Here’s Why You’re Trying Way too Hard: Singleton Planets in the Birth Chart

astrology, chart synthesis, natal chart, single planets, special issues in astrology

Today and tomorrow, I have to power through all of my assignments because we are celebrating my boyfriends birthday on Sunday, and I have to not have to hand in outlines or writing assignments that day. But I have been wanting to make a proper post for a while. Law school is probably going well; I cant tell hubris from performance quite yet, and I have learned that I have a ten-minute window to gtfo out of class on Thursday and on a train before they get so crowded I have to wait them out. Now, I shake with excitement on Thursdays because I can head home and do the rest of my work in my pajamas and not have to set an alarm for the next day and I can listen to Robbie Robertson on my iPod classic and pretend that Im not a grown up yet.

Im a man with a clear destination. Im a man with a broad imagination.

One of the best things about being in school is that I know that the work doesnt carry the same gravity as paid work; that I am learning and that I have a lot of time to learn. I am happy though that I am going as an adult now, and I am learning that maturity is a relative thing. I have a classmate who just turned 27 and is lamenting her old age already. I have recently come back to gratitude in having long telomeres and a general refusal to get older.

*There is a secret to not growing old, or at least, aging very slowly. Perhaps I will share this at some point, but I will give you a hint: there is a definite mind-body connection there.*

But when hyper focused on something that one feels they have to compensate for all the time, there is usually an astrological indicator. One of those is having a single planet in an element.

While it is true that having a preponderance of planets in an element means that one is very focused on expressing life in that way, the opposite is not always true, in that a person with just one planet in an element has little to no focus on expressing that energy. Usually, what happens is that a person does express that energy, depending on the nature of the planet, but either in secret, or in a way that is counterintuitive, or somehow puts themselves in situations to rely on the planet and the nature despite being naturally inept, like in that show, American Idol, where they would show the first rounds of singers who would audition.

Most of the entertainment factor in the show was seeing people make it to the final audition, perform poorly, and be genuinely shocked that they didnt make it. They have beautiful voices. Everyone around them thinks theyre great. You cant stop them from dreaming. And that is true indeed, but the judges are there primarily to stop them not from dreaming but from advancing further on that show. If youre worried about people stopping you from dreaming, look to the people closest to you to find the culprits. Anyway, we have all seen this show, I think, and we have all probably been flabbergasted when someone who really cant sing, has no star appeal, and seems unnaturally suited to singing in public doesnt know this about themselves and hasnt figured it out before going on live TV. The predatory nature of reality TV aside, there is a reason we find this entertaining, and it is not just entirely because it makes us comfortable with our own hubris, but that there are genuinely people in this world who are hyper-focused on something they are just simply not inclined to do.

They do have a choice, and if they have a dream, they can work all the more to make it come true, which may involving changing things about themselves, or they may want to give up and pursue something they are more naturally suited for. When you have a single planet in an element, that planet is like the bad singers on American Idol. It is hyper-focused on an expression, but really needs to work all the more to make it happen.

I myself have Pluto as the only planet in an air sign, in Libra, intercepted. This may seem to strange to those who are reading my blog, because superficially, a person who writes and goes to law school and has taught before usually has a lot of planets in air signs. I have one, and I have had a long road to this place. But maybe not. It takes me a while to get to a point, I make editing mistakes, and I hastily publish things I shouldnt. I tend to write about things subjectively. All my life, however, I have wanted to be more of an intellectual type who doesnt get emotions tangled up in what they do. Pluto rules my 8th house where Mercury and Uranus are conjunct. Pluto is in Libra of balance and getting along, and the 7th house, of negotiations and partnerships. Having balance in relationships has been a struggle, but moreover, it has become a central focus on my life: there is simply no other reason why I am this hyper-focused on interpersonal relationships specifically. There are so many other things I could be focused on — I wanted to be an engineer but knew I would miss dealing with relationships — but I cant. At the same time, there is something very daunting about close, intimate relationships that will remain with me for the rest of my life. Even still, I have a tendency to be baffled when other people dont think that Im keeping things light, or that Im intense when I dont think that I am, or that I am taxing on the mind when I think Im just getting started.

