Friday, January 31, 2014

Kosmic Horizon: February 2014

The eroded terrain of Pinnacles National Park is silhouetted against the night sky, as the lights of King City, California glow in the distance. Photo by Joe Parks, via Wikimedia Commons.

The month begins just as Venus goes direct (Jan 30) after her retrograde cycle in Capricorn. Venus hands the baton to Mercury who begins its retrograde on February 6. We are currently deep in an incessant retrograde process involving the three inner planets:  Mercury, Venus and Mars.

Mercury retrograde occurs every three months, for three weeks. But Venus and Mars go retrograde the least of any planet, and thus correlate to more poignant and significant transitions. This month encapsulates the entirety of Mercury’s retrograde cycle in Pisces/Aquarius which I wrote about here.

All the usual advice applies when dealing with Mercury retrograde. This month will be a time to double check and reexamine a lot of things we’ve been dealing with up until this point. It’s best to rework those things that have already been established and launched previously, and to hold off on implementing entirely new endeavors.

That doesn’t mean that anything started now won’t work out, but that we need to pay extra attention to details and keep an eye out for loose ends that could potentially show up. Whatever we are involved with this month will certainly challenge our perception of reality, in many different ways. Mercury retrograde is a time to willingly look for weak spots in your world view, to see what new information you can uncover.

The retrograde archetype invites us to back up and take a good look at the progress we’ve made. There may be some changes that need to take place, or something we left out needs to be reconsidered. Then, we can’t forget the fact the Mercury retrograde is notorious for throwing a cosmic wrench in the gears, leading to all sorts of technical/mechanical hiccups. The best advice: be prepared for the unexpected and leave some room for possible schedule changes.

Mercury’s conjunction with Neptune before going retrograde symbolizes the realization or awareness of a vision or ideal. It’s backtrack through Aquarius is a chance to gain more objectivity and logical understanding—to see it from a different, altered or more sober vantage point.
Mercury turns stationary retrograde on Feb 6; this is the first significant event to occur this month. It’s best to pay more attention during the retrograde stations, as these are the most sensitive moments of the retrograde. Be extra clear in all your communications and double check to make sure that everything you have intended to convey is fully understood.

The Sun in Aquarius squares Saturn in Scorpio on Feb 11. Ideals may conflict uncomfortably with the reality of a situation. A positive sense of hope and newfound freedom may be greatly challenged by certain criticisms and high expectations. If you find yourself feeling discouraged; don’t give up that easily. Do what you can to make things right or to correct imperfections, then go about your business as usual. A lot can be learned from certain inadequacies that are revealed, but too much focus on imperfections can stunt growth and development.  

Mercury retrograde dips back into Aquarius on Feb 12 to cover some territory previously overlooked. From a higher perch, things are a bit clearer. With an open mind, new insights can be gleaned and properly integrated for everyone’s benefit.

The Sun makes a trine to Mars and the Full Moon in Leo occurs on Feb 14. The Sun trine Mars creates a sense of mental fluidity and mutual cooperation between people we are involved with today. High energy and an enthusiasm to communicate truths and ideals with others are strongly pronounced. The Full Moon in Leo adds more fuel to the passion and excitement that may be lingering around. But with Saturn squaring the Full Moon axis, we must err on the side of caution.

Practical strategies and a sober mindset are required so that things don’t get too out of hand. With the proper work ethic, there may be a lot that can be accomplished. But we’ll all be feeling the heat and pressure to give the best performance possible. Mercury retrograde conjoining the Sun reminds us that practice and repetition are needed to meet high demands. Don’t feel too pressured to get it all right straight out the gate. It’s okay to make mistakes; think of it as a practice run and you’ll feel less stress.

Mercury retrograde conjoins the Sun on Feb 15, symbolizing the peak or midpoint of the retrograde cycle. Now that we’re knee deep in the retrograde process, we should be clear on what needs to be reworked. After a week or so of subtle deconstruction, we can now work toward building things back up, putting on the finishing touches.

Mercury retrograde trines Mars on Feb 16. Helpful insights or information may come to us through those we come into contact with today. While these insights may not mesh with our current perceptions or assumptions, they have the potential to greatly alter our knowledge base, adding a fresh and wider perspective. With the right attitude and cooperation, there could be a lot that can be successfully reworked and adjusted. Don’t try to go it alone. Integration will be the key.

The Sun enters Pisces on Feb 18, adding a numinous, mystical and spacey tone to the collective vibe. The Sun in Pisces is a time to connect more fully with a sense of connectivity and oneness with the world around us. Mercury retrograde squares Saturn in Scorpio on Feb 19 which could bring up some serious challenges that could trip us up if we’re not careful.

