New! Audio on how these readings work, and about the solar house system.
by Eric Francis, Daniel Grimsland and Daniel Sternstein
Vision Quest for Taurus by Eric Francis Coppolino | Printable PDF
At some point a few years ago, I encountered the idea that ‘space is intelligence’, and I’ve been working with it every day since. On one level it needs no explanation — you can meditate on the idea and see what information comes to you. You can look around at the different spaces in your life and consider the interaction between them and your mind, and notice what they do to you.
The other side of that is architecture — the art and science of creating spaces that have an effect on those who experience them. You are on both sides of this equation — the space designer and the one having the experience of the space.
There is also such a thing as mental space. You might experience this as ‘time to think’, though I would propose that this statement could also be interpreted as ‘space to think’, whether that’s a form of physical space (a quiet room) or mental space (freedom from psychological clutter) to allow your thoughts to enter your awareness, take form, and be available for observation, development and experimentation.
Our lives tend to be cluttered these days. This includes our physical spaces, which can become inundated by ever-more abundant, rapidly-going-obsolete stuff, and which require constant clearing. Rents are high these days and relatively few people can afford the correct space they need to live. Many others have no idea how to use physical space to their advantage. A few are good at it, and can turn a yurt into a palace, or their bathroom into a spa.
Our mental spaces tend to be overrun with a diversity of inputs (the modern onslaught of devices and apps, nearly all of which are connected to other people), which are constantly vying for our attention. It used to be that the phone ringing three times in a row was ‘ringing off the hook’, so busy a person could not handle it. Now this has increased by a few orders of magnitude. How many letters did you get 15 years ago, before email had taken over? How many emails do you get each day these days?
The times we live in leave us with very little space. And we need space. We need space to move around in, to organize our belongings, and to decorate the way we want. But we also need space to think. This includes open mental space as well as physical space, which I would propose for you right now are approximately the same thing.
About a year ago, I dreamed I took over the whole second floor of the building I live in. The spaces — two unused offices — were unoccupied and had been the whole time I lived one floor up. The dream was liberating, for its feeling of having so much space I didn’t know what to do with it. One of the most vivid feelings from the dream was the sensation of choosing one particular area as my painting studio. The sensation was far more than the freedom to do what I wanted; it was the freedom to be who I want to be. I woke up from that dream and remembered: space is intelligence. It was the feeling of choosing a space as a painting studio, with plenty of room to do my work, that I remember most vividly. I took the dream as a sign of space opening up within me. And, as it turned out, for the next six months I did more visual art than I ever have in my life (with the exception of photography).
I ended up renting the smaller of the two spaces that I saw in the dream, and setting up a music studio and writing office. I have many kinds of creative projects, and I’ve learned over time that they benefit from having space allocated to them; and from having that space designed properly. It’s a way of giving a home to my intentions. It’s a way of aligning my mind and spirit with the physical world.
The notion that space is intelligence may not be obvious to most people. We humans tend to perceive space as empty, rather than as a conducting medium or substance. Space is no more empty than the mind that perceives it. Space is longing for purpose, as is your mind.
The image of clearing space has shown up in your charts for a while. One long-term theme is about the space of your beliefs, as they were handed down to you from the past. One concept of Pluto in Capricorn is that you are going through a clearing process that is setting you free from antiquated, useless beliefs that nobody before you has questioned.
You are in a process of opening up space in your mind in the form of dismantling and questioning what has been misrepresented to you as some kind of indelible, all-wise tradition that’s really just the compacted matter of what others believe, and what you thought you had to believe. As a result, you will have room for your own intelligence.
There is an image in your 2016 chart that might be easily overlooked, as it involves neither Venus, the official Taurus planet, nor the slow-movers (such as Pluto) that I tend to emphasize. The aspect is Mercury conjunct Vesta in Taurus. Mercury describes mind, awareness, consciousness and expression.
Vesta is about space and its organizing principles. There are a number of ways to describe Vesta, but let’s say that’s the least charged and the easiest to grasp. Vesta represents the hearth, with a fire burning in it. Until recently, all homes were designed around the hearth. Today all well-designed homes are organized around the kitchen; that’s a carryover. There must be a central organizing principle or feature when it comes to designing space. A burning fire, which required a stone chimney and space to work with, was the perfect feature around which to design and build.
