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Reality Check for Aries and Aries Rising | 2012 Annual Horoscope by Eric Francis
What are you doing with your life? What did you come here to do? You are almost ready to take the big step. The world is ready for you, and you are almost ready for the world. Existence — both yours and collective reality — has changed considerably in the past 12 months, and what we’ve seen before our eyes has just been the beginning. It’s not that we weren’t surrounded by change last year or 10 years ago. The world moves so fast that we barely notice the changes; you’re likely to be someone inherently restless enough that this doesn’t bother you as much.
You have a quick mind and a restless spirit — you have a good chance of keeping up. Yet recent developments in your chart have accelerated everything beyond any precedent — your perception of the world, your experience of time, your sense of presence within your life, and the world itself.
Certainly there are moments when you feel like your energy is exploding and you are on the verge of conquering whatever you have on your agenda, or whatever shows up that day. You live on the constant brink of spontaneous transformation. You’re known for your bold initiative more than for your consistency; you’ll have to work on that second quality — though I’ll come back to how you can do that in a bit. The transit that I am describing is Uranus in your birth sign, or crossing your ascendant if you’re Aries rising — an event that is shaking the world, and that has arrived as a personal messenger and mentor in your life.
The archetype of Uranus is Prometheus, whose name includes the idea of foresight. He was one of the Titans, and a champion of humanity. Clever, witty and brave, he is the one who stole fire from Zeus and gave it to people. And this is the energy that you have inhabiting your life.
Yet as forward-thinking as you are, lately there are moments when you feel like you’re meeting resistance at every turn. Some days feel needlessly complicated, as if you’re pushing against something you cannot see.
Mars — the Ruler of Aries — Retrograde in Virgo
I am referring to Mars currently slowing down to a retrograde in Virgo (Jan. 23 through April 13), which suggests that a process of reflection, refinement and tuning up stands between you and the long-anticipated progress you’re about to make. Virgo is your house of work, applied thought, conscious methods, service and wellbeing. Mars here has the energy of fast-thinking and pushing the flow of events; Mars retrograde can make you go back over each step three times, till you put patience first and get it right. If there is a lesson involved, that would be combining foresight and intelligence with careful thought and Virgo’s penchant for gradual progress. This will be a tense dynamic for the next couple of months, as Uranus comes up to full energy, but a planet more closely associated with your day-to-day life, Mars, slows down and backtracks for a while.
Mars retrograde is an appropriate moment of hesitation before you proceed with full commitment. You know how emphatic the calling to awaken and focus on your mission has been the past year or two. You know that you’re reinventing your personality, you’re defining bold goals and objectives, and you’re feeling a sense of spiritual depth that is likely to be entirely new to you. Yet even as you go through this, you’re noticing the places where you need to make corrections, update your information, and solve certain key problems so that they don’t magnify and snag you at a less opportune moment. That is to say, what you are going through now is a form of insurance. Invoking the spirit of the spiritual teacher Ammachi (who has a knack for miniaturizing karma), think of it this way: any problem you encounter now is a reduced form of what you could encounter later, and you may well prevent such a later encounter by making any necessary corrections now.
One method you are learning is to master a certain kind of logic. Your thoughts must make sense to you, and then they must make sense in the context of the many other people with whom you share space — and this applies primarily to those with whom you work (though it will soon extend into your whole social network). It’s not that everyone else has to fully accept or even understand everything about you, but rather that you have sufficient ability to explain yourself and be understood, because a mission like the one you’re on requires the cooperation of others, and there is a demand for precise thought, speech and action by everyone — beginning with you.
It’s essential that you really get with every cell in your body the relationship between cause and effect. Everything that happens in the world is the result of action taken, or not taken. Everything we experience is the result of choice, but this is not as simple as some would make it (i.e., “you chose that!”). Choices are often so subtle as to be invisible; they follow patterns that are based on deeper values and self-concepts. The choices we make can reveal our values and ideas about ourselves; but they are often revealed by their results. The more carefully you observe the results, the more you will learn about yourself.
