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Aquarius Confidential (for Sun and ascendant)

By Eric Francis

Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)

Since the mid-1990s, Aquarius has been taking outer-planet transits one after the next. The inner planets (Venus, Mars, Mercury) are whizzing by all the time. The outer planets (Uranus, Neptune, Pluto) take a human lifetime or far more to orbit the Sun once, so when they show up to a sign, it’s a special occasion. And they have indeed been showing up for Aquarius: primarily Uranus, Neptune and Chiron. The latter two remain in your sign. If you’ve been wondering about the sense of not only constant change and movement, but also the pressure to change, you have a picture of the process with these planets.

Now that we’re out of the Capricorn eclipse pileup, we can consider how the two most significant events of early 2010, and which thus set the tone of the next four or more seasons, involve planets in Aquarius and its rulers; and this unusual sequence of events, focused on Aquarius and its planets, continues well into 2011. Interestingly, at each turn, Pisces is also involved.

Aquarius, as you probably know, is an air sign. But its symbol is that of someone holding a decanter of water. Anyone with a good first astrology teacher learns early on that Aquarius must first fill up the container, so that there is plenty of water to give out. With a continuous overlap between Aquarius and Pisces symbols, we have a beautiful image of you filling up on the emotional and creative essence of Pisces, over and over again, in many different ways. This tells us that you are moving from an idea of your role to the actual substance necessary to grant you the ability to serve. You are moving from wanting to have something that is of direct personal service into the fully ready state of doing so. You are moving beyond potential and into actuality.

Yet this is a dangerous path to tread: there are many things to stumble on, particularly your own tendency to hold to the ways of the past, even as you work your way toward the future. On your considerable agenda for growth, you might want to include the way you think of time, and the nuances of how you think of the value of what has come in the past; and how that influences how you envision yourself right now.

The Saturn-Pluto Square

No matter how you look at the current charts — using older forms of astrology, more recent traditional astrology or modern astrology, Aquarius is highlighted again and again. The aspect that all eyes are on is the Saturn-Pluto square, which puts the immovable object (Saturn, your traditional planet) and the unstoppable force (Pluto) in a tense relationship: only this time, the change is mostly an internal dynamic. The last time these two planets aligned was right before the Sept. 11 incident, and the response of most people, and of society, was not what you would have called reflective or introspective.

We as a culture are now being compelled to look within; and you in particular are being compelled to go deeper into your inner reality than you ever have before. Whatever events have recently transpired in your life, they are leading you into one of the deepest searches of your values in many years. This is not a theoretical quest about what might be important to you, under certain circumstances; more likely, you are being confronted with certain situations that are demanding your full attention and self-evaluation.

You may be encountering some of your deepest fears; you may be compelled to accept facts of your existence that you denied for years. You may be summoned to fully take on board just how isolated you feel in a world where you have so little in common with others, and so much to offer. I suggest you ask yourself how willing you are to really offer that which you know you can — and look at the motives for your level of commitment.

Through this, you may feel like you’re being broken open inside; that is, opened up and set free within yourself. The image is a little like having the attic cleaned, or more accurately, having many inner walls torn down and your space opened up, which gives you a sense of perspective. Amidst all the dust and rubble you may not be able to see the potential of the space, though here is where it will help to have an architect’s eye.

The truth is you are going through many different transits in an effort to liberate you from the inside out: from your great-grandparents’ DNA, from your family patterns, from a need to conform; acknowledgment of which is about seeing what potential you have now, and acting on it, now.

Focus: Pluto in Capricorn

Pluto in Capricorn, which is your solar 12th house — the house of ‘before the beginning’ and that which we easily deny, or are overwhelmed by — is dominated by the ancient energy of Capricorn. This suggests that beneath your progressive, person-from-the-future exterior is someone who is in many ways a deeply conservative individual. This, in part, explains the contradictory nature of Aquarius: the peace-loving agent of change; and the cautious defender of the status quo.

