By Eric Francis
Every angle of your chart is sending you the same message: that long-held, taken-for-granted patterns are changing, resulting in distinct shifts in your life patterns. This is about bringing what is unconscious or deeply buried up to the surface, which may be bringing a feeling of relief, vulnerability or instability. As you get your grounding with your own inner movements, and you recognize that you can indeed create new ways of being from inner shifts, you will trust this journey, and your own experience, more deeply.
Aquarius Part One
Aquarius Part Two
Everything that happens in your astrology is set against the backdrop of Aquarian karma — that of encouraging, creating and facilitating cooperation. It’s natural, therefore, that you would have an external orientation on the world — the real world is the one that includes people, what they say and what they do. Yet these people and their sayings and doings take on more meaning to you as they array themselves into constellations, and these we call groups.
The concept of Aquarius is also deeply imbued with the quality of individuality. As if driven by some deep urgency, you have to be yourself and stand out, which would seem to contradict the emphasis on groups. What it really contradicts is an emphasis on mindless, thoughtless mass movement. Groups require individuals not only as their leaders but, if they are to be effective, as participants who can think for themselves. That, in turn, requires depth and sensitivity, which is one reason why it’s rare enough to observe group consciousness working in the world, and more common to observe the masses stampeding toward the next great thing that makes no sense at all.
And, as The Onion recently mocked, lots of people in that stampede feel pretty darned important: “A comprehensive report released this week by researchers at the University of North Carolina confirmed widely held assumptions that you are the most significant and interesting person currently inhabiting the Earth.”
You have to live amongst all these people, often with the sensation that you’re the smartest person in the room, an observation born of experience and not of prejudice. That can lead others to think you’ve got a superiority complex of some kind. If they only knew what you’re really going through — the doubts with which you struggle, the deep need to find a place where you belong, your quest to find even one other person with whom you feel truly comfortable.
In recent years, wherever your worldly journey has taken you, you’ve been guided inward in ways that you’ve never been before. As you journey inward, a process that only intensifies in 2014, you’re making many observations about yourself, in particular, about the patterns that make up your life. Let’s start with the master transit of this nature — Pluto in Capricorn.
Pluto in Capricorn and your 12th House
Pluto, as you may know, is in Capricorn. It’s a long-term visitor there, due to a transit that spans from 2008 to 2025. Outer planets tend to get a lot of attention at the beginning of a transit, then are forgotten or relegated to minor influences or footnotes. That defies the nature of the transit — a sustained, long-term enterprise.
Capricorn is your solar 12th house if you have your Sun in Aquarius, and your 12th house by whole sign houses if you have Aquarius rising. The 12th is the house of unconscious patterns, which one astrologer has cleverly described as ‘normal consciousness’. The 12th is like a kind of holding tank into which everything we don’t really want to think about eventually finds its way. As in the house of dreams, which is in part why dreams are so interesting: they are a bubbling to the surface of news items that the ‘unconscious’ is striving to get you to think about.
Pluto can work as the ruthless transformer, or the deep and invisible force for change that you may not even recognize is at work. Yet Pluto in the 12th can have a lonely or isolating feeling. This placement can take you to the edge, and have you feeling like it’s a long way down. It’s necessary to work with that isolation rather than against it.
Since not everyone experiences Pluto in the 12th house (this is true for all Pluto transits, which only one-third to one-half of all people experience in their lifetime), I am inclined to think that Pluto transits serve a specific evolutionary purpose in one’s life story, and that they arrive at an essential time. What’s interesting about the isolating property of Pluto in the 12th house is that it can have this property whether or not you’re in a primary relationship, whether or not other people are readily available for you to socialize with. It’s an interior condition that calls forth the inherent nature of the ego structure — which sees itself as apart from the world, often at odds with the world, and often displaying an inherent distrust.
Capricorn for its part is a sign with associations to the deep and distant past, including what we think of as the historic past, antiquity and things too remote in time to know for sure. It also represents the past associated with the family or tribe, one of the most basic delineations of Capricorn. It’s the past to whom we are connected by way of our ancestors.
And it also reaches into the more distant or even remote aspects of collective experience. If the 12th is about unconscious patterns, then Capricorn on the 12th could stand for the collective patterns of society that to some extent we all contain.
Pluto going through this house is doing deep work, and you’re likely to be feeling that in a deep way. Part of that work is about letting go of toxic habits and patterns that have been passed down to you by many generations of your ancestors, or which have come through lifetimes of participation in society. Let them change — and know when you’re resisting. If you find yourself clinging to traditions, or gradually becoming more conservative as you get older, by which I mean more reticent and fearful, you’re probably clinging.
It’s true that Pluto in the 12th, especially in Capricorn, can signify your deeper fears coming up — everything from death to nuclear war to a deep concern about the meaning of life and death. All of these inquiries, questions, struggles and journeys are designed to bring you closer to the aspect of yourself sometimes described as soul.
