Dear Friend and Reader:
MERCURY IS RETROGRADE from Sept. 24 through the first half of October. The retrograde begins two days after the Libra equinox and ends just as the Moon reaches the full phase in Aries. The Oct. 14 Full Moon is a dramatic event, coming at the peak of the national political campaigns. At the exact moment of the Sun-Moon opposition, Luna is conjunct Eris in Aries and the Sun is conjunct Eros. The last Full Moon (in Pisces, on Sept. 15) was also conjunct a major planet — Uranus, and we had quite a surprise that day: the buyout of Wall Street by the federal government. The emphasis of this retrograde phase, being in Libra, is on relationships, but there is an energy of chaos and unpredictability in the air — and beyond that, a sense of improvement that is based on deadlocked or otherwise stuck situations coming free. An extremely rare aspect is now developing, which is the opposition of Saturn and Uranus. This is an era-defining aspect. When Saturn opposes a traditional outer planet (Uranus, Neptune or Pluto) we get big changes. When Saturn opposed Pluto in 2001, we had Sept. 11 and the consolidation of executive power by the currently ruling political party. When Saturn opposed Neptune in 2005, we had the big hurricanes that flooded New Orleans and Texas. For the first time in nearly four decades, Saturn is opposite Uranus for the first of five times (a series) in two years on Election Day 2008 — and we need to take this as a message, an omen and most of all as an opportunity. It represents the choice between two distinct viewpoints — pluralism and fundamentalism; freedom and oppression. This is not just a choice in an election; it is not just a symbol or a philosophical game; it is very much a personal choice.
Yours & truly,
Aries (March 20-April 19)
Do you have the feeling lately that you’re trying to put the pieces of a vastly complex puzzle together, and that puzzle is you? Are you struggling with linear time, or with keeping the plotline of your life together? I had this vision of you buying a 2009 date planner but getting a copy where the pages are all in the wrong order. Meanwhile, I’m wondering what it must be like for you to communicate with the people who are the most important to you. It’s probably not so easy at the moment, and I am sure you don’t think it’s getting any easier. Some kind of blowout or emotional injury (perhaps a double blow) that occurred late last month may still be lingering and you may even fear that it’s knocked an important relationship off the rails. I suggest you take it slow, and if vaguely possible, live with the uncertainty. Try not to push matters, but rather, work with your environment. To put it simply, Mercury is retrograde in your opposite sign, Libra, and this may be scrambling all the signals that you’re trying to get straight. Under these aspects, your time and energy right now are better spent listening and gathering information. What you need to remember is your commitment to yourself and to life, and your mutual commitment with those you love. The tides will rise and fall. These remain the solid ground on which you stand.
Taurus (April 19-May 20)
How do you see yourself lately? You seem to be imagining yourself through the eyes of others. We all do this, but suddenly it seems to be an odd obsession, imagining the voice of someone is speaking through you or like some part of their personality has taken up residence in your awareness. You may be using this perspective as a kind of lever to get to know yourself. I suggest you take this as a clue that you feel that you’re too uncertain of your identity or sufficiently emotionally unbalanced that you need to get your information about yourself from elsewhere. The elusive knowledge you’re seeking about yourself is connected to what feels like an untouchable part of you. In other words, it does not exist outside yourself, in another person, in a situation or in a goal. What you seek is an aspect of your existence that you hold as too pure to share with anyone else, and perhaps so deep you may not know how to get there. You may in some way feel guilty or ashamed of yourself when you do. That’s the feeling to be aware of. You can easily — in fact, too easily at this point — hide your feelings in someone else, or some circumstance external to yourself. I suggest you meditate on communicating with the deep, burning and unspeakable mystery within yourself. Even if you don’t think it’s there, it really is.
Gemini (May 20-June 21)
You’re running the risk of stressing yourself unnecessarily in a relationship or wannabe relationship. This involves investing yourself in a situation with too high of a risk-to-reward ratio. If you feel like you’re taking chances that are too big, you probably are. Now, it’s possible that you’re having fun gambling, in which case you may need to content yourself with the possibility of losing the game. You may be wondering where all that excellent passion you were experiencing just a few weeks ago went, even if that passion was unfulfilled desire. And that, by the way, can become an addiction, which is in reality a kind of obsession with intensity, regardless of where it may or may not be going. I suggest you look and feel below this level of your experience. There is something down there: for one thing, an old story that you can now see from a new point of view. Go on a hunt for the feeling that you have done something in the past that renders you ‘undeserving’. Make friends with the side of you that someone may have, one unfortunate day long ago, branded a loser. It’s not true — but if you believe it, you will live as if it is. Meanwhile, regarding your current situation, if you face the truth that you don’t have so much influence, you will begin to discover what influence you do have.
