Aquarium Age by Ralfee Finn
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Weekly Frequency 2002

The Archives are organized by month, with the most recent columns first

December | November | October | September
August | July | June | May
April | March | February | January

All columns © Ralfee Finn

December 25, 2002
It’s Christmas and we’re supposed to be jolly, but celebrating peace on earth and good will toward all sentient beings seems incongruent with the reality of world events. From a collective point of view, the threat of war grows daily. And from a personal perspective, lots of people seem to suffer from posttraumatic holiday stress syndrome—a not so rare psychological disorder that finds its origins in the dysfunctional family gatherings of the past, where childhood expectations for a perfect Christmas collided with disappointment, neglect, or abuse. Amazingly, each year, as Christmas conjures these memories and we face the emotional gauntlet between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, the hope for happiness still survives. This year, as waves of emotion ripple through the last week of an already too intense year, the days unfold with poignant intensity.
Christmas celebrates the Divine Child in all of us, and while we think of it as the day we rejoice in the birth of Jesus, Christmas is fundamentally a festival of innocence. Most of us no matter how brokenhearted we may be, long to believe in the goodness of life. But sadly, these times challenge our ability to believe people are really good at heart. Certainly, these last two years, it hasn’t been easy staying in touch with our innocence. Daily, bombarded by the constant blare of negativity and fear, nervous systems struggle to handle the overload. Trust grows shaky. Faith quakes. Those of us with children worry about their future. And those of us without children just worry.
Of course, it is possible to transform doubt into faith, but making that leap requires a deep commitment to making the world a better place, regardless of the time, effort, and energy it might take to accomplish that goal. As with all creative process, we must first have a vision capable of inspiring positive action. Then, we need the determination to live what we believe in. It is so simple: if you want peace, live peacefully. Don’t scream at your children, kick your dog, or devolve in a constant state of blaming. If you can’t stop negative behavior, find out what fuels your unhappiness. Go to therapy and understand yourself at causal level. Heal that wounded child, soothe the child that wounds, listen to your heart, and believe in your own innocence.
And if you can, pray for your enemy. Every prayer for peace is an affirmation of life and a hope for all the children of the world.

December 18, 2002
This week, the emotional chaos of clashing moods and motivations makes it hard to recognize and hold on to objective reality. One moment is giddy with holiday cheer and the next seems laden with despair. On one hand there’s a desire to revel in seasonal delights, and on the other, those indulgences seem excessive in the face of so much uncertainty. This is the time of year designated to celebrate peace on Earth, yet daily we are deluged with information about preparations for war, so don’t be startled if you’re fighting over the feast menu and simultaneously longing for a world where no one yells or bullies. Put simply, it’s a mess, especially if you’re a prisoner of convention. If you’re not tied to tradition, rather than risk being swept away by seasonal stress, try something completely different. Make the time to witness a power greater than any political, economic, or religious invention--Mother Nature. And allow the great unknowable mystery of her inexorable, inexplicable continuous birthing of the 10,000 things to restore your sanity, humility, and faith.
The Solstice on December 21 is just one of Nature’s many enduring cycles. In the Northern Hemisphere, the Solstice signals the return of the light, and the season’s rituals derive their strength from that promise of renewal. This year, which seems such a dark year, mean-spirited violence and greed have already caused too much harm. Fear continues to infect attitudes and exacerbate polarized perspectives. Division, whether it’s a racial, gender, economic, or religious divide is an illusion—a magic trick designed to fool us into believing we are separate from one another and separate from the earth. The people fostering separation, no matter what side they are on, are the very same people exploiting and profiting from ignorance.
As the last days of the year unfold, refuse to participate in this cult of fear by resisting the illusion of separation and division. Take a stand for unity and celebrate the Solstice with intentional acts of kindness. Try not to let the fear-based behavior of others ensnare you in conduct unbecoming. Be purposeful, and experience what it is to love for love’s sake. Allow the light to return in your own heart and compassion will inspire your choices. Renew the promise of a new beginning in your own heart, and you’ll soothe a weary soul.

December 11, 2002
The ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future start singing the Bah Hum Bug Blues this week and like all opportunities for growth on this Free Will Planet, choices, personal and collective, determine what’s to come. Don’t worry—not all the astro activity is burdensome. Some interactions are even positive. But as powerful undercurrents gather momentum, the days grow increasingly intense, especially as they collide with the emotional mayhem known as the Holidays. Overwhelm is likely, meltdowns are probable, and that means you can count on exhaustion. As always during times of trouble, it’s important to find ways to soothe tension, so do whatever it is you do to quiet an anxious spirit and comfort those you love.
The celestial source of this week’s dyspeptic chorus is a Pluto Sun conjunction in Sagittarius with Saturn, in Gemini, opposing the Sun. A Pluto Sun conjunction craves power and will do whatever it takes to satisfy its appetite for control. This ruthless alliance also fuels the fanaticism of martyrs willing to suffer extreme hardship for their cause. A Saturn Sun opposition insists on perfection and has no problem delivering harsh criticism in the name of authority for authority’s sake. While the entire bundle feeds an arrogant attitude, it can also be used positively, but only if you’re willing to face the shadows of your own power issues. Before you throw any stones be sure you’ve examined your own desire to dominate.
Uranus stimulates the need for rebellion as it continues to trine Saturn and moves into a sextile with the Sun. Uranus embodies the catalyzing magic of creativity. If you’re always stuck in the stereotypical holiday role of Scrooge, Cratchit, or Tiny Tim, use this innovative force to bolster an authentic expression of your true holiday spirit. Be spontaneous, and instead of participating in traditional celebrations, try something new.
As the next weeks unfold, expect the unexpected. Uranus is ending its seven-year cycle through Aquarius and Uranus revels in surprise, which means encounters with people or circumstances you haven’t seen or thought of since 1995 are likely. Welcome these meetings as opportunities to finish what’s old in preparation for what’s new, and you could experience sincere occasions of closure and healing.

December 4, 2002
Today, a Solar Eclipse sends strong emotional surges through the already too tender atmosphere of the holidays. Holding back what aches won’t be easy, as feelings long denied, squelched, or rationalized away rise to the surface of daily life in search of understanding and integration. Rather than resist this intensity, let it work for you by allowing the charges to reveal what still keeps you trapped in robotic reaction instead of open to authentic response. Honor the truth of your feelings, but also keep in mind everyone will be experiencing the overload. So even if you are on the receiving end of angry or mean-spirited words, make every effort to listen with a loving heart.
During a Solar Eclipse the Moon over shadows the Sun, instinct overrides reason, and what’s unconscious drives the action. As part of today’s eclipse, Pluto is conjunct both the Sun and the Moon in Sagittarius, placing the emphasis on themes of power, personal and collective. This particular combination of the Sun, Moon, and Pluto can translate into a profound sense of separation and loneliness. Feelings of isolation are common during the holidays, so instead of measuring your happiness against a commercialized standard, design a celebration that comes from the heart and genuinely express your values. Gifts are great, but not if they chain you to debt or despair.
Unfortunately, as part of this eclipse, Jupiter, in Leo, trines the Sun, Moon, and Pluto, in Sagittarius, making it difficult to resist the temptation to overdo. Jupiter defines excess, Leo loves lavish, and when the two combine, budgets evaporate and spending skyrockets. But this need for extreme isn’t only financial. Sagittarius thrives on conversation, as does Jupiter, and when you add Pluto, Moon, and the Sun, those tête-à-têtes turn soul-searching. Be aware, while these discussions may be disturbing, they are also necessarily cathartic. Some of us thought 2002 was the year life would return to normal. Others knew it never would. All of us suffered the toll of grief and trauma. And that common bond of shared pain may have held back words we deemed best let unsaid until now. As the eclipse opens the floodgates, be prepared for revelations of all kinds.
The effect of an eclipse wobbles through time and is often felt weeks before or after the actual event, which means you may already feel as if you are traversing extraordinary reality and confronting difficult and powerful emotions. No matter where you are along the spectrum of emotional intensity, make an effort to be considerate of your fellow travelers. A kind word or gesture could make all the difference.

November 27, 2002
This week and the next several weeks, as we approach the Winter Solstice, those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere move through the darkest days of the year. Just as the Solstice celebrates the return of the light, all the rituals of December—Christmas, Chanukah, even New Year’s Eve—affirm the enduring cycles of life. From now until December 21, Mother Nature sinks her power deep into the roots of life and gathers strength for the next season of growth. And because we are not separate from Nature, we, too, are drawn inward to collect our energy for what lies ahead. Find the time to honor this instinctual need for stillness and quiet contemplation and you’ll feed your spirit the food it’s craving.
The days of dwindling light are always best spent in meditation and reflection and this year is no exception, especially because these times demand a deeper commitment to conscious living. In America, a festival of gratitude signals the start of the holiday season. For those of us caught in the constrictive grip of fear, finding reasons to be grateful may not be easy. For others, thankful prayers are as natural as breathing in and breathing out. For still more, the tension between what we are grateful for and what worries and disturbs our peace supplies the context and becomes the threshold for the next step of awareness, personal and collective.
Fortunately, the planets provide the perfect support for digging deep. Jupiter, in Leo, trines a Mercury Pluto conjunction, in Sagittarius, fueling an active mind, optimistic about wrestling with the big issues. Expect thoughtful conversation genuinely interested in exploring peaceful solutions. When Pluto and Mercury share the same space, they give birth to an astute mind. Just be aware, this conjunction can also inspire a smooth tongue, skilled at turning bitter pills into sweet treats. Don’t be fooled into thinking something is true just because certain words sound good to tired ears. War is war and war is always horrible no matter what side you’re on.
Again, fortunately, Jupiter’s expansive nature opens the doors of perception. Use this expanded mental energy to quest for new ideas. Also expect some of those insights to inspire laughter. Jupiter’s alignment with Pluto and Mercury makes it possible to find the humor in almost any situation.
As I often advise, whatever we focus our attention on becomes our reality, and while this fundamental rule of magic might sound simple, what informs its truth is quite complex. If you’re focused on what’s wrong with your life, you’ll only amplify disappointment, anger, dissatisfaction, and an entire negative laundry list. Concentrate on what’s right, and you’ll not only shift your attitude toward greater happiness. All the other positive facets of your life will flourish.

November 20, 2002
Uranus: Part Four
Uranus continues to drive upset and upheaval, this week, and the tumult is both personal and collective. As sudden twists of fate stupefy and astound, radical mood swings, yours or others, are probable, as are vacillations between cock-eyed optimism and down-right cynicism. Also anticipate wild fluctuations in energy. On Monday, you’re the Energizer Bunny. Tuesday, you can’t get out of bed. And speaking of bed, sleep patterns, already erratic for weeks, stay disturbed, and because sleep deprivation easily turns saints into ogres, attitudes turn impatient and edgy. Don’t misunderstand. Some of this week’s excitement is generated by a deep desire for change and the creative vision to transform antiquated systems into new and vital structures. But to access the power of that creative juice you have to put your fears aside, grab the tiger by the tail, and trust that change is possible.
The on-going Grand Trine between Uranus, Saturn, and Mars supplies the vitality. All three planets are in Air Signs, which means this positive alliance bestows the gift of an astute and penetrating intellect, capable of conceptualizing and integrating brainstorms into concrete action. The only glitch is Mars. Always ready for action, Mars amps up the fervor of those opinions, and is likely to challenge anyone who disagrees. Healthy debate is always a good idea, especially if you’ve never considered the perspective of the other side. But dueling over whose god wields a mightier sword seems extreme.
A Uranus Sun square intensifies this combative atmosphere, and as Uranus and the Sun continue to butt heads, that friction could turn into rash behavior incapable of contemplating the consequences. Please try to at least consider the impact of your action before you turn the world upside down or inside out.
Sudden shifts are often disconcerting, but those disturbances don’t have to throw you off balance. As the week unfolds, practice yoga of all kinds—physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual—and you’ll access the necessary flexibility to handle these waves of change. Also allow Uranus to underscore old patterns that have outgrown their usefulness. And then let that same brilliant intensity spotlight creative solutions. Make your mantra, “I like change.” And the week will unfold with greater ease.

November 13, 2002
Uranus: Part Three
A spirit of rebellion stirs body, mind, and soul this week and the days are driven by a restless wind. Anticipate edgy attitudes, yours or others, as unexpected developments transform into stress tests and too much activity taxes nervous systems. Some react to the intensity with defiance. Others despair. And still more feel caught in an undertow of uncertainty, which only serves to exacerbate the emotional strain of an already difficult week. Do whatever it is you do to stay centered and try not to react to the events of the week out of doubt or fear.
Uranus is at the core of this restive force, and as it forms relationships with several planets, its catalyzing influence stimulates shift. Keep in mind, Uranus doesn’t take sides. It simply challenges the status quo, which is why it’s not surprising that on Election Day, as Uranus turned around and began its forward movement, the Democrats’ centrist stagnation received a wake up call. Now as Uranus goes into action, we’re likely to witness additional startling developments. 
Uranus squares the Sun until November 25, generating the need to do whatever it takes to break free from whatever or whoever enslaves. On a personal level, that could manifest as surprising breakups, unions, or unilateral declarations of independence. Collectively, Uranus stimulates increasing unrest in all those areas already suffering from too much trauma.
Mars joins the on-going trine between Saturn and Uranus and as it does, Mars turns the entire configuration into a Grand Trine. A Grand Trine delivers positive energy, and because all three planets are in Air Signs, the focus on this Grand Trine is intellectual. Ideas flow easily, as does invigorating conversation. Unfortunately, given the current climate, this Grand Trine is apt to power ideological combat. Mars is the Warrior. Uranus thrives on provocation. And when you add Saturn to the mix, you’ve got a “might for right” attitude as old as the Crusades. Don’t be surprised if the word “draft” starts to insinuate itself into news briefs, sound bites, press conferences, and other forms of media propaganda. Each side in this war is convinced god is on their side, and the righteousness of that certainty is bound to incite additional unexpected plot twists.
A Lunar Eclipse on the 19th presents real problems. During that eclipse, Uranus squares both the Sun and the Moon, striking a dissonant emotional chord and Mars chimes in with war cries. The impact of an eclipse is often felt days or weeks before or after the actual event. What’s more, the degree of the actual eclipse becomes a sensitive point, and each time a planet hits that point it triggers the eclipse effect. In this case, as Mars presses forward, it will hit the sensitive degree point November 27th and then, again on January 13, 2003, when Mars arrives at the Sun’s position. The effect of this eclipse could be with us for quite some time.
As the next several weeks unfold, Uranus will continue to throw surprises up on the collective screen. Some will be difficult, but some will also reflect profound creativity and transformation. Be willing to shift with these waves and you could experience a new surge of spontaneity. Rather than dread these changing times, allow Uranus to stir your revolutionary pulse and move you into positive, innovative, non-violent action.

