Discourse on Happiness ~ March 21st – 27th, 2016

“In order to be happy, one must have freed oneself from prejudices, one must be virtuous, healthy, have tastes and passions and be susceptible to illusions, for we owe most of our pleasure to illusions, and unhappy is the one who has lost them. Far then, from seeking to make them disappear by the torch of reason, let us try to thicken the varnish that illusion lays on the majority of objects. ” 

– Émilie du Châtelet, “Discourse on Happiness,”

Selected Philosophical and Scientific Writings

In the 18th Century, the Marquise Émilie du Châtelet defied all societal convention and left her life as a Parisian noblewoman, retiring to the countryside to study maths, science, and natural philosophy. She quickly established herself as a published philosophe of the Enlightenment era. Her lover and collaborator, the great philosopher Voltaire, remarked that she was so brilliant that some of his scientific discourse in response to Newton was mostly dictated to him by her.

Émilie du Châtelet had a wide repertoire of academic interests, but her Discourse on Happiness is a delightful and accessible piece that offers some emblematic ideas that are well thought of in springtime, when the air is warm and the sun is bright.

Portrait of the Marquise Du Chatelet

This first week of spring will be catalyzed by a Lunar Eclipse in Libra, ushering in an intensity which will surely make this season a significant time to rewrite your philosophy on life and begin to make groundbreaking discoveries about how you may pursue your happiness and joy with renewed fervor.

For the sake of your own happiness, this is an ideal time to reconsider your prejudices; find integrity in your actions and words; take good care of your body and mind; fill your senses with all that inspires you; and remain in touch with your illusions, knowing them to be a sign of your imagination’s vitality!

In modern parlance, these illusionary elements of experience are referred to more often as “dreams”. Émilie du Châtelet insists quite rightly that without dreams there can be no happiness: unhappy is the one who has lost them.”

Voltaire’s book on Newton’s philosophy, du Châtelet appears as Voltaire’s muse, reflecting Newton’s heavenly insights down to Voltaire.

Happiness blooms abundantly in the springtime. Now that winter is over, there will be a fragrant flowering in the garden of your mind. How well you have tended this garden over the last year will soon become very clear.

How many colors and scents are there for you to enjoy?

How many tastes and passions have you cultivated?

No matter what, the verdant flourishing of spring is a time to feel gratitude for the renewal of the earth and therefore, the renewal of your spirits.

Monday/Tuesday – A Rush of Blood to the Head

Bust of Attis wearing a Phrygian cap (sometimes called a liberty cap) signifying freedom and the pursuit of liberty

Bust of Attis wearing a Phrygian cap (sometimes called a liberty cap) signifying freedom and the pursuit of liberty

On Monday, March 21st, Mercury will enter Aries, evaporating the ennui that your mind has been wading through. This will be a nice rush of blood to the head with enough heat and light to agitate new motions! When Mercury is in Aries, there is a quickening of your thought processes, and therefore the speed of your mental agility will become noticeably improved.

Also, Venus and Neptune will still be conjunct in Pisces on Monday, and therefore you will still have an abundance of internal joy to draw from for comfort, inspiration, and the ability to feel pleasure. To find out more about where Pisces is in your chart and how such a conjunction might affect you, please look up your natal chart or book a private consultation.


Wednesday/Thursday – Your Desires Are Nature’s Voice Within You

A symbol of Louis XIV, ceiling of the hall of mirrors in the Palace of Versailles

Wednesday, March 23rd is the day of the Lunar Eclipse in Libra. This is an event that concludes the eclipse cycle that began on March 8th with the Total Solar Eclipse in Pisces. Considering that Libra is the sign that seeks harmony between opposing forces, expect to feel an internal pendulum of emotions swinging back and forth, pushing you to the edges of your ability to cope and then pulling you back to your comfortable center, only to push you over the edge again.

This is the motion of testing your limits, which is an integral part of removing prejudices in favor of discovering and pursuing your passions! The internal sensations produced by a lunar eclipse can be strange as your vulnerability heightens and aspects of your unconscious mind emerge with sudden force: sometimes haunting you and sometimes thrusting you into a stunning new vision of your life.

The idea is to get outside of your comfort zone, so prepare for circumstances and events to occur which empower you to try something new in your relationships, your patterns of speech, your reading habits, and/or your perspective on your own historical time and place.

