by Boots Hart, CAP

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Eros and Psyche: Falling in Love with Our Mind

Eros and Psyche
by William Adolphe Bouguereau

As an astrological image, the Sun is the essential spark of consciousness. It's the awareness of our being and the very process of being. But the Greeks didn't see our Sun so very simplistically. The bright disc in the sky they called Helios.

Yet apparently just 'being' wasn't all that important to the Greeks, as apart from a few polite mentions Helios is  rather absent from the vastness which is Greek myth.

But the Sun's light...the heat of the sun, the energy of the Sun upon which life on Earth depends?That, the Greeks not only cared about, but felt was a vitally important principle of life they embodied as the glorious god Phoebus Apollo.

Whether defined as “illumination,” “enlightenment” or 'a salubrious spark of inspiration,' Apollo stands for truth and clarity, for music and dance and the ability to cure - that which we call 'medicine,' though the Greeks thought  more in terms of being willing to do what we can to help others and cure our world of ills...being the medicine in a  philosophical sense, rather than how we think of doctoring today.

Mercury moving in front of the face of the Sun
(photo credit: NASA-JPL)

Except for one thing, that is. That which has come down to us as the prime directive for doctors - do no harm - seems to have been very much part of the Apollonian belief. And that shouldn't be too surprising either, apart from the fact that such beliefs were universal and omnipresent.

In other words, it isn't just the doctor who should do no harm - it's all of us, in all facets of our life. There is no being 'off the clock' in the Apollo concept: we are simply given to know that the truth of what we are in our most clarified form...that which would be healthy and able to give, that which would allow us to be the breath of music in this life, the light which would dance in our hearts and spirit...all that is our truth.

Thus we have the choice to face that truth and embrace that truth or not. We have the choice whether to own that truth we find and to embody it in a clarified manner...that which would make our essence, our presence 'music' in the lives of others.

All of this comes from who we are in our mind...which is to say, in our psyche.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

From the Sun to Mercury to Venus to Earth to Mars... the whole of that distance is only about 1.39 astronomical units (AU), one astronomical unit being the distance from Sun to Earth.

But from Mars to Jupiter? That’s 3.7 AU, only a little less than four times the distance from the Sun to planet Earth. 

So when in astrology it is said that Mars is the emblem of initiation and Jupiter is where we understand enough about things to begin laying claim to that mastery which in time will take us to the full extent of our 'naked eye' human reach (Saturn)...that's some distance to travel.

And what lies in that gap between Mars and Jupiter?

The asteroid belt.

 ranges listed above represent the planet's closest approach to the Sun (its perihelion)
and the distance it be at when farthest from the Sun (its aphelion).
(image credit: astroPPM/B.Hart)

Thought to be remnants of planets which never formed and a few solar-systemic objects which broke apart either through collisions or sheer geomagnetic torture (space is not a genteel place), on the metaphysical level, asteroids represent the many concepts, questions, challenges and all that “going around in circles” we humans tend to go through on our way to gaining that knowledge, that Jovian ability which becomes our path to Saturnine achievements, big and small. 

And when we look at the list of main asteroid belt objects as ranked by size alone, number one on that list in the asteroid class is Psyche.

Psyche's mass is estimated to be equal to around one-percent (1%) of the entire asteroid belt put together, making Psyche...and however Psyche is placed in our chart, the number one thing we need to deal with on our way to whatever real, human or metaphorical wisdom would carry us on to success, however we define success. 

As a word, 'psyche' comes to us from the Greek for 'soul' and 'spirit.' But even in ancient times it seems to have been as much a reference to our mind...and that seems another way of saying that our mind (our psyche) is the lens through which we see - or even what of our soul and spirit we 'see': the surfacing of it, one might say.

So on our way to wisdom, we meet up with this Very Large (piece of) Matter - or at least most of us do. Dealing with our soul and spirit through the cycling of our mind may in fact be the proverbial 600-pound gorilla asteroid of the chart, a fact which makes knowing where in our Psyche/psyche is natally...and where it is currently by cycle (our current 'learning curve') vitally informative as we pursue our life through 4.99 year-long loops which grant us the ability to learn and build while only guaranteeing that the more we learn, the more we know there is to know and master in our world, life, mind - and all which comes from whatever.

That Psyche orbits and is not (and cannot be) in all places at all times speaks to the limits we all have. It also suggests there are times when we all function in a somewhat 'mindless' manner.

Or is it that our evading or trying to 'get around' our Psyche? And could that ever be in our best interest?

