The True Mirror

Book of Your Life for Libra | By Eric Francis Coppolino

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We’ve heard many times that relationships are mirrors. It’s also intuitive: we get to see, feel and experience ourselves in the context of others. My favorite definition of intimacy is “into me see.”

One of the great motivations not to pay attention to one’s consciousness is to avoid what relationships show us.

Sign Art by Lizanne E. Webb.

That’s part of the deep responsibility of connecting to others: honoring others through cultivating our own integrity. One of the most dependable ways to raise consciousness is to seek understanding through your relationships. The fact that people can be undependable, however, adds a twist: through relationships, we’re often thrown back onto ourselves, and have to figure it out on our own.

Your chart suggests strongly that in the coming months and seasons, relationships will serve as your primary growth tool. If you’ve been struggling, or not getting what you need, you might figure out a way to let that go and slip back into the stream of contact with others. This is natural enough for you. You have Aries, the sign of self-identity, on the 7th solar house of partnership (or 7th by whole-sign houses).

This zone of your chart has been super hot lately (featuring the once-in-a-lifetime Uranus-Eris conjunction). You’ve had to learn to expect the unexpected, and to accept people for who they are. This is a good policy in relating to others. Yet the Uranus-Eris conjunction is so unusual and so powerful that it can be read as one stunning wake-up call.

But wake up to what? I would say, claiming your perceptions. Reeling in your projections. Waking up to your need to be a whole person and not half of a relationship.

Venus Retrograde and the True Mirror

Your Aries 7th house comes into special focus again this year, through a process that will take you to a new level of awareness if you allow it to. I would imagine you have a long list of things you want to understand better, or know more about. You will have a series of opportunities to gain some perspective.

The transit involved, Venus retrograde in Aries (and later, in Pisces), occurs early in the year, though it will serve as a consciousness-raising experience that may help you solve some persistent mysteries and gain some understanding of what you’re experiencing in your relationships.

The central metaphor, which I’ll develop in a bit, involves the planet that represents you, Venus, transiting through your opposite house and sign for an extended period of time. This provides a kind of mirror, though it’s one that reverses its perspective a few times. It’s not an ordinary mirror. It’s more of a living holographic reflection of your own perception, dramatized through others, or through one significant other. The retrograde will take you into the past — both of your immediate situation and your early life. There’s more to your astrology this year, of course, though this is an essential idea.

I’ve always thought the metaphor of a mirror, used as a relationship image, was an interesting one because of the ‘mirror image’ phenomenon. When you look into a mirror, you’re not seeing what other people see when they look at you. You’re seeing a horizontally flopped image that reverses the natural view, and that does not exist anywhere in the world except to your eyes, in your reflection. I wonder how much ‘mirroring’ that we see in the world is the unnatural view rather than an accurate one, by which I mean emotionally and psychologically.

When people say that your relationships provide a mirror of your reality, I wonder if they take the mirror image into account. Another way to describe the relationship mirror is the way that people seem to get with their opposite type; you know, the total douche bag with the absolutely sweetest person.

Once someone sees how strange the mirror image is, it’s never the same again. Add to this the already abundant confusion caused by our radically different brain hemispheres, and the concepts of left and right can start to seem truly significant.

There’s something called a True Mirror, which is designed to show you your reflection the way that other people see you. It shows the opposite of the usual mirror image. People have a diversity of experiences coming into contact with this. Some people are a little bugged out.

Others start crying, having the feeling that they’ve never actually seen themselves before. Having done much work and artwork with mirrors over the years, my take is that the True Mirror could be a profound therapy tool. My own experiences of this kind of mirror have been about encountering someone I’d never met before. All the awkwardness of the usual kind of mirror was gone.

Now for the astrological metaphor. Venus is the sign associated with Libra; that is, its classical ruling planet. This year, Venus will be retrograde in Aries, and toward the end, it will dip into Pisces. Placing Venus retrograde in your opposite sign has the feeling of the True Mirror rather than the normal kind of mirror.

Actually, you will get to experience both, since Venus moves alternately in direct motion, then retrograde motion, then direct motion again. This will give you a series of viewpoints to work with. Then there is the Pisces factor, which will take you past the world of images and into your inner realm of feelings.

Relationships and Psychic Fragmentation

Generally speaking, the more mindful a person is, the more interested they are in their relationships, and the more meaningful those relationships seem. Yet here in our dualistic world, we have yet to reconcile the ways in which relationships are supposed to be about others, and the ways they end up being about ourselves. Where this starts to work is when we discover the ways in which the interests of others are not separate from our own. This concept of seeing mutual interests is so basic that it’s the very definition of healer in A Course in Miracles.

