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Taurus and Taurus rising: Your Map to a Wilder World

MARK TWAIN has that famous quote about not letting your schoolin’ get in the way of your learnin’. Carl Jung once said that most religion is the substitute for religious experience. Good astrologers remind us that the map is not the territory (but it helps to know how to read a map). You have to live your life rather than living through your chart (though it helps to understand your chart). You need to live in your truth, rather than living a plan or a concept. It can take a long time to make these distinctions.

Taurus

It can take us a long time to figure out that they even exist. There is a conversation I’ve had over and over with clients and students. It goes a little like this: I notice that religion is the thing getting in the way of original thought, progress or experience. It’s acting as a source of guilt, as a block or as something that binds them to something they don’t want. I mention this. The person typically says, “Well, we didn’t have religion in my house.” And I reply, without debating the specific facts involved, “You don’t need to go to church to have experienced the debilitating effects of religious belief. It’s oozing from every corner of our culture. That’s how religion works.”

For you, this would be an understatement, and it does not necessarily involve religion per se, but also formalized belief systems, from the MBA to the teachings of Emily Post. There remains in astrology the question of how Taurus acquired its faith in orthodoxy, and what its effect is on your ability to have some freedom. I am less inclined to think it has something to do with Taurus per se as I am to think it has to do with the placement of Capricorn in your solar chart.

Capricorn, the sign of organized beliefs and power structures (among other things), is placed in your 9th solar house. The 9th place is one of the houses where we seek liberation. On a good day, liberation comes in the form of having a new or evolving vision for our lives, a sense of potential, a wider world and another order of reality that is less constrained than the one in which we currently live. Capricorn can be a bit retro. Placed in the 9th, it feels like living in the modern world and being secretly obsessed with the ways of the past, as if they mattered now.

You might think of the 9th as one of the places where we go beyond the limits of our families and our society and reach for something entirely new: the education we really want rather than the one they inflicted on us; a country other than the one we were born in; justice in the form of true ideals or the higher courts; and what some spiritual traditions call the ‘higher self’, which really means going beyond the self-concept and discovering something that somehow feels more inherently real.

With Capricorn there, you may often feel like someone else is trying to tell you what is right and what is wrong, even though they’re not standing there. It could be your grandmother; it could be the librarian from 4th grade. It seems like there is an invisible limit on what you believe is possible, and what you don’t quite recognize is that you are running into someone else’s beliefs about what they think is possible. They feel like your beliefs. After all, they are in your mind. What’s more difficult to tell is that someone put them there, and not at random: in other words, there was an agenda. (Note; if you accuse someone of an agenda and you feel guilty for doing so, that is evidence that you are correct.)

Even if you are 30 or 60 or 90, there probably still is one. The agendas of other people are insidious, and we are inclined to think that they don’t exist. That is why they are so effective. They typically come at us from various ancestors, schoolteachers, government policy and religious “authorities.” They can and usually do arrive in the form of a hidden psychological legacy of one or both of your parents — a theme that I will devote considerable bandwidth to in this essay. Remember those three words, because they could save your life.

Pluto Rocks Your World – Or Opens it Up

Here is the really weird part. It’s not exactly obvious that the ideas about life that you carry, wherever they came from, have a way of dictating the world that you see.

The news is that Pluto has just arrived in your 9th solar house to stay, at least until 2024. Through 2008, Pluto teased the territory, dipping his toe into your sense of potential and possibility.

It would seem that a series of events challenged the known structure of your life and indeed of your beliefs; or something challenged your beliefs, and those are what opened up your perception. Something impossible started to feel inevitable: movement, travel, being more open-minded, more passionate, less reserved, more rebellious.

This has arrived with the feeling that something is inevitably and irrevocably changing. Have your beliefs changed, or has seeming reality changed around them? Both may be true, but I would suggest that what you are experiencing now is pushing you to adjust your beliefs to what you observe going on in your life. This is the opposite of the usual human process of believe first, and call the witnesses second. In other words, usually we say, “seeing is believing” but what we really mean is, “believing is seeing.”

There is a destructive aspect to Pluto, and I suggest that you make friends with it. There is always the element of death, and I suggest you embrace it. In modern interpretations, there is the element of bringing in soul-level energy rather than the more superficial thing that we usually describe as ‘ego’. Pluto beginning to work its way across your 9th house is about getting out of the box.

If you want to accelerate the process, I suggest that you look to religion first, with the sharp perception of a detective and with no compassion whatsoever. First and foremost, most religion teaches hypocrisy. Its doctrines say one thing, and its leaders do another thing, and the contradiction itself becomes the actual message that is taught. I suggest you look for these kinds of contradictions in your family history and your own thought patterns. Pluto is here to help you break down those barriers and put you in contact with what is really yours.

There are many rewards to this; as you may feel, you are in the process of liberating an astonishing amount of psychic energy that will open the way to freedom in the world.

Career News: The Aquarius Alignment

It’s been difficult for you to figure out what you want to be when you grow up. The main issue is that you are pulled in two directions. First, you need a humanitarian career. Indeed, your solar chart says you absolutely must be involved with work that serves the collective good. This is about the placement of Aquarius in your chart.

