Astrology Secrets Revealed by ERIC FRANCIS

Nine Year Struggle

October 29, 2004 (with chart)


Hi Eric:

First of all I'd just like to say I find your perception and interpretations of astrology very interesting and intelligent. My question is: I have had a really bad time over the last nine years with a few relief periods, I have had a major nervous breakdown which happened about four years ago and several breakdowns since.


Can you please give me some insight into what is going on? Also I have Uranus conjoining my ascendant; do you think that this could be an indicator of manic depression?






16:55, London



Dear Fay,

Nine years is a long time to struggle with the kinds of issues you describe, and even four is a long time to endure repeated mental breakdowns. You are a young woman, at the peak of your strength and, by all rights, adaptable and resilient. If you have been suffering this long, I suggest it would be wise to take it seriously and make your emotional health your first priority in life. Not that you don't know that; I am just offering an endorsement.


Addressing this situation astrologically, a great deal happens in nine years. Many things change. And yet there are certain situations where the setup of the natal chart, plus the movement of one planet -- usually Pluto -- can create a long, long scenario that never seems to end, and even after the end, it can seem to go on. Generally the energy comes in peaks, which represent crisis points.


You have a setup in your natal chart involving Mars, the Moon, and Neptune in the early degrees of Pisces, Virgo and Sagittarius respectively. The Virgo Moon alone is something that I would describe as a challenging placement. The mental and emotional aspects of the nature can seem to wrestle with one another and there is often the expectation that feelings will respond to the power of thought. Worse yet, there are times when mental-override is used to get a grip on feelings, and while this is sometimes necessary, it's not a good idea to use this as the first line of defense.


Now, your Virgo Moon is complicated by Mars and Neptune, which are in a T-square pattern. I'll post your chart so you can see what I'm talking about. The Moon and Mars are opposite one another, in red, and Neptune is standing between them, in blue. I would say this is a very challenging setup and most people who have it will either slowly slip into a kind of mental chaos, or, if they are fortunate and have access to a lot of life force and good information, work very consciously at a healing process that takes them to an unusually high level of clarity and integrity. I suggest you dedicate your life to this second possibility, as the first of the two is not compatible with happiness. I don't like to define situations where the horns of the dilemma are so far apart as these, but I think for your purposes you might want to consider the possibility that there are two main roads from which you can choose.


Beginning around 1995 -- nine years ago -- Pluto got into this T-square. It did so when it entered Sagittarius and immediately squared your Pisces Mars. That would have seen you at about the age of 22, adapting to the pressures of young adulthood, and at the same time, pushed in some powerful, hormonal ways to express yourself creatively, sexually and (in a Piscean way, which means encompassing the first two modes), spiritually. Note: the world is not generally so kind to people who express or even experience their sexual and creative needs. And you may not have even thought of what you were experiencing in these terms; it may have felt merely like emotional and psychological stress. But pushed you were, and the intensity built as Pluto squared your Moon during the next two years and then began a long conjunction to your natal Neptune. Can you see how one planet can make an aspect to a group of planets nearly simultaneously? When we have an aspect structure in the chart, particularly one that involves squares and oppositions, this can be very intense. Because these planets are spread out by five degrees (Mars at around 2 Pisces and Neptune at around 6+ Sagittarius), and because Pluto moves rather slowly, the degree spread can drag out the effects of the transit. This is what happened to you.


Each of these transits can be taken separately and understood for what it is. Pluto opposite Mars can dredge up big power struggles. Pluto square the Moon can create deep isolation, emotional struggle, serious issues around mum, and much else. Emotionally, Pluto square the Moon by transit can feel like being pushed into a corner emotionally, and give you the feeling that no matter what your needs will never be met.


I would like to specifically address the what happens when Pluto goes over natal Neptune, speaking to everyone. This transit happens to everyone in our era at around the age of 24 years old and can last two years. This is not a transit like the Saturn return that has happened to everyone at the age of 29 since long before Atlantis was a cute little fishing village. Rather, this is a process specific to young people (such as yourself) born in the second half of the 20th century.


I have seen this to be a genuinely challenging transit, and is part-and-parcel of the extreme challenges, changes, disappointments and growth of the early 20s. It's unfortunate that people in this age range don't generally come to astrology (astrology is sought out most often by people in their 40 and 50s, when they finally get sick of their problems).


