By Eric Francis
You are going through an extended process of healing your faith in yourself, and giving yourself the freedom to envision your life and your power of decision. This has been a long journey, though at the moment you have extra help from Venus retrograde in Capricorn. You have access to vast amounts of information about how you were shaped into the person you are — information that you can use to open up new freedom of conscience and of choice. Relationships remain a main focus of this process, though this year there is a special emphasis on letting go of any and all judgments surrounding sexual desire. Meanwhile, your role in the public eye is increasing as you discover the ways you can serve the world; your chart is reminding you to remember the accountability that comes with gaining influence.
Taurus Part One
Taurus Part Two
“Now, as the Shamballa force is beginning to pour into the world, [humanity] is seeking another interpretation of God’s will which will not involve the hitherto blind acquiescence and unavoidable acceptance of the inscrutable dictates of a potent, inescapable Providence, but which will produce an understanding cooperation with the divine Plan and enlightened fusion of the individual will with the great divine will and this for the greater good of the whole.”
— Djwhal Khul, channeled by Alice A. Bailey, Esoteric Astrology, chapter on Taurus
2014 of the Gregorian calendar began with Venus, your ruling planet, in the midst of a truly unusual retrograde in Capricorn. It’s distinctive for many reasons, the first of which is that there has not been a Venus retrograde exclusively in Capricorn since the winter of 1802-1803, back when Thomas Jefferson was president and New Orleans was still part of France.
That is special. You value old things, you value tradition and you respect history — this event is putting you into contact with something related to all three that nobody walking around on the planet has had quite this way before. You may be learning things that challenge your present reality, things that astonish you, things that set you free — particularly from the negative influences of your family.
The point here is not to ruminate over the past. The point is to be free of its unhelpful influences, and to use that energy and space to create the life you want — under the guidance of nothing but your own creativity and sense of ethics. This is just the beginning.
Venus is retrograde in your 9th house (solar 9th house if you’re Taurus Sun, 9th house by whole sign houses if you are Taurus rising). Having Capricorn involved with that house means that your notion of the past is a profound influence on your future. More significantly, the notions that others around you, including the relatives that raised you and their predecessors, have about the past have shaped your concept of what is possible for you — which is to say, limited it.
For the past five years, Pluto has been burrowing through Capricorn, digging up the catacombs, opening trunks in the attic, dusting off old books your predecessors gave you so you can check if they make any sense, and in general, shaking the family tree.
Pluto has a way of leaving no stone unturned, and five years has been enough to get you in the groove of this process. The essence of the matter is reaching the level of soul, rather than having ideas or concepts heaped on you. Those might be religious concepts or other kinds of cultural baggage; they might have impeded your spiritual growth; however, the larger matter is your vision of yourself and your journey through life (that is the deepest virtue of the 9th house).
Pluto is doing a good job of leaving no stone unturned, and its process has opened up space for you to begin accepting your own ideas about yourself rather than what you were taught or told by others. You have begun a new phase of commitment to discovering what makes you happy rather than living with the limits on your bliss set by others.
The thing is that Pluto is slow. That’s a good thing — it would be destructive were its actions not so deliberate. It reaches the end of Capricorn in 2026. Times are changing fast, and that is an eternity. You have a life to live, you have plans, you have work to do and places to go. You don’t have time to waste, especially being dragged down by the hang-ups of long-dead people and their antique, unquestioned belief systems. Nobody has time to waste on guilt and regret and fear of nonexistent consequences, even if they think they do, or think they like it.
Here is where this unusual Venus retrograde comes in, wherein Venus covers more of Capricorn. Before the retrograde, Venus made it nearly out to the end of Capricorn. The retrograde will continue until Jan. 31, when Venus backtracks to slightly more than a degree from Pluto. In other words, Venus almost makes contact with Pluto, and thus (seemingly) almost makes contact with the grand cross that takes place around the time of your birthday.
In this case, almost is just exactly the right amount — perfectly close enough for you to get the job done. What job? Venus is backtracking through Capricorn, familiarizing you with the psychic, emotional and other forms of family material you will inevitably cover in the future, as you proceed on this path of setting yourself free.
