Better Than People Even Understand

Dear Friend and Reader:

Wow, it’ll be a month tomorrow. It feels like it’s been years. Yes, I thought all of this would happen — in the first three months, not the first three weeks.

Thatbyinnyu Temple in Bagan, Myanmar. It was built in 1,144 A.D. by King Alaung Sithu to be the tallest structure in the country.

It’s not easy keeping up with the news, there’s just so much of it. I just clicked on C-Span to catch a glimpse of a live presidential press conference and was treated to POTUS saying, “This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine.”

That’s so funny, Steve Colbert could have written it. This is what finely tuned looks like? It’s been a month and we’ve already had a mini-constitutional crisis, a not-so-mini national security crisis involving Russia, a white supremacist become the top White House advisor, and a cabinet nominee step down as a result of spousal abuse in his past. It’s a good thing we haven’t had an earthquake or a flood. The country would grind to a halt, like in Atlas Shrugged, only different.

An hour earlier, I picked up the New York Post at Dominick’s Café to read my daily horoscope, and checked the cover. It included the statement, “Trump vows ‘better peace deal than people even understand’.”

Immediately, I thought, he’s getting spiritual! Shanti, shanti, shanti — the peace which passes understanding. That’s what we’re going to get. The most peaceful peace your guru never even mentioned. More relaxed than after a two-hour yoga class. It’s not even this peaceful in heaven. It’s gonna be so peaceful you’ll wish for some strife and conflict. Those terrorists! At least they made life interesting. I would even settle for the sound of a leaf blower.

Are you trying to figure this out? If so, good. The only people not stumped and mortified by this are the true believers. I wish I was one; it must be bliss. The rest of us know we have a problem. But in some ways the problem became so big, so fast, that it just might resolve itself. Also, people do seem to be slightly roused from their slumber. Suddenly it’s become clear that we really need to keep pressure on our legislators, and get out in the streets, and show some unity and strength in numbers.

First, let’s see where we are astrologically. Remember that everything we’re seeing, feeling, being and becoming, is described by the chaos of the Uranus-Eris conjunction, the one that’s happening right now and which will be exact for the third and final time on March 17, 2017.

The Temple of Heaven in Beijing is a Taoist temple built during the 15th century and used for the annual prayer to Heaven that was made by the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties to help with the crops.

This is the conjunction that contains both the implosion and dumbing down of consciousness connected to the internet and especially the portable pocket computer, as well as 50 shades of identity crisis. It’s also the one that contains the potential for a wide-scale group awakening. This would be composed of many, many individual awakenings — that would be where you come in.

The thing about the Uranus-Eris conjunction is that it’s really the thing that defines the early 21st century on the most personal level. It’s about the lives we’re living in this phase of history. It’s not local news; it’s global news because it stretches so far and wide in time, and describes something about the way that we’re each influenced by the internet. To work with this aspect demands personal investigation and acquiring a sense of one’s inner space and internal process — for real.

Closer to home, this past Friday, there was a Leo lunar eclipse that seems to have shaken things loose. Eclipses are destabilizing and also invite you to go to a new level. It’s difficult to make adjustments when everything is humming along, even if you want a different vibe. Eclipses stop the show, shuffle the deck and put some space between events, even if you have to dig through a little rubble to find it. This can come in the form of a system collapse that gives you an opportunity to reinvent your method and process. The more you work with smaller system collapses, the less you need the huge, wrenching ones.

As of today, the Sun is moving through the late degrees of Aquarius. One more eclipse is coming as part of this cluster, on Sunday, Feb. 26. The Sun enters Pisces Saturday. Then a few days later it crosses the Moon’s South Node (Sun-node contact is the chart indicator that an eclipse is imminent). Then on Saturday, the Sun will be conjunct Nessus. This sequence of events — Sun conjunct South Node, Sun conjunct Nessus — tells you all you need to know about this eclipse.

Think of Pisces as our planetary genetic or cellular memory. It’s the watery realm that contains the emotional vibration of the planet, as well as your personal vibration, which is the sum total of your past.

