April 18, 2024

The Dimensions of Paranoia

The Dimensions of Paranoia

So often we have heard the word “paranoid” used in conversation, in description of someone –of ourselves?—usually spoken in admonition or anger. While there are many levels of what is termed “paranoid”, we usually hear it to mean “suspicious, jealous, overly-wary of others in the world”. The popularity of the term in our speech suggests that there is indeed a bit of paranoia in each of us! But the term needs much clarification for it to be accurate, and descriptively, for it to be informative.

Paranoia is an excessive anxiety, a fear about one’s well being, taken to irrational excess. It often includes beliefs about being persecuted, suspicions of conspiracies, being spied on, having one’s reputation attacked, and, curiously, often includes a fear of poisoning. [Mozart was obsessed at the end of his young life with the suspicion that someone was trying to poison him. Poison seems the insidious way in paranoiac thinking for conspiracy and persecution to be carried out]. –Almost all of this is delusional, imagined; a snippet of a reality event can be taken in and then magnified in the arena of one’s personal weakness.

The word “paranoia” comes from two Greek words, para and nous,”outside, above beyond” and “mind.”

Paranoia can reflect a genetic defect, issue from a brain abnormality, or, probably most commonly, be supported by an information-processing disability. Stress is recognized as the trigger. In extremes, violence is perpetrated upon people who unwittingly are fit into the individual’s delusional scheme. –And we must note that even society as a whole can see itself existing in a state of paranoia, e.g. the McCarthy era, the Cold War, racial persecution, religious attack. People –real or imagined—are ‘out to get us’.

The Astrology We learn best in astrology from extreme real-life corroborations of measurement complexes. We see an archetype more vividly in the extreme example, and from that vantage point, we can work back toward normalcy as we appreciate vulnerability and manifestation in people’s lives.

***As you read this essay, please have this horoscope before you –without it, nothing will register about this important subject we are studying: Ivan IV, August 25, 1530 at 6:05 PM, LMT in Moscow; Asc. 17 AQU 24. [The birth time of 6:00 PM is provided in the records of the Russian Court and Church authorities; it was probably five minutes later, supported by careful study of event development in the life of “Ivan the Terrible”.]

It is easy to see in Ivan’s horoscope the major time of life at age 3, when he became “true Sovereign of all Russia” upon his father’s, the Grand Prince Vassily III’s, sudden death: Saturn=MH. In his youngest years upon the throne, Ivan was emphatically and incessantly taught by the Boyars (the highest ranking counselors in the Court) about his glorious position (to fulfill their jobs) and, at the same time, shown the reality that he had no powers at all (to aggrandize their egos)! –This set up a terrible exaltation and suppression theme in Ivan’s life; the polarity of manic depression.

Ivan the youth and later the adult was described as stocky and strong, flushed and red-haired, brooding and withdrawn; nervously passionate, easily excited, and incapable of concealing his emotions. In other words, we see the Aquarian Ascendant with the prominently configured Uranus, and also the permeation of angular Saturn (square the Sun and 105-degrees, a member of the quindecile family, to Sun/Moon). Again: extremes.

At first sight in the horoscope, the giant thrust to the public is seeded with deep difficulties, and these difficulties are focused in the mind-set: Mercury-retrograde and peregrine (in mutual reception with the Sun … an extremely important telling position) AND, dominatingly, Uranus square and Neptune quindecile Venus, ruler of the mind-set 3rd. This latter measurement group promises alternative intensification of expression and implosion and suppression of life awareness; enormous ups and downs, explosive and implosive. This will be assimilated as the counterpoint within the Mercury-retrograde symbolism.

The Angles are under siege, promising a disorientation (as is so often seen within suicide threats, self-deprecation cases; ‘How do I possibly fit in?’, ‘Why don’t I fit in?’, ‘What if they don’t want me to be here?’ ): Jupiter, ruler of the Midheaven is squared by Uranus; the Sun, ruler of the 7th , is squared by Saturn; intense, problematic Mercury ruling the 4th is peregrine; and the Ascendant receives a sesquiquadrate from Uranus.

Throughout all of this, we see Saturn square Mars: an indomitable nature that is enormously intent upon getting things done, supported by Mars oriental, Mars conjunct the Sun in Virgo (done precisely, judgmentally), and Uranus=Saturn/Pluto, “brutal efforts to start a new order.”

Development Ivan was a religious obsessive, fitting well into the cultural iconization of everything Biblical in that era in Russia. [Note the Jupiter position in Libra conjoined with Venus, squared by Uranus and trined with Pluto, ruler of the 9th.] With the peregrine Mercury, Ivan seems to have had a photographic memory (not unusual); he was consummately involved with rationalizing his life’s deeds –everything he did– in terms of the great figures of the Bible, in terms of the rite of the Sovereign and, paradoxically, the expected sedition from the subjects he served. He quoted Scripture in detail and at extravagant length.

