TrueHeartWork | Underworld
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Underworld Tag

Dance me to the end of Love—The Tango of Venus and Mars

Every true lover knows that the moment of greatest satisfaction comes when ecstasy is long over.  And he beholds before him the flower which has blossomed beneath his touch―Don Juan DeMarco

Valentines day 6Love is an act of the imagination. We daub our lover with our oldest longing. We paint his lips with our most noble and generous magnificence. Love photo-shops her imperfections. Love ennobles his good qualities, assigns them with mythical powers. In our love’s vow we talk, we touch, we seal our dreams with a kiss. We know that we are beautiful. We feel young again. Alive, in a way that we haven’t felt in years.

In the warm nascence of Love, we touch our holy longing. In the Mystery of barely knowing him we travel the world, design our new home, merge in our anticipation of something new, something more. As the sun rises on new beginnings, we bask in possibility. Yet according to research on neurobiology, the potent alchemy of attraction is spiked with dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. Our intense emotional and physical fusion is only possible with someone we do not yet really know.

We are as changeable as chameleons, as contrary as Mary. In order to feel fully alive, we need a sprinkling of mystery. We require a dash of novelty. We need a splash of change, blended with just enough safety and continuity to ground us. Risk and Fear. Safety and Adventure. We fluctuate like clouds that shape shift across a summer sky.

When we commit to each other, marry, or cohabit, our brains produce the bonding chemicals, oxytocin and vasopressin. We want togetherness—and difference to keep things interesting. Yet in the otherness of our partner we so often respond with judgement. Or we set the bar high for an athletic leap of great expectations which breaks the legs of spiritual growth and sprains our soul’s warm desire.

Our heightened dependence on just one person makes us vulnerable. So, we stack up the sandbags against the rising waters of uncertainty. We construct a prison of predictability in our relationships and choose to stay behind narrow bars of bland neutrality. Our script of staid of assumptions goes something like this: “I always know what you’re thinking” or “he doesn’t talk about emotions,” or the stolidly dependable “she always takes care of all our finances.”

37a9c247dec1879d5415b8a5d76d3d11We dis-own our passion and vitality, clutch at things we feel we can control. We blinker our eyes and stop being curious. Our entire birth chart, and more specifically, the archetypes of Venus and Mars, describe the myriad ways we love embrace, or avoid, Love and Erotic Desire. In myth, Venus was not faithful. She delighted in variety, she evoked jealousy. She defied the patriarchal Greek and Roman morality. In our birth chart, she leads us down to the Underworld to experience orgies of love and humiliating loss, then urges us to emerge again, re-newed, stronger, wiser, eyes wide open.

Mars is the warrior god. And for those of us who sit behind computer screens all day, or push the vacuum cleaner across the floor, we may experience our lust for sex and violence vicariously through movies or sport, or we may morph into a Berserker when we’re stuck in traffic, sniping at our partner for leaving a wet towel on the floor when we arrive home.

Venus is in Capricorn this Valentine’s Day. Venus interpretations so often become stereotypes that don’t embrace the myriad variables of the birth chart. Some astrologers would describe a Capricorn Venus as cool and calculating, earthy and responsible. This week, Venus slips off Capricorn’s crisp classic clothing in celebration of Love. Mars  is in conjunction with Uranus—February 13 and 14th— in the final degrees of Aries, an edgy, erotic combination, associated with lightening bolts and the heated rush of Desire. Within Love’s new beginnings are also endings, as desire and excitement fade into committed Love that lasts until the music dies.Valentines day 14

Venus then conjoins both Saturn and Pluto between February 18-22 th—prompting a new direction in the dance of Love. Mars/Uranus aspects are those lightening bolts that jolt, shake, electrify us, with a love that burns.
Venus in steady Capricorn meets both Saturn and Pluto, describing the serious power struggles that inevitably ensue after the youthful romantic stage of Romeo and Juliet Love dies the scripted, inevitable death.

Risk and Fear are the Guardians at the gate of Love. We cannot be truly intimate or sexually playful when we are vigilant, guarded, or fearful. We cannot be truly intimate or sexually adventurous when we do not take a risk.

