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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Piecing it all together?

I’m going to put a few transits and lunations in this post – mostly because over the coming weeks I am simply not going to have the time to get on here and write anything much. (In fact many of these transits relate directly to my own natal chart – as have previous transits over the past months… In case you’re interested in the astrological signifiers behind my current life events, I have briefly written them up on this page.)

First of all, we have a full moon on 21st August at 28 

Aquarius full moon 2013

This chart still has the kite formation in it and also has a cardinal cross with Venus moving in to fill in the Libra point opposite Uranus and square to Pluto and Jupiter. In this chart the kite formation and along with that the grand water trine has a fading energy while the cardinal square energy is building – it’s an energy which is about being practical, doing something about the dreams and inspirations and intuitions that came with the watery trine and the high flying, visionary kite. This sense of pressure to be constructive and to actually see some changes in our lives, some sense of development also comes from Saturn co-ruler of the full moon and moving into a conjunction with the North Node and so Saturn is demanding hard work gets put into building our future whilst he opposes the habits set up in the past. This is a moon where we have a great opportunity to see what we actually need to do – and to ensure that we take steps to actually doing it!

That Leo full moon gives way to mutable Virgo energy as we move towards the new moon on 5th Sept at 13 Virgo. What is particularly noticeable to me is that this is the Mars flashpoint of last year so we are getting another hit to this point that has been sensitised through that last series of retrogrades. Feelings, events, people related to that Mars retrograde time might come back into your life or awareness. Plus there is Mercury on the retrograde degree and Ceres on the direct degree of that Mars retrograde. With the full moon energy this could well be a time when there is a realisation, an ‘aha’ moment about the significance of that retrograde.

Virgo New Moon 2013

Following this we have Saturn the North Node and Venus coming together on 18th Sept at 8+ degrees Scorpio. This is a building transit par excellence – Saturn and Venus together dream of a beautiful and practical space, something both solid and luxurious and the North Node opens the way for that to be achieved. This is in Scorpio though so it’s going to be demanding, it’s going to ask for truth, integrity, commitment and courage. The place in your chart where this conjunction falls will indicate in more detail where this opportunity opens up – even if you aren’t sure where that is, if you think about areas in your life where you have had to take more responsibility over the past few months that will indicate where this transit will focus most of its energy.

NN Saturn Venus Sept 2013

Immediately following the triple conjunction we have a Pisces Full moon – 19th Sept at 26+ Pisces.  Whilst this chart has many similarities to that of the triple conjunction it takes place at a somewhat irritating angle to that triple conjunction and so indicates a sense of frustration and annoyance regarding achieving the potential of that conjunction. However this is full moon energy so we can get some idea of things that might block us – and in gaining that clarity potentially get to be able to move beyond those irritations.

Pisces Full Moon 2013

There will be plenty of transits over this time – including Venus moving through the cardinal square and forming a grand cross but the next one I will mention here is the Libra new moon – 5th October. This new moon lights up the cardinal square as it falls opposite Uranus. It is a tense new moon that also sees Mercury moving onto the North Node and so bringing news about our chosen future path – in Scorpio some of these messages might not be all that comfortable, they might dig deeper than you are used to – but all for the good. This new moon also sets up conditions for eclipses and Saturn link plus coming retrogrades. Personal planets Mars and Venus are also linked into this energy through a double interlocking Thor’s Hammer formation with Mars at one apex with Pluto and Uranus at base and Uranus at the other apex with Mars and Venus at base. This is a hard hitting and potentially unstable energy – it achieves what it sets out to achieve but isn’t always that careful about how it goes about doing that. Expect tensions in relationships to have differences of value and aspiration at the root – and expect projects to work well only if everyone involved agrees about the ultimate intention and shares the same desires in terms of what the project should achieve.

Libra new moon 2013

After that things in my life might just have settled down enough for me to be able to get back on here and resume my astrological musings 🙂

Mercury enters shadow – and the cardinal retrogrades begin!

Today Mercury moved into his shadow, precursor to his forthcoming retrograde phase in Cancer. Mercury is now officially kicking off the cardinal retrograde season which will take us through to July next year and during which time we have plenty of chances to get up close and personal to the way we have dealt with various situations in our life and how pleased or otherwise we are with that.

My Bed - Tracey Emin

Mercury retrograde in water signs is an opportunity to really get to understand our emotional responses and needs – I wrote more about this and Mercury’s link to the retrograde series we are experiencing here. The coming weeks are likely to see all manner of issues raise themselves, taking us back over our past actions and showing us what the consequences of those actions were. This is cardinal energy though so the task is less an opportunity to change things (that came with mutable Pisces) and more an opportunity to really understand what kind of impact our emotional responses have in our lives. Don’t be surprised if people from the past start reappearing in your life, or if situations that you thought you had left behind come creeping up behind you.

