Every Tuesday I share Rob Brezsny’s weekly horoscopes with a friend – a “yours and mine” bird’s-eye-view of what the stars according to Rob have in store for us – more out of habit anymore than out of ritual or belief, but they always touch on something (how could anything from Rob NOT do so?) poignant and deeply neural.
This week’s goes as follows:
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Do you feel oppressed by Valentine’s Day? Maybe you’re single and reject the cultural bias that says being in an intimate relationship is the healthy norm. Or maybe you’re part of a couple but are allergic to the cartoonish caricatures of romance that bombard you during the Valentine marketing assault. If you’d rather consecrate love and intimacy in your own unique way, untainted by the stereotypes flying around, I invite you to rebel. Make this the year you overthrow the old ways and start a new tradition: Valentine’s Day 2.0. Mock sappy, sentimental expressions of romance even as you carry out futuristic experiments in radically slaphappy love.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): “I have come to be fascinated with the messiness of desire,” writes novelist Ashley Warlick, “with the ways people fit themselves together, take themselves apart for each other, for want of each other, for want of some parts of each other.” Your assignment, Pisces, is to celebrate the messiness of desire; to not just grudgingly accept it as an inconvenience you’ve got to tolerate, but rather to marvel at it, be amused by it, and appreciate it for all the lessons it provides. Your motto this Valentine season could be, “I bless the messy largesse of my longing.”
I don’t reject cultural bias, or sappy romance, or caricatures of it – not at all. I’m a romantic if there ever was one – I would like nothing more than to crawl into the mystery of romance and love; remaining intact through its messiness but revelling in it deeply nonetheless. I think it truly is the lifeblood of the species – what keeps us coming back for more and multiplying. I think of Persephone’s walk through and with Hades – both the God and the place – how she must return, cyclically, before she can walk out into the light again.
But somehow Rob’s shout out to Pisces fascinates me more at the moment, because desire has been on the forefront of my mind (you already know this, if you’ve been keeping up with any of my more recent posts) and I marvel at its messiness at once deriving from and being the product of its expression.
There was a call put out for love poems from the city of Cobourg, and as I sifted through the stuff I’d written in the past none really resonated with how I felt about love on that day. I can’t claim to understand love, or its’ mechanics, why it exists or how it works. I just know what it feels like, in its myriad forms, and that like air, it is crucial, at least in some measure, to my well-being and survival.
So, here is the poem, because it’s Valentine’s day, soon, and I’m all out of chocolate bars and certainly there is no romantic love to speak of on the horizon, though love flows through everything in deep undercurrents when I sit still enough to feel it move.
What love is
I remember Forrest insisting he knew what love was; it seemed simple to me then,
as I considered his words, his conviction. What of love, then? I’m not so sure now.
The older I get, the slipperier it becomes, this definition of a word filled with connotation,
an expectation, a meaning just as loaded for each of us as our opinion of beauty.
If love is all we need then I would like to be able to breathe it in like air, and hold
it inside my lungs until I am so filled with it that it can do nothing more than escape,
and again breathe it in because nature abhors a vacuum and breathing is involuntary.
Perhaps love is too – involuntary – a reflex that circumvents our attempts at logic
and calculation, simply spreading like a wet spot, hot and sticky, our passions spent.
There is that kind of love. There are others, too – the kind reserved for our children,
stoic and joyful and filled with the resolve to love them despite their differences, their
flaws smoothed over like sheets pulled taut, covered with the warmth of patience
and gentle like a well worn quilt; if only all love could be like that, where the edges of
things are smoothed over by a soft focus lens, and grudging respect grows as we
really listen, present to each other because we want to care – to know more than
merely ourselves – we want to be greater than the sum of our parts, co-creators.
Sometimes I think I’d like to know what that is, really, but mostly I think I’m just madly
in love with the world, mad with its beauty and its flaws and all of our collective
humanness; my heart grows so full that I’m certain it might burst, but it doesn’t.
It’s gentle like that, this love I now know, and it requires no reciprocation since it
feeds upon itself and is exponential. I’m sure that would change if I had a lover.
Then perhaps I would want chocolates and kisses and the garbage taken out without
having to ask, or to sit in silence holding hands, wanting nothing more than the witnessing.
So a Valentine wish for you: may you find love, always. May it be the kind that you want it to be.
Soft or fierce, or the kind that pierces your heart and makes you come alive, or reduces your centre into a flowing molten eruption of desire and simultaneously blinds you with its brightness and sears you with enlightenment.
I can’t say that I am ever the same after being touched by it, in whichever form that it manifests. I’ve learned to be grateful for it when it does come, and to say “yes, I see you, I recognize you, I know how fleeting you are, but I rejoice in you now”.