Threading the Needle

“honolulu sunset beach rolling waves coming home” by Lanvi Nguyen

INTELLIGENCE 2020 for Pisces

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Imagine how you would feel if you entered a room that you discover holds the archive of your entire life, with everything you’ve ever created, written, drawn, painted or recorded. Let’s visit the scene: a clean, expansive room, with fresh air; it’s well-lit but there is no obvious light source.

There is a couch with a reading lamp next to it, and a low table where you can place the things you’re reviewing. In case you’re a musician, there is an efficient, low-profile sound system, to play back recordings. If you are a visual artist, the walls are adorned with five or six of your very favorite pieces, with subtle, low-profile frames. Think of this as your personal file room in the Akashic Record.

Whether this exists in physical reality or not (and it can) it’s the feeling that I am getting at: the sense of calm completion; the sense of your life, and your inner life, being in order. What new art or writing would you be able to create? What would you have the confidence to do, if you were coming from the place of feeling like your efforts added up to something you could see and feel?

This is your point of arrival when Jupiter meets Saturn in Aquarius on Dec. 21, 2020. This takes place in the 12th sign from your own, also called the 12th solar house or whole-sign house: the inner realm.

The process I’m describing is the recovery of your inner space, something that in most respects no longer exists today. Our psychic lives have been gutted and turned inside out under this strange new influence. Every day, there is some new privacy breach, or we read about someone’s private life that has been blown into public space for everyone to gawk at.

We voluntarily project our lives onto “social” media platforms; many people cannot enjoy something so personal as a meal without advertising that they are about to eat it. This may seem innocent, but as far as I can tell, it is causing much of the insanity we’re witnessing in the world. If people seem unresponsive to logic, to reason and to facts, that’s related to the loss of inner ground.

Four centuries of gradually increasing literacy — focused on the printed book — tended to guide people inwardly. The digital realm has turned us and our society inside out. In a sense, the vast common turf of the internet has supplanted inner space; and roaming the internet has displaced introspection. Yet you are an introspective being. However outgoing you may be, you crave inner reference points, because they help you feel sane and grounded.

Your mission for the next two years or so is to find your way back: to re-colonize your interior reality. From the look of your astrology, you are determined to arrive, and to find a new depth of peace of mind, though there will be a process involved.

On Dec. 21, 2020, Jupiter and Saturn form a conjunction in the first degree of Aquarius, the portal to your 12th house, which we could look at as your inner dimension or a representation of inner space. This rare, momentous conjunction signifies both a conclusion and a beginning — a commencement on a new level of your existence. You will reach a point where the past is indeed behind you.

This is a journey through the public realm into the private. It may feel like crossing a mountain range, though if so, it’s one made of perceptions, projections and images; of social roles and of social institutions, all of which are in the process of being thrown into near-total upheaval.

A Physical Metaphor

I suggest you begin from your destination: a room of your own. Designate a space that you call your own, to which nobody else has access, or which you agree with others is respected. Depending on your personal lifestyle, this may be difficult or it may be easy. Yet you need a space you can retreat to where you are able to collect your thoughts. Even under ideal circumstances, this is not so easily done, owing mainly to our state of mind, and our constant expectation of intrusion.

As part of this process, do what you can to turn your attention inward every day. I can tell from your astrology the intensity of the outer demands on your time and energy. This makes the ability to turn inward all the more urgent. You have many options, from a meditation practice to a solo yoga practice (for this purpose, class will not do).

Depending on whether you’re currently prioritizing this or not, this may be frustrating at first, though you will get a sense of what you’re up against, from the standpoint of your mental state. The mind, however, can be trained; you can gradually designate a space, both physical and mental, that others do not disturb, though this may be contingent on agreements, and depends on you to leave your devices outside. Speaking of: it’s necessary that you regulate your interaction with the digital realm. It’s now clear that for many people, this is as challenging as quitting smoking.

Practice by leaving your phone in another room or in your car. Keep it far away from you when you sleep. Don’t use it for everything; go back to using an alarm clock to wake up, a kitchen timer to time your soft-boiled eggs or rice, and ordinary directions to find your way somewhere.

One thing you may find relaxing (though you’ve probably already discovered this) is to take care of plants. They exist in a slower timeframe than ours, and would be happy to have you as a friend.

The Completion of Chiron in Pisces

You have just come through an unusual, even extraordinary, phase of your life. Since 2010, Chiron has been in Pisces; as of this writing, Chiron is in the last degree of Pisces, and arrives in Aries to stay for eight years on Feb. 18.

