Let’s get something straight: Eros is not an uncontrollable, primal response that arises unbidden, ethereal as an instinct; it’s also not a spontanous indicator, either by its presence in the psyche or the natal chart, of a force of lust that promises ultimate sexual satisfaction. To see it as designating ‘the erotic’ is also a disservice, as that puts the function of Eros outside the Self–and it definitely is intimate. The thing is, Eros is an energy that is very much under the individual’s control, at least in the sense that it isn’t something that wells up and overtakes us with no ryhme or reason. We have many clues about this in the story of the demi-god Eros and how he falls in love with the mortal Psyche. He accidently shoots himself with a magical arrow, and the first thing he sees after the accident is the beautiful Psyche, with whom he is then totally smitten.
There are a couple of points here: a device, albeit a magical one, is the initiator of Eros’ love–and that suggests that, though the experience has a magical, out-of-the-blue quality for the individual, it’s really quite deliberate: one must choose the arrow in the first place, one must choose a target and aim, one must shoot–all conscious choices; it’s a fluke that Eros was the recipient of the magical-feeling energy. He’d actually been tasked by his mother, Venus, to shoot Psyche with the arrow while she was in proximity to a beastly and repulsive man, for Venus believed that Psyche would be rejected by the rest of humanity if she chose as a mate someone others found unacceptable.
So, the energy of the arrow made Eros passionately desire Psyche; not fall in lust, not just want to have sex with, but long for her in a consuming way–and it’s part of the Eros experience that one finds a certain satisfaction just in the stirring of the erotic energy–that itself is pleasurable, aside from anything else. We also note that because Eros sees Psyche and wants her, in a very straightforward way, he has in essence objectified her–she becomes the object that receives his erotic energy.
This is an extremely important point, and I believe the heart of understanding Eros and the erotic: the experience of Eros is contained in the way an individual fixes attention on someone or something (and here we can see that Eros is also responsible for fetishism) and imbues the person or thing with erotic energy and feeling. The erotic energy comes from within the individual; and a choice is made as to the object upon which (or whom) one will fix this erotic feeling. This implies that the Eros experience is mental, in spite of its magical and very exciting quality (and this, of course, is the very quality that persuades us there is something otherworldly, fated, or destined in that which we find erotic).
There’s another point to be gleaned from the story of Eros: yearning to connect with (really to become one with, which is certainly why the Eros energy typically takes a sexual form) the woman Psyche necessitated Eros break from Venus (which Eros did by hiding his paramour from his mother–so his reaction to forming a new kind of relationship, a sexual one, was not mature)—and that suggests that in order to experience Eros we must actually separate from our typical way of forming relationships, even of loving, that passion is not love–showing us again that we cannot truly love what we objectify, simply because the thing objectified becomes a servant to our own erotic needs, and thus cannot be related to as an equal would be in a healthy relationship.
Examples of Eros in action, along with the full story of Eros, Venus, and Psyche, are available in my book THE ASTROLOGY OF INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP http://dogandsunflower.wordpress.com Thanks, have a great Friday, and come back for the Weekend Forecast!