It’s only natural to assume that others are as you imagine. But because of the psychological phenomena known as ‘projection’, it’s more complicated than that.
Projection is an automatic process whereby the contents of your unconscious are perceived by you to be within others. For example, if you’re angry with your boss but can’t openly express that, it’s likely that you’ll ‘project’ your anger onto him or her and then be surprised when you’re the ‘victim’ of your boss’s aggression. Once you understand what’s happening, you can stop blaming your boss for your own anger and find a better, more profitable way of expressing it.
Astrologically, projection is down to a particular planet (or grouping of planets) that for some reason, you’ve (unconsciously) disowned.
Astrology hones on your most likely projections so that you can get them under control as soon as possible.
Typical places in your natal chart to look:
- 7th house – Because 7th house planets are furthest away from your essential self (i.e. 1sthouse) they are often ripe for projection. Consider the client with Venus in her natal 7th house. Because Venus symbolises what she values, it’s no surprise to hear her say that she leaves important decisions to her husband because she has no idea what she wants.
- 10th house – This is perfect for projections onto role models and authority figures. If your Pluto is in your 10thhouse and you don’t see yourself as being particularly ambitious, you might experience most relationships with authority figures (bosses, teachers, or even public officials) as ones in which you always lose.
- 4th house – This is where you’re more likely to project onto your family – past, present, and future. For example, one client with her Moon conjunct Saturn in Virgo in her 4th house has always found her mother to be bitterly critical. It wasn’t until she had a daughter of her own that she began to realize that she could be equally as bitter and critical.
Strong, uncomfortable, and/or fearful reactions to someone or something are a tell-tale sign that you’re caught up in projection. Such reactions often have a luminous or amorphous quality. Rather like ‘falling in love’ (which is apparently, itself, a projection), they fail to make sense.
As a coach, I must resist the temptation to jump in and ‘make it all better’ for you, my client. Likewise, I must not to rush to name or even explain the phenomena. Instead I need to let you sit and stew with the results of your projections for awhile because it’s through this (rather unpleasant) process that you’ll find and reclaim the lost parts of yourself.