Wave of the Worlds, Sex Report & Fishy Moon Crabby Mercs

Wave of the Worlds

EVERY now and then I get one of those funny emails, supposedly a forward to somebody else, but which winds up being an inadvertent reply to me. I don’t usually read them, but sometimes I do. Last year at some point, one arrived, saying something like: “I really don’t want to treat my sexuality and my spiritual life as one thing, but I guess at some point I’m going to have to.”

People say the darnedest things, don’t we?

You could only treat these two seemingly separate entities as separate if you perceived them that way, and we have had plenty of help doing so. The sex/spirit divide to me is one of the awesome false dichotomies that can, if one lets it, split one’s personality into pieces that are somewhat difficult to put back together. It’s ultimately a stand against life.

This is not the only grand false dichotomy we live with; there are others: we must wage war to have peace; we must destroy our environment to have jobs and enjoy life; we must give up our liberties to be free.

35-Year Cycles

Some moments of astrology define or reflect the quality of a phase of time, and others represent transitions from one major historical phase to the next. Dating back to 2002 when the last major threshold ended, we’ve been through a long series of phases with a more immediate, if intense, effect (all of which add up to a lot). Yet this summer we are moving deeper into era-defining territory, which is always psychologically challenging.

The cycle involves Saturn and Neptune, planets which represent two of the most important archetypes in both mass and individual psychology, and which are now very close to an opposition or 180-degree aspect. Saturn takes about 29 years to orbit the Sun and Neptune takes about 165 years. So the two don’t form an aspect very often, and a big one is happening now.

The conjunction (alignment in one place) associated with the current opposition occurred 17-18 years ago, in 1989 — a year of remarkable change for the world and for many people in it. In global events, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Soviet empire and Tiananmen Square come to mind immediately. Looking back, it’s as if “nobody could have predicted” these changes, but some astrologers saw them coming and predicted them based on this cycle years in advance.

Prior to that, there was a conjunction at the height of the Cold War in 1952-1953, so from one conjunction to the next, we went from the peak of the Cold War to the demise of Soviet-dominated communism. Indeed, Communism ceased to be an issue one day, and the entire Soviet bloc was swallowed in a wave of market capitalism, as was China.

It’s also been 35 years since the last opposition, which occurred in 1971-72, as the Watergate scandal was developing and the Vietnam War was entering its final throes. Interesting how history repeats itself.

The Earth Suspended

An opposition means two planets are positioned like barbells with the Earth suspended in between. This is a literal rather than conceptual event, a branch of astrology that is based entirely on astronomy and not on any kind of mathematical theory. Imagine these two stunning worlds, more comparable in scale to the Sun than the Earth, standing on either side of our planet, as they are right now.

On one side, we have the archetype of solid reality, Saturn; our astrological mentor for discipline, limits, structure and form. Saturn represents the idea that “reality is what appears in form.” You could sum it up as practical reality, physically manifested. But left to its own devices, most of the time, Saturn lacks inspiration and must draw that from other planets. Too much Saturn and life becomes all about boundaries and limits. Saturn is the first planet assigned the role of death.

To the other side we have Neptune, the lord of waters, dreams, psychic contact and all that is not really accountable or describable, and whose existence can be questioned by those applying rationality as the only standard. Neptune is the muse of the imagination, in the form of images, music and others, and at times is a stand-in for drugs, delusion, deception and denial in one form or another. There can be a fog surrounding Neptune, and if we’re not careful, it can become toxic. At its best, Neptune represents and is indispensable as a source of creative inspiration, but  requires the help of Saturn or Chiron (yours or someone else’s) to manifest in a constructive way.

The world suffers from an overdose of Saturn (fact, as opposed to the imagination) and to a jamming of the Neptune frequencies (low-grade pornography, advertising and action movies flooding into the imagination). The formula, “work, consume and get drunk” is the typical expression of these Saturn-Neptune overdoses.

What is noteworthy is that there’s always a relationship of some kind between the two archetypes, and that presently, that relationship may seem like an either-or thing. Of all the planets, Saturn and Neptune are probably the least helpful to take in extremes, and they need one another for balance and direction. Either taken separately will lead to a severely out of balance life; either taken on a level that lacks imagination will generally point to the same thing.

