Dear Friend and Reader:
When I was first studying astrology, one of my teachers pointed me to a study of the 1960s, one of the most interesting astrological eras besides the one we’re currently in. The legends, fables and turmoil of that era are described by the slow-moving Uranus-Pluto conjunction, which was in effect from about 1962 through about 1972. Outer-planet events describe long phases of time, and once again we’re in one involving Uranus and Pluto: the square.
Photo by Ambar Garcia.
This is an aspect that began to take effect in 2008 and that came into focus in 2011. There were signs of change: Obama getting elected, Arab Spring, the Wisconsin protests and the Occupy movement.
Effects of this aspect have developed into the Bradley Manning trial, Edward Snowden blowing the whistle on the NSA and conservative activism designed to prevent women from having autonomy over their bodies. The Supreme Court affirming the right of same-sex couples to marry definitely counts. That will have many implications.
While all this stuff is happening in the news, the same aspects are influencing our lives on more intimate levels. The beauty of astrology is that the same planets are involved in the biggest developments of society as are involved in the movements in our personal lives. Sometimes this is particularly true, especially when planets concentrate in the cardinal signs. And that describes the micro-phase of astrology that we’re in right now. Let’s consider how that is unfolding.
When a faster-moving inner planet (such as Mars) moves into a position where it’s making contact with a slow-moving generational aspect (the Uranus-Pluto square), we get a special effect. That is exactly what happens through the end of the month.
Mars in Cancer is now in the planetary spotlight. Mars ingressed Cancer July 13, putting it on course for three major aspects: a conjunction to Jupiter in Cancer (that happened July 22), an opposition to Pluto in Capricorn (that happens July 27) and a square to Uranus in Aries (that happens July 31).
Think of the Uranus-Pluto square as lurking in the background. It influences the tone of existence, sets big themes, wraps the world around its finger and then kind of disappears into the haze of day-to-day existence. When an inner planet comes along and makes contact with the square, that brings it out to the forefront. And that’s what is about to happen.
Mars is a tangible, sensory and accessible energy. We all know what it means to be motivated, to be assertive, to be angry or to be combative. Mars-Jupiter, still in effect, runs the spectrum from self-righteous to protective and loving. No matter what, it’s passionate, and it’s possible to make contact with a spiritual line of energy.
Next up is Mars opposite Pluto on Saturday, July 27 and in effect now. That aspect runs the range from determination and persistence to being needlessly (or ‘unconsciously’) engaged in power struggles. The moral of this aspect is: choose your battles. You might find it necessary to cut your losses and get out of the discussion. If you are going for the win, plan for a longterm approach.
Photo by Ambar Garcia.
It would be better if you chose no battles, but that’s not always possible — sometimes you have to engage someone to prevent future hassles. Just try to avoid going blow for blow. In any setup the person who is less passionate is the one likely to win, since this is a moment when your own passion can be used against you. This is described by Pluto in Capricorn, which Mars in Cancer is opposing. Mars in Cancer may provoke Pluto in Capricorn, but the cooler, calmer, more deeply rooted party to the equation will probably prevail in any disagreement.
Last in this sequence is Mars square Uranus in Aries (July 31). This is the keep-your-cool, drive-like-a-professional, when-you-see-an-asshole-coming-walk-the-other-way kind of astrology. It’s also decidedly individualistic. I suggest you do that in music and art rather than trying to impress the world with how radical you are. Said another way, this is a rebellious aspect, and it’s better if you have a good reason to rebel and do it in a smart way.
This aspect could pit individuals against groups. Therefore, mind your politics and your manners and think for the future. Remember what you’re really doing in the long run; remember that the game has nine innings. Pace yourself consciously. Some opportunities are there for a moment; some are there for a while — note the differences.
Speaking of politics, the coming Leo New Moon chart (for Aug. 6) is a beauty. I’ll focus exclusively on that chart next week — but one of its themes is understanding how to work this territory of complex human interaction and power-sharing. Humans, most of whom lack basic respect for their fellows, for Spirit and for actual intelligence, have no choice but to engage in politics. On the best level, it’s the art of getting things done.
