The Archetype of Libra

by Jef Bartow

Crossing the descendent on our journey through the mandala of the archetypical constellations, we move from the more personality building archetypes to the social archetypes. Each and every one still molds, builds and transforms our material life into a spiritual life. But beginning with Libra, the arena of social and group interactions becomes highly important. As the first six signs key on self-development, the last six signs key on groups’ and societies’ benefit and welfare.

Therefore, the Archetype of Libra resonates to relationships; group participation; balancing self with others; bringing about equilibrium and order; and seeking something transcendent to self. One way to look at the Archetype of Libra is as the "quest for the ideal group or pattern of society."

Although both Aphrodite and Astraea are linked mythologically with Libra, I propose that a better fit is the Greek goddess Athene (Roman goddess Minerva) and the male Greek figures of Paris and Teiresias. Both goddesses symbolize wisdom and the crafts/arts. As the symbol of the wise owl, she gives "good things -- namely wisdom, understanding, and the creative arts." Both were also linked to warfare, but Minerva was only known to patronize defensive war. As to Queen Athene, it is considered that Zeus gave "holy authority to decide the issue of war" to her. A key to Minerva's symbology is that she was able to tame a wild centaur, "who symbolizes the dark unruly side of human nature."

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Both Paris and Teiresias share qualities and experiences. They were both very handsome and were called upon to judge who was the fairest of goddesses, including Aphrodite. Paris chose Aphrodite which was considered to be "the necessity of making a judgment -- one of personal values and ethical choice." When Teiresias did not choose Aphrodite, she turned him into an old woman. Later having turned back into a male, he became known to "experience gender transformation." After mistakenly being blinded by Athene, she gave him "inward sight." Ultimately, he "became one of the most famous and prominent seers in all of mythology."

Personality Conditioning

Libra represents the first step into a group (greater) orientation. Fittingly, many attributes of Libra and Librans include focusing on and balancing individual versus group issues. Libra conditions us to intense involvement with the outer world; moving others to the center of attention; and searching for ideal forms of cooperation, group participation and social relatedness. The intense focus outside oneself naturally brings the need for us to represent "I balance."
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The archetypical sharing the waters with others exhibits in the following ways as the Aquarius Waterbearer lives as a personality. Aquarius has a strong self-awareness and awareness of others. It strongly seeks group identification and a socialized environment based on strong social ideals. This leads Aquarius to stand for a set of collective values with a constant need for attention in the group setting.

Valuing friendship more than love, the Aquarian influence motivates the overcoming of personal insecurity through craving expressing in the group. Based on the receptivity of the group, this Aquarian influence can make us feel underappreciated or taken advantage of, even opting out of the game of life (certain life activities so to speak) over temporary setbacks. Further, beyond enjoying social interactions Aquarius motivates us to become a dominant member of the group, pouring our knowledge out onto the world. Trying to be all things to all people can lead to depression, self-deprecation and highly impractical flights of fancy ungrounded through no profound personality center.

Libra exhibits many positive qualities and behaviors, again centered around interacting with others. Libra's scales help us weigh, measure and balance to just the right proportion. Therefore, key descriptors of Libra include diplomatic, cooperative, helpful, idealistic and social innovator. With innate intuitive perception, Libra produces a pleasing personality with an even-tempered and calm nature. The aesthetic nature of Libra inclines us toward a refinement of all things beautiful. With a natural inclination toward harmony, Libra brings an inner standard of fairness and discipline. These inner standards contribute toward a heightened even-mindedness, carefully weighing values to achieve right equilibrium and a love of the orderly laws of life.

Inherent in Libra is a strong search for something outside self to help balance our personality's self-orientation. This includes the search for the ideal partner, social eagerness to fit in with what the group might expect, evaluating everything in terms of social standards and becoming a wonderful harmonizer and integrator regarding the outer world. The way this self versus other balancing serves us through Libra is that we become an objective thinker, cheerful in adversity and cool and collected in times of crisis.

This allows the Libra type to become an "excellent manager of group activities, a wonderful harmonizer and integrator." In a "quest for an ideal group or pattern of society," Libra conditions us to "social usefulness and the capacity to operate harmoniously" in groups.

As we all know, balance usually comes as the pendulum swings back and forth repeatedly over the duration. Therefore, excesses and extremes are very much a part of our Libra conditioning. These include "overzealousness in social workings;" the tendency to exaggerate of social values; trying to be all things to all people and offensive to none; and the potential to "lose one's individuality through dependency upon relationships and group obligations."

On the one side this overly focused orientation on the group brings about avoiding making decisions to avoid closing off options; nervousness and often erratic behavior; over idealism and a judgmental nature. Key descriptors of the extremism of Libra include indecisiveness, dependency, insincerity, laziness, opportunistic, self-indulgence, changeful, unreliable and procrastination. A typical out-picturing of this Libra conditioning is that we can be warm some days and aloof others, all in an unstable equilibrium. All of this is focused on fitting in with what the "group might expect of him."


Individuating the Self

It's fairly easy to conclude that spiritualizing the personality through Libra is going to involve the key words of balancing and discriminating. By bringing a balanced focus to relationships, we not only become more realistic than idealistic, but reduce extreme behaviors to a calm, serene equanimity in life. Through Libra, we birth a "new life" in a "Greater Whole." This new life is characterized by a balance between the soul and personality; an equilibrium between material personal desire and intelligent spiritual love; and obviously a balanced sense of social values.

In this new life, we find the Self through processes of choice; we find universal ethics which transcend merely human choice; and learn to love from the soul instead of the personality. This road to objective compassionate relatedness comes through transmuting selfish desire into spiritual aspiration while transforming judgment into discriminating justice. In essence, we "consecrate" ourselves to humanity.

Living the Spiritual Life

It might not seem obvious here, but living a spiritual life through Libra will be less about group interaction than living based on a focused purpose. By gaining an internal synthesis of balance and order, the wisdom and understanding which comes forth allows us to begin "expressing God's quality and character." As a "custodian of positive righteousness," we can project an "inner spiritual purpose or intended will into physical expression." From a focused point of silence and stillness, we can live the "good, true and beautiful" as a servant of Spirit..
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