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Mars-Chiron Conjunction in Aries: Identity and Healing

Dear Friend and Reader:

Mercury retrograde is mostly behind us — everything except for the part where we repeat the aspects of the past few weeks, our friend the trickster moving in direct motion. It will be making aspects to many slow-moving planets, as I described in Thursday night's issue.

At 5:08 am EDT on Tuesday, Mars forms a conjunction to Chiron in Aries. This happens on an approximately two-year cycle; the prior event was in very late Pisces in December 2018, as Chiron was in the process of changing signs into Aries.

There is something initiatory about this aspect: something I have seen can work to get us to the next phase of our lives, and place of awareness. Particularly with Aries and Mars involved, we have the potential to be at the beginning of something. First, let's consider the factors involved as elements of consciousness and how it manifests in our conduct.

Remember that with Chiron, the essence of its purpose is to build awareness, strength, and ability to engage the healing process effectively. As is said in A Course in Miracles, "I will be healed as I let Him teach me to heal."

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The God of War and the Mentor of Warriors

In mythology, Chiron trained warriors, and Mars is the god of war. Though these are from two different orders of mythology, the two find a common home in the contemporary astrology chart, and they are now making a conjunction. This represents the full activation of both planets, in ways that seem to directly reflect the times in which we are living — particularly as the conjunction is the first in the sign Aries since 1975.

American society has Mars issues. All empires conquer and make war. The United States has a tendency to make war on itself. Whether we are talking about wars on drugs, poverty, cancer, crime, culture wars or war waged on the "novel" coronavirus (the "invisible enemy"), the concept of military action seems applicable to everything. Agent Orange, a chemical weapon abandoned as too horrendous for the Vietnam War, was dumped on the people of Oregon and Washington soon after.

The decades of mass shootings we have endured are a kind of guerrilla war on the population. This is supported by federal law, case law and policy that allows civilians to have weapons of war, who have fantasies of war against the government and people of color, and who make war against one another. Then there is the way that the police treat people — cops who are indistinguishable from a standing army lodged in every town, ready to wage war with conventional and chemical weapons at any moment.

Let's remember what a "litigious" society the United States is — which is a ritualized form of war.

Mars issues. That's what they look like in a country. In individuals, they look like tense, angry, aggressive people who are looking to strike out at anything in reach — or else taking the issues out on themselves in the form of resentment and guilt. They do not discriminate on the basis of sex, gender or sexual orientation.

(Note: the United States was founded with Chiron in Aries.)

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Bringing Anything Unresolved Up for Healing

Chiron transits have a knack for bringing up everything that is unresolved at that point. It's possible to suppress things for a while, however, then the next transit arrives and the issues will come up either a little more intensely, or be compounded. Chiron transits are like checkpoints and opportunities to catch up with yourself.

Chiron serves to raise awareness of what we need to work through, first by focusing attention, which makes the issues evident, or precipitates a crisis. In its most literal form, Chiron represents medical issues, as Chiron taught the medical arts to Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine. Chiron had the unusual role of being both a physician, surgeon and teacher, as well as mentor to the greatest heroes of Greek lore.

So where we are today is interesting in light of this. Our society is faced with what seems to be a medical crisis. Yet this crisis is a distraction from every other issue, which include the consequences of being the most medicated population in the world, as well as one contaminated by wave after wave of toxins dumped on our food, our land and put into our bodies. Our medical system knows next to nothing about healing, and as I am discovering, even less about medicine.

In these very days, I am studying the troubled history of the polio vaccine, which is considered a medical miracle and is in truth one long train wreck. At the same time, I am working with researchers on developing the issue of cell line contamination — that is, viruses that make it into the research, development and manufacturing process, many of which are based on cancer cells or are known to be carcinogenic. Even with all I've covered, researched, and written about, what I am learning is so shocking I barely have words to describe how I feel.

Part of why somewhere around half of all Americans have one or more chronic diseases is, so far as I can tell, because they are as children repeatedly injected with a brew of viruses, formaldehyde, and heavy metals (among other things). Many children are persistently sick. Many American children now know of other kids who have died of cancer. This is new.

Our research on Covid-19 is revealing study after study that attributes nearly any symptom or outcome to the virus. It's like the opposite of a miracle cure. If you believe all these super-rushed, un-vetted scientific studies, it could cause anything at all. Yet to believe that is to miss the larger point.

