Existential Kink ~ Venus Retrograde in Gemini

In the days before Venus stationed retrograde, YouTube philosopher ContraPoints released her latest video.

It was on the topic of cringe.

In it, she quotes from Melissa Dahl’s book Cringeworthy: A Theory of Awkwardness, who writes:

“The moments that make us cringe are when we’re yanked out of our own perspective, and we can suddenly see ourselves from somebody else’s point of view.”

This quote perfectly summarizes the challenges and lessons that will be faced while Venus is in retrograde in the mutable air sign Gemini.

It’s fitting that ContraPoints would drop this video in tandem with Venus stationing retrograde.

Venus stationed retrograde on May 12, 2020 and will remain in this state for roughly 40 days, until June 24, 2020.

As the world waits in the transitional warp of life in lockdown, there will be a feeling of existential cringe in the air—which will no doubt be accentuated in the coming weeks by Venus’ retrograde in Gemini.

Venus is the force of relationship that drives human nature. She is the principle of beauty, harmony and splendor in body, mind and soul. In order to sustain these rarefied states of being, a certain continuity of sensation needs to be in order. Cringe disrupts that continuity.

When Venus goes retrograde, it results in a period of time when cringe takes on a cosmic component. You are “yanked out of our own perspective,” as Dahl puts it, and forced to see yourself “from somebody else’s point of view.”

While Venus is in retrograde, this will no doubt manifest in daily cringe on a social level, amplified by the awkwardness of everyday life under the #newnormal.

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But it will take on a greater dimension, one reflected in the archetypal drama of the human story.

The cosmic cringe of the Venus Rx will not only force you to see yourself from somebody else’s point of view—you will see yourself from God’s perspective. As above/so below…

With Venus in retrograde in Gemini, the damning duality of the mutable air sign will play out on the cosmic stage as a reimagining of the Expulsion from the Garden of Eden, while manifesting in a TMI-overload in your social interactions.

To make sense of the Venus Rx in Gemini, we need to analyze certain esoteric symbols through the cringe theoretical lens, starting with the Original Cringe that got the ball rolling.

Original Cringe: The Fall of Man

“And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.”

Genesis 3:7

In the Kabbalistic system of the Golden Dawn, the Tarot Keys associated with the planet Venus and the sign of Gemini are the Empress and the Lovers, respectively.

The Empress is the Great Mother. She is the Creative Imagination—a pregnant goddess who rests in a verdant garden, glorifying creation, growth and fruitfulness. The Hebrew letter associated with this Key is Daleth, which means door, symbolizing the portal that the yoni opens for you to incarnate in physical form.

This portal has been portrayed as the vesica piscis, the geometric shape made from two intersecting circles. One circle is the world of spirit, the other is the world of matter, and mother is the gateway in between.

The key attributed to the sign of Gemini, the Lovers, portrays a scene from the Garden of Eden, where occured the Original Cringe, when Adam and Eve tasted the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and knew that they were naked.

They were removed from the blissed out unity of consciousness in the Garden of Eden and suddenly had a split perspective. They saw themselves as God sees them—starving, hysterical, naked. A truly cringe-worthy moment, but perhaps a small price to pay to know the Mind of God.

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The mutable air sign Gemini carries its own symbolism of the Fall of Man. After the Garden of Earthly Delights in Taurus, the Twins represent the splitting of the atom of being. They are the birth of duality—the knowledge of good and evil, life and death, Heaven and Hell.

In the Empress and the Lovers, the transcendent and descendent paths of existence are presented. We are simultaneously fallen (or descended) from the divine while the rightful heirs to it, having transcended the threshold of spirit into matter, mater, mother.

Understanding the Original Cringe is essential to navigating the Venus Rx in Gemini. It will help you understand the existential cringe borne of this transit and how to grow from it rather than be ashamed by it.

Existential Kink: Getting Off on the Cringiness of it All

In the next 40 days while Venus is in retrograde, the best way to grow from existential cringe is through a perverse revelry in it. Carolyn Elliott’s recent shadow work manual, Existential Kink, provides a road map to relish the descent into depravity from divinity.

Listen to my interview with Carolyn Elliott on STARGAZER: a podcast about astrology, alchemy and magic

Elliott draws a comparison between the horror show of existential suffering to the philosophy of BDSM. Beyond the garden-variety sexual kink, you incarnated on earth with an existential kink, controlling your fate from the shadows without the consent of your free will.

As Elliott writes: “God is one kinky-ass motherfucker. God—the divine—whatever He/She/IT is—creates the world, and this world is a gonzo horror show of war and rape and abuse and addiction and disaster. If God is running the show, God must like it this way!”

You manifest what you don’t want because that’s the way God wills it. Ruled by the robotic impulse of the unconscious mind, you follow a path toward disaster beset with booby traps. Unbeknownst to Adam, he wanted to be thrown out of Eden—and Eve wanted to be blamed for his fall.

