Editor’s note: this is the full PW members’ edition, featuring your extended August monthly horoscope by Eric, the Create feature and a slightly expanded lead essay; Planet Waves FM is on a brief hiatus.
Dear Friend and Reader:
On Saturday, Aug. 11, we’ll experience a partial solar eclipse with the Leo New Moon. This is the third and final eclipse of the current series. In modern Western astrology, eclipses are associated with the path forward into purpose — though a sense of purpose can be hard to come by with so much distraction and difficulty in the world, and at our fingertips.
As has been mentioned in Planet Waves recently, Saturday’s eclipse is happening on the 19-year anniversary of the Aug. 11, 1999, total solar eclipse — which also happened in the same degree as the one this weekend: 19 Leo.
If your memory is fuzzy as to what you were doing back in August 1999, you might find that this brief list of news events from that month helps to jog your memory — though if you have access to old journals or emails, all the better. A couple of Eric’s essays from the time (here and here, with a couple related articles linked at the bottom) may offer some additional context.
I say that eclipses are associated with purpose because when the Sun and Moon make their conjunction at 5:58 am EDT (9:58 UTC) on Saturday, they’ll be roughly conjunct the lunar North Node. The Nodes are continually moving invisible points that represent the intersection between the path the Sun appears to make around the Earth from our perspective, and the Moon’s actual orbit.
When a Full or New Moon occurs near these points, we get an eclipse. In astrology, the South Node is associated with ‘karma’ — which you can also think of as overdeveloped character traits or comfortable habits that impede your growth, if you’re not into the idea of past lives. We associate the North Node with underdeveloped qualities or the life lessons necessary for growth — things that can also be thought of as your ‘soul’s path forward’ or ‘dharma’.
Dharma can also be translated as “acting as if to hold the world together” — or, as Eric wrote recently, “acting as if to hold the world.” No single person can actually, literally accomplish the feat of holding the world together. Yet what each of us can do is to be as conscientious as we can about always living our values and ethics; to behave with empathy, generosity and responsibility; to make choices that cause ourselves and others the least possible harm and greatest good; and being willing to move continually closer to what feels like a life lived with clear purpose.
A crowd views the Aug. 11, 1999, solar eclipse near Penzance, Cornwall, UK, at the moment of totality, as day is briefly turned to night.
You could probably distill that quite easily to some version of the Golden Rule. Even so, embracing a life of dharma is not easy or simple for most people. It’s just not the ‘norm’ of Western culture (especially in the U.S.) as much as one might like — though the idea does seem to be gaining traction in ever-widening circles.
No matter where you are with your relationship to the concept of dharma (or your relationship to its lived reality), a perennial question seems to emerge right around eclipse time for many people: How do I build up the momentum necessary to break out of the familiar, habitual factors of my environment and behavior, and emerge into a new phase of growth?
I confess: I’m struggling with this very question myself right now. Even though I just returned from my annual spirit-enriching week at dance camp — complete with plenty of adaption to a new camp location to help loosen up decade-old habits — I’m not sure how to use the shift in environment and perspective now that I’m home. It’s all too easy to set a new experience aside as something that was ‘temporary’ or ‘not part of regular life’, and then just slide back into previously existing patterns.
Having both the Full Moon eclipse two weeks ago and the New Moon eclipse on Saturday in fixed signs, along with several planets in fixed signs, may be exacerbating this sensation for some people. In case you were wondering, here’s a list of the major bodies in fixed signs right now: in Taurus, we have Uranus and Juno; in Leo, we have retrograde Mercury, Pallas, the Sun (the Moon joins them on Friday) and the North Node; Jupiter is in Scorpio; and retrograde Mars, Black Moon Lilith, and the South Node inhabit Aquarius.
That’s a lot of planetary energy in signs that tend to have an affinity for patterns, attachments and stability. Yet, that does not mean there can be no movement with this eclipse. It might, however, mean surfing its energy in a slightly more practical way — at least, compared to the movement encouraged by some of the other eclipses you’ve experienced in recent years.