Liberty Leading the People by Eugene Delacroix (1830)

Jupiter in Virgo will also be squared Saturn in Sagittarius on Wednesday, giving you many things to feel anxious about, especially in regards to religious dogmatism, generational conflicts, and whatever severe obstacles that still remain in your relationships. With the North Node in Virgo also opposing Chiron in Pisces, expect a heightened sense of dread and a feeling of inertia that is quite unwelcome in spring.

Not to worry, though. This is a very important time for you to reassess your plans and to adopt more mutable qualities in your philosophical leanings. This is a natural time to use deep meditation and relaxation to receive the wisdom that real strength comes from both solidity and flexibility.

The middle of the week will be challenging, but some of Châtelet’s advise on finding happiness will be of great benefit.

“One of the great secrets of happiness is to moderate one’s desires and to love the things already in one’s possession. Nature, whose goal is always our happiness, (and by nature I understand all that is instinctive and without reasoning). . .”

Here she astutely describes the importance of gratitude: a well known secret of happiness that is sometimes an outrageous challenge to put into practice. 


The Shepherd Paris, by Jean-Baptiste Frédéric Desmarais, (1787-1788) National Gallery of Canada

The Shepherd Paris, by Jean-Baptiste Frédéric Desmarais, (1787-1788)
National Gallery of Canada

On Thursday, Mercury in Aries will trine Mars in Sagittarius lending so much fire that your mind and body will link together in unison with enough energy to conquer any problem. If you use this day to get a lot of work done, you can start or finish almost anything. However, remain mindful of the tendency to become enraged by the ideologies of your perceived enemies, which may cause you to waste all this potent energy in a maelstrom of righteous anger. Keep some of this energy for yourself by focusing on your most important work without distraction.

Friday/Saturday/Sunday – Poetry in Slow Motion

Allegory of France Before the Return of Napoleon from Egypt, by Jean-Pierre Franque (1810)

Allegory of France Before the Return of Napoleon from Egypt, by Jean-Pierre Franque (1810)

“Lastly, it is for reason to make our happiness. . . Every age has its own pleasures. . . as long as we prefer to endure life, we must open ourselves to pleasure by all the doors leading to our soul; we have no other business.”  

On Friday, Saturn will go retrograde in the second decan of Sagittarius (16 degrees) and will remain in reverse motion until it reaches the first decan of Sagittarius (9 degrees) on August 13th. Saturn retrogrades typically slow everything down, which most people consciously resent and unconsciously desire. “. . .as long as we prefer to endure life, we must open ourselves to pleasure by all the doors leading to our soul…”

Think about watching a film that depicts an elegant dancer. Imagine that you had to learn the choreography and that you were able to view the dancer in both real time and in slow motion. Though real time is more stirring and exciting, in slow motion, every nuance and subtle movement can be observed. Consider the Saturn retrograde period a time of intense study through slow motion. You are being offered an opportunity to really savor, contemplate and learn something deeply.

On Friday, Venus also will oppose Jupiter and square Saturn which may test your relationships, your creative life and your sense of financial security. Again, it is a test of your ability to perceive life as poetry…in slow motion. In life, gratification is not always felt, but lyrical beauty nevertheless remains present. It is your job to learn to attune to beauty, in its manifold forms and under any circumstances.

Goethe facing a grave monument, cut paper, 1780

Goethe facing a grave monument, cut paper, 1780

The Moon will be waning in the sign of Scorpio for the remainder of the weekend, trining Chiron, Venus and Neptune in Pisces. This assures that if you choose to, you will be able to summon great pleasure even in the midst of great challenge. There is much more to your desires than the selfish impulses born from consumerism and materialism.  

By cultivating your virtues, you can hear the voice of nature within your desires!

Over the weekend, you will have pause for reflection upon what importance your passions and desires currently have in the way that you lead your life. If you desire to dance and you have a passion for music, make this knowledge of paramount importance in the way that you direct your life. Tastes, virtues, health and the rich inner world of dreams will naturally support your honest pursuit of happiness.

Flora by Alexander Roslin

Flora by Alexander Roslin

“. . . let us be certain of what we want to be, let us choose for ourselves our path in life, and let us try to strew that path with flowers.”                                  

–Émilie du Châtelet, “Discourse on Happiness,”

Selected Philosophical and Scientific Writings

Joyeux printemps!

<3 Aeolian Heart <3


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