While an open mind is useful in dealing with Mercury retrograde, too much receptivity to others criticisms can leave us feeling depressed, useless or unworthy. Do your best to fix what’s wrong with the game plan, but don’t beat yourself up just because it’s not perfect. But it’s important to maintain a strong sense of integrity today, and to take responsibility for you’re the part you currently play. Playing the victim or the fool won’t work out too successfully, so stay sober and be prepared for critical evaluations.

The Sun in Pisces conjuncts Neptune on Feb 23. Look out for the potential to overtly idealize a situation today, but don’t close yourself off from insight that comes from unexpected or unseen sources either. While it’s important to remain skeptical of everything coming at you, there’s the potential to tap into something beyond the mundane channels. It may be a good time to dream, visualize or meditate. But if it sounds too good to be true; it might be time for some careful fact checking.

Venus sextiles Saturn on Feb 24, creating an opportunity to aesthetically enhance your surroundings or to bring something previously concealed into a more concrete formation. Whatever it is, there is a desire to keep things simple and to savor every bit, seeing it for what it is.

On Feb 25, Jupiter squares Uranus, setting off a t-square between Uranus, Pluto and Jupiter. There may be a lot of collective tension brewing in the atmosphere in addition to catalytic creative or scientific developments. The past, the future and the uncharted frontier must all find common ground here, and reconciling all directions will be the challenge of the day.

Mercury turns stationary direct on Feb 28 in synch with the New Moon in Pisces and the Sun trine Jupiter. After three weeks of backtracking, back stepping and readjustment, we may feel more empowered and confident to move forward in the right direction. We’re likely to have a more solid footing now at the end of the cycle, and the watery influence from this New Moon helps us to gain more emotional clarity. The Sun/Moon conjunction with Chiron creates a sense of destiny and an intense focus to actualize dreams, while the trine from Jupiter creates a sense of warmth and confident determination to go for the vision.   

Feb 6- Mercury stationary retrograde
Feb 11- Sun square Saturn
Feb 12- Mercury retrograde back to Aquarius
Feb 14- Sun trine Mars; Full Moon @ 26 Leo
Feb 15- Sun conjunct Mercury
Feb 16- Mercury trine Mars
Feb 18- Sun enters Pisces
Feb 19- Mercury square Saturn
Feb 23- Sun conjunct Neptune
Feb 24- Venus sextile Saturn
Feb 25- Jupiter square Uranus

Feb 28- Mercury stationary direct; New Moon @ 10 Pisces; Sun trine Jupiter

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Turning Over A New Leaf: New Moon In Aquarius 2014

Taro leaf underside backlit by Sun. Wikimedia Commons.
New Moon @ 10 Aquarius 55'
January 30, 2014
1:38 PM Pacific
4:38 PM Eastern

As usual, the conjunction of the Sun and Moon coincides with a new beginning. Deep inside, whether we notice it or not, a new start begins to gestate. It may be a subtle hunch that urges us to pursue some fresh new pathway. No matter how drastic or minute this new beginning manifests, and no matter how conscious we are of this process, new developments unfold in synch with the cycle of Sun and Moon.

This month’s Aquarius New Moon is the second to occur in the month of January. That might be significant depending on how much credence you give to the Gregorian calendar. In a way, it’s like a Blue Moon, only invisible to the naked eye. It’s a rather black Moon, actually, devoid of any noticeable hue. In addition to this oddity, the Moon is especially close to the Earth, at its perigee. 

Always, this amplifies the Moon’s lunar archetype. Emotions are little heavier than usual. Dramatic reactions to trivial situations have more prominence. We may feel more sensitive when the Moon is closer. There may be greater fluctuations and expression of either joy or sorrow.

With the Moon in Aquarius, this further amplifies the unusual dimensions of this New Moon. Due to Aquarius’ higher planetary expression via Uranus, there’s a flare of eccentricity that always ferments anything placed in this sign. Aquarius and Uranus forge their own path; they dance to the beat of a different drummer. 

Such is the nature of this particular lunation. Aquarius is a breath of fresh air—crisp, clean and rejuvenating. Uranus, the ruler of Aquarius, also makes a sextile to the Solar/Lunar duo. In addition to the dramatic t-square involving Jupiter, Uranus, Venus and Pluto—there may be some sudden changes taking place this lunar cycle. There may equally be a sense of heavy tension and impetus to move on.

Whether these changes are subtle or pronounced, they signal that the time has come to turn over a new leaf. Aquarius and Uranus urge us to break free of those stagnating circumstances that hold back the evolutionary current. But nothing is forcing us to. These changes are entirely voluntary. Such is the nature of the sextile; it stands as a suggestion, a helping hand. 