The other often unrecognized situation involves projection. This is seeing in others what you contain in yourself. Rather than being a clear mirror, relationships can often feel like a house of smoke and mirrors. This is especially a concern due to the experience of projection: ascribing to others feelings that are actually your own. Anais Nin is credited with saying, “We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are.”

This is, of course, maddening when you don’t like what you see, feel or experience. And it can be just as challenging to know that you’re growing and changing, and not see the change in your relationships. The human dimension is not easy to navigate. We are all complex beings; we must negotiate with, tolerate and embrace one another. We must decide what to do when it becomes clear that a relationship is not working for us.

That stubborn, intractable quality that so many people experience from their partners is often the result of a deep commitment to avoid the growth factor of relationships while attempting to get the benefits. The intractable person is avoiding the reflection of their relationships, and this takes effort and energy. The benefits to them (often seeming to be financial, sexual or social) outweigh the costs to others.

At the same time, the person who is experiencing the intractable partner is looking at an aspect of their own consciousness. Why so many people are attracted to partners who give them nothing but frustration is a good question. They have their reasons for staying (often seeming to be financial, sexual or social); these can, for a time, outweigh the pain they’re in.

Yet these are never really the reasons. It seems more likely that people have something to learn from one another, and that something takes precedence over their ability to move along and get on with their lives. This whole Gordian knot can be dissolved with awareness. Yet awareness is a voluntary phenomenon. One of the reasons it’s less appealing than it might seem to be is that awareness demands change, and it precipitates change.

Awareness can be a real challenge. We live in a time when we’re being increasingly anesthetized out of our feelings: the very thing we would use to make our way in the world.

Part of that anesthesia involves the identity anarchy being created by the internet. For many reasons, the technology we use has a fragmenting effect on consciousness. Most people have pushed most of the content of most of their relationships into digital form. That is to say, we’re running our most intimate lives through robots so cold that they make R2-D2 seem like Casanova.

If you’re wondering what the heck has happened, consider the internet. If you’re wondering what it really means to be looking at Uranus conjunct Eris opposite your Sun, or opposite your ascendant, remember that the main expression of that conjunction is the digital realm and what it’s done to consciousness.

There is no way to overstate the impact of digital life on human relationships. A philosopher named Eric McLuhan wrote 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.”

We are under this influence 24/7, and it’s particularly intense for you at this time, as we’re right in the peak power of the Uranus-Eris formation. Because so much of what you want in relationships involves relating through the body, whether emotionally, physically, aesthetically or as an artist, you might take heed of this idea. Account for the distortion created by fragmented consciousness.

Look at your life story. Check in with the people around you. Notice what is different and distinctive about the past five to seven years.

Part of the anesthesia we’re all under involves mood-altering drugs, substances that make it difficult to be honest about personal material and which suppress sexual feelings. Whether or not you use these medications, you’re in a world where many, many other people do. Understanding the influence of this would be another item to add to your agenda.

Alcohol permeates society like a river running down through the generations and out into the streets. The pressure to be monogamous combined with natural sexual curiosity and a nonstop barrage of advertising and porno can create a toxic mix that turns explosive.

It’s amazing anyone has any happiness at all in their relationships, though by some miracle, people sometimes do — and you can.

Your own relationship path has presented you with many challenges in recent years. You have a strong pair-bonding urge. You need closeness and intimacy. You need meaningful sex. And you know that these things take time and commitment to develop. Yet your astrological transits are creating an environment where it seems like no such thing is possible. Most notable among them is Uranus, the planet of change, rebellion, invention and instability, running through your relationship house, Aries, for the past five years. This is astrology that constantly throws you back onto yourself.

At its best, it’s provided you with the kinds of rare experiences that few people get to encounter, particularly in our socially frozen and paranoid times. Uranus has presented a series of events that break through the rigidity of society’s current norms. The retrograde of Venus will help you assemble those pieces into something that makes more sense.

Yet the specific challenge involves finding the stability you crave. Even under the best possible circumstances, Uranus has delivered to you a kind of unpredictability that does not exactly facilitate the ‘safe container’ of relationships.

About Containers and Safety

The safe container, however, is usually isolating. It sounds good, but often the upshot is the exclusion of others, and pretending that we have no feelings for others. The safe container would, of necessity, filter out any feelings or experiences that threaten the relationship. While it, in theory, is designed to promote security, in reality the drive for the safe container often has the opposite effect.

The idea of safety is often conflated with ‘things cannot change’, though this does not work: reality, at least as we know it, forever changes.