On the worst level, it’s the art of corruption. But the energy right now is demanding enlightenment, which is applied awareness. It’s demanding integrity, which is flexible strength. Our moment is calling for an equal blend of evolution and revolution — attention to the inner world and its outer expression.
Note to Readers: This week’s news sections, below, are by Amanda Painter and Susan Scheck with additional research by Carol van Strum and myself. –efc
Helen Thomas, First Woman to Cover the White House, Dies at 92
Helen Thomas, the first woman to serve on the White House press corps with a news service, died Saturday at age 92. She served through 10 presidencies, from Kennedy through Obama. She worked most of her career for United Press International (UPI) until that was purchased by the Unification Church (the Moonies) in 2001, then took an assignment for Hearst Newspapers.
Thomas made it possible for women to be taken seriously as news journalists. Until she arrived at the White House and indeed long after, journalism was a profession dominated by men. How did she do this?
Pres. Obama presents Helen Thomas with cupcakes on their shared birthday in 2009. Photo by Pete Souza / White House.
Thomas has her Sun in Leo and her Moon in Aries (what I call the dauntless Moon). She had Venus and Jupiter in Leo, describing excellent self-esteem.
Fire signs help women to be competitive in male-dominated environments. Her Moon is conjunct Chiron, which gives a palpable physical intensity and charisma.
Both Chiron and Aries are warrior archetypes, and Thomas certainly had the strength to fight and the intelligence to fight smart. This setup would count for a prominent Chiron, which can be the astrological way to say ‘systems buster’. Notably, at the time of her Chiron return in the 1970s, Chiron in Aries was the driving force behind what is now known as Second Wave Feminism.
But it was her water placements that helped her penetrate the boundaries of the boy’s club. Her Sun is conjunct Neptune and square Mars, what I would describe as a ‘walk through walls’ setup that would provide tools for any news reporter. In any writer, Mercury deserves a close look. Thomas had a spectacular, strange Mercury: it was retrograde, in the very last degree of Cancer. So much for Mercury retrograde, or watery Mercury, being bad for writers and writing. This illustrates how she stood out, did her own thing and as is often said of retrograde Mercury, followed the beat of her own drummer.
Throughout the administration of George W. Bush, Thomas asked some of the most critical questions in the White House news room, in an era when it seemed most journalists were content to stay quiet — complicity that made it possible for the U.S. to engage in two lengthy wars.
Noon chart for Helen Thomas.
She openly questioned the motives for Pres. Bush starting the Iraq war and its staggering civilian toll, the push to attack Iran, the refusal to sign a cluster bomb treaty, continued killings of Afghanistan civilians, and the Bush administration’s support for Israel’s attacks on Gaza and Lebanon.
She kept it up during the first years of Obama’s administration, commenting in July of 2009 on its extreme control of the press despite the administration’s talk of transparency and openness.
Thomas retired in 2010 after making controversial anti-Israeli comments about the Israel-Palestine conflict. Asked by Rabbi David Nesenoff of RabbiLive.com for comments on Israel, Thomas replied in part, “Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine.”
When asked where Israeli Jews should go, she said they could “go home” to Poland or Germany or “America and everywhere else. Why push people out of there who have lived there for centuries?”
Her thoughts were a response to a lifetime of covering conflicts in the Middle East, and reflected suspicion on the part of many as to why the United States constantly genuflects to Israeli prerogatives.
Thomas apologized the following week on her website, expressing that her comments did not reflect her true desire to see peace in the Middle East through “mutual respect and tolerance.”
Her blunt outspokenness was world famous, prompting Cuban dictator Fidel Castro to quip once that the difference between democracy in Cuba versus in the U.S. was that, “I don’t have to answer questions from Helen Thomas.”