Chart for the Leo New Moon and partial solar eclipse. The lunar North Node is the orange horseshoe shape on the left side of the chart, just above the other four bodies in Leo. The South Node is the orange horseshoe directly across the wheel. View glyph key here.
Note, for example, that the asteroid Pallas is just over a degree-and-a-half away from the Sun and Moon on Aug. 11, and Mercury is only four degrees away. This points to the importance of having a strategy for moving toward your vision — one that engages heart and head, intuition and conscious awareness.
The fascinating paradox inherent in dharma (at least as I see it right now), is the need to put oneself front and center — like the Sun — to come alive in one’s passions and purpose; and then, from that place, one can most effectively be of service to the world in the ways that best utilize one’s many gifts.
It’s like that famous Howard Thurman quote: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
Being able to recognize what makes us come alive — and actually doing it — seems to be getting dampened by life on the internet. True, there have always been obstacles to this, such as poverty, geography, class, race, and so on. Yet digital life has a curious way of fooling us into thinking that we’re “coming alive” every time we engage in an online debate, share words of wisdom and photos on social media, and click a petition. It’s not really the same thing; it just uses up the same energy.
However, there are some helper-planets in the eclipse chart. For example, Juno in Taurus is making a square to the eclipse cluster in Leo. If you are not listening carefully these days to your body’s physical and sensual needs and meeting them, what do you need to do differently? How do those factors, and your relationship values and needs, inform your vision for your life?
Jupiter in Scorpio is also square the Leo eclipse cluster. This looks like it’s adding some real mojo to whatever long-range plans you set at this time — particularly pertaining to emotional, financial or sexual transformation. Think big — just know you’ll have to take care of the details at some point along the way.
Meanwhile, Pluto in Capricorn and Neptune in Pisces are both quincunx the Leo eclipse cluster. Quincunxes are just one sign off from an opposition, and indicate a need for continual adjustment.
With Pluto (ruling change) in a very practical sign, and Neptune (associated with dreams) in a very fluid and creative sign, I can’t think of two better planets to have in quincunxes to the eclipse. Maybe I’m being overly optimistic, but it really does suggest to me the ability to keep moving incrementally toward your vision, putting that process into actual motion. Think of it this way: every time Pluto clears some space, Neptune can fill it with a new version of the vision; every time you adjust your dream, Pluto comes through to disrupt what might hold you back from it.
Temporary freedom from structured behavior: businessmen take a moment to view the Aug. 11, 1999, eclipse in Essen, Germany. It was the last total solar eclipse of the millennium. Photo by Edgar R. Schoepal.
That process would seem to stand in contrast with the implications of the Sabian symbol for Saturday’s eclipse: “A Houseboat Party.” The keynote is, “The enjoyment of temporary freedom from rigidly structured behavior.”
Think about that idea for a moment: “temporary freedom from rigidly structured behavior.” Why is it temporary?
Is it because we humans are really good at brief escapism, and not so skilled at evolving beyond our rigid habits and crystallized social expectations? Speaking of our contemporary environment, do we invest so much energy in showing the world via social media how life-changing our vacations are, that we buffer ourselves from letting those experiences truly alter us (and alter our life’s trajectory)? How much is the rigidity imposed from the outside, and how much do we internalize it — or even insist on it, for a sense of ‘security’?
I’ve been thinking lately about my own August of 1999. It was an exciting summer for me, in that I was finally working in a field I was passionate about. Yet, in many ways, that was a temporary ‘freedom’ from my usual life. A lot has changed for me between now and then, but I’ve also been thinking about the inner dynamics that have stayed the same — tendencies that I now understand to be part of my karmic/dharmic life lessons. And I’m curious to figure out how to parlay any ‘temporary freedoms’ into a long-term process of growing beyond rigidly structured behaviors; or, at least, to become more adept at loosening them from time to time.
August 1999 may seem like forever ago, but the solar eclipse that happened then is intimately and directly linked to the one this weekend; they are part of a cycle, a through-line — perhaps even a spiral. You certainly know how you got from there to here. Where do you want to go next?