Opposition phase of any cycle is equivalent to the Full Moon, with the Sun and Moon aligning exactly on either side of the Earth at maximum polarity to one another. It’s a strong aspect, difficult to miss and psychologically or spiritually (as you prefer) stressful. This is a relationship where both are being challenged by the other rather than being overtly supportive or supported. To put it mildly, this represents a clash of the realities; a reality check; and a calling to look beyond the limits of what we perceive, or think of, as reality.

Tuning In Neptune

But with Neptune, things are difficult to notice, so the whole phenomenon is likely to be going on under the radar, in the background or in what some call the unconscious. What one tends to notice is that things usually began long before they manifested. With Saturn, you eventually do notice, because Saturn shows up most often as the sense of form, authority or limitation that we are constantly learning to work within, and then with. But this encounter is slippery, and difficult to pin down.

Part of this is due to the disrespect we have in the “physical world” for the higher vibrations of the mind and spirit (generally, anything beyond arithmetic, driving directions or the sports scores). This includes the denial we are in that the imagination, psychic contact or compassion (all under the influence of Neptune, because they verge on the numinous and/or are “impossible to prove”) are real and meaningful. There is a widespread sentiment, going back long before the “fact vs. fancy” discussion by Charles Dickens, that unless you can throw something through a window or weigh it on a scale, it’s not actually real.

In truth, we may love movies, but we have very little respect for the imagination that creates them — particularly our own. Creativity is something we consume with the approximate respect of Coke Light. If ever we lived in a time of history that required imagination, we’re in it now, because the solutions to our problems have not yet been dreamed of; our most functional ways of relating have not been imagined; we have yet to be put to the test of planetary ingenuity. We may think that the thought of surviving as a species is a joke now, but just wait a little longer.

This opposition is really the meeting of two planets that — in such an extreme aspect — can feel irreconcilable. Indeed, it’s difficult to imagine an aspect between two energies that feels like a greater contradiction. Even Saturn opposite Pluto (first exact opposition Aug. 5, 2001), which we are still getting over, had the temporarily satisfying feeling of a direct hit, sudden and devastating loss and the urge to retribution. These are much more tangible factors, to which we’re much more accustomed. Of course, we went through most of that, as a culture, with minimum awareness, and are now somewhat stuck in the results: the “long, hard slog” promised by U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Neptune, when denied, has ever increasing destructive power. It will make itself felt by hurricanes, climate change and toxicity of all kinds, including emotional, which are ultimately the product of our denial about our relationship to our environment, inner and outer. We could try out a fairly simple formula: to the extent Neptune is destructive, we are in denial; to the extent it’s creative, imaginative and productive, we are in conscious relationship to this factor of existence.

Neptune is not the issue. How we use and relate to it is.

This will work in the big scene and the most local, individual one. Whatever force we assign to Neptune, or whatever dimension we choose to experience it on, the more conscious, and the more creative, the less destructive. It’s not a matter of whether we “want” Neptune or not, or approve of its various facets, many of which are supposedly regulated by law. Rather, it’s a question of how to consciously relate to this factor — often a factor of whether we can do something that has evermore value, wake up.

The opposition to Saturn is, in part, a process of making our Neptune experience conscious, and part of that involves confronting our illusions about life. Along the way, our Saturn experience will also become conscious: for example, that we need to set limits, shape our reality as a matter of choice, display some authentic maturity in the choices we make, and exist in some harmony to our environment.

Two Simultaneous Eras

Neptune in Aquarius is an era reaching back to January 1998, symbolic of the utter reluctance of more than a very few people to respond or take action in light of much that should not be. It is the anaesthetized quality of our era of history, the blind adherence to authority and the willingness to accept whatever is said. In collective reality, we have witnessed a train of abuses against the public trust to which we have been unable to react: from the impeachment of Bill Clinton to the theft of two elections to the rise of “neoconservatism” in the United States, England, Canada, Australia, Germany and France that promises, so far, an increase in international aggression. England is perhaps a little further along the process of questioning reality, but that’s only because its government apparently works better than does the United States.

