Dear Friend and Reader:
Poets and artists are usually the ones who notice that the world as we see it is going away before our eyes. Art is not just descriptive, or an ethical comment on existence, but also an attempt to make the feeling of the current world last a little longer than it might — and to evoke the vision of something new or deeper. Yet there is so much happening it would be helpful if something existed that everyone could contribute to.
Imagine if we were to create something that documented the feeling of what it’s like to be alive in the days that we’re living. This would be a useful mindfulness tool for those of us here now, as well as something that would inform our descendants, who inherit the world that we are currently creating with our choices. When future generations look back at our time, they’ll wonder what we were thinking and feeling, beneath all the surface gloss. And maybe we would become sufficiently self-aware to actually grasp how we influence, well, nearly everything with the decisions we make.
Imagine a mix of personal diary, a dream notebook, impressions of news events and the kaleidoscopic mix of advertising images that are designed to shape how we perceive ourselves. This would include admissions of our deepest desires and needs, our most paralyzing fears, and the mix of pleasure and tension that so often manifest together.
We would need a way to describe the vortex-like sensation of time, which seems to be drawing us into the future with an almost violent force. This may be the most distinctive feeling of life today — something that no picture could capture. It may be the very thing that leaves us feeling the most helpless: our struggle to navigate time.
Then there is astrology, which is a way of seeing patterns within time that help us make sense of the experience. In the seeming chaos of time passing, there are indeed patterns and we can observe them. Suspending the usual rules of logic opens up the ability to perceive symbols as they relate to one another, and to our experience.
Astrology also gives us tools to help us work with time more effectively, and to see the distinctive quality of each moment. Instead of hands for hours, minutes and seconds, the clock of astrology is measured against the horizon, as well as orbiting bodies that track phases from one month (the Moon) to 557 years (Eris). The symbols used in modern astrology refer to a vast collection of mentors from numerous cultures, not merely the Greco-Roman names we’re familiar with (and yet know so little about). These figures combine and express themselves in an unending sequence of patterns that somehow miraculously tell the story of time as it happens. The ‘past’ and the ‘future’ can be easily referenced, and documented. The notation method can be explained to others, and any alignment can be discussed somewhat objectively.
I say miraculously, but could it be any other way? These events, as they cycle around us, build to peaks, just like any other natural cycle. We’re in several of those peaks simultaneously right now; this is true whether you look on immediate or very long cycles of time. One of the distinctive features about our moment in history is that the level of seeming chaos is so high, sometimes it seems impossible to discern what anything means. Astrology, through its use of patterns and pattern recognition, allows us to see what is happening more clearly, and to receive a distinct message for our moment.
Friday’s Libra Full Moon
One peak of energy is revealed as the Sun and Moon form an opposition Friday at 3:18 pm EDT. That’s another way of saying the Full Moon, with the Sun in Aries, the Moon in Libra and the Earth between the two. This opposition is aligned close to the middle of the Aries-Libra axis, which is one of the backbones of the zodiac. I say that because the Thema Mundi — the ancient Babylonian ‘chart of the world’ — has the midpoints of the cardinal signs, including Aries and Libra, prominent.
On the Aries side, the Sun is closely aligned with two other points in Aries — Vesta, an asteroid, and Eris, a small and distant body orbiting our Sun, and one of the most meaningful messengers of our era. Let’s take them one at a time.
Think of the Sun in Aries as being a fundamental expression of self and self-awareness. It’s the thing that powers the solar system. The Aries Sun is the picture of initiative and individual self-awareness. When the Sun is conjunct something, it ‘picks up’ the qualities of the other planet. When you think of Vesta (shown as the purple chevron symbol, next to the Sun), themes like holding space, devotion and tending the flame of core creativity might come to mind.
Vesta is also an occult symbol for the sexual energy at the core of a human being. This is depicted by a fire in a hearth, and by the ‘virgins’ who tend that flame around the clock.
The Sun’s conjunction to Vesta is defining a space of the experience of self, and the space to express whatever that might be. Remember that the Sun is all about radiating outward; that’s its job. Vesta defines a purpose and provides a container to do that in a more focused way. Vesta is a hearth goddess, and in old houses, the chimney and fireplace define the central feature around which the rest of the home is organized. Vesta works the same way as an astrological factor. The Vestal Virgins, however, tended the public hearths — the ones that were kept burning on behalf of any city, or the empire itself, around the clock. The Vestals represent something distinctly private, yet public as well.
