January 13th-19th: Capricornian Values

Capricornian themes abound this week as the Saturn-ruled sign comes into prominence. Our attention turns toward stability and building a solid foundation for ourselves as Venus enters Capricorn on Saturday the 13th. Creative relationships and close partnerships shift towards material pursuits and tangible, security-related goals. Venus and the Sun have been moving together through the zodiac for the past week, and will continue to do so until mid-February. Venus then, is considered to be in combustion until this conjunction breaks apart. The Sun’s energy is overpowering Venus’s in a very real way right now. This feels very yang or masculine-tinged, with action, security and power taking precedence over intuition, emotion and natural manifestation. The desire to force things into being, or to exact change from situations that are not ready to allow it, will be high this week.

This is exacerbated as the Sun joins Venus in Capricorn on Sunday the 14th. The term that springs to mind is “cutthroat”, as this interplay of energies appears to force some to reach out for their goals, no matter the consequences. Reactivity follows, and then the situation continues to spiral deeper with the egoic self growing stronger all the while. It will be important to make use of the New Moon in Capricorn on Tuesday the 16th. The positive pole of Capricorn can be visited by glimpsing its negative (which in many ways, is still a mirror). We may become more focused and capable by recognizing the ways in which we are still scattered and overwhelmed. We will become more grounded and abundant by seeing that which holds us back from being so. This is the work of the new moon.

The new moon takes place in the Uttara Ashadha nakshatra, or lunar mansion. This mansion is the one of a quiet, composed and dignified leader who remains calm in times of strife. We are further reminded of this if we look at the current most prominent constellation in the northern hemisphere’s sky, Orion the Hunter. Orion climbs the southern sky a little after 10pm, and stands as a lone huntsman whose own ego became his downfall. This reminder shines bright above us. Our ego disconnects us from our true nature, and is little more than an elaborate, dizzying act. We may take on roles that we believe society or those close to us have assigned to us, and these build up into something that we do on a loop, out of habit. It is enough now to recognize these as they arise in us; we don’t have to completely dismantle our egoic selves as this is, more likely than not, impossible.

On Wednesday the 17th, Mars enters Scorpio which adds an acid-tinge to harsh words. Be careful in your dealings with others, because it may be hard to overcome such arguments later on. The positive side of this transit, which lasts until March 7th, is the boost of energy. Mars is quite content here in the sign it rules over (on the Vedic side of things at least) and allows for a lot of physical stamina and creative inspiration that will need to be directed. If it is not given a proper avenue to be released in, the Scorpion sting will be felt. Allow yourself to open up to where your personal energy is flowing, and direct it in a calm and loving way rather than forcing yourself into situations which only serve to empower your egoic self. It will be important to set realistic goals during this time, particularly in the realms of career and creativity, as the feeling of accomplishing things will be helpful. Otherwise, Mars makes us feel restless and as though we are sitting by idly (even if this is not true). Open up and take action towards something that feels authentic and true for you, even if it is something small and seemingly easy to complete.

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December 16th-22nd: Expand and Grow

We begin this week with the Sun entering Sagittarius early on Saturday the 16th, joining Saturn in the Sagittarian domain. The Sun enjoys its time in Sagittarius typically, as the expansive and jovial nature of Jupiter-ruled Sagittarius connects well with the solar energy. There will be a slight sobering of this fiery energy on the Winter Solstice on Thursday, as the Sun and Saturn come into conjunction with one another. The next few weeks are highly creative and a bit scattered, but Mercury’s passage out of retrograde should help those who are feeling too overwhelmed.

The new moon occurs in Sagittarius very early Monday morning, with the Sun and moon meeting in conjunction at 3 degrees Sag. This energy encourages us to examine our own belief systems and attitudes toward knowledge and personal philosophy. This is a good time to sort through limiting beliefs or attitudes, and figure out what is working for us and what is not. This is a highly personal process and cannot be dictated by anyone else or their views. It can be useful to discuss this with others, but in the end the work is our own. This new moon calls us to examine our personal catalog of knowledge, and to clear out certain things so we can make room for the new. We may find our interests shifting, or our energy moving toward a new hobby or area to master. The Sagittarian overlay of this moon will make it feel very uncomfortable to limit ourselves while we are making these changes.

