Aquarium Age by Ralfee Finn
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Weekly Frequency 2003

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 31, 2003
For those of you hoping for good news, it’s finally here. 2004 offers the promise of inspired perception and requisite support to actualize those visions. It is a year to be used intentionally. And it is a year for deep changes, internal and external, personal and collective. Goals can be achieved, progress can be made, but most importantly, 2004 is about being willing to change core beliefs holding you hostage to a limited point of view about your potential for growth and the planets potential for transformation.
At the first stroke of the New Year, Uranus will be four astro-minutes into the sign of Pisces. 2003 provided a glimpse of this energy, but now, as Uranus moves decisively into Pisces, we will experience the full spectrum of Piscean potential. On one end, lies the confusing, often illusive quality of Pisces’ unfathomable waters. On the other end, those very same seas are an infinite well of empathy and compassion.
Uranus begins its Piscean cycle in a sextile to both Mercury and the Moon. Mercury is retrograde in Sagittarius, and that translates into the ability to sort through the details of mystical experience with an eye toward refining the intellectual search for a Higher Power. The Moon, in the last possible moment of Aries, delivers a pioneering, adventurous attitude. The entire bundle strengthens intuition, and those flashes have a strong emotional component. If you’ve been stuck in old reactive patterns searching for, but unable to make, a breakthrough this combination delivers the “ah-ha” and the “oh-really” about how to change.
The chart for the New Year also includes a T-square between Saturn, Mars, and the Moon. This complex interaction carries a harsh bitterness that either makes self-interest a priority, or for those not driven by blind ambition, feeds a pessimistic attitude. But it doesn’t have to devolve into negativity. This energy can be transformed into the ability to overcome obstacles no matter how much work it takes. No astro influence is inherently bad, and here’s an astro secret: The difficult interactions offer the greatest opportunities for growth.
A Venus Neptune conjunction in Aquarius is also a part of the 2004 picture. When Venus and Neptune share the same space, they give birth to high ideals—the perfect antidote to discouraged idealists who think the bullies of the world can’t be challenged.
Turn 2004 into a personal quest for inspiration, and allow that search to reveal a positive vision of the future—your future and the future of the planet. Then, deepen your commitment to living a spiritual life by turning those insights into action. Be willing to believe in the power of change and your ability to make those shifts. On this planet, it’s "grow or die"—and certainly this year, it’s time to grow.

December 24, 2003
This year, writing about the Christmas week, makes me wish I had a river to skate away on or at least wings to help me fly. The seasonal songs of joy and peace are too starkly contrasted by the causalities of war, and their lyrics make me melancholy with a deep ache for a better world and better times. 2003 was a hard passage for this planet and its fragile riders, and uncertainty about the future still lingers in the heart and mind. Don’t misunderstand—the year did offer a profound opportunity, personal and collective, to examine our relationship to peace, and citizens around the world showed up to affirm their good will in larger numbers than ever before. But there are many, many more hearts to heal before enough of us can imagine all the people living life as one.

Significantly, the planetary alignments of this last week of 2003 underscore the theme of aggression. On Christmas Day, we move into a T-square between Saturn, Mars, and the Sun, which lasts until the end of the year and is present at the stroke of midnight 2004. This configuration tends to translate into destructive action or angry words, so as you gather with your family of origin or family of choice, make an effort to put aside reactive patterns, and even if you’re ambushed or baited into a heated exchange, refuse to engage.
No matter what politicians or historians tells about the causes of war, war begins at home. If we can justify violence against children, we can justify violence against nations. If we commit acts of cruelty against others or ourselves by our thoughts, words, or deeds, we can extend the same harsh judgment toward other cultures. The need to be right becomes brutal insistence; long-standing grudges turn into vendettas, and when retaliation is seen as the “normal” human response, it becomes a rationale for unspeakable acts. If the collective is a collection of our individual responses, than war is a reflection of our need to legitimize rage. As the Dalai Lama recently said, “War is legalized violence.”
Yet we always have the power to change what’s being reflected to us—we always have the power to give peace a chance. Tonight and tomorrow as you join with others and sing about the presence of the Holy, transform those songs of love into reality. It doesn’t matter if your mother, father, sister, brother, or lover still clings to a rigid role. Turn the other cheek, and extend your hand toward someone whose heart still needs to heal. Sometimes the greatest demonstration for peace is a simple peaceful act.

December 17, 2003
The bad news is Mercury goes retrograde, today. And the good news is Mercury goes retrograde, today. It’s “bad” because Mercury Retrograde turns the routines of daily life into a maze of maddening delays. And it’s “good” because Mercury Retrograde slows down those routines and allows us to be present. It’s one of those perfect pivotal energetic moments that could make you crazy with frustration or enlightened by insight. As always on this free will planet, it’s a choice, and while opting for the positive use of this Retrograde will take some skill, Mercury Retrograde is always about reviewing, reflecting, and reexamining what was in order to make the necessary adjustments to what is and what will be.
This Mercury Retrograde comes at the end of a long year of intense events. When Mercury seemingly retraces its path, we have a chance to go back over ours, so it seem appropriate to close 2003 culling through the details and mulling over the consequences of a year’s worth of changes. Mercury begins its last retrograde phase of the year in an opposition to Saturn. Mercury is in Capricorn, Saturn is in Cancer, and because Cancer is all about family and belonging, it also feels fitting to have a chance to contemplate those themes during seasonal festivities when relatives or families of choice gather to celebrate and renew their connection. Under this influence, decisions can be seen from a more detached perspective. But—and this is a big but—because Saturn presence in Cancer can produce hypersensitivity, it’s important not to let your analysis become hypercritical. While loneliness is not a seasonal disorder, the holidays can often highlight feelings of isolation, so don’t let your probing exacerbate estrangement. Instead, use this opposition to foster a new philosophical approach to old patterns.
From a collective perspective, we’re bound to see travel delays or computer crashes. And on the political front, this Retrograde, with its opposition to Saturn, could inflame conservative rhetoric, laden with pessimistic messages of mistrust. But even those constrictive messages can become constructive exercises, if you’re willing to make your own thoughtful analysis and rather than relying on experts, keep your own counsel.
As the Retrograde readjusts the pace of life, use that deceleration to fine-tune your awareness. Instead of trying to pack more in, take the time to appreciate just how much is already there. Allow this end of the year review to help you probe the depths and reveal not only what still needs some work, but also what’s present, strong, and good in your life.

December 10, 2003
Planetary contrasts continue weaving a puzzle of contradictions. On one hand, ‘tis the season to be jolly, and jolly is always welcome no matter what time of year it is. But on the other hand, a strong current of cynicism is likely to inspire more bah-humbugs than fa-la-la-la-las. Andthose aren’t the only clashing forces of the week. On yet another hand, a craving for control fosters the strong urge to dominate, while on the fourth hand (anybody visualizing Shiva, yet?), hearts feel genuinely inclined toward good will. But that’s not all: On December 16th, Mars moves into Aries stimulating a strong need for forward motion. Yet the next day, Mercury goes Retrograde and puts the brakes on. Oy—it’s an energetic mishmash, guaranteed to cause confusion.
Let’s start with the Retrograde: Mercury goes retrograde on December 17th and stays retrograde until January 6th. If you’ve been postponing travel arrangements until the last minute, procrastinate no longer. Plans made under Mercury Retrograde tend to be thwarted by delays, and because Mercury also rules deliveries, packages sent after the 16th, might arrive in time for Easter. I’m not predicting disaster, but as most of us know by now, retrograde detours are a drag. They are also about review, so if you’re last minute shopping, be prepared to check your list much more than twice. One more bit: Mercury turns around in an opposition to Saturn. This tense relationship could color the climate dour, giving birth to Christmas ghosts of all kinds. But used in the spirit of a true retrograde review, it could just as easily produce the potential for thoughtful, critical analysis.
Mars finally leaves Pisces, where it’s been since the middle of June, and enters Aries, its Home Sign, on December 16th. While it’s hard to believe, the watery rhythm of Pisces held Mars back. Now, as Mars moves into Aries, daily life takes on the can-do-will-do-and-nothing-will-stop-me determination of fire. Of course, the Retrograde rewind is gonna throw a wrench into that Martian fast forward, so try not to let frustration motivate unbecoming behavior. Be particularly careful about offending the Plutocrats of the world. The Sun and Pluto are still conjunct and both are still squaring Jupiter, which means despots, big and small, are still flexing their muscle.
Fortunately, a Jupiter Venus trines softens social edges and encourages the desire to interact with tact. Just be aware, both Jupiter and Venus love to shop—a lot—and their combined need to acquire could do serious damage to your budget.
Try not to let this week’s planetary seasonal disorder throw you off track. As always the best way through a confusing time is a flexible approach, capable of embracing contradiction. When possible, opt for jolly, and let a cheery attitude guide your choices.

December 3, 2003
This week and the next several weeks are a conundrum of contrast. Traditionally, December is a season of hope, when we celebrate the return of the light and the promise of a new beginning, yet the days just prior to those festivities are also the darkest days of the year. The Solstice, on December 22nd, marks the turning point, but the Solstice is also the threshold of winter’s deep internal descent. December is always best spent in quiet contemplation, and even though that’s what’s needed most, our culture doesn’t offer a lot of permission for introspection during the holidays. Try not to let seasonal revels distract you from attuning to nature. Have fun, but just as the plant world uses this time of the year to strengthen its roots, make the time to dig down deep and strengthen your own.
Starting tomorrow and continuing until the end of the year, Pluto squares Jupiter. This square is a “must win” configuration prone to exaggerated aspirations and obsessive ambition. Try to keep your goals realistic, particularly when it comes to expectations or assumptions about the contributions others need to make in order to make your dreams come true. By Saturday, the Sun moves into a conjunction with Pluto. When the Sun and Pluto share the same space, despots hunger for even more power and control. From a collective perspective, we can expect announcements and pronouncements. From a personal point of view, try not to meet tyranny head on. I’m not suggesting you wimp out. But the bullies of the world are still flexing their muscle. And under the combined influence of Pluto, Jupiter, and the Sun, plutocrats of every ilk are empowered to make an end run by the end of the month. So take your stand, but don’t be caught in the crossfire of fanatical behavior.
Unfortunately, an opposition between Saturn and Venus generates an atmosphere of dissatisfaction that could easily infect interactions with undercurrents of jealousy. Rather than devolve into taking someone’s inventory, let go. Again, I’m not suggesting denial, but I am advising considering your intentions before you assume a rigid, self-righteous stance.
We’re also in the first leg of the final stretch of Uranus through Aquarius. Uranus reenters Pisces on December 30th, ending a seven-year cycle of startling upheaval, both personal and collective. Try to notice what’s ending for you—A job? Relationship? Residence? And don’t be surprised if over the course of the next several weeks old friends, lovers, co-workers, or long-lost brothers show up for a check-in.
The next several weeks are a profound period of transition and handling the contrasting forces inherent in this passage won’t necessarily be easy. So as you move through your daily routines and seasonal celebrations, set an intention to stay steady on your course with as much consciousness as possible.

November 26, 2003
Tomorrow, we celebrate the feast of Thanksgiving. It’s a big holiday, here, in the States. And while it’s probably a politically incorrect tradition, and like most modern rituals, mired in commercialism, setting aside a day to give thanks is still a good idea. Many of us don’t take enough time to be thankful. Minds tend to focus on what’s missing, or wrong, or what the future will be. The vicissitudes of daily life, the hardship of the human condition, make it difficult to be truly present. We struggle to survive, and if we’re surviving, we’re longing to feel fulfilled. Even those satisfied that their work has meaning, are trying to cope with the repetitive monotony of daily life. The grind of existence doesn’t lend itself easily to gratitude, which is why a day devoted to giving thanks a potent notion. It’s an opportunity to call “time out,” turn off the negative tapes of grasping, and take stock. A day dedicated to gratitude is a chance to readjust our view. To be grateful is to be humble. And humility is powerful. It softens, it opens, and it allows us to take a deeper, more real, resonant breath. Humility is an essential and necessary component of being a spirit in the material world.
Unfortunately, the essence of gratitude is often lost in the emotional tumult of family gatherings. Often those old sticky family issues seem to bake right along with the turkey, and the pressure to have a “good” time sometimes turns the feast into a fiasco. This Thanksgiving is a little tricky when it comes to maintaining the peace. The on-going Pluto Mars square starts separating this evening, which means tomorrow the pressure from this fractious configuration will be releasing all day long. A Pluto Mars square carries a brutal signature. Both planets symbolize power. For Mars, that force is physical. For Pluto, that power translates into the need to control or coerce. No combination in astrology is inherently negative. As is often said, the stars incline, they do not compel. But spirits lost in the material world do tend to react to strong energetic currents, especially around the holidays when we want so very much to be happy.
Make Thanksgiving a ritual of gratitude. Put aside personal agendas and ancient grievances, and refuse to let arrogance, yours or others, dominate the day. Let humility clear your vision. Take that humble breath, open your heart, and be thankful for the gift of life. We are so small and the Great Mystery is so vast, so unknowable, and so truly powerful, even more powerful than the stars—how could we be anything but humble before its Presence? Take that breath, the breath of life, and allow a day devoted to humility to strengthen the soul and nourish your spirit.

