“Beyond the superficial, the considered phrase, "It feels right to me," acknowledges the strength of the erotic into a true knowledge, for what that means is the first and most powerful guiding light toward any understanding...The erotic is the nurturer or nursemaid of all our deepest knowledge. Of course, women so empowered are dangerous. So we are taught to separate the erotic demand from most vital areas of our lives other than sex. And the lack of concern for the erotic root and satisfactions of our work is felt in our disaffection from so much of what we do." - Audre Lorde
2023 for me is all about expanding into new areas of ourselves. Therapy as it stands can often be mentalised, intellectualised and theorised. Self-help can be solution based: mentally categorising yourself via Myers Brig personality tests, archetypes, personality types ie. boxed into one shape that doesn't really allow the subconscious a space to grow into. Much of all of this has been designed via a 'yang/mentalised model' nothing wrong with that just incredibly limiting to this being human. The ice palace of the mind loves to categorise, criticise, judge, it feels safe in that, it knows where everything is in it's place - very Virgonan in its need to have a perfect place vs the chaotic nature of living.
But....if, like going to the gym, you want to know what it's like to be a human being working all of its muscles not just its biceps and quads then this model just won't sit comfortably for you - it contracts, it limits, it becomes a rigid system where there can be no growth or expansion. And life without expansion is like you're dead, safe, but before you've even died.
So over the next few months I'm here talking to our non-rational, non-linear parts of us that mostly feel as an energetic - not something necessarily tangible, more a feeling or a flavour in us that may get triggered in a movie we're watching, or a book we are reading ie. these parts of us connect to us through symbolism, metaphor, the dreamworld, the numinous and the ethereal. The word 'shadow' is now bandied about on the internet by so many folk who don't really seem to understand what it means. It's not as they say 'the worse parts' of ourselves by any means, it's just the unexpressed, less flexed (and therefore less available) parts of ourselves. If we were angry serial killers our shadow would be pure love and kindness - you get the picture?
I want to work with Eros this month. And I'm purposely using a greek mythological figure as that will speak to our unconscious far more than if I give us all a checklist to be mentalised over ;). Eros was the Greek god of carnal love. In Latin he is called Amor (love) or Cupid (desire). Eros was the assistant, and according to some the son, of Aprhodite, the goddess of love and fertility. He made people fall in love by shooting an arrow into their heart. Eros himself lost his heart to the breathtakingly beautiful Psyche, the daughter of a mortal king. In art Eros is often portrayed as a winged and chubby boy with a bow and arrow. But if you drop below all the schmaltzy cupid stuff you get a deep love affaire. Firstly Aphrodite or Venus (Roman) and the planet of Taurus (which sign we have just stepped into hence the relevance of my tale) was incredibly jealous of Psyche because folk were celebrating this young beauty and forgetting to make offerings to Aphrodite in their temples and sent her son Eros to make Psyche marry a monster and take her off her patch. However, Eros fell madly in love with Psyche and you can read the rest of the story here
Psyche is the human soul and Eros is the erotic, but sadly the term erotic has been marginalised to mean dirty, sexy, porno, and all about sex, whereas originally it was a word used to express 'Desire' - "to wish or long for, express a wish to obtain," to "await what the stars will bring," from the phrase de sidere "from the stars, heavenly body, star, constellation" . This shapeshifting has led to women feeling false: in denial of their true desires, their creativity, the patriarchal society uncomfortable by the passions (I mean come on...where could it end guys! ;) of women. So we've learnt to find private outlets for this, shamed into feeling guilty at every turn: for having desires, for not having desires; for being frigid, for being 'too hot'; for having children, for not having children; for being married, for not desiring to be married (you don't have to 'put a ring on it' to have loyalty, love, adoration and passion, in fact often putting a ring on it suppresses exactly those qualities into a contained box again and literally kills passion and the erotic).
click on the words below to hear Audre:
Women in particular, through our generations of mothers, the grandmothers, ie the matriarchal line that is alive in our DNA have a warped sense of what Eros is to them (the desire of their souls). They often say to me 'when my kids leave home I'll find that', or 'when xyz happens I'll give that some time'...but the quality they are missing would enrich their lives so much that it's worth working on now today and not squirrelling it away as some 'passion project' (irony) and intimacy and a richness would come back into their marriages if they too stopped compartmentalising life.