Neptune in Aquarius is the perfect image of the media haze, virtuality, and our attempt to colonize our souls in a new dimension that has opened up so recently, cyberspace. For some, this is a retreat; for others, an opening to a new world. For many, it is increasingly necessary to juggle identities in two dimensions, the face-to-face one in 3D, and the many personas we may have online. More than ever, it’s possible for individuals to take a public relations posture, have multiple profiles and issue news releases to friends and relatives (a perfect Neptune-Aquarius idea) and to relate to the world, in some way, as a public figure. Neptune in Aquarius continues into 2012. It started in 1998. This is a “get used to it” transit.

Saturn in Leo is another story. It’s a shorter term transit; it began more recently (last year) and it ends sooner (late 2007). It’s commencement dates to the summer of 2005 and is something of an ultimate expression of individual self-consciousness; the drive for self-determination; the breaking free of emotion; and the impulse to manifest something original about ourselves, perhaps at any cost. This placement is less about the drive to invention itself, and more about the freedom to claim what we have invented as our own, including our self-concept. Most of the great inventions we live with were patented with Saturn in Leo, from the movies to recorded music to the transistor.

Using the example of the Internet, this combination of placements is a real yin-yang — because (for example) the Net has opened up so many possibilities for so many people to be individuals in a new way, and in a truly Aquarian way, brought large and small groups of people together.

Yet does it cut us off, or does it bring us into contact? Does it facilitate originality, or turn us into automated extensions of our technology? Does it encourage individuality or submergence into new forms of groupthink? Both sides are argued all the time.

The effect of these factors on an individual depends entirely on the choices we make, including how consciously we use the creative or community building power given to us by the Internet. Rather than questioning our relationship to others, we could also ask whether experiencing and traveling in cyberspace brings us into closer contact with ourselves, because anything that does is likely to bring us closer to others.

No doubt the underlying reality represented by this illustration will come into clearer focus as Saturn and Neptune transit through their long alignment, which is exact well into 2007 and represents a threshold that we cross over, never to return.

Images of Saturn-Neptune (in Leo-Aquarius)

A hot rock dropped into a big bowl of water, and the resulting waves.

The ice caps melting and flooding the land.

Hurricane Katrina; the Asian tsunami; a lot of dams bursting many years too soon.

Psychic chaos. Epistemological chaos. Library books in the wrong place. Card catalogue has become computer system since the last time you were in a library.

Synthesis of any kind, particularly between a group and an individual.

Dialog between an individual and a group, where it’s unclear who has more influence.

Maintaining or developing individual identity in the context of a group.

Identifying and developing one’s own beliefs in the context of society’s pressures.

Confronting one’s personal investment in mass delusion, going to the Mind Bank, and getting your money back.

Taking concrete action to make your dreams real, just like little Billy Gates did when he filed the Microsoft trademark about 28 years go or when Rob Brezsny first sat down at the electric typewriter and pecked in his first edition of Real Astrology.

*and as for that Email…

THE SUPPOSED division between “sexuality” and “spirituality” is merely another form of the alleged mind-body split; we should not be so impressed as these things come five bucks a case. In spiritual terms this translates to what is known these days as “the separation,” and in sexual terms, the division between one’s sexuality and one’s inner sense of a true self. In current parlance, “spirit” is synonymous for many with “true self,” and this true self, in its purity, should not, in theory, be capable of sexual thought or action.

This same split reappears as various familiar dichotomies that so often trap us, such as those between love and friendship; between the physical world and the imaginary; between love and sex; between the sex we want and the sex we’ll allow ourselves to have; and in general, the denial of both manifested physical nature and the equally vital human experience of the nonverbal, psychic, creative and imaginal world, where most human contact happens or is incubated. We are not any one facet of ourselves, but neither are we not any one facet.

A division between “sexuality” and “spirituality” — I use quotes because they are concepts — is a form of the same divide and conquer method that has kept humanity in chains for centuries, and kept us unconscious of our true nature as a matter of social planning — particularly women. Men are at least taught to identify with their sexuality, minimizing the split (though moral codes still do extensive damage resulting in a pervasive form of conflict called guilt). Some feminists agree with Freud that because boys have a cock that sticks out into the world, and which they can grab onto and give a name, they have a better-formed sense of identity. Concurrently, girls, whose genitals and gonads can be “denied” or at least are partially hidden, are taught to identify with their non-sexuality while their sexuality develops — often creating what amounts to a war within so intense, there is time or energy for little else.