Uranus in Aries invites us to trail-blaze and to forge a new frontier. Whether we take up the offer or not boils down to a decision. If you do nothing else this lunation, take some time to breathe new life into something. Change something up. Look for ways to innovate anything around you. 

Horoscope of New Moon Jan 30, 2014. 

This lunation provides a powerful jump-start that will segway us into Mercury’s retrograde cycle, beginning February 6. That may sound a little discouraging for any new beginning, but fear not. While delays, frustrations and communicative obstacles are common, Mercury retrograde invites us to reexamine the world around us, to see things from a new perspective.

This is completely conducive to the Aquarian and Uranian objective. As we move into new territory this lunar cycle, expect the unexpected. The events unfolding may be hard to predict or pin down, but that’s okay. Open your mind and humbly accept your limited vision. In the dark of the Moon, it may be hard to see the path before you; but trust the inner light, it will guide the way. 

The next few weeks, as the Moon waxes toward its culmination and then begins to wane, we are invited to reexamine our dreams, visions and ideals. Whatever “new beginning” you encounter, keep in mind that it is an opportunity to see your future path in an entirely new and different light. 

Uranus and Aquarius create a quickening or acceleration of energy. That means that things around you may appear to move at a much faster pace. But Mercury retrograde asks us to pause, reflect and reconsider. So, while things may be moving faster than usual, there’s no rush to make something happen. All will unfold in due time. 

Break out of the box this lunar cycle in whatever way you can manage. Step up to challenges and work through, carefully, to solving any problems. Ingenious solutions are likely floating around, creating a sense that anything is possible with the right amount of visualization and willpower. Welcome this fresh new start with open arms and an open mind. Changes are on the way. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Into the Hot Zone: Mars Retrograde and the North Node In Libra

Mars Disarmed by Venus and Three Graces by Jacques Louis David, 1824.

Stationary retrograde: March 1, 2014- May 19, 2014
Stationary direct: May 19, 2014
Enter shadow: October 31, 2013
Leave shadow: July 22, 2014
Sun/Mars opposition: April 8, 2014

The planet Mars is in Libra for roughly eight months this cycle, due to his most infrequent retrograde cycle.  Libra and Mars are two very antithetical archetypes, logically because Mars rules Aries, Libra’s opposite sign. But, antithetical isn’t necessarily a “bad” thing. It simply means that two elements are coming from two distinctly separate points of view.

The collision can be messy, wrought with hostility and resistance; or a meeting of two complementary pieces that create such sharp contrast that both ends of the spectrum are more dignified and interesting in the presence of one another.

Traditional astrology has a rather grim take on planets in the signs opposite their rulership. Those old crotchety astrologers see nothing but doom and gloom for Mars as he travels this most foreign and offbeat of territories. But, there’s a definite logic that supports that perspective. Put simply, Libra and Mars aren’t cut from the same cloth.

That mixture of two distinctly different textures presents us with a certain kind of challenge, one that urges us to become more aware and conscious than usual. It takes a little hard work and extra effort to make something beautiful or worthy of visual digestion—Libra’s modus operandi. 

Whatever Libra comes into contact with, there’s a certain aesthetic response from that element. Libra seeks to make things more pleasant for the world—tasteful, elegant, harmonious and dignified. In order to achieve that visionary perfection, lots of different options are weighed and contrasted. Trial and error and prolonged gazes, scrutinizing from extended distances are all a part of that process.

Libra thrives on a multiplicity of perspectives, options and opinions. Finding common ground and reconciliation can be a time consuming process. Libra equally wants everyone, in some way, to have their cake and eat it too. That’s not always possible, but if any sign can get close enough to meeting the needs of all involved, it’s Libra.

Mars is a planet that’s all about action, assertion, willpower and facing fears—boldly stepping up to any challenge and meeting it head on. Mars thrives on the power of initiation, and the prospect of the new, uncharted frontier. Mars prefers more simplistic decisions.

While walking through the woods and coming face to face with a bear, there should be very few options in that moment. To make things easier, Mars distills it down to two choices: fight or flight. Okay, maybe that or with a little knowledge we may choose to duck and cover or play dead. Anyway, the point is, in that moment Mars serves us best.

Primal involuntary instincts come under the Martian terrain. When we need them, they serve us well. We don’t have to think about it. We just, somehow, know exactly what to do. With the help of a little adrenaline, we’re one step (or leap) from solving the problem.

Libra is an air sign. That means we’re dealing with a more mental and cerebral landscape. And that’s what really underlines Libra’s problem solving and diplomatic talents. While Mars is in Libra, his catalytic initiatory powers get rather muddled—filtered through this more unified and holistic Librian perspective.

Needless to say, that process can be a little frustrating for Mars. His actions are conceded. His instincts warped and contorted. Spending eight months in this state of pause and reflection can certainly ignite some irritation. Those of us more Martian prone—with a strong planetary presence in Aries or Scorpio, are more likely to feel this particular response.

Now let’s throw the retrograde into the mix. It seems a hopeless situation for Mars indeed. The planet of initiation, action and forward momentum going backwards in this antithetical element doesn’t look good for poor Mars.

But, fear not. If anyone can handle it it’s certainly the Martian warrior. I’m sure he’s gone through worse. I mean, the planet has probably seen some pretty intense cataclysms and climate reversals-- enough to make Al Gore shudder in horror. Yes, Mars is a tough guy. Don’t let the perceived direness of the situation fool you.

NASA image of Mars taken June 26, 2001
by the Hubble Space Telescope.
NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
So what’s the point? Well with Mars in Libra we’re forced to become more conscious of impulses, desires and jerk-reactions. That means that mindless activities that usually work in our favor aren’t likely to while Mars is in Libra. We’re forced to deal with very differing and contrasting perspectives.

We either resist these perspectives, resulting in a messy battle of egos and willpower, or we choose to make some concessions; to broaden our perspective with the inclusion of these antipodal worldviews. It’s certainly not an easy task, but if successfully accomplished we have a more comprehensive awareness of the world around us.

Because Libra is also a sign that rules relationships, Mars in Libra is a time when our energy is more successfully channeled into this direction. Wherever Mars goes, that’s where we are expending the most energy at any given time, and also where we’re confronting fears and meeting challenges.

On a collective level, Mars in Libra is about funneling energy toward more diplomatic efforts--learning to acquire agility and compromise within complex social situations and putting intense effort toward creating harmony in the world around us. Before we go rushing into something, before we instinctively react to any given challenge or situation, we’re required to really pause and consider what is arising from deep within us.

This process will become even more ubiquitous once Mars actually turns retrograde on March 1, 2014. While Mars is retrograde, we’re dealing more profoundly with the pause and assessment of our actions. Of any retrograde cycle, the Mars retrograde cycle is the least conducive for initiation and confrontation.

That doesn't mean to go into hiding or to avoid implementing anything of value or importance. But it does mean that whatever you do decide to initiate should be very carefully assessed and reflected upon—particularly giving time to carefully implement all the factors and all the other people's involvement.

When Mars is retrograde, desperate acts of impulsivity rarely turn out favorably. The launch of some important matter often ends up losing steam and dwindling in momentum once the planet turns direct. But just because this is a likely manifestation, doesn’t mean to avoid action. It simply means that this is a time to be more conscious of your actions, and to anticipate a change of course or direction later down the road.

As with any retrograde, we are in a process that requires us to reassess and reflect. It is a very introverted type of cycle. But with Mars in Libra (a more extroverted sign), we’re reflecting and strengthening our capacity to deal with multiple perspectives within relationships and more complicated social dynamics.
Hans Sebald Beham,Mars,
from The Seven Planets with the Signs of the Zodiac, 1539
(Bartsch 116; Pauli, Holl. 118) , via Wikimedia Commons

Some other factors to consider: Anger is a common manifestation when the Martian energy is somehow blocked or stagnated. Finding a healthy outlet for the expression of anger is highly recommended. Because Mars is in Libra, and retrograde, this cycle is likely to bring up territorial issues or deeply embedded fears or unresolved anger within relationships.

Remain conscious of this reality. Do your best to deal with these issues openly and as civilly as possible. But do not suppress or attempt to hide what needs to be communicated or expressed cathartically. There is a fine line between consciously expressing frustration and allowing it to take over, resulting in violence or rage.

Because Mars is retrograde, it is actually much closer to the Earth than usual. This invariably amplifies this archetypal power within each of us. Be mindful that things may not go as you expect or anticipate. Projects launched are likely to encounter setbacks, delays or frustrations. Be wary of the fact that many people may choose to express the more unsavory aspects of the Martian energy; don’t be the one to set them off!

Mars retrograde is a time to strengthen and reinforce situations that have already been put into motion. Big initiations are best implemented once the planet has gone direct. With that said, don’t over think it. Go with the flow. Mars and Venus retrograde cycles are unique in that they often correlate with significant turning points and mile-stone transitions.

We sometimes meet new people, or come into contact with familiar folks who we have seemingly met in some prior lifetime. These karmic connections are often important, and will unfold and develop in synch with future retrograde cycles.