The combination of Mercury and Vesta suggests you make sure you have the space to think, which includes understanding your organizing principle. I suggest that, in the spirit of Vesta, fire would make a good one. Your charts are unusually fiery this year, which is to say you have an abundance of initiative, of energy, and of creative passion.
It’s vital that you be able to harness that energy and put it to work for you. Let’s look at how that fire plays out for you, and what you might do with it. I suggest, however, that you start with your physical space and consider it a mind-map of psychological space.
Your Relationship to Space
The Taureans I know all have an unusual relationship to both space and to place. Most of the ones I know live in the same home they did on the day I met them. I have seen that those with strong Taurus have an unusual aversion to moving, or to changing their space much or so often.
Many Taureans seem equally reticent or resistant to changing their mental orientation or idea framework. If they do, the change is typically gradual, and driven by necessity. The ones who find a measure of ability to readily change and transform can also find stability in that same process, becoming mighty forces of nature, creatively and otherwise. Perhaps that involves the substantial energy released, and effort saved, from letting go of all that resistance.
Within any seemingly stuck pattern or resistant Taurus personality is often profound inner pressure to change and grow. This is one of the defining features of Taurus from a spiritual perspective. A tidy, well-presented exterior can easily mask the hot magma at the core of who you are. You may feel a need to contain that heat and pressure.
Yet if resistance has become a way of life, that growth may be fraught with the fear of change on the level of fear of death. If you ever observe this in yourself, you might count the energetic cost of that resistance, and ask yourself if your time might be better spent. Making incremental changes on the psychic level is a way to avoid sudden, seemingly cataclysmic changes. That might include letting off pressure various ways, making choices when you know you want to rather than when you have to, and allowing yourself to be guided by curiosity rather than by commitment.
Considering your use of space might be the best way to address the psychological qualities I am describing. How do you use space? Do you like when it’s rearranged, or do you prefer to keep things as they are? Do you experiment to figure out what fits where, or do you tend to decide and stick with it?
What would you do if you suddenly had a lot of space to work with — like two or three times as much as you have now, or more? What would you put where? What would you expand? What would you do that you don’t have space to do now? How much space would you leave clear and empty, just for the sake of having that empty space to look at, or to leave in a state of potential? The temptation of space is to fill it up.
Similarly, the temptation of mental space is to fill it up with thoughts, ideas and mostly beliefs. Yet as your clearing process takes form, you would be well-served to leave as much as possible of any new space you create open, and clear from firm opinions.
That is to say, it’s a healthy time to not make up your mind with any urgency, particularly if you’re in the process of figuring out what does not work for you. Each discovery you make helps you open up additional inner space, whether you want to leave it clear to sit and stare at, or choose what to do with it.
I suggest you stay in a state of inquiry as much as you can. Any time you question a belief or presumption, you are creating additional space for new ideas and new information to enter — or you might say holding that space open in a state of potential, on the theory that space is intelligence. It is not the psychic content that is your source of knowledge, but a kind of cultivated emptiness.
You can play with this using physical spaces. Take any opportunity to spend time in empty places. Get a realtor to take you on a tour of unoccupied homes; for example, visit three homes in the space of a few weeks and notice what this does to your mental processes, as well as your emotional ones. Notice how you feel and what you feel inspired to create. Who would you be, living in each of these places?
Venus, Uranus, Eris Conjunct in your 12th House
This is the year of the Uranus-Eris conjunction, or rather it’s the first of two peak years. This has been brewing for quite a while — we could say the current started to flow just as Uranus ingressed Aries (it arrived to stay for seven years in March 2011). One thing we can say about Uranus and Eris is that they are both revolutionary characters. They both have a tendency to operate through subversive means.
They have been in your 12th house for a while (Eris has been in Aries since the 1920s, and Uranus as mentioned since 2011). The 12th is the house of things gone missing; secrets so deep you keep them from yourself. It is a kind of interior space that lacks dimension and as a result can dream itself into any size or shape — such as in dreams.
The codgers who came up with astrology assign the topic of prisons to the 12th, which may describe either their own lack of imagination, or how they noticed most people relate to their creative potential: as if it’s trapped. The 12th can indeed have that feeling.
