Dear Friend and Reader:
The Sun is in Libra, the sign of relationships — and this is a month where relationships are a strong theme for other reasons. One of the aspects that makes October 2011 unique is Saturn opposite Eris. It’s an opposition between the planet of structure and form (Saturn), and the planet associated with the identity chaos of the modern psyche (Eris). Saturn has been around literally since forever. Eris was the planet named in 2006 that was responsible for the ‘demotion’ of Pluto to minor planet status. Remember that? Eris upset the known order of the solar system, and was named for the Greek goddess of discord.
Saturn is now in Libra. Eris is in Aries, the sign of self. One speaks about structured relationships; the other about a chaotic self-concept. This is a hint that many people are trying to have structured relationships in a time of personality chaos. Often we use our relationships to try to stabilize our sense of who we are. More often than not, the restless need to exist as an individual can wreak havoc on our partnerships, which are not designed to embrace the reality of growing people, who are in motion. Our relationships, as we’re taught to have them, can offer stability that can come with a sense of confinement. This is an old situation, though I think one possibility of this time in the human story is to work that out.
Saturn opposite Eris is a picture of that. It’s a relatively rare event. There will be a nearly exact repeat of this same opposition next year, then the next time it happens will be in 2041.
This speaks to the old ‘freedom versus commitment’ issue. Our persistent challenges balancing this is what I believe makes so many relationships so unstable. We tend to assume, for example, that people are going to remain the same rather than change or grow, but growth is inevitable. We talk about making progress in our lives — then many of the arrangements that we live don’t take it so well. Our self esteem, such as we have access to it, is rarely built on solid ground.
Due to the presence of another planet in Aries, this situation is ramped up at full strength right now. That is Uranus, which is specifically about the drive to independence and freedom. It’s a relatively new arrival in Aries (it entered that sign to stay on March 11), and for those who can feel its influence, it’s pushing the drive for individuality to a new height. We are currently in one of the most restless moments in many generations. It’s as if something is stirring in the human spirit, eager to bust free. Of course, then there is the other side of the psyche, which wants to cling and hold fast and make sure that nothing important changes.
Many are noticing that the compromises they used to make in their partnerships and households no longer work. Relationships will have to adapt to contain a meeting of actual individuals. Many decent, loving people struggle to find an appropriate partner. There is a large swath of the population that needs a partner who can really honor them as a whole person, which would mean someone else living as a whole person as well.
Saturn in Libra may seem to be setting limits on your relationships. You may be feeling the sense of being enclosed within something more palpably than usual. You may feel like you don’t want a relationship, but you do want to relate. Now is the time to consider what kind of relationship structure best matches with the reality of who you truly are, and what kind of person would be best suited to that reality — if anyone.
For those currently in intimate partnerships, you might ask: how much of your identity is wrapped up in your relationship? To what extent do you use your relationship to stabilize your life, rather than doing inner work on the issues that might be destabilizing you? Even if this is a question that has persisted for many years, you may finally be able to embrace the subject matter now. One key to doing so will be people acknowledging restlessness, the need for independence and the desire for a more complex social life as qualities rather than as things that describe us as dysfunctional. In other words, you’re not weird if you feel restless. It’s not a sign of intimacy issues — it’s more likely a sign that you’re alive. The need to exist as an individual is a healthy and necessary state of growth, and we can still want companionship, trust and closeness to others.
Saturn opposite Eris is exact on Oct. 27. Here are some other details from this month’s astrology. The Aries Full Moon is on Oct. 11. That event may bring out the themes I’ve described above in a distinctive, polarized way. You may seem to be confronted by an either-or choice. The Sun will be conjunct Saturn and the Moon will be conjunct Eris. This will emphasize the polarity. It’s up to you to discover the common ground you share with the people you’re close to. Full Moon is an excellent time to work through deadlocks.
In this chart, Mercury is trine Neptune — an aspect that heightens intuition. I suggest you let your intuition be your guide to communication. Don’t just guess what someone is feeling, or expect them to guess what you’re thinking and feeling. We assume that we’re supposed to do a lot of that in our relationships.
Next is the Sun entering Scorpio on October 23. The Sun joins Mercury and Venus, which are already in Scorpio by that time. So this is going to be a rich, sensuous season of Scorpio. The days that follow the Sun’s ingress into this singularly important sign are often profound. They are the days that the veil between the dimensions is the thinnest. You don’t need to be a clairvoyant to feel the poignancy of this. Many cultures celebrate the Days of the Dead at this time, when they welcome home the spirits of their ancestors.