November 6, 2002
Uranus: Part Two
Daily life goes to extremes this week as the planets vacillate between power and deceit. On one hand, there’s plenty of energy to accomplish any task. But nervousness undermines confidence and that anxiety translates into a need to exaggerate or embellish the truth. Don’t be surprised if you feel like a Super Hero one minute and a fraud the next. Maintain your integrity by finding the strength to discern what you can and can’t handle, and don’t be shy about asking for help or offering assistance to others.
It’s Mars in the middle of a Pluto Jupiter trine that provides extraordinary energy. This positive alliance feeds a compulsive appetite for success and is capable of turning the worst procrastinator into an enterprising dynamo eager to negotiate, complete, and close the deal. Just be careful to take human bites. A Sun, Mercury, Venus conjunction obscures objectivity. What’s more, Neptune, the planet of delusion, squares the Sun, Mercury, and Venus, making dreams sparkle a bit too brightly. Aim high, but don’t be snared by shortcut schemes that sound too good to be true because they are.
Beneath the bustle and hustle of the week, an equally powerful and restless energy portends upset and upheaval. Uranus is moving forward and as it gathers momentum, it stirs the caldron of change, which means we can expect a jolt or two, personal or collective.
Significantly, as Uranus moves forward it begins the final leg of its seven-year cycle through Aquarius. Endings are as important as beginnings and the last degrees of a sign are as important as the first. Here on Earth that translates into the distillation of the last seven years of change. Uranus rules Aquarius and shares the same domain. Community is a large portion of their realm. So is revolution and the need to break free from whatever enslaves.
The next several weeks and months, as Uranus touches the tail of Aquarius, we will witness just what this journey has set in motion. From a collective perspective, the Internet, a system and technology found within the domain of Uranus, exploded during this cycle, linking the planet electronically by providing a meeting place for the Global Village. From a personal point of view, Uranus is likely to have catalyzed enormous shift, revolutionizing relationships and attitudes about friends, associates, or your ability to share your gifts with the world.

As you contemplate the impact of Uranus, pay special attention to the notion of freedom. Uranus provides the impetus to live free from tyranny, internal or external. Its non-stop devotion to independence can inspire the desire to do whatever it takes to liberate those imprisoned, whether that confinement is physical, mental, emotional or spiritual.

October 30, 2002
Uranus: Part One
The ethers tingle with anticipation all week long, as Uranus, the Planet of Shift, seems to stand still. Of course, Uranus is moving, but that won’t keep the atmosphere from feeling potent with expectation. Nor will it prevent body hair from standing on end and truth chills from reinforcing intense events and realizations. Uranus goes Direct on November 4 ending a five-month retrograde and the catalyzing effect of its forward motion turns the next several weeks into a Uranian Astro Drama. Reversals of fortune, big and small, good and bad, personal and collective are guaranteed. While it’s possible to intellectually expect the unexpected, sudden plot twists always jar body and soul, and even if you aren’t touched by the turn around, those you love might be. The best way through this period of startling developments is finding a way to embrace spontaneity without losing an appreciation for the benefits of routine. Not an easy task, but also not impossible. Keep in mind, going to extremes can be great fun, but constant surprises can also be exhausting, especially at the finale of an already wearisome year.
Uranus began this retrograde phase on June 2 and now, as it moves ahead Uranus will retrace previously covered ground. Collectively, that means increased unrest in areas already depleted from trauma. On a personal level, Uranus Direct could translate into an impulsive change of heart. If you started a relationship while Uranus was moving backward, that relationship might suffer an identity crisis as Uranus moves ahead. Or, you may have demanded a divorce in July, but now find yourself hungry for reconciliation by Thanksgiving.
Uranus goes Direct while still in a trine to Saturn. This on-going positive alliance between Uranus and Saturn provides the potential for broadband thinking, capable of integrating and applying information where it might be best used for reform and renovation. Saturn is the principle through which we derive wisdom from experience. As it moves through Gemini, the Sign of Information, Saturn is inviting us to become aware of how we gather and use data. Many astrologers believe Uranus holds the techno complexity of computers within its domain. As Uranus continues to move through Aquarius, the Sign of the Global Village, it continues to emphasize the profound diversity of life on Planet Earth. The trine between Uranus and Saturn could reveal how to better integrate the plethora of knowledge that’s become available to us via the Internet with greater skill. On a personal level, you can administer this energy to any situation in need of an overhaul. It will not only help you recognize the casual level of the problem. It will also identify how to create a more desirable outcome.
As the week unfolds, notice where you feel antsy for a change or resistant to a shift, and you’ll discover where Uranus is likely to be challenging the status quo.

October 23, 2002
You’ll need a wide lens to take in this week’s range of energies, so if you’re not already thinking through a spectrum, start, now. Only a broad perspective, capable of capturing the big picture, will keep you centered and able to see the many sides of any situation. Just be aware, a holistic viewpoint isn’t about wussing out on important issues or being so correct you become a spineless jellyfish. When things fall apart, as they do during times of upheaval, humans tend to cling to the comfort zone, even if that place of solace feels like a bed of nails. It takes tremendous courage to buck the status quo, say “no” to meaningless habituation, and search for new solutions. But that personal bravery is well worth the effort if it enables a breakthrough from ignorance into consciousness.
A Pluto, Jupiter, Mercury configuration provides the necessary tools to think big. Both Pluto, the planet of power, and Jupiter, the planet of faith, are in a sextile to Mercury, the planet of thought. While a Mercury Pluto sextile fosters a facile mind, capable of astute analysis, it can also produce the tendency to overanalyze. Fortunately, the Jupiter Mercury sextiles promotes good, old-fashioned common sense, which is likely to calm any nervous mind chatter and provide practical application for intellectual insights.
A trine between Mars and Neptune generates a sober atmosphere and enlivens spiritual pursuits. When the will of Mars aligns with the altruism of Neptune, the combined influence offers the possibility of a true spiritual attitude. Just don’t use the power of this interaction as a spiritual bypass. We’re in the midst of major transitions, personal and collective, and hardly anyone is beyond anxiety right now. Even those who previously worshipped the God of Façade are having a hard time slapping on that happy face and it keeping it on no matter what. Acknowledge your fear, no matter how painful, and that truth will set you free. Just be sure to create a safe environment for your catharsis—and if you can’t, find someone, friend or professional, to help you work it through.
This week, the planets support the possibility of a truly holistic perspective. Use this energy to help you move out of the paralysis of polarized opinion and into the freedom of positive action.

October 16, 2002
Controversy stirs the air this week catalyzing startling twists of fate and disrupting normal activity. These changes, big and small, collective and personal, are bound to make hearts pound, pulses race, and blood pressure readings rise. But if you thrive on excitement and crave something new, the intense planetary interactions could catalyze sudden and decisive action. So rather than resist innovation, be radical and volunteer to liberate yourself from whatever enslaves body, mind, or soul. Sometimes revolution is the most effective remedy for stagnation.
The power behind this week’s progressive spirit is a Grand Trine between Uranus, Saturn, and Sun. Uranus is the astro provocateur, committed to probing whatever feels stuck, inside or out. Saturn is the principle of perseverance, glad to lend stability to reform. The Sun provides the vitality to put those Uranian changes in motion. As these three planets work in unison, their combined influence supplies the potential for new, more liberal attitudes. Use this positive energy to counteract rigid and constrictive points of view, personal or collective. If you’ve always insisted on one right way to do a specific task, try something new. Your inventions may not produce the desired outcome, but the simple willingness to try something new will generate a deeper breath of experience and that is a positive result.
Keep in mind, while this Grand Trine between Uranus, Saturn, and the Sun feeds a revolutionary spirit, that doesn’t mean it supports the violence of war. This trine is a free-spirited energy in search of alternative solutions to sluggish systems, long overdue for an overhaul. Focus this positive energy wherever you feel stuck, and you’re likely to feel encouraged to try something new. As we continue to process through the wake of the Pluto Saturn opposition and the consequences of all varieties of fundamentalist doctrine, the positive juice of this Grand Trine can be directed at creating modern, peaceful solutions to ancient conflicts. What’s more, these old wars aren’t limited to collective confrontations. You can also use this energy to resolve areas of personal strife.
Fortunately, the on-going Jupiter Pluto trine continues to support opportunities for spiritual renaissance. Allow this optimistic, expansive influence to enhance the Uranus/Saturn/Sun potential for a deep and abiding change of heart. An eye for an eye hasn’t worked yet. Maybe we can use the extreme danger of our current situation to break that cycle, leave the notion of revenge behind, and make an evolutionary leap toward Higher Ground.

October 9, 2002
Contention disturbs the peace, argument turns attitudes edgy, and the air bristles with opinion as the debate over the dangers of war overrides almost all other earthly concerns. Don’t expect agreement—even from those you love. There are no easy answers. Especially when fear drives reason. Do make an effort to promote dialogue. But don’t be disappointed if sincere solutions aimed at peace meet with resistance.
A pernicious square between Saturn, Mercury, and Mars is the surface source of irritation. Mars and Mercury are conjunct, in Virgo, producing mental agitation. Mars symbolizes competition. Mercury represents the mind. And when these two share the same space, they dial up anxiety and upset nervous systems. Saturn is the voice of restriction, interested in sticking to the rules and doing things they way they should be done. As these forces butt heads, the entire bundle feeds a need for rash behavior, particularly when the free expression of ideas is stifled.
But the core of this week’s friction has more to do with the impact of last year’s Pluto Saturn opposition than it does with Mercury or Mars. Negative Pluto Saturn contacts always create a climate of fear and collectively those contractions tend to manifest as war. For example, a Saturn Pluto conjunction was present in 1914 for World War I. An opposition dominated 1931, when Hitler began his ascent to power. In the spring of 1940, when Pluto and Saturn formed a square, Germany invaded France and started bombing England. In 1947, Pluto and Saturn were conjunct, again. The fear generated by that configuration set the stage for the Cold War and the implosion of the McCarthy era of repression. Then, as now, the enemy lurked everywhere and strict adherence to a conservative platform was the only acceptable definition of patriotism.
The situation we are in isn’t new, but that doesn’t mean we can’t shift out of habitual reaction and into conscious response. What’s more, the consequences of war at this moment on earth might have an irreversible impact. That information just might be new, which makes it all the more important to leave the limitations of fear behind us as we search for answers outside the system of revenge and retaliation. As you face the challenge of the next several weeks acknowledge your fear, but don’t let it determine your choices. Own your fear, as Peter Gabriel sings on his new CD, so it won’t own you.

October 2, 2002
The planets are still busy and this week, their manic activity translates into a hunger for life and all its indulgent pleasures. Even if you aren’t prone to bacchanalian excess, you’re likely to bite off more than you can chew, especially as this gung-ho attitude feeds an appetite for power. Unfortunately, this desire for domination easily fuels the urge to go to war, vanquish the enemy, and claim the spoils of combat. Fortunately, there’s an equally strong pull toward an evolutionary leap in consciousness capable of understanding the complexity of the current collective crisis.
Mercury Retrograde ends on October 6 at 3:26 PM EDT. But don’t be surprised if you don’t notice the turn around. This Mercury Retrograde doesn’t feel like a normal retrograde. Mercury was too engaged to wholeheartedly slow down and all the other planets were too engaged with each other to pay attention.
But the driving force of this week’s constant craving isn’t Mercury’s forward motion. It’s the Pluto Jupiter trine. This positive partnership stirs a lust for life and a desire for power. But it also stimulates hyperbole and a distortion of the truth, particularly when the facts fall short of the target goal. We will be under the influence of this trine for the rest of the year, which means campaigns and elections, too, fall within the scope of this dramatic configuration. One of Jupiter’s energetic signatures is excess and Jupiter is currently moving through the Sign of Leo, a sign that loves exaggeration. Pluto is infamous for its determination to control, seduce, and manipulate. Pluto is currently in the Sign of Sagittarius, Jupiter’s Home Sign, and no sign has better skill when it comes to embellishing the truth. Politicians thrive on this over-the-top intensity and that means voters will have to probe promises and sound bites carefully.

Most importantly, the Pluto Jupiter trine provides enough optimism to neutralize the poison of paralysis. So if you’ve been feeling disheartened since September 11 or if you’ve been discouraged since the election of 2000, allow this trine to stimulate a new attitude. Remember, Jupiter’s primary quest is for a genuine connection to the Divine. Pluto quickens that search by illuminating any obstacles, conscious or unconscious, blocking that pursuit. Use this energy to clear your personal path and restore your hope for conscious co-existence among all the people of the planet.

