“What about this year? It has been a struggle so far. Any ideas?”
I recently received this question on Facebook. At first I laughed because it is such a broad and big question, and I am far from having any answers. But if together we take a look at your chart and your life, we may see how the current planets and aspects are reflecting your experience, and that can be so helpful for finding the answers within…
I can offer a brief sketch of some general astrological themes for this year: The revolutionary energies of radical change and wrenching transformation that began a few years ago during the epic Uranus/Pluto square are getting triggered off this year by Jupiter in Libra. Additionally there is an emphasis on FIRE, and air feeding fire this year (with Saturn in Sagittarius, Uranus in Aries, Jupiter in Libra, the Nodes of the Moon preparing to enter Leo and Aquarius, with our first Leo eclipse tomorrow on Feb 10, and Venus and Mars both in Aries right now as well). So it makes sense that collectively we are seeing and feeling instantaneous flare-ups of high-spirited passion and energy, manifesting in all kinds of different ways.
I have a lot of fire and air in my natal chart so I am used to intense energies within myself zooming to the surface for expression. For balance I look to and learn from my more earth and water friends. They are not instantaneous in their reactions. When I am able to slow down my responses, and try to really listen, and pause before speaking — it is miraculous. Taking it a step further is listening for the feelings and needs underneath whatever we are hearing or seeing, that might seem irritating, disturbing, frightening, or enraging… When we can bring mindfulness, inquiry, empathy, understanding, compassion, and presence to whatever is arising within or around us — it is a nourishing tonic for this fiery year, with the potential to offer deep and healing solace. I am needing to review my Non-Violent Communication books and I am loving listening to Tara Brach’s podcasts. She continually reminds people to ask, “What is it like to be you?” When we ask this we automatically become an ally, especially to marginalized and vulnerable others (“What is it like to be you?”), or especially to people with whom we vehemently disagree (“What is it like to be you?”), and often most importantly to ourselves (“What is it like to be me, in this moment?”).
We had a Solar Eclipse New Moon on Mar 20th and there is a Lunar Eclipse Full Moon tomorrow morning (Apr 4th). This Lunar Eclipse (at 14º Libra) is tightly connected with the last exact Uranus/Pluto square, which though ebbing is still very active. So this Eclipse may correlate with moving in the direction of closure regarding the transformative process of internal and external restructuring that took place over the last three years.
The time around eclipses, and especially between a set of eclipses, can be highly charged for many (depending on how it is interacting with your birth chart), because eclipses have a way of bringing things up to the surface, which were previously only brewing in the unconscious. Once in plain view often something must be done or at least seen and accepted as a reality. In this way eclipses necessitate actions and attitudes that usher in needed change. But even positive change can be tumultuous or scary.
As always a Full Moon brings awareness or clarity (though often not until a day or two after the exact Full Moon) as it sheds light where there was darkness (the unknown) before. Also, Full Moons and Lunar Eclipses embody a polarization of some sort as the Sun and Moon are in direct opposition to one another. This opposition between two poles may be felt as an internal tension or experienced with an external person or situation. This eclipse is near the North node, so wherever Libra is in your birth chart, is where something new will be learned, assimilated, integrated, or received.
There is a lot happening today — Mercury is turning retrograde (see post from Sept 27), the Sun is square Pluto, Mars is trine Uranus (see post from Sept 26), and the Moon’s happenings can always be discussed. However, this post is about the upcoming eclipses!
As my wise Bubby (grandmother) used to say, “Life brings changes” — a perfect saying for eclipse season, which comes around about twice a year. There are 2 eclipses in October, a Lunar Eclipse Full Moon on Oct 8th and and a Solar Eclipse New Moon on Oct 23rd. In general, eclipses break up stagnancy and create powerful portals that we must walk through — as something old dissolves away while at the same time something new emerges. Often the changes and transitions marked by eclipses are desired and can feel refreshing and freeing. On the other hand, sometimes the changes are not desired by the ego-consciousness and are experienced as loss. Either way, cosmic intelligence is clearing a path, and we are launched forward into the next phase in our journey of personal growth towards wholeness and Self-realization. Read more...
