Angel as Mars vs. Spike as Pluto (and the evolution of relationship)
There is a reason that I have always been on team Spike. Or Spuffy - if you want to choose within the context of relationship. Many, even Buffy herself acknowledged Angel as the love of her life. But in the end, I believe her ideas of love had evolved alongside her.
Angel and Buffy were the perfect couple in the unconscious realm. He was infatuated with her. As a young girl with great power, he gave her what she thought she needed - even the pain that helped her to grow. He unconsciously broke her over and over again, adding to her strength. He lied to her in order to protect her, ignoring her ability to hold the truth. They had a battle or wills - always trying to teach each other rather than learn something new about themselves. Angel saw her through his projections and fears, rather than acknowledging who she really was. Even their sexual relationship reflected this. The movement of hormones, the taming of chemistry. It was an embodied, physical act. They fought, they fucked (once), and they lost steam.
Angel held the essence of Mars. The strong physical presence, the Ego. The inner and outer conflict that presented itself as war just as often as it manifested as protection. Mars is a personal planet, it is “skin in”, affecting our individual experience of the day to day. We think - but what about me? What do I have to do to be better, or simply to appear better? How do I get what I want? What do I need to do in order to survive? Angel was masculine because of his muscles, his strength, and his drive.
Angel's fuel was redemption. He moved in order to save himself from the violence of his past. From the monster that lived within him. His pesky Soul a reminder of all that he had done. The Soul he didn't ask for. The Soul he endured. But the fact is - he still had that monster living within him. And so did she. Yes, even our hero - the slayer of demons had her own darkness. So why did she stay? Because she hadn't even begun to understand the magnitude of her own abilities. When she felt weak - he showed up as the protector. The hero to the hero. When he felt defeated, she showed up in anger. Trying to force him back into his strength so that she can feel safe. All very necessary, but unsustainable. Eventually, even with their 200+ age difference, she outgrew him.
Spike and Buffy were the perfect couple in the conscious realm. He saw her strength. He told her the truth even when it hurt her, because he knew she deserved it. Spike came into the picture years before a relationship was ever considered, and he came in like a wrecking ball. His intensity and tenacity triggered her. The hate she felt for him was an extension of all that she disliked about herself. He made her feel all that she tried to hide. Her shadows danced with his as they fought to the death. Then just inches before the final blow, before the climax - they both backed off. Leaving each other in the breathless wonder of why they loved to hate each other so much.
Where Buffy and Angel had a battle of wills, Buffy and Spike had a power struggle. A power play. A polarity that gave them both the authority to stand in their own Energy - even if it was against each other. After a fuller experience of pain and love of all kinds - Spike was the man left standing by her side. She literally had to die and come back to life in order to understand and appreciate him. She had to grieve every expectation, every promise, even the core foundation of who she was. Yes - even thier sexual relationship reflected this. The breakdown of psychic blocks, the inner alchemy. It was a transformative, Spiritual act. They fought, they fucked (multiple times), and they refilled each other.
Spike held the essence of Pluto. Destroying everything that didn't make sense or bring pleasure. The inner and outer symbolizing the conversion of Energy. Even as a vampire, he was able to learn and grow. Pluto is a generational planet, representing the collective psyche and the experience of Soul. We don’t think, we feel. We surrender control so that we can gain it back. We find the lie that we can destroy for the greater good. What do I need to transform so that I can break free? Spike was masculine because of his cock, his bite, and his Energy.
Spike's fuel was love. He responded to anything that made him feel it. For others, for himself - and the monster that lived within him. Unlike Angel, he sought out his Soul. He asked for it. The entered the gauntlet to get it back, and once he did - he allowed it to torture him. He never wanted redemption - he just wanted to be a better man. For him, and for her. He was able to accept the monster living within him, as she accepted her own unique shadows. Together they allowed their darkness and their light to simply exist. When she felt weak - he showed up to remind her of her strength. When he felt defeated, she came to straighten his crown. He worshipped her feminine essence and allowed it to comfort him. She surrendered to his touch with a trust in love that made no logical sence. They acknowledged the reciprocity of the way they both poured. All very necessary, and sustainable. They grew together. And they saved the World. A lot.
“When I say, "I love you," it's not because I want you or because I can't have you. It has nothing to do with me. I love what you are, what you do, how you try. I've seen your kindness and your strength. I've seen the best and the worst of you. And I understand with perfect clarity exactly what you are. You're a hell of a woman.”