Dear Friend and Reader:
I had a great time listening to the arguments surrounding both same-sex marriage and the Defense of Marriage Act (or DOMA) last week before the U.S. Supreme Court. It was like the “personal is political” World Series, hearing some of the most intimate human topics being debated in what is arguably the most powerful court in the world.
I loved hearing some of the justices make truly illuminating points and hearing others squirm around having to discuss something they wished they didn’t have to deal with. You might say that was sex, or the idea of gay sex — or you might say that was progress.
They’re all closely related. The essence of the discussion was: is sex actually a moral issue? We’re told it is so often, and we’re so thoroughly conditioned to treat it like it is, that I think many people would rather discover their kid playing with explosives than walk in on them playing doctor.
Treating sex as a moral issue has a long history, though looked at another way, it is the story of history. This has its origins in religion, which predates our modern concept of law or government. Yet the two are closely related. The purpose of both is less about an orderly society, a trustworthy economy or meeting the needs of the people, and more about social control.
There was that stunning moment during the DOMA arguments when Justice Elena Kagan quoted the House of Representatives report on why it passed the law. In that report, we discover that Congress, under the stewardship of serial polygamist Newt Gingrich, felt that marriage needed to be defended in order to “honor a collective moral judgment” reflecting “moral disapproval of homosexuality.”
Rep. Henry Hyde, then chairman of the House Judiciary Committee where DOMA was brewed and fermented, said at the time that “most people do not approve of homosexual conduct … and they express their disapprobation through the law.” And now that law, or rather the whole tendency to place moral judgment on normal social behavior, is up for question.
We don’t know what the Supreme Court is going to do with these cases, though we know that there is a discussion happening on the highest level of government. For many reasons, that’s truly encouraging. What was once deeply hidden, denied and treated with disgust and rage is now household conversation, in a sense, sanctified by the blessing of the court.
Yet that could only happen were there some movement on the deepest level of the psyche. Which brings me to the astrology involved.
We’re in the midst of a generational event — the Uranus-Pluto square. This is the latest step in a cycle that turned over in the mid-1960s; that was the Uranus-Pluto conjunction. To some extent we all utter the words “The Sixties” with some reverence — it was a profound, tragic, sometimes beautiful, often wrenching time in history. A force for change had been let loose, and that was described by the Uranus-Pluto conjunction.
Now we are at the first quarter phase of that cycle — the square. The force of evolution and that of revolution are meeting at a 90-degree angle, which technically spans from 2012-2015, but which in retrospect will have a story arc that goes from around 2008 through around 2020. We’re now in the peak of the astrology.
But with the exceptions of some uprisings in 2011 — prior to the exact square, and which either did not persist, or which ended badly — we’re not seeing demonstrations in the streets, or a social uprising. But what we are seeing are these developments in our concept of relationship; and that is a development in our concept of what a person is. Plenty of that concept is related to sex.
Many, many centuries of “disapprobation” directed at homosexuality in particular have left a compounded injury in our collective and individual psyches. One way that manifests is as homophobia, by which I mean anything from subtle annoyance to deep, abiding disgust. When you combine that with the natural primate tendency toward same-sex relating, the result can be a lot of chaos and pain, or a society that often seems to be unraveling.
Looked at one way the Uranus-Pluto square is about some kind of upheaval, change or progress in society. Looked at another way, it’s an introspective process that each person is experiencing individually. That, I believe, is where the real progress is happening.
I would offer a perspective on the spiritual significance of embracing the whole notion of ‘homosexual’. Primal sex is sex with oneself. Very nearly everyone masturbates, which I’ve observed is a kind of core level of sexuality. It’s not about reproduction. It’s about the pleasure of existence or perhaps the mere fact of it, it involves feelings related to the self, from the self, in a reflexive way — and it’s true blue homo.
The sex we have with ourselves is a form of gay sex; it is a same-sex experience. That, I believe, is one reason for the fuss over masturbation that has persisted more than 400 years (it can actually be historically traced to the early 1700s). There are other reasons; one is that sex alone with oneself has a way of opening up the full potential of fantasy, which does not always follow the fantasy that starts with a bridal shower.
I used to think that a sexual revolution would happen after AIDS was cured. It’s not really cured but it’s not what it used to be. Yet as time and my writing portfolio have collected, I’ve reconsidered. In my view, we don’t need a sexual revolution. We need conscious sexual evolution, which means many people individuating and living lives of authenticity, transparency and awareness (the opposite of hypocrisy). Sexual evolution is about being real.