Follow the Libran North Node

Just prior to Mars turning retrograde, the North Node transitions (backwards) from Scorpio into Libra. This is an equally significant transit, since the North Node indicates our collective destiny and objective at any given time.

On Feb 19, 2014, a rather poignant conjunction of planets occurs here. The North Node conjoins Mars and Vesta in Libra and Ceres in Scorpio. This is a very interesting conjunction, foreshadowing the coming onset of Mars’ backward motion.

Mars is slowing down to stationary motion. That warrior-like initiatory drive is coming to a standstill. Our defenses are down. This is a point of tremendous vulnerability, but a moment that also provides us with a glimpse into relationship dynamics to point us toward things that likely need to be worked on and reinforced over the next few months.

Vesta’s conjunction with the North Node at the anaretic degree of Libra points to a critical turning point and transition, one that gives us a razor sharp look into how others think, to become more compassionately aware of where they’re coming from.

Ceres brings up issues of nurturing, compassion and nourishment. We are invited to make contact with others who may be of assistance to us in these areas, or who may provide important information that can help us to see ourselves or a specific situation more objectively.

The North Node will transit Libra until November 2015. While the North Node was in Scorpio, and Saturn in Scorpio, we have all been forced, in varying degrees of intensity, to face deeply embedded material that lay dormant in the unconscious. Fears, vulnerabilities, deeply buried emotions and issues surrounding death and joint finances were all prevalent themes that needed to be constructively integrated.

We are shifting our attention away from these deeply intimate and secret chasms, to redirect attention from seriously intense subject matter towards some semblance of calm and homeostasis. While the North Node travels through Libra, there is a collective need and desire to open ourselves to the perceptions and perspectives of other people.

There is a drive to seek out experiences and connections that can assist in creating cohesion, equanimity and balance. The North Node in Libra can help with integration and digestion of everything that has come up on a personal and collective level.

So, this is a cycle that allows us to transcend the limitations of personal and biased viewpoints, to gain more awareness of our place in the larger scheme of things. This North Node transit also helps us to realize that there is greater power in numbers and that by embracing cooperation and mutual understanding, a lot more can be accomplished with greater ease and efficiency.

Mars in the Cardinal Hot Zone

Because Mars is going retrograde in Libra, it is activating the Uranus and Pluto square, the sign of the times. On April 22-23 Mars will form an exact grand cross configuration involving Uranus, Pluto and Jupiter. This is known as a cardinal cross, involving the cardinal zodiac signs, which have been a rather powerful symbol of the current changes taking place worldwide.

With Mars retrograde, this will likely correlate with the rise of collective events that bring to our attention to the need to strengthen and reinforce our personal and collective willpower. It is a powerful opportunity that generates an impetus to make dramatic changes and transformations through the awareness of new perspectives or worldviews.

Due to the intense nature of this configuration, there is likely to be a lot of conflict and tension. It is through this overwhelming friction that the world can wake up to new realities and alternative points of view it was previously closed off from.

Whether this particular grand cross will correlate with a specific event or not remains to be seen. But one thing is certain: it symbolizes a significant milestone in the collective psyche, one that will likely put into motion massive cultural, political and economic changes.   

Of particular significance is the fact that this grand cross will be in aspect to the radix Sun in the mundane horoscope of the United States. Obviously we can draw from this the fact that the U.S. will be the most significantly impacted country by this event. This symbolizes the first exact contact that the U.S. will have with the Uranus/Pluto square—so it’s a little unsettling given the current circumstances.
Horoscope of the United States (Sibly) with transits on April 22, 2014. Note the grand cross hitting the radix Sun and Saturn.

Many astrologers are concerned that this may have a significant impact on the economy, since we’re already in the midst of much economic instability and uncertainty. I personally can’t say for sure whether it will or not. Astrology cannot predict the exact turn of events. But given the nature of the cardinal axis, this energy will not just affect the U.S.--it will have a broad and far reaching global impact.

Such is the reality of the situation. What happens in the U.S. doesn’t just stay here; it has many implications for the economies of other nations. Regardless of what happens collectively, of which we as individuals have little control of at this point, each of us will inevitably feel the need to look beyond our personal limitations and rediscover the power that is available when we integrate with like minds and souls.

Again, be on the lookout for rising frustration and anger that may manifest. Mars retrograde indicates that the collective willpower is somehow stuck and stagnant. This is not a time to incite a war of any kind; the momentum just isn’t there. This cardinal grand cross is more symbolic of an awakening, one that reminds us of the power we truly have and that has been there all along.

