Dear Friend and Reader:
This week the Earth passed directly between the Sun and Mars. That’s called the Sun-Mars opposition, which was exact Tuesday at 5:03 pm EDT. This was the midpoint and peak moment of the Mars retrograde cycle, with the Earth, Mars and Sun forming an exact alignment across the solar system.
Mars, named for the Roman god of war, is the planet of assertion, aggression and fiery energy. The Sun in Aries (another name for Mars) is the embodiment of that sign. So this aspect really was the full embodiment of Aries, in the style of an opposition, or confrontation.
One reading of that aspect is a commentary on the nature of violence. Because Mars is retrograde in Libra, that implies the potential for an indirect or sneaky approach to aggression.
Mars in Libra describes the need to get below surface appearances and the potential for a two-faced approach to a situation (that being the core meaning of the word diplomacy, which is a kind of alternative to war).
Tuesday night, the day of the exact opposition, Rachel Maddow aired a segment called Stages of Political Conflicts Short of War, which focused on a series of synchronous events the day of the Sun-Mars opposition.
Maddow covered one episode of ‘passive’ aggression and mockery, an episode of direct verbal aggression expressed openly (both involving American politics), and finally a full-on brawl that took place in the Ukrainian parliament earlier that day. To some extent the American incidents were all representative of normal politics. Our Ukraine bureau reports that the fistfight among about 20 Ukrainian legislators is “usual behavior” — there have been at least five such incidents since January of this year.[Here is the video of Tuesday’s brawl from Ukrainian television. It’s more interesting in Russian, with the play-by-play narrated. Here is one fight from four years ago involving a member of parliament who is a former heavyweight champion — the big dude you will recognize.]
While it’s interesting that these things happened the same day, it’s more interesting that a major news anchor chose to focus the issue of the types of aggression on the exact day of the opposition.
It’s as if the aspect symbolized a degree of awareness and reflectiveness on the theme of conflict and how it manifests. To me the symbol here is not the aggression itself but rather the choice to study it. Aggression is commonplace but reflecting on it is rare.
About 10 hours later, a student ran through the halls of a Pennsylvania high school stabbing people with two large knives. He injured 21 people, four of them critically, before being subdued by an assistant principal and another student.
This was the first American school mass stabbing incident that I recall, and it happened with the Sun within one degree of opposition to Mars. At the time of the incident, Aries was rising and Libra was setting, putting the Sun-Mars opposition onto the horizon of the chart — the area of greatest emphasis.
The lunar nodes were the closest elements to the horizon, suggesting that whatever happened was the eruption of an old story. Pluto in Capricorn is the most elevated planet and Jupiter in Cancer the furthest below the horizon, which brings in the wider story of the cardinal grand cross that is now unfolding. What happened in that school was not an isolated incident but rather something representative of a much wider reality.
My view of knife attacks is that they are more intimate, personal and gutsy than gun attacks; one must make contact with one’s target without the use of a powerful machine or a projectile. Also there is not the seemingly easy out of suicide and the attacker is almost assured to get caught.
One interesting thing is that all the descriptions I’ve heard sounded a little like this one from Reuters: “The attacker was known to be a ‘nice boy who always said hi’ and was also referred to by a fellow student as someone who kept to themselves.”
So we have an example of peeling back the veneer (a Libra thing) by retrograde Mars, and the person who is seemingly harmless and passive turning into a vicious aggressor. One gets the impression that the retrograde is serving to reveal, rather than conceal, the underlying aggressive nature of the person or the situation — that situation being the one our society is in, and that as a result, that we are in.
All of this happened with the backdrop of the murder trial of double amputee athlete Oscar Pistorius for the killing of Reeva Steenkamp on Feb. 14, 2013. Pistorius claims that he shot his girlfriend because he thought she was an intruder. She got out of bed, went to the bathroom, then he fired at her repeatedly with a high-powered pistol through the bathroom door, later claiming he thought she was a burglar.
This week the prosecution started to dismantle Pistorius’ absurd and insulting claim of self-defense, ruthlessly attempting to reveal that he’s a liar. He did this in a directly confrontational way that you would not likely see in an American court (for fear of offending the jury). At one point the prosecutor demanded that Pistorius take responsibility for what he did.
A video showing Pistorius’ prowess with guns and exploding a watermelon with a “zombie stopper” rifle was entered into evidence this week, along with his comment that “it’s softer than brains” and some loud, morbid laughter. So too was a photograph of Steenkamp’s shattered head.
