Saturday, April 05, 2014

The Sociopath Next Door

I just got a book from Amazon, ‘The Sociopath Next Door’. I was beguiled into ordering it by the title, but the book itself seems dull, albeit worthy. (Much better is Jon Ronson’s ‘The Psychopath Test’.) All the same, it’s an American book, and it got me reflecting that there is this theme in America that the ordinary person next door, who looks just like you or me, could be harbouring a dark secret.

You see it in 2 current TV series, ‘Homeland’ and ‘The Americans’. In the first, a soldier returned from Iraq, now living with his family as a regular American and a hero, is secretly a Muslim terrorist. In the second, set in the 80s at a Reagan-induced height of Cold War paranoia, what appear to be a normal American husband and wife are in reality Russian agents living under false identities.

This theme seems to go all the way back to the Salem witch trials, when ordinary women were put to death for practising witchcraft. It is a theme that can turn into mass hysteria, as occurred (along with Salem) in the Communist witch hunt of the 1950s.

I wondered what is it in the US chart that might express this theme? A bit of illegitimate astrology is revealing. The US Sibly Chart is for 1776, the Declaration of Independence. It occurred at the Uranus Return of the Salem Witch trials. So even though the US did not exist in 1692, Uranus was at that time conjoining what was to become the US natal Uranus at 8 Gemini.


Ad Break: I offer skype astrology readings (£60 full reading, £40 for an update). Contact: BWGoddard1 (at)


And the US Uranus is conjunct the Descendant, the point of other, of projection onto the other. Uranus is about splitting/division, and you also have uncertainty, you can never be quite sure what is going on, your neighbour really might be a Communist/Muslim terrorist/Russian agent/Devil Worshipper. (In Homeland, the evil has spread even to an American hero. Is no-one immune?) The theme of projection is intensified by Sun, Jupiter, Venus and Mars all being in the 7th House.

The Salem Witch trials were religious in origin – Satan was in the world, and he could be infesting anyone, so keep on your guard. All misfortunes, the people believed, were due to the work of the Devil. The US has both Sagittarius Rising and Sun conjunct Jupiter, making it an unusually religious nation.

So putting all this together, the theme of the neighbour with the dark secret seems to go all the way back to the Protestant/Puritan origins of the US, the religious fanatics who came over from Europe to found the New Jerusalem. There were, of course, witch trials in Europe around that time as well. But Europe was more of a mixture. In England, the Puritans came and went.

In psychological terms, it comes down to the shadow, projecting it ‘out there’
and seeing others as having the brutality or whatever that is in fact your own, but unacknowledged. We all do it in one way or another. It’s the bits we are ashamed to admit to. They may not be ‘bad’, they may just be conventionally unacceptable. And if we are happy to talk about what we think of as our shadow, then it probably isn’t.

A book that has this American theme is ‘The Human Stain’ by Philip Roth. The ordinary person here is secretly black. His ancestry is black, but his skin is so white that he can conceal it. It is his shameful secret. He is a Professor, and he is unfairly accused of racism. And the story develops from that. But I thought it was rather a brilliant take on the theme. Your neighbour might be secretly black. As if blackness is an inherited evil that is not the same as skin colour. You can never be too careful.

And perhaps the American Dream is the obverse of the same theme, with the same religious root. Just as Satan can enter anyone, so can anyone, if they work hard enough, be saved. Anyone can become rich and famous. Maybe they are 2 sides of the same coin?

PS I didn't talk about Pluto, who is typically associated with the Shadow. But maybe he is the content of the Shadow, whereas in this case Uranus and the 7th House are the propensity to split, to see it in the other. And a major feature of this particular Shadow issue is treason - whether it is the Russian agent or Muslim terrorist, both disguised as ordinary Americans. And treason is a betrayal (Pluto) of the State (Capricorn). The US natal Pluto is in Capricorn.


WiseLalia said...