Scorpio shifts the emphasis from relationships to sex. The presence of Chiron in Pisces accents the healing aspect of sexuality — something that many of us are aware of but that few people know how to access or work with. One suggestion I have is to work with the distinction between ‘fantasy’ and ‘reality’. Create a space wherein it’s safe for you and anyone you’re intimate with to open up on the level of imagination. Notice if you feel threatened by potentials or ideas. That’s a good space to observe your responses and relax into the different possibilities, which is likely to be more fun and not as destabilizing as you imagine it would be.
The Scorpio New Moon follows on Oct. 26. This happens early in the Sun’s trek across Scorpio, so both the Sun and the Moon are trine Chiron. The New Moon also makes a strong, useful aspect to Pluto (a sextile), granting mental and emotional leverage. And the New Moon is opposite Jupiter. That brings the theme back around to where we started — what is the true meaning of relationships? How much do we seek them for love, and how much for the supposed benefits they offer?
Planet Waves Monthly Horoscope – October 2011
Aries (March 20-April 19) — In every relationship where the parties are opposite sex and anywhere close to reproductive age, there will be reproductive politics involved. The relationship does not have to be an overtly sexual one; pheromones know no boundaries. By politics I mean there will be some negotiation or struggle for power that is based on biological instructions that tell us to reproduce, and how those are activated by the presence of people who might help us do that. Within relationships, part of the struggle involves the question of whether the ‘real’ purpose of sex is to make babies or to make love. I don’t mean to set up a dichotomy, or worse, a false dichotomy. The actual purpose is not necessarily one or the other — but the truth is that relatively few people explore their sexuality in order to have children. That happens without much exploration at all; in fact it usually happens unconsciously, leading to all kinds of adventures and misadventures. This is the time to take control of your creative power, in whatever form it takes. It’s the time to look for your wholeness not in relationships but within yourself. It’s been that time for a while, but as the next month or two develop, you may discover that you have no choice. Your relationships will remain important; they will provide the necessary reflection that your self-discovery and healing process are your business. Yet beyond a certain point, they can no longer be the main focus of your life.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — You’re about to reach a limit in your relationship to your mother or to her legacy. The days of deep therapy where we looked honestly at the influence of our parents seem to be a relic of history, supplanted by prescriptions and distractions. Yet there is wisdom in understanding how these previously all-powerful, all-knowing people shaped us, taught us how to feel about ourselves and influenced our concept of the world. This month you will have the opportunity to see something involving your parents that has been impossible to observe, perhaps ever. Factors that operate ‘subconsciously’ can have a profound influence on our lives, often being point sources of the psychic chaos that we don’t seem to understand. These are the same internal wave machines that keep us running in circles or searching obsessively for who we are. They are often invisible; we have to infer their existence, and that can seem like a clairvoyant feat. Yet a kind of clairvoyance is exactly what you get now: the ability to see into the dark, into the world of your ancestors, and in particular, into the psyche of your mother. I can describe what I am seeing in your solar chart: seemed to be something strong about her, which was a mask over something that was missing. It’s not just this fact that you can observe, but also the results. Once you understand the ways you’ve been turned against yourself, you may find it a lot easier to be your own friend.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Creativity is serious business. I agree with Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way: actually expressing your creativity is more about focus and discipline than it is about inspiration. Yes, it’s wonderful when work seems ‘truly inspired’, but that says nothing of the 15 drafts that went into an article or novel you love. It’s a little like the feeling you get sitting inside a cathedral, responding to the architecture — then you realize it took a century to build, requiring a mix of inspiration, engineering and persistence. Your chart is strong with all three right now. Gemini is famous for its challenges focusing; in order to harness your creative (or other) talents, what seems like an extreme kind of discipline is necessary. It’s not really extreme, though. It’s more about guiding your work process into a container. This might be about anything from a job search to a project you’ve wanted to do for a long time. The container is primarily about time and space. Define the time and set aside the space and you will make a lot more progress. I suggest you work with limits, such as ‘one hour on this project every day’, until whatever you’re doing has a life of its own. You will feel a threshold shift at that point. I would add a word of caution about the influence of friends. They are only your friends if they have the same basic agenda as you.