Dear Friend and Reader:
Before we get into the month-ahead themes, the astrology of the next few days is so interesting that it calls for some special focus. For many people, Thanksgiving (in the United States, held the last Thursday in November) is a family holiday, and family environments are often emotionally challenging. This may literally involve brain function: encounters with people in our family of origin tend to light up old neurological pathways, and grown adults can have reactions similar to small children when they encounter their relatives. This can be confusing, because you might feel like one person before you walk into the door and another person standing in the front foyer. In fact, for some this is so intolerable that they either avoid their family, or have grown so far from their beginnings that no meeting is possible. This thing we call ‘drifting apart’ is often a truly healthy thing.
Our moment of astrology could shake up many longterm patterns, fixed concepts and beliefs, and we’re standing in one epicenter of that process right now. Mercury stations retrograde at 2:19 am EST Thursday morning, so it will be halfway between standing still and taking its first slow steps backward for a retrograde that goes through Dec. 13.
When Mercury stations, it’s like a mental reversal of magnetic poles. All your brain cells thought that one direction was the positive pole and the other one was the negative pole, and that can reverse. The result can be an extended moment of disorientation. If you know it’s happening, that puts you at a psychological advantage over someone who has no idea at all.
I keep hearing that the topics most people avoid discussing with their family involve religion, politics, sex and money: your basic taboo subject matter. Those rules just might be thrown to the four winds. So if you’re dreading seeing family members, this holiday might be a lot more fun than usual. Even the most ordinary social environment could become wildly interesting.
This Mercury station in fast and loose Sagittarius looks like a case of astrological Tourette’s Syndrome: a moment when it’s possible to open your mouth and state the truth. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself saying what you really think, not caring what anyone else might have to say about it. I suggest you skip the regrets and instead focus on how funny or meaningful it is that you (or someone else) just blurted something out, because it was the thing to say. If you’re not hanging out with others today or this weekend, it’s an excellent time for an introspective adventure. Whether you’ve got a full social calendar or nothing much going on, I suggest you consciously make some time to be alone. Sagittarian energy is always an invitation to adventure; even a seemingly modest trek somewhere could be a lot of fun.
Mercury stationing is followed up by an eclipse of the Sun in Sagittarius. This takes place at 1:09 am EST, less than 24 hours later. Thanksgiving dinner is sandwiched between these two events. An eclipse can have the feeling of pressure building, needing to be released. There is invisible tension in the air, and often the sensation that you want it to burst. This can distort perceptions and your sense of proportion — be sure to do a little reality check. Perceptions are just that; they don’t always represent the truth.
The social and political environment is rather amazingly different than it was this time last year. Traveling back in time, in November 2010 we had just gone through the midterm election, wherein the Tea Party had grabbed a bunch of congressional seats and governorships, and it looked like old-guard conservatism was finally going to save the world. That was before the Tucson shooting, Fukushima, Arab Spring, the uprisings in Wisconsin and Ohio, a wave of government defaults across Europe, the Occupy movement and a haze of pepper spray drifting from coast to coast.
What a difference a year makes. Today, there are protests in the streets, a sense of social upheaval and no promise that economic conditions are getting better. Yet to the extent there are going to be improvements, we now have permission to believe that we might have an influence, and that individual change counts for a lot. The time has come for a new conversation, and the astrology of the next few weeks is all about that — no matter who you choose to have that conversation with. Remember, you can learn a lot from the people you agree with the very least. So keep your ears open and remember, no matter how asinine an idea someone utters, there’s always someone else who thinks it’s brilliant.
In true Sagittarian spirit it would be a good idea to have a thick skin and your sense of humor ready. I don’t suggest you try to convert anyone; rather, the times are more appropriate for being yourself and seeing how that feels. That always makes an interesting experiment.
A Month For Ideas With Lives of Their Own
We begin the last month of 2011 in transition: between eclipses on the Gemini/Sagittarius axis, with Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius, and many planets cautioning against mental obsession or overload. The energy in the sky is pouring in from the mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces), which are all about ideas in motion; in this setup, ideas that seem to have lives of their own.
