Aquarium Age by Ralfee Finn
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Weekly Frequency 2004

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 29, 2004
Einstein was right when he said, “imagination is more important than knowledge” and 2005 is the year to realize and actualize the truth of those words. It’s year for dreaming, but it is not a year for sleeping. Fear is out, and the daring to imagine life’s possibilities, is in. At its core, 2005 is about learning how to use creativity to unlock what’s stuck and to fertilize what needs to grow. Being creative means being bold, taking risks, and putting pride aside so mistakes can be mined for the gold of experience. As you make your resolutions, include the resolve to approach life with an open mind that allows you to envision transformation.
The “birth chart” for the New Year contains several planetary signatures that encourage imagination.
(1) A Mercury, Venus, Pluto conjunction stimulates a deep desire for beauty that gives birth to a strong current of artistic inspiration. It also fosters a mindset that allows the intellect to rely on intuition. Use it to imagine greater beauty--everywhere.
(2)
All three planets are in a sextile to Jupiter, and that positive alliance amplifies the merger of intellect and intuition with a broad range of choices. Jupiter loves expansion, so indulge it, and be willing to learn about everything.
(3) A Uranus Mars square signals upheaval generated by a continuing lack of tolerance for different ideas and beliefs. Again, be creative, and instead of reacting to the tumult, imagine a different response. Just considering the possibility of a different choice will modify the negative effects of fighting just for fighting’s sake.
(4) The chart of2005 also contains a trine between the Sun and Moon. We love this because it symbolizes the potential for harmony between the conscious and unconscious, as well as a balance between the female and male principles. When the Yin and Yang join in a perfect union the potential for authenticity is great.
It isn’t possible to create what we can’t imagine, and while that seems obvious, we tend to forget the simplicity of that truth and we rely on others to envision for And while there will always be geniuses to imagine a better world—Einstein, Lennon, Gandhi, and countless others who have altered both consciousness and reality—for the world to really change, each of us needs to learn how to imagine a better world for ourselves, from within. This year, become a dreamer, and help the many to live as one.

December 22, 2004
Yesterday, when we celebrated the Solstice, we honored the matrix for all our seasonal festivals. The Solstice, with its promise of spring’s eventual arrival, reminds us that darkness does have a limit and that the light will always return. It’s always been a comfort to the weary winter soul. Each day from today until the Vernal Equinox, the light of the Sun shines a nanosecond longer, the days elongate imperceptibly, and that increase nourishes hope for the future. That hope is part of what we recognize and celebrate during the month of December. From Menorahs to Christmas trees to pagan goddess dances around the fire, the holidays are a love-fest for life’s renewal and continuation. It’s no wonder we sing of peace on earth and good will toward all sentient beings--the primal joy of survival can’t help but express itself as gratitude for everyone and everything.
Of course, we can always find reasons not to be grateful for the gift of life, just as we can easily refuse to acknowledge the principles of good will and peace. Lost in a permanent winter of our own fear, we can become frozen and paralyzed in hatred, anger, greed, blame, or any of the other self-righteous positions meant to protect, defend, and insure survival. When hearts resemble ice sculptures, it takes more than a faint ray of light to start the necessary melt. But that thaw is still possible if we are willing to open our hearts and learn to tolerate the stress of vulnerability, as well as the confusion and frustration of disagreement.
While our current culture exploits the holidays, the Solstice, bears no emotional or commercial burden. It’s absolutely free--no charge, surcharge, gratuity, or interest attached to witnessing its power to end the darkness. It’s just part of our annual orbit around the Sun, inherent in the rhythm of life. And like our ancestors, all we need do is feel bolstered by the hope of a new beginning.
‘Tis the season to remember that no matter how dark and dreary the days, light will eventually prevail. Oddly, the Solstice also reminds us just how much remains the same on planet earth—human beings still long for the promise of spring, the heat of summer, the harvest of the fall. And because life has always been and still is so fragile and uncertain, in the dead of winter, we honor the light to strengthen our spirit, warm our hearts, and express our delight in being alive.

December 15, 2004
Pluto in Sagittarius: Part Two
Mercury Retrograde continues to snag schedules, and just like a loose thread in your favorite sweater, the more you pull and fuss, the more this retrograde seems to unravel routines. Of course, that’s probably the point of Mercury Retrograde—not so much the pulling apart, but the bit about collecting loose ends in the hope of knitting the details together—and as those of you familiar with Mercury Retrograde know, while a retrograde isn’t the best time to start something new, it is the ideal time to review, reflect, and reconsider what’s already cookin’. And because this is the final retrograde of the year, and because it began with a Pluto Mercury conjunction, a combination that fosters intellectual inquiry, the entire retrograde has a philosophical signature.
This week, a Pluto Sun conjunction, also in Sagittarius, adds a new twist. When Pluto and the Sun share the same space, they engender an appetite for power. So don’t be surprised if you find yourself insisting you’re right about everything or wishing everyone would just do “it” your way. Petty despots thrive under this influence. But from a positive viewpoint, this conjunction also provides as much energy as needed to get the job done. Seen through the philosophical perspective of the retrograde, it also offers opportunities to probe issues of power, personal and collective, political and spiritual. Use this influence to examine how you define power. Is power an external force that can be measured by material wealth or accomplishment? Is it a way of gauging spiritual accomplishment? Is power good? Or, is it bad? Can power be abused? And if so, are you holding yourself back because you’re afraid that’s what you will do if you become “too” powerful?
Many of us believe that Spirit, no matter what we name It, is the only true power.  For some, that translates into an anthropomorphic deity who dispenses life and death and acts through miraculous intervention. And while that sounds like the Christian god, almost every culture has a rich pantheon of gods and goddess who resemble humans and can be relied upon for punishment or help. For others, the divine has no personality; it exists as principle and can only be grasped by an enlightened mind. For still more, the flow of life, or Tao, is the great unfathomable mystery of existence that cannot be named, and any attempts to do so are deemed hilarious. And the list goes on and on.
Pluto is always teaching us about power, especially the power we don’t really have, and its journey through Sagittarius is delivering severe lessons about the power of belief systems and how they shape the world. And even though it is the season to be jolly, it is also the season to take stock of what we’ve set in motion and make plans for what’s to come.

