Posted by: Donna Cunningham | October 15, 2009

Jupiter and the Astrology of Self-Justification

©10-15-2009 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

 I’ve been thinking a lot about self-justification lately—it’s been glaringly apparent wherever I look…apparent to me, that is, and maybe to thee, but most likely not to the person who’s doing it.  I first noticed it while watching Survivor, reality show junkie that I am.

I was struck by three things: first, that the tribe members seem to have shockingly little insight into themselves and how their actions are viewed by others; second, that they immediately find a reason to justify the way they are behaving; and third, that they give every indication of believing that they’re Right, no matter how over the top their behavior is.

Turning my eyes next to people around me, I again observed that self-justification for anything and everything they do seems to be an instantaneous response.  “WELL, I HAD to do it benewspaperwmgrimace-a2dcause, after all, he did that to me, so he deserved it.”  No time delay, dazzling footwork.

Awakened, I started seeing endless examples in the news….what little news I can swallow.

James Arthur Ray seems to be blaming everyone and everything other than himself for the deaths and serious illness of people who were in the sweatbox at his $9K-a-head Spiritual Warrior retreat. Now he’s hired his own (unbiased, he assures us) investigator to find out why it happened.

It happened, folks, because he conducted a 2-hour sweat at the end of an arduous 5-day retreat that included a 36-hour fast. It appears that he was then so oblivious to the well-being of the participants that he didn’t call it to a halt until some of them got sick enough to die from it. Nothing can justify that.

As an aside, Huffington Post has a piece quoting him about what happened, by a reporter who attended one of his seminars a scant five days after the incident. You can imagine HP has several commentators with plenty to say about him. I’ll put the links at the end of this post so you can go there—right now I’m sick of talking about him and want to get to the interesting question of self-justification and what its astrological components are.

Forgive me for dragging my soap box out of the office closet—one of my hot buttons happens to be irresponsible professionals of whatever persuasion. Let me go make my morning tea and cool down….

boysangry-phcomWhew!  I’m back. Okay. Self-justification. It seems hard-wired into our species, almost innate, certainly omnipresent.

You see it in 5-year-olds explaining why they clobbered their little brother. You see it in wife-beaters explaining why their mates deserved what they got.

On a wider scale, you see it in politicians’ public pronouncements about their less-than saintly actions. You see it in racists who, now that the inauguration is behind us and we’ve gone into a post-post-racist phase, use it to justify posters portraying Obama as Hitler. You see it in terrorist leaders’ rants on Al Qaeda and in the notes suicide bombers leave behind. Become conscious of it, and you’ll start to see it everywhere.

What planet or planets would explain why self-justification is so universal? Where do we look for it in astrology charts? Any time the word “self” gets added to another word as a prefix, we automatically think of the Sun. Certainly, self-justification is used to bolster self-worth when we’re behaving badly, but I don’t buy it as a solar function. The Sun just isn’t smart enough for that—it’s so me, me, me.

We’re looking for a smart planet, then—one that’s been to college. Justification is a form of rationalization. It has moral implications—that your action is somehow retribution for the other person’s misdeeds. The actions you’re justifying are meant to teach the offending individual a lesson.

Its first eight letters are JUSTIFIC, so implied in the word is that the action taken is an attempt to restore justice. It has as a subtext the certainty that you’re right, the other person is wrong, and therefore, God’s on your side. It’s fueled by more than a hint of self-righteousness.

OK. Does that sound to yjupiter-wkm-nasaou like it might be related to Jupiter? That’s where I wound up too. In justifying our justifications, we may draw on the energies of other planets.

We evoke Neptune to create a haze of denial and of fooling ourselves and others. We get Mars suited up to take speedy, decisive action to punish the offender. We speed-dial Mercury to issue a press release about how bad and awful the other person is, how they MADE us do it.

But those planets are only administrative assistants in the head-long rush to self-justification, which I’m now ready to conclude is a function of the solar system’s gas giant, Jupiter. You with me on that?

What do you think, Reader?  I’m open to discussion, so leave any of your thoughts and observations in the comment section.

Here, as promised, are the links to Huffington Post pieces about James Arthur Ray. Below, also, are links to our previous discussions on the event, as well as links to previous articles on Jupiter. Tune in tomorrow–I have another post on Jupiter scheduled:  Hyperactive Jupiter Syndrome–the Down Side of an Upbeat Planet. (It’s an excerpt from my ebook, Astrological Analysis.)

