Management of Measurement Constructs

Physical Appearance

To begin with, please let me present some thoughts from pages 47 and 48 in that wonderful(!-) ) book The Creative Astrologer [see “Books”]:

“Pride is the antidote to the self-worth crisis. Remediation of self-worth anxiety deals in the main with objective reevaluation of the social profile [please see techniques in Tyl, Synthesis & Counseling in Astrology, beginning page 729]; we rediscover with the client the attractive, fine attributes that form his/her image to others. Sometimes preparing a list of commendable personality characteristics with the client is like pulling teeth, but three or four attributes can usually be listed, and that is a fine start.

“In short, we must find some source of confidence and pride somewhere in order to be helpful. When I am preparing a horoscope that has a Leo Ascendant, for example, I am immediately alerted to potential behaviors of importance and prominence, sources of confidence and pride that should be established: president of a school class, department head, owning a business, theatrical presentation, etc. Of course, the aspect condition of the Sun will modify the archetypal expectation, but that Leo Ascendant is there, and ideally it must be awake and active.

“The creative astrologer can become so sensitive to this kind of expectation that, as soon as the client walks through the door, an evaluation can be made: is there a ‘short circuit’ in what I expect, or is the flow free and clear?

“Indeed, this evaluation can be made with any Ascendant; I have chosen the Fire Sign Ascendant as the most brazen [forthright], if you will, in ego-transmission.

“The point here is that externals can cover over what we see in the horoscope; events in development can short-circuit their manifestation. The creative astrologer must stick to her guns many times in consultations, knowing what should be, what can be, and how important it is for the client to get there. Very often, in talking about such positive manifestation potentials, the astrologer is the only person in the client’s life recognizing what is within, what is possible. In that moment, astrologer and client are together in a very special way indeed.”

Physical appearance –what one has learned to feel about it-- is often at the core of self-worth anxiety, or contributes to it mightily. So many tests in the Social Psychology literature point out difficult truths about this interplay between how we think we look and how we feel about our worth, our lovableness, our fitting in, our qualifications(!) for a trusting relationship. In short, from early childhood experiences, we learn that a specific definition of beauty is associated with goodness. –Just look at the toys children play with, the television presentations they enjoy: the good people are intentionally portrayed awesomely better than the bad people.

Not only do parents treat their children within this spectrum of physical appearance, but even as early as nursery school, children themselves are responsive to the physical attractiveness of their peers.

Less blame is attributed to the more attractive; more credit is given to them; they receive the benefit of the doubt; they start out with higher salaries in their job, etc. –These modes of social interaction suggest as well that preferential treatment contains the seeds of a self-fulfilling prophecy: the way people treat us becomes the way we think of ourselves … and this begins with the parents, of course. Physically attractive people may come to think of themselves as “good” or lovable because they are continually treated that way; and vice versa … how many rejections does it take to think there’s something wrong or inadequate about yourself?

This issue of physical appearance then branches out into the social-interaction field through the opinions we form and express in relation to the opinions and expression of them by others. Accord reinforces attractiveness.

Of course, with a mature, circumspect view of life –unfortunately, long after the patterns of social interaction are established and reinforced through time—many of us know that attractiveness is illuminated by more than external appearance. But the harm in social networking and valuation has often been done long before.

In appreciation of the client, the astrologer must see objectively how the client appears within the socially interactive patterns we all live, within the astrologer’s own socially-conditioned spectrum of evaluation and reaction. [Maybe the astrologer herself/himself is fighting similar image problems!]

A client asks, “When will I meet someone? When will I get the job I think I should have?” BUT the person has a difficult self-worth profile, has had a fractured history in relationships, personally and on the job (the significator of the 7th is under high developmental tension and this is related strongly to considerations of the 2nd, 11th, 4th and 10th Houses, etc.). The modeling situation in the early home was terrible and tensions were transferred (acted out) into adult relationships. As age crept in (over 30 for women, over 40 for men), withdrawal became the norm; staying-at-home became the defensive option adopted to avoid frustration ‘out there’. Weight is gained as if to assuage, anchor, and insulate the failure situation. –Your client –probably doing the consultation by phone, unseen— can be 60-100 pounds overweight. Attitudinal changes have crept in.

Astrology can incisively delineate the problem, but is hard pressed to be helpful unless the client is self-involved and dedicated to therapeutic rehabilitation outlined informedly by the skilled astrologer. –And this is where the self-worth profile comes in … the need to reinvigorate it.

The problematic issues of appearance, societal regard for and reinforcement of the external, and our tendency to think about ourselves as others think about us … these issues are complex. We must be aware of these naked observances within our objectivity and be prepared to encourage protracted discussion and therapy with a specialist. --Our understanding, realism, support, and encouragement in the astrological consultation comprise the first step for the client’s therapy.

Next Update: December 30, 2002


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