November 19, 2003
The solar eclipse on November 23 is this week’s big news, and because eclipses are extraordinary events that create abnormal time, the psychic pulses of the week are peculiar. If we still lived as our ancestors did, dependent upon the Sun to delineate the boundary between day and night, an aberrant interruption of that cycle would be extremely disturbing. As day became night, our forerunners probably experienced a visceral reaction, amazed, afraid, and alert at what this astonishing event might portend. But most of us don’t live in the wild or wander the tundra anymore, and while the Sun still marks the break between day and night, we don’t think of eclipses as a strange celestial sign. We understand what they are. We predict when they will occur. But that knowledge doesn’t necessarily diminish their power, and when an eclipse takes place, many of us still react instinctually, sensing a disruption in the “normal” flow of life. For some, the wobble of an eclipse manifests as a constant stream of interruptions and an edgy need to stay on track regardless of distractions. For others, odd urges surface seemingly from nowhere, and those peculiar yearnings are apt to feel as if they have a life of their own. The best way to handle these disturbances is to expect the unexpected and to stay as flexible as possible in the midst of a constantly shifting energetic terrain.
A solar eclipse parts the veils of consciousness. The Moon overshadows the Sun, and what was previously concealed in the unconscious becomes known. This solar eclipse carries an intense signature for fabrication, which means as the week unfolds, it’s important to listen carefully to what’s actually being said. Here’s the breakdown:  (1) An on-going opposition between Jupiter and Mars continues to encourage exaggeration. Don’t take on more than you can comfortably handle and try not to make rash moves. (2) Pluto still squares both Jupiter and Mars and while this whole bundles feeds a strong spirit of enterprise, it just as easily encourages a strong need for control. (3) Mercury is conjunct Pluto, which means it is also squaring Mars and Jupiter. When Pluto and Mercury share the same space, words wield power. When you add the excess of Mars and Jupiter, an atmosphere of convincing rhetoric prevails. Unfortunately, so does the power of suggestion. Facts become superfluous and seduction flourishes. This is the perfect environment for fast-talking shuck and jive that sounds too good to be true because it is.
As the week unfolds, pay attention to the man behind the curtain and be determined to see past the artifice. Allow the eclipse to reveal motivation and intention. Resist the temptation to say something just because it sounds good and try not to believe what you hear just because you want it to be true.

November 12, 2003
This week, we’re in an eclipse corridor, making the passage between the lunar eclipse of November 8 and the solar eclipse of November 23. Eclipses send strange shudders through the ethers, distorting and disturbing the “normal” flow. Night becomes day, yesterday feels like tomorrow, and as these peculiar energetic patterns dislodge regular routines, they are likely to stir a dizzying disorientation. Don’t be alarmed if you experience the strong urge to get back into bed and pull the covers over your head. Coping with eclipse wobbles can often be exhausting. For some, eclipses highlight the next step, clarifying confusion and giving birth to a new determination. Mindfulness, always a great asset, is a particularly helpful navigation tool this week and next. So set your internal compass on “aware” and try not to rely too heavily on external markers.
But the strangeness of the eclipses isn’t the only factor contributing to the intensity. As the week unfolds, a T-square between Pluto, Venus, Jupiter, and Mars, tilts the world toward excess. Pluto and Venus are conjunct in Sagittarius and both butt heads with an opposition between Mars, in Pisces, and Jupiter, in Virgo. A Pluto Venus conjunction fuels a strong desire for sensual pleasure. A Mars Jupiter opposition sets the seesaw of exaggeration swinging between too much or too little. Finding and keeping your balance in the midst of this opposition won’t be easy, especially if your “highs” are driven by the constant cravings of Pluto and Venus and your “lows” are a result of disappointment. Sexual tension is probable under this influence and so is the need to express that passion. The only dicey challenge in this whole bundle is handling the friction of the Mars Pluto square. This fractious interaction tends toward cruelty, so if the object of your affection isn’t similarly inclined, refrain from forcing the situation. If you’re rejected, just start singing “I can’t get no satisfaction…” and move on.
From a collective perspective, the Mars Pluto square exacerbates violence and because Mars trines Saturn, a “might for right” attitude is likely, which means despots, big and small, flourish. From a positive perspective, this Trine produces prodigious amounts of energy, as well as the stamina and strength to do whatever it takes to get any job done and done well.
Last Saturday’s lunar eclipse placed the emphasis on “rational” concerns. The coming Solar Eclipse of November 23 places the emphasis on the “irrational” and as the Moon overshadows the Sun, emotional tides are likely to run high. Again, because eclipses distort time, you may already be experiencing a flood of feelings. Rather than resist, allow this passage to reveal the shadows. Denial can be a great coping devise. But awareness, while often painful, is a great fertilizer for growth.

November 5, 2003
This week, and the next several weeks, a lunar and solar eclipse send wobbles through the ethers, distorting time and altering the normal celestial order. Expect out of the ordinary news or events, negative or positive, to have a strong impact, personal or collective. These odd blips disrupt or disturb reality, which means many of us are likely to feel more than a little off balance. What’s more, because some of these strange moments carry a weird emotional charge, lots of us are also likely to be touchy. If you or someone you love is having a hard time coping, try a little tenderness. When the world wobbles even a little bit, kindness is always a good idea.
This week, it’s a lunar eclipse on November 8th. (The solar eclipse takes place on November 23rd.) During a lunar eclipse, the shadow of the Earth obscures the light of the Moon, and conscious concerns override the power of the unconscious. Of course the unconscious is always present, and its influence can only be obscured for a nano-second—if at all. And this eclipse is so laden with Water Signs, the keepers of emotion, it’s just about drips with feeling, which is why it’s likely to produce an especially peculiar emotional atmosphere.
But this lunar eclipse is significant for two other reasons. First, Uranus goes Direct the morning of the 8th, prior to the Eclipse, and when the planet of startling shift shifts, it usually sends an immediate ripple across the collective pond. Freedom fighters everywhere respond to Uranus and that translates into increased rebellion. As Uranus turns around, it enters the final stage of its journey through Aquarius, and over the next two months, we’re in for even more surprises.
Second, and fortunately, this eclipse contains several strong, positive interactions. (1) A Grand Trine between the Sun, in Scorpio, Mars, in Pisces, and Saturn, in Cancer, provides solid emotional ground. Use it to gather and hold your strength. (2) This lunar eclipse also contains an unusual Grand Sextile. Four other planets—Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and Chiron (not quite a planet, but definitely a force)—form a positive link between the Sun and the Moon, creating a Star of David pattern. This planetary design is believed to support a process of integration. Some astrologers are calling it a “Harmonic Concordance.” While I’m not certain this eclipse will deliver all that’s being promised, I am sure the harmony of this multiple interaction can provide a strong container for possible Uranian activities. There is no quick fix to what ails the planet, but any opportunity to gather and focus positive communal intention through ritual and prayer is good, especially in a world so desperately in need of hope and healing.
The effect of an eclipse is often discombobulating, so try not to let the disruptions throw you off track. Instead, use the intensity of your reaction as an indication of what needs attention and then, turn it into an opportunity for concentrated personal growth.

October 29, 2003
This week the good news is really good news: new planetary patterns are stimulating and supporting an anchored strength capable of expanded awareness and emotional revelation. There’s nothing fluffy about this celestial design. Quite the contrary—a quiet sobriety underscores the action. For some of us that spells relief from the stress of constant unpredictable upheaval. For others, it’s a chance to explore and discuss deep feelings in need of expression or resolution. For most of us, this week’s shift presents an opportunity to rebalance what is out of balance in order to regain our internal and external equilibrium.
This new arrangement has several components. (1) The Sun and Mercury are conjunct in Scorpio and both are in a trine to Mars, in Pisces. The Sun symbolizes the life force, Mercury represents the intellect, Mars signifies energy, and when all three work together harmoniously, we experience the potential to stay focused and determined. While a Sun Mercury conjunction does tend toward a lack of objectivity, (2) Jupiter, in Virgo sextiles both planets and that positive relationship broadens the view. Use this wider lens to expand your range of inquiry. (3) Saturn, in Cancer, trines the Sun and Mercury, providing discipline and that devotion to order sets this week’s serious tone. And because (4) Saturn also sextiles Jupiter, common sense guides decisions.
But that’s not all: (4) By Monday, as the Sun and Mercury continue to trine both Mars and Saturn, Saturn also moves into a trine with Mars, creating a Grand Trine in Water. Water signs are all about feelings, a Grand Trine represents the strongest possible positive relationship between planets, and that means the entire bundle bestows emotional stability. Be aware, to experience the power of this trine, you have to use it. If you don’t, it’s simply a lovely ride, which for some of us might be just enough of a break from the roller coaster pattern of recent months to catch our breath. But if you can attune to its possibilities, the concentrated vitality of this configuration will inform all endeavors, personal and professional.
A Neptune square to both the Sun and Mercury does amp-up the possibility of projection. But it’s unlikely those fantasies will be strong enough to interfere, especially if you set a strong intention and are determined to consolidate your efforts on realistic goals.

October 22, 2003
The planets continue dialing up activity this week, making it hard to believe only weeks ago we were mired in the marshes of a dual retrograde, wondering if we had the strength or will to continue slogging through. Of course, as daily life mirrors current planetary momentum, the question now becomes do we have the stamina to keep up? The answer is yes—there’s more than enough energy to handle all that needs doing. So rather than worry you’ll run out of steam, time, or determination, set a comfortable, sustainable pace that allows you to enjoy the action.
Uranus continues to trine to the Sun and now Mercury, both traveling in tandem through the last degrees of Libra into the first degrees of Scorpio. This positive alliance is still stimulating creativity, and tomorrow, as the Sun moves out of Libra, an Air Sign, and enters Scorpio, a Water Sign, the focus of this inspirational force energy shifts from the intellectual to the instinctual. It might take a few days to adjust to this new approach, so don’t be surprised if you’re suddenly stopped in mid-sentence, searching for that word you knew was there a second ago, but can’t find because you’re lost in a feeling.
Adding to this intuitive frequency, Neptune, retrograde since the middle of May, goes Direct today. Neptune represents the principle of empathy, and because it diffuses rather than delineates, its course corrections don’t have an immediate, impact. What we are likely to experience is a clearer vision of what we want to create.
That desire to make dreams come true is driven by a Sun Mars trine, and here’s where we find the full throttle of the week. Mars symbolizes energy to achieve and accomplish, and when it works with the Sun, the prime energy source, ambition flourishes. Significantly, Mars is finally out of its conjunction with Uranus and that means we’re finally finished with the disjointed flux of an erratic current and into a more direct flow.
One more bit: Saturn, in Cancer, goes Retrograde on Saturday and stays in reverse until March 2004. Saturn is still in a sextile to Jupiter, providing a stability and strength. And as it retraces its steps, we review the Cancerian themes of family, safety, and belonging.
Saturn’s turn around isn’t likely to slow down the hustle and bustle of the week, so make the most of this lively energy by enjoying the vitality and spending it wisely.  

October 15, 2003
Last week’s creative hum turns into this week’s busy buzz, but don’t count on the hustle and bustle being routine. Uranus is still spinning unpredictable plot twists, which means here on Earth, “normal” anything is next to impossible. What’s more, because Uranus agitates personal rhythms, you’re apt to be hyper-alert one moment, flummoxed the next, and utterly exhausted by the end of the day. No matter how your mood swings, avoid positioning yourself in a negative mindset. Some of this week’s unforeseen events, while disconcerting, could deliver previously unimagined positive results.
A Uranus Sun trines awakens a deep craving for reform—the same old same old feels like it’s too old—and that stirs the urge for something—anything—new. Uranus is in Aquarius, amping up the need for revolution. The Sun is in Libra, focused on relationships. And when they work together, attitudes about partnership undergo an overhaul, empowering some of us to say “bye-bye” to stagnant connections, personal and professional. Just don’t be fooled into thinking divorce is the only option. It is possible to transform what’s stuck and use the power of this trine to create a new pattern.
Creativity is the core of a Uranus Sun trine, and while its power is unpredictable, that volatility isn’t necessarily a hindrance to progress. Yes, this configuration strengthens the rebel’s cause. And from a collective perspective, that means we can anticipate even more turmoil, especially in those places where freedom—personal, political, religious or economic—is denied. But seen from a personal perspective, that same urge to shed the shackles of oppression translates into invention. If you’ve always dreamed about starting your own business, this trine has the power to inspire the vision of a satisfying enterprise. If you’re stuck in the doldrums, unable to move forward on your already plotted course, a Uranus Sun trine is the wind you’re waiting for. If you’ve always wanted to break the mold, now’s the time to trust your instincts, and turn your artistic technique on its head.
Fortunately, the ongoing sextile between Saturn and Jupiter provides the perfect tool for harnessing the power of Uranus and the Sun—patience—making it possible to sustain a conscious and conscientious approach to actualizing those brilliant flashes and turning them into concrete reality.

October 8, 2003
The air is hummin’ with inspiration, this week, as the planets spark creativity and supply the groundedness necessary to implement those ideas. Anticipate conversations with your muse and expect those dialogues to provide practical information. It’s not often we get a chance to merge the woo-woo with the where with all to move into action, so don’t let this dynamic energy slip away. While you may not have the time to pay attention to every inspired insight, if you hone your intuitional skill, you’ll be able to discern what has true value and where your efforts will be best spent.
A Uranus Venus trine drives this creative force. Uranus turns the ordinary on its head, Venus perceives the beauty in that disarray, and when they work together, that new view stimulates imagination. Even if you’re not involved in an art or a craft, this trine can still provoke an inventive approach to any situation, making it possible to transform a routine task, like a trip to the grocery, into an exciting adventure. Be willing to consider a new approach, and you’ll access an abundant current of creative solutions. Venus Uranus alignments also engender impulsive infatuations, notorious for amorous eccentricity, and while these affairs do tend to burnout as quickly as they flare up, that doesn’t mean they aren’t pleasurable. Especially this week, as Mars also trines Venus, amping up sexual desire. Finally, the stars support passion, so why not take advantage of it and have a good time?
A Pluto Sun sextile provides yet another octave of creativity. This dynamic duo supplies the capacity to appreciate innovative ideas, as it simultaneously supports the strength to consolidate goals and objectives.
Fortunately, the on-going Saturn Jupiter sextile offers the patience to realize those aims. This sextile, with us all month long, is industrious, and its hard-working approach makes it possible to harness the creative juice of the week. Use this current for success to solidify creative ideas into practical plans. 
It’s been a long time since we’ve had a week of such positive astro-activity, so use it well, even if that translates into simply taking a break from collective or personal intensity, and focusing instead on being happy. If you’re not in the throes of creative endeavor, spend the week with friends or loved ones. Or, volunteer with those in need of friends. Put this positive energy to work and wherever you spend it, you’ll experience a positive return.

