Above, Tentative Structure by Rami Schandall.

THE MOST SPECTACULAR spectacular astrology of 2004 involves the planet that rules Libra, which is Venus. As explained elsewhere on this site, Venus makes an exact conjunction to the Sun on the 8th of June, called a transit (by astronomers) or an occultation (by astrologers).

Venus is probably the most underrated planet of the lot. She can, more than any other planet, take on the properties of any world: as a goddess of seduction, a god of war and protection, or an archetype of intelligence to rival Mercury and Uranus combined. She has much in common with both of those worlds; she's one of two planets closer to the Sun than Earth, Mercury being the other, and like revolutionarty Uranus, her orbit is steeply inclined to the ecliptic and she rotates backwards.

There is no big surprise that Libra delivers the likes of John Lennon, Oscar Wilde, Patric Walker, Eleanor Roosevelt, Bob Geldof, Maggie Thatcher, Mahatma Gandhi, Helen Hayes, Susan Sarandon, Truman Capote and Groucho fucking Marx. For this nondescript, allegedly wishy-washy sign, the cosmos serves up some of its most saucy ambassadors, its most clear thinkers and astute rebels. People obsessed with beauty, fairness or just (in the case of Aunt Maggie) getting the job done.

The Venus retrograde and occultation occur in your 9th house, that is, in Gemini, the 9th sign from your natal Sun. The 9th is one of the two most blessed houses (the other being the 11th). That you have Gemini there means you can stand nothing other than a clear, practical spirituality that anyone can understand. And when Venus stops in that sign twice, spending several months there lighting up this most spiritual aspect of who you are... the angle of your chart wherein your direct relationship to creator, creation and your higher self are described, you're going to remember you're here to shine.

It is more than memory. This is a direct transmission, a point of contact with yourself like none other in your life.

You must, however, listen. The 9th is one location in the chart where the 'original instructions' are translated most directly. It is the place where we orient on our purpose. It is the place where we seek the highest possible freedom of existence, of belief and of communicating our highest ideals and beliefs. It is the space where we relate to ourselves the most clearly.

This, combined with Saturn in Cancer, suggests that no achievement is ourside your reach, particularly if you are honest, sincere and follow your guidance.

THERE IS A GROWING New Age movement to 'reunite sexuality and spirituality'. I keep my philosophical distance. I think there's a mistake in its thinking. One does not need to reunite anything that is naturally joined. We merely need to embrace the truth about ourselves, which is -- at least in one respect -- that erotic awareness is the core of awareness, and erotic experience is a core experience of living. As the source of all creation, it can be a direct path to Goddess and God or universal consciousness. This not a matter of a belief system, of an 'ism' or an 'ality', unless you're talking about reality: and you are.

You are heading for a series of experiences that demonstrate for you, in clear, undeniable terms, that there is no such division between 'erotic' and 'spiritual' within you. These are experiences of life, of exploration, of pleasure and to some extent of confrontation.

Their theme may be distinctly international in nature.

A second theme may involve past lovers, or ideologies you have adopted from them.

As one who has chosen the path of love, reason, consideration and creative expression, you are bucking the winds and tides of civilization and its rather expensive marketing program.

And this program -- I speak of all of advertising, most of cinema, most 'romance' literature, the vast majority of popular music, plus what we have hammered into us by parents, teachers, religious leaders and zealously misinformed peers — divides the mind. We all hobble along at odds with ourselves, as if in a three-legged race, until we let what is whole be whole.

This year is very much about a quest back to yourself that will take you far beyond anything that you've known, believed, or expected of life previously. Open up to an adventure of the first order, but remember, it's not a vacation. It is a journey, and there will be some very pleasurable moments. Along the way, you are also certain to encounter the split, that area where the mind is apparently divided and conquered, and which you have set out to heal and heal deeply. Raising awareness of this division, and reconciling the many contradictions it has created, may not be easy, but it will be worth the effort.

Security has very much been a theme of recent years of your life, and now you get to act on it consciously. Security is in part about the right home, the right place to be, and the right family, often, a family of choice not of origin. True security is a field of life that has a great deal to do with how we were treated when we were much younger, and lately you've done much work around that issue. It is, of course, vital that you see the current manifestations of old struggles so that you know where to direct your energy and attention. It may be challenging at first to note, for example, how the effects of overbearing parents express themselves in the life of an adult, including as over sensitivity to the needs of authority figures. Most people resist seeing the connections; you must use your imagination to see them, and when you do, you'll be very happy about it.

It would be fair to define this as a time when you take authority over your life. Saturn moving through your 10th house always represents a time of insurrection and achievement. Insurrection against what has held you down in the past, and achievement as a kind of birthright that is received only when you take your own life seriously enough to stand up in an aggressive world and to do so without aggression, but rather, with the power of clarity and choice. In sum, you are now the boss of your life.

Uranus in Pisces, your 6th solar house, emphasizes the point, stated first by Saturn, that you can't live under the thumb of external authority. You are too soft, and your mind flows too freely in its natural state. You need freedom not for the sake of itself, but rather for the sake of your being able to explore your awesome new wave of creative power, as well as to be responsive in the ways to which you are becoming extraordinarily sensitive. You simply need to be able to respond to how you feel, and to do it honestly, and without delay.

Honor these needs and you will do very well for yourself. Never doubt that you command the respect you need to live the right way for you.

But I can assure you of one thing: those of true authority in this world are masters of their sexuality. Those who are truly aware are aware of their sexuality. Beware of anyone who is not. Those who embrace sexual reality are neither slaves nor ignorant bystanders. At the end of the game, there will only be a small few people around you who succeed on this quest; the lure of passivity is quite strong. Be content to be aware, and be grateful for everyone with whom you get to share that awareness.

Watch out, though: it's a potent cosmic force, and if it moves the world, and it can move you.

-- The preceding was a Message from Eros.

Libra Moon

You have never been more sensitive to your environment. I suggest that any time you feel below par, frustrated or needy, shift your environment. This may seem to contradict the wisdom that 'change comes from within' but any changes you make along these lines are in fact coming from within because you are responding to what you sense. There is a leap involved, which is that because there are far more opportunities for pain than pleasure in the world, you've come to take a measure of pain for granted. But if you take it for granted, it can't be your teacher, and right now it's truly compassionate teacher.