Study this relationship every time your actions — whether planned or not — get a result of some kind. That is the elemental logic to understand: the truth that every effect has a cause, and everything you say, do or decide is a cause that will create a result, whether you like that result or not.
Therefore, take the opportunity now, during a period of relative calm (measured on the amplified 2012 scale) to make these observations, and any necessary corrections. Mars in Virgo is about attending to many details of the type that you tend to skip over, leave to others or say you’ll come back to. Much other astrology has been offering you a diversity of power tools, opportunities for deep, systematic change, and this has been stirring up energy. Testing any complex system reveals the flaws in that system, both tangible and conceptual. What you’re working out involves applying the results of a real-time experiment.
The kinds of power you’re handling, and will be trusted with increasingly, demand grounding in your own intelligence. I cannot overemphasize this point. We live in a world where drunk driving is commonplace, where people feel they are experts after having downloaded an iPhone app, and where buying a term paper on the Internet is considered okay as long as you get a good grade. This is precisely the kind of thinking, or rather, non-thinking, that you need to be vigilant against. It’s essential that you know, and trust, the limits of your knowledge, and then move quickly into thought/research mode when you realize that your knowledge is about to run out.
If historically you’ve made decisions in a lurch, you need not only to delay, but to learn where to put those delays for maximum benefit. Five minutes of clear thought can take the place of five months of false starts, wrangling and floundering. If the concept ‘reality check’ means anything, we could say that it means use what you know. But it also resonates with my First Law of Investigative Journalism: Know when you don’t know. The two go hand in hand. Often you know more than you think you do. Just as often, you think you know, but you are not quite sure. Discernment would mean being able to tell the difference.
Think of Mars retrograde in Virgo as a crucial time for learning methodology, or for developing the tools to come up with a method when you need it.
Uranus in Aries, Chiron in Pisces
Most spiritual paths and psychological theories talk about awakening, coming out of the trance or some form of self-realization. Some people think they know what this means; some do not; others are actually waking up. Your astrology says that might actually be you. Uranus in your birth sign is bringing a wave of awakening to the whole sphere of human experience — and it’s especially personal, because of how closely you feel everything that happens in Aries. You’re accustomed to being impulsive, passionate and driven toward your goals, but the arrival of Uranus in your birth sign (finalized on March 11, 2011) is like nothing you’ve ever experienced. This is like trading in your pogo stick for a jetpack.
You have in truth embarked on a journey where unpredictability is your best friend and most valuable resource. Uranus brings surprises and inventions, though there is nothing grounded about it whatsoever. The first point of grounding is recognizing the psychic environment in which you’re now living. One of the reasons that creativity is not truly valued in our society is that it so rarely brings results. It can be all gong and no dinner. Your creativity is going to come in bursts, and you need methods of sorting out your ideas and determining whether, and how, they can be applied. (Just to be clear, this is why the brief interval of Mars retrograde in Virgo is so crucial to you. You’re learning how, exactly, to make that determination, and it’s key that you remember what you learned during those few months.)
Awakening consciousness has its risks. For one thing, as your nervous system jolts to life, and as you make discoveries about your identity and presence in the world, you will have to deal with being different. I don’t mean different in that you’re the only person you know who wears purple. I mean different like the one-eyed man in the land of the blind, who is usually considered crazy. I mean different in that you have the ability to glimpse the future. I mean different as in being the one so excited about life that you have no context for it, nor do the people around you. You may be feeling your true potential for the first time. Different, as in you may be the one person you know who now grasps the concept of being an independent person.
In this frame of mind, be aware that you may have experiences of shadow emerging, that is, dark spots within yourself that you don’t understand. Bright light does indeed cast shadows, but their darkness is only a matter of contrast. The shadows are the same; the light is what changes. By shadow I’m referring primarily to fear. One reason that it’s relatively rare for people to endeavor something especially brave or daring is that they are paralyzed by their fear (which, said in longhand, is ‘the fear of negative consequences of action’, a backhanded way of acknowledging karma). But once you let yourself get past that paralysis, and make contact with the creative side of the equation, a new kind of fear can take over — one directly associated with invoking the actual creative and self-creative power of your psyche. The fear at times might feel like blowback, coming in the form of either negative expectation or guilt for challenging the status quo. Remember that you know this, if it happens.