Pay particular attention to your emotions, especially between now and the 26th June when Mercury turns back on himself – keep a journal if you can – because during the retrograde phase you will have a great opportunity to see behind the surface of these things and understand how well  they are working for you. With understanding comes greater power, and although cardinal energy isn’t really about making changes the retrogrades and full/new moons that trigger the cardinal square between Uranus and Pluto will bring opportunities for revolutionary change. Now is your chance to be leading the way for those changes, making sure that they will work in your best interests rather than be imposed upon you. Pay particular attention this Friday as Mercury crosses over what will be the degree of the inferior conjunction, the changes you need to see in your emotional life will hinge upon what transpires on this day.

Young Woman Writing - detail of a wall painting from Pompeii

During this time you may come across frustrations and difficulties to do with all things Mercurial – messages, short trips, learning. There are likely to be more than the usual number of crossed wires or missed connections and with this retrograde being in Cancer these are more than usually likely to involve family and home matters in one way or another. It’s always a good idea to be prepared to check the fine print during Mercury retrograde phases and to expect a certain amount of double checking and back-tracking. Brand new ventures are best avoided if possible, but it’s a great time to seal the deal on something already started – provided you double check the small print! All in all remember that any difficulties, an changes of plan or any ghosts from the past that come your way during this retrograde are really opportunities for you to understand how your own emotional responses either help or hinder you.

For those who enjoy the Sabian Symbols I have listed the symbols for all the coming cardinal retrogrades here. On this site you can find the full text.

More from Darkstar Astrology,

And from Willow’s Web

And the low down on the far out includes info on the new moon just past and the Mercury retrograde, as well as other upcoming transits.

The hard work begins!

At the moment we have a very significant event in the skies – the conjunction of first Mercury and then Venus with Jupiter. If you are lucky these three are still just about far enough away from the Sun for you to be able to see them low in the evening sky not long after sunset forming a tight triangular shape. This triple conjunction of planets is pretty rare, and astrologically it’s even more significant as it takes place on the same degree as Venus turned retrograde in May last year. It also harks back to the conjunction of Jupiter and Venus in mid March last year and the ‘almost connection’ of Venus and Jupiter last July which never quite came as close as it promised because Venus turned and headed forwards again. This event, then, marks some kind of completion or fulfilment of a promise made last year which looked as though it was going to be fulfilled almost one whole year ago but has instead taken until now to show its full promise.

On the face of things, then, this event should show some kind of culmination of situations, events or ideas set in motion a year ago but there are a couple more things to consider from an astrological point of view which shed a little more light on the current conjunction and its true potential. First we should bear in mind that this same degree is the degree on which the current Mars cycle will end two years from now. With Mars being the planet of energy and action that suggests that the real work is yet to come, it’s as if the Venus station on this degree a year ago set things in motion, the current conjunction shows us what we are dealing with and the completion of the Mars cycle is when we will be able to harvest.

This is a long-term ongoing influence by the end of which we have been through all the passes of the ongoing cardinal square and it is very likely that the world we wake up to then will be very different from the world we wake up to now but just how significant those changes are, and how beneficial they are for us or for the wider world depend on how effectively we use the energy of Mars. What we get out will be commensurate with what we put in.

In terms of the planets involved we find Mercury, planet of messages, communication and ideas strong in his own sign of Gemini. It’s a good time for clarity of thought and expression. Venus, planet of values both interpersonal and in terms of art, nature and other worldly things combined with Mercury can bring clarity about just what our values are, what is important to us and also an ability to articulate those values in a way that is easily received and appreciated by others. Jupiter expands this beyond ourselves and our immediate circle of friends and family and encourages us to join our values with like minded others – those with who we share a sense of shared beliefs and ideals such that we feel a sense of community or society.

 

Wendy Guy has a great article on the last couple of eclipses and all aspect up to the next new moon.

Moving and shaking with the cardinal square and eclipses

Today the Sun moves into Gemini joining Mercury, Venus and Jupiter in this sign of information and communication. The Sun’s move coincides with the third exact pass of the cardinal square between Uranus and Pluto so we can expect the news around tense events and challenging situations to speed up, both in the world and in our personal lives. An emphasis on rapid and potentially challenging or surprising news, talk or short, sudden trips is heightened by Mercury moving into a sextile with Uranus. With all this activity people might be short tempered or tense or feeling under some pressure in one way or another and as the Sun moves into Gemini we might find it easier to give vent to stressful feelings – this can go one of two ways and can be either explosive, uncontrolled and potentially damaging or directed, insightful and potentially able to cut through difficulties and problems in a creative way. The trick to tuning into the second way this energy can express itself is to count to ten before letting off steam and try not to simply react to anything.