 Huffington Post articles on the Sweatbox Deaths:

More Posts about Jupiter on this Blog:

 FREE EBOOKLET FOR SKYWRITER SUBSCRIBERS ONLY: Mothers, Daughters, and the Moon, a 50-page excerpt from The Moon in your Life. Read more about it here: NEW: FREE BOOKLET FOR SKYWRITER SUBSCRIBERS!  If you’re already a subscriber and want a copy, forward the most recent email post to me at To sign up for a subscription, go to the top right hand corner of the blog and click on “Subscribe.”  Then send me an email with your subscription confirmation or an email post with a request for the booklet in the subject line.


  1. I have only recently had astrology open for me. It always seemed to me though, that the need to self-justify is very much a deep need to protect oneself, like premeditated shielding, throw it up there so there is no room for another to attack you in some way. The need to be ‘right’ stems from a fear of being ‘wrong’, a polarization, and until one comes to begin to conceive the possibility of a third option, self-justification acts as a survival mechanism.

    If Jupiter is one factor, and the way you have presented it here, I see your reasoning. In aspect, I think I would look to the moon. The moon as the emotional need to protect oneself?
    Could be totally off track here..thanks for giving me something to chew on!

    OH..sometime ago when I was working what I needed to, to overcome my need to be right, to self-justify..I brought into awareness my usage of the word, “BUT”..if I was using that word, it was a flag that I was not trusting myself in some manner, and fits right in with self-justifying statements. It also signified my unwillingness to take full responsibility of the utilization of my energy/power through my thoughts and actions hence leaving a loophole for future blame placing on an-other if something went ‘wrong’, or I was ‘wrong’. Crafty we are sometimes! 🙂

  2. Yesterday something at work happened that made me see that what I was doing was wrong (not enough), I could have done so much better and I didn’t. I carried this bucket of guilt around with me all day and even went to bed with it. Today at work I am still trying to come to terms with it, it’s a tough burden, i don’t like knowing I should have done it better. Maybe this is not normal to be so honest about it? I am not sure. Or is it my fear of being rejected for not doing “the best” job that is weighing me down?

    I have Jupiter in the 12th house which might explain something.

    Thanks for giving us some more to think about.

    • HI, Mimi, I can empathize with what you’re going through. I used to be guilt-ridden, even when there was no particular reason for it–I called it guilt on the hoof. It’s primal guilt, waiting for some misdeed–real or imagined–to attach it to.

      One of the very first flower remedies I took proved to be almost a miracle cure for guilt–Pine by Bach, which you can find in almost any health food or new age store. I took it as a skeptic, just going to try them out. And I had taken it about one week when I got a call from my sister–my primary guilt-or in life. (I had Neptune in the 3rd and a bad case of survivor guilt). She wanted me to pay for some hair brained scheme of hers.

      I said no, hung up, laughed, went to bed, and slept through the night. The next morning, I said to myself, “Wait a minute. I said no to her. I hung up. I laughed, and I didn’t toss and turn with guilt all night. Wow. There must be something to these remedies!” I kept on taking Pine for a while, and it catalyzed a series of revelations about the guilt I walked around with, a gradual release of old emotions and memories, and ever after, I was immune to guilt trippers. In fact, I usually found them amusing.

      That doesn’t mean I never felt uncomfortable when I did less than my best. But I didn’t stew and squirm with it, instead I would realize that I didn’t like what I did, I would analyse what went wrong so I could learn from it, I made amends where it was appropriate, and I would do my best when such situations came up in the future. Donna

  3. I’ve been having to deal with a lot of self-justifiers lately. I like the Jupiter-Neptune-Mars-Mercury reading, but like Kachina, I was also thinking that the Moon should be there somewhere. In some ways, the Moon can be more me-me-me than the Sun?

    Just thinking aloud.

    • Thanks, Kachina, Hitchhiker, what you say is thought provoking. There’s a difference between the Sun and Moon of the same sign, not always in the external behavior but in the underlying motivation. The Sun acts out of ego, out of the need to feel good about itself; the Moon may do exactly the same thing, but for the sake of establishing and maintaining security, the fear of being dependent or defenseless. There’s a piece I wrote about that, giving examples of behaviors vs. motives that would explain it much more clearly, and I shall have to reprint it here one day. Donna

  4. Self-justification? It is part of our un-evolved human nature. It is the low road. It is people not taking responsibility. Of course it could be the bunch of planets at the tail end of Aquarius…but self-justification has always been the way.
    What about “entitlement”….younger generations have this one. What planet represents that?

