the same aspects in the charts of abusers and victims. Abuse is taught, and here I should probably mention I'm mostly talking about emotional abuse but physical isn't excluded; and for people who have been raised under abusive parenting and/or environment, we find people who will repeat the patterns by choosing people who recreate what’s familiar (abusers), and we’ll find people who will repeat the pattern by acting in similar ways which they have witnessed growing up.
Keep in mind, breaking down aspects can be tricky as, one aspect, separated from the whole picture that is the natal chart, doesn’t mean a whole lot on its own. I always like to take the example of taking a sentence, and extracting one word out of it. Words have meanings, so do astrological aspects. But taking a full sentence and extracting just one word doesn’t help understanding what the sentence means as a whole, and so the same occurs with Astrology : Extracting one aspect out of a natal chart doesn’t necessarily means a whole lot about the person. This is why cookbook astrology regularly fails, and this is why experienced readers are so important to reading someone’s chart. It does not mean that we cannot take a sentence and break it down word by word / taking a chart and breaking it down aspect by aspect, but you have to keep in mind the image of a sentence and its words, and understand that only after you know the meaning of each words, and how they link to each other, can you begin to understand the whole sentence and its meaning.
The role of Neptune in toxic relationships: Astrology outlook
Perpetrators and victims: Shared aspects
Neptune is always the first suspect in my opinion in cases of toxic relationships and personalities because it has a strong tendency to lower / suppress boundaries, lower / suppress the capacity to see with clarity (for yourself and for others), lower/suppress the capacity to not merge with others. Neptune by its symbolism represents victims / rescuers mindsets, but also running away from reality, from responsibilities, human suffering. Of course, Neptune is much more than that, but today we are focusing on the lower expressions of planets and energies.
Neptune in hard aspect to AS / DS
When Neptune is in hard aspect to someone's Ascendant or Descendant in their birth chart, it often reveals someone who find it extremely difficult to see others for who they are and see themselves for who they are. This has the potentiality to bring abusive relationships (rarely when by itself, keep in mind astrology is an addition of potentiality and, when you find several markers, the potentiality becomes increasingly overwhelming).
Neptune in hard aspect to IC / MC
When Neptune is in hard aspect to someone's Midheaven or Nadir in their natal chart, this aspect has a tendency to describe a childhood which could have been marked either by abuse or by a consistent invasion of privacy (perceived or real, the chart is perception). More often that not, we find people who have a tendency to let others invade their boundaries and privacy and/or have the same type of behaviours with other people.
Neptune – Mars (conjunct, square, opposite)
Having Neptune-Mars in aspect in the birth chart is a difficult aspect because it shows a tendency to find it difficult to own up to one’s anger and actions. Often with this aspect we find people who aren’t really aware of their anger, aggression, and tend to find themselves repeatedly in situations where they feel / are abused, and struggle understanding why is the aggression repeatedly happening.
Neptune - Mars can in certain cases be read as deceiving actions, underhanded actions, and overall deceptions.
Note: I have repeatedly found this aspect in the charts of people with malicious intent, or intentionally deceiving and cunning. Do note, this is a syllogism here. As much as I have found Neptune - Mars repeatedly in the charts of abusers and toxic personalities, it DOES NOT mean that people with Neptune - Mars are often abusers. It's important to make the distinction intellectually as we otherwise rush to wrong conclusions.
Neptune – Venus (conjunct square opposite)
With Neptune Venus in aspect, it reveals someone who can be so idealistic and wanting glamorous romance that they can confuse unconditional love with abusive love. There is a tendency to believe in fairytales which can justify being in unhealthy relationships. This is also extremely true when Neptune squares the 7th House ruler.
Neptune – Mercury (conjunct square opposite)
This aspect reveals someone who has a tendency to imagine words more than hear them, and there can be a pattern of putting words in other people’s mouth, intentions in people’s mind, an when the person is in love a lot of their perception can be based on fantasies. There is also a possibility of always finding ways to mentally escape responsibilities, making it difficult for the person to realize where they are themselves unfair, abusive, and realize when other people are unfair / abusive to them. Neptune-Mercury is the perfect victim for gaslighting and will have a tendency to repeatedly experience other people's making doubt their perception, because the vulnerability is there to begin with.
Note: I had the "chance" to meet someone showing strong signs of psychopathy, and was able to gather data of 4 of their previous partners. All women showed Neptune square Mercury in their chart (deceiving one self intellectually, being deceiving intellectually), and all women also had Moon - Saturn square, conjunct, or opposite (being shut off from your own emotions hence missing the body signals, but also, being somewhat emotionally unavailable / used to emotional toughness, hence not noticing the blatant lack of empathy).
