In Search of the Inner Feminine

A Brief History of Civilization by Charlie Lemay.

Dear Friend and Reader:

Tonight and for the next few days, we experience the Leo New Moon and the peak of Venus retrograde — Venus conjunct the Sun. Within a short time, the Moon forms a conjunction with the Sun (Friday at 10:53 am EDT or 14:53 UTC) , followed soon after by Venus doing so (Saturday at 3:21 pm EDT or 19:21 UTC). The two events happen so close to one another that they are in essence the same thing.

The Sun represents outwardly expressed being, light, presence, awareness and glory. It’s typically considered a male presence in mythology and astrology. Both Venus and the Moon are considered feminine presences, named for goddesses (the Moon can refer to Selene, or to Diana, the goddess of the hunt and the protector of young girls).

Photo by Eric Francis from the Three Scorpios series, Book of Blue. These photos were taken in Kingston, NY, last August, above where the old Indian restaurant used to be.

Friday’s New Moon and Saturday’s Venus-Sun conjunction are both inward-facing events. Retrograde Venus has an interior quality, and it’s now passing between the Earth and the Sun. New Moons also point one within, often indicating a natural time of lull, retreat or introspection.

So, here we have the hot Leo Sun taking conjunctions from the two female presences of classical astrology. The metaphor seems to be about finding the feminine aspect of consciousness within the most masculine. Personally I think this would be a productive inquiry. Our world continues to be a place where anger and violence are directed at women as a class of people, which affects many individuals.

My take is that this is a projection of rage against, and rejection of, the inner feminine of those who are involved. If you want to understand why someone feels a certain way about someone else, find out how they feel about themselves. We rarely get there; there are astonishingly few forums where we can open up to this angle of reality.

It’s easy to decry misogyny and homophobia, but rarely do we ever approach the heart of what these feelings are about. I mention them together because I think they’re the same thing: they are the rejection of the inner feminine, projected outward as a form of hatred of the other. Those who rage at their inner female are likely to rage at women and those they perceive as feminine.

Additionally, our treatment of the Earth, often described as a feminine energy (personified as the goddess Gaia), is another metaphor. Women have something in common with our planet — we all enter the planetary realm through women. Women are therefore inseparable from the Earth itself. When we attack women we attack the Earth, and to harm the Earth is to harm what gives us life.

This morning Amanda Painter started the daily discussion on our editors’ list by sending out an article in The New York Times on the systematic use of rape and sexual slavery as official government policy of the Islamic State (also called ISIS). It didn’t surprise me that this has finally made news during Venus retrograde, particularly with Venus in its interior conjunction to the Sun. The image is perfect — one of the subjugation of women and girls by the overwhelming presence of the Sun, typically experienced as masculine.

If that is true, the psychological or spiritual implication of this event is a search inwardly for whatever is represented by Venus. It might not be easy to see or feel, though if you’re feeling for the contrast, for the odd sensation that doesn’t seem to fit, you might be able to tune in. The New Moon will help, as it will have a cooling effect on solar expression, and help focus awareness inward.

From the Three Scorpios series by Eric Francis.

The Times article describes innumerable atrocities toward women committed in the name of Islam. It’s truly horrifying, though in the style of much modern journalism, it lacks context. At least three important frames of reference are missing.

The first is that the chaos in Iraq and by extension in Syria are products of Gulf War II — the invasion and occupation of Iraq. At the time the United States destabilized Iraq, its leader, Saddam Hussein, was neutralized by 10 prior years of war against him. Iraq under Hussein was a secular country, not one run under Muslim law. As such, as far as I have read, women were reasonably safe, and they could participate in society, for example, as business owners. It’s the United States that shattered that.

The second major context is how nearly all religion tends to subjugate women. Of course, nobody likes to admit that their religion does so, but you don’t need to look far; the Book of Genesis makes a fine start, if you’re wondering about the tribes of Abraham (the Jews, the Christians and Islam). Misogyny is part of all of these cultures and is alive and well in the United States.