    • In adult generations, I mostly see a sense of entitlement as a Leo thing–the kingly or queenly privilege of being born to rule and be the center. But in the younger generation, particularly those born with Uranus, Neptune, and even Saturn along with personal planets all in Capricorn in the 1980s-90s, I do think it’s Neptune in Capricorn–those who have that sense of entitlement, at least.

      It’s not universal, but more in the children of executives and other highly paid professionals who grew up without a lot of parental authority because maybe both parents had careers–and then overindulged their children out of guilt. It’s wanting the status, the luxury goods without ever having had to work for them.

      They’re in their early 20s now, some of them, and have never learned a work ethic, for nothing was expected of them. (Again, it’s only the affluent I’m talking about–many kids with these aspects had to take on a lot of responsibilities, like the older kids in single-parent families.) Donna

  5. Brilliant, Donna!

    I clicked on a link for one of those random hot posts on WordPress and ended up reading about top ten modern human addictions. Guess what the top one was? Being right!!

    Here’s the link: Top Ten Modern Human Addications

    • LOL! Too funny, Neith. Well, we astrology folks shouldn’t be surprised at that. I heard a teacher of kaballa once speak, and he said that the addictions to Knowing and to Being Right were the top two barriers to spiritual growth. Donna

  6. For a brief period of time as a teenager, I had weekly visits with a licensed clinical social worker, who tried to help me understand why I was so pissed at my mother – kind as the therapist was, she never did understand the sense of betrayal that was at the root of it – even when I tried to tell her – so for the most part, therapy just made me feel even more misunderstood. But the one good thing that did come out of our visits happened accidentally, one afternoon when I tried to light up a cigarette in her office.

    It was the 70’s, and I just assumed I had the “right” to smoke. When the therapist denied me that right by telling me I couldn’t, I went into a self-righteous rant about how I was the one paying for the sessions (not exactly accurate), so my rights should take precedence. Instead of reacting to my anger, she calmly explained to me that she had the right to good health (or something along those lines) and that it was, after all, her office I was sitting in.

    I don’t know why that comment had such a profound effect on me, but it did, and I never looked at life in quite the same way after that. My 3rd house Scorpio Jupiter/Neptune/Mercury conjunction (square my 5th house Aquarius Moon and 12th house Leo Uranus) really began to explore the meaning of objective truth as opposed to subjective truth. I became hungry to understand my own motivations and to rid myself of any blind spots that might lead to hypocrisy. It was like an answer to prayer, and it began the long process of holding myself to a higher standard, as I also began to understand the true nature of self-justification and hidden motives in others.

    In looking back on that afternoon, I eventually reached the conclusion that even if we’d been sitting in my space, I wouldn’t have had the right to cause her (or anyone else) harm with that smoking habit of mine.

    I ran across this post today after leaving a lengthy comment on a news site regarding a hot political issue. I’m not exactly sure what planetary placement it would relate to, but self-justification also seems directly related to the desire to fit in and to go along without questioning. You know, if everyone else thinks something is true, then it must be true – thinking that only leads to intellectual and spiritual laziness, as well as political and/or religious dogma. It’s hard work to question everything and to take nothing at face value. I wonder if maybe a lack of challenging aspects, particularly oppositions, would play a role as well.

    Anyway Donna, as always I enjoy your posts. Even the older ones.

  7. Yes, I’ve been guilty of self-justification with my Jupiter in my 2nd house. Over the years, I’ve learned to appropriately appreciate all my benefits of Jupiter in my second and not misuse the benefits that I have gained from my placement of Jupiter. Saturn crossing my ascendent has helped me to really see the TRUTH. Now, with Saturn in Scorpio, still in my first house, I am being more responsible than ever before. Now, I can share all the WISDOM that I have gained. I have also learned to really appreciate Saturn.

    • Hi, Elisabeth, it sounds like you’ve gained a lot of wisdom over the years. With Saturn’s prior stay in your twelfth, it sounds like you’ve done a good deal of soul searching, and any planet that travels through the 12th is what you’ve learned in that interval, and you then bring that energy forth to show the world. Good job! Donna

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: