By Christian Chensvold
If you were lucky enough to have lived through the last great decade to be a teenager—the ’80s, of course—then you invariably parked your hormone-fueled self on the couch one day, turned on MTV and watched a Robert Palmer video.
The singer’s hit tunes—“Simply Irresistible,” “Addicted To Love” and “I Didn’t Mean To Turn You On”—came to epitomize the era’s sense of glamor, and not because of Palmer, who’s dressed in a nondescript black suit and white shirt. No, male or female, you were likely entranced by the mute backup dancers who surround the singer with a powerful and mysterious aura.
These are not Earth Mother archetypes with mountainous curves and flowing hair, risen from the Earth like flower-maidens in a painting by Alphonse Mucha. No, these are feminine beings descended from above, from some eternal realm of primordial cosmic energies. At once static and aloof and then suddenly dynamic in dance, the women are coldly elegant and highly intimidating, seeming both inaccessible and yet charged with magnetic energy seeking union with its opposite, represented by the suave singer.
This dynamic dyad, this eternal chase and cosmic dance, plays out in the soul of each of us. Ancient spiritual traditions show how masculine and feminine forces work in the human being, who receives these animating energies from the higher realm of first principles. In Hinduism, Shiva sits impassively as Shakti tries to rouse him with her dynamism, while in astrology, the mutable lunar energy that governs our emotions orbits our solar regal core. The primordial act of creation, symbolized by the staff of Hermes, is entwined by two serpents who appear to be simultaneously fighting and fusing, polarities bound forever in the womb of creation that find their opposite magnetic charge simply irresistible.
Opposites attract, in the outer world as well as inside of us, and moments of action and volition find their equilibrium in moments of contemplation and reflection. If we seek to continue growing and integrate all of our stars and their energy potentials, we can recalibrate our inner dynamic by identifying our receptive side (in astrology, the Moon and Venus) and making it more actively passive, and likewise letting our driving force (Sun, Mars) become passively active, resting in the immutable being, holding the center or lording on the throne.
Robert Palmer’s music videos are mini microcosms of cosmic forces. If the masculine solar principle were alone on the stage with nothing in its orbit, or if the mutable lunar dancers had no singer-sunwriter to shine light on them, there would be no music of the spheres.