“My evenings are taken up very largely with astrology. I make horoscopic calculations in order to find a clue to the core of psychological truth. Some remarkable things have turned up which will certainly appear incredible to you.”
~Carl Jung in a letter to Sigmund Freud (June 12, 1911)
I offer astrological counseling for psycho-spiritual exploration, understanding, and transformation. Astrology utilized in this way can be a missing key for deep inner work and can shed light on the path towards greater harmony with the natural rhythms and cycles of one’s life journey. My approach to astrology is to share the potentials and opportunities I see while exploring how the symbols and archetypes are manifesting uniquely for each individual. Astrology is a wonderful tool for self-knowledge and a help in times of challenge or transition. It can facilitate tremendous insight and peace, as well as provide timelines for certain archetypal or energetic influences reflected in our lives and inner states of being. Consultations available for birth chart exploration, current influences, relationship dynamics, and timing for important events.
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An Astrological Timeline for the Pandemic
Many astrologers anticipated the dramatic and gnarly aspects of 2020 in advance, but astrology is not like looking into a crystal ball. Astrology is a language of symbols, so what astrologers can see ahead of time is the symbolism pointing toward a variety of possibilities. We can see archetypal themes, energies, and influences that will be active within a particular timeframe, but it is usually not possible or productive to try to predict exact specifics regarding concrete manifestations. Instead of trying to predict the future, I find astrology to be most helpful in the moment or in retrospect, as a tool par excellence for making sense of what is happening, and for strengthening faith that there is a divine order and intelligence behind the scenes. This gives me solace in times of difficulty… So now that we have a clue about what we are dealing with in 2020, I have drafted my ideas for how some of the aspects this year might portray the global issues we are facing. This is definitely a work in progress (originally posted on 4/16/2020).
December 3, 2019: Jupiter enters Capricorn
When Jupiter entered Capricorn, it joined Saturn, Pluto, and the South node — three challenging influences already in Capricorn. This created a cluster of big and formidable forces clumped together. When in Capricorn Jupiter takes on the flavor of that sign, which is diametrically opposed to Jupiter’s own nature. And in this sign Jupiter is also under Saturn’s stern rule. So in this case Jupiter does not have as much power to bestow its usual beneficence, but it still confers expansion upon everything it touches.
Dec 26, 2019: Solar Eclipse conjunct Jupiter in Capricorn
January 10, 2020: Lunar Eclipse opposite Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn
These two eclipses set the stage for at least 6 months. Where eclipses fall in a chart, they are known to usher in phases of volatile changes. In this instance, the eclipses activated the challenging and complex placements bunched together in Capricorn (Jupiter, Saturn, Pluto, the South node, and Mars to join as a trigger). Over the course of 2020 we will see their joint magnitude unfold. The eclipses offer somber foreshadowing.
The Rising Action
January 12, 2020: Saturn conjunct Pluto in Capricorn
Two “dark” forces converge. Nothing in astrology is actually dark, but what is constellated above can reflect back to us what may appear dark from the ego’s limited perspective (Example: from the earth’s point of view the pandemic has caused less fuel consumption and less pollution). Historically, the configuration of Saturn and Pluto in aspect to one another was associated with international war, genocide, plagues, or other tragedies and in response a reactionary impulse towards more authoritarianism (this is well documented in Cosmos and Psyche by Richard Tarnas). Pluto empowers, intensifies, and magnifies what it comes into contact with, so in this case it is intensifying the Saturn themes of contraction and oppression. The conjunction between two planets launches a new beginning in their cycle together. A plausible hopeful outcome of these two planetary archetypes joining together is a transformation (Pluto) of old, toxic structures, systems, and authorities (Saturn) that reign and cause destruction, but that’s the long game. For the time being we are still in the middle of watching the birth of this aspect unfold, so all we can do is be present with what it is stirring up for each of us. Saturn rules fear, isolation, and deprivation; and Pluto rules viruses, epidemics, disasters, and death, but also rebirth, regeneration, and rejuvenation. The pandemic is bringing up different struggles for different people. For the lucky ones, the worst case scenarios will only be confronted in our minds. But one of the features for everyone, in one sense or another, is fear — whether it is fear of disease, of being alone, of losing a loved one, or of enduring a financial crisis, food insecurity, or a loss of personal rights and freedom. (Sometimes I think the things we are most afraid of happening in the future are actually things we have already experienced on some level / in some dimension in the past, and we have residual trauma from it). Pluto, being an outer planet, elevates the issues to a societal level, revealing problems we are confronting together as a whole. Hopefully this collective crisis will act as a reset button and help us work towards creating a more sustainable future.
