Time for an update – things are shifting!

Saturn has just turned direct, Mars is out of his shadow zone, Mercury (and then Venus) are about to move through the sensitive area of the skies that runs through the cardinal square and Jupiter has just changed signs. It’s definitely time for an update and a fresh look at where we find ourselves now.

Saturn will have been really digging deep into what issues need to be addressed and where we need to put in the effort in our lives. Digging into the depths of Pluto and the psychological and political undercurrents that are there is often hard work, but Saturn is strong, solid, and if any planet can really get to grips with these issues, confront them and ensure they are steered into something constructive, it’s Saturn. So the past weeks, since the Sun opposed Saturn in the second week of May, has brought much to chew over and many issues have been highlighted which we will get the chance to deal with over the coming weeks as this heavy-hitting planet moves back over the areas which bring these issues to light. By the end of October he will be done and moving onto pastures new.

Pastures new...

Pastures new…

Meanwhile Mars has moved out of his shadow zone – he is done with backtracking over issues and is now focusing on spending his energy on looking out new horizons. Scorpio is beckoning to Mars, he is just moving through the last degrees of Libra where he isn’t all that comfortable – other people make too many demands on his energy; things take too much time, discussion, compromise – this still needs to happen in order to make sure recent positive developments aren’t broken, but soon (soon!) Mars will be in Scorpio where he feels freer to spend his energy, where decisions can be made and acted upon quickly and where projects can move forwards without too many people trying to get involved and delaying things.

Watch towards the end of July as Mars sensitises the point where the Sun and Venus will reach their superior conjunction. This happens in November and marks the end of the Venus cycle and the start of the new one and Mars moving over that point can highlight what that cycle is closing down and also what it will initiate.

Meanwhile Jupiter has moved into Leo where he will remain until August next year. Both Jupiter and Leo are optimistic and expansive – Jupiter in a philosophical and jovial way, Leo in a generous and regal way. Sometimes these energies work well together and sometimes they bring out a spirit of competitiveness whereby each one tries to do the other. This can lead to physical ailments, inflammations, sprains, and also to problems caused by over-spending, trying to win approval and demanding recognition and acknowledgement. To make the most of Jupiter in Leo you need to ensure you have a strong core of self confidence that doesn’t need approval from others and that is happy to get involved in projects as an equal participant – even if you do know best it’s best to show this through example rather than instruction. For those in positions of management or leadership this can be a great time provided you are generous, inclusive and respectful in your leadership style without being patronising or dogmatic.

This could be you if you don't watch the Jupiter in Leo tendency to over-indulge. Image from War and Peas: http://www.amazon.co.uk/War-Peas-Michael-Foreman/dp/1842700839

This could be you if you don’t watch the Jupiter in Leo tendency to over-indulge.
Image from War and Peas:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/War-Peas-Michael-Foreman/dp/1842700839

Colouring the mood of all these major changes are the movements of the smaller, inner planets starting with the opposition to Pluto that Mercury has just made. Mercury is moving through Cancer and so coming into stressful contact with the heavies involved in the cardinal square – Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn. We can expect some challenging communications – or we can expect to be making some challenging communications over the next few days. It is likely to begin with a sense of there being power struggles or undercurrents, especially at work or in relation to authority. Later in the week the challenges come about as a result of tensions between a sense of what others need and a desire to take a ‘me first’, more rebellious attitude. Uranus has recently turned backwards himself so it is likely that these communications or messages reinforce some thinking going on recently about getting the balance right between putting ourselves first and thinking about those to whom we owe some kind of duty of care, some sense of responsibility.

