Inside Venus's Earthly Realm of Pleasure
Daily Embodied Empowerment Challenge - November 10, 2022
I got a late start today. Not "opening the shop" or getting to work – I was back behind the helm before sunrise today. Emails, errands, myriad minutia to keep the 'you have better things to do than to write' narrative playing just a little bit longer. Sure, I spent the first several hours of the day working.
But, I wasn't writing. I didn't set down to start writing this until noon. Mind you, I had a client consultation at 15:30 (with chart prep before and post-session notes and follow-up after). I knew this at 8:00 am when I started in on non-writing tasks. So, well before I ever put metaphorical pen to page I struggling with an internal debate over the wisdom of my chosen order of operations today.
Balancing competing demands is real pain point y'all. It's not something that's manufactured by capitalism.
Enjoy the hike or get to your next destination?
Have your cake or it? Tbh, this one never made sense to my autistic brain. If you're eating your cake, aren't you having it? And, speaking of cake and other pleasant things: I recently saw an advertisement for the 1990-something movie, The Secret Garden.
I don't remember anything at all about this movie other than the fact that we watched it at the end of the year in 2nd grade. And who knows, even memories from that long ago are prone to acts of fiction. Maybe that never even happened? I could ask my Mom and try to find out.
But whether that event truly occurred in the past is irrelevant in at least one very important way: the mental-somatic-emotional association I have with the words 'The Secret Garden' are as real as the ones that arise based on observable causal phenomena in consensus reality.
Don't worry! I'm not gonna get all "far out" and philosophical talking about causation or determinism or anything. I promise... to not do that in this essay. I'm certain I will do exactly that one day. And when I do, I just want to know:
Jokes aside – while I don't remember anything about The Secret Garden, and I'm not sure if I actually ever read or watched it (or merely remember recalling a memory of doing so), I do remember the excitement of getting to watch a movie (on VHS!) in school.
Lucky quirky-ADHD-associations for me, I think of Taurus as "Venus's Garden" which immediately makes me think The Secret Garden, which you now know is code in my memory banks for pleasure & leisure.
And "leisure and pleasure" turns out to be a damn good entry-way into the sign of Taurus. Aka Venus's Garden. Aka the Secret Realm of Earthly Pleasure.
Writing About Writing
Or, Are You Sure You're Doing This Right?
I'm leaving the daily tarot cards alone today and hollering all the way back to the first time I committed to a public daily writing practice. The year was 2018, the divinatory tool was a set of AstroDice, and the platform was Instagram.
I have to laugh, and I hope you laugh with me too dear reader, when I tell you that as much good as that practice did for me - arguably helped launch my career, brought me into community with astro-peers and professional colleagues – I still find myself looking at that work from today's vantage point and what I see is incoherent brand messaging, and stacks of words that could have better served my mission & vision (to be of service to you) as well as my own personal goals.
If I had known then the power of keeping clicks on site, clear and simple branding, or building for the future my website would be the first hit for my own name. Alas, we all have to start from somewhere. And some things we can only grasp after a long-time wrestling with Trial and Error.
Writing Tip #2: Put the pretty pithy posts on social media; save the succulent and soulful for your own platform.
Your thoughts and ideas are valuable! While sharing them for free on social media is often a great idea for a variety of reasons, your work should also exist on a platform you own.
Like a website, if you're a digital content creator.
I'm about the really pull the curtain back and take writing about writing behind the fourth wall. If you just came to read about Venus's Secret Realm of Earthly Pleasure, skip past the breaking the fourth wall section and read on.
Breaking the Fourth Wall
The previous two days I started writing first thing in the morning. Nothing more than the time it takes to brew a cup of coffee and say my morning planetary prayers between waking and writing.
It's something that worked for me with NaNoWriMo, and the dailydivination posts over on IG. Plus, it's literally one of the og writers tips (I think from the Artist's Way?).
I could break the advice I'm going to give you below and pull in inspirational quotes and really let this piece sprawl out massively, but that's not going to be what happens today.
This bit is hidden away behind the toggle-wall because I'm going to share some of the raw first draft stream of consciousness mess in here. so that I can illustrate something for you. This is what came out of my fingers around five minutes to noon today:
So, at least one person has now signed up to follow along with this Daily Embodied Empowerment Challenge.
