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venus square neptune

Venus Sq. Neptune, collage by Emily

“If we have not got time to hear the soul, to listen to its values, to allow it to touch in to the divine feminine that knows us before we were born, and to live that reality, despair sets in. And when despair sets in, there is an undermining of the culture. People turn to addictions in order to try not to live at all.” – Marion Woodman, Conscious Femininity

Venus is moving into a square with Neptune, god/goddess of the ocean. Exact on Monday, the Venus-Neptune square evokes a longing to connect with Source, higher consciousness, the divine. Venus is in Scorpio, and sexuality, intimacy, and emotional deep-diving are potential paths to experiencing Neptunian nirvana — and/or Neptunian delusion, disappointment and despair.

Venus and Neptune have an astro-mythological affinity. In one version of her creation myth, Venus/Aphrodite was born from the ocean, specifically, from sea foam — “aphros” in Greek. In traditional astrology, Venus is considered exalted — reaching her highest expression — in Pisces the Fish, the sign associated with Neptune. Neptune is also said to be the “higher octave” of Venus. Venus rules love and pleasure, Neptune rules unconditional love, oneness and bliss.

These links between Venus and Neptune suggest that Neptune is key to understanding, accessing, and bringing out the highest expression of the feminine. Although the Roman Neptune and his predecessor, the Greek Poseidon, are masculine, the earliest deities associated with water were feminine, as Liz Greene points out in The Astrological Neptune.

Neptune is strong in the sky right now, currently stationing — appearing to stand still — before turning from Retrograde to Direct on November 9. This will be Neptune’s final station in Aquarius before moving into Pisces on February 3, for the next 14 years. Amplifying the Neptunian vibe, in addition to the Venus square, Mercury will square Neptune on November 1, and Mars will oppose Neptune on November 7.

Meaning — right now we’re swimming in the magical, mysterious, potentially confusing, overwhelming, depression-inducing and addiction-inspiring waters of Neptune and getting major lessons in our relationship with Source and the sacred feminine.

To launch Reviving Venus, I went to the ocean and called in Venus and Neptune, wanting to apprentice myself to these goddesses, inviting them to work through me. I left behind cats, friends, partner, clients, and spent three weeks in a house by myself on the Oregon coast. I wrote down my dreams, practiced yoga, meditated, walked on the beach, read books (books!), made art, and fell into my own rhythm around work and creative process.

My intention was not just about carving out time and space for a new writing project, but to immerse myself in the feminine. How you do it is what you get — I wanted this Venus project to be birthed from and grow up out of this fertile, sacred sanctuary of self-care, love for my own body and for the Earth, the softness and openness I feel when I’m in the presence of the ocean, attention to the dreamworld, attunement to my own natural rhythms, freedom from clock time.

Venus, Neptune and I all got along beautifully during my retreat. Back in Portland, attempting to continue my Venus project while keeping up with my 40 (or so) prior work commitments plus attending to the responsibilities of everyday existence, the alliance has been a bit rough.

As I’ve learned from experience, when you intentionally invite an archetype into your life, watch out. I called in the sacred feminine, and then expected that she would quietly sit on the sidelines, waiting for a convenient opening in my schedule during which she could pop in for a quick visit, gift me with her inspiration and grace, and then move right along so I could efficiently proceed to the next item on my to-do list.

That hasn’t worked out so well. As a consequence of neglecting the feminine, my reentry into Portland over the past two weeks has been characterized by shadow Neptune — low-grade illness, mold and toxic fumes in my home, victimization and overwhelm, avoidance and procrastination… In the swirl of busyness, I tell myself I don’t have time to do yoga, make art, walk in the woods, meditate — the very things that would take me out of my existential crisis and open up new possibilities for moving forward.

After trying the will-it-into-being kind of approach in writing this post (not effective), I finally surrendered to the process and did what I actually wanted to do — I made a collage. I realized that for my initial two posts, art had come before writing — I had prioritized the more feminine, subconscious, intuitive process of visual art over the more analytical, left-brain process of writing. (For my third post, I sacrificed the art altogether — “not enough time.”) Yesterday I finally walked in the woods, and this morning I did yoga (Your Only Good Addiction).

Having realigned with the feminine, recovered a sense of connection with my own inner world, go figure, I’m feeling energized, excited to move forward. But I’m left with this question of how do we make time and space for slowing down, for just BEING, for attending to our bodies and feelings and souls in the context of a culture that tells us that achievement and profit and faster and more and bigger are what matter most?

– Emily Trinkaus

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mars“We have to be visible before we can be seen. We have to be available before our hearts can be affected. And we have to be present before we can be intimate.” – Jett Psaris & Marlena S. Lyons, Undefended Love

Venus is moving into a square with Mars, a significant phase in the dynamic dance between the feminine and masculine — and a potentially feisty, erotic combination. Venus is in Scorpio, the sign of sexual and emotional intimacy, and Mars is in Leo, which rules romantic love, and sex as “performance.”

