Spring 2012: The Deep Background

Dear Friend and Reader:

By now you may be familiar with some elements of the astrology of the (Northern Hemisphere) spring of 2012 — a pair of eclipses in Gemini and Sagittarius, Venus stationing retrograde, and the Venus transit of the Sun on June 5. These events lead us into the first exact meeting of Uranus and Pluto in a square aspect — the Uranus-Pluto square, just past the solstice on June 24.

Galaxies Colliding. Photo by Charlie Lemay.

These all arrive in a close sequence, and when that happens, the pace of existence picks up. Most of these are eclipse-like events, which emphasizes that sense of acceleration.

Here is a basic rundown of things you’re most likely to read about on the Internet or, who knows, maybe even in a magazine. Venus stations retrograde in Gemini on May 15. Venus is retrograde least of all the planets; this is pretty special. Five days later, the Sun enters Gemini and there’s an annular eclipse of the Sun on May 20. Two weeks later, we experience a partial eclipse of the Moon; that’s on June 4. Then within hours, the Moon makes an eclipse to Pluto (one of many this year).

Very little has been written about this series of Moon-Pluto events — called occultations. Few astrologers are even aware of the data. You have to go looking for it (and thanks to a close friend of mine in Wales, Tracy Delaney, there is a research tool for that at Serennu.com). I will come back to the Moon’s eclipses of Pluto in a few moments in the discussion of Pluto.

As mentioned, on the heels of a lunar eclipse and Pluto eclipse, on June 5 Venus passes between the Earth and the Sun. This is called a transit of Venus, which is visible with some basic equipment anywhere you can see the Sun when it’s happening (unfortunately, not most of the continental U.S.). It’s a rare event; they come in pairs. This will be the second of the current pair, and then there won’t be another one until 2117.

Eclipse-like events typically arrive with a sense of acceleration of time and our movement in time. There’s an increase in this thing described as ‘intensity’. Events can have a karmic feeling: everything seems more meaningful, but we don’t necessarily know what that meaning is, or where it comes from.

By a Thread. Photo by Charlie Lemay.

This, in turn, can come with the sensation that you are at a crux point in your life. ‘Crux’ is an interesting word. It has its origins in the idea of “a point in a text that is impossible to interpret,” which you can take as something like a “crossroads of interpretations” — or something that has many meanings, with an accompanying sensation of importance. The modern meaning is “central point,” and we are indeed at the central point of 2012, when we will start to see why this year has received so much emphasis and prediction.

Once we get past the eclipses and the transit of Venus, we go right into the Uranus-Pluto square. This has been developing for years. It’s part of the ‘cycles of revolution’ series of aspects. This particular cycle has its roots in an event in 1965-1966, which sparked what we call ‘The Sixties’. That was a conjunction between Uranus and Pluto. Now, 47 years later, the planets are at 90 degrees to one another, which is called a square. Aspects between influential, slow-moving planets take many years to develop, and influence everyone in some way.

We’ve been feeling the effects since late 2008, and they have been undeniable beginning with Arab Spring, the Wisconsin protests and the Occupy movement. Activism is often one manifestation of Uranus-Pluto events, and astro-historians have documented that it can go as far as revolution. When we talk about a ‘power to the people’ kind of event, that has a liberal/liberationist flavor (a laStephen Colbert’s definition, that reality has an inherently liberal bias — which is why there are so many conservatives).

What we’re seeing under this square, though, is a heck of a lot of conservative activism, meaning anti-woman, anti-sex and every new policy designed to cut taxes for the rich even more. Laws are being passed routinely that curtail civil rights; both ‘liberals’ and ‘conservatives’ should be equally concerned. This activism has a ghoulish, militant quality, and there is no way to reckon it with the increasingly elusive concept of ‘ethics’. Much of it is being done as a show of force, and also an unchecked indulgence in narcissism. Currently much of politics is ‘all about me’, and this kind of self-obsession feeds right into the hands of the darker forces that are once again trying to consolidate their grip on what they think of as reality.

Hopper. Photo by Charlie Lemay.

The militant quality of the equation comes from the Uranus in Aries side of the square. Aries is the ancient Roman god of war, associated with Mars (whose Greek name is Ares). Uranus in this sign is flashy, impressive and extremely distracting. It’s the big show aspect of the news right now, and there are indeed some people who are quite adept at screaming into the echo chamber. Watch them as they start to get cranked up on the astrology of the next eight weeks; you’ll recognize them by the slightly electrified look in their eyes, their hair standing up and this odd feeling that they want to serve you as the main course at a pro-life banquet.

All of this flashy stuff is a kind of cover-up for something else — and that something can be described as Pluto in Capricorn. This is the other side of the Uranus-Pluto square. Pluto in Capricorn is a long transit — spanning from 2008 through 2024. We’re less than four years into this event, though it’s been long enough that we should be seeing some patterns.