It is likely that in this time, you’ve had many unprecedented experiences, which have taken you to a new depth of self-awareness. Chiron’s focusing power is unsurpassed by any planet or point. It is indeed a kind of master teacher of awareness. If you were born between 1960 and 1968, you also experienced your Chiron return, the most important of the midlife transits.

The effects of Chiron differ widely from person to person, though often there is a crisis, or maybe several of them; there are aches and pains and ills that need to be resolved; and there is the shock of waking up to what you may have missed previously.

Chiron is the perfect complement for the otherwise nebulous and boundless quality of Pisces. It’s a little like being granted the ability to focus your awareness in the midst of a fog or rainstorm. Said another way, it offers the potential to concentrate your thoughts and your energy. While there have been many inconvenient aspects to this transit, you have learned that something is possible, which may relate to your creative power, your perseverance, and your ability to know who you are.

You have also cultivated some power to focus and project who you are in a conscious way. It’s likely that this came as the result of an identity crisis of some kind, which compelled you to make some decisions, and to act on them.

Chiron in Pisces has given you considerable gifts, many of them hard-won. It will be up to you to preserve those gifts, and there are specific challenges involved.

Neptune in Pisces

Neptune has been in Pisces since around 2011 and will be in your sign until its transition into Aries, 2025-2026 — for the foreseeable future. Pisces is foggy and watery enough on its own; eminently realistic, practical Chiron provided some relief from that.

Neptune is adding water to the equation. It’s demanding that you take over the tasks of staying focused and grounded in reality. There is the possibility for extreme distortion under the influence of Neptune — a lack of self-awareness, the potential to push others past their limits, and a kind of infiltrating quality. Others may not want to be treated the way you think you should treat them. Others may not feel about you the way you think they do.

Your imagination cannot substitute for what is actually so, and therefore you must establish reality checkpoints that you connect with several times a day. Staying connected to your inner world — not the world of fantasy, but how you actually feel — can be one of those checkpoints.

It will help if you are sensitive to the influences that you have on others, though this is not easy. You will be able to tell from the extent of turbulence around you how others are responding to your energy. There will be times when you will need to match inner and outer adjustments to get the result that you want. If you find someone to be persistently disruptive or scattering, for example, it may be time for you both to move on.

You may seek, or need, to depend on others for some of your focusing power. That is OK as long as it’s by agreement. Keep your commitments clear, and review them frequently. If someone is in an assisting role in your life, stay in close enough contact that you have an idea where they are coming from.

While Pisces is already given to self-doubt, this is often compensated for by a kind of false assurance. Notice when you’re going there. Keep track of when your perceptions turn out to be right and when they turn out to be something else, checking against lived reality.

Be extremely cautious of the notion of sacrifice.

Neptune has the potential to be the most creative influence in astrology, as long as you guard against all of the “D” words associated with it: drink, drugs, delusion, dreaming, denial, dissolving, defensiveness and deception. They often come in groups, or all together. Then there is the issue of disappearing, which I’ve experienced the planetary symbol for Neptune to do many times. It’s vital that you keep your finger on the pulse of all of these.

Monitor your consumption of mind-altering substances, no matter what kind, and notice the patterns of when you use certain ones and when you don’t. When it comes to any substance that alters your mood or your thinking (whether prescription, or not, or a side effect), do everything you can to make conscious choices. Be aware of things you’ve said you’ve wanted to do many times but could not quite do. These are likely to be genuine, important intentions that you owe yourself to focus on and fulfill.

The antithesis to all of these properties is discipline, particularly emotional and mental, and the honoring of time and other boundaries.

Another antithesis to excess Neptune is directness. Learn how to state your needs and your desires without feeling guilty about doing so. People cannot read your mind, and to most, your emotional state is difficult to fathom. Learn how to gently report your inner weather to others who may need to know what’s going on with you. Whether they hear you is another matter. Make note of whether someone seems to, or not.

Neptune’s Boundary-Crossing Property

One last thought on Neptune, which is the most pervasive influence in your chart at the moment. Along with its many other properties, Neptune grants the ability to cross boundaries, penetrate and infiltrate. It can also make you susceptible to being infiltrated, or having your own boundaries crossed, or having others blow you off course.

Be mindful of this. Work with physical metaphors, such as ensuring that your doors latch and lock properly; that your personal paperwork is in order; and that you know how much money you have at all times. Know exactly who has key access to your home or your office.

