Thursday, January 21, 2016

Prioritize and Re-energize: Leo Full Moon 2016

Hieroglyphics inside a temple at Dier el-Bahri on the west bank of the Nile
opposite the city of Luxor, Egypt; photo by Aligatorek via
Wikimedia Commons.

Full Moon @ 3 Leo 29'
January 23, 2016
8:46 PM Eastern
5:46 PM Pacific

As the current lunar cycle comes to its full expression and manifestation, Mercury retrograde is gradually winding down, stationing direct (changing from backward to forward motion) just two days later, on Jan. 25. The stations of Mercury appear to be the most potent times of the retrograde, where technical glitches and sudden changes of plans often accumulate. Be mindful of this, because the days surrounding the station can often feel a little more frustrating than usual. It’s best to just roll with the punches and stay flexible—even if things are little lopsided and out of sorts.

Venus also just moved into tropical Capricorn, and Mercury will be stationing while in a conjunction with Pluto in this sign. All of this favors you getting a little more serious about some things in your life. Maybe you feel more focused, or simply aware of the need to prioritize your activities and the amount of time spent on certain relationships. Mercury conjunct Pluto can feel a little heavy as if certain fears and buried wounds are coming up to the surface more than they usually would. Mercury stationing on Pluto can be a time to really consider how these darker elements are playing out in your life, either through deeper reflection or talking it out.

Those conversations, if you choose to have them, will likely be heavy and complex, but may have lasting value. The Full Moon occurs in the sign of Leo, naturally opposing the Sun, but also opposing the asteroid Pallas Athena in the sign of Aquarius. In Greek mythology, Athena was a warrior goddess who emerged from Zeus’ head; she embodies wisdom, strategy and problem solving. I liken Athena to the ability to solve complex puzzles. Perhaps this Full Moon brings about an enthusiasm to come up with creative solutions.

Leo is a fire sign with an “extroverted” nature. That doesn’t mean that you’ll feel outgoing on the Full Moon (although that is likely), but simply more motivated to take action in the external world in some playful way. This is amplified by the rather wide square that the Full Moon axis (the 180 degrees opposition of Sun and Moon) receives from Mars conjunct Juno in the sign of Scorpio. That means that this Full Moon forms a t-square, a structure of considerable tension that motivates and challenges you to make some kind of change.

Juno conjunct Mars can indicate facing the truth about certain commitments you’ve made in your life. What fears do you have in relation to them? What kinds of commitments have you made to yourself? And how can you go about honoring them and staying on track? While Leo likes to play and express itself, it isn’t completely free to let loose entirely. You may find that your playtime needs to fit within a structure, modified by the priorities currently on the table.

When you are really pursuing something meaningful and important to you, you’ll find that the creative juice needed to follow through will bring you much joy and pleasure. As always, the brightness of the Full Moon brings to light certain realizations. For you, that may be the energy needed to strategically follow your bliss, whatever that may be. The Full Moon is a time of higher, increased energy, and in Leo, that energy can feel enthusiastic and vibrant. The tension offered by this lunation may be just what is needed to re-energize you. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

A Subtle Change: Venus Square Jupiter

Historic Eco Pad Yatra in the Himalayas from Manali to Ladakh in 2009; Photo
by Drukpa Publications Pvt. Ltd.

On Jan 17 and 18, the planet Venus will square (make a 90 degrees angle) Jupiter in tropical Virgo from the sign of Sagittarius. Both planets are seen to have a positive effect on one another, as classical “benefics”. However, Jupiter’s presence in Virgo and the tension of the square makes this a slightly uncomfortable integration, but one that may be easier to resolve. Venus in Sagittarius highlights a longing for expansion and new experience, boundless freedom to pursue its desires.

Yet, Jupiter in Virgo must contend with practical realities. But, in our logical understanding, we must realize that for an adventure to truly succeed, we need to be prepared. You wouldn’t attempt to climb the Himalayas without the proper training or equipment. Well, maybe you would, but I can assure you that would be rather stupid. And conversely, self-improvement needs some higher philosophy to guide it, some lofty aspiration or ideal, otherwise, the routine becomes monotonous and meaningless.

So, Venus is the ideal adventure or new experience and Jupiter is the need to realistically organize some things to get there. The good news, something in your life is just so boring and devoid of passion that it pushes you to make a change, to begin looking to a new horizon and to pull some details together to get you to the mountaintop. Jupiter recently turned retrograde, and thus you will either need to extend yourself outward to seek help and guidance from those wiser or more knowledgeable than yourself, or you may feel the need to step back and reflect a bit before really moving forward.