The core of sexual evolution is that you are an independent person and so is everyone else. Then you do what you want to do in an ethical way. Part of that ethical way involves honoring independence and sexual choices, and understanding that nearly all of us exist on a continuum with each of our lovers, as they do with us — there are (for nearly everyone) those who ‘came before’ and those who will ‘come after’.
That leaves plenty of room for deep exchange, safe containers for family, and longterm or even lifelong commitment.
Now that monogamous lesbians and male homosexuals and the things they do are on the way to acceptance in society, it’s time to open the discussion that sexuality exists on a three-dimensional continuum (not the Kinsey scale), and that every person has a different sexual orientation with every different person we encounter. I guess that makes us a different kind of queer with everyone and anyone.
My sense is that Uranus-Pluto has nudged us out to the Queer Frontier. Yes, many pioneers have been here for a while; I am talking about the preponderance of momentum in our society, social movement that has the ability to carry many with it.
Here are some ideas about who deserves full inclusion in our ongoing conversation of what is possible rather than what is moral.
People who are open and positive about sex. There are many; those who are willing to speak up are a rare breed. They’re the people who admit the whole thing, stating who they are, who they like and what they do. They are the people who can carry on a conversation and create the spaces where nothing is taboo.
Self-sexuals, which includes everyone part of the time, and many people much of the time. Many people otherwise engaged sexually have their best sex with themselves. This includes people who choose to be sexual exclusively with themselves; if we were to hear from them we would find out there are a lot more than we thought.
My sense is that this is where the real change — claiming pleasure and releasing guilt and shame — will start or may have already started. I understand conscious self-sexuality to be an easily accessible, pleasurable, socially interesting path to sexual healing.
I have noticed that many people are reluctant to speak up and claim this. I am doing my best to set a different trend. (I may hold the World Internet Record for mentions of masturbation in my articles, as of today, I get 6,060 Google returns on the topic). I know there are a LOT more people who have something to say — who I have yet to hear from (happily anticipating your emails).
People who choose themselves as a sex partner, whether ‘one on one’ or in the context of other sexual relationships, have the right to not feel shame about this, and we need to educate one another how to do this.
I took a little surf of my 6,060 Google hits a few minutes ago and found this quote, apropos of self-sexuality that I wrote a few years back:
“I would propose that masturbation is about a lot more than masturbation — and that’s the reason it’s still considered so taboo by many people, and in many places. First, I would say that masturbation holds the key to all sexuality. It’s a kind of proto-sexuality, the core of the matter of what it means to be sexual. I mean this in an existential sense. Masturbation is the most elemental form of sexuality, requiring only awareness and a body. Whatever we experience when we go there is what we bring into our sexual encounters with others — whether we recognize it or not. Many factors contribute to obscuring this simple fact.”
Polyamory and nontraditional forms of relationships, which includes most people some of the time and nearly all people at some point. The awareness that some people actually admit to this is starting to increase, though at the moment polyamory seems to be wanting for idea-based leadership and coordination, in the midst of its biggest PR boon ever. The press has never been better and we’re not really taking the opportunity to build on it. I would remind polyamorous leaders that it was two sci-fi writers who got your movement going; you might want to give out book lists at your mixers, and have writing workshops at your conferences.
Single people. Not poly. Not mono. Not cheating. Not ‘asexual’. Single — those whose primary partner is ‘perself’ to use a Marge Piercy word (from Woman on the Edge of Time) for ‘him or herself’. Many people are single because that’s what’s available, and a good few are because they want to be that way.
Single people are discriminated against structurally by everything from the tax code to the dentist office application to you name it. The tax break for married couples is stunningly discriminatory, literally paying some people to have one specific kind of relationship. Single people are often considered a threat to the sanctity of coupled people. I could go on and on. Check out a blog called Onely.org for more info. Note, I would recommend to the Single’s Rights Movement that it could help matters by being more open and honest about masturbation.
Bisexuals and gender fluid people whose identity is not fixed and committed like registering with a political party. The official queer movements still have a hard time with this, no matter how many letters they add to their collection. I am speaking about people in harmony with their diversity of potentials, desires, choices and options for how they can feel and express themselves. When we look carefully at this and at ourselves we will find out that many, many more people fit this description than the previously existing political parties ‘allow’. Gender and sexual orientation are indeed fluid. The sex organs secrete liquid, which is designed to mix with others, in case we need a biological metaphor.
