The Initiate

Book of Your Life for Aries | By Eric Francis Coppolino

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One way to think of astrological transits is events that present us with moments of initiation. They are transitions that seem designed to guide our lives into new phases and new levels of existence. Sometimes this is graceful. Sometimes it’s challenging. Sometimes, when all else fails, it’s experienced as crisis, sometimes catastrophic.

Sign Art by Lizanne E. Webb.

The first thing to remember about transits is that you’ll experience them on the density level that your mind and emotions are on. The denser (meaning unconscious, rigid and resistant) you are, the more dynamite is needed. The more open, aware and flowing you are, the more you can move with the energy as it rises and crests.

You are going through a series of high-energy, life-altering transits now. The astrology that’s currently spinning the world on its finger is happening in your sign — the Uranus-Eris conjunction in Aries.

It’s fair to say you’ve never experienced anything like this before. Everyone is feeling it; everyone is experiencing it one way or another. Yet the high-energy, high-impact astrology that is driving the world to its strange and extreme states is focused in a way that’s especially personal for you.

Transit means movement, which implies change. Just as the planets are always moving, change is inevitable. One’s relationship to change is the underlying reality that determines how one handles transits. This relationship counts for a lot now, and you would be wise to bring it to full awareness. What you’re currently experiencing is the culmination of six years of nonstop and ever-increasing energy. All of that has been excellent preparation. Now, you’re experiencing the actual threshold, the invocation of your new life.

Since we’re talking about Aries, the effect is redoubled: Aries itself is the sign of beginnings and of initiations. It’s the quality of energy that breaks inertia. Being the first sign of the zodiac, notably ruled by high-energy Mars, Aries is the sign we depend on to get things fired up and moving. This is often your role in all facets of life.

The shadow side of Aries is its hesitancy and lack of confidence. With the energy mounting as it is, you may have some real bouts of insecurity. That’s natural enough, though you’re going to need to harness the power and wisdom of your insecurity and put it to work for you. Though it may not seem that way, it, too, is a resource and a form of energy. In the third section, I’ll cover the most significant source of that insecurity, which is glamour.

Through your life, you may have noticed that you have a certain personal style that others describe as confrontational. On a good day, you think of yourself as being real, rather than being in anyone’s face. Sometimes you have your doubts about whether this is appropriate.

Don’t be so fast to judge this personal quality; it’s quite likely that the only way people get to know themselves is by confronting others and then working out the relationship.

In recent seasons of your life, the main confrontation you’ve presented others with is the radically transformational change that you’re going through. As you grow, you put others in a position to deal with that reality. If they’re going to be in your life or you in theirs, they have no choice.

Many times people adopt what they think of as a compromise position — tamping down their own growth in an effort to appease the insecurities of others. This creates what many relationships seem to become, which is tacit agreements not to grow. Someone figures out that their progress — mental, emotional, spiritual or otherwise — is threatening their friends, partners or spouse, and they try to keep a lid on the energy. This is often a habit that dates back to early childhood, when your vitality may have threatened your adult caregivers.

By now you’ve figured out one of two things: that you simply cannot stand to do this any more, or that you’re trying, and it’s not working. You are growing at your own pace, and in unpredictable ways. The person you thought you were five years ago, one year ago, even yesterday, is not quite the same person you are today, potentially in some profound ways.

To the extent that this is shaking up your consciousness and that of the people around you, you simply must develop confidence in yourself. You must adopt the faith that you’re doing the right thing. To put it bluntly, your life cannot be dictated by the insecurities of others — whether real or imagined. That is to say, it’s possible to project your insecurities onto others, and then prune back your life, your energy, your feelings, in a pointless effort to appease what you think they are struggling with.

Let’s call this the ownership principle. It’s the first law of feelings: everyone has to own their own.

Even when others are actually responding to you in some way, you will need the discipline, and the confidence, to remember that their feelings are their feelings. It’s true that despite lots of ‘integrity talk’, most people still blame others for what they are experiencing, or blame themselves for what others are feeling.

