As part of Evolver's celebration of love in the month of February, astrologer Adam Elenbaas is offering two types of readings. Join your partner for a Star Crossed Lovers reading, or give a Birth Chart reading to a loved one as a gift. The readings will take part over Skype. To learn more, click here.
What if love is no big truth? What if there are two primary and simple desires wrapped into every love story or romantic escapade: the desire to lose ourselves and fuse with the source, and the desire to become ourselves and separate from the source?
Lately I've been seeing clients and their loved ones for Valentine's Day astrology readings, and everyone seems to have the same set of questions. "Will I find the love of my life? Will I find that special someone? Am I with the right person?" These questions really aren't any different from the numerous other questions people tend to ask during astrology readings, "Am I on the right career path? What does my chart say I should be doing with my life? Will I find the right community or the perfect place to call home?"
The reason these questions aren't any different has to do with the desires for love that motivate all of them. Each one of these questions reflects a genuine desire for love, but not all of these questions envision love or desire in the same way. If I had to boil it down I would say that there are two motivating "love" desires (and I'm certainly not the first to suggest this). Once we understand these two desires and the ways they tend to play out, I think we might come to the conclusion, in the words of one of my favorite bands, The Kings of Convenience, that "love is no big truth."
The Fusion Desire
The fusion desire, from the astrological point of view, is represented by planets like Neptune or the Moon, maybe even Venus. Each of these planetary archetypes can be associated with the dark, passive, cyclical ebb and flow of the opposites, the dream-time and the quality of yin. As a trans-personal planet, Neptune imagines, can sometimes literally feel, some ancient of days when humans lived in the paradise garden. Neptune remembers the ocean consciousness of the womb and envisions all of life as on a magical quest toward a redemptive reunion with that original undifferentiated state. Some astrologers say this is the impulse of the "soul." The soul's desire is to return home.
The Moon is more down to earth, internal and personal. The Moon is the queen of the animals, the plants, and the tides. She is the chirp and the hum of life on earth. The Moon is the web of nature and the dew drops of water hanging from its silk threads. The Moon also wants to go home, but her fusion takes place within a body, within a tribe, down here on earth.
Venus is even more social and related to our personality, our style and taste, and our sense of self worth or our personal self image. Venus is an aura and ornament made from the finest found objects. Venus is the goddess of the sky god's foam, born as it floated on the sea. Venus knows the secret geometry of perfection. She hides her starry secrets in her red gowns, and she knows all the right places to find the secrets here on earth. Venus desires to fuse with that which is most complete like herself, that which adds to her beauty by harmonizing with her.
When people come for an astrology reading motivated by the desire to fuse with someone romantically, these are several of the planetary actors most usually involved in the charts.
The Separation Desire
The separation desire, on the other hand, is represented by planets like Uranus, the Sun, and Mars. Each of these planetary archetypes can be associated with the light, active, linear, polarization of the opposites, the waking consciousness and the quality of yang. (I'm of course using all of these planets as examples of the archetypes I'm outlining, but any of these planets might play into an expression of the opposite desire depending on its position in the birth chart.)
Uranus is the starry sky god and the one who knows the "celestial plans." Uranus is the genius but mad scientist who seeks to transcend his own limitations, to grasp the knowledge of the platonic forms, and finally to perhaps become god himself. Uranus believes in what we can become, going beyond our earthly limits through an understanding of the divine forms, or through the human mind.
The Sun, like the moon, is more personal. The Sun is the hero who wears the knowledge of where he's been each night after he disappears. The Sun must slay the dragon of some underworld and emerge victorious. The sun's mission is to emerge from its personal battle with a sense of his own, separate, sacred divinity.
Mars is again more social and related to our personality. Mars is the warrior who speaks loudly in the barroom and cuts against the grain of others thoughts, feelings, and actions. Mars is the lone wolf in the desert, and the pale rider who remembers his old defeats all too well. Mars is going to triumph this time. Mars desires to get what is missing and to make of himself what he is not yet.
