On 9/28, I will commemorate the 33rd anniversary of preaching my first sermon at 12 years-old, on my mom’s birthday. Mom passed away in ’94, and I couldn’t be farther away from the Christian gospel ministry, but somehow the “spirit” of both are with me. This year, on 9/28, Venus and Mars will square off with each other, following up on the conjunction they had about six months ago. Now, Venus is in Scorpio (another Mars sign) and Mars is in Leo (another fire sign). Venus in Scorpio points us toward how our attractions pull us toward what’s unfulfilled and unfulfilling in us, especially from the past. Mars in Leo is more about what we must act on now as our most authentic selves. These two couldn’t be more at odds. The square definitely fits. And it also directs us to a deeper question: What’s the cost of keeping your pain vs. acting on what desire and could have…now?
When I started this post, I was just going to focus on that question. Then I remembered what 9/28 means to me.
Although I’m a Muslim convert, my formulations about the afterlife are soft, to say the least. It took about 10 years for my belief in God (as something different as I once believed) to come back. It looks like my belief in an afterlife is taking a little longer. So, I don’t fantasize about Paradise or Hell. I mostly struggle to believe in either. I don’t believe in traditional reincarnation, so I don’t have any fantasies about encountering my mom as my sister or daughter in another future life. I mostly just miss her. Daily. Then there’s 9/28 every year. But on this occasion, thinking about this Venus-Mars square, I’m reminded of my mission to write and speak, just as I did 33 years ago…on her birthday. I remember what this Mars in Leo means to me. It has even additional meaning as this weekend I came from a lovely weekend giving a lecture and spending time with my wife, our extended Philly family, and friends.
All of this prompts me to remember a poem I wrote in 2009, or rather channeled at a bank, of all places. It just came to me then. At the time, after a break up with my fiancee, a different woman than my bride, I was jolted into seeing the cost of keeping myself in my pain, as Venus in Scorpio may like to do as well. In that moment, Mom didn’t come for me from the afterlife. She spoke to me very much in this life. Still. Here’s what she “spoke”:
I named you Samuel after the man
who raised me
I named you Frederick after the man
who raised your father.
I did not know Samuel meant
asked of God, though I kept asking
God for you to be alive when you would not
stir in me for weeks at a time.
I did not know Frederick meant
I only wanted peace between two men
who had fathered neither child who would
honor them both with a namesake.
I fought for you, because despite the worse odds that doctors could give you,
you had the audacity to smile after
all 25 surgeries to keep you here
I did not know how long I would have you
I did not know that I would have to fight to get
the boy bright enough to give post-surgical smiles to his mama
out of a school for “retarded” children
I did not know that I would have to jump in the street to hurl children, feelin’ bigger
than their britches, who would take your small size as occasions to brutalize you
I did not know that one day that I would
even make the President of the United States
find financial aid to get you to graduate cum laude
I only wanted you to live at least longer than I would.
I speak to you, because you squelch
your voice and squander your vision to make spending money
to impress the shallow when you are already miraculous.
You wile away the precious time
I fought for to avoid believing in your own talent and vision
You shatter the perfect peace of the name I brokered
to sign off on meals you half eat, clothes you never wear
and books you half read.
I did not know you would travel as widely as you have
or be as many kinds of things as you have.
I did not know you would study stars.
I did not know when or how
I would leave you as I have.
But I do know
you were not stillborn.
Write out the vision given to you.
At least for me.
So this Venus-Mars square is for action, not for stillborn living. What does it mean for you? This week’s horoscopes give attention to that square and other celestial happenings. I hope they help guide you toward where you’re letting attractions to the past cost you.