In the midst of what many have felt to be a grim time, marked by hard astrological weather, February brings two bright rays: a Venus-Mars conjunction, which will last through April (exact conjunctions on February 16th and March 6th), and a Jupiter-Neptune conjunction (exact on April 12), which will last through the end of the year. Think of any planetary alignment as a wave, which builds as the planets come within range of one another, crests as they form an exact alignment, and ebbs as the planets separate. As long as the planets are within range, the wave swells, so do not wait for the exact date of conjunction to catch the wave. Let’s ride them well.
Venus ended her 40-day retrograde period on January 29th, as she began to form her conjunction with Mars. We call a planet “retrograde” when it appears to move backward in the sky, as Earth overtakes its orbit (like when the motion of your car makes a slower-moving car appear to move backward). Symbolically, retrograde planets introvert their energy, meaning they invite us to go within. For those on a path of inner realization, retrogrades can bring profound insights, healing, and awakening. Many people find them upsetting and disorienting. As the planet of love and values, Venus symbolizes the source of desire. It is difficult to even consider desire without assuming it to be directed outside oneself. Enjoy this brief sampling of pop lyrics:
“Just give me mo-o-o-o-oney!!! That’s what I want”.– Barrett Strong
“I wanna be your… lover.” — Prince
“I want your love, I want… your love.”– Chic
“I’ve got hungry eyes.”– Eric Carmen
Coming out of Venus retrograde, take some time to reflect: how have themes of love, pleasure, money, creativity, and beauty shown up for you over the last month? If you are on the path of inner realization, what insights have you had about yourself, your values, and your attitude towards others? This Venus retrograde was strongly tinged by Venus’ conjunction to Pluto, the planet of death, power, and regeneration. Like the Shakti goddess Kali, Pluto nurtures through destruction. Have you managed to burn away some of the painful distortions that keep you from accepting and expressing love? From living joyfully? That enforce your sense of separation from life? Have you seen the ways love power can distort, and have you managed to find a pure source of love and power within yourself? As the month progresses, Venus will conjoin Pluto once again, as she did at the beginning of her retrograde, giving you the opportunity to “go there” and clean up whatever loose ends remain.
With the Venus-Mars conjunction forming, we have the opportunity to connect with life at its passionate core. In everyday terms, these planets combine pleasure and action, beauty and passion, harmony and physicality, love and aggression, peace and strength. One expression of Venus-Mars I’ve encountered lately is “fierce love”. Can you be loving and compassionate without being a pushover? Can you stand up and fight, running on the clean fuel of love and not the dirty fuel of rage?
Venus and Mars love to dance and get it on– literally. In Greco-Roman myth, Venus’ husband Vulcan caught them in bed together. Plenty of singer-dancers are born under Venus-Mars alignments, and this energy appears in their lyrics as well as their move. Marvin Gaye, born with Venus-Mars aligned to healing asteroid Chiron sings of “sexual healing”. Bruno Mars (note the name) sings, “I’d catch a grenade for you”. Michael Jackson sings “don’t stop till you get enough”.
Esoterically, Venus-Mars invites you to savor the flavor of existence, not from compulsion, but from the conscious yearning to reconnect with source. In tantric terms, this alignment helps you savor the pleasures of life, like food, wine, sex, and music in such a way as to pierce ordinary reality and convert the power pleasure into awakened consciousness.
Imagine for a moment that everything that happens outside points the way to a deeper, inner truth. All of the booty-shaking, flamenco strumming, and Van-rocking of Venus-Mars points to a process of inner union, an alchemical coniunctio, forged through the concentrated power of divine desire and inner action. When we know how to read them, clues to inner realization are everywhere. Maybe Michael Jackson (notwithstanding his own troubled and troubling biography) affords a clue to what we are after: Ardhanareeswara, the half male/ half female embodiment of Shiva-Shakti.
Like a mantra, a musical chord, or a piece of fruit, astrological alignments have a rasa– a tasty juice. Venus-Mars’ rasa is saucy and playful… “oh behave!” It brings to mind the story of Krishna and the Gopis (… or groupies?). Sweetly playing his flute, Krishna entices the cow girls (gopis) to gather round and listen, like a guitar-slinging stud in modern times. His slightest touch sends ripples of longing through them. In his rasa dance, Krishna multiplies his form, appearing before each of the gopis, everybody dancing in a state of playful ecstasy, with music and bodies in perfect harmony. The gopis let their hair down– literally– and their clothes, too. They are aware only of Krishna’s sweet fragrance and their intense longing for him. On the inner level, the game of longing for the love of the divine, as the divine teases you, can open your heart, balancing you perfectly between heaven and earth, male and female.
The Jupiter-Neptune conjunction begins forming in February and will peak in April. It will remain active through the rest of the year, slowly ebbing. This is a beautiful, bountiful alignment, combining Jupiter’s qualities of expansion, vision, and abundance with Neptune’s qualities of transcendence, mystery, and inspiration, providing welcome relief from the more trying Saturn-Uranus and Saturn-Pluto alignments we have experienced in the COVID era.
The rasa of Jupiter-Neptune is lovely. Think tropical sunshine, swaying palms, and a calm, bathwater-warm, turquoise sea. Sea turtles glide like clouds, as you lose yourself in whale-song. These moments– and other comparably peaceful and expansive ones– seem more available under such a transit. The world seems rich, abundant, and ultimately good. It is a great time for spiritual study and/ or pilgrimage, as Jupiter relates to philosophy and travel (anything that expands one’s mind) and Neptune to higher consciousness. Meditators and inner journeyers sometimes connect with interdimensional beings under these transits, coming into communion with a larger cosmic community. One can feel higher consciousness permeating everything.
Jupiter-Neptune can supply you with plenty of inspiration and creative vision, coupling nicely with the creativity of the Venus-Mars conjunction. It invites you to dream big. Take care, however, that you do not project paradise– an inner state– onto people and things. Jupiter-Neptune is astrology’s way of saying “rose-colored glasses”. Jupiter can kindle Pollyanna optimism, as well as ambition and greed, while Neptune can cloud your vision with fantasies. Delusional inflation is not as fun as it sounds. Dreams and fantasies are beautiful when taken on their own terms, enticing you to higher awareness– not so much when wholeheartedly believed by the ego.
So, what does paradise mean to you? How might you create paradise here and now? How might you become paradise? Generally speaking, if you have a solid grounding in this world, along with a strong inner observer, the more you let your inner life blossom, the more magical your outer life becomes. If you find your inner Eden and tune to its vibration, some of its magic will rub off on the world around you.
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