There is tremendous creative potential here, and regardless of the turmoil that may manifest collectively, we can each use this energy constructively and consciously toward more productive outlets. The Uranus and Pluto square is about dramatic, sweeping global changes—conflicts between an emerging new horizon and the powerful established order.

Jupiter in Cancer points to the past and to the collective desire to hold on to those nostalgic elements that support the foundation. Jupiter also expands whatever it comes into contact with.
With Mars retrograde, we can anticipate an explosive energy, one that creates many contradicting desires. There is the desire to break free and forge new frontiers, the desire to maintain the past and hold on to what has been proven to work (security), and then the desire to integrate foreign perspectives which can reinforce our current position.

If you feel yourself pulled into these multiple directions, you aren’t alone. A grand cross isn’t easy to integrate because it challenges the psyche to implement all ends of the square in such a way that neither one overpowers the other. I think that is really the whole point of this configuration, it urges us to implement massive checks and balances so that neither of these facets has more power over the situation.

Looking at all the planets involved, it’s easy to point out all the facets currently involved here. Pluto in Capricorn definitely represents the overarching government's invasion of our privacy, and amping up as a police state. It is symbolic of the all-seeing eye of the oligarchy and plutocracy that currently holds the reigns of the economy.  

But Pluto in Capricorn is also a symbol of the emerging wisdom of the ancient past; the unearthing of powerful secrets long concealed or forgotten by the world. As much as it symbolizes a clash with authority, it equally awakens the power of the people to govern themselves, equipped with this newfound secret knowledge.

Uranus in Aries is the nascent frontier; the spring Sun rising on the horizon, offering the hope and prospect of something entirely new. Technologically (of which Uranus aptly correlates), we are seeing the emergence of an entirely new paradigm of global communication which is greatly impacting the power of self-expression (Aries).

Uranus in Aries is entirely experimental; it also inspires us to forge new pathways in many unique and radical ways. It offers us the promise that there is always another way, a direction we’ve had yet to dream of or imagine. Jupiter in Cancer is the power pulling us toward the familiar elements of society that have withstood the test of time. It draws the collective into an introspective gaze, dreaming of the good old days.

Jupiter in Cancer is placing emphasis on the desire for security and economic stability. In many ways, it is resistant to the progressive changes symbolized by Uranus, and suspicious of the powers exhibited by Pluto in Capricorn. So as much as we want “change”, as promised by many politicians these days, we equally don’t want to rock the boat too much that it threatens the security of the floor beneath our feet.

Finally, Mars retrograde in Libra is the awakening realization of our collective power. It is the emerging awareness that we need help; we can’t solve all these problems by ourselves. As much as our collective ego has convinced us of our absolute independence, we must admit that input from foreign sectors is much needed now, and that with greater objectivity each of us will find that we have the strength and capacity to endure the hardships to come.

Onward Into The Great Unfolding….

In conclusion, there is a lot we need to consider over the next few months. Mars retrograde and the North Node in Libra urge us to consciously weigh the pros and cons. But don’t feel rushed to do so. Work with these cycles and allow the process to unfold in its own timing. Remember that Libra needs to take its time to consider all the perspectives it seeks to assimilate.

When in doubt, stop, pause and reconsider. Taking more time now to deeply reflect, and ask for the opinions and perspectives of those around you, will save you much time and pain in the future. If things aren’t moving in a timely manner, look to see what’s missing, or reach out for help when necessary. We don’t have to do this all alone. In fact, that would be completely counterproductive to the whole process at hand.

We are entering a very uncertain time politically and economically. Decisions and choices we have all made in the past, or that we have allowed others to make for us, are now revealing their consequences. The complexity of the grand cross reveals that the solutions to our current problems are not simple. They are incredibly complex and involve the participation of everyone on the planet, in some shape or form.

If you feel the call to break free of oppressive and stagnating circumstances, you are simply responding to the current energies flooding the collective psyche. How successful we are hangs on our ability to consciously and patiently work through these complexities and integrate all the conflicting desires arising from deep within us. But whatever we choose to experience, remember that it's all a part of the great unfolding. When in doubt, trust the process at hand, no matter how dire it seems.

Mars reminds us that we are far more powerful than we know. Awaken the power within you to shape your life and the world into something more aligned with your ideals and dreams. This isn’t an end, but rather the birth of a new beginning. Don’t fight the current, flow with it; you never know how things will eventually unfold.

Conscious travels. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Revising The Vision: Mercury Retrograde in Pisces/Aquarius

False color image of Mercury's surface.
NASA/JPL/Northwestern University.
February 6, 2014- February 28, 2014
Enter shadow: Jan 22, 2014
Leave shadow: March 20, 2014

This year’s first Mercury retrograde initiates the transition from water signs to air signs. Each of the three retrograde cycles this year has us literally on edge between these two elements. We can anticipate quite drastic and varying transitions and reflections to occur with each of these, since Mercury is backtracking through two very distinctly different elements.