October 1, 2003
Erratic rhythms continue to challenge routines and tax nervous systems, but this week, as the retrograde inertia finally fades away, resolve rides those disruptive pulsations, making progress possible. Activity replaces paralysis, clarity restores vision, and the hustle and bustle, while manic, feels like relief. Don’t misunderstand—daily life isn’t returning to “normal.” But as the planets realign, the energetic air clears, and that gives birth to a new attitude.
Uranus still trigger surprising plot twists, and as we all know by now, when that father of invention rules, we experience upset, both personal and collective. Mars is still slowly separating out of its conjunction with Uranus, which means we’re still experiencing an environment of release and discharge. Meltdowns are probable, especially if you’ve been holding back, holding on, holding in, holding out, or holding “it” together. Awkward moments, yours or others, are likely as feelings spill out and over. Just keep in mind, emotional releases aren’t always negative, and not every Uranian lightening bolt causes a wildfire. Uranus is innovative, Mars is active, and they can work together toward a common goal if you’re willing to surrender a stagnant position and opt for reform.
Fortunately, Saturn squares the Sun this week, and while this fractious relationship is seldom seen as a positive influence, its sobering force could serve as an antidote to the Uranus Mars volatility. Yes, a Saturn Sun square can inhibit vitality or devolve into the tendency to criticize, but it can also be firm, decisive, and steady. Use it to strength your determination and it will help you stay on course.
The really good news this week is a Saturn Jupiter sextile that lasts all month long. This positive configuration bestows the blessing of patience, providing the perfect filter for extreme emotional reactions. What’s more, this sextile can also assist in stabilizing Uranian spontaneity, making it possible to transform those catalyzing blasts of inspiration into structured plans capable of delivering tangible results.
One more bit: Uranus is currently retrograding through the final degrees of Aquarius and as it makes one last pass, we’re taking one last look at themes and issues we thought were worked out, long gone, and a thing of the past. As you experience this review, be aware Uranus represents the inevitability of change and its movements serve as a constant reminder of just how impossible it is to control the flow of life. So rather than resent or resist this process, let the power of change move through you and stimulate a deeper level of personal growth.

September 24, 2003
This week, the real back-to-work-back-to-school-end-of-summer energy finally arrives and daily life takes on a roll-up-your-sleeves-and-dig-in attitude. Mars goes Direct on Saturday and as the planet of action shifts out of reverse, we shift into overdrive. This forward motion offers relief from the two-month overpowering retro-gravity force that made it so difficult to complete what should have been easy to finish but wasn’t because all you wanted to do was crawl back into bed and sleep. Now, calendars to fill up quickly with all kinds of activities. Stalled plans and projects put on hold generate renewed enthusiasm, and that could mean an increased workload, especially if you’re trying to make up for lost time. Just don’t expect to be free from the retrograde today. Mars takes a couple of days to gather forward momentum, and as it prepares to turn around, the days preceding its course correction slow to a crawl. Mars seemingly stands still, and while we know that’s physically impossible, the psychic air will still feel thick with transition.
When Mars moves forward, it starts separating out of its tight conjunction with Uranus. A Mars Uranus conjunction is a volatile combination. Mars represents the principle of energy, Uranus symbolizes sudden revolution, and when these two dynamos share the same space, they form a less than perfect union. Neither Mars nor Uranus is skilled in compromise, and their mutual stubbornness turns simple negotiations into obstinate standoffs. Their conjunction also gives birth to enormous amounts of energy, and that prodigious power needs to spend its strength. Be careful: When that need for action is driven by willfulness, it turns into premature action. And while that rash behavior may be satisfying in the moment, it can also have lasting negative results. Nervous systems, personal and collective, also suffer under the intensity of this conjunction, as they struggle to survive the intensity of so much energy.
As Mars separates from Uranus, the tension held in place by their conjunction lets go, and as it does, we are likely to experience the jolt of that release in some dramatic fashion. The good news is Mars is moving forward in Pisces, the sign of empathy, and the sector of the Zodiac where we recognize our fundamental spiritual unity. Mars in Pisces supports compassion, and in these times of such extraordinary religious polarization, that gentle approach could help facilitate tolerance, understanding, and kindness. Use this Piscean energy to soften your approach, and you’ll make it through the waves of the Martian transition with greater skill.

September 17, 2003
This week, the big news and the good news is no more Mercury Retrograde. That’s right—Mercury goes Direct in the wee hours of the morning on September 20. Mercury’s forward motion alleviates frustration and that translates into much better attitudes. Of course, Mars continues its retrograde until September 27, which means the routines of daily life aren’t quite “full speed ahead.” But as Mercury moves ahead and gains momentum, the nagging demands of retrograde communication hassles recede, making it easier to cope with the Mars factor. As the air begins to clear, let that clarity refresh your mind.
When Mercury goes Direct it forms a sextile to Saturn and the Moon. We like this. Mercury symbolizes the mind. Saturn represents discipline. And when they unite in a positive relationship, we experience the ability to stay focused and concentrate on the task at hand. When you add the intuitive contribution of the Moon, the whole bundle supports the ability to digest ideas and experiences. This is a great combination for thorough organization.
Mercury also goes Direct in a square to Pluto. Mercury Pluto squares tend toward nervous, excessive responses, especially when we find ourselves out of the range of our expertise but needing to come up with an answer anyway. Pluto Mercury can also manifest as the need to convince others through the use of cunning persuasion. Essentially this square is about the power of language to convey ideas and the underlying motivation to have those ideas succeed. Propaganda machines thrive under this influence, which means we can expect even more outrageous sound bytes and bits of blarney.
Mars is retrograde until September 27, but because Mars is so close to Uranus and still in an opposition to Jupiter, it’s actually hard to believe Mars is still moving backward instead of forward. A Jupiter Mars opposition tends toward extreme fluctuations; so don’t be surprised if moods swing with startling speed. A Uranus Mars anything is highly volatile and that instability manifests as disruption and upheaval, personal and collective. On the personal level, disagreements turn into feuds and strong feelings morph into meltdowns. From the collective perspective, this combination of Uranus, Mars, and Jupiter escalates tension around the globe, particularly in places already roiling with violence. One more bit: Accidents are one of the signatures of Uranus Mars combinations. So no matter how strong the urge to put the pedal to the metal, slow down. Hasty actions could have lasting consequences.
This week and next, as the dual retrogrades of Mercury and Mars come to an end, the pace of daily life quickens with amazing speed. For some, these changes spell success, but for others, the energetic shifts are likely to be shocking, especially if what changes has been stagnant for a very long time. You don’t have to mimic the cosmic pace. Find a comfortable personal stride, set your internal compass on steady, and, as always, be kind to those less skilled in the art of personal transformation.

September 10, 2003
On Sunday evening, Uranus retrogrades back into Aquarius, its Home Sign, where it will linger until the morning of December 30. When Uranus makes a big move it dials up the intensity of daily life yet another notch. Interactions get edgy. Disruption, both personal and collective, increases. And anxiety, specified or free floating, amps up. Normally, when I have to write about even more intensity, I like to preface that information with “While it’s impossible to imagine more shift….” But that qualifier doesn’t work any more. We can imagine more shift, we do imagine more shift, and we don’t need blockbusters to stimulate the visuals. Don’t misunderstand—I’m not predicting three months of disasters. But since September 11, many of us have adjusted our consciousness to anticipate dramatic events and over the course of the last two years nothing has calmed those fears. September 11 is the date we use to identify the day the world changed forever and its anniversary is certain to trigger persistent and still unresolved posttraumatic stress. Because Uranus agitates hearts and stimulates nervous systems, this week, lots of us are going to be hypersensitive.
Since Mercury is retrograde for ten more days and because retrogrades are about review, this seems like a good time to reflect on the Uranus effect and the impact of its seven-year cycle through Aquarius.
Uranus entered Aquarius in April of 1995. Aquarius symbolizes the collective community, and that includes everything from the corner grocery to the Extraterrestrial Brotherhood. Uranus represents the principle of change. It’s the patron saint of freedom fighters. But its urge for independence is not just political. Uranian lightening bolts of brilliance inspire artists, mathematicians, architects, and athletes. It is also found at the epicenter of personal shift. Often, its presence seems violent, not because Uranus is vicious, but because stagnant situations tend to stay inert until acted upon in some extreme fashion. Denial can freeze a bad marriage for 40 years, but if one of the partners comes under the influence of Uranus, that secret desire for divorce isn’t secret anymore. And while one partner may be astonished, the Uranus partner feels emancipated. 
Uranus began this recent cycle through Aquarius with a sextile to Pluto. Pluto was just entering Sagittarius, and these two agents of change formed a powerful alliance that set the course for the next seven years. In April 1995 the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was bombed. Four years later, Columbine occurred. In 200l, the Twin Towers fell. But positive events also took place during this cycle. Uranus united the global community through the Internet. And on the eve of 2000, while some predicted a technology disaster, technology—a Uranian domain—allowed us to witness and participate in a worldwide celebration of our diversity. Over the course of the next three months, as Uranus distills the essence of its journey through Aquarius, we have an opportunity to distill what we’ve learned about the nature of change.
This week, as we are once again reminded just how different the world is, try to recalibrate your consciousness, and instead of dwelling on fear or expecting the worst, focus on faith and allow yourself to envision the best for all of us.

September 3, 2003
This week and the next several weeks, planetary conflicts couple with planetary extremes giving birth to awkward earthly rhythms. And as this unwieldy frequency vacillates between reverse and overdrive, the days and nights turn into an energetic warp. Some mornings, just getting out of bed will require Herculean effort, yet by the end of the day you will probably have summoned the strength to move the mountains of whatever needed to be done.
The dual retrograde of Mercury and Mars provides the inertia. Mercury began this retrograde phase on August 28 and continues to be retrograde until September 20. By now, most of us know Mercury Retrograde is not about starting new projects—it’s about finishing up the details of what’s already in motion. While this retrospective clashes with the seasonal back to school/work attitude of September, it’s not at odds with September’s deeper current. September is always a time of energetic harvest, when we reap the results of what we’ve sown for the first nine months and of the year and contemplate what still needs our attention. Fortunately, a Pluto Mercury square from the 7th through the rest of the month, amplifies the capacity for intellectual delving. Use it to support serious inquiry. Just be aware, this square can also irritate nervous systems, especially if there are issues you would rather ignore. And while we’re on the subject of Pluto, on Sunday, Pluto starts a square to the Sun that lasts until the 18th. This fractious interaction intensifies issues of personal power, which means you can anticipate power plays of all kinds as everyone from office despots to world leaders vie for control.
Mars began its retrograde on July 29 and its seemingly backward movement continues until September 27. But in keeping with the Martian passion for action, the last few weeks of its retrograde are busy, even manic. Uranus is conjunct Mars and both Uranus and Mars are opposite Jupiter—oh my—and this configuration lasts pretty much all month long. Uranus represents the principle of sudden, startling action. It’s rash, and because Mars is also no slouch when it comes to impulsive behavior, that translates into even more political unrest—if that’s possible. Count on previously stable situations, both personal and collective, to undergo unexpected shake-ups. Jupiter inflates this already over the top force, and because Jupiter represents religion and philosophy and because oppositions generate tension, this whole bundle aggravates intolerance, particularly for ideologies threatening the status quo. Instead of demanding agreement, try to envision what life would look like if everyone had a different opinion and those differences were just fine. Be aware, a Jupiter Mars opposition functions like an exaggerated seesaw, up one moment and down the next, and given the added intensity of Uranus, these swings are likely to be extreme.
Patience will be your greatest ally in navigating this constant flux. While there is energy to spare, the flow is fickle, and that inconsistency will only exacerbate tension and frustration. So rather than pushing the river, let it carry you. Insistence will only meet with resistance, so paddle when necessary, but don’t exhaust yourself struggling against the current.

August 27, 2003
Don’t expect anything to happen the way it’s “supposed” to this week—it’s a mad, mad world, here on Earth, as last’s week’s planetary pile up continues to test nerves and try patience. Expect upset, internal and external, and also anticipate overwhelm, yours or others. Flexibility is key to handling the intensity, so make yoga of all kinds a daily practice, especially karma yoga. The current climate is highly charged, and while this atmosphere is unpredictable, it’s also ripe with opportunities to turn the wheel of life, personal and collective, in more positive direction. Just be aware, setting that new course requires the willingness to drop polarized behavior and move into a unified spiritual attitude, capable of seeing upheaval for what it is. And then, using that clarity to make informed, responsible choices.
Here’s this week’s scorecard.

(1) Jupiter enters Virgo today, leaving behind the fiery passion of Leo and moving into a more organized, earthy attitude. Jupiter’s transit through Virgo will tone down the excitement, but not right away. On August 30, it forms an exact opposition with Uranus, and that contact makes the urge for independence surge, particularly when it comes down to religious and philosophical differences.
(2) Pluto goes Direct, tomorrow, ending a retrograde phase that began on March 23. Normally, we don’t feel a big etheric bump when Pluto changes direction, but because this week carries a volatile signature, Pluto’s forward movement is apt to have an instant impact, particularly in the political arena. Pluto loves intrigue, and now, as it travels the ground it covered since the war against Iraqi began, further revelations about secret motivations are likely.
(3) Mercury goes retrograde, tomorrow, and will stay retrograde until September 20. Mercury Retrograde is always about hassles and delays, which is one of the reasons it’s never a good time start something new. Mercury Retrograde is best spent reviewing the details of what’s already in motion. Unfortunately, because
(4) Mars is also retrograde during the entire time Mercury is retrograde, the next few weeks are as sticky as molasses. Forget about a back-to-school-back-to-work frame of mind—no one is going anywhere quickly. It’s a double retrograde and that spells double frustration. 
(5) Handling the frustration won’t be easy. That retrograde Mars in Pisces is conjunct Uranus, also retrograde in Pisces. This conjunction triggers instability, personal and collective, and that unrest tends to manifest as intolerance, impatience, and an inclination to act alone. What’s more
(6) today, Mars is at its perigee, closer to the Earth than it’s been in 60,000 years. And as Mars assumes that position, it’s not only conjunct Uranus. It is also opposite Jupiter, Venus, and the Sun. I have no idea how this Martian close encounter adds to the intensity, but because Mars represents the archetype of the Warrior, it’s possible to assume we will get a closer look at how that archetype moves through us into action.
There’s truly no telling how this dizzying schedule of astro activity will play out, but one thing is certain: adding to the intensity by being reactive won’t help. So find an inner stance that allows you to bend with these winds, and when you can, try to assist those less agile.