September 25, 2002
The hum of activity sounds more like a roar, this week, as a deluge of planetary influences turns life on Earth more than a little manic. The planets are so busy and their gravitational pull so strong, it’ll be hard accepting the Mercury Retrograde invitation to slow down and pay attention to the details. Of course, if you’re installing new software, buying a new car, negotiating a contract, or traveling, you’re still likely to run into interference. Fortunately, most of these astro interactions are positive, but managing the intensity still requires skill. Do whatever it is you do to stay grounded and centered and these astro excesses won’t throw you off balance.
Despite the astro commotion, Mercury Retrograde is still the big news of the week. Mercury began its final retrospective of 2002 on September 14 and continues its review until October 6. Mercury Retrograde is always about slowing down the pace of daily life. But don’t confuse a retrograde with taking the time to smell the flowers. Mercury Retrograde is about culling through details with a fine-toothed comb and searching for the tangles in need of attention. Because Mercury holds within its domain all things related to communication and travel, modern retrogrades seem to have a pronounced and devastating impact. In the golden, olden days of the Pony Express, for example, a Mercury Retrograde delay might have played out as a delivery horse in need of a new shoe. Now, in the age of techno anxiety, Mercury Retrograde has developed a reputation akin to a waking nightmare and under its influence email dissolves, system snarls, computer crash, and snafus of all kinds interrupt the smooth flow of information. Because Mercury is hyper active during this retrograde, the glitch may be too much information. What’s more, other astro interactions, too numerous to go into detail, generate so much motion that slowing down just won’t be possible.
But that doesn’t mean the din of daily life has to overpower methodical progress. Rather than being swept away, find a comfortable personal pace, capable of keeping you on track and able to provide at least a few minutes of time to reflect on nine months worth of changes and growth. No matter how busy external life may be—and it will be plenty busy—this is still the harvest season of 2002. Find the time to gather the fruit of your experiences during this profoundly intense year. 

September 18, 2002
Diverse planetary energies generate disturbing astral winds and the week unfolds with an irregular rhythm, making it difficult to stay focused on specific tasks. What’s more, frustration also challenges concentration as impatience permeates the atmosphere. Unfortunately, a fractious undercurrent feeds the need to lash out and bully those less powerful. Do what you can to avoid mean-spirited conflict or passive aggressive behavior. Rather than using a critical eye to highlight the flaws of others, accept the frailty of human nature. Make forgiveness a goal and you’ll have an easier time handling the pressure and avoiding a meltdown.
Mercury entered its final retrograde phase of the year on September 14 and continues its retrospective until October 6. For those of you new to Mercury Retrograde, here’s the plot summary: Mercury represents the mental realms and includes within its domain all things related to communication and language. Three times a year, Mercury appears to be moving backwards through the sky. During these retrograde periods, daily routines become an obstacle course as all things related to Mercury suffer a nervous breakdown. Delays and detours replace normally smooth systems. Computers crash, email vanishes, snail mail disappears, too, phones fritz, and traffic truly snarls. Mercury Retrograde is not a good time to start something new, but it is an excellent time to review, reflect, and reconsider previous choices and plans.
Unfortunately, Mercury is busy during this retrograde, making quiet time hard to find. As Mercury retraces its path, it trines Neptune. Neptune is all about imagination and when Neptune works in partnership with Mercury, inspiration thrives. Anticipate fantasies and also expect intuitive flashes brilliant with insight. Mercury is also in a sextile to Pluto, the planet of transformation. As Pluto sextiles Mercury, Pluto pulls Mercury into deep intellectual waters. Mercury is apt to translate this urge to probe as a desire to plumb the casual level of certain repetitive patterns. But this sextile can just as easily stimulate a desire to coerce or seduce. Mercury also sextiles Jupiter, which fortunately adds a healthy dose of common sense to the entire bundle. Mercury’s interactions make busy minds, filled with ideas, but because Mercury is moving backwards, putting those notions in motion won’t be easy.
But that retrograde momentum isn’t the only reason forward motion feels thwarted. A Pluto Mars square turns the air cranky with disagreement and stubborn resistance turns simple task into arduous chores. Posturing is also probable, as are bossy blamers. Pointing fingers will only instigate an insurrection, so stay neutral when possible, and avoid wasting precious time and energy on needless hostility.

September 11, 2002
It’s impossible to write about this week without reflecting on the tragic events of September 11, 2001. But my guess is by the time you read this column, a media blitz of memorials is likely to have numbed genuine response. As pictures, television specials, books, and interviews probe the feelings of survivors, tuning out may be the only way to manage the still lingering grief and anxiety. Unfortunately, exploiting trauma is the nature of our current culture. But it’s still impossible for me to ignore the anniversary of 9/11.
From an astrological viewpoint, September 11 marked the moment the collective experienced the impact of the Saturn Pluto opposition. Historically, this opposition always carries a constrictive energetic signature and its effect is always connected with war, economic crises, and fear. Astrologers notice and record the correlation between the movement of the planets and events on planet earth. That’s why astrologers can predict probable manifestations of planetary interactions. But astrology isn’t, or at least shouldn’t be, used to by-pass the heart. I am always deeply humbled by how deftly astrology describes human potential. But all of that information is just information when contrasted against the reality of human suffering.
Yet the urge to understand the meaning of the last year’s events is also real. The Saturn Pluto contraction surfaced and continues to surface psychic shadows. Fear seems to be the first response, especially as the economy tanks and the government continues to pump the airwaves with levels of alert. Nervous systems, already strained, can only handle so much anxiety and then they collapse. And in that breakdown, the urge to reach for any kind of coping mechanism easily overrides common sense and a sense of compassion. Yet from a holistic perspective the contractions of fear must be giving birth to something new. Don’t misunderstand. I’m not channeling Pollyanna. It could take a very long time for the collective consciousness to rise from its stupor and process the next phase of expansive, evolutionary awareness. Fundamentalism is a survival mechanism designed to cope with the fear of what challenges faith. Perhaps one of the possible positive outcomes of 9/11 is a deeper understanding of just how shaky faith can be, particularly when it can’t tolerate others beliefs, equally desirous of feeling connected to the Divine.
This September 11 Saturn occupies the same position the Moon held on September 11, 2002. The Moon signifies the emotional body. Saturn is the planet through which we distill wisdom from experience. What’s more, on September 14, Mercury goes Retrograde, a degree away from the location it occupied on September 11, 2001. Neither of these positions signals any danger. Saturn is the teacher and Mercury Retrograde is always about reflecting on prior experience. Use these energies to contemplate how the Saturn Pluto opposition influenced your life, and as you do, also consider how its contractions could give birth to a new beginning.

September 4, 2002
An abundance of planetary interactions triggers a deluge of activity. Crowded calendars change at a moment’s notice and by the end of the week, daily life is likely to resemble the Mad Hatter’s tea party. But don’t be alarmed if you or those you love seem a little nuttier than usual. There’s just too much going on, not enough hours in the day to handle the overload and nervous systems suffer from the strain. Keep in mind, there’s no need to push against this tide of demands. Find a comfortable personal pace capable of keeping you in present time and you’ll handle what might otherwise appear to be an outrageous schedule of events.
The Pluto Sun square continues to stir the tendency to posture like a blowfish as a response to the intensity. Try not to let arrogance motivate a patronizing attitude. Condescension will only engender ill will. What’s more, ruthlessness thrives under this influence, so make every effort to stay ethical. Expedient choices made at the expense of others will backfire with negative results. Over-estimate your capabilities and you’re likely to collide with others equally eager to be the lead dog and likely to be better qualified for the job. Pluto Sun relationships do carry a strong creative charge, which means you can channel power struggles into artistic endeavors and in doing so circumvent clashes for control.
Unfortunately, the on-going Neptune Jupiter opposition might make it difficult being realistic about what you can and can’t accomplish. Don’t squander your fire attempting larger than life feats. You don’t have to be famous to be a hero. These days, managing to stay unencumbered by self-indulgence takes Herculean effort.
Fortunately, Mercury continues to focus the imaginal and intuitive energy of the Neptune Jupiter opposition, as Jupiter sextiles Mercury as Neptune trines it. Mercury’s presence adds clarity, common sense, and humor to the mix. Just be aware, Mercury is a notorious Trickster and so is Neptune. Be wary of sound bites and catch phrases, personal or political, designed to bamboozle. As we approach the first anniversary of September 11 rhetoric will jam the airwaves. While some of what’s said will be grounded in authenticity, under the Neptune, Jupiter, Mercury umbrella, much of what is said is likely to be exploitive.

Again, fortunately, a Uranus, Saturn, Venus trine supplies a sober sense of reality based on mutual values. Let this trine bolster your spirit as it simultaneously provides a deep appreciate for the struggles of others. Apply this caring energy where it is most needed and you’ll expand your capacity for compassion many fold.

August 28, 2002
This week, imagination challenges reason and illusion replaces reality. For some, this focus on fantasy provides relief from weeks of over extension--it's the perfect astral climate for a mental vacation. For others, the emphasis on illusion simply adds to confusion, as too many possibilities cloud clarity. For others, the reverie amplifies hypersensitivity and even the air carries an emotional charge. For a few more, the pure power of potential fires a desire to ride the waves of possibility with the goal of turning those etheric excursions concrete. The shadow side of this visionary energy is a high susceptibility to suggestion, especially if you have the tendency to idolize others. Be a believer, but for the next several weeks, keep your wallet in your pocket, your pocket buttoned tight, and don't commit to projects or relationships that promise more than they can deliver. Charlatans weave elaborate webs during this kind of influence, making it very easy to lose hard won ground of practical experience and skilled discernment.
The on-going Neptune Jupiter opposition is the core of this week's illusive energy. Neptune rules altered states. Jupiter, excess. And the tension produced by their opposition promotes a penchant for speculation. Big risks seem reasonable and the promise of big winnings fosters a compulsion to gamble everything--even in the face of tremendous loss. Don't be surprised if the Stock Market continues going to extremes. This opposition generates the power to persuade as well as the power to be persuaded, so listen closely to what's being offered. Very closely. And see if you can hear the smoothed-tongue serpent of manipulation seducing you into doing something you might regret later on.
Mercury joins this dream team, as it sextiles Jupiter, and by the weekend Mercury moves into a trine with Neptune. Mercury's presence reduces the tension, and that release is likely to be experienced as the need to talk about every little detail of every little thing. What's more, Mercury's positive support lends common sense and it's sextile to Jupiter also provides a sense of humor. Apply this thoughtful energy to any situation that sounds to good to be true and you'll neutralize the risk of being deceived.
This week, it won't be easy telling fact from fiction. And somewhere along the way you're likely to feel as if you are losing your mind, especially if your story differs radically from others. Almost everyone will be experiencing their own version of altered states and psychic collisions could cause energetic traffic jams. The best way through this mess is a good sense of humor that allows you not to take anyone, including yourself, so seriously you forget to laugh at life's ironies.

August 21, 2002
Agitation drives this week's astro drama, as a restless wind over stimulates nervous systems and startling story lines upset daily routines. This restive force, driven by Uranus, rattles the status quo, instigating stands for freedom, personal and collective. Don't be surprised if hyper-vigilance kicks in as a way of coping with the stressful surprises. Unfortunately, a Full Moon on August 22 adds a powerful emotional charge to the week. Fortunately, a subplot devoted to discipline produces the potential to get grounded and provides the strength and stamina to endure the unpredictable. If you're willing to take on increased responsibility, go ahead, but don't put yourself to the test if you're not up to it. Even if it takes extra effort, make kindness a priority. If you do, you'll help yourself and those you love navigate the rough edges of the week with greater skill.
The Full Moon, in Aquarius, on Thursday, is the eye of the energetic storm. A Full Moon always amplifies feelings, but this Full Moon is significant for several reasons. First, the Moon is conjunct Uranus, the planet of upheaval. Uranus, never a slouch in the quest for freedom, is apt to provoke personal declarations of independence and these assertions are likely to be laden with emotional excess. Second, this Moon Uranus conjunction is opposite a Sun Mars conjunction and that spells tension--and lots of it. The Sun and Mars have been traveling in tandem for quite sometime and the vitality produced by their partnership has filled the atmosphere with ambition and the tendency to take on too much. Now, as Uranus opposes the Sun and Mars, it's impossible to wait for the "right" time to act. Impatience overrides the virtue of steady progress and putting one foot in front of the other seems a useless waste of time. Add the Moon to the mix and intense emotions prompt impetuous behavior.
Fortunately, Saturn trines Uranus and the Moon as it simultaneously sextiles the Sun and Mars. We love this. A Saturn Sun sextile supplies strength and a Saturn Mars sextile provides endurance. This combined effect supports discipline and determination. The Saturn Uranus trine continues to provide the ability to cope with and pull through difficult circumstances, which makes it the perfect antidote to the week's unpredictable and dramatic atmosphere! Use this positive Saturn energy to find an even pace in the midst of an erratic environment.
This week, you'll need good boundaries to withstand an overabundance of unreasonable requests. Don't hesitate to say "no" if no is what you want to say. If you're willing to take on increased responsibility, go ahead, but don't put yourself to the test if you're not up to it.

August 14, 2002
This week, attitudes turn obstinate and resistance seems necessary, as opposing forces, personal and collective, clash over what needs to change and how those shifts should happen. As this planetary mood swing turns up the intensity, you're likely to fixate on how to break free from the bondage of confining situations. From a collective standpoint, active rebellion against oppression feels like the only option. Certainly freedom is always the first choice. But over the course of this week and next, a volatile force brews impatience and feeds the need to act regardless of the consequences. These emotional winds stir a deep soul unrest, which means primal responses are probable. Before you can blink you're apt to be caught up in reactive behavior you thought was long gone. Honesty will help you gain the higher ground of objective assessment. Acknowledge what needs to be learned, but be careful not to use that awareness as a way of bludgeoning yourself with judgment. Also keep in mind, taking responsibility for your reactions isn't about paralysis in the face of injustice.
Uranus, in Aquarius, opposes the on-going Mars Sun conjunction, in Leo and the normal tension generated by any opposition is heightened because all the players are planets of energy and movement. The whole bundle produces a restive air and this excitement translates into hot-blooded attitudes, yours, or others. Try not to let impatience motivate hasty action and impulsive behavior. Also be cautious Uranus Mars contacts are infamous for accidents.
Fortunately, the on-going Uranus Saturn trine continues providing the capacity to deal with difficulty. What's more, Saturn, in Gemini, sextiles the Sun, and that positive relationship engenders endurance. Keep in mind, Saturn's journey through Gemini invites us to hone the ability to sort through a plethora of information in order to discern the relevant from the extraneous. And Uranus, always eager to challenge the status quo, will probably deliver even more surprising data about the veracity of corporate statements and sanctity of priestly vows.
As the week unfolds, the energetic mood becomes increasingly militaristic and that easily translates into increased violence or a military call up. While you may not be able to feel effective in negotiating peace in the Middle East, you can take positive steps toward détente in your own life. If you're waging an internal war, call a true and send your inner critic to therapy. If you're feeling enslaved by a loved one or neighbor, be creative, and reach for the generous ground of compromise.