Again the theme was peeling back the facade on violence and aggression, revealing it for what it is. As Mars retrogrades into a simultaneous opposition to Uranus and a square to Pluto that’s exact April 23, we may be seeing more of this kind of demonstration. It will be difficult to hide, as transits of Mars to Uranus and Pluto can be considerably more energetic than aspects to the Sun. That said, Pistorius himself has a close Sun-Mars square in his natal chart.
Aries Sun Aspects: More to Come
At the moment we have three nearly simultaneous aspects, two of which involve the Aries Sun and one of which involves Venus in Pisces. On the surface they would seem to be very different creatures, but I see an underlying theme.
Let’s take them in order. Friday, April 11, at 3:11 am EDT, the Sun aligned with Juno in Aries; at press time, the alignment is still exact within a quarter of a degree. Juno is the third-discovered asteroid, discovered in 1804, technically called (3) Juno.
Named for the Roman equivalent of Hera, Juno is associated with relationship themes, but really of the more challenging kind. It’s not the picture of connubial fidelity. Rather, it tends to depict the crisis of faith in relationships: struggles with fidelity, jealousy and with simply expressing one’s needs and expectations.
There is frustration implicit in Juno. In the discovery chart of this asteroid (perhaps the most helpful tool for delineating a minor planet), Juno is in the early degrees of Aries, taking a square from Mars, a square from Chiron and an opposition from Mercury and Saturn. There is nothing but tension in this aspect pattern, and Juno itself is right in the fray.
This is a cardinal grand cross, located very close to the Aries Point; all the planets are very early in their signs. [This article from December 2012 includes a detailed discussion of the Juno discovery chart, and the chart itself.] The cardinal grand cross is similar to what we’re experiencing right now, and once again Juno is in the action.
I would note the irony of a planet associated with relationships being discovered in the first degrees of Aries, the sign of “I am.” It’s as if the relationship thing is a ruse, or as if the Gestalt therapists are right, that one must always put oneself first. You could say that Juno represents the lesson of actually being present in one’s relationships rather than slipping into the background and taking a passive approach, then boiling over with resentment later.
One could write a book about this discovery chart and its commentary on how young people are herded into a certain kind of relationship, without any real discussion of the matter, or discussion of alternatives. Relationships are all expected to have one destination. The marriage contract is a kind of lock, but rarely is there the maturity necessary either to understand the agreement or to co-exist in the situation.
You might say that Juno presents a double image: that of the expectation of the perfect relationship, embodied in marriage, and the struggle that can ensue once that is enacted. Marriage seems like an easy solution to the relationship puzzle, then there is seemingly no escape, or not at least without some huge and unreasonable consequences. Most of those consequences are based on unmet expectations, unmet needs and frustration. Then there are the ever-present financial implications of marriage and divorce.
Imagine how much easier things would be if people could actually express their needs and their expectations and negotiate on level ground. Imagine if we could take up the power to design our own relationship agreements and not have to sign up for the stock model. Most people put far more time into evaluating a one-year lease than they do the implications of the marriage contract.
And that is really ridiculous. Once you start researching marital property laws (which are state by state) you make all kinds of chilling discoveries about what happens to your assets once you tie the knot. The implications are profound.
Juno has a contemporary manifestation. In the only chart we have for Pistorius shooting Steenkamp, the telephone call to the police, Juno in Capricorn is rising one degree above the horizon. To me this indicates that the motive for this murder was a jealous episode. I think we have some work to do around everything that Juno represents and must begin to write new stories rather than trying to live out the same old ones over and over again.
Now we are getting an experience of Sun-Juno opposite retrograde Mars, Vesta and Ceres in Libra. There is a lot of information in there but one comment seems to be about how marriage does not guarantee hot sex. Marriage does not guarantee freedom from the jealousy issue; that can rear its head at any time, and it can be worse in a marriage because you have more to lose. Marriage does not guarantee anything, despite the inflexible nature of the contract. And most significantly, marriage is not the problem — the issue as I see it is people’s struggle or lack of a struggle to understand themselves and one another.
Also Friday, Venus is conjunct Neptune in Pisces. On its face this is a friendly aspect, certainly rich in potential for one’s fantasy life. Just about any astrologer would say it’s good for romance. It’s about as Pisces as it gets, with the modern ruler and one of the classical planets associated with Pisces joining together. Venus soaked with Neptune in Pisces could stand for the ideal woman, a woman’s ideals of relationship, or the ultimate fantasy woman.