'L'Amour et Psyche'
by Francois-Edouard Picot 

Considering that asteroid Psyche is large enough to perturb, disrupt or alter the orbital path of other asteroids, maybe not. And yes, such are the questions we would tend to delineate using a natal chart. But that the symbolic 'mind' can alter the path of much else we need to learn from...that may just suggest that Psyche - our Psyche - is something which can affect our path and our ability to reach our goal even if we don’t confront Psyche (that of our chart and in our life) entirely directly.

Why that would be, we would read through the ruler of the sign and house asteroid Psyche is placed in...and any major aspect from axis or natal planet. And the good or bad or the changing needs of our psyche would be read through transits to, and eclipses to our Psyche point.

Psyche being an M-type (metallic or metal-based) asteroid emphasizes Psyche's quality in the chart as a point of 'transmission' and thus 'conduct' in all its various forms - those we embody and those which affect what we do along our way.

To date, water has not been found in Psyche’s makeup - and that makes it a 'dispassionate' point in the chart by itself, though certainly that could be modified by other objects present. On the other hand, scientists have concluded that Psyche contains a small amount of pyroxene, a silica composition found in igneous and metamorphic rocks here on Earth. Thus our Psyche is innately 'endowed' with “igneous/fire” (creative) and the ability to endure through metamorphic (internal) transformation.

And it may even be that our Psyche needs to be transformed before we achieve some semblance of self-mastery. That's the basic underlying process defined by Scorpio-Taurus and the Scorpionic 'dying to self and rising from our ashes' is absolutely a metamorphic process.

Then again, since metamorphic processes by nature are typified astrologically as a fixed sign process, if we put 'igneous/creative' with 'fixed' as a generative cause of that which comes afterward, that would seem to be Leo - the primal sign of personal creativity. Asteroids haven't as yet been described in terms of rulerships and such, but though the 'easy' call with Psyche may be to assign it to the 'mentality' polarity of Gemini-Sagittarius, Psyche's graces or detriments may stand to benefit or hinder us most when focused through Leo-Aquarius in the sense that it is Aquarius - the last of the zodiac's mentality signs (and the functioning of the Leo-Aquarius and/or 5th house/11th house of a chart) which determines whether there will be sufficient 'instinctive' understanding or awareness of others. Even any aptitude for 'reading' society's mood, an important factor in 'making good' on any real talent we may have.

Plus let's not forget...we are now on Aquarian Age turf. Whether or not Psyche gets 'assigned' any sort of essential dignity in the Leo-Aquarius polarity, it seems likely that Psyche, 'the mind' will be more active when transiting any of the air signs (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius), all of which function as ideas, concepts or theories of the thing.

And would also expect that Psyche natally placed in (or transiting) the 'thematically' air-sign houses (numbers 3, 7 or 11 ) should be considered rather concertedly. After all, as with all astrological placements we're likely to experience both the good and the problematic until we figure out what works.

Or maybe how mentality works - or doesn't work, whether that applies to our Self or anybody else.

Psyche natally placed in a specific conglomeration seems to manifest too: Bill Gates of Microsoft fame has Psyche, fixed star Rigel and the South Node all conjunct in his personal Gemini 12th. So what does he do? He sets his (Psyche) mind to (Gemini) thinking about what (12th house/South Node 'universal societal need' he could become the (Rigel) teacher-student of.

Need I say he figured it out in very Aquarian Age style? 

Universalism versus Individuality being the Aquarian challenge, all sudden 'breakouts' here at the start of the Aquarian Age will embody either great successes or failures of our ability to individualize and through that, 'tap into' the universal mind. Obviously Bill Gates did that rather well. He also did it very much in keeping with his Psyche.

The universal side of Psyche, that would be...with the specific area of that mind being outlined in our natal chart, as above. Considering that how our human mind works, and the cumulative growth of our mindful abilities, personal mindset and/or (if we're lucky) realization of our mind's power, Psyche may have 'eras' of application somewhat in sync with that many astrologers think of in terms of personal 'wealth' and general finances.

That being a tale of water signs and associated houses, the early days of our life are Cancerian - we're in the family, the family provides for us (or should). The second 'wealth' period in life is the interactive one, the one described by Scorpio (hence all the emotionality about money between intimate partners, perhaps?). This is where we have the most control - or at least we like to think so, though Scorpio has a funny way of testing us exactly in that area we fear most...