You might think it’s callous to insist that people be so self-sufficient and independent, though that’s the way of all actual growth. A measure of independence precedes healthy interdependence. You might therefore start with yourself. In fact this is all about you: your privilege of feeling what you feel, wanting what you want and needing what you need; your privilege of being the person you actually are and not some trimmed-back, sanitized version of yourself. There’s nothing trimmed-back about you or your existence, especially not now.

If astrology tells us anything, the people around you can handle your growth; and if they cannot, that has to be their problem and not yours.

Behind the Veil: Cleaning Closets and Staying Awake

While the dominant astrology that’s shaping your life is the conjunction of Uranus and Eris in Aries, there’s another aspect pattern it would be useful to describe in some detail first, which is developing in Pisces — the sign right before your own. If you think of Aries as your 1st house, the sign of your outer personality, Pisces is your 12th house, which is like a veiled dimension of your life. You might think of it as your inner realm, an aspect of consciousness that’s usually invisible, accessible only through dreams, imagination, fantasy and altered states of consciousness. On a good day with the right partner, one can access the 12th through what Vedic astrologers call ‘the pleasures of the bed’.

The 12th is the most interesting house of the lot. It’s the parallel reality, the hidden room; the place many people are seeking to be but cannot find the way in. Yet what’s in your 12th house influences how you feel, how you perceive the world, and how others experience you.

One way into the 12th is to use astrology. Your 12th solar house (or 12th by whole-sign houses) is Pisces; there’s a lot going on there at this time — and it’s mostly long-term transits. You might think of this as your spiritual dimension. It’s what feeds the changes in your life, and provides a creative source that influences everything you say and do.

The thing about the 12th house is that it’s easy to miss; it’s easy to deny; it’s often experienced as the dark corner that people don’t want to look into. Yet there’s so much happening there that you must know what’s going on. The planets involved are going to be there for a while, and they all describe your spiritual development. They’re not about appearances; they’re about your inner development.

To look at the 12th house is to look within. This is so often avoided because people fear what they will discover when they do. This is a genuine spiritual issue — perhaps the most important of all, because it involves the willingness to seek self-understanding.

So what’s going on in your 12th house? For one thing, Chiron, the planet of healing and consciousness-raising, is there. This is about the invisible world within you getting your attention. Chiron has been giving you a tour of your inner being since it arrived in Pisces in 2010. This may have stirred up your need to get right with yourself.

The 12th is often about material tucked into the back of the psychic closet; Chiron in the 12th is the closet-cleaner. One result has been an extended phase of getting underneath your own state of mind — that is, seeing what influences you that you had not accounted for.

As this transit developed, one benefit was the liberation of your creativity. When you clear the clutter out of your psyche, you free up energy that was occupied by denial and resistance. You get closer to your true essence.

Soon after Chiron arrived, Neptune showed up in Pisces. Considered the modern ruling planet of Pisces, Neptune is the lord of waters, whose influence is to refresh your creativity and your passion.  It’s fortunate that Chiron cleared out the space first, as Neptune can become a source of delusion and denial. Under current conditions, you’re more likely to experience Neptune as a source of inspiration or as a palpable spiritual presence. Yet it’s not exactly easy to access. You must keep focusing your consciousness inwardly.

The most recent arrival in Pisces is Nessus, a cousin of Chiron. Also devoted to healing, Nessus focuses on darker psychological material and is related to the feeling of guilt, and the sensation of consequences. My take is that Nessus is about going to an even deeper level, one specifically related to sexuality.

Both the 12th and Pisces have a potent connection to what you might think of as being the sexual reservoir. Nessus in this house offers an idea of why so often the true depths of sexual potential are avoided. That’s because sexuality has a way of bringing up shadow material, including all the past injuries that have been suffered. This includes multigenerational material; which is to say, what you’ve inherited from your ancestors.

For reasons I’ll get into in the next section, it’s essential that you keep your focus on these subjects. That means maintaining spiritual practice, therapy and any other form of self-inquiry that will facilitate taking you into the depths of your soul. You will not like everything you find there, but every discovery has its use and its healing potential. There is a danger in leaving aspects of your psyche unexplored, or rather, in being unwilling to do so. There are correspondingly great benefits in being open with yourself and willing to discover what you will.