Any vision of a human that is something other than holistic works to this end, as a sponsor of division and thus of strife. There are many results, including relationships that are allegedly based on love but somehow wind up not being so, indeed, which verge on violence or are in fact violent. This is the “sex/spirit split” in full action. It takes many other forms.

To specifically instruct the experience of sex — that is, the physical exchange of contact or pleasure — as something separate from the feelings, emotions, desires and dreams that inspire these expressions; that is, from one’s personal inner identity — is a particularly vicious, though subtle, form of attack, and it works well. In the end, it sets someone against herself, and renders it unnecessary to do much to gain control of her. Her mind is set in one direction, her body, in another. This is an extremely compromised position, one many people, including men. find themselves in most of the time.

The main problem we face in healing the divisions of our reality is that we’re extremely familiar with methods of conceiving of ourselves in ways that divide us internally and from one another, as well as the pain associated with these ways of living. The division is also used (as a form of defense or compensation) as a deflection device to help us deal with judgment: we have a way of saying this is the “real me” and this is the “other me” — that is, the unreal, sexual one, as apart from the real one. One is worthy of approval, and occasionally gets it; the other is worthy of shame and judgment, and often receives this.

Feminist pioneers from Simone de Beauvoir to Shere Hite have noted this split is the direct result of repressing the sexuality of teenage girls once their secondary sex characteristics, and the closely associated desires and fantasies, begin to appear. Two identities are formed; the “good” prudish one, which is pure of thought and body, suitable for being known by the world; and the “bad” or secret one, with its unspeakable pleasures as well as astonishingly shameful fantasies, desires and bodily secretions.

Cut off from her own desires about sex by secrecy and moral edict, cut off from her body and feelings even while they brew and rage inside, a girl becomes subject to the feelings and desires of others. Cut off from forming her own identity based on her own desires and needs, she is shaped and formed by those of the people around her, including her mother — who is a girl’s primary source of values, information about sex roles, and sexual training.

Here is how de Beauvior put it in her 1949 book The Second Sex, writing primarily about Parisian women. Once a maturing girl takes on the judgments and definitions of others, as frequently happens, and as a result identifies her own sexual feelings, desires and fantasies as distasteful or disgusting, then:

“She is proud of catching male interest, of arousing admiration, but what revolts her is to be caught in return. With the coming of puberty she has become acquainted with shame; and that shame lingers on, mingled with her coquetry and her vanity. Men’s stares flatter and hurt her simultaneously; she wants only what she shows to be seen: eyes are always too penetrating. Hence the inconsistency that men find disconcerting: she displays her decollete [low-cut neckline], or her legs, and when they are looked at she blushes, feels vexation. She enjoys inflaming the male, but if she sees that she has aroused his desire, she recoils in disgust. Masculine desire is as much an offence as it is a compliment; in as far as she feels herself responsible for her charm, or feels she is exerting it of her own accord, she is much pleased with her conquests; but to the extent that her face, her figure, her flesh are facts she must bear with, she wants to hide them from this independent stranger who lusts after them.”

Here is how Shere Hite put it nearly half a century later in 1995, in The Hite Report on the Family, a study based on thousands of written surveys:

“What are girls thinking? The family silence about sexuality often begins to breed a separation, an alienation between the parents and the girl — a sense of shame and lack of pride — and also a separation within the girl herself. This is the all-too familiar self of walking through life with the sense of something to hide.

“Growing up in this secretive family system, girls construct two identities: one which is ‘themselves’ and another for ‘sex’. In their ‘sexual’ definition, they may take the patriarchal definition — ‘Yes, I’m a slut during sex, and I love it’ — or worry that they have the ‘wrong fantasies’ and try not to have ‘dirty’ associations with sex. Many women also try not to have sex at all, or for extended periods, so as not to have to live in the midst of this double consciousness or double identity, either of which seems to betray the other, creating a feeling of hypocrisy, and so muddying women’s inner confidence, their feeling of respect for themselves.”

She concludes, “What women are doing, especially in their debate over sexuality during the last 20 years, is trying to integrate those two selves, reconstruct another identity which is their own creation.”

So: the attempt to integrate one’s “sexuality” and one’s “spirituality” is just a way of saying, in a modern dialect, getting real and being whole.

