YOU HAVE REACHED a time of awakening and of many critical turning points in your life, all of which are driven by a radical sense of self-awareness unlike anything you've ever experienced.
Nothing changes the whole world more than waking up. Waking up does not always mean awakening to certainty; often it means awakening to questions about who you are and why you exist.
For years, indeed, for nearly a decade, Neptune has been working its strange magic on you, which represents a state of consciousness from mild fantasy to deep hypnosis. It is like an enchantment. There can be a feeling of vastness, on the one hand, to being lulled to sleep and feeling like you missed part of your life, on the other.
This same influence has also felt like a gradual erosion of your personality patterns, as though you could somehow not persist in being the person you had always known yourself to be. Aquarius is a fixed sign, meaning that it is one of the dimensions where mental patterns are created and maintained. Neptune can wash them away like rain on a block of salt. I am sure that this felt like a relief in many ways; there is an element of freedom in being free from your life patterns, even if there is also some resulting difficulty because there is nothing to cling to.
If questions about your integrity have arisen, remember that integrity is not always a good thing, particularly not when it's holding you to a way of life that's not actually working. And Neptune has impacted your integrity in a couple of ways; it has made your old surfaces too slippery to cling to. Saturn having blazed through your opposite sign Leo the past three years has made your relationships somewhat difficult to cling to as well.
Fairly recently, it seems you started waking up, and that may have come in the form of a gradually developing crisis. That has been the influence of Chiron, which reached your birth sign in December 2005. When someone has been under the influence of Neptune for a long while, Chiron can feel like a shocking awakening, a crisis point, or the urgency to make a decision that might feel like it's coming too late. Actually, if you recognize your need to decide, you're early. Chiron and Neptune are gradually heading for a conjunction that will be exact around your birthday in 2010. Make a little note of that on the edge of your closet door or in your five-year planner: your birthday in 2010, just over two years from now.
You may not know what your life is building toward, but astrology reveals when you're going to get there. I would caution you that two years is enough time to think you have time to waste. I only mention the time frame because it's precisely enough time.
But that is predicated on one fact: that you spend your time waking up instead of going back to sleep. Rather than setting alarm clocks and tying strings around your finger to remember the other string around your finger, you would be a wise person to focus on noticing what puts you to sleep; what distracts you from the truth; what takes you away from what you came here to do. It could be sugar, drugs, entertainment, or any idle mental activity. Once you see the causes of distraction, you will no longer need any kind of crisis to awaken you. Nor will you need the notion that there is some huge crisis about to come in order to keep your adrenaline pumping.
Waking up also means keeping an internal focus of awareness. Pluto is about to venture into your 12th solar house, Capricorn. There are few things that will guide you inwardly better than a 12th house Pluto transit, though few astrologers would put it so politely. What this is likely to do is burst open all the little (or not so little) compartments in your mind where you hold energy, information and issues. What you are being called to do is pop open all those little packets of self-concealment and vow to never keep a secret from yourself. To the extent that you've gotten by on denial in the past, that is changing in the present and the immediate future.
Relationship for the Awakening
I HAVE a theory about relationships. It goes like this. People who are evolving the fastest often find it the most difficult to find a partner. People who are questioning their role in the world, or their mode of existence, may feel, to others, like they don't quite exist. This is because we equate existence with having a stable ego structure. With Chiron, Neptune and two other important ones -- Nessus and Vesta -- working through your psyche, you certainly have more questions than answers about right now.
In the mythology of the New Age, the Guaranteed Soul Mate comes along with Purity, Growth and Enlightenment. In a slightly old-timer Christian framework, if we are good and moral people, God will love us enough to send us our beloved. It is basically all the same lie. In truth, everyone deserves love, and notably, everyone has different needs relating to love. Some people need one lover and some need many. Some need same sex partners, some need opposite sex and some need both. Some people need only friends, some need their friends to be their lovers, and some people need to be left alone.
Among these choices and others, you need to know the truth of who you are. You also need to pay attention to who suits your reality - not your idealism. For people who are actually ethical, aware and discerning, there are not so many people who make the cut, and there are plenty of times when nobody at all may seem to be a good fit.
Yet whatever an individual's needs are, in times of fast personal evolution, it is often difficult to find an appropriate partner. In times of self-discovery, one may not know oneself well enough to relate in a consistent way, and many people insist on consistency. It is rare to find a partner who is capable of waking up every day with a seemingly different person; or someone who is willing to leave you alone to work out your self-awareness and still be there when you show up again with some new ideas about who you are. One of the first priorities our society puts on relationships is their predictability. But that has nothing to do with growth.
Our stock models of relationship basically leave very little room for growth. It is pretty much assumed that if you grow, you grow apart. Therefore the easiest way to find and keep a relationship is to set your personal progress aside -- including your need to explore yourself, the world, new people and new ideas -- and stick to the basics, like shopping, a movie and a bottle of wine.
