A Conspiracy of Faith

Book of Your Life for Aquarius | By Eric Francis Coppolino

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There is some discussion in astrology about whether Aquarius is the altruistic, peace-and-love sign that it’s made out to be. Much of that mythos comes from the idea of the Age of Aquarius, popularized by the Broadway musical Hair. You know, harmony and understanding, sympathy and trust abound.

Sign Art by Lizanne E. Webb.

However, Aquarius is a sign ruled by the often-frugal planet Saturn, which does not really deliver those properties. And Aquarius is a fixed sign, given to crystallization and the formation of patterns that are rather difficult to change. These patterns can become instruments of tyranny, much like the current digital environment that is indeed related to the energy of Aquarius.

Harmony, sympathy and empathy are more the properties of Pisces, the sign that follows yours, and which plays a significant part in your astrology this year.

What we do get from Aquarius is eccentricity. Within the morphogenetic fields of your sign is an inbred rebelliousness of mind. This comes with the refusal to accept patterns imposed by others; the capacity to hybridize one’s views and have original positions on social and political issues; which in turn leads to a kind of eccentricity that is very much a quality of your nature. So too is a distinct inventiveness, if you can keep your mind awake, alert and young.

You might say that on the individual level Aquarius is about experiencing patterns and then breaking them. You know, patterns like whale-oil lamps, which, thanks to Aquarian Thomas Edison, were replaced by something better.

What you also get with Aquarius as an energetic phenomenon is something that concentrates and focuses whatever enters its field. As such it’s vital to consider carefully who and what you imbibe, because you’re likely to magnify it. It’s probable that Aquarius is the most objective and neutral of all the signs, the true “empty glass” that can be filled with whatever you choose.

Yet we’re not up to peace and love yet. Indeed, Aquarius can be incredibly shrewd, psychologically astute, and oriented on power. Combine that with an abundance of intelligence and Aquarius is one of the most competitive signs, or rather, capable of being a formidable competitor. The psychological insight and shrewd quality come from combining the energy of penetrating, goal-oriented Scorpio with your 10th house — that of ambition, reputation, power and success.

Yet what is the humanitarian quality that we associate with Aquarius? It comes from subtler places in your chart than the main angles (meaning Taurus, Leo and Scorpio). Two examples will suffice. If we count 11 signs from yours, we land in Sagittarius, the sign of our cosmic origins. Aquarius is the 11th sign of the zodiac, so there is a connection that’s more than symbolic.

There’s a direct resonance between your sign and Sagittarius, and that resonance happens in the house of groups — something distinctly associated with your sign. When you think of, or relate to, the family of humanity, you recognize that we all have similar, and deeply mysterious, cosmic origins. If the 10th house represents the will to power, the 11th represents one’s highest ideals, and Sagittarius in this place describes a high view of human potential.

You recognize that we are really a bunch of underachievers, all of whom possess stunning strength and creative power, and you want to see us do better. I would call that humanitarian. This is not merely something you read about on a New Age website. It’s something that you know intuitively, instinctively, and with your full intellect. As such it pains you to see the human race in the state that it’s in.

Sagittarius contains the core of our galaxy, which I consider both a homing beacon and a transformative spiritual fire that’s about to become an essential part of your life. This is because Saturn is about to make an extended visit to the Galactic Core this year, which represents a primary initiation for you. I will treat that in its own section in a few moments.

You have another opening into the spiritual realm by way of the sign Pisces. Pisces is your 2nd solar house (or 2nd by whole-sign houses, for Aquarius rising), which is the house that represents what you possess and what you value. The 2nd house is a vital extension of your identity. It does not, however, spark up all by itself. The 2nd house is something you invest in, cultivate, and gently develop over time. Pisces in this position gives you access to the highest potential creativity. Pisces is the most charitable of all the signs, and having it placed on your 2nd house suggests a truly egalitarian nature. For example, you don’t think that you should have food at the expense of someone else having food.

