By Eric Francis
ARIES — Consider where your social constellations were at the beginning of the year, and where they are today. Who did you consider a friend? What networks were you part of then, and which are you part of now? This story is not over; Mars, which was retrograde in Aquarius most of the summer, is about to retrace its steps giving you both second opportunities and new ones. It is vital that you assess carefully what the idea of a friend means to you, and who you consider one. I would propose that there be one consideration, mainly: whether you feel comfortable being yourself. Breaking that down a bit, a friend is someone around whom you don’t have to hide any facet of your reality. You also won’t need to conform. Some people think they need friends to call them out or slap them down, though I think that true friendship is gentler than that. Most of all, it involves trust. This is something to observe carefully. Is your idea of trust more like walking on thin ice, or more like walking on solid ground? Notice how you feel, with everyone.
TAURUS — Be cautious of any notion that you can make some improvement in your life by competing with others. It’s true that our economic and social systems are based on a concept of winners and losers, and it’s true that this works only for the “winners” in such a system. Yet that’s not how existence really works. We all get to take part. Nature is based on the holistic principle, which is about how the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. One of the most useful concepts in all of biology is symbiosis, which describes the various modes of cooperation that are possible between species. Depending on your upbringing and other factors, you may be more or less competitive by nature, though I suggest you treat this topic carefully. Be observant. Be cautious even of “competing with yourself” to do something better than you did last time. There are other approaches, which are easier and more humane. And at the moment, there may be a hint of bitterness to competing. You just don’t need that. Be supportive instead.
GEMINI — You’re not the “fit in” type though you’re excellent at faking it. You can mask your differences with others using several worthwhile assets you possess, one being that you’re a person who is conversant and funny. Additionally, your ability to see two, three, or more sides of any person allows you room to be less judgmental than many people give themselves permission to be. A factor of your newly emergent life, though, is going to be about being sincerely different. It will be more challenging to set aside your talent for masking or finessing difference and stand out. Yet you’re not just dealing yourself a disadvantage in doing so. You are only removing a scrim, a veil that shields your true self from exposure. You don’t need to be “extra blunt” to do this; you merely need to say what you mean, and mean what you say. There will be some repercussions to this. There will be people who don’t like it, and who don’t get it. And there will be people who most definitely appreciate your approach, and the essence of your being, and you have to know exactly who they are.
CANCER — Your professional success requires that you be willing to stand out in ways that are not, at the moment, considered acceptable. This is the whole point of your current career trajectory: to do what needs to be done, in a time when that is especially challenging, and to do so in the spirit of pioneering leadership. Inconvenient as it may be, your success and indeed survival depend on your accepting this assignment, even if you do so reluctantly. The operative symbol is Chiron, which is at the beginning of a long trip across your 10th solar house, Aries. Beginnings are the time to set the agenda, to aim your trajectory, and to harmonize with your environment. What you’re about to do will require that you understand the dynamics of actual power, and respond accordingly. The recent Mars retrograde in Aquarius has been preparation for this journey, teaching you plenty about the ways that groups behave and are influenced, particularly when under stress. Through late summer and most of the autumn, Mars will provide you with a kind of summary and review of what you’ve experienced. Note carefully what you learn, as you will depend on it for a long time.
LEO — For months, Mars has had a presence in your opposite sign Aquarius, which has likely dug out some difficult truths, and old animosity. Yet you’re also more determined than ever to live your life your way, no matter what other people may say or believe about you. Even in good times, the human experience is laced with adversity, contention and competition. Your challenge is to handle these things gracefully and, moreover, intelligently. One way you will do this is to see everyone and everything as part of the wider social context in which they occur. Mars will have you inclined to see what stands out, or what yells the loudest. Don’t let that distract you. Look to the background for your most vital information. Listen to as many points of view as possible. When you see a phenomenon of some kind, ask yourself what is supporting it. Notice the ground from which events emerge. That is where the really interesting action is, and where you will find the most valuable information.
VIRGO — This week, the Sun in your sign is making a long opposition to Neptune in Pisces. You need to be on the alert for what is true and what is not. I would say that under this astrology, first impressions don’t count for as much as they otherwise might. Appearances count for very little, since Neptune can come with a glamour that tends to conceal what lies beneath the surface. It will help if you suspend judgment and rely on multiple sources of information to make your decisions. And with both Mercury and Mars so recently having been retrograde, the more time you take to make important choices, the better. A useful point of orientation would be next week’s New Moon in your birth sign, which takes place Sunday, Sept. 9. Give yourself that much time to work through the questions you’re facing. Stand face to face with mystery, with deception and with any isolation you may be feeling, and refuse to back down or submit. Understand your own personal truth and what it means to you, as all else flows from there.
