Sponsored by Venus


Another '04 astro-event, sponsored by the planet Venus.

Yes, folks, Venus has been the key planetary player for much of this year. And she cements her role as '04 cover-girl with Wednesday night's total lunar eclipse, falling in Taurus, one of the two signs she rules. Two weeks ago, this current moon cycle began with a solar eclipse in Libra, Venus's other zodiacal home. If we consider eclipse periods (which fall every six months or so and span approximately four weeks of peak impact) as the celestial flipping-of-the-page, in anticipation of the next plot development, then Venus has done her best to succeed in scoring the starring role in this new episode.

Venus's recent rise to the top began back in the spring, when she made us take notice with a six-week retrograde span (May 17-Jun 29), freshening our awareness of her by flipping our perspective on what matters most, especially relationship-wise. At the time, Venus was in spastic Gemini, and, as such, this revaluation moment provoked curious dabblings among multiple options, 'speaking volumes' along the way about what choices are available out there.

Then, in the middle of this period, Venus transited across the face of the Sun, essentially eclipsing it for the first time since 1882, casting her love juices across the skies and initiating a prelude/countdown-to-a-'golden-age' stage, which lasts through 2012, when Venus makes her second solar transit and—interestingly, coincidentally, synchronistically—the ancient Mayan calendar ends.

Now, Venus makes her mark on both the solar and lunar eclipses. What gives? What's it all mean… and why doesn't it feel like we're swimming in a deluge of peace, love and harmony? (Or does it?)

As traditional ruler of two zodiac signs, Venus is a complicated lady. She's nobody's fool. Her lighter side is associated with air-sign Libra—a graceful consideration of others and a certain reflexive charm that draws them close. Libran Venus can be willful, but she's ever willing to compromise in order to support balanced cooperation and partnership; for her, together is better than separate. The Taurus side of Venus is a fertile earth mama, who delights in the sensuous pleasures of life, enjoying the material fruits of her labors. Taurean Venus knows what things are worth and holds the most valuable stuffs close, out of concern for her own security and that of her loyal loved ones.

Both parts of the Venus archetype yearn to discover and express the inherent beauty all around us, and they combine their practical (Taurus) and relational (Libra) traits toward its manifestation. Yet, taken too far, the love of beauty turns to vanity, a psychological urge that easily threatens to erupt into conflict or war. Or the refusal to acknowledge the ugly sides of life can lead to inactivity and weakness, a perfect window through which others' Martian aggressions can enter and effect domination.

A solar eclipse is a super-accentuated version of the new moon, the darkest point of the monthly lunar cycle when we plant our seeds of intention to be nourished and nurtured over the coming days and weeks. In the case of solar eclipses, these seeds root deeper, develop longer and grow larger. They produce the big landmark bushes in the yard, around which the other shrubs and flowers arrange themselves. The solar eclipse two weeks ago in Libra—bolstered by Mercury, Mars and Jupiter—provided the ripe soil for cultivating cooperative alliances, agreeable collaborations and altogether pleasant social interactions.

Alas, the road to altogether pleasant social interactions isn't altogether pleasant. We must capitulate, relinquish, give in… all the while delicately readjusting our maneuverings, seemingly to suit somebody else's inclinations… though, in truth, we hope to ultimately suit ourselves through nursing the union. Of course, no one is obligated to adopt the joint approach. Indeed, in reaction to a Libran environment that favors a certain capitulation, those disinclined might kick and scream harder and louder to maintain their fierce independence.

Now, under the full moon's light, we gaze upon our illuminated subconscious, showing us what our intentions have thus far produced… and what might be blocking our way to further fruition. While we begin things from the blank slate of the new moon, we are pressed to let things go beneath the hypervisibility of the full moon. As a lunar eclipse, this week's full moon brings heightened emotional engagement and enlightenment. It also sets a general theme for the type of healing release to aim for over the coming months as part of incorporating our new, fuller consciousness into the fabric of our identities.

With Taurus as the sign of Wednesday's lunar eclipse, we direct our emotive attention toward what is most valuable to our feeling grounded and secure in the world. The Libran solar eclipse already called on us to give and take, regard and relate. Now, will we listen to Taurus? Are we ready to rank our people and things in order of importance, to re-privilege those that belong high on the list and to set loose what doesn't make the grade?

Recommit to a simplicity of needs. Our most treasured and steadfast companions. Enough food in the pantry and coins in the jar. A bed and a warm coat. Some productive earthly pursuit for investing our energy. Only what we require to feel materially settled. In the process, we must confess to ourselves where we've been overindulgent, inert or unyielding. Stubbornness, after all, is a quintessential Taurus trait. But the flipside to 'stubborn' is strong, another Taurean keyword and one to remember in these continually disorienting times. Knowing which few things really matter—and not desperately trying to hold onto anything else—is a hallmark of true down-to-earth strength. Regardless of whatever changing conditions we face, whoever appeals to us for connection or concession, whoever cuts us off in line or grabs the last almond scone or wins some election or another, we have our core values held tight to our chest. Pruned of our excesses, we stand firm and solid, feet rooted deep in the earth.

This total eclipse promises to be a dramatic sight in the sky for those of us lucky enough to catch a view or two. Its display of otherworldly colors is well-timed to coincide with the Halloween season, when the veil between our realm and the 'other(s)' is so thin that entities—from here and from there—can reach across and share hellos. The eclipse should be visible on Wednesday evening throughout North and South America, as well as in western Europe and Africa, weather permitting. Click here for more specific astronomical information about the eclipse, including a viewing guide. Enjoy the spectacle, and use its power to minimize the appearance of tricks and maximize the abundance of treats this weekend.