There are many, many other gender issues that we must reckon with, and they are all related. If they’re not as obvious as a government policy of systematic rape and sexual slavery, we might look at the subtleties of our own society, which seems to be on a campaign to remove any remaining rights over women’s own bodies that they have: for example, birth control, or the right to abort a child that’s the product of a rape, or abortion in any other circumstance. I would repeat that the result of banning abortion will be to make any miscarriage into a crime scene, as it might be a potential abortion. Miscarriages happen, and they happen often. For those in favor of banning abortion, you might ask whether you want the police at your door while you or your daughter is already grieving the loss of a child.

I’ve read how stupid it is that we’re busy wondering about the latest comment by Donald Trump when this kind of atrocity is unfolding in the world. To quote that familiar admonition from Matthew7, “First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

From the Three Scorpios series by Eric Francis.

Did anyone catch the exchange between Megyn Kelly, a Fox News Network anchor, and Donald Trump? This happened at the first of the Fox-hosted Republican presidential debates.

Kelly opened the first debate of the presidential election season with an actual question for Trump.

“You’ve called women you don’t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals…Your Twitter account has several disparaging comments about women’s looks. You once told a contestant on The Celebrity Apprentice it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees. Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president? And how do you answer the charge from Hillary Clinton — that you are part of the war on women?”

Trump first claimed he was talking about Rosie O’Donnell, and when Kelly challenged him and said that was not true, he conceded the point. Then he said in response, “I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct.” He then threatened her and said he had been nice to her in the past but might not be in the future. [Listen to audio of the exchange here; I also comment on it in the latest Planet Waves FM.]

The problem is not just Trump’s statements about women. The problem is that it’s cheered on, tolerated, and considered the norm. The problem is that nobody applauded or cheered Kelly for challenging Trump. Later that week, in a CNN interview with Don Lemon soon after that exchange, Trump claimed Kelly must have had “blood coming out of her eyes…blood coming out of her wherever.” Then he demanded an apology from her, which she has refused to offer.

I could give countless examples of these kinds of exchanges, but that would be a waste of time. You already know about them. You’ve experienced them personally. One question is why it’s socially acceptable, but the deeper question is, what’s the source of all this rage?

From the Three Scorpios series by Eric Francis.

I think that it’s rage at existence, projected at women, who get blamed for existence. I see this coming from both men and women, who in different ways can reject the feminine aspect of themselves and of life. Yet, the overwhelmingly greater amount of toxic emotion is coming from men and the corporate and bureaucratic institutions they create. We might refer to The Second Sex by Simone De Beauvoir, however, to see the ways that mothers are complicit in indoctrinating their daughters into expecting and accepting this kind of treatment.

Given current circumstances, I would love to see this book left in every hotel and motel room in place of The Gideons Bible. It’s a work of literature that can help free us from the insanity of our times.

I think that this gender stuff is all a fundamentally internal drama, though. My take is that to this day, a great many men reject anything that might be considered feminine about themselves, hence, I consider misogyny and homophobia the same basic feeling with the same basic intent.

Misogyny is directed at women. Male homophobia is directed at any feelings a man might have that resemble what he thinks a woman might feel, which are then projected outward. Female homophobia is more complex, since all of us are gestated within women. Adrienne Rich addresses female homophobia in her famous and moving essay Compulsory Heterosexuality.

In expressing rage at men, women are glossing over their issues with their fathers, with religion and with a whole system of patriarchy. Said another way, the answer to gender rage is not more gender rage. There must be reconciliation, and that will start with some inner acknowledgement. This can be difficult, since anger is so painful that it is almost always projected. It’s often turned inward and becomes guilt and shame. Least often of all, anger is actually processed and its energy reclaimed.

The astrology of the coming few days describes the potential to find and make peace with the inner feminine. This is an invitation to everyone, including women, and I think that women can go a long way toward being supportive of men and indeed anyone making peace with their inner feminine aspect. I would remind everyone that there is a less publicized but insidious attack on the humanity of men, and that so far as I can tell, nearly all humans have some reckoning to do with both their inner male and female attributes.

