(February 16 - March 29, 2020)
Drive and determination / autonomy / longevity / endurance / gravitas / authority / mischief / sly sexuality / big plans / the long game / performance of masculinity / proving oneself / the activist / the explorer / the head coach / the captain / hot and cold / wise and wicked / whisky and cigars / black coffee / cheekbones / smoldering embers / speed-skating / cross-country skiing / ploughing through rich soil / burning fossil fuels / skin rashes / dental surgery / turquoise and red coral / Mt. Rushmore and the Six Grandfathers / Roman Legions / Rocky Raccoon / a straight shooter
Famous people with natal Mars in Capricorn: Laurence Olivier, Katharine Hepburn, Frida Kahlo, Rosa Parks, Alan Watts, Helmut Newton, Marlon Brando, Buzz Aldrin, Gene Hackman, Larry King, Ali MacGraw, Woody Allen, Marvin Gaye, Lily Tomlin, Tom Selleck, George Harrison, David Bowie, Patti Smith, Marianne Faithfull, Diane von Furstenburg, Steven Spielberg, Mia Farrow, Bob Marley, Ed Harris, Chuck Schumer, Ozzy Osbourne, Jerry Seinfeld, Al Sharpton, Sharon Stone, Tim Kaine, Bryan Cranston, Brené Brown, Nicholas Cage, Brad Pitt, Jim Carrey, Gwen Stefani, Lisa Bonet, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Julia Roberts, Ben Stiller, Björk, Ewan McGregor, Katie Holmes, Drew Barrymore, Chelsea Handler, Katy Perry, Janelle Monae, Anne Hathaway, Jake Gyllenhaal, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, Rafael Nadal
For reasons lost to history, February 14th, the feast of St. Valentine, came to be associated with courtly love sometime in 15th century England. No disrespect to St. Valentine, but a Christian martyr is an ill-fitting figure for a day devoted to romantic earthly love. This is unquestionably Venus’s domain. Hearts, chocolates, doves, flowers and pleasures of the flesh—these are all her symbols. And Cupid, who was known to the Greeks as Eros, was her son. The iconic cheeky cherub that we think of when we hear the name nowadays, is a far cry from his original mythological form, as we will soon see.
With that said, let’s take a look at the astroweather for the day, shall we? Here’s what I’m seeing: Venus is in Aries, the sign of her detriment, but this placement also has correspondence to the Four of Wands in the tarot, which brings to mind weddings and festivities, balancing out the negative a bit. Venus is also forming a T-square to the lunar nodes in Cancer and Capricorn. Meanwhile, the moon is in Scorpio, making a grand trine in the water signs to Mercury and the North Node/Rahu. Mercury is in its retrograde shadow in Pisces. And lastly, asteroid Eros is exactly conjunct the Sun in Aquarius. There’s plenty of potential for sex, romance and partnership here, but it doesn’t feel especially fun and carefree does it? The way I read it, on this Friday–Venus’s day–the planetary alignments are telling one of her very own stories: the story of Cupid and Psyche.
A king has three daughters, one of whom is named Psyche. Psyche’s beauty is reputedly so great that it threatens to surpass even Venus’s, and so the jealous goddess sends her son Cupid to shoot her with one of his arrows and make her fall in love with someone hideous. He accidentally pricks himself instead, and falls immediately, but secretly, in love with Psyche. Psyche, meanwhile, remains inexplicably unmarried, so her father, believing she is cursed, prepares to sacrifice her on top of a cliff. At the last minute, Cupid sends the wind to whisk her away to a sacred grove, where she falls asleep.
She awakens in a magnificent house in an unknown location. There she lives comfortably until at night she begins to be visited by Cupid, who anonymously sleeps with her under cover of darkness. Eventually she decides to trick him into revealing himself, so she waits with a candle and dagger for him to appear. But when she shines the light on his face, she stumbles and pricks herself with one of his arrows, and then falls hopelessly in love with him. Cupid then flees, and she goes off wandering in search of him.
