Scorpio Station Retrograde

MERCURY stations retrograde in Scorpio Saturday morning across the United States and the afternoon in the UK and Europe. The retrograde is noteworthy for being in a water sign (rare enough), and also for being exactly aligned with the now-complete (but still close) Jupiter-Saturn square, a unique mark of distinction and sign of the times.

This 90-degree aspect (square) between the two largest planets in our solar system (together comprising more than 2,000 times the size of the Earth), reaching from Leo to Scorpio, has just completed its third pass in the course of one year, and now Jupiter is getting ready to move onto other horizons (in particular, Sagittarius, next month, pretty big news). Mercury retrograde sets off the square, making a second conjunction to Jupiter and another square to Saturn over the next few days at the beginning of the retrograde cycle.

This will have the effect of ‘summing up’ the square and everything it’s represented for us during the past four seasons. Squares represent aspects so tense it’s difficult to approach both planets at once. So we tend to go back and forth between the planets involved, gradually integrating them into one idea. In this instance, the discussion is between the planet of expansion, and the planet of the boundary that contains the growth or expression. Saturn and Jupiter are in this respect two facets of the same process. Think of them as hands on a pottery wheel, Jupiter inside the pot pushing it outward, Saturn outside holding the shape and form. You are the clay.

Mercury in Scorpio during the next five or so weeks will also make a series of conjunctions to the diversity of other planets now in that sign, after retrograding over Jupiter meeting the Sun, Venus and Mars. Mercury then goes direct and makes another series of conjunctions, but this time mostly in Sagittarius — the next phase, the next chapter, the eventual result of what we experience just next.

All of these planets making conjunctions are giving animation, character and finally a vehicle for expression for our Scorpio story, which is for most people a story that is unspeakable or at best rarely spoken. It is the place we reach the limit of the taboo. When you are talking about sex with a friend and then stop the story short of going further, just short of the detail that counts the most, you have just reached the edge of Scorpio country. However, we are now all decidedly immersed in this energy, which you will read in astrology books is about sex, death and transformation. In truth Scorpio is the sign of the mysteries of birth and death, which many institutions have an interest in keeping veiled.

When actual experience begins, Scorpio is the point of surrender; of no return; the verge where ego dissolves into ripples of living energy and growth from the inside-out. Scorpio is first about the revelation of one’s secrets of life to oneself, then bonding with another in the process. This is precisely opposite how we typically relate, which is from the outside in.

There is an abyss between men and women, and it divides us horribly against ourselves. We should learn this at school, so we can raise awareness about the inner work to be done and the long process of harmonization that we inevitably go through in life, one way or another. We’re not, however, told that the union of our anima and animus, inner female and male, is selflove and self-acceptance, and the path to collective peace. The current Scorpio alignment is bringing anima and animus close together now, merging them in the sign of bonding and surrender. Externally, these aspects of psyche are acted out as erotic polarities that we experience in relationships. Internally, they are facts of who we are.

Venus and Mars meet the Sun, for a while, our identity and sense of individual consciousness. Yet does the soul have a sex? Perhaps not; perhaps it’s the inner embrace of the masculine and the feminine, the inner lovers reunited in each one of us. When those inner lovers are at odds, experiencing the frightening chasm between male and female as an (often unconscious) inner experience, a profound sense of alienation and isolation can result. This often results in the game of projecting maleness or femaleness onto our opposite sex partner, contacting it as an external rather than inner experience.

Instead of projecting our lacks into the gender game, we can, if we are willing, meet in the common collective ground of the inner balance of the lovers within. This is all Libra material, and we’ve lived through some of that lately, but the evolution is that, in resolving this in social interaction, we can go into the depths of the sexual implications That is where the real healing has to occur, or is occurring, and I think we all know this, however brilliantly or dimly.

Who would think that to resolve our sense of isolation in the world, we need to allow our inner polarities to meet and live in peace? Perhaps it’s occurred to you, perhaps you’ve experienced the sense of peace that comes with making contact with your whole psyche, not just the half you were told was you.

This has a bit of an androgynous quality, where gender, sex and sexual roles, and modes of existence (thinking, feeling, speaking) morph, merge, and then express themselves in original ways. This is different than the blurring of gender that’s created by many cultural conditions and influences (women feeling they have to act like men to succeed; men feeling they must act like women to be acceptable to women). To the contrary, androgyny is about embracing the experience of diversity and polarity rather than denying it.