December 8, 2004
Pluto in Sagittarius: Part One
In just thirteen short days we celebrate the Winter Solstice, the time of year in the Northern Hemisphere that marks the return of the light and nature’s promise of renewal. But these days before the Solstice are the darkest days of the year, days best spent deeply internal, gathering strength in preparation for a new year that will be born with spring. This year, Mercury, retrograde until December 20th, guides that internal process. Mercury Retrograde is always about reflection; as it retraces its path, we review ours. But this retrograde is unusual, because it began with Mercury in a conjunction to Pluto, a powerful configuration with a decidedly philosophical twist that seems relevant and timely.
Mercury and Pluto are conjunct in Sagittarius, the Sign of belief systems. Pluto’s been journeying through Sagittarius since 1995 and will continue that transit until 2008. Whenever Pluto moves through a Sign or touches another planet, it reveals the shadow of that particular symbol and begins a transformational process that always includes death and rebirth. As part of its method, Pluto takes us to edge of our known universe, perches us on the of recognized reality, and then, as we gaze upon the vastness of the unknown, asks us what we really know for sure. And then, as we tremble with uncertainty, delivers the jackpot question: How are we going to navigate the utterly incomprehensible mystery of Being? Pluto, planet of power, is actually an instrument of humility—it reminds us how little we know and how foolish it is to think all knowing is possible.
Religion and philosophy are part of the Sagittarian domain and Pluto’s journey through Sagittarius is meant to probe what we believe in and why. As often happens during specific planetary cycles, the themes of Pluto’s journey through Sagittarius play out on the world screen. Religious ideology has perched our planet on a precipice, and as a consequence of having reached the edge of our known spiritual universe, we’re being asked big but not new questions: What is the purpose and nature of religion? And how are we to understand its personal and collective application?  Some of us are willing to risk life and limb and take life and limb for faith. Others, blinded by a similar spiritual hubris, advocate a different kind of death—the suppression of inquiry, equality, and consciousness.
Through an astrological lens, Sagittarius is where we seek to integrate intellect with instinct. It’s where we learn to walk our talk. Pluto is also always about rebirth, and so its transit through Sagittarius offers the potential for synthesis. But it would seem that first, we need to recognize the very human tendency to polarize with the “other” and the consequences of that constriction. But even in the midst of collective contraction, Pluto’s journey through Sagittarius offers a chance to witness the diversity of beliefs and the vastness of creation. And then, in recognition of life’s infinite possibilities be humbled by how very little we know for sure.

December 1, 2004
Mercury Retrograde is this week’s big astro news. Mercury started its final retrograde of the season yesterday and its retro-slo-mo continues until December 20th. Be prepared for contact from friends and associates you haven’t seen or even thought about for a while—maybe even more than a year. Also anticipate routine tasks taking a little longer to complete than they normally do. While it’s handy to blame Mercury Retrograde for everything that goes wrong everywhere, Mercury Retrograde is not the devil. And its pop culture bad boy reputation is widely exaggerated. Mostly, Mercury Retrograde is about slowing down the pace of life, noticing the small stuff, and taking care of the details.
For those of you visiting Astro-Land for the first time, here’s what Mercury Retrograde is all about: Mercury symbolizes intellectual pursuits and processes, including all things related to communication and language, and that vast domain contains phones, faxes, mail of every classification, contracts, and negotiations. Basically, if you’re thinking, speaking or writing, you’re having a relationship with Mercury.  When Mercury seemingly moves backward across the sky, all things within its domain go slightly screwy. Computers crash, packages get lost, traffic slows to a crawl. Detours, delays, and diversions interrupt or interfere with even the best-made plans, which unfortunately means frustration grows exponentially. Mercury Retrograde is never a good time to initiate something new, the rule of thumb being whatever you begin under a retrograde influence will take longer to gain forward momentum.
Of course, Mercury Retrograde does serve a positive purpose. It is an ideal time to review, reflect, reconsider, and revise what’s already in motion because as Mercury retraces its path, it allows us to do the same. Culling through the details, whether those fine points pertain to huge projects or simply messy closets, is a useful endeavor, especially in our current world of techno-overload. I don’t know about you but between voice mail on a couple of phones, the still needed fax machines, tape recorders, headsets, electronic banking, email, instant messages, barcodes and 24/7 on-line ordering, not to mention software and system updates, and a plethora of other devices, modern life is completely overwhelming—and that’s before the people. So an opportunity to slow down is always welcome.

Allow yourself to adjust to the slower pace by refusing to push what won’t budge. The next three weeks no matter how techno-challenged are a perfect opportunity to reflect on an exceptionally intense year of planetary and personal change.

November 24, 2004
Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season, and as we enter the final stretch of an incredibly complex year, the stars set a serious tone and hold that earnestness in place for the next several weeks. As the days grow darker and we move closer to a variety of festivities celebrating the return of the light, the energetic undertow grows increasingly somber. Don’t misunderstand—there are plenty of opportunities for reveling, but there’s equal opportunity for thoughtful intelligent inquiry.
The source of this seasonal sobriety is a Pluto Mercury conjunction. When Pluto and Mercury share the same space, their combined intensity produces an unrelenting need to find a logical explanation for everything. Of course, that’s not always possible because life isn’t logical and doesn’t make sense, which means the incessant probing of this conjunction often turns into frustration or fixation. Particularly if what motivates the inquiry is the desire for a specific answer that will enable or justify a certain point of view or behavior. If you’re not willing to make your mind flexible, this conjunction is likely to deliver a migraine. If you’re willing to put aside the need for sense, this conjunction can deliver an intuitive grasp of what underscores the situation and that could be valuable information.
Significantly, this Pluto Mercury conjunction has a special signature—Mercury goes Retrograde on November 30th and stays retrograde until December 20th. This is the final retrograde phase of the 2004 and it seems appropriate to end this year culling through the details of the last several months. It also means that the next six days daily routines are likely to feel distorted—one moment speeds along and the next is mired in slo-mo.
This erratic pace is exacerbated by a Uranus Sun square—an unstable, volatile configuration that feeds a deep need for freedom, especially independence from the emotional, physical, or psychological shackles suffered at the hand of a negative father figure.
Normally, I would devote this week’s column to Thanksgiving and the notion of gratitude as an essential attitude for a joyous heart. But my heart isn’t joyous at the moment because I’m struggling to assimilate the ramifications of the election and it would be disingenuous to write an inspirational column just because it’s that time of year. Like many of you, I’m still in a descent and that part of the transformational process needs to be respected. It’s not that I’ve lost faith—I haven’t. I’m still hopeful about the future, and thankful for the awareness that this, too, shall pass.