Eventually life moves us into the ultimate 'passive' area of finance, Pisces. Pisces is the realm of passive finances whether that means a pension, being taken care of by your 'community' (family or societal) or royalties, annuities or other forms of income which come to us without our having to actively 'work' any more.

 The twelve signs of the zodiac are the images of time, means and manifestation.

By 'means' the reference is being made to 'medium' or the means by which signs become manifest as influences in our life. Known commonly as the 'elements,' there are four of them: earth (all things tangible), air (that which is conceived of, spoken or transmitted), fire (the vision, the creative/process and growth through adaptation) and water - the experience of emotions, all which stirs emotionality and the trials or rewards which come from dealing/not dealing with emotional realities.

  As time, the flow from Aries to Pisces pictures 'birth to death' and thus the various ages and 'periods' (natural human growth passages) in our individual lives. The movements of planets being one 'readable' set of 'clockwork cycles' we here on Earth are able to watch and see functioning over thousands of years as astrology) has given riseto  the same body of philosophy which underlies religion, which science still diligently works to distilled into numerics (an entire section of which is the same set of numerics astrologers use)...and which our understanding of what it takes to be human, be that cultural or psychological has in this new Aquarian Age increasingly asked to have defined at least logically, giving rise to psychology and what may be the premier Aquarian Age question which will ever be posed to us by our Psyche: do we know what Existence really is? Without understanding existence, can we risk any lack of understanding of our reality, even that which we find difficult to understand or tolerate?

Do we, in separating from others, separate ourselves from our Self
...which is to say, our Psyche?

With an orbital period of 4.99 years, four orbits around the Sun in Psyche terms is very close to the 19.86-year Jupiter/Saturn synodic cycle - a process known for 'clocking' our cycles of effort, growth and achievement. It seems likely that part of the Saturn/Jupiter cycle takes at least part of its 'thunder' by being so closely aligned in time to the 18.6 year-long lunar node cycle (pertaining to our relationships personal and societal) and the even more fundamental 19-year eclipse (Metonic) cycle.

All of these cycles (Psyche's and those clocked by other objects Psyche's cumulative building process feeds into) function generically, meaning there is a process we all experience at the end of our teens which leads to a 'shifting' of internalized perspective vis-a-vis the world.

If nothing else, by then we generally either face it on our own or are sorted out against our peers by whether we need to face it on our own.

But all three cycles also all function in each natal chart on its own. Such cycles are generally initiated by a solar eclipse conjuncting a planet, node or axis point by conjunction and those cycles do not need to begin at any specific age. Nor are people limited to one repetitive cycle. There are some of us who go from one upheaval to another. Some of us encounter not so much as a road bump. Such things are clocked by every chart: some get challenged early and some get people, some attributes may get hit not at all, leading to that which merely ride life's many currents, which is never realized, or which has its own intrinsic genius quality.


Psyche et l'Amor (Cupid and Psyche)
by François Pascal Simon Gérard (1770-1837)
oil on canvas, Louvre Museum, Paris

As for 'what about the myth?' here, that simple answer is that Psyche images our relationship with trust and whether...or even how correctly...we trust our Self and therefore others.

Psyche asks, should we...given what we have/haven’t yet learned or learned to deal with in our own mind or in our own life...should we consider ourselves perhaps equally cursed by ignorance as we are blessed by innocence?

She most Greek and mythological - Psyche - was a maiden of glorious beauty. So gloriously beautiful was she that from far and wide those that counted and the many who would never count and live uncounted lives would travel miles just to behold this vision of inspiration and rapture which was the living Psyche.

Psyche's reputation grew potent, powerful and far beyond her ability to contain its portent. Indeed, so great became Psyche's fame and so powerful was her allure that complete strangers even began to worship Psyche instead of Venus.

And that, in mythic astro-metaphorical terms, is saying the (Psyche) idea of the thing, the mere ability to 'embody' or 'enrobe' the concept is as important as the reason (Venusian) experiences and utilization of our tools in life, whatever they may be. It is akin to saying that to give ourselves over to satisfaction (Psyche) merely in our mind is equal to those many forms of (Venus) human nourishment which cannot be produced by our Self.

While it is true that we need to know our (Psyche) mind, our Psyche is but one of many things we meet up with along the way to learning to (Jupiter/Saturn) master our life and our place in our worldly environment.

