It is actually a model that is related to Jungian psychoanalytic typology on the one hand, and on the other hand to a set of defence mechanisms originally founded by Sigmund Freud and his daughter Anna Freud, and further expanded by Dr Liz Greene. For example, an empath with a naturally watery horoscope will have very strong oral defences, whereas a person with an earthy cosmogram will have anal defences. When we have a fire chart, in practice we are mainly concerned with oedipal defences, whereas with an airy birth chart there appear what are known as dissociative defence.
According to Freud, the oral phase of psychosexual development is the deepest and earliest. Oral defences develop in the first year of life. What are we mainly learning then? If the mother figure is just good enough and present sufficiently and in a stable enough way, we learn to trust. This is the symbolism of water, which is all about establishing a sufficiently good emotional personal relationship with the mother figure. In the anal phase of psychosexual development, which is next in line, we learn mainly about boundaries. This is the earthy phase and carries the symbolism of the earthy, concrete element. By defining and testing the boundaries of where he goes and where others go, the child orients himself and acquires a first sense of his physical autonomy. In the oedipal (urethro-genital) phase, the triangle with both parents becomes important. This is the third to fifth year of life. Here the boy and girl have to process their competition with the father for the mother’s love, and the girl has to process her competition with the mother for the father’s affection.
The Oedipal phase is mainly associated with the fire element, which holds the symbolism of the psychological development of affects and selfconfidence.
In the next, dissociative phase, the development of initiative becomes important, as well as the first beginnings of free expression. In this phase, which we might add is the school phase, we learn above all to think, to evaluate the world objectively, perhaps above all to be detached, to be able to begin to accept things in a planned, objective way, to see things in a theoretical dimension. This is also the stage when the child is first separated from the home environment and socialisation within the school environment begins. This phase has an airy symbolism, which is concerned with objectification, separation and is psychologically – symbolically linked to the development of the reasoning function. It allows us to detach ourselves from emotions and to try to evaluate what is happening more objectively.
The psychoanalytic typology suggests that one of these four phases is more pronounced. This is the one corresponding to the element in which the main psychic function is typologically situated. It is there that we will also develop the strongest defences. The defence mechanisms corresponding to the element in which, typologically speaking, the first auxiliary function is located will also be very important.
For example, in the case of the empath, the oral defences will be the most developed. He will be over-protective of emotional attitudes and will find it difficult to evaluate them objectively. If his first auxiliary function is sensation, he will also automatically expect his life to be stable and relatively unchanging. He will hardly take major material risks and will often subconsciously consider relationships as his personal property.
The Pluto process, because of its confrontation with the shadow part, will always relate its dynamics to the part of the personality where the greatest defences are.
If it is an empath (i.e. the individual has a predominantly watery chart), the Pluto process is very much focused on testing trust. Suddenly there arises a deep question about whether we can trust in relationships, whether we can trust other people at all, whether we do not need to keep checking up on something? The Plutonian process will manifest very much through the testing of belonging, and also of trust, whether I can trust someone unconditionally. We saw in the tale of “The Lord of the Rings” that if Frodo had not been able to trust Sam, he would not have come through the shadow land alive! In such a case, the Plutonic emotions are expressed primarily as doubt, distrust, constant checking of attitudes and suspicion. We are dealing primarily with such dynamics. Somehow we cannot spontaneously establish the unconditional trust that we sometimes need to get through a difficult experience or conflict situation, but have to work hard to gain it. Pluto is always working on us, never we on it. We can only work on our own process, not on Pluto. Pluto says that to the extent that we have not integrated this issue, to that extent we have cracks in our basic trust, and to that extent it torments us with doubt, with suspicion, with distrust, with jealousy. This is our test. But such a state of affairs also implies that once we have processed these negative feelings and healed the psychic tissue, our plutonic process in life will be largely complete.
The planets in the earth signs have characteristically strong anal defences, the kind that hold things back, that prevent us from letting things go and not bothering to hold something back. What Pluto tests us on in the earth, i.e. sensation typology, is the inability to let go. It is the inability to allow life to have its way further with us. We may not even be aware of how we cling to some form in life, for example material security, status, relationship for status’ sake, our schedule, our rituals – it is all part of the earthy neurotic character. There is a need for control and ownership. We may unwittingly own the other. In such a case, Pluto will express itself through the dynamics of losing such ownership or a provocative situation that will cause a severe struggle with the fear of losing ownership and control of events.
Pluto will show us whether or not we are capable of allowing something to go. It is trying to show us that we may be too attached to our money, want to maintain control in relationships, want to have a constant sense of security. It can point to our unconscious expectation that there should be no unpleasant surprises in life.
