By Eric Francis, co-written with Amanda Painter
We’re heading into another unusual week; no shortage of those lately, though the next few days have some special distinctions. These are the last days before the Scorpio New Moon, exact at 6:42 am EST on Saturday, Nov. 18. But that’s not what has our attention: an alignment on Monday morning does.
As you know, Jupiter is newly in Scorpio, having arrived in early October. It’ll be there into November 2018. Jupiter takes about one year to cover a sign. Jupiter in Scorpio is the first of many upcoming sign changes of slower-moving planets, which we introduced in the article that accompanied the monthly horoscope.
Monday brings one of the first major events of the Jupiter in Scorpio era: Venus and Jupiter will make a conjunction: they will be in the same little slice of the sky.
Though both are visible planets, they’re too close to the Sun to see; though it would be a beautiful sight, if you could. When you witness a nearby planet align with a more distant planet, you get a sense of perspective and scale of our solar system that’s visual (therefore physical) rather than conceptual. For now, we’ll need to use our imaginations.
Jupiter entering Scorpio has put a magnifying glass to the issue of sexuality; so far, mostly in the form of misconduct. Jupiter magnifies whatever it touches. Scorpio is the core sign of sex; from ancient astrology it represents the genitals; it describes the sex-mortality-DNA nexus; it represents the ultimate depth of emotional desire. It’s also potentially sex as a manifestation of power — and of commerce.
Nine months ago, on Jan. 21, we had a whole lot of women show up to protests around the country, speaking out against our nascent, pussy-grabbing president. Millions wore pink kitty-cat-ear hats, chanting slogans. Happening one day after the inauguration, this was a powerful statement.
Today we are having a bloodbath, and it ain’t menstrual blood. The list of male celebrities whose heads have rolled this year is impressive, ranging from those at the very top of Fox News to many previously well-respected entertainers. Yet it wasn’t until Jupiter entered Scorpio one month ago that the story picked up momentum, with Harvey Weinstein moving from his role of executive producer to top star. Now it’s a full-on social movement.
When Venus makes a conjunction to Jupiter Monday, we have a symbol for something female emerging or transforming in a new way. Venus ingressed Scorpio only last week, so this is a developing story. The two classical benefic planets forming a conjunction is good news, particularly in a sign associated with that intriguing thing known as sex. Keep that in mind through all of these discussions: in the United States, we currently define sex as a perpetrator-victim encounter. This can percolate to the most intimate nuances of our lives. And it’s well-described in Venus conjunct Jupiter in Scorpio: the mythological Jupiter’s sexual conduct spanned the range from womanizer to rapist.
However, that’s not the only interpretation of this aspect. Maybe we can come up with a definition of sex where everyone shows up willingly, and has a good time.
What’s so interesting about this alignment is that Venus and Jupiter form a conjunction opposite a point called Lempo. Discovered in 1999, Lempo was named only last month (these things can take a while). Its namesake is a Finnish goddess whose province (so far as we can tell at this time) was fire, fertility and erotic love, who was recast as a demon by the Christians.
We here in the mythology department of Planet Waves have heard this kind of thing a few times before: for one, those pesky Christians are always trying to get between people when they are in bed. One need look no further than our current Vice President and “Mother” for an extreme example.
Lempo is in Taurus now, and both oversexed Jupiter and sex goddess Venus (the Roman equivalent of Aphrodite) will be conjunct in the sign of sex, opposite a fertility goddess who was deemed devilish by some misogynist, devilish priests. This could be an interesting party, or a moment of awakening.
Add to that a square from Okyrhoe, the daughter of Chiron and Chariklo, herself a kind of prophetess and seer, and another centaur (a Saturn-crosser), Thereus, which has a lot to do with bears. They are making a grand-cross, made mostly of very slow movers. It’s taken a while to form; and now, with the addition of Venus and Jupiter, it’s all there.
But bears? Chiron pioneer Zane Stein writes of Thereus, “Bears are seen as symbols of the warrior. Many tribal hunters cloaked themselves in bearskins in hopes that it would give them the ability and courage of the great hunter who once lived within the skin. Later on, you can find tales of quite a few Catholic saints who tamed wild bears and got them to do their bidding.”