In my view and experience, Venus is the wisest planet; it is the seat of emotional intelligence. The degrees she is treading have not been activated this way for more than two centuries. She is currently, right now, scoping out territory that you will be exploring (by way of Pluto) for well over another decade. That suggests that, though you may not have arrived at those places to do ‘the real work’ (the long journey of Pluto), you are being apprised of what it is.
You are having information made available to you, which may at times feel like you’re remembering things from ancestral or karmic history (that is to say, DNA memory, past lives, or some related phenomenon). The experience of “remembering what you used to know” may dawn on you more frequently than ever this year, and as the next phase of your life develops. Whether you can use that information, or trust it, or verify it through experience, partly depends on your willingness to let go of untrue or distorted information collected from the past or inherited from your predecessors.
You are gaining access to everything you need to know to travel through this territory. You are getting a clear map to the issues, which involve a pattern you have now long since deduced.
Yet there is that little one-degree gap, the one where Venus backtracks to about a degree from Pluto. That to me looks like the place where you might doubt — where you might think that a façade is a real barrier; or where you might have to do a little extra work connecting what you’ve just learned to the process you’ve been involved with for several years. You have to do this as a conscious step. Think of that step as manifesting every time you gain knowledge, then have the option to act on it or in some way put it to work.
Both of your 9th house Capricorn transits are putting you into direct contact with access to meaning and with the ability to go to your own inner source. This is a rare opportunity indeed — it translates to the potential to save many years or many lifetimes of unnecessary effort. In truth there is no delay necessary on the path to making contact with your soul, with your original intentions for your lifetime; to making choices based on your chosen life plan; to stepping outside the confining structure that others seemed to believe you belonged in.
Here is a simple test that you can apply to any spiritual belief, ancestral (family) teaching or any other conditioning you are questioning: Does it serve a practical purpose? If so, what purpose?
If it serves no practical purpose for you, whom does that idea, belief or teaching serve?
One last wee little idea about the 9th house. There seems to be some kind of global vision you are cultivating: a worldview, a perspective, a sense of mission, an actual mission. This is not merely a wish or whim; Pluto always means what Pluto says, and you can think of this as your higher self talking directly to you.
Don’t worry if this seems to be taking a long time. You are right where you need to be with this one. Much of what gets you to the next level will involve how you handle your personal relationships.
Saturn in the 7th House
What happens in Capricorn will also be expressed by two other planets — the ones that are traditionally associated with this sign. Pluto is merely a visitor; Mars and Saturn go back millennia in their connection to Capricorn. They tell us more about what’s happening — in practical terms.
Saturn is the traditional ruler of Capricorn and it’s in your 7th house — the house of relationships. That is Scorpio. Scorpio on this house means you have intense relationships. Having a strong Taurus signature in your chart (Sun or rising sign) implies that you have Scorpio on the relationship angle. Most likely you have been experiencing this transit as some significant shift in your relationship orientation, which goes back at least to late 2012. This could be manifesting one of several ways; I’ll list four of the most likely.
The first is that you’re experiencing a clean sweep of your relationships. Old attachments, old ways of doing things, old patterns, and the relationships that were supported by those patterns, are either being transformed or eliminated from your life. You recognize this as a get-serious moment in your values toward relationship, and your life is reflecting this. The keynote here is emotional maturity.
The second possibility is that you are in a deep situation that rises to the level of a quest for deep bonding and intimate contact. The scenario may at times seem above your level or like more than you can handle, but you know it’s time for something like this to be happening. You may be finding yourself there, getting to experience what deep bonding is really like. It’s probably a little different from how you thought it would be, but more meaningful than you imagined.
The next possibility is that you’re in a committed relationship that is becoming frustrated or confining. You may have outgrown the situation, or may be feeling like it’s emotionally confining, but your sense of commitment is weighing heavily on you. Here is the question to ask: what part of your emotional state is the product of past conditioning? The value on commitment? The guilt for wanting to be free of it?