We hear a lot of rules and codes of conduct while Mercury is retrograde and I’ll admit that I've often propagated a few myself. The problem is that astrology is never so cut and dry. Prescriptive formulas for astrological cycles inevitably fail. Like consciousness itself, astrology is fluid, multivalent and always changing.

But the retrograde reminds of just that thing. So, if one thing is consistent with every Mercury retrograde cycle, it’s the awareness that something needs to change—either our perception or our approach to something we've been working on.

Of course, those slight annoyances and technical/mechanical mishaps do in fact occur with greater frequency while Mercury turns retrograde; It’s just hard to predict whether they will or not for you personally. So, as usual, double check the details: tighten loose screws and reiterate anything important that you need to communicate to others. Better safe than sorry.

This Mercury retrograde arrives right on cue just as Venus finishes her retrograde cycle in Capricorn on Jan 31. Of course, each of the three inner planet retrogrades [Venus, Mercury and Mars] that occur at the onset of 2014 overlap and intermingle due to their shadow periods.

That means that we are in the midst of a rather lengthy cycle of incessant revision and uncertainty. So, first off, relax and take a deep breath. It would be a grave mistake to say that we should barricade ourselves in our homes and avoid contact with the world until this all blows over—a grave mistake, indeed.

Retrogrades are excellent times for us to creatively experiment—to playfully explore the relationship between the inner and outer worlds. It is during these times that there is less pressure from the universe to get it all right and to be at our peak performance. While that may in fact happen, this is a time to be gentler with yourself.

(Of course, if you’re planning on launching a space shuttle or some other expensive feat of engineering, you may want to be less playful and more anal about those loose screws, see: Hubble Space Telescope)

That doesn't mean to avoid initiating anything of value or significance; it means that this is a time to take things much slower and to practice considerable consciousness; heightening your awareness. With each step that we take, we’re asking ourselves some very important questions.

“Is this what I really want?” “Where will this path inevitably lead me, and is it right for me?” Uncertainty is a healthy expression of this energy, because it invites one to probe deeper into one's true desires and motivations. The only way to answer these questions is to allow yourself to take chances and possibly even make some mistakes.

Mercury turns stationary retrograde on Feb. 6 while conjunct Neptune in Pisces. Needless to say, this retrograde may greatly enhance both psychic and intuitive perception. It may urge us to probe deeply into the root of perceptions and personal illusions.

Neptune is a planet that encapsulates our collective ideals and creative/artistic fantasies. Mercury’s backtrack allows us to step back and deeply reflect on those visions, and while dipping into Aquarius, we will have an objective viewpoint from which to scrutinize.

The ideal and the vision always loom before us; it’s the cosmic [carrot on a stick] incentive that keeps us motivated to reach for our dreams. While Mercury is retrograde we may find ourselves reconsidering that vision, or rediscovering that we actually have one and that we just lost sight of it.

Mercury dips back into Aquarius on Feb. 12, changing the watery tone, and transforming the arena into a more mental/cerebral zone. While in Aquarius, Mercury retrograde urges us to a get a little more serious.

While Neptune and Pisces are anything but realistic, this phase of the retrograde has us deeply skeptical and cautious about information coming out of thin air. Mercury in Aquarius has us looking for facts to support intuitive hunches and intellectual assumptions.

That glossy and seemingly glorious game plan that was channeled out of the ether should probably be put under a high powered microscope, just in case. Before you go rushing off with any new found sense of destiny, Aquarius says to “hold back” and look for supporting evidence.

This is to say that when we encounter some profound revelation that strikes us like a bolt of lightning, it’s always best to sit with it and let it digest before announcing it to the world. Many crucial pieces are often lost in translation. Just read the Bible.

Mercury’s retrograde through Aquarius helps us to think for ourselves and to reconsider what may have been perceived (previously) as radical or taboo ideas or subject matter. As with any Mercury retrograde, our perceptions are changing.

A portal is opening allowing us to peer deeply into other realms, however real or imagined. A closed mind is a stubborn mind. Allow the mental currents to wash away the clutter and filter everything out. If it sounds too good to be true—it’s best to sit on it and work through all the details, carefully.

