04 Jun The Isle of Sappho ~ June 5th-11th, 2017
“But delicacy, that’s what I love,
and this love has made
of the sun’s brightness and beauty my fortune.”
– Sappho (fragment)
This week, the month of June will really begin to blossom as a lovely and fragrant period of renewal. Your sense of serendipity will return as the planets make some very positive shifts in the astrological weather.
At the beginning of the week, Mercury will be leaving the sign of Taurus to move into its sign of rulership, Gemini. When Mercury arrives back home in the sign of information input and output, expect to feel energized by a great upsurge of curiosity and a new enthusiasm for writing, speaking, and reading! The only downside to this great surge of mental power is that you may have to contend with a lack of focus due to an overabundance of interest in too many things at once.
Simultaneously, after a very long time in Aries, Venus will finally be moving into her rulership of Taurus where she bestows her most luxurious and decadent gifts.
This Venusian influence will make lovers feel more patient with one another, offering voluptuous moments of repose with more tender kisses and promises of devotion. But lovers are not the only beneficiaries of Venus’ good graces when she is enthroned in Taurus. The blessings of sensual pleasure, luxury, and prosperous finances will be widely distributed to all like handfuls of fluttering flower petals. And anyone who cultivates beauty in the world and devotes themselves to its power will be twice blessed.
Because both Mercury and Venus were so greatly slowed down by their recent retrograde periods, this week’s shifts in zodiacal energy will be felt as a truly refreshing change for the better. To add to this joyful return of fortune, towards the weekend, the Moon will be full in Sagittarius just as Jupiter ends its protracted retrograde period and stations direct! Whenever Jupiter, planet of good luck and expansion, returns to direct motion, a rebirth of faith will occur. Serendipity will illuminate the world.
“The moon appeared in all her fullness and so the women stood around the altar.” (fragment)
To honor this week’s beautiful blend of Mercury’s genius and Venus’ arts of love, let’s examine a poet who embodies both of these qualities with such power that her life has become one of the great legends of the ancient world.
The great poet, Sappho, has been the subject of countless paintings, histories, biographies and legends. Though she has been loved and adored for millenniums, her surviving works are quite meager. For all the love that has accumulated over the centuries for Sappho’s tremendous genius, the modern world has only inherited a couple of her complete poems along with hundreds of slippery enigmatic fragments. With Sappho’s words so rarified by the ravages of history, even one phrase found on a scrap of papyri becomes an exalted aphorism.
“Wealth without virtue is no harmless neighbor.” (fragment)
Sappho was born on the island of Lesbos around the year 630 BC. Lesbos had been settled by the Aeolic Greeks in the eleventh century BC so by the time that Sappho was born there, it was a thriving culture that had many flourishing arts and a famous poetic tradition. Sappho talents made her famous throughout the ancient Greek world. Even Plato acknowledged her importance as an artist when he called her, “the Tenth Muse”.
Her poems are well known for encompassing an impressive repertoire of styles and meters. (Mercury in Gemini) In the third and second centuries BC, two great Alexandrian scholars Aristophanes of Byzantium and Aristarchus of Samothrace, collected and edited her poems into nine books arranged according to meter. The first book alone contained 1,320 verses, meaning Sappho’s poetic contributions to the ancient world must have been hugely prolific!
But Sappho’s poetry is most famous for its enchanting sensuality and erotic intonations. (Venus in Taurus) It is supposed that Sappho’s work was largely lost to the prejudices of Medieval Christianity, which was scandalized by her erotic hymns of praise to pagan goddesses.
But in more modern times, it was Sappho’s eroticism that rekindled delight in her work. Sappho’s poems have been revived by a keen interest in examining her sexuality, viewing her in legendary terms as the pre-eminent lesbian (origin of the word taken from Sappho’s isle of Lesbos) of the classical world. Her lyrics are uniquely sensual because Sappho’s homoerotic themes go far beyond status-quo definitions of sexuality. (Her poems are nothing like modern erotica.) Sappho’s lyrics are an expression of a transcendent sexuality that goes beyond the scope of what most Western industrialized culture is interested in today.