August 20, 2003
The planets pile up on the astro super highway this week and next, turning daily life into a traffic jam of intensity. You’ll need a scorecard to track the action and because regular routines are likely to become an obstacle course of detours, you’ll also need a really good internal compass to navigate the roadways of conscious living. Make a commitment to staying as steady as possible—lots of people are going to go through lots of changes—and all of us will appreciate and benefit from kind words and gentle gestures.
Here’s this week’s event list:
(1) The on-going Jupiter, Venus, Sun conjunction in Leo, the source of our summer fun, is exact tomorrow, with Uranus in an opposition to all three. Uranus, as most of us know by now, is the planet of startling shift. Given the nature of this happy Jupiter, Venus, Sun bundle, some of these Uranian surprises could be joyous. But oppositions signal tension and that means other of these plot twists might manifest as sudden setbacks. From a personal perspective, declarations of love  or divorce and the need to act on those pronouncements are likely, but be aware, you could fall in and out of love as often as you blink. Collectively, we might start hearing noise about reinstating the draft.
(2) No, I haven’t lost my mind, although I do hope I’m wrong, but all week long, Mars, still retrograde in Pisces, is moving back into a conjunction with Uranus. This conjunction sparks a military mindset and ignites a fighting spirit. Try not to get caught up in petty squabbles. These skirmishes could easily escalate into gigantic brouhahas. The frustration produced by Mars retrograde has been cooking for a few weeks, and as Mars moves closer to Uranus, the Uranian taste for haste pushes Mars out of its brooding mood into action.
(3) And speaking of retrogrades, Mercury begins another retrograde on August 28, but we’ll start to feel the slow down by this weekend. We all know Mercury Retrograde is not the devil. But because Mars is also Retrograde, and both Mercury and Mars drive the mechanics of daily life, this double retrograde could try the patience of a Saint. So get those contracts signed, now, install your software, now, and back up your information, now.
(4) There isn’t enough room to preview next week’s events, But it’s likely you’ll hear a lot about August 27th, when Mars is at its perigee—the closest it’s been to Earth in 60,000 years. And considering the current pile up of planets, speculation about catastrophic events is probable. We’ve all been primed the last two years to expect the worst. But I’m not goin’ there. And I hope you won’t either. Yes, the next few weeks are intense, but that’s not a good enough reason to contribute to the mass fascination with fear. Shift happens, and when it does, we rise to the occasion, by walking our talk with a renewed commitment to what matters most. So do whatever it is you do to strengthen your spiritual center and try to be as loving as possible to your fellow travelers.

August 13, 2003
It’s astro convergence week, here on Planet Earth, as contrasting planetary forces of equal strength meet and summon passionate emotional responses. Don’t be surprised if daily life plays like a soap opera, with a tragedy one moment, a comedy the next, and hasty gatherings of friends, families, and co-workers to share the latest information and move the plot lines along. While some events unfold with teeth-grinding tension, other developments beckon us to pure pleasure. Either way, it’s intense—but it is August, and August, ruled by the brightest star of all, is always intense, because the Sun’s light gives birth to all things between heaven and earth—and then some.  
Mars Retrograde in Pisces continues to generate a tremor in the force, but it also continues to teach, and this week the lessons are likely to be about the power of projection. Mars symbolizes the self, separate and distinct from other selves. Pisces represents a spiritual unity that invites us to surrender our individuality to the greater source that holds us all. As Mars slogs around in Pisces, it mucks up boundaries, making it hard to delineate where one person ends and another begins. This lack of clarity could translate into the tendency to unconsciously attribute your feelings to another. As you listen to others or observe their actions, monitor your need for agreement. You can avoid the miasma of misguided assumptions if you’re determined to stay objective.
Fortunately, the other converging force this week strengthens the force. Venus and the Sun, conjunct all month long, move into a conjunction with Jupiter, in Leo. We love this. We…just…love…this…because Venus and the Sun love love. And when you add Jupiter to mix, the whole bundle fosters a convivial attitude that delights in social occasions of all kinds. What’s more, a conjunction of Jupiter, Venus, and the Sun is warm-hearted and good-natured. It’s simply the perfect remedy for Martian angst. Sure, Leo tends to exaggerate and the presence of Jupiter could push that expansive energy into the excess zone. But, really, who cares? The energetic signature of this Jupiter, Venus, Sun conjunction in Leo is hot fun in the summer time—something we could all use more of.
This Jupiter, Venus, Sun conjunction also supplies humor, which means we can expect to be funny. If you’re confronting a tough situation, look for the irony, use your wit, and let laughter be your first response to stress.

August 6, 2003
Mars Retrograde in Pisces is this week’s big astro news. When the planet best known for pushing ahead is pulling behind, daily life turns mushy with indecision, so don’t be surprised if finding the right word, look, or attitude, takes a little extra time and effort. Frustration is likely, especially if you’re fixated on sticking to a plan. Even carefully constructed strategies, long approved, and already in motion, are apt to need a new tweak. Try making patience your constant companion. Do your best to be direct, but avoid drawing a hard line if you or others fall short of perfection. While retrogrades can be annoying, they also can provide serendipitous course corrections that just might deliver beneficial results.
Mars went Retrograde a week ago and will stay retrograde until September 27, which means we have a long time to get used to the confusing and often sluggish pace. Any Mars retrograde phase is tricky because retrogrades are about review and the only repeats Mars really cares about are replays of the finish line. So expect to be cranky, particularly this week, as Mars opposes Mercury, in Virgo. Mars Mercury oppositions generate a nervous mind-set that restlessness easily translates into irritation and anxiety. Again, try to be patient when conversations and communiqués falter or fail to deliver the necessary information.
Yet despite the prickly environment, there’s still a lot to learn from this two-month slo-mo Martian rewind. Mars represents the principle of individuation and one of its primary functions is assisting us in growing a self. As you reexamine choices made from the middle of June, when Mars first entered Pisces, question how those choices relate to themes of selfhood. Keep in mind, Mars isn’t happy in Pisces to begin with because Pisces represents the dissolution of the self. Pisces blurs boundaries and Mars struggles, sometimes kicking and screaming, to survive that Piscean urge to merge. Sudden spurts of defiance may have felt like the only way—even the best way—to maintain a semblance of individuality. If that’s the case, this retrograde can provide opportunities to deal with the fall out from that intensity.
But don’t turn this Martian review into a regret fest. Experience is the greatest teacher, so use this time to focus on what you can learn from recent choices and how that knowledge can be transformed into greater self-awareness.

July 30, 2003
Contrasting planetary signatures continue to create an uneven pace, making it hard to find a familiar rhythm. Interruptions, necessary and unnecessary, distract, and a strong urge to space out impedes focus. But don’t let this astro jazz riff ruffle your feathers or put you in a bad mood because it’s too hard to concentrate on what needs to be done. It’s summer, after all, and the season of taking life a little lighter.
Here’s this week’s set list:
(1) Mars just went retrograde on July 29th and will stay retrograde until September 27th. Mars is retracing a path that began on June 16th, and as it does, we have an opportunity to assess recent choices. Pay attention: When Mars entered Pisces on June 16th, it formed an immediate conjunction with Uranus, and that volatile alliance triggered impulsive behavior. Now, as Mars reviews, we have a chance to reconsider what may have been impetuous decisions. Just don’t be too quick to undo what’s been done. By the end of August, Mars and Uranus will be conjunct again and that instability could make you change your mind—again. Use this time to think about what’s been set in motion and why. Fortunately, Saturn continues to trine Mars supporting reevaluation the skill to probe motivation and intention.
(2) Uranus opposes Mercury, which enters Virgo, its home sign, today. This opposition feeds creativity, but it could also challenge nervous systems, as ideas of all kinds flood the mind. Fortunately, again, Saturn sextiles Mercury, acting as a grounding rod for those lightening bolts of inspiration, providing the capacity to sort through and discern the reality of those sudden insights.
(3) Venus, too, is on the move. She just entered Leo, yesterday, forming a conjunction with the Sun, also in Leo. This is fabulous—to use that lovely Leo expression of delight—because this conjunction will last the entire month. A Venus Sun conjunction stirs strong feelings of love—romantic and platonic—and stimulates the desire for convivial gathering with friends and family. For the next ten days, Neptune opposes the Sun Venus conjunction, turning some of those amorous urges into pure projection, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t dream about the possibilities of true love.
This week’s pulse isn’t quite funky enough for dancin’ in the streets, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a backbeat that satisfies—just improvise and you’ll be right in tune with the planets.

July 23, 2003
The planets send mixed signals this week, and the days play out with a push-pull-stop-start rhythm. The “pull” supplies determination and the “push” provides energy. It’s the “stop” and “start” that could prove problematic, but only if you insist on pushing and pulling all the time. Finding a confident stride in this mishmash requires the skill to witness while you work. Fortunately, the planets offer support for clarity and objectivity.
Mars is the source of this week’s alternating current. First, Saturn continues to trine Mars providing an indefatigable will to overcome just about any roadblocks. Mars is the archetype of the warrior and when it combines with Saturn, the principle of perseverance, no obstacle seems insurmountable. Of course, this dynamic duo can summon a hard-edged, brutal resolve, so before you put on that war paint, make sure your cause is worthy. Second, Mars goes retrograde on July 29th and all week long as it slows to a crawl in preparation for its turn around, so do the routines of daily life. Mars will be retrograde in Pisces until September 27th—yes, two months. And because Mars isn’t all that happy revisiting previously covered ground, it will seem like a very, very long two months. Mars is the planet of adventure; it wants to discover new terrain, not cultivate it. What’s more, Mars isn’t at its best in Pisces. Not that there’s anything wrong with Pisces. It’s just that Mars is fiery, Pisces is watery, and well, the rest is simple science—the combination produces steam or the fire goes out completely.
Fortunately, we’re not in any danger of losing our collective fire. The Sun just entered Leo, its home sign and that placement warms hearts and strengthens spirits. On an optimistic note, Mercury is also in Leo, conjunct Jupiter. That shared position offers opportunities for kind-hearted gestures, and because Leo is an essentially generous sign, these warm offerings are genuine. What’s more, Jupiter Mercury contacts are all about common sense and the skill to apply sound reasoning to a wide range of topics.
As the days unfold, apply this brilliant energy of Mercury and Jupiter liberally to any difficulties you might encounter, especially this week’s timing problem. Use the clarity it provides to suss out when it is appropriate to push, pull, stop, or start.

July 16, 2003
Several different, disconnected planetary signatures coalesce this week. None of these influences is particularly pernicious, but the combined over all effect is apt to be disconcerting, so don’t be surprised if you’re feeling spaced out or confused. What’s more, the air is still emotionally charged, and even though we’re still on an astro vacation, sometimes the absence of action creates the room for reaction. If you have important decisions to make, take your time sorting through the information and resist the temptation to make hasty choices. There’s plenty of time to figure out what’s best.
First, a Neptune Mercury opposition begins tomorrow and lasts the entire week. Mercury represents the many functions of the mind, Neptune symbolizes sensitivity, and when these two join forces, imagination flourishes. But because oppositions always indicate tension, the strain between Neptune and Mercury is apt to play out as nervous mental state, prone to stinkin’ thinkin’. The downside is the tendency toward self-deception. Another negative side effect is strong urge to self-medicate with addictive substances. From a positive perspective, Neptune Mercury contacts enhance intuition, making it possible to perceive and comprehend the subtle implications of all most any interaction. What’s more, spiritual awareness blossoms under Neptune Mercury, which means this energy can also enhance meditation or mystical practices. It just depends on how you want to use it.
Next, Saturn continues to trine Uranus and Mars. Positive Saturn Uranus combinations provide the capacity to endure; positive Saturn Mars contacts also supply stamina. Together, these three planets generate all the energy needed to overcome any obstacle. Continue to use this powerful influence to actualize your goals and persevere in the face of opposition. But also continue to avoid using sheer brute force as a way of implementing those plans.
The third influence is also Mars related: Mars starts to slow down this week in preparation for a retrograde cycle that begins on July 29 and lasts until September 27. As Mars slows down, daily life drops down to a lower gear. For those of us still in need of a rest, this slightly slower Martian pace, feels like a relief. For those of us with a lot to accomplish, adjusting to this new rhythm could be frustrating, especially if you’re trying to bring certain projects to a swift conclusion.
This week is also the last week of the Sun’s annual transit through Cancer. Next week, the Sun moves into Leo, and as the Sun shifts its position, we move out of the sensitivity of water and into the heat of fire. Use these last few days of Cancer’s nurturing energy to pamper yourself and continue to get as much rest as possible.

July 9, 2003
This week, the emotional edge of recent weeks starts to recede, and as the intensity dies down, daily life settles down. Don’t misunderstand. We’re not sailing on completely smooth waters and we’re probably in for a few more surprising developments. But this week, planetary upheaval doesn’t dominate the days, and that makes it possible to take a deep breath, relax, and lull for a while. Call it an astro-vacation and resist the urge to do for doing’s sake, only do what’s necessary, and don’t even use this break to process. There’s nothing wrong with blobitude—sometimes just being a slug is a wondrous thing.
Two influences contribute to this week’s lighter attitude. First, the Uranus Mars conjunction in Pisces is over. This conjunction, active since mid-June, was the epicenter of upset and it sent tidal surges of erratic energy through the ethers. Now, as the volatility disperses, so does the tendency toward rash behavior. Second, Saturn continues to trine both Uranus and Mars, but the absence of hyper-emotional reactivity of the Uranus Mars conjunction, allows Saturn’s stabilizing force to quiet the environment. Saturn is in Cancer, and while much can be said about the difficulties of this placement, Cancer is the sign of care and comfort. Use its nurturing gifts to nurture yourself. Spend time enjoying the pleasure of good food with friends and loved ones. Do whatever it is you do to replenish your resources—a massage, a walk by the water, the delight of a big, fat, juicy novel.
As the week unfolds, turn off your mind, relax, and float down stream. The emotional tumult of the first six months of 2003 challenged core issues—collective and personal. For many of us, those challenges stretched the capacity to cope with the unpredictable. For others, extreme events tested the ability to believe in our fellow humans. For some it offered opportunities to make big leaps in consciousness. But before you burn your brain trying to sort through and analyze what the first half of the year meant for you, take a break. Everyone, even the most diligent devotees of growth, need to recharge their batteries every now and then. We’ve all been in need of a rest, and finally, we have the perfect opportunity to kick back, put our feet up, and take life at an easier pace.

