As I discussed in my previous post, one of the dominant patterns in my birth chart in terms of its impact on my life is that I have Venus in Taurus opposing Saturn in Scorpio. It may not be surprising that the pattern has been particularly active in doling out its lessons ever since my Saturn Return–especially since I had been throwing myself into magical work that was only bound to exacerbate it all.
I first became aware of this relationship in my natal chart in 2010 as I was preparing to leave the United States for Norway to see if my marriage at the time would work any better there than it did here in the U.S. The astrologer I consulted saw this in my chart and told me how he saw it likely manifesting: He said that for one, relationships with women would be one of the key areas in which I would find my spiritual and karmic lessons in life. He said one very noticeable way this might manifest is that no sooner would I sufficiently begin to integrate the lessons from one romantic relationship and resolve to move on than I would very soon find myself in the next relationship, ready to continue the ongoing narrative. He said the next one would pretty much fall out of the sky at the appointed time. Then, he stopped the recording to tell me something he did not want unsanctioned ears to inadvertently hear (he knew what my plans were for my marriage): He said he saw another woman entering the picture, probably someone that I already knew at the time, and that if I wanted my marriage to work, I should be on the lookout for that because he saw possible meddling or unscrupulous means involved.
After I left Norway, things happened as the astrologer had predicted; the courtship and entire relationship with the woman who would become my second wife fit the bill. It hit the personal and impersonal notes of my natal opposition between Saturn and Venus in all sorts of ways.
I could see the truth of what the astrologer had said written throughout my past, as well. I have a long history behind me of starting or co-founding spiritual communities online–often with female partners, I notice–then getting cold feet in one form or another and bailing out on them. The issue of having karmic lessons to learn or work out through relationships with women has also been a pattern. During the years when I was most active in forming these groups, I almost always had an “internet girlfriend.” A couple of them were much older than me, but most were about my age. One of the real hard, painful lessons that has come up more than once has been that of infidelity–in particular, negotiating relationships when the people involved have very different views on how infidelity is or should be defined.
Typically, the pattern has been that of my being the “loyal” one, either getting cheated on, or being broken up with so my partner could then “ethically” chase after sexual entanglements with others. I remember the first relationship in which this came up, where I fielded for the first time some of the more common arguments against the virtue of monogamy as drawn from anthropology and biology. I remember choosing to grapple with this viewpoint, which frankly broke my heart, and trying to see the merit in the argument nonetheless. I sought the insecure patriarch hiding inside of me that my girlfriend was pointing to; I tried to trust that it wasn’t me she was attacking, it was–in her eyes–a harmful idea. I eventually came to understand a lot more of her viewpoint on fidelity than I ever thought possible, even while this was all wounding my heart. It doesn’t mean I adopted her ways, however.
Experience has shown me that any form of sex that involves physical contact with another person, it turns out, is a pretty big deal to me. As compared with many men my age, my way of living in this regard is, in some ways, rather “prudish.” I have actively pushed against a few of the limits in this tendency of mine, just to learn what I’m truly made of. Point blank, I’ve tried to prove it wrong at least twice, and both times, I proved myself right instead.
It’s important at this juncture to discuss where this natal chart configuration and my inner spiritual life intersect: With Rose. I’ve written about her in a few posts as either a spirit or a figment of my imagination. One thing I’ve been less candid about is the fact that our relationship also carries overtones of the erotic. It has to. On a spiritual level, she is my muse. On a psychological level, she’s a part of my mind and this is bound to get psycho-sexual. Reconciling this has led to studying a lot of material exploring the connections between magic and sexuality; at any rate, one thing that various mystical and magical traditions carry as themes is how magic and “sexual energy” are tied together.
The story between Rose, Ilyas and I was always that I was truly a spirit like them who chose to incarnate, and they were “up there” in “the spirit world” helping me out. One of the thornier issues I wrestled with was the fact that Rose eventually started telling me that she, too, would incarnate and be with me. She also said we’d be of similar age, which paradoxically meant that the person had already been born–while I was having the conversation with Rose. This was, in fact, compatible with the metaphysical framework into which I had fit my spirit work: If Ilyas was the part of “me” dwelling outside time and space, and I could talk to him, then there was nothing logically preventing the same from being possible with regard to Rose. That is, her physical incarnation could be “out there” somewhere in the physical world already, even as I lay in bed at night talking to her “Higher Self” in my head. What a thing to imagine.