Abu Simbel in Egypt comprises two large rock temples which are part of the Nubian Monuments complex that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temples were carved out of the mountainside in the 13th century B.C. when the Pharaoh Ramesses II was reigning.

Small things are magnified in Pisces. Nessus might represent something relatively minor that got blown out into an issue that shaped your entire emotional reality. In order to justify the impact, people will often blow up the significance of the event. That event or situation might be something profound and difficult around which you shaped yourself. It could be the worst thing that happened to you, that also gave you the best gift you ever had. It could be the crisis that set you on your healing journey.

Think of Nessus as being “that thing that happened” without which you would not be you. This you know; and at the same time, you might wish it hadn’t happened, even though you know that you would be someone different, by which I mean not as deep or as connected to yourself.

Sun on the South Node is about giving up something that does not work. Think of it as a purge or release point. Sun conjunct Nessus is about claiming the full spectrum of your pain and struggle and sense of injury and, in doing so, gaining access to the strength and wisdom that you’ve cultivated.

I’m talking about sex; that’s the specific topic of Nessus, most of the time. Usually it manifests as some kind of transgression. These transgressions can open you up; or you might take the opposite approach and shut down around whatever happened, forming a kind of abscess or miasm. Often these are coated with psychic scar tissue and take considerable work to even admit they are real and worth addressing.

Nessus is a centaur planet — the third discovery (made in 1993) in the group of which Chiron was first (in 1977). All the centaurs are agents of healing. This can come through some inconvenient process or deep trouble. Sexuality, with all its promise of connection, intimacy and creative expression, usually counts for both inconvenient and deeply troubled.

Nunnery Quadrangle, Mayan temple of Uxmal, Yucatan, Mexico.

Once you start really listening to people’s feelings about their sexuality and their sexual experiences, the amazing thing is how few have even scratched the surface of their potential. I mean this in terms of how good sex is, how long it lasts, what it means, or how deeply they connect with others through sexuality.

Some of this limitation surrounds sexual abuse and assault, but not most of it. Sexual violence is the outgrowth of a larger, deeper and wider problem that it’s rare to hear anyone describe or even admit exists. This is actually a perfect description of Nessus, the psychic focal point of the problem, in Pisces, where it can easily be denied. There, it can act like a reef below the surface of the water, waiting for another boat to smack into it and sink; those are relationships.

What I have observed as the most common coping mechanism to this condition is some form of lowering one’s expectations, doing without, or deciding none of it mattered so much anyway; it was all just overblown hype. With that idea, the potential for healing those concealed emotional injuries is reduced. So too is the potential for the strength, wisdom and beauty that the healing process would release. That should be motivation. Yet if you don’t know about it, or don’t believe it, how can it be?

So, soon we will get to experience the Sun lighting up the Pisces ocean from within. As it does so, it first makes an opposition to Transpluto in Virgo (saying, we really need a wider concept of relationship; so many ideas are just “stuck in the head” and have no real life of their own).

Sun to South Node is a release point. With that, it might also feel like encountering whatever that past karma is. The South Node describes the need for submission. That does not mean passivity. Submission is a conscious, affirmative act and, for example, it can include the need to submit to one’s healing process, or submitting to the need to be a leader, or admitting one’s actual, current circumstances.

The more you engage with this material over the coming week, the more the eclipse will be a healing balm and the less destructive or painful it will feel. This takes honesty and a measure of courage. Yet it’s also necessary to have tools, and those would seem to be in short supply. However, if you’ve read this far, you have some tools to work with.

Avebury Henge in England is about a kilometer wide, and has a little tiny town at its center. I believe this is how London got started.

Here is the thing to remember: sexual healing in any form is about being a less well-behaved person. You have to violate the rules to do it, and the way you know you’re succeeding is because you feel like you’re doing so. It’s about breaking many taboos, particularly those involving strictures on your feelings and your thoughts. We’re really talking about holistic healing, which not only includes your sexuality; it includes every facet of your biology and your creativity.