July 2, 2003
Mood swings continue to turn this week and the next several weeks into an intense emotional ride. Empathy floods the days, but anger bristles through the nights. One moment is flooded with activity; the next is parched with exhaustion. On Friday, hopes run high, but Monday can’t guarantee those expectations. Moving with this pendulum of feelings without being swept away by surges of reactive behavior is gonna take some skill. While there is nothing wrong with spontaneous, heartfelt responses, impulsive reactions could alter an otherwise steady course.
Uranus, Saturn, and Mars are still the source of this emotional vacillation. (1) Uranus and Mars are still conjunct in Pisces. Pisces prefers intuition to intellect, and its sympathetic nature encourages the urge to merge. But that sensitivity can also foster confusion, particularly if we’re prone to projection. What’s more, this Uranus Mars conjunction feeds impetuous behavior and that need to act could seduce you into doing or saying something you might later regret. Rather than act on every hunch, ask before you assume what the other person needs. (2) Saturn, in Cancer, continues to trine both Uranus and Mars supporting the possibility of prudent behavior. Just don’t let circumspection turn in anxiety. Cancer is a naturally cautious sign and when its wariness combines with Saturn’s inhibitions, paralysis is possible. It isn’t easy handling the complexity of this Uranus, Mars, Saturn bundle. On one hand, it supplies enormous amounts of energy. On the other, that very same power could turn into stubborn, brutal insistence, determined to risk everything for success.
Venus joins this Gang of Three as she trines Uranus and Mars and moves into a conjunction with Saturn. When Venus unites with Uranus and Mars, she spurs passion and arouses sexual desire, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself falling in love at least a dozen times a day. Yes, it’s true, these liaisons tend not to last, but who cares? Have fun and flirt the days away. Of course, the presence of Saturn will try to inhibit these amorous fantasies, but don’t let that stop you from having a good time. If you’re not inclined to ride the roller coaster of love, this same combination of influences supports creative endeavors, but again, don’t let Saturn’s critical eye dominate.
This week’s on-going pattern of emotional intensity amplifies an already hypersensitive atmosphere and nervous systems are likely to go a little screwy from the stress. Humor is always a good remedy for emotional strain, so if loud noises, barking dogs, or lost keys throw you into a tizzy, make every effort to keep on smiling. And if all other coping mechanism fail, just blame it on the stars.

June 25, 2003
Waves of emotion break against the shores of daily life, and feelings, conscious and unconscious, dominate earthly activities, as startling events continue to rattle the “norm.” Because it’s been a long time since we’ve had a vacation from the intensity (Does anyone remember the last time life was “normal?”), this week and the next several weeks are best understood as a period of catharsis. Some of this week’s emotional swells rise out of the unsettling influence of Uranus. Others recede under the caution of Saturn. Still more churn in an undertow pulled by Mars. As these planetary influences coalesce, feelings of all types—grief, anger, joy, fear, and empathy—personal and collective, wash through human interactions. Don’t be dismayed if you start weeping at a camera commercial—those tears were just waiting for an excuse to let go. You could also lose your temper over something completely insignificant—so if you go south on someone with a torrent of misplaced anger, take responsibility for your pent-up frustration and apologize. Also anticipate sudden urges to laugh hysterically at a deeply troubling situation—sometimes gallows humor is the best relief for a broken heart. There is simply no telling how this hyper-emotional climate will play out. So rather than wishing it wasn’t so, find healthy ways of coping with the stress, and when you can, make every effort to be kind to yourself and your fellow travelers.
The source of this unsettled atmosphere is the on-going interaction between Uranus, Saturn, and Mars. Uranus and Mars are conjunct in Pisces. And Saturn, in Cancer, trines that conjunction, as it simultaneously conjuncts the Sun, also in Cancer. Water is the astro Element of feeling, which is why Water Signs wrestle with the theme of sensitivity, and that theme weaves itself across a spectrum of expression, from compassion to indifference. As Uranus and Mars churn the seas of Pisces, we’re challenged to allow deep-seated feelings to rise to the surface of our awareness. As Saturn and the Sun move through the lunar oceans of Cancer, issues of belonging are apt to override practical concerns and motivate unprecedented behavior.
Water needs a vessel to contain its energy and that means good healthy boundaries are essential to handling these waves. Be sure you have positive support for processing your reactions. If you’re the counselor, try not to let heartfelt sympathy dissolve into a co-dependent need to rescue or fix. As the next weeks unfold, have the courage to face what troubles you, and you’ll access the potential to transform difficult emotions into the treasures of self-awareness.

June 18, 2003
Sudden plot twists continue to stir the air and nervous systems strain from the stress of the unexpected. For some, these developments bring stagnant situations to resolution, but accepting the outcome may feel laden with resistance, especially if the result is undesirable. On the other hand, some of these unanticipated events feel divinely guided, as if the missing pieces of the puzzle are put into place by destiny. No matter what your attitude may be about the on-going uncertainty, a rigid stance won’t help mitigate the tension of surprising developments. But a flexible approach will, so do whatever you can to ride this unpredictable current and try not to let tension motivate a premature stand.
Uranus, in Pisces, is still the epicenter of the week’s eccentric rhythm. Known for its love of freedom, Uranus represents the principle of sudden change, and its signature is instability. On June 16, Mars, the planet of pure, unbridled energy, entered Pisces, closing its conjunction with Uranus. When these two planets share the same space, they send powerful charges through the atmosphere. Because Pisces is a Water sign, these surges are highly emotional, and because Pisces rules illusion, many of these swells ride a tide of projection. It won’t be easy discerning what’s real and what isn’t and that means instant assumptions could prove problematic.
Fortunately, Saturn continues to lend a steady hand, but the Saturnian desire for structure could also manifest as stubborn insistence, particularly as Saturn’s need for control collides with the Uranus Mars desire for action. Saturn is deliberate; it makes decisions based on the long-term consequences, and is seldom spontaneous. Saturn is in Cancer, also a Water sign, and Cancer, too, loathes impulsive behavior. Cancer wants safety, security, and a guarantee of positive results, before it makes any move that might be considered risky.
This entire bundle is complicated by the Sun, which moves into Cancer on Saturday. As the Sun makes a sign shift, it forms a trine to Uranus and Mars and a conjunction with Saturn. When the Sun, Uranus, and Mars unite, we experience the need for freedom and enough energy to support almost any effort for independence, personal or collective. When Saturn and the Sun occupy the same position, a single-minded seriousness prevails, and that determination could manifest as harsh hyper-criticism aimed internally at the self, or projected externally onto others.
This week, pushing the river toward a desired outcome won't work. And because the flow is so unpredictable, it also won't be possible to anticipate what direction the days will take. It is possible to harness the power of the week and direct it toward extraordinary achievements, but to do that successfully, you have to avoid the use of force to get the job done.

June 11, 2003
Erratic planetary rhythms turn daily life unpredictable and human hearts mirror this pulse with impulsive choices. For some, this spontaneity manifests as the sudden recognition of what previously was out of reach, intellectually or emotionally. For others, unusual alliances appear as perfect communal solutions. For still more, this restless energy penetrates dreams and disturbs sleep. No matter where you find yourself along this spectrum of excitement, you’re bound to experience bold and passionate responses, yours or others.
Uranus is the conduit for this week’s frequency, and you’ll definitely need a scorecard to track its dynamic effect. (1) A Uranus Mercury square produces the potential for startling perceptions, and while this combination could play out as the tendency to scatter mental resources, it’s just as likely to provide intuitive and intellectual flexibility. (2) A Uranus Venus square amplifies mental agility by turning the entire bundle toward creative inspiration. Uranus Venus contacts are also infamous for infatuation, but these love at first sight moments don’t tend to last. If you find yourself falling in and out of love, don’t spend too much time processing your commitment issue—it could just be the stars. (3) Uranus and Mars begin a conjunction this week that lasts until the July 8th. Pay attention: This is a volatile combination and you’ll need patience to put it to good use. Uranus, as you already know, is the principle of change, eager to catalyze stagnant systems. Mars is pure unbridled energy and it thrives on movement. When Uranus and Mars share the same space, we experience a need for action. Couple that urge with already unsettled energy of the week and you have the perfect environment for accidents motivated by haste and rash behavior. (4) What’s more, Mars also squares Mercury and Venus, spurring that jump-the-gun attitude and feeding nervous irritation. Try not to pick a fight just to blow off steam. While a brawl might feel good in the moment, it could also burn bridges you might need later on.
But that’s not all. Saturn trines both Uranus and Mars providing an indefatigable determination to endure just about anything to actualize your ambitions. Mishandle this energy and you’ll be tempted to use brute force. Handle it with care, and you’ll tap into a deep reservoir of strength.
The week is a live current of unstable energy, and as its power streams through the days and nights, it won’t be easy getting grounded or staying that way. If you start to succumb to the stress, try taking a moment to breathe, let your body remember its natural pace, and then, use your breath as a guide through the intensity. 

June 4 2003
The bustle of planetary interactions turns daily life busy with activity. Some of the action is driven by purpose and the grounded intent to turn dreams into reality. A few of the goings-on are pure flights of fancy, designed to distract, which means, this week, like last week, it’s still hard telling fact from fiction. But as the wobbles of the eclipse zone and the delays of Mercury Retrograde recede, regular routines recapture their normal (well, almost) pace and schedules are fueled by a desire for progress. One thing is certain: there’s lots to do and plenty of energy to get it all done.
Saturn is in the first celestial moment of its transit through Cancer, and as this journey begins, Saturn forms a trine with Uranus. When these two planets unite in a positive alignment, we experience the strength to persevere and work through obstacles. Saturn is devoted to structure; it loves to get down to the bones of a situation and rehabilitate faulty foundations. Uranus thrives on catalyzing stagnation, and as you know, it relishes in revolution. The combined influence of Saturn and Uranus creates a powerful force for change, but because neither Saturn nor Uranus tolerates resistance well, this partnership could turn certain situations a tad testy. Try not to insist. Both Saturn and Uranus are in Water Signs, and one of the dominant features of water is its ability to flow around whatever might be inhibiting its pathway. 
Neptune is also busy this week, as it trines the Sun, in Gemini, and continues to oppose Jupiter, in Leo. When Neptune forms a positive partnership with the Sun, we become more receptive. Imagination flourishes and mystical experiences call. Jupiter amplifies those yearnings, and because Jupiter is in Leo, some of those urges could take on a dramatic flair. What’s more, Pluto opposes the Sun and trines Jupiter. (Did I mention you’d need a scorecard this week?) Pluto Sun contacts hunger for power, and when that craving combines with the fantasies of the Neptune Sun trine, the need to dominate could overpower reasonable demands and expectations. The presence of Jupiter expands the entire bundle, egos puff up like blowfish, and just about everyone wants to rule the world.
Our pal Uranus goes Retrograde on Saturday, and as Uranus retraces its path through the first degrees of Pisces, we get to reflect on just how much has changed since Uranus entered Pisces in March.
While it may be hard to maintain, balance is the key to handling this week’s hectic pace. No matter how busy you may be, if you make time—even only for a few minutes—to find your center, you’ll have an easier time managing the days.

May 28, 2003
It’s transition time—again—as strong astral winds swirl through daily life and stir the caldron of change, both personal and collective. Even as I write this, I can hear the groan of the faithful readers chanting, “More changes? We’re tired of shifts. We want good news.” And so do I—I’m as tired of writing about the intensity as you are reading about it. But, alas, potent planetary forces drive the astro drama of the next several weeks and there’s just no stoppin’ the stars. Rather than resist, stay fluid by practicing yoga of all kinds, especially karma yoga. A strong internal balance will enhance external flexibility as it simultaneously provides the strength to bend with these powerful passages.
A solar eclipse on May 31 engenders stormy emotional weather. Eclipses distort the “normal” flow and even though we understand their mechanics, eclipses still speak to primordial memory, linking us to the days of caves or tents, when aberrant celestial events stirred deep foreboding. Don’t be surprised if you’re anxious and need to talk about it. This Eclipse takes place in the Gemini, the sign of communication, so share those thoughts but be prepared for emotional responses.
On June 3, Saturn moves into Cancer. When big planets change signs, we notice the shift almost immediately. Unfortunately, Saturn’s journey through Cancer isn’t a particularly fun transit. Saturn’s pragmatism is at odds with Cancer’s sensitivity, and Saturn’s respect for the facts challenges Cancer’s reliance on intuition. The result is an attitude clash that often leads to repression, suppression, or depression. While I realize this sounds grim, it is possible to transform Saturn’s heavy hand by acknowledging what worries you. If you set an intention to face what comes up and establish a healthy framework for processing through the intensity, you’ll make positive use of this highly sentimental journey. Fortunately, as soon as Saturn enters Cancer it trines Uranus, in Pisces, supplying the strength and stamina to overcome obstacles.
Also on June 3, the Neptune Jupiter opposition, with us since September 2002, is exact, for the third and last time of this particular cycle. Neptune symbolizes fantasy. Jupiter, excess. The extreme manifestation of this opposition is most noticeable in the mainstream media, where “spin” has replaced “just the facts, please.”
Transitions are seldom smooth and too many changes weary the soul. Make sure you give yourself permission to receive the care needed to soften these passages, and if you’re so inclined, try a little tenderness with those you love. Sweetness is Cancer’s strong suit and a gentle gesture could make all the difference. 