This situation can show us all that we've been missing about environmental pollution (Roundup, radiation, dioxin, plasticizers). It can show us all we've been missing about the toxic medications prescribed to so many people. It is most surely revealing the incompetence of the medical system. It can reveal our ignorance at taking care of ourselves. Most of all, we get a sense of how Americans address the concept of illness and wellness, and in particular, how we identify with these things.

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Aries, the Sign of Identity

Aries is the sign of "I am," which is always a concept or an idea. To assert identity is not the same as being, or existing.

Via the sign Aries, electrical communication technology and in particular, digital technology, have demolished people's inner sense of self, leading to people living in a disembodied society. This is partly why so many are horrified by the idea of infection by a virus. From the standpoint of the cool, sleek, efficient and most of all disembodied digital world, the body and all of its processes are alien and disgusting.

We have replaced physicality with virtual existence, and have replaced self-knowledge with a massive public relations effort. As is said of certain famous people, they have a problem when they believe their own press releases.

Chiron in Aries represents the potential for us to rediscover ourselves as incarnated beings. In fact this is happening with the Covid crisis: what many people are experiencing is the shock of being pulled back into their bodies, and having to pay attention to their bodies.

If this occurs without sufficient spiritual development to identify with prime source (Shekinah or the Holy Spirit, the indwelling feminine aspect of God), the results can be deeply disturbing or terrifying. Body consciousness focused in the context of disease prompts issues related to death.

So the question is very much: who and what do you identify with? Even deeper, where do you tap your core energy? How you feel will reveal this to you.

Anyone who has had a chronic disease or even a serious injury knows the challenge of not having the issue take over your life and hijack your whole identity. Part of the healing process is claiming yourself back from identifying with the illness. This holds for psychic injuries to an equal or far greater extent. When people feel damaged or abused, their whole identity can be bent around their sense of injury. This is often experienced as the helpless or hopeless situation where there seems to be no way out. There is a way out.

When someone starts to identify with the healing process, you know they are making progress. That begins with wanting to feel better above all else. It includes forming your relationships based on that one objective. Often the most deeply injured personal characteristic is trust. Rebuilding trust takes patience, persistence, devotion and a bit of luck. There will be setbacks, though the alternative is living as you had previously.

With Mars conjunct Chiron, we are being summoned to identify with the healing process, and with growth, rather than with being injured. The injury must be seen in context as the thing that provokes awareness, healing and growth.

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Correcting Our Misunderstanding of Maleness

One last thought. Mars, Chiron and Aries all pertain to maleness, whether physical or the inner masculine principle of all people. In particular, this combination of factors pertains specifically to the male wound.

Every now and then, our culture goes to war against men, in effect accusing them all of being capitalists, rapists, predators and creeps. Many people look on bewildered, but we still take on the poison. You may say that "all" is an exaggeration, but the guilt by association is plain to see. You can trust that many, many men feel like they've been falsely portrayed as worthless creeps when they have neither thought, said nor done anything to deserve it.

My clients who have sons have pointed out to me what a serious problem this is, and how terrified their sons are of even seeming like they are doing something wrong if they're attracted to a girl. I think nearly all girls and women underestimate how intimidated boys and men are by women and by female sexuality.

These wars on men are waged against the very people who we have encouraged to be warriors all their lives. By this I mean soldiers, sailors, airmen, police officers, firefighters, or the people who swarm across the countryside to courageously repair the electrical grid after a natural disaster — almost all of whom are male-bodied people. When there is a mass shooting, and the SWAT team arrives, we expect to see a bunch of men, and we are grateful when they arrive. I am not saying these jobs should be done by men. I am describing who we expect to show up, and who actually does, most of the time.

Then society, or certain elements of society (helped by television and newspapers), attacks men for being "too male." We are in a time in history where all of society's problems (pollution, corruption, wealth inequality, sexism) are blamed on men. I cannot think of one systemic problem where it is in vogue to blame women.

At the same time, society discards men when they are no longer able to perform their traditional roles. If you were to listen to certain discussions, you might get the notion that in those communities, men are not considered human.

Even Planet Waves was once the scene of a debate about whether male children should be protected from sexual predators (of any variety), or whether we should just protect the girls. To me, it seems obvious that if we are going to protect anyone, we must protect everyone.