There’s another outer-planet transit that’s all about understanding the nature of security and your quest to be independent, and this is Pluto through your 4th solar house, Capricorn. While this has been going on for a while, the focus is about to go up, as later in 2017 Saturn arrives in Capricorn.

The 4th house represents one’s security base. Whether we have one and how well it works are often the results of what happened in early childhood. With Capricorn on this house of your solar chart, you will tend to crave something solid in your relationships and family experiences. You need to build your house on a real foundation. Yet for a long time, and for the foreseeable future, you have Pluto working its way through this house, which means that your foundation has been shifting.

You may have been looking to the people you relate to directly — that is, partners of various kinds — for answers about the changes you’re going through. The deeper truth is that something inside you is evolving and growing, and changes to your partnerships are a kind of secondary effect.

The sum total is that your circumstances are conspiring for you to be highly self-reliant. This means not leaning on others (which has been impossible at times), and going deep into your experience and finding security and stability within yourself.

You have accomplished more than you may think. You might look back and see the ways in which things have not gone perfectly. It’s possible that you have endured some real losses during the past few years. Yet you are stronger and more whole for it.

You are more prepared than most to take on the challenges of the world as we know it. The reason for this is that your personal transits describe a much wider scenario; really, the global scenario. World civilization currently sits on unstable foundations, and all of its relationships are challenged. Those who don’t notice, or who cannot adapt, are the ones who have a real problem on their hands. Many have not put into words what’s happening. Many others are in denial.

Your experiences have given you a combination of independence and clarity. You are stronger than you were before. You know how not to be needy, or at least to set aside your emotional needs sufficiently to have some emotional freedom. You have, at least, figured out that you’re the one who is going to provide most of what you need. And you may have figured out that certain kinds of relationships, or certain kinds of people, are not going to work for you.

The promises that were made to us as children, and that were made to our parents and grandparents, are not necessarily true for you. Tradition seems to be falling apart. This is leading many to cling to the past in order to have, well, something.

The Pisces Factor: An Extended Healing Process

The purpose of your relationships is not to cling to anything, nor to reanimate the past. Rather, the purpose of your relationships is healing and creativity. In recent years, you’ve had Chiron transiting this house (your 6th house). Yet while it’s presented you with many different opportunities and scenarios, Chiron’s presence in a chart has peak moments, and you’re about to have one.

Venus retrograde, while in Aries, provides a “true mirror” effect alternating with a “false mirror” effect. You must look closely and ask yourself who and what truly reflects who you are. It’s vital that you not trust everything you see as being about you. Yes, consider the possibility; consider that it might reflect an aspect or attribute of who you are; but it’s not necessarily about you.

It’s a little like someone else telling you about a past life of yours. It may or may not be true. They may or may not know. I recommend having three sources of confirmation for any speculation about any one past life. And when determining the nature of your character and the necessities of your healing, it would be wise to look for patterns. It’s true that one event may complete the pattern and provide the clue that you need, but it has to be about the pattern — and that’s calling on you to be especially attentive.

Venus retrograde begins in Aries and moves back into Pisces. That’s your 6th solar house, or if you’re Libra rising, your 6th whole-sign house. The 6th is the realm of healing, of service and of the good work that you do. Having Pisces on this house makes you sensitive; you are as close to a born artist as it gets. Your creative gift is associated with a spiritual gift, which in turn is about a healing gift. If you’ve ever felt the calling to provide healing through your work, or through your creative flow, I would say that’s worth responding to.

And Venus retrograding into Pisces will take you there. This first must be read as a “heal thyself” aspect. It’s taking you deeper than the appearances of your relationships, deeper than self-concept, and deeper than the mirror in any form. Rather, Venus in Pisces is an occasion to feel yourself as a unified being, beyond the projections and the seeming needs of relationship. This can be a moment of genuine relief from the hall of mirrors, true or otherwise. Aries tends to polarize. Pisces is like soaking your body in the ocean and feeling one with it.

The single most distinctive and life-changing aspect of Venus retrograde is that it ends in an exact conjunction with Chiron. The precise date is March 4, but leave a margin of about five days on either side for the full threshold. This is not a transit that “comes and goes.” Rather, it’s something that you experience and internalize and, in a sense, that you become. It’s also likely to come with events that summarize your experience of Chiron in Pisces so far.

Before I speak about the spiritual and emotional elements of this, first it’s necessary to say that Venus entering your 6th and making a long conjunction to Chiron is a reminder to take care of yourself. Of all the signs, I’ve seen that Libra is the most sensitive to emotional conditions having a physical effect. This is amplified considerably with so many planets now in Pisces, including Nessus, Chiron and Neptune.

