I hope you’ll pardon the late report for your solar return. Mercury is indeed retrograde, but the astrology of your anniversary charts is so complex and beautiful that I needed to wait until I was in the thick of it, and had less on my plate, to attempt bringing it to a level of personal meaning. Such is risky business because people often make decisions based on the words of astrologers, particularly decisions about how they feel about themselves.
In doing so, I would remind you that astrology is not the truth; rather, it is a form of personally applicable mythical fiction. It’s a kind of storybook wherein you may project your feelings and experiences, and where as an author I am allowed to pretend I’m writing about you, and offer you some food for thought and feeling. Though there is a long tradition of astrological divination, astrological writing is fundamentally a literary device no matter how true to the charts the astrologer remains.
This Neighborhood of Make Believe factor is profound in your current solar return chart. To explain why, I need to delineate two of the astrological houses for you, and explain their relationship. They are the 12th and the 1st — the first and the last of the lot. The 1st solar house (in your case, Gemini) is where we find out tangible sense of self; of existence; of consciously admitted identity. Deirdre Tanton once mentioned that she associated the 1st house with one’s name, which is a concept about ourselves that we project or offer to the world as a token or a symbol of who we are.
We could expect you to have two names, though this translates to two identities, two entirely different senses of your own existence. This is not merely about having “two sides to your personality,” but rather an inner universe that has two distinct hemispheres, between which you traverse.
The 12th house is the world of the unreal: the dreamy shadow territory of the unconscious; the space of our secret desires, our worst nightmares, our lingering fears, or sense of the rest of existence so vast, it threatens to subsume (and does at times) our individual identity. We are usually sleeping when the Sun transits this house each day just after sunrise, and we remember our visit there in fragments, as the pieces of dreams, most of which are eternally forgotten. When they intrude fully on 1st house awareness, the effect can be deeply disturbing, enlightening, inspiring or confusing. Without this intrusion, art would be impossible and religion would get no business.
In your solar chart, the 12th house is occupied by Taurus, and is ruled by Venus. Venus is not only making a visit to your 1st solar house at the moment; it is doing so in grand style (described in detail in last week’s Friday edition). Venus, the planet that holds eminent domain over your desires, secret passions and lurking fears is standing solidly in your primary consciousness, in Gemini.
Though this happens for a spell once a year, the current visitation is occurring at a hot moment: at the midpoint of two Venus transits of the Sun, which I have described as a tipping point toward the future. For you personally, you are being tipped in the direction of admitting the existence of what normally is plastered to the walls and ceilings of your secret dimension of thought.
It is this material that will inform your journey to the future, particularly toward, through and beyond the symbolic threshold that New Age spirituality (with a little help from the Mayan calendar) has been deemed 2012.
Alternately described as “the end of time” or the “leap beyond technology,” 2012 is a metaphor for going beyond who we are, what we think we know and what we can foresee. Four years seems like a short time, but we tend to have surprisingly little foresight to even aim our headlights ahead 1,200 days. When you consider that 2012 represents the end of a nearly 2 million day cycle, that is not so much time, and yet it is further than nearly anyone can see.
The presence of Venus — a distinctly Mayan symbol, as the priests and mathematicians of that culture had quite the love affair with this hot, bright, beautiful world — suggests that an image, idea or vividly manifesting dream symbol is acting like a harbinger to your future.
This may be something or someone about whom you have denied your true feelings. More likely it is a vision you have of yourself, and which you may have had only marginal awareness. True to 12th house form, this vision is at once profoundly different than you are, and also remarkably the same as you are. It is like one of those contradictions in a dream where you might be looking at the face of a critter and cannot tell if it’s a dog or a cat and the distinction seems to have lost its meaning, another fact that is confronting you. You know, and you don’t know, and yet they feel like the same thing.
Is this vision you, or is it some kind of opposite to who you are? Does it exist simultaneously, or does it exist in a different dimension of time (for example, the deep past or the deep future)?
Let’s consider evidence that this is something from your deep past, particularly the presence of your own 1st house planet Gemini (i.e., the ruling planet of Gemini) making a retrograde conjunction to Venus at the heart of your solar return season. Mercury retrograde spins the whole discussion in reverse, shifting our perception of time and taking us back to your most vivid or haunting childhood memories. These may include dreams that followed you through your younger years, and which may have been lost in the onslaught of time, rationality and responsibility.
Let’s move from the literal to the symbolic. Did you ever have a vision of a woman? Did you know a woman who existed so close to you that her identity seemed to infuse your own from the inside? And at what point did you forget her existence?
I would imagine she has followed you like an imaginary double walking beside you, though never quite stepping into the physical plane. She may be someone you aspire to live up to; one whose artistic, emotional and erotic values you reach for at the core of your being. She may represent the “real you,” who you strive to meet within your deepest dreams or as a companion in the world. The aspects at your solar return suggest strongly that you will meet her, but more to the point that you will become her and allow her passion and integrity to infuse your existence.
By integrity, I mean that she lacks the apparent dualism that you so often seem to be overwhelmed by, and she may represent the symbol of how you wish you could resolve the many splits that you live with every day: be they divisions of opinion, desire, sense of purpose or awareness of who you are. You thrive on your ability to divide your character, but your deepest growth depends on your ability to stand united with yourself.
At least you are at a juncture where that which seems impossible, unreachable or unreal can now inform your most mundane sense of time and place. Hear, in that perception, the calling to reach for your utmost sense of self-knowledge, and to actually act on that knowledge from a state of awareness. This is the “spiritual path” so often spoken of; it is the “creative life” so often dreamed of; and with Venus involved, it is the enlightened sexuality that you could pay $1,000 for a weekend course in, but is really as natural as saying yes to yourself.
Part of the inner dialog and weaving of integrity is about maintaining awareness of the relationship between existence and nonexistence. It is in this relationship, which is the relationship to change, to death and to letting go into the beauty and transience of intimacy, that we find our power on the physical plane.
When we make contact with the 12th house, we admit what we cannot define, possess, control or become. This is another way of saying that the 12th house means you must stand in relationship to the mystery of who you are, no matter how obvious it may seem, or how impossible to discern. It is the relationship to the unknown that counts the most. “Who you are” also represents who you are becoming. The measure of respect for these mysteries is the measure of your integrity.
Yours and truly,