What I find so incredible about these discussions, whenever they happen, is that there is never an offering or opportunity to come somewhere to heal, or to be this supposedly better person everyone seems to want men to be. I just do not understand that. We are talking about half of the human race. We cannot excommunicate men, or degrade their rank to subhuman. We all have legacies in our lives with men, and with the men in our lives, and these are calling for reconciliation. Nearly everyone has men in their life whom they love and depend on. And we are all responsible for the nurturing and support of young people — including boys and young men.

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A Personal Calling to Heal All Things Male

This is a spiritual issue on the deepest level. This wounded notion of maleness is described elegantly by Mars conjunct Chiron in Aries. Aries has an unusual property of being the most personal sign and yet somehow simultaneously, the most public or transpersonal. Further, any perception that a female person has of men is a reflection of her inner masculine. So this affects everyone.

This aspect is urging us to correct our misunderstanding of maleness. Put simply, if women are equal to men, men are equal to women — equal and equivalent. We all bear responsibility for ourselves and for our society. Sexism in any form is not OK.

The human form is powered by an energetic polarity that exists between what we think of as maleness and what we think of as femaleness, in their most elemental expressions, in each and all of us. There is no way to disparage one side of the polarity without disparaging everyone.

Isn't it time we stop doing that? Isn't it time to make peace with one another and ourselves? Making peace with maleness also means making peace with male sexuality — which to some degree we all contain. I would propose that it includes listening to how the men in your life feel about how they are perceived.

Mars conjunct Chiron in Aries is an initiation. It is an invitation. It is the call to awakening. It is the call to healing. It is the timely calling to claim our birthright as those who help and heal, rather than those who wage war — on anything, or on anyone.

With love,
Note to readers: I will not be writing an article this coming Thursday. I will be back in your inbox next with Planet Waves FM on Friday. You may also follow the newly revamped, revived and reborn Daily Planets feature on our new website.
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Planet Waves (ISSN 1933-9135) is published each Sunday and Thursday evening in Kingston, New York, Planet Waves, Inc. Core Community membership: $197/year. Editor & Publisher: Eric F. Coppolino. Web Developer: Anatoly Ryzhenko. News Editor: Spencer Stevens. Assistant Editor: Joshua Halinen. Client Services: Amy Elliott and Victoria Emory. Illustrator: Lanvi Nguyen. Senior Finance Minister, First Cavalry of the Local Economy: Andrew Slater. Archivist: Morgan Francis. Technical Assistants: Cate Ryzhenko, Emily Thing. Proofreading: Jessica Keet. Media Consultant: Andrew McLuhan. Music Director: Daniel Sternstein. Bass and Drums: Daniel Grimsland. Additional Music: Zeljko. Additional Research, Writing and Opinions: Samuel Dean, Yuko Katori, Kirsti Melto, Cindy Tice Ragusa and Carol van Strum.

Your spiritual orientation on doing the work that's right for you: a video reading by Eric Francis

Dear Friend and Reader:

Long before our current social and economic upheaval, I was designing a reading called THE DHARMA. Initially inspired by something I read in a book on Tibetan Buddhism last year, I wanted to focus a reading on connecting with purpose. The Sanskrit word "dharma" means acting as if to hold the world together.

30th Street Guitars is one of my best examples of living dharma — acting as if to hold the world together. I describe the business in the Pisces reading.
There are not many cohesive ideas about this. Most are abstract. Therapy can sometimes help, but it's expensive, and most therapists are not creative or business consultants (a precious few are).

Then suddenly society went through all these changes, and my concept for a reading turned out to be right on time.

You may have been jolted out of your previous economic reality by the ongoing financial scenario. This has affected both salaried workers and the gig economy.

In my experience as an astrologer, I know that it often takes something like this to help people hear their calling.

THE DHARMA brings some exuberance to this process. I work with the astrology, describing the environment, looking for openings and opportunities, and offering ideas to connect you with your purpose. I am good at this because it's one of the true joys of my astrological journey. If I could do nothing but creative consulting, business planning and professional focus, I would.

This reading will help you go through the changes that are upon us, whatever their source. We are in a time of extreme flux, and so this potential is present. Society is making a big retreat, and that means there is space available for you to do what you do.

This moment will not last forever. Take advantage of it while you can.

