Eclipses are wildcard lunations that represent the apex of changes that have been brewing for the past season or two. The moonths following eclipses are where we integrate those changes. The unexpected rules the day as much that was obscured is revealed. If you're not sure about something, now is a time to expand your ability to sit with that uncertainty, setting intentions for actions you wish to take, feelings you wish to feel more, rather than forcing a particular plan or outcome.
August 7th brings the full moon lunar eclipse where our intuitive knowing and emotional insight is most activated, while the inner shifts gestate before taking form in the externally oriented companion eclipse on August 21st. This solar eclipse is getting a lot of attention because it will be visible across the contiguous US and will be total in a path that begins in the Pacific Northwest and ends in South Carolina. These locations are known for their long histories of racist segregation. With the success of efforts to remove statues that elevate that terrible past, we must not forget that we must do the work today that undoes the inheritance of said oppressions. The sources of profit and privilege persist in shameful and disturbing ways. Our efforts are often symbolic and must be much more than that too.
Leo is the sign of royalty. There is something disturbing about the way astrologers emphasize this without questioning the celebration of colonialism that this can represent. When we celebrate the part of us that centers ourselves in our own stories, we must make every effort to do so in a way that doesn't deny others that same right. If our regalness is built on the backs of others then the emporer has no clothes. Standing naked in the vulnerability of doing our best, honest about our not enoughness, can be a liberation of sorts.
The Sabian Symbol or evocative image associated with the Sun's degree during 8/7 eclipse is "Brilliant sunshine just after a storm" and the Moon's image exactly opposite that is "A big business man at his desk." These images echo that sense that while we must enjoy the relief that we might feel whenever we can, at every small, not enough creative or political victory, we must remain vigilant around the forces of profiteering corporate greed and exploitations. The Sun and Moon join on 8/21 at the degree "A mermaid emerges from the ocean waves ready for rebirth in human form." The mythopoeticspiritual part of us that can both breathe underwater and sacrifice (to make sacred) itself to be reborn on land is calling us toward these bigger purposes. Like the sun and moon are reborn through their cycles, we can turn this wheel evermore towards justice.
The planet Mars, protector and activator, is accompanying us on this solilunar journey and asking....what can I protect? What am I hear to take care of? What am I willing to do with my energy? Mercury goes retrograde on August 12th-September 5th and will station and go direct on the same degree that the solar eclipse activates. Expecting unexpected answers to those questions would be wise. Perhaps the whispers of spirit we've been hearing will be harder to ignore. We must be willing to take more risks and show up in all our fierce truth and compassion or we risk losing our self respect. As is often the case in these times of surrender to the larger cosmic cycles, plans will shift and life will reveal to us what's wanting to happen. Keep doing the next right feeling thing, allowing nature and your own intuition be your guide.
Ways to honor these eclipses:
-Reflect on what was happening in your life in August 1999 and July 2009 when these areas of your life/chart/sky were last activated by these particular cha-cha-change energies
-Enjoy sunflowers & sunflower flower essence
-Do heart opening body movements & meditations
-Gather with your favorite people to bear witness to this magical moment (get your eclipse viewing glasses to share so you can do so safely). Best info for what will be visible when wherever you are is available here.
-Reflect on what you most want to protect (give that Mars a mission)
-Play and create
-Be inspired by pampered house cats (especially when they're purring) and children (especially when they're sharing)
-Adorn yourself in ways that make you feel radiant and alive
I'll be hosting an intimate gathering of folks who want to explore these themes more on Thursday, August 10th at 7:30pm. RSVPs are required so I can plan (hahahaha...) accordingly. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you're in the SF Bay Area and would like to join us. Mermaids ready for rebirth are especially welcome.
Above image acknowledgement and gratitude to Judy Schmidt and Astronomy Picture of the Day. Below image is in the public domain found on Wikimedia.
What matters to you? What are you willing to do for love, beauty, money? How committed are you? What is worthwhile and important? How do you relate to yourself, to your beloveds, to your communities, to this world, to love as a felt experience as well as idea? How do you wish this were different? This summer is a potent one for asking yourself these questions. As Venus, home to our desires and values, goes retrograde (7/25-9/5) it's time to re-think and re-consider the literal and emotional currencies of our lives. Our answers will likely get turned on their heads over the next few weeks, probably to the chagrin of someone, perhaps even you, and yet there is the potential to have a lot of fun with it as long as we stay away from that which cannot be undone.
Lovers might break up, get back together, meet again after years out of contact often to find deeper layers of closure in the rekindling, or connect with each other in a way that feels like destiny. Whatever happens it's often temporary though the results of our attempts to re-structure existing dynamics certainly aren't free from consequence. Keep the long term in mind as you get swept off in whatever fantasies come your way and remember that if it's too good to be true, it probably isn't. Though there's nothing wrong with enjoying the (sane, consensual) fantasy while the glamour fades. So many folks are finding themselves exploring familiar summertime festivals within new relationship parameters. Be aware and you won't have to beware. Linger in the longing.
The numbers 5 and 7 are sacred to Venus as is their sum of 13 and Fridays (Freya's Day) are her realm. Venus will spend most of this retrograde in Leo (I wrote this post while it was there and the Virgoan Venus' tendency towards perfectionism just wouldn't let me post until we shifted back into a Leonine time). We can honor this with art, sweetness, play, creativity and making sure that we are tending to those things that brought us joy in childhood even as adults (if you're not sure what this could be, I suggest taking some lessons in fun from the children of the world). The artists amongst us might find that the art we make during this time pushes a creative edge exploring uncharted territory with fresh eyes and experimentation (useful for 7/31's full moon too). Allow the Virgoan part of this retrograde to encourage discernment, wisdom and willingness to be in the details, planning, and scheduling around creative connecting (rather than dwelling in the stuckness that delayed this post).