At the moment, there is truly unusual planetary activity in Pisces, consisting of several slow-moving planets that are taking you through an inner awakening. The theme of this is how you feel about yourself, and what you feel you have to offer. And yes this is about feelings, as is nearly everything that happens in Pisces. The thread intertwining them is that of self-esteem. The better you feel about yourself the more you have to offer.

On the Event Horizon: Saturn and the Galactic Core

As mentioned above, Saturn is about to make a conjunction to the Galactic Core, which will last through the year. This is a personal experience for you, because Saturn is the planet that rules the sign Aquarius. I recognize that most contemporary astrologers use Uranus as the ruling planet of Aquarius, though I am a traditionalist, and prefer to use the classical ruler as the first significator for any sign in question. However, anyone who does not notice that Saturn has an excellent affinity for Aquarius is not paying attention. As I say to my astrology students, if you want to understand Saturn, study Aquarius. If you want to understand Aquarius, study Saturn.

The Galactic Core is not described well in astrological literature. It’s not easy to understand from an intellectual standpoint, though really, its meaning is plain on its face. We live in a solar system, powered by one of 300 billion stars spun into an island in space. These stars are arranged in a spiral around a supermassive black hole. That black hole is a main feature of the core, though there are other powerful emitters of radio signals close to it. A black hole is likely a portal to another dimension. As you get closer to the core, stars concentrate around the black hole.

I often wonder what it would be like to be on a star system close to the core. The stars are so close together that it would be as bright at night as it is during the day. My impression from journeying there is that what we think of as spiritual process is accelerated. There is not the sluggish feeling that we have here in our part of the galaxy, the constant resistance, and the hiding in shadow. This would seem to be a region of space where all that lurks in darkness is revealed, as there is no darkness available to hide in.

What exist are the indescribably powerful forces emitted by the much-nearer core. All of life is lived in close proximity to the event horizon of the black hole. On certain star systems lurking around the event horizon, life would be experienced as continuously on the brink of having one’s entire planet drawn into the spiral of the vortex. Imagine the beings on such worlds living every day in a state of mystery and anticipation of when that would happen, if it ever does. On such a world, their entire spiritual and social process would be defined by their relationship to that anticipation, knowing that any day or at any moment, everything could change, in ways that they know they cannot predict.

This is a fair description of how you might feel with Saturn making its long conjunction to the Galactic Core: as if you’re being drawn along the event horizon of your own soul. The ego structure represented by Saturn, and the belief complex represented by Saturn in Sagittarius, is about to encounter the actual spiritual source that could vaporize or transform it in a moment.

Saturn is a difficult planet for most people, because it’s so tied up in their authority issues. Indeed, Saturn represents the authority principle that we must integrate in a mature way, in order to have any real happiness or influence over the flow of our lives. Here in the “sibling society,” where immaturity is aspired to and rewarded handsomely, there’s a tendency to avoid Saturn and all that it represents. There’s a misunderstanding about the true nature of authority, which tends to be projected outward onto parents, governments, spouses, bosses and the meter maid.

When Saturn is in Sagittarius, we’re looking right at authority projected onto religion, belief systems and our God-concept. This transit, which began in late 2014 and will end just before the winter solstice of 2017, in many ways epitomizes the belief-trumps-reality way of life that many people have adopted. Belief is not only less threatening than reality, it seems more solid, and this has led to our world of people living in bubbles, believing anything they click on — as long as it appeals to them.

Now Saturn is about to encounter the Galactic Core. You might say that all of this worldly jetsam and flotsam will be neatly cooked off by this long contact with the Galactic Core. This is religion meeting the religious experience. It is the holy roller actually encountering the Holy Spirit. It’s the philosopher having an experience of unspeakable truth. Whether this manifests for you in a dramatic way is an open question; that it will manifest in some way is a given.