Meanwhile the Sun moves into Leo and connects with Jupiter expanding that sense of optimism I wrote about above – the end of the week is a great time for creative, fun activities, playing with children, performing, entertaining. If the sun is shining have a picnic, go out to a concert or just go out and play with the kids! (Maybe even channel some of that potentially fractious Mercury energy into a fun water pistol fight – just so long as you are prepared to clean up the mess yourself J).

water pistols

One last thing to watch at the moment – Venus is casting a rosy glow over things, making a flowing connection with mystical, magical Neptune, this is the stuff that dreams are made of. Enjoy it but don’t take it too seriously because by the end of the month Venus is bumping through the cardinal square herself – it’s an opportunity to have realistic dreams become more concrete, but if you’ve made for yourself an unrealistic little bubble then it is likely to be burst. The trick to making the most of it is to enjoy things for what they are right here, right now without expectations and then what travels into August with you will be the lasting stuff.

 

Make the most of it! I will be back as soon as I can with more.

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Mercury retrograde summer 2014

Today Mercury entered his shadow, that part of the skies where he will re-trace his steps over the coming weeks. It’s a time to take extra care with the details of communications and paperwork – make sure your message is clear and easy to understand, that you read the small print and that you have a plan B if you are travelling anywhere.

Cape_Coast_beach

Mercury will move forward into the sign of Cancer before heading backwards and returning to Gemini. This suggests that there will be issues to do with understanding and articulating emotions tied into this Mercury retrograde. The shadow also begins in a part of the skies that was sensitised back in 2011 with a lunar eclipse that was then re-charged during the Venus retrograde of 2012 – this Mercury retrograde is another re-charge of this sensitive area keeping it active until the conjunction between Mars and the Sun in June 2015 which marks the beginning of a new Mars cycle. In one way or another this Mercury Rx is going to highlight or re-visit issues that have been recurrent over these past few years.

cat-and-mouse

This Rx phase also links to the profound changes that have been taking place over the past years as we have felt the influence of the cardinal square shaking things up around us. Mercury turns Rx just before getting embroiled in that cardinal square so the Rx phase brings us an opportunity to double check issues and ensure we have everything we need to make the most of the transit through those choppy waters. As part of that gathering process the Sun and Mercury make their inferior conjunction on 19th June at 28+˚ Gemini bringing an opportunity to understand in greater detail just what it is you are seeking to achieve at this time.

Really the key is to understand the long term aim that was kicked off by that eclipse back in June 2011. What long term dreams or visions did you have then and how are you moving  forwards in terms of achieving that? We have come to a turn in the road so it’s time to take stock, check where you are, where you have been and where you are headed and then move forwards with confidence.

mockingbird

A quick look at the various charts gives a little more information about the energies we can tune into during this Rx phase. First, the chart for Mercury’s entry into the shadow sees the kite configuration still evident, this time strengthened not only by the mutual reception between Saturn and Pluto but also between an exalted Moon and exalted Jupiter – it has a very inspirational energy and with Mercury strong and confident in his own sign of Gemini it is a good time to get a clearer sense of direction. Plus a mutual reception between Venus and a newly direct Mars it’s like we have a good chance to see things from another perspective and get our bearings.

Mercury enters shadow

Mercury enters shadow

The chart for the station retrograde has the Sun triggering the Sun Venus inferior conjunction (Venus transit) point of 2012 again echoing influences from that time, reminding us what it was we wanted to achieve, what we set in motion at that time. Jupiter has finally moved out of his own shadow area allowing a greater sense of expansion in terms of longer distance travel, professional or philosophical aims – whatever it was Jupiter needed to consolidate during his cardinal Rx phase is now finished with and he’s on his way out of the cardinal square influence having done his best to get the balance right between home, community and work expectations.

Mercury station Rx

Mercury station Rx

Moving on to the inferior conjunction the energy becomes a little more unfocused and dispersed as the planets are separating from their various aspects and clearing the way to form new and different ones. This will be a good time for internal reflection and weighing up how effective the past few days since the station Rx have been and how things could be improved.

Mercury Sun inferior conjunction

Mercury Sun inferior conjunction

As Mercury stations direct the kite formation is reformed, this time with the Sun opposite Pluto providing the axis. This time may be a little tense as people struggle to ensure that the direction they are moving in is the one that they envisaged. Try to work cooperatively at this time, but without compromising your own dreams and visions. Do not get drawn into arguments but maintain a sense of focus in order to make the most of the kite formation.