Here’s how that looks. Through Dec. 13, Mercury is retrograde in Sagittarius, which is challenging many conventional beliefs, religious concepts and notions we may have about the world. This is happening at a time when the world itself is changing fast.
Anything with strong Sagittarius in its astrology is going to want to make its point, whether that point makes sense or not. If ideas are truly meaningful to you, if concepts matter to you, it would help if you check your evolving ideas against the available facts. Mercury will retrograde past many slow-moving points (most of them newly identified by science) and every day could come with a new sense of discovery.
Following the Sagittarius partial solar eclipse of Nov. 25, there is a total eclipse of the Moon in Gemini on Dec. 10. This might come with a few too many words to make sense of anything much. It would be a great idea to conserve your words and not talk away your intentions. If you have something to say, focus on writing; if you have important conversations, make sure you take notes, or all the information could evaporate. (Note, with many planets hanging around the Galactic Center, this ‘evaporating idea’ phenomenon may be in full force.)
Your best ideas (which would include longterm plans, or a full-on revisioning of your life) will take on a life of their own, if you cultivate them carefully and consciously. What’s growing on the vine are not your garden variety notions of what might be possible, but are more like high-potency hydroponic philosophies that will have extra influence.
Mars is a longer visitor in Virgo, where it will be through early July. On Friday, it’s in a close aspect to the eclipse, which is suggesting that you take the time to get your facts straight, know what you want, and subject your own ideas to some scrutiny. That doesn’t mean analyze them to death (which is a possibility with Mars situated as it is in Virgo) but rather that you ask questions and do your best to answer them. Mars in Virgo square the Lunar Nodes is deeply introspective and it cautions against harsh self-criticism. Try not to worry whether an idea or plan is good enough. Rather, relate to it consciously and see where that takes you.
One thing to study carefully are interconnections of any kind. There is something about the charts these days that suggests that looked at one way, anything could seem like a conspiracy, or looked at another way, it’s obvious that all life and all people are connected. Look closely at the ways people support one another in ‘failure’ and in the futile resistance to evolving their knowledge and beliefs. If you’re surrounded by people who seem stuck and are affirming one another’s stuckness, note that carefully and see where you fit into the pattern.
To what extent are you either relying on unproven assumptions, or unconsciously holding onto assumptions? Whose example are you following when it comes to being a ‘better person’? Does your drive to ‘improve yourself’ do just as much to drive you nuts? Among other topics, theses are some of what come up for review.
We are alive in a revolutionary moment. We know that this is long overdue. Quite literally anything could change, and many things we’re not expecting will happen before our eyes. Remember that this will not be a pleasant process for everyone. For many, their sense of safety is the direct result of clinging to what they believe. When facts come along that challenge those beliefs, the result can be a bunch of conflict.
At the moment, this is optional, and you can get the hang of reassessing your beliefs as a voluntary experience. As we move through the next six months, this will have an increasingly compulsory feeling, as the beliefs that no longer serve us collapse on themselves. You can avoid this by continually updating your files, and asking yourself whether what you believe 1) serves you and 2) is actually true. Most of our dysfunctional beliefs come in the form of ‘I’m not good enough’ or ‘I’ll never get it right’.
You can go far beyond this struggle, however. Keep your focus on your inner source of inspiration, and notice what demonstrates itself to be valid and real for you over and over again. The truth does not need any help from us to be itself. But it helps a lot if we get out of the way.