This represents a personal change for you; it represents a change in society to some degree (we shall see to some extent); and because this is in a public house in your chart, it represents a reorientation on your relationship to your community.

More than anything, though, this event describes a transformation for you personally, and the context in which you relate to the world. Both are changing at the same time. The upshot of this transit is that you know that it’s up to you above all else to have faith in humanity. This is not about idealism or some form of light spirituality. It’s about the actual work of evolutionary growth. It will not be all sweetness and starlight; to do the right thing, and to accomplish what you need to accomplish, you may encounter some of the more shadowy sides of human nature. You will be able to withstand this if you maintain your integrity at all times, and come back to it as soon as you notice you’ve digressed.

Other Transits to the Galactic Core

There are other planets now gathered around the Galactic Core, most of them the lesser-known minor planets. We’ll witness this many ways, and there will be other twists on this Saturn transit for you. There are two in particular that stand out. There’s a more detailed discussion in the Capricorn reading, though this will get you started.

First of the two is Ixion working its way toward the Galactic Core. Before that happens, Saturn will make a conjunction (I originally typed ‘confrontation’!) to Ixion on Feb. 15, then again on June 5 and then again on Oct. 29. Ixion is the principle of amorality. It’s the absolute lack of moral or ethical boundaries. My key phrase for Ixion is “anyone is capable of anything,” which nearly any honest psychologist will tell you. Numerous psych experiments have confirmed how quickly people’s moral structure breaks down under any real pressure at all. We all carry the capacity for cruelty, and our society has been moving in the direction of encouraging this openly.

It’s for this reason that someone can campaign for the office of president of the United States on the statement, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,” and he is basically correct. This is precisely Ixion, who in Greek mythology was the first human to commit murder. After that he was brought to Mt. Olympus for rehab by his influential friend Zeus, where he then plots the rape of Hera, the queen of the gods and Zeus’s wife.

So, before Ixion reaches the core, Saturn will reach Ixion. You must first confront whatever Ixion represents within yourself before you make it a community issue, or the karma will basically blow up on you. You cannot be even vaguely hypocritical with this aspect. It’s about taking total ownership of any quality in yourself that you know you need to change. Saturn says that it will take a combination of commitment, discipline, willingness to change, and the spiritual power of Sagittarius to make these adjustments.

Apropos of Juno’s presence in the aspect pattern, this is particularly crucial if there is an issue in a spousal relationship. If you’re unhappy and you cannot create the change you need, move on. And further apropos of Juno, if you must take a stand on someone’s behalf, do what you can to stay out of the role of rescuer, lest you become the next victim.

The second transit over the Galactic Core, now well underway, is Pholus. Saturn will meet up with Pholus right after this is complete, on Dec. 4, 2017. It looks to me like you need to call an end to a certain line of conduct or thinking that has been in your family for a while. The opportunity you have is based on the fact that you can actually see this issue for what it is. It’s normally difficult to discern, and it’s been masked or veiled recently by its prevalence in society. Once you have it in your sights, address it on the spot, by whatever means you need to — therapy or counseling, an intervention, a decision, or all three.

Pisces: The Ethereal Matter of Self-Esteem

Pisces on the 2nd house suggests a caring and generous nature. You are capable of being selfless, quite literally to a fault. Pisces can have a way of overestimating the good in people, but you have consistently refused to give up on this value. We could settle the matter of whether the inherent nature of Aquarius is humanitarian with this one placement. I would say that it is, if this positive value is fed, and under one other circumstance: that you are mindful of your self-esteem.

Society at the moment is experiencing a pandemic of self-esteem issues. There’s at least a sci-fi trilogy and a dozen self-help books in that statement, and the reasons are obvious: people are trained to be obsessed with image, and are accustomed to having their actual substance gutted. Aquarius turns dark when it does not love itself. It’s that simple, and I think this is truer of your sign than of many others, which can maintain a sunny disposition even when particularly dark inside. The astrological reason for this is that Pisces is soft, vulnerable, impressionable and easy to corrupt.

