Sexual Healing & the Fiery Edge of Virgo

Celebrating Vesta on the vernal equinox in the Chironian. Photo by Eric Francis.

Dear Friend and Reader:

Where two signs meet is rich territory. Often it seems that the 12 meeting points of the signs are like another set of archetypes that we often hop over so we don’t break our mother’s back. Yet in those subtle spaces, we can slip between the worlds. They are the zones where transitions occur, and where energy and light are translated into new forms, including material forms. Borderlands are often the most interesting territory of any country, or any chart.

Where Leo adjoins Virgo, the divine ray of passion and that of integrity enmesh with one another. We often think of Leo as the sign of sex, art and creativity, and Virgo as that of work, focus, clear thinking and healing.

These signs have many other traditional significations (Leo represents gold, for example, and Virgo represents places where grain is stored), but as for how we think of them today in our current psychologically based astrology, we have two modes of creation. If you think of the signs as a story that follows the wheel in order, Leo is the phase of unfettered childlike spontaneity, which then matures into a quality that can express itself in precise ways as Virgo.

Leo provides the fire and inspiration, and Virgo provides the skill and earthy grounding; together, they can be used to create impassioned, excellent work. Looked at one way, they are opposites (adjoining signs often are) or they are complementary (adjoining signs often are). Signs often borrow properties from one another: Leo has a mature quality that seems to contradict the childlike one; and Virgo has a wild streak that seems to contradict its serious nature.

Beauty is another story, technically covered by neither of these signs: you start to get into classical beauty in the next stage, Libra, which is a study in aesthetics, balance and personal expression.

Venus, the ruler of Libra, is the first planet intimately now involved with the Leo-Virgo transition region, where it will spend a lot of time this summer and fall because of the retrograde that occurs in this area. Then we have Saturn, which is another Libra planet (Saturn is exalted in Libra), about to transition into Virgo in early September, and involved with a series of conjunctions with Venus. We often think of these two planets as being antithetical, but both are representatives of the same sign. If the combination is handled unconsciously, there can be difficult or devastating results; if handled with awareness, unusual possibilities can open up.

Where we have passion intersecting with integrity, combined with Venus, one of those possibilities is sexual healing. The mix of Saturn in the picture suggests that an aspect of that involves becoming aware of the ways we are held down, and taking up the energy of self-mastery that Saturn really represents.

Since the first few thousand Google returns for the term “sexual healing” nearly all involve Marvin Gaye, our first stop could be a definition. (Oddly enough, Marvin’s tune by this title has just now joined the discussion, as I am writing in a pub and it’s now playing.) Once we get that song out of our heads, we might think of Masters and Johnson in their lab coats, greeting their experimental subjects holding clipboards, connecting them with wires and taking notes as they squirm around on the laboratory bed. These all miss the point, though.

Intuitively, we might have an idea of what sexual healing means, or feel a yearning to make it into reality for ourselves. To some extent, everyone carries sexual pain in our society, and we seem to be in a constant struggle to take back a little of the inner territory that was taken from us as kids and young adults. That pain may involve anything from religion to sexual abuse. It may involve years of denying our needs.

Somehow we know that there are others who could help us get over our pain or hang-ups or doubts, if we could find those people, and open up to them. It seems eminently practical to teach people how to do this kind of work, so that we can access them when we need them, and in fact more and more people are learning and going into practice, even if it’s a kind of underground movement. It would seem just as practical to lift society’s taboos on this kind of thing so that we would feel safe getting help or seeking information. Usually, though, we are left to our healing process with our chosen intimate partners, and this can be risky because they don’t necessarily know the territory any better than we do.

Sexual healing implies sexual wounding, which we all know exists, and anyone wounded craves healing. I think the first step is opening up on the verbal level, being able to describe our feelings and inner reality. An astrological picture may help. Imagine all that hot, raw passion of Leo beginning to integrate itself with Virgo and take a comprehensible form. Imagine if that hot morass of feelings could parse itself out as clear ideas that we could relate in words and concepts.

I would propose that communication is the beginning of a useful definition of sexual healing; much of what we need to heal from, we could move through in a few good conversations, and sometimes it takes just one of those to get things moving.

Few people are comfortable actually talking about their erotic experiences, feelings and needs. Despite decades of progress, many factors have successfully imposed a new and toxic silence on sexual expression, particularly verbal. Our language is full of forbidden zones, and our emotional bodies are full of forbidden feelings when we are conversing with others. There are zones we cannot enter because we feel too vulnerable, too powerful, or like the door would suddenly open. Many people cannot even say the words to describe basic sexual feelings, and have next to no experience doing so. It can feel dirty, inappropriate, like something you would never say — even to your husband.