Eclipses intensify the energies of the New and Full Moons, which can already be emotional, unpredictable, or tempestuous, so traditionally it is advised to exercise more caution around these times. Another traditional piece of wisdom about eclipses is that things started right before an eclipse occurs can literally be “eclipsed” (unexpectedly obscured, changed, or blocked out). So if it is something that you want to grow instead of something that you want to diminish, or if is something serious that you don’t want any surprises with, it is often advised to wait until the eclipses pass before initiating it, when possible
Eclipses happen in sets, slowly working their way backwards through the opposing signs and unfolding a process that affects each of us differently depending on which pair of signs and houses they are falling in within our own charts. If an eclipse is triggering a significant point in your birth chart, the effect of the eclipse is usually felt well before the eclipse occurs and for several months afterwards, especially until the next set of eclipses occurs.
In this current set, the Lunar Eclipse Full Moon (near the South Node of the Moon) on Oct 8th represents reaching a pinnacle of clarity about something that is being released. It may be something you want to be free of, yet the process of letting go can still be difficult or painful. Wherever 15º Aries is in your chart will give clues about what that might be for you. This lunar eclipse seems extra potent, because it is close to where the Cardinal Grand Cross peaked in April, and it is bringing to fruition a process of growing awareness that was strongly activated then. It could be enlightening to contemplate what was happening for you in the Spring, how it has evolved, how you are transformed, and what is now moving towards completion or closure.
In contrast, the Solar Eclipse New Moon (near the North Node of the Moon) on Oct 23rd represents a juncture for venturing into unfamiliar territory and actively taking something new into your life. Wherever 0º Scorpio is in your chart will give clues about what that is for you…
April is a uniquely intense month, with the Cardinal Grand Cross peaking Apr 20th thru 23rd, sandwiched in-between two eclipses (Apr 15th and 29th). The revolutionizing Uranus/Pluto square has been in action for a couple of years now, and we’ve been dealing with the preliminary energy of the Grand Cross since Mars entered Libra in Dec of 2013. However this month we experience the exact hits of Mars opposing Uranus, Jupiter opposing Pluto, and all 4 planets squaring each other. This is a moment of climax and possibly crisis as we experience extreme tension between conflicting or opposing forces, that will lead to sweeping changes or big breakthroughs for many people. If you have planets or points in the cardinal signs of Aries, Cancer, Libra, or Capricorn, especially if they are near 13 degrees, you will feel this Grand Cross quite personally. Read more...
The Sun triggered the Grand Cross Apr 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 8th. Mercury will trigger the Grand Cross Apr 14-16th, so those precise days may be stressful or significant for many. The Full Moon Lunar Eclipse (with the North Node) on Apr 15th in Libra may represent a time of clarity and culmination about something needing to be integrated, cultivated, or given more attention — wherever Libra is in your chart will give more information about what that is for you… The New Moon Solar Eclipse (with the South Node) on Apr 29th may represent a fresh beginning regarding something unproductive needing to be released — wherever Taurus (and Aries) is in your chart will give more information about what that is for you… Under the turbulent influences in April some people may behave irrationally or erratically (if they are prone that way), but this can help propel us towards profound spiritual opportunities for growth and to shift old or toxic patterns that no longer serve. While in the pressure cooker of these tense aspects, the deeper challenge is to inwardly surrender (which is different from outward submission) by completely accepting the present moment, and in so doing we become more free and more whole, little by little, moment by moment.
As the planets move through the sky and through the zodiac, they affect each one of us differently depending on how they connect with one’s individual birthchart. There are some astrological events, however, that happen to everyone at approximately the same age, which mark important rites of passage and correspond with certain life phases. Here is a list of a few of the major ones: Read more...
Saturn return (Saturn conjunct Saturn), first one at age 29:
This is the symbolic entrance into adulthood — new structures are built or current structures break down if they are not in alignment with one’s proper track in life, responsibility increases, and/or obstacles must be overcome.