November 17, 2004
There isn’t any one specific planetary signature that captures the frequency of the week. Too many disparate forces mix in a muddle and create confusion. On one hand, there’s cause for rebellion, but on the other, the status quo stays steady. A third hand promotes high ideals and the fourth urges action packed adventure. Another promises penetrating intellectual curiosity, while yet another hand provokes quibbles and quarrels. The good news is that you can align with whatever suits your fancy. The not so good news is that no matter what mask you choose, what divides us still strikes a melancholy chord.
A square between Uranus and the Sun is the source of this week’s rebellious streak. When these two grate against each other, we experience a need for independence. So don’t be surprised if you or someone you love refuses to follow the routine. The Sun and Uranus are both potent creative forces and anytime they interact their combined intensity translates into innovative choices. And a lingering trine between Mars and Uranus makes those creative choices feel effortless.
A trine between Neptune and Jupiter feeds idealism, as it simultaneously nourishes a compassionate perspective. This trine, while positive, creates a permeable mindset, capable of great imagination, but equally capable of being highly susceptible to suggestion. Envision, but be careful about giving your power away.
The source of intellectual curiosity is a Pluto Mercury conjunction in Sagittarius. When Pluto and Mercury share the same space, their combined intensity produces an unrelenting need to find a logical explanation for everything. Of course, life doesn’t make sense, which is why the intensity of this conjunction tends to turn into frustration or fixation, especially if you can’t find the answer you want. But if you’re willing to surrender control, this conjunction can deliver a keen intuitive grasp of almost any situation.
The grousing tone of the week belongs to a Saturn Venus square, and even though this interaction leans toward hypercriticism, it’s mostly like to play out as just plain cranky. Fortunately, a Saturn Sun trine supplies a grounding rod of stability, which is truly a good thing, because a lot of us are still reeling from the results of the election—a surreal experience that’s made getting grounded a whole lot harder.
Try not to let this week’s planetary hodgepodge become too distracting or overwhelming. Right now, there’s a lot to take in and sort through, and sometimes that process just needs time.

November 10, 2004
Planetary bumps excite the atmosphere this week creating the illusion that action is better than words. And while action may be the correct choice in certain specific situations, no unnecessary action might be a wiser choice overall, given the already unstable nature of life here on Earth. So rather than rush or charge ahead, focus on staying connected and collected.
Uranus provides the biggest bump when it goes Direct tomorrow. When the great mother of shift alters its course, the ethers shudder first from the slow down and then from the turn around. Expect these tremors to increase the already intense atmosphere. Also anticipate disrupted sleep patterns, strange dreams, and uneven heartbeats. And because Uranus is the keeper of surprises, count on its forward movement to facilitate startling revelations that are certain to rattle routines, personal and collective.
Uranus’ course correction is complicated by other factors.
(1) Saturn began its own retrograde phase on Monday, November 8th. When Saturn changes its course, we often experience the drag of its turn around as a dogged attention to rules and regulations. Saturn turned around in an almost exact square to Mars and that fractious interaction is bound to breed contempt for anything other than perfection. Saturn, never touchy-feely but always observant, takes on the stern voice of the impatient, frustrated critic, willing to point out even when it hurts all the things—well really everything—that could have been done better.
(2) Also on November 8th, Uranus began a trine with Mars. Both Uranus and Mars are meant to move, and we feel that need as an unstoppable desire for freedom, as well as the courage to do whatever it takes to break absolutely free from whatever enslaves. Give the political and religious climate, this determination will not be denied. As Uranus goes Direct, it will accelerate not only the pace of daily life, but also the need to shake off anything that inhibits independence. And that includes stuck, sluggish, useless beliefs and behavior. Expect lots of sudden decisions that defy common sense. Also anticipate an “I just can’t hold it back any more” marathon, yours or others, to fuel attitudes and declarations about everything.
While it’s not impossible staying grounded during a Uranus bump, staying connected and collected requires extra effort. As the week unfolds, allow your breath to help. Breathe deeply—gasp, if you must—with the intention that each inhalation and every exhalation will generate the clarity to navigate the rapidly changing screen of reality.

November 3, 2004
We don’t need the planets to take our pulse this week—it’s somewhere between sadness and euphoria, as people on either side of the great political divide celebrate a win or despair over a loss. Count on an uproar, anticipate tumult, and expect the turbulence to be physical, mental, and spiritual, as emotional bodies, already over-stimulated and over-excited, struggle to accept the result. The campaign lines that divided so distinctly are certain to solidify into concrete walls if we don’t agree with or believe the outcome. If you want to “make love not war” you will need to stay connected to your Higher Power. And it doesn’t matter whether that Higher Power is poetry, plants, or the rock-solid belief in a unifying spiritual force capable of containing a multitude of diversity—just stay connected. This week and the next several weeks reactions become chain reactions.
The emotional component at the core of this election was never hidden. Throughout the campaign, no matter what the facts, what a lot of us felt seemed more important. And the power of those feelings needs release especially the profound disappointment of loss. Don’t be surprised if it turns into rage. And also expect the thrill of winning to become a gloating self-righteous glee. We’ve forgotten how to play well with others and that collective developmental damage could turn into extremely bad behavior. Which is why it’s important to remember no matter who wins, the real work is before us, work that is completely independent of elections—the work of healing what turns our hearts against each other and makes us hate what we can’t understand.
What the planets do portend is that this already highly-charged reactive environment is actually super-charged. A Saturn Mars square turns the days before and after the election bitter and acrimonious, and that translates into an angry, aggressive climate that spoils situations that might be best left neutral. This fractious interaction is all about holding a harsh position and regardless of the consequences, refusing to soften that stance. From a collective perspective, political rhetoric turns threatening and toxic. From personal point of view, this square produces the potential to make someone—anyone—a scapegoat for your frustration. So don’t blame the dog for everything that goes wrong.
Other bits: A Uranus Mercury produces a nervous mind set that while creative, could under stress lean toward channeled messages from the Mothership. Don’t laugh—Neptune squares the Sun generating excursions into other dimensions, or at least the desire to escape from this one. Fortunately, a Jupiter Venus conjunction in Libra fosters some degree of harmonious social interaction even if it’s only with our extraterrestrial space brothers.