February 3 — March 4, 2020 and March 16 — April 11, 2020: Mercury in Pisces
February 16 — March 9, 2020: Mercury Retrograde
April 3, 2020: Mercury conjunct Neptune
Mercury rules the flow of information and communication. While Mercury is in Pisces, retrograde, and with Neptune, information may be emotionally driven, contradictory, mystical, creative, and therefore up for interpretation — as opposed to clear, precise, and accurate. Mercury in Pisces is great at “painting a picture” of reality, so it can present on the one hand ideals and higher realities, or on the other hand confusion, vagueness, and blurriness. Outright deceit can enter the picture.
First Act where Mars is a Trigger for the Loaded Guns
February 16, 2020: Mars enters Capricorn
Once entering Capricorn, a robust Mars begins almost 3 months of co-presence (being in the same sign) with a commanding Saturn. The two traditional malefics hanging out in the same sign, and a sign in which they both have extra strength, is daunting, because together they join forces and become even more powerful. Mars, the warrior, brings danger and struggle; while Saturn, the hermit, brings restriction and isolation. Mars and Saturn will first be together in Capricorn and then together in Aquarius, both signs where Saturn rules. So Saturn themes win out: caution, guardedness, anxiety, limitations, going inward, scarcity etc. Even though Mars is potent in Capricorn, his actions are frustrated unless they are in the service of Saturn’s agenda... Having to stay within the structure of one’s own home is a literal manifestation of Saturn’s rule.
February 26, 2020: Mars conjunct South node
March 20, 2020: Mars conjunct Jupiter
March 23, 2020: Mars conjunct Pluto
March 31, 2020: Mars conjunct Saturn
Volatile Mars moves down a corridor of conjunctions, igniting everything it touches. First it passes the South node, pressuring us to let go of attachments; then Jupiter, making everything bigger (or at least appear bigger); then Pluto, compelling us to face the specter of death; and finally it reaches Saturn, helping us to take practical (and somewhat miserable) steps in order to cope/survive. After March is over we will have come through one of the most concentrated months of the year, in terms of the severity of dramatic aspects packed within a short period of time. I’m not saying I think everything will magically get better after March, but we will have passed a milestone by the end of it.
March 30, 2020: Mars enters Aquarius
This shift presents us with the opportunity to perceive how we are all in this together. What touches one of us touches all of us.
A Key Player
April 4, June 30, and November 12, 2020: Three passes of Jupiter conjunct Pluto in Capricorn
This repeated aspect reveals the character of the predicament we find ourselves in. Pluto correlates with the intense upheaval that is happening within the world, societies, families, and individuals — propelled by serpentine forces hidden beneath the surface. Pluto reveals to us the destruction that is probable if we do not transmute unconscious shadow forces into instruments that serve humanity and the earth as a whole. During this year (roughly) of Jupiter conjunct Pluto, Jupiter expands all of these situations represented by Pluto. And on the darker side, this aspect could also be described as a magnification of the wealth that buys power, and a fortification of plutocracy under the guise of democracy. I suppose the forces of light and dark are always co-existing simultaneously. On the spiritual level, Pluto requires and inspires us to surrender to a higher power. And usually there is a benevolent or healing aspect to Jupiter’s influence. Jupiter, though not as Jupiterian while in Capricorn, is still Jupiter, and still has the potential to bring a spirit of generosity, friendship, harmony, and resources to the table (a small stimulus check from the government is inadequate yet unprecedented). Though we are isolated from one another in obvious outer senses (due to the dominant Saturnian influences discussed earlier), we still have the power to work together for the common and individual good. Jupiter’s participation reminds us of that, and Pluto’s energy of intensification could potentially empower Jupiter’s benevolence in this configuration.