The element of taboo — that which must be shunned or avoided — is essential to understand, if at first only intellectually. This entire topic is so wrapped up in a psychic fog of “don’t go there” it’s amazing that I’m even writing this, or that you’re even reading it. That’s the first tool you need.

Here’s how I learned it from my teacher: when you experience embarrassment, go toward it rather than away from it. Yes, embarrassment is the Keep Back! message. This takes many emotional forms, including seemingly more toxic shame and guilt. They are all different forms of the same thing. They are all equally useful.

The reason to go toward the embarrassment is because it’s a veil that separates you from what you want. The freedom and pleasure are on the other side of the veil. This may take some courage, but not after you’ve succeeded once or twice. Then you’ll have additional motivation, because you have a clue what’s waiting for you.

With these aspects I’ve described, and the eclipse, we’re only at the beginning of the Pisces story. Next comes a conjunction to Neptune, which is about being at home and in love in your imagination. Admit what you like and what you want. Dream a little.

with love,

Aries (March 20-April 19) — You may notice for the first time just how edgy you’ve been feeling, and decide that you need to pull in a little bit, or seek some refuge in the friendly, benefic arms of whatever Jupiter in Libra represents. One possibility is a wise teacher. Jupiter among other things is a representative of your 9th house of ethics and spirituality. I suggest you use this transit to orient yourself on people who set the example of doing the right thing. This is true of any relationship or partnership you’re in. Tap into the knowledge and wisdom of people around you, and focus on the ones who are the most generous with it. Another representation of Jupiter is even more interesting. It also is associated with your 12th house, Pisces. You might think of Jupiter, in one expression, as representing some version of your inner self. This could manifest a number of ways. One is as someone who is in harmony with your deepest inner life. You will encounter people who seem to already know your secrets and have at least a partial map to your hidden world. However, given that we are talking about a planet associated with excessively dualistic Pisces that is in let’s-weigh-and-balance Libra, there’s another side to the story. You will probably have a series of meetings with people who represent your shadow side. These are likely to be the people who irritate you the most. They have something to show you. They will really teach you something about yourself if you’re paying attention. The thing to do is to keep an open mind, be flexible, and try to retain your sense of humor.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Taurus is one of the most mental signs. Yes, Taurus is associated with comfort and wealth and nice things and tangible experiences, and it’s also a huge, astounding head-trip. Your ability to get that head-trip under control is one of the most significant factors in your ability to harness your creative force. I’ll keep this short, though I think you’ll appreciate having this information to work with. Gemini is your 2nd solar house, or 2nd house by whole-sign houses if you are Taurus rising. The 2nd house is a direct extension of who you are. It represents your values; first and foremost, what you hold to be true. It also represents possessions including your body, your available resources including your money, the tools of your trade, and your sense of self-worth or self-respect. It turns out that one of the most solid and physical signs has one of the most airy and ethereal 2nd houses. This helps explain why you really have to work to hold onto your money. Gemini flows; you need your money to stick. The best thing you can do is work with the flow: constantly skim from yourself, and deposit your savings into a bank account you don’t touch or even think about. Also, you need to invest in things of lasting value. Finally, remember that your ideas are your most important resource, especially in a year with retrograde Mercury conjunct the Sun when the Sun enters your sign. This emphasizes all things Mercury this year.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Having Pisces as one’s sign associated with career can feel like a first-time author walking into the International Book Show, wondering where she might fit in. Pisces is the great delta of the zodiac that flows out to the vast cosmic ocean. It’s difficult to gain perspective with Pisces, or to notice where you might fit the scenario at hand. In this way, you may experience your highest aspirations as being far from your reach, or beyond your abilities. You might experience your moments of success as something lacking context or significance in the wider scheme of things. Alternately, you may see your own potential as being limitless and containing all possibilities. And then you would need to find access points into that limitless reality. You’re the one who has to negotiate between your potential and what you do with it. This is an active, everyday challenge being a Gemini. The world can seem so much bigger than you are, and in one way it is — but your mind is the thing that encompasses the world, all the world’s people and all your experiences there. That means that your primary growth task is expanding and deepening your consciousness. What you have going for you are several key talents. One is your flexibility, your ability to adapt. You are a master of language, and communicate with nearly anyone. You could get a laugh out of a riot-police officer in full regalia. You have a gleam and charm to your personality that makes you nearly irresistible for others to relate to. This is your passport to all that seems beyond you: converse with it and see where that leads.