We’ve also experienced 18 months of eclipses passing through Pisces, which has at times shaken up your peace of mind, changed the patterns of your work and compelled you to pay attention to your health. There are a few messages coming through. I’ll cover them planet-by-planet.

Chiron in Pisces: In Pisces and your 6th house since 2010, and entering its last full year in Pisces, Chiron is summoning you to higher consciousness around your emotional and physical health, and to do work that supports your whole being. You cannot persist for long doing work that depletes you. You are being called to deep service, which is not necessarily ‘high service’ though it is integral to your development.

Where matters of health are concerned, Chiron gives subtle, meaningful cautions first, then warnings, and then if these are not heeded, there can be a breakdown. Chiron’s presence has been urging you to look carefully at your life patterns, and to make the changes that you need to make. If you have any persistent physical symptoms, or if your mood is depressed or unstable, Chiron is calling on you to make significant adjustments.

As an essential part of this process, you are being healed as you learn to heal. The first steps in this process always involve raising awareness, the purpose of which is to facilitate the decisions that you need to make. Pisces can be slippery and can act invisibly. There is never 100% certainty, and multiple sources must be consulted. How you feel is your ultimate source of information.

Neptune in Pisces: This adds sensitivity and the potential for error. Nothing says ‘misdiagnosis’ like Neptune in Pisces. Hence you must be sensitive to the messages of your body, and seek multiple sources of information on ANY matter involving health or wellbeing.

Neptune can provide intuitive information. It can also provide misinformation that seems absolutely convincing. Any intuitive messages need to be verified and crosschecked against the data. It’s not enough to ‘just know’. It’s not enough to have test results; those must be interpreted in context and over time.

Neptune in Pisces suggests that you are highly subject to influences in your environment, which means open to invisible factors. Neptune is a reminder to look at what you cannot normally see. When troubleshooting any problem, check your environment first, including everything from cleaning chemicals to the food that you eat to the quality of the air that you breathe. In winter, leave one window in the house cracked no matter how cold it is; you need fresh air. You need to drink water.

Neptune is also a caution against overdoing alcohol or other mind-changing substances. This is especially important given that your state of mind is the very most important factor in your health. Your state of mind directs the course of your wellbeing, but there are factors that can profoundly influence your moods and feelings. It’s essential to be well read on the implications of any medication you’re taking (from birth control to antibiotics), tracking carefully the state-of-mind effects. When it’s necessary to seek medical advice, you must be prepared with the facts sufficiently to ask informed questions and give informed consent.

In its most positive manifestation, Neptune is a source of inspiration, and can flood your mind with ideas and a sense of beauty. To work with this effectively requires discipline. One theme of the 6th is inherently focusing on your work. This takes some extra effort where Neptune is present, but the results can be extraordinary, particularly if you’re an artist or musician.

One last thought: Your workplace must be not just habitable but truly supportive. This is partly due to your inherent sensitivity, which translates to a need for beauty. You simply must like the place where you work, or you risk your mental and emotional health. Others can get by with jobs they hate, or substandard working environments; you cannot. Therefore, invest the time and energy that you need to have a place of work that supports your creativity, your health and your wellbeing.

Nessus in Pisces: This is the most recent addition to your 6th house and it describes a specific healing process. This involves what is generically termed ‘abuse’ in any form, be it emotional, physical, specifically sexual, or some other kind.

Because Pisces is involved, this thing known as gaslighting — someone creating an insufferable environment for another person, via psychological manipulation, which they never admit to — needs to be accounted for. Nessus can have many manifestations, though as a centaur it will inherently summon and at times provoke your awareness. Once you’re aware of something, you’re responsible for what you know.

Nessus in Pisces is closely related to the forthcoming conjunction of Venus and Chiron at the end of Venus retrograde. There’s something here specifically about sexual healing. Sadly, this is a topic that’s both avoided and difficult to define in words and ideas currently used by our culture. Yet we all know that it’s necessary, and intuitively, how beautiful it would be to have access to such healing.

If you’re going to read on this subject, I suggest you consult many diverse sources and check out what resonates with you, and what you find the most annoying (that emotional charge means there’s information available for you). After many years of exploring this realm of healing, I would point out one thing that I’ve learned. The sources that place an emphasis specifically on healing through pleasure, and healing as expanded capacity for pleasure, tend to be the most reliable.