For about seven years, Chiron has been working its way slowly through Pisces, and this has brought many crises of self-esteem, as well as moments of discovery. Chiron’s presence describes a kind of shamanic initiation, and that means walking between both worlds. You’ve certainly encountered the dark and the light in yourself under this transit. If you’ve been paying any attention at all, it’s likely that you’ve done some true growing and evolving with the help of Chiron.

There are numerous other slow-moving planets in Pisces at the moment. The most recent arrival was Nessus, the third centaur, which will spend most of the next two decades moving through your 2nd house — a constant reminder to be on the alert, and to be kind to yourself. That really is the essence of 2nd-house centaur transits, particularly of Nessus. You must take responsibility for the multigenerational aspect of self-esteem within your family.

Nessus is about cycles. It’s therefore essential to watch your cycle of self-esteem. Those issues that run in a cycle (including illnesses, by the way) are the most accessible to healing. So pay attention. Watch carefully your cash flow and bank balance as one indicator of how you feel about yourself. Money cannot compensate for not feeling good about who you are (though many try desperately to make it so), and this is something to be cautious about. You want your life to be sufficiently funded, and that’s radically different from the notion that money makes you a better person. If you find your ventures succeeding, make sure that you keep your focus on your inner work.

One last thought: Neptune is now making a long trip across your 2nd house. This is a caution not to be overly sacrificing or generous to the point that it debilitates you. You must be wise about where you spend your money, what you invest in, and what charitable causes you contribute to. This includes not being fleeced by people who spot you as a softie and then take advantage of you with a hard-luck story. I suggest you practice an idea related by A Course in Miracles: help people as long as it doesn’t hurt either of you.

Sex and Sexual Healing and Sexual Self-Esteem

Sex is an interesting matter for Aquarians, which I’ve stated in a rather Aquarian way. Yours is not the most inherently squishy sign of the zodiac, and sex likes it wet. It’s all about water. You do have water in your urn, if you’re feeling good about yourself. Often, though, you make the whole experience of your sexuality mental rather than emotional and physical.

There are a number of ways this is illustrated in your chart. Try this on: the two houses in your chart that have the most influence over your sexuality are ruled by Mercury. Mercury is the planet of ideas, of talking, of gadgets and, best of all, “the mind of the senses, the consciousness of creatures.” Whatever else we might say about you, you need sex to be a mental phenomenon. That’s good, because everything that happens anywhere happens in your brain. This goes for everyone; however, with house 5 covered by Gemini and house 8 covered by Virgo, your sexuality needs a correspondingly mental and psychological component.

You are a perfect fit for erotic writing, sex by Skype, sex by email and, heck, sex by Twitter. You probably discovered phone sex shortly after the invention of the telephone (Mr. Watson! Come quickly!). So, lace your sexuality with hot conversation. Tell it like it is. Fulfill your desire to hear all the details from anyone who will reveal them. Virgo on the 8th is all about the details. It’s also prone to a bit of being hyper-picky and to overemphasizing hygiene. Which leads to Pisces.

An important root of sexuality is held in the 2nd house, which covers masturbation. My erotic theory begins with the idea that all sex is based in one’s sexual relationship with oneself. Here, you have the potential for a rich fantasy life, which is good for self-sex. The clit is not really the clit; it’s the brain. With Neptune in this house now, there’s really no limit to what you can imagine.

With Nessus transiting here, however, you may be picking up on the traces of sexual abuse in your own life, or somewhere in your genetic lineage, or in society at large. Nessus in Pisces is about the emotional and subtle psychic dimensions of sexual healing. We are all survivors of sexual abuse to some degree, even if all you add up are TV commercials and the death-obsessed, sex-hating, misogynist marketing campaign known as Christianity. Be mindful of this. Use it like creative fuel. Do not be disturbed if you find yourself indulging in “off color” fantasies, be they of domination, submission or unspeakable fetishes (find someone you trust and speak them — you’ll love it).