EU Breaks Out of Monsanto’s GM Grip — Maybe
In a move hinted at last May, Monsanto announced officially last week it would withdraw current applications for new genetically engineered seeds in the European Union, according to the environmental group Greenpeace.
“While welcoming the announcement, Greenpeace notes that the company will seek to continue sales of its controversial MON810 maize, the last remaining GM crop grown in Europe.”
Anti GM-corn protesters in France. Photo: Robert Pratta/Reuters.
Authorization for the cultivation of MON810 is expiring at the end of a ten-year period and the safety of the crop is due to be reassessed, until which time Monsanto is permitted to sell it.
Spain continues to depend heavily on MON810 maize and uses it more than any EU member. The generically altered crop accounts for 30% of the Spanish crop.
Agrimoney.com says that growers in the Catalan region of Spain planted a greater proportion of their crop with genetically modified seed than farmers in U.S. Corn Belt states including Illinois and Indiana, key markets for biotechnology giants.
Portugal is also increasing its use of MON810 significantly, currently accounting for 6.6% of that country’s corn yield.
A recent poll by the European Commission shows that 95% of EU citizens agree that “the right thing to do” is to use products that are respectful of the environment. This pull-out signals that not even Monsanto can stand against an engaged and passionate people, willing to back their values with real actions, such as protesting and refusing to buy GM food.
Yet with Monsanto, it’s always essential to watch for the double ending. What they may lack in public support they may be able to make up for with a treaty that supersedes international boundaries.
Something called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) may obviate the need for countries to approve certain crops, under the guise of “free trade.” Obama has said that including Europe in the TPP was a priority for him this year.
Here is an article that covers the territory — we’ll tell you more as we learn more.
First Official Challenge to an Ag-gag Law
A group of animal rights activists and journalists have brought the first-ever lawsuit against an ‘ag-gag’ law in the U.S. The so-called ag-gag laws, enacted by individual states, prohibit photographing or video-recording animals on farms without the farmer’s consent.
Some are fighting a Utah law requiring a model release to photograph a farm animal.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are challenging Utah’s 2012 law, which imposes up to one year in jail for filming or recording farm animals without permission. The law is designed to make life difficult for animal rights activists and journalists who take on agricultural issues.
Utah was the first state to attempt prosecuting someone under an ag-gag law; the state later dropped its charges against a woman who had filmed a slaughterhouse from a public street.
“Utah’s law, and others like it, directly place both me and my sources at risk,” wrote Will Potter, an independent journalist and one of the plaintiffs in the current suit. “There’s a long history of investigative journalism in this country based on exactly the type of research and whistleblowing that these laws criminalize.”
Activists and journalists rely on undercover work at farms and slaughterhouses to uncover abuse to animals. Secretly made videos have led to prosecutions, closures, recalls and vows from offenders to change their practices — including in one 2008 undercover investigation by the Humane Society in California that led to the largest meat recall in U.S. history.
Mark Bittman coined the term for these anti-whistleblowing laws in an April 2011 New York Times column. Concern is growing that some proposed ag-gag laws, such as the one pending in Pennsylvania, could also be used against anti-fracking activists.
Uber-Restrictive North Dakota Abortion Ban Blocked
A federal judge in North Dakota on Monday blocked what the country’s strictest anti-abortion ban, beginning Aug. 1.
How long before we do? Photo by Debra Sweet/World Can’t Wait/Flickr under Creative Commons.
The law would have banned abortion once a fetal or embryonic heartbeat can be detected, which happens at about six weeks of pregnancy when many women do not realize they are pregnant. The order came in response to a lawsuit filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of the state’s only remaining abortion clinic, which is in Fargo.
U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland called the North Dakota ban “a blatant violation of the constitutional guarantees afforded to all women.” The Roe v. Wade decision of 1973 allows abortion until a fetus reaches viability. That is now considered about 24 weeks into a pregnancy. [We covered the 40th anniversary and the astrology of this decision in the article A Fine Line: Roe v. Wade at 40.]
