THE ASTROLOGY OF PEOPLE, POINTS, & MOMENTS

Monday, April 21, 2014

Mercury in Taurus / Neptune at 7 Pisces


Pasaulio Sutverimas II (Creation of the World II)
by Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis (1906-1907)

As Mercury enters Taurus this Wednesday (April 23rd at 10:25 p.m. UT/+0 time) some things tone down...just a bit. Feelings of being on edge begin rounding out as life takes on a more genteel and considered, giving tone.

Yet at the same time that things are becoming less ‘cutting,’ they’re also becoming a bit...well, let’s just call it what it is: muddled - which goes to the other astrological matter timing out to Wednesday, namely planet Neptune’s shift into 7 Pisces.

And what’s so special about that?

That’s special because Neptune will remain at 7 Pisces from now through it’s station in early June (yes, I said June) until in retrograde Neptune ‘backs’ out of 7 Pisces into 6 Pisces - which won’t happen until we’re closing in on the end of July.

That’s a lot of time to be spent with Neptune at 7 Pisces, which suggests a metaphysical ‘emphasis’ on this point.

So what would Neptune at 7 Pisces be about? The degree itself is known for changing and changeable conditions and various not-so-very ‘crystal clear’ influences.

And that’s even without adding in any sort of ‘Neptune effect.’ So since Neptune is known for both idealism and illusion, equally promoting elation and desperation depending on our need to experience our feeling nature...it would seem that there is an overarching period (the Neptune/7 Pisces factor) which starts now and runs through almost all of July, and as part of that, Mercury is now entering Taurus.

And of course ...just to be fair here...the opposite could also be just as true: as Mercury entering Taurus can be a ‘color commentary’ on the activation of the ‘Neptune/7 Pisces’ theme, so too could we say that Neptune’s entering Pisces is a commentary on the two-week dash through Taurus Mercury is about to make.

The astrology of Neptune starts with its being the last true and full-fledged planet in our solar system as we head ‘out into the unknown’...or maybe just away from our personal consciousness and point of view - all that which is so brilliantly signified by our Sun.

Thus Neptune stands on the edge between all which is known...or even able to be known...and the un(not)known and/or not knowable - a metaphorical image which places planet Neptune in the position of inspiring us to explore (that which is unknown) and that which may well represent ‘the lifting of a veil’ or a ‘melting away of preconception’ or some dissolving of a wall or barrier - whether it’s in our heart or mind or out there in the street - whatever is keeping you from whatever you could experience and grow through experiencing...that’s where Neptune works.

And that’s why Neptune tends to be experienced as painful. We humans like our preconceptions as much (or more) than we like that favorite food from some childhood memory. We scream and scream for change and then cling to the old and known, often limiting ourselves through our reluctance to see beyond our pre-dreamed definition of what nirvana is.

In fact, it would be completely Neptunian (and Neptune-Taurus/Mercury) for me to suggest here that given our mortal and human perspective we have no ability to envision - never mind define - what nirvana may be. Or not be.

That difference...that gap between what we know and what we cannot know is very Neptunian in its ability to get us to wonder - and equally Neptunian in its ability to confound us with our own incongruities. As a psychological indicator the astrological (and astrology of) Neptune leads us through whatever  gives us (or makes us) pause entirely because of this factor, entirely because in our drive to become who we teaches us to excel through personal focus in a world which can’t have every person focused so exclusively on their Self lest we destroy each other in our self absorption.

All of which leads us to the idea of Pisces - the sign Neptune is transiting and co-ruler of. During Neptune’s long (and no doubt resonant) stay at 7 Pisces we will be learning most of all how ‘wise’ our directions, choices and belief systems are. What we will come into all such situations with will be some conviction that ‘we know.’

But do we? Do we really know - or have we been operating on a knowledge of theory?

Where idea meets human experience is expressed variously by the metaphysics of the zodiac. In this case the ‘idea’ of what works for everyone is Aquarian and the emotional triumph or toll is typically Piscean. Ever since Neptune entered Pisces (this time around) back in 2011 events of many kinds have forced us to consider how we are connected to what goes on in our world.

Some of that has been wonderful. Some of our experiences have been exceedingly unpleasant. And why is that? Astrology suggests that some a part of our ongoing (and new) difficulties have to do with us...probably more than a little bit. That tendency we all have to ‘cherry pick’ what we like in a situation, our willingness to ignore or deny things which don’t fit what we want to believe about things...?

Any choice which is not exclusive, or which by nature is restricted by some feeling on our part which negates or excludes the truth of what others feel (whether that’s about us or the subject at hand or anything else)...that is the sort of thing Neptune’s 2011-2025 transit of Pisces is bound to cover. During this time we will all learn a lot about our own orientation towards feelings. We will veer away from them, we’ll do that very Neptunian thing and project them...we’ll even pretend they neither matter nor need to be taken into account.

All such choices will be made on the basis of something we ‘know’ or think we know as fact...and yet after a traverse of the Pisces landscape, many such ‘gut feelings’ which turn out to fears.

Neptune transits tend to teach us to feel our fears not so that we can back away, but so we can begin to understand why we care. And what caring is about. Why it matters not just to ‘them’ but to us - as in for our purely human sake. (Humans don’t do well without feelings).

Through understanding what we care about and WHY we care about it, we come to a better place with, and within our personal Self.

That’s Neptune in Pisces, a process which sounds deceptively simple and even cuddly until we find out its anything but simply because in the world of human beings the known is always easier to opt for than the unknown.

As for Mercury, an everyday transit of Taurus by Mercury would be about about keeping things going the way we want them to go in general, and that’s one major theme we can expect to live through (and hear about) until Mercury moves on into Gemini as of May 7th. There will be a natural mental (Mercury) focus on matters and details having to do with the day-to-day business of living and we can expect at least a surface display of mainstream attention to all things central, societal and functional (read: food, money, transportation, scheduling, power systems, etc.)

Into all this will steal the Neptune/7 Pisces shift. It may well be subtle and for some it will manifest in confusion. So long as our goals are neither ego-driven nor ego-rewarding (individually or collectively) things may go a bit awry but with proper attention from those with ability in the name of the common cause (the term “common” here meaning either ‘common to everyone/all’ or ‘commonly encountered in everyday life’), much can be accomplished.

However...with this being said, Neptune effects (and transits) can be famously painful, particularly if or where we’re used to being ‘in control.’