The fantasy attribute of this aspect is powerful. I see it working on at least two levels. One level is idealized partnership and romanticized sex. Unless one is part of ‘sex culture’ it’s rare to think about sex in a way that does not involve romanticizing it; that is, casting it into some kind of script or drama that makes it palatable and socially acceptable. (The closer one gets to orgasm, however, the more that stricture falls apart.)
This is perfect relationship fodder — and then in the same moment, the complexity of Sun-Juno kicks in. The ideal does not usually meet reality. The reality in our society is that the individual and his or her intentions trump the relationship almost every time — eventually or right away.
We tend to be a society of takers rather than givers, and enter relationships with huge expectations, many of which are packed into our heads by movies and TV — or what we didn’t get last time that we think we deserve this time.
In another incarnation, Venus-Neptune has that self-idealized state of mind, which could be a real case of ‘I’m so wonderful, nobody is good enough for me’. This is accented in the chart by an exact square to Venus-Neptune by Niobe, an asteroid about pride and humbling experiences.
The other level of Venus-Neptune is the beauty, power and boundless nature of fantasy. Nearly everyone has a fantasy life that goes beyond the romantic level, and that is controversial. Many people of every sex and gender do in fact have fantasies that might indeed be considered socially unacceptable — whether they violate a law or custom, because they involve people outside the marriage or primary relationship, or because they’re super interesting, kinky and lots of fun.
In this respect, fantasy has the potential to be revolutionary. It also opens doors that many people prefer to keep closed, and that is why it’s generally considered a secret. To some people it’s frightening or worse, because it represents a potential for what they might do that in reality they would never do, or admit to wanting to do.
There is plenty of activity in Pisces right now, including a four-way conjunction of Hebe (codependency, enabling behavior), Arachne (interconnections, conspiracies, scandals), Pandora (everything comes out and cannot be put back in) and Chiron. That conjunction is a close neighbor of Venus-Neptune. I see it as representing the fear of what happens if the contents of one’s imagination get out. It’s almost like a fantasy scenario of its own — the paranoid kind that sometimes comes along with some really hot thought.
The revolutionary nature of fantasy shows itself in the Sun conjunct Eris, which describes an assertion of independence, a subversive or dishonest approach to gaining one’s independence, and on a really good day, the intention of being a whole person. That aspect is exact Saturday, April 12, at 7:56 am EDT. It is actually a triple conjunction of the Sun, Juno and Eris that looks like a potent assertion of independence within relationships.
Given the power of this astrology, I think it’s going to take some work and some awareness for that not to be self-destructive. The starting point would be simple honesty. As a culture and as individuals, we need what Eris has to offer in its most positive expression, but that is rare to find. More often Eris asserts its energy in a subversive way rather than a direct one, which sounds like another expression of Juno.
Mercury conjunct Uranus, and passing through the cardinal grand cross on Monday, emphasizes the point of communicating, as soon as possible, what it’s necessary to say. ‘Possible’ really means ‘willing’, since anything is possible and the actual factor tends to be acting on one’s desire to be understood.
The balance between self and other, between individuality and coupledom, sorting out one’s own needs and desires versus those of the other, is highlighted again by Tuesday’s eclipse of the Moon in Libra, exact at 3:42 am EDT. The eclipse is a turning point, as all eclipses are. It’s likely to work like a catalyst that brings out many properties hidden in the recesses of this chart.
The eclipsed Moon is conjunct Ceres, which is saying that if a relationship is not nourishing, what good is it? There’s also a question of what to do with all the pain and hurt of the past. It’s a valid and necessary question, and the eclipse is likely to point to sources of information and healing if not direct answers. Yet I see Ceres as a reminder to go in the direction of nourishment.
I will say this. Given this astrology, I strongly suggest you say what you need, clearly and calmly, and ask others what they need, and listen carefully. Between you both, you can probably work out a solution to whatever puzzle this presents. If you cannot, then it’s time to consider some alternatives, which need not be earth- (or relationship-) shattering.
I will see you there.
