I have a client who is in a very intense relationship, so I’m doing a composite chart to help her figure it out. Her relationship has her feeling the whole spectrum of emotions, and it reminds me of one of my own experiences. I am reflecting on joy and ecstasy, and I notice some things that surprise me—and may surprise you.
What Is Joy?
Joy is the opposite of friction—in one’s own mind or interactions with people. Friction drags down an interaction or system. It leaches the life out of it, so it consumes energy. Conversely, joy accelerates interactions and creates energy. Joy is spontaneous, like true laughter; one cannot plan to be joyful. Expectation smothers joy.
Joy is closely related to play and creativity because it is freewheeling. You may have observed your children or remember when you were a child: children can play forever; it seems as if play generates energy. Most adults forget how to play.
I observe that all people have a will, and their will strives to come out (many people keep their will hidden). When they express their will and are engaged and encouraged, they are energized. Creativity and discovery are two outlets for will.
When two people feel joy together, they accelerate each other. Their energy builds on itself. It creates unusual effects because joy and creativity are not planned. To be sustained, they need to exist in freedom, they need space in which to play.
One cannot plan to be joyful. Expectation smothers joy.
Joy is not at all like “fun,” which is a goal for many people (“Let’s go have fun”). Fun is planned and expected, so it cannot be joyful. My experiences corroborate Krishnamurti’s assertions: joy results from being present without expectation, being open to what one is present with right now. Fun is pleasure, based on the past, and dead (especially when compared to joy).
Ecstasy is related to joy but much more rare. Robert Johnson’s little book, Ecstasy, asserts that the root meaning of ecstasy is connection with the divine, however defined. The divine element is ecstasy’s defining trait; one feels a sense of wonder, gratitude, and extreme joy. One feels that one is in a magic space. I think ecstasy IS joy in the context of the divine.
Relationships and Joy
She feels caught between joy (her lover) and security (her husband).
I use two kinds of charts to help people understand their relationships, so they can be more present and create what they want for themselves, individually and as a couple. Synastry charts show how they feel about each other, how they affect each other as individuals. Composite charts show how they act and are perceived as a couple. The composite chart shows the vibration and character of their relationship.
In Ecstasy, Johnson traces how romantic love became the main vehicle for the experience of ecstasy in western cultures, and romantic love has implicit expectations of ecstasy or joy today. “Falling in love” is the closest experience to ecstasy that most people have.
My client, who is in love but is married to someone else, feels caught between joy (her lover) and security (her husband). She is adamant that she will choose her husband, and this decision puts her in torment. None of this is new, but here is something to consider.
Revolutionary Ideas on Joy and Ecstasy
In my experience, Krishnamurti crystalized this situation very well. To experience joy, one has to let go of trying to experience joy. What kills the joy part of being in love is expectation of love and the fear of losing it. Expectation is cold water on the fire of joy. Expectation exists in the attempt to serve fear, but it fails abysmally. Fear is a tyrant that we create inside our selves.
Another key piece of this is that no other person can make another person feel joy. This is a powerful realization because it means that no one depends on another person to feel joy—or anything else. But the “book of love” holds that your lover is required for you to feel joy. When both people believe this, it’s the beginning of the end because it leads to fear of losing the other. Their relationship leaks joy until none remains.
To experience joy, one has to let go of trying to experience joy.
Another difficult facet of joy and ecstasy is that they are priceless, and I think this reflects their divine element. So they cannot be compared to earthly affairs. Ecstasy has a strong “non-earthly” element to it. So, situations like my client’s cannot be “solved” using earthly methods like trying to “evaluate” each situation. Spiritual experiences just don’t fit into the earthly world very well.
I will help my client see and own the choices she is making. By owning her choices she can feel more grounded and less victimized by her situation.
Astrology, Relationships, and Joy
I’ll close with this exciting fact: joy and ecstasy show up in relationship charts! Angles between each person’s planets reflect harmony and a propensity for joy between the two people. Quintiles and septiles are reliable markers. Although no person can make another feel joy (or anything), what IS true is that some people resonate with each other. Resonating magnifies the energy of two people, but in order to resonate, each person has the energy. The other person magnifies your energy, and vice versa.
Each person’s natal chart describes her/his energy field, so when their energy fields resonate, they magnify energy. Synastry and Composite charts show this (and the lack of it, too).
What are your experiences and thoughts about this?