The difference between happiness and joy

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At first glance, we might think that happiness and joy are the same thing.  Both make us feel good, both are qualities that we seek.  In fact, embedded in the United States Constitution is the inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness.

In reality, though, I would argue that the two are quite different both in quality and in their effect on our human lives.  Happiness is a feeling, an emotion – a sense of pleasure and contentment. Happiness comes to us when we feel that life is worth living; that the circumstances in our lives have manifested in a way to generate a feeling that life is good.  The astrological correlation for this sensation is Jupiter – the Greater Benefic, the planet that helps to activate these good feelings of abundance and confidence and which often brings about actual good luck and good fortune.  Venus, the Lesser Benefic, is also involved in good feelings in its role as the seeker of pleasure, love and beauty.

Though a dictionary might say that joy is a synonym for happiness, they have a different quality.  Where happiness is based upon life circumstances and events that are good rather than bad, joy is an inner experience that springs from the heart and the soul.  Happiness comes and goes depending on our circumstance; joy arises from the soul when we feel completely aligned in our sense of Self.

Joy is defined in dictionaries as being synonymous with exultation, jubilation, exhilaration, elation, euphoria, bliss, rapture – sensations that activate a higher perspective than mere happiness and require a turning away from attachment to the things that come and go.  To me, this is represented by the full and complete activation […]

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By |2019-11-10T19:09:04-05:00April 12th, 2018|Inspiration, Life|19 Comments

For the retrograde: The renegade Venus

The image of Venus has really changed over the years, morphing from her early days as a complex warrior queen and sexual goddess to a more two-dimensional character, the Goddess of Love and Beauty.

While Venus is retrograde I thought it would be a good time to look at the OTHER side of Venus.  The archetype that we now call Venus/Aphrodite was a female goddess that originally presided over sexuality, fertility, and war in ancient Bronze Age Mesopotamian civilization.  She was called Astarte in Greece, Ashtoreth in Hebrew, Inanna in Sumeria, Isis in Egypt and Ishtar in Akkadian nations.  These goddess shared the power to create kings and generally married the son/lover who then died to be reborn again (the dying/resurrected god), and all were associated with the planet we now call Venus.

This ancient goddess possessed an unabashed sexuality and was prone to flowery exclamations such as “”Plough my vulva, man of my heart.”  But she was also instrumental in cementing political power of the king and ensuring the preservation of that power through warfare.  (Here is a great site with the details of her qualities and legends.)  All of these goddesses were called “Queen of Heaven,” as is, “coincidentally”, Mary the mother of Jesus.

Our astrological archetypes are filtered through Roman civilization from the ancient Greeks, and these cultures were primarily patriarchal in nature.  It is not surprising, therefore, that the ancient power of women to bear children and wield sexual authority was minimized and that the qualities of the ancient female goddess were weakened and made less threatening.  From possessing the power over life itself, the main astrological goddess became the queen of love and beauty, a flirtatious but still dangerous feminine archetype.

I like to think […]

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By |2020-05-15T15:46:13-04:00December 27th, 2013|Planets|3 Comments

Venus of the Evening

Many many years ago, back in the mists of antiquity, ancient astronomers thought that Venus was actually two separate bodies, one called Phosphoros, “The bringer of light” also known as Lucifer or the Morning Star; the other they called Hesperos, the Evening Star.

From our perspective on earth, the orbit of Venus is always fairly close to the Sun.  When Venus is at her brightest she  becomes visible just after the Sun goes down, and is then called the Evening Star.

Astrologer Dana Gerhardt writes:

This week Venus reappears as the Evening Star, in the sign of her exaltation (Pisces) and conjunct magnificent Jupiter. I would expect nothing less, as she’s been kicking ass during her recent underworld journey (which began just as Tiger Wood’s furious wife took a golf club to the cheater’s SUV). In my Oregon town (often called “land of a thousand goddesses” for its many bright and talented single women), a sudden string of sexual attacks brought out angry marches, attended by both women and men. Here in Ashland, Venus was not trembling in fear. From many of the Super Bowl ads it seems that men may be the ones trembling today, hoping to reclaim their grunting authority from the powerful Venuses in their lives (or maybe that was just the retrograde Mars). At the Grammys, Venus divas dominated: Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Pink and Taylor Swift, all reminding us how much fun it is to be a girl. We’re halfway through this current Venus cycle and it’s worth recalling how it began: when Venus emerged as the Morning Star, so did the breakout popularity of Susan Boyle, who showed us that even a middle-aged Venus in a frumpy dress can be a diva. Boyle’s song was “I […]

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By |2010-02-11T08:25:19-05:00February 11th, 2010|Astrology, Astronomy|Comments Off on Venus of the Evening

Venus retrogrades today and casts her spells in reverse

Venus turns retrograde this morning, shortly after being squared by the Moon at 8:06 am.

Venus usually slips through our lives like a whisper, and we barely experience her transits.  Her influence is usually soft and encouraging and I often say that we only really take notice when we experience discomfort of some kind.  Even the challenging transits of Venus are benign, offering us only an opportunity to indulge in greater indulgence.

Perhaps the timing of this retrograde Venus at the height of Girl Scout Cookie season could spell disaster to some of us (me), but what else does this retrograde period have in store?  Planets are said to be traveling in retrograde motion when they appear to move backwards from our perspective on earth. During these times their influence causes us to look back instead of forward as we encounter the experiences of that planet.

Venus is famous for her influence on relationships.  As the goddess of love and beauty, she bestows an attractive power and grace, but that attractive power draws more than love.  It can also be a magnet for financial wealth and personal possessions so in that way, Venus is said to rule our values and the things that we love as well as the people. Venus also rules our ability to love and relate to our self, and the kind of talents and personal resources that we possess as well as the material possessions.

This Venus retrograde period occurs in the forceful sign of Aries.  In Aries, Venus has been more motivated to grab for the gusto – to impel us to go after what we want and who we want. Venus turning retrograde makes that more difficult.  We still have the desire, but the actualization of […]

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By |2009-03-06T05:10:41-05:00March 6th, 2009|Astrology|Comments Off on Venus retrogrades today and casts her spells in reverse

Today’s Planetary News

We have a couple of interesting planetary configurations now that will last for a few more days.

One is a Grand Trine that includes the Sun in Taurus, Pluto in Capricorn, and Saturn in Virgo that began a couple of days ago when all planets were at 1 degree. We are as close now to a trine as Saturn and Pluto will be until the year 2030, and this is a powerful trine that enables us to build structures (Saturn) that facilitate change and transformation (Pluto).

We are still seeing the effects of that as we move into today’s T-square involving an opposition between Mars in Cancer to Jupiter in Capricorn, both of which are square to Venus in Aries. Venus in Aries wants to approach relationships from a self-oriented perspective, and Mars in Cancer has a drive to express individuality through nurturing others. For the next few days there is a conflict here between those two modalities – how to maintain our independence in relationships while being sensitive to the needs of others. Jupiter’s effusiveness and occasional arrogance can get in the way here – it whispers in our ear and tells us that we can have anything we want. Perhaps it even encourages us to bait the enemy, as Condoleeza Rice did when she called al Sadr a coward.

Venus will have moved on in a day or so and will form a sextile (harmonious aspect) to Neptune which will help to smooth the interpersonal waters, but the Mars/Jupiter effect will last a bit longer, through the end of the week. There is more energy flying around than usual, but physical activity will help to keep that energy in check and make […]

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By |2018-06-11T11:37:28-04:00April 23rd, 2008|Planetary news this week|Comments Off on Today’s Planetary News
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