April 7, 2020 | Tantra Studio: Venus and Vesta in Gemini
Tonight I have a special Full Moon edition of Tantra Studio, focused on Venus in Gemini, Vesta in Gemini and Venus retrograde in conjunction to Vesta. This is followed by a teaching called “The Erotic Power of No, by Aditi Amrita.” If you find the material on this page helpful, interesting or fun, you are invited to visit the Book of Blue Compilation, a small collection of written, audio and visual art related to the topics I address below.
Good evening and welcome to a Full Moon edition of Tantra Studio. My name is Eric Francis. This edition is part of Planet Waves FM on the Pacifica Radio Network and I am recording about 3 hours ahead of the Libra Full Moon on April 7, 2020.
And I have my selected subject matter which is a discussion of Venus and Vesta in Gemini. Venus recently arrived. Vesta’s been here for a little while. And this is going to be part of a pattern that holds all through the summer. I don’t have my notes in front of me on all of those technical points so I’m going to leave them out of this presentation, but they are in other places.
The important thing to know, the kind of beacon, is that Venus begins its retrograde in May in a conjunction to Vesta. Vesta is the 4th asteroid. And it is the one that is associated with the goddess Vesta. And as often or more often with the servants of the goddess Vesta who were known as the Vestals or the Vestal Virgins who served the Roman Empire in an unbroken chain for a very long time. In many ways they were the very symbol of the integrity of the Roman Empire and of its ability to withstand the challenges of the world. And so, these women, a very small number of them, 6 or 8 if we include some elders, maybe a few more stayed on as teachers; were you might say the paragons of virtue of the Roman State. And were present at all important state functions, holding space. And they were sexually chaste. They did not engage in sexual activity that we have in any way recorded with one another or with others. But we don’t know the secret level of this. We can infer it from experiences from our bodies.
The astrological concept of Vesta does draw quite a bit from the history of the Vestal Virgins and as such Vesta is considered to be an essential element of service. What in Sanskrit is called “seva”, selfless service. And from some points of view that can be seen as sacrifice. And from other points of view an exchange. And from a different point of view a sacred offering.
And so, where Vesta is a factor there is likely to be the theme of the sacred offering. In a way that the Vestals held space for important functions of the Roman court, in the same way Vesta represents the holding of space. So this is another delineation that we include with the service, sacrifice, sacred offering element is the holding of space. [7:11]
And this has another metaphor in that the home is traditionally organized around the hearth. And one of the most important functions of the Vestal Virgins was to keep the city fires burning at all times. So there’s a vigilance required with Vesta. The service is not 9 to 5. The service is around the clock, generally for a minimum of thirty years. So it is a thing about being fully committed all of the time. And this kind of sacred offering of Vesta is not always easy for people because it requires, often calls forth an exchange, an offering to maintain that quality of service in full integrity.
Now, in this configuration that is extant now and will be all through the Spring and Summer, or much of the Summer; there are 3 major elements. One of this Vesta, one of them is Venus and the other is Gemini – the energy field where this is taking place. There are other important planets in the pattern. By important I mean that they have something distinctive to add. And there’s one or two in particular that I want to address, which are the factors in Pisces – Neptune and Nessus.
So let’s take these all one at a time and consider the role that Vesta plays. We’ve got this idea of sacred sacrifice, offering, service. Now, if you look this up in an astrology textbook you might find something like putting projects ahead of people. There’s kind of these mundane-level discussions of what Vesta is and that’s one of them. Like not interested in relationships, or somehow doesn’t find intimacy appealing and therefore works all the time as a way of avoiding intimacy. So that’s the kind of basic mundane level.
But if we look at it from, let’s say, a more existential level and we consider the whole lives of the people, we find something else interesting about their relationships. And by their, I mean Vesta prominent people. People who have Vesta conjunct something like the Sun or the Moon or rising, or conjunct Mars or Venus, or conjunct Chiron; in some way Vesta amplified by the energy of an angle or another planet. And so we will consider that wide, general, broad; not really a category to be Vestal types or those with prominent Vesta.
What I began to notice after listening to many of them describe their lives. And perhaps we should say many of us because I began to discover these patterns in my own life and thanks to therapy and tantric practice and a lot of astrology, I became curious what was really going on inside of these sometimes very difficult, annoying, and even painful patterns. [11:58] And I would reckon that there’s few people who don’t have mixed emotions for a while until they settle into what this is about if they have the opportunity to do that. Which can mean having the viewpoint presented. That’s a good start. Is that there is often this element of sacred offering, service, and sacrifice; combined with the holding of space for someone else to have their realizations and revelations in their relationships and to be prepared to move on to the next partner.