OK, so what if we let the fertility goddess be who she is, and stop making the bears dance around for us, or conceal our intentions? What if we take this opportunity to claim some positive notion of sexuality? Currently I am hosting a discussion on Facebook on the theme of what do you consider appropriate sexual conduct? Most people have strong opinions about what is wrong, and less strong opinions about what might be right.
We’re trying to have this conversation in a time when the sexual dialog, outside of a scandal, is next to nonexistent. Most people are absolutely not conversant in even the most basic rudiments of sex — such as negotiating pregnancy prevention or safer sex choices. We’re trying to have this discussion when exceedingly few people have a clear yes and a clear no, and where consent to engage in sex is rarely ever given even under seemingly ideal circumstances. Most sex happens drunk, even among the supposedly “mature” and well-heeled.
We need some new possibilities. For example, the potential for hearing someone’s expression of desire simply as a reflection of their own self, without you feeling any sense of obligation to meet it or take it on. We need affirmation of a person’s value beyond their perceived “sexual worth.” We need to understand that a person seeing someone else as sexually attractive does not mean that’s all they see. It’s not necessarily an insult.
In the midst of this all, Juno — the asteroid of jilted marriage partners (Juno is the wife of Jupiter), and of jealousy, scorekeeping and what Martha Lang-Wescott describes as “the bone of contention” in relationships — is conjunct Pluto. Whatever touches Pluto is transformed.
That sounds like an evolutionary step for marriage itself, or at least it points to something about relationships operating in the background. The “institution of marriage” is certainly no longer much of an institute, but it has a lot of problems, most of them the gift of (again) the Christian movement. We forget that marriage is mainly a property right where women are claimed as chattel by men.
How about this in interpretation of Juno conjunct Pluto: evolve your relationship parameters. Update your relationship agendas. Double-check that your relationship ‘needs’ are not really ‘wants’, and vice versa — and see how shifting your wording shifts your perceptions and expectations in a relationship.
For sure, it looks like this astrology is saying we can go a lot deeper than we have in unearthing what’s gotten stuck in our relationship paradigms.
A lot has gotten toxic in that realm. We need to let it die out, flush it out (per Scorpio and Pluto), and hold space for something better to evolve.
Today out of the blue, I (Eric) received this message from an old lover: “I’m ruining all the relationships I get in because of jealousy and control issues I have. I know the source (I’m pretty sure) is because I have a tendency to ‘cheat’, so I think everyone else does too; and because my child’s dad was lying about a woman my whole pregnancy until he was 18 months, I was constantly in detective mode/fear/anxiety that I can’t stop the pattern or move past the thinking. Ideas? Also been depressed and angry and slightly violent. This is all uncharacteristic of who I know I truly am — and I feel stuck in it and don’t know how to move past it and back to good.”
This is what taking an evolutionary step looks like.
Some people are still in the space of needing to claim their victimhood and understand that the trauma they experienced is not “their fault.” That’s OK. Other people are in or moving into the place where they can own their healing and invest in it and hold space for others to heal from the same kind of pain. And that’s great.
Yet still others are moving into a place where they’ve gone through those processes and can now hold space for perpetrators and their pain. And that’s also necessary — but it does not make those people superior to the ones who are only now claiming their voices as victims; and it does not make them superior to the ones who have worked on healing and are focused on naming names and supporting other victims.
And the victims and the advocates are not “superior” to, or more aware than, the people who can say, “That perpetrator is also suffering pain and everyone needs healing.”
It’s an uncomfortable continuum to stretch out across, for anyone who’s at one of the extremes. We have to go beyond empathy for a perpetrator being seen as an endorsement; it’s not.
As for that positive model of sexual expression, do you know what works for you? What makes sex worthwhile for you? Can you articulate it? Can you ask for what you want, and can you even describe it? And while society is busy casting stones, have you assessed your own conduct? Do you feel that you’ve always been perfectly appropriate at all times?
Being able to say these things to yourself, or out loud, is one of the first necessary steps to get out of the victim-perpetrator framework. We have a chance now to shift the conversation. We are in a rare teaching and learning moment. We may yet do it. The odds are stacked against that possibility. People tend to revert to familiar patterns, even when they hate them. But really, the silence around desire, sex and sexual misconduct has gone too far; it’s created a sexual famine for many people.
It’s about time that ended and something new began.