Freedom to Entangle Ourselves


We are free to enter into (and get ourselves out of) relationships at our own discretion.

But once we have agreed (explicitly or not) to the mutual caring for one another's well-being that typically constitutes a 'relationship', we aren't exactly 'free' to do as we please… not if we genuinely care for their interests as well as our own.

Freedom was the topic I adopted in my last essay, and not without its astrological relevance to these past couple months of Venus in Scorpio. As an influence over relationships, one of her primary domains, Venus's placement in Scorpio heightens our awareness of the tradeoffs we make when entering into interpersonal arrangements. We give up certain strands of autonomy to gain reassurance from not being alone. We surrender casualness for deeper intimacy. We willingly entangle ourselves.

Venus in Scorpio can't leave those entanglements well enough alone. It's our very inability to function free of concerns about the relationship that's Venus-in-Scorpio's hallmark of 'true' passion—the type that pervades all other aspects of our life, encroaching upon everything, impacting the decisions we make with unavoidable interpersonal considerations.

Venus's continuing retrograde, which began a full month ago, has provided us a chance to review our present relationship circumstances… to identify which freedoms we have foregone, consciously or unbeknownst to us at the time, and to assess whether or not the gains outweigh the costs. We glean this information by paying attention to instances in which we envy something someone else has but which we're not getting from our current situation. We notice which unfulfilled desires trigger our discontent, wondering if it may indeed be possible to expand our relational agreement to include this additional fulfillment. We ask ourselves again: Is this tradeoff worth it?

Hopefully we are far-sighted enough not to prematurely discount the bolstering benefits of sacrificing chunks of our independence for interdependence. For instance, isn't long-term stable security enough of a reason for squelching certain spontaneous self-serving whims?

On the other hand, we may rightly determine that a commitment is too limiting… that our need for freedom in this or that arena definitively trumps a stable 'togetherness' according to our personal calculations. In that case, continuing to 'go along' with the stilted status-quo relationship is a detrimental infringement.

The main point I'm getting at here: In our interpersonal dealings, there is always a dialogue actively occurring between (1) uncompromising personal freedom and (2) the voluntary compromise of said freedom out of respect for someone else. Either, when unbalanced against the other, can be alarmingly extreme. We sell out our very selfhood by too completely dissolving our individual ego into codependent relationships, refusing to detach our own desires from the imagined anticipation of how another person will or won't respond. However, we also separate ourselves too distinctly from those others we share a home, a workplace, a community or a life with by siding too defiantly with 'freedom at all costs'… an extreme that veers toward sociopathic and/or narcissistic tendencies if not kept in check.

My last essay surely rang with political undertones (or overtones, if you insist), but my intention was less to push any contemporary party-line agenda… and more to hint at the corresponding personal consequences of rabidly advocating for individual freedom as an ideology. Abstracting freedom into a perfectly untainted ideal, without considering the necessary self-imposed limits to it in real-life day-to-day practice, frankly makes it too damn easy to willfully ignore the impact every individual has on those around him/her. As we each examine the interpersonal arrangements in our lives, to determine whether we should recommit or release ourselves, it ultimately boils down to acknowledging our willing bondage to the sanctity of something larger—and deciding if we actually want that other 'something' enough to restrain ourselves on its behalf.

Venus retrogrades back into Libra today (Sun Nov 7). This is our shot, over the coming few weeks, to tactfully attempt to revise the unsatisfactory terms of our existing relationships… or if it's already pretty clear that such revisions are highly unlikely or altogether impossible, this is our shot to graciously call it a day. Don't romanticize freedom, though. As awesome as it seems, there must be some reason we silly humans continually assent to signing it away…