By Eric Francis
Your astrology is guiding you to liberate yourself and reinvent your identity at the same time you’re on notice that you have to honor your commitments to others. You may be feeling erratic and also craving discipline. How do you resolve this seeming paradox? One way is to reveal all your secrets to yourself. Mars retrograde in your opposite sign Libra will provide you with many opportunities to get to know yourself, as well as to open up new territory in your relationships. You know you’re being called to accomplish great things. The more you’re aligned with yourself and the people close to you, the more you will achieve things you never dreamed possible.
Aries Part One
Aries Part Two
Your charts this year reveal some magnificent tension in your life. Tension is a source of energy; it’s a place where energy is contained, and can be put to good use. One way this is described is by the presence of Uranus in your birth sign, a long-term transit that will extend through early 2019. For you, this one transit sets the scene and provides a context for every other planetary movement between now and then.
Aries starts the zodiac as the sign of initiative. The fact of being Aries Sun or Aries rising gives you a pioneering spirit, which may manifest as your being a person of high inventiveness, or someone who is assertive, pushy or determined in various combinations. When you add Uranus, the planet of revolution, these attributes are accentuated to a degree that might seem like total restlessness with the status quo.
You want change and you want it now; you want to change and you want those changes to have effects now.
With Uranus in one’s own sign, there is a drive to reinvent oneself, to push all limits and to be stopped by nothing. In a world where nearly all we see are boundaries and restrictions that alone is enough to create some significant tension. You may have already figured out that you have to find creative, constructive ways to express your rebellion.
At the same time you’re experiencing this transit, a kind of opposite influence, Saturn, is making its way across one of the most sensitive angles of your chart — the one where you negotiate agreements with others: your 8th house if you’re Aries rising, or 8th solar house for Aries Sun, which is Scorpio.
Saturn will be in Scorpio into 2015, so you have well over another year under this influence, and a meaningful year it will be. If Uranus is pushing you to rebel, Saturn, on the most basic level, is reminding you of your commitments, your unspoken agreements and the necessity to respect the boundaries of your relationships.
I am sure you can see, and feel, the setup I am describing. You want to burst out and be yourself at the same time there is an influence saying that you really don’t have the freedom to do that. This can be a maddening combination of factors, feeling like a paradox and perhaps leading you to deny one side of the equation or the other.
That could lead to scenarios such as daring to do something unusual or bold, then finding out that it’s in some way offensive to a partner, disruptive or threatening to a relationship.
Or you might be trying to hold the line and honor your commitment at the same time you’re feeling your drive to be independent, and as a result of that, holding a lot inside.
Now, this may seem like I am describing ordinary life for everyone — the scenario is in many ways a description of 21st-century consciousness. It’s the basic setup for how we respond to the conditioning to ‘be original’ and ‘express how special you are’ (Uranus in the 1st house) at the same time you’re supposed to conform to what has already been done before. Or it’s a situation where you might see how many choices you have, then say no to everything interesting offered to you, often using the excuse of a commitment. It’s one thing if the commitment possesses some true purpose and meaning; it’s another if the purpose of the commitment is to make an excuse not to be daring or to live.
Saturn will clarify this issue by asking questions first, or by being prompted to inquire into your situation when you want to know the nature of a boundary that you run into. Saturn may decide that something is long overdue, and has to happen as a result — seeming to be spontaneous but really being about a long trajectory of events.
Uranus wants to take action first and deal with the consequences later. It’s the rebel who does not quite think through the results of any potential action. This year in particular you may be especially driven by desire with little regard to the consequences; an asteroid called Icarus is conjunct Uranus around the time of your birthday, and that is saying that more than anything you want peak experiences of life and of freedom. You may be driven to make some seemingly radical choices, and then address the fallout after the fact.
Or you might expect things to ‘just happen’. The difference between you and everyone watching TV commercials promising magical powers out of a can of Pepsi is that the theme is focused in your chart; the planets are present in compelling positions that describe the scenario of spontaneous action or manifestation.
And then, in the background all the time is this seemingly restrictive energy of Saturn. You would be correct to wonder which influence is going to win out in the end. Astrology offers some clues.
Let’s look more closely at Saturn in Scorpio. As an Aries or Aries rising, this falls in your 8th house (your 8th solar house if Aries Sun, 8th house by whole sign houses if you’re Aries rising).
In addition to being the house of commitments and contracts, the 8th is the house of secrets and taboos. More than wanting to hem you in to any particular agreement, Saturn is suggesting that you re-evaluate the entire matter in question. Only on the most superficial level is Saturn an influence of being stuck, or what astrologers often describe as a wet blanket.
Throw off that wet blanket and what you will discover is the drive for depth, and in Scorpio and the 8th house this will be about making a genuine inquiry into whether you belong where you are. If you are in a commitment or contract, go back to the beginning and try to remember your reasons for getting involved; trace the point of origin. Then follow the story forward through time and see if you can figure out how you got to where you are today.