Neptune processes favor the dissolution of what is most of all so that we can learn more, learn better and move on and Neptune functions as a great ‘societal’ or ‘humanistic’ leveler.

We’ll be thinking about such things throughout this time. Particularly as we move into and through the April 29th solar eclipse events and situations will continue providing whatever it will take to get us to feel.

The good news is that Mercury in Taurus tends towards concrete terms. The bad news is that Mercury in Taurus tends to want ‘proof’ before it does anything.

Venus (on left) and Mercury photographed in the sky above Paris
(photo credit: Josselin Desmars)
 
And yes, Taurus is a fixed sign - so like all fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius being the zodiacal quartet) it’s ‘pace’ has to do with ‘processing’ something. So in our own world as well as that of others, there is going to be a bit of waiting.

Unpopular waiting, that is. Though capable of the  decent, kind and noble Mercury Taurus does tend to wend something of a bullish way between poles of selfishness and generosity.

And there is one other little thing - beyond how notorious Mercury in Taurus is for moments of sheer, unmitigated stubbornness...those entirely enchanting (read: not enchanting at all) moments of ‘I can, so I will...’ that some strongly affected by this transit will pull through machinations of power, rank or leverage.

That ‘one thing’ is how Mercury/Neptune contacts tend to manifest in anything but the truth because we don’t want to be a universalist...or where we don’t want to feel any “inconvenient” feelings (‘inconvenient to us,’ that is).

When that happens, we tend to dig in. Some of us will be ‘clouded’ by feelings and not have the ‘foggiest’ what to do. Some of us will not want to see or listen - we’ll wrap ourselves in a veil of inner longings (our ‘dream image’) either to confound our own clarity of mind or because seeing, sensing or hearing something would require us to change.

And we’re scared of that. For whatever reasons we’re scared, we’re scared of that...which suggests that as our global mindset shifts from the courageous if often a bit self-centered Mercury in Aires transit (that which is just finishing) ...as for plus and minus we each leave our visionary world of inner mental conviction we arrive at not just the Mercury in Taurus need to ‘get real’ on some very basic level but Mercury in Taurus all ‘aglow’ with promise, we reconsider.

The ‘default” for Mercury in Taurus involves structuring and building what we have so that we can build our way into the future - our future. Taurus is full of promise, with the only question really being whether that promise will get used...and if used, used for what.

Our general times are telling us that some changes are under way. Whether we look at eclipse cycles or the rise of the Aquarian Age some things are slowly but surely passing away and we’re not always comfortable with that.

But that feeling isn’t being ‘caused’ by them. We feel what we feel because we learned to feel that way - and to ignore that is to prevent ourselves from going forward...which is generally unproductive, to say the least.

Also - since I’ve just mentioned the eclipse, messenger Mercury will be moving through 8 Taurus within just a few days (call it April 11th or 12th, depending on your location) and that will tend to either ‘trigger’ eclipse effects for everyone to some extent. It’s therefore not unlikely to expect some people to suddenly see some ‘error’ in their thinking, plans or ways of going about things in general while others will press forward ever so resolutely.

Some things will begin to change at this point. Other things will be proven to be substantially lacking in validity or even feasibility. Even without Neptune’s famously infamous ‘now you think you know it...now you aren’t so sure’ quality this is likely to be a delicate time calling for some form of sensitivity.

Taurus is a sign about basic human need and necessity. It’s a sign all about what it takes to be someone in this world and the kind of bedrock ability to be a person, a mortal human being unto our Self. All the ‘native’ strengths we use in life, all which feeds our needs so that we can exist, carry on and excel - all that is natively Taurus. As Mercury transits Taurus the entire subject of ‘mentality’ is likely to come to center stage as various (Neptunian) truths and fictions come to light in our individual as well as societal lives. With everyone still pushing through a seeming endless set of challenges (reflecting the Venus-Mercury-Mars/Saturn retrogrades which began last December) there will be frustration and a few rash speeches made all around.

Some will avoid truths, some will choose to lie and some will come realize actualities far different from the assumptions they had been proceeding on. In some areas we will find out that things really are as we were thinking they were (or as we were told they were). In others, confusion may reign making some problems simply impassable...at least for now.

Mercury/Neptune as a signal of duplicitous activities suggests that some will ‘falsify for gain’ or be led astray now. Then again, they may know exactly what they’re doing - or their standards of consideration or for making decisions may be completely different than yours.

What do such things mean?

Nothing about this transit has to be malicious or ‘bad’ though it’s likely that during the next couple of weeks (and yes, on through May into June and July) implications will arise which cast doubts on some ‘known’ (singular or plural)...while other perhaps less “likely” solutions become viable.

Again...it is not ‘the thing’ which counts: it’s your orientation to your own capacity for balancing feelings against fact, hope against loss, reality against faith which mostly matters and matters most. Without question, some of us will now learn that some ‘theory’ we have been working with or proceeding on the basis of was incorrect...or being incorrectly applied.

Planet Neptune in its natural coloration with moons Proteus at the top, Larissa
at the lower right and Despina on the left.
(photo credit: Hubble Space Telescope, NASA-JPL)

But that’s just life too. Sometimes an idea is just an idea - we can’t put it into play wholesale, but we can be informed by it so that the choices we do make (in part because of our ideas are more acceptable (viable, useful) to everyone else...and thus how we come to be respected, cherished and rewarded by others.

This is one of the great Taurus-Scorpio polarity points: both signs gain more by offering than demanding. The power and control denoted by both Taurus and Scorpio are to be applied to ourselves so that we can bring the best out in that Self and thus earn position, power and that sort of control we think of as leadership.

If and where we can have faith in exploring new ways of approaching foundational issues now, astrology suggests much can come of our efforts and interactions providing we bear in mind that the (Neptune) universal perspective is as yet unclear. That’s not the easiest order to fulfill as Mercury’s two week transit of Taurus is bound to manifest in assessments and question of a practical and pragmatic kind.

Still Neptune teaches that we must allow ourselves not to know...which means we can only try - and when necessary, try again. We evidently don’t know know everything which can happen as yet...and just owning that much may cause ripples in whatever life pond we happen to swim in. Recognizing that seems to be part of our process as Neptune sets us up to experience its call to the experience of altruism, loss, faith, inspiration and despair imaged by the Sabian degree definition ‘A GIRL BLOWING A BUGLE.’