The shadow of the Great Mother represented in the Empress key is the Devouring Mother, the bringer of plague from the charnel grounds of the unconscious. But rather than succumb to fear of the plague, Elliott declares you revel in it.

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Repressed desire is in your primal nature. When Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they split the first atom, dividing conscious mind from unconscious mind. Memory of the Fall was cast into the unconscious, along with memory of Eden.

The only way back to Eden is to fearlessly descend upon the graveyard of the unconscious, dress yourself in the ashes of your failure, and join in Tantric union with your most taboo desire. As William Blake wrote in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, “The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.”

The Venus Retrograde is a superhighway of kink back into Eden. It will take you through catacombs beneath the sanitarium of sanity called the psyche, through shadows of your true nature. Nature is not divided from culture as you would think. Human nature is an existential kink itself, a fetish born at the crossroads of primitive instinct and divine wisdom, with one constantly inducing cringe in the other.

For a deeper view into the relationship of humanity to its primal nature—into the kinky jouissance of the Original Cringe—let us pay a visit to the grandfather of kink himself, the Marquis de Sade.

Morbid Cringe: Sadean Nature and the Struggle Between Life & Death

“I think that if there were a God, there would be less evil on this earth. I believe that if evil exists here below, then either it was willed by God or it was beyond His powers to prevent it. Now I cannot bring myself to fear a God who is either spiteful or weak. I defy Him without fear and care not a fig for his thunderbolts.”

Marquis de Sade, Justine or: The Misfortunes of Virtue

Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade (Sun in Gemini) was a nobleman, philosopher and libertine of post-Revolutionary France. His theory of sadism derived from his first hand witness of the French Revolution degenerate into the Reign of Terror—of watching the liberal ideas of liberté, égalité, fraternité descend into tyranny, rape and murder.

He satirized the philosophy of the Revolution through a taboo celebration of decadence and depravity. In Sade’s estimation, the whole of human culture is one giant orgy of repressed desire guiding the spirit of history. Culture is subordinate to the drives of nature, and civilization is an attempt to bypass the return of the repressed.

In Justine or: The Misfortunes of Virtue, the titular character sets out on a coming-of-age journey in which her attempts to lead a life of pure virtue results in a saga of captivity, depravity and sexual slavery. The irony is that Justine’s sister, who submitted to vice at an early age, came out purified by it, capable of pursuing a good life after walking through the crucible of experience—undergoing what we’d now call “shadow integration.”

Sade chastises a philosophy that upholds the virtue of human nature, instead directly engaging with its repressed vices and glorifying its history of violence. He wrote, “Nothing we can do outrages Nature directly. Our acts of destruction give her new vigour and feed her energy, but none of our wreckings can weaken her power.”

By a decree from Napoleon, the Marquis de Sade was imprisoned for his writings for nearly 32 years of his life. He eventually ended up in the Charenton Asylum where he died in 1814.

Nearly a century and a half after his death, the Marquis de Sade was brought back to life in Peter Weiss’ avant-garde play Marat/Sade.

In this play-within-a-play, Sade directs the inmates of Charenton Asylum in a play about the assasination of Jean Marat. Marat was a radical journalist and politician during the time of the French Revolution, whose tracts took on a fierce tone in their advocacy of basic human rights. He was held responsible for the September Massacres, an event that resulted in the deaths of roughly 1,100 Parisian prisoners. This duality—fierce defense of human rights written in the blood of a thousand inmates—is a clear proof of Sade’s taboo philosophy.

In Marat/Sade, the inmates at Charenton stand in for the ghosts of those massacred by Marat. They are the earth-bound spirits who fell through the cracks of the French Revolution. They haunt the material world still searching for elusive ideas of liberté, égalité, fraternité. They cry out in song and non sequitur, sometimes incoherent and often with brilliant lucidity, demanding the promises of the Revolution:

Marat, we’re poor
And the poor stay poor
Marat, don’t make us wait any more
We want our rights and we don’t care how
We want a revolution now

Throughout the play, Sade breaks the fourth wall with both the cast of his play-within-a-play and the audience itself. At one point, Sade engages directly with Marat on the subject of life & death, declaring:

“Man has given a false importance to death. Any animal, man or plant that dies adds to Nature’s compost heap, becomes the manure without which nothing could grow, nothing could be created. Death is simply part of the process. Every death, even the cruelest death, drowns in the total indifference of Nature. Nature would watch unmoved if we destroyed the entire human race. I hate Nature!”

Let the Marquis de Sade (Sun in Gemini) be your guide through the Venus Rx in Gemini. From the Fall of Man to the French Revolution to the COVID-19 quarantine, human nature is beset by the hidden drives of its repressed primal desire. As Carolyn Elliott points out, until our repressed desire is made manifest through existential kink, the ensuant result is a Groundhog’s Day of the Original Cringe.

Use the Venus Rx as an opportunity to revel in the humiliating subject of cringe and celebrate the taboo object of desire. Not only is it a means of manifesting what you really want, it is a lightning path back into the Garden of Eden.

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