August 7, 2002
Planetary heat continues to fire desire, turning the already too hot to handle days audacious and daring. Passion overrides reason. Excitement provokes impulsive behavior. Ambition envisions extraordinary accomplishments. And enormous energy is available for bold endeavors. This fervent atmosphere is ripe for success. But it is also the perfect environment for intense emotional displays. Even the meekest mouse feels supercharged and ready to take on the meanest cat. (Frankly, while these outbursts are likely to be exhausting, this emotional climate is a whole lot healthier than the oppressive, constrictive weight of the Pluto Saturn opposition.) The power of this week's intensity can't be suppressed or denied, so rather than resist, allow. Of course, this isn't about harming, blaming, or abusing others because you're feeling overwhelmed and in the mood to punish. It is about acknowledging the undercurrents and using that awareness as the first step toward authentic healing.
A line-up of planets in Leo--Jupiter, the Sun, and Mars--produces this week's astro drama. But the star of the celestial show is a New Moon, also in Leo, on August 8. The New Moon always signals a new cycle and the relationships forming at the time of this new beginning indicate what that cycle might look like. Tomorrow's New Moon sits between the Sun and Mars, as all three trine Pluto, and that configuration triggers powerful emotions, as it simultaneously feeds the need to express those feelings without regard for the consequences. What's more, this Moon also encourages fixation on a specific outcome. Anticipate tantrums, big and small, if the desired results aren't realized. The combined effect of this concentration in Leo isn't malicious. But it is zealous. Leo is Fixed Fire, which means you're apt to encounter stubborn resistance and tenacious insistence on one way and one way only. 
Venus enters Libra, today, and sextiles Jupiter, in Leo, all week long. Venus and Jupiter are a joyous couple and they thrive on harmonious, happy interaction. Their union could diffuse a bit of the heat, but don't expect miracles. Do anticipate Venus and Jupiter to deliver the good nature and good humor to cope with any meltdowns.
August is always an intense time, but fortunately, this August Jupiter is beginning its journey through Leo, highlighting the best the Lion has to offer. What's more, Uranus and Saturn are also still in a trine, and that positive alliance offers profound powers of endurance and perseverance.
This week let the stars work for you. Instead of resenting the emotional intensity, embrace it, and trust the truth of your feelings. Again, this isn't about dumping negativity on the unsuspecting. It is about the power to transform through authentic self-expression.

July 31, 2002
The dog days of August turn into long days of desire as the planets generate passion, and while this celestial heat carries a decidedly amorous charge, it also arouses ambition, kindles creativity, and sparks all sorts of plans. Lethargy is out. Action is in. Anticipate feeling ready to do whatever it takes to actualize your goals. Just be aware, there's so much to do and so much energy to do it with, you're likely to be exhausted just thinking about the possibilities. So set a reasonable personal pace and try to have as much fun as possible riding this intense wave.
Jupiter is the main source of the excitement. On August 1, Jupiter starts a new cycle as it moves into Leo. Jupiter is the planet of good fortune. Leo is the sign of creativity. Jupiter loves big. Leo thrives on drama. Yes, this combination could lead to extravagance and bombast, but it could also foster idealism, especially as Jupiter's optimism combines with Leo's majesty. What's more, Jupiter's journey could awaken the noble and magnanimous spirit in all of us. Drama, too, blossoms under this influence, but don't let that worry you or dampen your hopes. Jupiter is inherently good-natured and Leo, despite its much-maligned reputation for being self-centered, is inherently generous. As you experience grand gestures, yours or others, try not to judge those displays too harshly. Jupiter also knows how to have fun and as it journeys through Leo it's bound to touch the child in all of us.
The Sun, also in Leo, is currently conjunct Mars and both trine Pluto, in Sagittarius. Mars is the planet of energy and movement. The Sun is the source of life. When Mars and the Sun travel together, they create a vigorous, decisive atmosphere. This positive alliance bestows vitality--and lots of it. The air sizzles with competition as almost everyone feels the need to lead and succeed. A word of caution: This Mars Sun trine to Pluto feeds a desire to win at any cost, which means this whole bundle could turn ruthless at a moment's notice. On the positive end of the spectrum, this trine is thrives on achievement and provides the motivation and strength to complete any task. One more bit: Neptune opposes Mars and the Sun and because Neptune tends toward deception, this opposition could foster unrealistic goals. Keep your expectations reasonable and you'll avoid grandiosity.
As you move through the week, keep in mind, Jupiter's movement doesn't only benefit Leo. Everyone has Leo somewhere in his or her birth chart and that makes Jupiter's change of sign an equal opportunity astro event. Greet this shift with open arms and allow Jupiter to warm your heart and lift your spirit.

July 24, 2002
This week, it's less funny and more intense, as the planets move out of comedy and into hypersensitivity. This new environment is apt to feel sluggish, especially as negative thinking merges with a high degree of susceptibility to suggestion. What's more, disappointment drifts through the days, as reality falls short of fantasy and what you get isn't necessarily what you want. Be wary of negotiating this mess through self-medication. Managing the stress through addictive substances will only exacerbate the already murky climate. Instead of indulging constant cravings, make clarity your goal and then do whatever it is you do to stay level headed and objective.
Neptune, currently in the Sign of Aquarius, shifts this week's mood, as it opposes a Sun/Mercury/Mars conjunction in Leo. Neptune rules fantasy and its imaginative realm ranges from dreams to drugs. And while it's true, Neptune is a strong spiritual force, Neptune is also deceptive, often distorting reality by making us vulnerable to unconscious and unseen influences. One manifestation of that astral exposure is a tendency to blur boundaries. Another is the potential to be exploited by the charismatic power of others. The Sun, Mercury, Mars conjunction produces a subjective state of mind, incapable or uninterested in considering alternate viewpoints. Because Leo is a Fixed Sign, this conjunction magnifies bias as it simultaneously amps up self-confidence and the courage of conviction. But Neptune's presence warps that self-reliant energy, either by exaggeration or through a nagging sense of lack, which means the week may be filled with bluster, fluster, or a feeling of unrealized expectations. Try not to set unreasonable goals for yourself or others or lose yourself in projection, again, yours or others. Try transforming this sensitivity into an increased receptivity to spiritual energies. Meditation, contemplation, and prayer provide positive pathways for Neptune's energy.
A Pluto Venus square also stirs this week's tendency toward fascination. When Pluto and Venus form any kind of union, they engender strong attractions of a sexual kind and often those interests turn fanatical or compulsive. As the energy of this square rides the wave of the Neptune, Sun, Mercury, Mars bundle, erotic preoccupation is probable. This could be one reason why disappointment might color the days and nights. Before you start making plans, make sure the object of your affection shares the same desire.
Keep in mind as you move through the moods of the week, the tension of the Pluto Saturn opposition is still releasing and this letting go is a huge contributing factor to a climate of uncertainty and change. Be gentle with yourself and your fellow travelers and rather than pushing through Neptune's nebulous fog, give yourself some much-needed psychic rest.

July 17, 2002
An astro good humor plan continues to deliver laughter. Everyone's doin' stand up and everything is lookin' funny. And while this jocular energy is apt to feed the sardonic and the sarcastic, its core is neither caustic nor mean spirited. Make the most of this week's funfest by spending as much time as possible participating in pleasurable activities. Fortunately, another positive configuration moves into place supplying the power and strength to handle all sorts of circumstances. As these two energies coalesce they provide opportunities for genuine happiness.
First, the funnies: Jupiter and the Sun continue to travel in tandem, which means we continue to experience their positive power as renewed hope and optimism. This conjunction is particularly good for restoring health. Don't be surprised if you find yourself sleeping longer, exercising more, or readjusting your diet. Less stress foods might mean more nurturing choices. A Jupiter Sun conjunction is also a non-stop invitation to fun. It's one stop shopping for whatever ails the soul, so apply its exuberance and enthusiasm liberally and lavishly. Mercury joins the Sun and Jupiter this week. A Jupiter Mercury conjunction often signals writing skill, which is why everyone is authoring comedy routines and riffing on whatever is happening in the moment. Most importantly, when Jupiter, Mercury, and the Sun combine, thoughts turn positive and good news seems more important than any other.
And saving the best for last: This week, Uranus and Saturn begin a trine that lasts until the end of the year. We love this, and we are thankful, because it's been such a long time since we've had an active, long-standing beneficial influence supporting the activities of daily life. Uranus represents the principle of breaking through. Saturn thrives on structure. Uranus provokes growth. Saturn teaches and learns. When they work together, they create an environment of enduring change. This trine feels like the perfect tool for processing and integrating a year's worth of sobering revelations about just how much needs to shift, personally and collectively. We're only at the beginning of this trine, which means as the next weeks and months unfold, its power will grow. Use this energy to reaffirm your determination to make positive change.

July 10, 2002
A healthy dose of humor underscores daily routines, allowing laughter to clear the air and provide even the most serious among us with some much-needed comic relief. While this witty atmosphere won't eliminate dire circumstances, it will supply the ability to recognize and appreciate the ironies of life. And that can give birth to a new, happier attitude. As the planets promote optimism rather than pessimism, we're encouraged to come out from under the dour shadow of despair. Tune into these positive energies and let them help you have a genuinely good week.
A Jupiter Sun conjunction dials up this week's joyous broadcast signal. The Sun symbolizes life force, Jupiter represents expansion, and when their energies merge, arms open wide to embrace earthly and heavenly pursuits. This is a big, fat, happy combo capable of restoring weary places of the body, mind, and spirit. Jupiter's domain contains all sorts of diverse categories, ranging from religious and classical traditions to the bacchanalian excess of human pleasure. So don't be surprised if you're spouting philosophic poetry one minute and satisfying physical appetites the next. Jupiter also governs humor, which is why this conjunction fosters funny, from the silly to the sublime. What's more, this positive configuration promotes health. Apply it liberally to all those places in life that need a soothing, restorative touch, and you'll experience true rejuvenation.
Venus moves into Virgo today. As the Goddess of True Value (not the hardware store deity, but the symbol for what matters most) changes signs, her attention shifts away from the Leo tendency to indulge in personal desire, and focuses instead on how to be of greater service to others. If you've been considering making a contribution to your community but haven't been able to get clear on what your participation would look like, Venus in Virgo is likely to clarify your choices.
Mars moves into Leo on Saturday, and as the planet of selfhood journeys through the fiery sign of self-expression, the air fills with creativity and self-confidence. Don't hesitate to put plans in motion. Mars in Leo provides the backbone to see those plans through to completion. As this powerful energy co-exists with the exuberance of Jupiter and the Sun, enterprises of all kinds flourish with passion and enthusiasm.
If you're in need of an attitude adjustment, this is the perfect week to turn your energy in a more positive direction. Again, these celestial configurations won't solve personal or collective problems, but they will help restore hope--something we can always use to enjoy the passage of time. More importantly, this hopeful energy fertilizes faith. If you or someone you love experienced a crisis of faith over the course of the last year or is currently struggling to believe in something greater than the suffering of Samsara, use the energies of the week to stimulate a new perspective. Breathe in this clean astro air and allow it to stimulate alternative perspectives. The fresh air of clarity might help you uncover important pieces of life's puzzle. And those discoveries just might help you to renew your connection to the Great Mystery.

July 3, 2002
You'll have to work really hard to be born under a bad sign this week, next week, and all the weeks of July, because for the first time in a very long time, there's no bad astro news generating tension or exacerbating stress. That's right--no Saturn Pluto opposition, dangerous eclipses, or volatile Uranus Mars contacts intensify daily routines. Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean personal or collective climates will suddenly cool down. Surprising developments could provoke eruptions in those places already in dire need of a calming attitude. What's more, the absence of overwhelming anxiety is apt to require a period of adjustment. Anticipate uncertainty and hesitation as muscles, physical and mental, start to relax. Just don't expect life to lock into what it once was. There's still too much to digest and integrate. Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities to pursue pleasure instead of pain and optimism instead of pessimism.
A Uranus/Mercury trine authors this week's plot twists. Uranus is the planet of revolution. Mercury is the planet of the mind. When these two unite their efforts, innovation busts the boundaries of normal methodologies, and invention and imagination turn mundane experiences into extraordinary events. This trine creates the mindset that allows us to view a single strand of hair as an entire universe, or the vastness of the night sky as a map of infinite space. Accept this invitation to see the world through a new perspective, and your mental juices will renew and replenish their strength.
A planetary line-up in Cancer continues to emphasize home improvements, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Today, a Jupiter Mars conjunction, in Cancer, is exact. This enterprising union supports dynamic endeavors and creative activities. Allow it to infuse your days with confidence and the skill to shift into a new, happier outlook.