When tr Pluto came to his Ascendant (exactly), at age 13, with great authoritarian swagger, he began to plan his personal assertion in the Court. Over his short life, he had seen that he was being slighted and used by others for their own advantage. He brooded. He read the Scriptures, especially the passages dealing with the conspiracies in the courts of the Kings of Israel. –And, at thirteen, he impulsively killed his Regent [Andrey Shuisky]; it was his first murder. Biographers add the chilling surmise, “Ivan learned that murder was an effective weapon.” –And his Court knew the easy days were over.

All this led to Ivan’s coronation as the first “Tsar” of all the Russias at age 16, with the Midheaven having just entered the Aries Point of 00 Capricorn in the planning build-up to the coronation at the end of 1546. [Please see “Analytical Techniques” essay, February 28, 2006; Independent Arcs to the Aries Point”.]

More and more and more, Ivan’s “way” startled the Court and startled history. While he instituted enormous Reforms for his people throughout Russia (with SA Pluto=Asc) especially with education (Pluto rules the 9th), he was personally leading his armies in vicious wars and arrogant victories, establishing imperial dominance everywhere.

Not at all gradually, he became tyrannical to a fault. He proclaimed repeatedly to his supposed Council of advisors, imagining their conspiracies against him: “God has protected me from you!” –When he became ill for two days or two months, he became obsessed that he was being insidiously attacked by those closest to him. His answer –to establish total obedience to the Sovereign— was constant murder. Anyone. Anybody.

Paradoxically, Ivan even attacked the Church and did away with its greatest heroes in gruesome public executions. Finally –as strangely as any monarchical maneuver in history– he resigned from his Tsar position to show, to dramatize his sincere goodness, contrition, and self-deprecation (!!), but subtly maintained bureaucratic control of the realm and, after some time, then murdered his way back into power.

With tr Pluto square the Midheaven and SA Pluto exactly opposed his Mercury, Ivan even set up a separate “kingdom” (“Oprichnina”) in parallel to his country! He abandoned Moscow and retreated into this separate realm; going into a self-imposed exile in order to have around him an army of killers who would do absolutely anything and everything he ordained.Everyone wore black monk clothes and hoods. Thousands of acolytes free to murder at will, to keep infidels and enemies of the state away from Ivan!

While in the separate kingdom, however, he retained all powers in the main kingdom(!!). He was sowing confusion throughout the Court. He was Tsar and not Tsar; he had abdicated but not abdicated. –His delusions of persecution and threat were overwhelming his mind.

Siege upon siege, war upon war, back to his golden Court, back to his Realm of black. More murders than the mind can bear to read about –thousands and thousands and thousands of them in grotesque extension of his paranoia. –And then, the ultimate symbol, Ivan finally kills his own son.

His insanity took grotesque form, powered by this deep paranoia. –Ivan “The Terrible” died of an apparent stroke during a game of chess, March 18, 1584 at the age of 54, with transiting Mars and Uranus tightly opposed his deeply problematic Mercury.

—What we learn from this extreme life-study is that paranoia (the vulnerability to it) is comprised of a problematic mind-set (the ruler of the 3rd and Mercury), an imbalanced life-long orientation to life (the Angles super-charged), AND the mechanism of self-supporting rationalization (usually Jupiter, Neptune, focused upon religion and/or spirituality, a fated destiny). A major symptom is always that the paranoiac persuades with concocted rightness.

The predisposition is triggered and elevated by environmental stress. This is a most important part of the symptomology. This is why the most celebrated paranoiacs were/are national leaders: they have the most stress, the most resources at hand to fight off their personally conceived demons in giant programs, and that public at large threatens their very being.

Look at the horoscopes of two other decidedly paranoid historical figures: Count Vlad Dracul (“Dracula”): December 7, 1431 at 3:18 AM LMT in Sighisoara, Romania [24E48; 46N13; Asc 2 Scorpio 22]. Vlad “The Impaler” shows an extremely problematic Saturn (conjunct the Moon), ruling and posited in the mind-set 3rd, squared by Uranus. Neptune at the Midheaven keyed the extraordinary rationalization for horror-show killing in terms of defending the Church of Rome. Saturn was quindecile the Midheaven as well.

Look at Adolf Hitler [April 20, 1889 at 6:34 PM LMT in Braunau am Inn, Austria; Asc 27 Libra 25]: Saturn rules the third, holding Moon-Jupiter (co ruler of the 3rd). Mercury is tight upon the horizon opposed by Uranus. Pluto conjoins Neptune in a peregrine island keying all the supernatural rationalization he would need for racial cleansing to protect humankind.

This side of such historical monstrosities, we must be aware that all us have a macabre turn of mind possible in our experience, that it can smoke a delusory state into consciousness. This is part of the human condition. This is part of the revelation of astrology. Understanding the scope of paranoia and its occurrence to block our true light can keep us safe and sane … especially when somebody hurls the epithet into the air without knowing what it means!