Tag Archives: Love & Relationships

Weekly Forecast January 14: Venus Conjunct Pluto, Sun Enters Aquarius

Frosty Fingers of Saturn. © Pat Paquette, 2013.

Frosty Fingers of Saturn. © Pat Paquette, 2013.

There was a noticeable shift at the New Moon on Friday. A lot of ickiness dissipated, leaving emptiness in its wake. But nature abhors a vacuum.

I’ve been working purposefully to draw what I want into that space, and I hope you are, too. If you’re following RealAstrologers on Facebook, you saw that I posted a reminder to write your New Moon abundance checks – which I unfortunately neglected to mention in last week’s post. Things are piling up here, too, and sometimes I feel like I need two of me to keep track of everything. On second thought, make that three – two to get it all done while “one of me” takes a vacation on a sunny beach sipping drinks with little umbrellas in them.

I did mention last week that I was about to put the StarGuide Winter 2013 forecast on sale, which I did mid-week. One of the features of this report is my interpretation of each New Moon and Full Moon of the season – where it falls in your chart and what types of activities are favored for you. So, for example, if this recent New Moon fell in your second, tenth, or sixth house, you’ve got the wind at your back to ask for a raise, find a new job, or improve your working conditions. Because we’re in an astrological period suggesting overall belt-tightening, improvements could come through cutting out things you really don’t need or finding cheaper alternatives. Working with the cycles of the Moon is an age-old technique, once considered “magic.” Now, we view it as simply a way to work with available energies, much as you’d work with weather conditions to plant, nurture, and harvest crops.

Of course, we also work with larger planetary cycles, both individually and collectively. If you watched my 2013 video, you know about two very big cycles coming up this year: the grand water trine with Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune, and the Uranus-Pluto square. I just love what Ray Merriman had to say about them in his forecast for this week:

…[I]t won’t hurt for our leaders to choose a path that believes in miracles as opposed to grievances. It will hurt if leaders give up the role of being kind and compassionate. It’s a choice astrologically between the Jupiter-Neptune-Saturn grand trine, and the Uranus-Jupiter-Pluto T-square, with Mars making it a grand square [in 2014]. One is compassion and working together, while the other is war and divisiveness. The leaders have a choice to make.

Everything he writes about our leaders is true for us individually as well. You’ll have a choice between working to release blocks, however painful and disorienting that process might be, or blaming everyone else for the world’s problems, thus allowing yourself to stay stuck. One common situation where we see this dynamic is within relationships. It’s always the other person who needs to grow, get enlightened, or whatever. Taking responsibility for ourselves is an important underlying theme in the mutual reception between Pluto in Capricorn and Saturn in Scorpio. Those who tend to take more responsibility than they own – and there are more than a few of you – will need to work in the reverse, releasing whatever it is in your energy field that keeps you bogged down with problems that aren’t yours.

We’ll get several opportunities in the coming week to visit these issues, with Venus aspecting Chiron, Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn from Monday through Thursday (Jupiter squares Chiron on Tuesday). Are you clear about what you want? When what you want involves an exchange with another person, are you clear up front, or do you find clever ways to manipulate the other person to give it to you? Sometimes you need to say “no” to requests from others, and sometimes they need to say “no” to you. Underhanded manipulation robs others of their choice. This may be appropriate in certain professional circumstances, but it can kill trust in an intimate relationship, and when trust is gone, the foundation crumbles. Even in casual friendships or in a work environment, withholding information that would allow others the right to choose how they want to interact with you is a subtle but serious form of disrespect. I understand that it takes a lot of courage to open up and speak your heart, and it does leave you open to the pain of rejection. The reward is that you when you make a connection based on truth and honesty, it’s stronger and far more gratifying.

I’m sure you can think of a gazillion variations on this theme, and it’s likely you’ll find yourself in one or more of them this week that will require you to make a choice. If you act with courage and conviction, then a payoff late in the week could be very sweet.

On Friday, the Sun conjoins Mercury at 28 degrees Capricorn, and then they both enter Aquarius on Saturday, marking a radical shift. Mars has been Aquarius since Christmas Day, in mutual reception with Uranus in Aries. If you don’t feel the buzz over the weekend, I’ll eat my bootleg yoga pants (too cold for shorts). Whereas Capricorn represents hyper-responsibility, Aquarius is the ultimate commitment-phobe who hates anything that even remotely smells like obligation. That’s why it’s known as the sign of the future, of thinking out of the box, walking to the beat of a different drummer. It can all be a bit much for those who need stability and familiarity, but with that kind of thinking, we’d have never put a man on the Moon – space travel being one of the activities associated with Uranus, the modern ruler of Aquarius.

Spend this week tending to practical concerns, especially anything to do with your financial bottom line or your closest relationships, because the following week is going to be wide open, with “anything goes” and “goddess only knows what.”