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — What exactly are you exerting yourself against? Let’s say you want to be more confident, so to do that you wage a campaign against insecurity. How well is that going to work? Another approach would be to master the elements of confidence, while gradually understanding your insecurity. In that case you would not be waging a campaign against anything, but rather reaching into another way of being more suited to your goals. I suggest you keep your efforts proactive, rather than attempting to fix something about you or about the world that is ‘wrong’. There is a fine line, I know. But rather than being about something you can see, it’s about something you can feel. Fixing something feels different than creating something new. Of course, to switch from one to the other, you would need to shift your orientation from the past to the present/future. Your primary goal would be different as well, and by that I mean your concept for what you want to accomplish. It’s both easier to focus on the past, and easier to get stuck there. What you might call the key to the future is a vision; that is the difference between fixing and creating. Gradually you are strengthening the part of your mind that allows you to visualize what does not exist. This is going to take some time, but you are about to receive an energy boost. This month, I can sum up the key to discerning the past from the present in one word — passion.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — You are working with a lot of energy right now, and you need to direct it consciously. It would help if you figured out just how much you are working with, a fact that may be concealed by the odd sense that your energy is suppressed. In truth it is not; that is merely a thought, but it’s a powerful one. You may be concerned that if you tap into your energy, you’ll go out of control. I can assure you this will not happen; the more you make contact with your sense of presence, your will and your clear desires, the more you’re likely to direct them in a constructive way. I would caution you that in the angle of your solar chart that addresses matters of a spiritual or religious nature, there is quite a bit of chaos — as if you’re not sure what you believe. For this reason, I suggest you explore your beliefs in the form of practical actions: making things, exploring places you’ve never seen, business activities and even sex. I think you may be sensing the potential for harming others, or for being perceived as selfish — or worse, actually discounting the needs of others and being self-centered. The astrology has some built-in safeguards that will pretty much ensure that you take the needs of others and indeed your whole environment into account, though until you dare to do something different, you might not notice they are in place.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — You would do well to ask yourself just what happened to you the past month, and where those events leave you right now. For a few years, you’ve been addressing a situation with roots deep in the past. Each year around your birthday there is a flare-up of what you might think of as emotional activity, or family issues, or karma. Then it tends to sink below the surface for a while, only to arise again in a new form. You may think that you’re not making any progress but I can assure you that if you compare the past three birthday seasons, you will see signs of movement, maturity and increasing emotional clarity. One thing to bear in mind (I will repeat this later in the year) is the relationship between emotional wellbeing and your sense of being spiritually grounded. These may be connected for everyone, but for you the contact point is especially vivid. There is a deeper connection to your ancestral past that you may have noticed during these phases, if you look beyond family-related dramas — they go much deeper. As for where that leaves you today, having been through this? I would suggest that you’ve never been closer to who you are. The opinions of relationship partners, business partners or those who would seek to influence your life are now in their correct place. Feel the sensation of being solid in who you are, your own authority, your own source of trust.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Relationships as we practice them are not set up for the partners to keep individuating. They tend to be designed for conformity, which in theory is the easier of the two ways to go — unless, of course, ongoing growth is your desire and your intention. There’s also something else going on. Much of the struggle we see in relationships is between the desire of people to be free and their desire to have companionship. The phase of life you’re in right now is about working through that seeming contradiction. It’s actually possible to resolve this one, but you need a lot of maturity and determination to do it. It comes down to understanding the purpose of your existence, which is secondary to the purpose of your relationships. This is the big one; this is the thing. Those who focus on existence first and relationships second can highlight or evoke the insecurity of those around them. Yet what you may be discovering is the simple and necessary truth that you are the most significant point of continuity in your life. Your path through the universe is consistent; the people around you will come and go. To get to this spot, you may have to pass through a sense of loneliness or isolation (or the fear of this potential). But something is waiting for you on the other side. I believe this will be a crucial step in transitioning toward your authentic personhood and independence.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — As a perpetual gender studies major, one thing I’ve noticed about the world in recent years is women openly expressing their desire to be in contact with their male side. This used to be expressed as (clearly misnamed) feminism. These days, it is something more basic and not attached to much ideology — nor to being lesbian. I believe that men have been openly pushing the envelope on expressing their feminine side for a lot longer, even risking arrest, prosecution and clobbering to do so. The astrology of Scorpio this month is all about exploring sexual identity. I mean that from the inside out — the emotional and hormonal experience of sex and gender rather than any kind of affect or show of style. For a while you may feel like you’re two different people, one who likes to dominate and conquer, and one who thirsts for submission and craves allowing your more vulnerable side out of its usual hiding places. You may have the illusion that this is building to some kind of a crisis, particularly if it’s causing any consternation in your relationships. It could just as easily be a fun place to explore, if you put your desires face-up on the table. But I don’t really see a crisis at all — what I see is a direct experience of resolving some long-held tension, which will allow you to clear up important elements of the past and move on to a new agenda in life and in love.