26th August 2012, I was reading through the Sunday papers this morning and slowly it became apparent that there were a heck of a lot of stories that had something to do with sexual politics. It seemed to me to be evidence of a kind of collision of public and private values that is being brought out into the open in a variety of ways.
First there was a story about the President of Ecuador claiming that rape is not possible for two people sharing a bed together… Well, I don’t want to get into the rights and wrongs of the Assange case, nor is this the place to discuss technicalities of rape or not – what is interesting to me is that it is a point of view which is being forced out into the open.
Of course there is also the case of Tod Akin from the States who bizarrely seems to think that ‘legitimate’ rape (really, how can you put those terms together – legitimate rape, when is rape ever legitimate?) cannot result in pregnancy and the uproar that has caused, not just in the States but beyond as some of the rather ignorant views of politicians are forced into the light of day.
And we have the matter of the Scottish Catholic church writing letters of complaints and introducing into their services their resistance to the Scottish Government’s decision to legalise gay marriage – not civil union which has been legally recognised for some time now, but gay marriage.
Next was a story about a sculpture in the North East of England which is causing uproar apparently and which has been described by some as a ‘fat slag’ – a colloquial term for a woman who likes a bit of choice in her sexual partnerships rather than being monogamous. It is, of course, a term intended to insult. But why is an massive earth work sculpture of a stylised woman called a ‘fat slag’? because she has come to symbolise the conflict some people feel as regards the way women and men ‘should’ behave (the nudity is challenging for a start) and brings it out into the open by acting as a talking point. As part of the same article there was a photo of a Damien Hirst bronze of a pregnant woman defying the usual depictions of pregnant women as motherly and nurturing, this one looks far more like a sex goddess athlete.
In the news review was a piece by Naomi Wolf exploring the relationship between sexual enjoyment, the neural wiring of our bodies and what happens as we get older. Whilst elsewhere in the paper was a short story about Madonna being too old to lead young people astray.
Meanwhile, out of the papers I have witnessed people I know ‘leaking’ bizarre comments in public forums which seem to bring out underlying attitudes towards women which belie the public persona they wish to promote… Oh, and not to forget our Prince Harry caught in flagrante delicto when what he clearly thought was a private moment was made very public. I could go on.
All in all it seems to me as though issues which we generally hold to be personal and private are bursting out into the public arena in force at the moment. It isn’t at all unusual for occasional stories like this to hit the headlines, but for so many to be coming at once is worth noting.
So what has all this to do with astrology? Well, some of you may recall my interpretation of the Venus and Jupiter link in this series of retrogrades, noting how Chiron in Pisces was forming squares to both Venus and Jupiter at crucial points in their retrograde cycle. I noted how the link from Chiron to Jupiter indicated a challenge to taken-for-granted social structures and attitudes which were no longer in line with our personal sense of values. In fact the Venus retrograde had highlighted and revised those personal values, asking us questions about what was important for us in our private lives – and now Jupiter brings it into the public arena, examining the structures of the societies we live in to see whether they are really doing justice to our sense of the spiritual and sacred or not.
Lilith is also playing a part in this – and Lilith demands equality, integrity, honesty. It seems that at the key moments of contact with Chiron she is there with Jupiter making sure he really is being opened up to challenge – then she retreats for a while, to allow the challenge to assimilate before moving in again. On the day that Jupiter and Chiron were square Jupiter was within the Lilith corridor, that part of the zodiac that indicates where Lilith is especially powerful at any one time. Perhaps also significantly the asteroid Vesta was with Jupiter within that corridor and Vesta is related to the Goddess most associated with linking sexuality and the divine. She is the Roman Goddess of hearth, home and family, keeper of the sacred flame and linked to the ‘Vestal Virgins’ those chosen women who were dedicated to God rather than man for most of their childbearing years and were incarcerated and left to die if their chastity and virginity was ever found to have been compromised, because this put the entire city and state of Rome at risk – once again linking the personal world of sex and home and family to the social structures of the state.
It is fascinating to me that many male historians have badged Vesta as some kind of sacred prostitute, kept in a temple to service the sexual needs of men and yet punished if she was found to become pregnant (shades of Todd Akin there perhaps?) – more recently female historians have questioned this, showing that in fact they were expected to be celibate and if they were found to have transgressed (usually through becoming pregnant) and were then brutally punished:
It seems we are just starting to see the beginnings of a shake-up in our social values and structures that Jupiter will re-visit through his retrograde phase. This will then mark the end of the retrogrades in mutable signs but the relationship of Lilith to Jupiter will continue on to the next phase of retrogrades in cardinal signs – the mutable phases showing where things are dismantled, moved, made ready for change and the cardinal signs consolidating the change. With the link to the cardinal square it seems this process will not always go smoothly and will not be without struggle as Uranus brings revolution to our sense of self (he’s in Aries) and Pluto demands transformation in places of authority, responsibility and influence (he’s in Capricorn).
In the meantime, it seems we have some turmoil around questions of a personal/political/relationship/sexual nature going on – maybe somewhere to watch over the coming months, especially with Saturn’s move into Scorpio bringing increased responsibility for how we relate sexually to one another. A sense of responsibility underscored by the mutual reception to Pluto.