Pin It

Planet Waves 

click to enlarge in_the_mirror.jpg

In August, I was invited to present a seminar at the American Psychological Association (APA) conference based on my photography called “The Inner Goddess and the Inner Gaze.” My presentation, given in Toronto on August 7, explored the phenomenon of the inner feminine, or anima, and its relationship to both men and women in our journey of growth and healing through the use of mirrors and photography.

Since I am not a psychologist, my presentation was co-sponsored by one: Dr. Christine Farber, a longtime Planet Waves reader, who was my astrology student from the Omega Institute.

My photography project, called Book of Blue, is an indirect outgrowth of my work as an astrologer, though expressed in photographs and intimate essays. As an astrologer, I have written and worked primarily with and for women, and in the process have explored my perceptions of women, studied the paths of their lives and done my best to understand their choices and values. I have always been conscious that part of why I am doing this work is to heal my relationship with my mother and with all women; and part of it is to be of service to women in response to a lifelong calling.

Book of Blue is about the use of visual imagery to heal the self-image of women, in the eyes of both men and women. We all agree that we are overwhelmed with idealized, reconstructed images of young women, and these cause disturbances in our ability to perceive women for who they are. More often than not, the personhood of women is robbed by false images and ideas about womanhood. One of our biggest psychological challenges as a society involves men who cannot embrace their inner feminine and women who cannot embrace their inner masculine. The result is a lot of projection; we tend to see the ‘opposite’ sex as something that exists exclusively outside of us—despite many feelings and experiences calling us in.

You might say that I am a woman-identified man. Given the choice of who is more ‘my kind’ of person, as in who I feel more like, I certainly feel like I have far more in common with most women than with most men. Yet in much the same way that relationships among women are fragmented by mistrust and competition, I noticed something similar in my own relationships that I set about working to resolve. The healing process largely facilitated by my work on Book of Blue has involved repairing a sense of alienation and isolation that has gradually given way to an atmosphere of communication and contact.

The [usually] fun part is I also get to be a man, and experience and witness the intensity and subtlety of female beauty, that is, intellectual, emotional and physical beauty, from the viewpoint of being male. Along the way, my inner feminine gets to make friends with other women and learn how to be female; and my inner man gets to polarize into his masculinity and explore our contrasts and how they feel. Along the way, I am working out a relationship with myself.

Conscious of holding this space as mental preparation, I am able to create a space for my photographic subjects to see and feel themselves; to be a witness to their own self-aware femininity and humanity. Women spend a lot of time in mirrors, but I wonder how much of it is really about witnessing themselves. In my studio, that is precisely what they are invited to do: as a means of seeing their own beauty, integrating their sense of identity, processing guilt and body issues, and making peace with their judgments about themselves.

In Search of Venus
In astrology we work with inner archetypes all the time; they are the lead characters in the astrological drama. For example, everyone has Mars and Venus working in their chart; we all possess the same inner masculine and feminine aspects. Where these things are placed, and how we relate to them, are important factors that help shape our personality and affect how we adapt to life in our skins and in society. We know there is plenty of gender tension around us, and we feel it in our relationships; there are also gender relationships within us, which shape our consciousness, perceptions and experiences.

Usually we project that tension outward, rejecting the opposite gender internally and seeing her as a phenomenon in the outer world; without remembering anything about her origins in consciousness.
In terms of the inner feminine, I am talking primarily about Venus, though she takes a number of other forms: for example the Moon (who often represents a child or the child self as well); certain of the more potent asteroids (Psyche, Juno or Vesta, for example); and an important new discovery, Eris (the castaway woman). Yet even when we do astrology, to what extent do we experience and explore these things as having actual life rather than symbolic existence?

Speaking of...

  • Venus Square Jupiter: A Little of What You Love Goes a Long Way
  • Venus Square Jupiter: A Little of What You Love Goes a Long Way

    If your week began with some unexpected reminders of ways you’ve held yourself back due to old hurts, you might be feeling more inclined than usual to give yourself a pass today and just do what feels good. You might even feel like spreading the love around to the people you adore. A square between Venus in Taurus and Jupiter in Leo are the planets behind the mood, but it’s operating in a wider context known as The Eclipse Zone.
    • Mar 1, 2015
  • Mars Conjunct Chiron, as Venus Spawns Toward Neptune
  • Mars Conjunct Chiron, as Venus Spawns Toward Neptune

    Eric Francis Coppolino covers Venus first, then Mars. Then, he has a message from Mercury. The action is focused on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
    • Jan 1, 2015
  • Ring That Bell
  • Ring That Bell

    This weekend is the midpoint (or halfway done point) of Venus retrograde.
    • Jan 9, 2014
  • More »
  • Eric Francis Coppolino sets off in search of Venus.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Vision Quest: Into the Mysteries of 2016

    People are driven by religious belief far more than they recognize. Religion has done a fine job of taking over all ideas about creation of life, birth and death. It is an unconscious relationship with death in particular that drives people to cling to their beliefs. But then along the way, sex has been corrupted and nearly everyone is convinced that there’s something wrong with it.
    • Dec 1, 2015
  • What the Karmapa Said

    Karma Triyana Dharmachakra monastery in Woodstock is the Karmapa's North American base. He was here on his second visit to the United States when he offered a teaching at UPAC in Kingston on April 18.
    • May 1, 2015

Hudson Valley Events

submit event
ReActor: Special Appearance by Alex Schweder + Ward Shelley @ Omi International Arts Center

ReActor: Special Appearance by Alex Schweder + Ward Shelley

Sat., Sept. 24, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sun., Sept. 25, 7 a.m.-8 p.m. — ReActor is the newest work in an experimental, performative series of "social...
Suffern Chamber Crafts & Drafts Street Fair @ Downtown Suffern, NY

Suffern Chamber Crafts & Drafts Street Fair

Sun., Sept. 25, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. — Sponsored by Good Samaritan Hospital of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network....

View all of today's events

Latest in Astrology

  • Mercury and Mars Retrograde: The Underlying Question
  • Mercury and Mars Retrograde: The Underlying Question

    Desire is one of those elements at the core of the human emotional engine.
    • Jun 1, 2016
  • Starman
  • Starman

    Eric Francis Coppolino's 20th Anniversary with Chronogram
    • May 1, 2016
  • Mars Retrograde: What Do You Want?
  • Mars Retrograde: What Do You Want?

    Our planet began its passage between Mars and the Sun recently, which astrologers call Mars retrograde. That started April 17 and ends June 29. Mars is rarely retrograde, so this qualifies as a special event.
    • May 1, 2016
  • More »

More by Eric Francis Coppolino

Hudson Valley Tweets