Yours & truly,
New Tarot & Astrology Studio Readings from Eric Francis
Note: We have now provided links to pre-order your Virgo, Libra and Scorpio Astrology Studio and Tarot Studio readings in the list linked below.
Dear Friend and Reader:
We are all going through a lot with Mars and Mercury retrograde, and a series of eclipses. And I have some astrology and tarot for you, if you want it. Audio samples are included, so you can get a feeling for the vibe of the reading.
Prior to taking a month or so off, I’ve completed my backlog of overdue readings. I’ve done these through the past eight days or so, working very early in the morning, when the world is quiet. I want to get them to you, and I don’t want to return to a backlog — I plan to hit the ground running.
The readings are enhanced by the fact that I’m not doing any astrology writing at the moment, so I’m living a human schedule. I’ve cleared up some space in my mind, and I’m working rested, in a quiet place — perfect for doing this kind of reading.
I’ve taken the opportunity to redesign my tarot readings, which are now called Tarot Studio. In the future, they will be included with your astrology reading with pre-order only; then the two sessions will be offered separately.
We got this response last week to one of the readings: “Absolutely amazing. Beyond words how pertinent this tarot reading is for my life right now. Even more powerful the second time. So much love and gratitude.”
As ever, I think it’s amazing that this stuff works at all, though it certainly seems to. I offer these readings in the spirit of helping you make the best decisions you can make.
Thank you for your business, and for trusting me as your astrologer.
PS — You may access birthday readings for all the signs here. If you’re having difficulty ordering on the internet, you may call us at (845) 481-5616. Give us one to two working days to get back to you, and make it easy for us to reach you! It’ll probably be sooner. Thank you again for your business.
PPS — We will re-mail this a few times, to make sure we catch everyone. Please check out the audio samples!
The Sacred Space of Self
The Perfect Video Readings for the Eclipse Zone
“You’re the best! I love your readings and I appreciate this; share so much as a Cancer with Cap rising, especially. Lots of insight! Thank you so much.”
— L.J. Innes, on the Sacred Space of Self sampler video
Dear Friend and Reader:
I just wanted to be sure you’ve had a chance to watch the sample videos we have available for the Sacred Space of Self spring reading. If current events have you feeling overwhelmed or a little raw, you might find some solace and inspiration here to keep plugging away at whatever challenges you face now.
Currently all four of the cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn) are compiled in one video. We’re working on separating those into individual samples — although, if you have one of those signs as your Sun or rising sign, you’ll definitely get great insight from watching the whole compilation.
The fixed and mutable sign samples are available individually (each is linked from the sign name). The cardinal sign links go to where the sample for each sign begins in the compilation video.
Please note that those are only very short excerpts of the Sacred Space of Self readings! Each sign’s complete video is a full 30-50 minutes long.
You can order individual signs of the Sacred Space of Self here. Or, go all-in for the complete 12-sign set, and you can watch the videos for your loved ones, too.
“I enjoyed these videos and all of them are surprisingly, completely in-depth. Well, not so surprisingly if you have heard Eric speak on other subjects.”
— Samantha Hampton, on the 2018 Sacred Space of Self readings
If you have any questions (including questions about arrangements for financial hardship), please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org — or, call us at (845) 481-5616.
Wishing you well,
Something To Do on a Dog Day Afternoon
By Amanda Painter
Although there is some variance throughout history on when exactly the Dog Days of summer occur, it seems pretty safe to say we’re in them now here in the Northern Hemisphere. Originally, these hot, sultry days of summer followed the appearance of the “dog star” Sirius on the eastern horizon after having not been visible for several months.
If that’s the kind of weather you’re experiencing, probably the last thing you want to think about is putting on a sweater — especially a really fuzzy one. But in the spirit of the trickster Mercury (which is still retrograde in Leo until Aug. 19), I could not resist offering you this: a woman who spins clothing out of (yes) dog hair.
