Dear Friend and Reader:
Over the next few days, there are two developments with retrograde inner planets, and an exciting alignment between the Sun and the Uranus-Eris conjunction. This is a vibrant, passionate series of events, interweaving the energies of three contiguous signs: Pisces, Aries and Taurus.
Let’s look at the basic facts, then I’ll offer some philosophy. In summary, we’re at one of the juncture events defining the watershed of our era: the Sun and Earth lining up with Uranus-Eris at the beginning of their new cycle; one of the final crescendo moments of Chiron in Pisces; and the first Mercury retrograde of the nascent ‘new order’ of the Trump administration.
I recognize that most people are not wandering around mumbling to themselves about what an awesome, fascinating time this is to be alive. I think that most of us are grateful to get through the day in decent shape, hoping the new administration doesn’t wake up one morning and decide it’s a good day to nuke Denmark or North Korea. Anyone concerned about women ought to be very concerned right now.
Yet even in some mythical less-chaotic era, humans tend to be so invested in our mundane lives that we don’t notice how beautiful and unusual things are, which is another way of saying that we miss the potential of our moment.
Without hyping things too much, and recognizing that the human race is flirting with extinction, and currently having its time, its mind, its soul and its relationships sucked out through its portable telephones, I’m here to say pay attention. We may have a rare moment of claiming back some of what’s gone missing.
On Sunday evening, Mercury stations retrograde in early Taurus, which lasts until May 3, just before Beltane. The degree where Mercury is currently stationary-retrograde is one associated with leaving the past behind. In our most personal lives, we do arrive at those moments where we know the future has arrived, which may simply mean an interval of paying attention to the exact moment we’re in.
The current astrology describes this in metaphor, as a kind of mental edge. Taurus is a lot more intense than any astrology book I’ve ever read gives it credit for being. There’s a mental quality to this sign, which is now being accentuated by Mercury slow and powerful in this sign.
The retrograde that begins this weekend ends on May 3, with Mercury stationing direct in late Aries, splat in the middle of the Uranus-Eris conjunction.
We’ve been getting a lot of messages to pay attention to this rare event, the one that I’ve been associating with mass media and the digital ocean.
The last time Uranus and Eris formed a conjunction was on the Aries Point in 1927-1928: at the dawn of radio and television, and when a pineapple-sized version of the transistor was patented. At the beginning of the last Uranus-Eris cycle, everything we now live with was set into motion. Ninety years later, we’re immersed at the bottom of the digital ocean, running around in a tizzy, devices clutched in our fists, with the approximate vibe of SpongeBob SquarePants.
Venus is also retrograde. That began with Venus in Aries on March 4, and ends in Pisces on April 15. We’re now at the peak of this transit, with Venus currently just two degrees away from Chiron in Pisces and getting closer. And that’s mostly what I want to consider with you today.
A Feminist Perspective
Venus usually clips through the zodiac, often faster than the Sun. Chiron is a slow-mover, currently transiting at about the speed of Uranus. So a typical Venus-Chiron aspect will last a day or two. We are now experiencing a conjunction where Venus and Chiron will be within one degree of one another for about two weeks, from April 9 through April 23. By most guidelines the conjunction really lasts much longer. What we have is the expression of Venus, in the most feminine sign, Pisces, meeting with Chiron, the master healer and initiator.
This seems to be emphasizing a message; in particular, about all things feminine and female, and raising those aspects of consciousness.
It’s no coincidence that this is happening in a time when all things female and feminine (including the Earth) are under assault, be it psychic, economic or physical. What comes to mind is the recent vindication of an avowed rapist by his ascension to the American presidency; and his politically expedient notions of destroying women’s health care, reproductive freedom and legal abortion, not to mention eliminating all government regulations that protect the Earth.
It’s easy and somewhat accurate to look back at the past 2,000 years of Christendom as one long war against the feminine aspect of consciousness, female autonomy and sex. What we’re witnessing today is a pathetic wannabe retro aspiration to the times when women were not considered owners of their own bodies, and did not even have names, which translates to being slaves.
Today, in an era when women can vote, have bank accounts, own real property, possess and use passports, publish in their own names, practice as attorneys and hold public office, we cannot exclusively blame men for this. It’s true that there exists an insidious culture of sexism and misogyny, though it’s perpetuated, supported and tolerated by both men and women.
I remain shocked that even one woman voted for a man who openly bragged about sexual assault, and who yesterday said he thinks that Bill O’Reilly of Fox News did nothing wrong.
When we talk about overcoming the patriarchy, it’s critical to remember that this is not just a thing in the world. It’s a thing that exists in our minds: as various expectations, as a perspective, as cellular memory and as a way of rearing both boys and girls that results in the problem as it has manifested over the centuries.
This was copiously documented by the existentialist philosopher and historian Simone de Beauvoir in what I consider to be the greatest work of feminist literature, The Second Sex.
The author notes that it’s principally other women who are responsible for initiating girls into accepting the world that men have created.
