A Fire in Aries; Be Cool, Don’t Just Act Cool

Dear Friend and Reader:

With the recent equinox, the sky continues tipping from water sign Pisces into fire sign Aries. The spring season began in the Northern Hemisphere Wednesday, with the Sun joining Mars and Uranus in Aries. This is the beginning of the astrological year — the metaphorical clock resets to midnight.

Nautilus stairway at the old 59 Rivoli artists’ squat, in downtown Paris. Photo by Eric Francis.

This is being followed close on its heels by an unusual Full Moon on Wednesday, March 27 at 5:27 am EDT. The Full Moon is a Moon-Sun opposition stretched across Aries and Libra. The Moon is on its own in Libra, though it’s meeting the Sun, which is conjunct Venus, Mars and Uranus.

This setup is a reminder not to let yourself get knocked off balance by your environment, or by people you perceive as overpowering you in some way. Your environment (which means people and circumstances) is offering you options, and to a real extent it’s showing you a reflection of yourself (illustrated by the Full Moon reflecting all those planets).

It’s worth recapping that Mercury stationed direct last Sunday afternoon (March 17), ending a three-week retrograde phase. That retrograde is still working itself out, and it will be for about two more weeks as Mercury re-traces the degrees where it was just retrograde (this is sometimes called the second shadow phase, or second echo phase).

Some people are more sensitive to these Mercury retrogrades than others, whether psychologically, emotionally or through experiencing those odd events like computer crashes, lost keys and missing envelopes. There were a lot of planets in Pisces during this retrograde; that gives some people the feeling of emotional resonance and others the feeling that they’re drowning. Mercury will remain in Pisces until April 13, when it joins the rapidly developing Aries grouping.

Speaking of: Venus was the most recent planet to move from Pisces to Aries. Venus is happy in Pisces (the two have a natural affinity) and it needs more love than it’s often willing to offer in Aries (the sign of Mars, so there can be some tension). It’s a prickly spot for Venus, but with the promise of a conjunction with Mars in early April, there may be some fiery action in the sex department at that time. Do your best to find the balance between going after what (or rather who) you want, receiving what is offered by a partner (or someone who is not one yet, but whom you’re interested in), and remembering to be extra-conscious of the other person’s experience (known as empathy) — and what you can offer them in return.

We are entering a phase with a lot of Aries happening, and empathy really is the name of the game.

Now, as for why the planets in Aries are big news. As you may know, there is currently a generational aspect happening — Uranus in Aries square Pluto in Capricorn. These are two slow-moving points that are meeting in a major aspect for the first time since 1965-66. What we think of as the Sixties was mainly the combination of three major factors: a conjunction of Uranus and Pluto; Chiron in Pisces; and Neptune in Scorpio.

Brooklyn’s beloved Cyclone roller coaster, the oldest, meanest, fastest (and safest) wood and steel contraption in the business. It occupies one city block in Coney Island. Photo by Eric Francis.

We now have the first Uranus-Pluto (major) aspect happening since the Sixties. Chiron is back in Pisces. And Neptune is in a water sign. Let’s stick to Uranus and Pluto. They are early in cardinal signs — Aries and Capricorn. Their square aspect is a five-year (or more) project, of which we’re now in the middle. These longterm aspects heat up when other planets get involved, and now a lot of other planets are about to jump into the mix.

Friday, Mars makes a conjunction to Uranus. Soon after on March 26, it’ll make a square to Pluto. That’s going to add a lot of energy to what is already a high-potency alignment, which is lurking just below the surface, waiting for something to come along and do just that. This tells a story in natal charts. In my old series Born in the Sixties, I describe how aspect patterns of certain birth charts emphasize the astrology of that era, and certain ones play it down. Anyone born under the current astrology is going to have Uranus-Pluto emphasized for their whole lives because there are so many planets involved, just as certain people born in the 1960s do.

At the same time, the Sun will move through Aries, form a conjunction to Uranus on March 28 and a square to Pluto on March 31. Venus will do the same thing (on the same days as the Sun — the Sun and Venus are moving in tandem right now), and then Mercury will do the same next month (April 20 and 21). So, over and over again, inner planets — the ones we feel and see — will be making conjunctions to Uranus and squares to Pluto.

This is a series of events that can change the world, and can also wake us up to how much the world has changed before our eyes in just a few years. The thing is, we may see what seems like a ew years’ worth of changes in a matter of weeks. It’s impossible to predict what this will bring, though there is likely to be some ‘personal is political’ effect in the world. When astrology like this heats up, many people get the urge to participate.

Fire spinning in Krakow, Poland. Photo by Eric Francis.

