Photo by Amanda Painter

All’s Fair? Try Love, Not War.

Saturday is Valentine’s Day — a commercial holiday that either makes you giddy or fills you with dread if you buy into the hype, or leaves you completely nonplussed if you do not. Some fitting astrology is in the works this weekend, though you’ll have to choose for yourself how you use it.

Photo by Amanda Painter.

True love: my garden’s last heirloom tomato this summer. Photo by Amanda Painter.

On one level, it can be summed up as: all’s fair in love and war — until that point when things have gone too far. And then it’s not.

In other words, this weekend’s astrology is giving you an opportunity to question the old maxim. After all, it’s pretty cynical to equate love and war, even in the saying’s original 1579 form: “the rules of fair play do not apply in love and war” (from John Lyly’s novel Euphues: The Anatomy of Wit). Just a little something to ponder.

Astrologically, there are three main aspects contributing to this theme. Let’s take them one by one. Each aspect has positive constructive potential, and ways it might be challenging.

1. Mars in Pisces is square the centaur planet Pholus in Sagittarius. On the one hand, this could feel like it’s time to pop the cork on passion — to “Just do it,” push past any inhibitions and really go for what gets you hot and wet (or fired up).

The caveat: don’t let moodiness be a wet blanket if your expectations are not met (Mars in Pisces can get a little pouty). Expectations, whether positive or negative, can set you up for a big fall even on a normal day. With Valentine’s Day, that potential increases.

If passion veers toward aggression, you know you’re on the verge of running out of control. After all, the word “passion” has as its root the Latin for “suffering.” Pay attention to which genie you let out of the bottle.

2. Venus in Pisces is square the trans-Neptunian object Ixion in Sagittarius (exact Sunday). This puts the planet of love, receptivity and values (Venus) in a sign where she positively glows, but at odds with an object whose key phrase is “anyone is capable of anything” (Ixion).

Translation: Just how many times can you transgress against your own values before you can no longer absorb the consequences? Alternately, if “anyone is capable of anything,” can you allow yourself to be capable of universal love — especially self-love?

3. Pluto is conjunct Ceres in Capricorn (exact Sunday). You might recall that Pluto swiped Ceres’ daughter Persephone to be his bride in the underworld; heartbroken Ceres put the Earth into perpetual winter until a deal was brokered to let Persephone live with her half the year.

Consider for a moment that “marriage by capture” was once practiced in various cultures, with the groomsmen employed to assist in taking the bride. Thankfully, that tradition has fallen out of favor. But what other traditional modes of wooing or negotiation are ready for revamping?

Yes, chocolates are tasty (and an improvement over abduction or ultimatums). Yet structures and traditions are changing all around you, thanks to Pluto in Capricorn; Ceres merging with Pluto suggests that what truly feeds you is changing, too.

Given Ceres’ powerful influence, it’s worth asking whether an internalized version of your mother is dictating your intimate relationships in some way. Don’t wait for Prince (or Princess) Charming or the Lord of the Underworld to tear you away from what’s outdated so you can get lusty. They can’t actually do it for you.

That said, have you learned from your own mother (or other maternal role model) how to genuinely nurture and nourish? If so, it doesn’t matter if the weather forecast is for more snow — the power of spring lies within you.

20 thoughts on “All’s Fair? Try Love, Not War.

  1. abc123

    I have decided to take ownership of Valentine’s Day for myself this year, and even brought home flowers, chocolate and other treats a week early just to enjoy them as the day approaches.

    Please, please, everyone, consider buying fair trade chocolate this year. If you don’t know why, a few quick searches on Google will give you the answer.

    And if anyone needs help learning or re-learning how to nurture and nourish one’s self, there is almost no better guide than Mama Gena. (Again, Google if you are not familiar.)

  2. Hugging Scorpio

    Thanks Amanda! Good points. I can’t stand Valentines Day. It’s gross on the consumeristic level. But I am in a relationship with someone so I need to balance my views with what she might like to share. I suggested cooking together instead of a restaurant since we’re both amazing cooks. So, I look forward to doing some shopping together and cooking up a beautiful meal. There might be a rose involved but I can’t confirm that at this time…….. 😉

  3. Amanda Painter Post author

    Hugging, abc and Lizzy – thank you, and yes!

    I am all about reclaiming holidays like Valentine’s Day and reinventing them in ways that truly mean something to each individual. Amusingly, some of my favorite Valentine’s Days were the couple in college when I was single: I made it my mission to make simple little Valentine’s with some of my favorite quotes about love, and then run around campus hand-delivering them to my friends. Sometimes I really miss the in-person proximity of community in that setting for reasons like that. Yes, I can reach more people via Internet, but it’s really not the same. 🙂

    abc, thanks for the reminder about fair-trade chocolate. the same could go for flowers, too — though in cold climates, it’s tough to find locally grown blooms. then again, what about a flowering plant? It will last longer (assuming a green thumb on the part of the recipient).

