Sign of the Month


Libra

Exerpted from "Signs of the Zodiac" by Varij 


‘If you have no love - do what you will, go after all the gold on earth, do all the social activities, try to reform the poor, enter politics, write books, write poems - you are a dead human being. Without love your problems will increase, multiply endlessly. And with love, do what you will, there is no risk, there is no conflict. Then love is the essence of virtue.’
                                                                                 - J. Krishnamurti

‘Love is the wisdom of the fool and the folly of the wise’
                                                                                        - Samuel Johnson

All signs of the zodiac have their prime motivations for leaving the house of their innermost being. For people centered Libra, it is the desire to connect with lovers, friends and potentially valuable contacts in a culturally stimulating setting. For single Librans, the prime motivation is to find that special someone to share their life with, their missing ‘other half’. Despite Osho's admonition that ‘you are leaving your house, your innermost core, in search of a woman outside .. and the woman is within,’ Librans compulsively engage in an endless round of social activities in the quest to find true love. It is only the terminally disillusioned who will abandon ‘making the scene’ in the hope of meeting Mr. Right. Even these however, will probably break their vow of ‘never again’ yet again by going to another dinner party, night club, or romantic movie in one last heroic attempt to meet ‘the one’. For such eternally hopeful Librans, the opening of an envelope would get them out the door, rather than, horror of horrors, staying home alone.

‘Aloneness is the presence of oneself; loneliness is absence of the other’
                                                                                                  - Osho

Unfortunately, hope turns easily to despair for such quietly desperate romantics. Well may they ruefully sing along with this lyric from a song by The Animals: ‘When I think of all the good times that’s been wasted, having good times.’ Indulging in envious comparisons with friends apparently successfully coupled up only serves to deepen their plight. Time for Libra to visit the hairdresser or beauty therapist for a make over and a therapeutic bitch and moan, or to schedule an appointment with their personal astrologer to find out what’s happening and why and what the future has in store. Or perhaps a visit to a ‘relationship consultant’ to sign up for ten introductions with ‘financially secure and attractive professional clients’ would be more to some Librans taste.

Librans you see, believe in love and can’t be happy without it. I’m sure they would whole-heartedly agree with J. Krishnamurti’s leading contention that love is the essence of virtue. St Paul’s celebrated First Epistle to the Corinthians, often quoted in Christian marriage ceremonies, expresses the same sentiment: ‘If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become as a sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And if I give all my goods to feed the poor, and my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.’
 
All going well, Librans will eventually find their perfect match. Life for them now really begins. Love-struck Librans are so idealistic it’s enough to make their more cynical - or should that read realistic - friends laugh or cry, as they watch the besotted lovers immediately pledge to build ‘a bridge across forever’. Joseph Campbell, a Sun sign Aries with Libra rising, has some wise words on the subject of marriage, that topic so dear to the Libran heart: ‘[People] don’t realize what it is. They think it’s a long love affair and it isn’t. Marriage has nothing to do with being happy. It has to do with being transformed, and when the transformation is realized it is a magnificent experience. But you have to submit. You have to yield. You have to give. You can’t just dictate.’

Perhaps he was talking especially to his Arien self when he wrote that, for certainly to their great credit, Librans will work at making a relationship work. Blessed with a harmonious disposition, great communication skills, genuine interest in the views of their partner, and self help books such as Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus; Astrology For Lovers; and New Age teacher Shakti Gawain’s Living in the Light, they will do their best to navigate the inevitable storms of relating as they set sail on the relation-ship of fools. They know that 'love is letting go of fear’, that ‘love brings up anything unlike itself for the purpose of healing’, and that ‘love is not so much looking into each other’s eyes but looking in the same direction.’
 