June 26, 2002
An astral convergence, one part playful, one part powerful, and one part imaginal alters reality and fantasies run the gamut from hallucination to creative visualization. Fortunately, not all these illusions are delusions. Mystical urges and artistic inspiration also ride this fanciful frequency. Anticipate plans, plots, and pitches, some legit, some as blatant as a snake oil cure for everything that ails you. Sidestep the potential for deception by remembering the words of the Great Oz, "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain". Just don't let a determination to be grounded turn into cynicism. Click those ruby heels together and wish for what you want the most. Sure dreams often look better on paper than they do in real life, but modifying, rearranging, and adapting can be the best part of bringing those visions into manifestation.
A string of interactions between Pluto, Neptune, Mercury, and Venus is the source of this week's reveries. Pluto symbolizes power. Mercury represents the mind. Of course, Venus is the Goddess of Love. And Neptune signifies imagination and intuition. Here's the breakdown--but keep in mind, it sounds much more complicated that it actually is. (1) Pluto opposes Mercury, as it simultaneously trines Venus and sextiles Neptune. (2) Neptune opposes Venus, as it simultaneously trines Mercury. (3) Venus sextiles Mercury.
The whole bundle produces a mesmerizing effect. Taken separately, a Pluto/Mercury opposition produces an impatient attitude, eager to persuade in order to control. Pluto Venus turns these powers of persuasion seductive. Be aware, this particular Pluto Venus trine between the fiery Signs of Sagittarius and Leo adds an erotic charge to even routine connections. Flirtation is definitely part of the package, especially as Neptune opposes Venus, amplifying romantic longing and attraction. Mix the enchanting power of these separate elements together and normally rational people have a tendency to behave like lemmings. When this convergence isn't being romantic or seductive, it has the slick, smart spin of a major advertising campaign aimed to sell you what you won't need and can't use, but would feel lost without.
Put to positive use, the sensitivities of the week open up creative channels and arouse a new level of receptivity. Art and beauty thrive under this influence, as does the rapture of spiritual experience. Don't be surprised if you find yourself engaging in uninhibited conversations and anticipate those dialogues feeling more like foreplay than mind games--or maybe a bit of both.
This week, engage your imagination and dream. Sail out of the doldrums of humdrum reality into the seas of possibility, and let those visions invigorate your body, mind, and spirit.

June 19, 2002
We're out of our minds and into our tummies this week, as the planets move out of the power zone and into the pleasure region. Home life triumphs over nightlife. Food is more appealing than politics. And a genuine hunger for domesticity dominates the atmosphere and motivates behavior. This energetic shift won't completely eliminate tension or cool off personal or collective hot spots. Nor will it wipe away tears of grief or rage. What this astro change of air will provide is the possibility of a sincere, soothing touch and sympathetic ears. Use this sensitive energy to soften attitudes and heal brittle edges.
On June 21, as we celebrate the Summer Solstice, the Sun enters Cancer, the Sign of feelings. This celestial movement plunges us into deep waters of emotional sensibility. On the negative side of Cancer's sentimental journey, too many feelings generate a moody disposition. On the positive end, Cancer's sensitive nature speaks the language of genuine sympathy. Cancer also symbolizes maternal instinct and it's the sector of the Zodiac where we long to belong and where we learn how to bond. Again, on the negative end of this spectrum, lies the tendency to isolate or fret about issues of security. On the positive end, Cancer is the Sign where we learn to join with others and experience genuine empathy.
Jupiter and Mars are also both currently conjunct in Cancer. This conjunction places the emphasis on enterprise and success. Use the creative juice to intensify your ambitions, but don't forget to have fun. Yes, a Jupiter Mars anything can encourage excess, and in Cancer that extravagance means too much good food, wine, sweets, or other gastronomical delights. But who cares? It's summer. The stifling rigidity of Pluto opposition Saturn is receding. It's time to move out of cringing parsimony and into generous excess.
Another Lunar Eclipse occurs on June 24. This time, the Moon is in Capricorn--well out of the reach of Saturn and Pluto. During a Lunar Eclipse, the Earth comes between the Sun and the Moon, and material concerns override all others. As this eclipses focuses on a pragmatic approach, don't let it trap you in a fearful zone of anxiety. Financial sobriety is important, but worrying about money only generates worry, not money.
As the stars realign, their movement won't eliminate global strife, which is why it's more important than ever to appreciate life's simple pleasures. This week, make time to enjoy yourself. Connect with loved ones. Put aside differences, complaints, or criticisms, and whether it's your family of origin, family of choice, dog, cat, or parrot, feel the sweet solace of love.

June 12, 2002
Exhaustion and fatigue (two lesser known Disney dwarfs) dampen daily routines, and sleep seems like the fairest activity of all. Even if you aren't weary from the strain of constant stress, this week, disrupting distractions are likely to tire both body and mind. Of course, we should be dancing in the streets. The tension of the Pluto Saturn opposition is waning and that means the days of summer should play out with diminishing intensity and increasing ease. But we're still in the wake of that upheaval, and much of what was held back, down, or in as a result of almost a year of hyper vigilance is still emerging. You'll need strength and stamina to negotiate this constant release process. You'll also need patience. A slightly needy edge turns small requests, yours or others, into gigantic demands. Keep in mind, most of us are more than a little frazzled. So when possible, instead of reacting defensively, apply the balm of kindness and understanding.
This week's astro-drama is a series of one-act plays. (1) As the on-going Pluto Saturn opposition lessens its grip, restraints, collective and personal, willing or imposed, also release. As pressure valves let go, hot air fuels despotic behavior determined to enforce a one way and one way only attitude. (2) Unfortunately, a Uranus Sun trine supports this need for strident self-assertion. Anticipate continued confrontations with authority figures as this volatile alliance provokes unilateral stands for independence and freedom. Uranus trine the Sun is the mother's milk of revolutionaries and that means we can expect continued upset and excitement in all those places desperately in need of peace and compromise. At the positive end of the Uranus Sun spectrum, lies heightened creativity. Use this innovative energy to shift your attitude, and you'll be amazed at how quickly you can implement new behavior. Incorporate its inventive qualities into artistic projects, and you'll experience a new level of inspiration. (3) Several planets in Cancer stimulate the desire to hunker down with family and friends. We love this. It's the perfect excuse to nest, rest, and soothe the spent resources of the soul. Cancer delights in a nurturing environment, especially if those comfy cushions come with delicious, satisfying food.
This week, give yourself permission to schedule an intermission. In fact, take as many breaks as possible. If you're being pressured into assuming too much responsibility, just say "no" and resist the temptation to slip into the savior role. The world won't fall apart if you take the time to take care of yourself. Beside, a good rest will restore your reserves and hasten the healing.

June 5, 2002
A Solar Eclipse on June 10 generates high emotional tides. And because this eclipse occurs at the end of nearly nine months of relentless stress, it's unlikely anyone will be immune to its effect. Because the Sun and Moon are both in Gemini, the sign of language and information, communication is the core of this eclipse. Mercury, also in Gemini, goes Direct on June 8, and that forward movement amplifies the talkative nature of the week. Don't be surprised if the need to "get it off your chest" washes away dams of restraint and you find yourself saying all those things you thought you'd never mention. Also anticipate undercurrents, long submerged by duty or denial, to surface and turn conversations poignant. Some of what's being said will disturb, some will satisfy, and a large portion of what's revealed will trigger even more change, personal and collective.
The eclipse on Monday is significant for several reasons. As the Moon conjuncts the Sun, Saturn, also in Gemini, conjuncts both the Moon and the Sun, and Pluto opposes the entire bundle. Saturn's presence turns the atmosphere severe and stern, which means dialogue, designed to set the record straight, is apt to turn mean-spirited. Avoid the judgmental finger of blame. When possible, make listening a spiritual practice--no reaction, just awareness. Pluto's presence triggers power plays, producing the potential for mini-dramas, big and small. Staying neutral in the midst this reactive environment requires an almost Buddha like non-attachment. Seek the high ground of a broad perspective capable of including dissension and you'll have an easier time handling negative opinions. 
During a Solar Eclipse, the Moon overshadows the Sun, the instinctual overrides the rational, and feelings flood the days and nights. It is completely possible to get swept away by these waves of emotion, especially if you're telling the truth and feeling the relief of honesty. It's also possible to be led astray by the emotional intensity, particularly if you're susceptible to suggestion or held in thrall by the power of projection. Eclipses part the veils of awareness and reveal what was previously hidden. Be willing to tell the truth and hear the truth. Also be prepared to be confused, especially as different stories about the same situation describe seemingly separate events. As the week unfolds, keep in mind, human truth is relative. Do whatever it is you do to strengthen your connection to your Higher Power and let the truth of that relationship lead you safely to shore.

May 29, 2002
This week and next are an epilogue to nine months of extreme stress. The Pluto Saturn opposition, which began last August, had its last exact contact on May 25 and we’re now in the wake of that intensity. As so often happens after a period of prolonged tension, when the pressure finally lets go all sorts of shifts occur. Over the course of the next several weeks, even months, your life or the lives of others are apt to tilt from the spin of this release. Don’t be fooled into thinking these changes are happening willy-nilly. Unconscious drives have as much, if not more power than conscious choices, especially when those urges have had a long enough time to gestate into action.

Several influences contribute to this week’s intensity. First, Mercury is still retrograde, which means minds focus on the past instead of the future. Mercury Retrograde is best spent culling through the details of plans and projects already in motion. But this Mercury Retrograde is far too restless to concentrate. On June 2, Uranus, the planet of agitation, goes retrograde, and as it does, it squares Mercury, and that fractious interaction causes a million distractions. While Uranus Mercury contacts spur insight, they can also spawn a nervous mind. Pay attention: This antsy-pantsy energy easily promotes premature action, especially as it coalesces with the pressure release of the Pluto Saturn opposition. What’s more, Uranus is known for its devotion to starting plot twists, and we’re likely to see more than one startling development as the week unfolds.

Next, Pluto opposes the Sun as Saturn conjuncts the Sun, and the entire bundle triggers power surges of a ruthless kind. From the collective perspective, this configuration feeds a need for domination, no matter what the cost, and that grim determination is likely to manifest as increased violence. From a personal point of view, this pernicious alignment feeds the despot in everyone. Anticipate petty power plays, again, no matter what the cost. Be prepared for that uncompromising resolve to manifest as intolerance and impatience for differing points of view.

We’re also caught between the Lunar Eclipse on May 26 and a Solar Eclipse on June 10. Eclipses distort “normal” light and by-pass “normal” time. Under an eclipse effect, daily life plays out in a strange time warp and episodes triggered by the eclipse happen days, weeks, or months before or after the actual event. Don’t be surprised if old, almost forgotten relationships return for one last encounter or long sought closure. Also expect new beginnings to feel potent with promise and destiny.
The days and nights of the next two weeks carry a strong emotional charge and it won’t be easy staying centered in the midst of these deep-seated, primal feelings. As you make your way through the intensity, do whatever it is you do to maintain your center. If you rely on a Higher Power to get you through the night, lean a little heavier than you usually do. If you get by with a little help from your friends, don’t forget they, too, depend on you.

May 22, 2002
Change defines the week, as nine months of Pluto Saturn tensions reach a crescendo on May 25, and then, begin to disperse. Transitions are often awkward, and because this passage is crowded with other influences, this week and next are uncomfortable and confusing. Don’t be surprised if you’re both anxious and relieved. Meltdowns are also probable as pent up feelings start to discharge. Navigating the maze of these shifts requires patience, kindness, and the skill to stop clinging to a specific outcome. Even the worst experience can be transformed, when we’re willing to leave the comfort zone of the known and grow into new awareness.

Mercury is still retrograde, and in honor of that backward motion, here’s the recap on the Pluto Saturn opposition: Pluto is currently in Sagittarius, the sign of philosophy and religion, and the sector of the Zodiac where we strive to understand existence. As Pluto probes spiritual systems, we’re exploring whether it’s necessary to annihilate threatening ideologies in order to survive. Saturn is in Gemini, the sign of communication, and the sector of the Zodiac where we use information to organize existence. As Saturn probes data, we’re looking at the cost of manipulating the facts for personal gain. Enron, the Catholic Church, and the war in the Middle East express the global ramifications of the Pluto Saturn opposition. But the consequences of this interaction aren’t only collective crises. This opposition is also prompting personal confrontations with fear, hatred, and injustice, and these experiences are just as important, if not more. During the final bow of Pluto Saturn contemplate the meaning of truth. Does it set you free? Do little white lies lead to big blackouts? Is truth a valuable currency in a world driven by addiction to illusion?

Unfortunately, practical concerns override philosophical pondering this week, as two additional interactions highlight pragmatism. First, on May 26, a Lunar Eclipse focuses on material circumstances and reason overrides intuition. Second, and also on May 26, the on-going Uranus Mars trine is exact. This trine generates energy—lots of it—and because both Uranus and Mars thrive on movement, as this force coalesces with the release of the Pluto Saturn tension, a need for action overrides caution.

We’re at the end of a long, dark night of the soul, and one of the gifts at the end of such a journey is an incredible lightness of being, as if by facing the darkness of the heart, we gain a glimpse of the magnitude and mystery of life. But whether we find that vision terrifying or beautiful depends on who we are and what we need. As Pluto and Saturn separate, the consequences of their opposition aren’t going to disappear, but neither will what we have learned.  

May 15, 2002
This week, clashing planetary rhythms produce a stop, start, and then, stop again, astro drama. Hesitation stalls action. Misunderstanding mires initiative. And snafus, big and small, significant or silly create frustration. It won’t be easy coping with the disruptions, especially if you let delays and detours determine your mood. Rather than melt into a puddle of missed appointments, release the need to be on time and give others the same latitude. As timetables disintegrate, try to stay flexible and ready to implement alternate plans.
Mercury authors this week’s uneven pace as it begins its second retrograde phase of the year, today. For those of you new to Mercury Retrograde, here’s the skinny: Mercury governs all things related to communication and travel. Three times a year, for approximately three weeks each time, Mercury appears to be moving backward across the sky. Of course, Mercury isn’t really moving in reverse. But during a retrograde—and this one lasts until June 8—all things within its domain struggle to make progress. Telephones, of all faiths, including voice mail and pagers won’t work the way they should and messages vanish like sox in the dryer. Negotiations breakdown, contracts collapse, computers crash, and rush hour slows to a crawl. Put simply, it’s a mess.
Mercury Retrograde is an invitation to slow down and pay attention to the details. It is best spent focused on plans and projects already in motion. Editing, organizing, and all kinds of restructuring reap rewards during a retrograde phase. Clean your closet, cabinet, desk, kitchen, or garage and you’ll experience a sense of accomplishment. Use the next three weeks to reconsider and reevaluate recent decisions, and you’re likely to discover facets of those choices you hadn’t previously seen or fully understood.
Unfortunately, concentrating on the details won’t be easy because a Uranus Sun square turns the week antsy with the need for something—anything—new. This fractious relationship also produces startling plot twists, so don’t be surprised if even plans made before the retrograde evaporate in the excitement of the moment.
The forward rhythm of Uranus grates against the backbeat of Mercury and dissonance fills the air. As that discord coalesces with the on-going tension of the Pluto Saturn opposition, exact on May 25, the atmosphere turns a little too edgy. Don’t be surprised if you feel like barking at your neighbor or howling at the Moon. Just try not to let the stress motivate action you might later regret. Keep in mind, everyone is apt to sway from strain, and that makes it even more important to treat each other with respect, kindness, and, if at all possible, a little tenderness.