This theme comes strongly into our creative pursuits and the male gaze which has regulated women into a visual objectivity and has made us distrust our erotic power and the depths of it. As if by honouring that in women it might amplify the mirror to the patriarchy that they too may have to delve into the depths and examine themselves, reignite their erotic (not the superficial but the desire nature of being in all forms) to find these shadow parts of themselves (which is often the yin aspects: feeling the feelings not pushing off from them, open to collaboration not coming to their partners with a fait a complit, and sensing not just rational thinking. I'm working with couples at the moment where the male partners are literally handing the work over to the women to do as if it's part of their job, as if the men have no part to play in the embodiment of relating healthily, compassionately, owning their childhood stuff and trauma that they bring to their unionship, as if expecting the woman to heal them, to mother them, to allow them to continue the toxic dance. And ladies we are complicit in that...so wake up to that and don't join your man in scoffing away a more enchanted way of living through a very concretised set up.
So, with Mercury (planet of communication) entering the sign of Taurus (on the 3rd April - Venus/Aphrodite exalted in Taurus it's her queenly palace) followed by the Libra full moon (Venus again exalted in Libra her resting place) on the 6th, we’ll be under a deeply Venusian influence during the first week of April, making relationship matters a greater priority. But don't do it through the masculine of reason, intellect, right/wrong/black/white, Do it from the depths of your waters deep in your pelvis where Eros lies. Comments such as 'I'm not feeling you/that/it', "I'll let you know once I feel into it', "no/yes', spoken softly without any need to justify, explain, critique yourself as to why your innate wisdom is saying 'no or yes' to something are all heading you in the right direction of reclaiming Eros.
If you want to work more deeply with Eros energy, your desire energy, then, begin to journal what desire means to you, what do you desire, what repels, what calls, where has it been suppressed, or denied. Listen to the beautiful goddess that is Audre Lorde reading her essay of the uses of Erotic energy and Erotic as power, tune into where maybe you have bought into the patriarchal model of 'I have to be pretty for you'....that is my erotic power, you don't, it isn't.
It might also bring up for you something around your mothers and their internalised patriarch, for me it has brought up her competitiveness with me a distortion of Eros Power, as if it's only youth-bound, she, uncomfortable as I got older, taller, attracting the male gaze, aware of herself getting older, less 'wanted' for her superficial 'erotic power'. For those of you reading this who are mothers, check in with yourself, are you comfortable with your own erotic power or are you still attaching it to the male gaze and its then, shelf life? Your erotic power is there until your last breath and it's time to renew your authentic connection to it. Watch for how you play a part in this toxic dance - you can't keep blaming out if you are joining in the jig. What we want is mutual planetary change, not a shame game. Who would you be, what would you be doing in your life if your Erotic Power were unfettered and free? How can you bring more of your Erotic Power out for your own pleasure?
if you're journaling start to draw images and symbols over words, what are the stories held in your body? get into your unconscious, invite it forward (it's not language based!). Draw an image of yourself and tune into where you feel your erotic power in you, what colour is it, is it in your hands, feet, or in your pelvis or heart or head. Does it feel like your own, or is it an imposter? When do you feel it most strongly, when is it diminished? By whom? When Eros is blocked we lose contact with our intimacy, with our bodies, with our passions and our creativity - pull the plug on yours and let the thunders rumble, let the gods above and on this mortal plane quake in fear as they know their time is up, the games afoot, we've seen the veil of illusion and we're up for a new dance singing 'join us or you'll soon be left behind' because now this energy is released there's no going back.
The universe is made of poetry and inter-connectiveness, spend a day, a week, a month, acting on that belief, the ability to live as if that were true, let go of the concretised out-dated model, reframe and see what comes up for you - you'll feel more alive than ever before.
..We have attempted to separate the spiritual and the erotic, thereby reducing the spiritual to a world of flattened affect, a world of the ascetic who aspires to feel nothing. But nothing is farther from the truth. For the ascetic position is one of the highest fear, the gravest immobility. The severe abstinence of the ascetic becomes the ruling obsession. And it is one not of self-discipline but of self-abnegation. For once we begin to feel deeply all the aspects of our lives, we begin to demand from ourselves and from our life-pursuits that they feel in accordance with that joy which we know ourselves to be capable of.”
― Audre Lorde, Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power