Vishaka’s loss of self: Marriage Story | by The Hidden Octave | AstroCommentary

The present article is less commentary about the movie Marriage Story than a piece inspired by it. Both main actors, Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver, have a Libra primary placement — Vishaka moon and sun, respectively. Here, I will write about a few aspects of their dynamic, but mostly as springing boards to explore themes of the Libra Sign.

For a Libra ascendant or moon, Venus controls the 1st and 8th houses, suggesting a struggle between the native and the spouse. The 8th (like the 6th and even the 12th) is a house with a “tug-of-war” dynamic, where one gains power over the other. The 8th specifically relates to enslavement and possession, where one is “chained”, “penetrated” and “owned” by the other. For the sign of balance, the one on the opposite end of the rope is the partner. In my article on the houses of reversals I write in much more detail how the dynamics of the 6th, 8th and 12th are very different from the other houses.

In the movie, we witness this “spousal enslavement” as Nicole, Scarlett Johansson’s character, is totally eclipsed and made submissive to her husband. He orders and she executes — her dreams and desires, but aside for his. This sort of dynamic is more common for Vishaka nakshatra of all the Libra nakshatras.

To understand Vishaka, we can look at its context within the nakshatra wheel. Libra, of course, is the sign that first deals with society, and its nakshatras emphasize the different aspects of the social world:

Chitra, the architecture of civilization: the actual physical and astral structures of society, the cars, the homes, the streets, the buildings, and all our many gadgets. Chitra is also what gives each society its own unique culture: the baguettes of the French, the hospitality of the geisha, the ceremonies of the Xhosa, the drawl of the Texan, the clicking tongues of the Bantu and all other eccentricities. It is the force that populates the worlds with the most unique details. Chitra creates indiscriminately. This nakshatra relates to the forms in our social world, again, both mental and terrestrial.

Swati, the bubble of society: though the actual forms are constructed in Chitra, they are given animation in Swati. Swati, relating to prana, is what keeps the consciousness tethered to society, keeping our minds and hearts invested in the many goings-on of our little world. Swati is also the force that creates an invisible barrier between what we call “civilization” and “nature”, such that we experience our cities and towns as totally separate realities from those outside its bounds, and it also separate society from society and culture from culture. Swati is what really gives us a sense that we are in Rome or Paris or Sri Lanka as its goal is separation of identity from the collective, be it individual from collective, society from nature or collective from collective. The quirks and gestures and manners of dress are invented in Chitra, but Swati (the giver of personality) is the force that sorts all these inventions into different spaces to create different mini realities or identities known as cultures, creating this invisible sense of separation from the masses.

Vishaka, from beast to gentleman: Whereas the previous two nakshatras represented the external realities that man inhabit and is animated by, this nakshatra represents man and his journey from caveman to proper civilian — it is man, taming himself, to exist within the realities crafted by Chitra and Swati. One learns selflessness, courtesy, etiquette, ethics, morality, neighborliness and all such things that make getting on with others in the collective possible. Vishaka can be a confusing nakshatra for on the one hand, it is one of great struggle with one’s animalistic side: jealousy, anger, greed, gluttony, and all other chaotic emotions. Yet, on the other hand, it represents the taming of these aspects of man to properly exists within this more refined reality called society. Here, man is plucked from the wild and is programmed to be his most well behaved, which is why, on a personal level, many Vishaka natives come off as so cultured and polite and embody the idea of the Libra archetype — even if, on the inside, they must make a conscious effort to starve the “bad wolf”.

This strive for moral good, or at least the appearance of it, is so well captured in the beginning of the movie, as it opens with both couples complementing each other. “Nicole gives the best presents.” The husband says of his wife. “Charlie is undaunted, his very self-sufficient.” Says the wife in her turn. In fact, much of the first half of the movie reflects this rather superficial politeness and diplomacy characteristic of many Vishaka nakshatra natives.

Now, Vishaka, as is common for the sign of Libra, suffers from a sense of not really knowing who or what it is. Part of how one discovers oneself, one’s true desires, is by giving in a little to one’s inner carnality — that boiling, self-centered side of our humanity that wants what it wants when it wants it. But, in its journey of self-mastery and social mindedness, it is common for Vishaka natives to so tightly hold back that inner beast (their true sense of self), such that they lose that internal compass — finding themselves chasing things in life they believe they want only to end up confused about… everything.

It is quite curious, actually, because Venus (the instincts, the inner beast, the selfish drive for one’s own climax) is ruler of Libra, and yet much of Libra is about curving these qualities or rather, learning how to pursue them and still maintain harmony with one’s peers — or, in the case of the more calculating among them, put on a show of diplomacy and democracy as a means of achieving this very deep, lustful end.