And it is hard to write about my singleton from my own point of view because my point-of-view is clouded by a lack of understanding. For example, I see no problem in the fact that I cannot focus intellectually. I was supposed to be doing my property outline instead of writing this, but I gave into a deep urge to blog. This is actually problematic and I would see this as problematic in anyone but myself. I also go on tangents, read too much into things, and use caustic language when writing. At least, I think I do; this is the negative feedback I get.

Consider both the planet and the sign itself, as well as the house when figuring out the nature of single planets in elements. Yes, also consider dispositors and major aspects.

Consider a woman I have written about before. She has a single planet, Mars, in an Earth sign, Virgo, in the 9th house. She is a housewife and very much identifies with her role. However, shes really not very good at it and has very few mechanical or practical skills and has no interest in learning. And there are plenty of people like this, including women, and that is fine. Not everyone is suited to this work, and not every woman is meant to be a stay-at-home wife and mother. The idea that half our species SHOULD be doing this is utterly ridiculous when the other half would still have more options. But usually, these women with no interest or aptitude for the domestic arts seek out careers and have fewer children and dont volunteer for bake sales; they dont specifically create a life in which they are doing and expected to do the thing theyre not good at. This woman has a college degree and did grow up in a time and place in which it was permissible for women to work and have careers and not socially permissible to have a lot of children all at once. Now, nurturing is more in the realm of water signs, but the mechanics of cooking, nutrition, healthcare, cleaning, organizing, planning, budgeting, financing, and scheduling is in the realm of Earth signs. Her degree? In business management. Philosophically and religiously (9th house), what she thought she should be doing with her life made sense, but that was the extent of it. The ruler of Mars, Mercury, was in detriment in the 12th house; not a great place for developing skills or taking on responsibility. If she burned dinner or failed to get the house clean, she would wallow in despair and seek sympathy or guilt-trip other people into doing it for her. However, when other people took over, she would panic, because she would lose the identity of her Mars in Virgo.

I have heard that Thanksgivings are great with her. Her children and spouse do all the actual work and she runs around acting like theyre in the dinner rush at a Michelin-star restaurant the day a renowned food critic is rumored to visit, making things worse for everyone, then is completely exhausted when it is all over, when all she really did do that day is get in everyones way and make everyone nervous. But she genuinely believes that she was at the helm.

She has a son who also is mechanically disinclined and was often prone to slap-stick like accidents, or creating life hacks for himself that became so impractical that no one could use them, or fixing things and making them worse. Back in the days of VCRs, he took it upon himself to rig up a hack to the family entertainment system to bypass the restriction the Disney Channel set up (it used to be that the pay channels wouldnt allow people to tape their programming). However, it also meant that in order to watch the Disney Channel at all, someone had to crawl behind their entertainment center and fiddle with the various devices for twenty minutes in order to watch the channel. Seeing as how small children either cannot do this or are not inclined to do this, they ended up paying for a premium channel that no one could watch. Instead of going to the optician to get his eyeglasses adjusted, or simply being honest when they didnt fit well, he would cut his eyelashes or pull them out. This man has a single planet in an Earth sign, Mars, at 0 degrees Virgo. Hes an engineer.

Mars in Virgo is normally a sign of mechanical aptitude; it often appears in the charts of surgeons. But, when it is a singleton, it may be that the native, who lacks other indicators of talent or skill in dealing with the physical world, it can be an indication of lack of skill that needs to be developed in this lifetime. However, either due to not getting feedback or the inability to accept feedback and learn (planets also indicate people in our lives who can give us this feedback) by integrating it with everything else we know and experience in the chart, the singleton can often be either spinning wheels or trying to find alternative ways to fulfill the need. Since the element is lacking elsewhere in the chart (even if they have angles in the elements, which most of us do) it is more difficult to integrate the feedback and process it. For example, if you sit at home every day trying to teach yourself Esperanto but have no one to practice speaking or writing it with, you may not really learn the language. If you find that you are wrong, you may augment your education to focus on what comes easy for you rather than what you need to work on.