Next in the alignment is Eris, depicted as the red oval with the downward arrow, on the left side of the chart. This is a Pluto-sized planet (technically called a dwarf planet) orbiting the Sun far from the Earth, which was named in late 2006. Remember that whole fuss, which involved the supposed ‘demotion of Pluto’? There is nothing simple about Eris; indeed it describes the prevailing chaos of the times in which we live: in the world, within ourselves, and the constant confrontation with the numerous mirrors that surround us. That sensation of, “who the heck am I in the midst of all of this chaos?” is the sensation of Eris. You know you’re in Eris country when you hesitate to say the words ‘I am’ followed by something you really believe.
For some this is an uncomfortable space; it’s hardly what you would call a comfort zone. Eris initially represents not knowing, or not understanding, something about yourself. There’s a lot of turbulence in there, and unresolved questions, and potentially many shades of pain, guilt and resentment. However, it’s also an extremely rich, fertile space. If you’ve gone there you know you can tap some deep, hot inner force.
Vesta is providing the safe container for you to explore this, as well as the focus you need to tend such potent energy. The Moon opposite the Sun, Vesta and Eris is providing a mirror in our relationships. The Moon reflects the light of the Sun. In Libra, think of this as a beautiful mirror held to you by others, where you might see yourself in a more balanced way than you might otherwise. The Moon is suggesting that we keep our relationships in perspective.
The Mutable Grand Cross
We’re currently experiencing another peak of energy, coming through the signs Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces all at once. These are the signs of the mutable cross. There are 12 signs in astrology, and they can be divided in to three basic categories — cardinal, fixed and mutable. (As mentioned, the Full Moon is in the cardinal signs, which are about initiative.) There is, however, something unusual happening in the mutable signs as well. Mutable energy is a bit nervous; it changes easily and is, as a result, subject to external influence — that is, to the initiatives of others.
Currently, planets are gathered around four points on the cross, all of them closely aligned. These include many planets you’ve heard of; for example, Venus is in early Gemini, making squares to Mars in early Virgo as well as Neptune and Chiron in early Pisces. The nodes of the Moon are also in the alignment, which is adding a sense of momentum, drama and a touch of urgency. The nodes are like magnets that draw the planets into the evolutionary process; that is to say, where the nodes are, we will try to grow. If most people think of the concept ‘spiritual’ as something other than normal, with the feeling of inevitability and a touch of mysticism — that’s how the nodes feel.
This combination of energy adds up to some deep, poignant emotional tension. It includes sexual feelings that are both distinct and difficult to grasp; a struggle to be honest or to discern dishonesty; and an exaggerated experience of self-criticism. All of this is presenting what is clearly an opportunity for growth, for self-mastery and for expanding our connection to the world: that is, if we can get a handle on it.
On the North Node in Sagittarius is Juno. The North Node is the maximum point of growth — the pull into the unfamiliar quest, and here we have an asteroid about relationships. In Sagittarius it seems to be saying: give your relationships space; give your partner(s) space; let go of your expectations and you’ll discover something more beautiful than you were expecting.
Yet Juno is retrograde, and that’s like getting caught in the past. There seems to be some past factor influencing the option to breathe a little more freely than you normally might. There’s a quest for justice (indicated by both Juno and Sagittarius) but it’s hung up on something. That has an echo of Mars retrograde, which is also a bit caught in the past, as well as struggling to find its truth as it opposes Chiron and Neptune in Pisces.
When we look to the additional points gathered around the cross, we get some clues. There’s a ridiculous number of points in those four signs clustered within a narrow range of degrees; the demands of growth and indeed of day-to-day living seem extremely complex. Yet one asteroid stands out from among the many: Psyche retrograde. Along with Mars and Juno, Psyche retrograde is evidence of being triggered by the unresolved material of the past (that’s what retrogrades can do). Psyche’s message: heal your trust issues first. What you think of as being about relationships is, on a deeper level, about trust.
If you find yourself getting stirred up by personal events or world events, look to the past and see what you have not resolved, or what you’re struggling to resolve. I mention world events because the way this cross is positioned, it’s picking up ‘the news’ like those rabbit ear antennas on your old TV. Many, many forces are conditioning us on this cross. It’s like we’re getting it from all directions right now — even if we don’t really notice.
Where You and the World Meet
Astrology stands at the intersection between you and the world. Most people don’t know they stand at this juncture all the time. We tend to live our lives haplessly, caught in our small experiences, to see the connection. Yet sometimes it becomes obvious.
I was reminded this week when corresponding with one of my students, on the topic of why people cannot seem to spot political deception, a topic I’ve been researching with the help of some friends for a future article. I mentioned what I was doing and asked if she had any ideas to contribute.