“Life is relationship. To be is to be related, and without relationship there is no life” - J. Krishnamurti
                                                                                                                          
Librans function best in relationships where the complementary qualities of the two equal but different partners combine to form a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts. A good example is Beatle John Lennon who found fulfillment through his song writing partnership with Gemini Paul McCartney and through his erotic relationship with Aquarian Yoko Ono. His signature songs, Give Peace A Chance and Imagine, also express archetypical Libran [and Aquarian] sentiments. In fact, Imagine has become something of an anthem for the whole Neptune in Libra generation, those born between 1942-56, the so-called love and peace generation.

Another influential historical example is the partnership of Sixties psychedelic pioneers, Libran Timothy Leary and Arien Richard Alpert, aka Ram Dass. Leary writes:

‘We were an effective team – two attractive well-brought up Harvard psychologists, poised, cheerful, clean-cut, blithely using our all-American enthusiasm to generate support for the drug research project .. Ten years older I was the ideological leader, writing the scripts. Dick, an exceptionally talented salesman and diplomat, spoke the lines with the wonderful seriousness of high camp .. He encouraged ..  my wild intoxicated strobes into the future, reserving for himself the part of protector and ground control .. Genially we divided the labor. I kept busy directing the many drug-research experiments being performed by our team of twenty-five scientists. Dick concentrated on diplomacy .. Dick and I enjoyed that most wondrous bond: a loving brotherhood, a Sundance-Butch Cassidy alliance of psychological outlaws working to market and merchandise expanded consciousness.’

Throughout his auto-biography, Flashbacks, a ‘veritable who’s who of the Sixties’, from which the above excerpts are taken, Leary exhibits in high degree the distinctively Libran gift for appreciative acknowledgement, a gift that can degenerate into mere name dropping in lesser Libran lives. For example, here is his evocation of Alan Watts, that masterful interpreter of Eastern pathways of liberation for the spiritually hungry seekers of the West: ‘The wizard held court, drinking heavily, spinning out tales about fabled consciousness expanders of the past. Here was the oral tradition of education in action. Alan told us stories about the great mystics of history, such as the Russian occultist, Madame Blavatsky, who .. started the Theosophist movement in the late nineteenth century; Annie Besant, teacher of .. the so-called Secret Doctrines; Krishnamurti, who was selected by Besant to be the next messiah and who, at the height of his popularity, had the common sense to renounce the dubious honor .. Most fascinating to me were the stories Alan recounted of G. I. Gurdijeff, the Russian-Armenian Sufi mystic who taught a lusty good-humored mental science .. Alan .. gave us a model of the gentleman philosopher who belonged to no bureaucracy or academic institution .. Although he could teach rings around any tenured professor, he had avoided faculty status, remaining a wandering independent sage, supporting himself with the immediate fruits of his plentiful brain. He was a full-time all-out philosopher in his words and actions.’

Here is a final excerpt from Flashbacks to illustrate Libra’s attraction to stylish social engagements involving beautiful, interesting or influential people. Of such people you can be sure that Libra either knows them personally, or has heard of them and would like to know them, or at least knows someone who knows them ..:

‘The party chez Max and Veronica provided another pleasant introduction to Southern Californian culture and the psychedelic vanguard. There were lots of young movie people, like Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, and several LA medics who looked like movie producers – suave, hip, casual-but-rich. A dermatologist said grass was good for music and sex but only acid and peyote could get you past the receptionist, through to God on the phone. There were several orange-garbed swamis surrounded by disciples. Then there were the successful dope dealers, confident with their lawyers at their side, and, adding an ominous note, their bail-bondsmen. Jennifer Jones sat on the patio looking beautiful ..

There’s lots more in that vein, but I trust you get the point.

Channeling Libra, beware now as I turn on the fatal charm. Librans really are such nice people aren't they? So considerate and understanding, not to mention sophisticated, charming, gracious and balanced - the women having brains as well as looks, the men manners and good taste. They know how to treat a woman like a lady. Think the ‘sultan of suave’, Roxy Music lead singer, Bryan Ferry; the one time James Bond, actor Roger Moore; and the urbane former Canadian Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau, and you’ll get the idea.

