Love is fearlessness in the midst of the sea of fear— Rumi
The first flurry of delicate blossom ushers spring’s joyful arrival as the Sun and Moon meet in the sign of Aquarius today.
New Moons denote entry points, like doors ajar that invite us to garner new experiences, to cross back and forth between the past and the future, to experience the joy of new beginnings and the ache of final endings.
This month begins on a New Moon in Aquarius, a sign that encompasses our participatory belonging to humankind. Aquarius’s wavy glyph suggests those powerful currents of energy that flow through the deepest stratum of our relationships with friends, family, and those intimate soul filled engagements.
The ancient cross-quarter festival of Imbolc on February 1st and 2nd is the first midpoint in the cycle of the year, welcoming the first tentative stirrings of spring, a guiding metaphor of new beginnings.
Saturn joins the new Moon today, and unites with the Sun at the week’s end, as Mercury turns direct on February 4th, an invitation to attend to our responsibilities with patience, to seek fresh perspective as familiar themes circle and cycle in our own lives and in the world around us.
There’s a solemnity in the sky script as seven Saturn-ruled planets speak to the challenges of the literal events that absorb our attention, and those things that matter. As some governments try to find a way to move through the pandemic by removing mandates, tens of thousand tonnes of Covid waste spill from landfills, contaminate the air, and clog rivers and oceans, a dark counterpoint to our collective longing for play and pleasure.
Cautious Saturn stands sentinel at the threshold of this month dedicated to Lovers as commerce pays homage to the brutally murdered martyr and unlikely lover, Valentinus with symbols of sensuality—red roses, dark chocolates wrapped in cerise or shiny scarlet foil, pretty cards that offer love’s promise. For those who may be grieving the loss of a loved one; for those who have been shamed and shunned, harmfully shocked, ignored or brutally intruded upon, the scar tissue that wraps around the heart may ache as lovers walk arm in arm in the soft light of spring.
For thousands of years, the spectacular cycles of Venus have been tracked and observed by our prehistoric ancestors. The Mayan and Mesoamericans timed wars when Venus emerged as the Wasp Star from the darkness of her 40 days and 40 nights sojourn in the underworld—renewed, resolute, resplendent in her fierce beauty.
On January 15th Venus appeared, strengthened, transfigured, glistening like a diamond on dawn’s softly curved breast after her 40 days and 40 nights descent into the Underworld. Venus stationed direct on January 29th and will linger in her post-retrograde shadow until March 1st while Venus and Mars unite in the sign of the Mountain Goat on February 14th—a tender embrace that signifies a new tempo in a soulful life.
All planetary archetypes portray our human experience of relationship—attachment, separation, autonomy, and dependence. Jungian analyst Ann Bedford Ulanov suggests that “as the instincts are to the body, so the archetypes are to the psyche.”
Our entire birth chart, and more specifically, the archetypes of Venus and Mars, describe our innate responses to our environment; the myriad ways we love or defend ourselves from the soul mate we long for. Mars is the warrior god. In so many cultures, he has been associated with the masculine principle, with fierce gods of war. To the Greeks he was Ares, his name emerging from the root, “to destroy” or to be “carried away” which is so often experienced in the ecstasy of falling into love when we are carried by our desire, within reach of our holy longing.
We may experience Mars energy vicariously through movies or sport; or in the narcissism of our times, embody Mars in impassioned exchanges on social media or through the windscreen of our vehicle when we’re stuck in traffic. In our culture of haste, as we lean in, stretch forward to the next bigger, better thing, it might now be helpful reflect on the rich symbolism of the current Venus Retrograde as she has revealed those things that pained us—the jagged schisms in our relationships, our concerns about money, our creative or sexual anorexia, our relationship with beauty and art, or angst about ageing. 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 colourful explosion of passion, loss, and longing, to emerge once more bearing the marks of our initiation, willing to be utterly loved, shored up, supported as we offer our creative gifts to the world.
Spanish philosopher, Ortega y Gasset wrote that “no land in human topography is less explored than love.” It is the exploration of love’s landscape that is essential to the soul’s holy longing, and we must be brave wayfarers. The Venusian art of relating and healing the heart’s contraction has evolved from Agony Aunt columns and our urge to pathologize, improve or fix, into the collective experience of relationship therapy. The “telly-therapy” of Esther Perel and Orna Guralnik offers voyeuristic participation in couples therapy, revealing the archetype of Venus in all her guises, and inviting personal identification with couples who are living in the trauma world of fear, disconnection, and shame.
We expect so much from our partners, in love, and as we continue to live with the existential anxiety of the climate crisis, those relationships that have sustained us—friendships old and new, the intricacies and vagaries of family relationships, the encounters with our virtual tribe or colleagues at the office—we absorb and embody experiences that take us down the twists and turns, repeats and spirals, back to ancient themes.
We might pause in our focused busyness today on this New Aquarian Moon and follow a thread of memory back to the Venus Retrograde in the air-sign of Gemini that began on May 13th-June 25th, 2020—a cycle that was defined by the pandemic, worldwide lockdowns, economic recession, as well as major bushfires in Australia and the Western United States. We may pause to remember the brutal killing of George Floyd that unleashed the Black Lives Matter protest cry that bloomed and flowered all too briefly. We may ask ourselves what we have done to be kinder, more conscious, more tender. Now, as Venus emerges in the sign of Capricorn as a Morning Star may we replenish our faith in the unseen, may we trust that our gifts will be welcomed in love and appreciation, may we feel a sense of purpose and value in our community. May we cherish each other and find shelter in Love today.
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