THE DHARMA reading is available as single signs (starting at $44; $22 for each additional) and all 12 signs (for $111). Each reading is fresh and original, and complements the others. At least get your sign and rising sign. You may share with your household!

Personal consulting starts at $555.

Thank you for your trust and your business.

With love,
PS — If you need a sliding-scale option for THE DHARMA, please write to

Here are free five-minute reading samples of THE DHARMA:

Monthly Horoscopes and Publishing Schedule Notes

Your extended monthly horoscope for July was published on Thursday, July 2. We published your extended monthly horoscope for June on Thursday, May 21. Please note: we normally publish the extended monthly horoscope after the Sun has entered a new sign.
Planet Waves
Monday Morning Horoscope #237 for July 13, 2020 | By Eric Francis Coppolino

The Journey of You and Chiron | A New Reading by Eric Francis

Anyone who has encountered it is curious about Chiron. Planet Waves provides one of the few dependable online sources of information on this unusual planet. For the 10th anniversary Astrology Studio reading, I will be covering Chiron in Aries — a momentous event for all those born under this sign, and of high interest to everyone else. Get instant access to this reading here.

Aries (March 20-April 19) — You are who you are. That includes your capacity to grow, to heal, and to become. You may have the idea that the good part of your life, the productive part, will begin once you've already accomplished your healing and fully addressed the past. Fortunately, that's not how healing works: it's something you do, in the process of living. One choice at a time, one thought at a time, you groom your life in the direction you are being guided to go. That includes learning how to follow your inner guidance, or what you might call your inner authority. The astrology focusing this topic now is the conjunction taking place in your sign or rising sign (Aries) of your ruling planet Mars, and the teacher and mentor Chiron. This would be an excellent time to focus your vows as a teacher and healer. In doing so, it's essential that you be willing to go deep, particularly where family matters are concerned.

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You can now get instant access to your 2020-21 Taurus Astrology Studio here for just $44. This reading focuses on a professional breakthrough toward the end of the year, and preparing you for this development. Venus retrograde in the spring is preparation. Mars retrograde in the autumn is preparation.

Ultimately this is a spiritual development, yet in reality we are talking about aligning your purpose with action, with a calling, and with an opportunity. Elements of the reading go out to a series of power steps in 2021. Read more.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Love must come with an element of fairness, if it is to be itself. Sometimes, it may seem like fairness comes at your expense, though I would pause if you get to that point. Be willing to offer what you feel will benefit others, as long as that offering does not harm you. Harm is a strong word, so be generous. Be willing to give up what you don't need, and remember that need is a strong word. Therefore, be generous. Mostly, remember that the love you engage and exchange with yourself must have an element of fairness, which you are the only one who can mediate. This will come up in your daily experiences and transactions with others, which I suggest you take a little more slowly than usual. Give yourself time to consider your options. Those include the possible actions you may take, as well as who might be appropriate to work with, play with or otherwise share energy with.

Your 2020-21 Gemini Astrology Studio, The Sacred Space of Self, is now available for instant access. The reading covers Venus retrograde in your sign, Vesta in your sign, Saturn in Aquarius, and the momentous astrology at the end of the year.Thank you for your business and your trust.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — You are being rather strongly urged and encouraged to reassess your priorities. This proceeds in what you could call an 'unconscious' way, which means abdicating making fully-aware decisions. You might adopt someone else's values or concerns as part of a relationship. Sometimes life circumstances seem to compel making compromises. The next few weeks are a time to conduct a reevaluation of what is important to you. Once you engage the work, you could discover that you're doing this for the first time. You may find it surprisingly refreshing. The key is this, and it's essential: you must think for yourself, and not in terms of what would be acceptable or feasible in a relationship. That part comes later. It is secondary to your experience and your needs right now. Often, the relationship element is used to subvert one's most pressing concerns, needs and desires. So, start with yourself.

