If you have just found this blogpost thread, I strongly suggest you go back to the beginning of it before reading further.

Venus Retrograde is over (at least for now—she will go retrograde again in March of 2017). We are past the peak in our story: the princess has been discovered, the witch vanquished, the hard choice made. What is left to tell? A milestone occurs when Venus, now direct, passes through the same point where she turned retrograde in the first place. That happens on October 9, 2015. On this day Venus (now direct and no longer retrograde) passes back through 0º Virgo, the point where she began the journey.

I have names for various points in the Venus Retrograde cycle (see diagram here) and I have dubbed this one “Relationship Resolution Day.” It’s an opportunity to return to where you started and to apprehend this place with all the wisdom of the retrograde journey in your pocket. What metaphors can we find in the story of Rapunzel?

A grim ending for a Grimm tale
In the Grimm’s version, after being blinded and wandering for years, the Prince rediscovers Rapunzel by hearing her sing (there’s that Leo creativity and expression again) and they are reunited. She has been raising their children. Overjoyed, she cries and her tears fall on his eyes. The blindness is healed. They can now be together.

Old-fashioned tales are bound by old-fashioned perspectives. This “you can be happy only after you have endured pain and punishment” moral framework is reminiscent of Jane Eyre, a middle-class character who could only marry her upper-class love after both have paid a terrible price involving death, a fire and the revelation of a horrifying secret. But the modern reader wonders why it all mattered so much?

A modern Disney ending
Disney, targeting its tales firmly at an audience of children and their parents, needs to keep it all very G-rated. The pregnancy theme? Out. The sad ending with the blinded prince? Out. Instead we have the magic hair, a charismatic bad boy hero and an indomitable lost princess trying to discover herself. Oddly, by removing some of the themes, Disney has arrived at the heart of the story, which is also the part that interests modern children (and the inner child of modern adults) the most. And this is the part of the story that makes me cry. Every. Damn. Time.

Rapunzel’s epiphany comes when she has returned to the tower and surrendered herself to Mother Gothel, ostensibly forever. But she has with her a bit of flag that she brought home from her adventures. It has the crest of the royal family on it—a sunburst (and there’s nothing more Leonine than a sunburst). Seeing this symbol in the context of the tower makes her look all around her and suddenly realize that she’s been drawing and painting this exact shape all her life. She’s surrounded by sunbursts—in the positive and in the negative space of every image she’s created. Venus retrograde’s discovery, upon returning to Leo from Virgo, is that she has herself already—that she always knew who she really was, deep down inside. This triggers for Rapunzel the realization that SHE is the princess who was stolen as a baby, that the lanterns are expressly for her and always were. This is a Venus moment of understanding that one’s value is absolute and that her parents never stopped loving or wanting her.

This is a huge shift away from most world cultures’ traditional devaluation of the female or of using a daughter as a bargaining chip or a resource to be exploited. The epiphany is also a consummately Venus moment in that she discovers that she has value, has worth, that is inherent, and that it is up to her to ensure that it is used well in the world, and not exploited.

Lost. . .  and found
United with Flynn, Rapunzel leaves the tower and returns to her family, the king and queen of the land. In a moment both subtle and tender, they recognize and welcome her with open hearts. This is a reaffirmation of their perpetual love for her and the hope that she would be found.

This is a story for anyone who has ever lost herself and then found herself, for anyone who has lost a child, for anyone who fears that her mother didn’t really love her. It’s a story affirming that a girl can grow up, pass through adolescence, discover herself and her own desires and be loved by her parents despite the rebellion needed to break away from their safe grasp. It is a story for everyone who longs to be a wanted child.

Begin this article series here.
Read more about Venus Retrograde here.

Wikipedia page about Rapunzel
A fun and modernized retelling of Rapunzel, in graphic novel format
Grimm’s Fairy Tales on Wikipedia
The Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang as a free download on amazon.com
Tangled on IMDB
An annotated Rapunzel
Grimm’s original tale for purchase on amazon.com
Terri Windling’s Rapunzel page compares several versions of the tale, is annotated and is loaded with insights

We return to our story at a peak dramatic moment: In the Disney version of the tale, Rapunzel wants to heal Flynn, but Flynn refuses to allow her to promise her life away so that Mother Gothel will allow him to be healed. He would rather die than leave her in her tower. She would rather be imprisoned forever and lose him, than he lose his life. It is an impossible dilemma.

Flynn solves the problem by making Rapunzel’s decision for her—and in doing so, he demonstrates that he loves her more than he loves his own life.  Considering that he is an orphan and a thief with a made-up life and a false identity, who likely has never bonded to anyone before now, this shows that he is a changed man. Using a shard of glass that he picked up in the battle with Mother Gothel, he cuts Rapunzel’s hair—the ultimate sacrifice, because she cannot heal him without it. In doing so, he is liberating her by making her worthless to Mother Gothel, when she wouldn’t have done that for herself. Rapunzel’s cropped hair loses its magic and turns brown. And then Flynn dies in her arms.

Here we arrive at the very nadir of hope and it’s reminiscent of the Grimm’s ending, where the prince falls on thorns, is blinded and spends the rest of his days in aimless wandering. And here Disney (which knows its audience expects a happy ending and a kiss) delivers a miracle. Rapunzel cries and a single tear falls on Flynn and that tear contains all that’s left of the hair’s magical powers. It is enough to heal Flynn and ultimately their happiness together is assured.

In the midst of all this Mother Gothel receives the punishment we expect: she falls from the tower and is no more. My perspicacious 3-year-old calls her a “bad guy mommy.” Her exploitation of Rapunzel’s hair is at an end.

I cannot imagine stating the themes of this tale better than author and folklorist Terri Windling, so I’ll quote her here:

“In the public mind (used to the Grimm’s version), Rapunzel’s tale was one intended for very young readers — with few realizing that at its root this is a story about puberty, sexual desire, and the evils of locking young women away from life and self-determination. In the children’s version, Rapunzel is just another passive princess waiting for her prince to come. In the older tales we glimpse a different story: about a girl whose life is utterly controlled by greedy, selfish, capricious adults … until she disobeys, chooses her own fate, and bursts from captivity into adult life.

Rapunzel’s story has become part of our folk tradition because its themes are universal and timeless. We’ve all hungered for things with too high a price; we’ve all felt imprisoned by another’s demands; we’ve all been carried away by love, only to end up blinded and broken; we all hope for grace at the end of our suffering, and a happy ending.”

