22 Jul Life Imitates Art ~ July 23rd-29th, 2018
This is the week of the Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius and Mercury’s station Retrograde in Leo, making the energies particularly wild and unpredictable. Fortunately, Leo season summons a special talent for transforming life’s tempests into inspiring stories.
Now that the Sun has returned to its place of rulership in Leo, a renewed glow will begin to shine from within. The deep well of feeling that refreshed you during Cancer season now evolves into an inspiring raison d’etre, a noble sense of purpose that will motivate all your actions in the next chapter of your life.
In Leo, the Sun’s light concentrates into a golden beam, enriching your sense of self with beauty, vitality and creativity. The Sun in Leo is the spotlight from which a sense of individual Selfhood can emerge. Like the bright star at the center of the universe, the Self becomes the center of being around which the narrative of your life begins to revolve.
And as far as narratives go, the sign of Leo is famous for having a flair for the dramatic. Where there is light, there is also shadow: the chiaroscuro that emerges from a central source of illumination.
When the Sun is in Leo, these best mantra would be:
“All the world is a stage; And all the men and women merely players.”
With this in mind, it is time to take a little more artistic license with your role. This Leo season, accompanied by the eclipses, is especially opportune if you are in need of a major shift in tone. Now is the time to find your place in the Sun. If you’ve been hanging your head, muttering your lines without feeling, then now is the time to reclaim your unique spark of charisma.
The influence of Leo season will ask you to ennoble yourself, imagining your role as one who burns brightly, fearlessly wandering into the mysteries in search of revelation. Stop trying to conform your life to grim realism. Let yourself be free to dream and imagine.
The sign of Leo is all about becoming an artist, which begins with an illumined sense of Self. To be an artist is to acknowledge that you have a light that is worth sharing. Without this certainty of perspective, creation is nothing more than mimicry, a lifeless mirror image of what society demands.
For some inspiration regarding the role of the artist, let’s turn to some ideas presented by Oscar Wilde, whose voluminous writings serve as an everlasting fountain of humor and truth. Always an iconoclast, Oscar Wilde broke from the traditional Aristotelian idea that art imitates life, saying instead that:
“Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life”.
In the Victorian era, the popular philosophy of art held the perspective that all creation was an imitation of nature and life. Thus, the artist’s job was to reflect reality.
But Wilde presented his notion that life was in fact imitating art, making an artist the creator of reality. This implies that art doesn’t simply reflect its time and place, but rather creates them.
In late-19th century England, artists were trained to focus upon reflecting the real world in their art, making it relevant by addressing social issues. This philosophy of art should seem very familiar to 21st Century people as well. But to Oscar Wilde, mistaking art as a social mirror was an abuse of its magical potency.
He believed that using art to factually reflect society destroyed the freedom of imagination that art is born from. Art is archetypal, symbolic and mythical, not factual. He presents these ideas in a classical Platonic dialogue, entitled The Decay of Lying.
All Art is lying, wonderful imaginative lying.
Wilde associates the art of lying with the primitive creative impulse in humanity, the divine gift that brings order out of chaos and beauty out of gross matter. When an artist stops lying in favor of creating an accurate portrayal of life, then they are no longer an artist.
“No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist.”
In the The Decay of Lying, Wilde refutes the idea that the progenitor of art is nature, like Aristotle had theorized.
“…life imitates art far more than art imitates life . . . Life holds the mirror up to art…”
Oscar Wilde suggests many times throughout the dialogue that it is because of art that you perceive life the way that you do. He points out how great painters have influenced humanity to appreciate the beauty of sky, sea and fog. And he credits poets with summoning the suggestive effect of twilight. In other words, it is art that has shaped the collective vision of life and nature, not the other way around.
“Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life, and I feel sure that if you think seriously about it you will find that it is true. Life holds the mirror up to Art, and either reproduces some strange type imagined by painter or sculptor, or realizes in fact what has been dreamed in fiction.”