We might feel shame at our past actions, want to leave them behind, or fear that we’ll be rejected for opening up, and that last fear can have some basis in reality. When we acknowledge the need and desire to heal sexually, we need to open up for it to happen, and that will often involve some experience of confronting the fear of abandonment. This fear, while often worshipped, holds down a lot of progress, and while it can be legitimate, I think that our partners would make a lot more space for our reality if we gave them a chance. It’s important to keep an eye on the habit of blaming them for “not wanting to know” and using that as an excuse for staying silent.

The ability to articulate is I think the most vital sexual healing resource. The silence that surrounds real discussion of sex can show up anywhere, from an intimate relationship to a therapy session. Getting out of that silence means speaking up nearly every time you feel it being imposed on you.

Silence and its associated judgments feed what we can meekly describe as a sexually exploitative culture: sex can in most circumstances only be depicted if it’s being used for some purpose other than its original one. Hence, we see sex used for every other purpose besides pleasure. It’s fair to say that most of us feel trapped in a void between where our minds are not allowed to go (how we really feel), and where we notice ourselves being emotionally and erotically strip-mined by our society.

The hypersexuality of advertising makes it seem like there is too much sexual discussion when in truth there is hardly any at all. Attempts by commercial magazine editors to treat the subject are almost always designed to increase sales by putting sex on the cover, so once again sex is being used for something other than itself. The antidote to this is to keep sex where it belongs: as an expression of humanity.

Sexual discussions do happen and there is also some excellent writing — you just need to know where to look. [We have researched some for our Sexuality Resource Area, and there is a good discussion in an article called Cunnilingus and Clover.]

The Leo-Virgo connection is that fine line where we are able to put words to our passions, and allow our words to lead us into passion. Because I’m an erotic writer and do this a lot, I can forget how challenging this may be for many people: how much of what we feel every day is considered unspeakable. Many people don’t have words to describe their own genitals, much less how they feel experiencing them.

Sexual freedom begins with the freedom to feel honestly; and then to state how you feel, what you need, what you’ve done, and what you want. Part two is listening to the same thing coming from the people you care about.

As the Venus retrograde heats up over the next few weeks, let’s develop some of these themes, including how to find the words for how you feel; how to discuss your sexual history with your partner or prospective partner; and some options for erotic exploration that exist that you may not have heard about yet.

Meanwhile, I would like to leave you with one of my many works-in-progress, a sex lexiconthat may help you find a few of those words or see that you’re not out in such a high orbit. This is about seven years old and there is a lot I would change — it’s explicit and a little cheeky (that I would not change), and as for accuracy, well, things have changed a bit. But I trust that it has some of what you need to feed the Virgo side of that Leo line.

Catch you Monday with the August monthly horoscope.

Eric Francis

The well-used brushes of artist Martin Reyna. Photo by Danielle Voirin.
Ceremonial fire in the Chironian. Photo by Eric Francis.




Weekly Horoscope for Friday, July 20, 2007, #672 – By ERIC FRANCIS

Aries (March 20-April 19)
You may have noticed the pace of your life is picking up as your self-confidence improves. What you went through in June and early July was a necessary but difficult phase of reassessment that may have felt like bailing out of a sinking boat with a measuring cup. Now the boat seems to be floating of its own accord, and is offering less resistance against the water. When the Sun changes signs to Leo early next week, you will get the big push you’ve been waiting for, but this one will be contingent on your taking some kind of creative risk. You need to make the first effort, and it may feel like pushing your luck. But at the moment your luck is better than you may think.

Taurus (April 19-May 20)
Mars has been burning its way through your birth sign for a few weeks, putting you into contact with something about yourself that you sometimes prefer to pretend does not exist. Venus, your ruling planet, is about to change directions for the first time in 18 months, which is another way of saying that your inner vision will be clear and bold — assuming you go easy on the self-critique and keep yourself focused on taking action where action is called for. This particular Venus retrograde, which lasts until September, is designed to help you weave integrity between your intellect and your creative passions. Don’t worry about doing it right — rather, enjoy the experience of recreating yourself while it’s happening.