Pluto in Capricorn has plunged into your 12th house, your hidden or subconscious zone. This is the energy that is currently stirring you up on such a deep level: the feeling of being taken apart, and made to confront some of your darkest fears. This is a long-term transit; Pluto does not leave Capricorn to enter your sign even briefly until 2023, and it does not stay in Aquarius until 2024. So this is going to be a prolonged experience, with many peaks and valleys along the way. However, due to other transits, the era from now until around 2016 is by far the peak of the energy: and 2010-2011 is the big turning point.

Focus: Saturn in Libra

The other side of the Saturn-Pluto square is Saturn in Libra in your solar 9th house — the house most often associated with spiritual matters, the higher self, and your mental horizons. Saturn is suggesting that you remind yourself how little you know, and take the encouragement to find out. You have Libra in this house, which is a window into your tendency toward equanimity. You believe in fairness. Aquarius has a reputation for supporting social justice, which is a difficult value to live up to in the world. You might say it’s your objective to bring the earthly, well-understood concepts of justice to the highest level, and apply them on a global scale.

One problem with this placement is that those scales of justice can keep tipping back and forth: and Saturn is here to settle certain matters of both ethics and of personal growth. You are being called upon to go past the appearance of being concerned and get down to the nitty-gritty and guts of the matter. Your social theory is being challenged by what we might call reality: Saturn; and because Saturn is square Pluto, you are being pushed to reconcile your values with the challenging state of affairs on the planet.

Against a Backdrop of Constant Change

If there was ever a symbol for the phrase, ‘The only thing constant is change’, that would be Aquarius. Yours is a fixed sign, but the energy is constantly moving, and then it forms patterns that are difficult to get out of. One after the next, since around 1996, outer planets have been blazing through Aquarius: first Uranus, then Neptune, then Chiron; and many small, meaningful ones as well.

Let’s consider that where I went to university — SUNY-Buffalo, a major research sci/tech center — did not even have a computerized card catalogue in 1986, you get a sense of the shape of the world. Now if you have a password, you can look up books in that same library from your iPhone.

The world has taken many technological surges forward, but there is no well-accepted philosophy to apply something like ethics to the issue. We rarely consider the human factor. Meanwhile, we all have exponentially more information to process.

I am sure you’ve considered the ways that this is changing our brain chemistry and structure. You might say we are all being Aquarized.

During these powerful Aquarius transits when technology has taken over, we have become increasingly detached from our bodies and invested in abstraction. A certain masculine quality has taken over reality. It’s not really masculine in the true sense of rationality; it’s more like the high fructose corn syrup equivalent of concentrated psychic obsession. We communicate more, but what do we say? For you the form of the question is: we change more, but what do we become?

Your charts suggest that what you are moving toward is activating the feminine side of your brain. There is an embracing of women’s wisdom suggested in your charts; a return to the priorities of the home and the economics of the home; an embrace of a circular (as opposed to linear) thought process. The wisdom you are moving toward is not based on information; it is based on natural intuition, which in our version of the world must be learned, or re-learned.

Embracing the Wisdom of the Feminine

I have written much about the Jupiter-Chiron-Neptune conjunction in your sign, which is now down to the last stage — Chiron conjunct Neptune, exact through February. This may be the best opportunity of your life to clear away the false ideals of the past, and the antique values of the past: which is to say, to be yourself right now. We know you’re a philosophical person who exists in a world of ‘harsh reality’, and notably, where relatively few people care about actual ideas.

I have a new interpretation of this aspect for you, though before I go there, I want to share a few additional thoughts on Pluto going through your 12th solar house, Capricorn.

To me this seems, as much as anything else, to be about unlocking an ancient database of traditional wisdom, which as usual you will strive to turn into applied science. This arrives with a deeply introspective, at times solitary, journey deeper into yourself; deeper than ordinary thought is possible of accessing. The levels of past wisdom that you access inform your thoughts and your ideas, helping you bring in the next generation of practical concepts that will help the world grow out of its current tantrum of technological adolescence.

