Bound in Pisces: Psyche and Eros, Venus and Mars

rodin - eros and psyche

Cupid and Psyche (1893) by Auguste Rodin

  • In February 2015 the asteroids Psyche (#16) and Eros (#433) will be conjunct Venus and Mars.
  • From February 6 through February 20, 2015, Psyche and Eros will be conjunct Venus and Mars in Pisces.
  • February 17, 2015:  Psyche and Eros are conjunct at 23 degrees of Pisces.  Venus will be at 26° Pisces and Mars will be at 28° Pisces at this time.
  • February 18, 2015:  in between the beginning of new cycles between first Psyche and Eros and then Venus and Mars, there will be a New Moon at the final degree of Aquarius with Mercury in Aquarius sextile Saturn in Sagittarius.
  • On February 20, 2015 by the light of a sliver moon, Venus and Mars will be together in the Sunset sky near the crescent light
  • February 21, 2015:  Venus and Mars will be conjunct and beginning a new cycle at 1° Aries.  Psyche will be at 25° Pisces and Eros will be at 26° Pisces.

When in love, when under waves of desire whether erotic or otherwise, when struck with the pang of separation and unfulfilled desire, experience intensifies and we can feel the full fabric of soul within and surrounding us.  It can be easy to cynically dismiss the true love of fairy tales or scoff at the romantic excess of Valentine’s Day, yet there truly is nothing like Love and the full spectrum of associated emotions that can make us feel alive, one with the stars above and earth below, and Whole.  Currently there is an intense Dark Moon in Capricorn and Aquarius that leads to a New Moon at the final degree of Aquarius on February 18.  This lunar clearing to prepare for a new cycle mirrors current balsamic cycles between Venus and Mars and the asteroids Psyche and Eros that are occurring at the same time in the final decan of Pisces.  Psyche and Eros being conjunct simultaneously in the same section of the zodiac as Venus and Mars amplifies a time of re-seeding our relational desires and the vision we each hold for the relationships we wish to exist within.

In the story of Eros and Psyche we explore their sacred union and the path to becoming whole through love, as well as the journey of Psyche from mortality to divinity.  Just as we associate Eros with desire and Psyche with soul in modern language, the tale of Psyche’s merging with Eros reveals how pursuit of our desires can ultimately bring us to a union with our soul.  According to Demetra George, a pioneer in the use of asteroids in astrology, Psyche is a higher octave of Venus and Eros is a higher octave of Mars.  As a result it is incredible synchronicity that as Venus and Mars are now closing their cycle that began in April of 2013, Psyche and Eros are also closing and beginning a new cycle in the same sign of Pisces.  The connection with Pisces is further augmented by the mythic connection between Venus and Cupid, also known as Eros, and the constellation of Pisces.  The Greeks and Romans saw the two fish of Pisces as representing the escape of Venus and her son Cupid from the monster Typhon by transforming themselves into fish that could swim safely away.  Both Greek and Roman tradition eventually saw Venus/Aphrodite as the mother of Eros/Cupid by way of her lover Mars.  Yet in older Greek tradition, Eros was seen as one of the primordial manifestations of form in the story of Creation who was beyond gender divisions.  In this way Eros has always been seen as an actively direct, progenitive force that is at the root of creation, and eventually as a result was connected with the masculine energy that seeds new birth in the receiving feminine.

eros and psyche statue

Cupid and Psyche (1794) by Antonio Canova

Within the ascending Psyche, rooted in human matter, merging with the descending Eros, connected to heavenly light, we find a true soul communion.  According to Demetra George, the Psyche asteroid illuminates our capacity to be sensitive on a psychic level to an Other and is about our desire for a soul mate, a union with a lover under the guidance of divine energy through the path of conscious relationship.  Yet Psyche is not only about a spiritual and sexual union with an Other, but also can be about a union within the Self.  Through Psyche, erotic energy is akin to the procreative life force when we are swept away in our body by bonding with a lover or other desire.  In this way Eros is the primal, procreative force of our passion that underlies our vision and desires, as well as indicates our sexual attractions and vitality.

I do not want to take up the space here going into the plot of Psyche and Eros in detail, but I did previously write about their story last year during the Venus retrograde in Capricorn.  If you want to know their story, I recommend reading the distilled summary and deep analysis of the Psyche and Eros myth found on the Symbol Reader blog, lovingly told in three parts:  beginning, middle, and end.  The essential information is that Psyche was born as a beautiful princess who received so much admiration that she aroused the jealousy of Aphrodite/Venus.  Determined to remove this threat to her status as the goddess of love and beauty, Venus ordered her son Eros/Cupid to prick Psyche with one of his arrows to make her fall in love with an abominable monster.  However, Eros instead fell in love with Psyche and intervened so that Psyche ultimately found her way into his secure, secretive, and sensually luxurious palace where he lustfully merged with her in dark abandon.  A plot detail that echoes the current balsamic conjunction of Venus and Mars in Pisces is that after Psyche’s father consulted an oracle and was told that she was destined to marry a monster who aroused fear in even Zeus himself, Psyche’s father coordinated a ritual sacrifice for her that was at the same time like a funerary rite and a giving away to marriage.  This intersection between death and burial, marriage and a new beginning, is resonant with the current close of the past two year cycle of Venus and Mars that will give way to a new cycle between these archetypes of love and desire.

