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What Planet is Your Family From? Uranus or Neptune?

This is one of the most famous opening lines ever written. The author is a man consumed by horror and fascination with families and family life,What Planet is Your Family From? Uranus or Neptune? Articles a man who had 12 children and an intense relationship with his much younger wife, and whose own parents and older brother died when he was quite young.

The book is “Anna Karenina”. The author is Leo Tolstoy.

Many of Tolstoy’s novels concern families and family life issues. In “The Kreutzer Sonata”, a husband murders his wife in a fit of jealous passion.

Tolstoy’s family life was far from perfect and yet the profundity of family life consumed him for a lifetime. He asked to be buried near “the green stick”, a legendary place his older brother told him about when they were kids.

What about you? Does your Family Tree bear the fruits of pain or perfection? What about the family you’re creating or plan to create? And your spouse’s family?

Do your people fit the Normal Rockwell stereotype? The Partridge Family? How about the Royal Tannenbaums? Were you raised by a single parent? Relatives? Foster homes? “Where do I come from?” is an important question at some time in our lives and especially when we have Saturn in the 4th, 8th and 12th houses of the chart.

For all of us, really knowing ourselves means knowing about the families we come from. This is the great mystery of the bottom of the chart, the IC, the Imum Coeli. Translated literally this means the deepest most part of the Heavens. This is the 4th house.

Erin Sullivan has written a very interesting seminal work on family chart interpretation in her latest book, “The Astrology of Family Dynamics.” She thinks families come in two different types: Uranian and Neptunian. Let’s take a closer look at this.

So, what’s it like to come from Uranus? Uranus is the planet that rules individuality, freedom and the ability to stand alone against insurmountable obstacles. There is a Promethean heroism in the basic Uranian character. As you recall, Prometheus stole fire from the gods and gave it to humans. For this willful act of transgression, he was chained to a rock for all eternity. Every day an eagle (the bird of Zeus, his tormenter) eats out his liver. And every night it grows back. Many an Aquarian soul will identify with the agony and the ecstasy of this myth. Uranus is the ruler of Aquarians and astrologers. Sometimes the truths we bring are not welcome though they are spectacularly life sustaining.

Uranus is the planet that gives us the will to stand up and break the chains that bind us. Uranus rules revolutions such as the French Revolution and the American Revolution. When it’s time for a revolutionary change in the status quo, in rides Aquarius on the hurricane winds of change. (Aquarius is an air sign.)

The mythological Uranus, some might remember, ate his own children because he thought they were ugly. Still he and Gaea created the protogods of the Greek pantheon.

What on earth does this tell us about family dynamics? Well, the reason Uranus thought his children were ugly is an important consideration. It was because they didn’t fit his ideal. The Uranian personality can be consumed with a vision so pure that it dreadfully devalues any tangible reality.

Families adopting the Uranian model will be comprised of strong individuals who are encouraged to think for themselves as soon and have opinions of their own as soon as they can talk. The family is seldom at home because their family ideal is to contribute to society. The members of these families are serving on committees to preserve ethnic folk dances, getting elected to school boards, organizing fund raisers to pay for a neighborhood child’s prosthesis or starting a group like MADD.

The children in Uranian homes are escorted to the door at 18 or 21 and out in to the world they go, never looking back. These are not the kids who are expected to call home every Sunday afternoon at 6 pm. For some readers this is sounding like a horror story but for some, it should be oddly consoling and even quite highly amusing. You are thinking, “At last, someone is describing a family like mine.”

The siblings in Uranian families, not to mention the parents, often go for years without talking to one another. It is always interesting to discover what brings them back into contact. (If you know a family like this, be sure and ask.) Needless to say, in these families, everyone is the black sheep!

The Uranian family has few traditions since they don’t value tradition. Family reunions are rare. Maybe they read about each other in the newspaper!

Because every Uranian is at heart living in a future which doesn’t exist yet, images from science fictions books and films come to mind. Stanley Kubrick is a quintessential Uranian type. Here’s a world view quote: