Introversion vs. Extraversion

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Jim Eshelman
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Introversion vs. Extraversion

Post by Jim Eshelman » Fri May 11, 2018 11:05 pm

The introversion-extraversion polarity is commonly of strong interest to people interested in distinguishing categories or styles of personality - so, of course, it's a topic of general interest to astrologers much of the time.

The biggest problem in such discussions, though, is that these terms have been used quite differently be different theoriests and in popular usage. Every time the subject comes up, we need to start by defining our terms.

For example, a dictionary definition of introversion will be something like, "the act of directing one's interest inward or to things within the self," while extraversion (or extroversion) will be "the state of being concerned primarily with things outside the self, with the external environment rather than with one's own thoughts and feelings." That's not bad, actually. And yet, the popular usage places the emphasis in a quite different place, e.g., the latter being people who spill out into the world, and the former being people who don't.

At different times, I might use the terms quite casually, and at other times intend a highly specialized meaning. I'd like to discuss this under three headings. In all cases, I'm sure the key is in planetary dominance, not in some other structural bias like signs or diurnal placements (in the sense of hemispoheres and houses).

A Sociability Index
Something that I think is not I-E per se, but often mistaken for it (or of interest when I-E comes up for discussion) is a measure of sociability. By this I broadly mean whether one leans toward being openly part of the social fabric - heavily oriented to and connected to other people - leans toward being private, solitary, or even (in the extreme) antisocial. Here the planets break down pretty obviously. In particular, Saturn, Uranus, and Pluto are clearly more focused on separation, distinction, and autonomy; we probably should add Mercury to this, not so much for its insistence on autonomy etc., but more because it shares many trait-categories with the above three (e.g., they all are more likely to value having the facts right than being invested in others' feelings). On the flip side, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Neptune are more social-linked and group-tending. Sun and Moon can be argued either way - I could make a case for either of them in either category - so they are likely more the core elements that are moderated by the other eight planets.

I-E Flexibility For Each Planet
I've lately been intrigued with the consideration that each planet has an introverted and an extraverted expression, exactly in the sense that (say) each of the four Jungian types was exposed as having introverted and extraverted variants.

I probably will explore this at some length, as a thought exercise in getting outside the box of routine ways of thinking about the planets, in a class I'll be teaching in a month or so. (Specifically, this will likely be part of the June 27 class, in case anyone cares.)

For example, one can think of the extraverted Mercury type who is primarily defined by curiosity and constantly scanning the world observantly; and the introverted Mercury type who is primarily "living in his head." Both are highly recognizable. Most of the planets have readily accessible I-E variants, even if they prefer one heavily over the other, and it's worth a practice of thinking these through on principle and then setting about observing them.

Two planets, though, are very hard to find such I-E variants. The most extreme is Pluto, where any attempt to identify an extraverted Pluto expression seems an artifice verging on misrepresentation. Nearly as strong (allowing only a slim sliver of exception) is Jupiter: Jupiter is so reliant on things outside of itself to forge its view of things that an introverted Jupiter is almost inconceivable. Perhaps one can think of the monastic; yet, I think in each case, we would find that there was a different dynamic at play (e.g., a comparably strong Saturn or Pluto factor) that is responsible for the introversion and we aren't getting a real Jupiter expression. These are so acute that one might think that Jupiter and Pluto are fundamental arbiters of the I-E polarities.

My Current Preferred Dichotomy
Being careful to remember that there are introverted and extraverted expressions of most of the planets, I think we can primarily classify the planets as either I-tending or E-tending. For this, I define the terms as follows: Introversion means that the primary stimuli, which frame orientation and incite action or other behavior, originate from within oneself, not from external reference or comparison. Extraversion is the opposite: It means that the primary stimuli, which frame orientation and incite action or other behavior, originate externally, rather than from first referencing what is central to oneself. PLEASE NOTE that this will often give exactly the opposite label from what the casual use of these words would usually give.

Going through the planetary pairs, MOON is quite clearly extraverted, since the Moon exists to respond to physical and psychological things in the environment without primary reference to a self. SUN, in contrast (at least, once a person has some maturity) is introverted, living and acting from what is found at the center of oneself.

VENUS is primarily receptive and responsive, like Moon, and is thus extraverted. MARS (despite the Jupiter-like comparative quality of competition) is fundamentally about its own needs, survival, and impulses, and is therefore introverted.

JUPITER and SATURN need no explanation - their extraversion and introversion (respectively) will be obvious; but Uranus and Neptune surprise us. So far, the "individualist" planets (Sun, Mars, Saturn... and we'll add Pluto) have been introverted, and one might reflexively lump Uranus with that. I take the other route. An important distinction between Uranus and Neptune (both of which are idealistic after a fashion) is that URANUS, being first oriented to what is truly so in the world, forges an Ideal from the Actual. Uranus is extraverted because, every bit as much as Moon, it begins by responding to its environment and circumstances, hence all of the themes of discovery, etc. NEPTUNE lives fundamentally in a conceptual universe that need have no close relationship to the "outside world" at all. It is an introverted planet, forging its sense of the Actual from its Ideal.