On Wednesday the 20th, Venus enters Sagittarius, joining the Sun and Saturn. This week is remarkably Jovial in nature, and has a very light, playful energy should we choose to align with it. Venus will transit Sagittarius until January 13th, and will encourage romantic trips, and travel as a means of understanding beauty and art. Creative partnerships open up once more. The relatively close conjunction of Venus and the Sun makes it impossible to view Venus in the morning sky during this time, but in another couple weeks we will begin to see Venus in the early evenings just after sunset as she follows the Sun through the zodiac.

On Thursday the 21st, we have the Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere, which brings the longest period of darkness of any day in the year. This day also coincides with the Sun/Saturn conjunction at 7 degrees Sagittarius. Saturn will duck behind the Sun, invisible from our viewpoint. Being the father of the solar system, Saturn’s seeming absence can foster the environment necessary for wild behavior from many. The chaotic energy of Mercury retrograde coming to a close in combination with the Solstice and the Sun/Saturn conjunction results in a dropping of inhibitions. The desire to be impulsive and act out cannot be held back anymore, and the feeling is akin to a dam that is ready to burst. This is a very short lived window that will last only through the next day or two. There may be judgment and dramatic reactions from some in the face of these unbridled, seemingly random actions from individuals and groups. The inner work of the new moon should still be underway this week, and it is a good reminder to try to focus on your own path rather than getting distracted by that of others.

On Friday the 22nd, Mercury retrograde comes to a close. This should allow for a more heightened focus and clearer communication, but we still have a couple more weeks until Mercury exits the shadow zone of the retrograde. During the shadow period, which lasts until January 11th, there may be echoes of the retrograde that are extremely illusory but can be distracting all the same. On January 11th, Mercury will reach 6 degrees Sagittarius, which is where it was when the retrograde cycle began. We will finally begin to break new ground at that point. For the next two and a half weeks until that day, there could be a tendency to fall into patterns or attitudes that are based on past feelings rather than present situations. If you are someone who struggles with staying present overall, it will be useful to practice awareness and meditation during his time. Physical activity will also assist with remaining grounded.

November 11th-17th: On Stage

This will be a highly transformative week as we make our way toward the New Moon in Scorpio this Friday, which coincides with the day of the Leonid meteor showers. As with any time before a new moon, we may do well to turn our attention to that which no longer serves us. This is a time for clearing out old beliefs and thoughts which may be hampering our success, along with clearing out physical objects. The energy of the Scorpio new moon is quite mysterious and draws our attention to those things which normally remain hidden. The Scorpio new moon is akin to shedding a thick layer of skin and reemerging with a fresh outlook. Those that fight this transition may experience some discomfort.

We are aided by the Jupiter/Venus conjunction in the constellation of Libra, which has been building over the past several days. The exact conjunction occurs on Monday the 13th at 13 degrees Libra. You will be able to view this conjunction in the southeastern sky about an hour before sunrise against the backdrop of the Libra constellation. Astrologically, when Jupiter comes into conjunction with another planet, it expands and magnifies the qualities of this planet. Venus is still transiting the Libran constellation, and so the planet of love and beauty has been at home in the sign it rules over. Partnership and romance are brought to a greater focus. Keep in mind that for some this may manifest as an attention to the lack of a balanced partnership. Libra desires balance above all, and seeks the partner to fill in the areas that are lacking. This may become obvious this week, but any issues in this area can be overcome by honing and recognizing your own special gifts and skills, or by seeking balance between the various areas in your own life.

