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Point Your Canoe Toward How You’d Like to Feel


  • Amanda Painter

The big astrological event on the near horizon is a total solar eclipse (visible mainly over the Pacific Ocean and parts of Asia) in Pisces on March 8, which is also the Pisces New Moon. Eric Francis commented to me that as we near that event this weekend, the idea is to “point the canoe straight down the river, and avoid the rocks.”

Which is a great guiding image. But what if you’re not sure you can see the river clearly? And what if you do encounter some seemingly unavoidable rocks? I think there’s a relatively simple way to navigate those circumstances, too.

First, a little about the eclipse. Eric has covered it in great detail in this week’s broadcast of Planet Waves FM, but the basics are that the New Moon is exact at 8:54 pm EST on Tuesday. At that time, the Moon will pass in front of the Sun in mid-Pisces, blocking it out (though we won’t get to see the effect here). Joining the Sun and Moon in Pisces are a slew of major and minor planets, points and other objects (including Mercury, Nessus, Neptune, Ceres, Borasisi, Chiron and the lunar South Node, among others).

Together, those objects put a huge emphasis on all things Piscean: emotions, creativity, erotic energy, passion, vision, dreams, psychic sensitivity, beliefs, escapism, humanitarianism and so on. Add the eclipse, and there’s a sense of releasing something to make room for something fresh; that also might mean remembering something you once understood long ago, and which suddenly feels new.

Some of the basic advice for eclipses in modern Western astrology involves staying open to unexpected opportunities and shifts, which might appear like a doorway opening where you’d previously seen a wall. It can be helpful in identifying opportunities if you have a clear vision of some goal, dream or desire that you’re working toward.

But what if you don’t? In fact, what if you feel conflicted between what you want and what you think you should want? What if you’ve been carrying beliefs about what is or is not okay to dream for yourself, or you’ve gotten so stuck in the material reality of ‘what is’ that you’re having trouble imagining anything beyond that sense of fixity?

My sense of the current astrology is that, with so much emphasis on Pisces, one solution is to focus on the feeling-tone you’d like to enjoy, if envisioning a specific reality is too overwhelming or vague. For example, you may want to feel more heart-centered and loving, or more at home in your skin and immediate environment; maybe you’d like to feel more creative and passionate (including erotic). Perhaps you’d like to aim your canoe toward feeling generous, or having better boundaries; or feeling more balanced, or more intuitive.

Setting one of those intentions (or similar) will not be like waving a magic wand. Rather, I’m suggesting that instead of getting caught up in second-guessing yourself, or hung up on the details of how to get from point A to point B, you might be able to take a more Piscean approach that opens your intention-setting out of the mental plane and into a more fluid realm.

This could be especially helpful given what might be cropping up as some astrological ‘rocks’ as we head into the weekend stream: Mercury square Mars (exact Saturday), and the Sun square Saturn (exact Sunday).

The Pisces Sun square Saturn in Sagittarius speaks of issues around authority, specifically your authority over your own life and your beliefs about it. If you feel some tension there, see if it points you toward the ways you can participate more actively in decisions about your responsibilities, or toward constructive ways of making your dreams real. That these planets are in mutable signs ruled by Jupiter suggests you can find some flexibility here if you broaden your perspective.

Mercury in Aquarius square Mars in Scorpio might ask for even more of your awareness. Partly because these planets will be in the last degree of their respective signs (a potentially edgy place to be) and those signs are both ‘fixed’ in quality.

If you’ve noticed in yourself (or possibly in someone close to you) an inclination to dig into some position, belief or desire -- especially if fear is involved, or if you feel like you need to defend something about yourself at all costs -- that would be one of those metaphorical rocks in the stream. Given that we’re in the midst of presidential primary season and it seems to be the most chaotic one in recent memory, the urge to defend your beliefs or your candidate with all your might could be strong.

But is it life or death? Is your existence truly being threatened, or just your ego? Collectively I would say that a lot is indeed at stake with these presidential candidates, in terms of the future of the US. Yet, superimposing those stakes on each individual conversation you have with your friends, family and work colleagues looks less than helpful. Defending your position as though you’re both gladiators in the Coliseum does not put people into a receptive mood.

If you don’t feel the pull of politics, this dynamic can still occur in other personal situations where you might feel yourself taking a defensive position. What is that fear, really?

Again, I’m going to point to the idea of envisioning the feeling-tone you’d like to enjoy. Would ‘winning’ an argument really put your heart at ease? Or can you set your sights on something gentler, something that feels joyful, loving and grounded -- and that opens the way for all the dreaming, co-creating and passion you’d like to experience in your life?

The brilliance of this approach is that it shifts your focus away from what you might have to ‘give up’ to make space for the new thing you’d like to invite into your life (i.e., ‘change’). Instead, it puts the emphasis on receiving -- if, of course, you’re willing to allow it.

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