May 21, 2003
Mercury is Direct—at last—and as Mercury shifts its view from the past to the present, we experience a roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-back-to-work attitude. Just don’t expect miracle cures for time lost during the retrograde. Also be mindful of exaggerated ambition—too much, too fast, could land you in a vortex of overextension. What’s more, high emotional tides flood this week and the next several weeks and those surges of intensity are likely to scatter plans and projects. You’ll need a steady internal compass to make it through the waves of mini-meltdowns, yours or others, so do whatever it is you do to strengthen and maintain your clarity.
As Mercury goes Direct, it forms a square to Jupiter and Neptune. This T-square bears the signature of the Trickster and that makes it hard to discern fact from fiction. Mercury enjoys mischief and when its love of spin combines with Neptune, also no slouch when it comes to chicanery, deception flourishes. Jupiter’s infatuation with excess turns the tomfoolery of Mercury and Neptune into a huge touch of the blarney, which means we’re in for even more outrageous political spin. Refuse to let propaganda obscure common sense. Pay no attention to the many men behind or in front of the curtain. Stick to the truth and ask others to do the same.
A sextile between Pluto and Mars amps up personal ambition, but because Mars is still lingering in a conjunction with Neptune aims and aspirations seem vague and misdirected. Be patient—by the end of the week, Mars will forge ahead, providing plenty of opportunities to put those plans in motion.
A Solar Eclipse on May 31 supplies the emotional undertow of the next several weeks. Eclipses distort time and because they do, we often feel the effect of an eclipse before the actual event. When the Moon overshadows the Sun, instinct overrides reason, the unconscious dominates the conscious, and the atmosphere turns hypersensitive as we struggle to cope with an “abnormal” occurrence. Eclipses part the veils of awareness making it possible to see motivation and intention. Because this Solar Eclipse happens in the sign of Gemini, conversations are key to how this event will play out. As feelings inundate mundane interactions, instead of reacting, probe the information being revealed. If certain interactions turn too hard to handle, don’t be shy about saying “enough.” But if you can listen closely, without reacting, you’ll be amazed at what you discover.

May 14, 2003
Don’t be surprised if you’re feelin’ like you’re under sedation or spaced out on sensation this week. The planets are still doin’ the time warp, but they’re not quite steppin’ to the right or jumpin’ to the left—they’re just all over the place—and their disjointed rhythm makes a muddle. Tight schedules are not a good idea because missed appointments are probable. What’s more, you might even think it’s Wednesday when it’s Tuesday or show up for a flight on Friday instead of Saturday. It’s a mess, but it’s not a pernicious mess—and that’s good news.
Here’s the breakdown:
The slo-mo rewind loopy pace of Mercury Retrograde continues to produce all sorts of communication and travel hassles. Thankfully, this retrograde is over on May 20, when once again it will be safe to install software, negotiate contracts, and pick up packages. Mercury Retrograde is not the devil, but it can be a gigantic pain in the butt when you’re trying to get something done in a hurry. So hold on and try not to let the petty details make you crazy.
Neptune and Mars are conjunct in Aquarius, but they’re moving in opposite directions. Well, in truth, Neptune isn’t really moving at all, because tomorrow, Neptune goes retrograde, and as it makes this course correction, it seemingly stands still. Mars, always eager to forge ahead, is caught in Neptune’s thrall, and that stalls forward progress. When these two planets share the same space, they generate a peculiar form of paralysis. Lethargy is likely, as is a strong desire to go to bed and pull the covers over your head. You might also experience the urge to self-medicate. Be aware, a Neptune Mars conjunction can make you highly susceptible to suggestion, so try not to let gullibility override common sense.
All this would handleable, except a Lunar Eclipse, tomorrow, sends a wobble through the entire bundle. During a Lunar Eclipse the shadow of the Earth obscures the Moon, reason overrides instinct, and attention tilts toward practical matters. It’s the perfect time warp antidote, especially if you’re lost in Mercury Retrograde or dissolving in the dreaminess of Neptune. But sometimes when the emphasis is purely pragmatic, a no-nonsense approach can turn into a my-needs-and-my-needs only attitude. Given the frustration of the retrograde and the fantasies of Neptune Mars, madness is still likely to take its toll.

May 7, 2003
Mercury is still looking behind instead of ahead and the undertow of its retrograde still pulls us out of the present and into the past. While Mercury doesn’t normally exert an emotional influence, its retrospective on the first few months of 2003 could dredge up disturbing feelings denied or disguised by the turmoil of war. So much happened so quickly over the last several months, there’s hardly been time to let it all sink in. Anticipate overwhelm or anxiety as nervous systems try to integrate the details. Clarity is possible, especially if you’re willing to process through those feelings. As you sort through the data, direct your attention to the whole story. As difficult as it might be to digest, the broadest possible perspective will offer the greatest opportunity for understanding and integrating your feelings.
Mercury began its retrograde on April 26 and continues retrograde until May 20. Mercury symbolizes communication and the day-to-day details of life. When Mercury focuses its attention on the past, the present often becomes an obstacle course of delays and detours. Daily life slows to a crawl. Conversations turn muddled with misunderstanding. Techno-breakdowns breed frustration. Try not to get too impatient if you have to repeat yourself endlessly. Don’t install new software. Do make Mercury your “friend” by embracing the slower pace and by being willing to review what’s already in motion.
Amping-up an appreciation for recent history, Saturn is in the final degrees of its journey through Gemini, Mercury’s home sign, which began in August of 2000 and ends on June 3, 2003. As Saturn completes its cycle through Gemini, we’re invited to reflect on the impact of its effect. Gemini is the sign of communication. Saturn symbolizes both structure and constraint. Because fear is one of Saturn’s signatures, it’s not surprising we’re once again confronting the issue of free speech, uncertain about what can and can’t be said. When the uninhibited expression of opinion is squelched, the silence can be deafening.
While Saturn isn’t in a retro review, the next few weeks of its journey through the final degrees of Gemini offer us an opportunity to notice just how deeply fear may have infected the structures of daily life, both personal and collective. Keep in mind, Saturn also represents how we learn, and it is discerning eye allows us to distill wisdom from experience. It is the student and the teacher. Instead of using this Saturn cycle to contract, use it to grow, and allow Saturn to teach about the value of civil liberties and what happens to the quality of daily life when we’re afraid to speak our minds.

April 30, 2003
It’s just another manic week, here on Earth, but it won’t be easy getting done all that needs doing. Mercury is still retrograde, and as Mercury reviews the past, the past replaces the present. But a New Moon, tomorrow, seeds a new lunar cycle, and this new mood directs attitudes ahead, rather than behind. It’s as confusing as it sounds. So don’t be surprised if you’re feeling discombobulated, scattered in several directions simultaneously, or spaced out one minute and solidly grounded the next. This week, and honestly, the entire month of May, is a time warp of diverse planetary influences. The challenge is staying in present time without going completely nutty.
The mania of the week stems from the New Moon, which contains a Mars Jupiter opposition. (This opposition lasts until May 21st.) Mars is the planet of enterprise, Jupiter is the principle of expansion, and their opposition produces huge appetites. We mere mortals experience that hunger as the need to bite off more than we could possibly digest. Mars Jupiter oppositions go to extremes, and because this opposition squares the Sun and the Moon, the entire combination feeds egos, emotions, and blind ambition. The result is a driving need to climb the ladder of success, but as you scramble to the top, don’t forget to be kind to those you encounter on the way up. You’re likely to meet them again, and if you fail to meet those unrealistic goals, you’ll want a friendly descent. Also, as part of this New Moon package, Neptune squares the Sun and the Moon. This square fosters deception, so be careful what you agree to. Stick to the truth. And if you don’t understand something, keep asking questions until you do.
Mercury Retrograde dominates the daily mechanics of life. Retrograde since April 26, Mercury will stay retrograde until May 20. For those of you new to the notion of Mercury Retrograde, here’s the short version: Mercury rules communication and travel, and during its retrograde, all the fiefdoms within its domain go awry. Email, phones, computers, and negotiations take on a life of their own. Mercury Retrograde is not a good time to initiate new projects. A retrograde is always better spent reviewing, revising, and reconsidering what’s already set in motion.
Madness does take its toll, especially when daily routines jump behind or ahead without any discernable pattern. So find a way to set your internal compass on steady, and try not to let the externals throw you too far off course.

April 23, 2003
The big news this week is Mercury Retrograde. On April 26, Mercury begins its second retrograde phase of 2003, and the few days leading up to this course correction are sticky with detours, delays, and slow downs. Resistance is futile, but that doesn’t make coping with this retrograde any easier, especially because spring is about moving forward not backward. What’s more, a powerful relationship between Mars, Jupiter, and the Sun places us very much in present time. The planetary tug between what was and what is turns daily life slightly schizophrenic and events play out on a split screen. Straddling parallel dimensions can be exhausting, but it can also provide expanded awareness. Put this retrograde phase to good use by being thorough, and instead of melting down in frustration you’ll experience greater staying power.
Mercury Retrograde is a planetary invitation to review, reflect, and reconsider the details of recent activities. Mercury’s domain includes all things related to communication and travel, and during a retrograde, all those areas experience difficulty. Expect postal problems, delivery delays, computer crashes, and traffic jams. Projects set in motion under a retrograde often fail to gain momentum, especially as snafus, usually related to nit-picking particulars stall progress. Train and bus schedules breakdown and traffic often moves at a snail’s pace. But even though the result is often a feeling of frazzled frustration, Mercury Retrograde is not the end of the world. If you find yourself devolving in techno anxiety, just remember to breathe, and keep breathing until you come to your senses.  
The on-going Mars Sun square continues amping-up ambitious undertakings and a Jupiter square to the Sun expands those desires. As Mars closes in on an opposition with Jupiter, the whole bundle could turn manic. Rather than setting extreme goals, stay reasonable. A judicious approach will help defuse temper tantrums, yours or others. Just one more bit: Uranus sextiles the Sun, inspiring an endless chorus of “I Gotta Be Me” and that just might make it impossible to exercise consistent restraint.
The schizoid energetic of the week will probably provoke the temptation to blame others as a way of releasing stress. Instead of using frustration as an excuse to punish, try to find the strength to tolerate flaws, again, yours or others.

April 16, 2003
The planets send mixed messages this week and the result is a hodge-podge of incongruent rhythms that generate a mishmash of attitudes. This jumble translates into “yes” one minute, “no” the next, and “well, let me think about it” a half hour later. What’s more, plenty of distractions cause lots of interruptions, making it hard to stay focused or concentrate on a specific task. But that’s not all. You can also count on a lull or two, and while these pauses may be welcome, the abrupt change of pace could also be disconcerting. Rather than resenting or resisting these activity breaks use them as a chance to catch your breath, calm your nerves, or buy some time.
The on going square between the Mars and the Sun is the source of the hustle and bustle. Both the Sun and Mars enjoy being busy, and while this square does produce a put-up-your-dukes attitude, it also supports the determination to actualize goals and the willingness to work through obstacles. Its energetic signature is the warrior, who is willing to face the dangers of battle. So try to be careful about picking a fight just for the sake of it. Also be aware, the vitality of this square can encourage biting off more than you can chew. Realistic goals will help you channel the vigor of this combination into positive endeavors.
This week’s erratic cadence is created by a Uranus Sun sextile. Uranus shakes up and shakes out whatever is stuck or stagnant. When Uranus and the Sun work together, they set their sights on freedom, personal or collective. Be prepared for revolutions, big and small, yours or others, as this sextile stimulates the need to break free whatever enslaves. This sextile also tends to manifest as lightening flashes of creativity, which illuminate outdated attitudes and simultaneously inspire a fresh approach. Use this energy to neutralize the glue of mechanical habituation or automatic reaction, and you’ll experience a deeper sense of the present moment.
The busy buzz of the week could be exhausting, especially if you’re trying to get everything done at once. So take the time to think about how you want to spend your energy and be sure to make rest and relaxation as important as work.

April 9, 2003
This week, the planets are busy talking amongst themselves and their energetic conversation translates into a variety of earthly activities. There’s plenty of support for endeavors of all kinds and busy is good, especially when just below the surface of mundane events, hearts and minds struggle to tolerate the stress of war. Fortunately, several celestial configurations provide the potential to turn a longing for peace into positive action.
First, a Neptune, Jupiter, Mercury T-square stimulates intellects. Yes, for those astro-athletes reading this, T-squares are notorious for generating tension, and yes, again, this configuration often encourages deception. Neptune’s domain is fantasy. Jupiter encourages excess. And Mercury is also no slouch when it comes mind games. But this very same energy can give birth to the ability recognize a shell game when you see it. Be willing to probe exaggeration with good, old-fashion common sense and you’ll tape into the ability to transform the tension of deceit into a treasure trove of insight. You might have to turn off your television to beat the odds. So stop believing your eyes and ears, and trust your intuition to discern the difference between fact and fiction.
The power source of this week’s hectic pace is the on-going Mars Sun square and the on-going Pluto Sun trine. Mars is in Capricorn, the Sun is in Aries, both of these are Cardinal signs, and that makes action a must. Capricorn thrives on pragmatism, Aries is rarely practical, both symbolize vitality, and when these two titans of energy clash, we experience a war of wills. But, again, seen through a positive lens, the friction produced by this conflict can spark the fire of personal strength—physical, emotional, and spiritual. Make the effort to identify where you are feeling stuck, and then use the raw power of Mars square the Sun to overcome the obstacle of inertia or passivity. Fortunately, the Pluto Sun trine supplies creative juice, and while this trine does feed the need to lead at almost any cost, it also fuels the capacity for transformation.
Lastly, a Pluto Venus square stimulates a deep desire for sensual and sexual pleasure—a welcome relief to the worries of war. This square can trigger compulsive urges, but, really, who cares? Revel in those yearnings if you are so inclined, and let sexual healing and the power of love soothe the weary soul.