“Haven’t been too focused on spotting political lies,” she replied. “To be honest, this week I’ve been more concerned with the atrophy of women’s healthcare. I had an annual physical on Monday with a doctor who was new to me. It didn’t go well. He told me that because of new recommendations, it’s no longer necessary for him to give women under 40 years old breast exams. And the new recommendations also stipulate that women under 40 only need a pap smear every THREE years. To which I replied, ‘Um, yet another attack on the feminine body. Given that I’m a young single woman, don’t you think I should have pap smears annually?’ He looked bewildered. I then asked if my health insurance will still cover them annually to which he said they will, as of now. I told him I wanted to carry on with them annually then. Jeezus! This is what I pay premiums for! I was not a happy woman on Monday.”
How could she miss the ongoing war on women’s health being played out in the political arena now? I reminded her that it’s the #1 story these days — the ongoing attempts by politicians to kill Planned Parenthood, ban birth control and treat women who get abortions as murderers. What she’s experiencing is not atrophy — it’s a planned assault (covered beautifully by Rachel Maddow at the top of Thursday night’s program).
Well, she did — and this reminds me how easy it is, even for someone so well-informed and articulate, to miss the connection that her life is part of something larger. Indeed, it’s so easy that most of us miss the connection all the time.
How is it that we don’t see this? Where is the blind spot? Learning this kind of vision obviously takes more than watching the news; it requires cultivation of perceptual skills, and plenty of practice. Or we can just look to the astrology, which has been promising us the year when our relationship between ourselves and the world around us becomes undeniable — and it’s been delivering.
Friday, April 6, 2012. Weekly Horoscope #898 | Eric’s Zodiac Sign Descriptions
Aries (March 20-April 19) — Are you wondering what you have to give up in order to get what you want? Try reversing that and, once you’ve reached a key goal, decide what you won’t miss and let it go. This accomplishes at least two things. One is that it removes the bargaining aspect in your thinking, which is a throwback to “if you eat your peas, you can have ice cream.” Second, it removes the sacrifice aspect. When you consider what you would have to give up to get what you want, that will have more weight in your mind if what you think you need to give up is more valuable. To the contrary, the thing to release is something that’s merely in the way. If you want to get closer to your goal, dedicate time, energy and square footage to the cause. And keep the goal in sight — it seems to be playing hide and seek, and you seem to be hesitating saying the words “I want.”
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — You seem to be caught in something. From the look of your solar chart, it’s an idea. Elaborating further, it seems to be an old idea about yourself, which you don’t usually recognize — though you notice when you get caught in it from the feeling of being stuck. Its properties include the sensation of being of ‘two minds’ about something, which is another way of saying that your goals conflict. This roots more deeply either in not knowing your priorities, or having some attachment to an old idea and a new one that will not work together. Every now and then it’s a good idea to go through your goals and make sure they’re still valid for you. Notice what you do that’s not on your list, and what’s on the list that you haven’t done anything about in a long time. Don’t be brutal — simply be real. Then, update your files. You may need to do this three or four times over the next month.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — You may have all the pieces of your plan in order, yet may be lacking the confidence to make your first moves. You have time to collect the various elements of what will constitute solid emotional ground, just remember — even when you have them all, you may not feel like you’re standing on concrete. What you’re seeking is motivation, and you’ll get there more efficiently if you figure out why you’re hesitating. It’s not because your plan is bad or poorly thought out. Rather, you seem to have an attachment to something in the past, and this is acting like a snag. You’ll know this is true if you’re involved in what feel like endless emotional details. This kind of obsessive thinking can eat most of your energy and all of your gumption. Make sure you understand what happened in the past, and take the steps to resolve it if necessary. Those events have nothing to do with what you’re developing now.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Consider yourself a torch-bearer — not in the symbolic sense, but rather in the sense of someone who is carrying both energy and a visible light in the world. You may not be certain in the ways you’re doing that, though I assure you not only that you are, but also that you can do it more effectively. The key concept here is devotion — the force that moves you from within, with beautiful dependability. You may have to clear a lot of things out of the way to do this; certain things you want to do may lose priority as a result. Yet you’re able to focus your efforts on something that matters to you and to many other people. I would propose you’re doing a better job of this than you think, and that you have the opening to devote some of your energy to the things you’ve set aside. Make sure that one of these is the thing that’s supposed to be the number one priority to a Cancerian — your home.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — You may not have unlimited energy, but let’s not quibble over the details. You can compensate for when others fall short, and it’s a great thing that you have the mojo and the dedication to do that. Yet you’re still in the process of learning to do things entirely for their own sake. Your part in a plan or project is your part, without regard to who else has a stake or investment in the gig. The more you’re able to focus on your role, the more you’ll be able to develop your talent and the more strength you’ll have. In fact what you’re doing is integral to the entire enterprise, and you would be wise to focus on what you know are the most important goals — and to doing better work every day. You’re gradually approaching a kind of test or checkpoint, where your devotion and healthy respect for authority will come under careful scrutiny — most particularly by yourself. Keep your focus and mind your agreements. They really do matter.