Flowers of Evil ~ May 13th-19th,2019

O Beauty! do you visit from the sky

Or the abyss? infernal and divine,

Your gaze bestows both kindnesses and crimes,

So it is said you act on us like wine.

The Sun is traversing the final degrees of Taurus this week, slowly summoning the climax of the season’s most valuable lessons. It is in Taurus where the most primal memories of paradise emerge. The wisdom of Taurus always reminds you that nature is a temple of eternal miracles.

Even amidst the languid rhythms of Taurus season, the developments this week will be hugely transformative. Many things will suddenly come into full bloom. On Wednesday, Venus will begin her reified transit through Taurus, invoking the ancient powers of earth magic to increase beauty, fertility and prosperity.

On the same day, Mars will leave the air sign of Gemini for the gentle waters of Cancer. This is a debilitated placement of Mars where much of the strategy and motivation to attain victory is forfeited in service of protecting house and home.

Following these major shifts in planetary moods, over the weekend the intensely brooding Full Moon in Scorpio will occur, summoning a passionate climax and release.

The Moon is considered to be in its fall in the sign of Scorpio, making this one of the most difficult Full Moons of the year. Under a Scorpio Moon, the subconscious realm of primal desires dominate your behavior. Wherever you have felt most underfed, deprived, or abandoned will now begin to ache for attention.

A Full Moon occurs when the waxing Moon finally reaches a perfect opposition with the Sun, creating a dynamic tension between the polarities of solar/lunar; rational/intuitive; masculine/feminine.

The polarity between the Sun in Taurus and the Moon in Scorpio will ask you to harmonize physical sensuality with the mysterious power of the psyche. The Sun’s light in Taurus worships the blossoming fertility of earthly paradise. But the Moon in Scorpio sees the inevitable future, a shadowy vision of paradise lost.

In Scorpio, the lunar energy haunts you with primordial hungers and ancient fears: startling visions of disease, drought and famine. Under such an influence, the pain of discontent may tempt you to feel desperate.

At the Full Moon in Scorpio, you are reminded that it is the deathly realm of craving and desire that gives birth to the abundant pleasures of Taurus. Reluctantly, you will recall that it is not perfect contentment, but hunger that inspires creativity, invention and progress. It is the sign of Scorpio that governs the undulating wave of death and rebirth. Consider the ancient symbol of the Ouroboros. Driven by hunger, the snake eats its own tail, thus maintaining the eternal cycle of renewal.

With the Sun and Venus in TaurusMars in Cancer and the Full Moon in Scorpio, this week will be moody and decadent, luxurious and wanton. To evoke this blend of feelings, I invite you once more to enjoy the work of the 19th-Century French poet, Charles Baudelaire.

Baudelaire’s most significant collection of poems, Flowers of Evil, is a perfect reflection of the planetary themes this week. The title itself juxtaposes the Scorpionic themes of exile, decay, and death with the Taurean contentment of ideal beauty and romance.

Baudelaire’s preoccupation with juxtaposing beauty and death may have been derived from the intensely politicized modernization of Paris. This included aggressive industrialization and the destruction many ancient sections of the city. He felt the loss of the past keenly, and thus retreated into the world of his imagination and became a poet. Baudelaire’s art was always defiant and rebellious for the modern aesthetics and cultural sensibilities of the mid-19th Century remained anathema to him. 

Though Flowers of Evil contains many confrontations between beauty and death, pleasure and pain, his Hymn to Beauty offers a perfect meditation on the paradox of Taurus and Scorpio.

There is nothing more classical, more ancient than for a poet to write a Hymn to Beauty. But Baudelaire does more than simply exalt the goodness and virtue of Beauty. Instead, he describes Beauty through a series of paradoxes. The overall effect is to remind the reader that Beauty is not dependent on classical proportions and forms, but is an essential experience of life that is known through intensity of feeling. He begins by asking Beauty whether she originates from a divine or demonic place.

O Beauty! do you visit from the sky

Or the abyss? infernal and divine,

Your gaze bestows both kindnesses and crimes,

So it is said you act on us like wine.

The poem begins in ambiguity, suggesting to the reader that Beauty is like an intoxicant, a narcotic haze that inspires ecstasy or agony in equal measure. As the title of the book emphasizes, some flowers are born from evil.

Your eye contains the evening and the dawn;

You pour out odours like an evening storm…

The eyes of Beauty contain the evening and the dawn, holding the vision of the Scorpionic underworld and the earthly paradise of Taurus.

…You are a candle where the mayfly dies

In flames, blessing this fire’s deadly bloom.

The panting lover bending to his love

Looks like a dying man who strokes his tomb.