Second one at age 59: This is a time of passing on the torch to the next generation — all that has been learned and achieved can now be shared fully, and let go of, as one prepares for the last third of life.
Pluto square Pluto, varies due to Pluto’s irregular orbit, currently takes place at age 35-37, but in certain other eras, it was around age 62:
This is a significant turning point involving the integration of one’s shadow — can be experienced as intense pressure, forced growth, or having to surrender. This eventually leads to regeneration, transformation, empowerment and finding new purpose and meaning in life.
Neptune square Neptune, age 40-41:
This is a spiritual turning point — the need arises for direct experience of something greater than the ego self. Initially it can manifest as confusion, doubt, or escapism, but leads to a shift in consciousness.
Uranus opposite Uranus, around age 42:
Uranus brings freedom from that which is limiting or preventing one from being true to oneself. Sudden changes and shock often accompany this transit, but culminate in the awakening to a new life.
Moon’s Nodal return, every 18.6 years, at approximately age 19, 38, 56 and so on:
The nodes have to do with the soul’s direction in the larger scheme of one’s life. The nodal returns are moments in time that may be particularly destined and feel like they have a karmic quality to them.
Jupiter return, every 12 years, at age 12, 24, 36, 48 and so on:
These are times of growth, opportunities, blessings, and abundance connected with the area of life where natal Jupiter is in the birthchart.
I would love to hear about people’s experiences with these major passages through time. Feel free to contact me with questions or comments.
“The soul seeks wholeness. At the North Node [a point shown in the birth chart] youre meant to expand your range and achieve new understanding and competence. If you entered life as an adventurous narcissist, the greater adventure could be falling in love and starting a family. If you were a monk in a prior life, the noise of the marketplace and the thrill of competition might be calling you now. Moving in the direction of the North Node can get you back on track. Nothing restores purpose and enthusiasm quite as magically as the North Node.” ~Dana Gerhardt
Find out where your North Node ☊ of the Moon is. The sign and house indicate helpful guidance about your growth edge in this life. Find out where your South Node ☋ of the Moon is (It is opposite to the North Node by sign, degree, and house). The sign and house show previously developed strengths, automatic tendencies that draw you backwards, and possibly unfulfilled longings as well. If you dont believe in reincarnation, the South Node also refers to your past in this life, or the genetics/ancestral attributes with which you were born.
“Think of the North Node as the head, and the South Node as the stomach. The stomach has the hunger, but the head has the mouth. So you fulfill the desires of the South Node through the energy of the North Node.” ~Molly Cliborne
Jupiter retrograde and the Jupiter/Pluto trine - my reply to a client’s concern
Recently a client expressed anxiety about Jupiter being retrograde, after having multiple frustrating experiences with the last Mercury retrograde, and asked for further clarification and reassurance from me about this current retrograde planet. This is easy to give as Jupiter retrograde is a completely different story from Mercury retrograde. Mercury rules everyday business and communication, so when it is moving backwards slowing things down, it can be frustrating if day-to-day circumstances in our lives need to move forward quickly. In this particular clients case, Mercury was retrograding back into the part of his chart which has to do with communication and day-to-day business (the 3rd house, Mercurys own house) —meaning he may have experienced a double whammy in terms of miscommunications, problems, and delays regarding everyday decisions and issues. Then Mercury retrograded back into the area of his chart which has to do with resources — financial and otherwise (the 2nd house). This could have corresponded with serious re-thinking about his finances. Perhaps the economy being rather volatile lately added to his stress. Read more...
Although Mercury retrograde can be a pleasant time for some, especially if we are able to go with the flow and take some down time in the more right brain (creative, imaginative, emotional, etc.) realm, it has a troublesome reputation because in fact many people do experience frustrations connected with this transit.