Those that focus exclusively on grief, shadow and pain are of limited use. There’s a place for these things and I would be equally cautious around pleasure-centered approaches that don’t acknowledge the darkness being borne by so many people, both men and women. But ultimately the objective of sex is creation and living procreatively, which means feeling good. That, in turn, means experiencing a deepened capacity for intimacy, and the desire to make contact with others.

The only way to cultivate or learn sexual healing is through experience. You must keep your point of view moving, seeking diverse experiences and integrating many sources of information. A profound level of attentiveness and devotion are required.

Vesta in Libra; 1992 QB1 in Taurus: The Thresholders

Two other placements emphasize the point. One of them is shorter-lived, though prominent in your chart for the year, which is the Libra equinox in September. In this chart, the Sun enters Libra and immediately forms a conjunction to Vesta, the brightest asteroid.

On the most basic and practical level, this is about devotion to who you are and what you do. Vesta is about commitment: the kind that goes around the clock and around the year. Vesta is an invitation to devote yourself to what matters the most to you, or to what you know will make the greatest difference in your community. With Vesta in Libra, this means something that you identify with, something that you feel comfortable either describing or defining you.

Vesta comes with the caution about using projects to avoid people. You might check in on that. What is your method of prioritization when it comes to balancing work and relationships? Similarly, Vesta comes with a question: whom does this activity serve?

On the most sublime level, Vesta addresses the shame that binds us to the belief in taboo. This, in turn, preserves the whole affair we know of as the patriarchy. It is indeed taboo to unravel shame. Yet if the healing process is to be real, it’s also essential that we do so. Here’s one clue I can offer about unraveling shame: it feels good, and with each experience, you set yourself free and relax a little more deeply into the life force.

Vesta as such a strong factor in your chart can place you in the role of sexual healer or surrogate. The unusual relationship patterns of recent years have prepared you for this. You have, at times, been a vehicle or conduit for others. You will probably continue to be so. If this is happening, rather than longing for something else, you might want to go with the process you’re in and see where it leads you.

A distant point orbiting our Sun called 1992 QB1, discovered just 25 years ago, is also active in your chart, and is worth mentioning. It has no name and will probably never be named. It is therefore shorn of ego, and that’s one of the essential things that it symbolizes.

QB1 is akin to a slow-moving (289-year orbit as opposed to four-year orbit) Vesta. You have QB1 newly in your 8th solar house, which is Taurus. The 8th is one of the most complex and interesting houses, and most of what it describes is the relationship between sex and death. Sex is seen as the transformative process that it is through the 8th house, and death is seen as an essential element of the sexual process. In tantric tradition, both facets of this — the erotic aspect and the death aspect — are initiated by women, who are the Alpha and the Omega.

If you are a woman, you are the vehicle for these essential polarities of existence. Do your peers know that, or admit it? I don’t know; though on a cellular level, everyone knows. Please keep in mind a few things about QB1. Its action is gentle; this is not death in the style of Pluto (grow or die). This is growth and ego death that comes willingly and is experienced as a morph of need and desire.

In this scenario, I am talking about death in its form as an element of consciousness rather than any actual threat. However, it’s an essential thought-form to relate to, if one wishes to be a mature person. Indeed, the line between immaturity and maturity involves having a conscious relationship to death. It’s in the nature of the 8th house to open up an erotic aperture through which to experience this and, in a sense, to allow oneself to be seduced.

You are likely to be the vehicle or means by which this happens for one or more people you become close to. That closeness does not have to be sustained over years. It might manifest in a few minutes, hours or days. Trust yourself, and trust your body, if you embody what I call the thresholder.

The thresholder is one whose role is to bring others to the edge. You can only take them to the edge; they must cross over themselves. Others can only take you to the edge; you must cross over it yourself, and see who welcomes you on the other side of the journey. That your 8th house involves the sign Taurus means the ‘other side’ is your evolving relationship to your body.

The journey through is really the journey into incarnation. The meaning and purpose of the body have indeed been severely distorted, to the point of being considered obsolete. It’s easy to envision a world where the affairs of the planet are run exclusively by computers, and business can proceed without these annoying humans to get in the way of mechanical perfection.

Our culture’s dominant paradigm is leading us in this direction. Your astrology is designed to guide, lure, lead and shock you out of this direction. There can be nothing mechanical about your relationships, the work you do, or the way you take care of yourself. You must proceed with full consciousness in all that you do. Be grateful for the planetary transits that represent being shaken out of your life patterns and unconscious habits, and replace each one of them with awareness, sensitivity and choice.

This you will reflect both to yourself, and to the world, as the True Mirror.


Chart for Libra.

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