Weekend Astrology:

Fishy Moon, Crabby Mercury, Lusty Venus & Mars

AS IF things were not fishy enough, the Moon is in Pisces most of the weekend, but only if you count Friday as part of the weekend. It’s already at eight degrees and moving fast (currently at close to peak speed for the month, more than 14 degrees a day), heading for what should be a rather zesty conjunction to Uranus on Saturday and a series of trines to Jupiter (later today) and then to the Sun in Cancer and Mercury retrograde in Cancer (Saturday). The Moon finishes off this run with a conjunction to the North Node and an opposition to the degree of the Sept. 22 “Frodo Lives” eclipse.

The Moon crosses the Aries Point late Saturday in the United States, early Sunday in the UK and Europe, and late Sunday in Oz and New Zealand.

Meanwhile, Mercury is retrograde in Cancer, heading for the interior conjunction to the Sun. My old client Tish, who can usually withstand anything, wrote to me YESTERDAY and said WHAT IS GOING ON? The thing with Mercury retrograde is that the experience will vary depending on where Mercury slips, slides, bangs, grinds or sachees past your planets. I’ll check in on Tish’s natal chart without 10,000 other people reading (i.e., in a private email) but for general consumption let’s say that this energy is moving, and it’s WATERY which is not necessarily easy if your chart is made mostly of some other element.

Retrograde Mercury in Cancer has that feeling of swimming against the tide, which is difficult even if you’re a good swimmer. However, it may not just be Mercury anyone who is feeling turbulence may be feeling: we are entering the Saturn-Neptune opposition (as described copiously above) is starting to bubble to the surface of consciousness, and the Jupiter-Saturn square (first mention here, for this edition) is in full snap and developing rapidly, moving energy from Leo to Scorpio to Leo and back a few times.

In other news, Gemini Venus is exactly opposite Pluto and sextile Leo Mars, which is a lot of focus on the personal planets and an extremely sexy setup. Overnight Mars made an exact trine to Pluto, which has on one level been like a valve opening for violence in the Middle East and also for the two lawsuits filed in response to the mountain of fraud of the past five years.

However, this is also excellent astrology for sexual adventure, if such is on your mind and vaguely available — foraging should be good this weekend, if you don’t have any in the house. Venus in Gemini is the verbal, playful kind of kinky. Mirrors and same-sex experimentation come to mind, but so does three-way sex due to the strong contacts with Pluto and Mars.

One of the reasons I don’t do the astrology of sex more often is in part because people have such different values, but mainly because of the availability issue. That is, some people have a nookie source or two, some have none and can’t dream of where to create one. Where there is an availability issue, sometimes it comes down to pushing things a little, making the requisite three to five phone calls, or daring to ask someone previously thought of as inappropriate. You may need to get in your car and drive 50 miles or hop a bus, but the long and short of it is that it’s sometimes necessary to create options.

As someone who practices a form of polyamory called intimate network, I personally suggest using your circle of friends and immediate social community as cruising ground (11th house) rather than say for example a pickup bar. However, if you live in a city with Craig’s List, this is a fairly dependable way to make sexual friends, and it’s close enough to the 11th house if you use some discretion. Making online friends, I suggest encountering people who want to meet you to check the waters after only one or two emails — meeting someone is not a big deal. There is no commitment involved and anyone who thinks meeting for coffee is a big deal is weird. Just do it at the local diner or somewhere similar that you’re familiar with.

If you want a reliable sniff test as to whether someone has life-affirming values about sex, check for whether they can speak openly about masturbation and think it’s fun. They should respond with at least the enthusiasm you would expect from someone describing their experience of ice cream.

I personally feel that with sex the idea is to work from intimacy as much as we work toward it, but the “split identity” issue (addressed in the article above and reflected in Venus in Gemini) can get in the way of doing just that — “do I want this person [a friend, for example] to see me this way?” The answer is usually yes, when you ask. “How will I ever live with myself?” Don’t worry, you will. You have no choice. Helpful hint: use condoms and you’re very unlikely to get pregnant or an STD. If you don’t want to have contact sex, then propose masturbating with the person. If they think that’s a dumb idea, you don’t want to have sex with them anyway.

For guys working with the availability issue, I suggest going unabashedly into pussyhound mode and keeping your eyes open for that solid look in the eyes that ranges only from Definite Maybe to Yes. Skip the coquettes; they have a different agenda. Guys, there is always someone in your life who wants to have sex with you, you just have to figure out who it is, and make sure the communication is good enough  to provide some throughput for the emotions that come up.