But, squares are all about taking action. Dissatisfaction is your guiding light. Follow that urge to change something up in your life, maybe something small or something big—either way, it will have a large impact, because that’s just how Jupiter does things. If you don’t, you’ll probably find yourself nagging, nitpicking and complaining about how boring and dull everything is. Or, maybe you’ll get into an unnecessary ideological debate over petty points of conflict. Or, maybe this aspect will pass without making much of statement for you, but will still require your participation in some subtle way. And on that subtle level, you’ll need to express this; you’ll need to make a change.  

Friday, January 8, 2016

Strategic Renewal: New Moon in Capricorn 2016

Ozys (Capricorn) in the twelve painting cycle Zodiakas (Zodiac);
by Mikalojus Konstantinas Clurlionis, 1907.

New Moon @ 19 Capricorn 13'
January 9, 2016
8:30 PM Eastern
5:30 PM Pacific

On Jan. 9 the current lunar cycle renews in the tropical sign of Capricorn. A New Moon can be a time of lower energy, a time to turn inward and recharge, but especially occurring in Capricorn and alongside Mercury recently stationing retrograde, a call inward toward solitude or some focused activity is supported. The New Moon’s wide conjunction to Pluto tends to add some seriousness and density to this lunation, which can prompt you to set priorities and discriminate between various activities you may be juggling. Capricorn is an archetype of focused determination and the mastery of the will over the “primal” impulses of the human psyche.

That doesn’t mean that Capricorn is all work and no play, or that it’s a sign devoid of pleasure; it merely represents the much needed braking mechanism within the psyche that channels primal energies into consciously directed activities of a more complex or sophisticated nature. Capricorn is a symbol of the triumph of willpower over appetite. Of course, when allowed too much expression, Capricorn can manifest as power tripping or an attempt to control to the point of limiting creative spontaneity and chance. The New Moon’s vicinity with Pluto highlights the “shadow” of Capricorn, especially on a collective level.

The dark side of conservatism is a resistance to progressive change and innovation. The dark side of too much structure is an inability to have commerce with trickster—the one who frees and liberates humanity from soul-deadening systems. Mercury just recently moved back into Capricorn, and thus it appears to be highlighting the need to break free of time-serving tendencies, to renovate your routines and to find new, progressive ways to alter your daily life. Jupiter, which recently turned retrograde, also makes a trine (120 degrees aspect) from Virgo while aligned with the North Node of the Moon.

Jupiter points us to an opportunity to seek new experiences or adventures; or conversely, a need to retreat to recharge one’s soul inwardly. Thus, this New Moon correlates with a sense of changing direction in some capacity, whether big or small. Pluto directs consciousness to the bottom line: your soul’s purpose for incarnation, and the unavoidable reality of death, decay, and entropy of everything that you create or achieve in life. And Capricorn’s higher message is that to see anything substantial manifest in the world, you must learn to cultivate self-discipline and determination.

This New Moon may prompt you to get on with something, or to address some serious, pressing matters relating to the need to move beyond stagnation. It’s likely that if you look closely, there’s something that you’re doing robotically, without passion, emotion or excitation. You may need to shift your attention or your direction entirely if you are to change anything. But that requires taking an honest look at yourself and your life to peer through the holes in the system you’ve set up for yourself. I don’t personally think that we’ve come here to become automatons. And I don’t think you have either.

The great part of Capricorn energy is that it’s excellent at devising a game plan. Use this lunar cycle to conjure an effective strategy that will lead you to change. There may be some things you’ll have to sacrifice to get there, and there may be some desires or impulses you’ll have to hold back, but in the end, it might just be worth it. This lunar cycle may feel a little serious, but remember that Mercury, the trickster, is retrograde. It will help you along if you can release your grip and open yourself to the possibility of chance encounters. You never know what you might stumble upon and how it might significantly alter your strategy. 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Prioritizing the Possibilities: Venus Conjunct Saturn 2016

An image of Saturn with Venus as a tiny white dot just above the white
streak in Saturn's G ring; image taken by NASA's Cassini Spacecraft
in March 2013; image by NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute.

Just before the New Moon occurs in tropical Capricorn on Jan. 9, the planets Venus and Saturn will conjoin (make a perceived alignment) in Sagittarius on Jan. 8. While not immediately apparent, these two planets have more in common than one would initially think. Both Venus and Saturn teach us about discrimination, but in very different ways. Venus being a symbol of the desire for establishing relationships and the value of other people requires discrimination—thus someone gets left out and rejected. Saturn often correlates with the necessity to prioritize our time and energy which requires discrimination in the sense that under a Saturn time we must reject certain experiences in favor of those more aligned with our higher priorities.

