In the analysis of astrological aspects we will use 6° orbs of allowable inexactitude in measuring conjunctions and sextiles; and 2° orbs in measuring quintiles. The sun conjunct Mercury or Venus indicates that the parent (sun) keeps the child on a very tight leash, not allowing the child to independently develop his or her own thinking (Mercury) or desires (Venus). Infantile mind is not capable of discriminating between the self and the parent: little children are not yet that separated (symbolized by the fact that Mercury and Venus can never get very far from the sun) – they have not developed a concept of themselves as separated from their parent. Infantile mind is incapable of examining the parent in an objective fashion; rather, if the parent is rejecting, it concludes that “It must be my fault that Mommy doesn’t love me: I must simply be unlovable.” And the rest of the person’s life is spent proving how unlovable they are to exculpate their Mommy: the supreme, overwhelming, ineffable and fearsome Deity who has it in her power to dispense or withhold everything, and who must be propitiated by offering all the person’s happiness and relationships on the altar of sacrifice to vindicate her. Thus the Inner Child can indicate where people are in denial; and the way to understand the root of their emotional problems in life is to see where they are denying their true feelings and substituting parentally-sanctioned thought forms in their stead.
For example, if people’s sun’s and Mercury’s are conjunct then they tend to accept their parents’ (and later society’s) beliefs, judgments, and taken-for-granted assumptions uncritically as their own, rather than think things through for themselves. Because their parents were so dominating, they were forced to keep themselves under tight control; and as adults they tend to be control freaks in whatever relationships they can dominate (spouse, children, employees). They need to be right all the time; they cannot tolerate any divergent viewpoint; they are dubious of the possibility of disagreement in good faith (negotiating with mutual respect) since their parents didn’t permit this to them.
In a general kind of way, Mercury-sun conjunction natives are toilet trained at an earlier age than are natives with Mercury elongated from the sun: the former are usually toilet trained before they can talk; whereas the latter delay their toilet training until well after they are able to talk (this might be a good place for a statistical study). Mercury conjunction sun natives are usually toilet trained the same way as puppies – their mothers rub their noses in it – not literally, perhaps, but with the same indelicacy and force. Their mothers wash their genitals similarly: roughly, rudely, contemptuously. This is why these natives find it difficult to be soft and vulnerable to others – their first model of an intimate relationship was usually rough and disrespectful of their feelings, and they thus learn to be disgusted by their own feelings and intolerant of the feelings of others. Mercury conjunction sun natives become the “good” children who shut their mouths, hold their feelings inside, and do as they’re told. By contrast, natives with Mercury elongated from the sun are usually toilet trained rather late since they tend to be fascinated by and proud of their feces, so it’s more difficult for them to take toilet training seriously. Their mothers made a game out of the whole thing rather than a shameful, onerous imperative; so there is less incentive to give up toilet training on both sides. Mercury elongation sun natives are naturally looser and more relaxed than the conjunctions, and not as awed by their parents. Because they are never “properly” toilet trained, these natives never learn how to hold their feelings inside; even into adulthood they tend to hold their feces (feelings) up for public display and admiration, and at their worst spew them over other people.
Mercury conjunct sun is a fearful aspect: in particular, these natives tend to fear their own repressed anger (because they still fear their parents’ response to this anger); instead, they tend to project their anger onto other people surreptitiously, and then recoil and try to stifle dissent when their victims naturally react to this passive-aggressive provocation. It’s very hard for these natives to see exactly how they, themselves, create so much of the friction and conflict which they encounter in intimate relationships. Some sun conjunct Mercury natives benefit from anger therapy – venting their repressed rage by hitting punching bags (instead of their intimates) to overcome their fear of their own anger. The most difficult task for sun conjunct Mercury natives – and also the beginning of their healing process – is learning to listen to other people’s criticisms (since they have so little objectivity without this necessary feedback), instead of automatically taking affront and silencing the other person (as their parent did to them).
Similarly, if people’s sun and Venus are conjunct, then they tended to forgo or curtail their own desires in order to fulfill those of their parent. Because their parent was so dominating and disrespectful of their need for affection, they tend to reject intimacy themselves because they feel unworthy of being loved, or guilty about being too happy. These natives may have been the victims of abuse – psychological if not physical – and they carry that predisposition (of being victims or abusers themselves) into adulthood. They put conditions and strictures on their relationships – they feel a need to keep messing around with relationships and picking at other people instead of just accepting them for who they are. Venus conjunct sun natives tend to be either overly smothery and overly possessive (superior – or direct conjunction); or else standoffish and don’t-touch-me (inferior – or retrograde conjunction); with little middle ground of just relaxing and feeling good around people. They are guarded and ill-at-ease in close relationship: their natural tendency is to either to go way out of their way and bend themselves out of whack by doing more than is really necessary (superior conjunction); or else to close up like a clam by taking any perceived slight very personally (inferior conjunction). These natives must learn to let other people (especially their own children) alone, allowing them to do their own thing and trusting their good intentions (as long as it isn’t invading their space – personal space being something these natives don’t understand very well since their parent didn’t respect their privacy and right to have feelings of their own). Healing occurs as people are able to separate their sense of self-worth from the sense that they are being judged: true self-esteem does not depend upon sanction or approval, but rather is the surety that, “Yes, I can do this. It’s not too hard for me to do.” This means confronting guilt and overcoming the onus of inadequacy; and learning to accept evenly both other people’s love, and also their rejection. It involves being ready to feel hurt rather than taking out insurance in advance by manipulating or stonewalling; since only by opening themselves up to hurt can they truly open themselves up to love.