May 8, 2002
Short fuses, testy tempers and edgy interactions tweak the week toward squabbles, skirmishes, and spats as denied or suppressed feelings rupture routines. No one, including you, is likely to be polite. Those caught at the negative end of this intensity intensive are likely to run out of patience and even those lucky enough to be engaged in positive pursuits will have to stretch to manage the demands of daily life. What’s more, by the end of the week Mercury slows the pace of daily life to a crawl in preparation for its second retrograde phase of the year, which means frustration also chokes the atmosphere. You’ll need strength to handle the heat, but mostly you’ll need the fortitude of personal responsibility. If you make a mistake, just say so. If you discharge on an innocent co-worker, apologize. If you don’t feel l like talking ‘cause you’re too afraid of what you might say, move past your fear and just speak the truth.
Mars is at the epicenter of this week’s combative mood, moving out of its opposition to Pluto. As Mars breaks loose, action feels propelled by an almost super human force. Unfortunately, the opposition spawns a ruthless brutality willing to do anything to achieve its objectives. Used positively, Pluto Mars contacts supply the sheer physical stamina to work through any obstacle. Aim this energy at realistic goals and you’ll accomplish a great deal. But if all you can do is put your head on a pillow and rest, then, by all means, have at it. Too much, is sometimes just that.
Mercury goes Retrograde from May 15-June 8. When Mercury seemingly moves backward across the sky, all things related to communication and travel go slightly screwy. Please back up your information, now, and don’t wait until the last minute. As this Mercury Retrograde coalesces with the irritable energy of Mars, the entire bundle rubs all sorts of fur the wrong way and negotiations, personal or collective, local or global, are bound to wobble from the strain.
Since stress tends to trigger the temptation to regress into old behavior even if those habits aren’t healthy, instead of relying on what you already know doesn’t work, be willing to try something new that might move you into positive action. If you’ve reached the limits of your capacity to handle the tension and are confused by what you don’t understand, try not to act for action’s sake. Instead, breathe, deeply, and encourage others to do the same.

May 1, 2002
The stars probe primal instincts, question power zones, and challenge survival skills, and no matter where you fall along the spectrum of opinion about war and peace, these strident interactions exacerbate exacerbation and agitate attitudes. And while all prayers count, this week, the mission isn’t about praying for a miracle to end the madness. The task is trying to respond to an insane world with a firm faith in the essential goodness of life and being. Demonstrating that belief could be as simple as helping your neighbor or as complicated as refusing to participate in prejudice of any kind. Whatever you do, don’t waste a moment fussing or fighting over anything petty. These are powerful times and the days aren’t meant to be wasted on trivial pursuits.
The source of this week’s intensity is still the Mars Saturn conjunction and its opposition to Pluto. The energetic signature of this negative configuration is fear and under its influence, worlds contract, moving backward in blame instead of forward in hope. Since the Saturn Pluto opposition started last July, we’ve been in the grip of its powerful constrictive force and that contraction has given birth to a repressive climate. Fear paralyzes movement and at some point, each of us has to decide how we want to handle this reactionary force. Destiny is determined one person at a time, so never underestimate the power of an individual to influence the outcome of the collective mood.
The Mars Saturn conjunction is exact after midnight (Eastern Time) on May 4. When hard aspects separate, we tend to experience the brunt of their impact, which means the following days could see an escalation in violence. This increase is likely for another reason. Mars is now in an opposition to Pluto and the tension generated from that face off is also likely to manifest as vehement brutality.
We are not helpless victims of the stars and these powerful forces can be harnessed and aimed at positive goals. But using these energies without harmful side effects means surrendering the need to dominate, control, or bully another living being. Of course, it could take quite a while to prefect that state of being, but simply attempting to balance power and peace could make a huge difference in your life and the lives of those you love.

April 24, 2002
Uncertainty cracks personal security systems wide open, as worries of all sorts pollute the atmosphere, making it hard, if not impossible, to let your guard down and relax. Even if you’re not anxious about the state of the world or the state of your life those around you may be and their fear might be infectious. The gravitational force of a world spinning out of control could pull you into a downward spiral, especially if you’re reacting out of habit. This is not the time for robotic behavior. No matter how difficult, try bringing a deeper awareness to your feelings. If you’re afraid, acknowledge your anxiety and search for healthy ways to soothe your nerves. If someone you love is melting down, rather than judge, avoid, or ignore the dilemma, lend a helping hand—even if you don’t understand the problem. Beneath the divisive rhetoric of political or religious doctrine, hearts still long for love.
Unfortunately, bridging polarized opinion isn’t any easier this week than it was last week. Instead of offering a bit of astro relief, the stars are moving into even more intense interactions and those alignments turn the air even more militant. Mars begins its conjunction with Saturn, this week, and that conjunction, exact on May 4, continues until May 14. Mars represents the principle of war and it thrives on action. Saturn symbolizes the stern voice of authority. When Saturn limits, squelches, or inhibits Martian urges, frustration escalates and violence turns bitter. Revenge, retaliation, and reprisals are a part of this bundle, so before you take action, consider the consequences. Will your participation exacerbate the problem or help to calm the difficulty?
But that’s not all. As Mars shares the same space with Saturn, Mars also moves into an opposition with Pluto. That opposition begins May 2, is exact on May 9, and continues until May 15. But because the air is already over charged, we’re already under the power of this influence. A Mars/Pluto opposition fuels harsh, ruthless behavior and the combination of Mars, Saturn, and Pluto turn already cold-hearted determination icy with cruelty. Collectively, it’s an invitation to all sorts of abuses on all sides. On the personal plane, these energies devolve into petty squabbles among petty despots as everyone tries to be in control and in charge.
As the next several weeks unfold, make every effort not to unravel. Do whatever it is you do to maintain your mental health. While it’s hard to imagine the intensity escalating, that’s what’s likely to happen before anything can truly shift. We may have to hit the very bottom of our collective ignorance in order to finally admit the human race is powerless over its addiction to hatred and violence. As you muddle through the madness, be proactive. Each day, no matter how despairing, angry, or exhausted you may be, reach out to your Higher Power and ask what you can do to live a peaceful life with greater authenticity and love.

April 17, 2002
Soul fatigue turns the week weary, as recklessness continues to challenge thresholds of tolerance and understanding. The world is in a psychotic break, with leaders and followers caught in a selfish frenzy, oblivious to or mesmerized by just how close we are to the edge. When violence infects daily life and peace feels more and more like a hopeless pursuit, numbness starts looking mighty fine. But tuning out won’t turn off the war. And while there are no easy answers, it’s still possible to hope that somewhere in the midst of this madness we can create heartfelt, generous solutions capable of calming agitation. So once again, refuse to allow the turmoil of the world to poison your heart with fear or despair and reaffirm your commitment to life with positive action.
Unfortunately, Mars amps up the intensity, as it moves out of its square with Uranus and into a conjunction with Saturn, by the end of the week. Anticipate heated disputes over just about anything as well as a determined need to control the outcome. But that’s not all. Saturn starts its opposition to Pluto, and while this opposition won’t be exact until May 25, by the end of the week, we’re well within the orb of influence.
Saturn is in Gemini, the Sign of Information. Symbolized by the Twins, Gemini reminds us there’s always another side and always more to now. But too much information can be just that and data can become a smokescreen--as in the case of Enron. The promise of Gemini is gathering information and learning from it. In its conceit, the Information Age makes statistics more important than common sense.
Pluto is currently in Sagittarius, the Sign of belief systems. The symbol for Sagittarius is the Archer, whose arrow aims at the heavens while its feet stay on the ground. This is the conundrum of being human. Our consciousness perceives the possibility of transcendence, but our instincts connect us to primitive urges. The promise of Sagittarius is integration, but at the moment that journey toward wholeness is an obstacle course of differing ideologies. Often the response to those hurdles is a deep sense of alienation, as the complexity of conflicting philosophies fails to become wisdom and ends up as a belief in nothing. Other times the response is fundamentalism, as the safety of one way and one way only wipes away the sweat of doubt.
This week, notice how the tension of this Pluto Saturn opposition is expressing itself in your life. Have you abandoned common sense in favor of blind belief? Are you battling over dogma? Clinging to a rigid sense of right and wrong? Incapable of forgiving transgressions? Furious because someone prays to a god other than your own? Be honest about your personal battles and vigilant about where you are waging war with family, friends, co-workers--even yourself. And lay down your weapons. 

April 10, 2002
It’s another week of intensity, here on Planet Earth, and as nervous systems struggle with the stress, hearts, minds, and bodies go on overload, making it hard to settle down or settle in. Don’t be surprised if you’re yearning for escape. Staying present in the midst of this tension will take mighty effort. Anticipate angry stands, especially as blowing off steam becomes an effective deflecting device. Also expect abrupt and unforeseen endings, as friends, family, or associates, unable to handle the tension, bow out of obligations, big and small, personal and professional. Self-medicating through the use of addictive substances is also high on the list of coping mechanisms. While there is no best way through these waves, an open heart might provide much-needed resilience and spiritual strength. At first, that stance might feel like the most vulnerable of positions. But an open heart can be quite powerful if it enables the flexibility to keep communication open, relationships from falling apart, and connections steady.
Several configurations contribute to this test of nerves. The on-going Uranus Mars square is exact today. Normally, this square manifests as highly unstable and explosive energy. But too much has been exploding for so long it feels dangerous to even consider the possibility of escalation. On the personal level, this square supports an undeniable need to break free from whatever enslaves. Pay attention: as Mars and Uranus separate over the next few days, separations of all kinds are likely. Before you make those divorces official, designate the next few weeks a waiting period. There’s no need to make a final decision in the heat of the moment.
Uranus also sextiles the Sun in Aries, amping up this need for independence. What’s more, Pluto trines the Sun, pumping power through the arteries of daily routines. This entire bundle is passionate, but as it feeds fervent aspirations, it simultaneously fuels the fanatic.
Unfortunately, fanaticism is now a part of daily life. We’re approaching the final past of the Pluto Saturn opposition on May 25. For those of you new to this opposition, here’s the gist: This Pluto Saturn opposition reveals our deepest fears, personal and collective, and the emphasis in on fears born out of ideological dogma and the inability to consider and integrate alternative belief systems.
Whether it’s a strong stand for peace or sympathy for Palestine the current list of polarized opinion is endless, and the challenge of peace is so big it melts the mind. It’s hard knowing how to engage and individual efforts feels irrelevant, especially in the midst of such overwhelming turmoil. But individual effort is never irrelevant. Each of us plays a role no matter how insignificant that contribution might seem at first. We’ve never shifted the paradigm of war, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try. Rather than despair about the state of the world, try putting an end to violence in your own life. Say a prayer for peace. Heal a personal feud. Forgive your enemy.

April 3, 2002
This week and the next several weeks, the stars ratchet up the intensity and daily life simmers with the energetic heat. Frankly, it’s hard to imagine what “more intense” would look like. And while it’s possible to view some of the current and coming planetary interactions as positive, common sense cautions a realistic interpretation. We’re moving toward the final exact Pluto Saturn opposition on May 26, and knowing we’re headed toward that tension makes it valuable to view the next several weeks as preparation and warm up. Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not trying to scare you. (If you want to come unglued about the fate of the world, you don’t need an astrologer. All you have to do is watch the nightly news.) I’m simply offering an astrological perspective in the hope of stimulating more informed choices.
In July of 2001, Pluto and Saturn began opposing one another and that opposition was exact on August 5 and November 2. Now, Pluto and Saturn are moving back into place for a third and final pass on May 26. As is historically the case with difficult Pluto Saturn contacts, this opposition triggered a huge contraction, and the power of that constriction unmasked our deepest survival fears, personal and collective, physical and spiritual. And we’ve been held hostage by those fears ever since. Part of the challenge of the next several weeks is bringing consciousness to how this climate of anxiety has insinuated itself into daily life. Do you speak your mind, freely? Are you afraid of dissent? Despairing about the cruelties of life? Or, are you taking bigger bites of life? If you’re shut down, be willing to do whatever it takes to transform your apprehension into the courage to keep going. If you don’t know how to do that, seek help. Go into therapy. Affirm life by moving out of paralysis and into healthy action. If you’re blossoming, continue to participate in activities that strengthen your spirit.
For the next two weeks, as part of this astro warm up, Pluto trines the Sun, providing the vigor and vitality to move forward. But this fiery trine also ignites a desire to dominate, so be careful you don’t insist on your way and your way only. What’s more, a Uranus Mars square, also for the next two weeks, amps up this despotic tendency, making everyone everywhere want to rule the world. This fractious square is apt to spark confrontation over any little thing. If you can, commit to peace, and save your strength for what truly matters.
As you work your way through the intensity, keep in mind, the stars don’t determine fate. We do by the choices we make. Astrology describes potentials, but we’re always free to use that information in whatever way we deem fit. Most importantly, astrology isn’t about giving your power away and abandoning intuitive knowing. We study the stars for greater awareness and skillful living. As the next weeks unfold, there will be lots of opportunities to apply that awareness and skill.