Another woman who only has a single planet in an Earth sign, Neptune in Capricorn, is in a similar pickle. This is a person who struggles with delayed gratification, even though she is personally very invested in giving advice to other people on how they should live, even people she really cant give advice to, like people who are much older than she is. She has a very unrealistic (Neptune) view of her practical and social knowledge (Capricorn) but somehow, thinks herself to be a wise sage. The proof of the pudding is in the eating: no one would really want to lead the life she leads. She is nearly 30 and still living at home, working minimum wage jobs permanently, no plans, no art, no future, no real skill set or desire to cultivate one. She looks much older than she actually is; at 24, she already had wrinkles and liver spots. She has no personal style; she looks like an exaggerated version of a Forever 21 mannequin and makes jingling noises wherever she goes because she is always wearing big, excessive jewelry. She once had nose ring the color of a booger, even though she has a big, odd-shaped nose, and would get angry when people looked long at her nose. But she was always quick with health and style advice. She truly, absolutely believes that she is a very practical person with solid, practical knowledge earned through worldly experience and sells herself as this person, so much so that she is very angry when someone else tries to help her. For example, I once witnessed her flirting with an Ivy League neuroscientist, asking him what a hippocampus was and telling him that she had a lot of friends on methadone. She wondered why she wasnt successful as getting him to exchange phone numbers with her. Since Neptune is an indicator of where one can easily fool ones self, and yet Capricorn is not a sign that puts up with that, it is interesting. She genuinely believed that by asking dumb questions and offering that she hangs out with a lot of junkies, she was relating (Neptune) to this man on his lofty level (Capricorn), and that what the rest of us saw wasnt happening, that she was making him very uncomfortable.

A man who has one planet in a water sign — Uranus in Cancer — is a very warm person, though he teases far beyond the point where it is permissible. However, he cries at the end of movies and loves taking care of people and animals. In fact, most of his life, his main focus has been taking care of people and (Cancer influence) being appreciated for it. So much so that in his heyday, he was not only taking care of his wife, his child, and extended family, but scores of mistresses and co-workers and colleagues. He lives to care for other people, and even if he acts like its a burden, he still needs to do it, but he has to be everything to everyone in order to fulfill his ego needs. Even as an older man who should have learned his lesson, he still has trouble creating emotional boundaries and not seeking ego gratification from persons outside of his committed relationships. He struggles to see why the rules of relationships cant be one-sidedly flexible just for him when he suddenly decides (Uranus) to change the rules of intimacy (Cancer).

A woman who has Pluto in Scorpio as her only planet in a water sign is a very sensitive soul crippled by phobias and odd personal restrictions. She sees herself as a powerful person who wants to project herself in the world as one who is deep, spiritual, and mentally powerful, but in reality, she comes off as a tinpot tyrant adhering to various superstitions who doesnt even have the power to wash her own laundry or effectively handle a spider in the window. She is very religious and devout to her church, but fails to see why others think it is bizarre that she thinks the mere appearance of a spider in her home is a sign of demonic torment. She struggles to see how her fears (Pluto) are not taken as a sign of into spiritual significance (Scorpio) but rather, a lack of power (Pluto) over the inevitable (Scorpio).

Another man who only has Mercury in Taurus as the only planet in Earth signs, struggles to get his shit together. He has trouble articulating his thoughts in a digestible manner, or explaining his motives or reasons. He thinks that the problem is with everyone else, who either misreads what he says or lacks the intellectual skill to understand him. In reality, his behavior is baffling, especially when it comes to finances: it is very difficult to understand how someone who is already in debt and defaulting on school loans can justify buying electric guitars that he buys and then leaves in storage indefinitely. He genuinely cant see how he seems irresponsible (Taurus) and scatter-brained (Mercury).

