Archive | Feminist Matters

Virginia Bell Q&A: On Venus Retrograde and Aging Mindfully

I often write here about the astrologer Virginia Bell. In addition to being a terrific translator of the heavens, she’s a trusted mentor and a lovely friend–the kind of person I aspire to be. To celebrate International Women’s Day last week, we sat in front of a voice recorder and a heaving board of snacks and discussed Venus Retrograde, the divine feminine, this spring’s forecast, how astrology is affecting the Trump coup, and her new book, Midlife Is Not a Crisis: Using Astrology to Thrive in the Second Half of Life. What follows is our unabridged conversation. I’d pare it down except Virginia’s words–articulate, generous, and peppered with her own wisdom as well as the wisdom of others–are too precious to cut. Consider this a primer in how to make astrology and aging work for you rather than against you.

Lisa Rosman (doing an unfortunate Julie Andrews impression): Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. How did you get into astrology?

Virginia Bell (politely ignoring unfortunate impression): I’ve been practicing since the 1990s but my interest began when I was 14. I asked my priest what he thought about astrology and he didn’t miss a beat. He said, “It’s the devil’s work. (Laughter). Right then and there, I decided, “I’m an atheist and I’m interested in astrology.” Of course, I came back to the church in the sense that I love all the saints. Continue Reading →

Desert Flowers: Object D’art O’Keeffe

Pictured here: three images from Living Modern, the Brooklyn Museum exhibition of work by and about Georgia O’Keeffe—the twentieth century’s most un-objectified object d’art. In gallery after gallery, this womon artist’s (quint)essence shines through others’ lens, myriad ages, and various iterations of her self-expression, including paintings, hand-made garments, and girlish fashion drawings. You can see how her physicality informed the shapes she created; in that stirring far left image (a 1918 photograph of her by husband Alfred Stieglitz), she’s austere, flat, concave; the only traditionally womanly mound is that seriously fulsome bush. In her fashion drawing at bottom right (check out those extraterrestrial fingers) and cityscape at top right you see echoes of those verysame shapes. This is womanbody as subject with a heathy slash of steel, a big blowsy flower, and the blood red and pale pale pink that Venus Retrograde in Aries and Pisces demands. Georgia is the eye of the beholder and, I’d argue, of twentysomething centuries, too. I expected a lot from this show but still am happily surprised. The clothes especially are something else: bleached-out and exquisitely detailed. I want them all.

Word to the wise: The Museum is charging major mandatory buckos for the exhibition. Though it’s a worthy institution, city museums are meant to be pay-what-you-wish, so on general principle I fished one of the O’Keeffe entrance bracelets from a trashcan and sailed right in.

Women’s Activism Primer: Wakey Wakey

Newcomers to political resistance movements may be surprised that women of all walks of life now are taking the lead, but American sisters (not just cisters) have a long history of battling brilliantly for their rights – one we’d be remiss in ignoring now. Many of the most powerful emergent voices in the resistance are female, from former Attorney General Sally Yates, Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, Beyoncé to the attorneys offering their services to immigrants and refugees in the wake of the new executive policies. (A 70-30 female-male ration has been estimated among these legal defenders.) For Women’s History month, I’ve put together a list of some key primers in the U.S. women’s rights movements, warts and all. Continue Reading →

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy