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Dominants

STUDY 1: DOMINANTS

Introduction & Background

Astrology is the study of the impact of the positions of the planets at the time of our births on our personalities and life events. The Sun, the Moon, and each planet corresponds to a different aspect of our personalities, and which sign each planet happens to fall in at that point in time tells us something about that part of ourselves. Mercury, for example, rules communication, so where our Mercury falls tells us something about how we communicate. The combination of all of our planetary placements at the time of our births, as well as the aspects between them, supposedly gives a composite picture of our personalities.

Astrology is not considered a science – more of an art form or pseudo-science – since thus far there has been no evidence of a clear relationship between these phenomena. In scientific fields, students are taught that a correlation between two phenomena does not necessarily indicate a causal connection between them. In astrology, for example, we cannot say that being born under the Sun sign of Taurus is what caused an individuals’s stubborn nature. But a true skeptic would say that we also cannot assume that it is not what caused it. We can only say that we do not know whether it is or not.

Even in a mathematically and statistically rigorous scientific field, such as physics, our theories rely on “axioms” that are really nothing more than glorified assumptions based on experiential evidence. In his theory of relativity, Einstein correctly asserts that we do not actually have any real “proof” that space and time are in fact independent of each other, we just have the <em “mso-bidi-font-style:=”” normal”=””>visceral experience of time moving in a straight line “forward” independently of space. Through questioning our deeply-held beliefs about the separate nature of space and time, he was able to root out the incorrect base assumptions on which classical mechanics rested, and develop a theory that provided a solid foundation for modern physics. This underlying skepticism, combined with simple observation, is the type of thinking that has catalyzed many scientific revolutions.

In our modern-day world, where precision measuring instruments allow for highly accurate measurements to be taken, we demand a strong level of certainty in our scientific research. A controlled scientific study must be performed for a hypothesis to be considered to have developed into a full-blown theory. Scientific studies must have an appropriate sample size, must be replicated multiple times, and must be compared against experimental controls, for the results to be seen as “statistically significant.” In such controlled experiments, all extraneous variables in the equation (the system) must be removed in order to isolate and study the effect of one particular variable on another particular variable. This allows researchers to say with relative certainty that Variable A has a specific effect on Variable B within the framework of that system.

However, in many scientific fields, such as ecology, in which the systems have infinite variables and no clear boundaries, this is easier said than done. Replicating a highly complex, interconnected system such as an ecological system is next to impossible in a laboratory setting. There are too many internal feedback loops and synergistic interactions between variables to properly control for the effect of a single variable on another single variable. Similarly to an ecological system, the personality is complex in composition, made up of many interconnected traits. We are also unique individuals with different life experiences, so how a specific innate trait is expressed will vary from person to person. These facts make it difficult to isolate and study a single personality trait.

In this study, I compared the astrological natal charts of Dominants (as defined in the D/s and BDSM community) in order to determine whether there is any discernible causal connection between “Dominance” as a personality trait and the position of the planets at the time of birth. Although Dominance is not a black or white trait, to keep my analyses straight forward I kept my definition simple: an interest in some form of power exchange, or power differential, in a relationship. A Dominant is in individual who engages in power dynamics in their romantic engagements and/or sexual encounters. In a D/s relationship, a submissive willingly gives part of all power to the Dominant. In doing so, the Dominant retains more power in the relationship
the power to make choices, provide guidance and discipline, administer punishments, etc.

There are many different colors, or flavors, of Dominants. I see Dominants as falling on a continuum along three different axes. The first axis indicates the reason for their interest in D/s: nature or nurture. Some feel their dominance to be an inborn personality trait, while for others it is a choice rather than something integral to their sense of self. The second axis points to the Dominant’s goal for the submissive within the relationship:conformity or evolution. Some Dominants seek to mold their sub’s behaviors to meet their own needs and desires, while others are more interested in their sub’s self-actualization. The third axis indicates what method of reinforcement is used to shape the sub’s behavior: negative or positive. Some Dominants use negative or aversive stimulae such as pain or deprivation to punish negative behavior, while others use more positive reinforcement such as rewards or allowances to reinforce positive behavior.