Astrology above all other spiritual arts admits that everyone has masculine, feminine and androgynous attributes, as revealed by the presence of Mars, Venus and Mercury in the chart of every person, whatever their sex or gender.

From the Three Scorpios series by Eric Francis.

This kind of inner reckoning is easier said than done. It’s a process, often taking a lifetime, and therapy from practitioners who know what they’re doing. Because it involves our parents and our lovers and the sensitive relationship between those two categories of people, lots of material will surface along the way. This group of issues touches every aspect of our lives.

If you begin to encounter shame, guilt and other forms of shadow material, trust that you’re on the right path.

Why is this? I’ve observed that (for example) the pain and shaming inflicted on women is also inflicted on the inner feminine of men. Therefore, men will go through a similar process of unearthing their personhood when they embark on the path of healing their inner feminine. Remember that if you encounter a man who is involved in this process.

There is a recent symbol of reconciliation in the astrology. Jupiter, the king of the gods, the infamous philanderer and rapist, is now under the influence of Virgo. This will cool off the Sagittarius aspect of Jupiter. There is also a Pisces aspect, a feminine aspect, as well; this looks like the water of Pisces nourishing the fertile earth of Virgo. I am curious to see what this brings, and I’ll have more thoughts on the upcoming Planet Waves FM.

In the end, this is all about you — not about the planets, or all those other people. All questions of gender, of sex and of the power relationships involved ultimately point within, and one must make peace with these things sooner or later, or die at war. One of the things we must make peace with is sex. The war on sex has been conflated with the war to liberate women, and in both the outer and inner dialogs, sex is frequently conflated with rape.

Making peace with women is making peace with sex and with women’s astonishing sexual and reproductive beauty and power. If you ask me, that’s the root of the whole controversy.


In Search of the Inner Feminine, from the Three Scorpios series by Eric Francis. Beth Bagner was operating the camera. This image was the original purpose of setting up the scene. There are three sets of photos — with the women in white, in black, and nude. Models from left to right are Elisa Bridget, Vera Vinot, me, and Dawn Iler.

Weekly Horoscope for Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015 #1062 | By Eric Francis