Sunday, incidentally, also is officially Inauguration Day in the United States, although the formal celebration will take place on Monday, January 21. The stage is set for change, and we can help it along by making sure our actions – and interactions – are consistent with the type of world we want to create.

Wishing you much love and courage,
Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

Libra-Aries, Part IIThere Must Be Higher Love…

© Olga Fesko for Dreamstime.com

As the Soul travels deeper on its journey through the zodiac, the higher octaves of the signs become ever more esoteric, mysterious and difficult for us to comprehend with our limited intellect.

Reason, the highest property of the intellect, is what guides purposive thought. Purposes, however, are limited, and therefore reason can operate only in what is limited. Wisdom alone can accept and intuitively realize the unlimited, the timeless and the infinite, by renouncing explanations and by recognizing the mystery, which can only be felt, experienced, and finally realized in life – and which can never be defined.
~ Lama Anagarika Govinda1

To discern the higher octaves of the signs, we need to go beyond the limitations of our intellect and enter the realm of intuition which, in itself, is part of our evolutionary journey. The higher octave of Libra brings us higher knowledge of the interrelatedness of all things. Whereas the initial impulse for existence begins with Libra’s polar opposite Aries – who declares, “I exist!” – the higher octave of Libra acknowledges that all existence is dependent upon relationship. Things exist in relation to other things. You exist because I exist. I exist because you exist.

That the whole of existence is dependent upon relationship is key to the deeper mysteries of Libra. Once we reach our highest iteration, our highest evolved state, we will reach for the next. There will always be a higher octave. There is no end goal. Once we have transcended all traces of our personality vibration and are resonating with our Soul vibration, there will be another higher octave that our expanded consciousness will aspire to at the hierarchical and cosmic levels.

We can relate to octaves through the musical scale: do, ray, me, fah, so, la, tee, do. This is one octave. Once we reach the highest note in this octave, we can move to the next. There is no end to the potential octaves. The only limitation is human capacity and perception. For example when we strike a single note on a bell, the sound appears to fade away. Where does it go? In fact the sound wave continues without end. It only appears to us to end because the sound wave has traveled beyond the range of human perception.

It is possible to expand our perception, as mystics have done in times gone by, until we can hear the “music of the spheres.” This is one of the mysteries of Libra: The precise relationship between notes within octaves, between octaves themselves, and our capacity to perceive them, all come under the law of “right relations.”

Librans often have the feeling of being caught between worlds. With such deep esoteric knowledge at their fingertips, they can feel like they are neither here nor there, with one foot on Earth and the other in Heaven. Now wonder the Libra personality has a reputation for being indecisive! But this is not a case of choosing between camps. Rather, it is exactly where Libra is supposed to be – bridging the gap between Heaven and Earth by spanning the Universe.

Before Libra can reach her highest octaves, however, she first has to transcend the Libra personality. To do this, she needs the self-orientation, courage, intuition and energy of her polar opposite, Aries. Ironically, Libra, you have to take your attention off others, and focus more on your Self to restore balance!

There isn’t just “other” in relationship; there is you, too. The only way you can access your innate esoteric knowledge and even begin to touch upon understanding the laws of harmonics is through your own inner journey, which opens the gateway to your intuitive Self. It is through knowing yourself that you truly come to know others. It is through healing your own system that you come to understand healing of all systems.

One of my mentors, a true Libra Soul, has a working definition for healing that could only (in my opinion) come from someone who understands the higher octaves of Libra:

Healing is the balancing of a system – whether it be a human body,
a family, a corporation, or a country. ~
Anya Sophia Mann

For a case-study of Libra soul-light expressing itself through (in this case) a Cancer/Aries personality, you may like to visit her website and take a few moments to read two or three of her blog posts. Notice in particular how the Libra themes of beauty, harmony, love of music, and a powerful desire to balance the human system through compassion and right relations shine out as a common thread throughout her work.

Love is a higher thought about somebody. ~Anya Sophia Mann

If you have Libra Rising (Ascendant), it is your challenge in this lifetime to access the highest octave of Libra energy that you possibly can and express this through the talents of your two personality signs2 (Sun and Moon) for the purpose of healing (balancing) systems.

So, Libra, will you overcome your fears and undertake the inner journey to your Self? Will you elevate your relationship dynamics and travel among the stars on heart-waves of Higher Love, until you resonate with the Music of The Spheres? As Steve Winwood reminds us, the answer lies deep in your heart and hidden in the stars above… 3




  1. Creative Meditation and Multi-Dimensional Consciousness, by Lama Anagarika Govinda. Quest Books, Illinois.
  2. This doesn’t only apply to Libra; the challenge for us all is to tap into the highest octave of our Soul Sign and express it through our personality signs. For a simple overview on using Soul Astrology in this way, read my article “How To Use Soul Astrology As A Tool for Personal And Spiritual Development.”
  3. Lyrics from the song “Higher Love,” by Steve Winwood.