Gemini (May 20-June 21)
You’re getting a series of second chances to realize the nature of past mistakes about money, and corresponding opportunities to correct them — but those second chances are evaporating quickly. I suggest you take them as they come, and see past the seemingly subtle nature of the discussion. Be aware you’re in the middle of a mental crisis that seems to involve whether you feel safe and secure, but is really an inner debate about whether your father feels (or felt) secure. You may fault him in some way for relying too heavily on the assistance or resources of others. You need to give him more credit for what he did right, and quickly cast off all he taught you that was wrong.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Mercury’s long visit to your sign has been compelling you to think clearly about who you are, and more to the point, to remind you that who you think you are has a lot to do with who you become. In other words, your ideas about yourself have extraordinary power at the moment, and they are rapidly shaping the person you are growing into. I suggest you track those ideas one at a time, and throw back the little ones, the self-defeating ones and those that are plainly false. Meanwhile, you have for a while underestimated the power of faith. This is a force like the wind that you may not believe is able to move your ship until you hoist the sail.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
Praise Goddess, God and all the saints that the Sun is about to enter your sign. This is no ordinary Sun in Leo phase: it’s the grand finale of Saturn in Leo, which dates back to July 2005. The coming month will have all kinds of ups, downs, twists and turns, but it promises to be an interesting journey and, as these things come, you will take the landscape in stride. What I suggest you do at this point is look back. Consider, for instance, where you were in early 2005 in every respect, from geographic to emotional to professional. What plans did you have then? Did any of them come to fruition? I suggest you count your successes as the real thing, and look carefully among the supposed failures for the few items that deserve a second go.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
Venus is making an unusual visit to your sign, having gotten as far as the fiery edge before stopping this week and turning retrograde. Venus arriving in one’s sign tends to dependably bestow love, money, sex and good feelings, and these we usually want to keep. With a planet in one’s own birth sign or 1st solar house, the issue is what we truly identify with. You have built a reputation for being one kind of person; I would guess you want to be another kind of person with all your heart and soul. The best way to accomplish that will be learning through example, and the strongest example is the one you set for yourself.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
Work-related matters are summoning you to revise your strategy, but remember that this is not a permanent set of changes. You will need to work through two or three intermediate steps to finally get where you are going. Be glad you have these opportunities; the time they take will be time well spent. You have yet to fully access your most important resource — your friends — who quite potentially have gifts for you in the form of information, financial support and a new level of introduction to the community where you have been trying to make your mark. The worst mistake you could make is to think that you have not already made a positive impression. Look, and you will see.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
If you can keep your expectations down to a minimum or better still, avoid having any at all, you will see what you need in order to make certain structural repairs in your life. There has, for example, been something annoying on the work front, but before you start to make heavy renovations, I suggest you ask yourself in that deep Scorpio way whether it’s something that really needs to be fixed. Here is a clue: If you feel like you have to risk it all to make this one change, you’re overstating the case. If you feel like you need to reassess the truth on a more or less constant basis and make your changes in small degrees, you’re probably on the right track. Drama is a warning sign.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
You seem to be doubting whether you’re having a positive influence, or any influence at all. It is not enough to have a good life; this we know about you. Helping direct the course of events in the wider world is not optional for you — it seems to be mandatory. The thing about the world is that it does not respond fast, and the other thing is that we cannot often see the progress contributed by our own best works, or all our other works, for that matter. The Sun’s ingress into fire sign Leo will provide some of the reassurance you need. But if the movements of the planets mean anything at all, the best has yet to come.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
Faith is not a matter of opinion. It’s about trusting what is true before you actually have proof that it’s true. Faith is not about wishing; it’s about living as if something were already proven to be true. If you can do that where a particular financial or deeply personal matter is concerned, you will see that in the light of faith, certain evidence is visible that is simply not visible in the shroud of darkness that is created by fear. I recognize that at the moment the world seems like one huge advertisement for what is unfair, untrue or otherwise doubtful. As you are a person of character, we are counting on you to stand your ground against these things.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
The Sun is about to enter your opposite sign, the eminent Leo. The coming weeks promise to be an exceedingly interesting phase where the truth about many facets of your life becomes apparent, and more to the point, so too does how much cooperation you have in doing something about them. Pay attention and guide yourself away from those defensive reactions for which you are so famous. Just because you’re defensive doesn’t mean you’re wrong, but it does mean you’re blocking vital information from coming back to you. If it seems obvious that you have your faults, remember everyone has their faults. The real question is whether we’re willing to work with them.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
Mars is moving into its notorious spot of being square to Neptune. Most astrology books hype up the self-destructive nature of this aspect rather than the creative one. Squares are action aspects; both Neptune and Pisces tend toward being passive. Fair to say you’re being given a friendly, seductive push in the direction of your own deepest artistic sensibilities and erotic impulses. This kind of weather does not come through town very often, and it’s some of the hottest, sweetest and most nourishing stuff you could ever wish for if you’re a fish with red blood in your veins. Keep your priorities straight.

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