Two men who have only Venus in the Earth signs, one in Taurus and another in Capricorn. Brilliant in their own right, but caustic and unable to really get along with or charm people. They have both had careers and personal lives stunted because of their lack of interpersonal charm and their tendency to intimidate other people, even though they genuinely cant see why this is happening. And even though on the inside, they are both sensitive souls, they genuinely cant see how their social interactions (Venus) dont work (Earth). If youre on a date with someone and even if they are very kind to you are very mean to the waiter, you get the impression that your are dining with someone who is not a nice person. They genuinely dont get that; they can compartmentalize their behavior, so why cant you? Your disapproval victimizes them. They are baffled that people tend to take all of their social behavior into context; that other people arent always like them and figure that well, hes nice to me and that is all that matters. Actually, if you ever find yourself on a date with someone with a singleton Venus, take caution, because most of the charts I have with folks with this feature are reputed bullies.

A woman who has one planet, Mars, as a singleton in a fire sign, Aries. She sees herself as a dynamic go-getter; in reality, she is slacker who feels more comfortable in a place where she is not asked to improve or be competitive. She has smartest-person-in-the-trailer-park syndrome. She wonders why, even though she feels that she is capable, pioneering, and active, that her life doesnt reflect this. She doesnt see why her need for what she wants right now (Mars) is child-like (Aries) and conflicts with her idea of herself as a bright star waiting to be discovered.

I actually do have a lot of charts of people with singleton problems, but I think I have enough examples. The main difference between people with a singleton planet and people without planets in an element is that people with no planets in an element will more likely than not simply feel the need or try to express themselves in a way that fits the element. For example, I have a chart of a man with absolutely no planets in fire or earth signs. He felt absolutely no need to settle down or to be passionate about anything. When he finally did get oopsed into marriage, it took him 13 years after the first child was born and when the second was on the way to give in, and this was during a time in which pre-marital sex was taboo. Interestingly enough, the woman who kept going after him all those years, despite the fact that he would never love her – or really anyone back – and would continue to up and leave when the spirit moved him – has a single planet, Neptune, in the water sign of Cancer. She fooled herself about her love for him and his love for her. The fact that he accepted her fawning (Cancer) was not a sign of love. The man lived and died without ever having fallen in love with anyone. Love requires water for emotional depth (which he had in abundance), but to fall in love, it needs a spark and passion (fire) and a desire to stay put and grow something (earth).

For example, a person with absolutely no planets in the air signs would never feel the need to go about life cooly and rationally and not seek out light-heartedness or communication with others. It would just not occur to them that they need it. A person with no planets in fire signs simply feels no need to be competitive or have passion in their lives. A person with no earth signs feels no need to contend with the physical world, with objects, or grow or tend to something in the long-term. A person with no water signs is shallow, feeling no need to explore the depths of emotion or intimacy, with themselves or with others. While there is definitely signs of shallowness with a singleton planet in water, or signs of lack of intellectual ability with a singleton planets in air, or lack of passion or drive with singleton planets in fire, and lack of understanding of practical reality with singletons in earth, there is still enough understanding so that one is aware that it is lacking. This person may then feel this lack — sometimes above other things they lack in the chart, like the missing sign in a T-square — and spend much of their lives trying to figure it out, make up for it, rationalize it, or improve.

How they chose to contend with it varies depending on maturity and other factors in the chart, as well as the feedback they get. Since planets tend represent people, and tend to have many possibilities of manifestation, consider that the examples I gave are usually negative manifestations of the singleton trait. There are positive ones, and in order for that to happen, there must be positive reinforcement in the chart, maturity, and people who can help them.

For example, people with a singleton Venus have a tendency to be bullies. However, they can also, if they get the right feedback, grow up, and have reinforcement like a strong Neptune (higher octave of Venus) and planets in Taurus or Libra, manifest this positively. They may learn to channel their unconventional view of love into poetry, or new ways to show love, or simply, may become wiser when it comes to love. If people around them can help teach them that being sociable all the time and not doing harm to anyone anywhere is what is important, than they will learn well. They will spend their time trying to understand the nature of love, not spinning their wheels trying to get it.