Remember flattery will get you everywhere with Libra. What a pity the principle of polarity reigns supreme in this world. So alas, ‘tis true, even Librans have a shadow side. Handsome princes turn out to be frogs, fairy tale romances turn into nightmares, and, straight from the pen of that brilliantly clever, yet profoundly wise Libran aesthete, Oscar Wilde, the tragic truth that, “Each man kills the thing he loves - Some do it with a bitter look / Some with a flattering word / The coward does it with a kiss / The brave man with a sword / Some kill their love when they are young / And some when they are old / Some strangle with the hands of lust / Some with the hands of gold / The kindest use the knife, because / The dead so soon grow cold.”

In a similar vein, he writes with bitter wisdom born out of his disastrous love affair with fellow Libran Alfred ‘Bosie’ Douglas, which turned out to be the ruin of his life: “Life cheats us with its shadows. We ask it for pleasure. It gives it to us, with bitterness and disappointment in its train. And we find ourselves looking with a dull heart of stone at the tress of gold-flecked hair that we had once so wildly worshipped and so madly kissed .. In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants. The other is getting it.”

For further exploration of the shadow side of relating from inside the mind of Libra, consider the works of the seminal anti-psychiatrist R.D. Laing, especially Self And Other; Knots; and Do You Really Love Me, in which he exposes how lovers and parents manipulate in the name of love. And for the coup de grace, look at the behaviour of the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite, the most influential mythological representation of Libra’s ruling planet, Venus, to see the vindictive jealousy Libra is capable of.

I can see Aphrodite in my minds eye right now, dispensing insincere praise, bitchy asides, and cruel put downs, at a hundred and one diplomatic functions, gallery openings, magazine launches, and charity balls, etc, that Libra has either organized or been invited to. Here the movers and shakers of the top end of town mingle with the beautiful people, to see and be seen. This is a world where appearances most decidedly count, a world of formal and informal social codes, of shifting alliances based on shared interests overlaid by high minded talk of honor and principle, a world where an enemy of your enemy becomes your friend if you can temporarily unite for mutual advantage.
 
“Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much”
                                                                                            - Oscar Wilde

This world is easy to recognize in the machinations of party politics and international diplomacy, yet ‘the personal is political’ too. Who has not had the experience of a lover turning into an intimate enemy, and even greater horror, of seeing one's own role in perpetrating this? Yes, we are the world, which bottom line comes down to 'I am the world'. The buck stops with you and me. This can be a hard truth for Libra to embrace, for they are so other-directed that 'we' comes easier to them than 'I'.  The basic condition of conscious relating is to take responsibility for our own feelings, to ‘own our own stuff’. The other is a mirror in which we get to see ourselves, so Libra ask yourself : 'Mirror, mirror of the beloved, what do I see, friend or enemy?’ If it’s an enemy you perceive, remember, your judgments of others define you, not them.

Still, notwithstanding all of that, Librans can generally be trusted to come from reason rather than prejudice in all their inter-personal relations. Add an innate sense of fair play and a propensity to see the best in people, and it’s easy to see why Librans are so well suited to being judges, advocates, human resources managers, marriage counselors, and yes, astrological counselors too, Stephen Arroyo being an influential practitioner of the art.

“Beauty is truth and truth is beauty. That is all you know on earth and all you need to know” - Jonathan Keats

That is a lovely poetic statement of a possible Libran creed. Librans, here is the key to your life purpose. You are born to make the world a better, truer and more beautiful place. That’s why you’ve been gifted with good taste, poise, and a fine sense of proportion, qualities that fit you particularly well for work in the fashion and beauty industries.