Because this week and the weeks to follow are a rough ride, it’s important to treat yourself and your fellow travelers with respect. And because most of us are weary to bone, try more than just a little tenderness.

October 27, 2004
A Lunar Eclipse, today, intensifies an already polarized political atmosphere and exacerbates the divide between sides. It’s a celestial event befitting the days leading up to this year’s presidential election on Tuesday, when Americans will gather their collective power, cast their vision upon the screen of world destiny, and alter the tilt of Earth’s axis. Our ancestors believed eclipses were interruptions in the normal rhythms of life, aberrations that portended extraordinary events, especially for Kings who held the power of life and death. We know better, now, (or at least we think we do) because our scientists can explain the physical reason for an eclipse. But for those of us interested in metaphysical meaning an eclipse event still packs a lot of power.
During a Lunar Eclipse, conscious concerns overcome unconscious drives and the 3-D overrides the Dream Time. Of course, it’s not really possible to stifle, squelch, holdback, deny, or suppress the unconscious for very long without experiencing a psychosis of some kind. And I’m sure you’ve noticed these last several weeks that you or someone you love is either breaking through or breaking down. The veils separating conscious and unconscious reality have grown increasingly transparent. This happens when the collective stands on a significant threshold and has to make important decisions. Not that Americans are the only contributors—let’s be quite clear that we aren’t. But we do carry a lot of weight and when we lean, there are consequences.
There’s no telling which the way the world will wobble on Tuesday or who will be our King on Wednesday morning. And because during this Lunar Eclipse, Uranus trines the Sun and sextiles the Moon, unforeseen plot twists are probable. We’ve already anticipated some of those surprises: rigged voting machines, the media continuing to supply propaganda, vitriolic name calling and slanderous accusations that can only make you wonder when exactly it was that leadership devolved to such an arrested emotional state. But there’s always room for a surprise or two: maybe someone will mention Lynne Cheney’s novel about lesbian love that’s selling on Amazon for $500. Or, perhaps Ralph Nader will have a satori moment and realize he was abducted by aliens (the bad, probing kind). And then, like Denzel in the Manchurian Candidate, rip that mind-controlling chip they implanted off his shoulder.
For the rest of us this week is all about making informed choices about our future. For Americans, it’s about deciding whether we want to continue supporting the careening trajectory of fear set in motion these last four years. Or, if we’re ready for a pole shift that will steady rather than stay our course?

October 20, 2004
New planetary patterns shift consciousness, this week. The Libra convergence is over and despite the next year of Jupiter’s transit through the Sign of Relating, for the moment the stars aren’t concentrating on relationship issues with the same intensity. Instead, they’re leaning toward issues of freedom, personal and collective. Because these new celestial influences are less about romance and more about reality, attitudes turn slightly more serious and somber. Also expect a little crankiness as the gregarious excitement of recent weeks recedes and existential election anxiety intensifies.
A Saturn Sun square is at the core of this week’s unease. This fractious interaction began last Wednesday, the day of the Solar Eclipse, and continues until next Tuesday. When Saturn forms a hard aspect to the Sun, Saturn’s famous voice of reality becomes the infamous voice of hypercriticism. Ever ready to point out the flaws, you’ll know you’re looking through the negative lens of Saturn if you can only see what’s wrong. From a transformational perspective, Saturn’s critical eye can become the capacity to discern what needs to be learned next, but to utilize this square positively, you must put aside the need to judge. This Saturn/Sun square is best used working hard on whatever needs thorough and consistent attention.
But holding on to a dogged devotion to hard work won’t be easy. A Uranus Sun trine provides lots of distractions, especially when its loud, clear bells of freedom start ringing with the inspiration to break free from whatever enslaves, personal and collective. (One can only hope the healing sound of that crystal clarity will weaken the yoke of fundamentalism and liberate myopic points of view on all sides of the one-way-and-one-way-only religious approach that would rather kill than tolerate another opinion.) And because Uranus is always full of surprises, this trine is certain to give birth to a climate of startling plot twists, yours or others.
One more bit: This is a week between eclipses—last week’s Solar Eclipse and next week’s Lunar Eclipse. And because eclipses wobble the world, daily routines are likely to be tilted in odd directions, which is likely to disturb your inner equilibrium. So do whatever it is you do to stay centered, and as always during pronounced periods of shift, be as kind as possible to your fellow travelers.

October 13, 2004
Libra, Part Three
We’re still in the sway of a planetary convergence in Libra—Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, and the Sun are all still transiting the Sign of Relating. And today, a New Moon, also in Libra, eclipses the Sun, an event that’s sure to increase the intensity of those famous fluctuating scales. Because eclipses have their own time zone, we often feel the eclipse effect weeks before or after the actual event, which means some area of your life may already be swinging wildly to extremes. But before you judge those oscillations as out of control, keep in mind that experiencing the “utmost” is part of Libra’s search for intelligent balance. As the I-Ching advises, if you want to compress something, you have to first let it fully expand. And for Libra, finding that perfect harmonious middle ground often means exploring the dissonant distorted ends of the spectrum, first.
From an astrological perspective, during a Solar Eclipse the Moon overshadows the Sun and unconscious forces override conscious intention. The Moon represents the capacity to feel, and while some may still dub this territory dangerous or irrational, others understand and welcome this mysterious power of the feminine. Feelings place us in time and space. But even though they are physical, they are also ephemeral. They ground us in the body but they move us through instinct and reaction. Feelings need to be felt, not because what we feel is always the truth, but because simply acknowledging what we feel often catalyzes an emotional transformation. But not every feeling needs to be shared. Learning to identify and articulate feelings is essential to emotional health. Knowing when it’s appropriate to express those feelings and when it isn’t is a sign of emotional maturity. Yet sometimes, even when we know better, certain feelings can’t be contained. And during today’s eclipse, feelings, compressed or compacted by the need to maintain a mask of harmony, are likely to spill out and over, making meltdowns probable.
This eclipse is the culmination of the last three weeks of emotional investigation through the lens of Libra. For those weary from this intensive, the effect of this eclipse could be the last in a series of melodramatic moments. For others, this intensive may have been just what was needed to reassess the value of relating and how to spend more hours of the day in the company of loved ones.