Aries (March 20-April 19) — For many people, work is toil. It’s the place where they must leave their soul behind. You may have been struggling with this idea, feeling or experience in recent years; it plagues nearly all of society. But some people figure out how to do what they love, or at least love what they do, and have it support them. You’re in a position to create this for yourself, though you will need to be bold and imaginative, and most of all, actually apply your intelligence to your circumstances. There are no pre-made solutions to this issue; indeed, the problem itself is created by all of the predictable paths the world has laid out for people to follow thoughtlessly. So the first things to set aside are predictability and thoughtlessness. You must take some chances, and take advantage of the odd opportunities that arise by surprise from time to time. Count on the fact that the world is full of urgent necessities, and there are ways to make yourself useful that serve the needs of others. But don’t start there. Start with what you love, then notice how practical it is.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Looked at one way, life is an emotional experience. Everything else may be a disguise to hide that fact. But you don’t need to look far to see that how we feel, and in particular how you feel, determines what is possible, what you think is possible, what you want and what you need. If you feel good, it doesn’t matter if you’re sitting in your favorite old leather chair or on your favorite park bench or a nice big rock you happened to notice. If you’re feeling good, a Snickers bar can feel as nourishing as a lobster dinner or vegan banquet. Therefore, focus on how you feel. For you this is like tapping into a core of energy within you that is, in truth, infinite. Imagine that you pull up an old carpet in your home, or rip up some old floors, and suddenly you’re looking right at the Sun blazing into your home. By the way, those old floors or rugs may represent some inheritance from your family that only serves to block your light. You may think it holds you up, or like it’s some essential ground of being, but you might want to test that theory assertively.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Your charts tell a story of someone or something coming home to you. Therefore, prepare your home; give yourself the perfect living space for who you are and how you prefer to exist. One place to focus on first is your kitchen. Scrub it down. Clean out all of your food storage areas. Dig out and clean your refrigerator, your pantry, your dish closets. Toss out anything that is not wholesome and useful, and replace it with what is fresh and more to your preference. Invest in new, high-quality bedsheets. This is an energetic ritual as well as a practical one. Its design is to open a flow of abundance directly into your home, and to prepare your space for healthy, nourishing relationships. Doing this will put you in contact with some of your deepest values, which, contrary to any description of your sign that I’ve ever read, focus on all matters of home and family. You may not have fully encountered the depth of your affinity or indeed passion for this aspect of life, though when you do it will be a pleasant discovery.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Jupiter’s ingress into Virgo is an invitation to write the thing you’ve always wanted to write. True, not everyone is a writer, but just about everyone has some project lurking around the back of their mind that they want to focus and get onto paper. This may involve a skill you want to preserve, such as to share it with others, now or in the future. You may have already started this project, and if you have, take advantage of that and be undeterred by the fact that you have not completed it in the past. If you’re feeling judgmental of your work, get over that fast (and perhaps remind yourself of all the manuscripts rescued from trash cans and fireplaces that went on to great acclaim). Among the many people you know, you set the example of devotion to knowledge for its own sake. But you have the added advantage of ideas being the basis of community, by which I mean local, physical, nourishing community. If you’re looking for a way to get down from the high-wire act or tin-can-with-strings conversation of the Internet, speak about real things with real people, face to face, where you live.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Venus retrograde in your sign is about to reach its peak. This is described by the Venus-Sun conjunction that takes place Saturday. To my eyes, this is the chart of a personal discovery. Planet-spotters may be aware of the grand fire trine that’s taking shape, which involves Venus and the Sun, and then many other bodies distinctly of the modern age. While our modern society raves about new, it’s obsessed with retro. There’s a little of the old mixed in with this discovery, but mostly it involves what is unknown or unfamiliar. Therefore, travel in those directions. Take unfamiliar routes, converse with people you don’t know, do things you’ve never done. Push the experimental quality of everything you do. One theme of Venus retrograde for you is that of embodying your actions and your desires. They have no existence outside you; therefore, take them in and take them on wholly. Aspire to be like the pilot who is one with her airplane, the cellist who is one with his instrument, the thinker who is one with her ideas. Master your tools and allow your mastery to flow through you in the form of what you discover.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Jupiter has entered your birth sign, which is an invitation to stretch your potential. This will feel a little like pulling a tight glove over your hand and wiggling in — perhaps a little uncomfortable at first, and you may doubt that you’ll actually get a good fit. Give it a little time, focused effort and practical experience. Then you’ll discover that this thing called potential is a natural substance you can work with, expand, discover and develop an understanding of how to use. Consider this from every angle — your capacity for happiness, for good work, for creativity, for earning, for sharing, for pleasure. You are a conduit through which energy passes; that can take any form. Therefore, practice expanding in every way. Imagine what it feels like to be what you want to be, in the place you want to be. The awkward or unnatural feeling will dissolve. Don’t worry whether you deserve anything or not — I consider that a false concept. You are alive, and it’s your prerogative to live as well and as fully as you can.