When people come for a reading and they're looking for a partner that will align with their personal destiny, or if they're looking for someone to creatively collaborate with or have adventures with, these are the planetary characters that tend to pop up.
If you ask someone what they believe the purpose of their spiritual practice is, they will generally answer you by citing one of these two desires. You just have to listen for it. Someone might say, "I want to heal myself and manifest my true power. I want to walk in alignment with my heart and awaken to pure beingness." These are most likely separation desires. These people want to be more of themselves. These are spirit people. Spirit wants nothing more than to become itself, more of itself, and to individuate into its own unique, separate, destiny. On the other hand someone might say, "I want to shed the layers of my ego and return home. My mission is to fuse with my tribe, to let go and surrender into god." These are most likely fusion desires. These folks want to lose themselves. These are soul people.
One desire values separate selfhood and the other feels burdened by it. Is one more right than the other? Let's look at the variety of responses people of one desire generally have to people of the other desire.
Ego: The Best Curse Word of the New Age
The most common thing that people of one desire have to say to people of the other, unfortunately, is something like, "that's just your ego speaking." For example, people who desire to manifest more of their own, unique potential will hear people tell them, "We need to get beyond these vain ego trips. None of that personal destiny stuff means anything. We need to dissolve our personal ambitions for the greater good. We're all one and there is no 'you.' Your personal manifestation mission is arrogant. You don't care about anything but yourself."
On the other hand people who desire to lose themselves and fuse completely with the original source will hear people say, "You're a dreamer and an escapist. You're lazy. You're a victim. You have no boundaries. Your vision doesn't provide the incentive to create positive changes. Get your feet back on the ground."
Really both criticisms are true and either form of desire is capable of throwing us out of balance. Both forms of desire can also be present at the same time, and perhaps neither is better than the other. Some people might say that these two desires are one and the same; they are mirror images of each other.
Love is No Big Truth
That these two desires dominate most of our lives is no big truth. Some people say that both desires, in fact all desire, needs to be exhausted, released, and extinguished in order for us to attain true happiness or enlightenment. Perhaps these people are exhausted by love, exhausted by desire. To them we might say "rest well friends!" Other people say that these desires, these loves of our lives, are endlessly dancing with one another, like a giant phallus and yoni, the tantra of god as the one and god as the many, the solar man individuating and the lunar woman losing herself, like the push and pull of a steamy sex game. Perhaps these people are excited and charged up by the dance of their desires. To them we might say, "party on friends!" And some people are convinced it's about balance between the two, the two "archetypes," and these are the philosophers seeking contentment, the ones writing all of this out like a math equation. To them we might ask is it "contentment" or "content" you're seeking? They're not sure. "Well, deliberate away friends!"
When it comes down to it, people, all these people, are all looking for love, and it's no big truth. We hope a job might liberate us, might help us become our truest and most unique selves. We desire that and it's the love of our lives. We wonder if our partner is our soul mate, our final resting place where separation might dissolve and we might fuse with god. And we make that romantic relationship the love of our lives. We may idolize our desires themselves, put them up on a pedestal, a homemade altar with our favorite holy books and laminated deity cards, as if ours is the appropriate philosophical form of desire, and this too is the love of our life.
We may try to rid ourselves of all our desires, release and surrender on a meditation cushion for hours and years, and this…well this emerging nothingness becomes the real love of our lives. We might alternatively try to enjoy the dance with desire — like our one true love with ballroom shoes and a sequin gown. And when it's quiet, after it's all said and done, we might find ourselves looking up at the stars, and we may sit back and reflect on all these things — unsure of the answers but filled with so many words and a great big "I don't know" smile. A Socratic smile, but it's still the love of our lives.
Happy Valentine's Day everyone. May your spirit and soul, your sun and your moon and your stars be filled with love this month!
Image by Sabrina Campagna, courtesy of Creative Commons license.