 

Creative explosions?

Creative explosions?

Picking up on these vibes, Mercury is in his element at the moment since he is in his own sign and is moving very fast, eager to catch up with Venus and Jupiter. He will meet up with Venus on the 24th, just before the coming lunar eclipse and at the same degree that they met during the Venus retrograde period of last summer. This is also the degree of the solar eclipse in December 2011 – usually the transits of fast moving planets such as Venus and Mercury don’t trigger much in the way of eclipse effects, but as this is a conjunction, and a repeat of the conjunction last June 1st we can expect to see some revisiting of issues that were stirred by the December 2011 eclipse. However, between this conjunction of Mercury and Venus and the last one at this degree on June 1st last year there has been another meeting of these two – back in March of this year when Mercury was retrograde in Pisces. This means that we come to the coming conjunction with a new perspective, it’s not so much a revisiting of issues stirred up by the eclipse as a re-viewing – there has been much water under the bridge and events back in December 2011 that were churned up and chewed over during the Venus retrograde phase of last year are now seen from a very different perspective – just in time for a new lunar eclipse (more about that and its links to the other recent eclipses here).

Water Under the Bridge

Water Under the Bridge

 

More about the cardinal square from Astrology King

About the astrology of these interesting times from Aquarius Papers

And the moves of Mercury and Venus at Willow’s Web

 

Finding balance in choppy waters

Having got through the full moon and the superior conjunction – and hopefully it was enjoyable and full of illuminating, interesting or inspiring encounters with others – we now move through choppy waters for a while as Venus and the Sun both move through the Aries (in other words ‘me’) point of the cardinal square and intensify that part of the double interlocking yod. This indicates a time of wanting to assert our individuality, our uniqueness, our freedom, but find it under pressure from many other places. It’s a time of readjustment after recent moves where we are challenged to find balance – so anything that helps you to stay centred without being self-involved will be useful. It could be anything from meditating to playing music or gardening to rock climbing or sailing.

surfing

Meanwhile Mercury is doing his own thing as he moves through the later degrees of his shadow having completed aspects to Saturn, Jupiter and Chiron which has encouraged a review of emotional responses and interactions. With this happening in dreamy Pisces much of this review is likely to have been dream-like, maybe even coming through dreams, it’s more poetic, intuitive and/or musical. This review will continue through the following periods of Mercury retrograde, manifesting in different ways, but for now there is a need to understand and integrate which will continue for the next few days until Mercury leaves his shadow on the 6th April.

This coming week will see an attempt to bring together and make sense of all the feelings and encounters and realisations of the past few days. Mercury finally leaves his shadow at 19+ degrees Pisces, in an exact semi-sextile (1/12th of a circle) to both Venus and Mars who have joined one another at 19+ Aries. So Pisces and Aries are linked – the beginning and end of the cycle – with personal planets creating a push and pull between ‘I’ and ‘you’ and ‘we’ and the world in general. It could feel difficult to manage, pulling out of balance and creating a see-saw effect in relationships and within ourselves. On the other hand, if we can manage to maintain a sense of being centred then we could find a new and productive balance between all of these.

balancing

Just as a reminder, the Sabian symbol for Mercury leaving his shadow is:

A TABLE SET FOR AN EVENING MEAL.

KEYNOTE: An indication that in the end and at the appointed time the individual’s needs will be met among those to whom he is linked by a spiritual (or biological) web of energies.

The significant element in this scene is not only the meal, but the fact that it is an “evening” meal. To use traditional symbolism, after a long chain of personal existences the Soul returns to its spiritual home at the close of the day-of-manifestation. There it finds that which renews and amply sustains; the happiness of the “beyond of existence” is experienced — if all has gone well.

This last symbol of the seventieth five-fold sequence promises a satisfying or fulfilling end to whatever one has been undertaking. As the life closes, the Soul-consciousness finds NOURISHMENT in the harvest of whatever, during the whole life, has been relevant to the archetypal purpose and destiny of the Soul — one of the myriad of aspects of the divine creative word which began the cycle.

Thanksgiving 1612 - Jean Leon Gerome Ferris

Meanwhile, the Sabian symbol for the Venus/Mars conjunction, which perfects the day after Mercury leaves his shadow, reminds us that a key to finding balance is compassion:

A YOUNG GIRL FEEDING BIRDS IN WINTER.

KEYNOTE: Overcoming crises through compassion.