The girl is a young person - this is not a ‘full grown’ moment in time. It is young and therefore innocent as yet of what can happen but still driven by the power of the discovering mind. The image being of a female is not a reference to gender but rather to rather the metaphysics of ‘yin’ and thus the accumulated standing or experience which we are now ‘trumpeting’ (calling) to others with...or which is calling us.

And it just may be both...which brings us to our question: what, to whom and how will we answer that call? Are we willing to understand where that call is coming from and why it's important just now?
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Friday, April 18, 2014

April’s 8 Taurus Solar Eclipse (Pt. 2: Sun in Taurus / Eta Aquarids)


Taurus (1907) by Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis
 
It’s about now in the lengthy March 1-May 20 Mars retrograde that things begin feeling really questionable. Mars retrogrades are always long and by nature tend to drag or slow us down. We are now about two-thirds through the retrograde and things are ‘coming out’ which are not one’s finest moments. About now there’s a ‘gap’ - or inability to achieve what we want…and the maintaining of  connections or activities we’re grown used to is likely to raise a couple of question. Are we willing to keep pushing ourselves? Will we continue to believe in what we’re doing should we find we’re alone in our belief?


And that’s not all. Even while slogging through mental Mars quicksand, there are all the intricate convolutions so very typical of the ongoing Ixion/Ras-Alhague conjunction which began back on February 22nd.


Amidst all that, the Sun enters Taurus – an act which on a metaphysical level sets many a thing in motion.

The date: April 20th.

The time: 3:57 in the morning, UT/+0.

Elementally, this moves us from the fiery world of Aries visions and personal conviction-insight-consciousness into the more ‘giving’ and ‘earthy’ Sun in Taurus zone – a time which is about whatever sort of stability, security, nourishment we need in life. Information, food, respect, abilities, money – whatever the basic need is in life, what that need tests is Taurean, as it tests our internal and intrinsic ability to deal with being confronted by the realities (not the ‘vision’) of what will support life…ours and that life in which we live (the world around us, in other words).

Normally this entrance would be one colored by fixed star Mirach at 0 Taurus, supporting a reigniting of the desire to interact in a more-or-less supportive manner because under Sun in Taurus the concept of give-and-take is brought into a basic, almost simplistically easy form. Yet with our 2014 Sun-Taurus ingress also comes a South Node at 28 Aries – just to begin with, and that’s something of a notice about internal-versus-external influences or opinions or ‘directives’ which are raising questions for you, me – and everyone else, too.

Our questions don’t sound the same, but they are: they’re about security – starting with how secure we feel about life, moving from there to how stable or secure we feel with our Self and who we’re being…and moving on from there to others reflecting what we’re feeling, which just may be why so much about life is likely to get us focused on our values.

And specifically, where we are out of kilter with our values. Or where we say we value one thing and do something which demonstrates some dichotomy in our personal character as well as the inaccuracy of stated or ‘vouched for’ standards.

The additional modifiers here are Tantalus at 3 Taurus (conjunct the Sun from ‘ahead’) and Juno at 26 Aries, conjuncting the Sun from ‘behind.’ Sometimes this ‘ahead-behind’ dynamic manifests as things we’ve done or experienced against things which are yet to be done – or even situations which are yet to arise, people we will yet meet, opportunities we will yet choose to avail ourselves or not.

Seeing as I posted on Tantalus just recently, if you would like to read up on Tantalus details here is that link.


Otherwise, with a brief nod to Tantalus as an indicator of our ability (or choice to/not to) weigh decisions correctly for both short-and-long term purposes, this solar ingress looks like exactly what we might expect at a point in time when Earth is rotating towards begin eclipsed from an area of the zodiac where the sense of survival is vital even if the necessity of physical survival isn’t.

And the way metaphysics works, to teach us that…to get us through our ego walls and to the point that we separate those two standards…we are going to come to the solar eclipse having perceived various forms of both. We may see that clearly. Then again, we may not want to see anything.

It’s a question of honesty – not with others (which is yes, what they may think), but with our Self.

This incoming eclipse is about values. Not ‘theirs,’ ours. It isn’t about ‘them’ – it’s about whether our values are what they should be…need to be…can be…and all the falsehoods we may be living, all the  structures we’ve built in the name of defense which really amount to fear. More specifically, ego fears – those threats (real or imagined) that we may not live up to who others think we are – or to the measure of the person we have long told ourselves we’re being.

And once we get that far? Then we have an option to change or not change, depending on the status of that self respect which underlies our self worth – and thus our personal and individual values….and the response that raises in us to whatever others are doing, prioritizing, opting for or investing the strength of their values, their resources, their abilities in.

Also – it’s unlikely that anything which is coming to a head has been ‘of the moment’ or swift coming on. Most of what is at stake now or up for consideration (or lack thereof…) has its origins in the past, separate from the fact that this April’s solar eclipse is a ‘recalling’ of situations and cycles either set off, avoided, initiated, instigated or ‘bought into’ back in April 1995.

Yes, in case you didn’t know eclipse degrees repeat – as do all lunar phases. Known as the Metonic cycle (so named for a fellow named Meton who lived long, long ago) the 19-year eclipse cycle continues to raise questions and issues in our life over and over again, asking us if we’ve ‘settled’ for something which seems comfortable enough…or good enough…or whether we’re living a life which is true to who we are (really) at our core.

Obviously anyone younger than 19 years old has not met up with this particular eclipse degree as yet, and there’s nothing to say that your experience…no matter how old or young you are…is going to be positive or negative when it comes to solar eclipse effects.

The key is your chart. So if you’ve run into any sort of quagmire over the past several months which challenges either how you feel about yourself or those values which you extend into the world or use in managing or operating in your world… this eclipse may well have your name on it. If so, you are not only currently in a state of unresolved flux (a feeling common during the last few weeks before any solar eclipse) but you are feeling challenged in a way which right or wrong, real or imagined has everything to do with how you’re going to feel about yourself.

You know…how you feel when at night you close your eyes and wait for sleep to come.

We are all mortal. That’s one note very much on point here. No matter who we are, no matter where or how we live, there are things we all need like sleep, like food, like the oxygen we breath. We all have feelings, longings, vulnerabilities and dreams. Some will happen, some will not. Some we hold onto as balm and motivation while we struggle towards some goal even if deep inside we know the dream will never be real.

At least we tried.

Yes, at some level, that’s the question now: will we try…or will we simply be trying – or even tried?