North Dakota joins several other states that have tried to establish restrictive anti-abortion laws or shut down abortion clinics this year, including Texas and Arkansas. In Texas the law was initially blocked by Texas state senator Wendy Davis’ now historic filibuster, only to be passed in a subsequent special session and signed into law by Governor Rick Perry on July 18. Opponents such as Planned Parenthood have vowed to challenge it in court, citing the law as unconstitutional.
An Arkansas anti-abortion law was blocked by another federal judge in May, that would have blocked abortions after 12 weeks.
In a country where our constitutional rights erode with each passing year, anyone who cares about a woman’s right to choose must also choose wisely whom they vote into office. It makes a difference.
A Delicate Matter: Sex and Dementia
What happens when you’re elderly and suffering from some form of dementia, but still crave and respond to intimate physical contact and sex? It could vary widely.
Regulations vary by state and facility. Training on the subject of sex among elderly residents (particularly those with compromised mental faculties) is virtually nonexistent, leaving individual staff members to rely on their personal beliefs and religious biases. A 2012 study by Kansas State University researchers found sex among nursing home residents is frequently viewed “as a behavior problem rather than an indication of an unmet need.”
Still from the film Amour, in which an elderly couple struggle with illness and loss of memory as they try to stay in their home.
Yet some facilities acknowledge that residents with dementia can consent to sex, and may even have a written policy on sexual expression.
“The whole area of geriatric sexuality is an area we need to learn a lot more about,” said Robert Bender, a Des Moines, Iowa, geriatrician, in an interview with Bloomberg.com. “I don’t think we should be pointing blame when people are expressing themselves in natural ways.”
The Bloomberg.com article details a particular incident of apparently consensual sex between two residents of an Iowa nursing home that resulted in persisting questions, among other unfortunate consequences. Who gets to decide what is ‘consensual’ between people with dementia? Does it matter if elderly lovers mistake each other for their spouses, as long as they are safely meeting physical and emotional needs that might not otherwise be met? Where is the line between ‘protecting from harm’ and ‘interfering with personal decisions’?
With Baby Boomers beginning to age, questions of how to handle sexuality in a growing elderly population may come to the fore.
A 2007 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine said 53 percent of people 65-74 years old and 26 percent of those 75-85 reported being sexually active — engaging in contact such as kissing, fondling or intercourse. Half of those active in the older group reported having sex two to three times a month.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than five million people in the U.S. have Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia. That number is expected to grow, and touch is often the last sense to deteriorate in people with Alzheimer’s — making it a great comfort to those whose family and friends they may no longer recognize.
Your Chance to Become a Star
“An artist has the potential to create infinite artworks but only some of them will see the light due to the constraint of time,” artist Sergio Albiac muses on his website. “What if we use technology to outsource the creation of art so more of these potential artworks are finally created?”
Albiac answers his own question with his project, “Stardust,” merging personal photographic snapshots with images of the cosmos captured by the Hubble Space Telescope using an automated software program. He calls these works generative portraits, and is inviting the public to submit their photos. He will return three free, and presumably starry-eyed, portraits within a few days, and place your portrait in a Flickr gallery (you may opt out if you wish).
Holistic Sexuality :: Eric Francis at the Queer Astrology Conference
Sunday, July 21 I gave a presentation on Holistic Sexuality at the first Queer Astrology Conference. The presentation is an introduction to basic sex education and then is an overview of sex in modern society, looking at the topic from the viewpoint of each of the 12 astrological houses. The talk is about 1 hour and 40 minutes. If you like this kind of programming, you can encourage and facilitate our work by becoming a member of Planet Waves FM.
Your Monthly Horoscopes — and our Publishing Schedule Notes
The extended monthly horoscopes for July were published Friday, June 21. I recommend reviewing the previous month’s horoscopes at the end of the month. The extended monthly horoscopes for August are published below in this issue. We published Inner Space for July on Friday, June 28. We published the Moonshine horoscopes for the Cancer New Moon Tuesday, July 2. On Tuesday, July 15, we published the Moonshine horoscopes for the Aquarius Full Moon. Please note, we normally publish the extended monthly horoscopes on the first Friday after the Sun has entered a new sign; Inner Space usually publishes the following Tuesday.