As Jeanne Sanke remarks in the video, sweater-worthy hair can only come from dogs who have been extremely well cared-for. So between that and the unusualness of her craft, it’s unlikely that we’ll see a sudden surge in canine mistreatment just to get their hair. Sanke’s sweaters cost as much as $800 (she says they’re “like getting wrapped up in love”). But if you’re curious and on a budget, you can get smaller knitted dog-hair items from Sanke’s Etsy shop. No word yet on how they smell when they get wet.
Listen to Vision Quest on Live Stream
Planet Waves has an in-house music ensemble, called Vision Quest. We have a 38-hour loop of our music, which you can listen to any time. Included are finished pieces, rehearsals, live concerts, drum grooves, and spoken word recordings. I consider it a kind of musical divination. Click in randomly at different times of day and see what you discover.
Monthly Horoscopes and Publishing Schedule Notes
We published your extended monthly horoscopes for July on Thursday, June 21. Please note: we normally publish the extended monthly horoscope on the first Thursday after the Sun has entered a new sign. That schedule is on hold while Eric takes his much-needed sabbatical; however, the July 22 horoscope by Amy Elliott was written with the month of August in mind. Also, we’ve reprinted below the August monthly horoscope Eric published earlier this week for the eclipse.
Aries (March 20-April 19) — You may not consider yourself a creative force of nature, though the time has come to not just experiment with that notion, but to step into it like you’re boarding a vessel of light. Your chart has Leo in the vibrant, illuminated 5th place: the art studio of the zodiac, the creative space where the spark of life is transacted from one person to the next, and one generation to the next. This is more than a physical space; it’s like a transport beam that will carry you, through your own creative process, from one experience to the next, from this phase of your life to the next, from your current idea about yourself to the next. Yet there is one requirement, which is your full participation in your own existence. You must admit that you are connected to core source, which is within you. You personally are not that source, nor do you want the burden of being so. Yet you contain it, and can access your strength as a source of energy that feels distinctly like who you are at your best. Bring the small willingness to engage with the strength that you contain. This strength is one and the same as your sexual energy. Saturday’s eclipse may come with a temporary dimming of the light, as if you’re resetting yourself, reforming your personality, or preparing to take some great inner risk. Do not hold your breath. Rather, keep breathing.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Where is home? Who is home? What is family, and where do you fit into the constellation of your own world? The answers to those questions are changing, and if you’re living consciously, so will the questions themselves. Think of these things in the widest sense you can imagine: not, for example, your immediate relatives or your neighborhood, but rather that you live on a planet orbiting a star, somewhere in the deeps of space and time. In such a formative moment of your life, you need perspective, broad enough to contain ideas you might not normally experience. I say experience because with Uranus in your birth sign, ideas are less likely to come floating along as little concepts you can pluck from the air and scribble down, but as full-on confrontations with existence. You may suddenly come face to face with vast new possibilities for yourself. You may wake up to the experience of needing to liberate yourself from the world that you currently inhabit, with the accompanying feeling of thunder in your heart. As one born under the sign Taurus, you value stability above all else, and yet you have fire within you. Make room for new possibilities, and welcome them. Some of those will be revelations for how to transform your current existence into something on another level entirely, as if you’ve suddenly solved some vexing puzzle.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — The world we live in seems to be abandoning reason and rationality in favor of being driven by raw emotion. This is probably not your idea of progress, though it’s easy to either get caught up in, or to experience as something crashing over your head. I suggest you use a method taught to all children who grow up near the seaside: when you see a wave coming, dive straight into it, and you will come out safely on the other side. This takes some faith the first few times, though it works. Now, consider this as a model, as a technique upon which you can base others. You’re at a time in your life when you need a clear plan. This is not always true. Sometimes it’s necessary to throw yourself to the four winds and let them take you wherever they may. Now, however, you need, at least, a sketch; a rough draft; a few notes scribbled onto a paper bag, on which you can build. Your chart describes an urgent calling to express yourself. You know you have a gift for this, a natural inclination to put your ideas into words. This is true even if you’re an artist, musician or potter. Indeed, the less you normally transact your life in sentences and paragraphs, the more this applies to you. Keep your pencil sharp.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Your ethics are your values. Your values are your ethics. Your value is what is right and true for you, and that is the basis of your existence. In reality, you can have no other, so trim away everything in your life that is no longer reflective of your actual being, and emphasize what supports you from your core. What you focus on will grow. Therefore, feed the tree that is at the center of your being, and spend a lot of time in its shade, and feeling its love. Think of this as learning how to value yourself. When your value in yourself is strong, you are strong. Yet in truth, we’re talking about something that’s one of the greatest challenges for nearly everyone, in our time in history: establishing self-trust, self-respect, and the primacy of your existence above all else. For someone as service-oriented as you are, it may be helpful to think of this as being the only way you can be of assistance to others. Yet at the moment, this must be secondary: let that be OK. Allow your central purpose in existing to be the organizing principle of your life. If you can do this for a while, you will find real freedom. You will liberate inner resources, and you will get to decide how to allocate them. It is clear from recent events that the winds of change are blowing, for you and for the world around you. In such a time, you need a clear point of orientation. And that would be what you know to be right and true.