Our relationships work, for a while, within a bounded space, enclosed by children and pets, in-laws, work, social responsibility. Until they don’t. Until something happens to shatter the thin veneer of compromise.Until a raging torrent rushes through the aridity of our life. Until the brittle sacrifices implode in a shower of dust. It may be a death, a health-scare, an affair, the loss of a business, our child leaving home. The comfort of fireside companionship, the tangible solidity of the things we own, and the cadence of routine now does not feed our hunger. We go online and gorge, like starving anorexics feasting on chocolate sundae. Or in the seductive gaze of our work colleague or the children’s music teacher, we delight in the sweetness we have denied ourselves for decades. We become alive again.

Val 2Love is a creative act of the Imagination. Its realm is rarefied, intangible, briefly captured like an exquisite butterfly where it flutters to the sound of music, poetry, the wind whispering through the trees.

Intimacy waits patiently for Love’s transient rapture to disperse. Intimacy requires time, repetition and the ability to choose each other, again and again. Intimacy is a practiced dance where two dancers move across the floor, present and focused, moving as one, yet firm in our own foot work. The dance of Intimacy requires tenderness and some acceptance. It requires routine and a sense of safety. It requires trust and an ability to create an emotional connection.

Yet so often as we spin our soft cocoon of companionable safety, Eros feels swaddled. He becomes a pudgy Cupid, not a virile Lover.

Sex therapist David Schnarch writes, “We’ve reduced adults to infants and infants to a frail ghost of their resilience, reduced marriage to providing safety, security, and compensation for childhood disappointments. We remove our essential drives for autonomy and freedom.”

Psychologist Esther Perel suggests that too much closeness restricts the sense of freedom and autonomy we need for sexual pleasure. “When intimacy collapses into fusion it is not lack of closeness but too much closeness that impedes desire.” She maintains that intimacy only sometimes begets sexuality and that our need for togetherness exists alongside our need for separateness. With too much distance there can be no connection and with too much fusion (the soul mate theory) there is no one to connect with. “Increased emotional stability ironically what makes for good intimacy, does not make for good sex.”

Valentines day 9Anais Nin wrote so poignantly, “Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we do not know how to replenish its source.” So how do we replenish Love’s source? David Schnarch writes, love and desire are “not a matter of peeling away the layers but of developing them—growing ourselves up to be mature and resourceful adults who can solve our current problems.”

Love requires an artist’s eye, a poet’s sensibility, a gourmet’s palate. The willingness to be curious, to engage in the mystery, to re-ignite the flame of Eros with the spark of our human imagination. Perhaps in the break-down of all we know is safe and sure, we discover that it is our partner who has been taking care of our marriage after all. In stretching out of our familiar roles, seeing each other with new eyes, we rebuild a relationship that has collapsed under the heavy weight of our control. We allow Love to awaken in our life. And we begin to dance again.

I post regularly on Face Book. If you would prefer me to send you these posts privately, or if you would like to book a private astrology consultations please connect with me: ingrid@trueheartwork.com

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You Want It Darker

darker-1The New Year stretches and yawns from the crumpled wrappings of the festive season. The old is not yet old enough to be forgotten. The new is not yet quite born. There’s a certain quality about this threshold time, coloured by our hopes and dreams; our resolutions to emerge into life in a new way.

There’s an edginess in the zeitgeist now. The sound of thunder as dark clouds gather across nations at this time of jagged transition. The old ways have led us to the gaping maw of the destruction of habitats and species that is now probably irreversible.  Our appointed leaders seem incapable of  making the changes to policies despite petitions, pleas and protests. Civil disobedience seems the only option. Spiritual teacher, Andrew Harvey writes,“ the future of the world depends on the full restoration of the Sacred Feminine in all its tenderness, passion, divine ferocity, and surrendered persistence.” But what does that really mean to the billions of people who live their lives in sound bites, plugged in, plugged out?

standing-rockIn a superbly written post, Vera de Chalambert writes “As the spirit of the Dark Mother hovers upon the collective waters, she has much to teach us. Kali is the great protectress and ultimate sacred activist. She is standing at Standing Rock, roaring against the black snake and the abuses of corporate capitalism. She is marching in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

She is here mourning the dying out of species and showing her terrible tongue at the shocking xenophobic, nationalist regressionism swallowing the planet. She is the changing of the tides, and she meaphotograph-by-brent-stirton-national-geographicns business. She has come to burn up the old paradigm of separation and transfigure the collective heart.