The real danger of the 12th house is twofold: when pressure builds up; and when one gets lost in fantasy. You must concern yourself with what you have documented as real, rather than what you imagine. That strongly implies a commitment to discerning what is real.

As for pressure: with Chiron, Nessus, Neptune and a diversity of other critters occupying your 12th, that would count for pressure, which you must release. The most helpful response will be to open up that territory and be fearless about what you find. This will provide you with protection, and a tap into reality.

The current astrology in Aries is exciting and it holds great potential, though you must proceed with full consciousness, and that means of your inner being as well as your outer circumstances.

Uranus and Eris in Aries:
Behold Transformation, Beware of Glamour

The conjunction of Uranus and Eris that’s happening in your sign is one of the most potent astrological events of our lifetimes. Others include the Uranus-Pluto conjunction in Virgo that came with the 1960s; and the Uranus-Neptune conjunction in Capricorn that came with the dissolution of the Soviet Union (25 years ago today, on the day that I’m writing). To find something comparable, it’s necessary to go back to 1928, and before that, to 1895. So this is unusual.

Let’s take the first of these two planets, the faster-moving one: that would be Uranus, which is nearing the end of its seven-year journey through your sign. There have been several major phases to this, particularly from 2011 through 2014. That was when Uranus in Aries was aspecting Pluto in Capricorn, which I’ll get to in the next section.

Uranus in one’s sign can be a wild ride. It’s like having your hand on a static electricity generator all the time, as your hair stands up and your skin tingles and you’re waiting for the jolt. Yet the unpredictability factor is matched by the innovation and self-reinvention factor. This is particularly true for people between the ages of approximately 39 and 42, and would be especially potent if you have multiple factors in Aries or Libra. In any event, Uranus in your sign is an influence that will see to it you’re a different person every day. This can be a wild ride, and you’ve had to find some stability within the process of nonstop change.

The risk of Uranus, particularly in Aries, is that of putting on glamour and appearances. It’s for this reason that you would be wise to pay attention to those 12th house matters I mentioned above, as they will help you keep it real. Uranus in Aries is about your outer being; all the activity in Pisces is about your inner being. To be solid and safe within yourself, one must exist in proportion to the other.

It would be entirely too possible to emphasize outer appearance at the expense of your inner life. It’s therefore essential that your inner life be the facet of yourself where you place the most emphasis and let your reality flow outward from there.

Now add the additional adventure of Eris, which has been in the background of Aries since the late 1920s; just about everyone under the age of 95 has Eris in Aries. Yet it’s been emerging from the background the past year, and is the primary astrological explanation for the utter state of chaos and disorientation in society. The primary association is the impact that the internet is having on consciousness. Here’s how a philosopher named Eric McLuhan put it recently:

“The body is everywhere assaulted by all of our new media, a state which has resulted in deep disorientation of intellect and destabilization of culture throughout the world. In the age of disembodied communication, the meaning and significance and experience of the body is utterly transformed and distorted.”

Aries, your 1st solar house, is where we might look for information about your relationship to your body. Consider what McLuhan means about the “utterly transformed and distorted” relationship. How are you managing this? Are you noticing the impact of technology on yourself and who you believe you are? This may seem challenging to track, and it is.

The first place to pay attention is anytime you are concerned with your image — for example, body image, public image, your persona, and so on. The second place is how you relate to others and present yourself online. The notion of online identities presents the opportunity to create scrims or veils behind which we hide. One of the real costs of the internet is that nearly everyone is acting as their own publicist rather than as their own person. This is so deeply ingrained into our social and psychic reality that there is little escaping it; it’s a consequence of merely having to use these tools, whether they are LinkedIn for professional use, personal ads for dating, or Facebook for socializing. Each presentation is different. This is deeply disorienting, more than has been accounted for by any commentator that I’ve encountered.