Leo Birthdays 2018-19:
Eclipses, Retrogrades and You — Oh My!
“For what it’s worth: never heard anything so right on, dead on, aligned with what I am looking at, aware of, dealing with, leaning into — especially professionally and emotionally. I can’t even list them all — so many subtle angles and aspects that all resonate and add up. Affirming experiences, potentials, challenges. To a T. Wow. Will be getting these transcribed so I can read them over and over.”
— Robyn Landis, on a previous birthday reading
Dear Reader with Leo Sun, Rising or Moon:
Big things are happening in your sign right now. Can you sense it? Are you feeling energized and excited, on edge, perplexed, stuck, like you’re right in the sweet spot of your flow, or just plain curious?
Remember last year’s big eclipse in your sign? Smile — you have more coming! Photo by Amanda Painter on Aug. 21, 2017.
Any of those responses (and more) would make total sense: Mercury is now retrograde in your sign, and on Friday, July 27, there was a total lunar eclipse in your opposite sign (and relationship zone) Aquarius.
But that’s not all! In just two days, there’s a partial solar eclipse on Aug. 11 — in the same part of Leo where a storied eclipse took place in August of 1999.
Your solar year is getting off to a dynamic start — and the events and energy of these weeks will ripple out, develop and influence your life for the next six to twelve months. That’s why no matter when you listen to your newly published 2018-19 Leo Birthday Reading, you’re sure to discover a wealth of helpful and inspiring insights you’ll be able to get to work with right away.
If you’re new to Planet Waves and Eric’s audio readings, you’re invited to listen to last year’s reading as a gift. The 2017 Great American Eclipse occurred in your sign last year, and it has been reverberating ever since — so listening to your 2017 reading is sure to help you review your year and get oriented on what’s to come.
When you order your 2018-19 Leo Birthday Reading, you’ll receive access to two audio segments of astrology (at least 30 minutes each) and an extended description of your sign, plus custom-selected music by Vision Quest, the Planet Waves musical ensemble.
“Planet Waves has been crucial for me lately as I navigate this topsy-turvy landscape; life is in transition on so many levels and it’s been an incredible resource in my life, especially now.”
— Ronny K.
Thank you again for your patience, faith, and for being a valued Planet Waves customer in these wild times.