Pluto is a potent, nearly invisible force. We feel it as obsession, inevitability, enforced growth, and the deep, urgent need to grow and become. Pluto is associated with Scorpio, and is a prime mover of sexual energy, which spans from the most instinctual level to the most spiritually evolved. It all depends on where you tune in (it’s a good idea to scan the full frequency range that Pluto represents, so you’re familiar with all of the different expressions; themes include sex, death, power and fear). Nothing can stop the movement of Pluto, or its influences in the world. Anyone who has consciously gone through a Pluto transit can tell you this. It’s the kind of thing you have to work with, like a natural force. It’s not possible to stop an earthquake, though it is possible to plan for them.

Speaking of earth, Pluto is in Capricorn. Capricorn contains the patterns of the past. It represents the structure of society, describing business and government, and the relationship between the two. It represents all things old. It’s a fiery earth sign, since it is cardinal — a tense dynamic which helps explain the energy of many people with strong chart elements in this sign.

In consciousness, Capricorn represents what we carry from the past — including with our ancestors (beginning with our parents) and going back for many generations. We rarely notice much of this material; however, it’s often what we feel trapped by. If you have strong Capricorn in your chart, you may be able to notice and work with it a little better, however, much of humanity is trapped in some version of the past.

Sway. Photo by Charlie Lemay.

Now, Pluto is in Capricorn, which is like a herd of goats getting into a museum. They’re going to take the place apart, munch on the exhibits, and lick the dinosaur bones. Well, it really goes deeper than that. This sense of the Earth shaking that we live with every day — that is Pluto in Capricorn. The feeling that civilization is being crushed under its own weight: Pluto in Capricorn. And the burning sense of urgency, coming from inside and not from any external excitement: also Pluto in Capricorn.

We can look at this transit a few ways. One way is as a subversive movement inside the halls of power. Since not much productive happens there, we can trust that Pluto is helping to free energy. Pluto is a kind of core vital force, working to rejuvenate all that has become too old, brittle and useless. The movement to ban contraception and even outlaw premarital sex can be seen as reactions to the liberating nature of Pluto in Capricorn — these things are inherently reactions against vitality, as are all anti-sex movements. Yet deep beneath everything, something primal and natural is trying to set itself free in the human experience.

Now, I mentioned the occultation of Pluto by the Moon that happens just before the transit of Venus. This is the third of 19 events that started in April. The Moon passes directly over the disk of Pluto, blocking it out. Pluto is invisible unless you have a very good telescope, but we still feel the effects. The last time anything like this happened was between 1919 and 1934, when Pluto was in Cancer. So this series of events gets props for being both weird and rare.

Pluto is strong in Capricorn for many reasons. He is feeling good. But the Moon — the more she tries to resist, the more she finds herself giving in. She tries to deny (occult) him but in that moment they fuse; literally come together. When denying sexual feelings, the more you try the more you are overcome, and inevitably must let go into the beautiful surrender.

The Moon occulting Pluto feels like she’s trying to hide Pluto, which is fine with him. He wears the helmet of invisibility and functions quite well in the underworld — the unconscious, which is the source of all dreams and desires.

Noise. Photo by Charlie Lemay.

But hide with what? The Capricorn Moon is trying to put a veil of propriety over what is coming from the most instinctual, hormonal level. She thinks it’s better not to admit any of that stuff, and maintain her image as a good girl. At the same time, the relentless quality of the exact conjunction, repeating so many times, feels like something deep is trying to work out and work through one’s emotional body.

Perhaps that includes your mother’s emotional body that was imparted into you — as if some ancient emotional and sexual blockage is finally being softened and released. The Moon has to be ‘out of her element’ (in the sign opposite her native Cancer) in order to experience this. It’s similar to a Chiron effect, where discomfort or inconvenience is used to foster something healing and positive.

In letting go, the pleasure of resistance (which we’re trained to love and worship) is released to another, deeper pleasure. The pleasure of resistance is (if you believe Freud) a product of pleasing other people with our self-control. Now, that whole thought form is being dissolved, or burned through, again and again.

Finally there is penetration, and that is another way of saying transformation — the thing that Pluto is most famous for. This is acting on emotional resistance, or the burden of over-structure, something that humans are most famous for. This can be terrifying to those whose whole notion of existence is about rigid personality armor, but the time is arriving to let it go. This may even seem to happen overnight, but if it does, you can be sure you were working at it for a long time.