That last version could lead to a whole ‘other’ kind of ‘conviction’ – as opposed to being convinced - to be sure…but no matter who we are, no matter what the issue or outcome of some issue currently is, why we care (or don’t care) about Self or others remains the central question.

At least for now. After all, solar eclipses – particularly those which we find difficult, disruptive or destructive – are only in part about the issue of the moment, though that will have to be dealt with one way or another to be sure. And that we don’t (or haven’t) dealt with? That will deal with us through mechanisms set in motion at this time.

All of which brings up another point about Taurus. Though Taurus is the testing ground for inner security, it’s tests most often have some external or externalized factor which must be negotiated in connection with others or your world. Why?

Because it is only through tests and negotiations that we prove our inner security.

No, not to them – to our Self, which is why the truly secure person is immune to what others say…not in the uncaring sense, but in a manner which acknowledges differences without judgment in an accepting and caring manner.

With Taurus, manners count. They don’t have to be perfect, they don’t even have to be polite. They simply need to acknowledge realities – whether we like those realities (or want to admit them) or not. The importance of this may not seem immediately apparent until you consider Taurus as the sign before Gemini – the signature of mentality and communication. That makes Taurus the “12th derivative sign” to Gemini, making it not all that unlikely that a smattering of glitches which test our notions of security and/or what we think is (or isn’t) secure(d) in our opinion…or in reality.

A couple of other items on the menu, at least one of which I suspect will bring great cheer:

ITEM ONE: The Eta Aquarid meteor shower begins on April 19th and lasts through May 28th. As the Lyrids will continue dappling our night skies until April 25th, this means Earth is currently enjoying a double helping of what we might call “meteoric influences.”

Meteor showers are said to bring us ‘sprinkles of inspiration’ and the Eta Aquarids tend to be big scale, large scope and greatly ‘universal’ (if you think of the term ‘Aquarids’ as being akin to ‘Aquarius,’ you’ll be rather close). And perhaps – given the solar eclipse in Taurus – this indicates a time when new ideas are ‘sparked’ which help us see what isn’t working in our lives and what to do about it…or where our actual talents may prove useful.

Perseid meteor shower by John Walker (July 2011)
 
Then there are the Lyrids, a shower which has its in constellation Lyra – where Pluto is currently applying several-years worth of transit pressure to fixed star Vega, a process which will ultimately result in ‘transformations of charismatic forces,’ whether that means some source comes on line, disappears entirely or is transformed in essence or effect. We’re in “year two” of this 2013-2017 evolution of our time and lives and as astrological symbols go, Pluto isn’t known for manifesting as the ‘situation genteel.’

The bottom line here is this is yet another indication of our changing times…and changing minds. Whatever it is we’re supposed to be learning, as we move through the next week (through the end of the Lyrids on April 25th) things are still in revelation mode. We’re seeing what to do…we may even know how we want to do it…

And yet it’s not time. Something isn’t established or doesn’t yet exist.

So…what has to change before it does?

Well…probably several things. (After all, the eclipse doesn’t take place until the 29th.) But among all of those, astrologically the one thing I think you’re going to care about most is as follows: do you remember that t-square we keep discussing?

You know, that Pluto-Uranus-Jupiter t-square? The one which started rattling our personal ‘change is in the wind’ chains back in late July 2013?

Yes…that one. Well, it’s over.

(insert: sounds of cheering)

Not so fast...it's only the t-square which is over. But in that regard, all you have to deal with there is another few days - and the slackening of the t-square effect after that (call it the better part of next week).

So here’s the schedule of the t-square break-up (which to paraphrase the famous song may or may not be hard to do):

1. Jupiter squares Uranus on July 20th at 7:26 in the morning (UT/+0)

2. Jupiter perfects its opposition to Pluto (conjunct Vega) on Sunday, April 10th at 11:06 in the evening, UT/+0.

HOWEVER…with this comes the fact that Uranus (see above) will square Pluto (conjunct Vega) on Monday the 21st (at 6:39 in the evening UT/+0 time).

And that means yes, the t-square is ending. But that only removes the Jupiter goal.


So we’re ending the need to get past some need to break out of limitations or change priorities or recognize our greater potential through greater perspectives.

On the other hand, we’re also ending some opportunities – namely the one which says we could break out of limitations or change priorities through recognition of greater potentials and personal perspectives.

Whichever ‘end’ of this you’re on, your challenges are likely to become more simple and direct as we move through this time, but the shift to get there will require harnessing both ability and willingness to connect to others not through aims, but through whatever Taurus issues are now becoming apparent. Seeing as the 'remnants' of this t-square will become a Uranus/Pluto square lasting through 2015 into early 2016, we are being told that our lives are going to change - in some cases, radically and that those among us who are willing to grow, innovate and remain flexible will do best.

Also...whether you know it or not, the specific and terribly human values which underlie those dimly defined yet all-prevalent mortal forces being felt...? Within that...within whatever vulnerability you feel as you recognize your humanity or that of others, there lie your keys to greater benefits.
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Monday, April 14, 2014

April's 8 Taurus Solar Eclipse (Pt. 1: The Map and Basics)



 Eclipse map for the 8 Taurus Solar Eclipse of April 29, 2014
(generated by Solar Fire software/v.8 - recolored for posting purposes)

Above is the solar eclipse map for the April 2014 solar eclipse at 8 Taurus. It's a particularly interesting map as this eclipse path at its western (longitudinal) end stripes through western Russia, with the east end (marking the end of the eclipse path) being off the coast of New Guinea, effectively embracing some of our world's most heartfelt points of human contention...which is to say our contention with being human...in current play.

But it's not just what's going on there - which is to say, not just about what 'those' people are doing or experiencing. The astrological solar eclipse isn't just about what we do or don't do this month or even this year.

It's about everything which could be going on in each one of us which could cause us to do or not do things...which cause us to react to things as we do.

As solar eclipses rolls through we all witness things going on and feel things in our core and - in astrological terms - we react to what we feel in terms of where the eclipse is located not in some other chart, but in ours. In an ever-shifting pattern eclipses range from top to bottom in and around our world, giving us metaphysical images which are as much about where we will 'draw' from in reflecting on our own lives as anything else.

And yes - sometimes each one of us ends up on stage.

When that is for you would be read from your individual chart (alas, some things cannot be done through a blog...) but there are some general effects, the most important of which is that eclipses effects start several months prior to any given solar eclipse (of which we get at least two a year here on Earth).