Aries (March 20-April 19) — Many factors have been pushing you to change your mind. I don’t mean make a new decision about something, but rather understand your way of thinking and then revise key elements of your thought process. You do have a way of getting split down the middle; different points of view can have the same apparent value, when really that’s not true. Over the next few weeks, you’re likely to have experiences that point out this fact specifically: there was something you were missing, and you’re going to get a good look at what that was. This comes with a clue. An issue you were stuck over, which seemed to be on the level of your mind, turns out to be about an emotional hang-up. By that I mean an attachment to the past of some kind, which was obscuring your view of the present. Once you get your emotions out of the way and can assess the situation from a mental or analytical point of view, you will suddenly see a distinction much more clearly, and understand the ways your attachments to how things were was blocking your perception of how things are. In short, the time has arrived for you to participate in a larger world, on adult terms, rather than a small world following the rules of a child. Look around and notice how many of your peers still live by the rules of the schoolyard, a condition you can no longer abide.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — The time has arrived to tighten up your act. I mean your whole act — there is no point practicing your singing if you don’t also work on your dancing. The issue may manifest initially as a desire to get your financial life in order. That’s a kind of ruse. What you’re waking up to is that you have two separate value systems that are in conflict with one another, and it’s time to make some choices. It could be something as simple as the conflicting belief pattern that on the one hand believes you want more money, while simultaneously thinking that money is evil, or that people who have money are evil. Both of those beliefs cannot be together in the same room, and you may have a few of those. While you’re working that one out, there is something unusually powerful in your chart right now that describes putting your whole identity into whatever you do creatively. Your creative process is not about choosing one thing at the expense of others, but rather about an ethic or method whereby you put your whole self and all of your talent into everything you do. Again the theme is about getting away from the sense of having a divided character, which is the sensation of any one part of your life competing with any other part of your life. You are one person, experiencing one whole existence. Experiencing this potential may seem daunting, though it’s simply a true fact.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — This is a special time in your life, though you do have a tendency to forget. The focus seems to be on your relationships. Yet most of what we describe as relationship issues are almost always personal material that is projected into the relationship. It’s easy, indeed, too easy, to get confused by this, and a number of factors could lead you down this path over the next few weeks. The question of why you want relationships, and the role of other people in your life, is a deeply personal one. In truth, it has nothing to do with other people; the conversation begins and ends with you, and through that conversation you set the terms of what you want to share with the people around you. In fact, that’s a great way to state the question: what do you want to share with them? Ideally, that would be your most absolutely real self, even as this changes and evolves day by day. The most significant thing you’re sorting out is what I will call the mutual fantasy issue. Often, people have relationships not with actual others, but with a character they’ve made up who is based on someone they are with. The first step in getting out of this is presenting yourself to others as you are. The second step is doing your utmost to perceive who someone else is, then working with the basic facts that this presents. Just remember, this is not about a relationship — it’s about you.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Everyone has what seems to be splits in their psyche, at least until they get a handle on that illusion. Many times, you live in a polarized world, where there are two sides of the story, two ways of looking at life and sometimes where you seem to inhabit two (or more) separate worlds simultaneously, which have little to do with one another. Underneath that sensation is an underlying emotional reality, which dates back to some experiences that shaped your perceptions in very early childhood, or while your mom was pregnant with you. These memories are veiled; they exist in one of those ‘worlds apart’ that slips into your awareness from time to time. Pay attention to those experiences this month, including what comes through in very early memories, stories you hear from others about your distant past, and what comes through an especially thin veil between dream consciousness and waking consciousness. Be on the lookout for memories associated with your medical history, which in the industrialized world begins with birth and early visits to pediatricians. If your family was into faith healers, notice your memories and feelings around them. Meanwhile, as you dance around these realms, you may be flooded with the sense that you have outgrown your own mind, which would be a beautiful development. Your consciousness is expanding, your perception is encompassing more and more, and the present moment will eventually swallow the past like a puff of smoke disappears into the air.