Table - Axes

If a study were performed that was similar to mine, yet more highly controlled, and the placements of natal planets were shown to have a statistically significant effect on personality and psychological makeup, the results could have potentially significant effects in society. Natal charts might serve as potential aids in fields such as social work and psychotherapy, as well as help in the creation of Individualized Education Plans for students with special educational needs. Perhaps even dating sites might begin to use birth charts to help match up ideal mates. If astrology is shown to have scientific credibility, it could have substantial positive effects on our personal, professional, and private lives.

Since I embarked on this study primarily to determine if there is even any discernible causal connection between natal planetary placements and personality, I did not form any specific hypotheses. In terms of general expectations, I imagined that Scorpio would figure prominently in many natal charts of Dominants as Scorpio placements are known for their attraction to power and control in relationships. I figured there would be a strong showing of signs of the Cardinal Quality, since it is the Quality of leadership. I also thought there might be a predominance of Fire and Water sign placements over Air and Earth, as these Elements have a stronger polar energy.

When I look at this data, I am looking through a more psychological lens than a deterministic one. I think that even if charts do show the potential for specific life events, it’s what we do with our charts – our strengths, weaknesses, etc. – that truly determines our fate. I also limited my scope to simply studying the prevalence of certain signs within particular planetary positions. I did not consider the planetary aspects relative to each other, nor the houses or house cusps, which would have incorporated even more information in a person’s chart. Remember that each individual person’s chart is the combination of many different planets and aspects, so any particular placement may be modified by other placements. Please also note that I am an amateur astrologer, not a professional one.

You can pull your own astrological natal chart here to identify where the planets and luminaries were at the time of your birth:
http://astro.cafeastrology.com/cgi-bin/astro/natal

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Methods

I posted seeking the birthdays of both Dominants and submissives on Craigslist in Detroit, Dallas, New York and Las Vegas, so the respondents are spread around those cities. (Fewer are from the Las Vegas area because my post was quickly flagged there.) Unfortunately, I got few responses from subs, most likely because I posted w4m, but I will be performing a similar study for them in the near future. Birthplaces tended to vary more, but many were from the Midwest, the South, Texas and New York – not surprisingly, based on the locations in which I chose to post.

I pulled the natal charts of each person based on their birthday and general location (some I did not have birth locations for, so I used the location of the post). I then grouped them by planet, ranked them according to frequency, Quality and Elements, and analyzed the results for patterns and trends. My total sample size was 110, which is not large enough to say that the results were statistically significant. However, it is a large enough sample to develop tentative hypotheses about potential astrological trends in Dominants.

You can pull your own astrological natal chart here to identify where the planets and luminaries were at the time of your birth:
http://astro.cafeastrology.com/cgi-bin/astro/natal

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Results, Discussion & Analysis

Tables 1-10 and Charts 1-7 visually display the results of this study. Within each table, the number of respondents is ranked and compared with the expected average distribution. Given the number of respondents (110) and the twelve signs, the expected average distribution is 9.2, for the three Qualities is 36.7, and for the four Elements is 27.5.

Table 1 shows the distribution of Sun sign frequency, Quality, and Elements amongst the respondents. Chart 1 depicts the distribution of frequency of the Sun placement. Table 2 shows the distribution of Moon sign frequency, Quality, and Elements amongst the respondents. Chart 2 depicts the distribution of frequency of the Moon placement. Table 3 shows the distribution of Mercury sign frequency, Quality, and Elements amongst the respondents. Chart 3 depicts the distribution of frequency of the Mercury placement. Table 4 shows the distribution of Venus sign frequency, Quality, and Elements amongst the respondents. Chart 4 depicts the distribution of frequency of the Venus placement. Table 5 shows the distribution of Mars sign frequency, Quality, and Elements amongst the respondents. Chart 5 depicts the distribution of frequency of the Mars placement. Table 6 shows the distribution of Jupiter sign frequency, Quality, and Elements amongst the respondents. Chart 6 depicts the distribution of frequency of the Jupiter placement. Table 7 shows the distribution of Saturn sign frequency, Quality, and Elements amongst the respondents. Chart 7 depicts the distribution of frequency of the Saturn placement.

Table A shows the ranking of the most frequent Sun-Moon combinations amongst the respondents. Table B shows the ranking of the most frequent Venus-Mars combinations amongst the respondents. Table C shows the ranking of the most frequent Jupiter-Saturn combinations amongst the respondents.
You can pull your own astrological natal chart here to identify where the planets and luminaries were at the time of your birth:
http://astro.cafeastrology.com/cgi-bin/astro/natal

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THE LUMINARIES: SUN & MOON
(refer to Tables 1 & 2 and Charts 1 & 2)
Table 1 - Sun

Chart 1 - Sun

SUN

In Astrology, the Sun represents our ego or basic identity. It illuminates our consciousness, our directed will and the overall way we relate to the world.