Like all three-part aspects, the first meeting of Jupiter conjunct Pluto on 4/4 introduces the issues at hand, the second retrograde meeting on 6/30 stirs up the issues to be revisited and reviewed, and the last meeting on 11/12 has the potential to offer a resolution. I am hoping that by the time the third pass in November rolls around, more of the truth (Jupiter) will be revealed and more of the unanswered questions about what all was transpiring underneath the surface (Pluto) this year, will be more apparent.
May 6, 2020: The Nodes of the Moon shift out of Cancer/Capricorn
The global crisis reached a crescendo when Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and the South node (the dragon’s tail) were all in Capricorn. With the Nodes of the Moon shifting into new signs, the dragon’s head and tail will no longer be accentuating all those forces in Capricorn at once. I imagine this will correlate with a degree of relief.
May 13 — June 27, 2020: Mars in Pisces
For the first time since mid February, Mars is no longer co-present in a sign with Saturn. This initiates a phase of respite during which we are no longer undergoing the first wave knocking us over (spurring us to panic-hoarding, etc) as we try to adjust to a shocking new lifestyle. At this point we are no longer reacting to the first terror of Mars triggers. Now we are settling in but wondering how this fragile situation is going to unfold from here… While in Pisces, Mars won’t be making hard aspects to the other challenging planets, except its conjunction to Neptune on June 13, 2020. On the negative end, Mars and Neptune together could describe rash autocratic moves (Mars) by those in power, amidst a swirl of confusion and illusion (Neptune). On the high end, we have strong motivation (Mars) to come together with a sense of unity and oneness (Neptune) to champion (Mars) for justice. While we experience Pisces, tuning into the suffering of the collective is inevitable and painful, but a much needed feature of this emotional and empathic water sign…
Regarding health, Pisces and Neptune both have something to do with the “soup” we are all in together — the invisible sea of germs we are swimming in — and Mars rules contagious and infectious diseases. Does that mean there will be a more extensive spread of the virus stealthily infecting people during this time? In normal circumstances the flow of germs makes us stronger in the long run as our immune systems build in strength through exposure. Perhaps the process of communities acquiring natural immunity during this time will gain momentum, if that is possible.
March 22 — July 1, 2020: Saturn dips into Aquarius, initiating Saturn square Uranus
Saturn leaves Capricorn for a few months, creating a little more distance between Saturn and Pluto. While these two planets take a break from sharing the same sign, many are experiencing a decreased level of alarm related to the pandemic (sensibly or not, we will find out later) and the dark Saturn-Pluto themes of fear and confinement. At the same time we are getting a taste of what the next couple of years may be like. For most of 2021 and 2022 we will be embroiled in another powerful planetary alignment: Saturn in Aquarius square Uranus in Taurus. This transit could be described as the status quo power structures (Saturn) poised in a tug of war (square) with the voices for radical change (Uranus) to confront and uproot racial injustice, economic injustice, environmental injustice, and all other forms of systemic institutionalized oppression and bondage. We are seeing a strong uprising against the horrific brutalities that commonly occur against people of color (George Floyd being a last straw). And this is just the beginning, virus or not. I am finding myself grieving deeply about the pain my beloved brothers and sisters of color have endured for centuries. Mercifully this is now once again becoming too flagrant for white people to ignore. Along with the grief, my heart is also rejoicing as I watch the ubiquitous inequities come to light more visibly for white people to see. Seeds of real change are being planted now correlating with this transit. It is a square, so no surprise, change and reform will not happen without great struggle...
On a side note, Aquarius rules modern technology. The last time Saturn was in Aquarius the internet was born. And now as Saturn enters Aquarius we are in this sudden (sudden thanks to the square to Uranus) phase of life where many have no choice but to conduct their work and socializing primarily online. Though I hope this isn’t the new normal, I do appreciate that this form of communication was never before available during earlier times in history. Once Saturn re-enters Aquarius in December 2020, it will spend the next two and a half years in Aquarius. With Jupiter by Saturn’s side for the better part of 2021, we can expect a proliferation (Jupiter) of new technology (Aquarius) built into the structure (Saturn) of our existence. (For instance, I have heard there are plans for 800,000 more cell towers, 1 million more antennas, and 50,000 satellites continuously radiating from the sky covering every corner of the earth in order to support all the wireless devices in use. How will this impact the health of all creatures?)
