Today is Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011. We’re a day away from the Full Moon. This one spans the bridge between Taurus, the sensual, earthy sign ruled by Venus (goddess of love), and Scorpio, the sign of deep, emotional, soul-level transformation, traditionally ruled by Mars (god of drive and desire). In short, a lunation involving the female and male archetypes like this is about sex. This one has some complexity to it, however: the Full Moon is square Nessus in Aquarius. Nessus has a theme of abuse; Aquarius relates to group dynamics. And guess what? We now have two big sex scandals dominating the news. Gee whiz.
One of these scandals has been growing for the last couple weeks: the revelations that former employees of presidential candidate Herman Cain had brought charges of sexual harassment against him in the past. Until yesterday, none of the accusers had spoken publicly, in part due to agreements they made when their cases were settled. Yesterday, however, the latest woman (the fourth) held a press conference to describe what had happened to her, stating in part,
I’m coming forward to give a face and a voice to those women who cannot, or for whatever reason do not wish to, come forward, and on behalf of all women who are sexually harassed in the workplace but do not come out of fear of retaliation or in public humiliation. I really didn’t want to be here today and wouldn’t have been here if it had not been for the three other women who have alleged sexual harassment against Mr. Cain.
The other sex scandal to break in the last few days surrounds Jerry Sandusky, 67 — a former assistant coach who worked with the Penn State college program for more than 30 years before he retired in 1999. Sandusky has been charged with multiple felonies in the alleged sexual abuse of eight boys during a 15-year period. These were boys he was mentoring through a non-profit community youth football program.
According to a grand jury report, Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno was informed by a grad assistant back in 2002 that he had seen former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky naked and forcing a boy who appeared to be about 10-years-old to have anal sex in the showers of the school’s sports complex. Paterno reportedly told his boss, Athletic Director Tim Curley, but it’s unclear whether the coach did anything further to follow up on the shocking report. And no one, Paterno or his superiors, reported this alleged incident to the authorities.
Notably, what links these two stories (besides an abusive or coercive sexual dynamic) are the cover-ups involved. That’s where we get the group dynamic of Aquarius interwoven with the abuse themes of Nessus. But why have these cover-ups been so successful until just now? One word: shame. Women still largely feel ashamed when they are the victims of sexual abuse or assault; society has done well at convincing victims they are to blame. This may go exponentially for children – it’s little surprise none of the boys allegedly molested or raped by Sandusky came forward at the time.
What about the college administrators and the head coach? Were they ashamed that they had not known about the abuse at the time? Did they figure it was none of their business in 2002, since Sandusky was no longer a coach at Penn State? Did simply moving the youth program to a satellite campus let them wash their hands of it? Whatever the reasons, it all smacks of denial – a calling card of Neptune, which also happens to be in Aquarius and is stationing direct as you read this.
There are many angles of these stories (and those similar that have not made the nightly news) we could dive into. But let’s circle back to the opening thoughts on tomorrow’s Taurus Full Moon in Scorpio: Venus and Mars, love and libido, sensory pleasure and emotional transformation. What happened to them? Oh yeah – our culture has done very well at repressing much that is healthy and holistic about sexual sharing.
Repression is another group dynamic, and the one that allows a scandal to be a scandal. For sure, abuse of power is a crime. But not all crimes are scandals. Western culture has a very strong perspective that sex is shameful; the media helps to perpetuate the idea that sex is often a crime. When was the last time you saw a mainstream media story about the wonderful masturbation workshops Betty Dodson ran for decades? Or a positive story about massage therapists who give ‘happy endings’? Or – heavens! – a clip on 60 Minutes following a teenage couple navigating their contraception options and exploring first sex?
Right. So the question is: When faced with rampant sexual scandal and repression and shame and denial and a dearth of positive, inclusive sexual models in the media, what then?
The alternative is to refuse to buy into the shame dynamic. And that’s not really something you can dictate to others; you have to live it for yourself. We each get an opportunity to shift the shame dynamic by coming out of the closet, whatever that means for you. It’s about living your sexuality openly. You can start small: talking with your friends or your family; attaching your real name to your comments on sexuality websites. It can be as simple as not hiding your dildo when your mom comes to visit or daring yourself to model nude at the local art college. Stepping out some way is the only thing that can shift the dynamic, and each person who does so makes it safer for the next one.
We’ve been feeding off the shadow side of Neptune, but its higher side offers us the chance to experience being in the world but not of it. Can you feel that? What it might be like to be fully in the world sexually, but not of the world’s shame and repression? The Full Moon is shining some light for you to step out into.
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