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Lost and Found—Sun in Taurus—April 21st

3f6ad8bb0eb4a7dd103bbe33c468f1ecThere’s that defining moment. That softening in the belly. That strong, sure surge of love that expands our heart. That knowing, that welcomes us home to our natural rhythm, to where we belong. As the pulse-beat of nature’s rhythm of the seasons alters, and the Sun moves from the urgency of Aries into the slower, more deliberate cadence of Taurus, we may feel a renewed sense of Being as we join the circle of community at places of worship, as we visit friends and family and nourish ourselves with the sweet comfort of heartfelt connection.

Then there’s the dawning recognition that it’s our fear of loneliness or privation that keeps us in a root-bound relationship. That we’ve bound ourselves to a group or its leader who demands unquestioning allegiance. That we’ve amputated our Being, buried our creativity, pruned our intelligence, denigrated our sexuality. There’s the deep grief of losing something precious, something we thought we had found, but that got lost along the way.

Sharon Blackie writes of this sense of alienation that so often seeps into our life quite gradually when we lose our belonging, when we fall out of our natural rhythm. “I felt no love for this world, no sense of belonging. I felt separate from it, closed in, claustrophobic. Some days, walking through identical grey suburban streets to school, I felt as if I were being buried alive.” 1e5ab0ada433d9e43612a48815ca7cd3

The disillusionment and disorientation as we uncouple, or bravely break away from a group or a community can be a devastating dark night of the soul, as Andrew Harvey describes his break from his guru in The Sun at Midnight. 

Taurus, despite its association with the muscular bull, is associated with what the Jungians call “the feminine” that which we denigrate and plunder in our insatiable desire for more wealth, more success, more oil, more mono-culture. We may feel constricted, tamed by our way of being in the world, buried alive. As Uranus moves through Taurus (2018—2026) we may be jolted by circumstances that startle us enough to alter our course. Uranus, like the Tower card in the Tarot, represents a toppling of a structure, a breakdown, a breakthrough, that shatters and shocks us into a new realisation, that releases a renewing surge of energy that surges down from the heavens, through our crown chakra.

58e3a4b6369c9faccf6acb7d5d409372On April 19th, a  “blue moon” at the power-infused 29° point, illuminates those threads that still lie in disarray, those unresolved power struggles, those uncomfortable relationships we  may have wrestled with at the Equinox on March 21st when the Full Moon was at 0° of Libra. This graceful Libran Moon may shine her light on a false belonging, a sterile psychic landscape, devoid of beauty and harmony, a place we have been lingering for far too long.

Libra’s realm is relationship, fairness and equality. This Full Moon squares Pluto, demanding the truth, a more authentic way of relating, a more vulnerable, honest, way of repairing. The Moon sextiles Jupiter, reminding us of what we truly long for, where we’ve stayed small, lost the comfort of true belonging.

Mercury hurried into impetuous Aries on April 17th, to meet Chiron, the archetype of the wounded healer.  Venus joins the fire dance as she steps into Aries on April 21st, so we may sense an urgency, a decisiveness, a passion to reconnect perhaps with something we have lost, something we must find again.bfa75d2f6f24183a70b3061a22601d40

This month, Pluto, the god of the Underworld, turns Retrograde on April 24th, just a few days after the Sun’s entry into Taurus. Pluto is moving through Capricorn along with the South Node and Saturn intensifying and complicating matters of the physical world, highlighting the “masculine” qualities that we glorify in our culture. Pluto has been moving through Capricorn since 2008 and will remain in Capricorn until 2023. Beneath the dark underbelly of the mountain goat we find the Tyrant, the Dictator and the Scapegoat. Here we can lose ourselves in fear of change, fear of diversity, fear that’s real or fear that’s imagined. The South Node of the Moon stirs up the past, brings detritus to the surface. The Saturn/Pluto archetype reflects a global rite of passage that will test our integrity and our resilience. For those in authority, for those who manage power, this cycle will test capability and morality as fundamental changes in the systems of government and business, the management of our earth’s resources, will reach a crisis point, the tipping point from which there is no return.  2020 US Presidential hopefu7fb9e92409a53bb9ebe685a63d031e87l, Marianne Williamson writes, “Our problem is not that we don’t have power, so much as that we tend not to use the power we have.”