The fixed star Fomalhaut is visible for the early part of the week. You can find it in the southern sky during the early evening in the constellation of Pisces, very close to the horizon for those in the northern hemisphere. Fomalhaut means “solitary one” which is a fitting name for this star that is basically all alone in this empty patch of sky during this time of the year. The star appears to be solitary in the autumnal sky, and so earned its reputation among early astronomers as a “lonely” star. The good news about poor Fomalhaut is that this is in actuality an illusion caused by our Earthly perspective of this area of sky during this time of year. Fomalhaut carries the Piscean qualities of idealism, sensitivity and intuition. The starry-eyed enchantment that Fomalhaut brings can make it a challenge to navigate the more materially-based world, but is a huge boon for artistry and creativity of all types. Those who have planets in their own chart that aspect Fomalhaut (3 degrees Pisces) will find these qualities enhanced during this period of the year.

The Sun enters the Scorpio constellation on Thursday the 16th, which amplifies the need many are having now to hibernate and take their activities indoors. This may be short lived because of the meteor shower that has some astrological impact.

The Leonid meteor shower will be remarkably visible on Friday morning the 17th, particularly between 3am and 5am. The meteor shower will take place in the constellation of Leo the lion, of course, and is visible every year around this time. The reason it will be more visible this year is that it happens to occur on the New Moon, and so the sky will be mostly dark. Provided we have clear skies, this will be an ideal atmosphere for viewing. Leo is in square to the Scorpio moon. Themes that may come up will center around the idea of giving without expecting compensation or a return of any kind, and the ability to communicate our feelings on a grander scale. Scorpio enjoys hiding, but Leo forces her out of her secret lair onto the stage. The sparkling meteor shower show is the ultimate Leonian expression, and allows for a greater expression in our personal lives should we choose to share our ideas and abilities with others.

September 16th-22nd: Autumn Harvest

Saturday begins with a conjunction of Mercury and Mars at 13 degrees Leo. These two planets have been dancing around each other over the past few weeks, and last met on September 2nd near the beginning of the Leo constellation. This marked the end of the Mercury retrograde period, and this week Mercury will finally emerge from the “shadow zone”, meaning the area it previously covered while in retrograde motion. Let’s look at retrograde periods for a minute, as there are three stages to any planetary retrograde:

-Retrograde motion: A planet (in this case we’ll discuss Mercury) seems to move backwards across the starfield. It will move through the planetary degrees it had previously covered. Mercury “halted” at 17 degrees Leo back on August 12th, and spent the next three weeks moving back to 4 degrees Leo. During this time, we often have to deal with issues from the past or have to repeat our own actions. This time requires patience and a keen eye in order to double-check work, as mistakes or misunderstandings are common.

-Direct motion: When the retrograde period finishes, the planet begins to make its way forward. On September 5th, Mercury began moving forward again at 4 degrees Leo. Since it spent the past three weeks moving back through an area it already covered, it will have to move through this “shadow” for a third time. The retrograde period is effectively over, but we still feel echoic remnants of it during the Shadow Period.

-Shadow Period: The Shadow Period lasts until the planet makes it to the degree point where the retrograde motion cycle began. In this case, Mercury will finally reach a new degree point on Tuesday the 19th, making it to 18 degrees Leo (the retrograde period began at 17 degrees Leo, so this is “new territory” for Mercury, at least since the last time it made it through all the signs and was in Leo). While we are in the Shadow Period, we have a chance to learn the final lesson of the retrograde period. What issues came up for you during this Mercury retrograde? How can you learn and grow from these challenges?

(Of course, planets don’t really move backwards. Retrograde motion is an observable illusion that occurs from our vantage point here on Earth. Like any illusion, it carries weight in the psyche and consciousness and so affects life around us to some extent, but is all smoke and mirrors.)

The Mercury and Mars conjunction occurs right before the Shadow Period ends, and so is a powerful impetus to clean up the last remnants of retrograde and move forward fresh. Retrograde periods tend to bring up whatever was left over from the previous retrograde cycle, so they are always easier if we deal with the lessons that come up rather than pushing them under the rug.