Thank you so very much!
I honestly didn't think it would happen this quickly. I'm tremendously grateful. This might sound corny but, it really does feel like real-life magic.
Now that there's actually one real life flesh and blood "Dear Reader" out there, my sense of purpose is stoked. Meanwhile, my nerves are kicking in.
The Imp, Oster Syndrome is far from done with me. And they've mobilized a duo of minions: Trial and Error, to come and antagonize me with a devastating combo: Retrospective Shoulds!!!
I realized I should have already created a Daily Embodied Empowerment Newsletter sign-up option. And a welcome page for that subsciption channel. Plus a weekly digest option, too – cause tbh, even I can't imagine being excited to read every single post I publish. Then again... I remember livejournal... Besides, I've seen plenty of things that just barely pass for "entertaining" "content" on YouTube.
So maybe I should be nicer to myself?
Let me interject a quick moment. I really want you to see what I was doing there. Those were writer-killing Internalized Negative Beliefs I was feeding with my own energy right there! Imposter Syndrome will have us playing them repeat if we're not careful.
Fortunately for me, I was struggling with the "pen to paper" (really fingers to keyboard) and "no editing while writing" today. Those are tips that may as well be rules. I've learned from experience that editing while writing kills the word-flow and scares away the Muse(s).
So, as soon as I had (foolishly, but thankfully in this case) read, revised, and re-typed what I'd written, I immediately employed some cool re-parenting and self-compassion.
Hey now mental dialogue, that's a bit unfair. We can't know what we don't know before we know it. It's like that line from that Modest Mouse song you love: "I know now what I knew then but I didn't know then what I know now."
Let's try this reframe: It's day 3, and I should be feeling great. One whole subscriber from two posts? That's like batting .500! Any batter would be thrilled to have an average like that.
That little shift in my attention / intentional awareness / Mindfulness faculty from passively observing and internalizing mental chatter to purposefully attuning to the present moment in order to act as a compassionate Steward of my experience of reality was quick and subtle.
I really can't understate the importance or the benefit of that particularly mindfulness strategy. That noticing my thoughts happened at all is borne out of two decades of meditation and mindfulness practice. That I thought to share it with you today is a product of holding to my promise to be transparent with my process. I figure that ought to include follow-ups and reflections on the questions and challenges that I pose to you!
Realizing that a very harsh and critical part of me was speaking, I realized that I could (at least attempt) to show you one of the way I'm working with the wisdom from Jessica Dore's Tarot for Change. Remember when I referenced her discussion of the 5 of Wands and Internal Family Systems that I mentioned yesterday?
You can abou the "Lord of Strife" and what I said about how the King of Swords invites us into fully surrendering to the consequences of our choices.
I'm choosing to dedicate a portion of every day to this project. And now that my invitation to join me has been accepted it feels even more important to hold myself accountable to the commitment that I've made: to offer something beneficial to you (and the world). A good-natured chuckle at least. A few new tricks up your sleeve... Loftier aims include cammaraderie, and community-building.
This copy, hidden behind the collapsable broken toggle-fourth-wall is me putting that framework or heuristic to work in real-time today. Practiced what I preached to you yesterday.
While free-writing (poorly, admittedly), I read and listened to my own words with consideration of the parts of me were speaking. I paid attention to the ones I listened to most readily.
When I noticed that even my self-compassionate re-parenting self was glibly reminding me that, "averages can change drastically. Especially in the beginning." I was kind to myself, again.
I acknowledged my effort, my progress, and the room I still have to grow. Then, I gave myself permission to persevere with the work at hand.
...with that being said, one more writing tip:
Writing Tip #3: Write. Or revise. But do your best never to combine.
Think of writing and revising like... driving or biking vs. sleeping. (Yes, it took a moment to find a non-substance related analogy). Writing is like driving, or riding a bike. You're in motion. Or at least your mind and fingers/hands are. Hand-eye-coordination and creative babies are on the line! You wouldn't sleep at the wheel with a baby in the car. So why would you edit or revise when you're trying to write? [Set Change: Replace the Fourth Wall!]
