Most of us think of the natal opposition as a challenging aspect, one that brings inner conflict and tension, but perhaps we could rethink this negative perspective.
What is a natal opposition and how do they work?
If you’re new to astrology you may still be getting your head around the various aspects in your natal chart and what they mean. The natal opposition is the relationship between two planets (or points) that are exactly opposite one another on the wheel of the birth chart. They are placed in signs that are commpletely different to one another and hence they exist in a state of tension. For many people this tension can become conflict.
Everyone has at least three important natal oppositions in their chart by default so this article applies to you whether or not you have planets in opposition. These are the Ascendant / Descendant axis, which represents the self versus the other, the Mid Heaven / Imum Coeli, which represents our inner vs our outer world, and the Moon’s nodal axis, which shows us the key to finding balance and fulfilment in our lives.
Natal oppositions activate one of six polarities that can manifest both as inner tension and as actual conflict with others. In fact it’s very common for us to project one end of the oppositon on to another person, either in the form of magnetic attraction or as an equally magnetic repulsion. Often we are completely unaware that this is happening.
Working with natal oppositions is difficult because to make them work for us we have to achieve a state of balance between two very different archetypal energies. This involves becoming very conscious of ourselves and noticing when we are expressing one archetypal energy at the expense of the other. We have to learn to lean into the opposing energy, allowing it to heal and rejuvinate us.
Natal oppositions and the four elements
The key to understanding natal oppositions is to see them in their most basic, elemental form. Each sign (and house) is related to one of the four elements: Fire, Air, Earth or Water. Fire and Air are yang and support one another. Eart and Water are yin and nourish one another. Fire heats Air and makes it rise, while Air feeds Fire making it burn more brightly. Water sustains Earth, while Earth contains Water and allows it to flow.
Even though oppositions are supposedly in conflict they are always in signs that have complimentary elements. They are always made up of a Fire and an Air sign, or an Earth and a Water sign. Because these elements naturally feed and sustain one another we know intuitively that the two ends of the natal opposition are also potentially complimentary, however they need to be brought into balance first.
The six natal oppositions: their gifts and challenges
Aries (1st House) / Libra (7th House) – self vs other
Aries represents self assertion, personal power and the individual while Libra is partnership, cooperation and connection. If you are imbalanced towards Aries you will likely be selfish, aggressive in the pursuit of your own ends and unable to empathise with the needs of others. Those with a Libra imbalance always consider others at the expense of their own needs and are forever in a state of compromise.
Taurus (2nd House) / Scorpio (8th House) – earthly vs otherworldly
Taurus is rooted in the world of the senses, while Scorpio is a magician concerned with arcane symbols and the dark edges of other worlds. If you are imbalanced towards Taurus you may be prone to self indulgence, losing yourself in sensation, and be overly concerned with appearances. A Scorpio imbalance can manifest as a fascination with death and the darkside, a tendancy to control and manipulate others and a disconnect from earthly delights.
Gemini (3rd House) / Sagittarius (9th House) -facts vs truth
Gemini trades in information, constantly gathering and then sharing new facts with those around them, while Sagittarius seeks to understand and to know the truth. If you are imblanced towards Gemini your mind is probably racing and your mouth is in constant motion. You constantly seek out new information and are almost addicted to reading. Those imblanced towards Sagitarius can be pompous and dogmatic, believing they hold the truth and must share it with others whether this is welcome or not.
Cancer (4th House) / Capricorn (10th House) – inward vs outward
Cancer is the archetypal mother, nurturing, giving and focused on hearth and home, while Capricorn is always striving, climbing and reaching towards some external goal. If you’re unbalanced towards Cancer you may find it difficult to come out of that warm, secure nest you’ve made and just like a defensive mother you may be extremely sensitive to criticism and unable to handle failure. Those who are imbalanced towards Capricorn can be overly driven, workaholic and prone to using others for their own ends.
Leo (5th House) / Aquarius (11th House) – hierarchy vs community
Leo and Aquarius are like two different social structures; Leo is a monarchy with a king (or Queen) leading his loyal subjects while Aquarius is a democracy where everyone is free and equal. If you are imbalanced to the Leo side of the polarity you tend to feel more special or intelligent, and tend to dominate others. Those imbalanced towards Aquarius can be overly sensitive to authority and are often playing out the rebel-without-a-cause story.
Virgo (6th House) / Pisces (12th House) – mundane vs transcendant
Virgo is rooted in the day-to-day details of life, the ordering and categorising of material reality, whereas Pisces seeks the ephemeral and is concerned with the whole, with oneness. If you are imbalanced towards Virgo you probably tend towards perfectionism, are overly concerned with details and prone to obsessing about your health and fitness. A Pisces imbalance brings a tendancy to shirk day-to-day responsibilities seeking instead to escape, either through alcohol and drugs, novels and media or just daydreaming the day away.
Balancing the natal oppositions
Whether you have planets in natal opposition or not everyone has these six polarities at work within them. Looking closely at yourself can quickly reveal where there is imbalance and leaning into the energy of the opposing archetype is a very effective way of bringing a deeper sense of harmony into your life.
It may seem simple but working with natal oppositions is one of the most useful tools in astrology for growing into a happy, balanced and well-rounded person. But although it may be easy to see where you need to create balance, it can be much harder to move out of your comfort zone and work with an archetype that you may actually feel a strong dislike for.
Which archetypes do you need to lean into today?
Need help working with a natal opposition?
If you’re really struggling with a particularly stubborn natal opposition and you’d like guidance on how to work with it creatively you may like to book a reading.
Faith is founder and principal of Insight Astrology and has been teaching and giving readings for over twenty years. She is fascinated by astrology as a tool for personal growth and passionate about empowering others to read its language.