Original
Western Astrology

Conflict and Character

by The Astrologer's Daughter March 27, 2010 10:42 PM EST
Conflict and Character

"What you feel only matters to you. It's what you do to the people you say you love, that's what matters. It's the only thing that counts."

- delivered by Tom Wilkinson in The Last Kiss (screenplay by Paul Haggis)

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Last night I had the pleasure of attending a class at the School of Visual Arts (NYC) in character development for screenplays. I was there as an actor to read through portions of the student's screenplays as they wrestled through the rough drafts of their story's development from unstructured character diaries to a 3-Act format with dialogue. The idea being that hearing their characters brought to life would help them evaluate their work from a different angle than just self-editing on the page. And to give credit where credit is due, SVA actually pays their actors!

The nights particular topic was their character's conflict and more specifically how it played it out in their relationship with another person in the story. The particular exercise was to explain a how a certain conflict would play out nonverbally. In screenplays as in life, people don't always face conflict head on, preferring to brush it under the rug or deal with it indirectly rather than verbalize their true feelings and try to get to what may seem like an impossible resolution. The tension however persists. even if the characters are unwilling to verbalize it and it's those moments of behavior that really cue us into the human being.

In astrology, we describe a square aspect between planets as rendering tension in the life of a human being. The energies those planets represent are forced to mete out some sort of livable situation in your life, although sometimes they can feel like irreconcilable differences. We often indulge the needs of one planet - perhaps the one we prefer or find more natural - at the expense of the other. However, sooner of later there is a price we pay for not respecting the relationship of those planetary tensions. There is a way to live more authentically and feed the needs of both - it's compromise.

As the Sun, Mercury and Venus are in Aries (not a big fan of compromise), we are getting an infusion of tense elements in our lives right now - as if we are teetering on the brink. Teetering on the brink to someone intimate with Aries energy may seem exciting and adventurous while it may seem more overwhelming to other signs less titillated by the unknown or bent on raw adventure. A gift of Aries energy is its directness however and while it can tend to attract tension, it has the resources to willfully cut through it.

 As we enter Spring, and shed the layers of winter and its accommodating internal focus, let's participate in the brightness of the season. Characters like people are developed in screenplays by their actions. As we've all hear, we are what we do, not what we say. And for that matter not even what we feel (sorry water signs!) It's interesting to look at our own lives as a story and be aware of where we are honestly confronting conflict and we are brushing it under the rug. For our own sake, let's at least begin to acknowledge the difference and allow the influx of bold Aries energy to guide our path.

 
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