The Relating Dance: Mars and Venus in the October Skies
by Steven Forrest
If you have been watching the evening sky this year, you’ve witnessed a lovely minuet of bright-eyed Venus and much dimmer Mars. They’ve pulled apart since their spectacular conjunction last February, but they are now racing back toward one another’s arms. Their final embrace will happen on November 2, in just about exactly 24°Virgo. Over the next four weeks, on their way to that happy rendezvous, the two planets first do a line-dance with Neptune and then a sexy slow dance with Jupiter—two events in the heavens whose fingertips we will all feel in our intimate lives.
Most of my language here in this newsletter will reflect the classic Mars-Venus terrain of intimacy in a “partnering” sense of the word. But really, these configurations have broader meaning, affecting all of our various relationships. With just a little translation, all that we explore here is relevant to those kinds of connections too. Even if you are single, there are people you love. You also probably think about relationship—and these planetary patterns will underlie your thoughts and meditations.
Let’s start with what it all looks like on your computer screen. Then we will go on to think about the living, breathing astrological meaning. First, Mars opposes Neptune, and a few days later Venus follows suit. Mars hits the exact opposition on October 6 at 7° Virgo 30'. Venus gets there ten days later, on October 16 at 7° Virgo 18' (note that Neptune is retrograde). The next day — October 17 — Mars forms a conjunction with Jupiter at 14° Virgo 11'. Venus catches up and does the same thing a week later, on October 25, aligning with Jupiter at 15° Virgo 39'. And, as we saw earlier, just one week later, Venus and Mars get together for their second conjunction of 2015 at 24° Virgo 01'. This event marks their last conjunction until October 5, 2017. There will be none at all in the coming year (2016).
These bare astrological details can seem very dry. I always get a laugh when an astrologer intones numbers, aspects, and dates, and then everyone nods his or her head sagaciously, as if the words actually meant something to them. The trick is, of course, to actually feel the human message of the symbols. And the holy art of astrology is to understand them as angelic guidance to which we can aspire—or which we can ignore, and thus default into the lazy, passive future which the fortune-tellers predict for us.
Those fortune-tellers would, correctly, link Venus and Mars to questions of intimacy and sexuality. But with these planets opposing Neptune, the fortune-tellers would likely offer a distressing interpretation. To them, an opposition is a “bad aspect.” Add to that the idea that Neptune is a planet of “confusion” and “illusion.” Put the two together and it spells “intimate difficulties.”
Now, both of those miserable statements can be true. Thus, in that version of the universe, relationships during the first half of the month would likely go through a period characterized by misunderstandings, false interpretations, and possibly even deceptions. When Mars hits Jupiter on October 17th, such astrologers might very well predict a big, self-righteous (Jupiter) fight (Mars) as the tensions of the past two weeks reached a boiling point. Then, a week later, as loving Venus aligned with “benefic” Jupiter, the fortune-tellers might predict that all would be forgiven. The protagonists would be reconciled, laughing at their errors and mis-readings of each other. And unless we wanted an X-rating, we had better roll the credits quickly, before early November when Mars and Venus actually, er, “come together.”
Looked at humanly, these October configurations are, in other words, essentially the astrological script for most of the air-headed romantic film comedies ever made—illusion, projection, silly fights, missed signals, and total confusion, all leading eventually to resolution, hugs and kisses, and “they lived happily ever after.”
For many people, that is probably pretty close to what will actually happen. That kind of astrology is not “wrong” in any simple sense. It’s just too narrow. It turns us all into featherbrained puppets, or at least it represents humanity that way. And, hey, some of us are featherbrained puppets! But what is the higher ground here? What are our better astrological angels actually trying to tell us?
Let’s start with a deeper look at the opposition aspect itself. Always, with any conscious, evolutionary approach to interpreting oppositions, the challenge lies in the integration of opposites—and in avoiding total polarization. Your inner Democrat and your inner Republican really need to listen to each other. Here we have on one hand the mystical duo of Pisces and Neptune. And on the other hand, we have the two gods of love—hot Mars and tender Venus—both operating in the critical, hungry-to-evolve, context of Virgo.
Time to bring the situation down to earth. Here is an illustration: say you have a partner who interrupts you a lot. Do you “forgive” that lapse and let it slide in the name of Neptunian-Piscean compassion and tolerance? Or do you squawk, Virgo-fashion, and say, “Dammit, let me finish my sentence?” Which approach will best serve the relationship in the long run?
Or try this one: your partner snores. Do let him or her sleep, or do you employ your sharp elbow? Thoughtful people could answer either way—that is the nature of opposition aspects, once we get past the trap of polarization.