In order to tap this wisdom, you will need to make many subtle reorientations in your life, a process you began long ago but which is at full strength right now. The essence of this process is a kind of interiority: literally, listening to yourself. This necessity is showing up in your relationships right now, due to Mars retrograde in your opposite sign.

Yet several asteroids clustered together with the Sun on the day of the Sun’s ingress to Aquarius gave me the clue I needed to focus this interpretation. When the Sun makes its move, it will be joined by the asteroid House, which is a direct reference to domestic experiences; Hekate, which is feminine wisdom; and Venus (in her role as the female avatar, in Aquarius).

Feminine energy requires careful handling. It is not inherently rational; Venus in Aquarius is saying that in any form you express it, your feminine energy needs a framework within which to operate.

Beyond Your Beliefs

One of the things you are doing in this process is getting your personal belief structure beyond the feel-good level. In fact, you may notice beliefs you’ve carried your whole life crumbling like salt. Remember David Bowie’s suggestion: Don’t deceive with belief; which means, don’t deceive yourself, in particular, with things you believe about yourself.

There is a strong suggestion that you make up your mind about what you know to be true, rather than staying in deliberative mode. At the least, there is the encouragement to drop what you long ago determined were false, dysfunctional or incomplete aspects of your ‘spiritual’ concept system; and to pay attention when you find new ones. Most spiritual and religious systems are based on denial. Denial is precisely the thing that every single aspect of your astrology is suggesting has long outdone its use.

The Shadow Actually Knows

We are familiar with Pluto in Capricorn in your 12th house, a long-term transit. This is mirrored in Mars in Leo in the 7th house. Mars has a connection to Capricorn, and showing up for a relatively rare all-Leo retrograde, you are getting a dramatic representation.

An attribute of the 12th house, or a retrograde planet, is the confrontation of shadow material. Shadow material is anything that we deny, but which still maintains a presence. It’s all the disowned qualities of who we are, including the fears we don’t process, but pretend don’t exist. Plenty of shadow, in our culture, exists in sexual thoughts and feelings; in the current revision of the world, most sex is either projection, shadow or denial. The 12th house and Pluto both have potent erotic overtones, though of the kind that make us both question and get in touch with the deepest layers of existence that we can reach.

While the wise regard shadow material as creative fuel or as latent potential, it is often dealt with by projection. Imagine a male-female couple is together in a monogamous, heterosexual relationship. The woman is aware that her male partner has some unacknowledged homosexual feelings or past experiences, which for many reasons he feels he must deny, or throw a veil over. He doesn’t even talk about them with her. But she knows there is something going on under the surface of his personality and sexual reality.

She, in turn, has some homosexual feelings, which she does not openly address. She might admit them (it’s safer for women to admit some bisexuality than it is for men), though they are never particularly close to the surface and when she goes there, they arrive with ‘mild’ discomfort and a bit of intrigue. Mostly she is concerned about her partner’s bisexual tendencies. In both situations, their bisexuality is shadow material because it’s taboo and not openly acknowledged.

This human equation gives a sample of how shadow is turned into projection. Her questions about herself show up in the form of her questions about him. It’s not that her questions about him aren’t true or valid; it’s that they also mirror something inside her, which she can detach from if she only considers it in the context of his life. The implication is that for the time being — at least the first half of the year — one of the easiest places you can find your shadow material is in your opinions of other people. I say this recognizing how annoying it is, but also how useful. Keep your eye on the Eight of Cups tarot card: the one that says take the matter inward.

Meanwhile, one of the tests of a healthy relationship for you is whether you can be open about your shadow material there, and whether the material of the other person is considered open for discussion. Relationships that are structured based on mutual denial are likely to break down and experience many other communication gaps that could be addressed by opening those particular doors, assuming the relationship permits this. Yet it may not, and it would be quite counterproductive for you to set the limits of your own life on a situation that is itself limited.