Here Baudelaire identifies Beauty as the magnetic force of attraction that lures an insect into a candle flame. Then he sees Beauty as the flame itself, honoring the life it consumed. This is associated with the little death of sexual climax that follows the ecstasy of union. Beauty is attraction and annihilation.

The Love of Souls by Jean Delville

Angel or siren, spirit, I don’t care,

As long as velvet eyes and perfumed head

And glimmering motions, o my queen, can make

The world less dreadful, and the time less dead.

Baudelaire concludes his Hymn with devotion to Beauty, no matter where she may originate from. Because he did not live in the idyllic world of the ancient bards, he had to discover Beauty in the darkness of the underworld. To an artist, Beauty blooms everywhere.

Keep this in mind during the week ahead, remaining attuned to both the infernal and divine essence of Beauty in your life. With the Sun and Venus in Taurus, there will certainly be blossoming romance and warm sensuality.

But as the Moon in Scorpio approaches, don’t forget to appreciate the special fragrance of the flowers of evil.

It all makes the the world less dreadful, and the time less dead.

Monday/ Tuesday: Infernal and Divine

On Monday, the Sun in Taurus will trine Pluto Rx in Capricorn.  The week begins with a feeling of catharsis and deep transformation. On this day, you will be able to summon the extra power you need to make a serious breakthrough or shift. You will have access to a deeper well of support at this time, drawing towards you the increased finances or valuable alliances needed to bring something important into fruition.

If you are still in the beginning stages of a learning process of project, this harmonious relationship between the Sun and Pluto will support a much deeper level of questioning and research. Expect dense and complex material to reveal itself more fluidly.

On Tuesday, Venus in Aries will sextile Mars in Gemini at the 29th degree. This will be a day that will reveal a way to harmonize conflicts and collaborate with others more effectively. The waxing Moon will transit the sign of Libra, adding a refined and idealistic perspective to your emotional instincts and intimate conversations.

Wednesday/Thursday: O Beauty!

On Wednesday, Venus will begin her transit through Taurus, one of her signs of rulership. Like the life cycle of fruit and flowers, in astrology, each planet has certain seasons when its powers come into full blossom or ripeness. When a planet arrives in its sign of rulership, you can imagine that it has entered into a period of full ripeness!

When Venus is in Taurus, she is at her most juicy, fragrant and sun-kissed. Here, Venus indulges the senses and luxuriates in love. In these environs, Venus can be envisioned as the Empress, the body of mother nature, reclined in the fullness of fertility, prosperity, and beauty. In her arms, she holds the flowers of love, beauty, art, imagination, sensuality, and desire. Reclined in her earthy temple, she teaches the primordial wisdom of creation: that love is the sacred arcanum of magic.

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Hours later, Mars will also change signs, moving into his sign of depression in Cancer. This transit of Mars will become  difficult over the weeks to come as he approaches oppositions with the dark planets in Capricorn. But for now, this shift in Martial energies will help you to focus on protecting your creative and emotional space. Let Mars help you to create a domain that cannot be penetrated or invaded by distractions or negative influences

Friday/Saturday/Sunday: Deadly Bloom

On Saturday, the Full Moon in Scorpio will coincide with Venus’ conjunction with Uranus in Taurus. Under the light of this Moon, the flowers of evil bloom. Enchanted by a narcotic haze, you will be seduced into the underworld where the raw power sex and death churns.

It is in Scorpio where attraction is followed by annihilation. Thus, you may experience an eruption of feelings of loss or melancholy. But cathartic conversations and deep healing opportunities are also likely to appear. Everything is meant to come full circle.

Though the emotional tone of the Full Moon in Scorpio is tumultuous, the light at the end of the tunnel is a blissful sense of relief. Because Venus is also conjunct to Uranus on this day, the themes that arise will have some relationship to whatever was emerging last year when Venus was opposed Uranus in Taurus.This began in September 2018 and stirred up a lot of conflicts and misfortune in regards to friendships, money, and romance. Due to her retrograde, Venus opposed Uranus again at the end of October and then one final time in early December. Reflect upon those months. Where did you feel this ripple of discomfort and disruption?

Now at this Full Moon in Scorpio, when Venus conjoins Uranus in Taurus, things will come full circle. Whatever darkness emerged last year will culminate and release. Take the time to appreciate how much growth and evolution has occurred since then. And if you’re still suffering, let this be an opportunity to let those burdens go.

At the Full Moon, let your senses be expanded to include an appreciation for Beauty in all situations and circumstances. Yes, it takes an artistic eye and an alchemical attitude to accomplish this feat. But that’s exactly the gift the Sun in Taurus and the Moon in Scorpio have to offer.

It is time for you to evolve.

Artwork by Odilon Redon and Jean Delville.

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