Through this process, Chiron is the teacher. In Aquarius, he points to our collective wound. Conjunct another Centaur planet, called Nessus, we have a clue that the wound is about abuse. Chiron-Nessus in Aquarius represents many levels of abuse, principally psychological and media-driven. Aquarius is also the space in which something that happens is sanctioned by the culture, or made mandatory. Any form of peer pressure or social control is an Aquarian device. As you might imagine, there are many potential expressions to Chiron-Nessus in Aquarius, which is an era-defining conjunction that has been developing for at least the past two years. Chiron-Nessus in Aquarius is the reminder of how fearful it can be to encounter people, particularly the expectations of groups that so deeply shape our personal sexual expression.

Aquarius also represents tribal property, and sex as property of the tribe. Now with personal planets (Venus, Mars, Sun) squaring Chiron from Scorpio, the point is emphasized, in essence triggering or evoking our gender polarities as an inner experience, in the deepest and most sensitive part of our being (typically, the Scorpio zone in a chart). Not coincidentally, Scorpio can be scary territory, as frightening as an inner emotional struggle to resist an inevitable orgasm, or confronting a desire that can never be fulfilled; only dragged out over years. Why we might do this is a question, and for a reason we need look no further than what we’ve experienced, what was done to us, the lies we were told, and all that we’ve been denied in terms of sexual information and experience.

We might also consider the way we are conditioned into a state of perpetual desire rather than fulfillment, which is one of the most important qualities of effective marketing. We just don’t realize those bra and panty ads are killing us slowly.

We tend to view our sexual wound or sense of isolation as an individual thing, when really it’s something that everyone experiences at some point, many people often, and too many all the time. It would take a large burden off our shoulders to see this as a collective crisis. However, to do that, to break the isolation, we would need to learn how to talk about what we’re experiencing, and not only that, to listen to others about their experiences. The point of coming out of isolation is that we don’t do it alone.

Presumably these conversations would occur in intimate settings, and here we have an immediate problem: it’s rare indeed for two people who are sexually bonded or even interested in one another to actually reveal the bottom of their erotic trove to their partner. That is, the willingness to share all experiences and desires, no matter what they may be. Many people object to this ‘in principle’, suggesting that knowing ‘too much’ about our partners is not a good thing because it ‘spoils the mystery’. But the journey of growth and completion, the journey of real intimacy, requires that people who are intimate be intimate, and that there be no prior limits put on self-knowledge.

Too often the limits placed on relationships or sexual experiences are deeply hooked specifically into fear of self-knowledge. This is the over-arching theme of fundamentalist sexual values, of any stripe: deny yourself knowledge. Even the famous tree in the Garden of Eden was the tree of knowledge, and the word ‘know’ is often a sexual metaphor, i.e., to ‘know in the Biblical sense’. To deny knowledge is to deny awareness and thus deny life.

One thing we are in collective denial about is that where sex is concerned, one size does not fit all. Monogamy is mandatory, but then there are 100 varieties of the stuff, most of which conflict and would be regarded as false by others. To ‘maintain’ monogamy, often cheating is necessary; some degree of denial is considered natural or socially acceptable, and even healthy; and a significant number of people are moved by their circumstances to divide their character yet again. There is a solution, and it involves honoring freedom of choice, that is, the choice to be any particular way — including monogamous. Then, affirming everyone’s inherent freedom, we can finally experiment with being honest.

Admittedly, within relationships, it’s very often terrifying to hear the honest basics of what your partner has done, and needs or wants. Both people (or more, if they are available) must be willing to experience jealousy and to support (or at least endure) the jealous experiences of the other. Even with decades of experience listening and sharing, deep fears can arise, particularly fear of abandonment, or the fear of change. Energy moves, relationships shift and evolve, and we both bond and become more distinct as individuals at the same time, as we share these inner realities.

So (perhaps with a touch of irony) one of the risks is, specifically, closeness. Honesty means being honest about one’s real needs, which any astrologer can tell you, many people struggle with expressing in their relationships and even within the sanctity of their own feelings. And it means being honest with ourselves and those we call intimate, about our past and history.

Indeed, this may well be ‘impossible’ for some individuals and push others to the breaking point. Here, we might remember that when a heart breaks, it breaks open. When a mind breaks, often it breaks free. When a relationship comes under the stress, influence or impact of truth, the partners will either become closer and reach a deeper level of understanding, or move on from one another — and this need not be as violent as we make it in our society. But we do go out of our way to deny the process of growth, which is change — and that is violent.

Any retrograde planet is a harkening back to the past. Mercury, a planet often associated with the childhood environment and also with androgyny, will scale nearly half of Scorpio in reverse during the next 23 days, encountering numerous planets along the way, gathering the energy of them all. Mercury strives to convey its thoughts, not just keep them — so it’s something of a healing balm for Scorpio to have Mercury make a rare retrograde in this sign. This may represent a trip back to the recesses of all that we have forgotten. There, we may see the damage that was done, and recover some of the treasure that was lost.

