Wednesday, August 21st
2:06am PST: Venus enters Virgo
Venus in Virgo gets a bad rap. Sure, if she had it her way, Venus might waltz around whispering sweet nothings and shelling out compliments all year. But as Venus moves through the signs, she learns critical skills that support her in perfecting the art of relating. Promenading through Virgo until September 14th, Venus here helps us be discriminating in a healthy way. Draws our attention to elements of our relating that we don’t actually like. Is a stickler for safe consent. And is patient, devoted and exacting when it comes to creating the kind of love life she desires. In her book Pleasure Activism, Adrienne Marie Brown (an open Virgo) says “all game is not created equal and it is largely misunderstood.* The quality of game is much more about being honest and being yourself than being smooth. It’s not about small talk, filling the space, or easing the awkwardness. It’s letting true desire and curiosity come to the forefront of an interaction.” I believe that when Venus in Virgo is most eloquently expressed, she is in the constant process of refining her own game. Brown goes on to write “Flirtation, or game, is a great way to map out the visible and invisible landscape of another, with your titillation intact. I became aware that I had game in my late twenties...I began to believe that my desires mattered.” Mattering is a process of grounding, of earthing, of manifesting. As Venus moves into Virgo, an earth sign, begin to believe you have desires. Then believe what they are telling you. Matter them. Include them in your game. Adrienne Marie Brown says “I define game as the ability to engage potential mutual attraction in ways that grow the chemistry. There’s not necessarily a sexual end goal...the pace and power dynamics of sex are part of the process...” Venus in Virgo wants you to see that love and relationships can be fun even when you are cautious. Particularly when you are patient. Especially when you value yourself and the other person enough to pay attention to all the little cues. 

*Adrienne Marie Brown, Pleasure Activism, (Chico, Edinburgh: AK Press, 2019), 201-205.

3:05am PST: Mercury in Leo trine Jupiter in Sagittarius, both at 14°40’
The last of the personal planets sliding into Jupiter’s beams, Mercury here can put on quite the show. If you have something to say, express yourself with confidence. This is less about relating than it is about bringing your own truth into the light. Planets in fire signs can unleash our inner activist. We all have different ways of dismantling oppressive structures and its important, especially with fire, that we pause long enough to look at the issues our solutions might create before we engage too quickly. Mercury and Jupiter together have the power to develop a profound story. Just as important as taking apart a broken system is knowing the kind of world with which you want to replace it. Speak the wonders you want to see unfold. Write down your desires, individual and collective. I want to live in a world where noble is not something we are born into but a quality we earn by being honest. By acting with immense generosity. By actually practicing the high moral principles we preach. By offering patience and kindness to all humans, the earth and beyond.

Friday, August 23rd
3:02am PST: Sun enters Virgo
As the Sun enters Virgo in the northern hemisphere, we prepare for long, light-filled days to recede. Virgo represents the ripening times. The moments strung together as we wait, with patient anticipation for the fruit to yield just the right amount of juice. Virgo picks the crop at the perfect moment. Understands that frugality is a tool that reduces hardship and reaps enough to save for something special. Might appear minimalist, but this is often because it sees how practical it is to share (riches and responsibilities). After a bright and buoyant Leo season, Virgo reigns us in. Reminds us that humility is a great partner to joy. That performance takes practice. That a true after-party is rich with rest and relief. That our body, mind and spirit connection is not a one-time affair but a life-long relationship so you might as well make love to it. Virgo does not decline indulgence, it delays it; all the while bustling about, arranging for the most magnificent moments. Decide how much you matter. Develop healthy habits. If you are lost, frustrated or upset, find a way to be of service. There is a difference between having humility and setting yourself up for humiliation. The former is proactive, the latter is unnecessarily ignorant. Learn to take care of yourself. Learn that part of adulting is knowing when and how to ask for help.

Saturday, August 24th
10:04am PST: Venus conjunct Mars at 4°Virgo07’
Venus and Mars together offer us a rare opportunity to simultaneously confront concerns and receive feedback. In Virgo, a sign that renders us humble with an affinity for details, this conjunction asks us to be exacting in our perception of what is really happening in conversations with feedback loops. It is common to be critical of one another as we do justice-oriented work in a culture and language that is rapidly evolving. Venus and Mars together ask us to examine when we are receiving criticism, if we feel shame, guilt, remorse, embarrassment and to what actions those feelings lead us. Do we get stuck? Do we drown in regret? Do we apologize reactively or beat ourselves to an emotional pulp? Are we capable of really hearing what another person is saying? Can we survive the few minutes of discomfort without jumping into fight or flight and assuming we are unsafe? (note this capacity is different for everyone, especially with varied experiences of personal, social and collective trauma).

In Virgo, Venus and Mars ask us to note where those feelings bury themselves in our bodies. Where does the heat spread? Where is the pang? The racing pulse? The knot that tightens? The skin that crawls? With linear, individualized definitions of success in our culture, we are not generally taught skills, somatic or otherwise, for offering and accepting criticism. This means we have to consider and develop those skills in practice with friends, neighbors, colleagues, lovers, and other community members. If you find yourself in a situation of being “called out” privately or publicly* take a moment to ask yourself first, “What is happening in my body?” Regardless of the external situation, no-one but you can deny you your physical lived experience.** This is not a practice of blaming the other person for causing you feelings, but naming the sensations you are having, plain and simple. 

If you can consciously achieve this in the moment, then ask yourself, “Am I being shamed, or am I being held accountable?”*** Note how you perceive the difference between these two ideas. Also realize that a western definition of shame is often negative, though someone may be shaming you with the intention of helping you elevate your consciousness and transform moral behavior (in this way, shaming can be a form of holding someone accountable).**** Indeed, in many other cultures, shame is associated with greater happiness and social solidarity; a motivator for personal and collective growth. 

Virgo is a mutable earth sign, meaning that it is skilled at receiving critique and quickly adapting in physical, logical and discernible ways. Use this weekend to offer humble feedback (I suggest first asking if someone is open to and available for potentially uncomfortable commentary before jumping in) while also paying attention to critique and reactions you might be experiencing. No person on this planet is perfect. Nobody, including me and you, is beyond needing to work on their relational skills. This is not about treating yourself as a problem that needs to be fixed. This is about seeing yourself as a human worthy of learning healthy skills for growth and connection that help us better align our intentions to our impact. Use Venus and Mars’ meeting as a motivation to learn something. Mars will help us jump into the hard stuff and Venus will soften us to the work. Cheers to humble evolution.

*In my experience private “calling out” is vastly more effective and leads to deeper conversations because we are not equipped as a culture, to know how to shame in healthy ways.
**See Tada Hozumi’s post on How Change Happens 
***Listen to Episode 7 of the Reclaim Podcast with Rachael Rice & Carmen Spagnola, A Conversation on Shame
****See Ying Wong & Jeanne Tsai’s article Cultural Models of Shame and Guilt