Planet Waves Monthly Horoscope for August 2013 | By Eric Francis
Aries (March 20-April 19) — If you understood how much of your insecurity was about trying to please others, you might find yourself getting angry. And if you do find yourself getting angry, consider that it’s about trying to make sure that everyone approves of everything from your plans to your state of mind before you allow yourself to make a move. I suggest you try this month to seek nobody’s approval for anything. Make up your own mind about everything. Even in matters involving family or household, you’re entitled to your own opinion, which means an opinion that others might not agree with. As you start to do this, you might notice that you’re sloughing off layer after layer of submission, conciliation, people-pleasing and what you believed was give-and-take. All of that is the opposite of taking authority. And taking authority is what you’re about to do. This will require some actual courage, and I believe you’ve got that available. You will need to follow what both your instincts and intuition tell you. The information is coming into your awareness from a deep place. You know what is true for you. Now what you must do is count that as relevant — and make a decision that the emotional dramas of others are irrelevant to you living your life in the way that is right for you.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — You’ll have more fun when you can take a risk without obsessing over everything from trivial concerns to your worst fears. This may come in the form of thinking through every single possible contingency, which is good for some things in life and not so helpful for others. It’s good for things like marketing campaigns and investigative reporting. Love, friendship, art and music require far less cerebral strategizing. The problem is that once your particular mind gets hold of something, it doesn’t like to let go — and this is especially true when there is some chance to be taken, or even some relatively minor unpredictable factor. You could tidy up this situation by considering the theme of emotional boundaries. Whatever the source of your anxiety or concern, you’ll feel better and be stronger if you define some space and time wherein you’re free to be yourself. That’s the space where anything can happen, and it’s okay — you can go with the flow of your creativity. Then I suggest you do the same thing with selected friends. Choose the people around whom you can ‘risk’ being yourself, which means fully present with your ideas, your passion, your creativity and your sexuality. You may not find many people you can experiment with, though you’ll find a few, the most significant one being yourself. With dropping inhibitions, practice goes a long way.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — You’re about to begin a new chapter of the season, based on a recent discovery that has helped you get your priorities in order. Said another way, you seem to have figured out what you want and don’t want. This has come at a cost, such as being dragged through a bath of uncertainty and self-doubt, though at least it’s served a purpose — mainly to teach you what is not true. Now all you need to do is shift your emphasis to what is true. This can be a little tricky; there are negativity traps everywhere, and it takes some discipline to emphasize the positive. It’s clear from your chart that if you do, you will get a lot more of it. Any way you look at your life, this is an abundant moment; the variable is what abundance you get. It takes us humans a while to figure out that what we focus on multiplies. Therefore, focus on what you know is true; on what is important to you. Pay attention to the people you want to go deeper with, and focus on what you want to create for them. Regarding money, I would translate “make money doing what you love” to “seek your fortunes doing what’s actually meaningful to you and you will be successful.” Meaning is a form of love, and if you remember that, you’ll have a lot of room to maneuver.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — If you’re finally tired of not really living the life you want, now is your chance to step out. To some degree we are all pushed into a state of compromise between our potential and actually expressing it. Some of that is about circumstances. Some is about how difficult it is to connect with the wild creative core that you contain, and so many pressures that exist against doing so. It’s challenging on Earth with all its complications and obstacles to hold the frequency of one’s original intentions for coming here. Now all of these factors are changing simultaneously. You’re in a position to take advantage of favorable environmental factors and stretch what seemed like your physical and emotional limits. At the same time you’re coming into contact with your deeper confidence, perhaps for the first time. Though this may seem like emotional movement, it’s more like certain challenges you’ve confronted are putting you into contact with your spiritual strength. It would be helpful to recognize the difference, so that you can work on the much larger scale that you’re being called to. That seems to be the central message of the astrology: moving onto an entirely new level. It may look to others like your ship coming in. In reality what’s happening is an internal phenomenon based on your devoted contact with the truth of who you are.