Three of the top four most represented Sun signs were Cardinal signs: Libra, Aries and Cancer. However, they were not represented by a particularly large margin. The only Cardinal sign not well represented was Capricorn. Capricorn and Scorpio were the least represented Sun signs.

When controlling for Quality, the total number of participants in Cardinal Sun signs were relatively equal to those in Mutable signs. There were substantially fewer Fixed Sun sign participants compared to both the Cardinal and Mutable signs. Controlling for Element, Fire was most represented, followed by Water. Earth was significantly under-represented compared to the other three Elements.

While Fire dominated when controlling for Element alone, there seems to be a clear trend towards an Air or Water Sun sign combined with the Cardinal Quality. It makes sense that people who are interested in Dominance might fall under the Cardinal Quality as it is the Quality of leadership and initiative. What was interesting was that Fixed signs – which tend to be strong and controlled in character – were the least represented, indicating that there is far more to Dominance than simply strength and control. Fixed Sun signs may not be as conducive to the generally adaptable quality with which a Dominant must be endowed.

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Table 2 - Moon

Chart 2 - Moon

MOON

The Moon is the planet that represents our intuitive, emotional side. It can be seen as our “inner child,” as well as our “inner parent/protector.”

The Moon signs most represented were Scorpio and Aquarius, followed closely by Cancer and Taurus. All these signs have strength and stability to them, and most are sensitive yet somewhat guarded. In contrast to the Sun signs, out of the top four most represented Moon signs, three out of four were of Fixed Quality. Mutable signs were very under-represented.

It’s interesting that Moons tended to be found in Fixed signs, which was not seen in the Sun Signs. These findings imply that while it may be ideal for a Dominant to be generally yielding in their overall demeanor, it is advantageous to have a more Fixed nature emotionally-speaking. Perhaps Mutability in the placement of the Moon causes too much emotional vacillation, like that of a pendulum, fluctuating back and forth between emotional extremes. Someone with a Mutable Moon sign may also have overwhelming empathy to the point of symbiosis, and have difficulty separating their emotions from the emotions of others.

The predominance of Fixed Elements implies that Dominants must be emotionally grounded, which is interesting given that when controlling for Element alone, Earth signs (the most grounded element) were under-represented. This is because Virgo was significantly under-represented compared to the other signs. Virgo – Mutable Earth – is known for being on the submissive side as they have a strong drive to serve others and a tendency to conform. Also, more than other signs, they repress emotions, which could have disastrous effects in a D/s relationship. Put bluntly, Dominants need emotional stability, not emotional lability.

Aquarius and Scorpio are especially noteworthy in regards to the Sun and Moon. These two signs were two of the least represented Sun signs, yet in the Moon placement, the two most highly represented. Both are compassionate and perceptive signs that manage to appear cool, calm, and collected. They are Fixed signs of relatively mutable Elements. Aquarius is ruled by Uranus and Scorpio by Pluto, which are both planets that cause transformation, reconstruction, and regeneration. This is especially interesting in the Moon placement, which points to emotional transformation, something that many Dominants see as an integral component to a D/s relationship.

Moon in Aquarius are observant people, who enjoy studying human behavior. They can be shy yet have strong egos. They tend to discount momentary emotional reactions in favor of a more reasoned response. In this way, they can appear emotionally distant or detached. They have very strong needs and drives that they learn young to contain. Like Aquarius, Scorpio Moons are very emotional, yet tend to have less external emotional affectthan Cancer or Pisces, the other two Water signs. The emotional quality of a Moon in Scorpio is best summed up by the saying “still waters run deep”. Even more fascinating was the fact that every respondent who had Scorpio Suns also had Water sign Moons. This finding tentatively implies that Scorpios in particular need a conjunction or a trine with another Water sign in the Moon placement for them to have the right energy to dominate effectively. Perhaps Scorpionic energy is very particular and doesn’t mesh easily with other signs.