Ruth Hadikin, Soul Astrologer

Ruth Hadikin – Soul Astrologer

To get your personal Soul Sign/Life Purpose Report (FREE with a consultation), contact Ruth via her website. You can also request a FREE mp3 download, “The Energetics of Soul Astrology.”

True Love, the Complete Compatibility Report

© Yuri Arcurs for Dreamstime.com

This Mercury retrograde period is allowing me to slow down and catch up on some unfinished work on my website.

First on my list was writing a sample for my new romantic compatibility report, True Love. It took me a while to find a good celebrity couple – we’ve all had enough of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. After some research, I decided on Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis, who truly are soul mates.

As with all of my new reports, True Love includes a brief, information-packed analysis by me, a custom chart, and several pages of computer-generated aspects. To my knowledge, there is nothing like this report anywhere else. You can find computer-generated compatibility reports on the Internet, of course – some of them are even free – but you don’t get the personal look by a professional astrologer to tie it all together. The other option is a personal reading, which costs far more and may not be in writing, which many of you prefer. I’m offering True Love at just $49.

Karmic connections are what almost everyone wants to know about these days, and you usually don’t find this information in computer-generated reports. Identifying karmic ties is one of my specialties. If this is your particular interest, you can let me know, and I’ll focus on that angle of your relationship. Here is an excerpt from my sample for Johnny and Vanessa:

Johnny, you and Vanessa clearly have a strong karmic connection and an unbreakable bond. There is no doubt in my mind that you are soul mates and that your relationship exists in other dimensions of time and space (commonly referred to as “past lives”).

The thing that immediately jumps out at me in your synastry chart is your double Moon-North Node conjunction; that is, your Moon is within a few degrees of Vanessa’s North Node in Capricorn, and her Moon is near your North Node in Cancer. This explains why, when you met, you felt instant recognition and a sense of knowing that this was The One.

If you’d like to know more about this interesting (not to mention gorgeous) couple, check out my sample report. The computer-generated part of the report is written by Gina Ronco and is one of the best compatibility reports out there. It’s unique in that it includes both your synastry and composite aspects.

I’m also offering a compatibility report for relationships that aren’t romantic. I’ll have that sample up in the next day or two, so check back, if that’s something you’re interested in. In addition, I’m tweaking the StarGuide report format to allow more space for my comments on where the New and Full Moon and current transits fall in your chart – “tweaking” being a good activity to do while Mercury is retrograde. I have a couple of other surprises in store, too.

I have noted that not everyone is experiencing the positive potentials in this Mercury retrograde period, especially given the transit of Mars over the T-square and eclipse degrees of the past two years. I don’t know about you, but I have that “life flashing before my eyes” feeling … and yet, it’s not entirely bad. Our lives really have changed, which is becoming more apparent as Mars moves through these critical degrees.

I’ll give you more of my thoughts on this in the upcoming weekly forecast.

In the meantime, wishing you much love and courage,
Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

Weekly Forecast May 23: Venus Conjunct Mars

© EJWhite for Dreamstime.com

On Monday, Venus conjoins Mars, symbolic marriage of the divine feminine and masculine. True love is returning to the world, but we’ve still got some work cut out for us.

I’ve written a lot in these pages about the split between men and women, which goes back thousands of years. I see this split as our deepest wound, and the resulting imbalance between masculine and feminine energies on the planet as the underlying source of the cruelty and violence that humans perpetrate on each other, the animal kingdom, and the Earth herself.

And yet, I see signs everywhere that the balance is being restored. The world is changing as the collective and each of us as individuals heal our core wounds. Our healing process intensified under the recent conjunction of Chiron and Neptune, which is separating but active for another year or so. For many of us, healing has required reopening or at least revisiting deep wounds, many of which we carried with us into this lifetime. It has been an exhausting and painful (obviously) process that appears to be nearing completion.

For true love to stand a chance, both partners need to come into a relationship in wholeness. If you’re looking to fill in a missing piece of yourself, you’ll eventually run into serious problems when the other person fails to deliver. No one but you can find those lost pieces and bring them home.

It is possible to work on this within a relationship, and if your partner is on a similar track (it does happen), then you can grow together, and love grows, too. Indeed, being in a relationship can speed up your personal and spiritual growth considerably, because your “stuff” is usually right in your face. The irony is that resolving personal issues can be fatal to the relationship. That’s no doubt why so many couples have an unspoken pact that they will play their self-assigned roles and not rock the boat by growing and changing.