LIBRA — For the next few months, Venus (the Libra planet) and Mars (the one associated with your opposite sign Aries) will be in a square aspect, which comes into full focus on Oct. 10. This represents both tension in a relationship, and the need for action. Yet you don’t want to make any decisions too soon, or more accurately, without complete information. Note carefully whether you’re at a breaking point or boiling point; that would require a different kind of response. Assuming you are not, though, the forthcoming Venus retrograde will offer you several opportunities, including the occasion to reassess your financial situation and its connection to your relationships; and the opportunity to determine the extent to which your own matters of self-esteem are complicating your situation. Those would best be identified before you make any major moves.
SCORPIO — The primary impact of the recent Mars retrograde was in the angle of your chart associated with family relationships, particularly on your father’s side. We might take the metaphor and say, relationships as defined by patriarchal thinking. And what, exactly, is that? Well, what have you been dealing with, struggling with, or working your way through? Events have challenged your concept of what a family or community is, and revealed something of the underlying structure. It is fair to say that authority is not distributed in the ways that you suspected. You may have experienced some blowback for your desire to be independent, or been confronted with someone determined not to play by rules that don’t work for everyone. This might have been a turbulent summer for you, emotionally, which could have spread out well beyond yourself. The order of reality and organization may have been challenged by influences outside your control.
What happened? I mean, what really happened? It’s now time to do the forensics.
SAGITTARIUS — You’re on something of a mission to think differently, and to see yourself as part of a wider world. They are related. Put bluntly, small-minded people live in a small world; broad-minded people live in a wide and expansive world. There’s something about the arrangement of the Sagittarius solar chart that makes this effect especially palpable. You will find, as you open your mind, that your environment also opens up. Or that, at least, is the experiment you can try for the next couple of months, as Mars tracks back over the degrees where it was retrograde, and traverses the rest of Aquarius as well. Freedom of movement begins with freedom of thought. The ability to do or create something is preceded by the ability to imagine it. One’s freedom of movement is preceded by a free mind, the ability to plan logistics, and the flexibility to imagine something other than your current circumstances. This is your quest.
CAPRICORN — Self-esteem is such an important issue for you that it may seem like the third rail. You cannot touch it without getting a shock. And it would seem that’s what’s happened in recent months, as Mars retrograde worked its way across your solar chart, asking more questions than it provided answers. Now, Mars has stationed direct in your sign, providing a point of orientation or poignant discovery. You now have the opportunity to use what you know, and apply it in different ways to the different levels of your reality. For example, you might use the formula, “If this is true, then what else is true?” Or, “If I’ve made this discovery, what are the implications in this other area of my life?” Or seen another way, don’t exclude from your awareness the full implications of what you have learned. One of the most significant items might be: your self-worth is not related to your ability to conform to what others think or want. Quite the opposite, in fact.
AQUARIUS — You have recently been through a once-, or at most twice-in-a-lifetime astrological scenario, of Mars retrograde in your birth sign. It’s likely this has run roughshod through your life, leading to a substantial, valuable discovery. You now know something that you did not know before, about yourself, and about something much greater. You might say that you’re exploring the intersection of you and everything else: the most important boundary there is. Yet you’re also seeing that this is not a firm line, dividing white from black. You are now getting to hang out within a gradient of experience that has many sublime expressions. From your current perspective, you can study what is you and not you, and the ways those seemingly different things interplay. It’s been said that character is destiny. You are in an unusual position to shape your character right now. While you always can, your current opportunity is a limited time-offer, with unusual ease.
PISCES — It’s unlikely you will ever forget the events of this summer, though it’s more important that you remember what you learned. This has come in a few shades: what you’ve learned about yourself, that you never would have previously imagined; what you learned about how others feel about you; what you learned about how people relate to one another, as apart from you. While you’re not necessarily an idealist, you certainly have strong streaks and shades of humanitarian in your personality makeup, and you believe that people really should be able to get along, or at least leave one another alone. Most of the strife in society originates with people’s families, which is also the source of whatever you experienced. It is indeed amazing how much influence dead people can have, though it will be more amazing to see yourself notice their influence and consciously choose what you do not want. Then, remember to be mindful of what you want, say it out loud, and go in that direction.