An astro-metaphysical diagram of our solar system
(image credit: astroPPM/B.Hart)

Venus is a planet. Psyche is an asteroid. Venus is the cause-effect of life at every level, with the Venus-Taurus life imperative being security, satisfaction and self worth (or self respect, whichever is more of a problem in your world). Such primal instincts and instinctual habits (which is what Venus and most everything else inside the asteroid belt seem to embody facets of) are about the basics, the necessities of life as opposed to Psyche, which is about the working out how to get those necessities.

One creates the need...the other manages dealing with the need. It's very human - and important, as we shall see.

So there is Psyche, minding her own business, watching others as they choose to focus entirely on the brilliance of her being...a brilliance which, one might say, filled their mind...but did nothing else.

Those who flocked to Psyche remained to gawk, taken with that Psyche which could get them to do...well, they would have done anything at Psyche's bidding, one imagines.

All of which didn't sit very well with Venus, the Venusian precept being all about making more out of what you have. Neither enthused with owl-like Psyches or gawking Greeks, and being a goddess whose planet is swathed in clouds of (over)heated sulfuric acid, unhappy has never been known to be Venus' best mode. And so we should not be surprised that She Most Offended by such mindless behavior saw all this and frowned a lovely frown.

Then she summoned son Cupid - he you may know (or think you like better) as Eros.

And yes, this is the Eros from whom we get all terms 'erotic.' But the astrological Eros is expressive of passion, not anything specifically biological. You may be a passionate reader. Or passionate about some social cause. Or cooking - which brings us back to Venus, who began cooking up a plan to have Psyche fall in love with some cloddish disgrace who would discredit Psyche on every level...

...And thus lower her public profile, returning all the gratification and admiration to Venus, the human process which utilizes what it takes in as opposed to that which merely collects, gathers, takes in or otherwise accumulates 'resources' which are then perhaps never utilized.

Being a dutiful god/son type (an ever-willing attribute if there ever was one) Eros sets off to find Psyche so he can wound her with one of his famous arrows - some of which are gold with dove feathers to inspire mercy, vulnerability and love...and some of which, in sporting owl feathers, inspired that sort of wide-eyed perspective which though it doesn't affect us on a biological level can nevertheless be vitally transformative.

There is, in other words, intimate passion as well as many other kinds of passions for what we do, things we believe in - and friends, friendship being in Greek terms the highest form of relationship. That strikes us odd in modern times, and that it does is about today's world and the long-term lens of the Aquarian Age we are now moving into. It's chart shows Scorpio in the position of public achievement and acclaim and thus we can achieve or be defeated by our attitudes towards all things Scorpio.

The wheel of the Aquarian Age with Scorpio (in blue) at the top of the wheel - a position which tells us that people will tend to look to and measure themselves by 'Scorpio attributes' (real, imagined or projected) for the duration of the Age. By this we know that the 'easy' way to attract othersf or the next 2,160-odd years is through sex, power, manipulation, murder, debt, control - or any of a dozen other negative Scorpio traits...OR we can attract success (that being the 10th house object) through challenging ourselves. The 'secret' here would seem to be all about how we deal with vulnerabilities - specifically our own. And its to be expected that during this Age, those who are willing to at least own up to (if not tackle and survive) their own fears willbe those able to help through demonstrating the resilience of human nature.

As for Venus, her rather unfeeling plan shows us rather plainly that even immortal moms aren’t immune to jealousy (yikes!) and how (yes...) even immortal Olympian moms aren’t above using kids to do their personal dirty work - which in the case of Venus would be highly attractive work, but dirty work nonetheless.

(Take that as you will - all meanings apply.)

Yet when we talk about Venus and Eros, we aren't talking about a biological parenting process, we're talking about our internalized understanding (or lack of understanding) about our (Venusian) instincts - specifically those which seek to provide for our needs through external sources.

Venus uses Eros as our instincts utilize passion - as a tool. And though we refer to Psyche as 'our mind,' here it becomes plain that Psyche is the mind also in its role as connector or tool as implied by its position in the main asteroid belt.

Thus as our story begins, Eros sets off to do mom’s bidding armed not only with arrows, but also with two vases full of water (water equaling feelings in metaphysics) drawn from Venus’ twin fountains of joy and bitterness - apparently what would be needed to cause Psyche to fall in love with some clod.

And upon reaching Psyche’s bedside, Eros begins doing as he was told to by dribbling drops of bitterness on Psyche’s lips. Then he scratches her with one of his golden arrows.

Venus doesn't want to destroy Psyche. No, instinct (Venus) informs that there is a useful purpose for Psyche's brilliance..but instinct sees this Psyche as something which can earn nothing but bitterness - ever - seeing as Psyche never does anything to earn anything better.