Both archetypes require that we say no from time to time. They embody a sense of exclusion. Another commonality lies in both archetypes desire to establish connection and comraderie—Venus on a personal level (through Libra) and Saturn on a communal level (through Aquarius). In order to find out where we belong, we need to have an awareness of where we don’t. As Venus and Saturn come together in Sagittarius, you may find yourself focused a bit more on the need for discrimination, having to choose between certain experiences to get clear about your priorities in the moment.

Sagittarius highlights the psychic impulse toward the seeking of new adventure or experiences which disrupt the safe and routine. Under the influence of Sagittarius, there are endless possibilities and opportunities awaiting discovery, but Saturn comes in to limit your focus to allow time to prioritize some things over others. With the heavy emphasis of planets currently in Capricorn, you may find that you require more solitude for reflection, focus. and discipline. However, be careful not to exclude others from the conversation entirely. You may need some input.

Both Venus and Saturn make a square (a 90 degrees angle) to Neptune in Pisces. In its home sign, Neptune appears to have certain dominance in the narrative—that is again, a pull toward isolation for reflection and the acquisition of insight or inspiration. But on the shadow end, Neptune in Pisces can tempt you to avoid the hard work of Saturn through escapism and avoidance of reality.  Saturn through Sagittarius is challenging your faith in the universe—your faith in a higher purpose and meaning for your life and existence. To work positively with both Saturn and Neptune, you must find time to disconnect without complete avoidance of the real world, and without putting off the hard work that Saturn requires of you.

So, just before the New Moon in Capricorn on Jan. 9, you may notice that your attention is placed on prioritizing new experiences and possibilities for your life while being mindful that both solitude and social exchange have their place in the process. Also, be mindful of the temptation to completely disengage from what you need to focus on in the moment. Are there certain distractions you need to eliminate to make more time for the acquisition of clarity in regards to your purpose? Make time for yourself, as well as the people that really matter, and you’ll be able to integrate this aspect successfully and holistically. 

From Dissatisfaction to Action: Jupiter Retrograde in Virgo 2016

Mercury accompanying his father, Jupiter, on a Journey; image from
Journeys Through Bookland: A New and Original Plan for Reading
Applied to the World's Best Literature for Children, copyright 1922;
via Wikimedia Commons.

When planets turn retrograde, they change faces. All of the inner planets that turn retrograde (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) have dual rulerships; they’re associated with two tropical zodiac signs. When a planet turns retrograde, it changes the flow of energy in the quadrant of the horoscope that the planet is currently moving through. Looked at another way, the face of that planet switches from the archetype of one sign association to the other.

Jupiter has a resonance (or rulership) with the signs Sagittarius and Pisces. Their common planetary ruler gives them a common ground, but these two signs are also in direct tension via the square (90 degrees) relationship to one another in the zodiac. The tension arises from the extroverted quality of Sagittarius and the introverted nature of Pisces. Their common ground arises from their shared mutable modality—they both carry qualities of flexible adaptability to a changing environment. Both signs are better equipped to “go with flow” and cultivate spontaneity.

But Sagittarius, a fire sign, is an archetype of active seeking and questing “out there” in the world while Pisces symbolizes a psychic impulse to withdraw through meditative or “inward” forms of perception. So, Jupiter’s transit through any sign or house in our horoscope will correlate with either the Sagittarian (active, extroverted expression) or the Piscean (passive, introverted expression) archetypes. Virgo correlates with gaining competence and skill through experience and you can do that in an extroverted or introverted way. 

Virgo is classically considered to be Jupiter’s place of detriment—it is a sign which has qualities quite foreign to Jupiter. Thus, Jupiter’s transit through this sign can feel a bit awkward or uncomfortable in the sense that Virgo’s attention to detail and practical realities are counter to Jupiter’s expansive, big picture perspective as well as its lofty, spiritual idealism. However, when worked with consciously, this transit symbolizes a time where you can make certain ideals practical and useful, and how you can work to make your daily routines more interesting or better-rounded. Both archetypes, though conflicting, have much to teach and acquire from each other.

So, Jupiter’s dual expression impulses us to either actively seek opportunities for growth and new experience or to turn inward and receive guidance or inspiration from within. Jupiter is changing faces, and it is going to correlate with the changing face of Jupiter within you. If you have some advanced knowledge of transits through the houses of your horoscope, then look to where Jupiter is currently stationing (where it is stopping to turn backwards in the sign of Virgo). If you know roughly where Virgo falls in your horoscope, you’ll have more information about how this will manifest for you.

So, from Jan. 7 to May 9 of this year, your inner Jupiter will switch from an extroverted to an introverted expression or vice versa. There are times when you are settled with what you have or what you have accomplished, but over time, you become bored and dissatisfied and desire some new experience. That is always a response to your inner Jupiter when it moves from its introverted to its extroverted expression. Conversely, there are times when you are out accomplishing or experiencing much and you need to retreat and recharge your soul.

