Archive for August 23rd, 2009

Venus in Leo

madonnaMy trusty ephemeris tells me that Venus moves into Leo on 27-August-2009 and enjoys regal treatment there till 20-September. Venus rules our attitudes about both love and money, and in Leo, the one thing she’s not is a skin-flint. She doesn’t like them, either. If you are out to woo someone with this placement, make sure you look sharp and presentable as you go over to their place in your expensive and discreetly flashy car. They enjoy being wined and dined in style. Take them to the swankiest restaurant in town where they can see and be seen by the hoity-toity. This is their natural element and they won’t let you down. The women will elegantly hang onto your arm as they nobly walk into the room and gracefully accept the attention that comes their way. The men with this placement enjoy being seen with beautiful women who add to their aura of success.

Leo Venuses thrive on attention and it comes their way often. That’s what the Leo Venus is all about. She needs to be the center of attention and will dress with that in mind. I have a friend with a Virgo stellium whose Venus is in Leo. She expends more than the usual amount of time and resources on keeping her mane looking ravishing. She is also blessed with good taste and dresses with great elegance: when she walks into a room, heads turn. In admiration. But, out of control, this Venus can surpass the bounds of good taste and deteriorate into a loudly-dressed woman who’ll make dramatic gestures just to be noticed. Think Lindsay Lohan and Madonna, both Venus in Leo, who’ve been guilty of this from time to time.

Shrine AuditoriumMen with this position are attracted to spectacular women whose presence in their life can make them proud. Tom Cruise has both his Moon and Venus in Leo and all three of his wives have been actresses (Leo rules acting). The magnificent Nicole Kidman, Tom’s ex-wife, herself was born with Venus in the sign of the Lion.

Love with the Leo Venus is dramatic, passionate and bold. Don’t bore them, instead shower them with the attention they need and profess your passion for them dramatically and you’ll do just fine. In return, you’ll have a partner who makes you look good because they bring a larger-than-life opulence into your life and showers you with both emotional warmth and exotic gifts.

For all you Leos out there, with Venus transiting your sign, you’re bound to pay more than usual attention to your appearance and how others are reacting to you. Dividing your focus between your needs and that of others is the winning strategy during this time. You will find that it’s easier to charm others now, especially on the day transiting Venus contacts your natal Sun: use your power well.

How will this transit manifest for the rest of us? With numerous oppositions and quincunxes that Venus makes while in Leo, this time can best be described by Bette Davis’s memorable words in the movie All about Eve: “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night!”

The ingress begins with an uncomfortable quincunx to Pluto. If you are having problems in your love life or material situation, use this time to stand back and take a good look at what is going on behind the scenes. Themes of manipulation and jealousy could emerge and may need to be dealt with.

The second week of September leads up to Venus’s opposition with Jupiter and Chiron.  Don’t get carried away by the need for self-gratification and self-aggrandization. And if you meet this need in others, try to be patient. The opposition to Chiron can bring wounding through a love relationship or echo a wound received in the past. But with Jupiter and Neptune flanking Chiron in the skies right now, you can make this a time when you finally begin to heal old wounds by seeing the big picture and by a renewal of faith in yourself.

Also operating at this time is Venus’s opposition to Neptune, which will be exact on 16-Septmeber. But we’ll begin to feel its energy as early as 8-September. Harmonious Venus-Neptune vibrations typify romance, but the opposition warns of illusions we harbor about our romantic partners. Tread carefully where money matters and affairs of the heart are concerned; people are not very objective at this time and see only what they want to see. The quincunx to Uranus around the same time muddies the water even further with its restless energy and the pull-push between being loved and being our own person. So, all in all, we’re headed for some interesting and dramatic times. Venus in Leo wouldn’t have it any other way!

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Disclaimer: I don’t know much about art and I’m learning astrology. Inputs welcome. 

Not to Be Reproduced

Not to Be Reproduced

Some first encounters are memorable. I first met René Magritte on the cover of my experimental psychology textbook. The painting, Not to be Reproduced, remains my favorite to this day. A few years after that first encounter, I came across a postcard of Time Transfixed. It was then that I knew: I loved this man’s work. I never thought about classifying it but I eventually learnt that he was a “surrealist” artist. But I’ve found that unlike many of surrealists, Magritte’s work has a unique quality of purity. You can probably see it in all his paintings, but I see most clearly in the painfully straight lines of Time Transfixed.

I’ve never tried to figure out or question Not to be Reproduced. I see it and time stops. For a while, everything is suspended. Is there a word for this feeling? I know “numinous” is not quite it. It’s like a gentle happy awe. As I struggle to explain what I mean, you can see the Virgo Mercury trying to grasp something Neptunian in words and failing.  This is what Magritte himself said about his work, “My painting is visible images which conceal nothing… they evoke mystery and indeed when one sees one of my pictures, one asks oneself this simple question ‘What does that mean’? It does not mean anything, because mystery means nothing either, it is unknowable.” Very Neptune that. Coming from a man who is a master of his craft: just look at those lines!

Time TransfixedI thought it would be interesting to look at his chart and obtained his birth data from here. I expected to find Neptune, of course; but also Virgo. The former is evident everywhere: It conjuncts Pluto, opposes Venus and Mercury. But I didn’t find the Virgo emphasis I was looking for. He does have a Virgo MC, though, with Mercury ruling his career and conjuncting Venus and Saturn. Saturn, the hard taskmaster that he is, is probably responsible for the mastery evident in his work and helped him achieve the unique purity of style that characterize it. 

Although I hadn’t meant to look at his personal life, it’s hard to miss the Saturn opposition Neptune, with Pisces as IC. It foreshadows a tragedy in his domestic life, probably to do with a parent: when he was 14, his mother committed suicide by drowning. Natally, Magritte’s Saturn opposes both Neptune and Pluto (ruler of the twelfth house). This opposition of Saturn (reality) against Neptune (illusion) is best expressed in his Ceci n’est pas series. But, really, the essence of this aspect infuses the entire body of his work. This is what Wikipedia has to say (note the words I’ve put in bold):

Magritte’s constant play with reality and illusion has been attributed to the early death of his mother. Psychoanalysts who have examined bereaved children have said that Magritte’s back and forth play with reality and illusion reflects his “constant shifting back and forth from what he wishes—’mother is alive’—to what he knows—’mother is dead’.”

 He described the act of painting as “the art of putting colors side by side in such a way that their real aspect is effaced, so that familiar objects—the sky, people, trees, mountains, furniture, the stars, solid structures, graffiti—become united in a single poetically disciplined image. The poetry of this image dispenses with any symbolic significance, old or new.

A person’s philosophy is captured by the ninth house and Magritte’s ninth house ruler is the Sun. His Sun is in the twelfth, a house that brings to mind words like infinite, ineffable, unfathomable, spirit, God, divine. And I like to believe that when he painted and when he said, “…mystery means nothing either, it is unknowable,” he said it from a place of peace that the twelfth can bring if you surrender to God or the divine which is, for most of us, the Great Unknowable.

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