In the next–and final–article in this series (on October 8), discover Rapunzel’s ultimate epiphany, and the takeaway from this year’s Venus Retrograde period.

Begin this article series here.
Read more about Venus Retrograde here.

On August 31, 2015, Venus conjuncts Mars, just as she’s finishing her retrograde stint. They meet at 14º Leo. Obviously, if you have anything in your chart at 14º Leo, this would hit you with some significance. It would connect strongly with your Sun if your birthday is within a week on either side of August 6, November 6, February 3 or May 4.

If you are just finding this article series now, I strongly suggest you begin at the beginning of it. (And beware of the many spoilers of the Disney movie, Tangled, in this series.)

The Cost of Fun, according to Grimm
In the Grimm’s version of Rapunzel, we have gotten to the part of the story where Rapunzel has been having an affair with her rescuer, who visits her regularly, and Rapunzel innocently asks Dame Gothel, “Why is my dress getting tight?” She is pregnant. In that tale, Gothel cuts Rapunzel’s hair and casts her out of the tower. She then ties the hair to a nail and lures the prince to climb it in his usual way, only to drop him from the tower’s height to a thorn bush where he is blinded. In some versions, this is where the story ends—badly, unromantically. The prince spends the rest of his life wandering as a blind man and thus, in a very pre-modern plot ending, Rapunzel and her prince must pay for their pleasure.

The Cost of Fun, according to Disney
In other versions, Rapunzel and the blind prince reunite years later and find happiness together. In the Disney version, the happy ending is even more pronounced (as modern and post-modern viewers expect).

Rapunzel has escaped the tower and Mother Gother pursues her (she covets the hair, remember?) and, observing that Flynn and Rapunzel are falling in love, tricks her into thinking he has abandoned her for riches. Rapunzel returns to the tower with Gothel, and to her life of submission and non-adventure. Flynn is imprisoned but escapes (with the help of the most awesome cartoon horse character I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing) and returns to the tower to rescue Rapunzel. There a beautiful, magical transformation happens, which teaches about the power of love (a favorite theme with Disney) and the evildoers are all appropriately punished while the good guys find love and happiness.

They aren’t the only ones who have to pay
While Flynn is speeding towards her, Rapunzel has the epiphany where she realizes that the lost princess the lanterns are raised for is actually. . . herself. This triggers the further epiphany that Mother Gothel isn’t her real mother. This allows Rapunzel to see the false mother love she’s been given for the cheap, gaudy thing it really is—more Leo symbolism there, as Rapunzel begins to discover substance as opposed to surface.

In the fracas, Flynn is dealt a deadly blow. Rapunzel begs Mother Gothel to allow her to heal Flynn with her hair, giving her word of honor that she will remain in the tower forever. This is a devil’s bargain: Rapunzel must choose between her life of isolation, but saving Flynn’s life, or rebelling against Mother Gothel and gaining her freedom, but allowing Flynn to die. She chooses to save his life, but he chooses her freedom. With a shard of glass, he cuts her hair, rather than allow her to save him. Both characters grow. BUT Flynn is dying. All is lost.

How can a happy ending happen?
In the next article, discover the magical healing power of love.

Begin this article series here.
Read more about Venus Retrograde here.

On August 13, 2015, Venus, still moving retrograde, conjuncts the Sun. I call this Relationship Clarity Day—a day when the purpose of the current Venus Retrograde period can become clear. During the current Venus Retrograde period, there is also a New Moon in Leo, which is in trine to Uranus in Aries. Saturn in Scorpio continues to square Venus. We continue the story of Rapunzel where we left off—she is living in her tower and is about to be discovered by … either a handsome prince or a thief, depending on which version you refer to.

(Warning: Disney movie “Tangled” spoilers are peppered throughout this article series!)

The Adventure. . .
In the Disney version, Rapunzel’s tower is invaded by a thief named Flynn, who styles himself something of a player but is easily subdued by an iron frying pan wielded by the indomitable Rapunzel. She may lack worldly experience, but she’s ready to defend herself, in true Venus-in-Leo fashion. She ties him up with her hair and makes him agree to help fulfill her one great wish, which is to see the beautiful floating lanterns close up.

The Disney version contains a number of Leonine symbols here: One, the lanterns are lights that are made of floating fire. Two, Rapunzel is taking initiative and she is royalty—a lost princess. Three, her family crest is a sunburst and it is this symbol that awakens her to her heritage. Only after leaving the tower and adventuring out into the nearby towns does she see the kingdom’s flag. Her epiphany later in the story is that she’s been drawing and painting that very shape her whole life—the tower is in fact filled with sunbursts, and this triggers in her a babyhood memory of her parents. She discovers herself—again, very Leonine.

. . . or the Affair
Grimm’s versions of all fairy tales tend to be a bit more, well, grim. They are often bloodier and more adult. Most of Grimm’s tales have been softened in the last century, for the ears of modern children. In Rapunzel, there are strong hints that Rapunzel has been having sex with her visitor and that she becomes pregnant. This is also apt symbolism for Venus in Leo, as love affairs and sex for pleasure and fun are ruled by Leo. So whichever version you go with, the message is the same. Girls just want to have fun.

In the next article, discover how Rapunzel (and her visitor) must pay for their fun.

Begin this article series here.
And read more about Venus Retrograde here.

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.

Begin this article series here.
And read more about Venus Retrograde 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?
leaf of campanula rapunculusWhile 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?

Read the next post: Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Let Down Your Hair!
And more about Venus Retrograde here.

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.

A Relationship ‘Aha!’ Moment
VenusVenus is retrograde this month, something that happens about every year and a half.  This time her backwards journey is happening in Capricorn and today she conjuncts the Sun.  In past posts I’ve called this “Relationship Epiphany Day” but now I’m dubbing it “Relationship Clarity Day.”  Relationship Clarity Day is a day of insight and clarity about your relationship.  If your relationship has been undergoing reexamination during this retrograde period (December 21, 2013 to January 31, 2014), then today negotiations are at hand, and the stakes are high.  The results can be very good:  a restoration, a renewal, even a rejuvenation of the love that was once there—if you follow Venus’ instructions.

Venus in Capricorn—what are her desires?
Venus in Capricorn thrives from shared goals.  When two partners are working together towards a long-term end, it’s like glue for their relationship.