Saturn in Scorpio represents everything you have not admitted to yourself, and everything you have therefore not admitted to close partners. It also represents some of the hidden psychological baggage of your family, which has either manifested for you in a personal relationship or which you have mistakenly confused with your own material.
If there is one sticking point, or rather, one universal solvent, that’s the one — the hidden or taboo quality can be addressed by direct transparency.
Think of it this way. If all your secrets were known and out in the open, how would your life be different? By secrets, I mean how you truly feel, what you want, what you’re struggling with, all of your various opinions about the situations in your life, what you’ve done and what you want to do — in any combination.
In personal relationships, I am referring to the list of everything you have not mentioned to your partner. I think that most people at least are concerned that their lives would blow up, were the truth known about all these elements of life.
However, short of airing all of your innermost views and potentially shocking anyone, or up-ending your world as you know it just yet, the place to start is having no secrets from yourself.
You can think of this a few different ways, such as making contact with how you really feel and then remembering that when the time comes to make a decision. Or you could think of it as coming out of denial. You could think of it as remembering your own history and connecting the dots. However you think of it, I would say that you need this information and you need to make contact with whatever it represents for you.
Your other alternative in terms of maintaining the tension between Uranus and Saturn is hypocrisy. But as you’ve probably already seen fairly recently, that’s not going to work for long. Something has to give. For many reasons, Uranus in your 1st house is going to be one of the most active planets in your chart. Along with Pluto in your 10th house, it will be under the most pressure as an influence you must respond to. That means that the liberationist side will trump everything else.
That in turn suggests that maintaining a policy of transparency with yourself, fully conscious self-awareness, and having no secrets from yourself, is a simple and basic hygienic measure to ensure that you maintain your balance and have some influence over the flow of affairs.
If you arrive at a point where you feel like you have no influence, or like your life is out of control, pause and let yourself in on your secrets. If you’re feeling rebellious and like you might push things to a degree that will disrupt your life, start by telling yourself the truth about how you feel and what you want.
New Contracts and Agreements
Part of the problem with contracts and agreements is signing on the dotted line when one is not ready, or uncertain of being able to fulfill the commitment. It may sound like an obvious thing to say; however, it would be wise of you to make certain that you are able to fulfill whatever you promise or commit to.
I suggest you really think about this before you go forward with any agreement, be it a lease, a mortgage, a professional contract or even a commitment to a friend. Don’t just write yourself a pass thinking you can get out of it at some future point — Saturn is not going to play along with that. What Saturn is more likely to grant is a way out of past agreements that you made without adequate knowledge or at a different stage of your development.
But part of the maturity process Saturn is prompting is the ‘going forward’ rule, meaning that all new agreements are entered into under the new idea of knowing that your commitments are fully backed by your resources.
One thing that you want to guard against is ‘unconsciously’ entering into agreements based on some momentum from the past, including from past lives. Some of the agreements from which you may need to be released are what are politely called ‘sacred contracts’ from lifetimes you don’t remember.
While it’s not often possible to confirm this kind of thing is happening, when you find yourself following choreography but not being able to hear the music, that is the time to pause and assess the situation.
Understanding Projection, and Developing Your Relationship to Yourself
The centerpiece of 2014 astrology involves Mars, your ruling planet, spending more than two months retrograde in your opposite sign Libra. Just the fact of Mars retrograde would be a significant factor to consider in reading your astrology, but the fact that this happens in your opposite sign is even more noteworthy.
Mars retrograde is relatively rare on the scale of retrograde planets. Mars is retrograde second-least of all the planets, about 9.5% of the time. Said another way, it’s retrograde for about 10 weeks out of every two years. But around the time when it’s retrograde, it tends to place strong emphasis on that region of your chart.
Retrograde inner planets are references to the past, to some interior quality of who you are, or a mix of the two — describing a vision quest to find some property of yourself you left behind or set aside in the past. Note: if you have your natal chart, study the position of Mars at the time of your birth for some clues about what this might be.
With Mars in particular, retrogrades can be frustrating unless you consciously direct the power of the planet inwardly, as introspection. Mars retrograde asks a good question — what do you want from yourself, and what desires have you left behind in the past?
Yet there’s a slippery spot with Mars in Libra, especially when retrograde. The notion of what one wants can be difficult to focus; there will be a complex deliberation process involved, and it may seem to go nowhere.
As your opposite sign (another way of saying solar 7th house, or 7th house from your ascendant if you’re Libra rising), Libra describes your relationships and partnerships (both business and personal); it describes your physical environment and to some extent your mental environment. It describes those with whom you are friendly and not so friendly. So it can represent a diversity of circumstances with a number of different shades and feeling tones.