You are born with the 12th solar house in the sign Aries. Said in plain talk, Aries is the sign before yours, so in the kind of astrology we’re doing here, it counts as your 12th. If you know your natal chart you will certainly have some interesting stuff happening in whatever is your 12th based on your ascendant, though solar astrology tells us a lot.
What this describes is your sense of self feeling like it’s inside something (such as yourself). From this we could propose a few correspondences: for example, you feel trapped within yourself, as if you have a real self within your personality. Or it might suggest that you are always getting to know yourself. It may mean your locus of identity is firmly fixed within, rather than projected outward into the world.
Some of this depends on how you think of space. If your real self fills up all your interior space, there might not be room for it; by which I mean you need to change and stretch into new shapes. Yet now you have a conjunction of Uranus and Eris in there — two of the least-predictable, most-description-defying factors in astrology. Both have the potential for violence, and I think this conjunction must be handled carefully wherever it occurs in someone’s chart. The more consciously it’s approached, the greater the potential to have it manifest in some positive expression of change.
For you that change is interior. It looks like a ‘revolution of self’. You might decide to stop denying something central to your reality. You might redefine yourself in some radically new way. You might have a spontaneous self-awakening that stuns you. There’s some potentially different manifestation for every person who experiences this, though these give the general feeling.
Uranus-Eris would be impressive enough on its own; what is indeed more impressive is that Venus is conjunct them. This makes you fully present for the festivities, which is where you belong. The implication is that something is not happening to you as any kind of passive party, but that you are consciously joining with something, initiating it, granting yourself permission or bearing witness. This will call for some phase of total self-focus, be it a weekend, a month or a season — as much as you can muster in this world, anyway. Plan on going through things you just cannot and don’t want to explain, at least for a while. Explaining to others is far beyond the point.
This process harmonizes so flawlessly with Mercury-Vesta you might never need to explain it to yourself. Vesta is holding space in your outer world, in the part of your psyche and physical environment, for you to show up with an alert and in-the-moment mental presence.
Mercury in turn has an esoteric connection to Aries; you might say it can resonate perfectly with Aries, and therefore serves you as a kind of reporter about your inner process. You will not have to go to Peru to take ayahuasca to know what is going on. The whole setup offers a kind of rare transparency with yourself.
Externally, one of the most convenient and accessible ways to express yourself, to outwardly express and activate the changes you’re experiencing and exploring within, is to work with space. Move things around, clear out the attic somehow, get access to some unusual vacant building in your area, visit unusually designed buildings, or whatever: space. Work with it. And then tell me whether it actually does work out that space is intelligence.
Opinions: Illusions of Density
Mars is the planet associated with your opposite sign Scorpio, and here, we can look for some information about your relationships. The Mars pattern this year reflects someone in your life going through something similar to what you’re experiencing, in a whole different way.
It’s a more overt crisis of values that this partner or other close individual is experiencing. It’s deep stuff but it might lack the kind of mystical/interior angle you’re working with. Yet there is a connection point, which is that this person needs to be given a lot of space to examine their own beliefs and ask themselves some actual questions. What you’re experiencing makes this potentially well-timed and convenient.
For that to work it would be helpful if you see this as a compatibility rather than a conflict zone. One way to view this is if a conflict zone does appear, especially one based on beliefs (including religious ones), that it is a reminder to work with your interior space and expand your intelligence and understanding by doing so. I am suggesting that one benefit of making more room within you is partly to contain the belief systems of others as they spend time in your life.
One theme of this Mars retrograde is: what begins as a spiritual question emerges as a sexual one. Sex and spirituality are often divided and reversed. There is a misunderstanding that except in certain special conditions (like a tantra workshop), they are mutually exclusive. The world not only has this backwards; it’s way too proud of its own disinformation. There is no benefit whatsoever to severing what we think of as sex from what we think of as a relationship to existence, or connection with higher power or source. When you put the logic this way, it can seem absurd that religion is not based around embracing how beautiful sex is rather than around making it bad.
