Is it just me, or is everybody a little bit, well, sensitive, lately? And I’m not talking about the bristly, bitchy, or “how dare you!” kind of sensitive. Nope, more like the weepy, woeful, tear my heart out of my chest variety.
Actually, I know it’s not just me—though I’ve certainly been surfing the emotion ocean like never before in 2013. Friends and reading clients have reported nonstop waterworks since late summer. With my keep-it-together Capricorn ascendant, and a cluster of private Scorpio planets (moon, Mercury, Mars and Venus…I know, I know) I’m not usually big on PDE—Public Displays of Emotion. But I’ve wept openly this fall, sobbed on the streets, fallen to my knees and cried in front of friends and strangers alike. And I have no shame about it, which is the weirdest thing.
Naturally, as an astrologer, any new waves of development in my life always get me thinking about what’s going on in the stars—and 2013 boasts an unusually high number of planets in water signs. All year, taskmaster Saturn has been in Scorpio, shadow-dancer Neptune in Pisces; and since June 26, expansive Jupiter has been in Cancer, a touchy sign if ever there were. (More on that a little further down the page.) In fact, on July 29, there was a rare planetary alignment called The Saving Grace, where seven planets converged into a six-pointed star called a Grand Sextile—all in yin/feminine water and earth signs. The Saving Grace is believed to open a portal into the Divine Feminine, calling all of us—men and women—to get more in touch with our hearts. (You can read more on the Grand Sextile here.) The eclipses of 2013 have primarily been on the Scorpio/Taurus axis, and the year’s three Mercury retrograde cycles have happened in Pisces, Cancer and Scorpio—the three water signs.
Well, it makes sense that I’ve been so teary this year. And yes, life’s circumstances do figure in here…but my way of responding has been completely different than my standard M.O. Since the crying began in August, I haven’t chosen to just bury myself in my work or distract myself by “looking on the bright side.” Instead I’ve looked despair in the eye and asked what its message was; I’m allowing it to wash through me like salty seawater at high tide. It feels like a deep, soulful grieving that’s been locked inside me for decades. Though I’m incredibly raw right now, this also feels like a return to my essence as a being of nature—not a techbot who (even as I write this) is hopelessly connected to her computer as if it were a robotic appendage.
Related: Pluto-Uranus Squares: Why Your Life Keeps Changing Without Notice
As much as we humans want to convince ourselves that we have our hands on the control panel of the universe, that line of thinking is a cosmic joke. Nature always comes along and knocks us down to size. Human intellect and science have reached mind-blowing levels of invention; yet along comes a tsunami or a twister or another natural disaster and we are on our knees. I’m as chained to my iPhone as the next tech zombie and I do believe I’ve allowed it to stultify my connection to my heart. When a negative thought comes up, I haven’t made a practice of pausing, picking it apart, and gleaning the lesson. Instead, I tap into the many distractions of the modern world. “Wow, it really hurts that my friend betrayed me like that..wait, let me see what my sister posted on Instagram.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking social media. In many ways, I think it’s quite healing as it allows us to quickly access our “tend and befriend” instinct, which is particularly supportive for women dealing with stress. But I can see how I’ve tried to thumbtype my way around my own shadow instead of truly dealing with it.
The water sign planets of 2013 are reminding us that we’re not build like The Wizard Of Oz’s Tin Man, devoid of heart. As planets will linger in the H2O zone well into 2014 (and beyond), here are my brewing thoughts on how we can glean their astrological lessons and crack open our hearts:
Jupiter in Cancer: June 26, 2013 – July 17, 2014
Jovial, joie-de-vivre loving Jupiter is “exalted” in Cancer, meaning that this is its most powerful position. So why isn’t everyone walking around with an ear-to-ear grin? Whatever Jupiter touches, it expands; it shows us where we need to take more risks, learn epic lessons, and dose ourselves in Miracle Gro. Apparently, that would be in the emotional department this year. It makes sense, as Cancer is the mother-goddess sign of the zodiac, the soulful nurturer but also the most fearful sign when it comes to exposing vulnerability. (Just picture the soft underbelly of the crab tucked into that hardened shell.)
From my vantage point, Jupiter’s tour through Cancer is here to blow the lid off of our defenses, forcing us to expose our so-called weaknesses and see that there is great strength in owning our feelings. Time to raise our collective EQ, so that our emotional intelligence matches our cranial might. Science has proven that our feelings can literally impact our bodies. Worry and anxiety—over anything from a brewing breakup to rumors of a company downsizing to being a few minutes late to pick the kids up from daycare—can flood our bodies with stress hormones like cortisol and norepinephrine, wreaking havoc on our adrenal glands. The fluttery prospect of new romance doses us with feel-good serotonin; sex can awaken the reptilian brain, allowing us to shut off logical thinking. Our bodies read emotional signals and respond, even if we aren’t aware that it’s happening.