Venus is all about our present qualities and our qualities of presence. Where Venus connects, our Psyche defines.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *  
So Eros begins his work...but as he does so, his (passionate) presence awakens Psyche - and this startles Eros. Perhaps taken with the true beauty of Psyche in repose, Eros grip slips. And when the grip of passion slips, the same arrow used to wound Psyche cuts Eros.

Yes, love cuts both ways.

But let us remember that the astro-metaphysical Psyche is non-emotional, making this an unemotional witnessing (or an unemotional self-witnessing) of 'the arousing of our passions' not in another but in our Self. That passion (Eros) can be compromised by the very thing Venus in her negative mode wanted used to wound, punish and control (our) Psyche is an important comment on lust.

And on love.

And on human nature.

In the story, Eros reacts to the awakening of Psyche by sprinkling her 'with drops of joy,' an image which would be plainly erotic except this is about when happens when our mindful capacity (Psyche) is confronted by passion incarnate. Is this the soul being healed by desire? Our Psyche desire to be “rescued” by that level of passion so many of us associate solely with eroticism, perhaps to our own short-changing?

The 'Anadyonene Venus' by Titian

There's also an astrological concept here concerning Venus. The Venus principle states that what we give out (our quality of being), whatever that is and however that manifests is met and returned in kind - that being the principle known as like attracts like. Planet or goddess, being that Venus cannot change her innate nature, does this thus make a statement about passion as both strength and undoing? As represented by Psyche being asleep when passion finds her, is this about the workings of our sub-conscious and all we think of as 'dreams'?

And if so, are those dreams even necessarily embodied?

Can passion simply overtake our Psyche with joy?

And what about the asteroid Eros?

Situated in the main asteroid belt (between Mars and Jupiter), Eros is also a member of an asteroid sub-group known as the Amor group - a group which takes its name from asteroid Amor, a platonic astrological object which functions very much in the old Greek spirit of friendship and the love of friends as love of the highest kind.

Why did they think that way? Being not an ancient Greek, it's hard to say (yes, everybody wrote about it, but its not the same as being there). Yet by definition, some aspects of what it means to take sex, money and all the trappings of power off the table in a relationship are plain, since money, sex and power are what humans tend to use to manipulate and control each other...generally so that they don't have to confront their own feelings about Self (that Taurus/Venus self-worth thing.) So to take those off the table in a relationship means that we either have to...or are in some way being given the opportunity...and maybe even the obligation to go beyond those rather standard defensive-aggressive triggers set off by relationships which don't give us the sort of freedom friendships give us.

The hint here is that friendship - and all things platonic - are related to the Aquarian vibe. As part of the Aquarius-Leo polarity, Aquarius says that where and when we 'do the thing' for the love of it and the love of doing or creating it, we free ourselves...we find joy.

And when it comes to operating at that level, that would be inside the orbit of Mars, which symbolizes our 'defenses' whether those are levied against others or our Self. And that's just where the Amor group orbits - between Earth and Mars.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Eros was discovered on August 13, 1898 at 22 Aquarius, a degree known for an abundance of 'creating' energy, whether that's used mentally, sexually or otherwise, with air sign Aquarius (as noted) having a distinctly 'global' viewpoint we associate with humanism and universality as well as separatism and isolation. The third decanate position (22 being a degree between 20 and 29 of a sign) is also interesting as all things third decanate tell us 'others' (or other factors, if you're talking ideas) must be taken into account before one's (Eros) passion comes to fruition.

Apparently it is through the experiences of our Psyche that we learn this.

With Uranus being secondary ruler of Aquarius it’s also likely that our Eros passions, while magnificently inspirational and motivational (to say the least) can also cause us to act in haste. Or to 'leap into' something without proper preparation - that being the Saturn balance against Aquarian dynamism which so typifies Aquarius.

And it's this fact...equal to all others...which suggests it's not for us to discover our passions so much as to discover our Psyche through our passions.

Our Self, that is.

Asteroid Eros
(photo credit: NASA)

Against this we have the fact that passion (Eros) is actually the son of god-type Mars (Ares to the Greeks). So the idea that passion would be 'armed' (Ares/Mars is the god of war and battle)...but also that our passions should cause us conflicts - starting with those in our (Psyche) mind.

In that, the astrological Eros becomes that passion which can wound us as sorely as anyone else through the very embodiment of passionate temptation.