Wishing you an excellent eclipse season,
P.S. If you have any questions or prefer to order by phone, please call us at (845) 481-5616; you can also email us at email@example.com. And don’t forget: the 2018-19 Leo Birthday Reading makes a fantastic gift.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Let’s travel back in time to the summer of 1999. We can only do this in our imagination, though that may be plenty to observe what you need to get from the experience. First, before you remember any specific events, remember where you lived at the time. Then, consider how you felt: about yourself, and most of all, about the future. It’s likely that things didn’t turn out exactly as you envisioned them, or planned, at the time. You probably faced greater challenges and achieved more than you were expecting to. Today, you’re nearly two decades older, which naturally changes your sense of the future. But I would ask you: where are you today, and how do you feel about your existence? And what do you feel is the journey ahead? Are you still able to envision bold possibilities for yourself? This is vital. Stretch your mind. Push yourself to consider your potential. Now that you are older and wiser, you know that you must use your time efficiently, and meaningfully. I suggest you set some boundaries about what that might mean for you, in a tangible way. For example, you might resolve to spend less time online, and therefore devote a smaller proportion of your life expectancy to anti-social media. You might decide that, above all else, it’s time to travel. You probably have the inclination to drive your life in the direction of one major achievement. Choose well, and one will lead to another.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — There’s a whole chapter of A Course in Miracles devoted to “the fear to look within,” and there are many other references throughout the work to this issue. The situation, as described by this particular work of spiritual psychology, involves some potentially wrenching anxiety about what you might find in there. This stands as a barrier between you and yourself, a kind of primal fear to see yourself for who you are. To embrace your own power of witness, though, you need to set this fear aside, and enter your own self-awareness courageously. Let me be the next person to remind you that shadow is only a temporary blockage or absence of illumination, and you contain a river of light, the source of which is beyond you. Yet it’s possible to block one’s view of the entire universe merely by wearing a blindfold. So remove any blocks to your vision, which in this case would be the willingness to see, and dive into your reality and see where you emerge. Let the world vanish for a moment: the one made of petty fears, squabbles, disputes, and misunderstandings created by ignorance. Let a greater world open up, which you will recognize mainly by your own peace of mind. This is a journey, and it may require daily meditation or communing with nature or with your artwork. Yet if you dependably give yourself some time and space beyond the mundane world, and focus inwardly, you will arrive within.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Your role in your community is expanding, evolving, changing: whatever word you like. Yet this may be accompanied by a temporary dimming of the light, and an experience of discontinuity. There is a shift of some kind happening, one that you cannot exactly control, but you can assess and evaluate. Use this to your advantage. In times of change, you can make adjustments to your position and your purpose that will scarcely be noticed by others, but which will make a big difference for you. In essence, a solar eclipse in Leo is about realigning your relationship to your community, however you define that. You may want to do more. You may want to do less. You may want to be a more private person, or a more public one. The change you make will feel natural and at the same time, like a little stretch, or a push, or a leap. It’s not as far as it may seem, and you have the advantage of a wrinkle in time to shorten some of the distance between you and where you’re going. While you’re doing this, make sure of one thing: that you plan for the economics to work out in your favor. This is not merely a marketing project, but one of establishing a new deal. Do this openly, outwardly and wholly transparently. Your value is established. You must trust in this fact, and work with it, and bank on it.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — The one thing standing between you and accomplishing great things may be the desire to accomplish great things. Real achievements rarely happen on those terms. America’s Next Top Model is never America’s next top model. Great achievements are never great in their time. They’re usually controversial, annoying, or seen as irrelevant. They’re the book manuscript that was thrown in the trash, or the solution to a problem that nobody else can see. Therefore, if you want to be useful to the world — and this you seem determined to be — work on your vision, and fully inhabit whatever you count as your workshop. Take all emphasis off of greatness and place it on quality. Subtract the ideas of others, including what you presume are their expectations, and develop your vision. Yet this must happen beyond the realm of your imagination. Bring your efforts into physical, tangible form, on a daily basis. Stand apart from your reputation, and invest in your abilities. Never count yourself as a master, only as a journeyman, or even a beginner. Meanwhile, in any situation where you’re summoned to leadership or management, honor the politics of the situation. Rely on informal power far more than formal power; that is to say, extend your influence through helpful people, and gently bring others into your plan. Just remember: at this stage of your life, the real work is solitary: the cultivation of your gifts, the refinement of your ideas, and most of all, taking care of yourself.