So what is this thing we call “power”?  How  do we become empowered, how do we know if we truly belong? If we have planets or angles between 20° and 25° of Capricorn, Aries, Cancer or Libra, 2019 and 2020 herald opportunities re-unite with the lost parts of ourselves, tenderly nourish, nurture our “feminine” essence into manifestation, as the North Node is in Cancer, the Magna Mater. Here we must journey to find our place of true Belonging. That soft breast of nourishment, tenderness, community, creativity and collaboration, where gender, race and sexual preference are gathered with acceptance and embraced with Love. Where we share generously without fear of lack or competition. Where we deeply love our wrinkles, the soft curves or floppy parts of our bodies. Where men and women can cease striving for bigger and for more.

The “feminine” that has been denigrated, distorted, disowned for thousands of years is still there. We see her in the soft contours of the land, the urgent thrusting of lime-green leaves, the artists brush that sweeps turquoise and violet across the tangerine skies at sunset. We know her indomitable presence in the strong walls, the deep foundations of Notre Dame that rises from ancient pagan foundations, a visible  reminder that we are never lost. That there is a natural rhythm, a steady pulse beat, an all-loving heart that calls us home to that place of our true Belonging.9d1fc5c2e5cb4b41c8886304aab4efcd

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How to be Brave—Sun in Aries—March 20th

aries 65It arrives suddenly, unannounced, concealed in a swirl of dry wind that scatters a shroud of ash over life as we knew it. It blinds us in the glare of a nuclear sky. Out of the blue, news that buckles our knees, shatters our world into shiny, sharp shards that embed themselves in our heart. At that moment, we know. Our life will never be the same again.

On Wednesday, March 20th, the Sun emerges from the deep waters of Pisces and blazes a fiery trail through the sign of Aries. A new astrological year is born.  In the North, the Vernal Equinox marks the beginning of spring. The symbolism of spring and the urgent thrust of new life is still relevant in the southern hemisphere, as the swallows return north and the sun-bleached vegetation contracts against the coming cold.

Aries marks a point of Beginning, which may be a lonely journey into the unknown. In Aries we encounter the mythic motif of conquest, which always implies an act of bravery and daring. Here we meet the mythic “Warrior” who sets off on a quest, the “Hero” who personifies courage and assertiveness. The leader who makes tough choices.  Aries is where we encounter our own autonomy, our ability to to return to life, to find ourselves anew.

There are many ways to be brave in this world. We may discover that courage is concealed in the small choices we make each new day. That act of will that gets us out of bed, the strength to put the kettle on, when all the colour has faded out of the world we once knew.

For most of us, bravery, raw courage, comes when death ambushes those we love, when our income withers, when we must muster up the courage to love again. Others risk their own lives in heroic acts of true grit.  On Friday, March 15th, Abdul Aziz’s courage during the second attack on the Linwood mosque is Aries-energy in terrifying circumstances. Journalists Praveen Menon and Tom Lasseter report “When he realised the mosque was being attacked, he ran towards the gunman… He then picked up a gun dropped by the shooter and pulled the trigger, but it was empty: ‘I was screaming at the guy, come over here, come over here – I just wanted to put his focus on me.”

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Aries is a Mars-ruled sign, and its associations with valour, with survival, with the adrenal rush of flight, fight or fold, with the existential right to exist are mirrored in the urgent thrust of nature this month. The dark face of the Ram is testosterone-fuelled anger, self-absorption and competitiveness, single-mindedness. As we set off on our Eat, Pray, Love, journey to “find ourselves” we may leave a trail of destruction as sharp and black as obsidian.  The heat of fire may singe more sensitive hearts, the single-pointed passion may suck others into its wake. Aries may have the vision, the impossible dream, but it is so often others who attend to the meticulous details.
This is a time of brave new beginnings, Big Bang commitments that infuse us with life-affirming energy, that awaken our appetite, that rouse our passion, and as Goethe once said, once the commitment is made, Destiny conspires with us to support and realise our call to adventure. As we enter Aries territory this month, we will have to take a stand, fight for our rights, acknowledge that there are no “quick fixes”, no easy exits. The iconic John Wayne gives voice to the Aries archetype, “courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.

Chiron is in Aries (February 18th, 2019, until April 14th, 2027.) Those of us who have planets or angles in Aries, Cancer, Libra or Capricorn, will encounter the fire that sears our lives, purifies our pride with fierce grace. We may be inspired to take selfless action, to be spontaneous, to rise up strong, resilient, grateful to be alive. We may learn, in the words of Ram Dass, that “Suffering is part of our training program for becoming wise.”