Cancer (June 21-July 22)
You’re headed into bold and unfamiliar relationship territory. This likely involves one particular relationship, but also your encounter with that entity known as ‘everyone’. In some way, one person is poised to become a contact point with the rest of the world. Listen to anyone who speaks to you like they’re an ambassador or translator. If you’re feeling the unfamiliarity of your environment, like you’re in a place with unusual and unfamiliar customs, or like you don’t quite fit in but are being accepted anyway, you are in the right place. Pay attention to the deeper story, meanwhile: it is about you negotiating with yourself about having permission to feel secure in your feelings, on the planet and in your environment. You may feel like you’re swimming in emotional uncertainty or confusion, but it’s what you might call fertile chaos. If you want to move from the chaos factor to the creative fertility factor, go deeper; all the turbulence is on the surface. Take a chance you would not normally take. You may not, at this point, feel you have so much to gain. Determine how little you have to lose, and then decide what you’re willing to try. That chance will appear as an opportunity in the realm of emotional or erotic bonding, joined by an unusual chance to express your ideas and your talent. These will take you far beyond yourself.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
You like to get along with your neighbors, and you see the wisdom of this. Neighbors includes siblings, friends and people you work with. They may be testing your patience; maybe it’s the lost emails and missed phone calls that are getting in the way of your peace and harmony. I have two suggestions, one of them more practical than the other. Walk over and visit some of the people you would normally be inclined to call or email. Show your face and add some warmth to the transaction. At least pick up the phone — it’s better than a free-floating packet of data. Second, there are certain past situations with some of the abovementioned people from your past who would love to hear from you. Go as far back in time as you like; elementary school, five jobs ago, last year. Think of the people you were closest to, or were most intrigued by. Remember anyone you felt an affinity with, or in whom you saw some unusual beauty. Consider who you were afraid to approach because you thought them out of reach, or because you simply lacked confidence. Then get yourself onto Facebook or LinkedIn and see who’s still in business. There is a human gem from your past waiting for you if you do, and the reassurance that life is not as transient as some would have us believe.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
I’ve often said in this column and elsewhere that how much money you have reflects how you feel about yourself. This is not true for everyone; we all know there are some extremely wealthy people who don’t feel good about themselves at all. For you, resources of any kind have their roots in your emotional resources. This includes your sense of balance, your sense of purpose, and the awareness of your own beauty. How you perceive yourself quickly reflects in the world around you. You’re now being taken on a journey into your awareness of how this works, from the inside out — which is the direction you need to consider. In other words, external reassurance is not what you need, but rather the inner awareness of the feelings of inadequacy that you struggle with. I don’t suggest you avoid your doubts. I suggest, rather, that you look truthfully at them, and strive for some idea of their source and, by extension, their validity. Doubts don’t come from nowhere; everything that grows has roots. Getting to the truth will be a process that works out in layers over the next month or so. You’ve already experienced some unusual revelations about the anger you harbor toward yourself. Start there, applying the simple question: does this make any sense at all?
