Mercury is retrograde in Libra, and at least as far as I’m experiencing it, this has opened the way to a useful discussion of relationships and sexuality. If it has not for you, this might be a time to bring up the topic where you feel it’s necessary or appropriate. Now may very well be the time to have a long-delayed conversation.
We recently experienced a total eclipse of the Moon in Aries, and there are planets gathered along both sides of the Aries-Libra axis. You can think of this as a series of engagements or confrontations about the place where self meets other, and where self-interest must integrate itself with shared interest.
The nodes of the Moon are now placed in the first degrees of Aries and Libra — the Aries Point — which suggests that individual circumstances and conversations have a resonance with what many other people are experiencing.
You may be aware that at 9 pm EDT Thursday, I’ll be hosting a forum for men to talk about the subject matter, themes and issues that they experience in relationships.
I’ll be joined on tonight’s call by Shell Goldman, a senior facilitator at an organization called Gender Reconciliation International. Details for how to participate in that call are in the first item below this letter. Women are invited to listen and participate.
Goldman and his colleagues at GRI, a nonprofit organization, work throughout the world in processes that are designed to help men and women make peace, even in communities in Africa that are ravaged by both rape and AIDS. What prompted me to have Goldman on the program was the discussion of recent events in Asheville, North Carolina, where two coffee-shop owners were found to be publishing a misogynistic blog and podcast.
In this discussion, we will look at the impact of the “rape culture” feminist theory on young people as well as on older folks. I will be listening for ideas of how to reconcile what seems to be an extremely polarized social environment, as evidenced by a statement of the Our VOICE rape crisis center in Asheville that “it is not our place to forgive.”
While we are on the topic, and while the Sun, the North Node and retrograde Mercury are in Libra, I thought it would be interesting to go behind the veil of conventional astrology and see what Alice A. Bailey (1880-1949) has to say about the sign Libra in her 1951 book Esoteric Astrology.
When I first studied this book carefully in 1998 in preparation for covering an event (the 1999 grand fixed cross and total solar eclipse in Leo), I was most impressed by her chapters on Virgo and Libra.
I will present some of her thoughts from the Libra chapter, and then offer some commentary.
“[Libra] is a sign of balancing, of careful weighing of values, and of achieving right equilibrium between pairs of opposites. It might be regarded as the sign where the first real vision of the Path appears and of the goal toward which the disciple must ultimately direct his [or her] steps. This path is the razor-edged Path which runs between the pairs of opposites and which — if it is to be safely trodden — requires the development of a sense of values and the power to utilise rightly the balancing, analytical faculty of the mind.”
One concept at the core of Bailey’s theory of astrology is that it’s about the reconciliation and integration of opposites. Nowhere is this theme more evident than in the sign Libra. One of the most interesting viewpoints she takes is that Libra is the sign most vital to understanding sex and sexuality. I’ll let her explain that in the next quotation.
“It is because of this balancing quality in Libra that this constellation [by which she means sign] can be associated more specifically with the problem of sex than can any of the others. Sex is usually connected in the mind of the average astrological student with the signs Taurus and Scorpio. This is probably due to the fact that the Bull is so frequently regarded as the symbol of the mad urges of the uncontrolled sex principle and because in Scorpio fundamental tests are applied.”
By fundamental tests, I think she means issues of attachment, jealousy, surrender and transformation. She continues:
“For most aspirants at the early stages, sex does not constitute a fundamental problem. Esoterically, however, it is in Libra that the whole question comes up and will increasingly come up for answering. It is in Libra that the balancing of the pairs of opposites must take place and reach a solution through the activity of the judicial mind and the establishing of a point of equilibrium between the male and the female principles.”
This is useful information. The journey of reaching equilibrium between the inner male and female principles is sometimes known as tantra. Tantra is not a set of instructions for physical sex (those are found in a small part of the Kama Sutra). Rather it’s about a path of inner reconciliation of the male and female aspects of the self, which extends into the environment. Through this process we can begin to make peace with ourselves and the people around us.
One way we could view the currently polarized social and sexual environments is as a profound inner division that is projected outwards. Part of that inner division is pushed onto people by hyper-sexualization outside the context of sex itself.
It’s often said that our problem as a society is sex outside the concept of meaningful relationship. Personally I give the concept of meaning a wide berth. I would say that we have a much larger problem in the pushing of sexuality outside the context of sex itself — where it can never be completed or reconciled. We live in a frantic time of rampant sexual imagery and ideation, and with a corresponding struggle to connect, release and surrender. Bailey continues:
“It is not my intention here to indicate the solution of the problem of sex. Humanity will inevitably work it out as the eons slip away and as the herd instinct gives place to the premeditated and self-conscious attitudes of the aspirant and the intelligentsia. I would remind you, however, that the herd instinct in relation to sex has its basis either in normal and natural animal instinctual desire, or in emotional attitudes, and those of the last category are by far the worst and carry with them by far the more deep-seated seeds of trouble.”
Here, she’s saying that conditioning is the real and persistent problem — not natural sexual instincts. She describes some elements of emotional conditioning.