However, if they surround themselves by lackeys who excuse their behavior, or assume that theyre special because this person isnt cruel to him or her or is sometimes very nice to them (women who are with cruel men often think this way), then they only get worse, or, if they are outright and constantly rejected socially, they will turn inward and develop narcissism.

Of the two men, the one with Venus in Capricorn grew to learn to be more kind and sociable. Though never becoming a social butterfly, he mellowed in his old age. He had a child and a wife whom he adored, and moreover, readily admitted that he didnt understand love and was therefore open to trying to learn. Also, his wife would not put up with his crap; when he met her, she became an agent of emotional change for him. He had a family who loved him and whom he loved, something he always wanted. He had friends, even though he was still a lonely person by nature. When he died, there was lot of outpouring of love for him and his family. This man had a lot of planets in air signs, however, which made him capable of seeing his issue from an objective point of view.

On the other hand, the man with Venus in Taurus didnt. He was a bully as a child and as an adult.  He has no positive relationships with his siblings, his children, his co-workers, and now that he is frail and old, people are actually turning the tables on him and fighting back or picking on him. He married a woman who didnt care how he treated anyone else, even their children and her own mother, so long as he seemed nice to her. In reality, she never really loved him; she would appease him in the immediate but disregard his wishes over and over again. He never wanted children; his wife would lie about using birth control and wouldnt tell him about her pregnancies until it was too late to terminate. This man has a lot of water signed planets in his chart, making him take things personally and leading him to react to life emotionally.

The singleton planet also represents the type of people that will come into your life in that garb, in that facet of your life. These people can be helpful or detrimental. In both instances above, the angel and the devil were wives (Venus). There is a tendency to hand over the singleton planet to someone who is willing to act it out, especially if it is in one of the social/sharing houses (5,7,8,11,12). Whereas partners may exhibit the traits of the planets in these houses alone, singletons tend toward codependent relationships in which the people enable each other to be worse.

People with a singleton Mars tend to find a codependent who will do the work for them, or find people who will take charge for them, or people who will take action for them.

For example, the women with singleton Mars in Earth signs tend to find domineering people, usually men, who are rough around the edges and action-, not thinking-, oriented, who will take care of what they seem incapable of handling. Instead of learning to be more functional, more capable, and more practical, they have a partner who acts this out for them. For example, a woman with a singleton Mars in an Earth sign may not cook well, but with a codependent partner being her Mars, may never learn, since he will never allow anyone to give her negative feedback. She will never have the motivation (Mars) to learn to do better.

People with a singleton Venus tend to find a codependent who will smooth reality over for them and justify their cruel and cold behavior to other people. If anyone has the audacity to feel hurt by the persons actions, the Venus codependent will turn it around and accuse the other person of being shallow (Venus) or cruel. For example, she may justify his inability to be kind or warm to others as a result of his own upbringing, and that others must accept and understand this and therefore endure his cruelty, but never demand that the native get over this and learn to behave in a pro-social manner. Eventually, people flee from the native, including his Venus person, and he is alone, wondering why no one bothers to look deep inside him and see what goodness he may have there.

Of course, people with singletons can choose to have healthy relationships with people who represent their single planet. A healthy relationship for a woman with a single Mars in an earth sign would be with someone who is a practical, self-made person who has learned through trial and error and keeps trying. In turn, he will be patient when she tries out a lot of things and tries to navigate physical reality, even when it seems daunting and overwhelming to her. A man with a singleton Venus in an Earth sign would have a good relationship with a woman who has steady, stable relationships, comes from class and can show him how to not act out his insecurities and show a positive interest in other people. In turn, she can allow him in private to make fun of people or vent and laugh along so as she doesnt condone it in public or allow him to be sadistic.