Leisure & Pleasure in Venus's Secret Garden
(aka the sign: Taurus)
Sounds kinda racy don't it? Just like Venus! But, that's an article for another page.
We're focusing on the garden itself in this metaphor: Taurus.
Taurus is a sign that belongs to the Earthy triplicity. Like all the earth signs, it's movement is downward trending, and it belongs to the nocturnal sect. Quiet, stillness, slow organic growth told in the timescale of the lifetime of longest-lived Tree relations. The dark, richly teeming humus of the Earth itself. These are the visions Taurus paint's in. The true treasure of Venus's garden.
As any avid gardener / subsistence farmer can tell you, the real wealth of the fields isn't defined by their annual fruits. It's measured by the difference between nutrient-rich life sustaining soil and barren inert dirt.
In the secret garden of Venus, measurements matter only insofar as they create Good Things. Like: ease, respite, delight. Those are Venusian priorities. And they're not conceptual ideals or mental models like they are in Libra.
(That's Venus's Tea Room, if you're wondering, and yes, we'll get there eventually).
In Taurus, Venus's priorities are practical, pragmatic, and political. It's very much another post for another day - but there's a strong correlation between Taurus and activists astrologically. You can find quite a few things just from googling around.
You can even watch this video I made about the transit of Uranus through Taurus. I made it near the beginning of Uranus's 7-year transit through the sign.
In session last night, the phrase "eating a peach in a hammock" entered the room. It's a perfect visual metaphor for what makes Venus's garden so pleasurable. Sadly, not one I can take credit for, though. But who's counting anyway?
Consider this: in a purely ornamental garden there's nothing to edible. Sure, maybe there's some roses or nasturtium petals you can nibble on. But they don't make a whole meal. You have to bring a picnic with you if you want to stay all day and not go hungry.
This concern with going hungry (literally, emotionally, sensually) is serious thing for Taurus. Venus rules the sign. Associated with banqueting, so we know food's on the table. Pun intended.
Then there's the whole "giving love locks decked in secret" and, I promise, I will unpack that in a thorough and robust exploration of Venus on both the Learn Astrology and Intersectional Astrology pages. Soon. Just as soon those pages decided to take their births.
Now, the Moon is exalted in Taurus. Exaltations are one of the essential dignifities. (Again, another article, another page, another writing assignment in my database!)
Okay. So, the Moon's connected with digestion and food. Food, again.
If you happen to know a Taurus in real life (rising, sun, or moon) – then you know that a Taurus is gonna be sure they get fed.
Where's the leisure(-wear)?
We've covered one half of the eating a peach in a hammock metaphor. The peach part was easy peasy. Now, let's set up this hammock so we can put our feet up!
I did say Taurus is connected to both pleasure and leisure now didn't I?
Leisure implies the ability to relax. The presence of the conditions necessary to experience and receive pleasure as just one of many vital resources available to us.
We've established that Taurus is the Garden of Venus.
Unless you're in a succulent and cactus garden, the plants have to be watered a fair amount. So, there's gonna be water. Which means the ground might be wet. Venus and the Moon are both not-dry planets; moist and temperate in humoral or temperament theory, respectively.
So now we're in a damp garden and we want to sit somewhere right? Well, anyone familiar with the Pacific Northwest knows soggy butts suck. Therefore, we might want a nice lawn chair, or better yet – a hammock, so we can relax our mortal forms.
Somewhere we can let our bodies (and our minds and hearts, in turn) relax.
Today's writing was prompted by one of my favorite writing / divination / study tools: The Astro Dice. It's hard to believe it was a whole 4 years ago that I started my daily divination practice on Instagram.
It was a project I started with a vague goal of 'writing daily' but, without the kind of container of accountability that I hope this challenge and website-membership-space will eventually grow to be.
Wanna know what I rolled?
Take a look at these:
If you've been with me since the early days you might notice a new edition to the ol' dice kit. (I can say 'since the early days' now, yeah? Even though I've rebranded? Right??)
Gregory Nalbandian's added a new 30-sided die to the Astro Dice set to allow for pulling specific degrees! So now, a "strict" reading of the die might give us considerations like these:
- 16° Taurus Mercury in Taurus
- Taurus 12th House with Mercury residing
- Mercury ruling the 12H from 16° Taurus
If we wanted to consider the dice in the context of a predictive interpretation then we might ask the question: when will Mercury be at 16° Taurus next?