“They range all the way from the stage of free love and a general promiscuity to the orthodox, narrow and bigoted Christian angle, as that is normally understood not in the sense which Christ viewed life.
“This narrow viewpoint and the normal Anglo-Saxon attitude (an outcome of the Middle Ages) regarded sex as unusually sinful, ever undesirable, and as something to be lived down and overcome, and kept secretly in the background of Christian consciousness, where it is hidden as a prurient mystery. This again is due to the influence of St. Paul but not to the teaching of Christ.”
We now live in a world where sex is widely construed to be evil, more than I ever remember and more than during any time in recent history that I’ve read about. It was this comment from a reader that prompted me to set up tonight’s community-wide conference call:
“My son, a millennial, has voiced his fears about dating young women his age, and his feelings of loneliness and alienation. He doesn’t want to date or even approach a young woman his age for fear that he would be accused of rape, viewed as a potential rapist, seen as the enemy.”
We have a problem on our hands here, and I am interested in working within my own community to see if we can understand it better and make some progress solving it. I am aware that to do this we will need to tread that razor-edged path, and if that’s true, then so be it.
Please join me for tonight’s call, and encourage the men (including the young men) in your life to participate. Details are below.
Weekly Horoscope for Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015 #1069 | By Eric Francis
Aries (March 20-April 19) — We might ask about the intensity with which people cling to religion. Even those who are not actively religious or participants in its rituals can have a deep adherence to certain bottom lines, which have nothing to do with being a better person. This seems meant to avoid a struggle with death, and a struggle with sex, which are closely related. One thing they are related through is marriage, which is the ’till death do us part’ sex license. All the world’s major religions tend to monopolize these topics — which are indeed the most basic existential realities. My take is that leaning into religious values and beliefs (such as judgment for sin and going to heaven) are stand-ins for not coming to your own understanding of the very basics of existence. You may find that the harder you lean on religious concepts, the less tangible and useful they become. That’s an invitation to pull back the facade of what you’re supposed to believe and go deeper into yourself.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Most people you meet will talk about keeping work and relationships separate. A good few people cringe at the notion that they would work with their lover. Many companies have ethics codes prohibiting various modes of personal interaction, such as between people on different levels of a company and sometimes between any employees of a company. Meanwhile, it’s easy to forget that in a culture where people spend much of their time working, they’re most likely to encounter others on the job, and notably (very notably), in a sober state. My personal feeling is that relationships need jobs, or a job. They may be the hotbed of sex, the mutual admiration society or the space to explore shared interest. Yet more than that, I think that purpose, or shared dharma, is essential to healthy coexistence. Why that is considered a bad idea or a taboo is worth considering carefully. Why it might work for you exceedingly well is also worth considering. You are made for shared purpose, born of love.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Most people are full of reasons but lack reasoning. I suggest you stick to your reasoning process. Know the steps you take to get from your observations to your conclusions. Go back and retrace those steps and test the logic of each one. See if you’re jumping over anything relevant, or reaching conclusions not supported by the facts. What you may discover is that your initial discoveries and observations are closer to those facts than what became of the scenario as time or events progressed. This may not be the conclusion that you want, and any morphing of the story may be a kind of wishful thinking or self-convincing. Any implied hard realities are not as hard as they seem. What you’re going through at the moment is a clarification of your values, and a shoring up of your boundaries. Most of those boundaries involve what beliefs you allow into your mind — many of which enter through the process of your relationships. Put simply, just because someone else believes something doesn’t mean you have to — nor does that make it true.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Sunday’s eclipse of the Moon in the angle of your chart associated with achievement and reputation seems to have put you on the map. Now that you’ve arrived there safely, you have some choices to make about where you want to go. The important thing is that you’re in the right territory, which means doing something you want to do, and having that be visible to others. One significant theme of the next year-plus is how you project yourself through your work. Of all the signs in the zodiac, your chart is most naturally set up not for doing your mission, but rather for being your mission. At your best, you don’t identify with your work or project yourself into it. Rather, it becomes you and you become it; you are one and the same as your mission. As time goes on you will do this ever more boldly. As you gain confidence you will learn the moves to shake up both yourself and the world around you with genuine innovation. Follow what resonates; follow what you love — that is, move in the direction of fun.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — How much creative freedom do you really give yourself? How much sexual freedom? You may be feeling like it’s time to bust loose, though this drive may be violating what you think of as your spiritual sensibilities. You can safely forget theology; what you will benefit from is loosening up and learning how to say yes to yourself. This is not the big deal that it’s made out to be. Playing with art doesn’t mean you’ll be out on the street, sex is not a disease and freedom is not a trap. To the contrary, opening up and doing what you feel drawn to is known as being alive. It’s sometimes true that zombies get jealous of humans, who have feelings and desires that they act on. That’s a good way to tell who is who. Your role in life is not to be a good person; rather, what I suggest is that you strive to be a real person and see how that goes for a while. I am aware this comes with its perils, but they’re the better kind.