Mercury stations direct

Mercury stations direct

Finally, as Mercury leaves his shadow Jupiter is poised right on the edge of entering into Leo, the Sun is exactly square the Moons nodes highlighting what must come and what must leave in order to move forwards and Mars is activating the eclipse of 15th April this year. Mercury has gathered hus strength and is about to move through the cardinal square and also pick up his place in the kite formation and Venus is about to highlight the point of the Mercury Sun inferior conjunction just a few weeks earlier. Within the week Saturn will finally move forward – this is the future, the decisions have been made and the task is to move forwards with confidence.

Mercury leaves shadow

Mercury leaves shadow

 

Key dates and Sabian symbol themes are:

Mercury enters shadow 23rd May

“A gardener trimming large palm trees”

Mercury stations Rx 7th June

“A cat arguing with a mouse”

Mercury Sun inferior conjunction 19th June

“The first mockingbird of spring”

Mercury stations direct 1st July

Mercury leaves shadow 16th July

Solar eclipse – patience, potential and storing energy!

Today’s New Moon (29th April) is also a solar eclipse which heightens the intensity and also tends to make the effects more far reaching and radical – and often in unexpected ways. Understanding the energy of this eclipse means first of all understanding the quality of that empty space into which old things fall and out of which new things grow. Some who meditate speak of it as the point at which the inward breath turns into the outward breath, or you might visualise it as the point at which a ball thrown into the air stops rising and starts falling – it’s where we are neither breathing in nor out, the ball is neither rising nor falling – a pivotal point which holds within itself infinite potential because even though it is likely we will start to breathe out and the ball will start to fall if anything happened, even the slightest touch from somewhere else then that can be enough to cause a radical change of course. So it is with eclipses, they introduce a sensitive, pivotal spot into your life which, depending upon how it relates to your chart, can bring about profound and lasting change perhaps by things passing out of your life, perhaps by new things coming in, perhaps by both.

kite posture

Patangasana kite posture – maybe learn how to do this today!

Eclipses leave a sensitive spot in your chart as they can take some time to fully show themselves – whilst it may seem as though everything trundles along as before for a while when that point get activated by one of the heavy hitting planets coming into contact with it then we get to see how our life’s direction is fundamentally changing. This eclipse will be activated by Mars moving in opposition to it in the second week of August – the message today is to think carefully about how you act and what energies you are setting in motion, focus on those that are positive and life-affirming and these will be the energies that start to have a major impact on your life over the coming months.

solar eclipse 29414

Looking more closely at the chart we see that the eclipse is a 8˚ Taurus and it is conjunct Mercury with the Moon about to move away from the Sun and contact Mercury thus linking the two together. So this eclipse has a strong theme of communication and messages about it. With the eclipse and Mercury both being in Taurus these communications may be about money, possessions or things (for instance experiences, attitudes, people) that you value. They may be slow moving and take patience and may also indicate an element of stubbornness from one side or another. This connection of Sun, Moon and Mercury also forms the tip of a kite, one of a series of kites that lead out from the tension of the cardinal square so communications also indicate promising opportunities for the future if you can make use of the energy. Admittedly it’s not an easy energy to tap into as kites want to soar but this one is grounded by a retrograde Saturn in Scorpio while its wings are an over-enthusiastic Jupiter in Cancer and a watery Chiron in Pisces. This kite is more like a yoga posture – it is centred and deep breathing and poised but it is not soaring. It’s more as though the energy can be channelled into gathering strength and healing if healing is needed, ready for take-off when Mars comes along and cuts the string later in the year.

A narrow path lights up – full moon 16/3/14

Tomorrow, 16th March 2014, we have a full moon in Virgo at 26˚ marking the final full moon in the zodiac before the cycle begins again with a new moon in Aries. Symbolic of culminations and clarifications this full moon brings the opportunity to assess where we are and where we are going and set a course for the coming days.