And if you wanted to use that framework and interpretation to plan something, then you could follow up with: what can I accomplish between now and then?
Bonus points: if you don't have lists upon lists of tasks, projects, and plans you could come use this question as a prompt for brainstorming; or, If you've got a towering list of plans queued in the parking lot, you could use that question to choose what you tackle next: what kind of garden do I want to plant for myself?
This is a really common metaphor.
I'm borrowing it from at least one of the western Buddhist teachers I've encountered over the last 22 years. One of them likely phrased it like this (I'm paraphrasing):
Our attention/mindfulness creates the reality we experience. Where we place our attention and awareness is where we live, mentally.
Or, try this version:
The awareness faculty is like a watering can. In the garden of our mind where ideas, thoughts, memories, sensations, and impulses are all like plants, the ones we devote out attention to (i.e., the ones we water) are the ones that will flourish.
In other words, our minds – or at least the skillfulness of our mindfulness – determines which 'plants' thrive inside the garden of our minds.
If we wanted to carry this garden metaphor further, with respect to Mercury, we could talk about nueral pruning...
But, you know, I'll be writing every day, and I have other things to attend to. I'm sure you do too.
The decision to add a new assignment to the database is thanks to the King of Swords's advice from yesterday. This is what chatting with him (ie, contemplating that card yesterday) taught me: the only way the goals I'm striving for are possible is if I fully surrender to the limits necessary in order to sustain their growth long-term.
So today, I'm bringing in that Pomodoro method + free-writing thing I talked about yesterday. Except instead of merely using it to measure the amount of time I'm investing into the project, I'm also using it to LIMIT the amount of time I put into it.
Did I succeed? Hardly. But I'll get closer tomorrow.
So will you.
What I Want You to Take Away from this Post
Limits are necessary to allow things to exists. No silence, no music!
Part of "surrendering to the consequences of our choices" is accepting what cannot be (at least not right now) if we want our creations, relationships, or integrity to thrive.
In the garden of our minds, what we give our attention to is what we experience in our lives.
Challenge of the Day:
Tutorial Mode: Intentionally shift your focus three times. Start small.
Maybe you notice your nose itching and the urge to scratch it and you choose to shift your focus to listening to your body for a moment first, before you do. Or, maybe a barking dog distracts you and you choose to shift your attention back to the music you put on.
Novice Mode: Try the same awareness-shifting with media you're choosing to engage. Or something else that's not essential, totally voluntary, and likely to rouse a response but not likely to trigger trauma.
Advanced / Support-Recommended Mode: If you've engaged in some kind of mindfulness training, actually put it to use! If you've been to therapy land you might consider tools and techniques from CBT and DBT.
Question of the Day: Do you have a special place, or secret garden (of the mind) that you retreat to?
If you're a visual thinker, explore it a bit, and ask yourself: where do you see your values and creations in that space?
If you're a less visual thinker, these question may help you access the metaphorical & correspondence palette of Taurus in your world:
- What do you need to in order for your body and nervous system to relax?
- How do you nourish your body?
- How do you resource your energy?
- Where do you connect with the Earth? - When do you feel most open to leisure and pleasure?
If nothing else, maybe you'll enjoy this song. It's one that makes me think of Taurus specifically and it's in one of my Venus planetary playlists, too:
"Meet Me in the Garden" by Dent May
The Modest Mouse song referenced above is "Jesus Christ Was An Only Child" from the album Lonesome Crowded West.
As always, I hope these words find and serve you well.
If there's any way I can be of service to you in creating opportunities for grounded growth or embodied empowerment, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org; or, book a session at: bearryver.as.me
Until tomorrow, friends.
For those of you who care about the stats:
This is post 3/3.
Time from draft to publish was: 9h 40m
Obstacle/fear/barrier(s) overcome: lack of focus, too many tasks on the to-do list, perfectionism, a chorus of "it's so late now, what's the point!?," and the utter inability to stop writing.
For those of you wondering what the stats are about, you read about my Daily Embodied Empowerment Challenge here.