Eric Francis

Friday, April 20, 2012. Weekly Horoscope #900 | Link to chart used for this edition 

Taurus Birthdays This Week

The Sun entered your sign Thursday in grand style, as part of a grand trine in the earth signs. That’s to say, all of the earth signs have significant activity, which influences you — Jupiter is still in your sign; Mars is in Virgo; Pluto is a long-term visitor in Capricorn. Here is how I interpret that. Watch the trends of your life carefully. When you see a trend forming that you don’t like, consciously shift the energy as soon as you can. If you notice a pattern that you appreciate, feed the energy, gently build up the momentum and explore the territory. If you find yourself in a pattern that you cannot shift, you have two options: creative or spiritual. That’s to say, use what you’ve learned from your spiritual path, or dive into art (any form of creative process), or do both. Early Taurus birthdays (and to some extent all Taurus birthdays) this year have a theme of ensuring that your mother’s problems don’t become your problems, and if they have, work out this issue. Note, I will have your audio birthday reading early next week. This will be fun and helpful for Taurus Sun, Moon and rising.

Aries (March 20-April 19) — You’re the one who must address your own insecurities. Nobody else can do it for you, and you don’t want them to. This would be a great time to investigate and see just what is stirring up your fears. If we’re using astrology, it looks like you might be having panic attacks or at least experiencing a lot of nervous energy as you feel your own creative potential surge. I trust that you’ve already figured out that you have an alternative, but if not, here is what I suggest. This thing commonly called ‘creativity’ means existing on the edge of your own thoughts. Most people don’t stay there; they cannot, because it’s too nerve-wracking. However, your astrology over the next week is going to have you surfing the wave of time with your mind poking into the future, and to work that edge you must pay attention without getting panicky. Confidence doesn’t feel like a king on his throne. It feels more like riding a bicycle.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — If you’re feeling some unusual tension within yourself, I suggest you consider what will be the central theme of this birthday season for you: making sure you understand your motives. That’s to say, I suggest you constantly refer back to why you want whatever it is you want. What is driving you to make choices, to favor certain people, or to desire certain experiences? Why do you feel about yourself the way that you do? These questions have answers — in fact, they may have two answers each. So the decisions you make are less about the outer expressions of things and more about connecting with what is driving you. Pay special attention to when those motives conflict, and note this as a potential source of any paralysis. A related theme of this spring is taking a trip back to the past, and while you’re there, disconnecting from the values you once acquired that no longer serve you. You’ll find plenty — and you’ll be happier without them.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Over the next few days, you may get the feeling that you understand your fears better than you ever did. These may arrive in waves of psychological insights that shed light on certain factors from the past. When this process is flowing, you’ll be able to make connections to certain elements of your experience and your behavior patterns in this era of your life. Looking at your solar chart, I would propose a few questions. To what extent are you carrying around someone else’s sense of loss, disappointment or grief? Can you see how this has shaped your life? Your life is about what you have to offer. The more you offer what you have, the more you will discover what you possess. One of the few ways to feel safe is to experiment with the feeling and see what happens. I know this may seem like doing things backwards; you might think that one acts safe when one feels safe. Feeling secure is a matter of experience.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — This weekend’s Taurus New Moon describes how your financial opportunities are expanding. Taurus is situated in one of the houses in your chart most closely associated with sources of income, and this is an area of your life that has been flowering during the past year — or at least the potential is there. I am aware that money is a huge sticking point for many people, and it’s not any easier when every time you look at a news website there is more economic bad news. If you’re the exception to the rule, it won’t be because you’re lucky — rather, it will be because you know what you want, and you know an opportunity when you see one. When you do, I suggest you act promptly, make a commitment and take action. You have already thought this one through five ways from Friday. You have sorted out the details; you understand the risks; you know what’s required of you.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — If you’ve been feeling unusual potential but don’t feel like you’ve had the ability to manifest it into something real, that is about to open up. In a word, the way to get from here to there is leadership. I can break this down to three ideas as they express themselves in your current solar chart: one is perspective. It’s essential that you have an overview of your environment, including what your colleagues and those ‘above’ and ‘below’ you are doing. Two is values. Make sure that what you’re doing is consistent with what you believe, and what you are willing to stand for. If you do this, you won’t have to worry about your reputation. Third is nourishment. In your current incarnation of leadership, you need to feed the tree without depleting yourself. Fortunately you have a lot to offer, particularly in the way of ideas and inspiration. If you find yourself blocked, pause and invent a solution. There is no limit to the information available, and you will be told everything you need to know.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Mars has stationed direct in your sign, and the Sun has just entered your fellow earth sign Taurus. Mercury, your ruling planet, is positioned so that you may be able to clarify some issues that have been putting a relationship under some stress. In short, your astrology is a lot happier now than it was a week ago, and I wonder how you’re doing in light of this. If issues that you thought you resolved show up again, I suggest you resolve them using a squeegee and not a shovel. You’re most likely dealing with the residual cleanup, not a recurrence of the central issue. The past few months have been an extremely productive time for some, but have come with more complications than seems necessary. The way to put that behind you is to pause before you assume the worst about anyone or anything. Remember that you have the capacity to solve any problem you can identify, and the talent to develop the many ideas that have come to you this year.