While I love a good positive affirmation and gratitude exercise, we can’t skip over the tough stuff in 2013. Facing the facts about what hurts us, what doesn’t work for us, where we are most tender is also an essential part of the game. Jupiter in Cancer flips the Law Of Attraction formula on its head. Instead of simply making another vision board and screening out everything else, the new equation looks like this: 1. Feel (everything); 2. Deal (with expert support if it gets too cloudy); 3. Heal (now it’s time for that vision board).
Think of it this way: you wouldn’t paint The Mona Lisa on a piece of hotel salvage art. A clean canvas comes first, and it might be that flood of tears or fit of rage that gets you back to zero—a place of reset where you can truly create magic.
Saturn in Scorpio: October 6, 2012 – September 15, 2015
Saturn is the personal trainer planet of the zodiac, that ass-kicking drill sergeant who forces us to lift heavy weights, do extra reps and break down our muscles so we can repair, rebuild and come back stronger than ever. Since October 6, 2012, Saturn has been in Scorpio, the sign that rules sex, power, and transformation. Lessons about lust? Yeah, they’ve been coming at us hard now. This year, I’ve talked to more clients about open relationships and secret affairs than ever before—and I’ve been more, er, flexible in my thinking around human sexuality as well. There’s some sort of sexual liberation going on, but with dark overlord Saturn in the mix, it’s a bit like being tempted by something surreptitious and then tumbling down a rabbit hole in order to get the grand prize.
In our culture of cleavage-baring collegiate selfies, penis-snapping political scandals, and Jersey Shore “smush rooms,” the zeitgeist has little sanctity for sex. It’s just a “hook up,” a thing you do and move on from, whatever…Oh, wait, and then you obsess over it for months, read between the lines, and try to justify a fling by attempting to turn it into a real thing. I know—I’m your trusty astrologer after all, and I hear and keep all of your secrets. (I’m not judging!)
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not preaching against casual sex here. But I am taking notes from Saturn in Scorpio, which I am starting to see is here to teach us to treat the carnal act with the reverence it deserves. After all, sex is the ultimate act of creation; it’s where life springs from, not simply a “slip Tab A into Slot B…aww, yeah, baby” tango. Sex has the same effect on the male brain as cocaine, according to this fascinating Men’s Health article: http://www.menshealth.com/mhlists/understanding_sex_and_the_brain/
Interesting factoid: the last time Saturn toured Scorpio was the early 80s when the AIDS epidemic first broke out and discussing safe sex became de rigeur in high schools and colleges.
Sex can make us crazy; it can evoke crimes of passion. It can also bring the deepest form of bonding known to man and bring a beautiful baby to miraculous new life. Sanctified sexuality may be the recipe Saturn in Scorpio is bringing.
From my vantage point as a striving-to-be-liberated (four planets in Scorpio) woman, this doesn’t look like abstinence or finger-wagging morality. But honoring the power that The Act holds, being nakedly honest about needs instead of secretive or sneaky (the shadow side of Scorpio)? That feels right to me. Here’s to sexual freedom of the enlightened variety—we’ll see what the next two years bring.
Neptune in Pisces: 2012-2025
Neptune is a slow-moving planet, hanging out in a sign for an average spell of fifteen years. In February 2012, Neptune reunited with its native sign of Pisces, doubling the strength of its lessons. In ancient lore, Neptune is the god of the seas—and the emotion ocean has definitely been swirling with activity since then.
I think of Neptune as a planet that rules both angels and demons. It can lift us to the highest of highs, illuminating those soulful, spiritual lessons that flip on the lights in our consciousness. But as the foggy planet of dreams and illusions, it can also plunge us into dark fantasies, deception, and the most base of activities. This polarity is necessary: without darkness there can be no light, and vice versa. That’s another reason why we can’t sweep our “negative” feelings into a positive platitude anymore. That Feel, Deal & Heal formula is also one that Neptune in Pisces stands behind, right along with Jupiter (which happens to be the co-ruler of Pisces).
One of the core lessons of Neptune in Pisces is learning to surrender; however, letting go might drop us right into our shadow selves. Ouch! Who knew we were capable of going to such lows? Learning to set healthy boundaries is the other big lesson Neptune in Pisces brings. Through our struggles, we can learn where our personal limits lie. It’s not an easy teaching, that’s for certain. But learning how to dance with our shadows allows us to flow with the cosmic current of life.
I know that someone just sent you a Facebook friend request while you were reading this. Maybe you’ll get lost in the digital vortex. Or, maybe you’ll pick up your journal and hear what your inner voice has to say about all this. I believe that all wisdom and knowledge exists within us, if only we’d pause and listen…or just write it out and let our hands work for our brains. I’m preaching to myself here too…it’s definitely a practice, not something many (if any) will ever master.
In the meanwhile, here’s a tissue for your issue…go ahead and sob it out. I might just pass you on the street, crying a few tears myself.