Nature’s seasonal rhythms imply an oscillation between living and dying. Through creative imagination man can “fly over” the cycle, and discover means not only to escape from the fatality of seasonal decay or deprivation, but to assist other living entities to survive through crises. Migrating birds fly south (cf. symbol of Aries 12°), but by establishing a partnership with other creatures unable to escape wintry deprivation or death, man can maintain the life of the spirit (symbolized by birds) steady through all crises if, like a “young girl,” he is widely open to the promptings of love and sympathy.

At this fifth stage of the symbolic sequence we witness human activity motivated by sympathy overcoming the seasonal phase of impotency. Life potency in nature spirits reaches a higher level in the human being. The theme is THE TRANSMUTATION OF LIFE INTO LOVE.

swans in winter

More about this Mercury Retrograde

More about moves through the cardinal square

The End of the Line?

Monday brings the Pisces new moon and it is a key one, a very significant seeding point leading from the creative aspects to the yod base into the time leading to the Venus superior conjunction and the culmination and clarification of the previous retrograde cycle before we move onto the next. As I pointed out in my last couple of posts, especially Testing Times, the past weeks have given an opportunity to work on the energies of the ongoing yod in order to make them as creative and meaningful as possible. The new moon brings that time to a close, it’s time to sow the seeds and see what comes from what you have realised, what you have worked on. Now is when it begins to get real.

Much is made about the vague, nebulous and romantic qualities of Pisces – important qualities indeed – but it is also vital to remember that Pisces is a mutable sign, the nature of its energy is to change – and the change that Pisces feels urged to make is to move into Aries, to realise the ‘I’, the ‘me’, the importance of ourselves as individuals. Pisces understands our deep spiritual connection to one another, to the world, to the ultimate unity of existence – but the energetic urge of Pisces is ultimately to differentiate, to understand, feel and make manifest our own, unique and individual nature – and to revel in that. In fact, this is the root of much of the frustration that comes with a heavy emphasis on Pisces – whilst there is a real understanding of the bigger picture, the mystical and intuitive, the need is to make that into something tangible, not simply to float around in a daydream but to somehow turn that daydream into a living reality.

keep it real

This is the urge of this new moon, and it is a challenge indeed – the new moon sows the seeds that will grow and come to fruition as the cardinal square is activated at the next full moon, and as it continues to be activated all over the period of the next retrogrades. This new moon is the turning point – actions now will inform the lessons, the mood, the experiences not just of the coming full moon but of the next Venus Rx cycle. The Sabian symbol for the new moon is particularly appropriate:

(PISCES 22°): A PROPHET CARRYING TABLETS OF THE NEW LAW IS WALKING DOWN THE SLOPES OF MOUNT SINAI.

KEYNOTE: The need to bring down to the level of everyday existence the clear realizations made manifest in a great “peak experience.”

The symbol obviously refers to Moses after he received from the God of his people the basic principles upon which a new religion, and even more a new ritual of living, should be founded. This basic “Law” has to be “brought down.” It represents a descent of formative and structuring power, a divine Revelation. This type of revealed knowledge contrasts with the kind of knowing born out of the experience of touch, of feeling, of warmth of contact. This second stage symbol pictures a process to which a religious God-given character has been attributed in the past, but which today is being investigated at the personal and psychological level. The important point here is: what do you do after you have a peak experience, an inner revelation? The Keyword MANDATE is appropriate; but the basic problem is how to fulfill it in the right spirit.

Moses

We can see in the chart for the new moon that Venus is applying to her conjunction with the Sun – indeed that conjunction is the next major aspect that these two make, moving into the energy of Aries before they do so. We can also see that Jupiter is heading back into tight yod formation with Saturn and Pluto and as he does so we will come to know whether our attempts to understand, balance and use the energies of this yod have been successful or not.

Pisces New Moon 2013

All in all this new moon signifies an ‘end of the line’ – we are moving from the mutable energy of the preceding retrograde series into the cardinal energy of the coming series. We are also coming towards the end of the ongoing yod which, before it dissipates, will intensify over the coming weeks to the full moon as we begin to really see what it means for us, however, the time for influence is over – what’s done is done, what’s realised is realised, now the seeds are sown and we shall see what comes of it. It is also the last lunation (new or full moon) before the horoscope cycle starts again at the equinox on 21st March with the Sun moving into Aries and it is significant that this last lunation is a new moon, a beginning point, rather than a full moon, a culmination point. It’s a launching off point, an invitation to a new way of being, and it’s also a warning to look before you leap – and it comes with some questions; ‘can you really carry on like this?’ ‘Where can you go from here?’ ‘Do you dare?’

end of the line