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — What seems to be a block is really a question of seeing your options and alternatives for what they are. If you project into the long-term future, there seem to be two paths you can take, and at times you feel the pressure to commit to one of them even before you’re sure where it leads, or what you might be giving up. I don’t think you need to rush any decision that involves finding your true life path. The options you see today are not your real choices. The contradictions and paradoxes that are influencing you now, no matter how subtly, will be replaced by more satisfying questions as the season unfolds. Polarities that today seem to contradict one another will have a way of resolving into something entirely new, and this will shift the way you see yourself and the world. So if things don’t make perfect sense right now, don’t waste your energy stressing, or trying to put together pieces that don’t fit. You will soon see that the edges of reality are more flexible than they seem.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Do you want your relationships to be easy, or do you want them to be real? I suggest that you see things in terms of these two options, at least initially. By real I don’t mean difficult; challenges usually show up in the context of denial or resistance rather than by a conscious embrace of what is so. However, I suggest you notice the way that you tend to make other peoples’ issues into your own problems. Being real also means being real about knowing where the edge is between you and somewhere else, and knowing when it’s appropriate to cross over that line. Clearly you are being drawn into a deep situation of some kind, if only by your curiosity. The place where a warning should go off is when you find yourself adopting problems that simply are not your own, on the excuse that you love someone. The thing to focus on is creative purpose and a kind of calm, centered passion about life itself — not the relationship.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — There is a difference between starry-eyed romance and friendly, creative passion. It’s a distinction I suggest you take note of, because it’s one of the central themes of your life. From one angle of your chart you’ve got this strong pull into the identity as the perfect partner. Yet to do this, you have to ignore or put a veil over some of the more conflicted feelings you have about that role, one of the most significant of which is the way it tends to compromise your independence. You have another option, which is a vibrant kind of creative collaboration, which leaves the portals open to wider possibilities than you can have in a conventional format of relationship. Keep in mind that the pull between what is considered normal and acceptable and what is considered unusual can create plenty of conflict, especially if you involve yourself worrying about the ways that others might judge you. Borrowing from Erica Jong, I’m talking about the difference between being half of a relationship and a whole person.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — If you quiet down what your whirling, rapidly moving mind is saying, you’ll discover that you know something in your gut, and knew it all along. Given that this something is about you, you might wonder how it is that you somehow missed the obvious. That’s always a good question, though the obvious is so bold and has such deep implications that I could see it making you a little restless. You might say that the truth is so large that it’s difficult to see, something that’s often the case. The central theme here is who you are becoming. You’ve been in a transformational process that has been working under the surface layers of awareness. Yet now it’s starting to bubble up to the top. You are seeing the extent of the changes you’re going through, and this in turn is giving you a sense of your trajectory. What you’re getting now is just a little sample of the incoming energy; this will gradually ramp up over the next six weeks until you discover, somehow much to your surprise, that you really are this entirely different person you suspect you’re becoming.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — You know something, though I don’t think you know how true it really is. In other words, don’t be surprised when you discover that you were right. Now, being right isn’t everything, and some have gone so far as to say it’s the opposite of being happy. But I’m not talking about righteous — I mean that you have a hunch, a flash of insight or an idea that is actually valid. I suggest that rather than just letting it go, you keep working with it, and take the whole matter deeper. The reason you might not do that is that somehow the truth makes you nervous. You can be sure, in any event, that it will have impact. What good would it be otherwise? We don’t need any more trivial ‘information’ in the world right now. Here is the influence I see this revelation having: you just might feel less isolated. Would it feel good to learn that you’re not alone, that others are going through a similar experience, and that you can learn from one another? That’s what I see in your charts for the next few days.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — What’s developing in your solar chart is about a lot more than money, but let’s at least start with the financial aspect of the discussion. This involves an idea that you’ve been developing, something you probably thought was not worth a lot in economic terms but might be valuable otherwise. Yet there is a substantial economic value, which is rooted in how you’re working with an idea that’s ahead of its time, but right when ‘the time’ is about to catch up. There’s a message about you catching up as well, and by that I mean that there’s finally room in the world for what you’ve got going. Just a few years ago you might have decided it was impossible for that to be true. Then you started to see where you could maybe slip in edgewise. Suddenly there’s a huge opening — but it doesn’t look like people are having one of those Nike sneaker stampedes. Don’t let that fool you. I don’t know what it is, but you’re in possession of something that people not only need — better still, it’s something that they want. Even though you’re not motivated by money, keep your financial strategy in the front of your mind and you’ll do well with this, whatever it might be.

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