October 6, 2004
Libra, Part Two
A celestial cluster—Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, and Mercury—in Libra, the Sign of Relating, continues to focus hearts and minds on themes of love. And it matters not whether you are actively engaged in loving or simply meditating on love’s meaning—love in all its infinite varieties, including its opposite, anti-love or indifference, is in the air. For some, this atmosphere compels passionate action. For others, it’s lingering remembrances of springs past. For still more, the week is an exploration into the value of relationship and how important it is to belong, first to one’s self, and then, to another, even if that other is work, creativity, or service to the greater good.
Esoteric astrology teaches that Libra is where we learn to have a self in relation to another self, where we meet ourselves through the reflection of the “other” and through that mirroring are able to know ourselves more fully. Partnerships fueled by love or longing illuminate facets of the heart that aren’t easily recognized in a vacuum. Lovers, friends, business associates, people we care about or share our days with, stimulate reactions and responses we aren’t able to experience when we are alone, just as we catalyze dormant characteristics in others. This is why one of the challenges of relationship is recognizing that even when we find a reflection that’s satisfying and vital, that moment can’t be frozen into an eternal forever. Relating is a dynamic process, not a static state. And those famous Libra scales, a symbol for the constant motion of emotion.
Libra is a Cardinal Sign, which means “action” is its path to self-discovery. And while at first glance this might appear to be at odds with Libra’s love of balance, it is possible to view that devotion to balance as a necessary counterpoint to the constant swing of its scales. In keeping with the idea of activity, it might be helpful to think of “relationship” as a verb rather than a noun, a process rather than a possession. A relationship, despite all our efforts to hold on to perfect moments of romantic bliss, is not an object that can be owned—it can only be experienced, and we can only participate in the dynamic process of relating. 

Because every birth chart contains every Sign, each of us is experiencing this Libra concentration somewhere in the context of our lives, the ebb and flow of emotional bodies moving us in and out of the lessons of relating. Whatever your experience of these currents may be, try to keep in mind that relationships—even the difficult ones—are what glue the world together, heart-to-heart, spirit-to- spirit.

September 29, 2004
Libra, Part One
This week and the next several weeks, planetary love songs ride the autumn winds, turning this season of transition into a meditation on relationship and relating. Expect passion to warm the days as well as the nights. Also anticipate melodrama, as the urge to act on those passions inspires bursts of ardent behavior. And because love is as mysterious as alchemy, magical couplings and eccentric choices are probable. For those not interested in romance, October’s vital pulse arouses interest in all sorts of social interactions. And as the days grow shorter, the nights longer, and worry about the election worsens, this convivial astral atmosphere offers the promise of a little psychic relief.
The source of this love-fest is a strong concentration of planets in Libra—Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, and Mercury and because Libra is all about relationship this congregation guarantees that partnership issues will dominate. Keep in mind, you don’t have to be in a relationship to experience the intensity of this convergence. While Libra is best known for its interest in love and marriage, it also shelters a wide range of unions, from the professional to the platonic, as well as, and maybe most importantly, our life-long relationship with ourselves. As the next weeks unfold, be willing to examine how you treat yourself and you’ll begin to discover the template for all your relations, including how others relate to you. If, for example, you’re disparaging about your shortcomings, you may be also be snide about the limitations of those you love or they may feel compelled to ridicule you. An underlying contempt for your own neediness could translate into impatience with the needs of others or an inability to accept help. On the other end of the spectrum, compassion for one’s own frailties can blossom into an authentic kindness for others that feeds the fire of love and connection.
This week, Neptune trines that Sun in Libra stimulating the potential for mutual sympathy between those of like mind and heart. As this trine awakens imaginings about what’s possible it can just as easily override the reality of what is. Not that there’s anything wrong with fantasy—just be aware that as Neptune motivates the urge to merge, you may be merging with your own projections. Use this trine to be receptive, but don’t lose yourself in the process.

September 22, 2004
Today, the Sun enters Libra, autumn begins, the planets cluster in new patterns, and the priorities of daily life rearrange and realign. Collective concerns take a back seat to personal matters, especially relationship issues, as three other planets—Jupiter, Mars, and Mercury—follow the Sun into Libra, the Sign of Relating. Anticipate emotional mood swings, yours or others, to fluctuate between the highs of ecstasy and the lows of disappointment and every conceivable feeling in between. Rather than judge these vacillations, try to meet them with compassion and understanding. The remedy for so much of what hurts so many is simply the gift of being seen and heard.
Here’s the literal lineup: Jupiter follows the Sun into Libra on September 24th, and travels with it until the end of the month. Mars, also traveling in tandem with Jupiter and the Sun, enters Libra on September 26th. Mercury catches up with this Libra bundle by September 28th. This is not a negative grouping.  Jupiter’s presence bestows a gregarious grace to personal and professional interactions, formal or informal. Mars, too, will behave cordially, although it’s likely Mars will be a little too direct for casual chitchat. But Mercury, always adaptable, will smooth any rough edges even before they are noticed. They only difficulty may be the tendency to indulge in too much of just about anything you desire, particularly l-o-v-e. Libra rarely hesitates to revel in its romantic appetites. And the rest of this Gang of Four are also no slouches when it comes to satisfying urges of every variety. If those desires are healthy, have at it, and give yourself permission to chase and taste your passion. If you’re tempted by excess, and that temptation could cause harm to you or those you love, do whatever it takes to curb your craving. The other potential downside to this Libra intensive is the possibility rampant co-dependence. Libra is quite skilled at rationalizing its innate ability to consider and adapt to the needs of others as merely good manners, and that skill can sometimes mask a deep pattern of living vicariously through the life of another. 
The Sun will only be in Libra for the next month, but Jupiter will transit Libra for the next year, and as the planet of expansion journeys through the Sign of Relating, we’re sure to experiences lots of opportunities to probe the meaning of partnership. Fortunately, because Jupiter is also funny, there are likely to be many humorous moments along the way.