She does not let men off the hook, at all. She understands the problems of rape and of sexual repression of both of the sexes, at one point writing, “No one is more arrogant toward women, more aggressive or scornful, than the man who is anxious about his virility.” (We might note that fact, and figure out what to do about it, because it’s relatively easy to address, and it will help.)
But she also reminds us what most people know well: “Women’s mutual understanding comes from the fact that they identify themselves with each other; but for the same reason each is against the others.” And, “Without a doubt it is more comfortable to endure blind bondage than to work for one’s liberation; the dead, too, are better suited to the earth than the living.”
And: “It is perfectly natural for the future woman to feel indignant at the limitations posed upon her by her sex. The real question is not why she should reject them: the problem is rather to understand why she accepts them.”
Escaping from Freedom
From a contemporary psychological perspective, it’s pretty easy to observe some of why this is. Yes, there is conditioning, though that comes as much from the pope and the priest as it does from the mother who wants her daughter to be baptized and otherwise indoctrinated into the church. It’s true that all the Abrahamic religions, including Judaism and Islam, have an issue with women. Christianity, though, essentially stole its cosmology from something called Manichaeism, with its dark and light philosophy — and women and sex ended up on what was considered the dark side.
The church is not merely against sex but is built on that idea as its foundation. And a great many mothers teach their daughters to be against sex and to hate, mistrust or disclaim their own sexuality.
Anyone who does not claim and own their sexuality will be its victim. Feminism that does not embrace sexuality as natural, and sexual pleasure as a birthright, is not just flawed but fraudulent.
In the book Escape From Freedom, Erich Fromm explains that “modern man still is anxious and tempted to surrender his freedom to dictators of all kinds, or to lose it by transforming himself into a small cog in the machine, well fed, and well clothed, yet not a free man but an automaton.”
Freedom demands responsibility and wisdom, and there’s always peril involved. Freedom calls forth full participation in existence. To the extent that any man, as in male-bodied person, has honest freedom, it’s an ongoing struggle, and requires a risk. Anyone who lives in an independent way has, many times, had to risk everything; often, his life. There is usually a fight or a long struggle involved, and the need to break free from the bonds that hold back everyone. That takes courage, which is usually in short supply.
Yet as Fromm notes, “The more the drive toward life is thwarted, the stronger is the drive toward destruction; the more life is realized, the less is the strength of destructiveness. Destructiveness is the outcome of unlived life.” This counts for men and women.
Venus Conjunct Chiron: A Tantric Perspective
Psychology and sociology only get us so far. To gain some additional perspective, let’s switch lenses to a pre-Christian view of sexuality, which today we call tantra. I’m not referring to ‘spiritualized sex’ or to pujas and rituals, nor to the Kama Sutra. I’m talking about a cosmology that holds the feminine principle to be the equivalent of what we call the universe.
Consider that all people are conceived and gestated inside the female body. Maleness contributes one cell and half the genetic code. (As Simone points out, this is not even necessary, since females have most of what they need to clone themselves). Female provides the dwelling place of the womb, all the nourishment, the patience and the dangers of childbirth (a near-death experience, even on a good day). Male and female are not equal, and are not even equivalent. Just knowing this, we have all the information we might need to figure out what’s going on in the world, where there is so much raging against existence.
In classical tantra, existence as we think of it — by which I mean the Earth and the cosmos — is a female phenomenon. The male principle provides a seed of energy that activates existence, which is inherently feminine. In the tantric cosmology, female, and by extension woman, is the center of all existence, and the source of all creation.
If you’ve ever taken a moment to wonder what the heck is calling forth all this anger and resentment and attack toward women, what the power source is, it makes more sense in this context. All the effort to hold back women, and to exploit whatever is perceived as feminine — oceans, forests and all the resources of the Earth, for instance — is an attack on existence itself.
Yet consider how much responsibility this places on women, and in particular, on women so long conditioned to think they are irrelevant and that their existence is wrong. It’s difficult enough to explain that voting matters or that a wife owns half of the property in a marriage. It verges on impossible to convey to women the notion of sexual autonomy, largely because there’s so much guilt involved. If you’ve ever experienced group sex, you may have learned that one woman can take on a whole room full of men.
Most men cannot hold a match to the power of fully expressed female sexuality. As Betty Dodson has joked about her own orgies, the women were still going at it long after the men had retired to the living room to watch football.
It would be just as difficult for men, conditioned for so long to think that they are masters of the universe, endowed with the privileges of pillaging, rape and murder, to accept the fact that they play a very small role in a universe in which they are inherently aliens. It’s difficult for men to accept that female, or what we call woman, is the giver, the nourisher and the taker of life.
It is possible, though, to touch this reality, and that’s enough to set a creative process in motion. Barbara Hand Clow described Venus conjunct Chiron as “orgasmic fusion with the cosmos.” But there’s more to it than that. One of my clients yesterday paraphrased her teacher, Tamara Slayton, who quoted a much older source: “As long as the blood of women is not revered, the blood of warfare will be glorified.”
