- Amanda Painter
We've been experiencing a week of highly charged, transformational astrology. And whether you've been experiencing it in acutely personal, direct ways or mainly watching it play out on the nightly news in frightening and heartbreaking events, chances are you've noticed the universe inviting you to pay attention and investigate with your full awareness.
But first things first: take a deep, slow breath. And another one. Take one more. There. I don't know about you, but it's been that kind of week for me.
Looking at the (hopefully) more manageable personal level of astrology, two main events catch my eye as we head toward the weekend. Both speak in one way or another about relationships and the act of relating.
The first is an opposition between Venus in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces, exact Friday. This is just the latest in a series of oppositions to Neptune since about mid-August (Vesta, the Sun, Mercury, Mars, and now Venus) that have perhaps contributed to peaks of confusion or uncertainty.
In the case of Venus-Neptune, that confusion plays out in the realm of relationships—particularly those involving "romantic" love or sexual energy (or both, of course). This is the "beware of rose-colored glasses" aspect. Neptune can make it incredibly difficulty to see the object of your desire clearly—and that can contribute to setting expectations the other person cannot hope to fulfill (and likely are oblivious to).
The signs involved add to this effect. Pisces is already pretty dreamy, impressionistic, and sexual, and having Neptune there magnifies this tendency. Virgo tends to emphasize specificity, and the frustration that results when others can't meet that can come out as criticism with Venus there.
So, you might want to watch your daydreams about loved ones carefully. Daydreaming and fantasizing are creatively productive at best and at the very least, harmless fun. But in their least constructive (and potentially damaging) manifestations, we can get attached to our fantasies and forget they're not real; we can lose sight of the fact that anyone we might be thinking about is their own autonomous being—with their own perspective, agenda, needs, and so on. This goes equally for established partners, someone you've just met, or anyone else you have some kind of bond with.
Venus being in the service-oriented sign Virgo brings this need for awareness and careful self-assessment to any situation in which you see yourself as the generous, giving, helpful one. Are you really being unselfish, or is it a passive way of getting what you want? Are you semi-consciously setting up a situation where someone might 'owe' you, and in which you might be especially unforgiving if gratitude is not expressed the way you expect?
That said, if you are truly concerned about someone's wellbeing, you may find that your compassion leads to some truly beautiful generosity. The difference might be said to be one of serving love itself (in its universal, higher form: agape) rather than serving your personal desire.
Taking another tack, beautiful romantic experiences are definitely possible when Venus opposes Neptune. As astrologer Robert Hand describes, however, the key is to enjoy it for what it is, no matter how fleeting—rather than expecting or demanding it to "last." Sometimes really good things come in small (or short-lived) packages.
In any case, Mercury looks like it is playing a supporting role. Also on Friday, about 31 minutes after the Venus-Neptune opposition is exact, Mercury enters Libra at 8:42pm EDT.
This is Mercury entering Aries Point territory (the first degrees of the cardinal signs: Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn). This degree of Libra taps into the nexus where personal and political intersect. Ideally, this could help us collectively to orient on the specific ways we can take some initiative in the many global and local community needs that are flooding our awareness now.
True, Mercury in Libra can indicate some inner indecisiveness and aesthetic perfectionism. But Mercury in "the relationship sign" values good communication in relationships very highly, "good communication" here meaning honest, balanced and in harmony—and with a keen interest human psychology.
So it would seem that one way to let Mercury help you navigate Venus-Neptune would be to remember to get out of your head and speak: let expectations and the reasons behind them known, rather than leaving the other person to intuit them. Be as honest with yourself as possible when you hear your words: do they ring true? Do you find yourself cringing a little? Are you actually speaking to the heart of the matter?
Most of all, remember to listen. Listen to the words that are said by others, and then listen for what goes unsaid. Match what they say with their actions, to avoid the trap of letting your fantasies fill in the blanks with wishful thinking. And if you're twisted up in doubt, see if you can wait a few days for Venus to move away from Neptune. As the fog clears, the contours of your relationships should come into better contrast.