And that is surely a test of our Psyche as we see in the myth when the curse of being rejected by Venus (self-rejection) takes hold. From the moment Psyche is overtaken by passion, though all eyes still turn, no one is drawn.

In fact, no one comes near.

Beautiful or not, Psyche is thus isolated. And in the beauty of her isolation, Psyche gets lonely.

Very lonely.

Fortunately, Eros isn’t the only one with parents...having successfully married off her sisters, Psyche's parents finally focus on why their gorgeous daughter has suddenly become a total drag on the mythic marriage market.

Alas, sometimes the brilliant Psyche is thought to be so self-sufficient, and then proves anything but.

Considering this, off the parents go to Apollo’s oracle, which is where you went in those days if you were seeking enlightened words of Olympian truth, Jung and Freud being still many hundreds of years in the future. And enlightened words they indeed got, though as we all know, sometimes truth (Apollo) isn't exactly what you had hoped to hear.

So what did the oracle say, you ask? Just this: Psyche will become the bride of a monster neither gods nor men can resist - take her to the mountaintop...there she will meet her fate.” 

Being standard Greek myth decent parents, Psyche’s folks are reluctant to comply. Yet the Psyche in question would rather have anything than the pain of...the 'mindful reality' of what we might call Psyche-o-logical isolation. Bitter are her words as she chides her mom and dad...if you had cared a little more back then instead of spending all your time hanging around bragging, enjoying the attention looks were getting because you thought they made YOU look good...if you had done something other than that, maybe this wouldn’t have happened!

Oh, poor Psyche! Cursed by Venus and torn asunder within by the joy of Eros, she feels...and feels victimized by all she hasn't caused - an image of our mind or the mind being frustrated in the attempt to...or simply unable to connect cause and effect.

Is this about avoidance on our part - our effort not to know (or yes, even 'know') our mind passionately?

Is this a form of abdication of Self - which would pretty much be how  Psyche got into Venusian trouble to begin with?

(You we get ourselves into trouble?)

Speaking of trouble, this is a truly mythic story moment as the eruption of Psyche is responded to resolutely - which is to say mom and dad suddenly get past all parental (mortal) reluctance, resulting in the conducting of the daughter to the appointed mountaintop (dressed in the proper finery of marriage, of course)...recalling our conversation about asteroid Psyche as an M-class or metallic asteroid and how metals 'conduct.'

That which we are in our mind - the metal of our mind, you might say in mythic terms is thus that done to us, that we do to ourselves, or that we embody and thus do unto others.

Once at the cliff's edge, guidance (the parents) abandons Psyche, leaving her at an 'end' she must now commit herself (or her Self) as part of the Psyche process of owning her own cause.

So Psyche takes the proverbial first step.

And does Psyche fall?

No, Psyche doesn't fall. In accepting the need to go on and learn about what must be experienced (i.e., on the way to Jovian mastery), Psyche takes a brave step - and for her courage is embraced by the gentle wind Zephyr, who as emblem of 'motion' conducts Psyche to a palace.

A glorious palace.

'Zephyr and Flora'
by William Adolphe Bouguereau

In this palace...this mansion of our Psyche, unseen servants (ideas) tend to her every need. Anything one could want is provided...except the physical company of husband...partner...'other half of self,' Eros.

This is a comment which brings up an astrological question: to be specifically denied Eros' physical presence should point to something definitive with regards to asteroid Psyche's placement in earth signs Taurus, Virgo or Capricorn.

This is one place where astrological study needs to be done on Psyche: though it would seem logical for Psyche to function well or freely in air signs Gemini, Libra or Aquarius (as we think of with planets in signs of rulership), there's also the fact that Psyche in an air sign might represent a sort of "too much of a good thing" tendency - the mentality or tendency to operate in a realm of ungrounded or unsubstantiated theoreticals. Or maybe that would represent the dreamer who never does or the idea which never comes to fruition in real life.

After all, grounding and bringing things to be in reality is a physicality of sorts - our reality, our metaphysical Earth is our 'ground' - and that's where the Eros notion of physicality operates as a passionate love, a love sufficiently profound to cause us to do all which is needed to bring something into being.

Is that not love?

Thus...returning to the myth...Eros brings Psyche to this place where all which Passion can provide is laid before her to understand and partake use, as we use our inner passions. And there Psyche resides, surrounded by an opulent existence and utter lack of the midst of which passion comes to mean all. Passion still only comes to Psyche at night. And when Eros does come to Psyche, over and over he warns that his Psyche must not ever try to see him for who he really is.