When we take the planet in astrology that represents the person with Aries rising or Sun, and put it in the 7th house, that is a special kind of encounter. One way to look at it is as an encounter with yourself, even though that self may be dramatized or represented through other people. It is therefore essential to pay attention here and remember that every relationship you have is an extension of your relationship with yourself.
If you’re getting along with yourself, it’s much likelier that you will get along with others. Indeed, it seems to be a prerequisite for doing so.
One seemingly ‘outer’ effect that Mars retrograde in the 7th house is likely to have is to stir the pot in your relationships. These developments could manifest in any number of ways — one of which might be to put your relationships through what seems to be a test. I am not fond of that concept, because it implies there is some supreme authority who has decided it’s time for a pop quiz. So you can think of the test element as a feeling you might have.
Yet the correct answer to the test involves seeing your own role in the way that others relate to you. This can be difficult to sort out. Almost everything we experience looks like it’s coming from outside us.
One theme of Mars retrograde in this position for you is seeking yourself in your relationships. This is not an ‘opposites attract’ kind of thing but rather the drive for self-identity through another. It might represent the craving for self-actualization through a relationship. It’s worth mentioning that one of the most significant ways we come to know ourselves is through the experience of encountering others.
It would be nice if we could be honest about this. There are many ways it’s true — with implications that are emotional, economic, sexual and plenty else. The usual position we’re taught to take in relationships is ‘this is all about you’ and ‘I’m in this because you’re so special’, which often seems to be a cover for total self-absorption. With Mars dancing around retrograde in this angle of your chart, you will have a good few opportunities to sort that out.
The 7th is also the center of the ‘zone of projection’ — the place where we project ourselves into our relationships, and also experience the psychological phenomenon of projection, which you could sum up as seeing the world the way that you are. The zone of projection, a concept introduced to astrology by Vancouver-based astrologer Ani Black, spans from the 5th through the 8th houses — the relationship houses — though the 7th is where it really comes into focus.
The message here is to beware of accusing anyone of being what you are but don’t admit to. Be cautious about allowing others to take on some deeply personal role for you, such as ‘making you whole’. Take notice when you see yourself describing what you perceive as negative characteristics of others — what’s the status of these properties within yourself?
Pluto in Capricorn
There’s one last gem in your astrology that deserves mention: Pluto in Capricorn. The Mars retrograde process makes a series of three contacts with Pluto in Capricorn, one of which happened earlier in the year and two of which happen in the spring.
Pluto in Capricorn is all but compelling you to build your reputation and your base of experience. I say ‘all but’ because it’s possible to resist the movement of Pluto, though only at your own peril. You are in an extended time in your life, a time that will last a while but which is well underway, where your first mission is to focus your talent with your purpose, and actually get something done.
Getting something done, in your case, means changing the world, if only a little — though changing it in a tangible way. It’s not enough to play the game, coast by, work just enough to meet your basic needs or even to work for money; Pluto moving across your all-important 10th house of ambition, aspiration, reputation and responsibility is about having an impact.
You have help in this — mainly because the time is right, as indicated by the presence of Pluto. It’s certainly a lot easier to have your choices matter on a wider scale than just yourself when Pluto is helping the process along. It’s fair to think in much larger terms, on a wider scale, and on what you might think of as an expert level.
The message, however, is about how this is only possible if you focus yourself. You have ideas. You have motivation. You also have the potential to feel scattered, or in such a constant state of flux that you never quite seem to get a grip on what you want or need to do.
This may require, for example, setting a specific goal that is far less than you think you’re capable of. Yet if that goal is in the same direction of the seemingly greater achievement, then you’re working your way forward and upward. Setting goals that are too large or too complex may make it difficult to get anything at all done.
I suggest, therefore, that you focus on specific, challenging goals rather than broad, all-encompassing ones. Focus your work times and places; I mean a real schedule with actual work areas defined. Set specific goals that you meet on a daily or weekly basis, which help you work toward your larger objective. Everything can be divided into tangible steps and specific, definable tasks.
This way you will know what you need to do and what you’re doing, and you will have methods to track modest progress by way of your tangible successes. This will help keep you motivated; you need your progress to be visible, able to be documented, and you must build one success on the next.
While you do this, I suggest you be leery of the concept of power — personal, corporate or otherwise. This includes anything that might hold power over you, or you holding power over anyone or anything. The only power you need is that of decision. In making your decisions, make sure that you consult the people around you and take what they say on board long enough to consider it; then make your decision. Whether and how you hold others in mind will make all the difference to them, and stand as a reminder of their presence as you navigate your way through territory through which you alone may go.
You may wonder whether it’s enough that you do things because you can. Does anything else happen? Your only alternative is to do what you could not have done, but then you’ll prove that to be an illusion.