Sun-Pholus-Eris: How do you handle pressure?

Did you feel a noticeable dip in your energy this weekend with the New Moon — as though you needed a little extra time to draw yourself in and gather yourself up before growing with the Moon again? The Sun and Moon were roughly opposite a centaur planet that tends to have a pressurizing effect. And while the Moon has already moved past that point in the zodiac, the Sun is currently in a configuration that asks: How do you handle pressure?

Simplified chart section showing the Gemini Sun opposite Pholus in Sagittarius (green flag) and sextile Eris in Aries (red arrow pointing down).

Do you try to escape? Do you split and fragment? Do you try to use it constructively? Here are three possible illustrations.

1. Imagine you’re a submarine. The water is pressing on you from all sides. If you try to dive too deep to escape other boats, ignoring the effect the pressure is having on you, you’ll eventually burst. The welded seams will start to crack; rivets will begin popping out; pipes will burst. The human equivalent is: we lose our emotional and spiritual integrity when we try to ignore pressure. It takes its toll by making us feel fragmented, split against ourselves and unable to function.

2. Imagine you’re a piece of coal, deep in the Earth’s crust. Tectonic plates move and you are subjected to tremendous pressure. But instead of fragmenting, you receive the pressure and allow yourself to be transformed into a diamond. You actually gain structural integrity by acknowledging the forces pressing on you and going with their flow — but doing so means letting go of ‘who you were’, and accepting transformative change on a fundamental level.

3. Imagine you’re a world-class athlete at the top of your game. You’re in the most important contest of your career, against athletes who are at least as good as (or better than) you are. But you are able to take that pressure and internalize it. You own it as though it is coming from you — because, in fact, it is; your desire to achieve is all your own. In doing this, you are able to refine the pressure and focus it, using it to guide your body and your mind, your energy and your every action, to propel yourself further than you ever would have been able to without it.

What exactly is going on astrologically to suggest these images? The Gemini Sun is making aspects to Pholus in Sagittarius and Eris in Aries.

Sun-Pholus is exact tonight into Tuesday. Oppositions can feel like polarization or tension with an external focus — as in, someone else. You may have started feeling this with the New Moon, even though the sensation is usually more common with Full Moons, since both Sun and Moon were opposite Pholus.

At the same time, the Sun is also sextile Eris in Aries (exact Thursday). That gives the fragmenting tendency of Eris access to the ability of the Gemini Sun to hold all the pieces together consciously, without pretending any of them don’t exist.

Meanwhile, Pholus and Eris have themselves been loosely trine for a while. Centaur planets tend to feel a little pressurized or highly focused — and they tend to focus us on old emotional material and familial baggage. If part of that baggage has to do with casting off a part of oneself, Pholus-Eris could increase that sensation.

Pholus in general can come with the sense of a cork popping out of a champagne bottle, letting all the ‘good stuff’ spray out all over the place. So if you’re feeling at all squeezed or pushed on like that champagne cork, what do you do? How do you handle pressure?

The submarine, the coal and the athlete are just three possible templates for how to experience and work with pressure. What else can you think of? What describes your experience?

13 thoughts on “Sun-Pholus-Eris: How do you handle pressure?”

  1. A visit to the park to check in with my teacher amidst Portland’s 3 week bike fun extravaganza Pedalpalooza. Lots of moving fast on 2 wheels, stopping to stand. All I did was standing this time in the park. No form practice, no push hands. Teacher adjusted my posture and I wanted to stay there long enough to grok it. Feeling how a spanking I had…no, let’s call it a beating; it wasn’t a quick shock to make a point, it was a sustained bludgeoning of my sacrum at age 6; as I stand the pressure of gravity pulls down and as I breathe I go deeper into the sense of how an injury at the bottom of my spine acts as the lynchpin of a system of muscular tension from head to foot. Standing is simple enough that head brain can focus on how to dissolve the sensation of “I can’t get out of this, when will it stop, he’s bigger than me…” etc. I’ve been working on this for years, but lately the process has jumped to a different level. Maybe teacher’s technique or his familiarity with me is improving how he communicates, or maybe he’s saying the same things and I’m just ready to hear. Take it deeper; when you feel the sparkle instead of letting it animate the ghosts feel just a centimeter deeper and take it apart.