In your sign, this might come through as a kind of shape-shifting ability, or ability to disappear, which you can use as camouflage — though if used for dishonest purposes, this can turn toxic. You can be sly and insinuate your way into situations (then you need the confidence to handle yourself) — though again, the onus of integrity is wholly on you, particularly with Nessus in the picture (see next section).

Be aware of these properties, as they grant you considerable power, and also the potential to get in trouble. You can envision who you want to be in a way that most people struggle with; and this same placement can just as easily make it difficult for you to tune in to who you are. You must keep waking yourself up, and consciously choosing to pay attention.

Nessus in Pisces

There is another “for the foreseeable future” influence in your sign, called Nessus. It’s a relatively new influence, having first arrived in the summer of 2014 — right at the peak of Chiron’s presence in your sign. You may have been so preoccupied with what Chiron was up to that the arrival of Nessus went unnoticed. There’s likely to have been a ramping up of intensity around that time, which is typical of a centaur arriving in one’s sign or rising sign.

In the most practical terms, Nessus has two main issues that it covers. One is the whole realm of victimization. This includes the various drama triangles: victim, perpetrator, rescuer; or the other one, victim, perpetrator, enabler. Right now much of society is in a colossal victim drama, dressed in the garb of a sex and gender war. From what I have observed, this drama (like most) is going on with little to no self-reflection, and many are getting dragged in.

While this is happening, there is plenty of unfairness to go around, and the only people who don’t let on that they’re noticing are the ones benefiting. There is plenty of deception as well.

Still, there are days when it seems like there’s a case of one-percent-itis going on: potentially anyone can feel like they’re accused of being the one percent. The antithesis to deception is not believing people, but rather, a little honest fact-verification.

Also, it’s easy to see that there is a projection phenomenon going on: people are projecting all over the place, and holding others to standards of perfection that they don’t hold themselves to.

Nessus in your sign is cautionary of all of this. When Nessus is with you, the buck stops with you. You might think of Nessus as a radical intervention for Neptune; step one is to take responsibility for yourself, and for your feelings, and for when you are projecting your feelings onto others.

Above all else, Nessus addresses the consequences of your actions, and encourages you to stay far away from the drama triangle. Here is an article on that topic.

Capricorn Stellium: Chaos in Society, Opportunity for You

Under the influence of digital, robotics and artificial intelligence, the world is straining for something real. It’s also in a state of turbulence and chaos, though you’re in a distinct position to make all of this work to your advantage. Yet to do this, it’s essential that you gain some direct understanding of the changes that are underway, and notice how you’ve been relating to them. The previously dependable structures and traditions of society are, for the most part, gone, though there will be pockets where they still exist.

You need tradition in your life, as a source of grounding. You need to relate to people in an old-school way, even if many others seem not to get it. What they think does not matter; you must be surrounded by people whose approach to life you can align with. You are, for example, unlikely to find much satisfaction from online dating, or apps such as Tinder. You need a more old-fashioned approach to connecting with others, and to courting of both friendships and romantic relationships. In times of rapid change like we’re living in, this can be difficult to sustain. Yet part of what you’re doing is contributing to the building of a future when the world is in more civilized and refined times.

You can not only make the current state of social chaos work for you — you must do so; this is true of existing in any environment, though you have a special point of contact to work with, which connects you to the changes and upheavals in society rather directly. The astrological metaphor is Capricorn on the 11th house, your social environment, the realm of informal leadership, and the financial rewards from your professional activities.

It’s this placement that gives you a formal cast in social situations, and a touch of apparent conservatism. You prefer things to be the way they are rather than to be thrust into a state of total change. You might like experimenting with new modes of relating and new environments, but when all is said and done, you prefer an environment that honors etiquette in some way. Humans all need this, though it works for you especially well, and is a kind of necessity.

Now, at the moment, all of that is being thrown to the four winds. People are putting their feet up on chairs in public spaces. It’s become acceptable to be rude in commercial interchanges. The customer is almost never right (and you would be well served to avoid all such places, whenever possible). These are just the crust level of society; the changes are coming from much deeper — as is your expectation that people honor the past in meaningful ways. You can lead the way here. In whatever you are doing, I suggest you honor a somewhat formal approach — old school keeps coming to mind. You don’t need to follow trends, and they won’t lead you to productive places. Rather, do what you know is right for you, and conduct your affairs in the way that you see fit.