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — You’re going to learn something about yourself and your role in a relationship, something that started coming out in the wash midweek. You’re also discovering something about an intimate partner. The important thing is you remember these discoveries. I only say this because your chart suggests this might be one of those fantastic intuitive bursts that vanishes like a flash and a puff of smoke. You have some significant decisions pending in your life, and you need accurate information to inform them. Since that information really must come from you, that’s the place to pay attention. One reason that’s so vital is that your psyche may not be done spewing out disinformation, in the form of (erroneous) self-criticism, (misguided) attempts to improve yourself and moments where you lapse into forgetting who is who. In these moments, you need to remember what you’ve learned in the past few days, and remember it well.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — You can afford to Be Here Now. Just because you’re being here now doesn’t mean that certain elements of the past or the future are not truly significant. To the contrary, you are committed to letting go of an old way of life, and you are finally figuring out that you can plot your own course and actually get somewhere. Yet the only way to do anything about the results of the past or your plans for what might happen next is to observe what is happening within your mind right now, and in your immediate environment. You may be obsessed with making things add up or make sense — I suggest you ease back on the approach using logic and focus on making your environment beautiful. For example, rather than organizing for its own sake, motivate yourself with the promise of a more pleasing space to work in. If you keep yourself busy with various beautifying projects, you will set a record for how much garbage you clear out of the way.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Your sexual desire nature these days is coming more from your femme side than your macho side, though it’s no less fierce for being receptive. Indeed, you may feel like the ocean that will never fill up. I think it’s fair to wonder what you’re supposed to do with all of this desire: what’s the point? What’s the purpose? The answer to that question would seem simpler were what we think of as ‘erotic’ not perceived as something separate from everything else. What you’ve been experiencing the past few weeks is curiosity about yourself; you have learned a lot, and what you can explore now is what it’s like to express yourself. Don’t worry — neither your life nor Western civilization will collapse if you venture into more daring territory. To test the waters, proceed with words and ideas first — spoken to other people, not just in your own mind.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — If you’re feeling more settled within yourself, you can be sure you’ve worked out a complex issue that had you standing at the intersection of work and career, wondering which way to turn. Life is different when you feel good about who you are. Yet you still may be hesitating about a professional decision — which is a situation that’s bobbed to the surface many times in recent years, and which you’ve probably had enough of. Remember that the word ‘career’ means running a course, but your life is not a race. I suggest you look back at your trajectory over the past two years, and see where you’ve actually gone, as opposed to where you thought you were supposed to go. You’ll learn something from a careful review of your decisions going back to 2010. You have a decision to make about what to do next — and it will serve you well to have that be an informed choice, and by that I mean informed about what you really want to do with your precious time.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — So much of what’s happening around you must feel like an enormous debate about nothing, conducted by people who don’t believe what they’re saying. Fortunately, you’re situated such that you’re out of the direct line of controversy, though people you care about seem to be caught up in the storm; this could provide a way in for you. I suggest you keep your distance on any issue that doesn’t meet one of two qualifications — the first being that it directly affects you, and the second being that it has a significant impact on your environment. These guidelines will filter out anything that’s abstract, or designed to distract (the concepts are similar). As you have noted, there are a number of dog and pony shows in addition to the wrestling matches and smoke screens. Stay true to your mission as you have stated it to yourself many times, and make sure that everyone around you knows that’s what you’re doing.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Think of everything you say and do as a commitment; as a promise. That ought to slow you down and put you into editing mode. While you’re doing that, listen to the commitment level contained in what others say to you. Analyze things specifically for where they register on the scale of give and take. When someone is speaking to you, what are they offering and what do they want? I suggest you listen with the intent of an auditor. You may find that some people are disconnected from what they want to exchange. Others however are lying about it outright. You will recognize them by an uneasy feeling you have, or the sensation that you ‘should’ accept something that you’re not interested in. Listen to what assumptions people make about you — especially those who don’t know you. And please beware of anyone who is in a rush. Most likely they’re trying to exploit what they perceive as a weakness. When in doubt, slow down the movie.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — You’re finally figuring out that most people lack ‘the vision thing’. They might have facts and skills, but those only go so far. Your astrology is flooding you with ideas, and the ability to imagine what is possible — with the sensation that you really can accomplish something larger than you ever have. Vision, however, can be blocked. A blindfold can make the ocean or a mountain range disappear. Listening to someone negative can gradually convince you that what you want to do is impossible. Listening to people who cannot envision what doesn’t yet exist can interfere with your ability to do so. Therefore, open up only to those who are on the brave side, and who understand that time as we know it moves forward. You might want to keep your plans to yourself for the next couple of weeks, as you gradually get clear. You may have to revise your idea several times to get to the hidden gems of what you’re thinking — though you’re well on the way.