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Table A - Sun-Moon

SUN-MOON COMBINATIONS

There was no significant observable trend towards any particular Elemental combination in the Sun-Moon combinations. In terms of the Qualities of the Sun-Moon combinations, three of the top six were Cardinal Sun-Cardinal Moon. The Mutable Sun signs fared better when paired with a Fixed moon; in fact, two of the top six most represented signs were Mutable Sun-Fixed Moon combinations. Again, this points towards a trend of relative balance between overall flexibility and emotional stability. A Dominant must be self-controlled and grounded, yet able to yield to the changing nature of the D/s relationship, and of their sub’s needs, boundaries, and limitations.

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COMMUNICATION: MERCURY
(Refer to Table 3 and Chart 3)
Table 3 - Mercury

Chart 3 - Mercury

MERCURY

The planet Mercury governs communication and information-processing. Mercury strongly influences first impressions because we “lead” with our words. It indicates communication style, which plays a significant role in both short- and long-term D/s relationships – from contract negotiations to safe words. The relative Mercury placements between two people shows how they will interact verbally, and illuminates potential problems in communication.

I expected to find less even distribution than I did in the Mercury placements. Aries, Cancer, Gemini, and Scorpio were the top four most represented signs. With the exception of Scorpio, these signs are engaging and responsive. Mercury in Scorpio is engaging but tends to hold in feelings and thoughts closer to the chest; however, when they do communicate about their feelings, they do it well. They also are known for their interest in psychology, which may make them drawn to a psychologically intense relationship. Mercury in Taurus was the least represented, which is not surprising because Taurus is a stubborn sign that tends to shut down when upset. When Mercury is placed in Taurus, relationship conflict may lead to communication breakdown, which would be disastrous in any D/s relationship.

Controlling for Elements, Earth was under-represented, especially Taurus and Capricorn. Earth signs tend to be less verbally engaging, and consistent communication is key in any power exchange. The other three Elements were relatively equally represented. The Qualities were fairly evenly distributed.

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LOVE, ROMANCE & SEXUALITY: VENUS AND MARS
(Refer to Tables 4 & 5 and Charts 4 & 5)
Table 4 - Venus

Chart 4 - Venus

VENUS

Venus is the planet of romantic love. Its placement in the signs characterizes our style in love and in love relationships – how we court, the types of romantic partners we attract and are attracted to, and how we function in intimate relationships.

The Venus placement most represented by a large margin compared to other signs was Scorpio. Venus in the sign of Scorpio is known to predispose one to an interest in power differentials, or even power struggles, in relationships. A relationship with a psychologically healthy Venus in Scorpio can be an incredibly positive, even transformational experience. When unbalanced, Venus in Scorpio can become emotionally vampiric, due to the high level of emotional attachment (and thus fear of loss) they have towards their love objects.

The other most represented Venus positions were the signs of Cancer, Leo, and Gemini, which are three different Elements and three different Qualities. One commonality between these signs is that they are all engaging and communicative signs. Leos are very proud in love and demand endless attention and affection from their lover (which they happily return). Gemini is the sign of the twin, and enjoys the dualistic dynamic of an intimate partnership. Cancer is the natural caretaker of the zodiac, and practically ceases to exist when they have no one to dote on. All three of these signs also tend to prefer monogamous relationships over flings.

Two of the least represented Venus placements – Venus in Taurus and Venus in Aquarius – are not particularly good communicators, and can come across as detached and unengaged. The other least represented sign was Sagittarius; while this is a relatively spirited sign, Venus in Sagittarius lovers are known for being unfaithful – they tend to want to spread their love around to many different people. For this reason, they may not be drawn towards a committed D/s relationship. Other than these three signs, most Venus placements were relatively equally represented, with Venus in Scorpio being the only one that seemed to stand out. Even Venus in Cancer, Leo and Gemini were not significantly higher than the average.

Controlling for Element, Water signs were far more highly represented than the other Elements in the Venus placement. This is not surprising, given that Venus is an emotional planet and the Water signs are strongly associated with feelings, especially love. Controlling for Quality, although Cardinal was more represented than the other two directions, the difference did not seem significant.

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Table 5 - Mars

Chart 5 - Mars

MARS

The planet Mars represents our drives. It is also the planet that shows what style of worker we are, and can be a good indicator of the type of career we choose to pursue. I was especially excited to look at the Mars placements because Mars governs sex and sexuality.

Gemini was the most represented sign, followed by Taurus and Cancer. These signs are also of three different Qualities and three different Elements. I honestly don’t see any obvious trend amongst these three signs, which is somewhat disappointing since I figured there would be a clear distinction between the sexual drives of Dominants versus the average population. It may simply be that different Mars placements indicate different reasons for an interest in D/s. For example, Mars in Gemini are the astrological sexual experimentalists of the zodiac, constantly seeking variety through new positions, kinks, scenarios, etc. Mars in Taurus respondents may be interested in prolonged intense sexual experiences, such as bondage, orgasm denial, and other restrictive sexual activities. Mars in Cancer individuals may tend towards more sensual kinks, such as wax, ice, and food play.

The lack of a recognizable pattern in the Mars sign may also imply that one’s identity, emotions, style of communication, and style of love are more important indicators of dominance than one’s sexuality. If I had been able to separate out the respondents who were more interested in sexual dominance and BDSM play from those more interested in the psychological and behavioral aspect of D/s, I might have seen clearer trends and significant differences in the Mars placements between the two groups. It also might be the case that theaspects that Mars forms with other planets are more relevant to dominance than the Mars sign itself.

Controlling for Quality in the Mars placement, I found that it was spread relatively equally amongst the three Qualities. Controlling for Element, the one Element that stood out was Fire, which was by far the least represented in the Mars placement. Perhaps individuals with Mars in Fire may desire more sexual immediacy and be less drawn to the slow building of sexual tension often involved in BDSM. Since this is not the only planet in which Fire was under-represented, it may simply point to a more general Elemental trend amongst Dominants.

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Table B - Venus-Mars

VENUS-MARS COMBINATIONS

I looked at Venus-Mars combinations because both planets have a strong impact on sexual and romantic relationships. Out of the top eight most represented Venus-Mars combinations, five of them had Venus placed in Water signs, and four of them had Mars placed in Air signs. Most notable is the predominance of Mars in Gemini, which was not only highly represented independent of the Venus placement, but also appeared three times amongst the top eight Venus-Mars combinations. Venus in Scorpio, on the other hand, was the top performer by far amongst Venus placements, yet was only modestly represented in the top Venus-Mars pairs – perhaps indicating that Venus in Scorpio itself has a strong impact on Dominance.

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BONDAGE AND RELEASE: JUPITER AND SATURN
(Refer to Charts 6 & 7 and Tables 6 & 7)
Table 6 - Jupiter

Chart 6 - Jupiter

JUPITER

Jupiter is a boundary pusher by definition. It represents expansion and growth in the natal chart.

The Jupiter placements most represented were in the signs of Aries, Cancer and Pisces. All three of these signs are emotionally driven, relying on feelings and intuition to guide actions. For this reason, they are also all prone to impulsivity, which mirrors Jupiter’s energetic nature. Relating this to D/s, these more expansive signs may aid Dominants in their drive to break their subs internal boundaries, as well as in their ability to encourage them to evolve. Taurus and Scorpio, which were the least represented Jupiter placements, are both stubborn, withholding, and restrictive signs – more Saturnal in nature.

Controlling for Element, there were no observable trends in the Jupiter placement. Conversely, controlling for Quality, Fixed signs were significantly under-represented. It appears to be better to have Jupiter placed in a sign that facilitates the outwardly expansive nature of the planet. I was eager to see if Saturn followed the same pattern as Jupiter in Dominants, in the sense of being in alignment with its own nature; that is, if restrictive signs, such as Scorpio, Aquarius, Taurus, and Capricorn, would predominate.

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Table 7 - Saturn

Chart 7 - Saturn

SATURN

Saturn is the planet that represents restriction, rules and regulation. It helps us establish our personal limitations and boundaries.

As somewhat anticipated, Scorpio, Capricorn, Cancer, and Aquarius were more highly represented in the Saturn placement compared to the other signs. All of these signs tend to self-protect, which can lead to internal frustration, as well as being frustrating to others. As seen in Jupiter, the nature of the signs that were most represented are in-harmony with Saturn’s own essence.

There were no significant differences in the Quality of the Saturn placements when controlled for. When controlling for Element, Water was the most highly represented. This is an intriguing finding for a rigid planet like Saturn, especially since the most represented signs were in alignment with this rigidity. Perhaps this points to the need for Dominants to be able to establish and reinforce boundaries while simultaneously be able to adapt to the submissive’s limitations.