As the tension of the Venus-Mars square builds — culminating at the Scorpio New Moon next Wednesday — Mars acts as a catalyst for the themes animated by Venus in Scorpio, October 6 to November 2.

Venus in Scorpio wants to dig into the less tidy or comfortable aspects of relating, the emotional crap that’s been festering beneath the surface. She brings us into the deepest layers of feeling, and has a special affinity with the dark side of love — jealousy, envy, control, suspicion, betrayal and abandonment. Venus in Scorpio takes us on this Underworld tour with the purpose of transmuting those aspects of self that are holding us back from the love, intimacy and pleasure we desire.

When confronted with these unpleasant parts of ourselves — the ones we store in the basement of the subconscious and hope no one will ever see — fear and defensiveness are not uncommon reactions. Then we act out the less evolved version of Scorpio, the Scorpion, stinging whoever dared get too close to our pain.

Working with Scorpio power and taking it to a higher level requires vulnerability and the willingness to surrender control — control over our own feelings, and the attempt to control other people. Since most of us in this culture learned from the get-go that vulnerability means weakness and surrendering control leads to certain death, this is no easy task. (The above-referenced Undefended Love has been a helpful ally for me.)

Ideally, the Venus-Mars square helps bring out the potential gifts of Venus in Scorpio — deepened authenticity and intimacy, renewed passion and vitality, and an increased capacity to experience pleasure and ecstasy.

Mars in Leo — whose ruling planet is the Sun — wants to shine some light into Scorpio’s shadowy, mysterious, hidden realms. Mars in Leo can inspire the confidence, courage and open-heartedness that we need to navigate the depths.

There are, of course, some less productive possibilities… Pushing too far too fast to compensate for hidden fears and insecurities — Leo can be willful, while Scorpio can “skip steps” and dive head-first into intensity. Leo loves drama, and Scorpio has a fondness for crisis. You get the picture.

At the other extreme, the Fixed quality of both Leo and Scorpio can resist change and get attached to the same-old, same-old, even when they know it’s not working for them. Venus in Scorpio gets more deeply entrenched in destructive emotional patterns, while Mars in Leo defends them out of pride and willfulness.

The current cycle between Venus and Mars started on May 23, 2011, when the two planets united in Taurus (9 degrees). The conjunction signified new beginnings in relationship, creativity and the feminine-masculine dynamic within ourselves. If you have a copy of your birth chart and want to get astro-technical, you could find the house that was activated by the conjunction and get further insight into its meaning for you personally.

Now, the Venus-Mars square challenges us to take the next big step forward. This is the opening square of the cycle, which typically has a “leaving home” quality — having to step outside of our comfort zone and into unfamiliar territory.

What did you set into motion last May that now wants to be taken to the next level? What is the old, underlying conditioning that might be holding you back? How can you readjust your inner Venus/feminine and Mars/masculine in order to move forward more effectively?

– Emily Trinkaus

venus in scorpio

Venus in Scorpio, collage by Emily

“Wherever there is an absence of power, spirit, or joy in a woman’s life, she has lost touch with her wild self. Each feminine loss is registered in the root of the female body, and to the body a woman must return in order to retrieve the full expression of her own wild feminine.” – Tami Kent, Wild Feminine

Venus in Scorpio: October 6 – November 2
Venus opposite Jupiter: October 14, 4:53pm PDT

Venus is now in Scorpio, the sign that rules both sexuality and power. Scorpio, associated with the realm of the Underworld, rules what’s taboo, hidden, mysterious, dark and sacred. Venus in Scorpio is the goddess empowered by the darkness and the mystery — the Sorceress, the Witch, the Dark Goddess and Crone. In traditional astrology — or what Caroline Casey calls “old-fogey astrology” — Venus is in her “detriment” in Scorpio, i.e., not in her happy place.

The Scorpio brand of power is not the “will it into being” kind of power — that would be Aries, the other sign ruled by Mars. Scorpio, a Water sign, is the feminine expression of Mars, and her power is the kind that comes through us when we relax our egos and surrender control — whether surrendering to a partner while making love or surrendering to invisible forces while making magic.

Surrender is not a terribly popular sport in Western culture. As Marion Woodman says, “The patriarchal world we’re living in is based on control” (Sitting by the Well). Surrender requires trust and vulnerability, and, to surrender consciously, to work with Scorpio energy in a positive and healing way, we need to honor and integrate the opposite sign, Taurus.

