Recently a client asked me “Where do you look for ‘passion’ in a birth chart?” And he wasn’t asking about the romantic side of passion. He was asking about day-to-day passion, the stuff that gets you out of bed in the morning. I have been doing astrology long enough that I have ready answers for 95% of the questions I get asked, but this one caught me by surprise. What is passion anyway? It seems to be a mixture of desire, curiosity, hope, joy and energy… right? Dictionary.com has 12 definitions for passion, but only one of them seems to correspond with my client’s inquiry: 6. a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything. The word compelling turns up in a few of the definitions. And the thesaurus offers fervor, obsession, zeal, delight, enthusiasm & excitement as synonyms for passion.
So I took a look at the components of astrology. Sun? It’s the center core of who you are and while some signs are more prone to passionate intensity than others, that doesn’t explain passion in the less passionate signs. The Moon? Lots of emotion, sure, but feeling isn’t always action, and passion seems to be a form of action & drive. Mercury is all thinking, talking… ok, a little nervous energy, too, but that ain’t passion. Venus is the style & method we use to communicate, but not necessarily the motivation.
Mars can be energy. Jupiter can be joy. Add them together and you get optimistic exuberance. You can also get a risky recklessness, depending upon which zodiac sign is involved. But optimistic enthusiasm is only one component of passion, and a Jupiter/Mars combo is not a committed connection. It doesn’t explain long-term dedicated passion.
Saturn is the planet of tradition, and is often regarded as the opposite of passion: cold, calculating and practical, but it is the disciplined dreamers who can take their passion and actually manifest it. And Saturn can sustain long term passion, once it sees the practical side and knows what needs to be done. We can add in Uranus. It ramps up the energy and optimism with out-of-the-ordinary, offbeat ideas, and adds in a kind of unfettered individualism. Mix Uranus with Mercury and you create a curious, unusual mind, but people with more traditional thinking patterns have passion, too.
Neptune offers the ability to imagine, to fantasize, to see what you want when it has yet to exist. A little idealistic dreaminess is a component of passion. But Neptune is a little too fuzzy to supply any drive to passion. Pluto has an intensity & power that some could define as passion, but Pluto is not day-to-day passion, anymore than a nuclear explosion can be considered fireworks.
Passion is more than a planet, a sign or a condition in a chart. Passion is inner motivation. The various qualities of passion are all over the chart, but there is no clear astrological answer to me. At this point, I can only point to free will. Free will can turn a so-called “difficult” chart into power and success. Free will can mess up a free ride. Each person has to decide what makes his or her life worth living. That is a creative decision we all have to make, regardless of what we have in our birth charts.
Asking where the passion is in a birth chart is, to me, a little like asking, “Where’s the painting in a box of paints?”