Inner Planet Retrogrades, One After the Next
We’re approaching the end of Venus retrograde in Capricorn, which happens in one week, on Jan. 31. Venus stationed retrograde just shortly after the southern solstice on Dec. 21, beginning the first Venus retrograde exclusively in Capricorn since the winter of 1802-1803.
Thirteen-plus Capricorn and the themes of the Venus retrograde will come into focus as Pluto moves into that spot over the next few weeks, where it will be for the exact grand cross of April 23. This gives Venus an honorary seat at the table for that event, kind of like Elijah at a Passover seder.
No sooner does Venus station direct than Mercury stations retrograde in Pisces Feb. 6, which will last through Feb. 28. Then the next day, Mars stations retrograde in Libra.
This close sequence of inner planet retrogrades will call for careful planning, having contingency plans for important projects, being mindful of communication in relationships, and careful focus on financial matters.
The Sun is in Aquarius
Meanwhile, the Sun is now in Aquarius, the sign of groups. The smallest group is that of two people, which is challenging because we are a society that believes in ‘majority rules’. In a couple it’s easy to have a split vote. Therefore, some form of consensus needs to be used, which emerges as a theme of the coming week.
The potential to clarify and heal some relationship issues is coming to the fore this weekend, and a simultaneous aspect may grant either the mental stamina to make real progress, or else the pitfall of stuck thinking. The astrology involves asteroid Juno (emotional needs, jealousy, desire for justice) conjoining centaur Chiron (awareness, individuality, healing) in Pisces.
This happens at the same time Mercury in Aquarius squares Saturn in Scorpio. Both aspects are exact Saturday. So we get a potentially complex emotional situation at the same time there is a stressful aspect influencing communications.Juno conjoining Chiron in Pisces suggests a possible rebellion in marriage — perhaps stepping out of your past relationship patterns and the emotional patterns that ground them.
It might also manifest as a healing crisis in the realm of the vision you hold for your intimate partnerships. If so, it might be that you’re recognizing that the old ideas you were given about relationships and marriage, starting from Cinderella forward, are no longer relevant to your existence.
In any kind of interpersonal relating, it’s one thing to hold out a creative, positive vision toward which to aspire. It’s another thing to proceed as if that vision is your current reality, if doing so ignores the ways in which one is still clinging to outmoded or self-sabotaging behavior models and tactics. Those attachments to what is not working anymore need to be seen and addressed in tangible ways.
The asteroid Pallas in Virgo is in the equation; it’s currently opposite Juno-Chiron, representing a kind of standoff. Pallas speaks to the strategy angle of the equation. Pallas is political in nature, and could represent taking a legalistic or warrior approach when such is unnecessary. Don’t overthink your situation, and be careful who you deem an adversary; what you want is a dialog that includes a balance of thought and feeling, and gently working through any obstructions you may encounter.
Mercury square Saturn, which occurs on Saturday in the midst of these aspects, speaks to the theme of trust, particularly trusting oneself. If you reach a block of some kind (an impasse, a mental obstruction, a sense of being emotionally jammed, or a block to communication), pause and take up the question of trust. You can only trust someone else when you trust yourself. That is the place to start.
It’s not possible to have a relationship that is actually loving, without actual trust. I don’t know how this gets left out of the talk about the birds and the bees, but it’s never too late to figure out.
– Eric Francis, with additional writing by Amanda Painter.
Aries (March 20-April 19)
Give partners and loved ones extra time and wiggle room to hesitate. Give them extra space to be self-centered. While you’re at it, give yourself that space as well; once you figure out you need these things, you’ll be more understanding of why others do as well. Over the next few weeks, you will gain a better understanding of where both you and partners are coming from. Remember that a partner or loved one’s lack of confidence may be associated with a memory that long predates your association. People will often allow their own past impressions to influence or even dictate what happens in a present-time situation. Ideally we would not do this, however, it’s more likely that the first step is learning to notice when it’s happening. This is the theme of the year for you — to know and understand the nature of projection, perhaps the most common psychological phenomenon. Projection is when you see something about yourself existing exclusively outside of yourself. As a clever writer recently pointed out, projection can only happen in the dark. So the first step is to gradually turn up the lights so you can see what is happening. The second step is to keep asking yourself what belongs to you and what belongs to someone else, and not to be satisfied with an answer till you have several points of documentation.