The conditioning, essentially, is to be robotic. We become like the tools that we use, and the entire internet is a robotic device, conditioning us to become like one. This happens on a level that is so subtle it’s frightening, except for when you notice that people are acting mechanically, or expecting you to do so. And what of your own habits of thought? Do you have any evidence that you’re acting increasingly in automatic mode? Please watch that carefully, and take the question to your inner being for additional thoughts.

The essence of this group of transits that I’ve described so far is: keep a pulse and maintain awareness of your process of becoming. Self-awareness, both of your thoughts and of your conduct, is your most powerful tool to influence your experience of growth into the new forms that you are. This includes reaching deep enough into yourself that you make some contact with the aspect of you that is timeless and changeless. This is an invitation to actual spiritual process, which is the only antidote to the obsession with appearance that our society is currently imparting on nearly every channel.

Said another way, you must come from the inside out and hold yourself to a standard of consistency and honesty on the most elemental level of your being.

Special Comment: The Need for Integration

The contrast between what is happening in your 1st house, Aries, and your 12th house, Pisces, requires not only that you maintain awareness of what is happening for you in your inner and outer realms of existence, but also that you strive to integrate them. That means being in contact with your highest truth at the same time you live and demonstrate that truth. This is, of course, one of the great spiritual challenges of incarnation.

Yet the parity and potential disparity between what is happening in the veiled world of your 12th house (Pisces) and the expressed world of your 1st house (Aries) require special attention and understanding. This is truly a call to integrity in the form of conscious integration of facets of the psyche that often go unacknowledged.

What I’m suggesting here is that it’s essential to bring the material of your inner process forward into your daily life, which would include being a more transparent person. And it’s essential that you bring the material of your outer life into your inner sanctum for careful review.

This combination of factors, and others I have not mentioned, is likely to have an effect (among many) of focusing your sexuality. You will be perceived, and experience yourself, as more sexual, more appealing, and more desirous. Under these conditions, you must summon a measure of fidelity and intentionality around your sexual expression. This does not mean monogamous, though it certainly does not exclude that potential.

Rather, it would be more complete to suggest that you stay in contact with the meaning of every sexual encounter you have, and allow its meaning to reach into the depths of your being. Your ultimate fidelity is to yourself, and it’s only when you feel and live that inner harmony that you can express it to others sincerely and meaningfully.

It is rare indeed that people treat their sexuality as an aspect of their spiritual path, much less its core element. That approach would suit you. Eroticism moves energy; it’s inherently creative and a necessary part of life. Yours will be increasing exponentially.

The Saturn Factor

Previously I mentioned Pluto in Capricorn, a transit that’s been active since 2008 and which went through its first major peak from about 2011 through 2014. This was a provocative time in your life, and may have come with a series of professional and personal upheavals. These compelled you to adapt and adjust, and to make decisions even when it seemed like there was no good option. Yet you emerged from this time a deeper and more independent person, with some of the foundational preparation for the time that you’re now living through.

The connection between your personal life and your public life (meaning any way in which you interrelate with corporate power, build your reputation or establish your goals) has compelled you to adapt rapidly to a rapidly changing world.

In a sense, this combination of factors — Pluto through your house of profession and reputation, and Uranus through your house of identity — is the ideal setup for keeping up with what’s happening on the planet right now. In a sense, your chart contains a miniature picture of the world around you. If you tune in, you will notice the extent to which you’re harmonized with events on the planet.

Yet just as another reminder, the necessary co-requisite is maintaining your inner awareness. While outer events may indeed be compelling, or troubling, your inner source must be your guide.

You may think that a lot has developed for you professionally. Yet it’s clear that the best is yet to come. Twenty-seventeen continues to be a year of preparation for a period of achievement that comes to full flourishing in the subsequent two years. Saturn through the 10th house, particularly when it’s a Saturn-ruled sign (such as Capricorn) is significant on a lifetime scale.

It’s helpful that you have approximately a year until this begins (Saturn arrives in Capricorn on Dec. 19, 2017). It’s genuinely momentous for many reasons, and it calls for preparation. That, you will be getting from the last year of Saturn in Sagittarius. There are a few ways to think of this. One is an intensive in ethics. Remember that the 10th house, which for you is Capricorn, is about the expression of power and reputation.