Today, Venus in Scorpio opposes Jupiter in Taurus, highlighting the Taurus-Scorpio polarity — grounding in the realm of tangible, physical matter, and surrendering to what’s invisible, hidden and mysterious; defining the boundaries of one’s own body and environment, and merging with another human or with invisible forces; creating comfort and stability, and letting it all go in order to generate passion and vitality; relying on one’s own resources, and merging resources with another to create something greater.

Taurus, an Earth sign, is one of the signs ruled by Venus (the other is Libra). Archetypally, matter — from the Latin “mater,” mother — is feminine, and this is Taurus — the energy of Gaia, the Earth Mother. Taurus rules values and worth, and the role of the feminine is to define what “matters,” while the role of the masculine is to protect and defend those values. (I’m talking here about the feminine and masculine within each of us, not about women and men.)

One of the big lessons of Taurus is self-worth — valuing your self — and how you take care of your body as a reflection of your self-worth. Collectively, how we take care of the Earth reflects how we value our home planet (not so much, apparently). In its higher expression, Taurus is the Earth Steward, and in its lower expression she’s the hyper-consumer and insatiable “land eater.” Derrick Jensen quotes Chiksika, a Native Shawnee, who said, “The whole white race is a monster who is always hungry and what it eats is land,” which pretty much sums up Western civilization (and shadow Taurus).

A lack of grounding, not feeling connected with and a part of the Earth, makes it easy to trash the wilderness. Plants and animals are no longer kin to humans — as in the indigenous phrase “all my relations” — but “resources” to be consumed and exploited.

The parts of the body ruled by Scorpio are the reproductive system and genitals. In my BodyTalk training, I learned that the genitals hold the consciousness of grounding, connection to the Earth (Taurus). One teacher told the story of a young boy who was in the habit of grabbing at other kids’ genitals. Understandably, his parents were concerned, worried that their son might be a budding pervert. As it turned out, what came up in the BodyTalk session, is that the boy was disconnected from the Earth element — he was grabbing onto other kids’ genitals in an attempt to ground himself.

Many if not most people in Western culture are not occupying their bodies, are not rooted to the planet. How many of them are energetically or physically grabbing at (or otherwise assaulting) other people’s genitals in an attempt to ground themselves, to reconnect with matter/mater/mother?

If we are not grounded in our own bodies and to the Earth, if we are lacking boundaries and a sense of self-worth, if we are not clear about our own values and priorities, if we are not taking care of our physical needs, then we are susceptible to these kinds of assaults and invasions. If we try to engage with Scorpionic forces — whether through sex or magic or sexual magic — without having a strong Taurus grounding, we open ourselves to the shadow expression of Scorpio — mistreatment, sexual abuse and other forms of sexual trauma, and energetic occupation by dark entities.

One of the most efficient ways to cut people off from their power is to sever them from their bodies, and especially from their sexuality. Most males in this culture, within a few days of entering the world, suffer sexual trauma in the form of circumcision, often without anesthesia. This practice always seemed to me, on an intuitive level, fucked-up, but I didn’t really get what was going on until I read about it in Dr. Christiane Northrup’s Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom. Yes, it’s a book about women’s health, but, in her discussion of women’s sexuality, she has this enlightening section on circumcision. She writes:

Routine male infant circumcision… is a form of massive, societal approved sexual abuse that removes a very important erotic tissue in men…. [C]ircumcision was introduced in English-speaking countries in the late 1800s to control or prevent masturbation, similar to the way that female circumcision was promoted and continues to be advocated in some Muslim and African countries to control women’s sexuality.”

How different would the world be if men weren’t welcomed to the planet by having the most sensitive and vulnerable part of their body cut away, effectively severing their grounding and feeling of safety on Earth? Of course I’m not arguing that circumcision is the only reason for sexual violence and the devastation of the planet, but how can it not be a contributing factor?

This is Venus in Scorpio territory, digging deep to get to the core of presenting symptoms, breaking taboos, and questioning the status quo — especially when it comes to sexuality. Willow of Willow’s Web, in an excellent post on Venus in Scorpio, writes: “With Venus in Scorpio… we have an access point where we can burn through artificial, socially conditioned ideas of what relationship is, what love is, what beauty is, what value is, what a healthy sexual relationship is” (Venus Enters Scorpio).

Jupiter is the principle of expansion, and Jupiter in Taurus amplifies our connection with sensory perception, with the wisdom of nature and our own bodies. Jupiter is now Retrograde (August 30 – December 25), a time to reconnect with our bodies and with the natural world, to reconsider how we care for our selves and our planet, to restore right relationship with the material world, with the feminine mater/matter.

As Venus opposes Jupiter, we have the potential for seeing more clearly how the Taurus/Scorpio dynamic plays out in our own lives, and for healing our sexuality and regenerating our vitality by entering more fully into our bodies and engaging with the natural world. What can you do to feel more rooted, to honor your body’s needs, to care for the plants and animals around you, to feel and take in the love that the Earth is offering to you in every moment?