Weekly Horoscope for Friday, April 11, 2014, #994 | By Eric Francis
Aries (March 20-April 19) — You don’t need to assert your independence or pitch a fit to get what you want. You would go a long way toward your goal by having one, and by being aware of what it is. Then put it into words that you understand, and that another person can understand. Your solar chart suggests you may be inclined to take a less progressive approach such as responding to some situation with a combination of jealousy and thinly veiled aggression. If I may be so bold, you don’t have to fight to be you. If you feel like you do, you might consider the nature of that relationship and whether you belong there. All of this said, intimate partners or female relatives will be more open to what you have to say than you may imagine, so make sure you write the bit about “they won’t care” out of the script. Be fair, speak your mind and see what happens. I suggest you do this well before push comes to shove, and with as little urgency as you can offer your ideas.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Use your imagination, and at the same time notice when you’re expecting life to live up to your fantasy. I would say that one cancels the other out. Applying imagination is an active process, a sustained creative approach to living; expecting things to be the way you imagine them puts you in a passive role, that of hope and expectation. You need the active approach right now. One reason I say this is because life will offer you so much more when you take control of your creative power and put it to use for yourself. Another is because the kinds of challenges that you’ll be facing over the next week or two will be much more rewarding when you take up your role as director of the movie rather than an actor in it. Be aware that you’re under considerable pressure that you may only be dimly conscious of, and that is unlikely to have a name. Therefore I suggest you give yourself healthy vents and modes of expression that you explore as fully as you can until the Sun enters your sign on April 20. Then, plenty that was hidden will suddenly be apparent.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — You look like you’re ready to play the lottery of life and take a chance that you would never usually dare. It may actually be worth it. You may not feel like you have a choice, or as if you would never forgive yourself if you didn’t take the opportunity. If so, get ready to dive in with total courage. And understand that you are opening yourself up to what looks like total change, renewal, self-reinvention or some vast experiment with your life. One thing I would suggest is that you identify and sort out your values from those of people around you. Know your own motives and know when you’re being influenced by someone else, or particularly by a group. Try to notice whether you’re acting out of fear or desire. In all, the planetary picture is complex, but that may not stop you from making a choice that seems simple and that you feel driven by some mysterious forces to make. And remember there is no predicting the outcome, which seems to be the most vibrant benefit of the experience.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — You may feel like a lot is depending on you right now, and that may be true. I suggest however that you keep your attention on what you’re doing rather than what everyone else is up to. Stay oriented on the purpose you’ve defined for yourself, because if you do, you’re likely to take an enormous stride in the direction of success. You may need to give this some thought, and you may need to figure out a way to insulate yourself from a lot of activity that seems important but which is less meaningful than it appears. Make sure you have time and space to think, to consider what you’re doing, and to make all of your communication meaningful. If you find yourself stressed, slow down a little and rearrange your priorities. When you do there is likely to be one thing that stands out, and that is what to focus on. It looks like something new rather than something you’ve been at for a while, or a whole new approach to something familiar. In any event, your solar chart is vibrating with some unusual success — you just need to be clear-headed enough to notice the opportunity when it arrives.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Focus your vision. By vision, I mean your visioning process, and keeping your eyes peeled on what is the most significant factor. I know a lot is happening, and there are plenty of distractions in your environment. Think of your vision as a wide-angle lens. You’re going to come in super close and focus a macro kind of shot, yet everything else will still be visible, but blurry. This will help you see your subject in context. That is critical — that you leave what you’re observing in the framework of its environment, rather than “zooming in” on it, taking out everything that’s around it. Note that the momentum of your charts is catapulting you beyond some previous concept, idea, plan or way of doing things. You will land where you are looking, which is why you want to look right at where you’re intending to be, and to keep that set within its environment. Remember that you are part of your environment. Always see yourself in that context as well.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Observe life with the perspective of a playwright or filmmaker — see the details, see the drama, let your mind engage the beauty and the weirdness — but don’t get wrapped up in it emotionally. Everything that happens to you is creative fodder, the more so if you invite yourself to play with the world. And play is the word, the operative concept and it seems the thing you want to do the very most. Yet this is creative play, and rather than being an idle pastime, it’s the kind of play that influences you and sparks your imagination. As you get drawn in, you may find yourself having an idea that has some real influence, some actual mojo behind it. If you pursue this idea it’s likely to take you on something of a ride, by which I mean an adventure. By the way, your chart is strongly suggesting it’s also a sexual adventure of some kind, and if that is true, I just have two suggestions: have fun, and make sure you take the necessary steps to keep your options open. There will be time for experiences that create lifelong bonds, but so far as I can see, this is not one of them.