311532b432b03e808a3565f6bd643d79The Sun conjoins Chiron on Wednesday, a suggestion that the road ahead may not be easy. That stiff upper lips and stoicism was not what M Scott Peck had in mind when he said, “Life is difficult.” We may feel flawed; our flame of creativity and passion may be extinguished by worry or sorrow. We may not feel like Xena the Warrior. Chiron pierces through our illusions, our judgements, and in our pain, we may be emboldened by our courage, our inexhaustible vitality.

The Equinox is illuminated by an expansive Full Libra Moon at the potent zero degree on March 21st. A beautiful reminder of the polarity between our own personal desires, and the need to compromise, to be fair as we relate to others in an increasingly complex world.

On Sunday, March 24th, Mercury Retrograde conjoins Neptune on the same degree as the New Moon on March 6th (16° Pisces) This is the middle of three conjunctions. The first, February 19th, and the last on April 2nd, as Mercury begins to gather speed and move forwards once more after turning direct at 16° Pisces on March 28th. The uncertainty, confusion, unspeakable sorrow may still linger. Venus joins Mercury in Pisces on March 26th, and on Sunday, March 30th, Mars, warrior and defender, moves from Taurus into versatile Gemini, heralding new perceptions, emphasising the theme of duality, and perhaps the ability to see both sides of the story.

Mars rules the Aries Sun, and Mars without a mission will haggle and complain and try to outmaneuver, so watch as the political dramas unfold. 

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage,” wrote Anais Nin. We may encounter many opportunities to be courageous this new astrological month. Petty tyrants may mirror our own discomfort about taking a stand while dangerous rhetoric morphs into bullets and the dark tide of anger rises, setting fire to old grudges and unexamined narratives.

The archetype of Aries is a celebration of the resilience of the human spirit, an affirmation of our ability to muster the courage to do what is morally right, to find the humour in teetering at the cliff edge, to see Grace in defeat.

54d1c631a69b4ecab094603d9ae7bc4dIt takes great courage to submit to the call to visit those secret vulnerable places in our heart, to weep away the pretenses, to risk tenderness.

As we dare to shrug off the labels,  cease the relentless need to  “work on ourselves”, may we have the courage to trust the warmth of our inner guidance, and walk bravely towards a new dawn.

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Force of Nature—Uranus returns to Taurus—March 6th

0b1272a595b4667197dd90e774fc1235And now you’ll be telling stories
of my coming back
and they won’t be false, and they won’t be true
but they’ll be real―Mary Oliver

We cannot ignore the wind of change that is blowing across the world right now. We cannot ignore the fierce rattle at the windows of economies and governments. We’re living at a tipping point of turbulence and transformation that will test our spiritual mettle.

These winds that shake the barley may blast us from the echo chamber of our minds, unstop our ears, open our hearts. As Einstein said, “no problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”  Now more than ever we require a new dimension to our consciousness, a new way of Being in a world where nothing is certain.

4ebf9930465d786077af8bf6736b47f5Most of us doggedly resist change, pay lip-service to diversity, avoid new beginnings. We’re hard-wired to take the path well-travelled.  And yet, on some level, most of us know that the external props in our lives are as flimsy as straws when the wild wind blows. Nothing and everything has changed.

Our initiatives and ambitions may be undermined this week, visibility obscured. Mercury—Magician and Trickster—begins to swim backwards in Pisces on March 5th, entering a three-week Retrograde period until March 30th, during which Mercury also conjoins Neptune for the third time. Mercury Retrograde cycles offer us a new perspective, an opportunity to retrace our steps, to rethink, repair, redo, return perhaps to where we started from. Mercury rules data, information, communication, travel, mechanical things.  Mercury in Pisces floats and dreams, softening sharp edges, blurring what we believe is the truth. On March 6th Civil, a new platform for investigative independent journalism is launched, born on the winged sandals of Mercury, the messenger, the net-worker, the communicator. We’re coming back with real stories.

Mercury Retrograde cycles have gained notoriety for miscommunication, transport delays, and technology that malfunctions.  But if we allow ourselves to yield; if we sigh out, soften; if we can relinquish our tight grip of structure and schedules, we may be astonished. Mercury Retrograde periods are times to notice how the outer world reflects our inner world.

The New Moon in Pisces on March 6th signals an expectant new beginning, that may draw us deeper into concealed currents of emotion. In Pisces, we don’t pare down, divide or analyse; rather, boundaries dissolve, colours run, everything empties into One.

As we return once more to that pure potent energy of freshness, we feel shiny and new.  The Sun conjunct Neptune swells the surge of fresh water, softening the sharp edges of our personal will, seeping through our defenses, stirring compassion, imagination, and our child-like belief in whimsy, in mystery, in magic.

