During last week’s Saturn/Venus conjunction, while I was busily crashing weddings, a friend of mine suggested I see the movie Venus.
‘Uh, maybe it should’ve been called Saturn ,’ said he.
Yes, I had seen it, but I hadn’t really seen it. It was a few months back, one of those nights I needed to escape into a brighter world that this unexpected love story entered, requiring my earnest attention – not the brief mental vacation I was seeking. Fittingly, with Saturn near Venus for much of the summer, I sought Venus and found Saturn. So the subject endures: mature love.
It ain’t easy. In Venus Peter O’Toole brilliantly plays the goody and baddy Saturn, a seventy-something man enamored of a young, naÃ¯ve, and foul-mouthed English Rose archetypal Venus. The coarseness of their personalities are off-putting, their differences monumental. At first glance, it’s an uncomfortable fit. And if you can hold that discomfort without changing the channel, your understanding of this May/December affair deepens.
Was Saturn trying to recapture his youth? Not really. Was she looking for a sugar daddy? Likely not. Saturn had loved and lost before, and as much as you want to see O’Toole as a lecherous old man, our sensitivities are shocked into compassion. Saturn entertaining the thought of scoring with this young thing evokes our inevitable dispute with aging and death. We’ve earned our wisdom but along with our bodies must age take our youth, beauty and love as well? (which reminds me of a birthday Evite I recently came across: ‘happy birthday…you’re one year closer to taking the ‘you’ out of youth’). If that’s the deal, Peter O’Toole will go down fighting. He’s still a playa’.
As an astrology fan, you may know that Saturn is exalted or highly regarded in Venus’s sign, Libra, and possibly wondered, as my friend and I have: How on earth could a dark, depressive (Saturn) and a young, vibrant rose (Venus, Libra) possibly be good for one another? Or as a person observing human relationship, you may’ve wondered: what’s she (young, hot) doing with him (old, not)? It’s the same question.
Watch the movie.
After a rocky start, these two oddball characters just make sense. Wizened Saturn, softened up by the passage of time and the tender beauty of the young budding rose, takes Venus to the theater. Then Saturn takes Venus shopping. Saturn openly admires Venus’ beauty. And in so doing, a remarkable thing happens: growth. Of course Venus being Venus, she has a lot to learn. Venus has never been to the theater before, is a little ‘country’ as we midwesterners say – lacking sophistication (her goal for the summer is to become a model, which Saturn, working his industry connections, obliges with a lingerie shoot). Yes, Venus is young and a little silly. And retrospecting on the end of his life, O’Toole, offers his sophistication, experience, appreciation and wise heart to Venus, the Goddess of Beauty and Love. Time will do that.
As my friend beautifully genuflected on the movie, he reflected on the symbolic relationship, ‘Saturn held Venus as a strong setting holds a diamond.’ Elevating her and deeming her worthy. With Saturn, Venus matures, blossoms and… blooms. With Venus, elder Saturn loses track of chronos, or biological time. Instead he follows kairos time, a time of possibility, a time when something very special changes everything. In this relationship, aging needn’t surrender zestful living for decay, nor love for wisdom. Maybe I’m being incredibly optimistic, but it seems whether we’re age 38 or 88, under our skin we’re each 18 again…beautiful and in love.
And that’s a relationship worth looking into, maybe even worth its weight in gold.
Venus is available on DVD.