Monday’s Venus-Mars conjunction occurs in a favorable trine to Pluto and a jarring inconjunct (quincunx) to Saturn. This tells me a few things.

First, Pluto has been at the apex of a cardinal T-square with Saturn and Uranus since last year. This puts the planet of death, rebirth and transformation in the hot seat. Translated, that means we’ve been under tremendous pressure to change.

Trines provide an easy path for energy to flow, and so, this week, transformation comes via a romantic relationship (regardless of your sexual orientation). If you’ve recently extricated yourself from a difficult union, you may realize that, rather than feeling like you left a piece of yourself behind, you feel more whole and stronger than ever. You are now equipped to find a healthier and more fulfilling partnership.

That’s the good news. The not-so-good news is that Venus and Mars form a very close inconjunct with Saturn, which happens to be retrograde in Libra, the sign of relationships. Now, this is interesting, because Venus rules both Taurus and Libra. I read this as a sign that feminine energy, long suppressed and overpowered by the masculine, is making its weight felt. Mars is in his detriment in Taurus, and naturally, a lot of men aren’t happy that they’re losing the upper hand. I hope they will come to understand why balance makes them stronger, not weaker.

Anyway, the discordant angle to retrograde Saturn is a reminder that there is still a lot of work to do, and transforming may require that you grit your teeth and try to move through the obstacles to love. And for all that, you may find yourself in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation. Pluto says we must transform, but choosing that path may lead to a breakup. It’s a tough choice, but most people I know who chose to detach from a lopsided relationship have had few regrets.

Mars and Venus are conjunct on Monday, with Venus inconjunct Saturn on Tuesday and Mars inconjunct on Wednesday. The Mars aspect is even more complicated in that Mars and the Moon in Pisces will create a Yod, with Saturn at the apex. Often it’s not what’s said that sabotages a relationship, but what isn’t said. It takes a lot of trust and courage to be completely honest with your partner about how you feel.

On a completely different note, the Sun in Gemini sextiles Uranus on Wednesday. Watch the news headlines for surprising developments, probably of a positive nature. Now that would be news!

The following day, the Sun squares Chiron and then on Saturday forms an inconjunct with Pluto, bringing the theme of the week full circle. As hard as we try to serve the cause of True Love, as willing as we are to confront our own demons, we are fighting stubborn, deeply ingrained patterns that have existed for millennia. But just remember, it’s that last grain of sand that brings the scales in balance.

Much love and courage to all,
Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

Ask Real Astrologers: Did He Ever Love Me?

Looking for AnswersFor this week’s column, I am taking a follow-up question from Carolina in Bilbao, Spain:

I’m just wondering about one comment in your answer, that you think that the strong psychic connection I felt was only one-way. Does it mean that, according to the charts, the love was only from me to him? He didn’t feel love?

From time to time, a reader whose question I’ve answered in this column will e-mail me and ask a follow-up question. Usually, I write back and suggest they schedule a consultation for more information. I’ve never used a follow-up question in this column, and yet I feel compelled to take Carolina’s question, because, once again, I believe she represents many readers (mostly women) who are or have been in similar circumstances.

Carolina, first of all, I realize that my answer to you in last week’s column was not easy for you to hear and wasn’t the answer you wanted. My intent was not to cause you pain but to help you find peace in your heart by resolving your feelings with this man and moving on.

Many women get hung up on this notion of whether the man they were in love with loved them back. I understand the need to have an answer, but astrology can’t provide it. Compatibility charts can tell us whether two people have physical chemistry, whether they can easily share their emotions with each other, how they demonstrate affection, whether the relationship will last, and whether it will be relatively smooth or laden with conflict. We can even tell whether a relationship has endured over many lifetimes.

But you can’t add up all of those components and say “Yes, it’s love,” or “No, it’s not love.” Whether someone is even capable of love depends on their level of personal development. The charts can show us tendencies, that’s all.

We might be tempted to conclude that a man or woman who plays the field isn’t capable of love, but that would be a wrong conclusion. They could feel intense love in that moment and just not wish to commit to a long-term relationship. Put another way, love alone doesn’t determine whether a relationship will last. I’m sure every one of you knows people who loved each other and yet couldn’t make a relationship work.

So, in my mind, the question of whether he ever loved you really isn’t that important. Even if he did, he decided, for whatever reason, that he didn’t want to be in a long-term relationship with you.

And there is where the trouble lies. When someone we love leaves, we want a reason and will make up all kinds of scenarios in our head to avoid the conclusion that we did something wrong or weren’t good enough.

This is why I believe “love gone wrong” is the first step for many people of both genders to start down a path of spiritual awakening. It requires that we look within ourselves, take inventory, and clear out all the baggage and outdated beliefs that hold us back from who we really are and what we want. There is a huge resistance internally to this process, and a broken heart can break down that resistance. There is no doubt that it’s a painful and difficult process, and no one with a heart would wish it on anyone. It just seems to be how we humans are wired.