Without further ado, here are some ways to make this current work for you instead of getting dragged down by it:
1. Be clear about how you want to be loved. This doesn't mean telling another person what to do. This means having the self awareness to know and then extending the kindness of expressing that to all the people with whom you wish to deepen intimacy. Psychic as they may be that doesn't mean that the onus is not on you to ask for what you need. Be prepared to receive what's offered as imperfectly as it may come. Leo energy is like the pampered house cat so remember that you can get up and strut away when you're done being petted.
2.. If you want to be adored, be adore-able. Mostly this done by extending the adoration outward and doting on your loved ones the way you'd like to be. Of course, it's good to keep in mind your lover's preferred way of receiving love when you do this (a relationship astrology reading can be so helpful in exploring this or just knowing their moon & venus & juno signs or better yet, ask the folks you love how they'd like you to show it).
3. Focus on yourself, your desires, your needs. If you have to choose between guilt and resentment, choose guilt. Find ways to experience indulgence and luxury without compromising your budget or your relationships. A little research will go a long way. It's an inside job always, but especially now. All relationships suffer under the burden of martyrdom and self-sacrifice if it becomes habit or default.
4. Give up blame, criticism, negativity or whatever habit is bothering you and/or the folks you love for the duration of the retrograde and see what shifts occur. I gave up blame for lent this year (a witch giving up something for lent baffled me too however the universe told me to so I did and I sure am glad). It's not that thoughts of blame didn't come up or that I didn't even behave in blaming ways sometimes, but I caught myself and backed away from it as soon as I did. I also got to see how much I'd rather blame myself than give up the illusion that we can control our ways out of difficulty. Mostly though I just saw how boring those habits are and what a block to connection. This helps us not only soften into the humanness of others, but deepens our own self acceptance.
5. Know that this too shall pass even if you can't stop thinking about that ex, that crush, the idea that you'll never find love or that annoying thing your partner keeps doing. None of those states of mind are places to act from. Receive the information and reflect. Don't make any irrevocable changes until October (when we're out of the shadow) unless you can do so peacefully and easefully or at least obviously. The best decisions are the ones that arise clearly with only a modicum of doubt. This means expanding our ability to sit with the discomfort of uncertainty until clarity comes.
6. Be grateful for what is. Stay grounded and connected to the actual reality of what's happening by seeing all there is to be thankful for in it. Even if your relationship is self-destructing, what a gift that can be! Just think of past loves and how lucky we are to not be on those same hamster wheels anymore. Express your gratitude to the people from your past and present for the part they've played in your relational development.
7. Reminisce. Nostalgia and the good ol' days can be salve for whatever relationship wounds you've been nursing. Reflect on how far you've come and appreciate what brought you together in the first place. If you're not currently in the sort of relationship you want to be in, reflect on what in your past has brought you closer to your desires and snuggle up to that.
8. Let go of the illusion of control. That's not how love works. If you say something more than once, chances are you're trying to control a situation (or another person). Figure out what you do actually have the ability to change (redundant hint: look inside) and explore that.
9. Read about love! I recommend anything by bell hooks, particularly Communion: The Female Search for Love for some good politicized wisdom that makes it clear that abuse ain't love and that love matters even as we struggle with the way heterosexism and gender roles play out in all our relational dynamics. Listening to love songs can also provide insight & wisdom. A most excellent suggestion from DJ Larsupreme by the Velvelettes. So simple, so clear and so very Virgoan.
10. Stay open to creative solutions. If your relationship it primarily made up of just two people, it can fall into polarization much too easily. Look for the third option, the possibility you hadn't yet considered and the signs that can lead you there. Ask for an outside opinion or bring a therapist, mediator or trusted advisor to the table for wisdom and insight.
11. Create the creative solutions through art, beauty and play. Make love into ritual and ritual into love. This is one of the best ways to explore whatever relationship conundrums are up. We take sex so seriously. Try laughing and playing in the romance even if the primary place of romance is in self love. Come up with more entertaining fantasies.
12.. Take breaks for goodness sakes. Honor the power of space, distance and time to grow fondness and appreciation.
13. Do love your way. I tell you there's nothing like getting married that will put you in touch with how many taboos exist around doing love differently. Learning about polyamory even if you never do it can help us to get out of whatever box we've found ourselves in too. The movements for queer liberation have clues around how to shift as do conversations with folks who are having a relationship that looks like an expression of love you might want. Mostly though know that love follows a spiral path and the linear one that society sets up is usually far to restrictive unless with bend it into shapes that fit us better.
The caveats and comforts:
-Don't worry if you're getting married during this time because it probably means you're an unconventional pair.
-If you were born during a venus retrograde (or if you're dating someone who was), this doesn't apply in quite the same way. You just might be better at all this than the rest of us. Enjoy the cosmos reflecting the moment you were born back to you.
-Regret is just an opportunity to learn.
-Love that doesn't last is still love. Breaking up is sometimes the most loving thing. Relationships that last six weeks are not necessarily less important than ones that last sixty years. This includes the friendships that no longer support who we are now.
This Venus retrograde conjuncts Jupiter, squares Saturn and trines Uranus so look for the opportunities to do the hard work of finding innovative ways to be with your loving desires.
Apparently I have a lot to say about relating. This post was by client friend request. In the spirit of relating, if you have a question or want some advising and are willing to have it turned into a post, please let me know. My Virgoan self wants to be of service in the most useful ways possible and it's one way to get me to write more long form too.
If you're more interested in how to use your resources more wisely in the other realm most commonly associated with Venus, I suggest you recycle and re-explore this post from the last time this planet appeared to go backwards.
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