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — The internet is a robot. Humans become like the tools that we create, and humanity is fast becoming an automaton. In fact humans are faster becoming robots than robots are becoming human. Artificial intelligence is not very intelligent, but the artificial stupidity that many humans and society are adopting is indeed disturbing. You need to remind yourself that you are not an android, nor are the people you work for, work with, or provide your services to. This means that in all of your professional affairs, you must do your utmost to be a person — the person that you are. One of the gifts of your sign is your value on what is familial, on what is tactile and what has feeling. These are the assets that you must bring to your work, even and especially if your work is in the digital realm. This translates first to being highly adept within the digital realm, and then to utilizing as many in-person meetings as possible, and telephone or Skype when that is not practical. You want the human touch in everything that you do, and the feeling of quality. Use physical mail whenever you have the chance to do so. Use high-quality paper, handwriting when appropriate, and your very best courtly manners in all that you do. If you have any control at all over this, make sure that humans answer the phone where you do business rather than those annoying interactive systems. In other words, go retro.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — On the day the Sun enters your sign, it does so in a conjunction with several planets, including Mars. Energy, drive, individuality, self-assertion: Mars will help you with all of these. Mars conjunct the Sun in Leo is pure cardio, the pump of vitality. Mars and the Sun are conjunct a little-known centaur planet called Thereus, which has just entered your birth sign and will be with you through 2020. In one manifestation Thereus represents aggression and warriorship, though not necessarily the spiritual kind of warriorship. The message here is to moderate your energy. As the year develops, you may find yourself increasingly driven to conquer, rebel or revolt; a gentler approach will serve you better. The thing to beware of is frustration. By beware, I mean be aware. You will act differently when you’re irritated and when you feel like your efforts are getting you little for your work. That’s the time to stop and think. Thereus has an interesting property of what you might call multiple solutions or multiple workarounds. If you do something not-so-Mars-like — contemplate your situation — you will see that there are many ways through whatever puzzle or maze you’re looking at. You might take as your motto, ‘There is a better way’. When you solve a problem, try to solve it again, only better the second or third time. Look for a more elegant solution. When you see your way through a social pattern, look more closely for additional information or ideas. The ultimate answer to any social puzzle can be found in considering whether or not you feel equal to the people around you, and why.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Transpluto is not a planet but rather a kind of mental phantom, technically called a hypothetical. It exists only in mathematics, in computer programs, and in the minds of some few astrologers. It’s still newly in Virgo, at the beginning of an approximately 75-year journey across your sign. Transpluto would be less meaningful were it not so obviously relevant. It represents the principles of narrowness, contraction, perfectionism and high focus. There can also be a do-it-yourself obsession. Researcher Lynn Koiner describes the ‘reformer complex’ as a key attribute of Transpluto, which can translate in the personal sense to an obsession with self-improvement. When we consider your naturally self-critical nature, all of this tells me you must ease back on these qualities rather than lean into them. You have plenty; your momentum will carry you, if you stay out of your own way. There comes that time in any growth or improvement project where you have to ease back, have a glass of wine or even smoke a cigarette. Radical, I know. However, you’re at a stage of your life where you must follow your own rules, and to do that, your rules must be practical and workable. There’s no point setting goals that you cannot meet. Often Transpluto represents an internalized authority complex: a kind of inner persecutor. Nearly everyone on the planet was born with Transpluto in Leo, which describes a certain pervasive self-esteem complex that we experience on a pandemic scale. The very most important work of growth, of therapy, or of any spiritual process, is addressing this internalized persecutor.