So strong Vestal types can find themselves in a situation where their relationships “don’t seem to work out.” But what is working out is that they are providing this sacred space holding service and being a transformational catalyst that facilitates the transformation process of others. So there’s almost a midwife quality where we assist others in transformation from one stage of their lives to the next.
One of the patterns that I notice that I now associate with part of the Vesta pattern because I’ve had it confirmed by so many people is in my life the tendency [I’m Moon-Vesta 8th house in Aquarius, so space holding in the 8th house for many people] is that many of my lovers had children with their next lover. Almost all of my important lovers, not all but almost all, had children with their next lover. And so my role, I realized that somehow I was part of the process of helping them co-create their fertility or acceptance of their fertility. So this has probably happened 5 or 6 times over the course of probably, let’s say, the last 30 years – since the 1990s. [15:01]
And then I’ve heard other versions of this. People get married after being with the Vestal person. Some find their work after being with the Vestal person. Notably this is not always appreciated by the person who is in the role of getting the selfless sacred service of the Vestal person. And in some cases, the selfless serving Vestal person doesn’t feel so selfless because they want something more from relationship and that something is not happening because that is not their role in those relationships. And this can change. The Vestal term of service is 30 years, 30 years, sometimes beginning at age 7. And so, there is some point at which there can be a transition. It can be a long transition. And then it is into another type of relationship. Another still unconventional pattern in relationship.
Another element of Vestals is that they can go for a long time without the presence of a lover in their life. And so that means that many Vestals are on an unusual path of being their own lover. And it can mean that masturbation is a very important element of their sexuality because it is such a necessary and real ingredient of their sexuality. And then this can also facilitate a skill of “not getting their needs met” and so then there is kind of a plan B. [17:25]
For example: a lover who is with them and benefiting and experiencing this initiatory process, (Right? because the Vestal is almost always an initiator of others) but is not taking an active sexual interest in the Vestal person. So there’s a number of different possible configurations, in truth, one for everyone who exists but a number of major ones and so that’s one of them.
There are a couple of more sublime themes associated with Vesta. And one of them is the unraveling of all emotions on the guilt, shame, embarrassment spectrum. I think generally the lightest version of emotion on the spectrum is embarrassment. It seems the most normal, the most ordinary and then guilt which can seem to be situationally specific and then shame. Now if you flip open the book, “Drama of the Gifted Child” by Alice Miller to any page you will get a clue what this shame is about. Pretty much everyone in western society is shamed out of their dignity and there are often very important scenarios where almost everyone is somehow shamed out of their deepest sexuality. [19:33]
And so Vesta can represent the reclaiming of this. And that means consciously embarking up the trailhead of embarrassment and scaling that mountain to see what is there. And what you may find is that there are some very unusual properties of existence there. That would seem to be embarrassment is a veil cast before the deepest pleasures and to continue to go there it is necessary to be fully conscious about unraveling the nature of guilt and what that obscures and what that contains.
This becomes very meaningful when we get into the discussion part of what I am proposing that this transit is going to be about. Because this spectrum of embarrassment guilt and shame is the main object, the barrier in some every way, shape and form between a state of being constricted and held down and unaccepting of one’s self and of being fully self-accepting and as such liberated in that self-acceptance. Okay, so remember that when we get to the heart of the matter of Vesta, we’re talking about transcending that series of thresholds and not so much resolving these emotions. Similarly, with jealousy, but rather coexisting with them and working into them, not with the thought so much of working through them but working into them, exploring into these feelings, and into all the physical and emotional sensations involved and dwelling there for a little while, being present with what those feelings gradually reveal. [22:40]
Okay, Venus. Venus is the most essential element of being desired and desiring. It is very much a female presence. This is a necessary thing to discern in our world where there is so much push toward androgyny. That even for androgyny to be real there must be a full reckoning with the masculine and the feminine and the many places that they meet. Rather than a kind of bleaching out or an ironing out of masculine and feminine. And so, Venus represents the feminine principle, the attractive principle. Not of getting, not of going after but in dwelling in one’s attractiveness. Allowing the process of being attractive and of attracting. It can work for anything, but particularly where you have Venus in your chart is where you are most likely to be attractive and to attract. By house, you just look by house and see where Venus is and you will get an idea about where and how to express attractive energy. [24:40]
Venus is very similar to Mercury. They’re both planets inside the orbit of the earth, close to the Sun, they’re both very very hot planets. They have relatively short orbits, though Venus is very much synchronized to the Earth and so as a result is retrograde quite rarely. There will be a retrograde this summer spanning May and June.