Taurus (April 19-May 20)
Venus will soon complete a rare retrograde (nothing of its kind has happened since 1803), which has taught you many things about the social conditioning that helped shape your character. One theme is the extent to which people who influenced you as a child were serving their own interests but tried to make it seem like they were doing you a favor. While this helped make you into the gritty and self-reliant person that you are, it’s taken a cost — and you seem determined to reclaim what you’ve given up. When the retrograde ends on Jan. 31, you may be left with the feeling that you’ve come close to some profound truth but could not break through to the core idea. The barrier between how far you’ve gone and what you actually want to possess is thin enough to push your hand through. It may not look that way, but it will feel that way if you use your tactile senses. In practical terms, when you encounter a belief about yourself or about the world, notice how you feel. Anything involving guilt can be considered suspect. Same for obligation you feel that does not have something productive in it for everyone, or where you come out on the short end of the deal. Question any form of any equation that includes, “You should dislike yourself because…”
Gemini (May 20-June 21)
Current aspects may have you rethinking a career or business plan. That’s actually a great idea. You seem to have a good idea, though what you need to do is balance your idealistic concept of what is possible against a diversity of practical concerns. Give yourself time for this — you seem to be involved in a thought process that will take about six weeks. My first question is not ‘is this thing too idealistic’ but rather, are you reaching for what you know would be the very best goal? However, before you get there, I suggest you strip your plan down to its most basic elements — what you want and why, what you need and why, what you want to accomplish. Consider how you manage your reputation. To what extent is your strategy defensive (laying low, protecting your supposed image) and to what extent is your strategy proactive (carefully cultivating the reputation you want, and deserve, for what you’ve accomplished)? Gradually, your logical mind will take over, and I suggest you run all your ideas through this particular mental filter. Keep reducing your idea till you’ve arrived at the bare essence, and understand every element of your plan or idea. Then toward the end of the month, you’re likely to rethink it yet again, only this time with greater clarity. At that point you will find the missing piece, the creative gem, the love in the dream.
Cancer (June 21-July 22)
I suggest you concern yourself less about how you are perceived by others and use that energy to focus on the substance of your goals. We live in a time when appearances are dangerously overtaking reality, and when glamour as a metric is prevailing over the quality of someone’s character. You could say this has been going on since the first motion picture was released, yet in truth it’s something that is happening from moment to moment. You continually get the choice which to feed, appearance or reality. Meanwhile, in a similar vein, you seem ready to question a belief that until now you’ve taken for granted. This belief is influencing a relationship. It’s not showing up as definitively helpful or unhelpful, but rather as something that you need to understand thoroughly. The belief is influencing the way you make your agreements with others, in a sense, biasing you. It will indeed be helpful if you know what that bias is, and you will soon have the clarity and mental tools to do so. This is a matter calling for careful analysis, of your own thought patterns as well as the specific elements of your commitments. What do you expect of others and what do they expect of you? How realistic are those expectations and what are they grounded in? You will have happier relationships for knowing these things.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
You seem to be seeking a compromise on a matter involving shared finances, or perhaps more accurately, a question about sexual values in an intimate relationship. The scenario seems to be going in the direction of someone’s fantasy of how things can be, though leaving out some of the more obvious practicalities. This is definitely a scenario that deserves to have logic, data or some form of science prevail, rather than any form of make-believe or let’s see what happens. And logic will indeed prevail, so I suggest you hold the line and be patient while the planets shuffle around in a pattern that describes the renegotiation of the relationship in a more holistic way. In other words, the discussion is likely to start on one topic, and then expand into other topics that are related on the level of shared values. This comes down to understanding the values you have in common, and those that you do not. I would remind you here that you’re in a somewhat vulnerable position when it comes to others overpowering you. It will not work so well to resist forcefully, so instead, I suggest you use persistence. Time is on your side. What is obvious to you will become obvious to others as the discussion moves along, and the result will be a new understanding of your relationship, built on level ground.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
If you’re hesitating about a relationship commitment, I would remind you that there is no rush. You may sense that you’re heading for deep water, or like you’re gradually being drawn into a situation that you don’t fully understand. When you are ready, this may be fully appropriate. Yet if you’re uncertain of yourself, slow down and observe your environment. The first thing to listen to is your intuition. If you suspect that you’re not being given full information, or if you have a hunch that you’re in any way being deceived, then pause and begin to look more deeply into the facts. You don’t need to do this in an accusatory way, but rather in a way that seeks grounding in objective information. Consciously seek the truth, and make sure that you actually understand what you learn. Address any denial factor that may be present; be mindful of what you ‘don’t want to know’ or ‘refuse to believe’. This process will take a bit of scrupulous honesty with yourself, though there may be clues that get you closer to the heart of the matter. I suggest you investigate with extra care any situation involving alcohol, or the influence of mood-altering drugs, be they prescription or otherwise. The question to ask is: how is this influencing your relationship to reality? How is it influencing intimacy? You want to know.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
The past five weeks of Venus retrograde seem to have been designed to help you understand the impact of your family history, and your complex emotions. The two are related; partly why your emotions are so complex is because you filter them through so many past impressions and memories. Yet many of those are not your own; they are habits and values you picked up from various people who influenced you. Take the time to sort out what belongs to you and what does not. Once you claim what is your own and let go of what belongs to others, you will feel a lot less lost, and be able to call yourself more fully present. This does not necessarily involve severing ties to anyone, though at times that is necessary. But it will help you immensely to know when someone else’s emotions became a point of orientation for you more important than your own feelings, and to see the distortion that created. That may go in two directions at once — being overly self-centered at times, and not being able to find your center at others. Understanding why you are the way you are is a theme that persists through most of the year. You’re likely to continue your review of the past, which is for the sole purpose of helping you know yourself better. That, in turn, will help you have clearer, more trusting relationships.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