Taking you in the opposite direction is the fact that you’re a Taurus. You like things that cost more than you can earn in most humanitarian careers. So you are faced with an issue of invention. Fortunately, Aquarius is the sign of precisely this. I suggest that you think of the work you do as being an ongoing invention, having no particular destination but rather being about a gradual process of development, focus and self-understanding.

It may help to rewind about 10 years and see what we can learn.

When Neptune entered Aquarius in 1998, it’s likely that you felt a calling of some kind. That calling may have seemed like a dream you kept having but could not remember. You may have had an idea, or even a visual picture of yourself in a kind of ideal career. But Neptune is not an easy star to follow. Most people can barely see it, and it represents things that most of the population refuses to acknowledge. Neptune is not a material value. It’s a spiritual value that speaks to us from somewhere other than the physical dimension of reality. It speaks of something that has to be visioned into existence, and I would surmise that this is what you set about doing.

There are some Taureans who found themselves exceptionally lost along the way. Neptune can come with a strange feeling of being lost in the world, of isolation and with an aloof, impersonal quality. There are some of you who, probably after exceptional struggle, made a series of real changes and gradually worked your way into the culture, doing something that you know benefits both yourself and others.

This process reached a crisis point sometime around 2005 — it took a while, and I’m sure you wondered many times just why it took so long. Events at the time were not necessarily too encouraging, but at least something real was happening; something you could measure. You may have had a few certifiable failures. But as anyone who has succeeded will tell you, failure is essential to success, and often a series of failures are necessary before we actually find our way to any place that is discernibly productive.

What is happening now is that, for one thing, Jupiter has just entered your solar 10th house, Aquarius, for a one-year stint. This will always bring a sense of movement, action and expansion. Jupiter is famous for being full of promises and not getting a lot of action, but that’s usually because we don’t take action. You are familiar by this point with what it takes to make anything happen, and are acquainted with the miraculous nature of getting anything to go right. So I trust you will do your part and, with a visible star guiding your career for a change, you will row the boat in its direction.

I don’t suggest you make a lot of decisions too fast. Early in the year, there is incredible activity in your 10th house, but Mercury is also retrograde there, and there’s an eclipse. Count these as steps along the way to what you are working toward. Please try not to take setbacks seriously. Be realistic, and if you’re still on your feet and moving, count that as success in itself.

The Most Stunning Conjunction Since Forever

Even less frequently than things going right, amazing conjunctions happen. And Jupiter is making some brilliant moves that bring to reality some of what you’ve been working toward for a long time.

The first part of this is that Chiron and Neptune, which are moving very slowly right now, are beginning to form a conjunction in this 10th house of yours. The slower the planets are, the more powerful the conjunction, and they’re the first two to take their time.

The second part is that Jupiter then makes a conjunction to both Chiron and Neptune, which is exact for the first time shortly after your birthday. When I say this is big news for you, I mean this is really big news. This is what I would call a threshold transit, one of those events that you go through like a door rather than something that happens to you.

The effect of Jupiter is, for one thing, to help you retrace the steps you’ve taken toward where you are today. You need to know this history, for one thing, so you don’t repeat it. Jupiter is here to help you see what you’ve created, and to notice the respect that you’ve earned. Get over your shyness or false modesty if these things afflict you and claim the credit that is being handed to you.

Next, Jupiter is likely to take something that’s subtle and magnify its effects: small clarity can lead to great clarity. A small vision of success can become a large one. Pay attention to seemingly innocuous meetings — people you might run into in elevators, or someone who is willing to give you the phone number of someone you need to speak to.

But with this process, the gods are asking you to make a sacrifice. You will likely discover one major point of denial, and admit where you’ve been deceiving yourself. Then you will figure out just what it’s cost you, and how you’re going to get out of it. The central idea is that while it’s essential to dream, there is a difference between dreaming and idly wishing, though it’s not always so easy to discern.

The point of denial is likely to involve the theme of practicality. Neptune is anything but practical; Chiron is eminently so. The idea is figuring out what it actually takes to get you to be exactly where you want to be. Notably, the process of Chiron and Neptune making their conjunction unfolds over two years. Jupiter’s presence is there for just the first of those two years, giving you a substantial boost at the beginning, right when you need it the most. Don’t take the gifts of Jupiter, or whoever he represents, for granted.

Introspection and the Dance of the Goddess

Your ruling planet Venus makes one of its rare retrogrades early in the year, and this will shape your perception of yourself. If you are reading the work of other astrologers, you’re likely to read things about this transit that you don’t like. I would like to offer a few ideas from my own perspective, which I think will open doors rather than close them.

Venus is retrograde in Aries between March 6 and April 17. When I say it’s a rare retrograde, I mean that Venus is retrograde the least of all the planets, about 8% of the time. Other planets have retrogrades that can last for four or five months out of every year. Venus is retrograde for about six weeks every 18 months.