March 27, 2002
We’re still in the melt down zone where emotions overwhelm common sense and reaction determines action. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself presented with an inventory of what needs to change. Also anticipate presenting others with a similar litany of complaints. Even if you’re not normally confrontational, this week is so full of the need to share feelings you’re likely to blurt out all those things you’ve been meaning to say to anyone who will listen. The fresh air of a new season is stirring the soul and stimulating an appetite for growth and not every passionate moment of the week is an opportunity for self-indulgence. Some of these emotional episodes, no matter how inelegant, generate positive movement by shaking loose what’s stagnant or stuck. Rather than resisting or resenting this week’s emotional mode, consider it the first of several weeks of spring-cleaning and you’ll have an easier time handling the mood swings.
The on-going Jupiter Sun square continues encouraging extravagance, and tomorrow, the Full Moon turns those excesses emotional. This entire bundle is called a Cardinal T-square, and because the Moon triggers the tension, feelings fill the day, setting the tone for the rest of the week. Action is a necessity under this influence. But again, because the Moon is the center of attention, reaction becomes action. This highly charged environment is likely to make even the most efficient feel ineffectual. Also anticipate relationship issues, personal or professional, to play out with more than a drop of drama. If you start feeling overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to ask for help. 
Fortunately, Saturn sextiles the Sun this week, providing a stable influence in the form of competent, qualified assistance. Saturn is the teacher, and its sobering influence acts as a strong counterbalance to the week’s moody attitude. Saturn also trines Neptune, as Neptune sextiles the Sun. This positive alliance could soothe the emotional discomfort of the week, but my hunch is the brouhaha will override even the best intention for moderation.
Times of transition are almost always difficult and the necessary adjustments to new circumstances almost always express themselves emotionally, making life messy and impossible to control. So this week, be patient with yourself and your fellow travelers. And whenever possible, lend a helping hand.

March 20, 2002
Astro New Year 2002 begins with a flurry of planetary activity, befitting a busy year and daily life reflects this celestial hustle and bustle with increased interaction. Too many appointments crowd the calendar, crammed schedules melt the hours away, and the days disappear in puffs of commotion. But beneath the hubbub of earthly pursuits, a deeper, darker energy pulses through the days, reminding us we’re still in the throes of enormous change. And even if these shadows aren’t interfering with your standard routines, they still demand attention. Too many places and too many hearts won’t feel the renewal of spring or experience the promise of a new beginning. So if you’re fortunate enough to live outside of a war zone, take the time to hold those who do live in constant danger close to your heart. Let the season of resurrection rekindle compassion and an awareness of the undeniable and essential unity underlying all of life.
The Sun enters Aries, today, signaling the start of spring, and as it does, the Sun also moves into a square with Jupiter. A Jupiter Sun square encourages extravagance, but keep in mind, handling its excesses isn’t necessarily about denial. It’s about moderation. So go ahead and buy those tulips and daffodils. Just don’t spend the rent filling the house with flowers.
By the end of the week, Mars ends its square with Neptune and while that should mean the mood swings of recent weeks turn less extreme, the intensity isn’t likely to diminish. That’s because Pluto grabs the planetary baton, as it trines Venus and squares Mercury. A Pluto Venus trine ignites a desire for sensual pleasure. Venus is in Aries, firing a need for passionate expression, so expect to get physical. Be aware, Pluto Venus can arouse compulsive, misplaced attractions. Don’t force your affections where they aren’t wanted. If you’re not amorously inclined, channel the power of Pluto and Venus into artistic endeavors, and you’ll blaze new and exciting creative trails.
A Pluto Mercury square triggers a need for deep thinking. Have fun plumbing the depths, but remember, the intellectual probing of this square easily morphs into the demon of obsessive brooding, so try not to get lost in a negative mindset.
No matter how your week unravels, find the time to acknowledge the changing seasons. And no matter how you celebrate this new beginning, honor the enduring cycles of life with a prayer of peace for all your relations.

March 13, 2002
This week, daily life plays out on a split screen. On one side, hypersensitivity generates mood swings. On the other, ambition accelerates activity. Expect emotions to rise and fall with the tides. Also anticipate over-extension, especially if you try to accomplish too much. As confusion clouds clarity, staying focused won’t be easy. But if you set realistic goals and are determined to honor those priorities, you’ll navigate this planetary schism with greater ease.
A Neptune Mars square continues to be the source of this week’s moodier moments. When these two planets butt heads, the atmosphere turns irritable, but because Neptune is the king of vague, the discord is hard to name. Mars wants to move, but Neptune wants to imagine movement. Mars wants to separate, but Neptune wants to merge. The clash of these opposing urges translates into a peculiar paralysis of will that is likely to manifest as peevish discontent. Don’t let this touchy energy turn into something more severe. If you’re frustrated, instead of reacting from a place of helplessness, take responsibility for your role, and let positive action nullify negativity.
Fortunately, Jupiter trines Mercury, supplying an antidote for inaction. This positive alliance promotes an enterprising spirit and the mental prowess to devise solid plans, aimed at actualizing ambitions. Use it to clear the winter cobwebs of your mind. This trine also provides a healthy helping of common sense, always a welcome guest, particularly this week, when a Jupiter Mars sextile amplifies Jupiter’s tendency toward excess. But don’t worry. This sextile also supports confidence and creativity as it feeds the desire to embrace life through active participation. Jupiter’s benign influence offers an optimistic outlook aimed at healing the weary spirit.
One more Jupiter bit: Jupiter loves humor and is always hungry for a good laugh. This week, as you work your way through the energetic confusion, keep an eye out for what’s funny and let life’s comedies help you find greater clarity.

March 6, 2002
This week, and the next several weeks, the planets aren’t going to extremes. No unbearably difficult interactions color the days too intense and no over-the-top blissful alliances turn the nights ecstatically happy. As always, the stars are busy, but they aren’t busy turning the world upside down or inside out. And while it’s possible to interpret this lack of astro angst as good news, I must confess it makes me suspicious. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not wary because I’ve succumbed to the programming of the last few months and I’m anticipating danger at any moment. I’m on alert because nature abhors a vacuum, and an absence of astro drama is apt to open up the space for personal melodrama. Be prepared for meltdowns, yours or others, as emotions, sublimated, submerged, or stoically held at bay burst through dams of denial. While chaos of these outbursts might be taxing, it’s important to remember catharsis is a necessary part of healing, and at the core, these discharges are symptoms of some greater pain.
A Neptune Mars square amplifies the moody nature of this healing process. Anticipate strong urges to self-medicate through addictive substances as a way of coping with uncomfortable feelings. Fortunately, Saturn continues to trine Neptune, mitigating the temperamental nature of Neptune square Mars. As Saturn lends a genuinely caring hand, let it help you get grounded and stay that way. If you or someone you know starts spinning out of control, seek the assistance of a qualified counselor or advisor. Saturn’s best when it’s helping us to learn and grow.
A Uranus Mercury conjunction stimulates inventive thinking and the ability to reach for truly creative solutions. Apply this energy to stagnant situations, and you’re likely to breakthrough. Just keep in mind, taking full advantage of this conjunction may require dropping old, comfortable opinions. Jupiter sextiles Mars continuing to provide enough strength to face the tasks at hand, regardless of whether those duties are mental, emotional, or physical. Jupiter also squares Venus as Venus enters Aries, tomorrow. This square generates extravagance, especially when it comes to finances, so try not to spend more than you have.
While the surface astro activity creates distraction, the underlying thread of this week and the rest of March, points toward deeper concerns. Trauma relief takes its own time and has its own rhythm. Before you even start to heal the wounds, you need the solid ground of safety. And since September, there’s barely been a moment of safety long and strong enough to feel the full brunt of the pain. Numbness has provided many with shelter from the storm of complex emotions. Anger, too, has served even more. But now, as the winter of discontent ends and spring approaches, unresolved but not unrelated anxiety is apt to surface in search of understanding, closure, and hope. Again, don’t misunderstand, this advice isn’t about fixating on September 11. It’s about processing through the impact of that event, with an eye toward moving on with greater strength and compassion for the lingering emotional and physical wounds of war.

February 27, 2002
Planetary movement stirs a change of air, and as the stars shift their focus, daily life feels ripe with possibility. The militant maneuvers of the last several weeks still linger. But this week, minds, collective and personal, exhausted from the stress of so much conflict welcome a fresh perspective, and the planets oblige by planting little gems of insight capable of opening up a new approach. Use this energy to search for creative solutions to ancient predicaments.
The biggest contributor to this week’s attitude adjustment is Jupiter. Retrograde since November 2, Jupiter goes Direct on March 1. Jupiter is a big fat juicy planet and part of its job is holding the energy of hope and faith. As Jupiter turns around, we’re likely to experience a surge of optimism. Jupiter is currently in Cancer, and that means its impact is likely to manifest as an increased interest in home activities of all kinds. Just don’t limit the notion of home to a purely physical space. From a transformational viewpoint, home also includes our internal shelter.
Also on March 1, Mars moves into Taurus, and as it does, Mars also moves into a sextile with Jupiter. Jupiter is the planet of expansion. Mars is the planet of motion, and when they combine their efforts, they foster success by providing the vision and stamina to get the job done.  Apply this energy to work or play and you’ll experience positive results.  Also allow the optimistic nature of this sextile to help you form alliances with others sharing similar goals.
A Pluto Mercury sextiles provides the intellectual framework this week’s new view. Mercury symbolizes the mind and all its functions. Pluto is the planet of power. As Pluto supports Mercury’s musings, deep thought is probable. This sextile also supports the ability to assess difficult situations quickly and accurately.
Two energetic crosscurrents generate turbulence. First, we’re in the tail wind of a Saturn Sun square. Fortunately, by the end of the week, the gravity of this hardworking partnership lifts and spirits lighten. Unfortunately, a Pluto Sun square begins on March 3, feeding despots everywhere, as it stirs the desire to rule the world. But the Sun is in Pisces, a gentle Sign, diminishing the normally hard edge of this square. Anticipate petty squabbles, but also expect compromise.
This week, as the planets move away from the militarized zone, it’s important to remember the stars, alone, won’t turn the wheel of life away from war. We’re responsible for the course of our personal and collective destiny. And even though most of us aren’t in the position to negotiate a global peace treaty that puts an end to terrorism, each of us can call a cease-fire in our own heart.

February 20, 2002
This week, the high-pitched intensity of recent weeks starts to recede, and as the stars sing a slightly softer song, the days have less of an edge and the nights unfold with a little tenderness. Don’t misunderstand. The air still tingles with excitement and the planets are still plenty busy. But this week the celestial attitude isn’t only military minded. The planets are also actively supporting philosophic pursuits and spiritual investigation. Don’t hesitate to get deep and use this introspective energy to gain greater insight wherever your focus your awareness.

A Neptune Mercury conjunction is one component of this new perspective. Neptune is the planet of intuition. Mercury is the planet of mind.  Working together, they open up the possibility of clairvoyance, allowing us to reach beyond the limits of linear thinking. The downside of this heightened sensitivity is the tendency to project personal desire onto those insights. Try not to get lost in wishful thinking. Both Neptune and Mercury love the guise of Trickster, so also try to avoid the trap of self-righteous illusion or delusion.

Fortunately, Saturn trines both Neptune and Mercury grounding their intuitive force and supplying the power of concentration. This trine also supports a thorough work ethic: No job too small. No loose end too much of a problem. Saturn knows the value of discipline, and when it focuses Neptune and Mercury, distractions simply disappear.

Saturn also squares the Sun, and this fractious relationship turns the air sober with the devotion to hard work. Difficult Saturn Sun relationships subscribe to the notion of having to earn the goodies through the trials of hard labor. But suffering doesn’t have to be the determining factor in success. Success aggregates around many elements, and occasionally luck is the most significant component. So don’t work so hard you forget to have fun.

A Uranus Mars sextile invites unforeseen events, and some of those accidents could prove fortunate, providing the necessary boost of luck you’re looking for. Uranus loves surprise. Mars loves motion. Together, they trigger a need for action. Sometimes this restive force turns argumentative. Other times, it manifests as the need to act in haste. Used wisely, this sextile supplies the extra energy needed to bring difficult tasks to completion.

A Jupiter Sun trine lightens the load of the week, adding a tender touch and a gentle approach. This positive alliance fosters true empathy, and that concern could easily translate into activism. Don’t hesitate to volunteer your time and energy to the cause of your choice. Keep in mind, Jupiter trine the Sun also tickles the funny bone, turning even the most trying of circumstances humorous—if only through the lens of irony. Let this trine help you find the cosmic joke and relieve the tensions of the week with laughter.

February 13, 2002
Power plays punctuate the days as strident overtones resonate through the ethers, feeding a militant attitude and challenging a commitment to peace. Staying neutral in the midst of these forces won’t be easy, especially as you encounter self-righteous stands based on rigid absolutes. But rather than resent opposing opinions, try to honor their value. Dissent, while often uncomfortable and almost always annoying, opens wide the doors of perception and possibility, particularly when we’re willing to learn.

A Pluto Mars trine provides the military might. We’ve been under this influence since February 5, the trine was exact on February 11, and we’ll stay in the heat of this extraordinary vitality until February 18. On the mundane plane, a Pluto Mars trine supplies almost unlimited energy. It supports ambitions of all kinds and makes accomplishing those aims probable. From a transformational perspective, the effect of this trine amplifies a desire to live with greater integrity. Pluto symbolizes the alchemy of change. Mars represents the principle of individuation. Working together they activate a no compromise attitude when it comes to aligning ideas with deeds and beliefs with action. While this configuration is intense, it doesn’t have to devolve into violence. The refusal to compromise is the strength of conscientious objection and non-violent protest. Fighting violence with violence never shifts the system. And even though it’s been said thousands of times, a commitment to peace happens one heart at a time.

A Uranus Sun conjunction challenges tranquility as it unsettles the air and turns the week rambunctious. This conjunction is the mother’s milk of revolutionaries, feeding organized and unorganized efforts for independence and liberation. What’s more, when Uranus and the Sun share the same space hearts beat with an erratic pulse and the daily routines take on a peculiar rhythm. As the unpredictable nature of this Uranus Sun conjunction exacerbates uncertainties of all kinds, sudden upset triggers increased stress. Don’t forget to breathe. And don’t lose your sense of humor.