Transiting Pluto conjunct natal Neptune has a toxic feeling. It can drag up a lot of material from the deep unconscious. Things that truly defy all comprehension and which nobody seems to understand occur. At its best, this has a deepening effect; it compels us to go beyond the world of reason and sensory data and seek out a deep inner source. But unfortunately this is not really the way of our culture.


All people of a similar age group go through this at the same time, and so it seems like 'everyone is in the same space'. Older adults don't get it. Either they went through the transit too young and too long ago to relate; or they are so wrapped up in the world of responsibilities that they can't relate to something so nebulous and chaotic.


Neptune is involved, so the effects are more or less hidden from plain view. I have seen this transit knock down young people with things like infections (I had three cases of food poisoning in this era of my life). Since the 1960s, this has been an age range associated with a lot of drug experimentation, plenty of cigarettes and alcohol, birth control pills, poor nutrition, and endeavors into sex and romance, all supported by precious little spiritual guidance -- and the cumulative results can be shattering. At the same time, this is the era of realizing one is 'not so young' and that life demands a lot of responsibilities from us.


I feel that if anyone makes it to the other side of this transit with their ideals intact, some semblance of their youthful health and their emotions in a reasonably stable state, they are very fortunate and doing quite well.


In your case, Pluto was not only aspecting your Neptune; it had recently opposed Mars and squared your Moon. It is fair to say that things gradually went from bad to worse and any ability you had to control your mind and feelings dissolved or was burned to dust. And my sense is that something very common to Pluto transits occurred: you never really recovered. When Pluto has gone past such a sensitive aspect structure in the natal chart, astrologers need to check for post-traumatic stress. Many Pluto transits never seem to end, as a result of this.


But they do begin. And for you this one began around Christmas 1995. Not coincidentally, this is the time frame you describe, and it comes with other challenging transits, in particular, a Saturn-square-Saturn aspect (transiting Saturn in Pisces square natal Saturn in Gemini) and Chiron crossing your Libra ascendant.


Now, I am sitting on a train typing to you, I can't see you and we cannot talk; but if we were talking and had the benefit of three or four conversations to work with, I would want to hear in rather complete detail what was going on at that time in your life, what your choices were and how you handled them, and what was going on with your family. There was a transition involved. Your parents very likely had some part in the discussion or events, because Saturn and the Moon are so prominent in the story. You were being compelled to take shape as an independent person, perhaps before you felt ready, or before you had the resources -- and the T-square suggests that, because of your mother's emotional and psychological condition, you had some resources lacking that would normally have come from her.


Fast forward nine years. Pluto has just finished a long, long opposition to your Gemini Saturn. This ended within the past 12 weeks or so, and is the last in this long series of Pluto transits. It could be that you are out of the woods, but a lot of this has to do with how you handle your well-being and how you deal with the recovery process from these intense, even excruciating events.


The other thing that goes back nine years is the eclipse cycle. The eclipse cycle is an 18 year cycle and it therefore completes half its process in nine years; you have your Sun, Venus and Mercury in Taurus and the eclipses have just passed through Taurus and Scorpio, just as they were doing at the time the story you are relating begins.


So this makes another argument for the pressure being off. Yet your well-being is in your hands. Even if the wake-up calls, breakdowns and overt pain ease, abate or stop, I suggest that you take your healing as the first order of business every day of your life. And, though I say this in some form with almost every response on this page, you need to understand your parents, especially your mother. You cannot take for granted that 'this is the way she is' because that's not going to get you the traction you need to get past your own issues. You need to understand her, her history, her parents, her responses and her view of the world -- if you ever want to get past it.


PS, Regarding Uranus in the ascendant. This is God's little gift to you, guaranteeing that you will always seek freedom. You will never be able to live conventionally. You also have a highly agitating effect on people in a sense compel them to be themselves just by your presence. I think it can be associated with a kind of instability, but only if you try to make stability your most important goal.


You also have Pluto in your 12th house. Jeff Green has suggested in his book Pluto: Evolutionary Journey of the Soul that this is the Pluto that makes us live life at the brink of a cliff. Do we stand there wondering what to do, do we jump, or do we pull back from the edge and live as safely as possible? I am sure you know something of this situation.