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Despite all the talk about focusing on the “here and now,” you need to focus on the future. That doesn’t mean in any way abandoning your current projects, talent development, or investments. Rather, your primary task is to trace various trajectories into worlds beyond the one you currently inhabit. In doing this, you simply must have a vision for who you want to become. The old and somewhat annoying job interview question — “Where do you see yourself in five years?” — is really a question about how you envision your future. Right now, you might say that a door is open, allowing you a porthole into your own possibilities, and your own potential. Imagine you’re a science fiction author, describing yourself as a character. Imagine the story is unusual, strange and a little spectacular. Imagine the person you’re writing about has some rather unique talents, which will emerge into some form of rare distinction if they are consciously developed, and if the principle of synergy is activated. This idea means “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.” Exclude no aspect of who you are from your vision. Include nascent abilities, longings, and forgotten accomplishments in your assessment. Come up with three vastly different possibilities for yourself: for example, the virtuoso musician who becomes a theater director. The search and rescue team leader who becomes a historian. The devoted mother who leads a nation. This kind of thing.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Tectonic forces are at work in your life. Look up that word. It involves the pressure of one geological plate upon another, which is the power that shapes continents, mountain ranges and oceans. It is the power driving the friction along fault lines. There is no way to understate this idea. As the Saturn-Pluto conjunction of 2020 approaches, the pressure will mount, and there will be more frequent quakes and volcanic eruptions. What you need right now is awareness. You will find a vast resource of information by studying late 2001 through 2005, when Chiron was in your birth sign. Consider everything: all of your relationships, your work, and most significantly, your relationship to yourself. You also need self-mastery, though the first step in this process is self-knowledge. I know this concept has taken a beating lately, which is primarily a function of our whole world being driven into illiteracy by digital consciousness. You must go deeper than you ever imagined. One way you know you’re approaching core territory is that your experiences become indescribable, though you’re also met with a pressing need to reveal them to someone. Lay back on that for a while, and let yourself stand in an inner confrontation with the unknown within you — and what, in truth, can never be explained. Consider another possibility: if you think you want to be enlightened, what you really want is to be a mature adult: someone who can make decisions; someone who honors your values and your desires; one who takes responsibility for the course of your own life.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) —
Through much of the year, Mars has been retrograde in your birth sign; nothing like it has happened since 1971. This was accompanied by a total eclipse of the Moon two weeks ago, conjunct retrograde Mars, making this perhaps the most unusual spell of astrology you’ve experienced in your current incarnation. Rare and perhaps strange things are likely to be happening in your physical reality as well. A mix of ‘conscious’ and ‘unconscious’ forces are driving events, which means things you may have been aware of previously, combined with certain facts that you missed. Their combined effort is driving you to find yourself, and to individuate in ways you didn’t know were possible. While Aquarius is famous for its liberal-mindedness and commitment to being one of a kind, too often you fall under the thrall of what you perceive as the expectations of others, of cultural patterns, and the need to be seen as a good person. This is simply impossible now, with Mars (the planet of desire) running roughshod through your existence. There is no conforming; there is only taking charge of your life. Expectations are not merely meaningless, but plainly obvious as the toxic influences that they are. In a few days, Mars will retrograde into your 12th solar house, Capricorn, where it will remain for a month (and where it stations direct on Aug. 27). This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for you to peer within yourself, to gain a new depth of understanding, and to make contact with the influence of your sexuality as a primary, driving force in everything that you do.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — You set the terms of your existence. I recognize that we live in a universe of many forces acting upon one another. Right now, the primary thing acting on you is an internal factor, described as retrograde Mars in your 12th house, and a potent eclipse conjunct Mars two weeks ago. This is a description of an inner condition or circumstance, either resulting in the illusion of an outer one, or describing how your power over an outer circumstance can be gained through inner mastery. It is not an easy position to be in, to command the role of what A Course in Miracles calls “the dreamer of the dream.” Even the most sincere efforts to take responsibility for one’s life and one’s choices can be fraught with peril and seeming failure. And as many have noted, the theory that “you create your own reality” is dangerous, especially when someone is in a tight spot, involving something they cannot control. Yet the Mars retrograde process talks about something you can influence through your awareness. The tone of Mars retrograde is about to change, as it re-enters Capricorn on Aug. 13, and something that is now veiled or difficult to access emerges where you can work with it. This involves your commitment to your values and your ethics. It involves your commitment to your work. You live by one set of rules, no matter what you may do.