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — You can finally forget what you think other people think and explore your own creative ideas and erotic desires. There’s a reason why it doesn’t matter what other people think, which is that everyone has their own version of what is too weird to talk about. You can be confident of this. What stands on less solid ground, indeed, more of a swamp, is how comfortable others are with their own ‘weird’ side, but this isn’t your concern. Stretch into your most creative reality, going past the taboo threshold and into space that feels new and daring. One way or the other, most creativity or passion starts in the mind; we experience most things in consciousness first, and then follow up in the ‘real’ world. Notice if you run into the notion that ‘this makes a great fantasy, but I don’t have to do it in real life’. It may be true that you don’t have to experience something, but do you want to? And if you do, what’s stopping you? Chances are it will be some form of, what would Mother think? That’s a great place to get, because once you’re there, you’re standing at the point of transcending someone else’s idea of who you are and directly entering the space of who you are. You’re not a child. Your consciousness is yours to guide as you wish. Often we don’t find that out until we do something about it: something daring and fun that’s supposed to be a little embarrassing.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Does the past ever go away? It does, when we have a more interesting vision for our lives, but even then the past can be one of the most important teachers there is. If you find yourself caught in old emotions or beliefs when what you want more than anything is to move forward, I suggest you stop and make the process fully conscious. Perhaps instead of resisting the past you can take yourself there fully. This might be an easy time to do that, with the holidays coming up. If you have any commitments or plans involving family, turn it into a fact-finding expedition rather than an expedition. Bring your camera and digital recorder. Notice the things you normally overlook. Even if you don’t have family contact during the holidays, I suggest you go exploring the places and if possible, the people of prior decades. The place to pay special attention is your father’s side of the family. In the lives of many Virgos this is an especially critical area of life to resolve, and it’s been burning up the planets lately. I would propose to you that the past does not stay the same. Our perception of it changes, there are things we don’t know, and subsequent events (and generations) influence the meaning of things that seem long since gone. So I suggest you probe as deeply as you can, with an open mind. One message of your charts right now is that the way to the future is backwards.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Most of what we hold onto, or what holds back our progress, is rooted in the emotional level, but sometimes it goes deeper. You might think of that as the karmic level, where the patterns of the very distant past are held. These are the patterns that keep repeating, the ones you cannot seem to control. They might feel like wheel ruts or grooves worn into stone where water collects and flows. Freeing oneself from these kinds of patterns can feel extremely vulnerable and disorienting, which is why we don’t do it. Yet you’re reaching a point of inevitability. You’ll know you’ve arrived there when you feel a sudden shift in your environment, which you may experience as the sensation of density or feeling trapped in a home situation or emotional state. That may be followed by the impulse to liberate yourself, potentially something so impetuous that you care about nothing else. You may not have time to even consider that reaction. Then there is one last step, which is coming to terms with the pattern as something within you that needs to change. The way this process looks is like an evolutionary fire. You might feel the sensation of having your identity totally consumed, something like a caterpillar feels like in its cocoon before it melts into the substance that becomes a butterfly. There is little point fearing something that is inevitable; the question is how you can facilitate your experience as you transform yourself from one who crawls to one who can fly.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — The word is precision. To be precise, that’s the word between now and July 3, 2012. Precision applies to three things mainly: desire, decisions and emotions. Your quest is to find out precisely what you want. At all times, know what your options are, and count as a good day any day where you have at least two choices in any matter. Finally you must direct your emotions with precision, at the right temperature, particularly toward friends and associates — but especially toward yourself. All of this would fall under the general heading of intentions: knowing them and using them with discretion. That said, it would be a mistake to be too much of a hard-ass, and that is a real risk. Many of the most nourishing and profound developments in life come from a mix of discipline and creativity. While Mars, your traditional ruling planet, will soon be retrograde in Virgo, Chiron is in Pisces, a water sign similar to your own. That means indulging the part of your mind that moves in three dimensions; that engages with the world intuitively; that goes beyond the facts and details into a kind of visionary space where your mind creates something new. As Neptune enters Pisces early next year, that becomes even more meaningful. Precision is therefore the vehicle, but your ultimate destination is disciplined creativity. Keep contact with how much flexibility, gentleness and authenticity are necessary to handle actual, original ideas — and in the coming months, count on giving birth to lots of them.