    Yin and yang always in balance; as the pressure of intention holds the posture and creates a diamond of mindfulness the pressure of blockages dissolves like sugar in water. As muscles learn to cooperate instead of antagonizing each other, as they learn to allow the bones to align the pressure in the dimension of muscle tension gives way to the pressure of keeping firm and holding the middle. Bones under pressure release electricity.

  2. And the sub – another idea (if you’ve read Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway) might be if there is a sub which is going to fragment under depth pressure a heroine scientist pumps water and seaweed through its systems so that it freezes under pressure and makes an ice hull to take the place of the metal one.

    Hello Eric and all!

  3. Interesting Eric these three scenarios, I just reread the myth of Pholus, who speaks of injury as the square of March to Chiron. I speak in my experience of uncontrolled agitation, it might actually look like a pressure.
    Not less than five Centaurs grouped in Sagittarius with as many possible situation

  4. “The submarine, the coal and the athlete are just three possible templates for how to experience and work with pressure. What else can you think of? What describes your experience?”

    like a water-filled baloon, i felt the pressure situation (external) squeezed me, and i seemed to expand and bloat some place else… feeling the ‘bursting pressure’ at this ‘bloated place’.
    till i realised, the pressure i was feeling (internal) was because of the defining boundaries i had in place, like the baloon skin… which (i thought) kept the ‘water’ in – safe and preserved.
    and when this baloon skin i had, dissolved (or dis-appeared)… i found, i was more like clay, or dough… where the external ‘pressure’, was forming me into a useful form.

    thank you, amanda… for allowing me to reimagine what truly happened in my encounter-experience.

  5. I’ll take door #2 please.

    and rucognizant, I am always willing to talk, be sympathetic, to ask for help, to hold my heart open. There also are times when I wish to be intimate with myself and to reclaim that sacred space where others have trampled. My mom used to get upset at me too. She helped me most by just “being” with me and not asking anything of or from me. Ice cream helped too… 😉

  6. As always, Chief, your words go straight to my heart, where they’re kept company by a litany of past kindnesses.

    I thank you and embrace this “new me.”


  7. Strawberrylaughter- you wrote: “But through the ordeal, I didn’t get upset, which is completely not me.” Dear friend- not getting upset is the new you. Congratulations, you arrived at your ‘destination’ having enjoyed lunch with your Bro, and unruffled by the TSA. In fact, you got them to help you out by emptying your bottle! From my reading you have already learned this important lesson. The trick is remembering to use what you’ve learned, that’s the practice we are all engaged in.


  8. I had an interesting experience with this yesterday, just before I opened this post. I was flying home from LA & had a layover in Portland. So I’d texted my brother & asked if he wanted to go to lunch during my layover. 3 hours isn’t much, but Portland is a super easy airport to get in & out of. He picked me up, we had a wonderful lunch and of course lingered too long, so by the time I got to security, I was in a rush. And everything seemed to get stuck. The guy in front of me had never heard of the “liquids & gels” thing, he forgot to take his shoes off,…it was one thing after another, to the point where I’d even left 1/2 cup of water in my water bottle, and the agent told me I had to either go through the whole thing again or toss my bottle.

    But through the ordeal, I didn’t get upset, which is completely not me. TSA used to drive me out of my tiny little mind. But yesterday, I just held firmly onto the fact that I’d made my choice about what was most important–lunch with my brother–and if the world had to go to hell as a result of that, it was just going to have to, & I’d deal with it.

    It was a pretty huge lesson for me, and one I’ll probably be taking in a bit at a time for a while yet. When we’re subject to change, part of the pressure we feel is in trying to keep everything together. But knowing what’s most important frees up a lot of energy for things like being compassionate. The lady emptied my bottle for me and gave it back, in part because I wasn’t mad at her, I think (and also because it had a note from my mom written on it. Moms are good for things like that 😉 ).

    Obviously, the pressures we’re all under get a lot more intense than nearly-missed flights, and “what’s most important” is usually more difficult to discern, but I think there’s a powerful lesson for me in there. It seems like a skill set worth developing.

  9. Thanks for the advice on handling pressure, Amanda! Really need it today, things coming at me from all sides – officialdom and unpleasant bureaucratic stuff (aargh!).

  10. If one more Scorpio says to me “I don’t want to talk about that.” this Taurus’ rivets and pipes will burst! They certainly can cut themselves off from sympathetic, problem solving…………assistance..

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