I have a psychologist friend who I sent the draft of this reading to, and asked her if she wanted to share her thoughts. Here is what she said:

“I love conceptualizing the shadow as that which is latent, unmanifest, and in some way feeding or grounding that which we more easily perceive. I’m also very attracted to the idea that the shadow (or the unconscious or the black sun) be met “on its own terms,” or as primary in itself. It has been more useful to me to allow my experiences of darkness to be — and whereas shining a light there, bringing something into consciousness has its (significant) place, there is also, often, a tendency for that light to be an analytical one, which risks destroying or taking apart the darkness/shadow in the process. Marlan’s premise is that this darkness can be illuminated from within — no light (rationality?) needed, perhaps.

“Working clinically, I like to invite clients to ‘define’ shadow for themselves.

“Pluto in Cap in the 12th evokes for me a sense of entering the blackness, the shadow, the shit without expectation of what will be found, needing to trust the authority of the darkness and to possibly learn something about one’s own inner authority, limitations, freedom as a result.”

A Few Additional Notes on Mars Retrograde

By now, you can identify the scenarios associated with Mars retrograde in your opposite sign. While this story has a long history, it’s coming to a crux now. And the truly interesting thing here is that while what someone is going through on one level has nothing to do with you, there is some kind of mirror of your secret world being dramatized in front of you. You may be the only one aware of the scenario; for a variety of reasons, your personal investment or involvement is easy enough to hide, but not from yourself.

As this process unfolds, you may constantly be dancing with the question of when to reveal your deeper truth, or when you call a partner on a deeper truth that he or she may be avoiding, and which is influencing your relationship mainly by creating distance. While it’s necessary for the winds of individuality to blow between people, social relationships are, in theory anyway, based on sharing what we have in common. This simple fact is often lost, particularly in a time when we emphasize faux individuality to the degree where we seem to have nothing in common. And as in the current moment, the thing you have in common with someone may feel too deep or personal to talk about.

This may be true for a while, but you don’t want it to be true forever. You are under considerable psychic pressure to both uncover your deepest truth and also to be a more forthright person: to not live a life of secrets. This has been developing for a few years, though the issue is focusing right now. And I do mean right now. You are in possession of what I will call the Trump Card of Truth; you’re being granted amnesty on past issues of denial and withholding. These are related, though denial is what you keep from yourself, and withholding is what you keep from others (usually helped by denial).

You may fear significant consequences if you come forward with your truth, or if you hold someone to their truth. This may be true, but I suggest you consider the consequences if you choose to not proceed in a straightforward way. In a way that is typical of Chiron, the early effort results in the best results with the least damage and the greatest opportunity for healing. Once you’re put on notice, however, the probable consequences both increase and will have a tendency to expand into other areas of your life.

What I’m suggesting here is that while a lot seems at stake now, and while being authentically yourself and holding this out as a standard may seem risky, the problem is, at the moment, contained; and more than being a problem that is contained, it’s a concentrated, useful healing opportunity.

A Professional Connection

It seems like there may be a connection to a professional situation, whether past or present. One thing you can learn from this is how to avoid your tendency for professional situations to become tales of intrigue. Indeed, the situation you’re facing may indeed be a morph between personal and professional — the involvement of both Capricorn and Mars suggest this mix — where a variety of boundary issues are at stake.

One version of that boundary issue is: are you doing what you want in your professional expression of life, or are you doing what someone else wants? If you have one ‘career issue’ to sort out this year, this is THE one.

In truth, the one and only boundary is the truth: starting with what is true for you; which translates to, what you really want. The truth becomes a problem when there are issues of power involved, and there are — only now, you’re the one with the power (if you claim it). You seem determined to use this situation to your advantage, which is a good start. Your tendency to use a situation for the greatest good for all concerned is risky right now, since you need to know what you want, and get other people out of the way.

If you’re feeling isolated or misunderstood, you may not think you’re so powerful; and like with many things in your life, I suggest you go beyond appearances. I suggest that you keep this in mind as you work out a situation that will, if you handle it with clarity, do more to alleviate your sense of being alone than anything you’ve done in quite a while.

