Abundance: Cultivating Pleasure Through Ritual / Guest Blog by Taylor Ursula
*Don't miss Taylor's upcoming workshop, "Crafting Pleasure Rituals with Venus" on May 28th at 12pm PST on Zoom! You can sign up to join us right now!*
As many of us have been called to explore the notion of self-care in these ever-growing tumultuous times, some of us have met blockages surrounding our own worthiness and deservingness. We’ve also collectively moved into deprogramming our ideas around what care looks like, looking more closely at the nature of our desires and what they compel us to consume. Desire serves as an important signal toward experiencing pleasure, which is absolutely a form of self-care. If you’ve struggled to develop a genuine connection with a pleasure practice, you’re not alone! Exploring this realm can feel unfamiliar, yet crafting a personalized ritual practice that speaks to us and our values and needs can be deeply fulfilling and open us to new possibilities and sensation within and around us.
PLEASURE has become such a rarefied concept for so many demographics of humans living in this modern age. “Pleasure” appears to have become a luxury, yet is simultaneously woven into how the working class labors for others. When we perform services for others, and we receive thanks, we often say, “It was my pleasure,” and while that may be genuine—while I hope all of us are taking true pleasure in helping and serving others—the automation strips us of our capacity to explore what the word truly means for us, to hold space for our own pleasure outside of the validation or appreciation of another. Pleasure itself, and access to experiencing it, is a critical component to anchoring what it is for each of us that makes the life we lead all worthwhile. It’s no wonder that books have been written to advocate for us to root ourselves back into this practice and to explore the positive implications for ourselves and our communities at large.
Ritual—the act of performing our desires for the spiritual or unseen realm we connect with—plays upon the divine notion that, that which we desire must be made known. There is magic to assigning words or gestures to our most treasured instincts and yearnings. There is alchemy when we create tangible gestures that connect with the space and time around us. While expressing what we carry so tenderly within ourselves can feel vulnerable, engaging in this practice strengthens our awareness of all that we carry, and supports our efforts to reach those dreams outside of ourselves. Much like a practice in gratitude, it is often the simple act of acknowledgement that allows the invisible fibers of our inner vision to begin to root into reality.
The beauty of ritual is that, while it has been adopted by various institutions, it is truly inherently individual—ritual need only speak to the person performing it, and need not be expected to fit all. Just as unique as each of our inner realms may be, so may be how we explore and anchor them for ourselves. One person’s practice may look wildly different from another’s, and the gods, no matter which you believe in, would want it no other way. To practice your unique divinity is to celebrate how you were created in this lifetime. With this in mind, crafting personal ritual can be cathartic and liberating! In fact, the very rituals we shape around the pleasure we crave can, and should, incorporate the experiences of pleasure we have now—the way to recognize we are experiencing incoming pleasure is by creating intentional pleasure for ourselves in the present. Each time we practice this, we actively build the roadmap to our destination.
Currently, the north node travels through Taurus to call our attention back to these simple practices—to remind us that what we come to trust begins with what we know to be true through our personal practice. The north node here invites us to take inventory of and honor the resources we have access to and to make divine and intentional use of them. To attune to our innate and unique sensuality by gaining an understanding of what our senses crave. To discover the true value of those cravings to our internal systems, and to build nourishing anchors in the physical realm that support our spiritual growth. At the same time, as the south node swims through Scorpio, we are invited to release our attachments to the events, systems, and traumas that have shaped deep caverns of grief within us, releasing the grip that external power may hold over our sense of security and belonging in the world. Pleasure, relaxation, fullness, joy all are inherent human rights, and the powers that restrict us from exploring these experiences shall diminish as we reclaim them for ourselves in the ways that we are able, be they past or present.
Venus, ruling over this Taurus north node, connects us with pleasure, and how we choose to explore pleasure will look different to each of us. My ritual practice with Venus began several years ago upon discovering just how much weight she carries in my natal chart. On Fridays, the day of Venus, I sit at her altar, offer her wine, read to her the Orphic hymn in her name, and celebrate the goodness she has brought into my life. Sometimes my Venus day practices involve going for walks through nature, indulging in a good meal I didn’t have to make myself, listening to music, or spending time with my plants. And sometimes my rituals involve a little self stimulation! I have spent time exploring what activities bring joy and pleasure to my senses and I make sure to incorporate whatever feels good as I am entering into ritual. This practice allows me to connect directly to this deity, to show gratitude for the sweetness in my life both big and small, to speak my current desires and dreams, and to anchor my openness and receptivity to positive universal influence. Through this practice, I remember that I am entitled to spend time centering pleasure within me and that doing so encourages me to make more time to center pleasure. The ripple effect is potent.
The house that Venus resides in, as well as the house that hosts the sign of Taurus, hold insight into what practices of pleasure may look like for us and what they may be calling upon us to help root into and grow. It’s great to begin exploring your personal pleasure by dedicating space to items that encourage pleasure. Some traditional items pertaining to Venus involve flowers, wine, sweets, the colors white or green, and copper, but the sign of your personal Venus may take pleasure in other textures and sensations! For example, an Aries Venus may like spicy over sweet, while a Scorpio Venus may have tastes more sophisticated or sultry than mere flowers :) Take inventory of what PLEASURE looks like for you and begin to build it intentionally into your space however you are able! For the Orphic hymn and for more Venus ritual ideas, head to Sphere & Sundry, who have done a beautiful job of curating (and creating) ritual resources.
About Taylor Ursula:
Taylor Ursula (she/they) merges traditional and modern astrology to explore karma, purpose, and passion through a cohesive and story-driven approach that incorporates and integrates previously buried shadow material. She creates group containers for radical ritualistic healing and has offered the popular course series "Exploring the Inner Child through the IC." Taylor has spoken at the Fresh Voices of Astrology, the Queer Astrology, and the Astrology of Awakening conferences, and has contributed to the CUSP app, NFLUX Magazine, and the 2022 edition of Many Moons. Find her on Instagram here.Show more
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