Saturn In Libra: Attachment Patterns, Re-parenting

“We need others. We need others to love and we need to be loved by them. There is no doubt that without it, we too, like the infant left alone, would cease to grow, cease to develop, choose madness and even death.” –Leo Buscaglia

Saturn going into Libra marks the beginning of a time when our larger focus is on the integrity of our relationships. I know I tend to be most interested in my romantic relationships, but it is the capacity for relationship itself that will determine the success or failure of any relationship. One’s basic relationship signature, one’s ability to relate, becomes the foundation on which all interaction is built.

Attachment theory, as originated by Dr. John Bowlby was later expanded by psychologist Mary Ainsworth. I believe this widely accepted theory of human behavior is the most basic element in the success or failure of human relationship.

Attachment styles originate from earliest childhood, from our interactions with our caregiver, for most, our parent or parents. If our caregiver has a mostly healthy attachment style we get our emotional needs met and learn to forge healthy relationships ourselves. If our caregiver is unresponsive, hostile, or mixed, our approach to relationships is less straightforward, less healthy. We make basic decisions which form our ability to trust and decisions about our worth, decisions that are reflected eventually in our behavior and the success of our relationships.

Studies with foster children who displayed unhealthy attachment patterns have shown that these patterns are not static. When these children were placed in situations where a foster parent displayed consistent, healthy attachment patterns in their caregiving, a majority of the children achieved healthy attachment patterns themselves.

With Saturn in Libra we’re going to face the ramifications of how we relate. Is it good enough? What do we need to improve? We all have different personalities, different drives and levels of want and need which can be seen so clearly in the natal chart. A basic ability or inability to relate, enhanced or debilitated by learned attachment patterns, will grease the wheels or throw on the brakes when we interact with others.

Therapy is the conventional way to “improve” yourself. Whether or not people find it actually helpful varies GREATLY. I have a theory as to why this is. I think a therapeutic relationship at its best is re-parenting, reforming the subject’s attachment style. The therapist is a Saturn figure (ideally) focusing on the subject’s needs and providing focused feedback and attention. That is why a good fit is essential to the therapeutic relationship. The method is not as important as the relationship (again, just my theory).

Some people don’t believe in therapy, and I think they are also right. An older friend, a clergyperson, heck even a really good boss can play this role every bit as well. It’s about learning to re-balance through relation to a Saturn figure.

Did you have a “satisfactory” upbringing? Do you play well with others? Is this reflected in the success of your relationships?

Consult with Satori

26 thoughts on “Saturn In Libra: Attachment Patterns, Re-parenting”

  1. Great blog post Satori! This is very interesting!
    I guess I get along with others but there is room for improvement for sure. If I am aggitated I don’t hide it. I have Mars in the 11th and I can be a little strong in my opinions with friends sometimes. But all in all, with Jupiter in Libra I find that most of my friends are sympatico with me and I would do ANYTHING for THEM!

  2. Egads. I seldom hear references to John Bowlby’s work outside a therapeutic environment.

    At my therapist’s suggestion I read all three volumes of his attachment and loss series. They nicely underscore the path from a bizarre childhood to an uneasy adulthood. His work resonated for me, the reading was a painful exercise in excavating my own childhood.

  3. Rachel, did you ever see the vids on Harlow’s experiments with rhesus monkeys? it made me so sad to see those babies clinging to the cloth-covered, wire “mamas.” 🙁

  4. satori this is awesome, thank you (Mercury is transiting my 8th House these days so I’m all about the brain-psyche pickage).

    I did have a satisfactory upbringing–I stayed home with my mum until kindergarten. I remember being 4 so well. Very loved, very secure. Unfortunately she had a mental breakdown when I was about 5 (which took her about 20 years to recover from) but I believe my early years still bring me benefit all these years later.

  5. Hi Satori. thanks for the post. It takes me back a few years. And yes, I know of the experiments. Sad.

    Bowlby was amazing in his ability to simply and clearly state “this is how it goes…”

  6. Satori, being a seventh house sun (square moon-saturn on the pisces and uranus-pluto on the virgo side) i gladly support your theory that therapy is not as important as relationships as far as changing patterns goes. Therapy has to have boundaries and largely depends on the match between the therapist and the client, so though it may be the right path for some to work things out in their heads, i consider relationships to be more effective and encompassing, and demanding and intense…if the person wants to learn from them and look into the mirror they provide. I did, due to my sun ;-), and i´m astonished at the results over the many years i followed that track. Looking back ( a Saturn thing, i believe), it seems to me that there were always the right people around, not in the sense of bliss and happiness, but in the sense of triggering development, awareness and – change. Exciting!!

  7. Oh, forgot to mention i had a very very dissatisfactory and hurtful upbringing (see moon-saturn and sun square pluto, for instance). A psychologist friend of mine once said to me she was truly amazed at what i´d achieved and how healthy i´d become in spite of that gruesome background. She´d never thought anybody could get there without therapy ;-). Which i´d never had, by the way.