Indeed, with the playful, twin-seeking sign Gemini on your 5th house, you would really have fun experimenting off the usual menu. I know many people think that most of what’s in their mind is better left undone, though I would not agree with this. Uh, clearly. I would note, however, that the translation from fantasy to reality is not a digital copy. Anything you experiment with will feel different from the fantasy. The famous example is three-way sex.

The fantasy is simple; you’re in control. The reality is more complex; feelings are involved. I recommend trying anything that you’re bringing out of fantasy at least three times before you make up your mind. Gradually work your way into it. Build your courage. Find the right people and persist in your experiment. Let curiosity drive you. With Gemini and Virgo cooking in your chart, that’s a good incentive.

Venus Retrograde in Aries and Pisces

This brings me to Venus retrograde in Aries and Pisces, which takes place in the spring and sets the tone for 2017 in a way similar to Mars retrograde setting the tone for 2016. These two transits are related; they are part of what I think of as a sexual healing process, and a tantric initiation. I realize that what we got with Mars retrograde was the world’s first international marketing campaign for misogyny, broadcast on every station. However, it did bring the problem to awareness. The necessity being described by Mars retrograde involved integrating sexual desire with spiritual motives and practice. The fact that they are thought of as antithetical is the root of this problem.

My take is that Mars retrograde in Scorpio and Sagittarius was a threshold transit. That is, we entered a new dimension of healing and then did not leave. It’s more like a natal position that we have to work out over time. This is no small feat, in a culture where sex is made to be the ultimate evil and where God, who plans to send us to hell, is the ultimate good. This is about the unraveling of the deepest lie you’ve ever been told about yourself.

Venus retrograde in Aries and Pisces continues and deepens this work. You have Aries on your 3rd house of ideas, which is a picture of why you’re such an idea person: you identify with your concepts and you like to express them. Aries, however, has a little vanity problem, especially here in the 21st century of all glam all the time. Through the beginning of the year, Venus leaves your sign, treks across Pisces (taking you on the grand tour of all matters of self-esteem and self-love), makes its way across the Aries Point, and then does something that Aries just hates: stops and thinks.

One thing that Venus stationary retrograde in Aries wants you to do is focus the question of who you are. The retrograde takes you on a soul-retrieval journey into your childhood self-concepts, which are easy for you to get stuck in — though not if you see them for what they are.

If Saturn conjunct the Galactic Core is about dissolving oppressive ego structures, so too is Venus stationing retrograde in Aries. For any sensitive person, the retrograde itself will sound the alarm on toxic narcissism in any form. Then Venus tracks back into early Aries and moves into Pisces. There, Venus (and you) get to explore a new depth of what I would call genuine empathy. Venus goes from the realm of stark individuality to that of true collectivism, feeling and love.

Yet something else happens. Venus backs up into Pisces, and stations direct in an exact conjunction to Chiron. Now we’re talking about some deep soul recovery and emotional healing here; we’re talking about the claiming of your sexual being, as your authentic birthright, which means pleasure and the capacity to love and to feel. This is deep healing, and a profound inner expansion.

And it may require enduring the pain of what you need to heal. Endure this willingly; Chiron can never be gainsaid. He never acts for naught, and he will bring you the healing that you need; and we all need healing now, especially to this rather thorny problem of self-concept, vanity and self-esteem. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have help going deep in a certain way, accessing a specific dimension of this healing. Yes, healing is available all the time, though some moments are better for certain projects, and you now know what you can take on this year.

Cleaning Closets, Volume 9

We are now in the 9th year of Pluto moving through Capricorn. This is your 12th house. I have written volumes about this in past editions of the Planet Waves annual; just randomly choose a recent year and read Aquarius.