So, Carolina, please try not to dwell on this question of whether he loved you or not. There’s no answer, and even if there was, it wouldn’t matter. What matters is how you’re going to heal from this experience and awaken to the true nature of who you really are and to the love in your own heart.

Wishing you much love and courage,

Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

P.S. To all of you who have written to me recently requesting a Soul Mates Karma Report, please accept my apologies for not responding right away. I’m currently not taking new clients but will get back with you individually and ask whether you’d like to be put on my wait list. Thank you so much for your patience.

Got a quick question? Click here to contact Ask Real Astrologers. You must use this form to contact me, or I won’t get your question. I do read all of your questions, although I am sorry that I can’t answer them all. If you need immediate guidance or in-depth advice, please contact me for a private consultation. THANKS!

Ask Real Astrologers: Why Did He Run Away?

Looking for AnswersThis week’s question comes from Carolina in Bilbao, Spain:

I met a man in Bilbao in November 2008. In a few days we both felt attracted. A short time after that he ran away and never came back in what I think has been an attempt to avoid the depth of his feelings (I guess this, as his Pluto is making a quintile to my Venus). The psychic connection has always been very strong, although he denied it. And yes, we have more lives together than this one in which we share a deep love and companionship. I can’t deny my feelings and the fact is that I’m still longing for him and hoping he’s coming back, although this isn’t doing me any good.

Now my question, how do you understand this quintile Venus-Pluto, and is there any hope for my wish to live this love, according to the astrological point of view? Will he come back ready to live this experience with me? Could it be that this Pluto aspect means that I represent all that he is afraid of and so the possibility for this love to be real is zero?

Carolina, your story is so familiar that I doubt there are few women (or men) out there who haven’t experienced a situation like this at least once in their lives. In fact, I’ve received so many versions of this question that I wrote an article some time ago entitled, “Will He Come Back to Me?” And, while I tend not to take a question more than once in my Q&A column, I feel that I need to revisit this one periodically.

It’s obvious that you have a good knowledge of astrology. Most people don’t even know what a quintile or Vertex are, so I commend you for that. This can be a problem, though, because when you learn about these chart features, you tend to overlook the more obvious aspects in favor of these relatively minor things. They can add to our understanding, but rarely are they the determining factors behind events or relationships.

You are correct that Pluto was on your Vertex at the time you met your love interest. However, there were other, more powerful forces at work that I would consider far weighter. Take a good look at your chart again, and you will see a very dramatic T-square, with transiting Saturn and Uranus opposite one another and square your natal Venus. Moreover, Uranus is exactly conjunct your natal Moon. At the same time, the transiting lunar nodes were on your Ascendant and Descendant – very big.

This tells me that a sudden and upsetting relationship came into your life, and yes, it appears to have been some sort of destiny, and the gentleman in question was someone you “knew” from somewhere else. But frankly, Caroline, I don’t think this was meant to last. Given the dramatic aspects in your transit chart and the strong presence of Uranus – which, by the way, is the ruler of your Descendant – I think this relationship was about awakening your consciousness. Indeed, Uranus often is referred to as the Awakener.

Judging from the stories I hear from clients, it also appears that more and more people are experiencing “other-life” encounters, and I’ve written quite a bit over the past few years about how these encounters are catalysts to propel us to a higher level of consciousness. Usually, these relationships are painful, because that’s the only way to get our attention! Also, it’s well-known in occult studies that pain is a transformer. Not coincidentally, this is concept is strongly associated with Pluto.

Looking at your compatibility chart, I attribute the fast attraction to your Mars in Aries opposite his Pluto, combined with your Moon trine his Mars. These aspects are indicators of powerful passion, and your Aries Mars is going to go for what it wants!

Now, there are lots of other things I could say about your compatibility chart, and in fact you do share some positive connections, along with others that are problematic. That’s beyond the scope of this column, though, and anyway, you asked me specifically about why I think he might have dashed away. I am sorry to tell you this, Carolina, but it appears that your love interest is a bit of a playboy. Women often miss the vital information, especially when they are physically attracted to a man, but I’ll bet if you look back and think about it, you’ll realize that he gave you some vital clues about his intentions.

As for his emotional distance, I’d attribute that to his Moon in Capricorn. These folks feel very deeply but do not easily share their feelings. Add that to his secretive Scorpio Sun, and you’ve got someone who needs to be drawn out carefully, over time. It’s quite possible that he felt exposed with you, because your Moon in Pisces is indeed very psychic.