...If you saw me, perhaps you would fear me, perhaps adore me - when all I ask is that you love me. I would rather you love me as an equal than adore me as a god...

Yet that Psyche is cannot exist utterly forbidden to witness her passions, for that is what Psyche is - the mind's mindful presence of witnessing, from which come our decisions, our actions, our choices.

It's a classic human quandrary. Barred from beholding (never mind becoming 'beholden' to) her passions, Psyche cannot achieve that trust all our Eros 'passions' require of us at whatever level they apply - our soul, our spirit, our physicality or our mind.

Reconciling the Self to the fate of Psyche has now become a daily and painful task for Psyche. How can she trust something she cannot fully grasp?

And why is that so hard? Who or what is (our) P/psyche really afraid of? 
There is no threat from without...only from within Psyche.

As this tale goes on, we learn that things go well for a while...but Psyche eventually does get to where she cannot take living alone, even with all she was raised and reared to think would fill her mind and life with a sense of personal security

So she does what mythic entities do: Psyche begs of Eros that she be allowed to visit with her family. Can they please come and stay with her a while?

Oh, how we all love familiarity. As much as we all long to achieve Jovian mastery and Saturnine achievement, we angst, we quail along our unfathomed way.

Psyche weeps. Psyche begs. Psyche entreats...and with huge misgivings, Eros gives in. (Passions do tend to give in, don't they?) Yet well he should have concerns, for when Psyche’s sisters see how the beauty of Psyche is reflected in the beauty of the life Passion has given her they get every drachma as jealous as Venus ever was.

Which would be exactly what Venus intended - that through passion, Psyche should either learn the greater of Eros...or to fall prey to her passion for the mere idea of Passion and be punished for having lost her Passion.

The siblings now start recalling to their sister Psyche about the oracle. Didn't the oracle say Psyche would marry a monster?

...If you saw me, perhaps you would fear me, perhaps adore me - when all I ask is that you love me. I would rather you love me as an equal than adore me as a god...

It must be true. He must be a monster. Otherwise why wouldn't Psyche be allowed to see her mate...her 'other half'?

Endlessly tormented by such ideas and statements, the tormented Psyche finally slips out of bed one night. 

Grabbing a knife and oil lamp, she goes to the other side of the bed to see who the “monster” really is.

And there - much as Eros did at first sight of we are when we behold our missing mirror image within - so startled is Psyche by the sight of Eros' perfections that she too slips.

A single drop of oil drips from the lamp...and onto Eros' naked skin.

Awakened by touch, Eros sees what has happened and realizes that Passion cannot live with...nor be a true partner where the Psyche is unable to trust passion to be simply what passion is - passion.

So Eros departs, flying away just as our passions leave us when we reach the point where we mind them not, when we are no longer willing to mindfully invest in loving passion's ability to love our mind for the brilliant, wondrous and beautiful thing that it is...

....creating from that whatever our passion can be, loving our mind in the process.

It all comes with limitations...are we willing to partner with that?

Abandoned now by Eros, Psyche wanders, lost without the image of that she thought she had come to know and love herself as in all the mirrored reflections provided by Eros' glorious Palace of Passion.

Such is the emptiness sense of a Psyche doomed to hear nothing but the echoes of thoughts.

Devastatingly distracted, she makes her way home. And once there, once with her family, Psyche reveals her terrible dilemma.

How to reconcile Psyche with Eros?

Alas, all is never so simple in the world of Greek myth: well-cast in a few of literature's original 'evil sister' roles, Psyche's sisters commiserate with their Psyche only long enough to placate her. Then in full jealous cry off they run to the mountaintop, hoping to be taken by Passion in the place of their sister Psyche.

But Eros is not their counter-part, Psyche is. And if nothing else, this is another tasteful twist on Venus' curse.

You know...the one all about what our Psyche did, or didn't do?

Where Venus is cause-effect, Psyche is limited by the confines of mentality.

And yet, that which provides the method but which by definition can never be satisfied, lest we stop trying.

So Venus was right. And in the end, despite all the pain and agony, no matter how the lover's tale plays out, Venus has done her job: she has ensured we as humans living out her archetype - and Psyche in both tale and theory - that we will all continue trying lest we lose our ultimate passion, that for life.

Psyche Abandonnee (Psyche Abandonned)
by Jacques-Louis David (oil on canvas, 1795)

So there Psyche sits musing on her Eros loss. Mindfully or unmindfully, we don't know. But there she sits. And as Psyche sits, her sisters try to literally follow in the footsteps of their Psyche...but gentle wind Zephyr is no longer supportive.