As much as I clearly wanted to believe this idea, it was also obvious to me that it could very well be (and, I had usually concluded, most likely was) a coping strategy or crutch that I used to carry my lonely little self through a life of magical insanity. My imaginary friend could be an imaginary spiritual teacher and partner, too. I studied succubi for a while because I thought that might be what was going on.
It also raised unexpected issues in my marriages: I had to reconcile Rose with the person standing in front of me, every day, in order for all of this to be true at once. I can’t even begin to tell you the problems of idealization vs. reality I struggled with, but in the main, there was a feeling of pressure that I would be forced eventually to choose between having Rose in my life and entering real, physical partnership with a wife. Was Rose an obstacle to that? Perhaps an idea that I needed to do away with? My conclusion after my second marriage was, “Yes, definitely. This ‘Rose’ horseshit needs to go.” Ah, the best-laid plans of mice and men…
Not long after receiving surprise word from my second wife that she’d had divorce papers drawn up and they were being mailed to me, I knew exactly what I wanted to do next, both psychologically and magically: Explore this Saturn-opposing-Venus thing.
For context, there had been problems from the beginning of the relationship revolving around suspected cheating; given her knowledge of astrology, oddly enough, the Saturn-opposing-Venus thing was something that would literally come up in fights, something that she would hold up as “evidence” of her suspicions that I was running around behind her back and cheating on her. Most of the “evidence” she came up with was either stuff like that (“I did a tarot reading and got the 2 of Cups, this is all your fault!”) or completely made-up nonsense; but at one point, I did in fact sign up at Ashley Madison because if there was no way to live my life free of accusations of cheating, I was going to consider doing it. Also, since my partner had already been caught once snooping around in my email, I also decided to leave the welcome message in my inbox as an “insurance policy,” knowing that if she ever snuck into my email again, she’d find it, and I’d know about it because she wouldn’t be able to control herself (it turns out I was right and that got seriously out of hand when she did, in fact, go snooping in my email again–but it was totally worth it, not gonna lie).
Anyway, late one night (almost exactly four years ago as I post this), I cast a circle filled with incense, called out to Hekate, and declared my intention to explore my sexuality, naked an unafraid, to confront it for what it was. This was for the sake of self-knowledge and resulting increase in personal sovereignty. Immediately following the ritual, I set up an account on an online personals site. I found someone I vibed with in the space of 24 hours–and we are still together today, trying to decide where to buy a house.
The first thing about her profile that seized hold of my attention was her handle: “GoddessFortuna.” Not only did I see the word “goddess,” but I saw “Fortuna,” not the most popular goddess name for an online avatar; you choose the name “Fortuna” and put it next to the word “Goddess,” you’re making a pretty solid statement about yourself. It was properly capitalized, too, which further lent this Lady the mark of Purpose. This was a woman who knows she truly is a goddess in the flesh. I could just feel it about her.
Her intro line on her profile said something like, “Nerdy boys who use VLOOKUP and Pivot Tables for fun make my heart melt.” My pickup line to her was, “I’ve never used vlookup or pivot tables, but I’ve played around with nested functions and it was exhilarating.” These words had the same effect on her that her profile name had on me: They said to her, “This is the one I’ve been looking for.” As she would later relate to me, I was correct to perceive the mark of Purpose in her profile, because she said every single detail was intended to attract a certain kind of guy, and discourage the rest. Apparently, all the guys on those sites who are only out to get laid pretty much begin the conversation with a dick pic or a bald-faced proposition for sex, like, right now–and the fact that we actually talked very little about sex at all was the big “tell” to her that I wasn’t like them, but am instead what she would call “a good boy.”
Her name is Veronica, a name itself pregnant with meaning relevant to the situation. The “mythic” tones of our relationship were apparent from our first date, at The Templestowe Pub, at the corner of Montrose Ave. and Troy St. in Chicago. We set the room on fire from the moment she walked in; it was bingo night, there were a lot of people around, but everyone could feel the fireworks between us. Veronica would tell me it was all over for her the second she looked into my eyes.
It got a little complicated, however: I did not know this at first, but apparently, Veronica was a married woman. She had a consensual arrangement with her husband to find partners on the site where we had met. Apparently, meeting me completely disrupted this. Veronica would tell me that she would spend the morning after we met crying and trembling in the bathtub, because one night with me had her thinking that she either needed to ghost me, or ghost her husband–and we never even got around to sex.
