Archive for the ‘Venus’ Category

Welcome to Relationship Clarity Day!

Friday, January 10th, 2014

A Relationship ‘Aha!’ Moment
Venus 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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Atalanta the Swift, Defeated by a Golden Apple

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

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 thread begins here:  Love vs. Gold

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Love Vs. Gold–Venus Retrograde in Capricorn

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

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 my next post, I’ll examine a well-known story about the balance between love and gold, about a woman who got distracted by gold—and what it cost her.

 

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What Is A Soul Mate?

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

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!

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Your Bad Boy/Good Man Profile: How astrology can help you discover– and attract– the right man for you

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

(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!

 

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Women, Wondering How To Find (and Keep) True Love? Astrology Knows.

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

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!

warmly,

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@legacy.pandoraastrology.com.  I look forward to meeting you!

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Psyche Gains Love—And Immortality

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

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.

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Eros’ Hidden Task

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

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 . . .

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Psyche’s Hidden Fifth Task: Dealing With The Wrath Of Other Women

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

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 . . .

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Psyche’s Fourth Task: The Underworld Journey

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

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 . . .

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