Somewhere In Between — For The Moment

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Reality Check for Aquarius and Aquarius Rising | 2012 Annual by Eric Francis

The astrology for Aquarius is, for the first part of the year, characterized by what planets have left your sign, rather than which are arriving. We could go back as far as January 1996 for the earliest roots of the story that is now, gradually, coming to an end — though at the moment you are at a real turning point. I am sure you feel this a number of different ways — the challenges of both ending and of beginning an entirely new chapter of your life.

I am. Painting by P.C. Turczyn

I am. Painting by P.C. Turczyn

I say this recognizing that we are supposedly beginning these new chapters all the time, but most people attempt or claim this without knowing about the kinds of transitions that astrology tells us exist. What I’m really talking about is a long sequence of what, in reality, are in themselves major transits that have come in a series of waves. To fill you in, I will need to go back in time further than the average horoscope column.

Come and Gone: The Gods of Change

Starting back in 1996 (though the story goes back further, this is a good entry point), ultra-slow-moving planets began arriving in your sign and shaping your life. These planets were the Gods of Change — most of them, in fact — Chiron, Uranus and Neptune. One result of this has been living in a state of constant agitation and instability — what looks like a 17-year identity odyssey, or if you prefer, identity crisis.

One planet after the next has come through your life, compelling wave after wave of change. Or, more to the point, what Patric Walker used to describe as ‘enforced changes’ — the kind that seem entirely external, environmental or the product of relationships. Or the kind that seem like they are being emitted by some mysterious transmission device, compelling you to live certain ways or make decisions you might not normally have made.

This has not exactly been comfortable. Yet in a strange way it has been the perfect storm. Aquarius has a strange, dual role in astrology. Yours is a fixed sign, meaning that it establishes anything it touches, or that touches it, into definite patterns, and these can be difficult to control, to create or to escape. Indeed, with many Aquarius-styled patterns we are lucky to even know we’re in them.

At the same time, Aquarius often deserves the description, “The only constant is change.” Yet that constancy of change, in itself, can again present the problem of needing variance, of large events that totally shift the story and the landscape — and that, precisely, is what’s been happening since the 1990s.

Uranus passed through between 1996 and 2004, which may seem like it’s in the distant past (particularly in our era of Dog Years) however Uranus left its mark on you: the restless, spontaneous quality of this planet imprinted you with the sensation that nothing was worth holding onto because it simply was not possible to cling. Your own influence in the world was something that had mixed results, though you had radical, interesting ideas and were coming into the beginnings of a vision. That vision came in flashes that were difficult to grasp, much less develop, for you who prefers to know your way, who prefers to live in a world of orderly progression and some coordinated logic. In sum this transit not only made it difficult to know where you stand — it challenged your trust that you could actually know where you stand.

In a way this was good preparation for the world that arose in the late 1990s and early 2000s — one that was characterized by an explosion of change (if not progress) where everything and anything that was previously believed to have been stable or dependable went through some huge series of upheavals. The Internet propagated on the planet like an instantaneous web of some strange, new energy covering and permeating society. In some way you knew you were part of this and you may have even participated directly, though that still did not add up to a sense of logic or order.

Perhaps the most challenging of the transits you’ve been through began in 1998, when Neptune arrived in your sign. Neptune is the planet of dreams and visions; it’s also the one associated with various forms of denial. These can range from the influences of substances to deception and, in Aquarius, overindulgence in the electronic realm. The main problem with Neptune is that it operates invisibly. Both the causes and, for a long time, the effects of its presence can lurk right below the radar, or be woven into layers of denial. Part of that denial may have been the persistent sensation that you don’t know who you are, and that you’re living in a fog where you cannot quite make accurate decisions.

In the midst of this, Chiron came through your sign. This is the perfect antidote to Neptune — representing the high focus of awareness that probably felt excellent when you were not being reminded of how much about yourself you wanted to improve. If Neptune denies identity, Chiron can grant a sense of identity so strong that you can feel like you will never fit in. By the time Chiron made its last ingress into Pisces in 2011, you finally had a sense of where you were at, where you stood with yourself and maybe — for the first time in many years — understood what you wanted to do, and moreover, who you actually are.

I bring all this up now, in 2012, because on Feb. 3, Neptune leaves your sign and enters Pisces to stay (that is, until it moves on to the next sign). The last of these transits is actually ending. True, all these planets have moved on and continue to be influential. But in passing through your sign they have stripped away layer after layer of who you thought you were, who you were told you were and who you believed you were — and through this process of reduction (and with the help of Chiron, focus and discernment) you came to some realizations strong enough to make real moves in your life.

