If you’re just finding this now, you might want to begin this thread at the beginning.
On July 31st, 2015, Venus retrograded from Virgo into 29º Leo. At the same time, Saturn is retrograde in Scorpio, also retrograde, and the two square each other. This is apt symbolism for continuing the story of Rapunzel, the maiden (Venus) in the tower (Saturn—restriction, constriction, isolation, ). Arriving in Leo, Venus is defiant. “I am remembering who I am!” she declares. This section of the tale is about her meeting the one who will release her—in the Grimm’s tale, it’s the prince, and in the Disney version, it’s Flynn, the thief. Either way, for her to entertain him is an act of defiance and subversion. This girl just wants to have some fun for once!
Leo, creativity and self-discovery
Even the synopsis of the Disney film on IMDB emphasizes the self-discovery aspect of the tale: “The magically long-haired Rapunzel has spent her entire life in a tower, but now that a runaway thief has stumbled upon her, she is about to discover the world for the first time, and who she really is.”
In Tangled, Rapunzel is extremely creative with her time, which is very Leo of her. She paints, cooks, makes pottery, and literally swings from the ceiling by her hair. She covers every wall and ceiling with beautiful drawings and reads all the books she possesses over and over again (after all, there are only 3 of them). She even plays chess. In the Grimm’s tale the prince is drawn to her by hearing her sing—another creative act. Rapunzel is bursting with self-development.
The symbolism of golden hair
Hair is lush, sensual and a means for expression. Leo, being the Lion, is always aware of the mane. Her long hair, always blonde, (this is a German tale after all) is a symbol of lushness and golden beauty. Like gold, she is coveted, first by her parents, then by Mother Gothel, then by the Prince/Flynn.
In the Disney tale her hair is coveted for its healing powers. At the end, Flynn is willing to die rather than exploit the healing hair one more time—even though Rapunzel is willing to sacrifice her newfound freedom to save him. This is his growth in the story, which he begins as a thief, coveting a tiara he had stolen from the palace. He learns to value love over money. Mother Gothel, who covets the hair for its ability to restore her youth, receives the ultimate lesson—and dies of it.
Read the next post: Love and Rebellion.
“This is what I’ve been trying to tell you all along.
Don’t call me an ice dwarf.
I know I’m short, but really, do you have to make a guy feel so small?
You’ve demoted me from planet-status, isn’t that enough?
I have a heart.
I wear it on my sleeve.
I’m as transparent as I know how to be.
(I know that isn’t all that transparent, but it’s the best I can do,
because I’m as much a mystery to myself as I am to you.)
Yes, in my world things are black and white,
But my heart is pure as snow.
Now that you’ve seen it, do you believe me?
I have a heart, dammit!
I belong in this solar system.
I’m far from the sun and it gets cold out here, on the edge of things.
The edge has always been where you’ll find me.
I hold the darkness at bay.
Have a little compassion for me.
I do love you, from way over here.”
If you’re just finding this now, you might want to begin this thread at the beginning.
Life in the Tower
This Venus retrograde period begins in Virgo and then Venus retrogrades back into Leo (on July 31). A maiden imprisoned in a tower is an apt metaphor for this. Rapunzel begins her life with some very Virgo restrictions and when she arrives at adolescence, a Leo-style crisis hits because the tower can no longer contain her.
The budding of sexuality and expression in the second quadrant of the zodiac
The zodiac is a human development cycle. The first quadrant takes us through early childhood, while the second quadrant carries us from there to adulthood. This second quadrant contains houses that have to do with self development and learning who we are. Leo and Virgo appear here, along with Cancer. Cancer represents our relationship to family and heritage, the context we come from. It’s where we learn to nurture ourselves. It also represents the hormonal and emotional changes of adolescence. Cancer is followed by Leo, the symbolic teen years, a time of self-expression. In Leo we come to know who we are through creativity, performance and audience response. Here we develop self-confidence. Then comes Virgo, the threshold of young adulthood, a time of shaping and perfecting oneself. Here we develop integrity and restraint. Here we prepare to meet the Beloved in Libra, sign of partnership and love. After we learn who we are, we are then ready to link with a partner and fully merge with them (in Scorpio).