The most, I think precious principle that Venus offers is that of what we like to call emotional intelligence without really having too many examples. You hear people say, well this person needs emotional intelligence, but then it’s like okay, show me an example of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is what Venus can embody. And what emotional intelligence feels like is sensitivity that is both emotional and intellectual and where the two are harmonized. So it is an intellectual property that is sensitive to feelings. Often with people who are very intellectual, they can have an insensitive quality. Venus brings that quality of sensitivity. [26:33]
The retrograde of Venus is about a self-inquiry and an inquiry into one’s true feelings and reckoning one’s true feelings with one’s personal history. So it’s another side of Venus and in some respects it’s the side of Venus that you might say that someone turned off because in some way it threatened an early caregiver. They became jealous or insecure around it and it frightened them and so in a natal chart what a retrograde can represent the aspect or quality of being that was deactivated so that mommy and daddy or babysitter or teacher or auntie or grandma wouldn’t be scared around you and therefore would accept you. But you have possession of that and then with Venus turning retrograde and getting ready to be retrograde you have the ability to do some retrieving of what that was. It is likely to be a sexual property.
Now with Gemini involved we have a number of different possible metaphors for the dualistic nature of what Venus retrograde might represent. Historically, Gemini is first of all represented by the brother’s Castor and Pollux, one being the immortal and one being the mortal. So they were twin brothers but one would die and one would live forever. So there’s an idea here in the sign Gemini that this is the real dualistic quality of the person that we’re contemplating. And so with the theme of death brought in we have the ability to work there, explore there, feel there and to make the connections with sexuality, desire, surrender, and orgasm. And with the retrieval process the thing that is held down is held down through some sort of guilt or shaming. And so that implies, the retrograde implies a possible search for something within that wilderness or that restricted area that is held apart by guilt and shame. [30:10]
So there’s a bit of an adventure here. And your emotional intelligence will guide you. And it’s also vital that your curiosity guide you and that you not allow yourself to be warned off by the presence of guilt in any form because what guilt is saying is you must turn back. And what your emotional intelligence is likely to be telling you is that the reward is on the other side of not turning back. So there is some courage involved here. There is courage involved in acknowledging various possibilities of your personal truth. Possibilities that might include how you orient sexually, on whom, what conditions, what sex they might be. It might include whether certain relationships are appropriate for you. Both of these by the way being subjects that are often very cleverly locked away and set off with guilt and shame.
And so this is where the inner quest for one’s truth of Venus retrograde begins. Now remember that Venus is conjunct Vesta. And so what this brings is a kind of a ritualistic quality to the whole experience. The quality of holding space for, setting up the space for and inviting a healing process and a transformation process. I believe that most of what we need to do on the level of sexual healing involves speaking to one another and being able to openly admit our sexual truth, whatever that sexual truth might be. And this can take courage to admit to one’s self. And so that is the first place to experiment and to explore and to seek within in the sanctity and the sacred space of your interior reality, the truth of who you are. [33:28]
Now, I was exploring some of the ideas of Gemini and we got to the mortal and the immortal. And so while we’re on the subject of the inner dialogue let’s consider some of the possibilities of who might be speaking to whom in this emotional intelligent inner dialogue where you reveal the truth about yourself to your self.
The Gemini card in Tarot is the Lovers. In very old decks this can be called the Brothers. So it’s Castor and Pollux, then as the twins, sometimes I think it’s even called the Twins. And then as the Tarot evolved the card more frequently and almost always now is referred to as the Lovers, who are almost always depicted as male and female. This is not so much a heteronormative statement as it is one of understanding the inner male and the inner female polarity. However, this can be the inner male with another version of the inner male or a double feminine in any combination because after all it is Gemini and you can make a kind of a…I guess you might say it’s a syllogism of some kind and you could end up with every possible combination of female and male polarity.
The retrograde implies looking within and the presence of Gemini on this inner journey can also imply a mirror where you see, feel, experience, speak to, and listen to your inner twin, whoever that might be; some immortal being, some mortal being, a male or masculine, a female or feminine, in any combination thereof. Gemini is ruled by Mercury. When we go back to the oldest books in astrology, we find out that Mercury is androgynous. And so there is implied, even though Mercury is not directly involved in this, there is implied the idea that there is an indwelling androgyny available. My thoughts about this are that androgyny is really the integration of and the exploration of the relationship between male and female and masculine and feminine and finding the inner balance for one’s self. So much of this is an introspective exploration and journey. [37:01]
There’s also the element of telling your sexual truth to your intimate partner or partners if you have more than one. But let’s say starting with the person with whom you have the deepest investment. It is rarely true that people reveal the full extent of their sexual truth to their partner. It is amazing what people withhold. Almost everyone has withholds. You will do so until your biopsychic system is incapable of having them. So ultimately one of the things that you may be working toward is not wanting and not having any withholds.