This is also the day that Uranus returns to Taurus. We may begin to trace our footsteps along a road that winds back to the months between May and November 2018.

We may take a moment to revisit the discomfort of adjustment to new circumstance, the choices, the decisions, the roads we travelled.

702d922c275d18fffd1354899350fefaUranus remains in Taurus until 2026, shaking and jolting us from the steady rhythm of our cossetted lives, widening the fault lines in our relationships, swallowing the earth from under our feet. As we ricochet from our rut, Uranus may escort epiphanies that separate us from what we love and value, pushing us over the edge. Uranus destabilises, brings anarchy, chaos, revolution and rebellion. Uranus is the Sky god who brings innovation on winds of change.

As Uranus moves through Taurus, cracks will appear in financial systems. Where we’ve been holding on greedily to possessions and those things we think we value, we may experience sudden losses, upsets, that unchain us from those things that bind us. In the West, our worship of materialism, our lust for power, and insatiable craving for more and more is the wound that cuts us off from Mother Earth, from the natural rhythm of our bodies. Uranus in Taurus will highlight our physicality, our inter-connectedness with all living things and the cycles of Nature. Taurus is associated with cattle. The BBC Four series, Secret Life of Farm Animals shows how cows thrive in the wild, intuitively eating those herbs and shrubs that aid digestion and control parasites, how they love music and problem solving, how they tenderly nurture their young. As Uranus moves through Taurus, the conditions of cattle in the meat and dairy industries will have consequences.  Yuval Noah Harari writes, You want to know how super-intelligent cyborgs might treat ordinary flesh-and-blood humans? Better start by investigating how humans treat their less intelligent animal cousins. It’s not a perfect analogy, of course, but it is the best archetype we can actually observe rather than just imagine.” Uranus in Taurus 2

As Uranus moves through Taurus, climate change and erratic weather patterns will remind us of the inter-connectedness of all things. As Uranus moves through Taurus, we may encounter the Minotaur at the centre of the labyrinth: that part of ourselves, or the society we live in, that has been secreted away, feared, disowned, denied. With Uranus we may feel a sense of alienation, of being an outcast. We may feel restless, distraught, utterly alone. Uranus is associated with breakthroughs, the kind of breaking through that breaks us open, brings us to our kneesthe sudden death of a loved one, the shocking news that upends our world, the lightning-bolt encounter that electrifies us, shifts our perspective.

Uranus in Taurus 10When we’re shook up and shattered, on our knees, we may receive a flash of insight that directs us to a new bend in the road.

To live authentically in this new world, we will require grit and integrity and the spiritual strength to hold the tension of opposites. To enter, as the Spanish mystic, Teresa of Avila, who lived in the burning times of The Inquisition (1500s) said: “let us remember that within us there is a palace of immense magnificence”. 

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Swim inward, Swim outward—Sun in Pisces—February 18th

So, this is how you swim inward. So, this is how you flow outwards. So, this is how you pray―Mary Oliver.

Pisces new moon 23For those of us who like our lives anchored by certainty, the world may seem a precarious place right now. As our plans are sucked into the undertow, we may be cast adrift from the raft of our faith.

The Sun enters Pisces on February 18th. In the archetypal journey around the zodiac, we’re invited to wear our mermaid tails and adorn our hair with sea shells. In Pisces, we dive deep into opaque waters where music and poetry melt walls that divide. We may experience, in the words of Eckhardt Tolle, “all things that truly matterbeauty, love, creativity, joy, inner peacearise from beyond the mind.”

Pisces is not an easy constellation to see with the naked eye. And in our birth chart, Pisces planets or the house with Pisces on the cusp, may be concealed by louder or more overtly visible planetary archetypes. A rumbustious Aries Sun or dutiful Capricorn Moon may be more comfortable in a world where we compare, compete, and have a “nice day”. Julia Cameron, writes, “The voice of our original self is often muffled, overwhelmed, even strangled, by the voices of other people’s expectations.”  We may hesitate at the water’s edge, admiring other people’s creativity, their altruism, their faith. We may disown our Pisces planets as the outer world presses it’s concerns into the sanctum of our intuition. We may not notice the signs and the symbols and pack away our childish magical thinking and innocent imaginings.