Venus in Capricorn appreciates structure.  She likes to know what the rules are and to know that both partners are following them.  This allows her to relax and soften into the relationship.

Venus in Capricorn desires a love-bond between two autonomous entities.  Does that sound cold?  It might, because Capricorn (Cardinal Earth) is pragmatic to a fault.  But this Venus gets turned on by mutual respect.

Venus in Capricorn wants wealth, status, bling and power.  She’s got a stamp on her forehead that says, “Expensive, but worth it.”  But underneath all this she really wants what Venus always wants:  pure, passionate desire, a true bond and romantic attention.  She wants to be valued.  After all, to the Greeks, Venus Aphrodite was known as the Golden Goddess.  Naturally, she wants gold and she wants to be golden.  More about that in an upcoming post.

How To Handle It
While Venus is in Capricorn you might well ask yourself, “where do you truly place value in the relationship?  What is really important?”  Enter into negotiations about the rules of the relationship.  Plan ahead—what can you accomplish together?  And more than this—plan to work on the relationship itself, and let your partner know that they are worth their weight in gold.

Worked for, love IS gold.  Venus in Capricorn teaches that love is work and that love, when worked for, is more valuable than love that came without effort.

Begin this post-thread about 2013’s Venus Retrograde in Capricorn at the beginning: Love vs. Gold.  And watch for more posts in the next few weeks.

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Apple of DiscordThe Apple
The apple is often used in literature as a symbol of forbidden knowledge, temptation and transgression, “forbidden fruit,” and by extension a symbol of love, sexuality and indulgence.  Think of the Biblical Eve, tempted by the apples of the tree of life.  Apples are also mentioned in a sexual context in the Song of Solomon.  Examples of apple symbolism abound in Greek mythology, including the golden apples of the Garden of Hesperides (which Hercules had to fetch as one of his labors).  A poisoned apple even appears in the fairy tale of Snow White.

Venus in Capricorn
The symbol of the golden apple is apt for a blogpost about Venus in Capricorn.  Venus is the goddess of love and beauty.  All things sensual and indulgent are in her domain.  In Cardinal, Earthy Capricorn, Venus likes to be focused and on-track.  With this kind of focus, temptation doesn’t occur much, but a golden apple is the very thing that might distract her and make her “sin,” i.e. “miss the mark.”

Venus in Capricorn is acquisitive, a wealth-builder and a maker of power matches.  In Capricorn, Venus is very aware of status.  The ultimate “First Lady,” this Venus craves recognition and loves to put her ambition to good use to benefit her partner and herself.  With Venus in Capricorn on his arm, a man can climb to any heights.  To this Venus, the ultimate temptation is the Golden Apple of a wealthy partner, a rich marriage, and a life of ease where hard work is not necessary.

But is that what will truly satisfy Venus in Capricorn?

Deep down, what Venus in Capricorn really desires is a partnership with shared goals—goals for each partner and goals for the relationship.  This Venus has ambitions of her own, and putting those aside to support her partner’s career can prove just a distraction from the hard work of pursuing her own aspirations.  Venus in Capricorn needs to know that both partners are building and achieving and that they are doing it together—that’s what turns her on.  And at the end of every rainbow of achievement, this Venus hopes that deeper commitment and love are in that pot of gold.

So while Venus travels retrograde in Capricorn, we need to ask ourselves the deeper questions:  Do I love my partner or his status?  What are my goals for the relationship?  Am I tempted by worldly, materialistic bling or is my love deeper than that?  Are we building love or money–and can we somehow build both?

Atalanta by Guido ReniThe Story: Atalanta the Swift
In Greek mythology, Atalanta was not a typical female.  She was an athlete with prowess to rival (and exceed) that of many men.  She was rejected as an infant because she was a girl, and left in the woods to die.  There she was raised by bears and learned to hunt.  She was strong and swift and eventually was reclaimed by her father as if she was a boy.  He then tried to get her married (because that was just what you did with your daughter).  She couldn’t refuse, but she could make it more difficult, so she set a trial for her suitors.  Whoever could beat her in a footrace would become her husband; whoever failed, she beheaded.  There were many takers and the heads rolled.  Finally, one man (who genuinely loved her) named Hippomenes (sometimes called Melanion) had the bright idea to petition Aphrodite for a solution.  Aphrodite gave him three golden apples and told him how to use them.

The day of the race came.  Hippomenes raced Atalanta and dropped one of the apples along the way.  She, confident in her assured victory, stopped to pick it up.  Further along, he dropped another apple.  Still sure she could make up the time, Atalanta stopped to pick it up.  And then finally, Hippomenes dropped the third apple when almost at the finish—Atalanta stopped for it and thus lost the race.  She had to marry Hippomenes but fortunately was very happy with him.

What it Means:
Atalanta was a lot like a modern career woman—happy in her independence and confident in her abilities. She was going places.  She had finally gotten in good with her father.  She was on a great track and was even able to set the terms for her own marriage (unheard of in that day) and if she’d been allowed to persist, would probably have been able to evade marriage altogether.  But she was overconfident in her abilities and thought she could afford to break her stride.  And she got distracted.  By what?  A shiny golden apple.  Bling.  Temptation.

Is this a good thing?  It depends on what you want.  Atalanta chose the golden apple and ended up with love.  But she lost her independence.  Modern women don’t want to choose between love and independence and fortunately, marriage no longer makes a woman her husband’s property.  I think the deeper question here is, should relationship stop you from the pursuit of your own excellence?  And if it does, how can the relationship adjust to allow both partners to pursue their achievements, instead of turning the woman’s energy towards the man’s accomplishments?  And further still,  does pursuit of excellence have to mean being so strong that you can’t soften for your relationship?

Venus in Capricorn can be distracted by the Golden Apple of becoming a powerful man’s First Lady.  Adorning his arm, schmoozing on his behalf and managing his social calendar can look much easier than following her own ambitions.  But her own ambitions will not stop calling her until she follows them.  Find the balance, because at the end of day—or at the end of life, really—you need to know that you did what you came here to do.  And that you didn’t give it up for love, nor did you give up love to do it.

This  2-post begins here:  Love vs. Gold

December 21, 2013 to January 31, 2014

scales heart goldIf you had to choose, which would you rather: Love or Gold? Sometimes in life we are faced with that choice, but it’s not usually very obvious.