April 25 — October 4, 2020: Pluto Retrograde
May 11 — September 29, 2020: Saturn Retrograde
May 14 — September 12, 2020: Jupiter Retrograde
Retrograde periods give us time to digest and integrate the past in order to facilitate new problem-solving innovations that help us move beyond obstacles. Just as the planets appear to go backwards from our perspective on earth, certain matters in our lives also do not move forward as readily. I am wondering if this will work in our favor during the pandemic, offering us intervals of relative respite with reports of positive cases and deaths slowing down. Will we be able to ease up on restrictions and caution, or will there be a false sense of security? Additionally, Mercury will be retrograde twice more this year: June 18 — July 12 and October 13 — November 3, 2020, and Venus will be retrograde (signifying the many economic and relationship impacts we are facing) May 13 — June 25, 2020. If things fail to move forward at the regular pace, especially during the Mercury retrograde periods, will we feel a sense of interminableness in this new tenor of life? It seems we have been conditioned to dread Mercury retrograde, but we desperately need our retrograde times. We need time to learn from our mistakes. We need time to catch up, time for reflection, time to reframe the past, and time to revision the future.
Second Act in which Mars is a Trigger and Saturn Inches Closer to Pluto Again
June 27, 2020 — Jan 7, 2021: Mars in Aries
Mars is in Aries for an unusually long time, because its entire retrograde period takes place within the sign of Aries. While Mars is in Aries we can expect the Saturn-Pluto themes of disease and darkness to heat up again. Mars will again be in hard aspect to these heavy-hitter planets, and again be acting as a trigger of the crisis that began early in the year. While in Aries, Mars is again extra potent, but now no longer in service to (i.e. ruled by) Saturn as it was when in Capricorn. Saturn is all about fear, caution, and isolation. Mars is more about fighting for rights and asserting oneself regardless of the consequences. Saturn was in charge earlier in the year, but not so this time around. During this second act, both Saturn and Mars are strong and fighting out disparate agendas. The exact squares and potential peak points of stress are:
(July 14, 2020: Mars conjunct Chiron)
August 4, 2020: Mars square Jupiter retrograde
August 13, 2020: Mars square Pluto retrograde
August 24, 2020: Mars square Saturn retrograde
September 29, 2020: Mars retrograde square Saturn
October 9, 2020 Mars retrograde square Pluto
October 19, 2020: Mars retrograde square Jupiter
December 23, 2020: Mars square Pluto
January 14, 2021: Mars square Saturn
January 23, 2021: Mars square Jupiter
The timeframe of these repeated squares will likely correspond with a second wave of the pandemic crisis in some form. But the experience will be different, because it will reflect the advantage of a learning curve already integrated, leaving us more prepared and able to pass though it with more skills, hopefully! First Mars will meet Chiron in mid July. This could reveal our vulnerability and how we have been wounded. Then the first phase of squares begins. After that Mars goes retrograde (September 9 — November 13, 2020) to begin a review process. While retrograde Mars is not able to push forth its agenda as immediately, so that may offer less outward intensity during that time but more internal strife as we grapple with processing volatile emotions and instincts. Also, the South node will not be involved this time, meaning one less challenging point for Mars to trigger. On the other hand, the Mars retrograde creates an extra long period of stressful aspects of intense conflict. This phase of the crisis will be prolonged in comparison with the initial phase of Mars triggers that occurred during the conjunctions in Capricorn in February and March. The conjunction is sometimes the most shocking part of an aspect cycle, because it poses a new problem and brings it to the fore for the first time. In contrast, the square represents turning a corner within the cycle, albeit with struggle and great effort. The months of Mars squares listed above will likely correlate with significant peak points of struggle in passing through the stages of this pandemic life experience and eventually getting to the other side of it.