Leo readers: you can read a little more about your 2013-2014 birthday reading here — or go straight to this page to take advantage of the $19.95 pre-order price. That’s a savings of $10 on an hour of astrology plus a tarot reading by Eric Francis.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — There is astonishing strength that comes from devoting your life to service. I don’t mean servitude, codependency, or subjugation. I mean devotion to something in yourself that connects to the world around you in a profound way. It’s helpful to get the order of things correct: devotion is an inner phenomenon, not a commitment to something outside you. But the inner aspect is not a “this is for me” thing; it’s not really about you, it’s about something you contain for the purpose of expressing. There’s a useful image from across the wheel in Aquarius, where your counterpart there has an urn of water that she fills up for the purpose of giving away. You can think of yourself as being the guardian of the sacred hearth. You tend this hearth because it’s the thing to do, then it provides heat, light and energy for everyone around you. I suggest you get used to the idea that this is a 24-7/365 kind of commitment, though that mostly pertains to the inner relationship involved. Then, you offer your time and energy when called upon and when appropriate. The planet involved is Vesta, and there’s always some element of ‘doing without’ where this goddess is concerned. I would look at that as an exchange. If you get rid of everything that is trivial, gossipy and designed for appearances only, you will have abundant time and energy.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Note the presence of a different kind of intelligence — the kind that does not run in circles or work against itself. It’s off the plane of mental cognition and accesses the level of direct knowledge. This kind of intelligence knows something is true, then figures out how it works in practical terms. As you get a feeling for this experience, you’ll shift your relationship to yourself, and could discover that you have access to something deeper, something that transcends the usual boundaries of what you think of as your mind. Your mind is indeed part of something larger. It’s only the idea that it’s not that prevents you from experiencing this directly. It’s therefore essential that you do the one thing with your mind that is eminently possible for anyone who wants to do so: keep it open. Then I suggest you observe the ways in which information comes in from modalities other than what you might normally consider to be thought. Actual creative thought is not bound by anything physical; it needs no grounding in experience or learned knowledge. It’s a truly generative experience. Yet to get there, you need to think of yourself differently, which first means noticing your prior limits and being willing to go beyond them. Limits serve the purpose of creating a comfort zone — one that you no longer need, and that I doubt you want.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — If you recognized that you don’t have to go it alone, you would feel a lot better, and your life would be easier. This transformation would happen without much fuss, and the results would be easy to see. It’s true that you are subject to forces outside your ability to control them, and lately you’ve really been feeling this. You may also be questioning whether there is any solid ground to stand on. Then the sensation that you have to do it all yourself, endure everything and live in a world where people don’t understand you, just feeds on itself. Shift the dynamic by taking the initiative and gathering people to whom you relate. Take that one risk. Reach out to others who you’ve noticed have some similar values or ideas, or who reach you with their positive ideas. As you do this, you’ll begin to realize how influential you are. You don’t want power; you want the ability to connect with others in ways that are meaningful, to share ideas and experience the pleasure of common ground. You may feel like you’re miles away from such a space, when in truth you’re much closer than you think. All you need to do is stop waiting for something positive to happen and recognize that you’re the attracting force. You’re the one who will set into motion the changes you want to see and experience.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — You are being handed an opportunity to think of your career a whole new way, to redefine your idea of achievement and to embrace a notion of success that has the power to change your life. There is something in the chart — something strong and beautiful — about doing what you do for its own sake, rather than for some other common motive (money, prestige, recognition, etc.). Yet it looks like you’ll be doing whatever you’re doing in an unusually visible way — and it’s up to you not to become distracted by this, and to keep your focus where it belongs. Your charts for August have a profound theme of service. This is a concept that gets a lot more talk than it needs and less action than it deserves. It would be helpful if you would deflect any and all recognition that you get back into the basic service that you are providing to the world. It would help even more if you take the time to refine your ideas about what that service is, and concentrate on how you can become the point of contact between what you do and who benefits from it. The more it seems that other people benefit, the better you’re doing. What you get needs to be secondary, because it only distracts from what you’re offering.