It is through art and story-telling that your perception of reality has emerged, even the manner in which you experience and express love. For example, in the West, it was centuries of literature that evolved the idea of courtly love into romantic love.
Whatever takes hold of the human imagination is what life and nature become.
“Nature is no great mother who has borne us. She is our creation. It is in our brain that she quickens to life. Things are because we see them, and what we see, and how we see it, depends on the Arts that have influenced us.”
With all this in mind, take the time during Leo season to acknowledge what great art has illuminated your vision of reality. Remember that
“…the self-conscious aim of Life is to find expression, and that Art offers it certain beautiful forms through which it may realise that energy.”
Search inside your heart for images of beauty, heroism, and joy to realize your own self-conscious aim. The Sun’s transit through Leo is the time to express the belief that you have a light that is worth sharing.
On Tuesday, Venus in Virgo will oppose Neptune in Pisces, a transit that will evoke a little more mystery and magic. This transit will set the scene for the week, softening all the light with blurred beauty.
Neptunian influences bring enchantments that will help you to loosen your focus on material life. Enjoy this day in some manner of reverie, relishing in romance or enjoying the healing magic of art.
Wednesday/Thursday: Self-Conscious Aim
On Wednesday, Mercury will station retrograde in Leo, creating a warbling effect on your creative self-expression. This Mercury Retrograde will challenge you to reflect much more deeply upon the meaning and intention that lies behind your words. Consider how artfully your chosen vocabulary conceals or reveals.
If you pay close attention, this 3-week period will teach you much about becoming a more effective communicator. As the symbol of human intellect, Mercury retrograde periods tend to disrupt your regularly scheduled program, turning you on to a different channel where the language is less familiar.
Important information will be delivered in subtler, more symbolic ways. But for those who are willing to keep their senses attuned, this period can represent a highly creative period of learning and growth.
There is nothing to fear from Mercury Retrogrades except your own impatience. For anyone interested in learning more about this transit, I’m collaborating on a FREE Mercury Retrograde workshop for Wednesday, July 25th at 8:00 pm PST.
Friday/Saturday/Sunday: Decay of Lying
On Friday, the Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius will strike hard at your heart, summoning an uncomfortable mixture of emotions. The Moon in Aquarius will be conjunct the Mars Retrograde and in a volatile T-square with Uranus in Taurus.
This looks like an eclipse that will evoke a profound sense of alienation. You may feel lonely and misunderstood, even amongst your friends. In Aquarius, it is your utopian ideals that will be most vulnerable to shock.
Blind idealism of all sorts will be confronted by a crisis or an inconvenient truth. If you are hit in a vulnerable place, expect a hot bubble of primordial anger to rise.
Anger can be scary, but it is far more dangerous to hold it in and try to pretend it away. If you feel swept up in anger during the days surrounding this eclipse, be grateful that you are aware of it so that you can release it.
The more you deny your anger, the worse you will feel. Prepare yourself by resolving to accept your feelings, even if they seem dark and dangerous. The Sun in Leo will remind you that become a truly dynamic character, you must be willing to express the full repertoire of emotion, from affection to wrath.
Only a few hours after the eclipse, Venus in Virgo will trine Pluto in Capricorn.
Whenever a planet is touched by Pluto, a smoldering intensification erupts. Thus, with the attractive powers of Venus magnified by Pluto, your ability to magnetize your desires towards you will increase. What is it that you need or want?
Your desire for bodily pleasure and intimacy may also increase, making your attention towards any sexual or romantic relationship more valuable at this time.
Harmonious aspects between Venus and Pluto often offer an opportunity to deepen the respect and trust you have for your closest companions. But like with the Aquarian eclipse, Pluto’s tides may bring darker revelations about who may be unworthy of your time and attention.
In the name of your future happiness, let this be a time to assess the value of your personal relationships, growing closer with some and severing ties where necessary.
All artwork by Sir John Everett Millais