Of course, many people have had horrid sexual experiences that have served mainly to cut them off from themselves. Negative and self-negating emotional experiences connected to sex have the same effect. Yet these kinds of traumas can be healed and resolved, in time, if they are looked at consciously and not stuffed underwater.
There are moments when this is more accessible than others, and you are in one now. This is partly due to your enhanced capacity for inner vision. This will likely reveal to you the extent to which your true identity is your sexual identity. Your process is also supported by a supercharged energetic environment where things, as in probabilities and potentials, are looser and moving faster than they normally do for you.
One of the ways this may manifest — which is also a kind of barometer for your total state of being — is that belief becomes less important, less a point of contention, as if it’s an illusion of density on another level of thought. In a sense, you can rise above belief if you want.
Here is one thing to keep in mind: Most of our society sustains itself on denial. You might think of this as the primary social and psychological lubricant. The 12th house — the scene of some of your most revolutionary and evolutionary growth — is also the house of denial. You do not need this crude psychological tactic of self-manipulation. Be bold and pledge to yourself that you continue on the path of awakening and expressing your reality.
About All Those Other People
There would seem to be a good few people in your life now, particularly compared to five or 10 years ago. Something has opened up. These ‘other people’ come in two categories: one is community ties, such as your friends, coworkers and their associates. The other is some kind of extended network through your intimate partnerships and their relationships.
There may be some blurring and overlap between these two groups, and that is likely to continue over the next year until, basically, everyone knows everyone, or knows of them. There are some people who try to keep the various special interest groups in their lives separate, such as the guy whose Ultimate Frisbee friends never, ever, meet his editing colleagues. What’s that about? Anyway, people are in your life for different reasons, and under different terms, but they are still in your life. They still count among “all your relations.”
What’s interesting is that this has put you into a leadership position — whether we’re talking about thought leadership, some form of organizing, or both. Yet to do this, you’re having to brave the various elements of our somewhat unstable and dishonest society. You are in the position of mediating integrity. You are involved in this as a function of group dynamics.
As such, you’re the one who really needs to understand the group and your relationship to it.
Here’s how this looks as an astrological picture: I’m talking about two houses — your Sagittarius 8th house, and your Pisces 11th house. Note that both are ruled by the same planet, Jupiter, which this is all pointing to.
The 8th house is that of shared resources, but in the most personal sense, such as in a marriage or inheritance scenario. It involves resources passed from one person to another, sometimes intergenerationally. It’s also the house of family secrets, and the secrets of sexuality — but the gossipy kind rather than the mystical kind. This has been, and continues to be, an exceptionally busy place, as many planets have passed by the past 20 years; some of them still remain. Saturn is making a long visit and Mars will be stationing retrograde there. In particular Mars and Saturn indicate that there is some form of new activity involving this aspect of your life. One of the ongoing messages from this house is that there are no secrets. Try as anyone may, everything is eventually known. We can be glad how few people care about what they find out.
The 11th house is the community chest — another form of shared resources. It represents the community itself; that is, your social community and the amorphous thing that surrounds it, more or less locally — though in the era of the internet many people have an 11th house that is also non-local. However, I consider that a bit iffy and intangible. Still, let’s count it in.
You have planets — important planets — in your 11th house, which are stirring up your relationship to your community. With a combination of Nessus, Neptune, Chiron and Borasisi there, I could write a fat book chapter. For the sake of efficiency, however, we could sum this up with the phrase ‘creative leadership,’ with you being among those in the leadership role. This is somewhat complex given the planets involved, but don’t let that stop you doing anything, or trying anything. With the presence of two centaurs, Chiron and Nessus, you are in the perfect situation to learn from doing; learn from experience. And as part of that, what you’re learning is to distinguish yourself and stand apart.
The 11th house also represents the resources you get from your professional activities, and the shared pool of wealth we can tap into by being part of a community. For example: you need a large empty space for a photo shoot, so you find someone who knows someone — and next thing you know, you’ve got the space for the afternoon or a few days.
Notice the ways these are often kept separate. Notice the reluctance among so many people not to allow their private resources to become public resources in any way. There seems to be a mania about this lately. I am not talking about donating to charity, I am talking about voluntarily making oneself a community resource. Still, it happens often enough that projects do emerge based on the generosity mainly of individuals.