Your 2020-21 Cancer Astrology Studio is available for instant access. This year, the time of Cancer began with an eclipse on the solstice, as well as Mercury retrograde in your sign. This is astrology that points to you in a personal way, describing a transition you may not feel ready to make but have been preparing for over long years. Chiron in Aries is also a prominent factor, pointing to some pioneering developments in your professional life. I cover these aspects, and much more.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Mercury has stationed direct in your sign (as of early Sunday morning). Think of this as a moment of clarity. I have found that stations of Mercury, particularly direct, come with a burst of information; or you can solve a riddle, or you learn something useful that was previously concealed by some kind of veil. Be sensitive to that: look, listen, and read carefully. Follow the thought process of people you may disagree with. On Tuesday, Mars conjoins Chiron in the bold vocational angle of your chart, Aries. This is a calling to leadership. It's not so much your personal and individual choice but rather the fulfillment of your dharma. In your situation, leadership means acting in service to others in the capacity of one who facilitates healing. This would hold true even if you're chosen to be CEO of a casino on the Las Vegas strip. The chances are good your calling (or promotion) will be more down-to-earth, though the central mission remains the same.

You can now pre-order your 2020-21 Leo Astrology Studio, Notes on Love and Courage. The two giants of the solar system meet up at the end of this year in your opposite sign Aquarius. Eric will explore what this seminal conjunction means for you, and much more. Get your copy here for just $33.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — This week the Sun, ruler of regal Leo, moves into aspect with the core astrology of our times: the Jupiter-Pluto-Eris configuration that has been spinning the world on its finger lately. Here's the thing to remember, now and forever, when the Sun is making aspects, no matter how intense they may be. The Sun is the center of the solar system, holding in orbit nearly a million known planets, asteroids, centaurs and other objects. The Sun has seen it all, and is essentially untouchable. So use this as a profound moment of observation and self-observation, when you may come into possession of a whole new idea of your calling and your spiritual path. This will stem from a discovery you've made about yourself the past few days, something related to your emotional life and the necessities of self-care. What you discover or what comes to you will be easy to forget or deny, so make sure you remember it. It's likely to relate to food or diet in some way.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Through most of this Mercury retrograde, my thoughts around Virgo rising and Sun have centered on understanding the nature of your public image and your private being. We live in a time — the digital age — when the prior notion of privacy is irrelevant. There are thousands of examples of this, though the most important point of focus for you is understanding what it means to be the person you are, in the context of always being under a microscope. There are ways to shelter yourself from this a little, though the deep question is who you think you are; who you are to yourself; what if feels like to be you. Remember you always have an inner sanctuary, if you would use it. The 'safe space' discussed in our political era, misidentified as a room or a policy, is in truth that inner sanctum, where you meet with your innermost source. It is where you tap into your connection to something much greater than the world you can see, the world where you have a name. Always find your way back there.

Pre-order your full 2020-21 Virgo reading by Eric here.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Be discerning in what you involve yourself with, and wherever you take authority of any kind (whether family, professional, personal or otherwise). You are visible now, which is a vulnerability. You may also be misinformed, which can lead to making decisions that become needlessly controversial. I suggest you direct your thoughts and your priorities away from immediate situations, which are what they are, and are unlikely to change; and toward longer-term plans and ideas. This is easily done: just step back from the usual fray, do a disappearing act, and engage yourself in a conversation about what the next meaningful thing to do is. You may include one or two trusted associates in this discussion, though it must not by any means be public, or subject to any scrutiny or external debate. Now is the time to focus your ideas about the future, rather than dealing with the tempest in a teapot correctly identified as the past.

Pre-order your full 2020-21 Libra reading by Eric here.

You may have instant access to your 2019-20 Scorpio Astrology Studio. This reading addresses the current jolt to your relationships, as well as the profound thought transformation you're going through. I consider some deep matters of self-identity and where that meets personal healing. Astrology Studio comes with a bonus recording, "Self and Society," which looks at the astrology describing the busy intersection of the individual and collective. Order your copy here.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Do not let your attention be swayed or distracted from an important personal matter you're working with, something directly connected to your healing journey. You may be getting tangible information from an internal source about what you need to do, to turn the course of your life in an essential way. What that means specifically, you may not know at this point, though if you're paying attention you will get clear information about the first steps you need to take. You can tell they're valid because they will be harmless. Yes, you may decide you need to make changes that are inconvenient or that pose a challenge, but none will harm you or anyone else. With that in mind, the kind of healing process described in your chart is about rethinking who you are, rather than what you do. You are forming a new understanding of yourself and your existence. This will be more informed by experience than it will be by ideas, though one idea can lead to many experiences.