Relationships need to be more than a status quo, a social pattern or a business arrangement. They usually end up being one or more of the above, and usually the growth part does not go as well as it should. One person ends up stuck. Another person ends up pushing, or struggling with their own need for freedom inside the boundaries of the relationship.
As the Grateful Dead said, "A man and a woman come together as strangers / When they part they're usually strangers still." Oh, it continues: "It's like a practical joke played on us by our Maker / Empty bottles that can't be filled."
We have all experienced this -- but why is it so? Could it be that we are strangers to ourselves? Well, speaking in my capacity as a member of Western society -- YES. We are very often strangers to ourselves. We are alienated from our own values. We do things we don't agree with and wonder why we're not happy. It's no wonder why we behave these bizarre ways -- all kinds of promises are made.
Then flip the whole thing upside down. Imagine you live fully in accord with your values, or you dive in and try to find out what is really important. You agree to this intense initiation. You embrace the unknown and you live authentically in your vulnerability. You stop intellectualizing and you speak from your heart. Then, people might call you scary. You might have this sense that all the nice guys or pretty girls are frightened off because you're so real and you don't play the game. You might notice that you have very limited tolerance for people who do play the game, or who live like life is a game and not a journey.
It is fair, very fair, to say that your primary relationship at this moment is with yourself. I did not say your only relationship, but your primary one. I'm borrowing a word here from the language of polyamory; at certain points in our lives, there are primary relationships and there are secondary ones. It's kind of like having a wife and a mistress. Your wife might be your primary partner; your mistress might be your secondary partner; you don't necessarily love one more, you just know the order in which things need to be addressed.
At the moment, your relationship to yourself needs to come first. We could be psychological and call this an identity crisis; we could be philosophical and relate it to existentialism. The simple fact of it is, your identity is in question. That could include any aspect of what you think of as identity, but really it is about much more: your orientation in the world. Knowing that your identity and self-orientation are in motion, that will inform how you relate within your intimate relationships. Mostly what you need to do is claim that space; the space to grow and to change, and not compromise yourself.
Anyone you consider to be a partner, a lover, a spouse or a friend, any type of intimate, needs to work with you in this process or step out of the way; and for them to work with you, you will need to do a combination of stating your needs clearly, and taking the space that you need regardless of how they feel about it. Be mindful that the result will be a change of anything that has the feeling of a 'status quo'.
The Dark and the Light
The combined effect of Chiron and Nessus in your sign is at times focusing on your most positive qualities and at others your most difficult; at times you will see your light and at others you will see your shadow vividly, perhaps more vividly than ever before. To the extent that you hide things from yourself, they will be revealed with the help of Pluto. It would be prudent of you to acknowledge this process to the people close to you, and to thank them for the space they give you. Say it out loud, something like, "There are things I don't know about myself that I am finding out. Once I figure out what they are I will tell you."
The effect of Pluto venturing into your 12th solar house will most surely put you into contact with qualities about yourself that you would rather not admit; that will frighten you; that you do not understand. In time you will learn to take these things in stride, but hopefully not too much in stride: you need to maintain the awareness of being a bold explorer.
Mixed in with all of this is the theme of sexual orientation. There is a concept that sexual orientation means either gay or straight, or a slightly less low-tech one that goes on a scale of 1 (straight) to 7 (gay). On this scale, most women are a 2 or 3 but admit to being about a 2. Most guys are a 2 but only admit to being a 1, but this is grossly oversimplified. The truth is that everyone has a completely unique sexual orientation. It involves who we have had sex with in the past, and who we want to have sex with; it involves emotional affinities and how they relate to our eroticism; it involves whether we tend to be dominant or submissive, or to switch around; it involves masturbation and how we feel about it; and it involves our fantasies when we're having sex with ourselves. For you in these years of your life, the fantasy piece is enormous, and it counts every bit as much as actual physical sex.
The problems with any authentic investigation of sexual orientation are guilt and fear. I am pretty sure the reason that the topic comes up so rarely among the allegedly strictly monogamous, heterosexual population is because if we admit to more than is allowed, guilt follows pretty quickly; and if we begin to question our identity moorings, we might fear how we're going to cling to our little place in society; we would surely fear how we're going to identify ourselves to those around us. Contrary to popular perception, the world has not yet evolved to the place where individuality is truly rewarded. However, wherever the world might be in its growth, you are where you are in your own.
Self Concept vs. Self
While you're in this process, which in truth is something of the Aquarian dream, it's a good time for us to make a distinction between self-concept and self. You have Aries in your 3rd solar house -- your ideas. This combines self (Aries) + ideas (3rd house) to give us the result, self-concept. In this house is a major conjunction, 1992 QB1 conjunct Eris. This is about experimenting with your self-concept. It is about exploring the idea of who you are, and looking through what may be utter chaos relating to your idea of who you are. But from that chaos will emerge something else, which is a creative idea of who you want to be.
Contrast this with Chiron and Nessus in Aquarius. This is not about a self-concept -- it is the way you actually exist, live and relate to the world. It's not what you want, it's what you get; not who you hope to be, but who you are as a result of all your actions, choices and experiences.