Do not hesitate to engage with and confront your fears. They will call upon you to access a deeper level of your spiritual resources. I don’t suggest avoiding, medicating or denying what you’re experiencing — with the 12th house, as with Pluto, the way out is through. And as you go through your experiences, you will learn, and you will soften, and become more familiar with yourself.
Mars Retrograde in Libra
Libra is your fellow air sign. Therefore, it has a resonance with Aquarius. One common point that the two signs share is a close resonance with Saturn. The traditional ruler of your sign, Saturn is also the planet that’s exalted in Libra, which is an honorary kind of rulership. You can think of Libra as your alternate sign, a kind of second personality orientation that you can easily access. This is your more aesthetic side, the aspect of your nature that is focused on beauty, balance and diplomacy — not exactly the traits one initially associates with Aquarius. Libra is in many ways the star of 2014 astrology, since Mars is spending an extended visit in Libra and will be retrograde there for 10 weeks, running from March to May.
The theme of self-inquiry picks up again with Mars retrograde in Libra, only in this case it’s an exploration of where your spiritual belief systems encounter your tendencies in intimate relationships. While Pluto moving through your 12th house is a slow process, more of a permanent resident in your chart, Mars through Libra — your 9th house — is a relatively short-term visitor; Mars ingressed Libra on Dec. 7 and will remain there until July 25 (which is a turning point date for you, one that I will discuss shortly).
Mars usually passes through a sign in a month or two; the extended stay is a result of the retrograde, and that is pretty special. The 9th house in astrology is generally ascribed to spirituality, from an earlier delineation of being about the church. In modern terms, the 9th is about what you believe and why. It’s also about your long-term vision for your life. If you don’t have one of these, I would encourage you to pluck up the confidence and the courage to create one.
Mars retrograde is encouraging you to take your visioning process more earnestly. I know that we live in times when it seems like our individual lives, and the world, are always on the edge. It seems like something could happen on any given day that undermines everything we live for and are working for. This in turn is often used as an excuse to live like there’s no tomorrow, whether that means having a fantastic time at the expense of anything solid, or descending into the depths of despair and not seeing any future at all. After all, why do anything (or anything serious) when we could have a financial collapse or all be wiped out by a nuclear incident?
I would propose, however, that these seemingly unstable phases of constant change, when the world seems to be at its edgiest, are when taking ownership of your vision and your long-range idea of what you want have the most meaning.
Libra is a sign whose themes include deliberation, sometimes described as indecision. Mars is about decisive action. Mars retrograde is about asking questions, even though Mars likes to leap before it looks; the retrograde is the exception to that rule. Mars retrograde in Libra is likely to open up a new level of the deliberation process — a new depth of thoughtfulness, though you might experience it as some kind of crisis of decision.
If that is true, then go deeper; ask bigger questions; study the ways that your ability to look ahead, and to choose based on that vision, have guided you well in the past. More than anything I think it’s essential that you make a conscious choice not to give in to the prevailing nihilism of our times. Consider yourself one of the architects of consciousness, of society and most of all, of your own life.
It might help you to set some parameters. That would include a review of your past visions for yourself, dating back to your first statement of “When I grow up, I want to be _____.” What happened to those plans? Some may have worked out well. Others you may have been conned out of, or given up on, despite the childlike wisdom that gave rise to them.
There is something here about going to the roots of your faith. Along the way you will move through the roots of your belief systems, which are like a layer built over your faith. One of your belief systems involves what I would call the religion of relationships.
You may experience this as your romantic side. You know you have one, no matter how logical all the old astrology books say you are. You don’t necessarily think of it in those terms — you know it goes deeper, that you’re expressing something existential and indeed mystical through your one-on-one contacts with people.
You may have also noticed a society-wide mania with the concept of what seem to be known as romantic relationships and marriage. In some ways it’s a requirement for citizenship to ‘be in a relationship’, with partial credit given for really, really wanting to be. Over the centuries, a few have questioned how weird this is — the constant obsession with one kind of relationship, bound up in a thousand strict and often conflicting rules. This whole bit of emotional bureaucracy needs to get heaped onto the bonfire currently burning at the feet of the concept heteronormative.
There are a lot of mean, ugly rules, pointless expectations and ways in which society tries to twist people into who they are not. They have nothing to do with reality, and very little to do with you — except for one thing — your ‘romantic side’ wants a say. This thing, however, is not really romantic; for you it’s about the beauty of relating, not the trappings and the rules.
I suggest you tease out the difference. No doubt you will be doing so as Mars works its provocative wonders, and in many ways sets you up to question very nearly everything you have ever taken for granted.
One last thought about Mars and beliefs. Beliefs are dangerous. They are often based on misinformation, incomplete experience and prejudice. Often they are a substitute for having actual informed opinions, or values that have been put through the tests of time and experience. Beliefs are especially dangerous because they have a way of dictating the world we see — there is a kind of observer bias or confirmation bias that can creep in, and we will see the world that we believe is there.