April 2, 2003
Testy, Touchy, and Cranky—those lesser-known Disney Dwarfs—turn this week and the next several weeks dyspeptic, and when this irritable air combines with the anxiety and despair of war, the simple tasks of daily life become burdensome. Even if you’re actively working for peace, doing the best you can to cause no additional harm, the collective focus on violence is likely to infect attitudes and stimulate a need to lash out and strike back. Unfortunately, the planets exacerbate hot-blooded reactions and as personal frustration mounts, the potential for inappropriate and disproportionate responses increases. While it may feel impossible, do your best not to let this prickly atmosphere dictate behavior you might later regret.
Two influences contribute to the edge. First, a square between Mars and the Sun produces the potential to fight about anything—big or small, petty or important. The Sun represents life force, Mars is the warrior, squares signify conflict, and the entire bundle feeds aggression. This clash between Mars and the Sun easily translates into stubborn resistance and the need to take a stand, just for the sake of it. Put to positive use, this square provides enough ambition to accomplish almost any goal, particularly if you’re able to channel the intensity rather than spend it recklessly.
Unfortunately, a trine between Pluto and the Sun amps up a need for personal power. While trines offer positive support, this trine fosters the urge to rule and dominate others. As the dynamic force of Pluto and the Sun combines with the fractious energy of Mars square the Sun, the air swells with egocentricity. Try not to insist on having “it” all your way. Be firm when necessary, but also try to be flexible, especially in situations already ripe with power struggles.
As the world continues to wobble from war and fundamentalist myopia eclipses the light of reason, it won’t be easy distinguishing what exactly it is that’s bothering you. Anger can often be a clarifying force, but anger, motivated by confusion and dread, can also trigger an unjust attack on others in order to feel safe. If you find yourself up against the wall of ignorance, rather than point a blaming finger at another, remember the old rule: if you spot it, you got it. And instead of projecting your frustration on to others, take responsibility and face the core of your own limitation. The world changes one person at a time and that means each of us has the power to change the world.

March 26, 2003
Emotions flood the pathways of normal routines this week as the tension of war dominates nervous systems, personal and collective. There’s no “right” way to handle the emotional stress and navigating these extreme waters requires resilience of all kinds. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself suddenly calling people you haven’t spoken to in years, or making amends about events you never felt needed an apology. A confrontation with mortality often manifests as a heightened state of awareness about the fleeting and fragile nature of existence and one of the manifestation of that supersensitive state is the need to satisfy cravings long denied or repressed. You or those you love may suddenly decide to opt for a new career, buy that sailboat, or start wearing those clothes you’ve been saving for the “best.” A brush with death, real or imagined, stimulates an appetite for bigger bites of life. And it also quickens the need for love.
As I write this, we are in the middle of the first “official” day of war, and like most of you reading this column, I, too, am looking for a ray of hope to breakthrough on a bleak horizon. I don’t think astrology or any other system is capable of explaining what causes war. Philosophers, poets, sociologists, anthropologists, and psychologists all provide valid insights into the roots of violence. Politicians provide reason and rhetoric, motive and justification. And even though history teaches war is part of the human condition, my heart still recoils from the unspeakable violence and harm to life.
For the last several weeks, the Internet has been flooded with petitions, letters, and statements for peace, and even though those missives didn’t stop the war machine, they let us know just how many people are marching, writing, and praying for a new solution to conflict. The collective pendulum has swung wildly to the extreme right before, but it is only a matter of time until it turns around. The problem isn’t that it won’t. We can always rely on change as a constant. But when it does start to swing back, will we have learned enough to turn the wheel of our collective destiny in a new direction, away from the polarization of extreme points of view, toward some broader perspective that includes the rights of others simply because we respect life?
This week, even if you’re feeling oppressed with helplessness or hopelessness, summon the strength to participate in positive action. Affirm life by living well. Gratify your cravings, but also satisfy your need for a peaceful world through conscious acts of kindness and compassion.

March 19, 2003
Uranus in Pisces: Part Two
It’s the season of the switch. The planets are rearranging reality and here on Earth, that celestial repositioning triggers even more startling developments. Because most of us are already emotionally taxed from several weeks of sudden plot twists, this week’s menu of changes is likely to manifest as plain, old-fashioned overwhelm. Do your best to manage the load, but also acknowledge and satisfy the need for rest.
Several planets contribute to the mix. The Sun moves into Aries, tomorrow, signaling the end of winter and the start of spring. Pluto seemingly standstill all week, as it pivots in place, in preparation for a retrograde cycle that begins on March 23 and ends on August 28. Uranus is only thirty astrological moments into its new cycle through the sign of Pisces and, of course, that continues to be the big story.
The last time Uranus journeyed through Pisces was 1919-1926, when the world was recovering from war—not on the brink of one. Yet even a casual look at what happened during that last cycle reveals striking parallels to our current circumstances. Fear of radicals led to the Palmer Raids and the trial and execution of Sacco and Vanzetti. Scopes was found guilty for teaching evolution. The United States Senate refused to ratify the League of Nations Covenant. Significantly and eerily, Iraq was established under British control in 1921.
From an astrological perspective, that cycle of Uranus through Pisces can be seen as a reaction to the violent expansion of the previous seven years of Uranus in Aquarius, when from 1912-1919, the world erupted in revolution. The present collective crisis can also be viewed as a reaction. And while the roots of our current conflict stretch as far back as the Crusades, the last seven years of Uranus in Aquarius also revolutionized the world. We downloaded mega amounts of information but we lacked the skill to transform that data into practical wisdom capable of transforming ignorance. History repeats itself along a spiral, but the illusion we are smarter than we once were is just that—an illusion.
Uranus is back in Pisces and we’re back in Iraq, once again trying to establish a new order, and the same old resentments still linger and smolder with as much, if not more passion than they did 84 years ago. As always on this free will planet, we have a choice: Create history out of an unconscious repetition compulsion, or breakthrough the confines of fear. Some argue we don’t have a choice and can’t effect what will happen. But even if we can’t alter the course of collective destiny, we can always, always, always heal our own lives. Times of change may be uncomfortable, but the turbulence of transformation promotes growth.

March 12, 2003
Uranus in Pisces: Part One
The ethers quiver with excitement, this week, and the days and nights ping with anticipation as sixth senses everywhere feel the arrival of something new. Uranus moved into Pisces on March 10 and when the planet of shift shifts, thunderbolts and lightening signal the arrival of a new attitude. For some of us these astro jolts amp up anxiety, especially as the frightening specter of war continues to override efforts for peace. For others the crackle of change feels serendipitous, particularly as unforeseen developments provide positive opportunities to move in a different direction. For still more, emotional responses replace intellectual process and goose bumps, instead of reason, dictate decisions. Adjusting to this new frequency will take time, so don’t despair if life feels disjointed. There is no “right” way to adapt, and no pressure to make changes you’re simply not ready to make.
Except for a brief retrograde this fall from September 14-December 20, Uranus will journey through Pisces for the next seven years. Uranus, as most of us already know, catalyzes stagnation through edgy experimentation and challenges the status quo through startling upset and upheaval. Pisces is the sign of empathy. It feels. Deeply. As Uranus transits through Pisces, it plunges us into oceans of emotions, and as we explore those sentimental waters, both personal and collective, the toll could be exhaustion, escapism, or ecstasy. 
Pisces is a water sign, and the secret power of water is its ability to wear down anything over time. Water may look fluid, even gentle, but when its power unites with the force of Uranus, the combination is likely to produce an unrelenting determination. Because Pisces rules martyrdom and sacrifice, that resolve is likely to manifest an increase in individuals so devoted to their cause, they are willing to risk anything to evidence their faith, even if that act of piety is a perversion. But because Pisces is also the sign of compassion, Uranus is certain to stimulate innovative methods for expressing kindness and concern. The greatest gift of Pisces is its ability to transform hatred into love through the recognition of our essential unity and realize the illusion of separation.
As the week unfolds, let Uranus in Pisces move your attention away from weapons of mass destruction to the greatest instrument of mass instruction—the capacity of the human heart to forgive.

March 5, 2003
Uranus is in the last moments of its seven-year journey through Aquarius this week, and as the planet of change ends one cycle and begins another, daily life gets caught in the gap between what was and what will be. Expect to feel disoriented, disturbed, and slightly dyspeptic. As Uranus stands poised on the threshold of Pisces, we’re experiencing the physical and psychic strain of straddling parallel universes. What’s more, because this last leg of Uranus in Aquarius can be seen as the distillation of the entire cycle, for some of us the next five days could feel more like a flashback than a preview. But Uranus always delivers surprises and that could make future shock as likely as after shock. Rather than resist, open to this process and you’ll have an easier time managing the unpredictable climate of the week.
Uranus rules Aquarius and they share similar domains. Both Uranus and Aquarius symbolize the desire for personal freedom. In Aquarius, that longing is expressed as the notion of utopian communities where no member is enslaved by another and all are free to express their individuality. Through Uranus, that need for freedom plays out as the rebel, with or without a cause, ready and eager for revolution in any form, personal and collective. Both Uranus and Aquarius have an unusual relationship to the heart and their creative pulse, while often erratic, inspires invention of all kinds. Computers fall within their province and certainly the last seven years exemplify the extent of Uranian power and influence. When Uranus entered Aquarius in 1996, the explosion of technology, particularly the integration of the personal computer into daily life, caused revolutions of every ilk, again, personal and collective.
This week and the next several weeks, Uranian mood shifts unsettle and disturb the status quo. We’re moving from a powerful cycle of ideas to an equally powerful cycle of emotions. Don’t be surprised if you or those you love spend lots of time crying as a way of managing the stress of transition. Allow this sensitivity, let the tears release the tension, and try to soothe yourself and those you love with tenderness and care.

February 26, 2003
The astro intensity begins to ease this week, but that doesn’t stop the drums of war from rumbling across the ethers. Too many declarations, personal and collective, made in the heat of the moment, might make it too difficult to give peace a chance. What’s more, Uranus, the planet of startling events, is in the final days of a seven-year cycle and that means we’re in a condensation period trying to sort through what we want to take with us in to the next phase. Expect to be overwhelmed and anticipate a strong urge to withdraw as a way of coping with over-extension. While the tension of recent weeks is diminishing, the aftermath of all that stress may take several weeks to dispel. So don’t hesitate to spend as much time as possible resting and recuperating from the drama of daily life.
Mars sextile Uranus is the source of this week’s war cry. Mars is the warrior, Uranus is the freedom fighter, and when they unite, they provide the courage to take a stand. Just keep in mind, this alliance isn’t only about violence. A positive Mars Uranus combo generates huge amounts of energy and this prodigious force doesn’t have to be spent fussing and fighting. Harness this energy, and instead of doing battle, use it to power your plans and projects.
On March 10, Uranus moves into Pisces, and except for a brief retrograde this fall from September 14-December 20, Uranus will stay in Pisces for the next seven years. Pulses race and hearts beat hard when Uranus makes a move and that translates into disrupted sleep patterns, anxiety attacks, and other nervous disorders. Over the course of the next 13 days, as Uranus completes its journey through Aquarius, those disturbances are likely to increase. Anticipate close “chance” encounters as part of this shift with friends, lovers, and associates you may not have seen since 1995 or 1996. Also be prepared to experience situations and attitudes you thought were long gone.  Uranus stirs what’s stagnant and catalyzes change. So if you’ve been tolerating certain situations even though they strain your heart, these next days and weeks could be the break point.
Transitions always tend to be uncomfortable, and because Uranus is the master of sudden and surprising twists of fate, the shift from one sign to another is bound to be a little bumpy. Don’t waste an iota of time or energy trying to match the erratic pace. Focus on finding a comfortable personal stride. Most importantly, be patient with yourself, loved ones, and your fellow travelers—everyone is trying to adjust.

February 19, 2003
Planet Earth steams with intensity this week as the tension of polarized ideologies continues to release and pressure valves of every kind—emotional, mental, or spiritual—strain to maintain. And while I realize I’m beginning to resemble Poor Johnny One Note, the current astro drama can’t be wished or whitewashed away. As the planets continue to turn up the heat, the caldron of change boils over, and daily life suffers from instability. Cooperation is key to navigating these roiling waters, especially when so many powerful forces seem so intent on separation and isolation. Counter the involuntary response of withdrawing in fear by moving into positive partnership with others. It won’t be easy teaming up; everyone is likely to have strong opinions about the “right” outcome and the need to blame someone could cause fingers to point in all sorts of directions. But taking a stand for community is a positive personal step toward peaceful coexistence and could help to dissipate a sense of futility and frustration about the bigger picture. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. If you’re noticing others suffering from a lack of connection, do your best to offer assistance.
Tomorrow, the opposition between Saturn and Mars is exact. Saturn is the planet of constriction. Mars is the planet of movement. Saturn symbolizes authority. Mars represents the warrior. Saturn imposes regulations. Mars fuels egos. Oppositions generate tension and this one manifests as harsh self-interest. As Mars and Saturn start to separate we’re likely to face severe tests of strength. This could be increased violence on the global level, or locally, it could manifest as an employer’s mean-spirited approach toward an employee. Unfortunately, the presence of Pluto turns this bundle brutal, so be prepared for angry meltdowns, again, collective or personal. Be aware, Saturn goes Direct on February 22, throwing the weight of its stern influence behind whatever erupts. Channeled into positive outlets, Mars, Saturn, and Pluto produce the potential for incredible endurance and precision, especially when applied to tasks involving the need for strength and stamina.
Fortunately, the Sun moved into Pisces, yesterday, promising a hint of compassion as it softens slightly the decidedly militaristic atmosphere. The Sun shines equally on everyone and never withholds its warmth because it favors one political or religious system over another. That little drop of kindness is enough to nourish and sustain a longing for peace, especially if you allow its presence to ripple across your heart and stir the waters of empathy. An eye for an eye has only left the world blind. An open heart, while vulnerable with uncertainty, can and will endure whatever it takes to create the solid ground of love.