July 2 — December 17, 2020: Saturn returns to Capricorn
September — October 2020: Saturn is within 3º of Pluto
Because Saturn retrogrades backwards, completes its dip into Aquarius, and re-enters Capricorn, it again comes into close proximity with Pluto. Although these two planets will not make another exact conjunction during this cycle (other than in January 2020), Saturn will be awfully close to Pluto during September and October 2020. This will also coincide with the Mars triggers mentioned in the previous section. During this period, Mars will be in Aries, in the middle of its three-part square aspect to Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto. As mentioned, it is reasonable to prepare for another iteration of the dark archetypal conglomeration of Saturn-Pluto themes — widespread power struggles and affliction of the masses in some form — until Saturn gains more distance from Pluto, and until Mars is finished setting things off. Since Saturn will not quite reach Pluto this time, I am hoping the Saturn-Pluto themes will not peak as intensely as they did in the beginning of the year.
December 17, 2020: Saturn enters Aquarius
December 19, 2020: Jupiter enters Aquarius
December 21, 2020: Jupiter conjunct Saturn at 0º Aquarius at the Solstice
January 21, 2021: Mars conjunct Uranus
By the end of December 2020 we will be entering the beginning of a new 20 year cycle initiated by an exact Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in Aquarius. Jupiter will no longer be in a sign incompatible with itself. Both Jupiter and Saturn will no longer be sharing a sign with Pluto. And Mars will almost be done (but not completely until the end of January 2021. See the dates in the Second Act section) with its long process of triggering and then re-triggering the challenging planetary placements of 2020. 2020 draws to a close with Jupiter conjunct Saturn right on the winter solstice. This will mark the beginning of the end of the fearsome Saturn-Pluto conjunction, which will hopefully also translate as the beginning of the end of pandemic life…
With Saturn and Jupiter both leaving the conservative earth sign of Capricorn, entering the nonconformist air sign of Aquarius, and meeting at 0º, there is a feeling of inspiration, at least in some small way, reminiscent of “The Age of Aquarius” and all that is associated with it. In the best case scenario this will strengthen an alternative vision for healing, freedom, and justice and encourage new Aquarian seeds of reform to be planted. I long for the time when we are fully on the path towards living in a spirit of brotherhood, sisterhood, and with a sense of the unity of all life. I know there is a growing mass of us with this kind of vision in our hearts and commitment to continue working towards it, so that gives me hope…
2021 begins with a bang, as the Saturn square Uranus transit that only just began in the spring of 2020 takes hold for a two year journey. The archetype of fighting for change within an old rotting system is the general theme of this transit, but it will have some interesting twists. Saturn, the planet that represents the old structures, is in Aquarius, a sign that rules reformation and revolution. At the same time, Uranus, the planet that represents radical change, is in Taurus, a fixed earth sign known to be resistant to change. On top of that, Saturn is fortified by the presence of benevolent Jupiter working under Saturn’s rule in Aquarius for much of 2021. And Uranus is vitalized by a somewhat awkward yet ever bellicose Mars in Taurus for a couple of months. So this longer term volatile aspect between Saturn and Uranus kicks off with not just those two planets pitted against one another, but instead four planets involved in the fight. I am eager to see how this is going to play out.
Talking about the Age of Aquarius, if you need a laugh as much as I do, I recommend watching this: https://youtu.be/fdsCGm4bP3E (The Age of Aquarius scene from The 40-Year-Old Virgin)
Venus turned retrograde in Aries yesterday. With Venus in the sign that is most opposite to her own intrinsic essence, this may stir up some discomfort. But it is an important and necessary phase of processing Venus-related things (partnerships, financial matters & comforts, beauty & aesthetics, etc) — that should prove to be clarifying and freeing.
Venus, known for her relationship-oriented, other-focused, ready-to-understand, ready-to-accommodate way of being is in the sign that is all about “me,” “my” own needs, what “I” want, and being true to “self.” The context of these opposites is an opportunity to find more inner wholeness.
Further, the nature of a retrograde cycle activates things from the past — under the surface resentments or unresolved issues — for the purpose of rousing out those undetected but simmering impediments to a clear and clean interrelationship, and making changes that need to be made. Depending on where you have Aries in your chart will reveal the area of life most affected by this retrograde process. With Mars also in Aries (Jan 28-Mar 9) there is a an extra quality of feistiness, self-interest, or conflict in that same area of your life.