Rapunzel’s part of the story begins in Virgo. She is a maiden, a virgin, inexperienced and innocent, untouched and isolated in her tower. Rapunzel doesn’t know she’s a princess or that she’s beautiful. Her life is a Virgo one of restraint, humbleness and modesty.
Venus retrogrades into Leo, sign of creativity and fun
This Venus retrograde period begins so extremely early in Virgo that Venus quickly retrogrades back into Leo. Virgo is of course the sign associated with virginity while Leo is associated with love affairs and sex for pleasure. What could this mean?
A Venus retrograde period takes our relationships backward before they can go forward. It is a time of retrospection and introspection. Rapunzel has been limited to a Virgo life before she had had any fun. How can she prepare to meet the Beloved if she doesn’t know who she is? Before Rapunzel can become a true partner (in Libra), she needs to become an independent young adult (Virgo) and before that she needs to really play and to discover herself (Leo). So back into Leo Venus goes, to discover fun, creativity and playfulness.
What is rampion?
While researching this story I discovered a page that tells the whole story of Rapunzel with helpful annotations. There I found this quote, with some interesting biological facts about the rampion plant that Rapunzel is named for. Rampion is an autogamous plant. This means that if it is not fertilized with the help of insects, it can split a column within the plant to fertilize itself. The split column will “curl like braids or coils on a maiden’s head, and this will bring the female stigmatic tissue into contact with the male pollen on the exterior surface of the column.” How cool is that?
A beautiful maiden in a tower in a fairy tale is an invitation for adventure to happen, just as virginity is an invitation for sexuality to happen. Nature dictates that budding sexuality be discovered, and very soon, that is exactly what happens. And what fairy tale would be complete without the arrival of the prince?
What is Venus Retrograde?
Venus turns retrograde (or backwards) for about 6 weeks every year and a half. When she does, she pulls us into an inward journey, an exploration of the deeper mysteries of love. Relationships reach a crisis point at which clarity can come, followed by a deepening of intimacy or possibly an end to the relationship. Each Venus retrograde period is an opportunity to learn a new set of teachings about love and apply them to your own relationships (including close friendships).
Venus Retrograde 2015: Virgo and Leo
This year Venus begins her retrograde journey in 0º Virgo and travels backwards into Leo. I’ve decided on the story of Rapunzel as an apt metaphor for this journey: a tale of an adolescent girl who has lived in a tower all her life, and just wants to get out and have some fun. At certain junctures of Venus’ journey I’ll be posting articles about Rapunzel to illuminate the meaning of this transit. Stories evolve in the telling and this story is hundreds of years old, so along the way, I’ll compare various versions and interpretations of the tale that may add their own particular meanings, from the Brothers Grimm to Disney.
The Story of Rapunzel
There once was a girl who had lived her whole life in a tower, isolated from the world. Ah, but I begin too late. . . I must start at the beginning. This story really begins with a pregnancy, so we can understand why Rapunzel was in a tower and how she got her name.
Once upon a time. . .
There lived a man and his wife who lacked a child and were unhappy. They lived near to a witch who kept a garden behind her wall. The wife craved rampion (a leafy green vegetable) and asked her husband to take some from the witch’s garden as she felt she would die if she didn’t have it. The husband did so and was caught. The witch demanded his first-born child for his thievery, predicting that his wife would soon bear. When the child was born, the witch took her away, naming the girl Rapunzel, after the rampion her mother had craved. She hid the child in a tower, isolated from the world.
What does it mean?
Rapunzel is the product of a craving, which can be interpreted two ways: one is that, because a pregnant woman needs nutrition, her cravings are taken seriously by her husband, who risks all to feed her what she wants. This is therefore a story about appetites and their cost. The other possible interpretation stems from the fact that, in some versions of the story, the mother craves parsley, a known abortifacient. Perhaps the mother doesn’t really want a child and just wants to have sex without conceiving and therefore she is made to pay for her “sin” by losing her child. In either interpretation, the mother is subject to cravings, longings, desires that the husband is bound to fulfill and that cost them their child. Rapunzel is a product of longing and the name given her by the witch is ironic.
Mother Gothel, and the feminine craving for youth and beauty
The witch herself is a character full of meaning. In some versions she is a witch or a sorceress, in some a simple herbalist. In some she lures the husband to steal the rampion so she can claim the child. But in none of the older versions (Grimm’s German version or the Italian or French versions) is it explained why the old woman would want to take a child and raise it. The Disney version handles this by giving her a uniquely modern motivation.