Short Monthly Horoscope for April 2017, #1146 | By Eric Francis
Aries (March 20-April 19) — Stop worrying about ‘not going wild’. You’ve been aching to bust out of your shell for a long time, and suddenly it’s the obvious thing to do. You would not be acting out. Rather, in order to access the truth of the deeper discoveries that you’re making about yourself, you must actually experiment with some of what you’re thinking and feeling. As you stretch out to your true personality, you’ll find that growth and healing can only come through actual experiences. It’s time to change, to grow and to find out who you are without planning the outcome.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — It’s natural to want to take care of people; and if you choose to, do it with passion. Leave no doubt about the love and commitment that you feel. Yes, you would be making a statement by your gestures of kindness, of the most sincere kind. To share in this way is all about what you’re offering, with no trace of holding back. A good place to start is with food you make with your own hands. Create exactly what someone likes best. And as aspects develop this month, sex can take on mystical and healing dimensions.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — You have knowledge that someone close to you needs and will benefit from. However, be gentle about how you deliver this information; and find out everything you can, in the spirit of being helpful and doing no harm. Say what you know is the right thing to say, and let the person do what they will with the information. Be available for questions. You have amazing resources that you generally don’t clue other people in to. The time has come to put your skills and wisdom to full use. This is a truly important purpose of your life.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — If you’ve repeatedly tried the same approach to solving an emotional puzzle or problem, it’s time to try something new. This is not a question of personality or behavior. There’s something you’re reaching for that can only be accessed through a deeper approach, something that could genuinely be described as spiritual. Above all else, that means being loving and faithful, and allowing yourself to be vulnerable. At minimum your kindness and encouragement will go a long way to provide reassurance. One of your great strengths is that you have faith in people; and when you express that, everyone benefits.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — You may not consider yourself an inventor by nature or profession; however, your mind is poised for a creative breakthrough. Remind yourself every day that no problem is too complicated for you to solve, and that you can plot the course to any goal that you have. Practice on small things as a way of building your confidence. Originality is like a muscle that develops the more you use it, so be bold. This skill could become genuinely valuable on the work front, where the most important leaders are those who can both innovate and solve problems as they go.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — When others offer the gift of themselves, it’s up to you to receive it consciously — or not. Either way, you would be wise to make a conscious choice. What’s becoming available is so beautiful that you’ll need to bring your full awareness. What you learn from something shared by one who cares deeply about you can change the course of your life. It can represent a discovery so deep that you never see yourself or the world the same way again. These moments actually happen, and contain the rare beauty that keeps you falling in love with life.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — No matter how crazy or unstable the world around you may seem, you have the ability to stay in balance. The key to remember is that you don’t owe anyone anything. Yes, you are loyal, you are committed — and you make your own choices. Claim the freedom to do the important self-healing work that’s available this month. Take extra care of yourself, and note the connection between your emotional state and your physical health and stamina. For you, everything develops and proceeds from your feelings forward. Start there and you cannot go wrong.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Love in any form is nourishment. Offer it as such, and consciously receive it as such. On the human level, we all have specific needs: water, food, shelter, sunlight and affection among them. Let your relationships be the place where all of these things are welcome and shared freely. You can trust the abundance of your life, and set a goal of making sure that as many people around you as possible get what they need. While you’re at it, know what you need and receive it sincerely when it’s offered to you. Be generous with yourself and with gratitude toward others.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — If you keep your focus, you will make major progress pulling together some long-range goals over the next few weeks. Remember that you cannot have absolute control over the process or the outcome. That’s good news because the real progress occurs through happy accidents. Therefore, keep an open mind and pay attention to the fine points. You can plan and structure things all you want, and then when you’re least expecting it, you make an error or notice something subtle, and that opens up some vast new possibilities. Keep your experiments going, and take careful notes. You will need them.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Your feelings about relationships are starting to catch up with you. It would seem that you’ve experienced many moments of bold evolution. You’ve been growing at a pace that you can barely comprehend. Still, your ideas about relationships have yet to make the same progress. Be bold in asking yourself deep questions about what’s made you happy in the past. Do you really need so much structure? Do you really need to base your life on expectations, when you barely know what to expect of yourself? Relating to others is a dance. Feel for your natural rhythm, though you have little use for choreography.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Kindness is the highest human virtue. You know this, whereas others are more likely to forget. Therefore, remind them with your actions — particularly what you do in the public realm. The world in its current state has guided you closer to your core humanitarian values. More than ever, it’s obvious that your purpose on Earth is to do what you can to make things better here. This, in turn, makes your own life better. You can afford to be bold and generous no matter what self-serving ideas others may think of as virtuous. Integrity is your birthright.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — For many seasons, the theme of your life has been deep healing. Your journey has had its ups and downs, and times recently where you’ve wondered whether you’ve made any progress at all. Events of this month will reveal how much strength and power you have accumulated. Yet, this comes from your openness to your own feelings, and to living in a space of ongoing vulnerability. You are the safest when you are in full contact with the beauty, struggle and transient nature of life. Let yourself be as deep, as sensitive and as beautiful as you know you truly are.