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — There is no way to understate the impact of digital life on human relationships. A philosopher named Eric McLuhan wrote recently, “The body is everywhere assaulted by all of our new media, a state which has resulted in deep disorientation of intellect and destabilization of culture throughout the world. In the age of disembodied communication, the meaning and significance and experience of the body is utterly transformed and distorted.” We are under this influence 24/7, and it’s particularly intense for you at this time, as we’re right in the peak power of the Uranus-Eris formation. Because so much of what you want in relationships involves relating through the body, whether emotionally, physically, aesthetically or as an artist, you might take heed of this idea. Account for the distortion created by fragmented consciousness. Look at your life story. Check in with the people around you. Notice what is different and distinctive about the past five to seven years. Part of the anesthesia we’re all under involves mood-altering drugs, substances that make it difficult to be honest about personal material and which suppress sexual feelings. Whether or not you use these medications, you’re in a world where many, many other people do. Understanding the influence of this would be another item to add to your agenda. Alcohol permeates society like a river running down through the generations and out into the streets. The pressure to be monogamous combined with natural sexual curiosity and a nonstop barrage of advertising and porno can create a toxic mix that turns explosive. It’s amazing anyone has any happiness at all in their relationships, though by some miracle, people sometimes do — and you can.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — One of the most interesting features of what was named the Thoth Tarot is the Scorpio card. This is Atu (key, or major arcana card) XIII or Death. It’s unlike any other death card I’ve ever seen. The main image is a black skeleton, awake and alert, holding a scythe, the tool of the grim reaper. The skeleton seems to be enmeshed in spiral strands that look like puppet strings, and which reach to the upper right corner of the card. Woven into the spirals are what look like fetuses or ghosts. Those represent entities from our genetic past. We are them and they are us. It was not until 1953 that a scientist named Francis Crick made the first accurate sketch of the famous mirroring spirals of the DNA molecule, an understanding of the structure that is still accepted today. Harris and Crowley had come startlingly close to the accurate model a decade earlier. So what is DNA doing in the Death card? And what’s the whole death thing with Scorpio? And what has that got to do with the association of Scorpio and sex? The connection is the theme of your sign: the mysteries of life and death. The presence of DNA immediately implies sex, because DNA is the very substance of sexual reproduction. Let’s consider a couple of other symbols in the card. One detail is that the skeleton is black. When you’re looking at an image and something is drawn the opposite of its usual color, the artist is telling you to pay attention. Most skeletons you see, the dead kind, are white. A black skeleton is sending the opposite message, of life and of existence. So we know that the card called “death” is really about life. And life is conveyed through sexual communion.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — In the Organon, Samuel Hahnemann’s treaties on healing, he says, “If something aggravates, remove it.” You would be amazed (or perhaps not) at what an alien thought this is to many people, despite being so obvious. If something is making you sick, get it out of your environment. If the whole environment is toxic, then you must get out. In Pisces, your 4th house, Chiron points to physical contaminants; Nessus points to emotional ones. These might be a presence in some form now, or one you’re still cleansing from previous experiences. The presence of Neptune, however, complicates matters, by adding the factor of denial. Neptune can act like a substance to which one is both allergic and addicted. It can also anaesthetize one to other problems in the environment. Under one scenario, it’s possible to respond to the signals and the demand for vigilant awareness of Chiron and Nessus by denying them or pretending they’re not there. You will need to navigate these seemingly dissonant influences within you now. Chiron and Nessus serve profoundly important purposes, which involve healing your past and grounding you in the present. Yet if you succumb to Neptune, you will not get the benefits of these influences. Of course, Neptune in the 4th can make a difficult situation tolerable. Though where Neptune is concerned, you want to set boundaries, in particular, time limits. It’s easy for a month, a year, or a decade to get away from you, if you’re not paying attention to time, and working with a concept of your limits. It’s through these types of diversions that we see so many potentially powerful, undeniably creative people waste their lives on chaos, pain, and struggle. You have the power to overcome this, to the extent that it’s influencing you.