Before I get into the details of this particular retrograde and how it’s likely to affect your psychic posture and your relationships, here is an interesting bit of natural symbolism; some of you know this. We’ve all seen the pentacle or five-pointed star representing the goddess or various forms of paganism. Goddess religion has an association with Venus. The interesting bit is that when you trace the movement of Venus through the sky as she makes her retrogrades over a four-year period, what you get is the shape of a pentacle. And this is how she became associated with paganism: an organic shape associated with the goddess.

So when Venus goes retrograde, she’s turning one of the points of the pentacle. Think of this as drawing the shape of your life, in approximately four-year increments — that come close to repeating their nearly exact locations every eight years. So, putting this into context before we add a little meaning, there were Venus retrogrades in Aries in 1985, 1993 and 2001. Those were not the only Venus retrogrades — but they were the ones in this particular part of the sky, which for you is the (commence ominous music) 12th solar house.

The 12th house is where most people go to lose themselves. You actually can lose your mind, of a variety, during an intense 12th house experience. There is really no such thing as the human ego in this house. Because yours is the only sign with Aries placed here in your solar chart, this suggests a kind of lost quality much of the time. It is difficult for you to initiate activity. The sign of SELF, vitally important in any chart, is your house of SELFLESS. If you ever wonder why it’s so much work for you to seize hold of your will and do something with it in a timely fashion, we really don’t need to look much further than this fact.

So Venus making a retrograde in this sign is really interesting, if you ask me, because it gives you access to something that is otherwise difficult to access. Note that Venus does go through this sign about once a year, following along with the Sun, but it does not stay there very long, and it does not do that elegant retrograde dance there very often. While Venus retrograde lasts just five weeks, Venus actually hangs out for a while before and after, slowing down and speeding up, making this visit to Aries last a total of four months. Or rather, four months minus 12 days.

The four months of deep introspection and self-awareness are from Feb. 4 (the time of Imbolc, or Midwinter holiday) through June 6, shortly before summer solstice.

In the midst of this is something of a miracle moment, between April 12 and 24. Here is why. Venus starts its retrograde at 15+ degrees of Aries, and it retrogrades back to the very last degree of Pisces, where it stays for 12 days. This is really, really interesting, because that last degree of Pisces has a lot of mojo to it. It’s the degree that to me is associated with the conscious ability to shape one’s character. One clue why it takes you so long to do things is because you don’t do them, you become them, and that is not easy. This transit may not make the process of becoming easy, but it will make it tangible, and give you a sense that you have some feeling in what you’re doing.

The image is that you go all the way deep enough into your 12th house that you pop your head up in the future: as your future self. Then you track back through the deep, dark world of the 12th, practically forgetting what you learned in those 12 days of Venus in Pisces — until one day you remember; you have the feeling that you were already there. I suggest that you consecrate a notebook now and keep an excellent diary for those 12 days. Even if you think what you’re doing is entirely pedestrian, normal and ordinary, take notes. Remember what you did and in particular who you met those days. And if you have any aspirations to public life, from writing headlines for The New York Post to being a dancer on a stage, remember how you felt being in public.

From the Love Story Files

Since this is not an audition for Astrology.com, I can say this. The primary emotional and sexual relationship you will develop in 2009 is with yourself. And if you dive in and treat this like the creative adventure that it is, you not only will love the experience, it will bring you closer to yourself and to the people around you, the people you meet and your own creative process.

The most critical issue we face in our personal relationships is the lack of a confident relationship with ourselves. We do a lot of blaming and there is plenty to blame for; most of it comes back to insecurity and most of that insecurity relates to being unconscious about who we are, what we want and what we need. Your energetic relationship to religion does not help matters, because there is a layer of moralism imposed on nearly all of your thoughts. As that labyrinth gets chipped, worn, melted and blasted away by Pluto, something else will be freed. And with so much rather incredible action in your house of profession, you will want all the confidence you can get. As I see it, this will come from the only source from which it can possibly derive, which is a deepened relationship with yourself.

This does not mean that you’re going to necessarily shun others, or not have sex with them. What I mean is, you will relate from your relationship to yourself first, and then your relationships to others will be secondary. You do this already, but you tend to do it defensively, somewhat resentfully and with an aura of it not being quite right. As Kurt Cobain said, “I love myself better than you / I know it’s wrong, but what can I do?”

You are now being given the opportunity to have it be right. And once you figure out that it is right, you will see why, and why it’s so messed up that most of the world attempts to have relationships with others without having a solid, dependable and most of all guilt-free relationship with oneself.

Venus retrograde in Aries, the sign of the self (or in your case, the lost self), is the first place we can look for this symbolism, and really, the last place we need to look at all. There is a spiritual dimension to the 12th in that it addresses all the intangibles we live with: dreams, secret desires, fantasies and the need, so dominant in your psyche, to submit to something larger and more powerful than you.

That something, in this case, is existence itself. It’s who you really are, not who you think you are. It is you, in all your uniqueness, in all your smallness in the universe, and the depth of the relationship you can have with yourself when you embrace both of these at once.

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