The 9th house is where the moral, spiritual and psychological issues that reside behind the legitimate and responsible expression of power exist. What we see in the world today is largely the result of power expressed without those moral safeguards. In this last year of Saturn in Sagittarius, Saturn will make contact with a diversity of slow-moving planets in late Sagittarius.

Many of these are conjunct the Galactic Core, which lifts up the spiritual urgency of the transit. This is really a reckoning on the soul level. Material may come up that will compel you to make decisions about what is right and wrong for you, and universally. It will be necessary to look for, to see and to understand the far-reaching implications of your choices and your actions. It’s extremely likely that these implications will be thrown into high relief and bold contrast so that you can see them for what they are. Consider anything that transpires during this year, regarding this Saturn transit, as an experiment, test or demonstration.

They are learning experiences, the consequences of which are unlikely to follow you as long as you reckon and account for the learning material that is involved. In other words, whatever challenges you may face associated with the end of Saturn in Sagittarius, and Saturn conjunct the Galactic Core, you will complete the karma if you take the lessons to heart. Bank these experiences and the knowledge. They are templates for the much higher-stakes and higher-impact events of the Saturn in Capricorn phase of 2018 through 2021.

Pluto in Capricorn: Global Structure and Your Goals

Pluto has been in Capricorn since the summer of 2008. This transit has come with endless upheavals on the global level. All of society’s institutions and infrastructure are feeling the results of the pressure of inevitable change.

For you personally, Capricorn as your 10th house is about your goals, and Pluto’s presence here has led or driven you to focus some of those. There’s also the potential for the will-to-power with Pluto in this position, and of that you must be mindful. It’s necessary to investigate, understand, possess and fully own your power.

One gift you get from Pluto in Capricorn is the ability to align your goals with the rapidly changing conditions of the world. You are in an excellent position to take advantage of the shifting, quaking and shaking state of society. This of course requires being present and not being afraid when things get really real. You can and must look for the opportunities presented by change. This is a skill that you’ve been developing and that I suggest you focus with increasing drive as the year unfolds. In terms of change, we ain’t seen nothin’ yet. When the stunning events of the 2018-through-2021 era manifest, you will be grateful for every scrap of experience you have, and you will want to have more. Now is the time to give yourself that experience and give it to yourself generously.

Yes, it’s important to have fun — though what you need is business experience. That means experimenting any way that you can. Test out your theories. Experiment with ambition. Explore the possibilities and learn to be adaptable to as many different circumstances and situations as you can.

Jupiter in Libra, Retrograde Venus in Aries: Partnership Factors

Let’s conclude with two unusual transits this year that highlight your involvements with others. The first is Jupiter in Libra, your 7th house of relationships. The second is Venus retrograde in your sign. These transits are related and they tie into many of the other transit events that I’ve described so far.

Jupiter in your 7th house looks like it presents you with the company of people who can handle your energy. From among those who show up in your life, be mindful of who can actually embrace you. Look for a certain grandeur or largesse in them, and note the lack of pettiness. These are the people whose presence you will thrive on.

One interesting feature of Jupiter in Libra this year is that it spends most of its time closely opposite the Uranus-Eris conjunction in your sign. This provides counter-balance to the highly unusual energy bursting out of your sign. Whatever this may represent in the form of tangible relationships or partnerships, it’s likely to just feel good. What I’m reading is that this setup will provide some long-overdue respite from the edgy feelings you’ve been living with in these recent years.

Indeed, you may notice for the first time just how edgy you’ve been feeling, and decide that you need to pull in a little bit, or seek some refuge in the friendly, benefic arms of whatever Jupiter in Libra represents. One possibility is a wise teacher. Jupiter among other things is a representative of your 9th house of ethics and spirituality. I suggest you use this transit to orient yourself on people who set the example of doing the right thing.

This is true of any relationship or partnership you’re in. Tap into the knowledge and wisdom of people around you, and focus on the ones who are the most generous with it.

