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No Longer ‘Basic’ Instincts? 

click to enlarge A confused Christmas cactus blooming in May. - AMANDA PAINTER
  • Amanda Painter
  • A confused Christmas cactus blooming in May.

Do you know your instincts when you feel them? Sure, we’re talking about things like the urge to procreate; but there are also creative instincts—like being in a play rehearsal and moving a certain way without rationalizing the choice beforehand. Or sensing that what you’ve just painted needs a splash of blue, even though you had not intended to use that color initially.

Instinct is related to our biology; animals operate on the level of instinct when they mate and migrate and search for certain foods. It can get a little complicated to discuss instinct when it comes to humans. Intuition (a level of knowing that can be stimulated, intensified and enriched) is generally not described as quite the same thing as instinct, yet people often use the words interchangeably.

On top of that, humans often override instinctive and intuitive functions by using conscious, rational thinking or through cultural conditioning—whether it actually works better or not.

In fact, it would seem that the more engaged with and embedded in our digital technology we get, the more confusing the distinctions become. When you’re filtering all your social interactions and communication through texting, emailing and social media posts, you lose the body language and vocal cues that might normally inform you on those semi-conscious, instinctive, biologically primal levels. When you can’t smell the other person or smell and hear your shared environment (wind shifting the scent of food cooking; birds going silent), a level of understanding gets lost.

Those environmental and physical cues constitute a level of input that can help you interpret where you are in relationship to people, situations and your own desires. Without it, you depend more on the mental level of processing; you also have access to your emotional responses—though they may be more subject to projection onto others without the multi-layered input from in-person interaction.

If you’re a very ‘tuned in’ sort of person, your intuition can also help to guide you. But that biological, instinctual level may be harder to access and integrate with technological disconnect. How many times have you ignored the need to eat because you’ve been conditioned to put work ahead of physical instincts?

In turn, that’s layered on top of however many decades of cultural and religious indoctrination you’ve lived through, especially when it comes to instincts like sex. I’ll bet you can think of more reasons why you shouldn’t fuck compared to why you should.

It’s this juxtaposition that the current astrology seems to be highlighting. On one level, there’s an emphasis on the intellectual, the superficial and a devotion to the kind of rapidly shifting external expression we’ve become used to in the Internet age. This comes through the Sun, asteroid Vesta and Venus clustered together in early Gemini—an air sign often associated with quickly shifting thoughts and communication.

Yet we also have retrograde Mars finally making its way backward from Sagittarius into Scorpio on Friday, a few seconds before 11:00 am EDT. This brings Mars out of the realm of beliefs and plunges it into a space of something potentially steamier: your most fundamental desires and biological urges.

It’s an intense and inwardly focused space, plugged into ‘how you really feel’ and ‘what you really want’. Eric Francis has written a good deal at Planet Waves about the ways that guilt might surface when Mars gets into Scorpio. Any guilt shows you the points of tension you’re holding between ‘what you’re supposed to want’ (or not want) and what your instincts are actually compelling you toward.

How open are you to feeling your way through that? How willing are you to step away from the screen—no matter how tiny and convenient it is—so you can stop chattering away into empty, virtual space and instead step into the moments of stillness that will allow you to see, feel, smell taste and hear the stimuli that really get you going?

Yes, this will likely bring up some emotions for you. And you have a choice as to whether or not to feel them, how you process them, and how you let them influence your self-awareness and self-expression. A pair of minor planets in Pisces (Nessus and Pallas) are squaring the Gemini cluster. Can you use what you learn proactively, or will you let emotional reactions use you in the same unproductive patterns they often have?

Your opportunity here is to exercise your spiritual and creative muscles through your innate humanness. To do that, you have to reclaim your power beyond the dictates of social media. That is, you have to be willing to hear your biological instincts and emotional desires, and be willing to want what you want.

Three planets in ‘Gemini mode’ are calling your attention to the intellectual level, making you aware of the other side of every story. But Mercury, which rules Gemini, is still in Taurus: body-knowledge is still accessible, and it plays very well indeed with Mars in Scorpio. Feel it, and see where it takes your mind.

  • Do you know your instincts when you feel them?

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