Asexual and non-practicing (apparently there is such a thing as asexual, with 1% of the population reporting this). Having no sexual feelings or not wanting to act on them is as queer as anything else in a world where sex is considered normal. From what I have read in my inbox, they feel left out when the conversation turns to sex and relating. They would do well to find one another and talk about who they are and what they do. There are many reasons for this choice, and we need to consider it as valid as any other.
That is the whole point. We all have a right to choose who we are and what we want. The ability to do this, I believe, needs to be about ability and volition rather than about privilege. The core idea is consent: the freedom to say yes or no, to yourself and to others; the freedom to decide who you are today.
Weekly Horoscope for Friday, April 5, 2013 #944 | By Genevieve Hathaway
Aries (March 20-April 19) — You’ve spent the past month doing a lot of work behind the scenes and below the layers of your psyche, shifting and moving material out of the way that no longer serves you. This process of de-cluttering the corners of your mental and emotional space has clarified who you are. Sharing this side of yourself may feel deeply personal — that’s a good indicator that you are showing the authentic you. As you share with others the ‘you’ no one knows, remember that how people react is independent of your inherent value. Presenting yourself unfiltered will challenge those around you to do the same. Some people may find this difficult to match, but enough people will follow your lead and answer with their own authenticity. — by Genevieve Hathaway
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — You are working through a question regarding desire. More specifically, what do you want and what desires bring a sense of deeper meaning for you? This may come with the feeling of an expansiveness that makes the answer hard to pinpoint, like trying to determine where a voice came from as the sound echoes through a large cavern. The discernment you are looking for is available to make some decisions regarding what you want. It involves a slight stretch in belief: that you can create in your life what it is that you want. I suggest trusting your intuition as you follow a feeling that is pointing you toward some important answers. You will make contact both with a greater sense of focus regarding what you want, and the large amount of resources at your disposal to bring what you want into your life.— by Genevieve Hathaway
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — You are reworking an idea around ‘relationship’ and what it means to you. At the moment, you have a strong drive to be fully authentic and present in all you do. This energy can come with the feeling of pushing a round peg into a square hole. I suggest you first get clear on what a relationship that supports you as an individual would look like, then carefully and thoughtfully convey this idea to a close partner. For relationship structures to fit you, they need to give you room to be you — with all your idiosyncrasies, beliefs, dreams and curiosity — as you give the same to close partners. As you express your desire to make changes to a relationship, hold space open for a close partner to do the same. In reworking relationship dynamics, I propose you consider applying two things you know well: your curiosity and an open sense of experimentation. — by Genevieve Hathaway
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Your astrology highlights a busy career angle, with a number of seemingly rapid changes lately. A door you thought would open has seemed a bit stuck. I suggest you view change less as a derailment of where you want to go, and more as an opportunity to pause and examine what you want and what that would look like manifested in your life. Desire is the starting place of any path — it informs how you move, the intention you apply, and the actions taken. How that desire manifests can often come down to your vision. You have quite a few options available at the moment, and as you work through whether you want to try the previous path or create a new one, I suggest working with the attitude that it’s always a good thing to have options. At your disposal are the resources to re-open an old door or begin a new path; the key is to proceed with a vision that is aligned with your authentic self. — by Genevieve Hathaway
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — A recent financial investment is challenging an old concept around resources, particularly financial resources. What you are discovering is that money is not just useful in making more money or sitting in a bank account. How you use your resources has a distinctly service-oriented component. It’s not just about writing a check, but rather knowing what your investment is creating — as well as who is impacted by it. Think of this approach as a socially aware allocation of your resources. I’m not referring to giving away all your financial wealth. Instead, notice the power your financial investments and donations have in making a difference in your community. You’re in a position to make a big impact in many lives; it will take less of an investment than you may think — though it will take targeting the right groups and people for the greatest results. — by Genevieve Hathaway
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — A current agreement requires something you know well — attention to the details. I suggest taking extra care to shape, craft and fine-tune an agreement before acting on the contract or arrangement. The energy at the moment is pushing for action; in this climate you could move too quickly and miss an important piece of information. Slowing down the process enough to notice the intricacies will give you a chance to fully understand the entire landscape you are working in. Take it slowly enough to collect all the details, then double check those details and facts. You possess enough creativity and ingenuity to come up with an arrangement that is beneficial to all involved. Trust that you are able to make a good decision involving a particularly tricky part of the negotiation. — by Genevieve Hathaway