At the moment, you are a creature in transition. You have not firmly arrived in a new destination, or established a new pattern, though you sense one gradually taking hold. This is why I would describe much of the year as a time in-between. You may have a sense that events are unfolding but like you’re somehow not fully engaged. You may grasp the idea of something without seeing a direct way into the matrix. You may be looking out at one world and feeling a little detached from it, as you are experiencing some profound inner changes.

Let’s take a look at the Uranus-Pluto square and how this aligns with your chart to give you an idea of that.

Pluto in Capricorn, Your 12th House

The prime mover in 2012 astrology is Pluto in Capricorn. For you this is the solar 12th house (12th house by whole-sign houses, if you are Aquarius rising). The 12th is the most mysterious of the lot, and for many people the most challenging. I will get back to that in a moment.

First let’s consider Pluto in Capricorn as the world, and most of the population, is experiencing it. This is the transit that is reshaping the world of government and business, though few in those realms have a clue what is going on; Pluto generally operates below the boards. This transit will bring astonishing reforms and changes to society by the time it is over; the last time Pluto was in Capricorn, the transit ended with the American Revolution — the one that got all the others going.

One clue to the power of this transit is that just as Pluto left Sagittarius (the sign of belief) and entered Capricorn (the sign of practical reality) in 2008, the world experienced a huge banking collapse (and massive ripoff). The structure, such as it was, crumbled. Now, credit default swaps (i.e., gambling on bankruptcy) and residential mortgage-backed securities (gambling on foreclosure) are a kind of structure; really they are more like a religion, which one day collapsed. Welcome to Pluto in Capricorn.

While most of the world is experiencing this transit as shaking the ground of physical existence and physical security, you are experiencing it on an inner level — the 12th house is by far the most introspective of the lot, being so deep that it is nonexistent for most people. It’s a good thing you’ve been through so many outer planet transits the past 15 years, or this would be a lot more challenging. Indeed, though Pluto through the 12th house is always a deep experience, you’re likely to be feeling good about having this kind of access to yourself.

The thing to remember is that while nearly everyone is looking at the global changes as events of the world — as movements, as the drive for progress — you are more likely to be experiencing the current moment as a profoundly introspective one. I cannot overstate the significance of this process. There is something deep that you are working out and that you have been trying to work out for a long time. If you keep your focus you will succeed. It directly involves your Pluto transit.

On 19 separate occasions — once a month starting in April 2012 and ending in Aug. 2013 — the Moon will enter Capricorn, your 12th house, and make an eclipse to Pluto. It will do this every time it is in Capricorn through the summer of ’13. Events take precedence in astrology based on how unusual they are. Though this is happening 19 times in sequence, I have never seen anything vaguely like it. The pattern itself is what’s genuinely rare. The last time anything like this happened was a series of occurrences when Pluto was in Cancer, the sign opposite your 12th house — that was between 1919 and 1934, notably in the discovery era of Pluto.

You might say the translation of this is that ‘all roads lead to mother’. While this would work well as something to take into therapy with you, it’s also working on the deepest layers of your psyche. The imagery is like you are trying to metabolize and burn off your mother’s karma, so that you can finally be free of it.

In a sense, what is happening is that the woman you used to relate to as a child, who became the woman you used to relate to in the past, is dying and transforming into someone else. This is not a literal death but rather the death of something within your own sphere of existence. Yet that is a kind of metaphor. There is a form that you’re trying to dissolve and assimilate, while there is something profoundly deeper that is trying to come through. Pluto is working its way through what was intricately complex territory. What it’s doing is clearing out the complexity and releasing energy, which may feel like you are being released from some ancient spell.

It’s also likely to inform you how much of your sexual energy is tied up in your mother’s image of you — or what you think that image is. You might not think of yourself as someone who would perpetuate a good girl/boy image, but this is encoded into your psychic structure. And you are tired of conforming to this thing you cannot see or feel or even access directly. Now that so many inner changes are underway, you are starting to understand both your original makeup and what you’re becoming.

Uranus in Aries: Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow

Note, it also works the other way — but you’re likely to free your mind first. The thing about mental liberation is that it so often turns out to be bullshit, a personal fad, because there were no actual underlying structural changes. But guess what? That’s just about ALL you’ve got right now — those coveted underlying structural changes. Superficiality is the one thing you don’t have to worry about. Even if you tried with all your might and a pack of well-trained sled dogs, you would not be able to stay on the surface.

So now that Uranus — the planet of foresight, revolt and invention — is transiting Aries, your solar 3rd house (3rd house by whole signs, if you’re Aquarius rising), you are in for a treat. Aquarius is often thought of as a sign of ideas. A lot of people with many different chart signatures are idea people, but if you have Aries in or around the 3rd house, you identify with your ideas. It’s as if they are part of you and you are part of them. Uranus going through this region of your chart, would, under any circumstances, be shaking up your ideas, about life and about yourself.