And after the eclipse, effects evolve over a period of around three years.

Lore also says eclipses are seldom 'about' what they appear to be in the moment whether events are painful or delightful or anything else - they are about what this moment will cause/force/inspire us to fall back on because whatever that thing is, it's harder to do (or be) than what we have 'settled' for in the moment.

(For the record, I totally agree here. I also think this concept is exactly what makes solar eclipse periods so hard to deal with. We always think it's about something which is so very much not the eventual revelation.)

Apparently life as life applies to Earth doesn't like to settle when it comes to human beings...a concept which suggests that as a race we're precious. (Or rather precious, which is how we act from time to time, yes.)

The length of time it takes for any of us to move out of, or let go of whatever notion we have come into this time thinking (or clinging to) varies. However there is one more universal, that being the idea that about 6-8 months prior to the end of eclipse effects (which would be around the end of 2016/beginning of 2017) something which could not have happened...or mattered...will appear.

And that means that while this April 2014 eclipse certainly has its own essence, things which happen now may also have to do with the "twist" which develops as part of a different eclipse - that of November 2011 with the Sun and Moon at 2 Sagittarius. So...particularly if something started (or you initiated some major change) during late 2011, take a look at your chart to see if you have any planet, dwarf planet, node or axis point positioned between...

- 27 Scorpio and 7 Sagittarius (the conjunction)
- 27 Taurus and 7 Gemini (the opposition)
- 27 Aquarius and 7 Pisces (the departing square)
- 27 Leo and 7 Virgo (the approaching square)

If you do, its particularly apt to feel an emotional 'cross current' in your life at this time. Whatever happens now is being brought out by evolving (or new) circumstances, yes. But either on its own or when combined with whatever is discovered by pausing to understand what in you is causing turmoil...some part of that is likely to become part of your motivation to go on from here with more finely honed aims and priorities. 

Whether or not the 2011 eclipse was focal, today's positives and negatives pertain first and most of all to questions of personal growth - which makes perfect sense when we consider the whole of life's process. If, as entities in this world and of this life we won't 'do' or change or let go, life tends to come at us from other angles before moving on. Maybe we'll change, maybe we'll resist again and again.

When that happens life moves on, finding a more receptive funnel for its energetics. Life provides undifferentiated energy to which we apply the conscious sensibility we exist as in, and as an entity of this world.

Our choices...good or bad, productive or destructive are what they are just as there is no good or bad in the eclipse process except at our most human and mortal level.

You know, when eclipses time the end of things we love and cherish.

Sometimes it's just time. We have to let go.

That's just the way life is.

Whether any eclipse factor (solar or lunar) takes the form of a person, event, idea, situation or anything else is unique to each one of us.

And we can count on a good deal of it flowing at some level for this moment from the realms pictured above in the map, manifesting in person thusly simply because energy flows through and is human life, history and planetary as well as universal existence.
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Atropos-Lyrids: New Ends


 The Three Fates by Christian Friedrich Staizel (1797)

In Greek mythic terms fate is a process, not a single or finite thing. That we know because there are three ‘Fates’: Klotho (inceptions or beginnings), Lachesis (duration, extent) and Atropos (endings). Together they describe the whole experience arc, however that may come to happen and whatever it may apply to.

This version of ‘fate,’ in other words, is about how we deal with facts as they come to be presented - an idea which mirrors the idea that the astrology of asteroids refers to life factors we encounter along our ‘path.’ The asteroids - specifically here asteroids Klotho, Lachesis and Atropos - whether aspected in our personal natal chart or 'bestirring' us to take note as they go in and out of retrograde - so we are given basic notice about moments, situations, meetings and such things as relationships, negotiations, efforts, feelings - as each goes through its 'process' of inception to end.

How we respond to such moments and that 'thing' and what we experience through such responses, these are the things which, in teaching us that life is not entirely “up to the Fates,” empower us to become that we should be.

Or at least that's what we think. Somewhere along the way something may occur. Maybe you'll get diverted from one thing to another, effectively 'ending' the original effort. Maybe you'll just give up on something which has outlived its use or usefulness.

And there is that other little matter...the one which says that when it comes to the Fates, we have no control. In that, Greek Fates are just like any other tale of the inevitable. And we humans don't like not having control.

After all, if you don't have control, you don't know which emotional button is going to get pushed...which is the emotional side of Atropos, Klotho and Lachesis as they represent what we must contend with along our merry (or even not so merry) way.

Yes, we can learn from such moments...or not. And what we learn may help us...or not. In general, its probably safe to say that where Atropos is concerned we cannot hold on.

Then again, maybe we don't want to.

Either situation is equally likely as Atropos enters the station 'allowance' on April 14th in anticipation of going retrograde on April 16th. Some of us will meander through these days, some will confront some ‘fateful’ sort of moment in time. Atropos can represent losing something, finishing something, terminating something, changing our mind. It can even refer to finding something which fills a gap, ‘ending’ some sort of personal, group - even societal deprivation.

It all depends.

In going retrograde at 27 Leo, that which happens involves others…and what we learn from it, or what we need to do (or not do) because of it involves others – and often the world or society in which we live. As a degree of influence, 27 Leo tends to be hasty and is known for causing things to ‘blow up in one’s face,’ creating injuries and resentments which given Atropos’ influence may require taking a step back or reconsideration.

As in all things Leo, the idea of the thing…the ‘vision’ is powerful and sometimes magical, thought it isn’t always practical or well received – particularly when we aren’t taking the perspectives and agendas of others into account. So with Atropos going retrograde this year one day after the joint Pluto station and Libra lunar eclipse…


…that suggests many a change of direction, attitude or perception reflecting either situations which ‘move’ us or those which – in keeping with the incoming Taurus solar eclipse – evoke or refer to values which stir emotions or which are typically (even known to be) emotionally sensitive.

If we were only to think of this ‘teaming up’ of events in terms of Pluto’s station, we would say that Atropos turn to retrograde in Leo denotes the beginning of some internal transformation – one involving some personal ‘vision.’ And purely in Plutonic terms, that would bracket us into an April 2014 to mid/late September 2014 timetable as once Pluto goes retrograde it will be in retrograde until September 23rd.

Pluto transformations are metamorphic. They take time and they involve pressure…most of all that internal pressure which gets us to back away (retrograde away from) one thing so that we can take on something else. Or maybe both things in tandem or synthesis.