Full Moon Virgo 0314

At the time of the full moon Mars is retrograde in Libra and is also at 26˚ so making a perfect semi-sextile with the Moon (supportive of hard work) and a quincunx with the Sun (not supporting ego-driven efforts). Mars retrograde in Libra is reviewing relationships – partnerships of all kinds – and showing us where we can best focus our energy in terms of having the most constructive and well balanced  relationships. This full Moon brings to light information that we need in order to ensure our efforts are focused in the best and most productive direction. This is a good thing because this full moon is ruled by Mercury who is on the edge of leaving idealistic Aquarius and moving into dreamy Pisces, made doubly dreamy by a conjunction to Neptune waiting for him as he moves into the sign of the fishes. It is possible that with all this idealism and dreaminess around we could lose our way and get distracted, but this full moon lights a path to follow, something to be reminded of in the days ahead.

Babylonian goddess Ishtar

Babylonian goddess Ishtar

Full Moon is conjunct the star Zavijaja in Virgo and connected to the goddess Ishtar. This star is thought to be of good omen especially for those in intermediary positions, respected by those both below and above them. It also relates to messengers and envoys, repeating the Mercurial tone, and also the release of prisoners – a good moon for those who are prepared to work hard, especially for the benefit of others.

As the full moon is conjunct a star representing one of the manifestations of Venus we are urged to look more closely at the movements of Venus. By the time the Moon gets round to the position where the Sun is at the full Moon Venus will be perfecting a square to Saturn and a trine to Mars. Both Mars and Saturn are moving backwards in the skies marking a return to something, probably something that was kicked off during the Venus Rx phase and which has clearer contours now Venus is out of her shadow. It is likely that this something is what the full moon will light a path to – we’re not quite there yet, but it’s not far off, it just needs a little determination and will-power to stay on the path and not get side-tracked!

Stick to the path ahead!

Stick to the path ahead!

 

Evolving Door on the full moon (scroll halfway down the page)

Darkstar astrology (again, halfway down the page)

Astrology King

And Willow’s take

February and the manifestation of inspiration

February looks like it’s going to be an interesting month! For a start we have Mercury about to turn backwards and as he does so he’s going to turn away from the vagueness of Neptune and Pisces and back into demanding more clarity in free thinking Aquarius. This means he starts to apply pressure onto Mars and Saturn once more. This comes to a head with the inferior conjunction on the 15th where he is trine Mars – so the energy is running freely, and probably words and messages and journeys pick up a pace over this time too. The inferior conjunction forms as the Sun leaves a square to Saturn and Mercury starts to make one – looks like some hard work, restrictions and run-ins with authority need to be dealt with by Mercury acting as the mediator. The Sabian symbol for this inferior conjunction is telling:

28º Aquarius: A tree felled and sawed to ensure a supply of wood for the winter.
Rich contribution of nature to all who work with foresight. Intelligent preparation. Calm yet potent faith in Providence

Mercury IC150214

What’s more this inferior conjunction of the Sun and Mercury takes place just after a full Moon, so something revealed at the time of the full Moon requires effective communication, making sure we are clear about meanings and willing to clear up misunderstandings. The Sabian symbols for this full Moon are rather inspiring – the Moon has

27º Leo: Daybreak – the luminescence of dawn in the eastern sky.
Transforming power of creative impulses as they bring ideas to concrete manifestation. Stirring to opportunity. Soul-power.

While the Sun in Aquarius gets

27º Aquarius: An ancient pottery bowl filled with fresh violets.
Reality of spiritual or aesthetic values, linking generations of seekers for the highest. Addition or commitment to value.

bowl of violets

Meanwhile, all the way through February Venus is moving back through her shadow hand in hand with Psyche, our soul’s deep desire. Psyche was with Venus as she moved into the tense and deep vibrations of Pluto opposite Jupiter, and in fact Psyche moved through that opposition and as she did so caught up Venus and moved her on before she went into it completely. It was the deep unconscious, or the deepest motivations of the soul which really caught that tension rather than the manifestations of the physical world – as is fitting symbolism for Venus retrograde and also the myth of Psyche. Now they move forward together, moving out of the shadow and transforming those deep soul-stirring into the physical reality of the world.

