I’ve got a question for you about this Venus retrograde. I’m very attracted to the idea of reclaiming my inner artist; but to be honest, every time I pick up a pencil I hear my father telling me I need to get back to my trig or statistics homework. I’ve got fifty bucks worth of art supplies sitting here, and I can’t even open the first tube of watercolors.
The thing that really kills me about this problem is that my father is a Libra, and I constantly read about how artistic Libras are — which my father is NOT. So what’s the deal here? And how do I get Dad out of my head?
— Uncreative Crab
First of all, you need to rename yourself. “Uncreative” is not a good start. The names we call ourselves have power, so it might be better for your inner artist to begin with a blank piece of paper (any kind, but cheaper is better) and try the following exercise.
Take your paper and fold it in thirds, vertically. Now unfold it and, beginning with the center third, firmly and boldly sign your name “Creative Crab” until you fill the column. And then move to another column. Doesn’t matter which. Fill them! Name yourself! Claim yourself!
Prediction: at some point the spark of rebellion will ignite your subconscious desire to make a radical choice — your name will slip across a column’s boundary.
See? Now, did that harm anyone? What boundaries did you actually violate? What rule did you break?
The fact is, my suggestion that you divide the page in thirds is arbitrary. I could have said to fold it in fifths or twelfths. Does it matter? Moreover, the folds in the paper aren’t real boundaries; they’re just suggestions, aren’t they? What impedes the progress of your pencil as it crosses that crease? Nothing but your internal agreement to declare it the limit of your letters.
And why did I suggest cheaper paper? Lower risk. You haven’t ‘ruined’ an expensive sheet from your 300 pound, cold press watercolor block, right?
Look, as an astrologer I could easily write about how Libras aren’t always creative or how the Daddy Issues complicate our internal risk vs. reward scripts. I could also write about how your respective cardinal Sun signs square one another, creating a potential conflict about who’s gonna be in charge. And I could write about how some Cancerian types are loathe to break ranks with family or how some Libras can’t abide disorder.
But I won’t. Not because I can’t, but because that would take the focus away from something at the heart of your immediate dilemma: living in the moment. At some point you’ve got to get out of your head and make that first physical mark on the page. And that’s a moment.
A lot is made of mindfulness these days, but it’s much more than a meme declaring yourself immune to future anxiety. For you right now ‘living in the moment’ sounds like ‘living in that moment from 1979’. Living in past anxiety is just as debilitating, as you rightly observe.
Living in the moment is equally about spontaneity and risk, both of which are distinctly 5th house acts. This is part of the reason we associate creativity and children with the 5th house.
Imagine the delight of the preschooler who has not yet been told what things ought to look like before they scribble out their earliest pictures of the family dog, a tree or Big Sis. They just do their thing. It’s pure impulse. Pure spontaneity. There’s not even the scintilla of thought that it could be ‘risky’.
Can you image the inner dialog if they did? “Rover!! Rover? What would Momma say if I drew Rover wrong? Hmmm… She looks grumpy. Maybe not today. She might hate my picture and that’d be embarrassing!”
It’s pure madness that we continue to assign this kind of thinking to ourselves while we sit in our own kitchens, in our own chairs, with our own tea mugs — and fifty dollars worth of unopened art supplies at our side! And yet, many of us do. We grown up people own so much, but not our creativity.
If you still can’t make the leap to a lump of Lapis Blue in your paint tray, it’s time to give it a go with low-stakes declarations first. Say your name, write it down. Write it a hundred times. See where it goes, and don’t judge. No one’s watching except you; no one’s rules but your own.
With pen in hand,
– Madame Z