For this reason, I suggest you practice some kind of inward seeking if you get to such a spot. Go deeper than the ‘personality’ level or the realm of worldly consequences. Get to a point where your perspective on the situation changes — that is, where you reach a level (for example) of making peace with any outcome, discovering something you have in common with your adversary, or where you become aware of a larger purpose that surrounds the events of your life. True, you live with the plug into that larger purpose right in your room. From time to time it gets your attention — but lately it’s doing so every day.
Your ability to go deeper than feeling a calling, and actually connect to that calling (perhaps newfound, perhaps newly rediscovered), is related to Chiron in Pisces. The sign lurking invisibly just behind your own, Pisces of its own grants a wide perspective, and one that does not need to be contained in anyone’s individual ego. The relief that Pisces grants is freeing us from just that — we enter the collective waters. And now you have your own personal submarine, in the form of Chiron. You have some definition where before there was only a formless quality. You have some ability to perceive clearly where before you may have only meditated on a beautiful mystical haze.
Chiron adds a measure of pragmatism to the spiritual realm, and that is how I suggest you think of it. Methods that may have offered only limited success, or may not have worked for you in the past — mediation practice, therapy, developing your artistic talents, or just simply slowing down and being more reflective for a little while every day — have new promise right now. This is because you’re capable of going much deeper than before, and because your quickly developing power and sense of presence in the world demand that you do.
These two transits — Uranus in your sign, and Chiron in Pisces — are the perfect compliment, of reform and revolt on the personality level, and deep connection on the soul level. (I covered this topic in an article called How to Cross an Ocean; How to Light a Fire, which you can take as a personal astrology reading if you like.)
Your Relationships: The Serious Business of Love
One transit you’ve been under the influence of for the past two years is Saturn in Libra, your solar 7th house (7th house by whole signs if you’re Aries rising).
Saturn moving through your 7th house suggests that this has been a time of getting real about your relationships. This has taken several different forms, including an enhanced sense of responsibility; the need to clear out the relationships that no longer work for you; an enhanced sense of commitment; figuring out what you don’t want, and what you want; and a deepening of relationships where there is any overlay of the ‘personal’ and ‘professional’ aspects of life. That last one may be the over-arching message of the whole transit — that your relationships are blending in purpose.
Our most personal relationships have a business aspect, and our seemingly professional relationships have a distinctive intimacy when they are authentic. What both have in common is the need for trust and fairness as the underlying basis of love. That is another way of saying mutual respect. That involves honoring the boundaries of the relationships, and I would say that in all cases it’s about putting business before pleasure; necessity before the many other options, some of them frivolous, that we have in life.
Most of all it’s about treating as real what you want to be real — and noticing when you are not doing so. Saturn through the 7th can bring many changes in partnerships, though you can be sure that there is a useful reason for this. That’s because Saturn is the ruler of your 10th house, Capricorn — and that house is under some rather incredible astrology right now.
Pluto in Capricorn: On a Mission
In 2008, Pluto ingressed Capricorn, crossing over the 10th house cusp of your solar chart (10th house by whole signs, if you are Aries rising). In truth, this is your ‘this is when it all began’ moment of the modern era of your life. It’s both when you began to feel a calling different from anything you’ve ever felt (though 2002-2004 may have given you a clue that is worth checking back over), and when the world started to change in some strange ways (that, in fact, many people predicted). What is distinctive about the phase that began in 2008 was the urgency that you define your mission, that you follow your calling, and that you take full responsibility for your power and your reputation. Indeed, you may have had your first real wake-up call that you live by your reputation.