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
Getting to know ourselves seems to be one of the most profound experiences in life, one of the most challenging and the most satisfying. Yet how many people have a conscious relationship with themselves? I think that more often we relate to ourselves vicariously through others. You have the chance to do both in the coming weeks, and a moment when you figure out the difference. For a while, it’s confusing as usual, then there is a moment of clarity. Your inner feedback is suddenly more meaningful than what comes at you from outside. Your idea of what your life is about is more accurately reflected in your feelings than in the feelings of others. Your interior space is less chaotic and feels more dependable than any space around you. This is a bigger shift in awareness than you may imagine. You are so dependably a relational person, that is, someone whose primary orientation within existence is relating with and exchanging with others. Usually, their sense of individuality powers over your own. Though it’s only been a matter of time, it has been a long time coming for you to feel some sense of stability in your self-awareness. You may not be there yet, but by the Full Moon mid-month you will have a very helpful clue.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
There was a time when we thought “pictures don’t lie.” They started lying some time before King Kong climbed up the Empire State Building. Images can also tell the truth, but in doing so they teach us that every statement of the truth is a symbol. A photograph is the symbol of an actuality, not the real thing. In other words, we look at a photo, no matter how doctored up or authentic it may be, and we presume it’s real because that’s the implied message of all photographs. There is some element of this idea that informs your existence in the coming weeks, as you sort out your self-image from the image you project to the real person you actually are. Once you become aware of what I’ll call your imaging process, you may find you’re disturbed by what you discover. You may have one of those psychedelic-like moments of feeling completely disingenuous; you may decide everything that is projected or perceived is a kind of illusion. Yet at the core of all of this imaging and mirroring and perceiving is reality, and through this process you are gradually learning to project an image to the world that is in tune with the truth of who you are at your core. One clue I can offer: one aspect of that truth changes; one aspect remains the same.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
Communication is typically the number one struggle in relationships, when it could be among the most gratifying pleasures. This is true because we’re not taught to actually communicate; we are taught to signal and to receive signals; we are taught to guess what people are feeling; we are expected not to ask or to reveal. That leaves a lot of room for misinterpretation, and you happen to be standing in this territory right now. The best thing you can do for yourself and the people you care about is to speak your mind clearly when you feel a need to; and ask clearly for what you want to know. Leave no room for guessing, and remember that much of what people consider their truth changes on an almost daily basis. That’s going to be especially vivid through October and through the rest of the year, with Mercury changing directions mid-month and so many important planetary aspects developing. You have a gift for being a rolling stone, one who can adapt to changes, to progress and to setbacks with equal grace and awareness. Turn that awareness up high and set the example that the world needs of one who speaks authentically and who asks authentic questions.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
You may feel a distinct tension developing in your life, and you may also be noticing that small things are not working out as you planned. Don’t confuse the two; they are barely related. The relatively minor inconveniences you’re currently facing, particularly at work or involving your parents, will blow over pretty quickly if you can keep the misunderstandings contained. The way to do that is to maintain a policy of seeing both sides of the story and deciding on the truth for yourself; and of course, keep factoring in new information. The size and scale of the greater changes will be more obvious come November: the sense that you need to free yourself from some kind of constraint, responsibility or idea that is dragging you down. On one level it would seem that you lack the basic faith that you can solve your problems; yet the very ideas that your mind creates push you to accept the fact that you can, if only you were willing to adjust your beliefs. Nobody is asking you to do this on faith; rather, you have the chance to decide what is true for you based on actual evidence of what works. If you notice that you shun this kind of evidence, then you have on your hands a crisis rooted in believing what is not true. Rather than ask why you would do that, I suggest you simply admit the situation. The reason matters less than the basic fact.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
Admit that you are in unfamiliar territory and that you need to be here. The way your life feels right now is illustrated by a conjunction of the North Node and Chiron in your birth sign. The North Node is about pushing into unfamiliar and uncertain territory, which is the basic mode of existence of any conscious person at least part of the time; but the North Node creates a kind of irresistible, incomprehensible magnetism. It is a strong, almost irresistible pull, with the feeling that you came here to do this, no matter how difficult it may be. Add Chiron to the equation and you get the kind of intensity that is rare to find and difficult to feel, with the sense that you may somehow be on your own, and the extreme vulnerability of knowing that you are simply different. Yet difference is now what you’re striving for; rather, it’s a consequence of your growth phase. What you are looking for is to find your place in the world, one that is in harmony with the ways in which you excel, stand out or have a mental focus that is off of any familiar wavelength. It is not easy being different, and the vast majority of people on the planet — as you well know — would prefer not to deal with difference at all. And that, per se, is the challenge.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
You may feel that your creative drive, your sense of self or your very existence are plunging toward a head-on collision with some limitation you can feel but cannot see. Actually, your limitations are headed for a collision with you. This is unlikely to be pleasant while you’re not quite aware of what is happening, or while you’re more invested in your doubts than you are in any sense of certainty. I would propose that the name of the game right now is moving beyond both doubt and certainty, and working from the most grounded, basic sense of purpose that you can connect with. By basic purpose, I don’t mean reducing your sense of vision any smaller than your apprehension is making it feel already; rather, I mean staying connected to the people around you, to the quality of the work that you do and at least feigning the belief that what you are doing is connected to a larger purpose, both individual and collective. Emphasize communication and awareness. Most people can walk around and content themselves with the idea that their life is directly about them. That does not work for a Pisces. There must always be a sense of the greater whole, though at the moment, you may be struggling to find the contact point. A major turn in the river is not far off; too far, you may think, but closer than you realize.