  8. I am a no. Saturn in the 4th, Sun/Pluto in the 10th and moon in Cappy have pretty much ensured that my childhood/family was as crappy and austere as possible. To my detriment I have had too many intense and difficult relationships including those with my family.

  9. I always found it funny that rhesus monkey’s “mamas” were conceptualized as mamas. Put a dude in a white room with a couch and a cooler, and hes gonna take a nap on the couch.

  10. I had a great childhood, it was always adventurous like the movies but now I can’t keep relationships either romantically or friendship wise. They either do their own thing or end up leaving me alone. Its almost becoming a pattern now and I can’t see it in my natal chart. Either I can’t relate or I lack social skills. I never had a best friend. My case is atypical anyway because mental illness has alot to do with it. I feel like I’m doomed to be on the outside looking in. I also do therapy which helps.

  11. oh Victoria, I’m sorry. I’m glad therapy helps. it was tremendously helpful to me, life-alteringly beneficial. here’s what was told to me: baby steps. keep taking baby steps and eventually you’ll get SOMEwhere.

  12. Hey Satori,

    Just want to say I strongly agree .I am learning that when possible, the process or improving your relationships is by far the most rewarding, and effective. Ive had therapy too and value it immensely, however a therapist can also be a good book, a sport, a friend…many paths can help us heal.

  13. omg I remember those pictures : (

    Another great topic and well synched. In another post today I ended with “cherish the mother figures that did love me”! In fact it was a therapist decades ago who suggested I actively seek out and cultivate relationship with parental figures which I did, both genders. So, whatever works for you!!! Everyone’s different, some swear by methods not mentioned here.

  14. Avatar
    curious wanderer

    Hehe Satori, you are right on with your theory about therapy. Neurological studies have been done that show that many of the neurons that fire during therapy are the same neurons that fire when a parent and child are interacting. Also there are studies upon studies supporting the idea that the therapeutic relationship is far more important than whatever techniques the therapist uses.

    For myself, it’s hard to categorize if I had a “satisfactory” upbringing. It definitely wasn’t the healthiest upbringing, but my parents were able to build some strengths in me in spite of themselves. My relationships have mixed results. However my journey of re-parenting myself has been going on for awhile, and I feel like I’m rebuilding myself from the inside out to create better relationships.

  15. ah, cool. This was so interesting to read. Therapy is wonderful, and it taught a person like me, commitment (I have to be there weekly… see?). I had to relearn everything that was MISSING, because my attachment pattern was not okay.

    So, I want to bring up that painting Roman Charity, the story of how a woman goes to visit jail to breastfeed her father to keep him from dying. This is how I felt about my childhood, that our paretns were demanding emotional needs from us before we children can voice our needs. we didn’t develop our needs properly, it was based on the parent’s time table.

  16. Great post Satori! I had a wonderful childhood and very nurturing Mother and Father, and I’ll be forever greatful. I also am aware that my Mother had the opposite, I believe that because of that, she made a very conscious effort to ‘break the cycle’. She eventually spent time in therapy and it did wonders for her and her need to understand her toxic relationship with her Mother.

  17. Another well written post, Satori. Your intelligence and gentle thoughtfulness shine through as always.

    I did not have a satisfactory upbringing. I broke the cycle by making a choice not to have children. I have never regretted the decision.

    I play very well with others, but have to admit I have very defined boundaries. I try very hard to interact with others in the same way I wish to be treated.

    I am not sure how to answer the last question.

  18. I grew up in a home where I was invisible, but the minute I did something wrong, the world came crashing down on me so hard that I was left reeling.

    As an adult, I still feel invisible, but because I learned I could not count on my mother to take care of me, I have been searching for a father figure (I’m a bastard) to play the role of Dumbledore for me. Unconsciously, I seek relationships where the guy acts both like a kindly father, and like an adoring boyfriend (not a combo that is on the likely). I trust almost any man more than I do my mother, which is totally unhealthy, unless i find a man I can trust.

    Strangely, my boss seems to be filling a role for me that has stabalized me. I never feel lost when I’m at work. Certain things are expected of me, and I perform my duties well. He offers me occasional praise, and he does the ‘disappointed stare’ when I’ve done something of which he doesn’t approve. I’m very happy with him as a whole because of all of this, though he as a person, of course, has flaws.

    Now if only I could find a kick-butt boyfriend who thinks I’m awesome just the way I am…

  19. “I have a theory as to why this is. I think a therapeutic relationship at its best is re-parenting, reforming the subject’s attachment style.”

    I have to add that what’s interesting is that you seem to turn the idea of transference on its head, as (as far as I can understand), a necessary starting point, and what ultimately provides the depth and transformative quality of the relationship. So cool a post.

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