Would you pretend to like or even love somebody for their money or their earning power? How would you explain that to your conscience?

Would you pretend to love a job because it pays you more than another job that makes your heart sing? How much “team spirit” can you raise for a well-paying job you secretly hate?

And how much self-worth are you willing to give up for money, power or status?

These are heavy questions, and Venus, which has just turned retrograde in Capricorn, is asking them right now.

Venus Retrograde in Capricorn
Venus is the astrological ruler of love, attraction, magnetism and relationships, both romantic and generically social. Capricorn, a Cardinal (driven and motivated) Earth (pragmatic and worldly) sign is goal-oriented, materialistic, practical, and willing to experience less in the present so that more is available in the future. Venus in Capricorn in a natal chart signals someone who may mistake worldly symbols of affection for the real thing.  When Venus turns retrograde in the sky, she takes us on a six-week journey to discover the true meaning of love.  In Capricorn, that meaning may be tied to worldly values.

What’s your price?
In the movie Indecent Proposal, the lead female character is asked to prostitute herself for a million dollars. It’s the kind of movie plot that’s bound to lead to a let-down, because part of you wants her to say no, and value her marriage more highly than that million dollars, while part of you wants her to take the money and bring it into her marriage, with the chance of having it all. But that is fraught, because both choices bring hidden costs. Either way, whatever she decides, you-the-viewer are going to wonder, “what if she’d done the other thing?” Almost any plot-line is doomed to disappoint, because our culture doesn’t have a myth about money and love coming together naturally.

They say everyone has a price. During Venus Retrograde in Capricorn, you might well ask, “what’s yours?” Would you rather love or gold and why? And what makes you think you can be so clever as to have both. . . with no cost?

In the next few weeks. . .
While Venus is traveling retrograde in Capricorn, I’ll examine some well-known stories about the balance between love and gold, beginning in the next post with a woman who got distracted by gold—and what it cost her.


What do you think of when you think of a “soul mate?”  Perhaps that one perfect love that lasts a lifetime?  Fairy tales, such as Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty, may also quickly come to mind.  You probably conjure up an image of “love at first sight,” a feeling that emerges in an instant and engulfs you in eternal romance.  You may think of a favorite movie scene, such as the famous moment in Jerry Maguire where Jerry says to Dorothy, “you complete me.”  When you think “soul mate,” you may think of your “missing piece” or your “other half.”

I was at a wedding recently where a guest raised a glass and toasted the fact that the bride and groom “complement each other” so well.  I also heard a friend say recently that between himself and his wife, he figured “we’ve got all the bases covered.”  You may imagine there’s one perfect partner for you out there and all you need to do is find them in order to have soul-filling, heart-drenching love for the rest of your life.  Ah, if only it were that simple.

The myth of the “soul mate” could use some deconstructing here.  It’s a symbol of extreme joy that often brings extreme pain—the pain of disappointment as we discover that the partner we had elevated to a pedestal doesn’t deserve our worship but is as human and flawed as we are.  That there are cracks in that glass slipper.

This brings me to another question:  Why is it that the very things you are most attracted to in someone at first become the most irritating later on?  Those things that fascinated you and were so alluring. . . with time and familiarity can become the very things you wish your partner would stop doing.  And it becomes crazy-making for you as your partner continues doing “that thing he does” ad nauseam and you realize that it’s going to go on for the rest of your life.  What a depressing and soul-draining thought!

If you think about it, you quickly realize that relating with someone who is your complement means they are as different from you as it’s possible to be.  You handle some stuff, they handle other stuff.  You have your areas of expertise; they have theirs.  A relationship based on complementarity does carry with it the fascination of relating with someone who’s fundamentally different from you.  You get the thrill of being bowled over by their strange, foreign ways.  But sooner or later this is followed by the terror of discovering that you don’t really get them and they don’t really get you.  And then you feel alone—really alone.  And worst, you realize you have allowed someone alien to your ways inside your heart and your life and that even though they know you inside and out (or should from all the time spent with you), even so, they just don’t get you.

What then?

What do you do when you’ve finally met your soul mate and married them. . . and it goes sour?  How do you deal with the subjective reality of a soul mate that you felt and that was so… real, when contrasted with the objective reality of the failure of love to endure?

These are burning questions.  Find out the answers to them and more burning questions by getting a Lifelong Love reading. Prepare to change your soul mate perspective (and all your relationships, not just the romantic ones) and change it forever—and replace it with something much, much better.

Learn more about the soul mate myth and your chart by getting a Lifelong Love reading. 
Contact Jamie now to schedule one!

(this one’s for the ladies)

This article is dedicated to all the wonderful women in my practice (and in the world) who are looking to share heart, mind and body with a perfect partner they haven’t met yet.

In the last few years I’ve been discovering the most effective ways to use astrology to find exactly the right life partner.  Along the way I’ve been hard at work figuring out how to communicate this to the women in my practice who are searching for their partners, so their search can be easier.  This has caused many of my clients to confront something really painful.  Imagine having to ask yourself the question, “what if the way I’ve been been searching for a partner my whole life was. . .  wrong?”

If you’re like most of us, you approach relationships with an ever-growing laundry list of traits you absolutely must avoid in the next partner, a sort of “been there, done that” list.  “No more workaholics!”  “I can’t stand a smoker.”  “I don’t want to clean up after him anymore.”  And so on.  The list is useful, powerful even, because the list is you asserting yourself, right?  But the list is also reactive, based on pain from previous relationships.  You might especially congratulate yourself if you’ve learned how to be less reactive about it, if you’ve put attention on figuring out what you want by looking at what you don’t want to avoid.  Like this:  “I don’t just want to avoid dating workaholics, I want someone who can spend quality time with me, building our bond.”  That approach is already several shades better than reactive avoidance.  But what if you could just cut to the chase, pick up your own owner’s manual and know what you have always really, truly, authentically needed in a relationship?

Life is like a video game you learn by playing it.  But in a video game you get to die several times before you lose the game.  In life, you don’t get that luxury.  Every failure costs you–a lot.  Time, money, energy, hope, heartbreak.  Can’t it be simpler?  Hell yes!

If you feel that you are getting older and want to get on with partnership, marriage, maybe even children, the possibility that it could be this simple might sadden you as you think of all the wasted time you could have avoided.  But bear with me, because you might even find that the perfect partner for you is closer than you think and that your increased clarity makes it possible for him to show up in your life.