I was living with her within a couple of months.
Anyone see any red flags? A man freshly served divorce papers, on a very conscious rebound, finds a married woman to explore his sexuality with, and instead, they each fall madly in love, in ways that prompt both of them to make sudden, life-changing decisions. I really tried not to speak for her, but I know myself well enough to know it’s the kind of thing I need to be mindful of. If there’s been one consistent source of tension in our relationship, it’s been the extreme reluctance and even abject terror on my end to relax into trusting this woman, despite everything she’s done to prove to me that I can. In the earlier stages of our relationship, I had been ready to bail out of this relationship at the drop of the hat–looking for reasons behind every corner, under every rug, or just making them up when I couldn’t find any “out there.” I was trying very hard to move away from past relationship patterns that I had recognized as potentially harmful and co-dependent; Veronica has always tried to show me how healing that wound does not necessarily require denying myself love and companionship. The way “out,” she’s teaching me, can be “through.” Ironically, this came about by way of Veronica embodying so many of the things that Rose used to tell me about how she would come to earth to be with me; the first relationship that I made the choice to “cleanse” of Rose’s influence ultimately made it impossible for me to ignore her.
And nowadays? Obviously, Veronica knows about Rose; she knows more about Rose than anyone but me–and as far as Personal Myths go, V is comfortable enough with what Rose’s existence implies to have quite voluntarily taken the mantle on herself; when we used to fight, she used to tell me, “This has to work out, because I’m your Rose.”
As far as “red flags,” here is what V would eventually tell me regarding her relationship with her husband: The very fact that they had come to a consensual arrangement to satisfy her sexual needs, which were not being met at home, was, to her, a failure of the relationship. From that point forward, with his consent within the realm of her body and sexual soul, she was seeking another with whom she could commune more fully. Evidently, I was that person who might give himself to her–mind, soul, and, yes, body. The fact that she was even on that website meant that she was already moving on in her mind, even though it was perfectly above-board and done with mutual consent.
As Veronica and I got to know one another, we unearthed a long string of fairly uncanny “missed” connections in our lives that stretch back years and wander all throughout Chicagoland. For starters, our families are both rooted in the same neighborhood: “Heart of Chicago.” Our mothers attended the same elementary school (although at different times).
Cermak Rd.–or 22nd St.–runs through our lives in both literal and symbolic ways. When I lived in Heart of Chicago with my mother and grandfather, it was on Cermak Rd. If you follow Cermak Rd. far enough out of the city, you will pass through Berwyn, and once upon a time, you would drive right past “The Spindle,” the stack of cars at Cermak Plaza that appears in Wayne’s World. Cermak Plaza was where I acquired the pills I was using to destroy my life when I had my Near Death Experience, my high school is right behind it, North Riverside mall is just across Harlem, and the Berwyn Public Library is right next to the high school. All of these are places where V and I could very easily have crossed paths any number of times, and we still rack our brains once in a while to try and decide if we ever met before four years ago.
Further down Cermak, far outside the city, The U.S. Census Bureau has an office at the address of 1111, where Veronica once worked–and where both my mother and Veronica’s mother also once worked–and they had spoken to one another. Our mothers knew each other and worked together.
Between these extremes, within the city but not quite within Heart of Chicago, there was a pizza place called Pisa Pizza. Although I had never eaten there, I knew the sign for decades as an icon and landmark on the trip east up Cermak from Berwyn to the house on Cermak in the city; it was a big point of nostalgia for me. Little did I know, Veronica’s family owned that place, and she worked there all the time. I probably drove right past her more times than I can count, without ever realizing it.
Earlier in life, when I was living on the far South Side (Midlothian), Veronica was living with her family in Homer Glen.
For decades, my Veronica had been right there–almost always within a couple of miles, and probably within arm’s reach more than once–as Rose lulled me to sleep at night, telling me, “I’m out there somewhere right now, Daniel.”
The personal relationship is the first step outside of the Self where Initiatory work begins to overlap–in both competition and complement–with the imperatives of the other people with whom we share space on the planet. It could be argued that as we climb the ladder, or widen the scope, into the social and political spheres–all we’re really doing is adding complexity to this very simple picture that begins with Two.
Confucius had thoughts that seem relevant to this:
“If you want to change the world, first change your heart. To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order; we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right.”