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Psyche with the Lamp by Max Klinger

There are those who analyze a lack of perspicacity in Psyche through intellectual interpretation of the myth, yet who has not been under the throes of cloistered, secretive passions felt in the dark of night where clarity is not even a potential. Psyche in the end brings the full light of conscious awareness to her union with Eros after her sisters warn her that she could be sleeping with a serpentine monster. Once Psyche brings fire to light her vision of Eros, falling even further in love with him in the process, her story suddenly shifts in a radical direction not unlike a Uranus transit or the impact of the current square between Pluto and Uranus we are experiencing in astrology. This shift begins by the wound caused by burning lamp oil on Eros that provokes him to flee from his lover, in part because of his secret being unveiled.

As we have been experiencing the close of the cycle between Venus and Mars in Pisces, similar to Psyche in the palace of Eros we may have felt burning desire more so than clarified realization.  The balsamic phase is a time of re-visioning in which premonitions of our coming vision enter our field of awareness without full consciousness of how or when it will manifest.  Simultaneously the balsamic phase is a period of releasing past patterns and relationships, a letting go to make space for the new. Our attractions can be on a more primal and unconscious level, and as we had a Mercury retrograde ending less than a week ago, numerous images of past relationships we now wish to release could have been circulating within the same space as images of the new relationships we now want from our current presence.  The upcoming New Moon on February 18 features a Mercury moving direct that is in sextile to a Saturn that is still direct, and so we will have greater capacity to clarify with the light of consciousness the passions we have felt in the dark.

In the story of Psyche and Eros, once Psyche has lit her perception of the truth that she has fallen in love with the divine Eros, his ensuing separation from her pulls her into a Heroine’s Journey of numerous trials and tribulations that take her to the extremity of the Underworld and back.  Through her yearning for love’s embrace and the pain of separation in space from it, Psyche opens her psychic field to the soul of the world around her and the potential to unite her personality with her own soul.

Max-Klinger-Pan-comforting-Psyche

Pan comforting Psyche by Max Klinger

In the wake of her separation from Eros, Psyche leapt with desperation into a river, ready to surrender her suffering and release herself from control of her life.  Yet in a foreshadowing of natural intervention, the flowing water protects her from ending her life and delivers her to the shore and the goat hooves of the wild nature god Pan. Pan lends Psyche his full sympathy, inspiring her to follow her love toward Eros instead of giving up her life in defeat.  So begins the solitary quest of Psyche that has served as an allegory for the necessity of finding and uniting with our Self before we are able to fully enjoy and sustain a soulful union with our beloved.  Pan is a different mythic figure than Chiron, yet shares the similarity of integrating human and animal parts in his unified form.  As a result I feel this crossroad of the story resonates with the astrology we began February 2015 with, when there was a conjunction between Chiron in Pisces with Psyche, Eros, and Mars, and by the end of the first week of February, Venus had also entered into a conjunction with Chiron.

After realizing that Psyche is determined to reunite with Eros, Aphrodite begins giving her a series of seemingly impossible tasks to complete.  However, in each one Psyche succeeds through her openness to nature and her ability to communicate and listen to the soul of her environment.  Ants, reeds, an eagle, and a man-made tower all communicate with Psyche and come to her aid at pivotal points in her tests.  Psyche’s psychic empathy is her heroic strength, and similarly we can utilize the recent transits of Venus and Mars with Chiron in Pisces to draw from our own unique gifts in pursuit of our desire, while listening intently to messages from our surrounding environment to help us find the the unique solution to each dilemma we face.  The recent transits to Chiron may have intensified our experience, yet this heightened magnification has demanded an enhancement in our ability to respond with the focus necessary to ultimately manifest our desired outcome.

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Psyche on the Cliff by Max Klinger

Although Psyche manages to succeed in her initial tests, Psyche feels the full force of a dark night of her soul while literally peering over a perilous cliff into the deathly water of the River Styx. The great strength of Psyche is that she bravely feels all of her emotions and does not shirk from her suffering or attempt to deny it, distract herself from it, or numb it.  She feels all of the torment of being separated from her Eros, and the magnetism of her emotive vibration time after time inspires the sympathy of elements in her environment that come to her aid and ensure her survival and success.