Pluto represents the energy of tearing one thing down and purifying the concept so that something better can be put in its place. Whether associated positively or negatively Pluto times displays of passions – even obsessions – because we don’t want the alternative.

And the real Pluto question is that: what’s so wrong about the alternative (and) why are we reactive to that alternative?

Those insights…plus whatever feelings have been (or are being) touched on as we move into and through the April 15th lunar eclipse will play out initially in the three months yet to come on a primary level – and evolve from there.

It’s not necessarily a scary process – just one we need to attend to, which in true Plutonic manner will become more ‘sticky’ the more we try to avert, avoid or control it to our pleasure.

Nothing Scorpio is ever simply about us – and that includes Pluto, symbol of all outcomes Scorpio and Scorpionic. We may want to control the outcome – in fact, most Scorpio situations will define, regulate or place constraints of some sort on us. Such measures can be perfectly simple, such as learning how to bake a cake, work a latch or otherwise conduct yourself in sensible company…or they can be exotically trying to one’s ability to negotiate.

War, surgery, debt, taxes and sexuality are all Scorpionic subjects – need I say more?

But they reason they are Scorpionic? That’s the important part here – and important to keep somewhere on our mental desk over the next few weeks as new input, new ideas and more insights are likely to be in the offing.

Why?

Because it’s meteor shower time.

Produced by Comet Thatcher (which is currently still moving away from Earth as part of its 400+ year-long orbit) the Lyrid Meteor Shower begins April 16th and extends through April 25th as part of whatever Aries-Taurus themes have us dealing with who we are not to others in this world, but in our own eyes.

Such insights may or may not be major. And if you’re wondering why Scorpio and Pluto seem so important here as we consider Atropos and the Lyrids, that would be because comet Thatcher’s origination point – it’s ‘radiant’ as seen from Earth is in constellation Lyra.

And guess where Pluto is?

We think of Pluto as being in Capricorn because Capricorn is the constellation which intersects Earth’s path around the Sun – the ecliptic. That’s the rule for constellations being included in our zodiac. But apart from that, as of 2013 Pluto came into standard 5-degree orb of Lyra’s best-known star, Vega – our symbol of charisma and charismatic communication, indicating a period when many people and ideas we were taken by will lose their appeal or validity as we discover new ways of thinking and new priorities to go along with those new approaches and aims.

Constellation Lyra

Pluto’s primary conjunction of Vega will be completed by the end of 2016, though the changes which will inevitably occur between now and then will take several more years to play out. For some, the overall effect of this time will bring them more into line with a flesh-and-blood (Capricorn) reality they’ve been less than fully affected by. For others, needing to consider (or reconsider) how they’re going about embodying some goal, persona or message will become a focus worthy of time, dedication and effort.

It all depends. On what? On you, and where you are right now, coming into this time. Whoever we are and whatever we’re trying to do, this long-term, multi-year Pluto-Vega conjunction will challenge many a notion of identity, structured values and worth, particularly in light of how we ultimately regard our Self as a citizen of, and in this world.

It’s all just to...think about.
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Friday, April 11, 2014

A Plutonic Lunar Eclipse


The Alchemist by William Fettes Douglas (1853)

With shadows cast and reflections invoked, so we move through the last couple of tense days towards the eclipsing of our inner emotional positions. Occurring at 25 Libra, that eclipse occurs on April 15th – and as it does, Pluto goes retrograde.

That’s a serious astrological combination.

Known for flooding emotions and events which often serve as life markers, lunar eclipses aren’t ordinarily associated with life changing events. Well, at least not in the moment – not unless some other major transit is happening on your individual chart in the area of the eclipse, which in this instance means 25 Libra.

Underwritten by the precept that to not ‘do,’ act, ask or care about who we’re being in life, Libra teaches that failure to take others into account ultimately either gets us nowhere or puts us at odds with Self or others. Thus all things Libra teach some part of why we cannot know unless we ask – even though there is that unsettling reality which says that when we ask, we must be prepared for answers we may not like, want, expect or feel prepared (or even understand how) to comply with.

As a degree in Libra’s last ten degrees (the  third ‘decan’) the lunar eclipse emphasizes connections with others and our world.

But then there’s the Pluto side of this equation, a segment of the conversation which starts with the idea that any station (planetary or otherwise) gets an allowance of several days – it having become this particular astrologer’s choice to say two days prior and two days after the moment of station, if not a little more.

All of which is fine and normal – or as normal as anything referring to Pluto tends to be. As a marker of transformative energetics, Pluto represents that which fascinates us, attracts us, obsesses us…even that which interests us – with our personal (birth chart) Pluto giving us a description of the challenges we face in such a regard. Are we someone who gets totally over-the-top obsessed to our own detriment? With Pluto (regardless of natal sign), those tendencies emerge so often as terrible feelings about our Self. Or sometimes we project that fear of not being able to love ourselves onto others in the form of  shame, embarrassment, denial or those ever-so-popular (if never really what you think they are) human choices known as revenge and retribution.

It’s never about ‘them.’ What we experience in life is always about us. That’s why vengeance doesn’t work – and why humans have learned enough to have coined the expression “revenge is a dish best served cold,” as that’s the only way to emerge from any or all things Plutonic (which would connect to matters 8th house and Scorpionic) with satisfaction and any sense of lasting validation.

You know…the kind of self respect and true self esteem which allows us to advance through life growing in positive attribute instead of simply becoming that most negative of Pluto images, Pluto as rapist – most of all of our own emotional stability and self worth.

At the moment, with Pluto going station-retrograde at 13 Capricorn (Sabian Symbol: AN ANCIENT BAS-RELIEF CARVED IN GRANITE REMAINS A WITNESS TO A LONG-FORGOTTEN CULTURE) in combination with a lunar eclipse we can expect an emotional shift (transformation)…or to be ‘shifted’ (diverted from something else, perhaps). The obvious combination of two cardinal signs speaks to action, decisions and taking something on (or committing to something) whatever that may mean in your life, with the square-by-sign between lunar eclipse and Pluto..


…giving us to know that there is a balance of some sort (the square) which is required between where we are ‘going’ and how where we are ‘going’ will affect others, or even who we are or are taken to be.