You could go from being illiterate to being a writer in three weeks. You could go from having no personal philosophy to wanting to create a manifesto in no time at all. This is a beautifully restless, searching transit — and Aries can handle the energy of Uranus. The 3rd house is a little trickier — you need some focus and discipline to contain the energy, and I suggest you do what you have to do to get there. When you look around you and see activist movements, or social justice movements, that seem to lack a cohesive ideology, you’re not imagining things when you think you can come up with one.

Yet the beauty of this transit is that it’s an external expression of what you’ve had going on for a long time — that whole deep, dark business of Pluto probing and clearing out the deepest layers of your unconscious. The freedom of thought you’re feeling is directly connected to releasing your inner mental and emotional bounds. Don’t worry if this seems like it’s taking a while. What counts the most is that what you’re doing is real. And — as this astrology takes hold in late June, and persists in a series of long peaks that go well into 2015 — you will feel it evermore powerfully.

The first of these peaks takes place in late June, and I assure you that mid-May through the end of June will be one of the most unusual times of your life. Two things happen that influence you directly. They occur within three weeks, so this will feel like one process — but let’s conclude on something special about the Uranus-Pluto square. The midpoint of that angle — that is, the place that bisects the 90-degree square — lands right in your sign. This makes the energy both deeply personal and blatantly obvious.

The focal point reaches and helps you address your deepest doubts about yourself. The intense activity of the past so many years has left you with your doubts, and it’s as if they hang out in one particular place in your psyche. You can trip over them; they can get in the way of your relationships. While the process of the Uranus-Pluto square may be reaching its first peak, however, it has been active for a long time in your life; and when it does reach that peak, it has a kind of side effect of helping you break through something that you may not have even realized you were carrying around with you. It’s not merely that you ‘become more confident’; it’s that you release something that was holding you back.

Nessus on the Uranus-Pluto Midpoint

I have one last thought on the Uranus-Pluto square and how its midpoint falls in your sign (where it will be for the entire duration of the Uranus-Pluto square, to the end of the decade). There is one last slow-mover in your sign — still in your sign — that I have not mentioned, which is a centaur planet called Nessus. Nessus was the third-discovered centaur (after Chiron, then Pholus) and it is often a difficult influence. It is difficult because it’s associated with psychological abuse dynamics, and because in Aquarius those dynamics can be projected into a group environment.

However, there is something a bit magical about this for you, in the sense of what you might think of as the ‘mental magic’ of intuition, insight and the ability to help. You understand these dynamics inherently. You can see what they do; you understand what troubles people, what troubles them more when they get together, and finally, you know there are solutions that are often ignored.

Therefore, you have a special social role in these years — as the teacher of mediation, of consensus or of a level playing field. You would be wise to study the work of C.T. Butler on formal consensus process because you are likely to need the knowledge (he has reduced it into an approximately 75-page book).

In a sense, you’re the person closest to the place where the group dynamic gets snagged on something it cannot necessarily see, and you can unsnag it. Or said another way, in the episode of The Lion and the Mouse, you play the role of the mouse, in group situations that require someone with precisely that gift. You can see the predicament. Don’t try to convince anyone; do your work from behind, from below or from the side. You will see what the situation needs — and you will know if you have that missing thing. Bookmark this thought for the last section — the one on Saturn in Leo. Let’s continue with our discussion of 2012 aspects and how they influence you.

Venus Transit of the Sun: A Burst of Curiosity

The second event that defines 2012 is the immediately local, one-time event (well, two-time, but the first was eight years ago) that makes this year what it is — and that is the Venus transit of the Sun in Gemini, your solar 5th house (5th house by whole signs, if you’re Aquarius rising; I won’t say that again). The 5th is one of the very best houses. It’s the house of pleasure, which for you always has an intellectual spin, or is connected to your intellect. Venus transit of the Sun is like an explosion of curiosity and child-self. The problem with most things driven by intellect, what makes them dry and uninteresting, is the absence of curiosity. So I suggest you encourage this in yourself, and let it out.

One of the first signs of curiosity is being curious about oneself. Evidence of that is the drive for adventure. A sign that your mind is really on is wanting to know the different sides of every issue, and then going beyond that to create not just your own opinion but your own worldview. If your creativity has in any way been latent, or sleeping, or working against itself, this is the time to let it out, in brighter ways than you thought were possible. The 5th house is the house of direct experience, in the form of experiments into the unknown. I’m not speaking of idle curiosity but rather an organic quest for existence.

