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Taking a Look Under Your Hood 

click to enlarge In this photo from July 1, Venus and Jupiter can be seen together in the evening sky; currently they are visible just before dawn. - AMANDA PAINTER
  • Amanda Painter
  • In this photo from July 1, Venus and Jupiter can be seen together in the evening sky; currently they are visible just before dawn.

Are you ready to look under the hood? As in, under the hood of your relationships, under the hood of your beliefs, under the hood of some of your more self-critical thoughts and undermining emotions—perhaps even under the hood of something that has been developing in the background for months?

If you’re not a mechanic, it makes sense to be intimidated by the prospect of poking around the inner workings of your car. But here’s the thing about looking below the surface of yourself and your relationships: you don’t need any special training to know what feels good and what does not; you don’t have to go to a technical school to know what is working or not—though the questions of "why" and how to "fix" things might call for some research or assistance.

True, there are languages and systems of symbols and techniques that you can study (such as psychology or astrology, or particular modalities of therapy and spiritual healing) that can help you to make sense of it all and make changes. But simply knowing your own heart or mind? That understanding is open to anyone who is willing to look at it. The problem is how many people are not willing to look under the metaphorical hood of themselves.

So, then: what’s in the astrology to bring up this metaphor? Several things, actually.

First on the list is Mercury in Libra making a square to Pluto in Capricorn (exact today at 5:22 pm EDT). On the one hand, this aspect can lead to an obsession with certain ideas, fanaticism and compulsive thinking, as well as trying to coerce others to your point of view.

On the other hand (according to astrologer Robert Hand, in fact), this is a great time to dive into studies about the hidden or covert facets of people. That includes the parts of yourself that tend to seem hidden from your understanding. What happens if you bring some directed introspection to how the structure (Capricorn) of your relationships (Libra) affects how you think (Mercury) about who you are in those relationships? Is there a change (Pluto) you’ve been edging closer to making in that realm?

And don’t let Pluto and the “C” word (change) freak you out. It just so happens that Venus in Virgo is playing footsie with Pluto in a nice, easy trine that may intensify sexual desire and emotional expression. Solo or with a partner, consider taking your look under the hood while under the sheets—or while playing in your art studio.

Next in the "looking under your hood" astrology is the Sun’s ingress into Scorpio Friday at 1:47 pm EDT. As I’m sure you know, Scorpio is generally described by things we keep in the dark or behind closed doors: sex, death and money.

Secrets are stereotypically a Scorpio thing. And traditionally the weeks when the Sun is in Scorpio are a time when the veil between this world and the spirit realm is said to be thinnest. This sign also relates to intense emotional transformation, including the transmutation of toxins, occurring well below the surface of personality.

When the Sun enters Scorpio tomorrow, it makes an exact trine (aspect of harmony) to centaur planet Nessus in Pisces. One way to read this is as an opportunity to ‘stop the buck’ on any toxic emotional habits you might notice in yourself. It’s possible to be accountable to yourself for emotional tendencies you’re not proud of.

No need to get bogged down in shame or guilt; we all have shadow material here in the often—confusing spaces where sex and emotions intertwine. But if you feel the light of the Sun touching one of these spots in your awareness, see if you can come to an understanding with yourself about where it comes from and your desire not to repeat it—enlist the help of a trusted friend or therapist if needed.

Bonus astrology: Venus makes its third of this year’s conjunctions to Jupiter on Sunday (in Virgo). The overall vibe is one of optimism, good fortune, and the development of something you got going around July 1, and reassessed around Aug. 4.

Whether that something has to do with love, money, reclaiming your creative expression or your self-esteem (or all of the above), only you can say. Other astrology on Sunday says to expect the unexpected as you look under that hood —but then, doesn’t that always happen when you take your car to the mechanic? Just keep your spirit of adventure, and trust how you feel.

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