Venus will back up into Pisces on Apr 2, which will have a different flavor for that part of the retrograde cycle. Venus in Pisces has more of a sense of unity and unconditional love, which would be a nice result of the resolution of old resentments. Then when Venus makes her final pass through Aries (Apr 28-Jun 6) moving in direct motion, things will be in a different place. Not stuck, but ready to go forth, which Aries likes to do!
Things are heating up as Mars is getting ready to set off the long-term and life-changing Uranus/Pluto square (active from 2012-2015). When there is a trigger from a faster moving planet such as Mars, it can mark a pivotal point within the larger transformational process that is happening. The current waxing Moon in Aries is giving a preview of the flammable energies that are building. On Nov 10th, Mars will conjoin Pluto and on Nov 12th, Mars will square Uranus. When Mars is making hard connections such as these with Pluto and Uranus, there is a potential for aggression, power struggles, shocks, or accidents, etc. However, these aspects can be utilized consciously and productively… Pluto forces us, for the purpose of deeper healing and awareness, to unearth buried wounds or parts of ourselves that may be manifesting unconsciously in the form of external circumstances or unhealthy behaviors and relationships… Uranus brings change — wanted and unwanted — to push us towards living more in alignment with our inner truths and greater potentials. The trigger from Mars to Pluto and Uranus will provide plenty of energy, motivation, and opportunity to go after our own healing and spiritual development and to confront internal or external conditions that are impinging on desired freedoms. Read more...
During the last week of September and the first week or so of October 2014, there is an inspiring and dynamic configuration of harmony and flow amongst Jupiter in Leo, Uranus in Aries, and Mars in Sagittarius. The trine aspect amongst all three planets suggests they are on very friendly terms with one another, automatically “get” one another, and naturally support each other in their individual efforts and goals. Whichever houses Leo, Aries, and Sagittarius are in, in your chart represent the areas of life where these three planetary archetypes are playing out their roles and happily connecting in a spirited and enthusiastic (fiery) way. Jupiter brings opportunity and expansion, Uranus brings radical shifts and breakthroughs, and Mars brings the energy and drive to bring it all on. When operating in the fire signs these planets suggest a lot of excitement, the propensity for taking bold risks, and the desire for both freedom and passion. If you have planets or points near 15º of any of the fire signs, you will be feeling this grand trine more powerfully. Read more...
The unfoldment process involving the Mars T-square with Uranus & Pluto
Since Mars was retrograde during the Spring of 2014, instead of moving steadily along through the signs, it stopped at about 28º Libra, turned around for awhile from Mar 1st to May 19th, and went back to 9º Libra. Then Mars turned direct at 9º and once again began moving forward through Libra. What this means is that Mars is going over a portion of Libra three times, creating an unfoldment process beginning the first time Mars came to 9º Libra on Dec 25, 2013 and completing around Jul 21, 2014 when Mars will reach 28º Libra for the last time in this cycle. Read more...
With Mars in Libra from Dec 2013 through July 2014, we are all experiencing a focus of Mars-like activity wherever Libra is in our natal chart. Mars is the epitome of rugged individualism, and the Mars archetype embodies desire with the will and force to take whatever actions are necessary to fulfill the desire. However, in the polite and courteous sign of Libra, the archetype of carefully weighing and balancing before taking any actions and thinking first of the other, Mars is discouraged from acting as decisively, directly, and autonomously as is natural for him. So along with going retrograde, which slowed down his drive, being in Libra has moderated Mar’s usual take charge nature. It will be interesting to see how things shift once Mars enters Scorpio on Jul 25th, one of his home signs, where he is more enabled to move in his own rhythm.
One of the most striking parts of this Mars retrograde process has been Mar’s involvement with the Cardinal Grand Cross and the longer term Uranus/Pluto square. Included in the unfoldment process from Dec 2013 thru Jul 2014 is Mars opposing Uranus from Libra three times and squaring Pluto from Libra three times. Mars in direct motion opposed Uranus the first time on Dec 25, 2013 and squared Pluto the first time on Dec 30, 2013. Then retrograde Mars opposed Uranus and squared Pluto both on Apr 23, 2014. After Mars turned direct again it squared Pluto the third time on Jun 14, 2014 and the third Mars opposite Uranus aspect is upon us on Jun 25th.