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — You now have the motivation to act positively on something you recently learned. By learning, I really mean that something you long suspected turned out to be true, in a way that affirms your life and its worth. Now that you’re sure about that, you seem to see the wisdom or the inevitability of acting on what you know. I would remind you of all the times you didn’t do that; of all the times you said you should have known when what you meant was that you actually knew. I would add one other thing — you don’t need to rely on others for certainty, and you never really can. All you can do is be aware of the most thorough information you have, confirmed by intuition, and not let all those other Earthlings confuse you with their wishful thinking, their delusions or their pessimism. Not only do I suggest you act on what you know, but that you account for all of what you know, and make sure that everything is factored in. There’s plenty, too.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Mercury remains retrograde in your sign for another week, and an interesting week it will be. Your astrology is just bubbling with intriguing possibilities. It’s as if you’re getting fed with energy and ideas from some parallel universe that only you can access. That’s good, because it’s giving you one heck of an originality streak. Pump it up. Don’t worry if you kick up some chaos along the way, or if the dishes pile up. The important thing is to have fun and take notes. Let every experience be a learning experience, no matter how good. Pretend you’re a reporter for Rolling Stone and it’s 1966 and you’re tripping at a crazy party in California and it’s so good you have to scribble down some details, since you know you’ll have to tell this story. The more you take that approach the more it will feed you. Observe and participate; describe and pass on the good vibes.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Your fantasies of relationship are one thing, and your relationships are another. What is the disconnect? Are your fantasies unrealistic, or are you not quite up to taking the steps to making them happen? Note that you don’t do this all at once. Nearly everything in life is one step at a time, till you reach that moment when you take the leap. Currently you’re taking steps. They may even feel like backward steps, but still they count as progress. One question I have for you is, what are you not saying? What are you not revealing? You may have the idea that if you were to say that one thing, you would blow up your whole life. This is important to remember, because you just might be right — though it’s unlikely. The one thing you might need to do in order to release yourself from the trap of your own imagination is to open up about it. If you do, be thorough; don’t hold back the details and most of all have fun. You might think: how is that possible? You will need to find that out for yourself. Be bold.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — You are aligned perfectly for one or more significant career developments. But these are not things that will happen to you; you will need to take initiative. You will know you’re really doing that when you figure out that in doing something, you’re taking a risk. By that I mean you have this feeling that you could gain something and that you might lose something in the process, and that nothing is certain. These are moments you can thrive on; in fact you have done so on many occasions. It’s just that we’re living in such paranoid times, when it seems like we all must cling to what little we have till the multi-billion-dollar endorsement offer comes in. Okay, whatever. In real life, progress is engaged incrementally, one idea or one decision at a time. Meantime here is a message from Mercury: don’t distract yourself with ideas of what you think other people think about you. They don’t really know enough to have an opinion, nor does it matter in any event. Your opinion is what matters.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Having watched the issue for a few decades, I can confidently say that most people have no idea the extent to which they are trapped inside of their religious concepts. Very nearly everyone denies it, no matter how ensnared they are. Others think that a little bit of guilt or tiny fear of going to hell is okay. Then there are the few who have seized control of their own minds and thrown off the ideological shackles. You are approaching such a moment. It could appear in any one of several forms, such as some kind of panic attack over your sexual desires, or thinking an idea that seems to contradict ‘tradition’. Here’s the simplest I can make this message: Every person must come to their own observations and conclusions about the nature of life, death and sex, and about the nature of their cosmic intelligence. Religion is not a useful substitute. You will reach your own truth, but only if you actually figure out the extent that you’ve been lied to, and that you believed those lies.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Were this 30 years ago, your weekly horoscope would say, “Look for news from abroad.” The thing is that those old formulas can give surprisingly good results. So definitely look for that news from far away — but while you’re doing that you might want to make some of your own. Reach out to your friends who live out of the country, including ones you have not seen or heard from in a while. Since we live in the digital age, you might consider chatting up the people you’re connected to who live in other countries. In sum, do anything you can to make the concept of ‘foreign’ real to you. That might mean reaching for some expansion of your message or business to a faraway place, and it might mean getting on an airplane and going there. Any such activities come with unusual manifesting power now. In fact, any travel at all, of at least a few hours’ distance, will have the same activating effect on your activities — and you will learn a good bit as well.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Mercury is now wrapping up its retrograde in your 8th house, representing the place where sex, relationships and agreements intersect. You of all people believe that fairness is possible. Indeed it would seem that you’re willing to hold out for that and settle for nothing else. The question you may be facing is what to do when others insist on absurd positions, or have a twisted idea of justice. And so far as I can tell, the thing to do is to engage with reasonable people. You don’t have to worry about the ones who make silly demands or who don’t recognize you for who you are. You do not need to be attached to them, or to the idea that they will someday change. The way you recognize reasonable people is by their willingness to make and keep agreements. That may seem simple, and indeed it is on one level; but when you start to hold people to that test, you might see how useful it is, and at the same time notice how few people actually pass it. That’s okay — you only need a few reasonable people in your life to have a very good life.