— with Paloma Todd


Anya from the Book of Blue series (nudity)

Other Reading
Unbroken Chain by Eric Francis

Musical Interlude
The Weight by The Band. One of the most magnificent and cryptic rock songs ever recorded, here is the song, the lyrics by Robbie Robertson and an insightful Wikipedia entry.

Go down, Miss Moses, there’s nothin’ you can say
It’s just old Luke, and Luke’s waitin’ on the Judgement Day
“Well Luke, my friend, what about young Anna Lee?”
He said, “Do me a favour, son, won’t you stay an’ keep Anna Lee company?”


Weekly Horoscope for Friday, October 27, 2006, #634 – By ERIC FRANCIS

Happy Birthday Scorpio!

TRANSFORMATIONAL forces are potent in your life this year, with many planets making mysterious moves, both forward and reverse, in the depths of your birth sign. The implication is that you contain every element on the chart, which will mix and form into entirely new compounds in your life. You are able to represent and experience every polarity, and many potentials. In essence, you may become what you want, but a factor of unpredictability suggests that what you become may be entirely different than what you think you want.

These forces are acting on one another and the result is that the direction of your life is as unpredictable as the cosmic alchemy that is churning within you. Scorpio is that primal cosmic material where all differentiations cease and then new ones form. It is an exothermic reaction, blowing off a great deal of heat. Whether you consider yourself to be treading the cosmic wheel forward or in reverse, from Scorpio we move onto either Sagittarius (the one pointed direction of the soul), or Libra (the conscious balancing of sexual, gender and yin/yang polarity).

To use the highly unusual Scorpio astrology (described in the article above) effectively, you must indeed give up your expectations and make room for other possibilities that you never could have foreseen. We could end the discussion by saying get ready for the adventure of your life, but of course the astrology says a bit more.

Mercury retrograde is for sure prompting a personal review period; a phase of re-acquaintance with yourself, and making friends with every possibility. The long conjunction to Jupiter is about encountering your own true potential honestly: retrieving the desires, dreams and hopes that you may have given up on long ago; admitting the talents that you have long ago abandoned, but which have lately been coming home to remind you of their existence.

Jupiter is the ruler of your 2nd solar house (your resources) and Mercury rules your 8th solar house (expression of your potential, merging with others, sharing what you have). Jupiter’s square to Saturn has pushed you through a series of enforced changes where all of your resources are concerned, and has ensured that you take stock of yourself and make sure your needs are met.

Planetary forces are, however, going a step further, and compelling you to act on your talent and your potential rather than let it ride along in the same train car without having a real meeting. Every last aspect in the sky is about either the provocation of your potential, or valves opening up for its release into experience.

The place you will need to be most vigilant is in the agreements you make, and that others make on your behalf. In short, you must always know exactly to what, and to whom, you are committing. The agreements you make will have the ability to speed you on your way, or hold you down immeasurably, and the time to determine which will be true is before you actually make up your mind and sign the paper. This year, anything requiring your signature calls for second and third thoughts.

Any promises made to you must be made on firm ground with goodwill.

All physical touching must burst the bubble of shame, and be done with an open heart.

Aries (March 20-April 19)
In any situation where jealousy is a factor, consider your own role first, then distinguish those of others. Everyone must be careful in situations where feelings run this deep, but there is only so careful we can be in love — and only so much that we can claim ownership or rights over another person. Love begins with the freedom to choose. It is, at times, far more difficult to allow others the space to do just precisely that. But love in the true sense is a commitment to something beyond you, and beyond the beloved. Call it the love of life, or dedication to growth, but stick to what is truly important. Family Focus: Keep adult dramas far from the environment of children.

Taurus (April 19-May 20)
You may feel like you have no control whatsoever in a particular relationship or partnership situation that seems to be building to something of a peak. But what you may lack in control you make up for in influence, and also in awareness. But you need to trust that. Control feels good but is rarely valid. Awareness and influence may be less satisfying at first, but they are far more effective agents of change. If you’re in doubt, give yourself a little time and look for evidence. Remember, you’ll tend to call the witnesses whose testimony you want to hear. Family Focus: Explain to children that even adults have a lot of growing to do.