Pisces 8

Perceptions may shift, new insights may wash to the shore of our consciousness, or ambiguity, uncertainty and confusion may swirl around us as we swim in uncharted waters.  A faerie-circle of golden spring crocuses waiting expectantly for the bees may remind us that everything is interconnected.  A homeless woman, hollow-eyed, thinner than her beloved dog, may stir our compassion. The mute suffering of factory-farmed animals may compel us to be more discerning about the food we choose to buy. Searing temperatures, drought and fire, may prompt community spirit.

Pisces is where we journey to those soulful regions of our psyche, those places where we encounter mysterious daimons, and where powerful currents of emotion  surge like a rip-tide, shattering our peace, bringing us to our knees. In this underwater realm, we hear the songs of the whales, the whisper of the sea grasses, the prayers of our ancestors who lie full fathom five.

As we immerse ourselves into this sphere of water this month, there are sea changes that reflect the swelling tide of worldly events.

Chiron changes sign, moving from Pisces into Aries on February 18th. Chiron’s story is a tragedy. In-spite of his goodness, his wisdom, his generosity, he is accidentally wounded.

7971a7cf8f077f43e056807a18226f23Chiron, in our birth chart,  represents that place where we are maimed, irrevocably scarred, by the unfairness of life, where we discover that bad things do happen to extremely good people and that what goes around doesn’t always come around in any satisfactory or just kind of way.

Chiron will remain in Aries until 2027, having emerged from Pisces and bringing out from the murky waters an existential pain, a reminder of our human flaw, perhaps the guilt or sense of unworthiness we thought we had dealt with in therapy years ago. Collectively, Chiron in Aries necessitates a brave and radical approach and understanding to the problems that plague us personally and globally. Chiron was in Aries during theRoaring Twentieswhich brought prohibition, Jazz and the Charleston. The babies born to sexually free, bobbed haired mothers, were raised in the hard knock time of the euphemistically named, “Great Depression”.

Chiron was in Aries from the late sixties to 1977—as students protested and napalm in Vietnam scorched the earth. This was the turbulent time of the counter culture movement and the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. As Black Consciousness stirred in South Africa, a tide of frustration broke through the cement walls of apartheid, and the Soweto student uprising on June 16th 1976 marked the beginning of the end of a system that has left a ridge of scar tissue on the psyche of a nation.

On February 19th the Full Virgo Moon (0° Virgo) casts her discerning light over our human foibles, pares down our wishful thinking with her keen intelligence and attention to detail. The zero degree of this lunation is significant. It marks the culmination of a cycle and the beginning of a new one as the Moon trines Uranus at 29 degrees Aries and forms a quincunx with Chiron. Our healing journey has only just begun. Virgo represents the self-possessed Feminine aspect of ourselves. Virgo is associated with the earth, with our care for all living things. Without any fanfare, she gets to work, cleans up the mess, weeds the garden. Then plants one precious seed at a time. This Full Moon illuminates the polarity between Pisces and Virgo. It is also a reminder of the precision, the  perfect timing of nature, as we marvel at a convent of wimpled snowdrops, or a robin’s egg nestled in the mossy curve of a branch.

On Sunday, February 10th, Mercury dipped into the deep waters of Pisces (11°) and will join Neptune in a phosphorescent conjunction at 15° Pisces on February 19th.

Pisces 124In Pisces, Mercury drapes our dreams in silken images that sparkle and inspire. He withdraws from worldly concerns, submerged in fantasy, delighting in music, art or poetry. He aids emotive expression of our thoughts, our feelings, our heartfelt concerns. Yet, we can also be prey to delusion, confusion and misunderstandings in those deep and often murky waters where the two fish swim.

By March 5th, Mercury is moving slowly. He stations, and goes Retrograde, moving right back to that conjunction with Neptune from March 24th to April 2nd. He remains in Retrograde until March 30th and will enter the fire of Aries on April 17th, an opportunity to suspend our skepticism, to re-write the narrative of our lives and move toward “what if” … “what could be” …

There’s a much-quoted passage in Alice Through the Looking Glass, where Alice says to the White Queen, “There’s no use trying…one can’t believe impossible things.”

“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Pisces 9

As Jupiter blazes confidently through Sagittarius this year, we may have ample opportunity to dream our wildest dream, to practice believing six impossible things before breakfast. To test the validity of our optimism for the third and final time in September 2019 when Jupiter and Neptune make their final square.

Our challenge will to remain alert to the moray eels, the sharp shards of shell concealed beneath the opaque waters of Pisces.

As the tethered fish of Pisces draw us deeper, may they guide our prayers and direct our faith, so that we can hold on tight to our dreams.

 

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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.

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