The solution is what I’ve come to call the Bad Boy/Good Man profile.

Your Bad Boy is your negative type.  He really gets you going.  You don’t see him coming and by the time you look in his eyes, it’s already too late to be sensible.  You date him over and over again in different forms, perhaps you marry him (maybe even more than once).  And yet, you keep coming back for more.  Why?

Obviously, it’s because there’s something genuinely there for you. Something you’d rather die than live without, even if it costs you something else really important.  But when you date your positive type, you don’t have to choose. The dilemma doesn’t show up in the same way.  You get to have all that you want.  And the lure of that keeps you coming back.  But why is it so easy to end up with your Bad Boy instead and how to spot him before it’s too late and you’re caught?

Funny thing is, in many ways they are the same person. They have a lot in common, but how they express it is different.  And what you’ll put up with is different.  This is why changing yourself—upgrading your approach to relationship—makes all the difference.  When you change into a better version of yourself, your “type” naturally—and effortlessly—changes into the better version of himself.  Change yourself and what you attract (and gracefully deflect) changes.  This puts you in charge.  You’re the driver here.

Your chart lays it all out:  Your Bad Boy type and his flip side—your Good Man type.  Once you know what it is you’ve been looking for, and you begin becoming the person who will attract that, he will find you.  It’s inner work.  The bad news is, it’s work.  The good news is, it’s inner (i.e. you have control over it).

Are you ready to take that control and the responsibility that comes with it?

Learn more about your own Good Man and Bad Boy profile by getting a Lifelong Love reading. 
Contact Jamie now to schedule one!


Are you tired of dating and not finding someone
who is really right for you?
Are you bogging down in your marriage,
unsure if it meets your needs—or ever will?
What if you could become so irresistibly attractive that
your ideal type flocks to you?
What if you found a way to fall back in love with your spouse?

Your astrology chart holds the key.
Your Venus sign tells what you need to be in love, and
Your Juno sign tells what you need to marry.

It’s that simple.

In this FEMTalk, hosted by San Francisco Bay Area’s Ripe Paradigm just for women, you’ll . . .

  • Discover how to use the ancient wisdom of astrology to attract—and keep—your ideal partner.
  • Learn what your “type” is and how to spot it in potential partners.
  • Learn what you offer in relationship that you have always taken for granted—and how to work it for maximum attractiveness.
  • Become the radiant magnet of desire you were always meant to be.

What You Need In Romantic Love Is Not The Same As
What You Need In Marriage

Find out what they both are.
Satisfy both needs for a lifetime of love that’s both erotic and stable.

If you’ve been enjoying my blog, you will love this talk.  Come see me in person and learn how to awaken and honor these primal goddesses in your life–and watch all your relationships blossom!

When:  May 9, 2011
Time:  7-10 PM
Where:  Berkeley, CA (near University Avenue, exact location released when you register)
Cost:  $15

This talk is filling up fast—register today on the Ripe Paradigm website and I’ll see you there!


Jamie Kahl
Pandora Astrology
Berkeley, CA

PS. At the FEMTalk, you’ll have an opportunity to find out how to access your own unique Golden Goddess of Love and Beauty (Aphrodite/Venus) and your own personal Queen of Heaven (Hera/Juno).  You’ll also come away with a free gift worth double what you paid to attend the talk.  You don’t want to miss this!
PPS. Sorry you missed it? If you’re seeing this notice after the FEMTalk is over, invite me to speak at your women’s group, at no cost: pandora@pandoraastrology.com.  I look forward to meeting you!



Categories: Astrology for Non-Astrologers, Juno, Venus

This is part of a series of articles, beginning here:
Venus Goes Retrograde: The Tale of Eros and Psyche

Venus is finally going direct today.  In celebration, one final post about Eros and Psyche, because we’ve arrived at the end of the story.

The tale of Eros and Psyche might also be called, “How The Soul Got Her Wings” because the ultimate end to this story is not only the restoration of love to the psyche, but also the immortality of the soul.

Upon being restored to Eros, Psyche is fed on ambrosia by his father, Jupiter, lord of all the gods.  This makes her a goddess and she is welcomed to the table at Mount Olympus with the other deities.  This is an unlooked-for benefit of seeking love.  Psyche’s journey, which was only ever intended to bring her back into communion with love, has done so much more.  She has deepened as a soul and finally is rendered immortal.

The message here is clear:  to find true love, you must not seek it outside yourself, but only love truly, and not only love, but immortality is your reward.  This is a true, “happy-ever-after” because it is more than just a fantasy.  This happy-ever-after was earned and is therefore sustainable.  The beauty of a goddess is eternal, but the beauty of a mortal fades, unless she does her soul-work.  Then she takes her place among the stars.

There’s one thing I didn’t tell you as the story was going along.  All that glorious lovemaking couldn’t fail to have an effect—when Eros flew away, he left Psyche pregnant.  In anger, he told her that her child would be mortal, not divine.  Psyche pursued him and did all her tasks while carrying that child, never knowing if she would see him again.  When Psyche drinks the ambrosia, her child is also rendered immortal.  That child is named Pleasure.  And how perfect is that?

Does This Apply To You?

Are you ready to love without bargaining for what you will receive for the gift of your love?  Are you ready to go into your soul’s darkness for love?  Are you ready to sort yourself out?  Are you ready to do the tasks that will restore love to you?  If you are, then even Aphrodite cannot stand in the way of your eternal love.

This thread is dedicated to my husband, who does the work of love as well as inspiring it.



Categories: Astrology for Non-Astrologers, Venus

This is part of a series of articles, beginning here:
Venus Goes Retrograde: The Tale of Eros and Psyche

Psyche receives a lot of help in the completion of her four tasks, often at the very moment when she has given up.  Where does that help come from?  It appears as if by magic from resources that are close at hand, but the power behind that help is Eros himself.  He stirs the ants up to help Psyche sort the seeds and he breathes wind into the reeds that tell Psyche the secret of how to gather the golden fleece.  The eagle that fills the crystal goblet is sent by Zeus (Jupiter), who is Eros’ father and is helping him.  And Eros himself shows up to gather up the stygian sleep and cram it back into the box so that Psyche may return with it to Aphrodite’s temple.  Without love to inspire her every move, how could Psyche ever reawaken love?  And so he is her helper, but he cannot do these things for her.