Also — don’t fall for the projection: “She’s so hot, she’s probably really confident.” Give women room NOT to be confident and you’ll get a lot further. As she gets used to the fact that you approve of her, she will find her confidence. It works the same way with some guys.

For reference, this is Craig’s List; it is sorted by city, then by category, and it’s free. You can also buy a car of find a painting class in your area.

This is my magnum opus on three-way-sex, called Mixed Emotions. It’s based on experience. I take every healthy opportunity I can to have sex with two or more people (8th house Aquarius Moon conjunct Vesta), and I’ve shared some of what I’ve learned here:

And in other news, you ARE normal, by somebody’s standards. The Planet Waves Sexuality Resource Area has been revised and updated, and is now live. I’m snipping it because some Planet Waves URLs are getting longer than Amazon URLs:

Planet Waves by Eric Francis
Weekly Horoscope No. 619 – Friday, July 14, 2006

Happy Birthday Cancer!

You will be coasting on the energy of the recent Full Moon for an entire year — but why coast, when you can make love, art and industry?

What set’s one year’s solar return chart off from another are the distinctive qualities of the moment. Retrograde Mercury counts as the perfect opportunity for a daring inward journey, an exploration of your feelings in a most conscious way.

In fact, though, you’re not having feelings just to have them; that was so 90s. Rather, you’re noticing your feeling so that you can compel yourself to make necessary and long-awaited changes in your life, particularly where health and work are concerned.

If I had to tell this in story form, I would say: some recent discovery or revelation keyed you into your real potential. This has happened before and you do have a tendency to forget — as many of us do. But you were, this time, set on a process of the necessary, even urgent inner drive to fully open up that potential within yourself.

I do NOT, in the LEAST, mean to imply here that this is a theoretical kind of exploration, where you spend most of your time investigating contemplating. Rather, I am suggesting here that you are now on a daring quest to connect your sense of self with this recent discovery about who you really are. This is an active, conscious; yes it has its unspeakable mysterious parts; but you are a person of action and action is what is called for now.

Remember that for a little while longer, Mercury is retrograde in your sign, so that’s the inward part of the trip, the search — but as the Mercury and the Sun soon make a conjunction, and that’s a breakthrough point; a moment of sure certainty that will, like the last one, put you in contact with potential in a way that’s one more shade real. The point of all of this is to get you familiar with the resources you have to work with.

One of those resources is DESIRE. The Buddhists can eat their rice; we need desire in the Western world to get us through the day and to keep our lives on track. The very most dangerous thing about desire is when it’s taken from us, or co-opted and sold back to us as something we do not want. The second is when desire is the master and not the slave. Stay in charge, stick to what you do want and you’ll be in happier, safer and more confident territory. The way to do that is to focus on it as a daily regimen; easier said than done, but then, you may already do it more than you think. Look for the ways you do honor your desires daily and work from there.

Tune into your intuition as a regular habit, because these days it’s connecting you with a deeper source than usual, including some wealth of past experience that has taught you how to handle yourself in situations with high potential but uncertain outcome. The rapidly developing theme of your life, both emotionally and financially, is self-sufficiency. Yet rather than being designed to have you go it alone, the idea is to connect with your inner wealth, and thereby increase the possible level of exchange, in a mature way that can only come with a measure of authentic autonomy.

One last note. The time has long since passed that you can have deep and abiding relationships with people who do not share your basic values. They way you will know the people who are right for you is that in some obvious ways they do share your personal values, and you share theirs. The discovery process often takes a little time, but it should move steadily if not quickly.

Aries (March 20-April 19)
It’s true that someone close to you is exhibiting anywhere from two to four personalities, but this is good for laughs, adventure and keeping life unpredictable and creative. Partners can take it light for a change — there’s no need to get swamped under by emotions when a good, honest conversation will do. This may take some practice. One of the most helpful things about developing speaking skills, listening skills and a language to express subtle ideas about oneself is that it allows us to report to those close to us about the changes we experience from day to day.

