Will He Come Back to Me?

Elegy, by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1899Difficulty with love is by far the biggest reason people seek a personal consultation with an astrologer. The vast majority are women, and the issue is usually rejection of some kind.

It’s almost a standing joke among astrologers. We can help people find their life path, fulfill their destiny and purpose, and understand the deeper forces at work in their lives, and all they really want to know is, “Will he come back to me?”

To me, this is no joking matter, and I emphatically do not believe it is an ignorant question. It is the question of our time.

If there’s a woman out there who hasn’t been dumped by a guy (or another woman, if that’s how you’re wired) and hasn’t been in that hellish “will he come back to me” phase, please write and tell us about your exceptional self. I have a feeling that even Mother Theresa went through some version of this attachment, which astrologers often refer to as a Plutonic obsession.

Now, some men have no doubt fallen into this pattern, too, but it’s primarily a female thing. That’s why books such as Women Who Love Too Much and the new-millennium version, He’s Just Not That Into You, continue to make the bestseller list.

I was in the middle of a painful breakup when Women Who Love Too Much was released, so of course I gobbled it up, thinking it would be the pain-reliever I so desperately needed. Instead, it made me feel like there was something wrong with me. And that’s the message behind all of these books. It’s your problem, you have an addictive personality, you give away your power, you need to change your behavior, etc.

These books sell millions of copies. At some point it occurred to me that if millions of women are experiencing the same thing, this must somehow be “normal.” And it has to mean something — other than that women just don’t understand men. This is a global phenomenon.

And it’s not new.

Before Demeter battled Hades and Zeus to get her daughter back from the underworld, Inanna went to the “Great Below.” According to Sumerian mythology, Inanna was Queen of Heaven and Earth, while Ereshkigal, her sister, was the Queen of the Underworld. When Ereshkigal’s husband dies, Inanna goes down to the underworld to visit her.

Inanna’s visit is what you might expect in hell. She’s forced to remove her crown, jewelry, and other symbols of worldly power, so that she is left standing before her sister stripped naked. As if that’s not enough, her sister then orders her to hang upside down from a meat hook and leaves her for dead. But Inanna knew it would be a dangerous journey and arranged to have help sent if she was gone too long, so she manages to break the law prohibiting anyone from leaving the underworld.

And what does she find when she returns? Her husband, Dumuzi, who she’s totally crazy about, has been living it up while she was gone, sitting on her throne, and not mourning for her at all. The condition for her leaving the underworld is that she has to send someone to take her place. Who do you think she picks?

The demons that have followed her from the underworld drag Dumuzi away kicking and screaming, and while Inanna has chosen to give him up, her grief at losing him is deep and excruciatingly painful.

Scholars date the tablets on which this story was written to about 1750 B.C. In other words, it’s one of the very first stories ever written down by humans. And it’s about the grief of a woman who loses her man, even though she knows that he didn’t deserve her or properly treasure their relationship.

Inanna clearly was the Sumerian version of Venus, although she was an older Venus archetype who embodied more than just the sex goddess role to which Venus eventually was relegated. Her name meant simply “divine female.” Inanna, therefore, was the universal principle of feminine energy.

As with other ancient mythologies, the story of Inanna also has astrological significance. Ereshkigal’s husband was the “Bull of Heaven,” which we can assume to be Taurus. His “death” was likely the disappearance of Taurus from the sky, which marked the change of seasons. And when Dumuzi is in the underworld and Inanna mourns him, nothing grows — just as the plant life dies when Demeter mourns the absence of Persephone.

The male and female principles are two of the most fundamental energies in the Universe. A lot has been written over the years about the dominance of male energy on the planet and the need to return to the feminine. However, I see the real issue not as the return of the feminine, but as the reunification and harmony between masculine and feminine energies. Too much of either creates an imbalance. They have to work in tandem, in a dynamic dance of give and take.

History began only when writing was invented, and that was in Sumer, around 3,000 B.C. We have to assume that the stories were far older. How many thousands of years, we can’t even guess. But isn’t it interesting that one of the first stories that humans thought was important enough to write down was the story of how male and female energies got separated.

As I’ve written before, I don’t believe that obsessions are illnesses that need to be eradicated. They are messages from the subconscious that are screaming to be heard, and the only way they can get your attention — especially if you have an exceptionally strong, analytical mind — is to create intense emotional pain. And that’s what this type of obsession is. No woman who’s ever felt it would choose to stay in it. She would much rather “forget the jerk” and find someone more worthy.

But she can’t. Something keeps drawing her back, and she wants desperately for the astrologer, Tarot reader, or psychic to tell her that he’ll come back to her.

We’re now in the Venus “re-entry” period, with Venus moving back through her retrograde path and crossing back over for the third and final time the three points of the past year’s Saturn-Neptune opposition. This is a good time to think about your attachments, especially the ones that are (or were) painfully obsessive. Whether you’re male or female, and whether your attachment was to a man or a woman, the experience of grief and pain is the same. It is the pain of separation, and it is not even just a human experience.

It is the expression of universal energies — energies that get separated and desperately want to come back together again.

This is an edited version of a post originally published on The Pisces Chronicles, September 14, 2007