Eros has his own story, which is the negative space around Psyche’s story.  His is the story of how erotic love connects with the soul and matures into intimate love.

Eros represents erotic love.  He is portrayed in Greco-Roman mythology as a mother’s son, a male principle that arose from the feminine.  But even Love had to grow up and leave his mother.  Eros’ journey begins when he first catches sight of Psyche (having been sent to kill her by Aphrodite).  He pricks himself with one of his own arrows and falls in love with her.  This means he must change from devoting himself to beauty to devoting himself to soul.

Instead of killing Psyche, Eros has her carried away to a hidden castle where he lives with her.  But he is a god—love is an eternal principle, a divine thing, and it cannot live forever with that which is mortal.  The marriage between Eros and Psyche is inherently unsustainable as long as Psyche is not a goddess.  Eros has married beneath himself, captivated by Psyche despite knowing that she would age and one day die.  You might say he was hanging around a girl from the wrong side of town.

A story is no story without setbacks.  What did Eros do when Psyche lifted the lamp and viewed him in the light?  He flew away to his mother, Beauty.  Eros’ part of the story is about how erotic love must learn to stop revolving around the beauty (Aphrodite) that gave birth to him and start instead apprehending the soul inside what he loves.

The tale of Eros and Psyche is a tale of converting passionate love into intimate, enduring love.  Passionate love is intense and consuming—if you were to try to live that way on an everyday basis, it would burn your life away.  Enduring love is less intense, but it is what passionate love turns into when it learns to bear the light of day.

At the beginning of the story, the Soul (Psyche) is in love with Love itself, and by the end she has taken a hard look at Love and deepened her soul.  Love is already divine; the soul has to earn her divinity.  At the beginning, erotic love (Eros) is in love with the beauty that aroused it (his allegiance to Aphrodite) and has to sneak around to explore his connection with the soul (Psyche) and even leave her to return to beauty.  Ultimately, the soul wins him over and Eros gets to have, not just sexuality with beauty, but sexuality with soul.  Not just erotic love, but intimate love.

Put another way, the psyche falls in love with love, but love itself is in thrall to the beauty of the beloved and needs to learn to love the beloved’s psyche.  Love is the offspring of beauty and is devoted to beauty, but upon encountering the soul, love is awakened and made conscious.

The message here for the Soul is:  Do your own soul-work. A mature lover will see your depth and not run to Beauty to escape encountering the Soul.

The message here for Love is:  Beauty is enthralling, but connection to the Soul is what’s needed to create the enduring connection that will allow Love’s expression over a lifetime.

There’s one final post in this thread, Psyche Is Made Immortal . . .



Categories: Astrology for Non-Astrologers, Venus

This is part of a series of articles, beginning here:
Venus Goes Retrograde: The Tale of Eros and Psyche

How heartbreaking it is when a girl first discovers that other girls will sometimes pit themselves against her and compete over boys.  She discovers this in childhood or teen years, so that by womanhood she knows all too well the ways that other women cannot be trusted.  A woman who really knows herself and believes in her own lovability does not have to compete or to make preemptive strikes against other women who might compete with her.  And a woman who understands sisterhood and the primal bond between women is safe for other women to relate with and trust.

In the myth, Psyche has aroused the anger of a goddess, Aphrodite, who insists on attempting to kill her, even though Psyche has no pretensions and wishes men weren’t worshipping her so inappropriately.  Psyche’s business is that of the soul and she would rather leave the business of beauty to Aphrodite, which is where it belongs.

Psyche also has to deal with the jealousy of her two sisters, who poison her against her husband, claiming that he is a frightful monster instead of the finest lover she could ever imagine.  Psyche never asked for all this feminine attack, nor for the beauty that aroused it.  She would rather have been of middling beauty and marriageable.

Psyche’s response to both these feminine attacks is a truly soulful one—she loves and trusts her sisters and she takes on the tasks of Aphrodite.  Because of this response, she is cast on a soul-journey at the end of which is her husband Eros, erotic love regained.

What Does It Mean?
The sisters represent binocular vision.  Because there are two of them, depth can be seen.  While Psyche lives with her husband in the dark, she cannot see him truly.  Her sisters press her to shine the lamp on him and to consider that he may be a monster.  Until she is willing to consider that he has ugly depths as well as divine ones, she cannot truly look at him and thus she remains innocent and in the dark.  Her sisters counsel her to have a sharp knife handy, so that she can cut off the monster’s head.  So she comes to her husband with both lamp and knife, prepared for the worst by her binocular vision, which includes the capacity to see evil in addition to good.  This is no error on her part, it is only what the soul can do, and it’s all part of the greater plan.

Psyche’s sisters serve an important purpose—the purpose of the shadow.  They force Psyche to wholeness and conscious awareness by making her look at her lover’s dark and ugly side.  When she sees who he really is, and that his wings are not the wings of a gargoyle or a dragon, but the wings of the very god of love himself, she is shocked at what she has done.  In her confusion, she pricks herself with one of Eros’ arrows and falls in love with him again, in full consciousness of who and what she loves.  “It is said that Psyche was the first mortal who ever looked at a god in his true splendor and lived to tell the tale” (from She, by Robert Johnson).

Additionally, in her confusion, Psyche drops hot oil from the lamp on his shoulder, which causes him to awaken and catch her in the act of seeing him.  He knows that he cannot stay, because his allegiance is still to his mother, Beauty (Aphrodite).  He has also not loved in the light of day and so does not know the soul (Psyche) of the woman he lives with.  And so he flies away, as he must, because he is also not mature.  Not yet.

Does This Apply To You?
If you are a woman, do you embrace sisterhood?  Are you aware of the unspoken code among women, the “non-competition clause” that says you should never attempt to seduce another woman’s man and disrupt her household?  Have you ever aroused the wrath of other women by your behavior?

Unfortunately, this is something often learned the hard way, by competing or being competed with.  But for women, sisterhood lives right next door to self-esteem:  love other women and you love yourself.  Every woman deserves to be worshipped—no one woman can claim another’s altar.  And beauty alone cannot hold a relationship together—it needs soul-work.  That’s what Psyche learns.

Read about Eros’ Hidden Task here . . .