There are many people who walk the Earth believing that they are ‘not creative’. Yet with this astrology, you will get over that fast — if you’re willing to experience yourself this way. As an editor and art director, I spend a lot of time working with people as they orient on their own creativity. It is interesting to watch. Most of that orienting involves getting out of one’s own way, as well as recognizing a fun idea when you have one, or see one. It is a form of improvisation, that calls for affirmation rather than cutting off your own flow of thought. You can add discipline in degrees, so that you can gradually harness the energy. As this moment of emergence arrives in mid- to late May, the most important thing you can do is to stand back and let it — whatever it is — happen. I know there is an element of trust involved.

One last thing. The real ideas we give birth to change us. As you begin to experience a wildly expanded creative inner presence on a new level — or experience it at all — let it happen, which is to say, suspend doubt and just see where you go with it. Creativity is a vital resource. Some would say it’s the only resource there is. And, as you go through the second half of the year, take it with you — you will need it.

Detangling the Barbs: Mars Retrograde in Virgo

Before I get into the transit that will take you into the future of your purpose, we need to cover one potentially challenging one, involving Mars in Virgo. Mars is making one of its relatively rare retrogrades, from Jan. 23 through April 13. That’s about 11 weeks. We’ve been seeing some of the effects for the past few months, or rather, we’ve had a few clues about what we will be needing to work out. The whole process stretches back to about November and extends to early July.

This happens in your solar 8th house, your house of shared resources. Something is up here, and it requires careful action on your part. The situation involves a partnership that is going through a transition of some kind, and it is delicate. You have the upper-hand in this matter, but you must be cautious not to have your own strength used against you. I suggest you lead with your intelligence, and your power of observation, and then bide your time. Doing this will give you the advantage you need.

Do not take an aggressive role — this will be used against you. But don’t go limp, either. Participate in the conversation, in the most reasoned way you can. Learn to see the signs of ‘passive’ aggression — and don’t resort to it, either. The source of the irritation — on an astrological level — is Mars retrograde. Work with the timing of this. Bide your time. Listen, learn, use logic, collect facts and go about your business. Unhitch the barbs one at a time. Then tell me how you’re doing on July 4.

Your Moment of Stepping into the World

You have a kind of graduation on the cards, from all these years of being shaped, shaping yourself and then all the preparation of this year. It marks the end of your Moment In Between — and that is Saturn ingressing your solar 10th house (10th house by whole-sign houses, if you’re Aquarius rising). If you’re into astrology, you will learn a lot by studying the cycle of Saturn — for example, tracking the 2 1/2-year phases as it changes signs (and solar houses) against your chart.

It’s about to make one of those moves — into one of the most significant angles of your chart. In a sense it is what you will be preparing for all year; it is why you are absorbing so much and why you may feel, at times, like there is a delay in your progress. I never advise anyone sitting on the sidelines for long, or even feeling like that’s what they are doing — however, when a big Saturn transit is imminent, that is sometimes the thing to do.

When you are called into play, it will be significant and it will count. Saturn is ingressing Scorpio, which is your house of reputation, responsibility and respect. Indeed, we could call this the House of the Three Rs, which add up to the kind of career that you want. The 10th is a crucial house of leadership; where you have natal planets, or transiting planets, in the 10th house, you will end up in the position of setting an example, whether you like it or not. This happens seemingly out of nowhere in October, and then shortly after the Sun enters this house, amplifying the effect.

In sum, you have studied everything so carefully, and learned so much, precisely because you are being set up for a leadership role. There is a feminine quality to this — Saturn will express itself in a feminine style while in Scorpio, and that means having the ability to set boundaries, to stay emotionally grounded and to apply a standard of emotional honesty. You might say that these are currently the missing elements in what we think of as leadership, or what pretends to be leadership.

As part of the package, you may figure out how revolting politics is (if you’re American, just in time for the deception orgy known as the Mercury Retrograde Election of 2012). I will leave you with the words of Gandhi: “If I seem to take part in politics, it is only because politics encircles us today like the coil of a snake from which one cannot get out, no matter how much one tries. I wish therefore to wrestle with the snake.”

Here is the thing: You are going to be in a position to set some, or most, of the rules — and to say what is fair. Bide your time. Keep your eyes open. Call upon your friends and use your allies.

Your 2012 annual interpretation also includes an extended audio reading. That is available at the top of this page.

Don’t forget to read and listen to your rising sign. Use this link to purchase additional signs of Revelation. Revolution. Reality Check.

Read the past three years of Aquarius annual interpretations for just $19.95. Includes Next World Stories, Cosmic Confidential and Light Bridge. These were designed to be multiple-year interpretations, preparing for and extending into 2012.