The Sabian symbol having been discussed elsewhere (you can use the world cloud to find the other posts focused on 13 Capricorn), given Pluto’s position just shy of fixed star Vega (charisma) there is a great deal of ‘pulling back’ (going into retrograde) from the certainty that something we have thought of as ‘charismatic’ is not exactly what we thought it would be: it is becoming transformed in our (emotional/lunar) regard…and thus we are being ‘brought back into balance’ with the necessities of (earthy/Capricorn) reality exerting – or at least beginning to exert a ‘balancing’ pressure on some sort of mass (3rd decan) action or reaction to some (Libra as air sign) idea.

In other words, something is becoming charismatic...or ending its life as a charismatic influence.

Or maybe we're just losing our shine. That happens too. Anyone with any natal axis point, nodal position or planet within a couple of degrees of 13 Capricorn, Libra, Aries or Cancer has been feeling life fluctuating for quite some time now...and this will be a particularly trying and/or insightful passage.

One figures it will be a little easier on those whose charts are unaffected...but we do live on the same planet, after all. And such things count.

Lunar Eclipse at 25 Libra (text chart)
April 15, 2014 - 7:43 a.m. (UT/+0) - Aries Wheel (location not specific)

Lunar Eclipse at 25 Libra (glyph chart)
April 15, 2014 - 7:43 a.m. (UT/+0) - Aries Wheel (location not specific)

Lunar eclipses are typified as ‘high emotional water marks’ which can be tsunami like. Or they can create something more akin to a mental or life-affecting undertow. Where solar eclipses take three years to ‘mature’ and manifest fully, lunar eclipses hit us hard and from there ebb off, generally becoming a factor we understand to cope with over the next three months.

Because this pairing links the Moon and Pluto, the darker sides of human nature (and vulnerabilities), we can expect to see revelations, ‘outbreaks’ and ‘unearthings' of every sort - good or bad. There will be those attempt to obscure and ‘bury’ much which people can’t bring themselves to deal with the truth of...and though some may be deceitful, many people will simply think they’re doing something good even when in some 'occulted' (hidden) way they are somehow part of the problem.

Those who are open to the type of inspiration and insight which allows them to see both sides of every problem, situation and dynamic will do well here...though there will be some temptation to simply give in or hold on (depending on what mode you come to this time in).

Where Pluto is concerned, to face our potentials as well as our flaws is ultimate strength; those very human but very real emotional frailties which cannot face its own reality will attract whatever will reveal the hidden truth...delicious or deliciously awful (or both) as it may be.

For effectiveness and otherwise it's fortunate that there is a ‘rule’ for handling All Things Pluto. It’s a curious sort of rule, and one which goes right back to that ‘served cold’ concept. Every sign has a challenge and with Scorpio, that challenge is not to lose ourselves to our emotions – which is why as ‘outcome ruler’ of Scorpio, Pluto events (and transits) carry such high human price tags.

Yes, unfortunately it seems to take more and more to get our attention these days. Some like to ‘blame’ such things on the internet or other modern technologies. That such blaming goes on is plainly ‘new age, new page’ unfamiliarity – we humans scream loudly for change, then run from it in person. Our new age (the Aquarian Age) moves all things which were emotionally based into a theoretical and economic mode.

For those down on war, take heart – it’ll probably all become economic. People will still die of course, they’ll just die of economic neglect...and if you don't like that statement welcome to the passionately dispassionate realm of Aquarius and its qualitative Aquarian test: to be an individual while being part of the whole…to use one’s individuality in the advancing of that whole, as one among equals.

No, no elitism is allowed…and we can all expect that ‘lacks of responsibility,’ especially those which are based in economics (individual or systemic, purposeful or accidental, personally moderated or automated, individual and ‘mass market’) are going to become ever more costly.

Lack of responsibility under the Aquarian precept says ‘I must do what I must do because that is what is required in this life.’ Not MY life, not the ‘next’ life…this life.

Astrology…like all other belief systems…is ultimately about what it means to be a human being. We are given rules not so that we can impose them on others but so we can acknowledge them within the scope of our conscious Self and thus be the better person worthy of this life.

Where Pluto is concerned, we must always know what our ‘fact’ is. It may be right or wrong in any other context, but we must know what it is and we must be capable of stating it, simply and clearly, despite what is being said or held forth by others.

If you are being affected by this eclipse/station pairing, you will be feeling this need to understand and clarify your thoughts. It may be the moment for you to feel your feelings and think…or this may be the moment to make your choice or act.

That’s individual.
 
 
That the ongoing Pluto-Uranus-Jupiter t-square is being opposed by transiting
retrograde Mars (in Libra) is a sign of too many issues or options. We will 'need' to take care of many issues...and through trying to prioritize those things (because they can't all be taken care of at once) we will come to know more about our Self - in particular, our most human (lunar) and feeling Self. This isn't defined astrologically as a comfortable process, but it can have a very good outcome.  

Whichever way you go, you will probably encounter some degree of resistance, conflict, objections – any such measures. You may be questioning yourself…and then again, you may find yourself ranged against any number of others who may or may not agree with you.

The Plutonic instruction is simple: know your truth and state it clearly – ONCE. Then be quiet.

After the noise dies down, after the ‘temperature’ falls…then the real fact (or facts) win out. That’s the Pluto equation. Pluto operates positively when and where emotionality is not just controlled, but understood by the one subject to their own emotionality.

And it’s a cycle…just as Pluto has been so likened to the earthly process of volcanism, things must ‘get heated’ in order for them to cool off – which is why you’ll see many people with Scorpio heavily presented in their chart go through such emotionality as part of their personal process.

Did you think it’s about you? No – Scorpio is all about eliciting your reaction so that in learning about others the Scorpio(nic) entity learns more about being comfortable in their own life and skin.

Warning us of that? That’s a premier Pluto manifestation, which makes understanding just that much…?

Well, that may be the whole point at the moment, considering the impending Taurus solar eclipse. We’re experiencing a time which asks us kindly to examine the state and nature of our own self worth.

And if we won’t kindly do that…then life will be unkind in its asking of us to do that much.

Fortunately, there is a good side to all this – which is the grace of all things Pluto: when we can bring ourselves to be kind, that very process…the process of being brave enough to feel another’s hurt as our own…that not only heals them, it heals us through triggering the innate power of sustaining, regenerative energy.