As you do this, you will see some unusual openings for how you can advance your work, your profession, your business and your social environment. Take advantage of the fact that people are starved for stability by providing something stable for others, something that’s dependable and offers a refuge. You understand the changes our culture is going through better than most people, in part because you experience them the most directly.

In more direct ways, you will (if you are sensitive, and keep your creativity on) be able to observe certain necessities people are feeling that you can fulfill. These will probably be based on a simple idea — such as people get hungry and need someplace to eat (this led to the invention of the restaurant). What do you notice people are craving? What are you craving? Test your ideas out on a modest level, and then if they seem to work, scale them a little larger.

Activity here comes to a peak in early 2020, with the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto on Jan. 12. There is an opening in the culture that reveals itself, and there is a potential breakthrough for you, if you see the opportunity for how you can serve others in this unusual phase of history. There will, almost certainly, be a lot of activity in your life through the rest of 2019 and into 2020, as you work out a relationship with the wider community that surrounds you.

Work those relationships, and work with the people in them. Your opportunities all resemble some form of informal leadership — not the boss, but a socially alert person who connects people with one another.

Jupiter Square Neptune

The two planets associated with your sign — Jupiter, the traditional ruler, and Neptune, the modern one — are both working at full strength in your chart at the moment. Neptune is in Pisces, your 1st solar house or ascendant, and through the end of the year, Jupiter is in Sagittarius, your 10th house of accomplishment and responsibility. There’s something visionary about this, though it comes with the challenge of needing to constantly refer back to yourself to make sure you’re focusing your ideas. (In a slightly different way, this is influencing all of the other mutable signs — Gemini, Virgo and Sagittarius.)

Pisces, by its nature, can have some difficulty focusing its self-concept into something tangible. You do better than you think; inwardly, there often seems to be some lack of focus, though others experience this as a pleasant affability. Inwardly, you may feel like you’re grasping for substance.

If we add Neptune to the equation (which has been around since 2011, and which is in your sign for the foreseeable future), there are a number of possible effects. One is to project into the consciousness of others any image of who you want to be, as if you’re a living hologram. There will be other times when you feel like you don’t exist, in a way unusual even for one born under your sign. This might be the sensation of invisibility, of distance or of being misunderstood.

As I suggested 10 years ago when Chiron was entering your sign, you have arrived at that time in your journey when you must remember all that you learned from working with Chiron’s focusing ability and at times hyper-enhanced state of awareness. Chiron’s passage into Aries may give you some relief from the need to pack so much concentration into your self-awareness, though you now need all that you can get.

Neptune can offer an exalted and inspired feeling, though it has to be carefully regulated, and drawn back into the body. We live in times that are driven by fantasy and illusion, and it’s essential that you be able to function in a tangible version of the real world. All of the activity in Capricorn (Saturn, Pluto and others) is helping you do this, by focusing some vital social and professional role. Yet you may be feeling restless for something juicier that allows your imagination to be freer and more easily expressed.

At the same time, Jupiter, your traditional ruling planet, is making its way across Sagittarius, your 10th house, associated with recognition and achievement. This is an invitation to take on a bold vision for yourself, to see yourself doing something greater than you currently are. It’s essential to keep feeding and allowing just that kind of ambition to grow.

Yet for this to have a real effect, it’s essential that you make decisions, take action and document your moves toward fulfilling your goals. Sticking to the decisions you make is crucial, even if you don’t know exactly how you’re going to get from here to there. In any visioning and building process, there are mysterious points where you may have no notion of how you’re going to reach your goal, yet you must keep going if you want to get there. The way to proceed is in degrees; in steps that you can feel and trace, no matter how modest or small they may seem. Your direction of travel and the fact that you’re moving at all are more relevant than your velocity, or your proximity to your goal.

Jupiter and Neptune will be dancing around in a square aspect all year. This has a bit of an “oil and water don’t mix” feeling to it, though they do in different ways under different circumstances (vinegar and oil in salad dressing is one example — they blend for just long enough). What the two are doing is squeezing you into a state of continuous expression. Squares can indicate that something happens, though this one is unlikely to be particularly forceful (it’s more likely to be forgetful). The way to vote this square into existence is to keep expressing yourself, and keeping at least modest track of your results. Be sensitive to what appeals to you, as a vocation or as a result. Check back against old plans and see what you once started or intended to do, and may be waiting for development or completion.

If you have old portfolios of any kind, look them over, and see how that work looks to you today, years or decades on. Does it seem better and more imaginative than it was when you did it, or does it call out for improvement? Either way, you can work with it. Consider the essence of your ideas rather than the result you got at the time.