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — You are negotiating your way through a somewhat complex relationship situation. This may feel like navigating a maze blindfolded. I suggest using your intuition to feel your way through the situation. As you would use your hands to feel along the walls of the maze and build a mental image of what’s around you, tap into your intuitive body to collect information that can move you through partnership dynamics. What you are making contact with has more to do with material you’re working through internally than an actual relationship problem or difficulty. As you work through this material I suggest you not project your internal state and struggles on a partnership; instead, involve the person in an open dialogue about what you are working through. Holding the space open for yourself to heal and another person to walk this journey with you will also strengthen an existing partnership. — by Genevieve Hathaway
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Your work life is in a moment of rapid change that may come with the sensation of someone hitting the fast-forward button on the scene changeover in a theatrical production. One structure has rapidly replaced another. Events are occurring quickly, which may make you feel off kilter. I suggest you not get distracted by any seeming disorientation around your work routine and its evolving structure. You tend to like to maintain control in all aspects of your life, but at the moment you are being called to move with the changes rather than trying to steer them. A creative opportunity is presenting itself, allowing you to work with these changes in a way that lets you expand farther into your workspace. It’s about creating a work structure that facilitates your creativity flourishing. Start with an openness to try new structures and then allow inspiration to guide you. — by Genevieve Hathaway
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — For you, a healthy component of emotional and spiritual balance is enjoying sexual fantasies. They allow you to explore many of your sexual needs that may be logistically challenging to experience directly in day-to-day life. Currently your fantasies are quite vibrant, being stoked by some hot and passionate astrology. Your core essence of self and your energetic sexual self are merging and mixing, stirring up a particularly rich fantasy life that is spilling over into your physical sexual experiences. Take the time to mentally and emotionally explore these fantasies. As you do this you will make contact with an important aspect of yourself, learning more about what makes you unique — and also tapping your well of creativity. The more sexually honest you are, the deeper you will be able to push into yourself, bringing you a stronger sense of feeling good about who you are as a whole being. — by Genevieve Hathaway
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — A home is not only about the house, yard, trees, grass, shrubs and neighborhood where you live; it’s also about a sense of grounded security coming from it being ‘yours’. You can think of this as the place where you can be fully yourself, expanding into a space that is all your own. At the moment, you are working with a calling to redecorate or make changes to your home, which in essence help you further claim this space as yours. An opportunity will arise to make a few important changes to your surroundings, going a long way in helping to make the living space and surrounding environment resonate within you on a deeper level. As you consider the adjustments you make to your home, I propose you approach your living space as an extension of your inner world by focusing on increasing the nurturing nature of the space. This may be as simple as rearranging the furniture or sweeping — or as involved as taking out a wall. — by Genevieve Hathaway
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — We tend to think of our thought processes as part of our conscious self; something we have control over. Yet, how often does a thought enter your mind and then you mentally correct yourself or have an internal debate with yourself over that thought? How often does this internal dialogue seem to go on for far too long, reaching surprising levels of complexity? Lately many of your mental processes are coming up for review — these are the thoughts you seem to have before you have a chance to think them. These mental patterns contain many of the themes you inherited from your parents, which have been passed down for many generations. You have the tool of perspective at your disposal to see the patterns for what they are and make changes. You can see your thought patterns laid out, not only their structure, but also where in your family they came from. As you work to restructure how you think, I suggest requiring that all mental patterns must support your sense of feeling good about your existence. — by Genevieve Hathaway
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — You’ve recently been through some potent and meaningful astrology in your sign, bringing you into contact with both the complexity of who you are and any blockages to your ability to exist fully as your whole self. You’ve been learning what you can and cannot do, and who you can and cannot be. During Mercury’s recent retrograde in Pisces, important information came out that is now up for examination. Think of this process as being like washing clothes on an old-fashioned washing board. You lather, scrub, rinse and repeat. Through each scrub against the washing board a new layer of denial is peeled away. As you hang up each freshly scrubbed concept about who you are, you’ll be able to inspect it thoroughly without layers of issues getting in the way. In this process of examination, notice the connection between these concepts of ‘you’ and your sense of self-worth. The first step to reconciling these ideas is drawing a line between the two. — by Genevieve Hathaway