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Speaking at the recent Queer Astrology Conference, I started my talk by reminding everyone that sex leads to existence, and that people who don’t like or don’t approve of sex are likely to have some deep misgivings about being on the planet. Your charts are reminding you of the connection. Because religion has gone so far out of its way to build its fortunes on shaming sex, we take for granted that it must be inherently unspiritual. This is straight out of the Toxic Sludge Is Good For You school of public relations: tell a lie often enough and it seems to be true. Your chart is issuing a bold reminder that there is nothing more spiritual than sex. If you know this, then let it inform your whole life. If you’re struggling with it, if you have some moral aspersions around the topic, and they are irritating you, I suggest you check out the whole ‘relationship to existence’ angle. If you belong here, then how you got here is a good thing. If you don’t belong here, then you might have an issue with the way you got here. Consider this long enough and it’ll start to make more sense — to you. You might not be able to do much with or for others who are still waging war against themselves. Thankfully, they’re not the only people on Earth.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — As you make your way through life, pay attention to who notices you, who makes eye contact, who returns your smile, who offers you emotional resonance. Notice who laughs at your jokes and who cares when you talk about a topic or issue that’s important to you. You may have become so accustomed to the feeling of intimidating others that you expect people to respond to you that way. It would help if you could set aside that expectation, because it has a way of perpetuating itself. It’s true that people are generally intimated, timid and self-centered. You don’t need to light up the whole room — you merely need to notice the one or two people nearby who have some light in their eyes. And they are likely to be the ones who notice you. One thing remains constant through the whole extended phase of Pluto in Capricorn: that is insisting that you maintain inner focus, which is to say, your inner awareness. You may notice that some people enhance that focus no matter what you’re doing together (and some distract you from it). They’re the ones to cultivate relationships with, because they support your relationship with yourself and vice versa. Codependency is a great reason to avoid certain kinds of relationships. Fortunately, there is an alternative.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Your charts suggest that this is an interesting, even cosmic, moment in your relationships. Yet the same astrology is also cautioning that you may feel like everyone but you is getting what they need. There’s an illustration of you in the role of healer, facilitator, or the one who holds space for others. You may feel like you’re the last stop before people find the thing they’re looking for; you may feel like you’re the one safe place where others open up, but then somehow get overlooked as the one to make contact with. Usually when I see this kind of astrology, it’s clear that someone is playing what you might call a karmic role, something they’re accustomed to and are good at. But the planet involved, Vesta, often leaves people yearning for personal experience that they can imbibe for their own pleasure. I suggest you take the step and cross that threshold yourself. Make choices that bring you closer to getting what you want. When you find yourself with the option to offer yourself in service to someone, make the decision carefully whether you want to offer yourself. It’s a different role than the person with the human need for play and creature comforts, and at this stage in your life, either option really is a matter of choice.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Your charts say you have everything going for you, all at the same time. These are rare moments and thanks to astrology you can have some confirmation that this particular one is real. The highlight of your astrology is not just equal emphasis on both creativity and work, but the removal of the dividing wall between the art studio and the office. Similarly, there is emphasis on passion and on healing, on self-focused experience and absolute devotion to service. There is equal emphasis on what you do in private spaces and how this radiates out into the culture around you. If there’s a problem with this astrology, here it is: most humans I’ve met or heard about struggle with recognizing their capacity to be so much at once. Said another way, we struggle with our human potential; with our potential to be fully human. In my experience on the planet, that’s the biggest risk that a person can take. It calls for courage, and for setting aside the fear of consequences that in so many lifetimes has proved to be worth heeding. Sooner or later we all must get over the pain and sense of limitation that we’ve accumulated from past experiences, and for you this is an excellent time to do just that.