Astrologer Laura Craig


Street art in Dublin, Ireland

NOLI TIMERE. This phrase found me the other day and stayed with me, and now it has become a sort of mantra for when things start to feel scary or out of control. It’s a Latin phrase that means “be not afraid” and, when I looked it up, I learned that it comes from the Latin Vulgate Bible, appearing many times throughout, usually in instances where an angel is delivering a message to someone on earth facing trial and tribulation. They were also the last words that Irish poet Seamus Heaney (natal Sun in Aries/Mars in Cap/Uranus in Taurus!) sent to his wife before he died, and now they look down boldly and benevolently from a wall in Dublin, a daily reminder to the people of the city to keep calm and carry on. 

Keeping fear at bay is now daily, even hourly, work for me. The threat is both abstract and real, and anxiety comes in waves, but so does normalcy. It feels like we’ve entered another dimension. These are transformative times; that’s at least one thing we know for sure. 

When we talk about fear and transformation, astrologically, the first place we look is at Mars and Pluto. And today, those two planets are conjoining at 24° Capricorn. No matter how you look at it, it points to dark feelings and uncomfortable truths. What do you do with a transit that scares you? Ask it what it wants and try to meet it on its own terms. And try to mitigate it as best you can. 

Mars joIning Pluto in Saturn’s sign is about facing our fears. About honesty and accountability with ourselves and how we’ve created this new reality. And about showing us the darks and depths of our nature—not to frighten us, but to remind us who we are and what we’re here to do. Mars is teaching us about endurance. Pluto is exposing how greed and power corrupt. Pluto can be a harsh master but remember that he has a “heart.” 

Both planets are invoked at birth and at death: they are the planets of survival and initiation. We have lost most of our rites and rituals in our modern-day culture but we are still being initiated: the cave awaits, but when we emerge, we will be reborn. Transformation only happens when the old gives way to the new.

During difficult transits, we can also look to other places in the chart for reprieve and relief when things feel heavy. Let us remember that Venus is in Taurus: she reminds us to slow down and connect to our senses and to our immediate environment. What does your breath feel like in your body? Where does the tension lie? What can you hear and smell? What are small pleasures you are grateful for? Presence and mindfulness. Simplicity. Connect to your animal wisdom–pets, children and the outdoors are great helpers with this.

The Lunar North Node is also in Cancer, an antidote in many ways to all the hard edges of Capricorn. Cancer says it’s ok to put down your burden for a bit and rest your bones. There can be strength in softness. In listening to and caring for one another. To quote Steven Forrest: with the North Node in Cancer, “we must cry those old, unfallen tears.” 

These times are calling for both bravery and humility; both strength and vulnerability. Allow yourself to feel however you need to feel, and then keep moving forward.

Pluto’s “heart”

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