BY ERIC FRANCIS
A year of incredible activity in the sign Aquarius reaches another peak with an eclipse of the Moon on Aug. 5. Think of the Moon as a veil and an eclipse as drawing back the veil. When this happens, a small, meaningful planet called Nessus is revealed. Nessus orbits our Sun and was discovered in 1993. It’s in the Centaur group of planets, the third in that group after Chiron. We live with this energy every day, but like most of the facets of astrology we don’t give it a name in real life. In Aquarius, Nessus is about the tendency of people to hold one another to harsh codes of social conduct; to brutally enforce rules on one another; and to outcast anyone who dares to show a little individuality — this, regardless of the alleged belief systems of the group. Powerful influences are inviting us to step out of our narrow boxes of limited self-concept, which we tend to live in like crates that define our whole reality. There are people who can individuate in the face of harsh adversity from their peers, but not everyone is strong enough. You may not be strong enough to do it without support, and the planets in their courses are saying: we’re all in this together. Give to the world what you need the most. We will all be better for it.
Aries (March 20-April 19)
In our society we don’t generally see the ambivalence we have around the concept of ‘friend’. We accept that friends might betray us, hold us down, con us out of our values and enforce the laws and expectations of our parents. The past year of your life has had, as a dominant theme, redefining the concept of friendship. Events this month invite you to look directly at the shadow side of that concept, and give it a name. Look at the ways that codes of conduct are enforced; expectations are placed on people; and the harsh punishment for daring to exceed the limits that others place on themselves and try to enforce on everyone else. The thing you may fear the most, being an outcast, is at the moment your most potent ally. Before we can actually accept ourselves and be accepted, we have to confront this one. Think of the alternative: you spend your life, in ways direct, subtle or both, avoiding any possible situation where you might potentially face rejection. And rejection for what? For being who you are. The result of this would be a life of pretending to be someone else. It worked for a while, but it’s not going to work any more.
Taurus (April 19- May 20)
I don’t think we can ever question the theme of self-esteem carefully enough. First a simple definition: self-esteem is how we feel about ourselves that influences every other aspect of existence, what we do, how we feel, how we relate to others and how we judge our worth. Putting it mildly, this has been a theme for you lately: specifically that you seem to have two entirely different opinions of yourself, that you try to maintain simultaneously. What tends to happen is that you alternate from one value system to the other; one judgment or evaluation to the other. Lately the split grows worse if you aim your ambition upward; in a sense this inner division is revealed when you aspire to something better than you currently have. This does make sense; if you want something better you’re going to tend to evaluate whether you deserve it or not. I’m here to tell you that one side of the story is not inherently true. It was taught to you initially, and you continue to teach it to yourself: this, through any experience of guilt. If you experience guilt, you can be sure of one thing — you are responding to someone’s early conditioning. You are playing back an old tape that says you’re powerless; and it will help if you recognize this fact and see if you can determine who put it into you. Then, take it as a question rather than as a true statement.
Gemini (May 20- June 21)
I’m sure things have gone weird more than once with Mars slowly working its way across your birth sign. Odd bouts of panic, conflict, doubt, guilt and confusion are all potential developments. This is the necessary result of finally reaching for your will, your intention, your voice. If, every time you reach, you get psychic blowback, that’s not a very good advertisement for continuing the endeavor; I am here to offer you some encouragement. I won’t call the blowback a natural result, but it is a consequence of purging unnatural, self-defeating ideas. It is these concepts that exist at the core of your extremely restless inner dialog, which appears to be coming to a peak in these very days. You may rightly wonder how you can think in the much greater concepts that attract you if you cannot settle a simple score within yourself. This is the issue you need to put to your advantage. It’s not that you resolve this and then move on to a perfect life; it’s that you work with your conflict and your tendency, subtle or not, toward cruelty to yourself, and explore this with the full awareness of your mind and body. Asserting your will is not an option. If this has consequences, they must be dealt with directly, and in this case, directly means constructively. Here is a clue: you are much bigger than any conflict you perceive.
