Here we’ll explore some measurements in a horoscope that alert us to the possibility of depression*, as well as thoughts on how to manage/improve it.
There are several measurements in a horoscope that can suggest depression:
1) Hard aspect between Saturn and Mercury: while this also suggests a capacity for deep study, in some cases the mind may collapse under extreme pressure from the circumstance (more on the cause of this later).
On a similar vein, when the ruler of the 3rd house (mindset) receives strong tension from Saturn, Neptune or Pluto, there could be depression, confusion, or other waste of emotions related to the mindset.
2) Hard aspect between Saturn and Neptune may suggest the need to work against melancholy.
3) Midpoint pictures such as MC=Sun/Neptune (potential confusion with regard to social status); Saturn=Neptune/Pluto or Pluto=Saturn/Neptune (intensified awareness of melancholy and loss).
Occurrence of several measurements like this strongly alerts the astrologer to the possibility of clinical depression.
When a person is chronically depressed, we notice it through underachievement in any area of life (i.e. work, relationship, or body weight, etc.) as well as self deprecating language/behaviors.
1) Depression can be emulated from parental role models: A study I’ve heard suggests that 25% of daughters of chronically depressed mothers also suffer from depression. This is easy to imagine, as we teach our children how to think through the language we use every day.
2) Inability or reluctance to express anger.
3) Errors in thinking – unrealistic attitude about ourselves or the world can lead to depression (example: “I don’t get anything right, I guess.” upon making a mistake.)
4) Relationship difficulty – feeling unappreciated within a network of core relationships can lead to a sense of depression.
Some Thoughts on Managing Depression
Noel Tyl has shared several therapeutic viewpoints on this in the Newark seminar:
1) Give yourself a permission to fail. It’s like quitting smoking – by giving yourself a permission to fail, it becomes easier to try again to release problematic thinking patterns. Perfectionism makes it harder for us to try anything for fear of failure.
2) Expressing leads to discharging. In case of anger, exercising hard can lead to the discharging of pent-up aggression. Some therapies actually suggest pillow punching, etc., which is based on the same idea. Writing an angry letter that you never mail to the intended person does the same thing.
3) Give yourself a time limit. For 10 minutes, discuss with a trusted friend/mentor/counselor how terrible you feel. The other person just listens, and counts the remaining time at certain intervals (“8 minutes….5 minutes…3 minutes…”) And after 10 minutes you STOP. Then move on.
4) Restoring self worth. In a moving example, Noel told one man who had terrible self worth anxiety: “I want you to go sit with your wife (make sure you have uninterrupted time with her), and ask her to tell you why she loves you.” As a result of doing this with his wife, the client (who was overweight) lost 160 lbs, and was jubilant.
Barring a purely medical condition (hormonal etc.), approaches like this can show a pathway to improve things, if not cure it. The longer depression is tolerated, the further it puts us out of the mainstream, which can lead to underachievement (and more depression.) The purpose of a therapeutic counselor is to restore the passion and human dignity that lie underneath the depression.
*as usual, it is probably helpful to point out that existence of these measurements do not condemn you to a life of chronic depression…That would be abject fatalism and not helpful use of astrology. Think of it like this: there are 50 lbs of weight that you have to lift every day (mentally) – if you do that, you either become strong mentally, or you collapse. The weight generally has to do with environmental pressure shown elsewhere in the chart.