Categories: Astrology for Non-Astrologers, Venus

This is part of a series of articles, beginning here:
Venus Goes Retrograde: The Tale of Eros and Psyche

At this point in the story, Aphrodite is determined that Psyche must be done away with.  So she devises the most difficult and diabolical task of all:  a journey to the land of death itself—the underworld.  Mortals are not allowed to go to the underworld—the only way to do it is by dying.  So this is both task and puzzle.  How is Psyche to go there if she must die to do it, and however is she to come back?  It is impossible, and so her first response is a fit of tears, as it always is.  But help is near and Psyche hears a voice emanating from the very tower she had come to throw herself off of.  The tower itself speaks to her and gives very specific instructions.  The tower tells her how to find a path to the underworld and tells her to take two coins and two honeyed barley cakes with her.  She will encounter a donkey-driver, a drowning man and the three Fates—she is not to help or be distracted by any of them.  Above all, she is to save the honeyed cakes for Cerberus, the three-headed dog that guards the underworld, because when she throws him a cake his three heads will fight over it and allow her to pass.  She is to put the coins in her mouth, so that she may pay Charon, the ferryman who will take her across the Styx in his boat, for both crossing and return.  And Psyche’s mission is to ask Persephone, Queen of the Underworld, to fill a special box with a magic cosmetic, that she may return with it to Aphrodite.  Aphrodite has definitely given her dirty work to her daughter-in-law.

What Does It Mean?
This part of the story is loaded with meaning.  Psyche must go to the underworld.  She again gets divine help, this time from a tower, which represents solitude.  Using solitude, she is to go into her own underworld and to fetch something from its Queen that will bestow beauty.  When a person knows her own underworld and is master (queen) of it, she indeed has access to a special, mysterious beauty.  To do this difficult task, Psyche must avoid those who would drain her energy and attention:  the donkey-driver and the drowning man, who are forever in need of help and will never be saved by it.  They will always and forever need help again.  Also, the three Fates are a distraction—and who, upon meeting the Fates, would not want to stop and ask the questions only they can answer, such as “what is my future, how long am I to live, will I find happiness?”  But these questions are a distraction from a life of freewill.  Psyche must avoid superstition and pass them by.

Psyche take the tower’s good advice, successfully avoiding all these hazards and is then undone when she is at the very verge of success.  Having distracted Cerberus, paid Charon, avoided those who would steal her focus and obtained the box’s contents from Persephone, she is on her way back up the path when she is seized with curiosity and a desire to use the cosmetic herself.  “Why should I not make myself beautiful for my husband, since I may see him soon?” she wonders.  She opens the box.  Big mistake.  Turns out the box contains a deep, deathlike sleep, which overpowers her and puts an end to her progress right then and there.

Here’s where Eros re-enters the picture.  He’s been watching all these proceedings from Mount Olympus, where the gods dwell.  He’s been hanging with his dad, remember?  He knows Psyche is on the brink of success.  So he flies down to the underworld, gathers up that “beauty sleep” and shoves it back in the box.  This wakes Psyche up and he sends her on her way.  A contract is a contract and upon completion of these tasks, Aphrodite will have to pay up.  Which she does.

Aphrodite ultimately is won over by Psyche’s earnestness and persistence.  She actually dances at their wedding-feast, now celebrated with her blessing.

Does This Apply To You?
I want to point out here that one of the most important of Psyche’s superpowers in all this is her ability to inspire and accept help.  Even the very stones of the tower gain the ability to speak that they may advise her.  By this point in the story she has received help from creatures of the earth (ants) and air (eagle), as well as the plant kingdom (the reeds) and the mineral kingdom (the tower), as if she had uttered the Native American cry, “All my relations, be with me now!”

This task has the nature of Water about it, as underworld journeys always do.  This part of the story asks:
Are you open to this kind of help?  Are you this vulnerable?
Do you have appropriate solitude in your life?
Are you willing to go into your own underworld and do you know how to avoid being distracted by those parts of you that are, and perhaps always will be, needy?
Can you forego superstition, stop seeking for answers from others, when they are best found within yourself?

This brings us to an interesting question about the myth itself—was it a bad thing or a good one that Psyche failed at the last minute?  Perhaps it was a necessary part of the story.  I don’t really know.  This may be something that every person’s psyche needs to decide for itself.

Read the next part of this thread: Psyche’s Hidden Fifth Task, Dealing with the Wrath of Other Women . . .



Categories: Venus

This is part of a series of articles, beginning here:
Venus Goes Retrograde: The Tale of Eros and Psyche

Aphrodite has another task for Psyche.  This time, she is to fill a crystal goblet from the Fountain of Forgetfulness and return with it to the goddess.  But the way to the fountain is up a high, craggy mountain with no path at all, and guarded by monsters.  Psyche’s first response is overwhelm and panic, just as usual, but by now someone else entirely has noticed her dilemma, and that’s Zeus.  Otherwise known as Jupiter, King of the Gods, Zeus happens to be Eros’ father and by now he’s decided that Aphrodite has taken this whole thing too far.  He decides to step in and sends his eagle to help Psyche gather the Waters of Forgetfulness.  Upon the eagle’s back, Psyche flies to the mountain’s top and the eagle stretches out his wing so that Psyche can climb out on it and safely catch some of the waters in the crystal vessel.  Then she returns with the goblet to Aphrodite who is, of course, livid.

What Does It Mean?
Now why on earth would waters from the Fountain of Forgetfulness matter—and why would it take help from an eagle to get them?  The eagle is a bird with uncanny eyesight—it can spot prey from extreme heights and swoop down to capture with great accuracy.  The eagle, and its extraordinary vision, represent perspective.  With the help of Zeus’ eagle, Psyche gains perspective on her situation.  This gives her access to the ability to forget.

And why, you ask again, would the psyche want to forget?  Because when love is lost, hurtful things are said and done.  We already established in the previous post that aggressive action doesn’t serve anyone.  But what to do with all those hurtful memories?  Forget them.  Yep, that’s right.  Forget.  Saving up a list of hurtful things to throw back in your partner’s face will not bring love back.  But moving on and refusing to dwell on them begins to create an environment into which love can return.

Does This Apply To You?
Are you willing to forget the painful words and actions of your lover?  Are you able to put aside and deliberately forget hurtful things your lover has said or done?  Can you use eagle’s eye vision to gain a broader perspective on the situation, so that you may know what to remember and what to forget?

