January 2019 Horoscope by Eric Francis

Photo and astrology art below by Lanvi Nguyen.

Aries (March 20-April 19) — This year you will meet Chiron. You might have at some point in the last four seasons, though most likely you were addressing some urgent material from the past that took up most of your energy. Yet in the sense of experiencing a particular kind of activation, and an unusual challenge that compelled you to grow, or threw you into some kind of crisis, what you experienced was pure Chiron. What you are learning is how to distinguish yourself from others. This is mostly an internal process. You begin by awakening to the degree that you allow your ideas about yourself and your existence to be determined and even dictated by others. The early stages of this — which you may well have experienced — may include the consequences of being different, such as you might stumble into accidentally, by stating your opinion. The place you will want to study is the point of resistance, where your will meets that of “some other force.” The “other force” you’re encountering is a combination of your past conditioning and the current movements in society that might reinforce it. So you might look at this as a clear case of you against the world, or vice versa. That is how Chiron can seem, at times, because it’s so closely associated with standing out and standing apart. There’s another way to experience this dynamic, which is internal: expressing your self as contrasted with your not-self. The quest — and the urgency — to be real exists entirely within you. It has nothing to do with all those other people.

Aries Afterthoughts


Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Taurus is considered the sign of stability, of etiquette, and of determination. You reach for impeccability, whether with the passion of an artistic master, or the steadfastness of an oak tree that drives its intention to exist deep into the ground, and into the sky. Yet few see what you go through to maintain this state of being. To say the least, it’s not easy. I would remind you of what Alice A. Bailey said of your sign in the well-known but little-read work Esoteric Astrology. She describes Taurus as the blacksmith shop of the soul. It’s dark and smoky, hot and loud. Down at the core is not the elegant Aphrodite but the limping Hephaestus, whose mother threw him off of Mount Olympus due to his apparent imperfection. Then, as the metalsmith of the gods, he made all the weapons of the Olympians. He served a profound purpose, though it was in no way glamorous, or related to appearances. It was born of practicality and of honor; his singular role emerged from the agony of abandonment and misunderstanding. With Uranus entering your birth sign for the next seven years, you are now in a new phase of fashioning yourself, and the tools of your consciousness. Keep in mind that this is not a delicate or pretty process. There’s no pageantry and no accolades, and few who will even notice the progress you’re making — so that must come from you. Remember: you are not only constructing tools. You are developing the skills to do so. You will need to be patient, and accommodate the potential for change every single day.


Gemini (May 20-June 21) — At this stage of your life, the focus of your growth is on your agreements. This includes the agreements you’ve already made, the ones you are about to make, and the legacy of those that existed in the distant past. You are also subject to the agreements that others make on your behalf, such as through various arrangements in marriage, business partnership and trusts. I suggest you develop your skill in contracts. Start by reading the ones you’re presented with, no matter how boring they may be. You might also read something in the genre of Contract Law for Dummies. Find someone in your life who has a knack for the topic, and work with a collaborator or two — someone who has no interest whatsoever in the outcome of the arrangement. That part is essential. Contract law is a cold art. There is one principle I suggest you hold above all others, which is knowing what is asked of you, and entering no agreement that you are not 100% confident you can fulfill. This applies to business arrangements, intimate situations and family business, with a special emphasis on the agreed time of delivery. And one other: every agreement you sign must have a reasonable exit clause. There will be times when, despite all of your precautions, you find yourself in over your head. And in those situations, you will need to be something of a ninja, keep your cool and make decisions. One thing to keep in mind is that this is all a group enterprise. You’re not in anything alone, though it’s also essential that you allow nobody to make your decisions for you. Hold people to the fire, especially where the facts and figures are concerned.


Cancer (June 21-July 22) — In order for your life not to seem like an ongoing confrontation, you will need to study your environment. Translated, that means learning how to see what everyone else misses, and how to see what’s invisible. This will give you many, many advantages over those who simply don’t pay attention. You’re willing to defend yourself and your brood when you have to, though this is not your preferred way of life. Therefore, you must know people and know yourself. Study the landscape, and get a sense of what strategy others are applying in their dealings with you. You must surround yourself with people you actually trust, which means understanding what trust is, in the strange verging-on-insane world in which we are living right now. Notice who demonstrates their fidelity to you, and stick with them — and return the favor. Your real project this year is not defensive; it’s about setting your mind on tangible, useful and necessary achievement. Chiron is about to enter Aries, and will be there for another eight years. That’s your 10th house, which is about leadership, responsibility, and the authority you wield in the world. After many years of studying this house, the concept that threads the needle is responsibility. More than anything, this means taking charge of your own affairs. That will become a habit and then a pattern, all the while serving as an example for those around you. In many ways, you were born to lead; you are a natural pioneer, and you have the ideas to back it up. Therefore, I’ll say it again: know people, and know yourself.


Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — You’ve been through many unusual changes in the past two years, mostly centered around eclipses of the Moon and particularly those of the Sun in your birth sign. The question now is of restoring some stability to your existence. The place to focus your efforts and your energy is the work and wellbeing angle of your chart, which means some form of enhanced work/life balance, or work/life integration. There are two approaches, though I would suggest that what you’re doing is all about integration rather than balance. For you, life and work are not distinct entities. Work is so integral to your existence that it’s essential for any notion of living well. This will mean, in the coming seasons, working at what you find to be the most meaningful, and making the most of each day as it passes. There’s a word tossed about lately, I believe improperly: that is sustainability. This is not an especially helpful concept, since nearly nothing qualifies at the moment. You would do better with the notion of resilience. This is a working principle that can be applied from moment to moment, rather than something that exists only in theory. It’s the ability to recover from the expenditure of energy; this implies having some reserves — of energy, of cash, of time, and of other resources. Leave yourself headroom, rather than pushing your efforts to 10 or 11. Prioritize, and master the art of collaboration, so that you can shift the nature of your responsibilities and your efforts to accommodate your energy level and other demands. Consider time your ally, and be bold about making the changes you need to make.


Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — There’s something within you that you urgently need to set free. This will inevitably call for you to let go of your concepts of what it means to be a proper adult, a well-behaved person or a responsible child. Those self-images and roles have come under some tension this year, as something else about you has been struggling to be born. You would serve yourself well to be a little less risk-averse. That means taking possession of your experiments; you will take your chances, or they will take you. The first thing to do is let your imagination run a little wild, and explore some of the possibilities. Then start bringing your body into the scene, and physically explore some of them: go somewhere unusual, do something you’ve never done, or have an encounter with a person you’re curious about, and take your time doing it. Every cell in your body is reaching for the child within you, who lives for how strange and interesting life is. As you do this, you will begin to shift your relationship to what you consider your responsibilities. You will recognize that you can let some of them go; others may seem to be taken from you — and it would be helpful if you gave them back from whence they issue, or delegate them to someone who likes them more than you do. One thing that the pressures of adult life do for you is to shield you from new experiences. This includes within your work, where you would benefit from boldly exploring aspects of your profession that you’ve never experienced before.


Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Over the next year, your primary job is to bring to a close every matter of your life that is ready to end. This end phase of what must conclude goes back a year, though certain matters have been on your agenda for up to a decade, and now is the time to write the final act. Part of what’s distracted you is your need for security; however, you may be in that situation where you’re struggling to make decisions, and that gets worse as the pressure builds. For this reason, I suggest you begin taking steps sooner rather than later. You may have a mistaken idea of what it means to make a decision, or what readiness is, and are likely to figure out that you were ready and decided long ago. You will not know that, however, until you actually move, which for you is the last stage of making a decision: to actually enter the territory, and then you recognize you complete your decision-making process by taking action. Said another way, taking action is how you finalize your decisions, and no amount of contemplation can get you there: only movement itself. Therefore, make a punch list of that which you know must end. That could mean personal arrangements, business arrangements, living arrangements, the storage unit: the things that influence your life every day and that you’ve said anywhere from 10 to 1000 times are done. Let them be done. Meditate on the phrase, “the end of the matter.” Write it on the wall, or tape it to your computer, and make it a way of life. Once you get started, you will want to keep going, and going, and going.


Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — You may think it will be impossible to get your head together; to have some peace of mind; to have one voice that you communicate in. Yet a little focus will go a long way, as will some flexibility. Your mind is a living creature, not a machine. You will develop what you cultivate, and if you want clarity, then you need a way to grow it. I propose writing as a daily discipline; and further, that your approach not be precious but rather practical. This is not about the beauty of your words or the precision of your expression, but rather about clearing clutter, and making room for your real ideas. Henry Miller said that to find one’s writing voice, it’s necessary to write a million words. For you, finding your voice means thinking clear thoughts, and knowing where you stand with yourself. Life is rather different when you can do these things; when you’re not squirming around trying to decide what you really think and feel. This is also a process of learning how to be more honest with yourself, at which you have a C+ average most of the time. Such honesty is about breaking through the clich├ęs of your own thoughts, and getting to the real material that’s beneath them. But you don’t know you’re down there till you actually arrive, and it can seem like a long, craggy slog for a while, until it’s not. From the look of your chart, it’s possible that being able to write is really, truly something you want to learn, like wanting to breathe. I would encourage you, and I would also remind you that for a while, moving words can feel like hauling rocks; and then you find that they are as portable as yoga blocks, and as soft and as colorful. Do the work. Do not stop. You will thank yourself.


Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Make careful use of your technology. Ensure you are the one using it as a creative tool, and that it is not using you. This is challenging, because we tend to become like the tools we use; our minds shape and form around them. It can be painful to take up your tools, because they are sensory devices, sending you feedback that can be overwhelming. So, too, can thought itself. We are now well into the age of delegating the making of decisions to technological processes (falsely called “artificial intelligence”). What our society does not see right now is that our technology exists on the level of a religion. That is the part of the brain and of consciousness they occupy. We accept that they are miracles and that the gospel is true. You must keep your conscience about you in the coming years. Above all, this means making your own choices, and knowing the moment you deflect the responsibility to do so. Normally I might say that you can trust your own goodness, but this time I’m going to suggest that you raise it to question. Subject your intentions to scrutiny. Make sure you differentiate the emotional level of your consciousness from your mental process. You are more easily subject to propaganda on the emotional level, where it’s easier to be persuaded and to persuade yourself. Therefore, the planets in their courses are calling upon you to be a master of doubt. And if that is true, your most effective tool will be your curiosity, because it will lead you to the place of true intelligence: the desire to know and understand.


Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — You may have the urge to run from your responsibilities. You might ask yourself how you would feel if you did; just say screw it all, I don’t need this crap. Who are you living for, anyway? And what are you living for? The chances are that you’re trying to maintain several agendas or sets of priorities at once, and you need to figure out which one is really yours and yours alone. Yet this will take courage of a special kind, because you’re so accustomed to doing everyone’s bidding, even to your own detriment. You’ve learned a lot in recent months about your true priorities, though you may have had a difficult experience of seeing what happens when you go against the grain of what you think is expected of you. That’s what this is all about, Grasshopper: expectations. That word deserves to have a disgusting feel in your mouth; I will skip the metaphor but invent your own — something you really, really don’t want in your mouth — and connect it to that word, and that concept. You will do better to sweep the deck clear of all of your preconceived ideas about life, and then add them back one at a time, and ask yourself, one by one, if this really matters to you; or if it has that gross feeling of being tethered to someone, something, or some other time — purely as a consequence of your own thought process. Nobody else can free you of these things, but they can try to heap a little more on you. At a certain point you will need to decide what’s more important: your freedom or thinking you’re perceived as perfect. It’s time to give yourself a break.


Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — You can trust that whatever just happened will never happen again. You’ve released an enormous amount of pressure that was clouding your whole environment, and bending your reality — and now you can get down to what you really need to do. That involves ongoing inner work, though few people have a sense of what that means. Here’s a clue: it’s not about rehashing the past, and it’s not about denying the past. And it’s too complex to sum up in a tweet or two. Yet history is very much a factor, by which I mean the history of your family going back many generations. It’s no easy task claiming back your life from what seemed to have an invisible grip on you. Yet you’ve had a good 10 years in the process, and now the pace of changes is accelerating. I suggest you make peace with one basic fact, which is that much of what you’re dealing with is not really about you. You’re still responsible for it on some level, because it’s been passed down to you as some kind of inheritance, like an old house you’re not sure you want but suddenly you’re paying taxes on it and you have to fix the roof and all of that. There’s a plus side to all of this, which is you have material to work with, if only you will take a creative approach to the questions you face. Yet now, that facing will be inward, not into your thoughts or into your feelings, but directly at the cosmos from which you emerged, as strange and as turbulent as it may be. Borrowing a line from the eternal professor, Bob Dylan: “I have a brother or two and a whole lot of karma to burn… Isis and the Moon shine on me.”


Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — You’ve been through the great initiation known as Chiron in Pisces. Well, technically, it ends the day the Sun enters your sign on Feb. 18. The time remaining presents you with a brief opportunity to look back and consider how far you’ve come since April 20, 2010. While you’re doing that, make a list of everything you need to complete, which will probably mean closure with certain individuals, specific creative projects, and matters of healing that date back to around the beginning of the transit. The growth process you were taken through involved the clarification of your emotional body. Depending on what day it was, this might have had the feeling of dropping a hook down the drain and dragging out all the weird gunk that was down there. Other days, you might have felt like you were pumping water out of a well, waiting for it to finally come through clear and cold. And at other times you were standing in front of an ocean, knowing that in truth it’s not the only thing in the world you actually respect — it just feels that way. With Chiron moving on to Aries, you’re on your own, in your relationship to your intuition and your creativity. You will need to be discerning, focus your mind, and know the difference between your prejudice and what you truly perceive. You will need to split the difference between instinct and fear. You will need to know when you can trust yourself and when you must pause and get additional data. These are tools that will help you on the way to aspiring to greater experiences and accomplishments than what you’ve known, though all depend — and depend entirely — on exercising your capacity to be honest with yourself.