Indeed, each hardship and challenge faced by Psyche ennobles her character to such an extent that she is able to follow the pathless path into the Underworld in order to appease Aphrodite’s demand of a sampling of Persephone’s beauty ointment.  Psyche wins the favor of the Queen of the spirit world, as Persephone presents Psyche with a share of her restorative beauty balm.  Miraculously, Psyche manages to re-ascend to the upper world and it is at this point that she decides she will no longer surrender to the directive demands of Aphrodite.  Although Psyche had been warned that applying Persephone’s beauty ointment to herself will result in death, Psyche chooses to apply the magical medicine anyway.  Whether this was an act attempting to make herself more attractive to Eros, or a consequence of an emboldened sense of Self, the beauty ointment of Persephone leads to the resurrection of her union with Eros and transformation into divine presence.  This is because after the application of the ointment causes Psyche to fall into a death-like sleep, Eros becomes incapable of restraining himself any longer and soars to embrace Psyche in his arms, pressing his lips against her lips and in the mingling of his breath within her awakens her with his true love’s kiss.  Their marriage and ascension of Psyche from mortal to goddess follows,  and from their union a beautiful daughter is born from the womb of Psyche, in Greek known as Hedone and in Roman known as Voluptas, both words meaning “Pleasure.”

amor finds psyche by Max Klinger

Eros finds Psyche by Max Klinger

The sign of Pisces is an appropriate place to hold all of the archetypal drama of Psyche and Eros, Venus and Mars.  In Pisces we find a yearning for eternal, ultimate meaning and a surrendering to the ineffable bliss of love.  The deep waters of Pisces reflect images imbibed with symbolism connected to the world of myth and the source of the collective unconscious.  Notice and be present for what has been arising within your deepest recesses, and what aspects of your past patterns and relationships no longer link with your personal truth.  It is helpful to realize the current cycle of Venus and Mars closing now began on April 6, 2013 at twenty degrees of Aries, and so relationship issues since that time are especially poignant to reflect upon and release what feels pertinent to clear.  We are at a time to both let go of the past and to set intentions and invitations in place to welcome our new presence in relationship.  If it feels deeply connected to us on a soul level, it is time to focus on it moving forward with full presence.  If it seems more like a pattern we have picked up through collective conditioning in one way or another, whether it be from media exposure, family influence, or consensus societal beliefs, if it is not rooted to our deep nature then it is time to release it.  There is more than enough pain and suffering going around and around our planet these days for all of us:  like a determined Psyche, stay centered on the desires that will bring you joy, fulfillment, and affirmation.

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

— W.H. Auden, September 1, 1939

Amor and Psyche by Max Klinger

Psyche and Eros by Max Klinger

References

George, Demetra with Bloch, Douglas. (1986). Asteroid Goddesses. ACS.

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9 thoughts on “Bound in Pisces: Psyche and Eros, Venus and Mars

  1. Gray….what a rich description of my favorite eternally alive myth! It’s rather odd but since the first of the year I’ve had the sensation that the new moons seem to be kind of lagging behind as if they occur but really don’t penetrate or have their full impact until the beginning of the next new moon after them!! Not sure that sentence makes any sense at all, other than to only to me. LOVE YOUR WORK!!As usual, thanks! Judie Harte

    • Thank you, Judie. I also love the Psyche and Eros myth and relished the opportunity to write about them in connection with Venus and Mars. Venus and Mars are so beautiful to see at night now together, it is incredible that Psyche and Eros are right there with them.

      It is an interesting observation you are making about the New Moons- I have not thought about it in this way, though in general for me I notice Full Moons right away and feel like New Moons carry the impact across the forthcoming cycle and I often don’t notice a big change right away.
      Thank you as always for commenting,
      Gray

  2. Gray…wonderful piece as usual, perhaps even more so on this one! I told a colleague about you. She lives down here in west los angeles, and would like to receive your blog and perhaps have a session with you. She’s an artist and an astrologer-JUngian oriented, etc. She has written and illustrated a fine book on Mary Magdalene Shaman….through Amazon Books. I tried to send her your blog and was unable to. Could you perhaps put her on your list,through word perfect. This blog on Eros and Psyche would be especially helpful for her. Her email is Sarataftartist@gmail.com.
    Thanks again for your superb work. With continued admiration, Judie Harte P.S Bonnie Bright is going to interview me and Hadley Fitzgerald separately first week in April. Will let you know.

    • Thank you for sharing my work with others of like-mind, Judie. I looked up the Mary Magdalene book on Amazon and it looks very beautiful, wise, and insightful. I will do my best to get in touch with her, though I do not know how to send a link to my blog other than the web address. Let me know when you end up being interviewed! Gray

  3. such a profound offering, gray. the poem is *precious* and my favorite take-away is:
    ‘the magnetism of her emotive vibration time after time inspires the sympathy of elements in her environment that come to her aid and ensure her survival and success.’

  4. Pingback: Capricorn Full Moon | Gray Crawford

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