Jupiter retrograde, however, is not usually thought of as a troublesome transit (although in astrology it is true that all manifestations are possible — depending on ones own birth chart, consciousness, choices, and karma, etc.)... Jupiter is the planet of opportunity and bounty even when it is retrograde! During the retrograde period, the opportunities dont go away, but rather we may find ourselves going back and discovering opportunities that didnt come to full fruition the first time around. Also, this is an especially rich Jupiter retrograde as it extends the time period and amplifies the power of the Jupiter/Pluto trine in the sky right now (an active influence from Jun 2011-Jul 2012). This trine can support us in manifesting our intentions in the real world — in practical, tangible ways — since both these planets are in earth signs and currently in a harmonious relationship with one another. It is worth noting however, that Jupiter is in Taurus, the archetype known to be slow, yet reliable; and Pluto is in Capricorn, the archetype known to take things step-by-step and have high standards — so patience and perseverance will be helpful!
Going back to this particular clients chart, Jupiter is retrograding first back through the area of his chart having to do with community, humanitarian concerns, friends, and long-term goals (11th house); and then back into the area of career/public standing (10th house). While it is traveling back, it will pass again over his natal Saturn and oppose his natal Jupiter. The conjunction with Saturn suggests he might revisit some serious issues, discovering new gifts along the way, in his marriage or other significant one-on-one relationships in his life (since Saturn rules his Capricorn 7th house). The opposition with Jupiter suggests he might take another look at something regarding his health or daily routine (since Jupiter rules his Sagittarius 6th house), making positive changes or discovering blessings that he didnt catch before. In general, it may be the perfect time to thoroughly revisit all possibilities and opportunities and gain a refreshed level of confidence connected with the concrete manifestation of his most cherished hopes, dreams, and goals, as well as related to his career and public image in the world (Jupiter retrograde in the 11th and 10th houses)!
I hope this example gives ideas of how to contemplate transiting Jupiter in your own unique chart.
On August 30th, Jupiter ♃ - the planet of increase, optimism, and the search for truth - stopped, turned around, and began traveling in reverse. Jupiter will be retrograde for almost 4 months, taking the journey and the search backwards (for review and synthesis) and inwards (seeking inner truth). Jupiter will travel from 10 degrees back to 0 degrees Taurus ♉. Where you have these degrees of Taurus in your chart (and other planets in early degrees which may be aspected) gives a clue about the area of life where you will have an opportunity to reassess recent expansion... The energy of Jupiter retrograde in Taurus can help us to refine and stabilize what was developing, appreciate the gains that were made, and ground them in practical, usable ways. One way to make the aspirations (Jupiter) sustainable over time (a Taurus concern) is by finding our way, Taurus style, meaning less effort and more enjoyment, less doing and more being. Read more...
Here is a little info about Jupiter in astronomical terms, which informs the astrological symbolism of Jupiter (expansion and benevolence, etc) : “Jupiter, 318 times more massive than the earth, acts like a cosmic vacuum cleaner, sucking in or deflecting debris left over from the solar systems birth 4.5 billion years ago. If it werent for Jupiters colossal gravitational field, we wouldnt be here.”
Tonight Venus opposes Pluto, then sextiles Jupiter....
Tonight Venus opposes Pluto (♀☍♇), then sextiles Jupiter (♀*♃). One manifestation is intensity in matters of the heart... deep processing... pulling up content from the unconscious... and transmuting it into love. Result = expansion of the heart.
Mercury trine Uranus, Mercury square Jupiter, and Mars trine Saturn
7/4-7/5: an abundance of Mercury ☿ (mental) energy flying around: a continual flow of intuitions, learning, travel, and sharing - calls, emails, texts, and short trips - back and forth, back and forth - with possible surprises mixed in (note that some people may experience the abundance of activity more internally in the realm of their creative projects). All this communication and activity may have a dramatic or playful flare while Mercury is in Leo ♌. Today with Mars ♂ trine Saturn ♄, we put the ideas into action and get to work. Yet the Virgo ♍ (detail-minded, health-aware, and service-oriented) Moon is Void-of-Course all day, so it is not the best day for beginning important new projects.