September 15, 2004
Today is the last lap in what’s seemed like a never-ending parade of planetary intensity, and as the stars begin to unwind from the hectic pace, life on Earth unfolds with a lighter touch. Of course, it will take time for this new frequency to settle in, and until it does, daily routines will still have a slightly reckless feel. But the pernicious undercurrents so present for the last month are finally receding, and that means hearts and minds can drop down a notch from hyper vigilance and relax.
But before the intensity dials down, we have to get through today and the exact conjunction and separation of Mars and the Sun.  We’ve been in the heat of this virile union since the end of August. One of the positive effects of its influence is the strong determination to succeed. This conjunction also represents the soldier, willing to do battle for a just cause. But because this Mars Sun conjunction was also a partner with recent fractious Pluto transits, its warrior signature was distorted. No authentic Mars Sun soldier would stoop to terrorism of any kind, and certainly terrifying, abusing, and killing children would never be considered an act of bravery. Now, as this conjunction starts to separate, we’re likely to experience that relief from the intensity as a series of meltdowns, yours or others. Specifically, be prepared for waves of grief, especially surges of sorrow generated by frustration and despair over our collective breakdown. Fortunately, Saturn sextiles both Mars and the Sun, and acts as a grounding rod, helping to steady and stabilize the emotional after shocks. 
The really good news (yes, there is really good news) is a Jupiter Sun conjunction. Jupiter is in the final moments of its journey through Virgo; it moves into Libra on Friday, September 24th. As Jupiter gets ready to leave Virgo, it travels in tandem with the Sun. We love this nearly perfect union because when Jupiter and the Sun couple, they give birth to an optimistic attitude that’s always about humor and good cheer. What’s more, this conjunction is also enterprising and industrious because Mars, too, moves with Jupiter, the Sun, and the presence of Mars guarantees a fire in the belly. This entire Jupiter, Mars, Sun bundle motivates aspirations of every denomination, material and spiritual. Of course, Jupiter Mars contacts can err on the side of excess, over stimulating the already over zealous. But compared to what we’ve just been through, these enthusiastic extremes seem tame. After Pluto’s power plays, Jupiter’s excesses, especially its penchant for laughter, are more than welcome.
But Jupiter isn’t only about excess, expansion, and extremes. Jupiter is also a deeply healing presence that allows us to reach for understanding and wisdom, as it simultaneously helps us to integrate those insights into our behavior.

September 8, 2004
This week, the intensity of recent weeks reaches a crescendo, as several on going fractious planetary interactions hit their peak. And as fate would have it, this current drama coincides with two historical traumas still in need of healing and resolution. The first is the anniversary of September 11th; the pain of that wound made more bitter by thoughtless and seemingly endless exploitation. The second, the debacle of the presidential election of 2000, the shock of that episode reinforced daily by polls reminding us how close the coming election will be. The result of this synchronistic mix of heavenly movement and human memory is emotional distress, and it isn’t clear whether our human adversity mirrors the stars or if the stars are reflecting our unrest. What is clear is how vulnerable many of us are, and how handling that sensitivity requires more than the “normal amount” of empathy and kindness.
Three Pluto contacts are at the epicenter of this week’s energetic bulge and all three make it difficult to find and maintain a compassionate stance. Pluto is always about seduction, coercion, and control, and as it rubs against other planets that friction makes power plays, personal and collective, probable. (1) The Pluto Mars square that began last week is exact and separating, tomorrow, September 9th. This square is one of the reasons lots of people have been extremely edgy. And while it’s true, Pluto Mars contacts supply an almost superhuman force, if that energy isn’t channeled with spiritual awareness, it devolves into harsh brutality that rationalizes its cruelty as necessary—as in the cold dismissal of “get over it” and other dictums delivered with an intention to inhibit or belittle. As Pluto and Mars start to pull apart, so do emotional bodies, and that means meltdowns and ultimatums are likely. (2) A Pluto Sun square that began on September 6th will be exact and separating on September 11th. Given the already loaded significance of that date, nervous systems are likely to sway to extremes at the slightest provocation. And because this square pushes for power and will do almost anything to consolidate control, be prepared for opportunists to take advantage of vulnerable situations. Unfortunately, one of the signatures of a Pluto Sun square is the martyr who mistakenly sacrifices life in the name of god. (3) The on-going Mars Sun conjunction will be exact and separating at the end of the week, on September 15th. This conjunction has been the major contributor to the militant air of the last several weeks, and as it starts to wind down, tempers are likely to flare up.
From a transformational perspective, this week offers an opportunity to investigate power issues with an eye toward exposing rather than indulging in power’s shadows. In the midst of this heat, it’s important to remember that power plays out along a spectrum of potential and on either end, whether it’s the victim or victimizer pole, the distortion is extreme. Those extremes can harm the heart by shutting it down with hopelessness and despair, or by making it bitter and brittle with bravado. Finding a balance of power in one’s own heart is the task of the spiritual warrior. To be both strong and humble allows the heart to breathe in the clarity of spirit—the truly powerful—and with that breath to navigate the challenge of power with an intention to do no harm. As this week unfolds do your best to find that breath and hold that balance.

September 1, 2004
This week, and the next several weeks, fervent intensity continues to challenge body, mind, and spirit, making it hard to find any kind of middle ground. The air, already inflamed with a militant mindset, is so charged that even normally cautious folk feel compelled to take an extreme position. And because some of what’s expressed is likely to be completely far-fetched or designed to mislead or misconstrue, respecting the right of others to believe what they want to is going to drive the righteous crazy with a sense of frustration or failure. The best way to navigate this miasma of projection, propaganda, and provocation is to stick to the truth—just don’t confuse that truth with what you wish would be. Rather, hold fast to the notion of Higher Ground, and let that idea help you honestly gauge what’s goin’ on.
The source of this week’s fever stems from two sources. (1) A Mars Sun conjunction, which began last week and is exact on the 15th, continues to generate an aggressive atmosphere. The Sun symbolizes the primal life force. Mars represents the movement of that energy into action. And when they share the same space, their ambitious partnership fuels a desire for self-definition through accomplishment, as it simultaneously supplies the strength and will to do whatever it takes to succeed. This is a power-packed configuration that can be used to make giant strides toward specific goals.
Unfortunately, the force of this conjunction gets drafted into combat when  (2) Pluto begins a square to Mars on September 2nd, which is exact on the 9th. This fractious interaction is said to signal war, but since we are already at war, what we are likely to experience is increased violence. And because Pluto represents power, and Mars, ambition, this escalation in violence is apt to be exploited by those seeking to use the turmoil to their advantage. Be advised, this square doesn’t only play out on the global screen; it’s also about petty despots attempting to capitalize on edgy emotional states.

And edgy it is as nervous systems already frayed struggle to cope with the increased intensity. Do whatever it is you do to strengthen your connection to Spirit, and allow that alliance to guide your thoughts, words, and deeds.