Our Psyche is ours. Our Eros, our passions are ours. Others will never go where our Psyche has gone, telling us that our options for achieving mastery - or whatever our personal goals may be...those options are apparently not interchangeable.

Psyche’s sisters take a great - and literal - fall.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Having learned what she is through what she cannot be, Psyche turns to devoting herself to service through working not merely for Venus but in the honor of all gods as the emblem and acceptance of being part of the cause through which the whole of life is given meaning, capacity - and a chance for Jupiterian understanding, mastery and thus, Saturnine achievement.

Not as measured by someone else's Psyche or Passion, but by ours.

To be thorough, Psyche also goes to Venus' temple to apologize. And that earns her a Venusian response, which is exactly in keeping with the astrological concept that Venus in the chart and Venus by transit indicate opportunities to turn that which we are, our 'causal' energy, into the response, the reward, the nourishment, the loyalty, the answers to our questions and love we all so deeply need...our 'effect.'

The now-penitent Psyche which goes to Venus not only isn't pristine but knows...'in her Psyche' that what she brings to Venus isn't pristine. It isn't purely unmarred. When Psyche did this without connection, in typical Greek (not to mention human and astrological) fashion Venusian values created tests. Through such tests came the awareness of others and sufficient humility not just to stare at them but to be one of them: the Aquarian (and air sign) ideal of being entirely one's self in connection to others.

When we do that, we conduct our passion. And in conducting that passion we embody it; it becomes us and we are as much the expression of its potency as it is our kith, our kin and ultimate lover.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Discovered on March 17, 1852 by Annibale de Gasparis, Psyche was at 27 Leo and in exact conjunction with fixed star Regulus at that time.

Like all Persian royal stars, Regulus promises great things if we avoid a particular attribute - which in this case is revenge.

This Regulus “anti-revenge” quality gets even thicker in the P/psyche tale when we consider 27 Leo as a third decanate degree of the sign all about our ability to embrace and/or embody the 'vision' we have of ourselves, for our Self. With Leo, either not seeing our Self or not seeing what others value is problematic.

Regulus, the brightest star in constellation Leo has been
known since ancient times where Persian astrologers
referred to it as the 'Watcher of the North'

And then there are the specifics of 27 Leo, a degree with the Sabian Symbol 'MANY LITTLE BIRDS OF A LIMB OF A BIG TREE' which astrologer Marc Edmund Jones typifies as 'a wide, and perhaps confusing, openness to a multiplicity of inspiring potentials' - which sounds very much like Psyche in that mode where we are the watcher, the learner, the spectator, the 'kid in the candy store' trying to decide what to do...and not do.

It is at such moments when we confront our Eros, those Passions which dwell within. Whether they are connective and conductive or merely some vision or viewpoint we have which serves our own aims...whether they focus on our singular humanity or our universal humaneness, it is the confronting of Eros by Psyche - the Psyche knowing what Passion really is in our (Psyche's) eye which changes us.

Or maybe it just changes what it means to master our own lives and life decisions, which for many is the basis of owning our Jupiter 'knowing of self' as that which leads to Saturnine achievement and the structuring of a life which we...which our Psyche...can embrace ever so passionately.

Thus is Psyche the embracing of our inner Self. Psyche tests our self-worth through forcing us to learn who we think we are. Psyche calls upon us to utilize our resourcefulness whether we are seeing or being seen.

Psyche does not seem to apply to the question of whether we have passions - it is only if and how we use them...and what we allow (or cause) them to be directed at. There is the astrological tendency for all third decan degree (degrees between 20 and 29 of any sign) to 'put it all out there' - or to represent the experience of same. Third decan ideas start out walking on air and as often end up creatures of the wind as directors of fortune.

To chance our own reactions, whether to ourselves or to others experiencing us at the level of our passions...that is what we do so that we see our Psyche through the eyes of others.

Yes, it is enough to make a person want to avoid meeting up with that glittering beauty which is their own Psyche.

And yet, it is through Psyche that we connect and conducted to and in all we learn, immersing ourselves in that lusciousness which is the Psyche process of surrendering to what cannot be seen...that inner intoxication which is our most nakedly creative Eros, an essence which desires most passionately and most of all that we experience our fullest measure in being human.

original publication March 1, 2010  by Daykeeper Journal
revised February 2014 (Boots Hart, CAP) - reprints by permission.

No comments:

Post a Comment