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — For five years, Uranus has been in Aries. Uranus is the most restless and revolutionary planet. It’s the ultimate archetype of disruption. And to the extent that you’ve tried to cling to any notion of yourself from the past, the result has been stressful. In fact if you’ve experienced any meltdowns related to “who you are” and “your family,” you now have a working metaphor to understand them. By far the pressure to change is more potent than anything that might incline you to stay in your shell. The added impact of Pluto through your sign (combined with the series of Uranus-Pluto squares from 2011 through 2014) is making it inevitable that you break free from previous definitions of yourself — from your family or from whatever source — yet you are somewhat stubborn and you do tend to cling to the past. This is, by the way, a tendency affirmed by the inherent past-orientation of Capricorn, and having Aries in a house inherently associated with the past and seeking security there. There is no point clinging. There is no point resisting who you are becoming. It’s long past time to cut the apron strings — no matter whom they are attached to. The ongoing conjunction of Uranus and Eris in your 4th house has raised this to anything from a constant drive to a fevered pitch to moments when you’re utterly frantic to bust into who you are and be who you are. The thing is, your future self is not as easy to perceive as your past self. Every transit I’ve described above adds up to you developing in ways that you simply cannot predict, and which therefore amount to a daunting unknown. In order to face who you are becoming, you must face that unknown.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Often you make the whole experience of your sexuality mental rather than emotional and physical. There are a number of ways this is illustrated in your chart. Try this on: the two houses in your chart that have the most influence over your sexuality are ruled by Mercury. Mercury is the planet of ideas, of talking, of gadgets and, best of all, “the mind of the senses, the consciousness of creatures.” Whatever else we might say about you, you need sex to be a mental phenomenon. That’s good, because everything that happens anywhere happens in your brain. This goes for everyone; however, with house 5 covered by Gemini and house 8 covered by Virgo, your sexuality needs a correspondingly mental and psychological component. You are a perfect fit for erotic writing, sex by Skype, sex by email and, heck, sex by Twitter. You probably discovered phone sex shortly after the invention of the telephone (Mr. Watson! Come quickly!). So, lace your sexuality with hot conversation. Tell it like it is. Fulfill your desire to hear all the details from anyone who will reveal them. Virgo on the 8th is all about the details. It’s also prone to a bit of being hyper-picky and to overemphasizing hygiene. Which leads to Pisces. An important root of sexuality is held in the 2nd house, which covers masturbation. My erotic theory begins with the idea that all sex is based in one’s sexual relationship with oneself. Here, you have the potential for a rich fantasy life, which is good for self-sex. The clit is not really the clit; it’s the brain. With Neptune in this house now, there’s really no limit to what you can imagine.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — To celebrate the beauty of this moment calls for total commitment to yourself and to what you are called to do. We live in a time when many commitments are faltering, when the social contract is unraveling, and when the values of society seem to be crumbling. Yet you are in a position to rise to the occasion of your existence. You can answer your calling to live not just with purpose, but also in full accord with your deepest values. That is what it means to be a solid person. Once you’ve experienced that, there’s no turning back because there’s nowhere else to go. One discovery you may be making is just how radical you’ve become. By that I mean the astrology of recent years has fitted you with advanced bullshit filters and a commitment to truth. You are less afraid than ever to express what you genuinely believe. In fact, you may be bolder than ever about expressing who you are. Experience has taught you not only that this is safe, but that it’s the only sane way to proceed through life, especially in times of chaos, strife and deception. Even if you don’t feel like you’ve crossed the whole distance, even if you feel like you have so much more progress to make, if you scan back over the past seven years of your life, you will see the considerable progress that you’ve made, and you’ll get a sense of your trajectory. Some of this progress has been in the outer world, the place where you express your ideas, do your work, and relate to other people. Yet the most precious gift of Chiron’s presence is self-awareness. That includes self-acceptance, and the deep knowledge that your most important relationship is to yourself.

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