For some, it’s like you spent four years studying in the library, then the spring of your senior year, protests break out on campus and you want to participate — and you may feel like it’s too late. If you experience something like this, remember that social movements are not a thing, they are about people. So go outside, and meet the people who are involved. Do your part to make what you’re witnessing into something that is personal and immediate. In many ways this is the story of our our whole era in history. We have the opportunity to take chances on what is happening now — or to let the era slip by.

And while the Uranus-Pluto square, the defining aspect of our time in history, seems to last for a while, it will go by faster than you think. Now is your moment to dare; now is your moment to make a difference, in your own life and that of the larger culture.

As for the personal being personal: do your best to stay cool and keep your head through this astrology. This is the time to be cool, not just act cool or ‘play it cool’. Cool means reflective, aware and clear. It means being aware of time and timing, and knowing when you’re ready to make your move. There will be moments when passion is called for — you will know them when you’re in them. Even then, make sure you’re aware of your emotional temperature at all times.

Mars and Uranus, which are conjunct today, describe a clash between personal and community interests — therefore, orient yourself on cooperation and don’t try too hard to stand out. Be real, be yourself, and notice (and feel) what’s going on around you. Do your best to be part of what you say you belong to. Offer yourself a little more generously than you think you need to, or are being asked to.

Everyone will feel better.


Planet Waves Monthly Horoscope for April 2013 by Eric Francis
(standing in for weekly horoscope #943)

Early Aries Birthdays (and Early Aries Rising)

You have more change in your chart than a bootblack has coins in his pocket, but what will it take to make lasting progress? Remember that change comes from you, not from anyone else and not as a magical factor of any relationship. The planets hold incredible promise at the same time they make it difficult to know what you want. Current aspects suggest it would be good for you to pause and decide what is right for you, before you make any spontaneous decisions. True, that’s not very Aries, whose motto is often leap before you look, think or know you’re leaping. Sometimes that works for you — but you have so much energy and leverage right now, it would be wise to use your considerable human intelligence. Set an agenda for yourself, which you take one step at a time. No matter what, the planets are promising you an exciting year ahead, with many surprises. You don’t need to invent excitement — it’s coming your way.