(Warning: Disney movie “Tangled” spoilers are peppered throughout this article series!)
Disney begins the story with a magical flower that an aging woman finds. The flower keeps the woman young and beautiful and she conceals it under a basket, keeping it only for herself and singing a song to evoke the magical healing properties of the flower. She does this for hundreds of years. Then one day, the queen of the land, who is pregnant, grows deathly ill. She needs to get well, and fast. The king, hearing of the flower, sends his soldiers to take the flower and it is harvested and used to heal the queen, who safely bears a daughter. The magical healing qualities of the flower have come out in the baby’s hair, which is golden. The old woman, who is called Mother Gothel in the Disney version (and Dame Gothel in Grimm’s), appears and steals the child away. Mother Gothel knows that if Rapunzel’s hair is cut, even once, it will lose its magic. She hides the child in a tower which Rapunzel is never allowed to leave. Mother Gothel renews her youthful appearance and health each time Rapunzel sings a song that works the magic.
Rapunzel grows up believing Mother Gothel is her mother and knows nothing of her loving and distraught royal parents. Each year, they celebrate their beloved child (and grieve her loss) by sending lanterns into the sky. Each year, Rapunzel sees the beautiful lanterns and is drawn to them, but doesn’t have any idea they are for her. Rapunzel is the archetypal lost princess, with no idea that she is beautiful, magical and lost. She has all the power of primal innocence and Mother Gothel’s purpose is to entrap and exploit it, as a natural resource. Mother Gothel is the “bad mother” figure that appears in so many fairy tales and their Disney versions.
Distorted mother love and the Moon in Scorpio
The Disney version interests me because of the complex dynamics between Rapunzel and Mother Gothel. It’s especially interesting because this year’s Venus Retrograde period begins while the Moon is in Scorpio, a position associated with mothers who can be overprotective, manipulative or controlling.
Mother Gothel is the only mother Rapunzel has ever known. She pretends to love the child but really wants only to control and contain her and have access to her magic hair. “Mother knows best,” she sings, in a litany of things in the outside world that Rapunzel should be afraid of, justifying her imprisonment in the tower. Gothel’s every move in the course of the story is in defense of her access to the hair, a symbol of lushness and sexual beauty. She “protects” Rapunzel by keeping her in the tower, securing the girl’s obedience by pretending to be a loving mother. But as Rapunzel grows up, the tower will no longer contain her. Mother Gothel’s exploitation of this natural resource will come to an end.
Adolescence and the budding of sexuality
Rapunzel is conceived as a transgression (the husband has to climb a wall to get the rampion, which is protected/imprisoned behind it) and then is hidden in a tower, where she cannot transgress. But as the story moves on, she does transgress. This is the nature of adolescence: it is a time of desires and transgression. More in the next post.
And more about Venus Retrograde here.
Saturn in your chart points down a career path that can satisfy you and bring you success.
Knowing your Saturn sign orients you, motivates you and gets you unstuck.
Do you have Saturn in Leo in your astrology chart?
If you do, then you need August’s free teleclass from Pandora Astrology.
How to find out more:
The infographic above can only hint at the deeper understanding of Saturn in Leo that astrology has to offer. To find out more, get this teleclass call recording: The Great Work of Leo.
In it, you’ll discover:
- What’s behind Saturn in Leo’s greatest fear—and crowning achievement
- More about apt career directions for you if you have Saturn in Leo
- Leo’s Mission Orders—and how fulfilling on them can bring success and satisfaction
The Great Work of Leo is an MP3 recording lasting approximately 45 minutes and costing $9.97.
To get the recording, use this webform (the same one used for signing up for the teleclasses as they happen) for a fast and easy MP3 download. May it speed your success!
You have Saturn in Leo if you were born in these dates:
- 8/2/1946 to 9/18/1948
- 4/3/1949 to 5/29/1949
- 9/16/1975 to 1/14/1976
- 6/5/1976 to 11/16/1977
- 1/4/1978 to 7/26/1978
- 7/16/2005 to 9/2/2007
If you don’t have Saturn in Cancer, you can find out where YOU have Saturn here.