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — You’re entering a phase of introspection more profound than you’re accustomed to. The Libra psyche can be prone to a struggle with interior space. It’s as if you often lack sufficient room to move around within your own mind, or you encounter ideas that push the limits of your psychic capacity. Where there is a space issue, it’s necessary to be efficient and, to a real degree, clever. Let that start with drawing your awareness inward. Imagine you’re in a psychology experiment where you’re blindfolded and exploring an unfamiliar space. Describe that space to yourself, and map it out. Notice where you bump into things, where you feel like you have some room to move, and where you feel cramped and restricted. Pay attention to any frustration you feel with not being able to see what you’re doing. I would remind you that the cool, detached input of eyesight can offer anything but vision; often it’s capable only of delivering false images and undependable feedback. Breathe into the darkness and let other, subtler senses emerge.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — I’m noticing two potentially competing qualities of your charts — bold independence and the craving for leadership, and some question about being unpopular or not liked by others. Any thought form of being socially awkward will compromise your sense of mission. The truth is, you don’t know what other people really think, and further, it hardly matters. Most of what you see around you are the projections of your own mind, and I suggest you take full responsibility for them. Reel them in and take the hooks and barbs off the ends of the lines. If you actually understand that the views of others do not matter, you will do wonders to get out of your own way. What does matter is the feeling that you bring to your life, to your activities and to your world. What matters is your ability to envision something greater or at least more interesting than currently exists. Express yourself boldly and notice how you feel, then notice who responds in a positive way. You don’t need fans; if anything, you would benefit from collaborators and a community of conscience. That begins with you.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — In many ways you’re reaching a peak moment in your life. It’s true that certain psychological hangups may be lingering around, though I assure you any such feelings are the remnants of a previous time in your life. They are weak and scattered and can only influence you if you focus on them. Therefore, reach beyond any sense of isolation you may feel, and know that a breakthrough is not merely around the corner, but happening right now. Yet this is not a one-step delivery to success. What you have are a set of ingredients you can combine in many forms to create many different outcomes. The best of those have one thing in common — you take over your life as your own authority. Ideally, nobody ever tells you what to do, and whenever someone does, stop and figure out how you got there. Stay several steps ahead of all such games. Set your own quality standards, and your own objectives. Establish solid working relationships with anyone you encounter who is in a position of responsibility or power. Set your own terms and be ready to negotiate pleasantly.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — You seem to be standing on the edge of something you don’t understand. How wide that edge is, and how deep is the abyss, are part of the mystery. Sometimes you feel like you’re peering into another dimension, which might hint at the question about where you are now, and how you got here. This mystery that’s got your attention is in fact you. There are times when it’s more or less compelling, and there are times when it’s more or less easy to avoid. For a long time your inner realm was too hot to handle, or to approach directly. You’ve cooled off a little; you’re dealing with less interior chaos than you have in a while (ponder 2006 through 2012 for comparison). Now it’s time to go in, and face this whole reality directly. But you don’t have to dive off of your ledge. You’re not as unstable as you think. It will be immensely helpful, initially, to consider the differences between inner reality and outer; and to notice how the two seem to transpose between one another. This way you can keep your focus where it needs to be for a while, which is inward; and choose people who understand that, with whom you can take extended inner journeys.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Now is an excellent time to check in with the people who were important to you in the past, and to notice how strongly you still may feel about them. The rules of supposedly monogamous engagement force us to abandon people all too often, which serves another dark purpose of leaving many unresolved situations behind. It’s time to shine some light on this aspect of your life. Choose a few people who you truly miss, or to whom you have something to say, and look them up. Don’t worry about whether they’re happy to hear from you — allow curiosity to guide you. You may rekindle some beautiful, old flames, and you’ll also learn something about your tendencies in relationships that will help you light the way forward. One of your projects for the next two years is making the most of your own individualistic tendencies. Aquarius is at once a social sign and a reclusive one. You need to have your actual place among those you know, and care about, and within any groups or collaborations. Remember that, and experiment with the idea that the world around you will welcome this the moment that you do.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Make room for your relationships. In the seasons of your life, you’ve arrived at a time of harvest, though you must be prepared to receive the abundance of nature. That means being open, paying attention to the people around you, and seeking a place of understanding with them. As a Pisces, you have the capacity for greater understanding, and you’re also a bit more of a mystery to others than you may think. So you need to lead the way when it comes to holding open a space of ease and acceptance. In service of that, it would help if you chose not to be a perfectionist, and to have as few expectations of your fellow humans as is humanly possible. Take things as they come, and take every opportunity to choose consciously who and what you want. You have figured out that the world has tried to set many limits on your bliss, be they rules about who is appropriate or who is not, and an ongoing attempt to turn individual emotional and sexual orientation into a homogenized product. Set yourself free of these things one day at a time, and love the way that is right for you.

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