And that brings me to my last point, which is that your strong psychic connection may have been one-way. In other words, you felt it strongly with him, but he didn’t share it. I know lots about this, because, like you, I have Moon in Pisces. We pick up on the thoughts and feelings of those around us – sometimes without even knowing it – and we also have a strong ability to recognize connections from other lives. We tend to assume that just because we feel it, the other person must, too. But that’s often not the case.

I feel your pain, Carolina, and I’m sure many other readers do, too, as so many of us have been through this experience. My advice to you is to try to understand the experience in a broader context and to learn from it, and do put yourself out there to date other men. I have a feeling you will find someone much more appropriate, with whom you can have a stable and equal partnership.

Much love and many blessings to you, and thanks so much for telling your story.

Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

Got a quick question? Click here to contact Ask Real Astrologers. You must use this form to contact me, or I won’t get your question. I do read all of your questions, although I am sorry that I can’t answer them all. If you need immediate guidance or in-depth advice, please contact me for a private consultation. THANKS!

Ask Real Astrologers: Can a Venus Return Predict Love?

Looking for AnswersThis week’s question comes from Amanda in New York City:

I was wondering what your thoughts were on the value of calculating a Venus return chart. Do you feel it can indicate or predict events on the romantic front for the coming year? Also, what happens if your Venus seems to return more than once? I have my Venus in Scorpio which was forward, then retrograded, then returned again!

Before I answer your question, Amanda, I want to briefly explain a “return” for those who may not be familiar with the term. A planet is said to “return” when it makes a complete orbit around the chart and comes back to the exact degree, minute, and second of its position in your birth chart.

The most common planetary returns astrologers interpret are the Solar Return, which happens every year around your birthday, and the Saturn Return, which occurs every 28-29 years. The Lunar Return happens once a month (rarely twice), and these, too, are fairly popular. But in theory, return charts can be cast for any of the planets that orbit the Sun in a human lifetime.

While Solar Returns are taught along with basic chart interpretation and are covered in many astrology books, there’s not a lot out there on Venus returns. So I have to start with the caveat that my experience with Venus Returns is entirely based on my own observations, and in fact it does suggest that this method of prediction can be very insightful. 

That said, a lot of my observations have been in hindsight, which is always 20/20. It’s not so easy to predict what will happen and when. Of course, the same can be said for transit charts. We can see that something is in the works, but there are always many potentialities in an energy pattern, and if you know enough about astrology to be asking advanced questions like this, then you already have the power to shape the outcome.

Occasionally, a Venus Return chart is exceptional, and in that case we can predict that the period between now and the next Venus Return will be exceptional. It makes sense intuitively that a three-part Venus Return is in itself unusual, and that does suggest a potentially life-changing event. We typically use Venus in the chart as an indicator of love and romance, but she does have influence over some other areas of life as well.

To determine what area of your life will be most affected, we need to examine all three charts in depth and look for the patterns. This is a detailed study and beyond the scope of this column, but I did take a quick look at your three charts, Amanda, and there are some patterns that emerge right away.

Your Venus returns took place on September 17 and October 28 (retrograde), and the third and final one will occur on December 10. The thing that leaps out at me is the position of Mars and Venus. On the date of your first Venus Return, Venus and Mars were conjunct in your fifth house of love and romance. The conjunction was separating, which isn’t as powerful as an applying conjunction, but it’s still significant. By the last date, on December 10, Mars will have advanced to a very tight, applying sextile with Venus, and he’ll be on your Venus Return Descendant conjunct the lunar North Node. Venus is in the fifth house again.

I would interpret this as a “karmic” signature, with a very strong possibility that you will meet a soul mate before your next Venus Return, which will be in mid-October 2011. You might already have met this person, in which case you’ll become more involved in the coming months.

I hope you’ll write and let us know what happens. And thanks for a great question, Amanda!

Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

Got a quick question? Click here to contact Ask Real Astrologers. You must use this form to contact me, or I won’t get your question. I do read all of your questions, although I am sorry that I can’t answer them all. If you need immediate guidance or in-depth advice, please contact me for a private consultation. THANKS!

Ask Real Astrologers: What Do Empty Houses Mean?

Looking for AnswersFor this week’s question, I’m answering a comment left by Alina on my weekly forecast for September 13:

Could you please explain the effect of empty houses in a chart – for instance, house 2 and house 7.

Alina, this is a great question and one I get often, especially from those just beginning to study astrology.

Since you’re asking about the second house, which rules earned income, and the seventh house, which rules marriage and long-term partnerships, I assume that you’re concerned that an empty second or seventh house could mean that you’ll never have any money and won’t ever find a suitable mate. This is very definitely not the case – at least not because of those empty houses in your chart.

I’ve had several clients ask me about this, especially in terms of relationships. Typically, they’re having trouble getting into a relationship and wonder if they’re doomed to being single forever because there are no planets in their seventh house. The other one I get a lot is whether an empty fifth house means the client will never have children.

