Northern Hemisphere summer began June 22 with a series of planetary events, and as often happens, events in close proximity describe a theme. When the Sun made its ingress into the cardinal sign Cancer, it was conjunct an asteroid called Vesta.
This magnificently complex asteroid, I believe, holds the key to understanding how we might go about healing our often injured, burdened, and confused sense of our sexuality. In one word, the method is devotion.
I’ll do my best to describe the qualities of Vesta in a way that makes it possible to feel and experience them—and to put them to use in our relationship experiences. Vesta is primarily about tending the fire within. That fire, and that experience of constantly caring for it, becomes the focal point for organizing space; that is, the psychic space of our lives, our priorities, and our beliefs.
Vesta is represented by a hearth (actually, a chevron, though in mythology it’s a hearth), and that hearth is the center of the home. We make our homes, comfortably or not, primarily within our psyches. The fire is the core fire of human existence, which is inherently sexual and creative. We use this fire for light, for heat, for creative purposes (you could say, to prepare our meals, whatever form they may take on the physical and nonphysical levels of existence).
Honoring this would give our daily lives and our relationships, whether sexual or not, a central concept to work with. Vesta is inherently about one’s relationship with oneself, which is the thing we share with others no matter what form that sharing might take. It may seem a paradox, but there is a touch of the impersonal to Vesta, which to me is about a boundary between self and other that gives everyone a little extra space to be who we are. Yet there is something collective about Vesta as well: We all share the same inner fire, whether we recognize it as the same thing or not.
In the solstice chart, the Sun meets up with Vesta in Cancer, a sign associated with nourishment, nurturing, emotions, mother, and the experience of incarnating. The Sun is about expression. It is the source of all light in the astrological system; it is the central point that holds the solar system together and provides an anchor for awareness and for one’s tangible place in the world. So Sun/Vesta in Cancer is one version of the full expression of Vestal energy.
The next day, there was a New Moon, with Sun, Moon, and Vesta in a precise conjunction. This is the first of many potent lunations (including three eclipses in July and August) that defines the current stretch of time. These eclipses (occurring July 7, August 22, and August 5) will set a brisk pace this summer, opening the door to many unexpected developments. Happening so close to the beginning of a season (with the Sun still at solstice), the Cancer New Moon is connected to events on a large scale, but which feel personal; and personal events that reach past our individual lives toward a collective experience.
Remember, this can be subtle, and noticing that anything of this kind is happening requires inner sensitivity and a sense of context that could truly be described as spiritual.
At the same time there is a conjunction of Venus and Mars in Taurus. A Venus/Mars conjunction brings together the male and female principles, and in Taurus there is the recognition that we each contain both, in our psyches and our bodies. The Taurus connection describes this as a resource that we possess and can share with others, once we take ownership of it ourselves. This is a clue. Much of our sexual and, indeed, relationship pain comes from trying to experience our sexuality without actually being in possession of it first.
This event, too, is occurring in one of those subtle zodiac positions that connects personal events to collective ones—at the precise midpoint of Taurus, where the Sun is each year on Beltane (May 5). You can be sure that plenty of other people are experiencing something similar to what you are. Here as well, we get a sexual theme; Taurus is about sensuality, self-possession, physical contact, and a property called biophilia. This is about resonating with life, which we get in part from the connection between Taurus and Venus. (I covered this quality fairly recently in the March issue; see “Kaleo: Venus Unbound.”)