– Emily Trinkaus

venus neptune

Venus-Neptune, collage by Emily

Venus — goddess of love, beauty, eroticism and the arts — has just recently reappeared in the sky, after a nearly two-month tour through the Underworld. Starting August 14, she was invisible-to-us as she traveled between Earth and Sun.

Adam Sommer, in a great post on this current Venus cycle (Venus as the Evening Star) describes Venus’s time in the Underworld as a shamanic death…, where everything that serves us no longer is stripped away and destroyed, so that we can move forward, without fear, awaiting the next blessings to arrive into our lives.”

Venus now reemerges as the Evening Star — Hesperus or Vesper — the archetypal Crone, Wise Woman, Dark Mother. A new Venus cycle started in November 2010, and it’s worth looking back to what was happening in your life last fall, what has died since then, and what now wants to be reborn.

The Sun, Mercury, Venus and Saturn are all congregating in Venus-ruled Libra, and today, Friday — the day of the week associated with Venus (called Freya in Norse) — Venus forms a harmonious trine with Neptune, god/goddess of the ocean.

Neptune — planet of consciousness, spirituality and oneness — is the “higher octave” of Venus. Venus is love, Neptune is unconditional love. Venus is pleasure, Neptune is bliss. When these two planets are cooperating, we have the opportunity to access higher states of consciousness through Venusian avenues — relationship, sensual and sexual pleasure, art and beauty.

Welcome to Reviving Venus

At this auspicious cosmic moment, I’m pleased to welcome you to my new blog, dedicated to excavating, exploring and engaging with the astrological, mythological, cultural and historical Venus — the archetypal sacred feminine.

What is the sacred feminine? As we evolve out of the Age of Pisces, as the Mayan Calendar comes to an end, as the old, outgrown systems and structures of patriarchy and industrial civilization self-destruct, there’s a lot of talk about the return of the goddess and the reemergence of the divine feminine. But what exactly does that mean? What does that look like in our everyday lives? And how can we participate in her return?

Marion Woodman has said, “The feminine is so difficult… to talk about… because so few people have experienced it” (Conscious Femininity).

The astrological Venus is my starting point for delving into this question. Over time and across cultures she has appeared as Aphrodite (Greek), Inanna (Sumerian), Isis (Egyptian), Ishtar (Babylonian), Freya (Norse), Anahita (Persian), and Astarte (Hebrew and Phoenician). Archetypally, she is the Sacred Prostitute, the Temple Priestess, the Lover, the Seductress, the Muse, and the Virgin (meaning sovereign — she who is whole unto herself).

This blog was born from my grief and outrage at all the ways that the feminine is abused, denied, discounted, repressed and distorted in the dominant culture.

Let me count the ways:

  • sexual abuse
  • violence against women and children
  • the abuse and torture of animals
  • the torture of our fellow humans
  • the desecration and exploitation of the Earth
  • a lack of vitality and pleasure in daily life (aka depression)
  • an economy based on extracting resources and expanding markets
  • the dishonoring of the body in general and sexuality in particular
  • the distortion of natural rhythms and cycles and enforcement of clock time
  • standards of external “beauty” that most women can never achieve
  • art as the property of an elite few rather than an essential part of everyday life
  • hyper-consumption of land and natural resources
  • the uglification of culture and our home planet
  • an epidemic of female infertility and other reproductive health issues
  • the prioritizing of profit uber alles
  • a “power over” model of leadership — “might makes right.”

And so on.

Knowing that what I see “out there” must be reflecting what’s “in here” (the whole “out there/in here” separation proven false by physics), this blog is also born from my desire to heal, reanimate and reconnect with my own inner Venus, to restore my own conscious femininity.

The absence of the conscious masculine is no less destructive, and worthy of its own blog. Just to be clear — when I’m talking about masculine and feminine, I’m not referring to men and women, but to the fundamental, complementary, and equally essential energies of yin and yang — Venus and Mars.

This polarity can be expressed as: matter and spirit; body and mind; being and doing; immanence and transcendence; darkness and light; lunar and solar. It’s up to each of us to make conscious our own expression of feminine and masculine, and to integrate and balance this polarity within ourselves.

As Venus reappears in the night sky, reborn and renewed, she invites us to reconnect with our own expression of the feminine. How does the sacred feminine manifest in your own life, in your everyday experience? What can you do to call in more beauty, more love, more pleasure?

If you are intrigued by the topic, please consider subscribing – I plan to publish a new post every Friday. I’ll also continue writing weekly posts for my astro-blog, VirgoMagic.

– Emily Trinkaus