Cancer (June 21- July 22)
Part of how you measure your value is your value to your community. Perhaps you’ve never made this a conscious process; it may be lurking in a back room. It may be hiding behind other ideas about relationships, which tend to be dominated by the one-to-one special relationship; those arrangements rarely make room for a greater level of commitment or responsibility in life. Significant sharing is presumed to end with the significant other; if there is not a significant other, the search for one generally consumes any energy not required to acquire food, rent and getting around. The time has arrived to think bigger: to see yourself as part of something larger than you are, but as an essential part. This theme has been growing in intensity for many months. You’ve experimented with methods for going forward; now it’s time to investigate what is blocking your way. Consider your most intimate relationships carefully. Is the person you must be in those relationships a big enough person to contribute to the world around you? Is that value shared and supported as part of the culture of the relationship? And if it’s not, why not? Relationships are based on two things: shared values, and trust; which in turn facilitate an honest exchange. Settle for nothing less.
Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)
Maintain your focus clear through the end of your current agenda. Don’t let yourself be distracted, even if you get the feeling you have to be overly narrow in your approach. Set aside everything unnecessary, or that does not support this single goal that you know is dear to you. The piece where actual progress occurs happens after you feel and confront the resistance to the very progress you are trying to make. That resistance may feel like doubt; it may feel like you’re making the wrong sacrifice of certain other goals; you may be questioning whether you’re approaching your objective with your usual positive attitude. There is a double ending here: by practicing a kind of over-focus (that by the way is a therapy term used to describe people who take things a bit too seriously) you pass through a narrow mental opening and come out in a different place with a new goal. I suggest you be both sensitive to this transition, and welcoming when it occurs. This is a fairly typical step in any creative process. The time spent on the prior activity is never wasted; the information you are gaining right now is precious; the skills you are acquiring will reincarnate with you from goal to goal. Keep your focus — whether what you’re planning seems like it will take days, months or years.
Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)
You are entering the final push in a process that has taken you a couple of years to set into motion; and to establish the validity of, in your own mind. You may need to check your method and infuse a new idea or two. In fact, by the time you’ve already moved on into the future, you will have already done so: that is what constitutes moving on. As usual, the idea or seed of action can come from you, or it can come from circumstances around you. You currently are in possession of the idea. This could even be called original. The meaningful thing is that it comes from inside you. I cannot overemphasize how important this is, particularly since you are surrounded by so many people who are extremely powerful in their innovations, concepts and creative talent. The value is to your self-respect, which is your key to any future collaboration. You seek stability, but that is not really the answer; what I suggest you seek is a sense of movement and innovation that is self-activating and has sufficient momentum to match the energy of what enters your awareness from outside. You’ve yet to learn that you are as brilliant as the most talented and ingenious people in your life. Events this month may not prove the point, but they will give you sufficient clues to do so yourself.
Libra (Sep. 22 – Oct. 23)
The privilege of exploring a creative passion is countered by the necessary risk that you will encounter shadow psychic material. This is the vital difference between creative process and a hobby. Creative process turns shadow material to fuel; art would go nowhere without pain, doubt and deep self-reflection. The reward is that you get to process these emotions, on the spot, into beauty. This is the part not to doubt, and the part where trust is essential: stick to the process and let yourself be free of any concerns about the potential results. From the look of your charts, you won’t be able to see those results for what they are for a while: they will slowly pour out over the next two to four seasons. The simple key to this process is embracing points of darkness rather than avoiding them. By doing this you will see what they are made of; but the most significant change that will occur is the fixed mental patterns that are the single most significant block to your free expression of your ideas, your sexuality and in truth your sense of personal identity. Exploration of the kind I’ve described above is designed to do one thing, mainly, which is to teach you the kind of spontaneity without which true self-expression verges on impossible.
Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)
Does it have to be that in every arrangement someone comes out ahead and someone comes out behind? Yes, if you consider no other possibilities; or if you’re content to live in a world where this is the first and only rule. You see alternatives to this, but I suggest you consider the reasons why they are less than appealing. Look carefully at the deeply rooted notion of competition, and consider why you retain any vestige of it in your heart. One possible reason for it is a sense of entitlement. I recognize that in a capitalist society we are all seemingly inbred with this attribute, but it’s a good idea to take out that part and put it on the workbench. Is it really sustainable? Does it even work? Then there is the way that competing makes us feel alive; but this is a substitute for actual achievement, which tends to stand apart from all competition. Finally there is personal insecurity, which we are taught to compensate for by figuring out how to tell ourselves we’re better than others. This does little other than reinforce the belief that we are somehow less; that we are undeserving of the most basic attributes of existence rather than ‘being the best’. You don’t need to be the best: you need to be you, which fortunately you already are.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22 – Dec. 22)
Part of why you’ve been living in a state of potential more so than a place of accomplishment involves seeing the larger implications of your ideas, your efforts and your dedication to a healing process. The most noticeable results will come during the next year or so, but you’ve now got a chance to take a concrete step toward something you recognize. You need to think about whatever it is you’re doing as having implications further from home. It’s not a stretch to say there is clearly an international angle that opens up later this month; or it will open if you knock on that particular door. This may involve a specific person, location or point of interaction, rather than a general idea or approach, though in any event something that opens up around the time of the Leo New Moon on the 20th. It may seem odd or overly restricted at first; your idea may seem to be reduced down to a fragment of its original form. Think of it as a formula: reduce before you enlarge. Get a small part of the process right before you move onto reproducing it in a larger way. Keep track of your seed idea, and remind yourself again and again what it is. An idea is something at the essence of one’s motivation or effort; as you experiment you will have different notions of what it is. They all have something in common.
Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)
You have returned as far back to the beginning of a process as you can; you are poised at a point of origin. Stay there for a while; look for the thought that got you started, the idea that reminded you that you could renew your entire existence, and focus on that idea. Notice your impulse to evolve and grow, notice your willingness to change and more than anything feel the passion that is swimming at the center of all of this. As you go through this, be mindful of the values that guide your life from day to day, in ordinary consciousness. Be aware of your routines; the ways you respond to yourself and to others; notice how you feel every time you handle money. Notice what you are and are not willing to invest in, particularly as relates to yourself. You are dealing with two distinct layers of who you are. One is deep at your core. The second involves a layer where everything is or was imposed on you. Your core layer is far stronger, more informative and more likely to get results, but you have to work with the process of learning and teaching in the mundane sense, because so much of your energy is trapped in what I will call unquestioned values. You tend to assume things must be a certain way, in denial of another property, something so much more potent and authentic: but so much more is possible.
Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)
Continue to inventory what has shaped your psyche and how it continues to do so. Many people go through existence as if how they are stands without a cause. Cause and effect are inseparable, and if you want to understand the effect, look for its origin. It will become so obvious at a certain point soon that if you’re not seeing it you really don’t want to. The issue may be connecting a particular result with a specific root source; the link will be made by your intuition and verified by your intellect. One reason you want to observe and heal this issue is that you feel so much more potential within yourself than you are able to access. You feel the grandeur of your mind, and then it seems like something intractable is in the way. It’s not intractable as long as you recognize that you don’t need to become anything different than you are; rather you need to identify and come to terms with what is not you, and the effects that it’s having on you. The karma it would be most helpful to witness is how your own thought patterns create, reinforce and in a sense blind you to anything besides a certain kind of negativity that is entirely, as in 100%, unnecessary. This same cosmic property can inform you that your creative and loving thoughts can have just as powerful results; but the results are far happier.
Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)
Wouldn’t it be beautiful to live in a world without betrayal? You can, but you have to hack into the code of a psychological pattern that’s in a blind spot of your awareness. You don’t need to take this personally: it’s a pattern in society, though it would appear that this thing we call society has a diversity of microcosms that reduce down to groups, families, couples and the people who interact with them, and finally the shape of an individual’s mind. If you believe the research of a therapy process called Internal Family Systems, our minds represent a model of our family of origin, which is based on a model of society; we carry around the whole thing. It may sound like a lot of responsibility, but the beauty of this condition is that we have access to the deepest levels of programming if we are willing to see the inner-outer connections, and go in and make the adjustments. You can afford to be daring now. You can take the risk of leading with love and seeing what happens when you allow yourself to feel in an expressive way. Your love is bigger than anything that it might encounter; it’s more powerful than any form of culturally engrained negativity, and can handle any potential other than love. Trusting this is your bridge to freedom.