Taurus (April 19-May 20)
You need to make the moves in a romantic endeavor. This may seem to go against your nature, but suddenly another side of you seems to be emerging; to sum it up, it looks like you’re tired of being silent. Don’t send mixed signals. Say please and thank you when you mean it, and remember to say yes when you mean yes. If you set this as a kind of discipline, you may notice you are indeed of two minds, but the commitment to making clear statements to others will go a long way toward resolving this.

Gemini (May 20-June 21)
You’re not acting out of character; you’re discovering a lost aspect of yourself that you’ve been missing for years and are finally giving yourself permission to explore. Suddenly the future is a lot more interesting than you imagined. But you might do well to ask yourself where you would invest your energy if you were not caught up in the ongoing cycle of the rise and decline of your fortunes. These weeks are offering you an opportunity to get underneath the influences that so often lead you to be unstable. You don’t need to sacrifice your freedom to walk on solid ground.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
You can now direct your energy to a past emotional issue that you’ve had neither the time nor the inclination to investigate. The story seems to go back to a loss you suffered during childhood, which turned you into an introvert in some areas of life where you would normally be quite outgoing. In short, you now have an opportunity to look at the nature of your self-doubt, and how that has led you to hide certain aspects of your nature from others. The opposite of hiding is revealing; to yourself first, then to select individuals, perhaps people you’re not too familiar with at this point.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
You’re at a stage in life where you can have extraordinary insight into yourself, how your mind works, and why you feel the way you do — but do you really trust your observations? Some of the most valuable information we can gain about ourselves defies objective verification. Some may contradict established ideas you have about yourself. There is the question of where you begin and where the world ends. That’s a great question, and it’s sexy.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
Now is the time to start cultivating support for a creative project you have brewing in the back of your mind. Talk to people you know well, and dig up a few you haven’t heard from in years. In general, your process of building consensus within your community is also helping you build consensus within your emotions and really get on board your own idea or desire. The more aligned with your goal you are, the greater harmony with those around you.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
You continue to have a strong edge in a professional situation, as long as you know how to use it. And how do you do that? It’s a combination of charm and wits — in that order. Intelligence is overrated. Most people judge integrity by the feeling they get from a person, and right now, I suggest you notice how good people feel about you. In the modern world this is one of those humbling feelings, so don’t be satisfied that you really feel how much everyone loves you till you’re basically speechless about it.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
If you’re feeling challenged by an ethical question, you can trust that in time you will see you made the right choice and acted in integrity. The mere fact that you’re capable of questioning yourself proves that you care, and in truth, those who care are most likely to do the right thing. So, the idea is, rest easy, and continue on your step-by-step process of setting up your success. While you’re busy doing that, please look back at what you’ve accomplished. This will give you a valuable sense of perspective for the next few months.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
You’ve been having plenty of those character-building experiences lately, and you may be wondering what it’s all leading to. Truth be told, you don’t have anywhere near the freedom you want or need — as of today, anyway. But as the planetary picture develops over the next few weeks, you’ll find people give you a lot more space to be yourself. Members of your household have been living with some pressures you’re just beginning to understand. Whatever misunderstandings may now exist will take some weeks to resolve, so you have plenty of time to listen more than you speak.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
A careful balancing act will be necessary to ensure that nobody close to you is hurt by certain decisions you must make. What may be easy for you can be hard for others, and you will therefore need to check carefully with anyone you feel may be affected. Consider every case a special case, and do what you can do to ease the woes of others. In other news, young ones may think nothing of head-on confrontations with mom — so keep your cool and let it blow over. The real issues are emotional, and need to be guided gently.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
We all have our strengths and weaknesses. For as individualistic as you are, one of your great strengths is a willingness and ability to inspire groups of people to work together. Remember that you don’t face the challenges of your life alone, and the rewards of cooperation are usually worth the considerable effort they require. Everyone will benefit. A family is ideally a team, but sometimes people need help seeing that we all share common interests. This is something that can only be learned from experience; remember that, because you’re kind of prone to work from theory.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
Now you see what a little creativity can do. It always helps to give yourself the opportunity to dream of new possibilities and offer your spirit the freedom to consider new ways of doing things that have been stuck in patterns for so long. This is always an act of daring, and the planets say you need to push the edge to get maximum benefit from life. Pushing the edge means knowing where it is, and how it got there. You have been constrained by certain factors of your past, and how they shaped your view of yourself. Jupiter square Saturn says take charge.

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