Scientists tell us we live amidst the 6th extinction. Every 20 minutes, another species disappears from our planet. Our oceans are dying, our rivers are burning. Kali beckons us to embrace our sacred fury and let our heart roar for all living beings. Like her, we must rise as protectors, else perish as fools. She knows that we belong to each other and share one fate.”

Kali, the Dark Goddess is the giver and taker of Life. Hekate, the Dark Goddess, who stands at the crossroads. Hel, Ereshkigal, the Black Madonna, Sara-la-Kali, the Morrigan, the Badb, the Cailleach Bheur, Sheela na Gig, Divine Rotting Hags. Dark Goddess all.8b41931fd79ddf7540a720e1db1c247d

I associate Pluto with the Dark Goddess – a female deity of the Underworld; I do see this as a Dark Time, part of a cycle that will be unsettling, disruptive and as necessary and as inevitable as the winter that comes before the spring.  Jupiter opposes Uranus—December 2016, March 2017 and September 2017— a wake-up call, shaking things up, bringing unexpected shocks, sudden change for us collectively as well as personally. Mercury turned Retrograde on December 19th when the US electoral college certified Donald Trump as the 45th president, a regressive turn of events? An opportunity to look within at our own prejudices, our own wasteful consumerism and exploitation?

We all collectively influence the uni-verse at a very deep level. The energy of the planets is never external. They are celestial mirrors. Our politicians are simply playing their part, speeding things along. On January 20th, Trump is sworn in as President when Saturn squares Mars (traditionally associated with strife and conflict, accidents and injury) and the expansive Jupiter/Uranus opposition is still in force, so the pace quickens, tension rises, a clarion call. This aspect suggests a theme of polarisation, the die is cast—losses and gains.

darker-8 Back in the 1930s, a Pluto/Uranus square brought social and economic crisis and the world went to war. The Pluto/Uranus conjunction of the 1960s brought the innocent idealism and light of the Counter Culture Movement, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, the deadly herbicide agent Orange in Vietnam, the system of apartheid in South Africa. As Pluto and Uranus joined forces in a conjunction during that decade, Marshall McLuhan coined the term, “the global village”, The feminist movement of the 1960s and ’70s broke down barriers, and the Black Panthers raised their fists for civil rights. Hair became the symbol of freedom and power. From 2007 to 2015, Pluto has been in a tense square aspect to Uranus, a theme that overshadowed global events and will continue to do so over the coming years. If we track the planetary cycles back through his-story, there have been no quick fixes.

We want it darker.

Leonard Cohen, in his final and prophetic album, writes chillingly:

Magnified, sanctified, be thy holy name
Vilified, crucified, in the human frame
A million candles burning for the help that never came… we want it darker.

ff0be5bf172d37e026b0ad0741d06914The issues that were not fully addressed during the 1960s now require our most urgent attention: the age-old issue of war as the only solution to boost capitalism, establish power bases, dominate and subjugate will raise its gory head. Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn suggest that these issues will become increasingly explosive as Pluto squares Jupiter, three times between November 2016 and August 2017.darker-2

 

What the world needs now is a grass-roots movement that is willing to serve in practical ways. The movement seeded in the 1960s by Birkenstock-wearing flower children must now be imbued with the energy of the Dark Goddess with her angry eyes and breasts with nipples of claws. But the old injunction, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth will leave us blinded, toothless. His-story has left a grim and gristly record of the bones of the intelligentsia, writers, artists, and those who dare to speak up against oppression. And yet, as Martin Luther King declared, “darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.”

We are not defined by external forces. We are not trapped in our his-story, the purgatory of our tribal mind. We can make new choices, as we we cross this threshold into this new year. Leonard Cohen said, “ To offer oneself at the critical moment when the emergency becomes articulate. Its only when the emergency becomes articulate can we create the willingness to serve.”

amma

On January 1st, the Sun will rise again. The moon will cast her silvery light across the contours of our Mother Earth. “The grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere, the dew is never all dried at once, a shower is forever falling, vapour ever rising…” wrote the man who inspired a nation and a president to set aside land for the magnificent American national parks, John Muir.