Neptune – Sun (conjunct square opposite)
With Neptune-Sun in aspect in the birth chart, it typically speaks of someone who lacked proper role models growing up and feel confused as to who they are and where they’re going. There is a tendency to find deflated or suppressed ego, which gives people seeking validation and appraisal. This can be at the root of two types of behaviours as usual : Sometimes this creates narcissism (due to low ego), sometimes it creates people who tend to be with personalities who crush them.
People with Neptune-Sun in hard aspect tend to give the vibe of an empath and have a natural tendency to attract people with the opposite energy: A very solid and rigid sense of self they want the Neptunian person to reinforce.
Of course ; if Neptune forms a difficult aspect to the ruler of the 1st or 7th House, this is even further reinforced. As always, a reminder, these are only potentialities and are more or less strong depending on several factors. All of the aspects above can be wonderful and the level of expression depends on many different factors as well.
The role of Pluto in toxic relationships
Pluto is very often found in toxic relationships and personalities as well but for different reasons. Pluto is obsessional and when Pluto is strong in a chart it can describe someone who finds it difficult to let go of things, of people, a tendency to obsess, a tendency to pursue their desires with forcefulness.
Pluto in hard aspect to AS / DS
When Pluto is in hard aspect to the Ascendant or the Descendant, it is often someone who finds it difficult to have relationships based on mutual rapport and equal giving and taking. There can be a strong pull for power plays and although this isn’t necessarily toxic in itself it does tend to become a problem when coupled with other markers.
Pluto in hard aspect to Mars
Pluto forming difficult aspects to Mars often describes someone who finds it difficult to respect other people’s boundaries, there is a tendency to pursue the desires and goals at all cost, a need to be in charge, which can make it hard for the person to realize when they’re crossing lines.
Pluto in hard aspect to Venus
Pluto – Venus in aspect in the birth chart often has an ingrained belief that relationships should be dramatic, a taste for soul wrenching passions, and sometimes the person justifies toxic relationships with the idea that this is how passion / love should feel like.
Pluto in hard aspect to Moon
Pluto – Moon in aspect in the natal chart represents someone with high needs for control, vivid fears, vivid anxiety, and sometimes this leads to toxic behaviours / controlling behaviours, in an attempt to feel safe and not vulnerable. The more the person tries to control others the more their fears are justified, and it can be a circle of abuse.
Exactly as for Neptune, you have to keep in mind that these are factors to add up, and this is more patent when Pluto is forming a conjunction / square / opposition to the ruler of the 1st or 7th House.
The role of Saturn in toxic relationships
Saturn, negatively, can represent someone who has cruel / harsh behaviours towards the self and towards others. Often with difficult aspects of Saturn the childhood was abusive in some ways, and the person can find it hard to separate from the negative voices, the high expectations, the inflexible thoughts and behaviours.
Saturn – Mars aspects
Saturn in aspect to Mars is probably the most indicative of someone who is prone to abusive behaviours, and the reason behind it is again completely different from Neptune and Pluto. Saturn difficult aspects show that it can be difficult for the natives to accept themselves.
When there are a lot of Saturn difficult aspects to personal planets, we find someone who believes that life is hard, love is hard, relationships are hard, and sometimes we find people who are stuck in a belief system that justifies being cruel towards themselves and towards others. This is rarely something conscious, and depending on the planet involved and what it rules, it can be more or less easy to break the patterns.
Transits to watch for: Toxic relationships
Last but not least, transits. Transits only reveal potentialities that are written in the chart, and if you have a chart that does not suggest whatsoever the potentiality of being in abusive relationships or being abusive yourself, transits won’t suddenly change that.
However if you already have a fertile ground, transits can reveal a moment during which you’re called to enter relationships / meet people who are abusive / show you your own tendency to be abusive, and call you to rise above it.
Pluto in hard aspect to AS/DS
Neptune in hard aspect to AS/DS
Pluto in hard aspect to Venus, Sun, Mars
Neptune in hard aspect Venus, Sun, Mars, Moon
Neptune is always the most patent transit to look for as, it represents a time during which boundaries are lower, fantasies are high, we fin dit difficult to see things and people for what/who they are, the tendency to escape our own behaviours is pretty high as well. So Neptune is the first suspect to look for in transits – For example, starting a relationship under a difficult Neptune aspect is more often than not, a bad omen.
Pluto acts a bit differently. Pluto represents a time during which we’re experiencing a crisis, often emotional but depends on the planet affected, which push us to have great realizations about ourselves and the world, which ultimately push us to abandon parts of ourselves behind us. It’s a huge kick to level up, and the more the person resists the kick the more dramatic the crisis is.
Betrayal Bond: Breaking free of exploitative relationships