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The King of Hearts Vs. the Inner Critic 

click to enlarge AMANDA PAINTER
  • Amanda Painter

Dear Chronogram Reader:

Wednesday night at about 11:30 pm EDT, the Sun entered Leo, ushering us into the middle month of summer. This sets the general tone astrologically (and it’s a warm, golden one), but another significant event Saturday is contributing an undercurrent you’ll want to begin working with consciously: Venus stationing retrograde in Virgo.

Let’s start with the Leo action.

Leo is the sign of kings, but monarchy is not a terribly relevant construct these days. At its essence, Leo is not about lording over all you survey and being bowed down to, though some Leos can get caught up in that unfortunate posture. In its most evolved state, Leo is about leading through love—which can seem to take courage.

Now, Mercury joined the Sun in Leo this morning, and the two form a conjunction later this afternoon. Having the planet of the mind so close to the Sun (consciousness) can really boost communication in positive ways. It can also make it hard to see what your ego is up to; so far, I’ve not heard of anyone making polarized sunglasses for the psyche.

So the question is: How often do you actually fill the role of "spiritual royalty"—that is, not by your own ego’s assessment, but through unassuming actions (leadership) clearly guided by your heart?

Thankfully, the Sun and Mercury are conjunct to the asteroid Eros. Eros’ main theme is love, especially in erotic form. The message here is that there’s support in being loving, especially if you’re willing to shine it out on others, rather than waiting to "get some".

Please read that last sentence again—seriously.

Across the zodiac from the Leo cluster is Ceres, goddess of agriculture, food, and the seasons (among other things), in Aquarius—a sign closely associated with social groups and technology. An opposition is a confrontation, but you can take this one as a pair of questions:

Do you mainly interact on the Internet to feed your ego? Or do you let your true heart-fire shine out there, where it might sustain and nourish others (even if you never know the effect you’ve had)? It’s so easy to rush in with our egos and passions and sense of justice or wounding, while our "thinking hearts" lag behind—even for those who try to be more mindful offline.

These questions matter, but not so you can beat yourself up over every time you’ve mis-stepped. The question of a compassionate inner guidance system matters because Venus is spending a lot of time in the first degree of Virgo on either side of its station retrograde on Saturday, at 5:29 am EDT.

Chances are you’re about to get acquainted with your internalized critic—and the ways you’ve let it undermine love. Any planetary retrograde usually implies a review of the past and a deep look within. When Venus stations retrograde in Virgo, you may notice where in your life you tend to value perfectionism over love and creativity.

If you have an inner critic—and most of us do—it likely showed up at a young age. It might be so enmeshed that you don’t even realize when it’s operating, or to what degree. When does the desire to do a job thoroughly and beautifully cross the line into "never being good enough"? What happens to vulnerability and intimacy when that dissatisfaction rebuffs others’ appreciation of you, or gets turned on loved ones?

The inner critic, and the act of externalizing it, shapes our relationship dynamics. You may be more or less aware of this in your life, and more or less aware of the vital need for self-forgiveness. If you struggle with control issues, especially with your parents (or people who seem to act like them), pay particular attention to these themes, and what you discover.

You may very well realize that listening to your inner critic has rarely brought you joy, or anything else terribly helpful or healing.

Venus will backtrack into the tail end of Leo on July 31, to reacquaint you with your heart and compassion, which you’ll then have the opportunity to carry with you when Venus is in forward motion again. Till then, stay fluid emotionally, physically, and creatively. A little gentle flexibility can go a long way toward letting joy through.

Yours & truly,
Amanda Painter

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