Aries (March 20-April 19) — I suggest that you not get ahead of yourself. You may feel that there’s nothing you cannot accomplish, but certain recent events may also demonstrate that there’s no guarantee that impulsive decisions actually work out to your benefit. When life is moving unusually fast, and when there are so many unpredictable factors that it seems impossible to use logic and scheduling to solve your problems, you may be tempted to throw all organization to the wind. This is the time to pause and ask yourself what it really is that you’re doing, and why. Have you thought this through? Well, it’s not too late, though you may have to slow down and take the pulse on a relationship or partnership that seems to have taken on a life of its own. The astrology is suggesting that the most challenging thing is listening. That includes you listening to others, and them listening to you. Yes, it seems elementary that such a basic level of exchange could be missing in a situation so significant in your life, though I suggest you check this carefully and make sure that you and those close to you are truly willing to hear one another out. Doing so will not threaten anyone’s existence, importance or role. What a sincere (and extra-length) exchange of feelings or ideas will do is to re-incorporate the human element into this endeavor, before you encounter challenges that depend entirely on that one very thing. In a word, that would be trust.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — You may want to put on a logical face and take a reasonable approach, though it seems to be passion that’s driving you and direct physical experience that you’re seeking. It’s as if there is a storm blowing inside of you, and the wind, thunder and rain want to escape from you any way they can. You don’t have to let this out all at once; it would be helpful if you could actually tune into what you’re feeling, and consider what some of its possible sources are. Astrologically, here is how it looks: It’s as if you’ve been living a fictional version of your identity, and the real thing is starting to rise up in rebellion against the facade. This involves the roles you’ve been given, or assigned to yourself, such as with your family and in your relationships. By one reading of the chart, there’s a lot to say about the ways in which you’ve tried to impress your father with what a good person you are. The real you has no such political motives. Your relationships don’t need to be based on any kind of a purity standard, but rather on what is mutually good for those involved. If you find yourself seeking someone’s approval, that’s the time to go to a new level of maturity. You would be wise to consider the influence and impact of your relationships on the community that surrounds you. If you’re inclined to say, “what relationships?” or “what community?” then please look more closely.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Focus on getting along with people — especially if you want things to go smoothly at work, and especially if you want to accomplish the great things that you feel destined to do. I would interject with a question: do you consider yourself to be in a position of leadership? Is it possible that you are, but are in denial about that fact? Leadership has formal manifestations, such as they call you the ‘team leader’ or the CEO. And it has informal manifestations (such as being the one who does the dishes in the break room, facilitates communication among those who might not ordinarily get along, or sets a good example in other ways). Now, your leadership role may lean toward the informal, which would actually be easier. You are in a position to blend your concept of rebellious with everyone else’s concept of what works. Said another way, you’re the one who may have the kind of weird idea that turns out to be the perfect solution to the riddle everyone has been staring cross-eyed at for six months. You are in the perfect position to reconcile both sides of the equation (such as practicality and innovation; doing what is legal and understanding what the law does not cover; getting the right result for the money that’s available). From the look of your chart, I would describe you as the master of resolving the unsolvable paradox. Just remember — many people love to be stuck. Know who they are and don’t waste any time banging your head against them.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Get clear on what you want to accomplish. Your goals may have changed recently, and they’ve certainly changed since you last made big changes in your life. By big I mean really big — the kind you thought you could never make. At this stage in your life, you’re likely to have a whole new vision, though you may be living under the results of the prior vision. The difference now is that you have something to lose, and some of that is worthwhile and serves you well. Keep your mind on the continuity factor, at the same time ensuring that you’re not a slave to the past. Be sensitive to what works and what does not work in your life. Be aware of what you want and what you do not want. One thing is clear: this is a time in your life when you’re ready to have more responsibility than you’ve ever had, and when you’re ready for it. Part of the benefit of living with a sense of duty is that it’s compelling you to assert yourself. That, in turn, is compelling you to know yourself well enough to take authority and get the results that need to be gotten. Remember, we live in a world where few people want to take responsibility for anything outside what immediately impacts them. That’s why the planet is in the state it’s in. You have a different path in life. It may be more challenging, but it’s a lot more meaningful.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — The age-old traditions of superficial, self-centered and boring won’t work for you this month. They never did, but they are currently at an all-time low ebb. Therefore, you can plan on events that take you deeper, that involve you with others, and that are genuinely interesting. As you do, you may encounter the temptation to distract yourself with appearances, glamor and the desire to ‘be known’ for something. I suggest you succumb to nothing of the kind. Do what you do for its inherent value, rather than some secondary result. This leaves you plenty of room to focus on excellence, and to remember that a meaningful attribute of your karma is to focus groups of people into conscious coordination. As you do this, one thing to be aware of is anyone who does not want things to work. Some people on the planet have a not-so-funny way of reacting negatively when energy starts to focus in their proximity. They can be jealous when people succeed, seemingly not needing them. The first thing to do with anyone exhibiting this kind of attitude is to notice, and notice soon. There are a few ways to handle this kind of value; one is to include the person and keep him or her busy. Help them feel needed. Or, you can find a constructive use for their competitive spirit. Ask everyone involved what they need and what their expectations are. When you get your answer, set goals and make adjustments.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — You have learned a lot about how other people perceive you, and you’ve learned just as much about how you perceive them. Have you got the message that it’s all just perception? One thing that’s clear is that being able to perceive from multiple viewpoints is better than perceiving from just one. A moving point of view is at least a reminder how tenuous the senses and one’s opinions can be. Yet you’re always better at least paying attention, and being sensitive to the perspectives of people close to you. You’re likely to have many occasions this month to use what you’ve learned all through this year. You’re also likely to forget what you learned, so I suggest you pause and think carefully if a relationship situation, financial deal or some matter involving any form of shared resources heats up. You’re likely to perceive those involved as being impetuous and self-centered, and you may be right. But to get past that, you will need the information that you’ve learned and the strength that it gives you. True, it’s a subtle form of strength, but knowledge is indeed power. If someone is asserting their will on you, or playing a kind of hardball competitive game, you’ve really got two choices. One is to go blow for blow. The other is to use your mind, study and understand the situation in a whole way, and begin negotiating. You have the ability to turn the whole scenario not just in your favor but also into a situation where everyone comes out ahead.