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Ethics are always situational: they depend on the moment. As such they are flexible and useful. Morals pretend to be absolute, and as a result they are brittle and lack sensitivity to the actual circumstances involved in any question of right or wrong. You’re in the process of getting clear about all of this, and I reckon it’s been through personal experience and not by sitting in philosophy class. The world is in a state of moral decay (which is frightening enough), but in the midst of this extreme disorientation can arise the simple question of what is appropriate. I suggest you keep asking yourself that, from moment to moment. The word ethics has its root in the Greek word ethos, which was considered the highest ideal — and the true spirit of a person or a society. When we say, ‘This is a person of character’, we are talking about ethos. I think of it as the guiding ray within a person, something you can tune into that informs and enlightens everything else that you do. I suggest you allow all of your experiences to guide you toward making contact with this core experience of humanity: they certainly can right now, if that is what you want. The sensation is a distinct morph of that which is spiritual and that which is human. It’s the place where there is no difference; that well-tuned state of mind where life becomes art and art becomes life.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — In what ways have you succeeded at doing things differently than your parents? I really mean it — truly, significantly differently? Humanity has a way of not making progress on this particular issue, partly because people are so enamored of their parents, and so many others aspire to their mediocrity. I have noticed that much of what we call self-improvement, personal growth or having better relationships usually exists in contrast to our parents and how we think of them. In a sense, we’re always dancing with their limits — that is, until we stop. One of the most popular ways to go beyond those particular limits is to wage a revolt. However, where you are in life that’s not only not an option: it’s just a tad adolescent, when your primary objective (so far as I can tell) is to be a dependable adult. There is certainly a rebellious streak that is stirring you up deep inside, but your expression of that impulse is designed to be all about solid, unflinching leadership. One thing about Capricorn is that it’s always a child inside, and that you tend to get younger as the years unfold. Let your desire to stir the pot entice you to be that much more fearless, that much bolder, but always taking a well-proportioned approach and giving the appearance of playing within the rules. In essence, the perfect revolt for this moment is to be unequivocally yourself.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Religion is a supposedly simple way to cook down the complexities of who and what a person is. It takes many forms, but the one thing they all have in common is reducing many intricacies and subtle shades of meaning down to rules and a few rigid ideas. They paper over how much we have going on inside, how jumbled our minds can get, and how difficult it can be to have a clear sense of self. This is especially true now, due to two current, and rather extreme, trends: increasing limits placed on our options (all of us), and the deep restlessness of the human soul. You don’t need to impose an external ideology onto yourself, no matter where it comes from; that is not a solution. You also have a rare perspective on seeing the ways in which beliefs box you into your limitations, and know how questioning your beliefs can set you free. Over the next few weeks, you’re likely to encounter situations that compel you to challenge what you believe and why. The deeper issue is who has set the limits on your vision of yourself and of the world; who has set the limits on your happiness. You may be inclined to say that it’s you, but it actually goes back a lot longer than any memory of the ‘you’ that you now know. I suggest you push back; your mind is vibrating with the need to express yourself, and though it seems chaotic in there, it’s the fertile, passionate kind of chaos.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — You are poised to make some truly innovative decisions about money, which will be disguised in the appearance of conventionality. By innovative I mean radical, based on your values and your willingness to dare. By appearance of conventionality, I mean through some kind of structure or agreement that seems, on its face, like it’s a normal thing: a contract, a company, a partnership of some kind. This is an opportunity to remember — and work with — the difference between content and form, which is another way of saying that appearances deceive. There are many forms of deception, and one of them is camouflage, which is precisely what you’re doing. In a similar way, your charts talk about working both ends of the polarity that seems to run from risk to discipline. It’s not really that linear; these are ingredients that you can and must blend artfully; you need the right proportion of each. As you do this, remember your purpose; focus on why you’re doing what you’re doing, and consider your ultimate goal. That goal is likely to change and evolve, which is a healthy sign: it means your values are in a state of evolution. If the people around you seem stuck or slow to pick up on what, to you, is obvious, don’t waste energy trying to convince people of anything. Your actions and their results will speak for themselves.