The last two are easy enough. PLUTO is the definitive introvert, which leaves MERCURY (always pretty malleable and slippery) to stand with the extraverts - curiosity, data assimilation, and communication prevailing over introverted cerebrotonia.

The two lists emerging from this are, thus, quite astounding. The introverted planets are Sun, Mars, Saturn, Neptune, and Pluto: Sun (which Hindu astrologers consider a malefic!) and the three malefic + Pluto. The extraverted planets are Moon, Mercury Venus, Jupiter, Uranus: the two most malleable and adaptable planets plus the three benefics.
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Re: Introversion vs. Extraversion

Post by mikestar13 » Fri May 11, 2018 11:44 pm

I like the way this has started off and look forward to the next installment. Are you also considering writing about Thinking vs. Feeling, Perceiving vs Judging and Sensation vs. Intuition. All of these are to be found in Carl Jung's writings and the Meyers-Briggs book Please Understand Me. I have tried to correlate the Myers-Briggs types with astrology but without success. For myself, I feel that my INFJ (Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Judger) type described me a little better than "Pisces Sun" but far less well than my chart as a whole, of course.
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Re: Introversion vs. Extraversion

Post by Jim Eshelman » Sat May 12, 2018 12:03 am

mikestar13 wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 11:44 pm
I like the way this has started off and look forward to the next installment.
Thanks. It's all contained above now.
Are you also considering writing about Thinking vs. Feeling, Perceiving vs Judging and Sensation vs. Intuition.
No. Just this one polarity. It wasn't intended to be Jungian (since his definitions were only one or, rather, two of the many :) ). Also, those categories aren't planetary, they're minor patterns of the signs.
I have tried to correlate the Myers-Briggs types with astrology but without success. For myself, I feel that my INFJ (Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Judger) type described me a little better than "Pisces Sun" but far less well than my chart as a whole, of course.
I don't know that we can get a one-for-one, but the basic patterns work fine. Your chart would label you primary feeling, secondary sensation. If we take the planet strengths for I-E, both your angular Mars and Saturn, and your background luminaries, point to introversion. So, with introverted feeling primary, sensation secondary, you come out ISFP. Any chance I hit it? (If extraverted, this would rearrange to ESFJ.)
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Re: Introversion vs. Extraversion

Post by Jupiter Sets at Dawn » Sat May 12, 2018 2:10 am

I define introversion and extroversion differently. My definition is based on working in institutional settings using mostly behavioral therapy.
Introverts find spending time with other people enervating and time alone energizing.
Extroverts find spending time alone enervating and time with other people energizing.
This was important because rewards have to be something the person actually wants. Not everybody wants to go to a party.

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Re: Introversion vs. Extraversion

Post by Jim Eshelman » Sat May 12, 2018 10:51 am

Jupiter Sets at Dawn wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 2:10 am
I define introversion and extroversion differently. My definition is based on working in institutional settings using mostly behavioral therapy.
Introverts find spending time with other people enervating and time alone energizing.
Extroverts find spending time alone enervating and time with other people energizing.
This was important because rewards have to be something the person actually wants. Not everybody wants to go to a party.
Yes, different definitions for different contexts - and these would cause the planets to be grouped in quite different ways.

Without thinking too heavily about it, an easy example is Moon. Moon absorbs and responds to everyone and everything in the environment so strongly that it often needs to shield, shut down, etc. Under my definitions above, Moon is extravert because it's primary "turning" is outward, an adaptive function that takes its cues and fulfills it purpose by being turned outward. But under years, Moon is an easy introvert, because that same outward turning is ultimately enervating.

Again, without thinking it through overly much, I think we'd end up with roughly the "social" cluster I mentioned first. Extrovert would include Sun, Venus, Mars, Jupiter; introvert would include Moon, Saturn, Pluto; and I'd have to think more about Mercury, Uranus, and Neptune.
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Re: Introversion vs. Extraversion

Post by ScarletDepths » Sat May 12, 2018 2:18 pm

I like this. It is also seemingly aligned with locus of control.

"In personality psychology, locus of control is the degree to which people believe that they have control over the outcome of events in their lives, as opposed to external forces beyond their control"

Internal locus believe they have some control while external believe it is all up to the world around them.

It is easy to place the luminaries and inner planets (as well as Jupiter and Saturn) it would be more difficult to place the outer planets.

I can see that I'm actually internally focused (despite Sag and Jupiter being strong in my chart, although I'm also rather pessimistic and withdrawn which also go against the nature of this planet/sign set.)

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Re: Introversion vs. Extraversion

Post by By Jove » Tue May 22, 2018 3:52 pm

I'm guessing a "bullet point" way of determining if a sign is typically "extraverted" or "introverted" is to look at the ruling planets?

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Re: Introversion vs. Extraversion

Post by Jim Eshelman » Tue May 22, 2018 4:03 pm

No, I don't think you can tell from signs. Each sign can go either way, depending on planet predominance.
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