Your Astrology Studio reading for Sagittarius Sun or rising sign covers Jupiter's conjunction to the Galactic Core, a review of Jupiter in Sagittarius and a preview of forthcoming Jupiter in Capricorn. I focus on the Saturn-Pluto conjunction and many other exciting facets of your astrology. My readings are easygoing and easy to follow, and address real-life matters of life, work and relationships.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Chiron is one of the figures most clearly associated with your sign, which is aligned with the constellation Centaurus. The movement and developments associated with Chiron are worth following closely, whether in your own chart or in the transits and aspects we all experience. This week, Chiron steps into the forefront, as Mars forms a rather bold conjunction to it in Aries. For you, Aries is the house where you experience yourself as a creative project. The Mars-Chiron event represents self-creation at its most vivid. Yet this is always an experiment. That implies going beyond anything you're familiar with, and going beyond safe territory and ideas. When you conduct an analysis into something as essential as who you are, that is bold, and if there are risks, there will be rewards. Yet you must be willing to face the unknown within you, and to discover what you will. As of now, you stand at a true point of beginning.

If you have a Capricorn Sun, rising sign or Moon and could use some insights about the challenges and opportunities life is sending your way, order the 2020 Capricorn Astrology Studio by Eric Francis Coppolino. Some of the most era-defining astrology has been centered on your sign in recent years, and that includes the biggest current astrological events. It also makes an amazing gift for loved ones.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — The Sun passing through your relationship house is holding up a mirror to your experiences, and to your process of emerging from the shell you're crawling out of. Mirrors give some information and they provide a perspective, though they are not always accurate. For example, they reverse the image you have of yourself. Make sure you factor that into anything that seems to be showing itself as an image of you. Also, you might be cautious about getting distracted by shiny objects. The direction of your flow of awareness is within. You have been through some significant changes the past two or three weeks, which are the product of much momentum that has gathered over the past few years. It is a fair statement that the majority of the work is behind you. Yet you are in a crucial finishing phase right now, where completion is of the essence. The new elements of your psyche and state of being are already emerging — yet you have something important from the past to complete, and about four months to do so.

Your 2020-21 Aquarius Astrology Studio is available for instant access. This coming winter, your sign hosts a major conjunction: Jupiter conjunct Saturn, the traditional ruler of Aquarius. That event is exact on Dec. 21, 2020. Eric also covers Saturn moving into your sign from Capricorn during the year, in this not-to-be-missed reading. Order your copy here.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — The concept of "inner work" is elusive in a world where there is no longer a firm concept of "inner," meaning, the space of awareness within a person where nobody else can enter. The work that would go on there might be toil or a grieving process or coming to terms with some element of who you are. It is also in this space that new evolutions of yourself are born, and that is what's happening to you now. You are being reborn, from within. Any pressure you may feel moving around in a remote corner of your soul is connected with this. Yet it's unlikely to be so subtle: your chart describes you as wanting to burst out of yourself, crack your shell and live openly and freely in the world. That may happen, though you're now involved in a sensitive element of the work that simply must be focused inwardly. As the Sun enters your opposite sign Leo, don't let anyone distract you from this.

Astrology Studio for Pisces | A New Reading by Eric Francis

This is a momentous time in collective history, and a turning point in your life. As the year develops, most of the movement — including Pisces' ruling planet Jupiter, and the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction — will be pointing into Aquarius, the most sensitive and innermost angle of your chart. I will also cover the retrogrades of Venus and Mars, and the forthcoming Jupiter-Pluto conjunction in your friendship sign Capricorn. Mostly, I will help you orient on your profound journey, and offer guidance how to harmonize with the world at this unusual time. Get instant access to this reading here.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — You are in a stage of your growth where your inner values must match your publicly expressed ones. There are terms for this, such as "right livelihood" and "ethical business model" and others. Those are like the toy replica of the thing you're really doing, which is the challenging work of being true to yourself and those around you, through and through. This does not involve meeting political standards or, for that matter, any external requirement other than participating. The rules you follow, the guidelines, your personal code, come from you and are a reflection of who you are. As part of this, understand that you have the power to deceive, and the means to abuse your influence, whether in ways large or small. And whatever people may say (and some will definitely speak up), you are the ultimate evaluator of your reality and of your influence on the world around you. There is a simple way to handle this whole scenario, which is to stay true to yourself at all times under all circumstances: no double standards. There is one of you, and that is that.

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