Psychology is a subject related to both the 7th and the 8th houses — the 7th, of course, being the house of the other (both external and internal, as it is the house where we “other” ourselves to better observe ourselves). These reflections of the self, an exploration of our various components, calls to mind Sigmund Freud and his notions of the Ego, the Superego, and the Id.

In short, “the id is the primitive and instinctual part of the mind that contains sexual and aggressive drives and hidden memories” — the id is primal, carnal, and is concerned with our most basic beastly urges. It is all our instinctive and primitive behaviors. “The super-ego operates as a moral conscience” — its job is to counteract the urges of the id, “and the ego is the realistic part that mediates between the desires of the id and the super-ego.” (McLeod, n.d.)

“The id is driven by the pleasure principle, which strives for immediate gratification of all desires, wants, and needs.” “The superego holds the internalized moral standards and ideals that we acquire from our parents and society (our sense of right and wrong).”

Ego is the organized, realistic agent that mediates between the instinctual desires of the id and the critical super-ego” — it is the decision maker. The balancer of the scales, so to speak.

It’s interesting to consider that, according to the Vayu Puranas, the sun was born in Vishaka nakshatra. The sun itself relates to self-dominance — never giving in to lesser emotions, and only ever allowing the “higher self” to have his way. The ego is born in Vishaka, in Libra, which makes sense for, being the sign and house that observes itself through the reflective glass, it is positioned to determine what parts of itself to accept and what to choke and let die.

it is a interesting point that the 7th house, the house of the mirror, the natural house of Libra, is where we discover these different “others” within ourselves and the proceed to “balance” them. “Should I compete with my friend for this new position in the office? I want to advance my career (Id), but I don’t want to ruin the friendship (Superego)?”, “Should I stay in my current relationship, knowing that I am no longer in love with my spouse (Superego)? Would it be selfish (Id) of me to just divorce them?”, “I desperately want a bite of that chocolate cake (Id), but what about my New Year’s Resolution (Superego)?’

We see some of this struggle within this movie. It’s interesting that, for the most part, one never gets to see the ugly side of Nicole. For example, in the very beginning of the movie, Nicole assures her to-be ex-husband Charlie, that she wants an amicable divorce and that she would not go behind his back. But what we see throughout the movie is allusions to her dishonesty or treachery. The movie makes a point to never actually show her committing these acts. Take one scene where Charlie walks into a well-established lawyer’s office in Los Angeles, only to be told that he could not be represented by said lawyer for his wife has already been there for consultation. Apparently, according to the laws of L.A. (or at least the movie) when a spouse has had even one consultation with a divorce lawyer, said lawyer can no longer represent the other spouse.

Charlie struggled to believe that his wife could ever be capable of such calculation, and we, the viewers, struggle to believe this as well, given how kind and diplomatic Nicole has presented herself. But, as we continue watching, we begin to realize that there is much more boiling beneath that innocent surface than what first meets the eye. Again, all the movie ever does is allude to her calculation, her underhandedness, her serpentine modus operandi, but when the camera is on her, she seems like one so trustworthy, so dignified as to confuse the viewer.

Even this mere filming style reveals much about how Vishaka’s ugliness is one that lurks just under the skin.

Now, it is obvious to most of us what happens when a vital part of one’s humanity is too long neglected. One sits too heavily on the spring bed that eventually bounces us off. The struggle for Vishaka is demonizing its “Id” such that it focusses so strongly on its superego that one day, when the native finds itself too weak to wrestle it, it leaps out, overtaking the individual and running of on a self-centered rampage. Of course, many of us are familiar with the idea of the Jupiterian nakshatra alter-ego which is but another expression of this: the Miley Cyruses (and her years of back and forths between “good” and “bad” girl personas), the Beyonces (Sasha Fierce).

One of the last scenes of the movie, we see Libra unravel. The beast rears its head as the couple totally unleash on one another. “You didn’t love me as much as I loved you!”, says Nicole, the Vishaka nakshatra moon who gave so much of herself, she let die her own dreams.

“Everyday I wake up and I hope your dead! I hope you get an illness, get hit by a car and die!” says Adam Driver’s character, the Bharani moon with a Vishaka sun, after which he collapses on the floor and cries. Perhaps from being so disgusted from discovering the depths of his own ugliness. Who would have thought all this animosity was lurking behind the masks of civility.

To quote the YouTube channel The Take’s commentary on the movie:

“Love coexists with conflict, hurt and even hatred all for the same person.”

Really, one of their biggest issues is that they didn’t see each other, or even remembered who they themselves were, which can be said to be a symptom of this deeper disconnection to their Id. But this too the fault of each Vishaka native, as this pathological strive out of its animality is what provokes a resistance to even openly share these deep feelings with one another. Sharing these very deep, personal feelings would almost act as confirmation of their inability to rise above them, which is sort of the point of this place in the nakshatra wheel.

To Learn more about the placements listed above, read my other articles:

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