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Star-Crossed: Astrology, Personality Theory and the Meeting of Opposites

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In this intriguing exploration into the human condition, Clare Martin uses the polarity of the zodiac signs to investigate what astrology and personality theory can offer each other. Systems theorists have identified between six and eight character styles which appear to describe very accurately, and deepen our understanding of, the tension of the many dualities and polarities in the natal chart. It is here that astrological and psychological approaches can find common ground. A knowledge of personality theory can enhance, enrich and deepen our understanding of the dynamic relationship themes which exist on the astrological axes, and, as such, can be usefully integrated into astrological practice.
Copious examples from history, literature and the film world show how this fascinating combination works in practice, with the cast of Love Actually taking centre stage in the grand finale. Suitable for anyone interested in the way we develop, and for astrologers of all levels or none at all.

Clare Martin

Clare Martin

Clare Martin has an MA in Integrative Psychotherapy and has been a practising astrologer and teacher since 1990, working in London for the Faculty of ...

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Another splendid book by Clare Martin. In bringing together Personality Theory and Astrology, Clare has gifted both disciplines. She brings the richness of the Archetypes to Psychology and brings Astrology up to date with the most recent developments in Psychology.

Ana Isabel – Lightways Astrology

Psychological Astrology was one of the most popular schools of astrology from the 1970s through the early part of this century. While it still continues to be influential and to inform many professionals, the number of books and other publications devoted to it has long since crested. When Clare Martin’s book arrived, I was both surprised and intrigued by the idea of a fresh take on the topic.
The first thing you need to know is that this is a book that delves deeply into psychology. The author has a masters degree in Integrative Psychotherapy, and she frequently references (and explains) various psychological theories. Her descriptions are illuminating and insightful, and while some familiarity with psychology is helpful, Martin makes sure that the book is accessible to her readers.
Martin’s basic premise is that the six axes of the zodiac (Aries/Libra, etc.) correspond to known psychological dynamics. This is where the reader – whether astrologer, psychotherapist, or both – is challenged to decide if there’s a valid match between the astrology and the psychology. In the main, I think it holds up well as a construct, and I did a little work with client charts that indicated that Martin is on solid ground. Naturally, many people have more than one axis prominent in their charts, and that complicates matters while also opening up greater possibilities for seeing the complexity that all people have.
There are example charts in the book, although this is far from being a book chock full of case studies. The author explains what is needed without overworking the examples, and most readers will probably be inclined to test Martin’s ideas on their own.
One consequence of relying strongly on psychological theory is that there is a slight tendency to pathologize personality types and emphasize the potential for dysfunction. Certainly, problems are a frequent concern of couples and the astrologers who serve them, but I felt that the various sandtraps in partnerships were over-emphasized while healthier relationships didn’t get as much attention.
A book about relationship astrology might be expected to have a lot of material on synastry and/or composite charts, but Star Crossed is really about the individual’s relationship needs and patterns. There is some synastry, and parallel personality patterns are noted when they occur, but most of the example charts are studies of an individual’s personality and their relationship history. In fact, much of the astrological synastry is presented in chapter endnotes rather than in the main text.
That’s not a bad thing: Martin’s six-axis system allows us to assess personality and relationship patterns with relative ease. However, given that there are only six axes, there is considerable variation within each, and – appropriately – it’s left to the astrologer to decide how the pattern is manifesting.
I strongly recommend Star Crossed for professional astrologers and advanced students who approach relationship astrology from a psychological perspective. The book will find its best audience among those astrologers who are also trained counselors and therapists, but a degree in psychology isn’t necessary to benefit from the ideas in this book.
Armand Diaz NCGR Journal