Right now, my partner doesnt let me make extreme assessments of other people or color them in extremes. However, he doest chastise me when I make a judgment (Pluto) of the people around me whom I will be working with. I have had people in my life who tend to take an extreme position and do just that. I think someone is making work harder for me by slacking off and call them a shit-bird; this is not the time to give me a lecture about what an awful, negative person I am and how I have to be loving and kind and empathetic all the time. First, that makes me feel like I cant have negative emotions, ever, which is not fair (Libra), especially since the other person is being a hypocrite (Pluto) by indulging in a negative reaction to what I said and painting me in bold stripes. Second, if I have to keep our relationship formal, then we really cant be that close (7th house) and Im going to hide (Pluto) things from you. Third, if I waste all my time trying to worry about what other people want me to be (7th house), how can I become who I really should be (Pluto)? But for some reason, I have a tendency to attract these kinds of people in my life, which is weird, because if I am such an asshole, why be my friend? I realized a long time ago that these beacons of love and light are drawn to me largely because I become their foil (Libra) that they can project (7th house) all negative traits on (Pluto) and thus, make themselves look good and feel better. This is far, far more sinister than calling someone a bad name to a 3rd party because they once again failed to meet a specific deadline which caused me to have to once again stay at work later.

But at the same time, I also would seek these people out. They seem deep and understanding, like someone you can really talk to. However, this is really a persona, and I have in the past not been friends with people I should have been friends with or should have gotten to know better because I was taken in by persona and didnt learn my lesson soon enough. I do have a tendency to seek out frenemies and manipulative people, and have to be careful with that. I attract people who seem to take on the one extreme, publicly, and cast me as the shadow person, the bad one. What I end up doing, if I cant flee (which can often be the case), is to simply accept it and be the bad person, or fight it out and constantly try to justify myself to an irrational person (air sign problem) who doesnt really regard my feelings.

But, at the same time, I can and have been this person, too. I have cut ties with people I found toxic, and by toxic, I mean people who just really dont seem to like me as I am and regard my feelings as being real. I can burn bridges. I can manipulate people. I can really hurt people too. Realizing this has taken a lot longer than realizing the kind of Plutonians I bring into my life. I know now that Im not a bad person, and there are billions of people in the world who wouldnt think I am, but that I simply create relationships in which I end up feeling this way.

From a more practical standpoint, I have been writing this for hours, and it is now the evening and I still have a Property outline, legal writing, and torts homework to do as well as grocery shopping. However, I feel that my Pluto is now satisfied and I can go on and attempt to be the good student I hope to be.


3 thoughts on “Here’s Why You’re Trying Way too Hard: Singleton Planets in the Birth Chart

    1. I wrote a long, beautiful answer to this, only to have my browser hiccup and lose it all. So maybe it is kind of like that.

      Trying not conflating this aspect with Saturn conjunct the ascendant, someone with a singleton Saturn in Taurus tends to be hyper-focused on appearing to be a person who earns and deserves. If they appear to be miserly or give begrudgingly at times, it is because they expect others to earn or merit what is given. It may be that they grew up not being good enough to earn approval or rewards: if success came easy, it wasn’t challenging enough, or if they worked very hard and earned something, it was on to the next project, with little time to enjoy the fruits of one’s labor. Get good grades in school? No praise: after all, that is what the child is supposed to do. They may have felt like a donkey forever pulling a chart and chasing a carrot and never, ever getting that damned carrot.

      It is possible that a person with a singleton Saturn in Taurus in the 1st house was also saddled with responsibility for holding down the fort from a young age. This person may have either had to take care of childish parents who couldn’t run a home, or take care of siblings in loco parentis, or spend early life working in the family business. As such, this person may have missed the opportunity to learn to relax and enjoy the good things in life, and to do so was viewed as selfish.

      This person wants to be viewed as responsible, and may be given more than they can handle emotionally, even if they never complain, never let anyone know that they are tired or feel they are being treated unfairly. They will endure, no matter what. It is likely that they treat everyone else before they treat themselves, and that they have issues with appearing selfish. This person is quite capable of accomplishing a lot and staying with things over a long course in order to reap the rewards. As life goes on, hopefully, they learn that it is not selfish to get what is rightfully yours and to enjoy what they have acquired lawfully and rightly.

      It is important that, should this person partner in life, that they are with someone who wants to combine forces with them (Scorpio) to create something even bigger than two of them alone, and not simply take advantage of the work that the Saturn in Taurus person is willing to put forth.

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