    Hugging: I love your solution with your sweetie. It’s one I’ve employed many times, to avoid the annoyance of trying to find a table at a “good” restaurant on “the” day. There are SO many ways to share love, but I think cooking together and sharing a meal is such a grounding, fun, constructive, sensually enjoyable way. I also note your comment about finding the *balance* between your own preferences and those of your partner’s. that, of course, is key to nourishing a love that is nurturing all year long.

  4. Hugging Scorpio

    Hey Amanda, thanks! I love your college memory and it reminded me of something I did when I was single. I wrote myself a love letter on Valentine’s Day. I wrote it as if I was my “girlfriend”. At first, I thought it was an awkward exercise that I would never admit to in public! esp as a guy… 😉 But it turned out to be a really nourishing and self-loving thing. I saw myself having the very thing I wished for and created it in my imagination as something real. Then I read the letter out loud to myself.

  5. Shelley Stearns

    I’ve always associated Valentine’s Day with warmness in relationships that have nothing to do with lovers or partners. This probably comes from being a somewhat spoiled only child. The hype is astounding, all diamond rings and sickening sweet faux chocolates, but nonetheless I like the holiday. I don’t think I would though if I were dating anyone–too much pressure! Childhood rituals are nurturing. I just realized I’ve never thanked my parents for giving me a different view of Valentine’s Day. I’m usually blaming them for all the psychological issues I have. Thanks for the reminder that “anyone is capable of anything.” I’m capable of telling my parents I appreciate them and I tend to take them for granted.

  6. Amanda Painter Post author

    Shelly — thank you for chiming in with your insight that, ” I’m capable of telling my parents I appreciate them and I tend to take them for granted.”

    I was not an only child, but I too had parents who celebrated Valentine’s day with me and my brother in small, sweet ways: a card; maybe a chocolate heart or some small token of affection (one year, it was a small frog figurine for me, and a turtle for my brother — picked out by our father). It might be one of the reasons why my college Valentine delivery made so much sense to me: the holiday did not need to be hyper-focused on major romantic conventions to be open to meaning-making with other flavors of love.

    As one of my favorite quotes says:

    “There is only one kind of love, but there are a thousand different versions.” — La Rochefoucauld

    And another from Euripides: “Love is all we have, the only way that each can help the other.”

  7. Len Wallick

    Amanda: Thank you for a comprehensive and deeply insightful prescriptive approach to the astrology accompanying Valentines Day. The chocolate will have to wait, but your guidance will get me through. And yes, that is some kinda’ tomato.

  8. Nicolas Salinas

    I’ve never really paid much attention to Valentine’s day, if at all. Also, it has been common for me to spend it single for different reasons and if I have not been single I have no memories about this day, which doesn’t speak very well of me I seem to hint while writing this but I’m justified in that maybe nothing extraordinary has happened because I do remember many special moments on common days. I get what you say Amanda, what you did gifting Valentine’s, something similar used to happen when I was a boy in school, not by my hand but I received Valentine’s and they’re the most important memory I have of this celebration. I live in Chile and that was in the States, here now they do celebrate it, but during my upbringing here it was almost unnoticeable for me. Days like Valentine’s and Halloween have been “entering” slowly in my country, mainly because of commercial entities, like supermarkets, restaurants, shopping malls and so on, so for people being single or not doing something outstanding it doesn’t weigh as heavy as being alone on Christmas, imo, even though I may be saying something obvious but still. Well anyway, hope you ” really go for what gets you hot and wet (or fired up)” haha lol, love it when you write like that.

    “I have not lain with beauty all my life
    and lied with it as well
    telling over to myself
    how beauty never dies
    but lies apart
    among the aborigines
    of art
    and far above the battlefields of love”
    A Coney Island of the mind, Lawrence Ferlinghetti

    🙂 <3 Happy Valentine's! Enjoy and have fun 🙂

    1. Amanda Painter Post author

      Hi Nicholas — interesting to hear that the retail industry is bringing Halloween and Valentine’s Day into Chile. I hope those efforts do not uproot or overshadow Chile’s preexisting holidays and native traditions. I love learning about holidays from other cultures, and it can be fun to observe them; I just get a little concerned about what seems to be the homogenization of culture that the Internet and global trade, etc, seems to be causing.

      In any case, thank you for chiming in with your memories!