February 12, 2003
Planetary releases generate increased turmoil and the collective caldron boils with revolution and unrest. For some, the power of the week translates into a no nonsense determination to do whatever it takes to facilitate positive change, personal and collective. For others, the heat of the week provides the necessary spark to overthrow the oppressor—real or imagined. For still more, the stars animate the animus in all of us, and the result is a creative slant on the unpredictable nature of existence, capable of empowering the skill to handle just about any surprising plot twists. Mental yoga is the key to navigating the intensity with skill. An open mind is sometimes the strongest stance.
A cluster of celestial interactions crowd the week, converge on Sunday, and spill out over the course of next week. First, the on-going Neptune Jupiter opposition is exact on February 16th during the wee hours of the morning. This opposition conjures the perfect projection screen for unrealistic idealization. As the power of the collective—or mob mentality--merges with individual appetites for power, this opposition contributes to political chicanery by making it even more difficult to tell fact from fiction. Don’t assume the integrity of the ambitious will supply the hard cold facts. That data definitely skewed toward the need to succeed.
Second, the Pluto Mars conjunction, at the core of so much recent military might, is exact on February 16th at 11:07 AM Eastern Time. As hard aspects separate, the tension releases, which mean explosive outbursts of anger and frustration are likely. What’s more, this conjunction continues to operate, as Mars continues to move into an exact opposition with Saturn on February 20th. The entire bundle of Mars, Saturn, and Pluto is the mother’s milk of self-righteous warriors, seeking to dominate and impose their beliefs on others. Instead of insisting on one way only, again, be flexible. Don’t worry—you won’t be a wimp. You’ll be channeling your intensity into healthy outlets capable of yielding positive results.
Third, a few hours later, at 6:50 PM Eastern Time, there’s a Full Moon in Leo exactly opposite a Sun Uranus conjunction in Aquarius, and that interaction dials up nervous energy in search of dramatic emotional release. Sun Uranus contacts are the emblem of the revolutionary, willing to do whatever it takes to catalyze change and manifest freedom. While this conjunction occurs annually, this year, it coincides with several other equally potent forces, and that convergence fuels an uncontainable need for independence, personal and collective. 
It’s impossible to predict how this confluence of astro indications will manifest. The presence of Uranus implies surprise. What’s more, Uranus always feeds the need to break free from whatever enslaves body, mind, or spirit. As the week unfolds, that urge for freedom is likely to express itself in as many ways as there are people on the planet. On the negative end of the spectrum, the drive for independence could cause even more chaos. Put to positive use, these power rays can fuel profound personal introspection, especially if you are determined to reflect on how the themes of fear, anger, and faith move through your heart and motivate your actions.

February 5, 2003
A queasy uncertainty about the future ratchets up the intensity this week as apprehension about war tightens its grip. And while it’s impossible to imagine life on earth growing more intense with each passing day, as this week and the next weeks unfold, planetary interactions exacerbate an already extreme environment. Anticipate physical reactions as bodies struggle to tolerate the stress. Also expect emotional meltdowns to continue, as hearts try to comply. Handling this energetic escalation challenges even the strongest souls, so don’t be surprised if you’re wobblin’ through the days. Just be aware these breakdowns can be positive, especially if they breakthrough the armor of denial and open us to the resilience of truth.
The tension has several sources. First, Mars is moving into a conjunction with Pluto. This conjunction begins on the 8th, is exact on February 16th, and ends on the 25th. Conjunctions concentrate energy. A Mars Pluto conjunction translates that concentration into the compulsive use of force in order to achieve one’s goals. From a personal and collective perspective, it fuels ruthless ambition and the tendency toward violence. Bullies thrive under its influence, which means negotiating super-inflated egos of despots, petty or powerful, won’t be easy. If you’re willing to drop self-righteousness of any kind, you’ll maintain enough flexibility to handle just about any autocrat. When possible, help those of lesser strength and let the salve of kindness soothe ruffled fur.
Unfortunately, the second contributor to the stress is a wide opposition between Pluto and Saturn. Oppositions are created by the polarized positions of two or more planets. As many may recall, we were under the influence of this Pluto Saturn opposition from August of 2001 until June of 2002, and during those months, it was exact three times. The signature of negative Pluto Saturn contacts is contraction and restriction; fear is its dominant chord. Certainly, we’re still living in the overtones of its effect, and anxiety, real or imagined, specific or free-floating, continues to trigger intense emotional responses. As Mars moves toward its conjunction with Pluto, Mars reactivates the power of this Pluto Saturn opposition, heightening fears, personal and collective. If you find yourself tilting toward trouble, don’t hesitate to ask for help. There is no need to journey through these shadows alone.
Of course, it’s possible to use the tension of the next several weeks as a catalyst for change. But to access its transformative power, you have to throw off the yoke of victim-hood and be brave enough to take a stand for a world where all beings prosper. Gandhi was born with a Pluto Mars opposition. Martin Luther King, Jr., had a Saturn Mars opposition. Both exemplify the power of personal conviction and the authority of non-violence as an intelligent, conscious, spiritual response to oppression and brutality.

January 29, 2003
Winds of war fan the fires of fundamentalist frenzy for the next several weeks, and as the tension of polarized ideologies reaches a fevered pitch, meltdowns, personal or collective, are probable. I wish I had another—better—tale to tell, but I don’t and sugarcoating the next few weeks serves no one. If we know in advance we’re in for a bad spell, foreknowledge can become forethought. And then, instead of reacting out of fear, we can summon the strength, courage, and determination to do whatever it takes to find positive solutions. Earth is still the planet of free will and we can, at any time, alter the course of destiny by the choices we make each day.
The build up of astro toxicity begins with Jupiter, Mars, and the Sun setting a manic pace. First, Jupiter opposes the Sun, and while these two benign planets seldom engender malicious intent, this opposition does encourage hubris, especially when that arrogance coalesces with a voracious appetite for power. Second, and you don’t need an astrologer to call the power players, a Mars Sun sextile underscores the notion of might for right as it simultaneously fuels a warrior’s hunger for battle. Third, a Jupiter Mars trine amplifies the value of pride, especially as it relates to a sense of honor. Be aware, positive interactions of Jupiter, Mars, and the Sun do support creativity and enterprise, But placed in the context of what unfolds over the course of the next three weeks, particularly the movement of Mars, which is the planet of war, the whole bundle takes on a decidedly militaristic edge.
From a personal point of view, the interactions of Jupiter, Mars, and the Sun fuel the desire for great accomplishment. Just don’t take on too much. Jupiter’s eyes are always bigger than its stomach. And when Jupiter’s tendency to go to extremes unites with the get-up-and-go of Mars and the vitality of the Sun, over-extension is probable. This configuration is apt to trigger tantrums, expressed or imploded as well as passive aggressive sniping. Try not to lash out at others just for the sake of blowing off steam. There’s certainly enough of that happening globally and no need to add to the load.
As the next weeks unfold, even as constant war mongering dulls the senses, try not to numb out and disassociate from reality. No one will start to tell the truth until enough people demand the truth. And while it’s naive to expect a one-size-fits all answer, that doesn’t mean we should cower in confusion. Don’t let apathy silently enlist you in tyranny. Instead, allow thoughtful compassion to motivate positive action that doesn’t need to cause harm to another in order to feel powerful.

January 22, 2003
The ground of daily life continues to tremble with upset, and despite Mercury’s forward motion, today, we’re still caught in a time warp of unresolved issues from the past. These shudders challenge old, stagnant patterns still resistant to awareness and healing, so don’t be surprised if you or those you love stubbornly cling to attitudes you thought were long gone. Just be aware these very same emotional quakes are a check in and a warm-up for things to come. Uranus enters Pisces on March 10 and as Uranus ends one cycle and begins another, the collective caldron stews with turmoil. And while it seems impossible to stay steady in the barrage of so much depressing information about a multitude of difficult situations in desperate need of transformation, it is possible to hold on to the hope that we will find a solution other than war.
Fortunately, a Jupiter Venus trine, this week, fuels a love of love and a desire for happiness. Unfortunately, there’s a glitch in this pursuit of pleasure. Venus is moving into a conjunction with Pluto and while this conjunction is inherently artistic, it also fires up fanatic desire capable of compulsive insistence on a specific outcome. If the object of your desire doesn’t share your feelings, let go, and rather than channel this energy into unrequited unions, direct it toward creative endeavors. Put Pluto Venus to positive use and you’ll experience the pure joy of self-expression.
A Neptune Sun conjunction produces an atmosphere of hypersensitivity and that touchiness causes confusion, making it hard to distinguish between reality and fantasy. Mars sextiles the Sun, and later in the week, Neptune, turning the entire bundle mushy with projection. This influence could dissipate vitality, especially if you spread yourself too thin. So prioritize your time and energy and stick to reasonable goals.
As this week and the next several weeks unfold, try not to let the deluge of political madness and negativity corrupt your personal, positive response. Do whatever it is you do to connect to a power greater than the human power players. Reaffirm your faith by taking positive action wherever you can, even if that just means being nice to the person taking too long on the line at the Post Office.

January 15, 2003
On-going turbulence, personal and collective, dials up the action this week, and the intensity turns the days and nights poignant. What’s more, we’re still in the throes of Mercury Retrograde and that retro-perspective surfaces difficult or distressing situations from the past desperately seeking resolution and closure. Some of us are struggling with events so powerful their impact resembles a personal pole shift. Others are apt to experience a dismantling of what they once considered rock solid structures. And still more are simply trying to cope with the everyday hassles of survival during exceptionally trying times. Handling the demands of daily life requires a strong center capable of discerning where efforts and energy are best spent. So try focusing on what actually needs attention, and you’ll have a much easier time navigating the week.
Once again, Mercury Retrograde contributes to the stressful climate. When Mercury is in reverse, all things related to its domain, down shift into a much slower, more deliberate pace. Under the influence of a retrograde schedules and appointments shift as suddenly as quicksand. Computer information disappears into the void. Rush hour moves at a snail’s pace. And nervous systems already frayed don’t know whether to pump more adrenalin or just collapse. Yet Mercury Retrograde can also put time in perspective. Before the days of email, retrogrades triggered havoc with faxes. Prior to faxes, deliveries disappeared. Before phones, the problems were with the Post Office, the Pony Express, smoke signals, drums, or waylaid emissaries from another village. So rather than gnash your teeth for the next week—this retrograde is over on January 22—reflect on how you can slow down and make better use your time.
I won’t go as far as suggesting completely relaxation because the Uranus Mars square, so prominent last week, continues to generate upset. This configuration stimulates the need for fast action, and as it collides with the slo-mo rewind attitude of Mercury Retrograde, the result is a foot tapping, hurry-up-and-wait environment guaranteed to cause loud complaining wherever lines or queues get too long. Refuse to be swept away by resentful crowds and instead, make “patience” your mantra.
The good news this week (isn’t that a relief—there’s good news) is a Venus Neptune sextile, which offers the possibility of reveling in love and beauty. And while this energy is also likely to stimulate addictive appetites, it does supply the soothing balm of creative pleasure. Apply it liberally whenever possible.

January 8, 2003
Planetary power surges pulse through the week turning the days and nights uneasy with frustration, impatience, and anxiety. It’s an astro stress test and it’s likely to surface coping mechanisms you thought were long gone, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself steeped in addictive behavior. What’s more, old agreements, political, economic, or personal evaporate in the light of a current need for action, and before you can blink, impulse overthrows caution. From a positive perspective, this same erratic rhythm provides enough energy for extraordinary efforts, especially if the goal is freedom from whatever enslaves, again, personal or collective.

The source of the tumult is two-fold. First, this is the start of the second week of Mercury Retrograde and as most of you know, when Mercury retraces its heavenly path, here on Earth all things related to communication go awry. Mercury rules language, communication, negotiations, and day-to-day travel, which means when its attention is turned behind instead of ahead, contracts, faxes, phones, computers, and every other type of communication device are likely to experience a breakdown. Unfortunately, because most of us are completely techno-dependent, when the equipment breaks down, we melt down. Remember, Mercury Retrograde is a planetary invitation to slow down and pay attention to the details. So use this time wisely and until January 22, when Mercury goes Direct, review, reflect, reconsider, and try to be patient about delays and hassles. (And in keeping with retrograde snafus, in last week’s column I wrote that Saturn was ending its nearly two and a half year journey through Cancer. Oops, make that Gemini instead!)

But beneath the “normal” Mercury Retrograde problems beats a more demanding and impatient energy—Uranus square Mars—and this fractious interaction both ignites tension and stimulates the desire to fight. Uranus is the planet of sudden developments, Mars is all about ambition and will, and when they butt heads, they feed the urge for quick, decisive action. This configuration also has little tolerance for opposing points of view. Collectively that spells trouble in all those places already too troubled by polarized disputes. From a personal perspective, this square provokes one argument after another about every sort of situation from petty disputes to truly significant power struggles.

This week, rather than risk overwhelm by attempting to keep up with the frustrating and fluctuating pace, find a comfortable personal stride and don’t worry, even if you lag behind, you won’t be left behind.

January 1, 2003
An energetic shift from mind to heart is at the core of 2003. Two significant planetary transitions generate changes, big and small, personal and collective. And because these movements challenge daily rhythms and routines, the passage between what was and what will be is likely to be a deeply emotional journey. Both Uranus and Saturn end one cycle and begin another. Uranus moves into Pisces in March. Saturn moves into Cancer in June. Uranus ends its seven-year cycle through Aquarius. Saturn ends a nearly two and a half year journey through Cancer. Both move from Air Signs, the astrological element of ideas, into Water Signs, the element of feeling, and as they realign their influence, we readjust our priorities. Don’t be dismayed if during the course of the year you’re clear as a cloudless sky one minute and completely confused the next. What’s more, awkward situations abound as Pavlovian procedures simply evaporate in the dawn of this new approach. Old relationships based on shared needs could come to a close, just as new alliances based on heartfelt intention are likely to evolve into lasting friendship.
But the big news for the first week of the New Year isn’t about the future--it’s about the past, as Mercury begins the first of four  (Yes, four! And I couldn’t believe it either.) retrograde phases for the year. The first Mercury Retrograde is January 2-22. The next is April 26-May 20. The third is August 28-September 20. And the fourth Mercury Retrograde begins on December 17 and ends on January 6, 2004.
For those of you new to Mercury Retrograde, here’s the skinny. Mercury rules all things related to communication and its “seemingly” backward motion generates snafus, delays and hassles, especially when it comes to computers, mail of all denominations, and negations of any kind. This is not a good time to initiate new projects. It is, as always, an excellent time to finish what’s already started. Don’t install new software. Do clean your desk.
As 2003 unfolds, try not to pressure yourself or those you love into a perfect performance. True transformation is seldom smooth. As one phase dies and another is born, the space in between is almost always uncomfortable with uncertainty. Rather than be embarrassed or self-conscious, try to use your reactions to what occurs as a treasure map for personal growth. Notice where you resist with vigor or flow with ease and you’ll become aware of what still needs attention and where you are already strong and centered.

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