When a planet goes retrograde and makes the same aspect three times – first direct, then retrograde, then direct again – it represents a three part process. Sometimes the three part process works like this: the first direct hit wakes you up to an issue, the second retrograde hit triggers a profound review of the issue, and the third direct hit corresponds with the beginning of the resolution. This general concept can be helpful in contemplating one’s own three part process, however it isn’t always quite that neat or clear.
It is interesting to note one’s own internal unfoldment that began in Dec 2013 and which will conclude in July. Mars has been the zealous friend spurring Uranus on to make radical changes for the sake of greater freedom and authenticity, and spurring Pluto to destroy that which is causing stagnation for the purpose of making space for a deeper expression of self. The energy is high and possibly tense or volatile especially now as we lead up to the exact Mars opposite Uranus aspect early Wednesday morning, so caution is advised, while embracing those changes and transformations that reflect who you truly are now and what you truly want as of today, regardless of what others may think or want for you. Pluto is about jumping into the fire and facing your deepest fears and coming out the other side empowered. Uranus is about being true to your self. With Mars in Libra, perhaps the caveat is authenticity and honesty — yes, but not at the expense of the other — rather in connection with the other.
There are two particularly tense times in June that echo the dramatic changes, upheavals, and long-term effects of the Cardinal Grand Cross that peaked in April. On June 14th Mars squared Pluto again, and on June 25th Mars will oppose Uranus again. Squares and oppositions are known to be stressful or hard aspects, but they serve the purpose of pressuring us to turn corners, make choices, and overcome obstacles or problems that require attention, by calling upon our ingenuity, strength, and determination. Mars contributes plenty of vigor and energy to confront these challenges but can spur us into overdrive and add volatility or impatience to the mix. Uranus brings revolutionary thinking outside of the box, but this can also mean being suddenly outside of one’s comfort zone. Pluto tends to dig up buried parts of the self that have been suppressed, revealing hidden wounds, as well as potential treasures. If these Grand Cross aspects are not affecting your chart significantly, all of this may only be experienced as a subtle feeling or in the background of the collective. But many people were and still are being directly and concretely affected by the Grand Cross and these eruptive aftershocks. The Grand Cross can be seen as a Crossroads and with the planets in the Cardinal signs there is a lot of energy for initiating new directions. Read more...
While Mercury is retrograde (June 7-30) it is a fitting time to review, reflect, and fill in additional necessary learning in connection with the complex internal processes and/or life-changing events and developments that have occurred, and which may still be stirring up conflict or confusion especially as new possibilities emerge. Mercury is having us go back and forth over the territory helping us to make sense of and integrate our experiences, as well as giving us an enticing glimpse into a richer existence more aligned with our larger self.
Another thing to note while Mercury is retrograde is that it is common to either not have all the information about matters or to not have good mental clarity about matters, and the pieces may not fall into place or all come together until after Mercury turns direct (July 1st). However, June 19th is a good day to pay attention and listen, as the Sun and Mercury will meet, planting relevant clues in the mind related to the vision of ourselves or our lives of which at this point we can only get an obscure sense.
The energy has officially shifted. Dynamic, enterprising, and passionate Mars is direct after 2 ½ months (since March 1st) of being retrograde. When a planet is retrograde its associated qualities can seem subdued or suppressed, because the archetypal life of the planet changes from the usual outward manifestation to a more internalized expression, which may be difficult to see, understand, or access. Mars is most comfortable when he gets to play the superhero, warrior, pioneer, or all out go-getter. While retrograde and in Libra he was needing to be peaceful, reserved, and patient before taking action — and if he wasn’t he probably lost in battle. Now that Mars is direct all of that pent up energy is allowed to flow freely again. New ideas, desires, and opportunities may be appearing where there was a sense of stagnation or indecision before. It’s exciting and yet still very uncertain. Things are moving, but which way are they going? It may not be clear for a little while as Mars first has to retrace his steps before he actually moves into new territory. The Sun also just shifted from spending a month in slow and steady Taurus to now being in quick-moving and changeable Gemini, which is contributing to the new thought-forms popping up.