One thing to remember is that you cannot save anyone from himself or herself; but you can save you from yourself. While your situation is manifesting in the form of a relationship, it’s really about you. And due to the depth that you’re going with yourself, you may find yourself in a position where it’s difficult for others to understand you; where you know yourself better than they do. This contradicts the romantic ideal of ‘someone knowing you as well as you know yourself’, which is usually possible if neither partner knows themselves so well.

The Great Clarification: Chiron-Neptune Conjunction

The Aquarius astrology that has dominated most of my discussions and those of some other astrologers involves the conjunction now happening in Aquarius. This conjunction — which has involved four planets (Jupiter, Chiron, Nessus and Neptune) has come down to a focal point of just two: Chiron and Neptune. This conjunction has been brewing for five years, and is a significant part of the world’s story right now: a struggle for clarity and awakening. We live in a world where nearly everything has been reduced to a drug; or at least to an addictive substance rather than a nourishing one.

Consciousness itself has been described as a drug: that is, a trance. Which is another way of saying that we are defining ourselves out of existence. Yet there is a trance-like quality that seems to dominate what we are doing to our minds, and one of the most useful places we can look for information about this is what has been going on in Aquarius. In many ways, Aquarius is the sign that makes us human. Its image is the gathering or measuring of water (depending on the era you look to).

With Jupiter out of the way, we now have a clear view of the Chiron-Neptune conjunction: which is happening in your sign; and that means that you are at the end of a very long growth process, and at the beginning of a whole new phase of your life.

Neptune in Aquarius is about the tendency of people to do whatever a group says they should be doing; Chiron in Aquarius is about the crisis for individuality that any self-conscious person has. The Aquarian struggle to define oneself in the context of a group, and to hold one’s individuality as part of a group, are exemplified by this transit. Now the two planets are meeting in a clear conjunction, which is pushing the issue.

Part of what you are clarifying is something about the power that you give to groups, of any kind, including your family. If you find yourself taking responsibility, or being handed responsibility, for what a group has done, be careful.

Practically Speaking, Money Matters

Let’s end with a discussion of money. I am going to be less analytical and more declarative here. Simply put, you have had a lot of ideas for how to make money the past however many years; but you have not had The Idea for how to establish yourself financially, nor have you had the motivation to create something. That idea is on its way. Will you recognize it when you see it? And will you take action? Plenty depends upon it, because this idea has the power to change your life, by providing a focus that you adopt and which helps you create your next dimension of existence.

I suggest you take three steps to prepare the way for this revelation.

The first step is to make sure you assess your doubts and misgivings about acquiring money. A great many people who aspire to do the right thing have a concept that money is dirty or wrong. Money is energy, neutral in itself. What you do with money is what matters. If you find yourself going through rationalizations here, check yourself.

The second step is to strive for independence. You have some odd boundaries about money, and there is a tendency to let other people become involved in ways that they really do not need to be involved; or rather, you do not need them. You do not need anyone’s approval. You don’t need advice: you need people you can consult, and there is a big difference between the two. Others have a lot of ideas about who and what you should have, in terms of your finances and contracts, and I suggest you keep them as far from your process as possible. When you do get involved, work with detailed contracts that lay out the relationship and the flow of funds.

The third step is to be prepared for something entirely different than what you are doing, or what you have envisioned in the past. Change means change. Progress means progress. You have come up against many dead ends, and you’re ready to go past them. Part of embracing progress may mean identifying something deep in the past that you envisioned and see if you and/or the world have suddenly caught up with your own idea.

Just like you’re doing with yourself.

One Response to “Aquarius Confidential (for Sun and ascendant)”

  1. Lori S says:

    As a inexperienced person reading the above, I certainly ask the first question….. Where or how can I get clarification and assistance in both understanding how I feel – vs. what is being written – and how can I manifest that into change (which I know is here for me). My mind is a whirlwind right now – and I certainly need focus. Where to start???

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