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Tending the Flame and Stopping the Buck 

click to enlarge AMANDA PAINTER
  • Amanda Painter

What have you devoted your creative flame, your inner erotic essence (however that may express) to building? On the flip side, to what archaic systems and traditions have you sacrificed your life force?

As you look at the two sides of this coin consciously this weekend, notice specifically where you feel driven to stop the proverbial buck on the subtly insidious peer pressure that has, perhaps, turned you against your own desire and erotic energy. Especially think in terms of patterns with multi-generational roots, whether in your family group or some other community you belong to.

The astrology at play involves a couple of aspects that form an interesting interplay of themes. The Sun is conjunct Vesta in Capricorn (exact Sunday). In the sign next door, Mars and the asteroid Eros are conjunct centaur planet Nessus in late Aquarius (exact Saturday).

For some people, seemingly calcified social and familial pressures can feel impossible to transcend, re-shape, shatter or dissolve—particularly when they have been internalized. This is especially true for teenagers and young adults: everything is felt so intensely, but without the context acquired after a few more years (or decades) to individuate and heal. It takes time to grow beyond the social and familial restrictions of youth.

Take, for example, the suicide death of transgender teen Leelah Alcorn last week, for whom Change.org has collected nearly 300,000 signatures as of Tuesday on a petition to ban so-called conversion therapy for transgender people. Forced conversion therapy by her parents was one of the reasons Alcorn gave in her suicide note for taking her life.

Sadly, this is one illustration of this weekend’s astrology: collective awareness (the Sun) of someone who sacrificed herself (Vesta) to a seemingly entrenched system (Capricorn). At the same time, there is the will of one group who is taking action (Mars in Aquarius) to put a stop to the pattern of abuse perpetrated by another group (Nessus in Aquarius). From her limited perspective, Alcorn could not see her way out of her situation. Thankfully, if you are reading this and it is resonating for you on a personal level, you have an opportunity to find some perspective, and astrology may offer some tools to find your way through. There are many ways to "stop the buck" that do not require you to sacrifice yourself. Sometimes, however, time is required before you can see the solution clearly.

On Monday, after Mars conjoins Nessus and the Sun conjoins Vesta, Mars leaves Aquarius for Pisces. That is, the planet of will, desire, motivation, action (and sometimes violence) leaves the seemingly intractable sign of fixed air and splashes down in the creative, collective waters of mutable Pisces.

Pisces is often not thought of as a strong placement for Mars, since it tends to be very emotional; water is a challenging element for Mars to get some traction to use its fire productively. However, Mars immediately makes a square to Saturn in Sagittarius. Mars square Saturn brings to the forefront the need to equalize the “engine and the brakes,” as Isabel Hickey puts it.

Saturn lends a stabilizing factor, but it can feel frustrating if you’re getting impatient to bust on out into ‘the real world’ as ‘the real you’. It’s not a permanent situation (either the astrology, or the facet of life it represents for you) but it does ask you to do some reckoning with yourself. At a certain point, we each have to shift focus from the walls constructed by those around us, and begin dismantling the extensions of those walls (i.e., inhibitions) that have established themselves within us.

With Saturn in Sagittarius training your focus on the big picture, chances are you’ll be better able to feel the subtle influence of Mars’ companion as it leaves its conjunction to Nessus and enters Pisces: asteroid Eros. Sometimes you just need to know that love is with you to see past the walls and trust that you can get there.

Or, looking to the Sun conjunct Vesta again: tending the hearth within is a constant job, and best done within a safe container. If your family of origin (Capricorn) does not support that effort, try leaning on a tool represented by Aquarius: the Internet. There is community to be found around the world—a peer group that may be far-flung, but is filled with people who can offer perspective should you need it.

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