You know that movie, ‘An Unmarried Woman’? Well – I didn’t get it. I mean, I would’ve been Mrs. Alan Bates so fast that guy wouldn’t have known what hit him!”
~ Judy Benjamin, Private Benjamin
Great balls of fire. Don’t bother me anymore, and don’t call me sugar.”
~ Scarlett O’Hara, Gone with the Wind
In the 1980 film Private Benjamin, Goldie Hawn stars as Judy, a young woman who has been in a continuous string of relationships ever since she became old enough to distinguish boys from girls. On the night of her wedding to a high-powered divorce attorney, Judy unexpectedly becomes a widow. When she calls a late-night radio talk show for advice, her rambling monologue reveals that her life so far has trained her for nothing except being a daughter or a wife.
In search of direction, Judy is bamboozled, by an unscrupulous recruiter, into joining the army. What follows is the story of a pampered young woman – an exaggerated but recognizable characterization of Libra – who, in testing her physical and emotional limits, embraces her Aries warrior and finds out who she really is. When the commanding officer who promotes her to an elite team of paratroopers later makes a pass at her, she not only rebuffs him but even parlays his indiscretion into a plum assignment in Paris.
By the time she catches the eye of a dashing French gynecologist, Judy has become confident and self-possessed. But in short order, the seemingly perfect relationship proves to be yet another demeaning experience with a dominating male. Fortunately, this time Judy recognizes what she’s doing before it’s too late, calls off her wedding, and triumphantly marches away.
As Judy finally realized, attempting to purchase a (Libran) harmonious relationship at the expense of your (Aries) individuality is doomed to failure. It doesn’t have to be a romantic relationship, either; all kinds of important relationships can tempt us to become too accommodating. As this Full Moon in independent Aries stands in uneasy opposition to the Sun and Saturn in relationship-oriented Libra, ask yourself: Are you hiding your true self from your spouse, lover, best friend, or business partner – in an attempt to keep the peace?
Then take the question one step further: If you are in a relationship with someone who doesn’t know who you really are, are you actually in a relationship? Sometimes it feels safer and easier to hide your true self from others, because if you are rejected for who you really are, it hurts a lot worse. On the other hand, you might be rejected for your faux self anyway, left not only without a relationship — but also without a self.
If you’re an artist or a businessperson, you’ve probably encountered a similar dynamic in your work. It’s important to understand your market and to cater effectively to its needs. But what if meeting other people’s expectations and demands requires too big a sacrifice of your integrity, or your creative vision? And if you should find yourself in competition with a friend for business or recognition, at what point is it okay – even necessary – to take off the gloves for a good, clean fight? There’s a fine line between fulfilling expectations and selling out, between yielding to others and standing up for yourself – and everyone must decide for herself where that line begins and ends, and how staunchly it must be defended.
For most of us, especially women I think, it’s safer and easier to play to society’s Libran values of harmony and cooperation; to make nice, and to maintain relationships at all costs. But the Aries survival instinct is within each of us too, ready to rise up and help us pursue whatever we need and want, even if that means stepping on someone else’s toes. Even if it means we’re not always nice.
Your Inner Scarlett
In contrast to über-Libran Judy Benjamin, it’s helpful to meditate on the cautionary tale of Gone With the Wind‘s Scarlett O’Hara, one of the most driven and remorseless female characters in literature (and almost certainly an Aries). Scarlett’s upbringing is a lot like Judy’s – she was raised to be a perfect Southern lady, a pampered princess with perfect grooming and flawless manners whose only job is to make a good marriage. When the Civil War transforms Scarlett’s world and she is forced into hardship for the first time in her life, she triumphs over adversity with grit and an iron will, and we cheer her moxie.
But the harsh manner she adopts as a survival tactic during the war eventually becomes a habit, and Scarlett loses the goodwill of nearly everyone she knows. She has mastered only the charming façade of a Southern lady with none of the consideration for others that gives the stereotype its grace. Scarlett is determined to have exactly what she wants, no matter how many people disapprove or even suffer from her willfulness. Hers is a tale of Aries given too much latitude, without the softening influence of Libran give-and-take. It isn’t until the final pages of a very long book that Scarlett begins to grasp just a glimmer of what her willfulness has cost her.
The Aries/Libra Sweet Spot
Somewhere between Judy and Scarlett, then, is the sweet spot on the Aries/Libra polarity. It falls somewhere between the extremes of pleasing everyone and losing ourselves, and serving ourselves entirely while pleasing no one. This Full Moon in Aries pits the Moon conjoined independence-loving Uranus opposed the Sun in Libra, with all of them in a tight square to powerful Pluto. Pluto represents the sort of outside forces, be it a boot camp instructor of a Civil War, that break us down and force a transformation. Things are tough for many of us now, with strong, external Pluto pressures forcing us to assert ourselves and demand independence. Let’s see if we can get that done without burning every relational bridge we have.
At this Full Moon, consider the houses of your chart where 16.32 degrees of Libra and Aries fall (and take a look at the house with 16.32 Capricorn, too – here’s a blog post to help you), for clues to help you answer these questions: Where are you learning to draw the line between self and other, between “I” and “we”? Where are you the velvet glove, and where are you the iron fist? Where are you trying to find the sweet spot?
© April Elliott Kent
All rights reserved
Featured image from a painting by Claudia Fernety.
See more of her work at her website.
Hilary Hellums says
OMG! This message is me too. I’m nearing my 50th birthday this coming January and have made some realizations about my life and some decisions as to how I want to live the rest of it. I realized that I have made myself into what the men in my life want me to be. I have stopped doing things I enjoyed, or have grown my hair long because they wanted it that way. I have decided that this year of being 50 is going to be sort of an intermission between the first half of my life and the second half. During the intermission, I’m going to pay attention to me for a change. I really don’t know who I am any more but I’m going to find out. Then the second half will be lived on my terms. I will not change me for a relationship. Unless I want to change.
That’s a big realization, Hilary, and appropriate for a big milestone birthday! My best wishes and congratulations to you.
Natasje van Niekerk says
This is so on par with where I am right now.