This is a courageous state of relationship. It can involve a transformation and transition from one type of partner to another type of partner and in any event there is called for a dialogue. And in this dialogue the idea is that you, we can’t control or really influence much a partner. So this becomes a personal choice of how to handle one’s self in one’s own reality, in one’s own life. You would potentially reveal all that is true about you from a sexual standpoint. And this will imply many facets of a relational standpoint, but the central theme is the sacred space of your sexuality. And this can include and I don’t like the word should but I think that there’s an idea here of full disclosure and that full disclosure is based on your fearless inward searching and conversations and sexual experiences in the mirror because this experience comes from the inside out. It’s someone who you become and discover who you don’t want to contain anymore.
It’s a little like the full disclosure thing. You become so developed in who you are that you cannot be anyone else nor do you desire to be anyone else. And so then as part of this comes revealing all that is embarrassing, all that your ashamed of, all that you have felt and said and done and wanted. This can and I believe is best to include your whole sexual history and more than just a factual recitation, the things you have loved, the experiences and people that you have loved that have fed you, that have hurt you and what you really want the most. [41:03]
And as part of this I would encourage you to be at peace with your desire for what you really want the most. There is often a lot of guilt that gets in the way. There’s a number of general, let’s say broad categories of what one wants the most. And in one of them it includes things that exceed experiences and people that exceed the monogamous commitment. And so this is likely to get cluttered by various obstacles and sort of dead zones that prevent people from going to this space so that they don’t because it might…I think everyone suspects it might be so appealing they’re actually going to go for it. That that be one of the most essential things that you explore is the actual truth of what you want. In my personal experience and my experience with everyone I’ve ever been that close to, to know there is something that really turns them on and gets them going and is an urgent and essential element of their personality development. A thing without which they won’t be complete. However, it is often left unspoken, often left unacknowledged, and often left unexperienced.
And I would propose that at minimum these are appropriate times to be in fully owning of and expressing your truth. Now I understand that this takes trust and it’s possible that this could have a seemingly detrimental effect on a relationship. I would offer to you that it is equally or more probable that your being trusting and free enough for you to express your truth will be an invitation to someone you’re intimate with to do the same thing. And you must be prepared to accept their truth as best you can with equanimity and being a magnanimous person and if there’s something that hurts you and/or something that you’re jealous about that you work with jealousy as your teacher. This is the most relevant thing I can say about jealousy. And the idea is described and broken down very nicely and worked out in in an article called Jealousy and the Abyss. [44:35]
It’s all over the Planet Waves website. If you go to a website called yogislut.com. And this is the kind of article you might work with for years. And it is about ultimately, jealousy is about reckoning with mortality and the healing of jealousy is about making peace not only with physical mortality in some way or at least acknowledging it and dancing with it in some way. Which is when you know you are on the tantric path, by the way. That’s like the signal that you’re integrating your spiritual discovery with a process of understanding, exploring, and experimenting with ideas about death as a guide on your path. And also, an indicator that you are on a serious road to maturity, that you are committed to maturity.
The embracing of ideas about death is an essential piece in self-actualization. If understanding and expressing one’s sexuality is an essential piece of self-actualization an essential piece of that is the death element. And this can work in many ways, including the tendency that many people have to identify very heavily with relationships and then any threat to the relationship is almost like a threat to their life. Because it may represent the form of their life. It may represent the personality figure of their life.
What I would propose here is that there is profound healing available in having the conversation and learning to be excruciatingly honest about what is true for you. What you want. Who you are. What you’ve done. What you’ve experienced and how you felt about it. And in the present moment what you want. And there’s almost no limit to the directness that you can learn to consider and feel and describe this. [47:46]
As I’ve said on a few previous editions of Tantra Studio, going back the past month or so when I’ve been on this sexual healing through masturbation approach to things which could be a very helpful approach in your dialogues. The more practice you have in saying these words and having these conversations the better. And it’s possible to start with friends. It’s possible to start in writing and to share the writing, whether it’s an intimate person, a close friend which is a form of intimacy, or in some way with a public audience.
We are in very unusual times when we are being confronted with very powerful thought forms associated with mortality. We have seen our society transform radically in the space of just six weeks. We’ve gone from buying soap to not leaving our homes in just the space of six short weeks. That is a profound shock and it is in these spaces of radical transformation that that can well be embraced as the spirt of the moment and used. And that in this environment of radical transformation that we give ourselves the pleasure and the luxury and the occasion to nurse our need and desire for radical transformation. And I would say that in this context, this is about being absolutely real with yourself and holding nothing back and learning through practice and through experience how to carry that into your relationships and then seeing, perhaps courageously, yes, the transformative power that this has to help you learn and discover and bring your insatiable curiosity to who you are and then allow that person to be free in the world. [50:46]