August 25, 2004
This week, the stars strike a militaristic chord, signaling another period of upset and turmoil. Unfortunately, as disruption, personal and collective, continues to challenge routines, nervous systems, already depleted from intensity overload start to sag from the stress. Expect meltdowns, yours or others. Also anticipate attitude—and lots of it—again, yours or others. And while a good offense can sometimes provide the perfect strategy for surviving an edgy environment, this week, relying on bravado alone, won’t do the trick. You’ll need strength, as well as character to meet this volatile atmosphere.
A Mars Sun conjunction supplies the militant mindset. When these two vital forces share the same space, muscles ripple with energy. Athletes thrive under this influence. As do soldiers because in addition to providing physical strength, this conjunction also supplies courage, specifically the kind of courage that’s needed for battle. And given the state of our Union, the state of the world, and the timing of this conjunction, the war cries of the Republican convention are likely to rattle the walls of Madison Square Garden, inciting supporters and protestors alike. For those of us not interested in counting coup, the power of this Mars Sun contact is best spent in creative pursuits that aren’t aimed at causing harm to other sentient beings.
Unfortunately, a Uranus Sun opposition ratchets up the intensity making it difficult to find neutral activities. This opposition fosters a revolutionary spirit and encourages freedom fighters to express themselves. (I can’t believe I’m actually saying this but a little less expression and a little more repression, especially now, would be a welcome change.) If you’re a rebellious teenager or the parent of one, be prepared for increased acting out. If you’re a protestor, spend some time contemplating how to demonstrate your disapproval in an innovative manner that doesn’t include contributing to violence. And if you’re a staunch conservative who feels the need to project your religious agenda on to others…well, you wouldn’t really be seeking astrological advice, so never mind. 
To be sure, the remedy for this week’s harshness won’t be found in angry behavior. Finding an effective antidote for this week’s bellicose environment requires a revolution of the heart that shifts the focus away from with divides and concentrates instead on what unites.

August 18, 2004
Restive astral winds continue to generate psychic storms, both personal and collective, and as these disturbances couple with the mounting frustration of Mercury Retrograde, an undercurrent of volatility turns routine tasks into oddly nervous undertakings. Conversations, casual or serious, cackle with intensity. Actions, intended or unintended, reverberate with a thunderous roar. A simple word, well placed or misconstrued, triggers a flash flood of feelings that spill out at the most unlikely moments. Put simply, it’s a mess and there’s just no controlling it. But keep in mind, not every eruption will have a negative consequence. Sometimes an intense, unexpected release can be as cleansing as the rain.
The Uranus opposition to the Mars/Mercury conjunction continues to be the source of the unrest, and today is the day all three configurations are exact and separating: First, the Uranus Mars opposition; then, the Mars Mercury conjunction; third, the Uranus Mercury opposition. As these forces pull apart, the bottled up intensity of the last few weeks lets go. Uranus represents freedom, so don’t be surprised if you can’t repress the urge to walk out of a job, relationship, or other commitment fraught with problems. Mars symbolizes the warrior, which means you can also anticipate the determination to take a stand for yourself or someone less capable of self-defense. And because Mercury signifies communication, what’s spoken or unspoken plays a significant role in how the intensity lets loose. But again, keep in mind, these releases don’t have to be dire. Sometimes walking out on an unhealthy relationship is a wise choice, as is taking a stand for what you believe in. And communication, even when it is awkward, lumpy, or clumsy, is still what ties us together and allows us to be intimate.
The best way through the next several days is awareness and authenticity. Awareness, because it will allow you to observe and witness the patterns as they unfold. Just resist the compulsion to translate your observations into the answer. We’re under the influence of Mercury Retrograde until September 2, and what presents itself as a possible answer, today, may not be the solution, tomorrow. Authenticity, because it will keep you grounded in what’s true for you. And in the midst of upheaval, what matters most can serve as a compass to guide your choices about what’s appropriate and what isn’t.
One more bit: Lots of people are feeling extremely tender at the moment. Some are in the midst of huge changes. Others are experiencing the paralysis of fear. And still more are uncertain about what the future will hold. So when possible, remember to be kind to yourself and your fellow travelers.

August 11, 2004
This week, the planets stir a restless wind, turning hearts and minds antsy with agitation, making it hard to maintain regular routines or settle into a calm, easy attitude. A portion of this restive force is born from the normal frustration of Mercury Retrograde, which began on Monday. But a larger part is the result of a clash between Uranus and Mars, both of which are interacting with Mercury, and neither enjoy being constrained by Mercury’s plodding devotion to the details of the past. On a personal level, the collision of these conflicting forces translates into quarrelsome mindsets and short tempers. From the collective perspective, the heat increases in those already too hot spots of the world. As always, compassion will serve as the best remedy for the turbulence, so even if being kind isn’t easy, do your best—there’s no need to contribute to the unrest.
Uranus opposes that retrograde Mercury producing a peculiar tension that tends to reach for release through hasty action or quick conclusions. Uranus Mercury contacts are famous for brilliant, revolutionary ideas, but this week, those intellectual insights are likely to be flooded with contradiction, and the result is confusion instead of clarity.
But that’s not the crux of this week’s restlessness. The real problem is Mars. Mars begins an opposition to Uranus, today, and by the weekend, Mars also forms a conjunction with Mercury. (Oy—it is as convoluted as it sounds.) Mars Uranus anything thrives on action, and because of that their interactions are often related to accidents, especially mishaps caused by haste or frustration. Try not to give into the kind of impatience that breeds carelessness. If you get stuck in traffic, surrender to the moment, and soothe that need to move. A Mars Mercury conjunction feeds a picky desire to focus on what’s wrong instead of what’s right. This conjunction also amps up the bent toward rash behavior, especially if you’re counting on action to solve the problem. Remember, we’re in a retrograde, which means action may not be the wisest choice. This entire Mercury/Mars/Uranus bundle irritates nervous systems, and because this pattern builds all week and spills over into next week, we can expect a pretty bumpy ride, personal and collective.
Fortunately, Uranus trines Venus, and while this interaction is infamous for amorous eccentricity, it is just as well known for providing artistic inspiration. So channel the restless currents of the week into creative pursuits, and you’ll not only experience the ability to push boundaries and techniques, but you’ll also find a positive way to avoid getting snagged by the intensity.