One last possibility is that you’re not getting anywhere with your desire to be in an intimate situation. Your relationship life seems stuck. Nobody seems available. In this case, I suggest you go back to the first possibility above — the one about needing a clean sweep of your past tendencies. You may be in the midst of precisely that, and one way your energy systems are responding is through blocking contact with inappropriate people with whom involvement would be a setback. I suggest you set a high standard for compatibility, but that you also question our cultural mania with being “in a relationship” at the same time as it discounts many, many concepts of relationship that could, and that do, address the human condition of needing companionship.
It is possible you are experiencing bits and pieces of all of the above. I would say that the one thing they all have in common is the reminder that your first relationship is to yourself. And much like Jung said that religion gets in the way of religious experience, I would say that relationships can get in the way of relating to others.
You will have Saturn traversing your 7th house for most of the year; then starting in December it will be on and off for another nine months. So this is a transit you will be living with for a while. I suggest you orient on what it really means for you, and remember to keep questioning the influence of the past, the influence of religion, the influence of guilt and any secret desire to appease your family.
One thing is clear about Saturn in your 7th house: it’s raising the matter of relationships to the level of your most significant spiritual learning. You can consider this whole Saturn experience a direct extension of Pluto in the 9th house. You may need to do some weaving and reflect a bit to get all of the connections, though the more you look, the more you find, and the more you find, the more you will be able to address — until the whole philosophy of the past gives way.
Mars in Libra and the 6th House
More sensitive than the discussion of relationships is the discussion of sexual desire. Not only is it sensitive, it’s not really considered legitimate. You cannot properly discuss it at dinner, in mixed company, with parents in the room, with children in the room, or with just about anyone. It’s at the point where one can barely have an honest conversation about sex with a therapist.
Many people feel that if they have an honest conversation about sex with their partner — I mean really honest, about what they have really done and really want — their relationship will explode. If that is true for you, you might want to consider the implications of that fact. As once was said by a sage, only the truth is erotic.
That said, let’s talk about Mars, which will be retrograde in Libra, your 6th solar house or 6th whole sign house, for 10 weeks. The 6th represents matters of healing, service and wellbeing. Mars is about sexual desire. Sexual desire is almost never classified with anything ‘spiritual’ and in fact, if you want to convince everyone in your church group, New Age center or yoga class that you’re an infidel, admit to having some. The rule, both spoken and unspoken, is that sexual desire is not spiritual.
However, astrology has a different view. Mars is the other planet associated with Capricorn, which sign is a map to your spiritual values, in transition though they may be. Indeed part of the transition seems to be about allowing some natural vital-force energy into your concept of spiritual. This may seem odd at first, but it’s the topic that is on the healing table at the moment.
It is true that partner-sex always exists in the context of some form of interpersonal relationship, even if it lasts for 15 minutes. Sexual desire is another thing. That knows no bounds of relationship and none are necessary, except one’s relationship to one’s feelings. One can try to stuff the subject matter into the realm of supposedly proper relationships, but that misses the point, and only adds to the seeming obscurity of the topic.
Part of this involves what to do with your desire, and part involves what to do with the desire of others that you perceive is projected onto you. This is sensitive subject matter, and people can quickly come into contradiction with themselves. For example, anyone who judges another person’s lawful and consensual sexual desire is going to come into conflict with their own desires and how they are judged by others. So as part of this, you are going to make room in the universe for what you feel and for what other people feel.
Libra has a natural ambivalence to it. Mars in Libra could well push that into a diversity of states of imbalance or shaky balance, and the retrograde will raise more questions than it answers, at least at first. At this stage, any questions are good questions. And any questions relate to the material underlying Capricorn on the 9th house, and what the Venus retrograde and the Pluto transit are telling you about the way your beliefs have been dictated by others.
Here is the thing to remember: Sexual desire is a fact of biology. It is not a matter of opinion, nor is it a matter subject to judgment or morality. The only reason we think it’s so is because of a bunch of child-molesting priests setting rules that have tortured people for more than 20 centuries. On that basis alone, all of the rules of sexual ‘morality’ need to be subjected to question. But I am talking about something more visceral, something inherent that the desire or lust you feel is natural, and that the guilt or judgment you may feel is a matter of programming you seem to be wanting to release with every cell in your body.
Note that this may be most of, or all of, the subject matter underlying Pluto moving through your 9th house.