In the case of an intuitive, i.e. in the case of a fire natal chart, it is a question of taking the initiative. Just as a child learns to take free initiative in relation to both parents, when his original bond with one parent is transferred to both, which is then a prerequisite for a social environment where he can relate to more people, so too, perhaps later in life, we unconsciously fiercely compete for a better position than others. In every way we want to be first, or unattached. These are oedipal defences. What Pluto is working on in such cases are hidden unconscious feelings of being left out, ignored, disregarded, which can cause some intense anger or even rage. Yet, this is the material in the alchemical retort of our individuation process. This is what we need to work on if we want to develop ourselves psychologically and personally in a good and authentic way in our lives.
The thinking type, who has an airy chart, is characterised by a dissociative, rational phase and defences that dictate, “I must not be involved, I must have my own thinking power, someone has influenced me, someone has “infected” me with their thought, but I must think with my own head.” In rational types (i.e. airy horoscopes) Pluto expresses itself as unrestraint and perhaps also as fear of dependence. Planets in air signs are supposed to be free, unattached and therefore feel threatened by the Pluto process. Both yang elements, air and fire, want to be free, but fire wants to be taken into account by someone whom it knows has the most important role for it. Fire Venus says: “You come first with me, so do not disappoint me!” Of course, her partner is bound to disappoint her, precisely because the expectation was so high. Disappointment is therefore necessary in some way for the individual to move on in life.
Audience: Do these defences also apply to the different individual parts of our birth chart? On some level we are all intuitives, we are all also rational types, sensualists, and we all have an emotional function somewhere.
Matjaž: This is true, but we are not defensive in the same way all over, and this really depends on our typology. On the other hand, it is also true that if we only have Jupiter and/or Saturn in the water signs, the oral phase and the deep issue of trust that goes with it will not torment us as much as someone who has Moon in Cancer, Venus in Scorpio and Mars in Pisces. As the Moon, Venus and Mars are all personal planets, and in this case all in water signs (Scorpio, Cancer and Pisces), it means that the person in question has a lot to do in the area of emotion. It is only logical that he is therefore also quite defensive in the emotional dimension. Emotional relationships are a major issue for him, and he can easily feel threatened in this area, and it is here that he has the most highly developed defence mechanisms.
Audience: What does it mean for the intuitive function if there is very little fire in the birth chart, in fact only one planet in this element?
Matjaž: If there is only one planet in an element, even if it’s Pluto or Neptune, for example, that is highly meaningful and quite different than if there were none. Because it means that there are some defences in relation to that element. But if we do not have even one planet in a particular element, there are no defences there. There is a very great deal of creativity possible, but there is also a great deal of maladjustment to the environment in relation to that function, which is in some way emphasised if the individual has no planets in a particular element. For example, if there are no planets in the earth signs, it is the sensation function in the individual which is the source of creativity because of the lack of anal defences. Often such a person is highly talented in professional work with real estate, money, or is a massage therapist, for example. On the other hand, he is often completely disorganised when it comes to his own money and property, but he is also not bothered by the fact that he may not know how his finances are going to turn out tomorrow, or how he will be able to pay off his mortgage at the end of the month. Conversely, a Sagittarian with planets in earth signs (Virgo, Capricorn and Taurus) will not risk financial insecurity if he can avoid it. Anything to do with material certainty raises his defences and prevents him from taking creative risks. Professionally, he is also more creative in other areas, such as work organisation, working with people, etc.
In short, if we observe what the planets want, and study psychoanalytic typology alongside, we can actually begin to understand the deeper dynamics of complexes and the interpersonal relationships that are their reflection on the outer plane, in a much more qualitative psychodynamic way. In practice, it is confirmed again and again how important it is to work creatively with cosmological symbolism in a variety of ways. For example, the stage of life in which someone is in is of great relevance.
Take for example an adolescent who feels that he is the centre of his life and no one else. Everyone else is more or less irrelevant, except for the girl he has fallen head over heels in love with and would like to do something about it. From the basic position of the ego in youth to the time when the ego allows the centre of the personality to be occupied by a higher or deeper inner authority, i.e., by the spiritual core, there is a profound process called Pluto. The house in which Pluto and/or Scorpio are natally located indicates the life area in which this process is most intensely taking place. This is the basic process of transformation, which is much easier and quicker to understand in each individual precisely with the help of psychological astrology and psychoanalytical typology. Symbolically, we could also say that in this process of transformation, the dynamics of the psyche and personality shifts from a vertical to a horizontal position. In the so-called vertical position, we are still dominated by parental complexes, we are still striving very hard for a career and other achievements, and we could therefore argue that we are still not only expressing, but also building up to a large extent, neurotic symptoms. This is particularly true in the first half of life. In the second half of life, quality interpersonal relationships and quality of life in general become much more important to us. There is a a stronger need for spirituality and the experience of transcendence. But even this is only a model, which does not apply to everyone equally, because here too we have to take into account the psychoanalytic typology. For example, the process of spiritual development in the intuitive will as a rule have taken place to a large extent in the first half of life, and it will often be materialisation in life which will be the domain of his further development only during the second half of life.
Matjaž Regovec: Pluto, psychodinamics of shadow and complexes, Hermes IPAL, 2023