As the days and, it's hoped, our consciousness get longer and wiser, let's talk pleasure. I'm reminded of one of my favorite hip-hop groups, Salt-N-Pepa (remember Spinderella?), when they talked sex. The song was more of a PSA for condom usage, typically lower in communities of color. OK, imagine this foregoing column is akin to your favorite car commercial that includes stunts galore ... professional drivers used to make this commercial.
To the uninitiated, I might look whorish taking on a topic like pleasure, but I'm more in the neighborhood of Will Smith in the first Men in Black movie when he tries on the last outfit he'll ever wear. He says, "I make this look good."
And that brings me to my point: Pleasure is paradoxically not about making you look good as it is about the other(s). Checking your coif during coitus is not advised (unless you're cheating on your spouse who does your hair?). However, the better you know what brings you pleasure, the better teacher you can be to whoever wants to please you.
Read your sign, your rising sign, your elements and remember to read those whom you desire to please. We're in New Orleans in its renaissance fervor circa spring 2013, les bon temps rouler, French for "let the good times roll."
This week's Pop Culture Meditation (PCM): Does pleasure have a higher purpose (beyond procreation on an overpopulated planet)?
Gemini, May 21-June 20, adapting intellectual, the changing mind
All eyes are still on you. You talk a big game. Whether it's penis or vagina envy (hey, I'm equal opportunity about the gender jealousies, here), you can tease and titillate with the best circus barker or rapper. This solar eclipse in your sign this past Sunday begs you to analyze each and every passing dream, thought or image regarding your pleasure quotient. Exactly how is your past upbringing interfering with your current image of experiencing more pleasure? Imagine you have a guardian angel that has incorporated his more devilish side. This angel instant messages you with an untutored ability to increase our interest in seizing more than a day or two with you. Your life purpose at present boils down to your listening to expanding your connecting gifts, not contracting. There are no executioners awaiting to disconnect your head from its body. In the end, you judge yourself. Maybe your parents were wrong about what would make you happy.
Libra, September 23-October 22, initiating intellectual
You are being challenged to balance the confidence you've gleaned in your beliefs with the openness to others' perspectives. "Wait, Quan," you say, "I'm a tolerant person, I see all viewpoints." For the last four months, you've been hovering around B minus to C plus on the acceptance scale. Remember, as a Libran, you were born to learn balance and moderation; you do not know moderation. Every 1.6 years, your ruling planet, Venus, sets your aggressive urges loose. You lose lockdown of repression. It is the middle-class (mostly white) feminist movement of 40 years ago, and the brassiere does not fit anymore. I'm in the choir singing, "Hallelujah!" When we repress women, we repress pleasure. When we get stuck in gender roles, we repress pleasure. End any dogmatic adherence to what you think a good girl or boy should do. Without your insistence upon the fluidity of fairness in our shared culture, we all become like a white boy with no rhythm but owns a hip-hop record label. (Did you see the movie Brown Sugar?) Speak up. Advocate the now unpopular position. Soon it won't be ... contrary to what you believe about yourself; you are a trendsetter (and that goes beyond fashion, hair or bras).
Aquarius, January 20-February 18, concentrating intellectual
Venus' four-month trek in your fifth house of romance, pleasure and joy, you have the best go of making this summer an incredible one. If too insecure, you can easily play nursemaid or rescuer to someone who wouldn't know pleasure if he or she had a whip, lube and safe words. You are better than the sum of your parts. It is the entire package (including your large brain) that attracts the masses to you. The playful and goofy side of you is what late spring asks of you. Allow yourself to be loved and enjoyed simply because you have the courage to show up just as you are. Like it or not, you have something in common with earthy (and sometimes ponderous to you, at least) Taurus. You show up just as you are. As Taurean Billy Joel wrote, Don't go changin'/To try and please me/You've never let me down before/Don't imagine you're too familiar/And I don't see you anymore. It's that last phrase that could rankle your sometimes high-strung nerves. You want to be surprising, shocking and unpredictable. Hey, star child, comfort ain't a bad thing. Freedom can be experienced with someone you already know. Venus gives you the entire month of June to have what one psychologist calls, "hot and sizzling monogamy."