Currently and for the foreseeable future, you get to be a facilitator of resources. They can be any kind of resources: recommending talent, referrals to the right people, connecting someone with funding to someone who needs funding, making sure a pile of books gets to a place where people want to read; whatever it may be. Most of this will not directly benefit you, apart from the satisfaction of having done the right thing.
You might notice — it would be inevitable — how little this is done, and how strange people might think it is. Never mind — people think most good and helpful ideas are strange, if only because they are stuck in the narrative of everyone taking advantage of everyone else.
One of the resources involved would be your talent. There seems to be some claiming back that you’re doing; at the same time you’re also making what you’ve reclaimed available.
But here is what. Saturn and Neptune in a square pattern as they are now can be confusing even on a good day. The way it’s configured in your chart requires real mindfulness, and most of it hovers around your commitments to others and this delicate, taboo thing involving resources. You need guiding principles; you need an ethos by which to live. And a purely self-serving one is not going to work. What you do must go beyond you and, in a real sense, that’s the lesson if there is one: how to live in a way that extends beyond yourself. You might consider this part of your process of learning about space — that the space of who you are extends out into your environment, is populated by others, influences others and then influences you as well. Saturn square Neptune describes a process of equating yourself with your total environment.
For this to work, it’s essential that you study the background; that you see what is typically invisible and beyond normal perception. You will learn more about yourself from doing that than you will from focusing on the immediate dialog. If you’re listening to a conversation (or writing a dialog, or photographing someone), the question is: what led these people to this place? What is this situation you’re witnessing the product of, in the widest sense? As you begin to study this elusive factor of the background or the ‘invisible environment’, you will learn more about yourself.
Sagittarius + Pisces = Jupiter in Virgo
Now for some fancier astrology: how we go from Sagittarius and Pisces — which I’ve just been discussing as factors of the background, and factors of resources, and of your various relationships, to Jupiter — which is more like the foreground, some tangible activity that you are embarking on and can explore and, most significantly, document.
Jupiter is the classical ruling planet of both Sagittarius and Pisces. As such, it works like a kind of antenna for what is going on in those signs. Another technical metaphor could be a condensing unit, which gathers all that’s going on in the remote signs and delivers it to wherever Jupiter is. This happens to be one of its favorite places, your 5th house. Here, you have Virgo, where Jupiter will be till late summer.
Typically, with Virgo on this creative and dynamic house, you have a tendency to be reserved, cautious and precise in your creative experiments. You have a desire to do it right and get it right. I suggest you throw that to the wind and do things for the sake of doing them.
You might start by working with the ‘space is intelligence’ principle. Choose a project, then establish time in your schedule and a workspace for it. This might be modest — a room, a tabletop, a second desk. But establish the space as a studio you don’t have to clear up each evening; the key is to have it there whenever you want it.
Jupiter in Virgo provides you an opportunity to stretch your creative capacity. You may still remain cautious, but you may become suspicious of that caution, as it primarily represents needless containment and restraint. Jupiter will provide you with the thing that is the most vital in art — the feeling of having something to say, to show or to otherwise express. Art is much, much easier and more self-activating when it’s driven by a need of some kind. That said, there is plenty of room for ‘art for the sake of art’.
However, there is another factor. Where there is Virgo, there is the drive for healing and for integration. Integration of experience is a key factor of healing. Jupiter is providing you the medium to integrate all the experiences I’ve described as being part of Sagittarius and Pisces, and where the two meet. There are situations where, for example, you cannot really make sense out of the private resources versus collective resources question, and you will need to work them out in a more introspective form of expression.
There is an additional factor in your 5th house (as well as your 11th, Pisces) — and that is eclipses. When you think of eclipses, think of acceleration and integration. There is a speeding up process, and there is added energy to emphasize the interweaving of events and experiences. The creative matter (and that of traumas) of most people is laying around in undigested chunks. Eclipses increase the breakdown and absorption factor of these undigested pieces of experience, and will help you get to a new place of awareness, creativity and indeed the kinds of community and relationship leadership I’ve been describing.
What you may figure out is that the relationship is in you; the space you are exploring is within you; the community you’re part of is in you — and as you discover that, you will have ever-increasing freedom in the worlds both within and without.