Snoring and interrupting: those are obviously trivial examples. Welcome to Virgo! Not that Virgo is a “trivial” sign—no sign of the zodiac is trivial. But Virgo is really about the roll-up-your-sleeves details of our journeys, while Neptune—especially while it is in Pisces—is about a bigger, kinder, more expansive perspective. What will those interruptions or snores matter in five hundred years? There’s Neptune. But what do they matter to the quality of our connection in this present moment? There’s Virgo’s wisdom, underlying both Mars and Venus.
Remember: oppositions are never about “which answer is right.” They are always about the reconciliation of apparent opposites. So the questions become, how do you criticize (Virgo) kindly (Pisces)? How do you point out perceived error without appointing yourself judge and jury? How can two people share the effort of making their relationship work better for both of them? When does transcendence become co-dependency—and when does helpful, necessary criticism turn into the kind of nagging that saps the soul of a relationship?
A pivotal piece of the puzzle this month lies in sorting out our own Neptunian illusions from reality. We must, under these aspects, seriously consider the notion that our understanding of a partner’s actions and motivations might be a figment of our own imagination. It might reflect our own issues, in other words. Whatever you believe, hold that possibility in mind. Even better, make sure you convey that uncertainty to your partner. Even if, ultimately, the “judge and jury in heaven” would side with your interpretation, that more open-minded attitude still constitutes excellent diplomacy—and remember, war (Mars) is the failure of diplomacy (Venus).
Let’s say you get all of that right during the first half of October—and you can. All it takes is some healthy Neptunian “getting over yourself.” If you do, then you have set the stage for Jupiter to live up to its “benefic” advertising. At a simple level, laying that Neptunian foundation bodes well for a peak manifestation of the various comforts and joys of love later in the month. That’s what we would expect as Mars and Venus align happily with “the King of the Gods.”
Even there, let’s not be passive. Let’s do more than expect “dessert.” Let’s keep one eye on our evolutionary opportunities. With Jupiter, a productive question is always about possibilities for improvement. Add Venus and Mars, and the question focuses a bit more—how can I make this relationship even better? In reconciling with Neptune, you have built a foundation of good communication, mutual positive regard, and a positive tide of momentum with shared problem-solving. You and your partner have generated deeper trust. You are more willing to listen to each other, and to feel safer in doing so. With those successes established, you can move into the pure Jupiter territory of generosity toward each other. You can take steps that are good for each of you.
The simple thing to say would be that it is time to treat each other like a king or a queen—and those are helpful ideas that bear the obvious mark of Jupiter. But let’s go deeper into your own soul’s process. What about claiming your own inner king or queen? And don’t confuse them with your inner tyrant! The king and queen are the parts of you that delight in your own generosity. Get this right, and just like a good king or queen, you will feel an abundance of wealth at every level. There is not a cheap bone in your body. Giving provides you with more joy than receiving. And so, in that big spirit, you greet your partners and your friends with compliments, support, kindness, and forgiveness. You commit to interpreting them generously, overlooking their snores and their interruptions, and concentrating instead on your delight in their positive qualities.
With Mars and Venus aligning with Jupiter, it is time to refresh those roots, to see each other anew, and to see new and brighter possibilities for the bond—and, during the first half of October, with Mars and Venus opposing Neptune, you are being offered the salad course. The angels are telling you how to get to that higher ground. There are Neptunian steps you need to take first if you want to enter the Temple of Jupiter.
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The Aspects Workshop
December 4-6, 2015
In this weekend workshop, our first principle will be that all aspects are about integration. With this view, we will attempt to replace the outdated notion of "good aspects and bad ones" with a more sophisticated understanding. So-called "bad" aspects are still about two energies trying to come together to serve some larger purpose. The only difference is that the integrative process is harder. With the easier aspects, the integrative process flows more easily-but might lack motivation or impetus. Each specific aspect requires a distinct strategy. Sextiles, for one example, are not just "like trines, but not as strong." Unlike trines, they speak of excitation, but threaten imbalance.
In this workshop, Steven will focus on the most energetic and critical aspects-the so-called Ptolemaic or Major ones: the conjunction, sextile, square, trine, and opposition. But we will also spend some time with the fascinating and underrated quincunx, the magical, creative quintile, as well as a few others.
*This workshop counts towards certification.
Date: December 4-6, 2015
Times: Friday night from 7-9pm; Saturday and Sunday from 9-5pm. Includes optional informal gathering Saturday night at Steven's house and potential night sky viewing.
Location: La Casa del Zorro resort in Borrego Springs, CA
Cost: $425 (if registered by Oct. 31; $450 thereafter). Lodging and meals not included.
To Register: Contact Tony or call 760-767-4720
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