Sigmund Freud was a hypersexual, coked-out psychoanalyst whose theories are mostly unfounded in the modern field of psychology. The most well-known example to date would be his Oedipal Complex (and the sister theory being the Electra Complex). To summarize, both theories hypothesize how children begin their psychosexual development. But for the purpose of an astrological application, I’d like to focus on my favorite Freudian theory – the Psychoanalytic Theory of Personality. I believe that the Psychoanalytic Theory of Personality can be applied to and even explain the astrological concepts of the Rising, Sun, and Moon signs.
The Psychoanalytic Theory of Personality
Sigmund Freud was able to reduce our personality into three sections – the Id, the Ego, and the Superego, in that order. The model for the theory was an iceberg submerged in water. The tip of the iceberg represented the Id. The middle of the iceberg, submerged in water, is the Ego. And finally, the bottom of the iceberg represents the Superego. Let’s break down each component.
The Id is the driving force behind the personality. This aspect represents an unfettered awareness of needs and appraisal of the world. The Id governs the reaction to external stimuli as it is operating on the pleasure principle, which states that one acts on instinct or impulse that pertains to basic human needs that have to be met. From acting on the pleasure principle, there is a primary process, representing the action itself to satisfy the need. For example, eating an apple (primary process) to satisfy the feeling of hunger (pleasure principle). In essence, basic human instinct and impulse that satisfies such.
The Ego is the main personality or supports appeasing the pleasure principle. The Ego operates on a reality principle, which is concerned with coming up with a realistic solution that poses no harm to appease basic impulse. The Ego is usually a driving force behind the Id, aiming to steer the Id in a non-harmful direction that isn’t governed by right or wrong. Part of the mastery that is the Ego is the secondary process of thinking, which aims to realistically, rationally work through a problem until a solution has been met.
Lastly, the Superego is concerned with moral code, virtue, and control. The role of the Superego is to control the Id’s carnal impulses that can be harmful or destructive. The Superego can also influence the Ego to make the right choice, especially since the Ego knows no right from wrong. The Superego’s complexity can be sectioned off into two systems – the conscience and the ideal ego. The conscience is the moral compass for the Ego. The ideal ego is the perfected version that one strives to be, often adhering to societal and cultural norms. The ideal ego represents a standard, which can at times be unattainable. Both the ideal ego and conscience are formed throughout childhood and enacted upon throughout adulthood.
Altogether, the three main components of personality build upon one another and act in accordance with each other. The overall goal is to satisfy impulse, but always within reason.
The Astrological Application
My theory is that Freud’s three parts of the personality – Id, Ego, Superego – is comparable to the astrological big three – Rising, Sun, and Moon signs. The Id would represent the Rising sign, the Ego would be the Sun sign, and the Superego would be the Moon sign. Like how the Id, Ego, and Superego build upon and connect with one another, the astrological big three also do the same. I hypothesize that the astrological big three also follow in accordance with the principles of their psychoanalytic counterparts. Let’s discuss.
The Rising sign is the astrological equivalent of the Id. Like the Id, the purpose of the Rising sign is impulse. In essence, it’s the first impression, reaction, and impulse to the immediate environment. Because of the unabashed impulsion of the Rising sign, it also operates on the pleasure principle and primary process of satisfying basic urges. Traditionally, the Rising sign is also known as the 1st House of Individuality. The Rising sign, in nature, is a primal urge, impulse, and action. “Monkey see, monkey do” in essence. So, if the Rising sign reflects impulse and first impression, then this follows following the Id as the Id tends to be reactive. Together, both Id and Rising sign have a primary urge that needs to be met. Id and Rising sign have a desire to be seen, to react, to assert. This is a basic human drive to be known. The Id and Rising sign are a superficial version of the self. It’s like scratching the surface.
The Sun sign reflects the astrological equivalent to the Ego. The Ego tends to represent the main personality, which is also the astrological purpose of the Sun sign. Both Ego and Sun signs are supportive of the Id and Rising sign in the sense that a basic urge needs to be met. The Ego and Sun sign are realistic, with no true right from wrong as both are tasked with coming up with a realistic, yet satisfying solution. Like the Ego, the Sun sign operates with a secondary process that gives guidance for the Id and Rising sign. The astrological purpose of the Sun is to have a strong, consistent personality that aims to achieve. In essence, both Ego and Sun sign is tasked with directing the Id and Rising sign, ensuring that the end goal is achieved through a rational, non-harmful solution. Not to mention that the Ego and Sun sign are also more stable, more thought-out. The Ego and Sun sign are consciously aware and proactive, whereas the Id and Rising sign are reactive. Not to mention that while the Id and Rising sign believe that they are in charge, it’s the Ego and Sun sign who can appropriately react. In other words, the Ego and Sun sign is what appraises the Id’s and Rising sign’s experience.
So, that begs the question of the deeper, underlying factors that are actually in control. The Moon sign is the astrological version of the Superego. Both Superego and Moon sign are conscious, hyper-aware aspects of the self. The Superego is the underlying thought processes, thorough reasoning, and emotional appreciation. The Superego is like the Moon sign in the sense that the Moon sign is the underlying drive and internal processes that satisfy the Id’s and Rising sign’s experience and is carried through by the Ego and Sun sign. The Moon sign keeps a checklist of acceptable behaviors, emotional regulation, and processing, much like the Superego does in its entirety. The astrological purpose of the Moon is to emotionally process and regulate the experience of the Rising sign, which is then acted out by the Sun sign. Since the Superego dictates how the Ego reacts based on the Id’s intake of information, the astrological big three operate in the same manner.
The Id, Ego, and Superego all build upon each other the same way the Rising sign, Sun sign, and Moon sign do. At the core of human behavior, the Superego and Moon sign is the processors of human experience. The Superego and Moon sign emotionally regulate, appraise, and process whatever one is experiencing. This regulation is often checked by the Ego and Sun sign, which have an ideal way of acting upon the processes. Once a course of action is determined, the Ego and Sun sign carry through the action in the best manner possible. The end goal is to positively appraise the experience of the Id and Rising sign, which aims to satisfy a basic human impulse. The basic human impulse aims to react at the moment in a favorable, acceptable manner that poses no harm or stress to the Ego/Sun sign or Superego/Moon sign. No matter what, all three aspects in either psychology or astrology examine human behavior in full.
In other words, maybe Freud should’ve given astrology a shot given his Psychoanalytic Theory! Let me know what you think, or if you have any input to this astro-infused psychological discussion.
Additional Credits and Resources
- Simple Psychology
- Very Well Mind
- Britannica | Britannica Video
- Examples of Id, Ego, Superego
- Khan Academy Video