On Sunday the 17th, the Sun enters Virgo. This is the “harvest period” and lines up with the coming Autumnal Equinox and New Moon. The New Moon is on Tuesday the 19th and occurs at 3 degrees Virgo (Sun conjunct Moon). This New Moon is truly an offering for fall, which we enter on Friday the 22nd. On New Moons it is beneficial to release, let go and confront that which no longer serves us. The Autumnal Equinox is the meeting of light and darkness, when the day hours are equal to the hours of nighttime. Under the Virgo compass, we may feel a compulsion to organize, tidy and disperse. It is a time for making room for the coming harvest, whether by letting go of possessions and clutter, or by making the necessary life changes to allow room for the new.

August 19th-25th: Celestial Clean-Up

After shifting into Cancer and Capricorn last week, Rahu and Ketu continue to impact us this week with the upcoming total solar eclipse. The lunar eclipse two weeks back was the beginning of this eclipse season. Eclipses always come in pairs, and happen twice a year. During this time, the Sun and moon enter into the path of Rahu and Ketu, who are known as the north and south node of the moon, or the shadow causers.

This week will begin with a very favorable cosmic association between Mars and Jupiter on Saturday the 19th. Mars is at 25 degrees Cancer and contacts Jupiter at 25 degrees Virgo. Cancer and Virgo are signs in sextile, and help each other out considerably. Jupiter and Mars team up this weekend and allow a greater scope of action and activity. On an individual level, this will increase motivation and encourage goal setting. Travel is apt to be beneficial on Saturday and Sunday. This transit will also help groups to function better together, with each individual playing their role in a much larger scheme. A well-intentioned group will be able to accomplish much this weekend, more than the members might be able to alone.

Monday the 21st brings the eclipse (visible primarily in the United States), but first the day will begin with Venus entering Cancer. The Venusian energies do well in gentle Cancer, but there are some unexpected elements with the presence of Mars and Rahu also transiting the sign at present. Venus in Cancer will bring a peaceful, domestic layer to intimate relationships, encouraging pairs to group off and love and create from the relative safety of their homes or other private locales. This is less about secrecy and more about protection. With the instability of Rahu wandering loose around Cancer, it is more practical and beneficial for the Venusian energies (love, beauty, romance and creation) to be harnessed in relative seclusion rather than openly expressed. Venus will transit Cancer through September 14th, and at this point it will be easier to make certain things public. These next few weeks will be useful for finding certainty. Mercury retrograde adds another element of confusion and illusion, but this is really a blessing as we are given the opportunity to take a step back and make sure our decisions are what we really want. If you are having trouble figuring out which direction you’re going in, reflecting in a quiet environment during the next three and a half weeks can bring a new sense of clarity.

The eclipse carries with it a host of superstition and awe, even from those who reject astrology. Many of our distant ancestors on this planet considered eclipses a terrifying thing, as the light of the sun was snatched away. While we understand logically that this is not the case now, there is still that raw association that lingers in the unconscious of many. This being the first full eclipse in over 20 years, it is being talked up and so emotions and reactions are busy forming for most everyone, in some shape or another. Any event of cultural significance impacts us because of the amount of energy being given to it from all sides.

Astrologically, this eclipse takes place at the Vedic calculation spot of 4 degrees Leo, with the Sun and moon meeting at this point. This is a highly public eclipse, with Leo being the least likely candidate to shy away from the spotlight. This goes beyond actual press and news, and pushes the energetic dynamics of this eclipse into the forefront. Eclipses bring the shadow self to light, and deal primarily with illusion. This has been a big theme over the past month, so this will not feel like a total shock if you have been paying attention. In Leo, we are forced to look at the divide between our public and private faces. (Again!) We may be fixated on the masks of others and forget about the masks we wear ourselves. Leo is about showmanship and expression, and when the eclipse hits here we see the politician and his many faces, which are not normally illuminated. This goes beyond actual politics (though that may be relevant also) and into all arenas of life. The first reaction may be fear or anger, to realize that some person or some group you trusted may have facets and layers that go beyond what you were led to believe existed. Judgment will color this in a negative or positive light depending on individual factors. To see below the surface can be frightening. To see someone’s true intentions can be surprising. This is the energy of the eclipse. People react differently to fright and surprise, and so over the day or two that follow there may be a variety of “fight or flight” type responses. As Mars moves into conjunction with eclipsing Rahu on Friday, it is likely many will opt for the “fight”.