Think about this logically. If you have an empty fourth house, does that mean you’ll never have a place to live? If your first house is empty, does it mean you’ll have no personality? If you look at it the other way, does a full seventh house guarantee you’ll get married and live happily ever after? The answers are no, no, and no.

A natal chart must be viewed as a whole, with an analysis of house rulers and patterns in the chart. There might be indications in a chart of difficulty with close relationships, poor financial judgment, finding a career late in life, and so forth. But these things aren’t determined simply by looking at whether a house is empty.

Even with a pattern in the chart of, say, all the money houses empty, I might conclude that money wasn’t your focus in this lifetime. It doesn’t mean you won’t have any and in fact could be quite the contrary. You might have so much of it that it simply isn’t a burning issue. Again, the chart needs to be read as a whole. This is one reason why a reading with a professional astrology is vastly superior to computer-generated charts … and why a professional reading costs a lot more. It takes time for the astrologer to do an in-depth analysis.

I hope that answers your question and puts your mind at ease.

In closing, I’d like to request that anyone with a question for this column submit it via the Ask Real Astrologers form. It helps me keep track of all the questions I get and also ensures that I have all of the information I need from you in order to give you the best possible answer. I decided to take Alina’s question this week, because it is one that I get so often from clients that I thought it would be helpful for others. But please, if you would, use the form.

Thanks so much. And thank you, Alina, for writing!

Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

Got a quick question? Click here to contact Ask Real Astrologers. You must use this form to contact me, or I won’t get your question. I do read all of your questions, although I am sorry that I can’t answer them all. If you need immediate guidance or in-depth advice, please contact me for a private consultation. THANKS!

Saturday Extra! Pluto and Obsession in Relationships

[This article originally appeared on Sept. 11, 2010.]

With Pluto about to go direct, I thought this would be a good time to reflect on a very Plutonic topic, obsession.

Occasionally a client will admit to me that he or she is obsessed with a relationship, but it’s something few people want to admit. Obsessions can cause a great deal of suffering, embarrassment, and shame – another Plutonic feeling – and so we often try to shove it down, forget about it, or overcome it. At the very least, we attempt to hide it so that others won’t know.

I unabashedly advise my clients to focus more attention on the object of their obsession, not less. Some might think that’s mentally unsound, but let me explain my reasoning.

In my observation over the years, there’s always a reason for an obsession. It may not be obvious, and often it’s not what the obsession seems to be about. But usually there is a compelling reason. To my way of thinking, it’s mentally unhealthy to stay stuck in the obsession, but you won’t get unstuck by ignoring it. The very fact that it’s knocking you so hard over the head and heart means that you have an issue that needs to be resolved. The only way to resolve it is to confront it head on.

Astrology is an amazingly effective tool for doing just that, and I’ve helped many clients figure out what is going on to cause them such distress.

Before I discuss this further, let me emphasize that I’m not talking about clinical obsessive-compulsive disorder, which requires professional intervention. Even in that case, though, confronting the tendency to obsess is critical in getting help.

With few exceptions, the clients who come to me with an obsession are fixated on a certain person, or someone is obsessed with them. Sometimes they are in a relationship already and are having difficulties because one partner is obsessed with the other. In these cases, looking at Pluto in the synastry chart is the first order of business.

There are several Pluto aspects that indicate this kind of attachment, but the ones I look for are the conflicting aspects (oppositions and squares) between one partner’s Pluto and the other’s Moon, Mars, Venus, or Sun. Other Pluto aspects can spell trouble, too, but those are the ones that consistently pop up. If one person has a difficult Pluto aspect in the natal chart to start with, the resulting obsession can be extremely intense.

If there are no difficult Pluto aspects, then I start looking for other indicators. Neptune aspects sometimes tell me that the client isn’t seeing the reality of the situation. For example, he or she may wish to be in a relationship with someone who isn’t interested or available. If this is the case, I ask what that person represents to the client. Unfortunately, this puts me in a tough position, because I have to deliver the bad news that the desired lover is in all probability not The One, and that’s not what they want to hear.

Occasionally, I see very close karmic connections between the client and the person he or she is obsessing about. In many ways, these cases are even more challenging than the aforementioned situation, because there are complications. After all, if two people destined to fall in love meet, date, and marry, they usually don’t need me! The only time I’m called in is when one person is either unaware of the connection or is aware but in a committed relationship already.

It does appear that we’re in an accelerated time period in which more and more people are finding a long-lost soul mate. Reconnecting with our intended other is part of the deep healing process that so many of us are experiencing.