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — I can only imagine what it feels like to be you right now, and when I do, my imagination goes a bit wild. Then again, I’m not a Libra and you may be feeling overwhelmed by the various surges, pulses and astonishing variety of experiences that life is offering you. One message that you may be getting is, there’s no point living like it’s 1994 or 2004 or for that matter April 2014. If your chart is pointing you overwhelmingly to one idea, it’s about the present catching up with you, all at once, in a big way. Wherever you’ve been, whatever frame of mind you’ve been trying to contain the experiences that are coming your way in, everything will be a lot easier when you experience now as if it’s now. It’s difficult to describe the incredible weight that humanity bears trying to force the present moment into its prejudices about the past (but we can see some of that pain dramatized in politics and what families put themselves through). Nobody needs that, even if they have not figured it out. You have better things to do with your time and vital force — a lot better.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Your situation is not as complicated as it seems. I know, it does seem complicated, but actually it’s your emotional state that’s the thing creating the interference. Like, what is the source of all this worry, and why are you so convinced that it’s actually an accurate response to the world? It’s true that your ruling planet Mars is stirring the pot, provoking you and agitating your anger (subtle though it may be) and possibly keeping you up at night, even though there’s unlikely to be a serious or even moderately serious issue. It’s true that Saturn is in your sign, close to your Sun, and may be weighing on you with a sense of responsibility or the weight of the world. Listen to me. Relax. Cheer up. Wake up. Get outside your house and out of your head. You live in a much bigger world than you think, and the people who live here love you more than you care to admit. Yes, this is a moment of growing up, and settling some long unresolved psychological business. It’s also potentially one of the boldest times of your life. Don’t miss it.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Remember how sensitive you are, which is another word for how vulnerable. One corner of your astrology describes this vividly — a healing process designed to address some emotional pain that you’ve wanted to let go of forever. While healing is always assured, the path is not always direct, and you now have the opportunity to actually focus on what has been difficult to resolve. Another corner of your chart has you bouncing off the walls with ideas and plans and crackling with energy. It looks like you’re ready for action. Now, without real awareness of your needs as opposed to your desires, you could find yourself in a tight spot. So I suggest that the first thing you do is honor your vulnerable side first. That may mean being a little less spontaneous than you like to be. Then once you’ve done that, you can make choices for the adventures you want that are based on (for example) who among your friends is actually sensitive to you. That is the main thing you need, in a friend, love or traveling companion of any form: someone who can feel you.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — If I have not said it lately, I suggest you set any major career plans aside. You do need to work, so work well, and focus on developing trusting relationships with your colleagues and people in positions of authority. You will in the near future be counting on that trust. That is more than enough emphasis on your career. In fact, it’s exactly the emphasis that your chart is calling for: on real people, and real situations, right now. What you need to know about these situations is that the actual content is not restricted to work but rather is deeply intertwined with your integrity as a person, which is why it’s such a productive time to hang out there. As for everything else: your charts are describing an emotional state that’s all about asserting your independence. Here is a clue — you don’t need to assert it from anyone else; you only need to refine your thinking and step out of the limited concepts of a ‘self’ that have kept you trapped in the past. One theme of this inner discussion involves not needing to be so cocooned. You don’t need to hide your real personality three layers back from the world. When you introduce yourself to someone, let them meet you, right then and there.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — I suggest you not assert your leadership or your authority until you’re absolutely clear that you have a vision to back it up. Yes this is a time in your life when you are being called upon to step up as someone who takes responsibility for something larger than yourself. Yet it’s also a time when you’re attempting to clarify your agenda and your priorities, and this is not proving to be easy. Your process of clarification seems to be intertwined with a relationship with someone you consider a little daunting or who seems to have a parental role in your life. That’s part of the psychology you’re working out. So the second phase of authority is really getting a handle on your inner parent. This seems to be a sticking point, and it comes back to the vision discussion. I’ll phrase this as a question — are you meeting any inner resistance when you expand your concept of your life? Does it feel like old resistance, and does that feel like it has someone’s personality on it? Effective leadership really does involve profound psychological clarity. It’s worth it.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Love and money — these are things that people seek out astrology for the most often, and the subjects your solar chart is speaking about the most clearly right now. Both share a common root, which is the esteem and respect that you have for yourself. True, it’s eminently possible to hate oneself to fortune and an abundance of attention, but that’s not what you want. Love says: recognize who you are, and do not doubt it. Embrace who you are and share that with the world. Make every statement in the affirmative and attract a cosmic reflection or counterpart you recognize. Money is saying something similar, though the commentary is about recognizing the illumination and inventiveness you can bring to the subject. Your solar chart is gleaming with the notion that your ideas are what is of value. Yet for that to manifest as prosperity, you must trust yourself and your ideas, and you certainly have the strength and clarity to do that. In three words, the common threads are self-respect, intelligence and trust.