What was also distinctive, though you may not have noticed it, was that the economic crisis and restructuring of the business world may not have seemed particularly helpful to your goals. In fact, you may have first encountered a sense of failure or loss, which it’s now clear was the beginning of an extended opportunity for growth. That’s where you are today. One form this growth will take is the need to do soulful work. Your worldly mission and your soul’s mission are now one thing. I cannot emphasize this point enough. I have written elsewhere that I would be curious to know how many people who are unemployed did not like their last job, or felt that it did not serve the world or themselves. You can no longer have ‘just a job.’ You must have a job that reflects your true role. This is daring and vulnerable, but you can accept nothing less than the truth — not now.
The personal emergence you’re going through — this phase of rapid, radical self-discovery — indeed has a place in the world, particularly if you’re able to harness your ideas and apply them through focused effort and direct methods. (Again, this is a resonance of Mars in Virgo — which will help you learn the focused effort and direct methods that are necessary to do this.) While you proceed, it’s essential that you maintain a good relationship to people in power; not a submissive one, but a respectful one. Respect the institutions that have influence over your life, not as their slave but as a conscious participant, knowing your options. You must think politically. Build goodwill. When you are ‘networking’, specifically focus on developing relationships with those to whom you feel called on a deeper, invisible level. Note that this may develop with people who have views that seem different from your own, or roles in life that seem radically different from yours. These relationships are among the most important in the healing of the world, because through them you’re going beyond apparent differences and bullshit partisanship and forming organic bonds based on the human condition and authentic depth of understanding. Through this process, you are learning to be absolutely yourself.
Think of your life as being organized on a grid (it isn’t but this is just a quick and rough illustration on a napkin). The X axis (horizontal) on the left is about independence and personal emergence (that is Uranus in Aries — Prometheus the awakener — which lasts seven more years). Toward the right, it’s about commitment to your relationships and your situations (that is Saturn in Libra, which lasts until autumn).
The Y axis (vertical) ranges from maturity and grounding (represented by Kronos in Cancer, lasting at least 15 more years) up to your sense of mission, reputation and influence (Pluto in Capricorn, lasting at least 10 more years). There are four values in this illustration — independence, commitment, maturity and mission.
In order to have any of these qualities, it will be necessary to have all four of them, pretty much at the same time. It’s this intersection of four ideas that tells the story of your life right now. But there is a fifth angle that exists temporarily, that is a place where you can go whenever you’re in doubt. That is Mars in Virgo, which is a factor you will have access to for the first half of the year. Yet what you learn during this short transit will serve as a reference point.
When in doubt, ask yourself: Am I acting with integrity? Am I setting my intentions before I act? Am I fully using my intelligence? Do I have data and observations to back up my theories? Am I applying my willpower consciously? And perhaps one other: How are my actions commenting on how I feel about myself? Said another way, what does that decision say about me? The best measure of the value you put upon yourself is to assess the decisions you have made.
I have used the word ‘revolution’ several times in this interpretation, and you will be hearing more of it in the future. There are two kinds of revolution — the ones that strive to overthrow something, and those that strive to clear what is no longer working out of the way, and replace it with something better. Clearly, both options are open to you, and one way you can look at any decision is as a choice between these two options. Ultimately this comes down to the decision whether to be creative or destructive — which in turn comes down to the choice between self-creative and self-destructive — which is really the only choice you can make, and over which you will, sooner or later, master the difference.
Great things are possible for you. You have the opportunity not only to achieve what you have for so long wanted to dare; you can become the person that for so long you wanted to become. This calls for extra consciousness, and the perfect mix of creativity and love, discretion and valor.
There is one more theme that will perhaps touch a chord for you: your role in fostering cooperation. Notice how much energy is invested in the world where there is no underlying sense of cooperation, only competition. One gift that all of this personal evolutionary work will give you is to make you the master of orchestration. That may indeed be your primary role in life, whatever the topic. You will do this by exploring being an independent person, integrated into situations calling for cooperation — and as this starts to make sense to you, and you see how easily certain differences can be overcome, you become a teacher of precisely this way of life. For humanity as a whole, this is the evolutionary step we are taking — and fortunately for us, you are taking it first.
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 Aries 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.