If it sounds too radical and far ahead of its time, it’s probably exactly what you need to entertain.  As always, keep an open mind while Mercury is retrograde. You never know what you may uncover, or how shocking and potentially life changing it may be. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

You Eat Me, I Eat You: Full Moon In Cancer 2014

Lilith by John Collier. Via
Wikimedia Commons.
Full Moon @ 25 Cancer 58'
January 15, 2014
8:51 PM Pacific
11:51 PM Eastern

This month's lunar climax (Full Moon) occurs in the protective, nostalgic and security seeking sign of Cancer while the Sun lies in opposition in Capricorn. Allow me to emphasize the climactic nature of this Full Moon, since the "Black Moon" Lilith so closely conjoins this illumined and yet obscure Moon.

A heightened sense of desire, sensual or food related, may become greatly amplified by the presence of Lilith. A desire for security, comfort and protection is equally strong (Cancer). Lilith is not really a planet or a Moon in the physical sense; she is a phantom she-devil, subjugated to the unseen and mysterious cavern of the unconscious.

Lilith invokes desire, not like Mars or Venus, but rather she awakens our hidden, suppressed primal urges that scream for inclusion, awareness and replenishment. Lilith is an astral contagion who, like all of us, requires nourishment through the act of incessant feeding.

To feed Lilith is to generate a two way street of pleasure. In a way, it is a mutual sharing of orgasmic forces which generate a highly desirable astral "food-stuff", a pleasure filled ectoplasm fit for fourth density consumption.

We are human with human desires. While the mastery of desire is the noble pursuit of the aesthetic, most of us cannot simply deny our bodily cravings without some intense psychic repercussions. In that sense, Lilith can become a symbol of anger, rage and frustration reflecting our refusal to acknowledge and find equanimity between our ideals and our desires.

Yet, to constantly respond to bodily cravings is the pathway to addiction. In a sense, Lilith can assist the psyche in discovering that ability to consciously and cooperatively work with that which we subjugate and reject because we fear its power and its ability to overpower the psyche to such an extent that we lose all control.

Astronomically, Lilith is a mathematically contrived point, the 'mean' position of the lunar apogee. That is, the point along the Moon's semi-elliptical orbit that is the furthest from the Earth, even when the Moon isn't actually there [a diagram would probably be more helpful to visualize]. There is also an asteroid by the name of Lilith, as well as several other means of calculation.

This hypothetical point we find conjoining this Full Moon is more unanimously accepted among astrologers as the most potent symbol of the Lilith archetype. The patronized mythos of Lilith designates her as the "first Eve", who refused to submit to male dominance and authority. While having sex with Adam, she always wanted to be on top, which led (I imagine) to frustrating power struggles between the nascent couple.

Horoscope of Full Moon January 15, 2014. The Moon in Cancer naturally
opposes the Sun, conjoins Lilith, and squares Mars, Vesta and Ceres. 

Eventually, Lilith was fed up with the whole thing and fled her paradisaical abode and wound up having sex with demons (who may have liked to bottom and were probably a little kinky), producing demon children by the Red Sea. Legends described Lilith as a demon goddess who seduced men in their sleep, resulting in nocturnal emissions. She was also described as an entity that abducted children and babies from their beds, sometimes killing (or eating?) them.

Much later Christian versions of Lilith described her as a succubi, which has many similarities to our modern alien abduction mythology. Well, one thing is clear: Lilith is one feisty bitch. Lilith can represent a place of insatiable hunger (desire), that requires healthy outlet and expression, which could otherwise result in messy, sticky wet-dreams.

While it's not recommended to always scratch every itch (which for the meth-addict can lead to a rather unpleasant complexion), to constantly ignore that itch will eventually drive you mad. So, occasionally it's okay to scratch; it provides relief. But also, there may be some deeper reasons underlying the source of that hunger, which we may choose to explore in psychotherapy (talk to Pluto).

With the Sun, naturally in opposition in Capricorn and with Mars, Vesta and Ceres square this lunation, there is some obvious tension and a potential point of reconciliation. Sometimes what may be "bad" for us most of the time, is good for us some of the time. Sometimes our perception of what's "bad" is merely a delusional social ideal and taboo that needs to be seriously questioned.

The line between nourishment and pleasure becomes blurred here, where what is nourishing most of the time, can become restricting, thereby suffocating our sensual and creative potential. To consciously work with Lilith is to dance in the darkness uninhibited--wild and free. To play with Lilith is to shed those shackles momentarily and to feed the unseen, while conscious that the risk of losing control lies in the shadows.

To find that balance between noble aesthetic pursuits and untamed libidinal urges is a challenge. To allow the whole world its unique and specific form of nourishment takes incredible consciousness. But down here this low on the dimensional totem pole, we all eat each other. Life is an orgy of replenishment so don't pretend it's anything otherwise, you're only fooling yourself.