Fortunately, a Jupiter Venus trine soothes the rough edges of the week and restores the weary spirit. Jupiter, the planet of expansion, is in Cancer, the Sign of nurturing, and this placement magnifies a sincere desire to comfort others. Venus, the planet of love, is in Pisces, the Sign of empathy. Venus in Pisces loves love, making this is the perfect configuration for Valentine’s Day. But you don’t have to be romantically inclined to enjoy the sweetness of this trine. Jupiter trine Venus also fosters a genuine longing for balance and harmony—something we could all use a little more of.   
The shadow of the Pluto Saturn opposition is still in effect and the atmosphere still pulses with anxiety and fear. While contraction is a natural and necessary part of life’s rhythm, bringing consciousness to what triggers constriction is an essential component of personal growth. This week, instead of getting swept away in the brouhaha of superficial answers, use the intensity to dig for greater self-awareness.

February 6, 2002
The energetic threads of the week can’t be woven into a simple design. Too much happens so quickly by so many planets, it’s impossible to choose a single theme. It’s rush hour on the astro freeway. But it’s not quite a planetary free for all. Despite a thousand distractions of all shapes and sizes, the days aren’t completely chaotic, and deliberate movement is possible, as are moments of genuine accomplishment. Be prepared for unexpected demands, but also anticipate fun from equally unexpected and even slightly exotic quarters.

Both Saturn and Mercury go Direct this week and as they complete their individual cycles of review, daily life veers away from the past and focuses whole-heartedly on the present. Saturn, Retrograde since September 26, 2001 turns around on February 7, and as it does, Saturn catches the tailwind of a sextile to Mars. Saturn represents discipline. Mars, movement. When they work together, concentration increases and organized efforts flourish. Mercury, Retrograde since January 18, turns around on February 8, and as it makes its course correction, we end three weeks of communication and travel snafus and hassles. Be aware, the today, tomorrow, and Friday, as these two planets pivot, you’re apt to experience the sensation of time standing still. Of course, it isn’t. But these next three days and nights are likely to unwind in a wacky rhythm.

A Pluto Mars trine contributes to this week’s time distortion by quickening the pace of daily life and coloring the days with a sense of urgency. When Pluto and Mars form a positive alliance, life on Earth tingles with almost super human strength. What’s more, both Pluto and Mars sextile the Sun, and the combined effect of all three planets turbo boosts the week into hyper drive. The unified force of Pluto, Mars, and the Sun, is likely to engender record-breaking performances at the Olympic games. Here, on the plane of mere mortals, that power translates into a desire to actualize goals and the determination to do whatever is necessary to turn those dreams a reality. The down side is the tendency to work to the point of exhaustion. Find a human stride, and you’ll avoid the consequences of over-extension.

A Uranus Sun conjunction adds an unstable frequency to the week.  When Uranus and the Sun share the same space, they give birth to the astro revolutionary. Unfortunately, this partnership exacerbates political unrest, especially in those places of the world already suffering from the strain of constant upheaval.  This conjunction also fuels personal protest. Anticipate a need to break free from stagnant situations enslaving your spirit. Venus conjuncts the Sun and Uranus, making it possible to utilize the entire bundle creatively, by aiming at artistic pursuits. The presence of Venus also sways toward sexual fantasy and the desire to act on those impulses. Just be aware, what flares up suddenly under the influence of Venus Uranus dies down just as quickly.

As the powerful energies of the week coalesce, you’re apt to feel pulled in several directions simultaneously. Negotiating this intensity requires skillful flexibility. Be willing to bend, on all sorts of levels, and you’ll find it much easier maintaining your true center.

January 30, 2002
Mercury may be Retrograde, but no one is paying attention, because Mars is in overdrive, overriding Mercury’s meditation on the past. Mars’ gung-ho attitude doesn’t care about the details and neither do we. What’s more, Mars is the focal point for a number of power-packed interactions that only seem to increase in intensity the longer they endure. This extended Martian Moment encourages a military mindset and an almost irrepressible urge to enlist in all sorts of macho endeavors. Before you jump in head first, step back, and catch your breath. While the week urges decisive action, not every act is appropriate.

The week opens with Saturn trine the Sun and Mars in a sextile to both of them. When Saturn and the Sun work together, perseverance increases exponentially. Add Mars to the mix, and the combined effect produces tremendous physical stamina and the determination to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Great physical accomplishment is possible under this influence. By the end of the week, Mars moves into a trine with Pluto, supplying an almost superhuman aura of strength. Ambitions surge and the ethers ignite with the thrill of competition. Set your sights on accomplishment, but stay realistic. If you haven’t trained for a marathon, this isn’t the week to try one.

Unfortunately, this entire astro bundle stirs the winds of war. Mars easily wears the mangle of the warrior, especially when it’s in Aries, as it is now. And when this military might unites with Pluto, the plant of power, and Saturn, the voice of government, there is always an increase in combat. The Sun in Aquarius turns this energy restive with a need for freedom. Collectively, that translates into decisive military action. On a personal level, confrontations are also likely, particularly over issues of independence.

Resisting this all-yang-all-the-time energy takes a strong heart and a clear mind. Mars may sweep away Mercury, but it doesn’t eliminate the need to be mindful. As Mars stirs action, it activates the Law of Instant Karma, closing the gap between thought and deed and desire and manifestation. Keep your intentions clear and unencumbered by negative motivation. What gets set in motion over the course of the next several weeks will have an immediate impact.

January 23, 2002
It’s two steps forward and one step back, this week, as a desire for progress challenges the need to review. This vacillating rhythm interrupts routines, making it difficult staying on track. You’ll need both patience and the breath of a broad perspective to maintain your focus. You’ll also want to keep your feet firmly planted in the concrete reality of the 3-D. Several planets support idealistic vision, making it very easy to live in your head. Idealism is always a welcome ally, but this week, spacing out will make an already erratic environment even more confusing.  
Mercury Retrograde encourages review. This is the first full week of the first Mercury Retrograde of 2002. Just to recap, Mercury rules all things related to communication and travel. Three times a year, Mercury retraces its steps, and when Mercury moves in reverse, everything within its domain goes slight screwy. Snafus of all sorts interrupt conversations, contracts, phone calls, computers, and mail of every ilk. Endeavors initiated during this retro journey tend to be plagued with hassles long after the retrograde is over. The current Mercury Retrograde lasts through February 8. The best way through any Mercury Retrograde is the willingness to reconsider, reexamine, and reflect on plans and projects already set in motion.
Unfortunately, culling through the details of the past runs contra to an equally strong pull toward the future, as a line up of planets in Aquarius, including the Sun, Venus, Neptune and Mercury, color perception utopian. Aquarius is the Sign of the Global Village, where the needs of the many meet the need of the one. This week, the conjunction of these four planets amplifies the longing for a better world, stirring the revolutionary heart, and provoking a need for change. Unfortunately, under this same configuration subjectivity replaces objectivity, and because Aquarius is a Fixed Sign, enlightened views about how that communal vision should manifest are apt to turn rigid with personal opinion. What’s more, a nervous energy runs through this entire bundle, making everyone more than a tad touchy. Try not to let hypersensitivity cloud common sense.
A solid internal stride will help you navigate this week’s disconcerting external pace. You’ll also need the skill to see these interruptions and disruptions for what they are—speed bumps on the Highway of Change. And while we’re not yet merging with the faster traffic, a swifter speed is just around the corner.

January 16, 2002
It’s here. The first Mercury Retrograde of the year. From January 18-February 8, Mercury retraces its steps, but because we’re barely across the threshold of 2002, this retro journey reviews more than the recent past. Anticipate many meetings with many friends. Also be ready to process through memorable experiences still in need of closure. Some of these encounters are apt to feel weighty with destiny. Others simply tie up loose ends. Still more open opportunities for healing. Much can be gained by Mercury’s retrospective mood, especially if you’re willing to take your time and pay attention to the details you may have overlooked in the past.

For those of you new to the impact of Mercury Retrograde, here’s a brief summary: Mercury’s domain includes all things related to communication, language, and travel. When Mercury seemingly moves in reverse, delays, snarls, and impediments replace the smooth routines of daily life. Rush hour extends its hours, meetings and presentations are postponed, and other scheduled events are planned and, then, planned again. Telephones, mail of every denomination, and computers have a life of their own. This is not a good time to buy or install new software, a new car, or a new printer. This is also not a good time to initiate new projects. If you can, bide your time.  If you can’t wait, be willing to work through the hassles. Mercury Retrograde is an excellent time to reflect on what is already set in motion.

Unfortunately, while patience is essential during any retrograde, these next few weeks challenge the ability to stay calm. On the same day Mercury turns around, Mars enters Aries. Mars loves action and when it’s in Aries, its Home Sign, Mars becomes a free wheelin’ ball of fire, ambitious, eager, and ready to do, do, do. As the intensity of Mars in Aries collides with the reticence of Mercury Retrograde, daily life plays out on a split screen. On one side, Mars urges the desire to plunge headlong into adventure. On the other, Mercury inhibits impulsive leaps and throws up an obstacle course of detours. Anticipate frustration, as the need for something new meets the barrier of what’s old and still needs attention.

Every Mercury Retrograde, no matter how fraught with hurdles offers the potential for greater understanding. Mercury loves to learn. So rather than resist this retro force, align with it, and let this journey deepen your awareness.

January 9, 2002
The planets send mixed messages this week, clouding clarity and making it hard to tell fact from fiction. At first glance, certain situations might appear as a clash between reality and fantasy, but a second look is apt to reveal a different picture. Idealists could be disguised as pragmatists and the ruthless might not be as cold-hearted as they’d like you to think they are. As you make your way through this confusing terrain, try to stay grounded in the 3-D but don’t forget to reach for Higher Vision. If you encounter perplexing circumstances, take in the facts, but also assess the information intuitively.

On the practical level, Mars sextiles the Sun in Capricorn. Known for its down-to-earth, no-nonsense approach, Capricorn focuses on results. Capricorn also wants success, which is one of the reasons its finely tuned critical eye easily spots any flaws in the plan. Use this energy to close the loopholes. Mars also desires achievement, and when its ambition unites with the power of the Sun, the combined influence produces resilient perseverance. Apply this dynamic force to attaining your goals, and you’ll not only do whatever it takes to get the job done, you’ll also be equipped to overcome almost any obstacle by the sheer strength of your determination.

On a far less practical level, Neptune conjuncts Mercury. Both Neptune and Mercury are infamous as astro Coyotes. Neptune applies its illusionary skill by fogging perception with untrammeled imagination. Neptune’s realm is magic, and it ably mixes mediums to paint a deceptive landscape. Mercury’s slight of hand reveals itself through negotiations and mediation. The negative impact of this duo feeds quick, but inaccurate assumptions, a desire to hide the truth, and just plain stinkin’ thinkin’. The positive effect deepens mystical experiences and nourishes the poetry of the soul.

Fortunately, a Saturn/Mercury trine mitigates the deceptive environment by providing strong support for logic. Saturn loves structure, Mercury loves thought, and when they work together, a methodical approach to any situation is possible. Saturn also trines Neptune, generating an attitude of caution, and this sobering influence also alleviates the tendency toward chicanery.

Frankly, the energy of the week is all over the place, which means confusion is likely and mistakes are probable. But don’t worry. Almost any blunder can be transformed into a treasure trove of knowledge if you’re willing to learn. Rather than fret over what’s real and what isn’t, who’s right and who’s wrong, aim your sights on happiness and let your heart guide the way. A joyous attitude always clears the air.

January 2, 2002
Sincerity is the key to 2002. All year long, honesty serves as a healing salve for whatever ails body, mind, and spirit. Of course, it won’t always be easy being true. Human truth bends and twists along the path of desire, sometimes disguised as logic, other times masquerading as righteousness, which is why having the heart to face what separates us from Higher Truth is at the core of this year’s journey. Be prepared to confront the demon of prejudice. And as you do, keep in mind, harsh judgments aimed at the self or others, no matter how comfortable or safe, stifle growth. Be willing to dismantle deceitful patterns, personal or collective and the gift of this New Year will be the capacity to touch transcendent truth and live with greater integrity.

The opening moments of 2002 delineate the need for truth.  Two of these configurations only last briefly, but they are essential to understanding the energetic signature of the year.

First, a wide opposition between Mercury and the Moon signals a potential for deception. From a personal perspective, this opposition tempts the gossip in all of us. So resist blabbering about things best left unsaid. Collectively, this opposition fuels the Spin Meister’s talent for manipulating information, and the emphasis is on distorting the facts in order to stimulate specific emotional responses.

Second, an opposition between Neptune and the Moon amps up this deceptive atmosphere, providing the potential for self-delusion. Make sure your resolutions include releasing unrealistic perceptions of yourself. From a collective perspective, this Neptune Moon opposition provides the perfect IMAX screen for mass projection. Don’t believe your eyes and ears. Instead, trust your heart to know what’s true.

A square between Pluto and Mars sends a brutal signal through the ethers and reminds us we’re not yet out of the grip of tension generated by the Pluto Saturn opposition. Pluto and Saturn return for a final face off in May of 2002. Remember, this opposition illuminates what we’re most afraid of, personally and collectively, inside and out. Be sincere about what you fear and then make every effort to work through your anxiety.

Fortunately, positive alignments are also present at the stroke of midnight. First, a Neptune Saturn trine supplies the gift of genuine compassion. This alliance, while quiet, provides powerful depth perception and bestows the gift of clarity and insight. Second, a Venus Sun conjunction gives birth to an idealistic attitude, making it possible to respect the values of others even when those values differ from your own.

This year a truthful attitude will bring clarity to the confusion of daily life. So instead of opting for convenient or expedient answers, consider the long-range consequences of your responses. The truth, while sometimes difficult to face, always sets us free.

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