Obligation, desire, excess — and gratitude

We have a pair of interesting aspects on Thursday, which happens to be Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday centered on a big meal, family and the giving of thanks. The astrology asks a couple questions: Where is the tipping point between a self-evolutionary imperative and the need to nourish others in relationship? And where is the balancing point between an excess of self-preservation/ambition and excessive spending/eating/care-taking?

Simplified chart showing Venus in Capricorn opposite Jupiter (and Black Moon Lilith) in Cancer; and Ceres (and the Moon) in Libra square Pluto in Capricorn and opposite Uranus in Libra. View glyph key here.
Simplified chart showing Venus in Capricorn opposite Jupiter (and Black Moon Lilith) in Cancer; and Ceres (and the Moon) in Libra square Pluto in Capricorn and opposite Uranus in Libra. View glyph key here.

The first question is being invoked by a square between Pluto in Capricorn and Ceres in Libra. The second question emerges from Venus in Capricorn opposite Jupiter in Cancer — with considerable overlap between the two.

On one level, the astrology manifests as the classic conflict between desire and obligation — something we wrestle with regularly, especially during holidays.

Not all family systems offer individuals the room to move freely between those two poles, invoking the very primal threat of being ‘kicked out of the tribe’ in some sense if one chooses to opt for a quiet, introspective day of self-reflection instead of the extended-family circus. Obligation often wins out, even if the situation has reached a toxic extreme.

It’s also possible to get so obsessed with personal evolution that we neglect the need for reciprocal nourishment in relationships. Though less common in our culture, it’s worth considering. Ceres in Libra wants to feed relationships beautifully. If that’s not the feeling driving you to drive to wherever for the big holiday dinner, then what is? And what would actually happen if you chose to stare down the guilt and stay home instead?

As mentioned, Venus in Capricorn opposite Jupiter in Cancer carries some relatable themes. Venus-Jupiter oppositions are often about excess and the need to be wary of spending too much or eating too much. In Capricorn and Cancer, that potential for excess shifts some to an emphasis on family, tradition and obligation.

With Venus in Capricorn tending toward withholding love, self-protection/self-preservation and ambition, it’s possible to react to the whole tradition/obligation thing by running for the hills. On the other hand, Venus-Jupiter (even in these signs) can just as easily be about surprising yourself with how much fun you can have. Have you come far enough in your healing and growth simply to roll with things and find the joy, rather than getting triggered?

However things play out for you, on a very mundane level, Pluto-Ceres can translate as an obsession with food. This means everything from getting as stuffed as the turkey itself for fun; to eating and drinking to mask familial pain and frustration; to insisting on knowing whether the bird had a name and lived a happy, organic, free-range life within a 20-mile radius of the store where it was purchased.

Then again, too many people don’t have the luxury of either scenario; their obsession with food comes from not knowing if there will be any that day. If the obligation versus desire conflict is the biggest problem you face Thursday, that might actually be something to be thankful for.

7 thoughts on “Obligation, desire, excess — and gratitude”

  1. Thank you Amanda.
    Black Moon Lilith is in there too with a tight conjunction to Jupiter opposite Venus in Cap.
    There was a large sociological survey publicised today in the UK showing how women’s lives have changed dramatically in the last 20 years…more sexual partners, more same sex sexual experiences, more economic autonomy…and in all social classes.

  2. Venus in Capricorn: yeah, certainly it’s easiest to let Venus get stingy with love when mingling with things Saturnian, especially in a materialist empire! But then, it can also be the ability to fall in love without losing your balance, without becoming a hungry ghost.

  3. bkoehler — thank you for the additional eris insights! i for one suffer from the sagg moon “open mouth insert foot” syndrome regularly (sagg moon, here). luckily, this holiday will just be me, my mom and my brother (and his dog)… though i guess with the wonders of the internet, there’s plenty of opportunity to say the wrong thing in typed format!

  4. just had this conversation with a friend in which I admit to just how grateful I am that I don’t HAVE to be at a family gathering this thanksgiving … while I certainly would have done whatever I needed to do to get there, it’s not possible for me and I’m really OK with that. No guilt, no meat, no forced happy. It’s just me for now and I am thankful for that. Really, thankful, Amanda.

    mary mack
    ps: awesome piece, btw!

  5. It will be interesting to see how these aspects play out for everyone Amanda. It might be fortunate that they happen early in the morning and since most folks celebrate the holiday later, these scenarios will have taken place before the traditional dinner meal. There is a more subtle interaction regarding Eris that conjures up some interesting scenarios though that could spoil the feast.

    The Sun in Sagittarius (think Open Mouth Insert Foot) will square Pallas-Athene in Virgo (planned to perfection) and they both are sesquiquadrate Eris in Aries. Sesquiquadrates (135 degrees) are agitators – think little bitty squares – and with it being Eris and all, a brou-haha at the dinner table is a definite possibility. A former boss of mine used to say “don’t let your mouth overload your ass” which I never asked him to explain fully, but got the impression that it meant don’t promise something you can’t fulfill.

    I can just picture Eris, who didn’t get invited to the family get-together but came anyway, tossing in some remark that pits the event planner (Pallas-Athene) against the gracious host of the event (Sun). Maybe the event planner DID invite Eris but didn’t mention it to the host of the event. Maybe everyone loves the apple pie that Eris brings but they don’t touch the pumpkin pie that the host made with her own two hands. Ahh tradition!

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