      1. Nicolas Salinas

        Thanks for your sweet reply. Yes, these celebrations have migrated somehow here because of sales but there are people who really see the good side to it, like kids having fun on Halloween, although it is common for people to realize it’s kind of for money here so they don’t take them that seriously. The main holidays here I would dare say are Christian festivities, like Easter, Christmas, some Saints’ days and well Independence day, which goes on for almost a week in a very special kind of “get wasted” way, haha, although I cannot disrespect the true values of what is done and celebrated. The holidays here mostly don’t overlap with other imported ones, although they do sometimes like after Halloween it’s the Day of the Dead and then All Saints Day, succesively, those are taken more seriously but no big deal, it’s kind of normal unlike in Mexico. It is also common for people to appreciate holidays or festivities more for the “free” days off, they travel, rest and have fun. Also, there are particular traditional holidays in some special places where Spanish, Christian and Native American beliefs have merged in really cool ways. Well, that’s just a brief intro, hope you visit someday and enjoy seeing them yourself one day.

  9. Lizzy

    Amanda, Shelley, am going up north this weekend, to stay with my dear friend and her son (who lost their husband/father last October), and will be putting a delicious chocolate heart on each of their breakfast plates tomorrow morning, as an ironic, but affectionate nod to Valentine’s day.

    Thank you for the beautiful poem, Nicolas.

  10. Jaimie

    Thanks for this helpful piece of guidance, Amanda. Ixion’s force scares me, and it’s nice to have an idea of how to work with that energy.

    Also, as an alternative to traditional Valentine’s Day hoopla (I just don’t get down with commercial holidays, even if love is invoked to sell them), I offer your readers the following idea, which I’ve excerpted from the site (a site holding the writing of a most excellent “dream-drenched, tea-swilling leftist punk pagan bard.” His name’s Rhyd Wildermuth. And he is a gifted writer who is opening a new space for Aquarian ideals and action with his word-weaving.)

    “I was kinda thinking that it’d be brutally awesome if lots of people were to feed their local corvids on Valentine’s Day.

    ‘Intention,’ I’ve noted, is a little overrated in Paganism. It gives us the illusion that our wills are somehow supreme and other things must obey us, including, say, crows and ravens. Or gods. Or children. None of that really works as much as we like to think.

    So–if you were thinking it might be cool to help some tea-swilling punk druid writer guy by feeding crows on Valentine’s Day, you don’t gotta go do it with ‘intention’ or spells or rituals or anything. Mostly, just throw some unsalted peanuts within sight of some black-winged friends. You can say ‘hello’ to them if you like. They like that, I think.

    You might not have noticed any corvids in your neighborhood. They’re probably around (they’re around most places). If you’re game, it’s a good idea to start looking around your neighborhood to find ‘em. If you don’t normally do that sort of thing, you might be kinda awed to see how many birds there are around you, even in the winter.

    And then buy a bag of unsalted peanuts. They gotta be unsalted. Also, awesome if they’re still in the shell (it makes it easier for them to hoard them safely in danger rather than eating ‘em all at once). Why peanuts? Well, they like them. Also, it’s a legume native to the Americas. And legumes are associated with the dead in all sorts of places.

    If you’re not in the Americas, I’m not sure what to recommend, but there’s probably a suitable native-ish bean in your area they’d like?

    So, yeah. You in?”


    The kid in me loves this, and I just left my first offering for my corvid friends. They’re preparing to lay eggs, and I love supporting the strengthening and continuation of their life force.

    1. Amanda Painter Post author

      Jaimie — i’m not 100% sure, but i *think* Rhyd might be my brother’s old friend from college. it’s been more than 20 years since i’ve seen him, so i’m not sure — but i do know he changed his first name at one point. i’ll have to send my brother the link and see if he recognizes him.

      as for Ixion, as with any other intimidating astrological body, it’s all about *awareness* : raising it, and then the choices you make with that awareness. Ixion is not technically a centaur, but i think you can use its energy similarly: to see what it brings up for you, see if it highlights any past choices you are not especially proud of, and then choose differently this time.

      1. Jaimie

        That would be wild if Rhyd were your brother’s old college friend! I’m floored by the possibility.

        Ixion. Yes, bringing awareness to what it brings up, and working differently with it by making different choices from those made in the past. Spot on advice, and it helped me to navigate a tricky weekend where I could have escalated a problematic upstairs neighbor situation and didn’t. I let myself sink into the trigger and instead chose to be with it and let it dissolve within me instead. The situation resolved without me going all pointy tail on anyone. I am learning to meet rude, hostile, and disrespectful behavior with a greater integrity and power than I have before. So much learning.

        1. Amanda Painter Post author

          Jaimie — so glad to know that the foreknowledge about Ixion was useful to you! I myself had a success or two and one definite “miss” with my own Ixion-related situations. Ah well — such is life, no? Sometimes the mistakes are more instructional… and sometimes we apparently really do need to be instructed more than once. That whole “life is a spiral” thing, right?

          And yes, I sent my brother the link and he confirmed that Rhyd is his old friend. Thank you for that “It’s a small world after all” smile!

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