This task may seem related to Water, but actually it’s related to Air.  The eagle is a bird, a creature of wind and lightness.  The eagle gets the perspective that comes with distance.  This task is about conscious awareness and deliberate forgetting—and these are mental actions.  It’s about getting the eagle’s-eye view of things, a higher perspective.  It’s about consciously choosing where to cut your losses.  It’s about deciding to forget about the stuff that doesn’t really matter.

When you love someone deeply, you see into his soul, right down to the very bottom of it.  And when you visit the bottom of a person’s soul, sometimes things are said that your lover might wish to take back.  Some of those things may be related to their own soul-work, they may predate your appearance in their life, they may belong to him alone.  Certainly it was rude of him to splatter his ancient soul-slime all over you, but it’s just as rude of you to hold him to words spoken when he was in the pit of despair.  Everyone’s pain belongs to him alone and when you have shared another’s pain with him, sometimes the kindest thing you can do is forget.

Read about Psyche’s Fourth task here: The Underworld Journey . . .



Categories: Venus

This is part of a series of articles, beginning here:
Venus Goes Retrograde: The Tale of Eros and Psyche

Aphrodite is very angry that Psyche has completed the first task.  She sets another, very difficult and this time dangerous task for the mortal woman.  It seems there are some very fierce rams that graze by a river and these are sun-rams, with coats made of pure gold.  Psyche is to gather some of their golden fleeces and return with the shiny wool to Aphrodite.  Psyche is quite sure this cannot be done and takes herself to the river, intending to throw herself in.  There the reeds growing by the river’s bank speak to her and tell her the secret way she can gather the golden fleece safely.  During the heat of the day, when the rams are at their most violent, she must evade them entirely, but follow them at dusk and gather their wool from the thorny bushes where it has been caught.  If she is persistent, she can gather enough this way.  Thanking the reeds for their wise advice, Psyche does this and presents Aphrodite with the wooly gold, infuriating her once more.  “You must have had help!” storms the goddess, but it doesn’t matter, because the task is fulfilled.

What Does It Mean?
Psyche has to face aggression in this part of the story.  She is advised that her best approach to aggression (the rams) is an indirect one.  Do not fight back, she is told, do not make yourself a target.  Instead, wait until the rams have moved on, then take what you need.  Do not let greed and aggression press you to take more.

The aggression represented by the rams is both within and without.  It is the anger one feels at having to repair a relationship and it is the anger one confronts in their partner who feels the same.  ‘Why doesn’t love just work?’ we ask ourselves.  ‘Why does something start out so beautifully and then go so terribly wrong?’  It is an insult to the very instinct of love.  Yet the initial passion is inherently unsustainable and this anger is a natural response to that fact.  Evading the anger, avoiding inflaming it is the way to gain access to the gold it produces.  That gold is the spark that can reignite passion.  Angry words are a misuse of passion.  Evasion of anger allows one to gather the passion and direct into more useful channels.

Does This Apply To You?
It is human to react to love’s departure with anger.  “Why don’t you love me anymore?” is an outrageous question to have to ask.  “You said you’d love me forever!” also comes to mind.  “You took a vow!” might even make an appearance.  But these angry questions are not helpful.  Inciting aggression in oneself or one’s partner does not cause love to spontaneously return.

In your anger that love has flown away, have you become too aggressive?  Love cannot be forced to return, but its gold can be gathered gently.  This task has the nature of Fire about it—how well do you manage your own heat, anger, assertion, aggression?  Can you channel your fire or will it destroy you?  The psyche must understand its own fiery nature before love can be restored.

Read about Psyche’s third task: The Waters of Forgetfulness . . .



Categories: Venus

This is part of a series of articles, beginning here:
Venus Goes Retrograde: The Tale of Eros and Psyche

As her first task, Psyche is presented with a huge granary filled with a tremendous variety of seeds.  Aphrodite tells her to sort each type of seed into its own pile and to have them all separated by sundown, and then Aphrodite stalks out, knowing how hopeless this is.  Psyche confronts the piles, then bursts into tears, completely overwhelmed.  While she is crying, some ants crawl out of the cracks and begin to organize the grains.  Soon a whole army of ants is busily engaged and the piles grow until, by nightfall, all the seeds are neatly separated.  Psyche thanks the ants and awaits Aphrodite’s return.  Aphrodite is infuriated and Psyche is on to the next task.

What Does It Mean?
The ants are a sort of totem-animal for Psyche.  They are industrious, practical and earthy. This task has the nature of Earth, as if to say that the human psyche must manage the practical aspects of life.  Life does in fact go on, tragedy notwithstanding, and so this task asks, Can you get through the day and do what you have to do to maintain your life while you wait for love to return?

Psyche has been asked to “sort herself out,” to separate one thing from another, to put all the like things together, away from the unlike things.  In this way she can be relieved of her overwhelm at the way her life is falling apart without Love in it.  Sometimes you need to just put one foot in front of the other and to do the tasks that are right in front of you, as an affirmation of life and of your ability to cope.  Doing this task frees her to take up the next with a clear head.

Sorting the seeds is like Psyche asking herself, “What are my needs?  What are my boundaries?  What things are essential to me?  What can I tolerate and what can I not tolerate?  What do I want?  What is good and what is bad for me?”

Does This Apply To You?
Is there some part of your relationship that needs sorting out?  A working relationship should meet the real needs of both partners, yet it can be hard to know which “needs” are true needs.  Sometimes what seems like a need is actually a black hole that can never be satisfied, while a true need is fillable, is satisfiable.  Do you know what your true needs are and are you willing to have them be filled?  Do you know what your partner’s are and are you willing to help them be filled?

Here’s another thought:  boundaries are not just external, they exist throughout any whole.  A whole with an external boundary and no internal gradations of boundary is just like a chicken egg you might cook for breakfast:  hard and fragile on the outside and soft and defenseless in the middle.  A healthy relationship has boundaries throughout, some soft and some hard, to protect aspects of the relationship from spilling over into other spaces.  You yourself are a system and you need these kinds of boundaries too, or else your private life would be spilling over into your work-life and vice versa.  The Sorting of the Seeds is a sorting-out, a distinguishing, a separating of one thing from another.  It is the first task to do when a relationship needs sorting out.

Read about Psyche’s Second Task, Gathering the Golden Fleece . . .



Categories: Venus

Astrology blogger since 2007

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