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Most authority is a matter of self-mastery. Just about anyone who has succeeded in the world has figured that out, and for those who have not, we understand why some have said that nothing fails like success. You may feel a diversity of impulses to be the best at what you do, to have control over your affairs and to assert your authority in your profession. This may drive you to a new level of competition as you become a taskmaster and push your influence and your reputation. I suggest you not get too carried away with this; for example, if you have the feeling (or the suspicion) that you’re losing your emotional grounding, that’s the time to change approach. You need sleep and food; 25 pounds of laundry is too much. You might have experiences where you disconnect from your sensitivity, come close to the notion that the ends justify the means. Success is worthless if you lose contact with your humanity. Ultimately, you want your drive to come from a mix of inspiration and motivation; problems are solved less by attacking them and more by thinking them through. Yet life is not a problem. It’s more often a human equation. Therefore, I suggest that while you’re taking care of details and taking care of business, you direct most of your energy inwardly, into the emotional and intuitive places within you. And remember as Jerry used to say: the storyteller’s job is to spread light and not to master.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — You’ve opened new territory inside yourself, but you may be wondering whether it’s enough to have the experiences you want. You may be wondering if you’ve pruned away enough of the old dross in your life for new growth to sprout. What’s important is not how far you’ve gotten but rather that you have begun a challenging process, and that you’re proceeding in earnest. While there are likely to be more challenges along the way — that is life, especially when you’re in an intense growth phase — arriving at the point of actual commencement is the most important step, and you passed that point a long time ago. You cannot be sure when your deep personal exploration is going to open up into a whole new world. That could be at any moment. One thing about your life for the foreseeable future (and I do mean for years) is that the moments of breakthrough will be sudden and unexpected, and they are not necessarily going to arrive when you feel the most confident. Remember that, because you might be inclined to use your insecurity as an excuse for not being ready. Therefore keep your focus on the present. Be aware of any paradoxes you encounter. They are like atoms that contain a lot of energy. One such paradox is likely to be the experience of bold determination, which then morphs into the sensation of total instability. Hint: don’t try to divide these factors, but rather, multiply them.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — You seem to be in a highly unusual moment of clarity. It’s as if everything you ever learned is organizing itself into a pattern where you can see and access it all. You may also be a little overwhelmed, as ‘it all’ encompasses wide psychic territory, long spans of time and deep history. This clarity may be arriving with the sense of the big lessons of your life and how they are coming up now not for practice but for actual mastery. Most significant among them appears to involve confronting the idea of sacrifice. My spiritual training is specific on this topic, and I will pass it onto you: stop and question everything the moment that concept arises. You know the particulars; I can speak in generalities. There are two definitions of sacrifice. The newer one is to give something up for the sake of another. The older one is to perform a sacred rite. Which of these two established definitions would you prefer, and which seems the more inevitable? Consider that for a moment. The next issue is, to what extent does your current situation involve dealing with consequences of your past actions, or past actions that were done to you by others? There is a psychological component here, and there’s likely to be a sexual one.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — For you, everything comes back to how you feel. When you feel good you can conquer the world, and when you feel depleted or divided, it’s hard to get anywhere. Therefore, focus on how you feel as your first priority, rather than on any specific goal. It’s not that you don’t have big stuff happening — indeed, from the look of your solar charts, you may have some of the biggest stuff ever going on. The next month is going to present you with some challenging opportunities, and while you may be tempted to think your way to success, or work your way there, I suggest you work backwards from the place of embodying the feeling of the success you want. How do you do that? The experience of fully engaging life has a sensation to it. You’ve felt it before; you can envision it now. That sensation involves how it feels to be in your body walking around on the planet. And it involves how you wield your vision. The word ‘wield’ is usually associated with things like swords and light sabers; consider your vision a power tool. This includes your communication skills, your ideas and your message. Timing is everything. For the next month, some important matters may seem to be delayed and others will feel like some kind of invisible partition over your head opened up and started letting in this really interesting kind of cosmic sunlight you’ve never seen. The world will look different, and seen in this new light, it’s one vast opportunity.