There is a quality of stillness or hesitancy right now, as Mars is stationary at 9º2 Libra May 18-21. Action-oriented Mars has slowed down to an almost imperceptible crawl as he prepares to shift and turn direct Monday night. On the other hand, when a planet stations, its energy is heightened and intensified, so some people may be experiencing the Mars station as an active and stimulating energy. Mars, who is normally confident, quick, decisive, and independent with strong determination to achieve his goals and win any battle, is going through an unusually long and possibly uncomfortable journey through Venus’s territory, Libra, from Dec 7, 2013 thru Jul 25, 2014. Libra is the sign that epitomizes the opposite of Mar’s nature. The Libran way values careful deliberation, cooperation, harmony, and balance. So with Mars in Libra and including a long retrograde phase, we’ve had an interesting journey over the last few months of integrating opposing forces. Some possibilities include: seeing the value of sitting with anger or other strong feelings or impulses instead of acting on them; or trying to express anger or our individualistic choices in a diplomatic and considerate way. These practices might feel as though they require superhuman strength at times, but while Mars is in Libra we are especially likely to benefit greatly from attempting them.
The timing of the 3 phases of this retrograde may be of interest: Read more...
The pre-retrograde shadow, from Dec 26, 2013 thru Mar 1, 2014 — Mars reached 9º of Libra the first time on Dec 26, 2013. Whatever was arising at that time may be arising again now, but from a different perspective — after the unfoldment of all that has taken place since then. The pre-retrograde shadow marks the beginning of a significant process that is to be addressed during the retrograde phase.
The retrograde phase, from Mar 1 thru May 19, 2014 – Mars began moving backwards from our visual perspective on Earth, on Mar 1st at 27º Libra. During the retrograde, some possibilities are: confusing and conflicted actions, feeling strongly thwarted, or in contrast feeling regret because of forceful energies that were not thwarted. Waiting, observing, and responding when necessary rather than initiating life changing actions are advised while Mars is retrograde.
The post retrograde shadow, from May 19 thru Jul 21, 2014 — Mars turns direct on May 19th so initiating important actions and decisions based on the wisdom that was gained during the retrograde period will have energy and support. However, although Mars will be direct, he is still in review mode and it will take some time to gain momentum and find resolutions.
Compassionate communication and Mars retrograde in Libra
Today I am beginning an 8 week course in Compassionate Communication (also known as Nonviolent Communication). This is something I’ve wanted to pursue a serious study of for awhile after reading books and trying to practice on my own (which proved difficult!). Everything lined up for me with this endeavor now while Mars is retrograde in Libra. How perfect! Why is the period when Mars is retrograde in Libra perfect for focusing on compassionate/non-violent communication? Firstly, because Libra rules the art of listening and speaking skillfully, diplomatically, and most importantly empathically — balancing awareness and sensitivity between self and other. This is challenging, to say the least, especially when strong emotions are triggered. Secondly, Mars rules self-assertion, leadership, and frankness, but also aggression and violence on the shadow side (every archetype has a shadow side). Mars retrograde on the other hand, supports holding aggression back, turning it within, contemplating it, and transmuting it. We all feel anger and aggression sometimes, which is often a surface layer over suppressed hurt or fear. To be able to express those deeper feelings and in a way that inspires giving and receiving from the heart, as opposed to creating more hurt feelings, anger, defensiveness, and chronic unmet needs in our relationships, is a great way to utilize the energy of Mars retrograde in Libra. I am happy for this opportunity.
There is a Full Moon in Taurus on Monday. The moon affects currents and tides, whether in the ocean or in the form of emotion. And the Full Moon is associated with stronger and more volatile surges. On Sunday, Mars, who stirs things up and is not known for peacefulness, was opposite Jupiter, who augments whatever he touches. This aspect could have been a contributor to the sheer size of hurricane Sandy. On the up side, another function of Jupiter is to absorb negative influences. In the solar system Jupiters gravity literally protects us from sundry asteroids, meteorites, and ice balls that could collide with Earth. The astrological symbolism of this astronomical fact is that Jupiter serves as a guardian. The seeming paradox that Jupiter can magnify difficulties and yet at the same time also serve as a protector, symbolizes the face of the Divine which leads us through certain unavoidable encounters (karma) toward our highest ultimate destiny... Praying for the warmth, well-being, and best possible outcome for all those who may be affected by this large storm (no power in my neighborhood in Asheville, NC as I write this).