We are at a turning point of Pluto in Capricorn. First, the Uranus-Pluto series of squares is over; that stretched from 2011 through early 2015. This represented a particularly challenging period of personal inquiry for you, and quite possibly a deeply trying time psychologically and spiritually.

Most of what you’re dealing with involving this transit are the issues of your ancestors. The 12th house is unusually sensitive to what sign is involved, and for you, Capricorn points to the distant past; meaning, the multigenerational past.

You have done the majority of the work that Pluto in Capricorn represents, and after so long you’ve got the hang of it. However, you must be mindful of the work ahead. Much of this involves assembling your self-concept as a product of the present moment and not the past. You must see the dysfunctional influences of the past and identify them for what they are.

There are many other transits that support this project of “finding the present,” particularly the ones involving the Galactic Core. You might think of Pluto as a power tool that you can use to dig deeper any time you need to. These moments do arise in healing processes, or personal transformation processes, and it’s good to have access to the resources that you need. If you determine that something has its origins in the past, you can safely go digging in the attic or the basement.

If you find some material you must confront, summon the might of Pluto to help you work through the details. When you discover that you’re carrying around material from one or more of your ancestors, notice what it is, and offer it back to them. One thing you have going for you now is a rather hot spiritual fire burning. This is an excellent opportunity to burn off karma.

Career: Take the Long View; Work From a Plan

No astrology reading would be complete without a discussion of your career, particularly with Jupiter heading for your 10th house. I began by saying that Aquarians are more shrewd and psychological than most people give you credit for being, and this has to do with the prominent placement of Scorpio in your chart.

Jupiter, a planet that has a strong affinity with your sign (though technically, no special classical dignity; it’s just a good match for Aquarius) is working its way through Libra, which is your 9th house of long-range vision. Now, this is not exactly fast-paced, high-action astrology — but it’s a warm-up for that. Think of Jupiter roaming around your Libra 9th as feeling out the possibilities. If you do that, and take it slow, Jupiter (currently very well supported by Saturn in Sagittarius) will provide you considerable information, more than enough to formulate a business plan or a career plan. One thing about the 9th house is that it speaks well of international plans — particularly with Jupiter there.

If at all feasible, an international trip as early as possible in the year could provide you with substantial experience and information that shifts your entire point of view in a positive direction. Travel keeps you young and broadens your mind. This is particularly true now.

Speaking of “well supported,” I just noticed something typing those words. Saturn, your ruling planet, is currently in Sagittarius. Jupiter, the ruling planet of Sagittarius, is currently in Libra (where Saturn is exalted). This is called mutual reception. The two planets are not merely well supported by being in sextile aspect; their positions can be reversed — that is, Jupiter can stand in as being in Sagittarius and Saturn can stand in as being in Libra.

Not all astrologers like mutual receptions. I have never found them to be anything but helpful, if you know what they mean. What they mean is you have options. You have more options than you think, and whenever you’re in a bind, you have a back way out. When you need an ace to play, you have that, too. This might involve closing a deal, it might involve throwing your support into a project that’s not originally your own, or it might involve helping a friend. It might involve a community project of some kind. It will be especially helpful if you’re traveling.

But you must remember! The option is unlikely to present itself. That’s the thing. You have to consciously activate it. When you need that ace, pause, and say, “I know there’s something else here. There’s a better way.”

There is a better way. And that way always includes some blend of you, your community and your vision. Bring wise people into your game. Be bold about getting feedback from people, once you’ve decided you can trust them with an idea. Experiment and find those people; constantly sift through the sand and silt and look for the particles of gold.

Your true calling is leadership, by which I mean social and spiritual leadership that can take any other form (such as professional, interpersonal, or otherwise). You are an unusually gifted person, with truly unusual resources. You have a mind. Blending that mind with the miracle of feeling will open up your subtle senses and extend the reach of your creativity and intelligence anywhere you want to extend yourself.


Chart for Aquarius.

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