Cancer, June 21-July 22, initiating feeling (soul)
Pisces, February 19-March 19, adapting feeling (soul)
Escapism works well in Mission: Impossible movies and spy genres, but in the rigors of real life, not so much. Eclipses demand a certain brutal honesty regarding your past. Left to your own devices, you can easily get caught up in the throes of successes past (like Scrooge and the three Christmas ghosts). These two eclipses (the next one is a lunar one on June 4) span your sixth and 12th houses of physical and emotional service. You want to leave the routines that you've set up for yourself. You want to mimic what you consider to be responsible behavior. Imagine you are an excellent surgeon on call, but you've had a drink. Do you risk your reputation and tell the night nurse to call another doctor? Or do you drink more coffee or take a stimulant? Apply these ethical questions to any area of work and service in your life. You are not responsible for the sun rising every day. Or are you? Let others pick up any well-deserved slack. But, hey, in my own brutally honest way, if you haven't earned our doubt's benefit or compassion, take the stimulant (symbolically speaking, of course).
Pisces, it is all about balancing the emotional wounds you experienced between your caretakers. Of course, this includes your biological mother and father. However, do not overlook the abstract, patriarchal and off-planet capital "F" father. That "F" can stand for many things. Other than the obvious expletive, it can symbolize the further your real soul needs are from what you articulate your needs to be. Unless you integrate your masculine (yang, assertive) with your feminine (yin, receptive), these Gemini eclipses will eclipse any true pleasures emanating from your soul (pun intended). We see you. The question is, Do you see you or have you escaped further into your Father's realm? And what about the realm of the goddesses? This line of wisdom is not out to "F-U," unless you have no connection to those who embrace another "F," the feminine.
Scorpio, October 23-November 21, concentrating feeling (soul)
Late spring and all this light shine brightly on your hidden treasures. You can use your abundant charisma to use the resources of others, giving little in return. Or you can ask the tough questions with the intent of giving the considerate response. You have the Sun (the need for recognition and power) blazing a hot trail in your root chakra (nether regions of instinctive delight). Pleasure for you comes after you've tested us. A seemingly innocuous question here and dismissed glance there, we feel as if you have us under a microscope. For now, a telescope will suffice. Give us the down-and-dirty from a distance. You'll get to creep up on us later. Let this waxing moon fill your mind with unheard-of delights. You'll know when to pounce as a well-tamed feline who's been released into the wild. Your heart knows how to give excellent exchanges of energies, no matter what the relationship status shows.
Leo, July 23-August 22, concentrating spiritual (building your identity)
I might as well come out of the astrological closet and proclaim, "This column is all about you!" You are the pleasure genie. Although, when you are confident, you grant your lover(s) more than three wishes at any given time. You look that look of love (pleasure) on your other's face. No mixing of pronouns here. Get it on, however you choose to get it on. One saint (Augustine) said, "Do what you will and harm no one." The Isley Brothers sang, It's your thang/Do what you want to do/I can't tell ya/Who to sock it to. Your life is on the precipice of being able to merge the best aspects of love (erotic/pleasurable to unconditional/objective). We look to you for guidance of integrating the best of your love to all that surround you. If single, change your relationship to your superstitions (do not treat your love life like a winning quarterback who refuses to change his socks ... ).