Venus and Psyche finally come together again in exact sextile to Saturn, ruler of Capricorn, the sign they are moving through. This is a reflection of the energies at the time of the inferior conjunction of Venus which was also in exact sextile to Saturn. Saturn brings manifestation, reality, limitation – we start to see what our dreams can actually look like when they meet the mundane realities and limitations of the physical world. Plus Eros, who also brings form and substance, the natural bedfellow of Psyche, is on the exact midpoint of Venus/Psyche and Saturn.

Venus Psyche 0214

All in all February is a time of realisations, highlighted by the full Moon; clearing up misunderstandings, indicated by Mercury retrograde and establishing how our true, soul-based values can become manifest in the physical world and our relationships, indicated by Venus and Psyche. It may be a testing time as these movements put pressure onto the heavy hitting and irascible energies of Saturn and Mars, both moving slowly as they head towards their own retrograde periods.

A Change of Heart?

Something is unravelling and being put back together. You have probably felt this for a little while now, but maybe not quite able to put your finger on exactly what that something is, just how it is unravelling or even how it is getting put back together again. Of course this relates to the current Jupiter opposite Pluto which is exact today and followed by Venus turning direct not long after that. That Venus is a crucial move as she turns direct just before she perfects the conjunction to Pluto and the opposition to Jupiter (more about this here). Plus all this happens after yesterday’s New Moon which allowed for the introduction of new energies and ideas which can change the direction of how things are moving and playing into that receptiveness Psyche has moved over the Venus Pluto conjunction bringing in an even greater depth of desire, especially the desire to be true to some deeper sense of who we are, along with a willingness to go the distance and faith in our hopes.

jupiter Pluto 31114

All this is related to events and realisations back at the beginning of August last year when Jupiter and Pluto last perfected their opposition, it’s also related to the last couple of weeks of last November when Venus first moved into a conjunction with Pluto and then to an opposition with Jupiter – relationships and situations that were key to events at these times are due for an overhaul or resolution of some kind. What is more Venus also turns direct soon after a slow moving Mercury enters Pisces – this muddles the information a bit, especially since Mercury is getting tangled up with Neptune and will have to retreat back into Aquarius to get his information straight – he’ll do this just before the next Full Moon, having turned retrograde after spending a week in Pisces and not quite reaching Neptune.

All together we have a crucial couple of weeks where current moves will start to clarify, things get untangled and a little less complicated, even though we might not be completely clear about how things are working out long term. Don’t be in a hurry to get things resolved at the moment, things are way too complicated to work out quickly and effectively and continue that way for some months yet. Your best bet for a long term, happy outcome in tune with your heart’s desire is to be patient, considered and careful. That is not the same as saying be passive, it is best to maintain a sense of direction, of where you’d like to get to, otherwise these current energies can send you spinning round in circles and not getting anywhere. Just don’t rush it!

The Moon helps to light up a creative path

Having got through the rather tense aspects that accompanied the holiday season – and weathered the storms that have been raging around the North Atlantic – things are set to calm down a little as we move into 2014. But when I say ‘a little’ that’s exactly what I mean. There is still that tense cardinal cross in the skies kicking the energy of the cardinal square into action and although it is loosening a little it is by no means finished with. Plus over the coming days we have some other significant aspects forming which also play into this energy in various ways.

Mayan image of Venus as she transforms into the morning star - a process she is undergoing at the moment

Mayan image of Venus as she transforms into the morning star – a process she is undergoing at the moment

The first major aspect to consider is the Sun’s opposition to a retrograde Jupiter on the 5th January. The point at which the Sun opposes a retrograde planet is significant as it marks a change in the way the energy of the retrograde planet is expressed and experienced. Up until this time Jupiter has been going back over things, revisiting issues, with the opposition from the Sun comes some greater clarity and sense of understanding about what needs to be done to align these issues that have been revisited into a more constructive and helpful pattern for the future. With Jupiter in Cancer and the Sun in Capricorn these issues in some way concern the balance between family and working life and how to get a balance that reflects our beliefs and is supported by the communities we live in. In many ways we will start to put more energy into achieving that balance as we realise where we have been blocked by previous arrangements and the frustrated energy shown by Jupiter’s backwards motion is ignited by the opposition from the Sun and gains a sense of direction.