“It is better to be beautiful than to be good. But .. it is better to be good  than to be ugly.” – Oscar Wilde

Perhaps it is the creative arts though, where Librans shine brightest. Apart from those already mentioned, consider this roll call: composers Franz Liszt and Giuseppe Verdi; opera singer Luciano Pavarotti; novelists Graham Greene, Doris Lessing, and Tim Robbins; playwright Arthur Miller; poets Arthur Rimbaud and Samuel Coleridge; rock musicians Sting, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Geldof; pop singers Cliff Richards and Olivia Newton John, the epitome of ‘nice’; jazz musicians John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk and Wynton Marsalis; jazz composer George Gershwin; and cinema actresses Britt Ekland, Rita Hayworth, Catherine Deneuve and Brigitte Bardot, all Aphrodite personified, who embody to perfection the ideal of physical beauty that Libra so often admires and aspires to. More contemporary Venusian beauties include Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Winslet.
 
Other influential Librans include German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, English mage Aleister Crowley, comedian Groucho Marx and novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby, whose marriage to spouse Zelda embodied the champagne-laced, name-dropping, ‘work is the curse of the drinking classes’ lifestyle that Libra is so often fond of. Unfortunately, like the marriage of poet T.S. Eliot, it came to a tragic ending of estrangement, a state Eliot brilliantly portrayed in his famous poem The Wasteland, as did playwright Samuel Beckett in Waiting for Godot.

Law and politics attracts many Librans, drawn by the opportunity to right the wrongs of discrimination and injustice. For example, Lech Walesa, the Polish trade unionist who played a key role in freeing Poland from the oppressive yoke of communism, and Mahatma Gandhi, the Indian ‘great soul’, social reformer and leader of India's independence movement.

As a young lawyer in South Africa Gandhi experienced first hand the humiliation of racial discrimination and from then on fought relentlessly against it. In particular, he championed the cause of India's downtrodden untouchables, whom he called harijans, ‘children of God’. His doctrine and practice of satyagraha, non violent resistance, which he courageously employed in the struggle for independence, is an inspiring example of Libra at its best, for it is a stance which emphasizes remaining respectful of your adversary even whilst resolutely opposing him. Gandhian resistance avoids not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. It’s core principle is to resist with love rather than hate. As he famously put it, “the policy of an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind”.

Libra has a natural gift for diplomacy, a gift put to good use by ex US president Jimmy Carter and ex US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, a Sun sign Gemini, who has Moon conjunct Saturn in Libra. Other notable Librans from the world of politics include former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the 'Iron Lady', who embodies the colder side of rational Libra, where principles rule over feeling values; former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Librans also shine as journalists and commentators on political and social life, where their aptitude for clear and intelligent analysis finds fitting expression. Influential US examples include the author of The Affluent Society, economist/diplomat J.K Galbraith; Walter Lippman, Gore Vidal, Arthur Schlesinger and Barbara Walters.

Finally, the new age motivational author and lecturer Stuart Wilde; Indian physician of body, mind and spirit, Deepak Chopra; theosophist Annie Besant; Zen sage D.T Suzuki; contemporary spiritual teacher Andrew Cohen; the enlightened Indian Saint Ma Amritanandamayi known simply as the Mother; and the spiritual master H.W.L.Poonja more familiarly known as Papaji, from the lineage of Ramana Maharshi may inspire Librans of a more spiritual inclination.

“The purpose of life is to be at peace, to love all beings and to know who you are”  - Papaji

Andrew Cohen in his book My Master Is My Self, a memoir of his guru/disciple relationship with Indian master Papaji, takes the characteristic Libran emphasis on relationship to it’s penultimate destination. He writes: ‘Papaji reiterated this point to make sure it was clear to me. That our union began with the clear seeing of the fact that this ‘knowledge’ or understanding had nothing to do with the individuals involved. It was and only could be once again: the SELF NATURE. Not he and not I. Only ONE SELF. That when this understanding is clear it sets the basis for a deep and profound meeting of two individuals – in the realization that they, as separate entities, do not have any separate existence. That they are both only manifestations of one being – one source – that in the true seeing of this Fact, this Truth, there will be an absolutely Free and beautiful dance of the Self with the Self. A true union in emptiness. TRUE TEACHING which ultimately can only be the perception in silence of our – BEING.’ [P16, his emphases]