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Table C - Jupiter-Saturn

JUPITER-SATURN COMBINATIONS

Given that Jupiter and Saturn represent the interplay of expansion and restriction, I thought that I might see trends in the combination of these two planets. Taken together, they show how we navigate the pace of growth in our relationships, our careers, our sex lives, and our lives in general. The balance and interplay between restriction and expansion is a component of many D/s relationships. A significant element of D/s is about breaking through previously constructed emotional, psychological, and/or sexual boundaries and letting someone else “in.” For that reason, I figured these placements might have observable trends.

The Sagittarius-Capricorn combination was the most represented. Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter, and Saturn rules Capricorn – this combination typifies expansion and restriction. The other top combinations also reflect this interplay between polarities. It was not surprising that individuals interested in creating and pushing boundaries in a relationship would have polar Jupiter and Saturn placements.

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CONCLUSIONS
Across the planetary board, the three Qualities were more evenly spread than the four Elements. That said, Cardinal signs definitely took the lead over both Fixed and Mutable signs, with the exception of the Moon and Saturn, which were dominated by the Fixed signs. I anticipated the Cardinal quality taking precedence over the other Qualities since it is the Quality of leadership, initiative and forward action. D/s relationships, even more so than many “vanilla” relationships, are characterized by change and evolution. A Fixed Quality may cause stagnancy, and a Mutable Quality might not be stable enough for a power exchange relationship. The Cardinal Quality is, as Goldilocks would say, “just right.” It seems that in the emotional Moon, a Fixed sign helps bring emotional stability to an otherwise unstable aspect of our charts. In Saturn, perhaps Fixed signs endow Dominants with the ability to establish and enforce rules.

In terms of the Elements, Fire had a strong showing, but not as strong as Air and Water. Water predominated generally, and very significantly so in Venus placements. Earth was a consistently low performer. This suggests that there is a strong element of energetic counterpoint in D/s relationships. Each person’s role in the relationship contains a particular energy that is different from, and complementary to, the other person’s energy. The polarity of this psychological and sexual “dance” continues to infuse excitement into the relationship. But this dance requires contrasting energies to keep it going. It seems that Earth muddies the energetic counterpoint found in the “exchange” part of a power exchange relationship.

Water signs were especially well represented, especially Cancer and Scorpio. Elementally speaking, water is more stable than Air or Fire, yet still has the polarity that Earth does not. In fact, the water molecule itself is “dipolar” structured in a way so that its positive charge (from the two hydrogen atoms) and its negative charge (from the oxygen atom) lie on opposite sides of the molecule. This “balanced imbalance” of positive and negative charges is what causes water to adhere to itself, as well as to other surfaces. Water, even in the sheer nature of its chemical structure, is inherently energetically charged. Its polar energy is mirrored in the D/s dance that occurs between a Dominant and a submissive.

Picture - H2O

Water Molecule
Water is also energetically directed while simultaneously following “the path of least resistance”. In this sense, it is highly energy efficient. Air and flames move erratically, losing energy in the process, whereas water moves in a manner determined by gravity. In fact, water often <em “mso-bidi-font-style:=”” normal”=””>gains momentum as it flows. Imagine a stream carving down into a “young” mountain (young, geologically-speaking), revealing its natural form and contours over time. Similarly, a good Dominant, in helping his submissive evolve, is doing exactly this – respecting their sub’s basic identity and psychic structure, while simultaneously systematically removing unnecessary baggage and obstacles to their psychological growth. They help their sub come into themselves the same way a mountain comes into itself over years of geological adjustments.

By having inherent properties that are both “Yin” and “Yang” in nature, water seems to naturally embody “Tao”the constantly oscillating interaction between Yin and Yang. Water yields generally to its environment, yet its crystalline properties endow it with a strength that enables it to act forceful under certain conditions (for example, under pressure). In a D/s relationship, Dominants must be learn to be responsive yet not reactive to their sub, decisive yet not impulsive, authoritative yet not authoritarian. They also must be sensitive to the subtle changes in their submissive, as well as perceptive enough to tell when their submissive is open to being taught a lesson through discipline or punishment – when it will be effective and when it will not be effective. They must be a healthy combination of both Yin and Yang.

