Is there an astrological correlation for empathy? Possibly. I think Moon-Mercury aspects are up there but traditionally, it’s a Water element trait. Think of how it ripples and holds resonance.
Empathy has become an all-purpose virtue. The trait is now often a synonym for ‘nice’ or shorthand to describe the ‘goodie’ in a relationship debacle – you know the sort of thing: “I was an empath, they were a narcissist…“
Its deficit is used to explain corporate failings – how many times have you heard some variation of “…a good leader but lacked empathy” intoned with liturgical seriousness.
But real empathy is not necessarily a desirable ‘virtue’ and it’s certainly nothing to get sanctimonious about. In fact, it is probably an unpopular opinion but I think even sociopaths and their ilk have empathy. They just ‘customize’ it to their own ends.
Real empathy can’t be developed and nor can you switch it off when you like. Far from resembling the cliche of the ‘nurturing empath,’ it’s closer to the predicament of the pre-cogs in The Minority Report.
Fine, they’re prisoners in a dystopian Philip K Dick novel but still. Empathy can be a liability. It’s hilarious that it is still often cited as a preferable trait for potential partners.
Empathy Can Be A Liability
Men seem to especially value it – theoretically – in women but perhaps they’re confusing it with acquiescence or the variety of tact that features soothing ‘hmmms’ and ‘yes, you’re right again.’
But legit empathy is when you can tell if your partner has the hots for someone else because you heat up. Or you know if there is no resolve behind a particular statement because you feel weak when you hear it. Actual empaths spend half their interaction time trying to figure out if they’re feeling your emotions, their own or someone else’s.
Here is an example that occurred with me the other day: it’s Spring Equinox where I am and I’m wandering along walking the dog at dusk, my mind is on a variety of ephemeral topics and you know, the dog, trees etc.
Suddenly I feel this wave of emotion, vaguely reminiscent to a break-up from the past and kind of like a cross between home-sickness and alienation but stifling because I can’t express it. Whatever it is, it’s not pleasant.
It’s so strong that I stop to take stock and then I see them: a man is standing at the well-lit threshold of a door, dropping off a five-year-old-ish child to the woman who is clearly the child’s mother.
Now obviously I didn’t want to stand in the street gawping at them but her tight bright smile and his poignant attempt at nonchalant chit-chat seemed like they’d relatively recently split up and were navigating the early co-parenting space.
The sensation I’d picked up before I even saw them was – I now hypothesized – from him wanting more than anything to just go into the house and for everything to be as he thought it had been. Or maybe it was from her, I don’t know. But this is how empathy works – feelings and other human phenoms are like sound waves.
Empathy + Uranian Traits?
Empathy becomes even crazier if you add neurodivergence or, as I think of it, Uranian attributes, to the array. Left to their own devices, someone who is neurodivergent and empathetic will launch into conversation with someone based on what they sense is going on, blithely ignoring every signal.
It’s not intended to be rude because they often experience the ‘sensations’ as communication and the signals are weak by comparison. Thoughts?