Erin Sullivan in her book ‘Retrograde Planets’ says of the Sun opposition to Jupiter Rx:

The removal, loss or submersion of energy in the initial half of the cycle resurges with highly charged intensity and is often explosive. This is especially relevant to wanting or desiring something intensely. The retrograde movement emphasizes what we do not have, and we come face to face with all the hopes and dreams that may have been suppressed during the first half, now released in inflated, overdramatic display which cathartically clears the air. Once the circumstances have settled somewhat, this purge allows gradual assimilation of the true situation and consequently gradual revision of plans

This potentially explosive quality is exacerbated by the energy of the cardinal square at this time. However there is also a kite shape in the skies at the moment and this can actually bring the lift needed to achieve great insight, inspiration and momentum to move forwards creatively. It is significant that the Moon is instrumental in forming this kite shape as the Moon rules Jupiter’s retrograde motion so there is potential here to use this energy to reach towards constructive change through the power of the cardinal square.

sun opp jup rx 2014

A couple of days after the Sun’s opposition to Jupiter we have Mercury moving into a conjunction with Venus at 23˚23 Capricorn. This is part of the regular dance of Venus and Mercury who, as the planets orbiting between the Earth and the Sun, weave together our ability to understand and express ourselves as unique individuals. In this chart we still have the cardinal cross and the kite formation but now the Moon is emphasising the cardinal cross – it’s a time when we might act in unexpected ways or we might receive surprising news, things that shake us up, but not necessarily in a bad way. One of the keys to channelling the energy of the cardinal square, and also of the Mercury conjunction with Venus is to be proactive, take the initiative. Cardinal energy is the kind of energy that likes to start things, to kick things off, if you are the kind of person who likes to respond to things, to follow through what others have started, this energy is not so easy for you so try to do something which for you represents taking a new direction, even if it’s just that you start to walk the dog or travel to work using a different route.

Mercury conjunct Venus 0114

On the 8th of January Mars squares Jupiter and this is when it is really important to channel that energy into something new, interesting and constructive. Enthusiastic, creative energy will enjoy and make the most of this energy whilst trying to keep things continuing on an old, tried and tested routine will be frustrating and is more likely to lead to people getting angry or aggressive. It is important to be open to new ideas and willing to follow new initiatives.

Venus inferior conjunct 0114

Then on the 11th of January we have Venus sextile Saturn, Venus conjunct Sun, Sun sextile Saturn – this is the inferior conjunction of Venus, a pivotal point in her retrograde journey the point on which the whole thing turns. Revisiting Erin Sullivan’s ‘Retrograde Planets’ we read that

One gets a cold hard look at one’s relationships and at what is relevant to one’s integrity at this time. It may be that there is an imbalance for a period while deeply mysterious transformations occur – so mysterious that one never really knows what has happened until several months have passed…

The area in which Venus is retrogressing becomes vulnerable to attack and is often the stage for a confrontation upon resuming direct motion. Unspoken messages, hints, nuances and subtleties become magnified and can be distorted, but they are nevertheless laden with implications…Venus plumbs the depths of undeveloped personal characteristics in the areas of the horoscope it is transiting.

So we can see that during the time of the inferior conjunction, when the ego (Sun) and values (Venus) come into close contact we will get hints about areas of our personality which are not as fully developed as they could be and which we are advised to build on in order to make future changes positively helpful rather than negatively challenging. That the inferior conjunction is ruled by Saturn and is in exact sextile to Saturn is significant because it shows that with patience, application and persistence we can really achieve something of lasting benefit at this time. It may mean dismantling some things, some aspect of our lives but at the same time it enables us to put in place firmer foundations for the future.