Rich and famous AND the devil/evil one next door could both be expressions of Pluto...

Palden Jenkins said...

I see this also as a delayed-action reaction to 1989, when Uranus and Neptune applied to USA's Sun and Saturn. At the time it was 'we won the Cold War' but in fact it wasn't - and now this is dawning.

It's also worth watching how USA has hit the skids with its Cancerian Jupiter - unable now to mother everyone - and its Libran Saturn - unable to make agreements and treaties - and, in both cases, pushing hard to restore something already lost in these areas.

The new concept of 'pivoting' in US foreign policy somehow sums up Libra. But it's too late - the opportunity was around 1989-93 when USA chose military supremacy, as part of the projection you have been talking about. Projection of itself as the one around whom everyone else orbits.

Perhaps these two suggest that USA was always supposed to be a land of peace, or at least of soft power.

Since you're talking about how charts can operate before the entity is born, perhaps we're looking here at the future chart of some sort of real new world order - not the Big Brother or world government kind of the conspiratorialists (part of that projection) but some sort of global order where there is no superpower, more a community of interests acting collectively.

For we are witnessing something bigger than USA - a breakout from the old superpower order into something formative which concerns the real and almost inevitable birth of a truly global order. At present this involves a collection of regional powers kicking sand in the face of the Late Great USA and piling onto the big bully to duff him up while he's going down.

This in itself is a bit sad, since the true new world order does involve cooperation, not competition or dominance. But the nations of the world, gradually but also quickly freeing themselves from superpower domination aren't sure how to get out of their own competitive complexes. See the jostling and farting of Saudi Arabia, Russia, Brazil, India, China, EU and the middle powers of Turkey, Mexico, Indonesia, Egypt, Iran and the struggling of African nations for a place at the table.

We've entered a long-ish process which might slot together better in the Ura-Nep-Pluto sextiles of the late 2020s and be tested at the Uranus opposition Pluto of the late 2040s.

Or perhaps not... it's all in the balance, and perhaps America, with its Libran Saturn, could play a facilitating role in this if it just got off its superpower complex and made itself an ordinary, unexceptional big nation amongst many. Alternatively, perhaps only China can do it - Russia, India and EU can't, since they don't have sufficient solidity and respect to do it.

Love, Palden

Sara said...

I think you have your timing off a bit.
The height of the Cold War in the USA was not during the Reagan presidency. That was the end of the Cold War. But the comparison is appropriate.
It began during the post-WWII investigations by Joe McCarthy into Communist infiltration into American society in the early 1950s, an event exactly like the Salem witch trials. Guilt was by inference, not by actual proof.
This was after Stalin dropped the Iron Curtain on Eastern Europe, after the Berlin airlift, and during the Korean war.
The real tensions began with the Cuban missile crisis and continued during nuclear testing by the US and France in the Pacific, and coninuted right through the social unrest that accompanied the Vietnam war, with both the USA and USSR staring at each other across barbed-wire fence lines. That was the 1960s through the end of the 1970s.
Reagan had the seat in the White House at the end of the Cold War, with the breakup of the Soviet Union.
What is more interesting is that the same configuration (Uranus-Pluto-Jupiter) that accompanied the social upheavals in the 1960s is repeating itself now everywhere and will continue to affect social order, with threats of war, for the next 30 to 40 years.
The same sort of hero worship accompanied by suspicion, toward the military which you describe, is being promoted by the media in the US now.

Barry Goddard said...

I deliberately put 'a' height of the Cold War, to refer to the particular frenzy that Reagan whipped up, rather than 'the', because the Cold War had been going on rather a long time!

I didn't know there was suspicion towards the military in general - I only knew about Homeland the tv series - but that suspicion of authority in whatever form also seems to go way back to the rebellion against British rule, and is expressed by Sun square Saturn - as well as Uranus opposite Asc.

Anonymous said...

omg you ceaselessly bash America!! It's a bit paranoid, frankly.