No discussion of Aquarius relationships would be complete without a look at where you fit into groups. Aquarius has this strange dual thing of being the most individualistic sign and also the sign of groups. The relationship is that any group is a collection of individuals.
We need to individuate, but that is a psychological process and in truth, a means to an end, and the end is a kind of sane group consciousness that we don't see or experience very often. In other words, we have substituted an "economy" for community; we have substituted supposed false individualism for community; we are still left thinking en-masse, generally, like robots.
The real work at this time in history is learning how to cooperate. Anything we do, touch, see, consume, use or experience requires a group effort, and that requires cooperation. We tend to take the commodities we use for granted, and we barely notice how much cooperation goes into them.
Energy must come from somewhere; we will always need the means of communication; we will need transportation; we will always need to trade, since I don't weave rugs or fix guitars. I can tell you from running organizations since I was a teenager that the skill we are lacking as a culture and as a species is voluntary, conscious cooperation. That is the theme of any relationship; even healthy competition is a form of cooperating, as anyone who appreciates or plays sports knows.
This same idea would apply in one-on-one relationships, which are often competitive systems that need to be recast as cooperative ones. While every question is out on the table, this is a good one to turn face-up and evaluate on its actual merits. What role do you actually want with the people around you, and why do you want it?
Two Creative Channels
Your professional activities this year need more than ever to focus on your creative passions. First, I have to state a personal value, which is that working out change and growth through creative process is productive and healthy. Indeed, you may be experiencing a kind of creative upheaval that seems to be associated with not knowing what you want to be when you grow up.
You are an Aquarian and you need a humanitarian career. You are human and you need work that nourishes you every day. You need to work both sides of this equation. If part of you feels good about lending your talents to the world, what about the part that needs to benefit directly from the efforts you project into the world? I mean this on a cellular level; you of all people cannot afford to do work that strips you of your humanity.
You may not have answers here, I know. I would suggest that you're going to find the truth of who you are in the midst of the deepest confusion you feel. This is not so unusual -- often it is confusion that leads to a breakthrough; it is often not knowing that leads to a sincere quest for the truth. Therefore, I suggest you choose to not fear the unknown, not fear any confusion, and not fear the truth of what you may find out.
When you dive into the mysteries and discover -- in a totally new way -- what these things are, you can truly say you are involved in a creative process. One thing you might want to know is that even if you find one thing that really works for you, inspires and provokes you, there is likely to be something else as well. Bear this in mind; your creative channel (along with your sexual channel) works in stereo. You may be a teacher by day and an inventor by night; your hobbies may be music and explosives; you may be a chef and a writer. Push these dual expressions as far as you can. Remember to work both aspects of who you are. They will feed and support one another.
If you ever feel stuck, switch sides of your mind; remember the other thing you love to do, because it will remind you of the other person who you are.
Money and Resources
Saturn, one of your ruling planets and one that is something of a universal career indicator, is currently moving through Virgo, your 8th solar house -- the house of investments, shared resources and collaborative efforts. This would be an excellent time to experiment with partnerships. The only thing about these is that you have to choose the people well, and choose the projects well.
They may not get off to a fast start, but that is not the point -- the point is to find out what works for you, and to establish a pattern for the future. The idea is to do things right rather than quickly. In any such projects, you may be the partner with the money, or you may be the person who goes out and finds it.
In any event (contrary to what you may think about yourself), you will play the lead role as the person with money smarts, and that means keeping track of timing, contracts and (removed serial comma) all other arrangements that qualify for boundaries. Be impeccable about money, even if people are not impeccable toward you; you have to set the example and hold the line.
One thing you need to know about your money angle is that, like you, your financial situation is not stable -- but that points to potential as much as to anything else. You will learn a lot, and potentially earn a lot, from experimenting. There may be some wild fluctuations in your economic status, but you need to be a good industrialist and keep trying; the goal is to stay in the game. But unlike a good industrialist you need to do so entirely in accord with your values.
The thing about your values is that they are daring and innovative. Don't, for example, kid yourself thinking that you're innovative because you drive a green SUV. That is not what it means to be green. You need to go through your life and find all those green gas guzzlers and trade them in for hybrids.
In sum, your money needs to go where your values are. You pretty much know what is important to you. You know what the world needs, and you know more than most people that you are a bona fide member of the world.
Chiron in your birth sign says that you are in a time of radical transition -- that is, of reaching down to the roots of who you are, and drawing your energy from there. This is a time of awakening after what may have felt like a gradual process of going to sleep. Recent changes in your relationship life seem to have left you disoriented and searching for yourself, and you now need to bring this energy into your new relationships. To the extent that your current relationships can change and grow, they will travel with you into the future. You need relationships that you can be in, and be uncertain of who you are. Remember that most people are seeking certainty, but by making it safe to feel uncertain, you will help everyone around you open the way to something else.