|Death and Life, Gustav Klimt 1911.|
|The Renaissance German|
artist Hans Baldung painted many
versions of death and the maiden.
But still we remember: death visits everyone – even the fairest. This is a motif in our collective unconscious that juxtaposes horror with beauty. The story of a young woman's untimely death recurs in art, myth, music and literature – from Persephone's abduction by the god of the Underworld to the seamstress Mimi's death in La Boheme to Lucy Westenra's spoilation by Count Dracula to the quiet passing of Beth March in Little Women. (If you fancy a good cry, link to Mimi.)
|Made by Hans Schwarz in about 1520, |
this carving shows death embracing
a young woman.
In astrology, this is described by the passage of Venus through the sign of Scorpio; and echoed when she encounters the planets Pluto or Saturn. This year, Venus has spent an uncomfortably long time in Scorpio. Right now she is in the final few weeks of this difficult transit, having spent months going back and forth here.
The ancients said Venus was in "detriment" in the sign of the scorpion, by which they meant that she struggles to express her nature well. But I think you could say that she expresses her nature in a way that we find shameful, disconcerting or ugly; in a way that we would prefer to keep secret.
|Kali, goddess of death, |
dancing on her
mate Shiva as he sleeps.
|In this powerful film, which |
perfectly exemplifies several Scorpio themes
a torture victim gets her revenge.
Weaver has her Venus in Scorpio.
Click here for the trailer.
Another, Scorpio theme is truth.
She comes as an avenging angel sometimes, as in Ariel Dorfman's powerful play about torture and brutality in Chile, Death and the Maiden (1990). Or perhaps she comes as death itself. In the 19th century, when the sexually transmitted disease, syphilis, cut a swathe through the haute and demi-monde, death was often portrayed as a young woman. Death and sex became associated. Schubert's string quartet, Death and the Maiden (1824), was written when he knew he was dying of syphilis. To hear it click here.
|David Lynch's Blue Velvet (1986)|
explores the perverted
underbelly of small town life.
Isabella Rossellini is both victim
Oblivion can be seductive. In Beyond the Pleasure Principal (1920), Freud outlined his theory of a death drive. That is an unconscious urge towards death. Death lures us, whispers to us. We are fascinated and afraid. We take risks with death in order to feel more alive. When Venus is in Scorpio, we flirt with death – and sometimes we come out alive.