It’s essential for your wellbeing to sort out what influences in your life are nourishing and which are depleting. This is not as easy as it seems in a society where it’s considered normal for people to eat unhealthy food for the sake of ating, to have relationships for the sake of relationships and to purchase many things that they don’t need and barely even want. Since that is the cultural standard, it’s necessary to take the time to figure out whether something you take in — be it food, entertainment, information, family influences or emotional contact — actually sustains you. It would be worthwhile to consider this question in the context of any sexual influence as well. I think the concept of ‘addiction’ is overused and misunderstood, but it begins to have meaning when there is the quality of some influence potentially controlling your life. If during the next few weeks you find yourself at a full stop, or feel like you can no longer effectively negotiate with yourself, that’s the time to take some time and inquire about the issue of control. There is often an associated question about whether you want the responsibility implied by self-determination. The most common reason I’ve seen people abandon their power is because it seems to offer liberation from the consequences of their own mistakes. That’s one form of liberation that will never serve you.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
You could have things be a lot easier than they currently are; you seem to have figured out that allowing yourself to be involved in complex situations is a way of learning about yourself. You seem to be in a scenario where your connection to someone else is like a personal development laboratory, or where you’re seeking self-actualization in the context of a relationship. You may have also figured out that such a thing does not work for you, and are resisting being so immersed in someone else, or anyone, with every cell in your being. There does seem to be a question lurking behind all of this, which is the extent to which you allow yourself to feel your feelings, and whether you need the assistance of someone else who resonates with you. This is a good question, with many implications — though the main theme is that of emotional independence. You would do well to ask, especially under your current astrology, whether that is possible, and if it is, what it means. At one extreme of the spectrum is the loner, with no emotional investments. At the other is someone codependent, whose emotional state is totally invested in what others think. The balancing point is healthy interdependence. That is built of mutual respect, self-reflection, communication and honoring for yourself and for everyone else what measure of freedom we have here on Earth.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
Something seems to have happened to you over the past couple of months, involving coming into deeper contact with your creative gifts and your sexuality. You probably know or can guess that I consider these elements of humanity to be closely related, stemming right from the same source. To develop one, it’s essential to develop the other. Venus retrograde in your sign beginning at the solstice, spanning through the end of January, has done something magnificent for you: you have embodied something that was previously abstract or that existed in potential. You have taken steps to reclaim gifts that may have previously made you nervous, that you took for granted or considered something that only had relevance when you were younger. Here is the ongoing challenge: Devotion to artistry and the arts of erotic love requires self-focus. Even in our narcissistic culture, that can be considered suspect, and it can certainly be an irritant (or threatening) to people who have never considered any such quest. You need courage to persist on this mission, and you need to be willing to wrap your whole life around what will seem like a form of over-focus. Yet the idea is not to get lost in yourself — in order for your work or your discovery to have relevance, it’s necessary to find yourself. You are well on the way. Keep going.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
Something is shifting for you on a deep inward level, which may feel like the healing of a kind of isolation or loneliness that has followed you around for a while. This has taken you a step closer to your soul, just when you were wondering if such a thing was even possible. Pay attention and you’ll notice that this keeps happening, with a slightly different feeling each time, though each time feeling like you’ve seated yourself in your own existence a little more firmly. It helps to make peace with the solitary nature of existence, or at least the compelling sensation of that effect. It’s the feeling of being alone in the universe that is a step in the awakening of every spiritually conscious person. That sensation of isolation does two things — it can come with the choice to give up looking outside yourself for what you can only find within; and it’s what opens the space to have the awakening of how alone you are not. That awakening is the dawn of authentic selflove. Nearly everyone who arrives there has earned it. They have faced their own darkness, to some real extent, and the mystery of their own existence. You are not done, but if your charts mean anything, you’re working with many more resources than you had just a few short months ago.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
You may feel like you’re dancing around the choice to immerse yourself totally in who you are — as if you’re playing a game of approach-avoid. Let’s assume that is true for a moment. When you feel any kind of approach-avoid, the first thing to check for is guilt. Fully soaking in your own reality implies that you will be yourself, and express yourself, without any reservations. Approach-avoid might show up as hesitancy with people knowing who you actually are, as if hiding it from yourself could in some way prevent them from finding out. That almost never works. People already recognize you and most are grateful for the example you provide. Some don’t seem that way, it’s true; you make some people nervous. I suggest, however, that you not underestimate the influence you have even on their lives. That said, it does not matter what anyone else thinks. Rather than avoiding anything, you actually seem to have come close to a discovery that you want to investigate, or have made an observation about yourself that you want to verify with some additional inner questing. I believe you’re about to discover how much sense you make; that is, that your seemingly most unworldly dreams, when subjected to logical analysis, actually make perfect sense. My saying this matters little, though — when you figure it out, it’ll rock your world and boost your confidence.