Be aware that the thing in formation is you, and that you have two primary expressions: your inner vision and experience of yourself, and a social one. The social aspect is more significant than it seems, as that is where the real work gets done. Late in the year, Jupiter will move from Sagittarius to Capricorn, joining many other planets in your 11th house (where you meet the world on mutually agreed terms). This development is encouraging your efforts now, which mainly means your need to focus, and to keep translating from concept to sketch to prototype.

Don’t worry if there does not seem to be a huge demand for what you make or what you do; part of what you’re doing now is experimenting with the “market,” and clearing out space for your niche. The greatest ideas of tomorrow were usually considered impossible, useless or undesirable today.

Whatever you may do, don’t fall for the feeling that “this is just a pipe dream” or the sensation that your bubble is bursting. Creating your life is not about hope, so there are no hopes that can be dashed (and avoid them if they show up). Rather, creating your life is about being able to see something in your mind, choosing to do something about it, and sticking to it long enough to get a result.

From the Outer Life to the Inner Life

One of the most interesting things I noticed the one time I went scuba diving is how many fish like to hang out inside of crevices in rocks, peeking out from their little abode. There is part of you that craves a private life, and silence, and retreat from the world. Yet in our inside-out times, that’s difficult to manifest. The prevailing state of mind does not support this way of being in the world.

Even so, this is the direction you are heading in the long run. You will be moving into inner territory — by way of an enhanced public life for a while. You may be more visible than you’ve ever been; you may be more involved in community activities than you’ve been for a long time. This may run contrary to what you want, though if you stick to it for a while, you’ll get to like it — and then around the time Jupiter and Saturn enter Aquarius, you will get to ease into the background and change your work and life pattern. Meanwhile, I suggest you get this territory warmed up.

Threading the Needle: Chiron in Your 2nd House

We began with Chiron exiting your sign. Let’s conclude with Chiron entering Aries, your 2nd solar house, or 2nd whole sign house if you have Pisces rising. The 2nd is your values and your personal resources; Aries is where you seek yourself — to develop yourself, and to actualize and express who you are. Of all the signs, yours has perhaps the very greatest need to stick to your truth and your values. Seen one way, you have no other choice. Seen another, when you digress from your values, you abandon yourself.

Chiron in Aries will draw you into this realm, deeply and immediately. You will have help protecting and in a sense enforcing your orientation on what is right and true for you. To the extent you have not lived in a way that honors your values and your ethics, you might encounter a crisis. This could happen on many different levels, though the obvious first possibility is a “Who am I really, and what do I believe?” kind of situation. These are questions to ask honestly.

While it may seem challenging to make decisions and guide yourself back on course, you don’t have to do it all at once; a little at a time will be workable, beginning with one or two solid decisions, followed up by some tangible action. In this world, being yourself is not a given. We are all conditioned not to be ourselves, despite the prevailing rhetoric and parental cheerleading that may be going on for any given generation. And if you want to be yourself, that will take some self-training, practice and courage.

You would be amazed — or perhaps not — how much of this involves being upright and focused with money; making money a healthy priority, and connecting it to your values. I don’t think I can say it any better than I did in the February horoscope for Pisces, so I will quote that below:

Among the developments of the next few weeks is your adopting a new approach to money. You have learned a lot the past several years about what works and what does not work. You’ve learned something about your worth, in the spiritual and the monetary sense of the word. Now it’s time to pull focus and use what you know. Cast off any seemingly spiritual notions that there is something inherently ‘bad’ about money.

The only thing that can be worthy or not are values, and it’s those you are being called upon to stick to. You know what is right for you; it’s time to use that knowledge. With Chiron entering your 2nd house of personal resources, the time has arrived when you must put all of your assets to work. At the same time, focus on eliminating everything that has outdone its use, everything that no longer serves you, and all that you don’t need. Clear your space of useless things; keep only the tools of your trade that you know you need. Close bank accounts and credit accounts that you’re not using.

Get an exact figure of how much cash you have on hand, how much debt, how much credit you have available, and how much is owed to you. The essence of Chiron in the 2nd house is knowing where you stand with yourself, particularly with the sign Aries involved. You are embarking on a courageous new adventure in discovering who you are, and the themes of money and values will be your best friends.

I know this is easier said than done. Chiron is patient; you have been patient. It’s time to pull focus, and get your show on the road.