Sally, a long-time client of mine, called me with a typical holiday dilemma. She's invited to her ex-in-laws for an upcoming holiday celebration and she really doesn't want to go.
She knows her ex won't be there because he will be away on business in Europe. But she still feels uncomfortable about going. She would like to spend the time curled up on the sofa with a chicken pot pie and endless reruns of the Twight Zone. When she was married to their son she did have a good relationship with her in-laws and she feels it was thoughtful of them to ask. So she feels the stress of obligation versus desire.
Some of the major stress that comes from the holidays is what I call the battle between Saturn and Venus. Saturn represents a sense of obligation; what we call the “shoulds.” Sometimes these obligations are real and come from people who genuniely deserve our attention. The good friend who's always been there for us, the neighbor who looks after our dog, the guy who took a bullet for us in the war; the people who have really gone out of their way for us. When there is a Saturn obligation of this type we should follow through.
But sometimes our “shoulds” seem more like burdens (and burdens are also ruled by Saturn). This is the “well I went last year so I should go this year” or “I'm a member of this group so I should support all their events.” For “shoulds” in this category there is a lot of stress. In this case we need to enlist the help of Venus.
Venus is the planet of desie, it represents the “wants.” When I ask Sally if there are any positives about going to the holiday dinner with her in-laws she thinks it over. She decides she would get to see how they are getting on. And after 15 minutes of talking this is the only Venus answer she can give me. Then she lists the negatives; a long drive there, not sure what to talk about except their son who is no longer in her life, stuffing herself with food and then a long, tiring drive home. When you are faced with Saturn – a sense of obligation but there is no real Venus energy – a sense of fun, then I recommend skipping the event.
And what of the in-laws. I suggest a little Venus then Saturn for them. Here Venus rules kindness and gratitude for their invitation. Followed by Saturn which rules disappointment as Sally kindly declines. The in-laws will feel good that they extended the invitation. And Sally will happily spend her day as she really wants.