Imagine walking into a small, rustic home. The afternoon sun falls softly on wood floors and whitewashed plaster walls. Furnishings are minimal, well-used but cared for, and there are few ornaments. A hand-knit throw is draped on a reading chair, and a contented cat is curled in one corner. The only sound comes from wind and birdsong in the trees.
This is the aesthetic of Venus in Virgo (July 21, 2021, 5:37 pm PDT through Aug. 15 ). Like the Shakers who eschewed ornamentation as “prideful,” Venus in Virgo celebrates the natural world and our place in it, rather than using physical objects to make ourselves stand out. When it comes to love, money, fashion, or home, Venus in Virgo wants to help, to serve, to be a good steward. To keep things simple, and to honor the beauty of everyday things.
Ihave two aesthetic sides. One favors spare, simple, and soothing minimalism. The other craves a richly-layered, Bohemian mélange of saturated colors, rich fabrics, and interesting objects.
These are the visions that vie for supremacy each time I decide to redecorate a room of my house or redesign my website. I wish I loved only one style, but for me, perfection lies in some tidy but comfortable blend of the two. Sort of like this week’s opposition between Venus in minimalist Virgo and Jupiter in casual, whimsical Pisces (July 22, 2021, 5:45 am PDT).
Venus in Virgo revels in simplicity, but sometimes it can go a little too far. I remember watching a home design program featuring a couple who’d outfitted their entire house with built-in furniture made of plywood…without a skerrick of upholstery. It didn’t look like a place where I could kick back and watch TV with my spouse.
And yet, part of me – call it my progressed Venus in Virgo – longs for buff-colored plaster walls, a basic reading lamp, and a quiet, navy-blue sofa, with none of the messy bits and pieces that continually litter our house’s horizontal surfaces and collect in bowls that were meant to be purely ornamental. If your own Virgo planets coexist with strong Pisces or Neptune signatures in your (or a loved one’s) chart, you know this tension. The bright, beaded throw pillow and hand-crocheted throw that sneak onto the couch. The lacy scarf thrown over the lamp. The lingering smell of patchouli. Hints of irrepressible joy, color, and magic spilling across your spare, tidy environment like sun streaming through a stained glass window. Something in-between soothing order and the magic of disorder can look just like perfection.
The desire for self-expression is pretty high up on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. You have to have an awful lot going right in your life before it occurs to you to want more fun. That said, even a life that offers a roof over your head, food to eat, and safety from imminent peril can be flat, gray, and filled with despair, if there is nothing to feed your creative spirit and no sense that your life has meaning.
This week, the Sun enters Leo (July 22, 2021, 7:26 am PDT), which is called the sign of creativity; but that doesn’t tell the full story. It evokes visions of a child’s playroom, filled with bright plastic toys, or a crafts room with construction paper and Elmer’s glue. But Leo’s desire for creativity transcends the tools we use to summon it. Leo symbolizes pursuits that open the heart and make you feel completely alive, to the extent that you don’t even question whether you’re doing it well, just whether you’re doing it exactly as you like. That can be a challenge for adults, who have responsibilities and full schedules, and who lack a child’s luxurious surfeit of empty hours for seemingly idle pursuits.
But throwing yourself into a creative passion is worth the investment of time, because the benefits spill over into every part of your life, making everything—your job, your relationships—more distinctive and satisfying.
We all have something inside us that wants to be engaged and needs to be shared and noticed. It says, “This is what it’s like to be me. This is how I see the world.” That’s Leo’s destination, and practically any road can take us there. You may enjoy quilting, or cooking, or designing video games; you may be called to play softball, mandolin, or Lady Macbeth. You’ll know the right tools – they’re the ones you can’t stop fiddling with long enough to get a decent night’s sleep.
Ayoung couple has just exchanged vows in a touching wedding ceremony. It’s just after sunset on a hot summer evening as their guests spill out onto a vast lawn. Rows of tables are set for a formal reception dinner, and the Aquarius Full Moon begins to rise, its reflection glowing in a small pond. Before they’re seated, wait staff circulate with glasses of wine and hors d’oeuvres. The stage is set for a beautiful party.
In one corner, a wide flight of stairs leads to a patio. While the newly minted married couple wanders around greeting guests – co-workers of their parents, extended family members they hardly know – they notice that their friends have taken their drinks over to the stairs. They’re seated at all levels, kicking off their shoes, making themselves comfortable and laughing.
And just like that, the couple realize that they’re really adults. They long to shake off their formal clothes and have a beer with their friends, but they’re the stars of the show, with serious social obligations.
After dinner and speeches, it’s time for the first dance. Exhausted, they look at each other and, without a word, they kick off their shoes, loosen their clothes, and start running. Hand-in-hand, they jump into the nearby pond, with their friends close behind.
Mercury is approaching a trine to loving Neptune (exact on July 24, 2021, 9:35 am PDT) from the familial sign of Cancer, so family obligations must be met. With the Sun in Leo, there must be pageantry. But when all that has been done, the Aquarius Full Moon (July 23, 2021, 7:36 pm PDT, at 1.26 Aquarius) has to have its freedom. And so begins their happily ever after.
As Mercury opposes Pluto (July 25, 2021, 1:15 pm PDT), I’m reminded of the difference between grasping something with your mind and understanding it with your body. An intellectual understanding and willingness to talk about the huge issues we face – disease, personal rights, social justice – are a good place to start. But unless we’ve faced these things ourselves, faced life-threatening discrimination, watched a loved one struggling to breathe – our understanding is limited. Today, we’re invited to glimpse the shadowy, Pluto underworld that many of our fellow humans call home. Listen and watch, and help them tell their story.
Writing and images © 2020-2021 by April Elliott Kent