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — What can you do to place yourself onto some solid emotional ground? You have to live with the situation you’re in, at least for a while; this is not one you can easily evade, run from, or redesign to suit your fancy. And why would you want to? There are so many ways you’re benefiting, and you both understand and want the power of commitment. It would be healthy to account for the ways that you contribute to any emotional situation in your life. Indeed, I suggest you list yourself as a direct co-creator in any and all of your relationships. I know that there’s a way they seem to be thrust at you. I know you don’t understand how or why some things happen. However, taking a passive approach is only going to accentuate that feeling. The more you step up, the more you will feel like you’re able to influence your various life situations. I am not suggesting that you try to take control. I am not suggesting (as you may be tempted to do) that tit-for-tat or “an eye for an eye” is an appropriate response, even when you’re treated unfairly. I am saying claim your space, stand in your responsibility and be true to yourself and to those with whom you’re journeying. That might include asking for what you need, expressing gratitude to those who have helped you or having a dialog about how to improve circumstances for everyone.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Recent events may have left you feeling heavy or uncertain about existence. I often wonder how anyone manages to be optimistic or positive, given the prevailing state of the world. Still, your chart is urging you to make sure that others know you care about them. Having faith in your ability to help will strengthen your faith in humanity. The other thing I suggest you do is remember that your creative spirit is alive and flourishing. By this I mean you are feeling passionate about your desire to engage fully with life, and whatever has been happening has had the effect of guiding you to do so with greater strength. I suggest that you make your choices for how to invest your mind, your senses and your hands based on what you want now — not what you wanted in the past. Be aware of a tendency to live in your memories, or to gravitate toward the feeling of nostalgia. A little of that may serve you, but not much more. There is so much that the present moment is offering you that it never has offered before. If you can look beyond your ‘latent past impressions’ of everything around you, you’ll see that this is a perfectly unique moment of existence for which you are ready and, I suspect, willing. Many people on this planet struggle with one thing only, which is letting go of the past. With a little courage, there’s no need to fight.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — As a Sagittarius, you have a reputation for being one of the most daring signs of the zodiac. I would say from my experience as an astrologer, that’s more packaging than product — except for now. By now, I mean in recent years, and I especially mean now as in this month. Every possible factor is encouraging you to be bold and do what you would not normally dare to do. Start with what you want to do the most, and which is available to you. Could this be as simple as calling up someone you like and letting them know that? Could it be taking up someone’s offer for an adventure, romantic or otherwise? Going down the list of possible reasons you might hesitate, one of them shows up as ‘something in your past’ that you’re afraid might come out. This feeling might be so subtle you haven’t given it a name, though if you’re feeling like you cannot bring yourself to do something and you don’t know why, you will benefit from investigating invisible influences. For example, do you feel like you have a commitment to someone (from the past) which is preventing you from being fully in the present? Is there some lingering unresolved matter, potentially involving a sexual relationship, that is weighing on your conscience? You may think that this is some kind of permanent installation in your psyche; I assure you that if you want to be free in the moment, you actually can resolve it and move on.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — You may not know where to focus your energy, or where the main issue is. Your perception of what you’re working on may keep changing, evading your understanding. Yet you know there has to be an energy source when you’re feeling so much, and to such extremes. First off, I suggest you investigate your environment for any factor that aggravates or even annoys you. This may be a challenge if you feel like someone has coated every surface in your house with hot pepper oil, or like there’s a high-voltage quantum wave machine down in your basement. There will however be certain factors that you can identify and address. I also suggest you experiment with removing two or three foods that are not serving you (or anyone). To give one example, high fructose corn syrup is an irritant, a toxin and it burns too hot for your current constitution (which at the moment is dominated by fire sign Aries). Your chart suggests that food or some ingredient in what you eat may be related to anything that currently troubles you. Deeper in, however, I would propose that there’s some kind of emotional matter that’s influencing your self-image. Are you feeling like you’re getting old? Do you feel like others don’t take life as seriously as you do? Is the memory of some authority figure weighing on your spirit? Self-image is a complicated issue to work on. In the end, how you see yourself comes down to a choice.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — You seem to be struggling with some persistent doubt about yourself, which may work out to be a positive thing. I say that because if you’re grappling with an issue, you’re less likely to be in denial about it — and denial was very likely how you addressed it in the past. Now you have another challenge: framing any issue in a way that actually has the potential for progress. If you’ve described something the same way for a while and you’re not getting results, I suggest you take a different approach. For example, if you’re asking ‘how do I solve this problem’ and that’s not working, maybe ask, ‘why do I need this problem?’ Then once you address the need, the situation will change. Speaking of needs, this would be a great time to learn how to express yours. That may involve finding language; it may involve deciding it’s OK to speak up; it may involve facing the fear of rejection from someone close to you if you dare to write yourself into the story. Actually this has a lot to do with relationships, and what you were told your role was supposed to be. That relates to what you expect (and were told to expect) others would do for you, and be for you. Reality is always different from theory, especially where the BS that we’re fed about relationships is concerned. Commitment does not mean commitment to another person, but rather a shared devotion to a higher principle than oneself.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — It’s not all about money, though you don’t need someone to tell you that. What you do need is someone to remind you that money is a legitimate pursuit, if connected to what you consider to be a worthwhile goal. I suggest you work with that equation, and make sure that your values about money and how it is attained are clear. You have what you need to break new ground in this area of your life; you no longer need any form of the idea that money is somehow unspiritual, uncreative or evil. It is a form of highly versatile energy that can be converted into anything. Yet confidence around money has many precursors, one of which is your sense of your own presence in the world. That is likely to be running strong right now, though you may also feel unstable if you focus too much on that sensation. This is a kind of paradox that many people face on the way to tapping their strength — there’s a lot of vulnerability involved; there is a risk involved; there is the possibility of failure. You might get to a point where you’re absolutely confident of what is important to you, and then that’s scrambled by one thing you learn, or one experience. Yet you may notice that one thing is consistent beneath the surface, which I would describe as initiative. You have a pioneering spirit, and there are few times in your life, if any, when it’s been stronger than it is today. Lead on.

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