Sagittarius, November 22-December 21, adapting spirituality, wise adviser
All of my best male friends have some major Sagittarius within their natal charts. From a rising sign (hello, love) to a pre-existing condition Sag (hello, RMS), to Sag Sun (hello, VG, JC and Irish bros PE and Pat), you get this Scorpio male intensity and humor. There's a female or two who keep the quivers flying through the psychic atmospheres; don't ever misrepresent to a Sag woman (JH and my baby sister have Sag rising along with three planets). I tell you this to let you know, when I'm hard on you it is only because I sense you are being complacent. Venus' trek through Gemini, your seventh house of partnership and open enemies (until August 7), is a wake-up call to get more out of those closest to you, through giving more. You won't be left high and dry like a lover who has challenges delaying orgasm. You must learn to shine like the Leos without counting each and every cost. Sure, life has not been the "fairest of them all" as it relates to the mother you've chosen or the career you have. But you were born to triumph against all odds. Ask for help, when you sincerely need it. False pride keeps the bed cold and lonely.
Aries, March 20-April 19, initiating spiritual (fire, visionary)
New communication time - buy that new computer, smartphone, expect Facebook stock to plummet. (Not hating here. Mr. Z is a Taurus, and his IPO happened on the day Venus, value, went backward. I'd told him to wait until after July 5. We won't know the true value of Facebook stock until mid-August, if then.) Heal a sibling relationship. Seek out and continue to develop educational opportunities for yourself and others. Rewrite, repaint, re-evaluate your creations. Forgive, but you also can leave any intransigent folks alone; let them be. No false arguments over "the principle of the matter." You have nothing to prove except how you want your creations to be accepted by those whose intellect and heart (joined together) you respect.
Virgo, August 23-September 22, adapting earth (physical)
Chinese Mary (Quan Yin) has blessed me with a work, a vocation, as it were. This calling has given me clients who study, do their personal work (and, conversely, make my job paradoxically more difficult and enjoyable), then become friends. Friends are those who I am not only off the clock with, but they get the best (read: humorous parts of me). This week's column is an open love letter to MM and JT, both who possess Virgo Souls. (Their moon sign is Virgo. Don't know what I'm talking about? E-mail a brother or go to astro.com.) Anyway, I write this column with the rosary MM brought back to me from Lourdes, a place of Catholic pilgrimage. Yes, this recovering Jehovah's Witness has a rosary. I tell you this, Virgo (be that Sun/spirit, Moon/soul or Rising/mask), because you must be awakened from your compartmentalizing of pleasure like a down-low brother raised in a Southern Baptist church. Your physical body was made to be enjoyed. This message is not from Looney Tunes, but "That's all, folks!" Continued in Capricorn ...
Capricorn, December 22-January 20, initiating earth (physical)
Your message began in Virgo. To use the word "blessed" tends to tell me that the person who says it will be "of color." Not that whites or the privileged won't say it, but let's be clear, the most segregated time in these "want to be believing we be all about communion, America" is Sunday morning. Why the hell is that? I say, it's because we began this "more perfect union" on a hypocritical premise. As the sign of government, legislation and any institutionalized authority, it is beyond time for you to express how you would change communal life if it were in your power to do so. As a matter of fact, the more passionately you speak about society's ills and inequities, the more pleasure you'll receive. Your words are heeded more than you realize ... or do you act as if no one listens to you so you don't have to take a risk of going out on that proverbial political limb all alone? Word (fore) play: alone (all one). You need no other one to complete you.
Taurus, April 20-May 20, concentrating earth (physical)
Read Aries first. No, really, take your complacent to lazy ass back to Aries. I'm waiting. Oh, you're going to be exceptionally stubborn because I told you to (and it is rumored I don't like you). Still waiting. I'm going to write the other two earth signs first. I return to you. As promised, I returned to you. People are returning to you. We want to see, feel and sense if (and how) you've transformed. Two ears, one mouth, you have. That is this week's clue regarding how to make the best of renewing past relationships. A sincerely felt apology does wonders, too. Don't feel it, then don't say it.
The Rising Sign, aka Ascendant, represents your approach to life and the mask you wear. Read that sign as well to get additional information on what is in store this week.
Text or call Quan at 816-931-0010 or check out his website at beliefisnotrequired.com.