This week builds on the energies unleashed during the last. As the Moon waxes through the first quarter, we hold hands with a backward walking Venus and look into the mirror of Mercury’s conjunction with the Sun in Libra.
Virtue, Deprivation and Debauchery
Venus went retrograde in Scorpio last week, and we’ll be walking backwards with her for the next 5 weeks. Now that we’re within the twilight caves of Venus’ retrograde, the destination has become less clear, but the way through is eminent.
One of the key tensions of this particular Venus retrograde is the struggle to transform our relationship with our more debaucherous pleasures. It puts us between 2 desires- to lose ourselves in pleasure, and to give ourselves up to the ascetic joys of deprivation.
Through deprivation- the detox, the diet, the exercise regimen- we gain control over our pleasures. By denying ourselves comfort food, comfort video games or comfort whatever, we become aware of the parts of ourselves that these safety blankets usually cover.
But regimes of self denial are problematic, because although desire and be suppressed or transformed, it cannot be wholly extinguished. This leads to the classic problem of psychoanalysis- repressed desires, which tend to manifest in a far uglier way than if the desires were consciously guided into being. As they say, it’s the hungry dog that bites.
But the temptations of this period are pernicious and persistent, easily taking on the mask of the succubus/incubus, the folklore demon of desire. Here we see a certain truth of debauchery- that we lose ourselves to it, in it. Ultimately, debauchery is a desire to lose the self, just as deprivation is a desire to retain the self, no matter how miserable.
The formula for navigating these extremes be found in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, in which he describes virtue- the path between two passions. Courage is the consciously moderated medium between bravado and cowardice. What the Venus retro asks of us is the happy medium between debauchery and deprivation, to swim the rivers of pleasure, pain and numbness with equal ease.
So dialogue with your pleasures. Let them teach you control as well as release.
Note: This happy medium describes the ideal manner of handling pleasure and the lack thereof within one’s life. However, the ideal is not always possible, and it is sometimes more important simply to extricate oneself from a pleasure one cannot possibly find a balanced relationship with, such as an abusive partner or a serious chemical addiction.
The King, the Messenger and the Mirror
Moving at top speed, Mercury moves to conjoin and then overtake the Sun this week. Too close to the Sun, Mercury does not appear in either in either the morning or evening sky. This period of relative invisibility is typically referred to as “combustion” or being “under the beams,” and is considered to make the messenger’s job harder. Busy talking the codependent Sun King of Libra down off the ledge, Mercury is distracted from his duties, making it easy to miss details and neglect pending missives.
Mercury’s close pass to the Sun is considered to create problems for the external affairs that depend on clear thinking and communication because the mind is preoccupied. The clarity-creating energy instead hovers over the heart of affairs, bringing thoughts to important internal matters. In the case of the present, it will likely be a long and introspective look into retrograde Venus’ mirror. Giving these thoughts the attention that they deserve will keep them from tugging on your sleeve while you are trying to attend to more mundane affairs.
Although Mercury is generally burnt out by sending his messages through those imperial solar rays, there is a point during the Sun-Mercury conjunction where Mercury gains the power to make a royal proclamation, his messages reinforced rather than impeded by the Sun. This moment is referred to as “ kazimi,” Arabic for “heart of the sun,” and it occurs when the Mercury-Sun conjunction is at its most perfect, this coming Saturday afternoon.
Horoscopes represent a fraction of the insight astrology has to offer. However, they are fun and can be useful. Reading your Sun, Moon and Ascendant is suggested. Take a special look at the Moon if you were born at night.
Aries: The Ram
Mercury’s movement toward conjunction with the Sun in Libra on Saturday leads your thoughts toward the role you play in relationships. Meanwhile, Venus’ ongoing retro sees you struggling with feelings about joint projects with other people.
Taurus: The Bull
Mercury’s conjunction with the Sun in Libra on Saturday clarifies the role that you are playing in the (im)balance of your checkbook. This is configuration also brings your thoughts very clearly to how you’re treating your body, as well. Meanwhile, Venus’ ongoing retro sees you struggling with your relationships.
Gemini: The Twins
Mercury’s conjunction with the Sun in Libra on Saturday brings your mind around to the heart of who you are creatively. It’s time to consider how what you create is a diret result of who you are, as the creator. Meanwhile, Venus’ ongoing retro sees you struggling with emotional reactions to little tasks that need to be done.
Cancer: The Crab
Mercury’s conjunction with the Sun in Libra on Saturday brings your attention to the role you play in creating your living environment, as well as the role you’ve played in your emotional history. Meanwhile, Venus’ ongoing retro sees you struggling with creative projects.
Leo: The Lion
Mercury’s conjunction with the Sun in Libra on Saturday brings your attention to how your patterns of communication affect your relationships with others. Meanwhile, Venus’ ongoing retro sees you struggling with feelings about your living situation.
Virgo: The Virgin
Mercury’s conjunction with the Sun in Libra brings your attention to your financial situation, and how the (im)balance present there reflects your own condition. Meanwhile, Venus’ ongoing retro sees you struggling with emotionally charged thought patterns.
Libra: The Scales
Mercury’s conjunction with the Sun in Libra provides a moment or two of clarity for you, specifically focused on how your self-concept affects the structure of your life. Meanwhile, Venus’ ongoing retro sees you struggling to transform your financial situation.
Scorpio: The Scorpion
Mercury’s conjunction with the Sun in Libra illuminates hidden aspects of yourself, revealing half conscious thought patterns. Meanwhile, Venus’ ongoing retro sees you struggling to find emotional equilibrium in the midst of a season of internal shifts.
Sagittarius: The Archer
Mercury’s conjunction with the Sun in Libra this week spotlights your web of friends and contacts, highlighting the role you play in these relationships. Meanwhile, Venus’ ongoing retro sees you struggling to decode emotional transmissions from your subconscious.
Capricorn: The Goat
Mercury’s conjunction with the Sun in Libra brings your attention to how your self image affects your professional life. Meanwhile, Venus’ ongoing retro sees you struggling to transform your relationships with your friends and contacts.
Aquarius: The Water Bearer
Mercury’s conjunction with the Sun in Libra focuses your attention on long term plans as well as life direction. Meanwhile, Venus’ ongoing retro sees you struggling to transform your professional direction.
Pisces: The Fish
Mercury’s conjunction with the Sun in Libra brings your attention to role you’re playing in the team efforts you’re a part of. Meanwhile, Venus’ ongoing retro sees you struggling to transform your big plan to fit with the passions recently unleashed within you.
Sol in Libra, Luna in Sagittarius
If you find yourself a little confused by the strange waters of the season, consider a consultation. There’s a link up under services. Or, if you’re really lazy,you can just click here.
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The tug-of-war between pleasure and deprivation does seem to be the backdrop of the Venus retrograde. The ability to regulate the release and intake of pleasure is quite the kinked hose right now. I must say, I didn’t see that coming, but it makes a lot of sense.
Those that tame their desires and learn to ride them will learn very valuable things from this RX.
I for one intend to pwn that shit.
Very well written and articulated, as per usual. As a therapist, I was especially drawn to the piece on the repression of desire and how it can lead to, as you put it, an uglier manifestation.
On a related tangent, this month’s issue of Parabola magazine is aptly entitled “Desire”. This posting reminded me of the article in this issue “Permutations of Desire”, written by a Jungian analyst. It goes into what he considers “disorders of desire”. A very interesting read indeed
Always so painfully, and delightfully accurate.