12 Feb A Tendency Towards Eternity ~ February 13th-19th, 2017
“Love is the name for our pursuit of wholeness, for our desire to be complete.”
– Aristophanes in Plato’s Symposium
This week is fairly quiet. The Moon is waning and the Sun will be traveling through its last days in Aquarius, finally ingressing into Pisces over the weekend. This celebratory highlight of the week is Valentine’s Day. This is not an astrological event, but it is interesting to consider that this “romantic” holiday occurs during the season of Aquarius, which is not the most sentimental or relationship-oriented sign.
Every season is a time to honor and reify love, but for Valentine’s Day, it seems appropriate to mull over some of history’s influential ideas about love. And with both the Sun and Mercury in Aquarius, it seems fitting to examine love as a philosophical subject.
As much as Aquarius is prone to future oriented musings, the water-bearer also has a talent for using the ancient past for oracular inspiration. Thus, for this week of Valentine’s Day, let’s go back to the city of Athens in the 5th Century BCE to dip into a few passages from Plato’s Symposium.
In ancient Greece, a symposium was not a meeting of rigid academics quibbling over semantics. Instead, it was a lively drinking party where the guests were encouraged to discuss important matters through formal debate. In Plato’s Symposium, the guests of the party decide to have a debate regarding the nature of Eros, god of Love.
The Symposium includes several great speeches made by Phaedrus, Pausanias, Aristophanes, and Agathon, but Plato as a dramatist clearly intends for all these speeches to build anticipation for the moment when it is Socrates turn to speak.
After a brief argument with Agathon, Socrates begins to share his true beliefs about love by recounting the words of his teacher, the wise priestess Diotima, who taught him “the science of things relating to Love”.
Diotima’s name means “honoured by Zeus”. There is no historical evidence to affirm that she actually existed. But whether she was a myth or a real woman, her voice is the most vibrant in the Symposium and thus she exists as an influential part of history nevertheless.
Socrates explains how Diotima taught him that love’s ultimate purpose is to illuminate the soul through the realization of divine wisdom and beauty.
“Love is not a god at all, but is rather a spirit that mediates between people and the objects of their desire. Love is neither wise nor beautiful, but is rather the desire for wisdom and beauty.”
Love, according to Diotima, is not a god. Love is a Daemon, or an intermediary spirit between the divine realm and the human realm. As an intermediate, Love’s nature is to “interpret and communicate between divine and human things”.
(Communication between the divine and the human realms is also the most striking theme in the sign of Aquarius)
Diotima’s teaches that the first step towards realizing Love is to fully appreciate the attraction to the physical beauty in a person that one desires. The devotion to your lover’s physical beauty eventually leads to the realization that,
“physical beauty in any person is closely akin to physical beauty in any other,” therefore, “it is great folly not to acknowledge that the beauty exhibited in all bodies is one and the same”.
Thus, according to Diotima, true devotion to one person’s beauty enables a vision of the beauty in all humanity: the microcosm unveils the macrocosm.
The second step towards realizing Love is to experience the beauty of the soul. Thus, your lover’s physical beauty transforms into a vision of the beauty of their soul. The physical form, once the sole reason for love, is then perceived to be an emanation of the incomparably more beautiful soul. And again, the picture zooms out and illuminates the beauty in the souls of all humanity.
The Symposium goes on to describe how Socrates learned from Diotima that Love reveals the Beauty in the Cosmos. Love for an individual is the seed of a much more expanded Universal Love. Thus, in this ancient understanding, the gifts of Eros are actually a true spiritual calling leading to the path of wisdom.
For this earnest Love is a tendency towards eternity.
Monday/Tuesday: The Love of the Gods
“The Love of the gods belongs to anyone who has given birth to true virtue and nourished it.”
Valentine’s Day is on Tuesday. The fires of Eros will be lit by the conjunction between Venus and Mars in Aries. Yet, plenty of patience, and practicality will be inspired by the Sun in Aquarius’ sextile to Saturn in Sagittarius. Thus, you are likely to experience a rare combination of feeling highly romantic and yet quite rational. If you are in a romantic relationship, exalt the light and heat of your attraction.
For those who feel disconnected from romantic love, know that the romance in the air implies that you can become immersed in your passions. Thus, you may devote yourself to your art. You may get lost in a book. Or you may be called to relish the beauty of nature.
Whatever happens, allow love to flow through you. Worship all the beauty that you behold.
“It always is, and neither comes to be nor passes away, neither waxes or wanes.”
In the middle of the week, Mercury in Aquarius will sextile Mars in Aries, adding vigor and charisma to your style of expression. If you’ve been needing some extra courage to speak your mind, this would be an excellent day to approach the matter.
If you’ve been procrastinating on finishing up some mental labors, this will be a great day to do so. You might also find yourself digging into denser reading material or switching your sources of news to those that have more journalistic integrity.
For lovers, this transit may also alleviate some shyness and enable more direct communication about desire.
“by gazing upon the vast ocean of beauty to which his attention is now turned, he may bring forth in the abundance of his love of wisdom many beautiful and magnificent sentiments and ideas.”
On Saturday, the Moon is waning in Scorpio and the Sun leaves the wandering wilderness of Aquarius and plunges into the vast oceans of Pisces, where the mystery of love can be explored through immersive emotions.
In Pisces, the world of individuation dissolves back into the abyss. Thus, you may find that Plato’s lofty notions of love become much more apparent during Pisces season, where love can be felt as the universal creative principle: the sanctified force that brings all things into generation.
Adrift upon the waters of Pisces, Diotima’s ancient insights into eternal love mingle and melt with thousands of voices from Augustine to Dante, Shakespeare to Shelley. They all push the current towards the knowledge that the vision of beauty that you behold in a lover leads to communion with God.