Thankfully, Saturn comes out of retrograde and stations direct on Friday the 25th. This is the final push in a month of intensity. With Saturn back on karmic watch, it is a little like Dad coming home after the kids have been throwing a wild party. There may be consequences to our actions, but something constructive can begin to build where chaos was reigning supreme moments earlier. Saturn resumes motion at 27 degrees Scorpio, and will re-transit the sign until October 25th, when it enters Sagittarius. This is the last time Saturn will be in Scorpio for another 27 years, and so the next two months are important. As Saturn, the cosmic father, tells us to clean up our messes, maybe instead of grumbling and complaining we can realize that they are OUR messes, and by wiping them away we are completing a cycle that is both karmic and necessary. This will be true on an individual, group and nationalistic level all the same. Saturn doesn’t punish; it simply opens the door to our closet. If we’ve cleaned it and kept it organized, things will be fine. If we’ve stuffed everything inside, it will all fall out and we will be forced to reckon with it. The next two months are a constructive time for going back over our work and dealing with the last loose ends. We are making room for new energy, the likes of which we haven’t seen since 2014.

 

July 22nd-28th: True Rest

Saturday is a hotbed of cosmic activity, bringing the New Moon in Cancer and a heady Mercury/Rahu conjunction/Ketu opposition. Mercury impacts the communication front, and when it is powerfully activated by the karmic poles of Ketu and Rahu, the veil between self and others is strengthened. This intensifies the idea of separation and differences between individuals. Ketu’s influence will make it very easy to fall back into old habits and ways of thinking. Rahu is driving us forward to find a new method of interacting with our own thoughts, and a way out of the vicious Ouroboric cycle. Thankfully, this new moon offers guidance and light despite its apparent darkness in the starry sky.

The moon rules over Cancer, and is contented by its placement here in conjunction to the Sun. Cancer new moons are emotional times when we are called on to nurture ourselves and others, and reconsider the concept of what this means to us. Not everyone feels comforted by the same things. What makes you feel nurtured? It is a busy, active time in the cosmos right now, and it may feel as if you have to stay on a tight schedule to fit everything in. Remember that plants that are nurtured become larger, stronger and more lovely.  This moon invites us to figure out what we need in our life to feel comforted, relaxed and balanced. We are more productive as individuals and more helpful to others when we are able to give ourselves some time to recuperate.

This moon allows us to come at the Mercury issues with a level of compassion. We may feel divided from others, but we’re given an opportunity to look into this divide deeply and see it with new eyes. Not everyone will take the time to do this, but it is possible to diffuse arguments and difficult situations during the next two weeks using this technique.

On Monday, Venus opposes Saturn in retrograde. Relationship issues from the past are replaying with more intensity right now. Some of the details may shift but the heart of the problem remains the same. This is a tremendous opportunity for growth, since the parallels will be very obvious if you take a moment to look. This doesn’t even require deep analysis of personality or behavior. Consider clearing your mind through meditation or restful activity.

On Wednesday, Venus shifts into Gemini, a spot that is very pleasing to the planet of beauty. Gemini is a naturally curious home for Venus, who will stay here until August 20th. Venusian aesthetics combine with the intellectual playground of Gemini to ignite the need for visual stimulation. You may find yourself considering a change of appearance, or wanting to overhaul your external trappings to some degree. There is also a great need to connect with others intellectually, and engage in playful banter. Gemini is happy when it’s busy and networking, so this pulls our relationships out into the world more. We are brought together with those of like mind, and should feel free to relax into these relationships and enjoy them as they unfold, rather than trying to mold them or freeze the moment in time.