The sacred tone to Sappho’s work was not born from mere sentimentality. According to J.B. Hare, there is much evidence to support a vision of her as having been a priestess of the goddess Aphrodite. Her magnificent hymn to Aphrodite is one of the only complete poems left and it reads as an erotic invocation, a sacred prayer to the goddess of love.
“far more melodious than the lyre, more golden than gold.” (fragment)
This week, invoke the gifts of Mercury in Gemini and Venus in Taurus. Relish the fragments of Sappho’s genius that she lovingly endowed to the world. Let her astonishing timelessness give you strength and let her devotion to love deeply inspire you.
Ode to Aphrodite
“Artfully adorned Aphrodite, deathless
child of Zeus and weaver of wiles
I beg you please don’t hurt me,
don’t overcome my spirit,
goddess, with longing . . .”
Monday/Tuesday: O My Blessed Goddess
On Monday, Mercury in Taurus will square the North Nodes in Leo and the South Node in Aquarius, creating a T-square. For a brief time, this tense aspect will make some of the unconscious aspects of the polarity between the nodes more conscious. It is likely that you will receive a message about how you should be performing (Leo) your service to humanity (Aquarius).
With the North Node in Leo, the emphasis will be on how you act, how you express your role, and you demonstrate creative qualities. It is important to remember that even the smallest actions that you can take responsibility for will be greatly beneficial for the collective. Remember the uncanny truth that life imitates art and that you are the microcosm that the macrocosm reflects. There really are no small parts to play in healing the world.
On Tuesday, Mercury and Venus will change their positions, shifting into their respective signs of rulership and offering a renewed feeling of strength. While it will be really nice to have Mercury join the Sun in Gemini to promote a great triumph of informational abundance, the real blessing will be felt in Venus’ shift.
Venus is debilitated in the sign of Aries, where individuality is prioritized above relationships. To add even more strain, Venus has been in Aries since March, greatly slowed down in her transit through the sign by the six week retrograde period. But now, at long last, Venus will be returning to her homeland of Taurus, where her love of art, beauty and pleasure will be exalted once again. Expect life to begin to taste much sweeter now.
“Goddess, I spoke with you in a dream, Cyprus-born Aphrodite.”(fragment)
During the middle of the week, the Moon will be waxing through the signs of Scorpio and Sagittarius. By Thursday, the Moon will be almost full influencing your emotions to feel very heavy. The weekend will offer a culmination and release, but these days in the middle of the week will likely feel like they are brimming over with desire.
Friday is a very active day! First of all, Friday brings the Full Moon in Sagittarius. This Full Moon’s conjunction with Saturn in Sagittarius will offer a moment to confront a serious emotional burden and release it!
As Jupiter, ruler of Sagittarius, stations direct in Libra on the same day, you can rest assured that you are about to experience a new momentum of growth! With Jupiter in direct motion, doors will begin opening and opportunities will begin to arrive, most often through your social relations. Even more importantly, with Jupiter direct you will begin to reap the rewards for having remained faithful, optimistic, and steadfast even during the very uncertain times of the past six months.
To add another layer of sweetness to Friday, Venus in Taurus will sextile Mars in Cancer, making this a wonderful time to socialize. The harmonious relationship between Venus and Mars will fine tune romantic energies in particular, offering you a perfect balance between receptivity and confidence. Considering how much Venus in Taurus alone can deepen and enrich relationships, use this weekend to genuinely enjoy the pleasure of someone’s company.
As the Moon’s light wanes into the sign of Capricorn, briefly conjuncting Pluto, the weekend will close with an austere sense of responsibility to purge weakness and indolence from your life. Now that so much good luck is returning, it would be wise to remain strong enough to be able to seize opportunities as they come.