Along her way, she is tortured and abused by Venus, and subjected to a series of dangerous and impossible tasks (one of which is a trip to the Underworld) which she must accomplish in order to appease the goddess. In each instance she receives friendly or divine intervention. She repeatedly attempts to take her own life and each time is thwarted by a benevolent force. At the nadir of her journey, near to death once more, the story does an about-face. Cupid swoops down to the rescue, takes her up to Mount Olympus, smoothes things over with Venus, and makes her his wife. Psyche, having drunk the ambrosia of immortality, is now divine, and all of the gods and goddesses revel and feast together at the wedding banquet, living happily ever after. The story Cupid and Psyche reads like part classic mythical narrative and part fairy tale. It has its problematic and disturbing elements, to be sure, but in the end, Psyche does not end up a tragic heroine. She is loved and accepted into the family.
Now back to the astrology. Some of the darker or harder aspects of both love and family relationships we can see in the Scorpio moon, the Aries Venus and the Capricorn South Node. The feelings and emotions, the sensitivity, the connection, the unconscious aspects of love are all floating on the current of that Grand Water Trine. And the blunders and missteps and mixed messages of love are the familiar territory of a Mercury retrograde. The Sun and Eros in an air sign are thankfully helping to provide some distance from all that emotion, and to keep things from getting too heavy. The North Node in Cancer seems to be the key to the happy ending here. We are meant to trust our instincts, our guts. We are meant to nourish ourselves with love. We are meant to feel a whole spectrum of emotions, not to avoid feeling. We deserve to feel safe with our partners and with our families, and in our homes. When we are safe, we can then learn trust and vulnerability, and from there explore our creative potential. We can grow, and we can heal.
May you have a happy heart this Valentine’s Day,
Venus + Lilith + Chiron in Aries
In looking at how the pieces are positioned on the cosmic chessboard this month, one story is taking place in the sign of Aries that I feel deserves to be explored.
Venus, planet of love and beauty and all the attendant positives and negatives that come with those concepts; Black Moon Lilith, a mathematical point I translate into the aspects of the Feminine that have been unconsciously repressed and vilified; and asteroid Chiron, the Wounded Healer, the loner centaur who is the wise mentor to all the young heroes—are all experiencing a conjunction in the early degrees of Aries. Further down the road at 15 degrees awaits Eris, the Goddess of Discord. They are strange bedfellows to be sure, but they all share one thing in this case: the experience of the outcast.
In “The Judgment of Paris” from Greek mythology, the gods are all assembled at a wedding. All except Eris, who has not been invited, because she is generally seen as a troublemaker. In retaliation for the snub, she takes a golden apple, attaches to it a note that says “to the fairest,” tosses it into the crowd of goddesses, and watches.
Aphrodite (love goddess), Hera (queen of the gods) and Athena (goddess of wisdom, war and craft) each believe that they are the intended recipient, begin to quarrel, and then ask Zeus to be the decider. He passes the job off to the Prince Paris. After they parade before him, first clothed, then nude, Paris still can’t decide who is the fairest, so the ladies resort to bribery. Aphrodite offers him the most beautiful woman in the world, if he picks her. Hera promises him worldly power. Athena promises glory in battle. He picks Aphrodite, she rewards him with Helen, and thus begins the Trojan War.
This is a story that doesn’t paint a particularly kind or flattering picture of women. And it is the kind of story that I could see being one manifestation of the current placements in Aries. The pain that comes from exclusion, loneliness that comes from exile, competition that comes from a belief in scarcity; jealousy, vanity, greed, sexual objectification and misguided anger—all of those things I could see playing out.
Who wins in the story? Eris? Venus? Paris? Certainly not poor Helen and the Trojans. Is it really winning if it’s predicated on hurting others or self-abasement? Can we have compassion as a culture for the Evil Fairy Godmother, the Witch, or the Wicked Stepmother? For the sex worker or the woman who embodies her sexuality in a way that society disapproves of? For the centaur that isn’t like other centaurs, let alone like other men? At some point in life we all experience the archetype of the Exile. It hurts to be left out! So do we then continue to disguise that pain as anger, or can we gain compassion for ourselves and others?
How can we then interpret this Aries territory: is it going to be a battleground? A proving ground? Or a call to courage? Does its fire ignite fury or passion? As always, I look for the highest possible expression of these energies and, when we maintain our sense of compassion, this becomes a story of mending broken hearts. It becomes a story of solidarity, uplifting, unification, redemption, sisterhood and brotherhood, advocacy, encouragement and mentorship. There is the potential here for great art and great healing.
If you’re interested in looking deeper into how these placements relate to your own birth chart, send me a message to schedule a consultation. Here’s to straightening each other’s crowns.