While on a road trip recently, it struck me that there might be another way to approach relationship questions in the birth chart other than looking at basic compatibility. We often consult astrologers in order to find out if we're going to get along with a potential mate, business partner or friend. We might even try to understand our partner's motivations, desires, or personality traits - all with an eye on how "perfect" they might be for US. But consider the possibility that the new Leo in your life might be there for another reason. In the short list below, I'll describe the ways in which certain archetypal patterns show up via other people at different times in your life, and what they might be there to teach you.
I see life as an evolutionary journey. Maybe you've heard the metaphor that life is like a school. I think that's a good starting image. But much of life has to do with what we might call "karma" and also with what we might call "healing". Our lessons aren't always easily learned and the image of a "life school" can start to seem a little too simple. But one thing is certain - we aren't here to do this alone.
I like to believe that as we heal ourselves we are also healing the greater organism, in the same way that one little white blood cell in your body is fast at work, chomping away at harmful pathogens that, in the moment, may be overwhelming the system. But after some diligent work, many times our amazing immune systems triumph, and homeostasis is once again achieved. White blood cells work in partnership with a vast and complex array of other cells. And you can think of the people in your life in the same way. Paying attention, working together, listening, communicating - all of these skills are needed to decipher life's messages and to grow.
This list is a starting point for thinking about the ways in which the people in your life help you to achieve internal homeostasis and also growth. The people you're connected to in life can stimulate you to ask the question "What is now awakening in you that needs outside input in order for you to discover?"
This article is also a good starting point for a discussion. If you have insights to add to the list, join the discussion in the comments area. And with that, we'll dive in.
Why has this new person shown up in your life?
Aries: If an Aries has plowed his way into your life, part of you is ready for action. Not sure what you're ready for? No problem, the Aries says. Just go for it! Aries likes to dive in head first, kicking butt and taking names. An Aries can help you ignite a new project, muster up the energy you need for a new physical routine or sport, and remind you that inertia is not a virtue. Sure you might disagree about things from time to time, but sparring is part of the fun with Aries. And in that playful back and forth, a part of each of you gets stronger. So what part of you is ready to develop the courage to face life head-on?
Venus just went retrograde October 8, but you may have been feeling those graceful energies slow down in your life all of last week. As Venus comes to a halt, signaling a redirect of those energies inward, you may notice this period is marked by a re-working of your values about relating, love, beauty, and diplomacy. This is in service of reminding you about something forgotten, possibly something suppressed, that will need to be extracted from your own dark places, and transformed into conscious action by the time Venus returns to forward motion. Venus is in the sign of deep, internal Scorpio. This suggests that what we need to look at now may not be comfortable, it could be profound and even hidden, and it could frighten us. However this is no time to shy away from such material.
If you do a search online for Venus retrograde, you'll find articles that suggest not starting up new relationships, or launching new products during this cycle. And that might be good advice right now. But I predict that if a new opportunity does come along in the near future (Venus will remain in this cycle for 6 weeks), it's going to be especially difficult to say no. That's because Mars, the planet of action and um, hot sex, is in the sign of Scorpio, the sign of um, steamy sex. If you're in a relationship, you may not be communicating well, but the acts in the bedroom might start to have a rather Olympic quality :) Mars is no fan of romance. Picture raw sexual energy without the sweet connection. I predict that the small talk and foreplay is tossed out the window during this time as instinct overrules reason. If you're not in a relationship, someone especially hot could come along. And she or he will likely not sweep you off your feet, but throw you into the bedroom, grunting and panting all the way. What I'm saying is that because this experience taps into our primal instincts, it may be hard to resist.
By now you may have heard about the astrological phenomenon called Mercury Retrograde. Lots of folks know now to watch out for computer malfunctions and communication breakdowns during this 3 week period that happens about 3 times a year. But wow is this next one going to be noticeable, so hold on to your hats. Or better yet, just start slowing down now! That's because Mercury is going retrograde in Virgo, a sign that it rules. Here are a few tips to help you sail through this period with ease.
When Mercury goes retrograde in Virgo, you can expect to see slow-downs and break-downs in areas of life that fall under the Virgo domain. This might include daily work, detailed tasks, organizing, putting things in order, and cleaning up. When Mercury is in Virgo communication is sharp, and succinct, if at times skewed towards the critical. If Mercury is in Virgo in your birth chart, you might often find yourself looking for just the perfect word (and sometimes not finding it to your frustration). Virgo is always willing to show up for hard work, so Mercury in Virgo can also mark someone who constructs words and sentences with much thought and specificity, as well as someone who isn't afraid to speak about what's wrong with any given picture.
But during this 3 week period that begins August 20, you might want to think a little longer before speaking. If you blurt out your criticism, you may discover information later on that leaves you with egg on your face. When Mercury is retrograde, it can be hard to get in touch with all of the facts. Diligence and patience are required.
2010 is a year that is sure to be packed with unexpected changes - a claim I can comfortably make due to the fact that Uranus, the planet of lightning bolts, enters the warrior sign of Aries on May 27. By itself this configuration can spark up some new projects at best, and cause some unexpected outbursts of aggressive behavior at worst. When Uranus is in Aries, it can be all too easy for us to get heated up and fly off the handle. Neither Uranus nor Aries has an affinity with reserve. Enter Saturn in Libra.
Saturn entered Libra on October 29, 2009 and remains there until October 5, 2012, excepting a brief intermission from April 7, 2010 through July 21, 2010, when Saturn returns to Virgo for one last visit. Throughout 2010 we are in range of the experience of Saturn, the planet of reserve, in Libra, the sign of getting along, opposing our rebellious upstart Uranus in Aries.*(1) Expect fireworks to ensue as this planetary configuration calls attention to the universal inner conflict between the complete freedom to individuate, and the need to maintain structure. Another way to think of this is that our need for freedom - the freedom to boldly start exciting and even revolutionary new ventures - exists in tension with our need to maintain traditions which provide a necessary foundation of support that we can build upon. But wait - there's more!
In 2010 Pluto in Capricorn will complete a planetary configuration called a T-square, formed when 2 planets in opposition to each other (here, Saturn and Uranus) are each squared by a planet sitting exactly 90 degrees between them. This configuration is a signal that Pluto is asking us as a culture to deeply face and transform our outdated and corrupt structures of power. Pluto, the planet of intensity, dark intrigue, and the things we don't want to talk about, brings a hefty dose of "get real" to the table. And more generally, Pluto increases the intensity of this entire astrological event exponentially, acting like a finger on the turbo button of the events unfolding. In Cosmos and Psyche, Richard Tarnas writes that Pluto is that "which compels, empowers, and intensifies whatever it touches." And in this case, we're talking about the entire period of 2010.