Another representation of Jupiter is even more interesting. It also is associated with your 12th house, Pisces. You might think of Jupiter, in one expression, as representing some version of your inner self. This could manifest a number of ways. One is as someone who is in harmony with your deepest inner life. You will encounter people who seem to already know your secrets and have at least a partial map to your hidden world.

However, given that we are talking about a planet associated with excessively dualistic Pisces that is in let’s-weigh-and-balance Libra, there’s another side to the story. You will probably have a series of meetings with people who represent your shadow side. These are likely to be the people who irritate you the most. They have something to show you. They will really teach you something about yourself if you’re paying attention.

The thing to do is to keep an open mind, be flexible, and try to retain your sense of humor. Nothing anyone says is a bottom-line judgment or even assessment of you. No reflection is perfectly accurate. There’s always a little distortion, particularly when we’re talking about a potentially murky thing such as Pisces, the 12th house or its ruling planet. Yet there’s always information in a reflection, and what you learn can help transform you. The thing to do with shadow is not to fight it or reject it but rather to gently pay attention and integrate it.

There’s that extremely annoying, and equally helpful, idea from A Course in Miracles: Do I want to see what I denied because it’s the truth? That’s an invitation to look directly and, in a sense, to get to know this thing you’re looking at. You can afford to be bold about this. You will grow a little every time you do.

Now, for part two of this discussion of relationship, something equally interesting is going on. This is the Venus retrograde factor. Between March 4 and April 15, Venus will be retrograde in your sign and in late Pisces. This transit is a truly interesting demonstration of embodying the other as an experience of relationship.

Here’s how that looks: Your relationship sign is Libra, which has as its primary planet Venus. So in your solar astrology, the movement of Venus describes your relationships. It’s true that Jupiter occupying your relationship house does as well, though astrology always presents a few sides to the same story, and one of them is told by Venus.

Venus in your sign is an astrological metaphor for walking a mile in your brother’s moccasins. In the most basic sense of the concept, you’re being given an opportunity to fully embrace the viewpoint of the people close to you, and one person in particular. This will, if you allow it to, enhance your relationship to the people closest to you. Take the time to see, and to feel, and to hear their viewpoint, and to resonate with it. Go beyond the superficial level and actually take on board what they are saying.

There is something of a paradox here given the relationship between Venus and Aries, which is somewhat tense. The two elements have different natures. Venus, as the ruler of Libra, is considered to be in what’s called detriment in Aries (its opposite sign). Yet the condition of detriment can push out the true nature of a planet. Looking more closely at classical astrology, the way to do this is through open communication.

Your job is to keep the conversation going, to express yourself sincerely and to remain reflective when you listen. The retrograde factor may have you reticent to speak your mind. I don’t recommend you allow this impulse to take over. It’s essential that you take the chance and reveal your feelings, on an ongoing basis. This may involve revealing your changing feelings about past events or developments in the relationship.

There is a reward for persisting in this process. Venus first makes its way retrograde through Aries, and then enters Pisces. That sign change is the breakthrough, because it will take you and whomever you’re exploring with deeper into yourself. It’s as if you get the chance to discover a new dimension of intimacy, which is associated with healing. The healing factor is revealed by the Venus conjunction to Chiron at the end of the retrograde. You have the opportunity to discover many things with this; though in particular, to get some perspective on what was affecting your ability to trust.

Venus retrograding into Pisces is the most beautiful image of inviting someone into your inner sanctuary. This is indeed an initiation: a point of beginning. The discovery that you make in this process will shape the course of your relationships, which means a lot when you consider that everything, and everyone, to whom you relate is a relationship.

If we go back to the original idea that you’re working with two layers of your being — your interior existence and what you present to the world — the result you get will be more profound. You have in this experience the opportunity to learn to relate to others from your inner being rather than from your outer one. You go beyond pretenses, beyond appearances, beyond what you project as your image, and reach into who you actually are, with the ability to do so in the presence and company of others.

Of the many gifts your astrology is offering you, this is perhaps the most precious of them. Remember, though, that no matter how deep your experiences, they represent a point of origin, or the acquisition of something vital that you may take with you for the rest of your days.


Chart for Aries.

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