Check in with yourself. Do you need to step back a bit and do some soul-searching, or do you need to seek a new opportunity that will enhance your life and free you from those daily routines that have outlived their usefulness for your greater purpose? And remember that at the heart of evolutionary astrology, is the understanding that the choice is always yours to make. Your desires and impulses for change are only suggestions from your soul from which the self must choose to respond.

But, as Carl Jung so succinctly stated, “When an inner process is not made conscious, it appears outside as fate”. If you feel like the life is being sucked out of you from something, Jupiter always arrives to renew your passion either through inward soul recharging or the outward seeking of new adventures. And dissatisfaction is always how Jupiter initially presents itself. To avoid the sometimes unpleasant or uncomfortable fate, this may be a time to discover the source of your dissatisfaction and to do something about it. 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Facing the Bottom Line: Sun Conjunct Pluto 2016

An asana from the Introspection Series of Andhakara Yoga; photo
by Andhakara via Wikimedia Commons. 

Shortly after Mercury turns stationary retrograde (pauses in the sky and then begins to move “backwards”), the Sun will conjoin (make a perceived alignment) with the planet Pluto in the tropical sign of Capricorn. The Sun’s transit through Capricorn each year correlates with a time of “getting serious” about matters in our lives—whether through intense introspection or a general review of the year we left behind. The Gregorian calendar (our synthetic calendar with no relation to natural time) begins and ends in Capricorn. Perhaps this was some unwitting “conspiracy” to keep western society locked in that “eye on the prize” mentality; or perhaps it’s merely a reflection of what we value culturally.

Capricorn is a sign, in its highest expression, that seeks structure, discipline and focus to achieve greatness. It embodies the qualities needed for productivity and achievement. And yet, Capricorn, interestingly, is a yin (“feminine”) sign—though its cardinal modality gives it assertiveness and drive. But primarily, being a yin and introverted archetype, Capricorn symbolizes a psychic impulse toward solitude. Any public figure will tell you how valuable such a thing is to recharge. To achieve something requires that we distance ourselves from distraction and outer stimulus. However we experience this each year, the Sun in Capricorn has us all prioritizing and setting goals.

With the New Year, this manifests as the setting of resolutions, and Capricorn is always supportive of that (probably ecstatic over it). As the Sun joins Pluto on Jan. 5, along with Mercury’s station, you may come to a point of stasis in your life (momentarily). All that busy chatter and hectic turmoil from the holidays are behind you, and suddenly you find that your mind is able to slow down. What a gift! Take it in. Take a break, however you can. Turn inward. Allow yourself to sink deep into yourself over the next few days. Don’t you deserve that? Maybe you’ve set some resolutions, but it’s possible you lack the momentum at this moment.

Don’t let that discourage you. Like I said, the New Year is some contrived thing. If you aren’t on your way up that mountain because the week begun and it’s the New Year, it doesn’t mean that you’re lazy, or doomed to fail, but that you’re simply responsive to the messages from your soul. And what is your soul saying to you? The only way to find out is to listen and take it in. Take your time. Mercury is changing face. You may find that over the next three weeks you'll go from an extroverted to an introverted state, or vice versa. But at the moment, you’re crossing a boundary, and at the threshold is Pluto—god of the underworld.

Pluto and Capricorn like to cut out all the crap and the superfluous. These archetypes point you to that bottom line. For you, what is it? In order to get from A to B, requires that you have some understanding of where you currently are and where you intend to go. Everything in between will surprise you. But those two points are essential to understand for any intention to have clarity and to succeed. But, the Sun is also coming to contact Uranus, via a square (90 degree angle). You may be thirsty for freedom and less inclined to conformity. That aspect will be exact on Jan. 7—though its presence will be felt through its aspectual orb to Pluto and the Sun. Both Pluto and Uranus are also involved in the New Moon on Jan. 9.

So, maybe, you haven’t missed the deadline. The Moon is waning, and Mercury is stationing. Your energy is lower than usual. Reset your focus and intentions toward the New Moon, and climb the new lunar cycle toward success and the manifestation of your goals. These days before the weekend, use this as a time to simply recharge and slow down.  If you try to push too hard now, you’re going to come up against a heck of a lot of resistance and obstacles. And that will only discourage you. After the New Moon passes, that building lunar energy will carry you much further. Take some pressure off and simply be with yourself and there you will realize your true priorities—there you will face the bottom line. 

Mercury Retrograde: A Deeper, Esoteric Understanding (Video)

In this video, I explain the deeper, esoteric meaning of the Mercury Retrograde cycle through the lens of evolutionary astrology (and pretty much everything you need to know).