“God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.”
Self aggrandizement and vanity are not Narcissism. To understand the reality of Narcissism you must understand its root, the rejection of the true self. When Narcissus looked in the pool and fell in thrall with his reflection this was not self-love. To understand this archetypal myth one must understand the nature of mirrored reflection. The reflection is not the thing.
Narcissus is not a tale of self-love; it is a tale of self-rejection. Narcissus “fell in love” with his false-self reflection. The reason he rejected real-life suitors is that he rejected his real self in favor of a non-real self. A reflection is shallow. It has no substance and therefore cannot love. True Narcissism is the early rejection of the true self in favor of a made-up self.
There is no self-love in Narcissism; there is only aggrandizement and vanity of the false-self, the image they have chosen to embrace over who they really are. Over time when the connection to the false self is solidified the connection to the real self is lost. The reason Narcissism is so impossible to treat is that over time so much of a person’s energy has been spent in creating and upholding the false self that the real self has fallen so far behind in development that it is no longer a viable option.
Now here’s how to parse this astrologically. Consider the person as a metaphorical car. The true self is the driver. The false self is the back seat driver. The true self embodies all the energies of the natal chart, the driver. Consider the back seat driver to have a made up chart, one that has been picked out of the air, not a real set of energies that can be accessed. The driver takes the car out based on the very real energies in their natal chart and transits that chart experiences, but it is the back seat driver that gets out of the car at the destination and interacts.
There are no chart placements or aspects that spell out narcissism. There are, however, challenging aspects that can result in the condition if not well-met. In sign quincunxes between Pluto or Chiron and personal planets are ripe for this challenge. That does not mean the person will become a narcissist. What it means is that they are faced with the challenge of integrating their shadow or damage with who they are truly born to be. Other challenges to the natal chart with these planets can, I suspect, also result in narcissism when the energy is not resolved, but the quincunx is the most difficult to integrate.
One way to spot a narcissist is through the chart. Are they expressing the placement of their personal planets or something else? Someone who is expressing a personal planet in that placement’s negative energy is not a narcissist. They’re just an asshole.
To be a whole person you don’t have to like yourself or even be likable; you just have to BE yourself. Learning to like yourself just makes it all work better.
Do you have narcissists in your life? What aspects do you think are the culprit?