Another analogy to this form of energy is found in martial arts. A stick, while easy for anyone to use, as it is sturdy and perpetually strong, hits bluntly. When wielding such a weapon, a lot of kinetic energy is expended prior to impact. A whip, on the other hand, retains its inertial energy until impact. Therefore, its impact is far stronger in terms of force. This efficient use of energy is referred to in martial arts as fa jin. A good martial artist uses his opponent’s energy against him primarily through redirection, expending little energy himself. Likewise, a good Dominant uses their submissive’s energy and cues to enact effective change from within the submissive. He leads not only by communicating directly, but also by intuitively feeling out their submissive’s state at any given time. In this way, the Dominant is more Tao than Yang in that he facilitates change rather than forces it.

The sign of Cancer Cardinal Water had a strong showing across the board, as well as the highest overall planetary placements. This sign seems to perfectly embody the type of balanced, polar energy described above. Yielding most of the time, it only wields its inherent strength only when effective in a given situation or relationship. Cancer is arguably the most adaptable sign, to the point that many astrologers see it as contradictory in nature. Like the Tao, it is a paradox that is resolvable only by understanding that strength is not uni-dimensional – to be strong, one must also be sensitive, vulnerable even. A healthy Dominant understands that they cannot be in control of their submissive in every way, and that leading is about compromise. To put it simply, the best Dominants are not resistant, they are <em “mso-bidi-font-style:=”” normal”=””>resilient.

Scorpio – Fixed Water – also had a very strong showing across the board. Scorpio is an emotionally intense yet strongly reserved sign. In relationships, Scorpios have an uncanny ability to pick up on both verbal and non-verbal cues. They also are uniquely able to cut through emotional defenses to get to the core of a person – to root out that person’s hopes, fears, subconscious conflicts, etc. A psychologically healthy Dominant with Scorpio placements can behave as a sort of psychological cocoon through which a submissive can experience a personal metamorphosis; by cutting out their submissive’s unhealthy self-beliefs, emotional blockages, and bad habits they aid them in the cultivation of their own personal power. As one Scorpionic Dominant said to me about his ability to break his submissive’s negative patterns: “I cut shit quick.”

Less psychologically stable individuals with Scorpio placements (especially in the Venus placement) are prone to jealousy, possessiveness, and manipulation. They want to own their partners completely – body and soul – and won’t settle for anything less, which may work in a Master/slave dynamic but not in the vast majority of D/s relationships. A Venus in Scorpio I once knew snapped at me “Don’t touch me if you’re not going to fuck me” when I touched her shoulder to say hello. Another Venus in Scorpio I knew only wanted me “all or nothing” and needed me to “go through fire” for him to prove that I loved him. When I pointed out that I had already gone through fire – his emotional artillery fire – he replied: “You haven’t even met the air power, Navy, tanks, snipers, and nukes.” Unhealthy Scorpios use manipulation tactics as a means to an end; when they want something (or someone), they will do anything necessary to obtain the object of their desire – even going to battle with the object itself to obtain it through sheer force. When I asked this man why we were at war, he replied, “If I see a door, I go through it. If I see a wall, I raze it.”

There were numerous limitations to this study. Most significantly, I didn’t have a large enough sample size and I did not perform a control, so I wasn’t able to run statistical analyses on my results that would prove their “statistical significance”. Additionally, since my poll was an anonymous poll taken on Craigslist, I had no way of knowing whether the respondents were being honest about their birthdays, or were even different people for that matter. I also had no set criteria for determining what a Dominant was (it was all based on self-assessment), and I couldn’t have possibly weeded out the “fake” Dominants anyways since it was an online poll. So please take all this information with a really large grain of salt – maybe even a rock. Lastly, astrological natal charts are far more complex than just planetary placements, so there was an inherent limitation in scope.

Although this was a flawed study for the above reasons, I believe the results lend tentative scientific validity to astrology, and in doing so may serve as an impetus for more scientifically rigorous studies on this subject matter. If a similar, more highly controlled study found a statistically significant correlation between these two phenomena, my hypothesis that our astrological natal charts indeed influence us in some way would be further substantiated. It could potentially establish the causal connection that so far has eluded the field of astrology.

Lastly, in case you are curious, here are my placements:

Sun – Cancer
Moon – Scorpio
Mercury – Gemini
Venus – Leo
Mars – Gemini
Jupiter – Libra
Saturn – Libra


You can pull your own ast
rological natal chart here to identify where the planets and luminaries were at the time of your birth:
http://astro.cafeastrology.com/cgi-bin/astro/natal