Need some help pulling all the different concepts of the Crash Course together into something basic, cohesive and understandable?
It's time for a story, boys and girls!
The Astrology Birth Chart and The Castle Of The Psyche
Full 100% credit for the following goes to Jungian author, Dr Karen Hamaker-Zondag, PhD as contained in her book "Foundations of Astrology." The concept of the castle of the psyche is actually very ancient and also thoroughly "Jungian" - but I'd not made the necessary cognitive leap to connect it with the astrological birth chart. And possibly, much to her sense of trepidation and dismay, I have - in customary Zodiac Master fashion - expanded freely on her idea at some length.
Imagine in your mind's eye that you're now living in a far off, distant kingdom in medieval times. It's a remarkable, wondrous and magical land of kings, queens, knights, nobles, jesters, dragons, castles and such.
You're on a long journey... and coming to the top of a hill - in the far off distance - you can see a magnificent castle.
Straining to see - you can just make out a large tower with its "standard" (flag) flying in the breeze.
The "standard" was an emblem that revealed the "community standings" and "identity" of the castle owner to any and all when still approaching from a great distance.
The standard of the castle tells you in broad, general terms whether the owner is "friend or foe"... so that you can make the decision to come closer and approach the castle or to head back out for the hills.
The standard is similar to the point in a birth chart called the Midheaven. If you're unfamiliar with astrology - you've probably never even heard of the Midheaven.
Generally, the Midheaven is a point on your birth chart that reflects your public "reputation" and/or how you'd like to be known or seen by others.
The Midheaven is the flag you wave from the highest tower of your castle that tells other folks something about who you are while they're still approaching from a great distance.
Very often it reflects your chosen career or perhaps, some other avocation or interest to which you ascribe import.
The astrological Midheaven closely resembles an aspect of the Jungian concept: "the social persona."
But let's continue on in order to meet another more personal facet of the "persona" called the Ascendant or Rising Sign...
You decide to continue on the journey, with the intent of meeting and visiting with the landlord of the castle...
After making your way down the hill, you reach your destination. Now, the stately castle stands before you.
According to Hamaker-Zondag - since you're a lot closer, now - you can check out the castle in greater detail: how large is the castle, what's it made of, how's the upkeep of the grounds (have they mowed the lawn, lately)?
But before you can go in the castle - you still have to pass over the drawbridge and the portal.
So, all this checking out of the exterior of the castle, the grounds and the drawbridge gives you your first impression of the castle.
Long before you ever knock on the door - you've already formed a mental picture regarding whether the castle is inviting, forbidding, well kept or whatever...Foundations of Personality
"The exterior of the castle, the drawbridge, the portal, etc. are analogous to the Ascendant of the birth chart. Like the drawbridge, the Ascendant is that part of us that people first see when they're getting to know us. The Ascendant reflects a person's natural way of acting, his/her habitual external behavior, and his/her way of responding to new impulses and impressions
The Ascendant plays a very unique role within the horoscope. It reflects the psychic content that determines how we manifest ourselves externally. It is an important part of our character, sometimes so natural that when people call attention to our traits, we often have difficulty in recognizing these traits as being a part of us or being 'like us.' Only when we have carefully observed ourselves over a period of time, will the Ascendant characteristics become clear to us."
The persona and the social persona are part of the outer, external mask that we each construct to protect the true "inner core" of our psyche from the everyday, bumps and bruises of the external world.
The "danger" (in Jungian thought) of the persona and the social persona is when we sometimes end up "identifying" with the mask that we've constructed for society's sake.
We start believing the protective mask we've constructed is the "real us." We, then, ignore/repress many of our true needs, desires and wants. This refusal to give "life" (or expression) to our basic inner needs and desires - then results in a whole host of problems.
Many astrologers generally agree with the potential harmful effect for those individuals that end up one-sidedly identifying with the energies of the Ascendant and/or the Midheaven.
It can result in the individual not allowing the expression and formation of the energies related to the Sun's placement. You don't let the true you shine out!
However, having said that... it shouldn't be a case of choosing one or the other (i.e. the Sun or the Ascendant)...
It's important to "give voice" and expression to all the many differing (possibly conflicting) characters contained within the castle of the psyche. Each part of the horoscope plays its own vital role....Outside vs Inside
The image you had prior to entering the castle may, in fact, be very different than what's inside.
From the outside, the "persona" of the Castle may have looked quite dark and ominous. But upon entering, you might discover it to be quite the opposite.
From the outside, the Castle might look quite well kept and orderly - the inside might be quite another matter altogether.
Inside the Castle
(or don't hate me, Karen H-Z)
Once inside the Castle,
we meet the majestic King, the stately Queen,
the King's Magician advisor
and the Court Jester.
We also meet the
King's beautiful young daughter
and a spirited, brave knight.
Depending upon the particular
kingdom in question,
the King may or may not be
asserting his true, royal right of being the one
in charge of the castle.
The inhabitants of the castle may be living in relative peace and harmony -
or there may be chaos and unrest -
or as with most castles, it's a little both....
In the birth chartthe king is reflected by the Sun
the queen is reflected by the Moon
the magician and the jester is reflected by Mercury
the king's daughter is reflected by Venus
and the king's knight is reflected by Mars.
At this point, I'm going to resist the (royal) temptation of explaining the roles of the different characters that reside within the castle.
I think the characters of my story speak well enough for themselves. And any attempt on my part to elucidate on the meanings of the characters (especially in this short space) would serve only to severely limit their true natures and potentials within the castle of the psyche called the horoscope...