Clare Martin shows the reader that psychology meshes with astrology and how both benefit from the encounter. She explains how these two systems can be creatively integrated with no detriment to either. The focus of the book is on relationships, including the relationship between opposites whether in character styles or astrological axes.
Clare begins with excellent descriptions of the basic psychological concepts. She describes different character styles and patterns of behavior and gives a timeline for when they are formed, tying them into the tension of the six astrological axes.
She tells us to examine the ASC/DSC axis to learn about the potential of the balance of power in one-to-one relationships and the MC/IC to understand the parental dynamics. The axis containing the Sun and any stellium of planetary oppositions gives additional information.
The Healing Power of Stories chapter speaks to the importance of myths and stories and that we have lost that connection to these archetypes in contemporary life. The right story brings a chart to life. The stories we are attracted to tell us more about ourselves. She says that films have become our modern storytellers.
The specific astrological/psychological teaching begins after these three introductory chapters. There is a chapter on each polarity and the character style associated with something going wrong at a certain age of development and gives  descriptions of the problems and ways to heal them. Each chapter includes stories that describe the polarity and includes charts of authors that illustrate the theme. Clare lists many movies which highlight the dynamic of the axis.
For example, the Cancer/Capricorn axis is associated with abandonment, real or feared. The story of Peter Pan is the example she uses, a group of motherless boys who refuse to grow up. The author, J.M. Barrie, has Cancer/Capricorn on his ASC/DSC axis. He was shy and sensitive and adored his mother who was cold to him. He found safety in the company of children as he told them stories. His chart is published in the book.
The book gives a great deal of information and tells the reader how to use the information, whether in client work or for self-improvement. Each description is well-written, clear, and truly excellent. Clare has good use of words and finds the right ones which clearly show what she means to say. She gives lessons on different psychologists and their thoughts. There are quotes to illustrate her points and finds sayings that are not commonly known:
Dane Rudhyar – “Reality has a rhythmic heart
Jung – “Where love rules  there is no will to power, and where power predominates, love is lacking
This is a book to enjoy and to use as reference. You’ll be happy to own it.
Arlan Wise OPA
Clare Martin presents a literary review of support for Psychological Astrology practices featuring the writings of James Hillman and Thomas Moore, in addition to Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud. While acknowledging Astrology’s longer traditions and Mythology, Martin sets up essays on the Psychology of Relationships and the Astrology of Relationships, along with the Healing Power of Stories.
Importantly, the purpose of Clare Martin’s book is ALSO as a cautionary tale for astrologers to be protective of their clients in the consulting process from “materialistic reductionism” of modern Psychological practice and vernacular of spectrums of behavior, labels, billing codes, and the assessing of them to find a “diagnosis” of client problems within the framework of the fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) – the ‘bible’ for making diagnostic assessments in Psychopathology, which use those as a guide for medication and
other medical treatments.
With a strong intellectual framework in favor of  producing positive results with Mythology and Archetypes, chapters on each polarity of oppositional signs is laid out to further enlighten in terms of the Child Archetypes of each axis pair of signs: such as, The Aries/Libra Axis –The Exploited Child: Oedipal Adaptation; The Cancer/Capricorn Axis: The Unwanted Child: Schizoid Adaptation, etc. These chapters explore and present “some of the remarkable
similarities and some of the differences between personality theories and psychological astrology” according to the author. Certainly, in light of current developments in our field, Clare Martin gives us a
worthy discussion to read.
Victoria Smoot ISAR Journal August 2022
Clare Martin’s previous book Alchemy The Soul of Astrology is an engaging reflection on the practice of astrology as an alchemical opus. In her introduction to this book, she suggests that ‘the myth of alchemy tells us that consciousness is born out of the experience of opposites’. Star Crossed develops this alchemical motif through her in-depth study, amplifying how consciousness is awakened through knowing the oppositional nature of types and archetypes. This natural oppositional quality  is embedded in the horoscopic polarities of the houses, angles, signs and planetary oppositions.
As both an astrologer and psychotherapist, Clare is attentive to how contemporary psychology can augment astrological tradition; yet she also poses an important question as to whether astrology needs to be protected from the ‘materialistic reductionism of modern psychological thinking.’ Aware of the limitation of this literal perspective, the author draws from the wellspring of astrological images and symbols to animate and give life to both personality and soul. She brings her study of opposition to life through relationship and her passion for story, myth, literature and film including those who told and lived out these stories.
The nature of each horoscope involves the inevitability of opposition, which in turn encourages or perhaps more appropriately necessitates relationship. In the first two chapters, Clare focuses on relationship from a psychological and astrological perspective; a deepening into how we can understand and value astrological polarities from both a developmental and soulful outlook. As Clare says: ‘Astrologers are in the unique position of being able to identify from the birth chart which of the axes are particularly relevant and therefore which of the polarities, or life stories, are most likely to be constellated. This is simple astrology, but extremely useful and practical.’ Simple, yes, but profound and transforming.
Chapters 4 – 9 examine each zodiacal polarity using personality theory and then developing this premise through psychological, archetypal and astrological lenses. Before we enter the heart of the book, Clare devotes a chapter to the healing power of stories, a topic most counselling astrologers will recognize and appreciate. Patterns in the horoscope can be elaborated through storytelling, whether that be myth, fairy tales, legends, film or stories. These narratives transcend time and place, help us to make sense of the world we inhabit and identify the humanness of what we are experiencing. As she says, a chart reading ‘makes all the difference if an experience that someone is going through is placed in a mythic, imaginative or poetic context’. Of interest is the recognition  of the healing power of film and the planetary archetypes that often inhabit the film script.
Following the perceptive amplification of each polarity as mentioned above, the following six chapters tell relevant stories about the zodiacal axis being analyzed. We meet Peter Pan and its author J.M Barrie, reengage with Beauty and the Beast, and the tragedy of Abelard and Heloise alongside Camille Claudel and Auguste Rodin. How Emma Jung brought the heroic Fisher King to life and Emily Bronte’s passionate story of Cathy and Heathcliff are absorbing reading. And finally we meet Tristan and Isolde and their doubles William Morris and his life model Jane Burden in the Aries-Libra chapter. Accompanying each of the engaging narratives are astrological images and horoscopes, which are amply expanded upon in the notes that accompany each chapter.
As an epilogue, Clare uses a popular film Love Actually to bring all six astrological polarities to life through character styles and relationship patterns, which is probably why the film is so endearing and successful. No wonder – we all got to see ourselves in the movie. Whether we consciously recognize polarities astrologically, zodiacal oppositions are instinctual in each individual and apparent in every relationship.
The layout and style of the book make it a thought-provoking and fascinating read as astrological imagination and tradition are woven into the storytelling of relationship and opposition. We become engaged in relational tragedies and triumphs though the characters that are oppositional surrogates in the alchemical theatre of life. I very much enjoyed the read, as like any good book it draws you in and leaves you with a deeper understanding. In this case, you glean more understanding of polarity and opposition, one of the basic tenets of astrology. It left me reflecting on the three air-fire oppositions in my own chart that occupy the angles and the nodal axis.
Brian Clark FAA Journal
Author of Soul, Symbol and Imagination The Artistry of Astrology

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