If you are obsessing over someone and want to know why, please consider contacting me for a reading. Depending on your situation, you may want to order True Love, the Complete Compatibility Report, or you may want a telephone consultation. Before we talk, I’ll make an in-depth analysis of your chart and give you my interpretation of what’s going on. Together, we’ll figure it out!

Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

Image: © Konradbak for Dreamstime.com

Two Weddings and a Divorce

Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer in True Blood. Photo courtesy HBO, Inc., all rights reserved.

Celebrity weddings, infidelities, and divorces happen all the time, but it sure seems like they’re more extreme lately. Could the cardinal T-square have anything to do with it?

Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer, co-stars in the acclaimed HBO series True Blood, were married on Saturday. Just as they managed to keep their relationship secret until they announced their engagement last year, they kept their wedding plans out of the public view and opted for a low-key ceremony. It sure was big-time celebrity news after the fact, though.

No matter what they did, it would have been impossible to top the wedding of Chelsea Clinton, who married long-time boyfriend Marc Mezvinsky on July 31 in a gala affair that cost anywhere from $2 million to $5 million. The true cost was a closely guarded secret, but suffice it to say that it was one of the most expensive celebrity weddings in history, inviting the inevitable comparisons to the $2 million that Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren spent on their Barbados bash in October 2004.

Tiger and Elin on Monday announced their divorce, although reports of their separation began circulating in December 2009. Let’s see … October 2004 to December 2009 is just over five years. Divided into $2 million, that comes out to well over $1,000 per day of marriage. Make a note of that, Chelsea.

In June, I wrote about Harrison Ford and Callista Flockhart, who finally tied the knot after eight years together. The same month, Al and Tipper Gore announced they were separating after 40 years of marriage. Each in their own way was impacted by the T-square.

So what about these latest unions and separations? Is the T-square a function or not?

In the case of Al Gore and Harrison Ford, I had a birth time to work with, so it was easier to see the evidence of the T-square at work in their charts. We have a birth time for Chelsea and Tiger, but not the others. Still, we can look at their natal charts for transits to key planets.

Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer have a concentration of planets in Virgo and Libra, with a lot of conjunctions to draw them – and keep them – together. Diane wrote a great post on their synastry back when they announced their engagement. Most of their Libra planets are in the mid-degrees, including Anna’s Saturn. So she is coming up on her first Saturn return, which is a time that many people “settle down” in love and in life overall.

Nevertheless, it does appear that the T-square is in effect here, as it is forming a precise aspect to Anna’s Venus at 4 degrees Cancer. I’ve advised all summer that the “out” for any T-square challenges you may be facing is the spot in your chart opposite transiting Pluto. For Anna, that’s Venus, the planet of love! Moreover, the lunar eclipse of June 26,  which connected directly into the T-square, was right on her natal Venus, too. Eclipses often deliver their results at 30, 60, or 90 days. She was married 60 days after the T-square eclipse on her natal Venus.

Chelsea and Marc simply have great synastry, especially in terms of durability. They have a few challenges, too, but what would marriage be without them? The T-square doesn’t seem to be heavily impacting Chelsea’s chart, and without a birth time for Marc, we don’t know which of his houses are being affected. He does have Jupiter at 2 degrees Cancer, which may account for the extravagance of the wedding, but not necessarily the timing.

The T-square definitely is implicated in the fall of Tiger Woods. Although his Ascendant is in Virgo, the T-square is taking place in all four of his cardinal houses, with transiting Saturn now in his first house. For many people, Saturn crossing into the first house is a time when their life falls apart and they start going downhill professionally. Under the T-square, the pressure has been unbearable … and very public.

Tiger and Elin both have Sun in Capricorn – he at 8 degrees and she at 10 degrees. The lunar eclipse on Dec. 31, 2009, fell directly on Elin’s Sun and not far from Tiger’s. A Full Moon lunar eclipse represents endings that are final and irrevocable. According to press reports, Elin moved out for good right before the eclipse, and the divorce was filed on the grounds that the marriage was “irretrievably broken.” Those are fitting words for a lunar eclipse.

In general, it seems that there is an increase this summer of break-ups and unions. It’s as though the whole universe is realigning itself, and we on earth are doing likewise. Stay tuned, because this series most definitely is to be continued.

Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

Birth Data:
Anna Paquin – July 24, 1982, Winnipeg, Canada, time unknown
Stephen Moyer –Oct. 11, 1969, Brentwood, England, time unknown
Chelsea Clinton – Feb. 27, 1980, Little Rock, Ark., 11:24 p.m., per Astrodatabank
Marc Mezvinsky – Dec. 15, 1977, Philadelphia, Pa., time unknown
Tiger Woods – Dec. 30, 1975, Long Beach, Calif., 10:50 p.m., per Astrodatabank
Elin Nordegren – Jan. 1, 1980, Stockholm, Sweden, time unknown