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Whenever I feel like complaining about my lot in life, I think back to Victor Frankl’s wonderful book, “Man’s Search for Meaning.” In this book Frankl describes his life during the three years he spent in Nazi concentration camps. As you might image, it is a harrowing story, and generally sufficient to put my trivial problems in their proper place.

In “Man’s Search for Meaning” Frankl proposes that the reason that some people survive horrible trials like the concentration camps while other do not, has a lot to do with whether or not the person sees their suffering as having meaning. Those who have faith that the awfulness they are now experiencing will eventually end and, possibly, serve a greater good, survive. Those who give up this notion do not.

I agree with Frankl’s ideas, but I have to add a little astrology. I think that a person’s ability to find meaning in their suffering has a lot to do with their horoscope, and Frankl’s chart, even without a time of birth, is a good illustration. (Click on Victor Frankl to see a horoscope done for noon on his birthday.)

Frankl’s horoscope is loaded with the kind of aspects that traditional astrologer call “bad”. First of all, his Sun forms a close T-square with Neptune and Uranus. Neptune’s opposition to Uranus is a generational aspect of idealism gone crazy, and it is found in the charts of many of the people who were interned in the camps, along with many of those who followed the Nazi cause. But in Frankl’s case, with the T-square with the Sun, it is much more personal. Also, Frankl has Mars square Saturn, an aspect that describes struggle, and his Moon is likely in an opposition aspect to Pluto.

I could describe the meaning of each of these aspects in depth, but what I really want to point out is that Frankl did not have an “easy” horoscope. People with a lot of “hard” aspects in their charts (squares, oppositions, etc) have work to do. They are constantly in a battle, either externally with the world, or internally with their ideas and feelings. But it is that battle that gives their life meaning. They don’t have to search for this meaning. They carry it with them wherever they go.

So, in that sense, people with “bad” horoscopes, fraught with squares and oppositions, often have an advantage over folks with charts that have mostly trines and sextiles. Their inner struggles give them the strength and a sense of mission that helps them survive extreme situations.

Of course, survival isn’t always a matter of strength. Luck can play an important role. At several junctures during his confinement, the only thing that saved Frankl from death was a lucky break. In his horoscope, Frankl has Jupiter almost exactly trine Uranus, an aspect that describes sudden good fortune. It is just about the only “good” aspect in his chart, but it was enough to save him.

Obviously, having meaning or a sense of purpose is one’s life is essential to our mental health, and to our ability to suffer great tribulations. Frankl is exactly right is emphasizing this in his psychology. What astrology adds is the fact it is much easier for some people to find this meaning than others. Horoscopes that provide for a life of struggle can also be the horoscopes of survivors.

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