What is interesting is that Mars and Pluto make two additional squares — they are in a 90-degree aspect, and it will be exact on April 23 and June 14. Another astrologer could predict a crisis — I predict a leverage point, where you break through the issue and figure out what is really going on. This seems all but inevitable, if you pay attention and keep your mind in observer mode.
There are elements of background that will come up as Mars makes both of its stations (retrograde on March 1 and direct on May 19), as well as treks across those degrees of Libra on its way to Scorpio. One incentive for doing the deeper work now, and as the Mars events occur, involves Mars reaching Scorpio, your relationship house. After all of the Mars retrograde festivities are over, and Mars has cleared Libra and ingressed Scorpio, it will make a conjunction to Saturn — which is a fancy way of saying that everything you are learning will come up for review in one glorious moment.
It is a point of decision in an intimate relationship yet it is on the scale of all of your values about intimacy. It looks like a final showdown between your natural biology and everything wrong that you were ever taught about yourself. This is profound healing, and the world would be a happier place if more people were willing to go through it. The planets are keeping you on a narrow path — but it will prove to be an extremely valuable one.
News from Pisces
Let’s wrap up this reading with some news from Pisces, your 11th solar house for Taurus Sun or 11th by whole sign houses for Taurus rising. The 11th is the house of friends, your group involvements, your relationship to what you consider the public, and most important, the money you earn from your profession.
Speaking as if I had to sum up all the career advice you need in one sentence, it would be: pay attention to group dynamics.
You have had many, many clues about this during the past decade of your life. You have seen how group dynamics can work for you or against you, and that you are often driving how that influence will work out.
Adding a little: understand your role within any group. Not ‘your place’ but rather your role, including the role you want to have. Notice how groups can emulate the family dynamics of the people involved, no matter how different their backgrounds.
Be conscious not to allow yourself to be pigeonholed; the antithesis to such would be maintaining clear one-on-one relationships with everyone involved. Part of how you deal with a group is to avoid its groupiness and deal with everyone as an individual. That’s not always possible but often is.
Adding a little more information: pay attention to group sexual dynamics, and be mindful not to feed them in any negative way (such as through gossip, which is a form of repressive judgment). Be extremely conscious of your sexual involvements at work and the impact they can have.
Now, as for Pisces. This is one of the most interesting signs in the sky right now, and where you have it is indeed on your angle of group involvement. Yet the 11th is also the most bountiful house. So it’s helpful to make good use of it.
You have Neptune there right now — that’s providing you a point of entry but it also comes with a caution against glamour and putting on airs. Be yourself. Chiron is repeating this message, though its main implication is that you have the right to be exactly who you are.
Chiron in this position is helping you open up a productive, rewarding and unique position in society — kind of like a niche, but this is much bigger. You have considerable freedom to determine the course of your work and the freedom to play the role you’re best suited for. Given that we’re talking about Chiron, that probably means several roles because Chiron is always multifaceted. No need to get hung up on ‘what you are’ or ‘what people think you are’.
What you are is what you do, for whomever is involved.
The development of 2014 is this: centaur Nessus arrives in Pisces. This comes with a message about accountability. Whatever this multifaceted role you’re playing is, you have actual accountability to people beyond those you personally know. This is a real thing. In whatever you are doing, it’s essential that you maintain fidelity to the public trust.
I know those words are all but meaningless these days, but they must hold meaning to you. You have more power to influence people than you may recognize. You are more trusted than you may admit, or know, or fully understand. Given that those particular understandings may be slightly out of reach, you may need to take me on my word for a little while that this is true, that people look up to you and that they seek your counsel and your wisdom.
This is an evolving story — much like Pluto in Capricorn has dominated the past five or so years of your life, the developments of the coming era will focus on the role you play in the wider world. Pluto is setting you free to express who you are in a much deeper way. The process of clearing out the past, opening up space, and discovering what works will go on for the rest of your life. I would remind you of this. You are not constrained by the situations or conditions that held you back in the past. What frustrated you in the past is now optional. Your potential as world server is also optional, at least for now; sooner or later you will get there — though you seem to be well on your way.
This concludes writing of The Mars Effect signs, which were written backwards from Aries. Submitted 11:06 am, Jan. 20, 2014, Kingston, NY.