The triple conjunction of sun-Mercury-Venus is the sign of a very wounded Inner Child, usually because of cold, uncaring, or unfeeling parents (or abandonment). These natives are humble and unprepossessing: subdued, non-demonstrative, soft-spoken, and reticent. But they also have their defensive side – insecure and ever-prepared for attack. They often feel themselves to be haunted, with no respite, no repose, nowhere to turn, and no one they can trust. Their parents wouldn’t permit them to express their feelings, so they learned to keep their mouths shut and keep things under wraps (play the victim in all their relationships); or else, if the rest of the horoscope indicates violence, they may be overly aggressive and repeat their parents’ attacking behavior on the people around them.
This contrasts sharply with the situation when both Mercury and Venus are elongated from the Sun, in which case the Inner Child has fully separated from the parent: these natives are aloof; coldly detached, and efficient. They take things in their stride and let nothing get under their skin. Because of their severe inner discipline, they are capable of tremendous resoluteness, self-restraint, and self-sacrifice. They are fair-minded, impartial, and judicious; and possess great forbearance and depth of feeling.
When Mercury and Venus are conjunct each other but not also conjunct the sun, then the natives are free to express what’s on their minds and what they desire in a natural, relaxed, upbeat fashion. These people make good eye contact and carry themselves with ease and self-confidence: a sense of rightful place and belonging in any milieu. They are good listeners – interested in other people and respectful of their ideas and points of view. They are glib, animated conversationalists with an ironic sense of humor. They possess a simplicity which sees through pretense, and they laugh things off rather than become huffy or offended. They are light and breezy, which on the negative side can make them overly detached, non-committal, and trifling. Intimates may complain that they are vague and unreachable, just shrugging off anything which they find distasteful or simply don’t want to have to face. But their pleasant manners and winning affability deflect opposition and keep everyone around them on an even keel.
Mercury and Venus in sextile aspect is perhaps the ideal situation – this aspect gives a bit more depth of intellect and feeling than the conjunction sans sun. These natives are original thinkers, possessing an insatiable intellectual curiosity and a willingness to experiment and play with new ideas and philosophies. They are positive and forthright, with a good-humored bonhomie which gets right to the point without preliminaries or pother. In contrast to the outgoing effusiveness of the Mercury-Venus conjunction (sans sun) natives, these people have a governor on their impulses which holds back and watches the proceedings dispassionately. Their reserve does not invite familiarity; there may be a huffiness or exaggerated sense of personal dignity and a sharp tongue which lashes out at indelicacy. These natives see clearly through hypocrisy and are not afraid to speak their minds. They are objective and clever at problem-solving, and possess astute and discriminating minds, which makes them good facilitators, arbiters, advisors, and communicators. Their sense of fair play and justice makes them natural champions and defenders of the dispossessed and helpless.
Mercury quintile Venus (72° apart) occurs rarely – only when one of these planets is at its greatest eastern elongation while the other is at its greatest western elongation – but these natives are the ones who have fully and completely separated from their parents. They are poised and aloof, taking people in their stride and letting nothing get under their skin. Albeit outgoing and gregarious, they don’t play to the gallery or call especial attention to themselves, but rather move freely through any social milieu without making waves. Very low-key and unobtrusive, they have a genius for blending into any group in which they might find themselves without in any way compromising their independence or dignity as individuals. They are by no means secretive, but they play their cards close to their chests, don’t blab what they are about, and rely on others as little as possible. They have nothing to prove to anyone (least of all their parents); thus they are able to go their own way and accomplish their goals with a minimum of fuss or friction. Their unassuming naturalness wins immediate acceptance, not because they try to impress anyone, but rather because they don’t – thus they make excellent teachers or public speakers. People instinctively trust them because of their impeccable personal integrity; and they look up to and respect them because of their self-adequacy which neither seeks nor needs approval or sanction.
Go back to The Inner Child – Part I
Thanks to Bob Makransky for allowing the republication of his wonderful work.
About the author: Bob Makransky is a systems analyst, comptuter programmer and professional astrologer. For 37 years he has lived on a farm in highland Guatemala where he is a Mayan priest and is head of the local blueberry growers’ association.