Mars retrograde is encouraging you to sift through this process carefully. Why do you believe what you believe? What do you do when you get evidence that something else is true? How do your beliefs predict your experience of the world? This is the process you are taking hold of.
In the audio portion, I explain the relationship between Mars retrograde in Libra and Pluto in Capricorn, which is integral to this sorting-out process for you — mainly because Mars is making contact with Pluto, and taking the process deeper than it might ordinarily go.
Mars and Saturn in Your 10th House
Once Mars is done being retrograde, and moves forward and clears the shadow phase and covers the last degrees of Libra, it will ingress Scorpio on July 25, 2014. This is your 10th solar house if you’re Aquarius Sun, and 10th by whole sign houses for Aquarius rising — one of the most meaningful, useful and prominent houses of the 12. It’s the house of worldly ambition, achievement, reputation and most of all, your relationship to authority.
For more than 14 months as of this writing in January 2014, Saturn has been in Scorpio, your 10th house. It returns here every 27 years or so; therefore, this is a transit to take note of. Saturn in the 10th has been described as the Midas touch — a time of unusual manifestation power, a time when it’s possible to reach for success and actually make contact, and a moment when you have the feeling, and even the reality, of taking over your own life.
By taking over I mean taking back your personal authority from anyone who wrested it from you, whether this be in the present, the past or the distant past. We live, as you know, in a world that’s entangled in authority. Saturn in your 10th house is here to help you untangle that authority — including on the level where it manifests the most intractably, the emotional level.
Mars joining Saturn in Scorpio is going to ramp up that process. Saturn can act as a passive player, holding up the bridge while the river rushes around it. It’s often working below the surface, especially in a water sign. Mars, however, is adding an assertive, bold and direct energy to the equation. Your experience of claiming authority over your life, for example, will no longer be about holding space open, or claiming responsibility for how you feel; rather, it will be about taking decisive steps.
This is one reason why your visioning process, indicated by Mars retrograde in Libra, is so crucial. When the time comes to take action, you want to have already deliberated, so that you don’t need to hesitate when the time comes to make your move.
On Aug. 25 there will be both a conjunction of Mars and Saturn in Scorpio, and a potent New Moon in your 8th house (Virgo). This is one of the most important focal points, or turning points, of your year.
While I could use this chart predictively, I would rather present it to you as an energy node that you can use creatively. It has nearly unlimited use as a manifestation tool. How do you use it as such? First, trust that it’s there. Though there will be many twists and turns in the road between now and late August, this date and its related astrological events are indeed coming.
Think of this as a leverage point; a negotiation tool; an opportunity to apply what you know and make a real move based on it. In essence, after long months of preparation, the Virgo New Moon and Mars-Saturn conjunction is a crux moment when you can put what you have learned into action. Use this date as a point of orientation, like a light in the distance, to help keep you focused on what you most want to achieve.
Why It Would Help You to Write
It’s worth adding a brief note about why it would help you to write, and write daily. This involves Uranus, the modern ruler of your sign, in Aries — your 3rd house (which covers writing). Uranus in Aries is also involved in the Mars retrograde process, as Mars is the ruler of Aries and makes a series of oppositions to Uranus.
Aries is arguably the most important sign of the zodiac, as it’s the point of ignition for the whole concept of astrology. Wherever we may have Aries, we have some significant strength, work to do and self-identity to explore.
Wherever Uranus goes, there will be revolutionary activity. There will also be an erratic quality, the emergence of spontaneous ideas and, in Aries, self-discovery. The 3rd house frames this in the context of writing. For all of the spontaneous and erratic qualities of Uranus, the written word will help you preserve and develop your ideas. This may take some discipline — dealing with Uranus always does — though you can start in modest ways. Define what ‘writing’ means for you, though I would suggest the initial form not be published (such as a blog) so that you have more freedom to explore taboo subjects. Then, as certain ideas develop, you can publish them. Start with a small notebook that you carry around, and pause and take a note every time you have an idea that seems interesting, or feels like it will have some potential influence.
One key element is discovering the value of your ideas, and this you can only do by experiencing that value directly. That requires a process, and it will take time — though you may see results emerge spontaneously.
A New Look at Self-Esteem
One last thought, which I will be developing in some future materials, including your forthcoming birthday reading, as this discussion deserves a chapter of its own. The connection is Pisces, your 2nd house of self-value and self-esteem, and its traditional ruler, Jupiter.
Without giving the technical details, you have a lot going on in your 2nd house — you’re in a major phase of healing your self-esteem. This is an old story, but it’s got a new twist, and you have some real leverage to work with, in the form of Chiron in this house (among other influences — but Chiron stands about 40 feet tall).
Jupiter is the representative of Chiron, and later in the year, it ingresses your 7th house of relationships. This suggests that there is an even more direct than usual connection between how you feel about yourself and what happens in your encounters with others.
Get ahead of the curve on this one. It may be the truest thing I can say about relationships.