Gemini (May 20-June 21)
You may be having second thoughts about a work relationship to which you’re deeply committed. It’s almost as if you cannot help yourself; your feelings are making themselves known to you and there is not a lot you can do about it. What you need to keep track of is the extent to which this situation is affecting your physical or emotional health. Mercury stationing retrograde says this would be a good time to take it easier for a few weeks and reassess things gradually, with arm’s length distance. You need some rest, and some perspective. Family Focus: Make sure you’re at your very best when relating to your children.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Passion and pleasure lead directly to growth. This is not true for everyone and it’s not always been true in your life, but it’s most likely true for you right now. You may, however, be questioning whether you really want to go deeper into this situation, but on one level it seems like you’ve got little choice. Something is compelling you. Given that, I suggest you ask if you don’t finally have what you’ve wanted for so long. The relationship is meaningful; it’s up to you to make it good, and if you’re honest, you can. Family Focus: Trust is more important than love, and usually what we mean when we say love.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
Push has finally come to shove where your needs and desires are concerned within a close emotional relationship. Really, you could not want for anything better, because this will get you to update your files and live in the moment, fully aware of where you stand with yourself and with others. Though you’ve had this philosophy a long time, it’s now time for you to take responsibility for your own security, and for others to take charge of their own growth. There is a difference. If these things can happen, everyone will benefit, and an unusually fulfilling experience can develop. Family Focus: Set the example that real security comes from love, not money.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
You’re under a lot of psychological pressure at the moment, and you may feel like you need to back away from the world. It may seem like you need a year living in a cave that hides you from the past, but a real weekend with no responsibilities, including commitments to family and friends, would do you a world of good right now. No other person has the ability to understand quite what you are feeling, or what is happening in the depths of your psyche. They don’t need this kind of understanding, because what is healing in you goes beyond words, and will reach into the outer world even as its miracles happen within you. Family Focus: Moms need a break, and they rarely get one.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
A financial situation that you thought was going beautifully is about to reveal a few of its wrinkles. Please — don’t get yourself bogged down in negativity or dashed hopes. Any shortage of resources is an illusion. The planets are aligning in a way that will benefit you and a close partner greatly, but you’ll need to devote yourself to a few weeks of rearranging the pieces on the chessboard until you’ve found where your true strength exists. Consider it an adventure, consider it cosmic college, or consider it growing up. It’s all of the above. Family Focus: When adults make conscious choices, they show children that they can influence their lives.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
You are becoming a different person every day, and the likely result is that you’ve rarely felt more alive. Remember that no matter how well things are going, challenges and lessons always persist. At this stage of your growth, I suggest you welcome them as a natural and necessary part of your life, no matter how anyone else may feel. If so, they will be your best friends and most reliable teachers. But more than that, you’ll see that the many necessities involved with living in a constant state of becoming are what feed your motivation and give you reasons to live boldly. Family Focus: Remember that children and partners are in awe of you.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
I hope you have the feeling of standing at the edge of a great frontier, because that is where you are. You may not have evidence of it yet, but you may sense that just over the next mountain you will see all the land that lies beyond the world you knew. There’s a deeply mysterious process working in your life, and there’s no way to tell, today, where it’s going to take you, or what you will do with your own potential. But it’s undeniable that ‘someplace’ is pretty special. Indulge the feeling that so much is possible, even if it has you a little nervous. Family Focus: Children will teach you more about faith than you can teach them.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
A miracle is happening in your life, or perhaps the latest of many. You seem to be growing, stretching, pushing the limits on what you believed was possible — and by the way, this all has been very much a factor of belief. The potential was always within you. You now have some evidence that the commitment to being responsible for your own destiny is being answered by the cosmos. Still, this will have its uncomfortable moments of adjustment. You may be noticing that new growth is vulnerable and, perhaps, difficult to sustain all the time. Family Focus: Kids adapt to change much better than adults do, and you can learn from them.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
Not everything will go according to plan the next few weeks that Mercury is retrograde, but there is a larger plan in operation, particularly where your professional role and public life are concerned. You must, for one thing, get accustomed to the fact that it’s pretty much impossible to control how you’re perceived by others. But another factor is suddenly present: the misperceptions of others mean less now than they ever did. By this time next month, you will be stunned by the positive developments in your life, which relate closely to the work you do. Family Focus: Parenting is a talent and you’re having some real breakthroughs.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
You’re pushing yourself now, and you need to. You also need rest and time to reflect. Learn to pause, go inside, and then regain your momentum. Experiment with the in-breath and out-breath of inspiration and expression; of experimentation and success. But most of all, I suggest you learn to relax into the process of your life and, rising above the bane of many Pisces people, master the art of not being nervous every moment. You can afford to have faith in yourself — strange but beautiful things are developing for you. Family Focus: We’ve all lived with generations of fear. Protect your kids and break the cycle.

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