Things may not be solved. But we can offer ourselves. We can serve with strong hearts.

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No White Flag

Nothing is more abrasive to the human spirit than being ignored or invalidated by the one you love. When a lover, or cherished friend makes a unilateral decision to abort a relationship, and “move on”, we remain behind, emotions cauterised: unheard, unseen, invisible. Very few of us journey through this lifetime un-scalded by the sting of rejection.

“She won’t return my calls,” Jeff told me, despondently stirring a third spoon of sugar into his cappuccino, as if to sweeten the sorrow in his heart, ameliorate the loss of his dream. “She says it’s over. She’s in love with someone else. There’s so much I feel I still want to say to her!” he says, staring despondently into the dark chasm of a future without his Kathy.

Deep attachments are excruciatingly difficult to release lightly, to unravel effortlessly. Especially if they come, not in a fit of pique, or a defensive cold shoulder, but as a deliberate closure, or when some fated event cracks us open, catapults us into the thunder ball of rage and grief.  Of course, we can embalm the Love that once was. Conceal it like a precious pearl in our hearts. Defiantly refuse to raise the white flag and surrender. Or we can accept that these sudden jolts are critical moments in our spiritual life, in our evolution towards a new level of opening.

If we allow ourselves the Grace to experience the raw pain of loss and the darkness of depression, to sit, for as long as it takes, in the stinking sewer of our own self pity and anger, to allow the salty moisture of our tears to cleanse and heal – then, and only then, will our Wise Woman self emerge  to garner the fruits from the dark Mystery of this experience.

Pathos, rather narrowly defined in the modern dictionary as “suffering” was understood in a far more sophisticated and subtle way by the ancient Greeks. For them, pathos embraced the profundity and enormous scope of human experience. We feel the breath of pathos when embraced by a powerful unexpected bolt of passionate love. Or when someone we love dearly leaves us or dies. Or when cataclysmic change occurs in our lives to shock and disorientate us, to fling us into the dark abyss of unknowing. Pathos is something outside us, bigger than ourselves. Joseph Campbell said, “It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.”

Our ancestors knew Pathos. They knew Necessity. They embraced the Mystery of Fate that realigned their lives and personalities.  The shaman would travel to the Underworld to enter into the temple of the soul, to be dismembered by pain and suffering, to be born a-new. With our fundamental either-or beliefs in “facts”, our dumbed down, literal world-view, when Fate intrudes in a coldly detached way, we are so often left, entrails dangling, disorientated, stumbling in the darkness, searching outside ourselves for logical answers.

In my interpretation of astrology, I see pathos acitve in the birth charts of clients who are visited by fate in the form of life threatening illness, a devastating love affair, loss of a child, the seemingly inexplicable ending of a long friendship. It is a visitation of something non-ordinary, impersonal, supernatural. It is a breaking open. We face our own Armageddon  when we succumb to our hidden longings, unfurl our crumpled wings, and free fall into the unknown – a new relationship, new job, a courageous move to a new country. Broken open, we allow our soul to shine through.

“White Flag” – Dido
I know you think that I shouldn’t still love you,
Or tell you that.
But if I didn’t say it, well I’d still have felt it
where’s the sense in that?

I promise I’m not trying to make your life harder
Or return to where we were

I will go down with this ship
And I won’t put my hands up and surrender
There will be no white flag above my door
I’m in love and always will be

I know I left too much mess and
destruction to come back again
And I caused nothing but trouble
I understand if you can’t talk to me again
And if you live by the rules of “it’s over”
then I’m sure that that makes sense

I will go down with this ship
And I won’t put my hands up and surrender
There will be no white flag above my door
I’m in love and always will be

And when we meet
Which I’m sure we will
All that was there
Will be there still
I’ll let it pass
And hold my tongue
And you will think
That I’ve moved on….

I will go down with this ship
And I won’t put my hands up and surrender
There will be no white flag above my door
I’m in love and always will be 

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