You know…the reward of inner warmth which brings such human comfort in the midst of what can otherwise feel like a terribly inhuman or inhumane life.
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Monday, April 7, 2014

Pallas, Edisona, Hidalgo: The Manner of Fact


 
As outlined above, the next week or so is filled with what some might call ‘shifting influences.’ And since this is the week leading into a (Full Moon) Lunar Eclipse – which is to say because it’s a time we would expect to be a time when like it or not, when depending on our nature life becomes either more feeling and vital…or simply more emotional.

And let us not be coy here: “emotional” in astrological terms refers not just to the process of being emotional or exhibiting emotions, but to whatever evokes or provokes emotions – in our Self and in others.

One of the reasons to have posted the outpouring on Saturn is, in fact, all about the grid above. Saturn always represents the precepts of time, responsibility, maturation, loss, dedication, achievement, structure, and the slow, enduring effort which over a period of time leads to stable, enduring constructs – and that applies whether we’re talking about personal achievement, societal structures (including but not limited to corporations and nations). Saturn timings are also associated with patterns of income and economics, from the business of business to those social, societal and ‘mass movement’ ideas or theorems which in time become the common norm or the isolated (or elite).

Figuring out how to use Saturn in your own life is a process – one you may choose to use or not use. In a world which seems very much about building walls of late with everyone complaining about everyone else’s defensiveness and bristling however, choosing the periods of time in which to act or not act may be useful to you.

Hence the post on Saturn – specifically at the start of a week which seems filled with possibilities and opportunities for seeing things more for what they are, which would be our ticket for planning ahead.

You know…for figuring out how to make those Saturn gains without engendering equally gigantic losses or stirring up that most ugly of universal forces, negative karma?

Representative of all which promotes our understanding of dispassionate, unbiased wisdom of such clarity to cleave through all our assorted mental distractions, avoidances and nonsense, Pallas is going direct at a degree (24 Leo) which while representative of the generative power of Leo to create or ‘envision’ is focused on some simple and natural quality which itself is capable of becoming a sustaining force.

Coming into its April 7- 11 station-direct moment, Pallas has represented our clarification of Self and everything going on in our ‘inner’ world, be that personal at the individual level or having to do with our everyday world and collection of personal connections.

Once Pallas goes into direct motion, the process of clarification will shift to more external terms: we will be more aware of things around us and going on in the world and life of others AND all such things and people (and what we learn through interacting and/or witnessing their choices, actions and so on…) all that will continue ‘building’ our understanding of where we stand not so much in our (retrograde) personal world, but the (Pallas direct) world in which we live.

You know…the world which defines what we would have any opportunity to do in our personal life (or not)?

Next step: we add Edisona to our day-by-day picture.

Asteroid Edisona represents the simple quality of ‘spotlighting.’ Sometimes referred to as ‘the bright idea,’ sometimes that which we focus on in an ‘Edisona moment’ is “brilliant” and sometimes it’s simply that thing which is standing out (or outstanding) to us, whether it is to anyone else or not.

Edisona is going retrograde at 17 Sagittarius, giving us reason…or perhaps sufficient motivation to get (Pallas) clear about something having to do with whatever comes from Edisona’s station being in a degree typified by the Sabian symbol CHILDREN PLAYING ON THE BEACH, THEIR HEADS PROTECTED BY SUNBONNET. The Sagittarian influence denotes something to be learned, and while what that is will be entirely individual, across the board this degree (17 Sagittarius) appears to speak to the protection of that which is immature (as children are) or which is not yet ready to stand or operate on its own, as might be true (just as an example here) with a business plan or other ‘pre-designed’ process which has not yet ‘come to maturity’ or which needs critical support.

With Hidalgo going retrograde on April 11th, something having to do with ‘protocol’ and/or ‘manners’ (read: ‘the manner of,’ ‘mannerisms’ and/or quality of presentation) comes into play as Pallas goes direct on the 9th, suggesting some sort of fact or set of facts being (Edisona) ‘spotlighted’ at a level which references a (9 Capricorn) quality typified by the Sabian AN ALBATROSS FEEDING FROM THE HAND OF A SAILOR with the associated commentaries by noted astrologers speaking to ‘the overcoming of fear and its rewards’ (Marc Edmund Jones) and the culture of TRUST Dane Rudhyar points out as being the true and radiant power resident in any human being sufficiently willing to own their own harmlessness, that being the power which can (as he puts it) ‘…call the wildest creatures to him’ – an eloquent sort of way of saying what we put out comes back to us.

What we are experiencing is plainly a reflection of what we have put out there and it is not our denial of others which is the lie here, it’s our unwillingness to see ourselves as part of the universal (Aquarian Age) process.

And since Aquarius ruled first by Saturn and only then by Uranus, that would be why posting a mammoth scrawl on the subject of Saturn degrees seemed so apt.


Saturn is responsibility and requirement as solar systemic clockwork. No one gets dessert without first eating their veggies.

And even when we get dessert, that only means we get to get to work working up a new sort of (Saturn) appetite.

It’s all eternal..ongoing...self-feeding. And maybe that’s the most important thing to remember…as soon as we learn one thing we’re merely acquiring the knowledge which will move us on to our next opportunity to learn.

Sphinx going direct on the same day (April 12th) that Kassandra goes direct – with both objects in late Leo degrees – combines ‘pause’ with ‘hard to believe’ (or ‘disbelief’) in the sort of mix which manifests as astonishment…or even delighted horror or taking grim pleasure in seeing something done (and well, if painfully done). With both points going direct in an area of the zodiac known for friends as well as family connections, anything from fun at the amusement park to relieved delight at greeting supposedly long-lost loved ones is possible.

As is a hearty inhalation (and reason to stop to think a minute) as we perhaps recognize just how blind we’ve been about…something.

Thus we move forward with some portion of our essence, spirit or mentality overwhelmed, enchanted, dazzled and…as would be expected where Circe the enchantress connects with a celestial event like the April 15th Libra Lunar Eclipse…spellbound. Reduced to our lower denominators by an entirely human willingness to succumb to inner weakness as a means of celebrating mortal strength we give in, allowing ourselves to be rewarded with that we have missed out on through a lack of clarity based on inner vulnerabilities.

You know…those vulnerabilities we all so want to deny?

Yes, them. They're ours...they're us. Somehow we need to understand and accept ourselves for all those things too, for without the whole of what we are, we will never be whole in our own lives, never mind that of anyone else.

And since what we put out comes back...because how we regard others generates how they regard us in reactive turn, that's an important issue - one we would seem to have an opportunity to get additional clarity on now, which seems a rather nice thing indeed.
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