August 4, 2004
Forget the dog days of August—there just won’t be time for afternoon siestas. A big, busy bundle of planetary interaction turns this week and the next several weeks into a marathon of activity. And what’s more, because no one astro signature sets the tone, as the stars pull in different directions, daily life becomes fragmented, and we mere mortals, stretched a little thin. The secret to handling this multifaceted, multidimensional phase is, of course, multitasking.
Here’s the play list: (1) Mercury goes retrograde on August 9th and stays retrograde until September 2nd. The next five days, as Mercury prepares to “turn around”, life on earth shifts into a slow crawl. Many of you already know the Mercury Retrograde drill, but for those of you who don’t, here’s the skinny: Mercury symbolizes all things related to communication and travel, including commerce, computers, phones, faxes, mail of every ilk, and traffic. Mercury Retrograde is not a good time to initiate new projects or install new software or new equipment. (That’s right—nothing new.) It is a great time to review, revise, and reconsider. If you must put something into motion, be prepared for snafus of all kinds, especially lost packages, system crashes, and having to repeat yourself—a lot.
(2) But that’s not all: Mercury turns around in an opposition to Uranus, so expect this review to deliver surprising information that may have been previously over looked. This opposition also translates into an unsettled atmosphere that’s likely to disturb sleep patterns.
(3) A Neptune Sun opposition generates an air of hypersensitivity, and while this contact can be deeply spiritual it can also be extremely seductive. Be receptive, but don’t allow yourself to be fall prey to deception.
(4) The Sun is also in a trine to Pluto. Normally, I would be grateful for this powerful alignment because when Pluto, the planet of transformation, aligns with the Sun, the source of life, creativity flourishes and innovative leaders express life-affirming vision. But this trine also generates a craving for power. And when that intensity coalesces with the on-going (5) Pluto Jupiter square, despots, major and minor, strive to consolidate their power base, promising just about anything to enlist the support to make it so.

Fortunately, (6) the sextile between Saturn and Jupiter continues to offer a remedy for extremes, by providing a calming, steadying influence. This sextile also supplies a strong reservoir of stamina—the kind of endurance necessary to handle a broad range of responsibilities. It’s also the perfect support for multitasking because it delivers the ability to concentrate in the midst of distraction.

July 28, 2004
This week and the next several weeks, a puzzle of planetary contradiction turns daily life even a little more complex than it already is. On one hand, a strong current of innovation pushes against the grain of routines and challenges the status quo. On another, power surges encourage power plays. And in contrast to those two dynamic influences, a strong undertone of patience underscores sobriety. There is no “right” way through this energetic maze, which means the best way to find the center is simply to stay centered.
A Uranus Mercury opposition is the brainchild of invention that’s eager for something new. Uranus symbolizes spontaneity, Mercury signifies the intellect and when these two combine, they not only beg for discovery, but they also beget ideas—and lots of them. At worst, this opposition promotes the tendency to spread your time and energy too thin. At best, Uranus and Mercury inspire flashes of insight. Keep in mind, during Uranus Mercury interactions nervous systems tend to flutter, and that translates into erratic heartbeats, disturbed sleep patterns, and unspecified anxiety.
A Pluto Jupiter square feeds a craving for power. On a personal level, you or those you love may feel compelled to enforce stringent rules designed to fortify authority but in reality those regulations are simply ploys to maintain unequal relationships. If you’re tempted to punish for the slightest infraction, lighten up, and question your intention. On a collective level, this square inspires plutocratic rhetoric disguised as compassionate concern, but in reality is designed to exploit sensitive issues. Don’t believe everything you hear or see. And most importantly, don’t give your power way to leaders because you don’t have the time or heart to explore the issues.

Acting as an astro antidote, a Saturn Jupiter sextile supplies the voice of reason and a strong sense of responsibility. Jupiter softens Saturn’s severity and Saturn reins in Jupiter’s excesses. Rely on this alliance to keep you grounded, realistic, and tolerant.
As these contrasting astro forces coalesce, the opposition between Uranus and Mercury is apt to dominate days, as it stimulates an exchange of ideas. Some of us will thrive on the intellectual intensity and relish in the debate, while others will find the ideological clashes unbearable, and most of us will be vacillating somewhere in between. So try to stay aware of your needs and the needs of your fellow travelers. Sometimes soothing words can make a difference and other times silence can be a treasured gift.

July 21, 2004
This week, planetary fire heats the atmosphere, self-confidence fills the air, and ambition drives the action. Anticipate having the strength and stamina to work almost non-stop toward specific goals. But also be prepared for a militaristic attitude, yours or others, that could, if it goes unchecked, turn every activity into a drill. So try not to be too demanding. While there’s nothing wrong with discipline or precision, not everyone will want to enlist. Fortunately, wisdom and wit are also part of the bundle and that infuses this week’s enterprising spirit with grace, and if we’re lucky, a touch of humor.
The source of this week’s fervor is a trine between Pluto, in Sagittarius, and Mars, in Leo. Pluto symbolizes pure power, Mars represents physical prowess, and when they unite in a positive relationship in Fire Signs, they deliver the determination to succeed. Keep in mind, this configuration is highly competitive and will do almost anything to win. The trick to handling this power pack without getting caught up in ruthless behavior is harnessing its combined strength to make steady, even progress toward specific goals. Because Mars also signifies the soldier, combat zones are almost certain to experience an increase in activity. Mars is also the patron of athletes and that translates into record setting wins.
A Pluto Venus opposition turns some of the excitement toward sexual attraction, but because Jupiter squares both Pluto and Venus, some of those close encounters could turn excessive, so be wary of first date marriage proposals. But those won’t be the only dramatic declarations. This configuration also intensifies the political debate, stirring fantastic rhetoric as a way of exploiting a specific agenda. (In my perfect world, politicians would be required to undergo lie detector tests as they deliver speeches, and the failure to tell the truth would result in true community service—say, teaching, garbage collection, or working in an ER. The media would be obliged to report factually and anchor people would be required to take truth serum during the broadcast. No god or goddess would make ethereal campaign contributions. And, oh yes, no mean-spirited name-calling would be allowed or unseemly references to what the candidates look like or whether or not they, their husbands, wives, or children are charming.)
As the days and nights unfold, use this week’s planetary fire to stoke a commitment to achieving your goals. And if you feel the urge to do battle, resist the temptation to do harm. There are plenty of ways to take a stand without participating in violence or being cruel to yourself or others.

July 14, 2004
Venus sings a siren’s song this week, but unlike Ulysses, we don’t have to plug our ears with bee’s wax or lash ourselves to the mast until her enchanting wail fades away. The goddess of love is simply revealing her many splendors and flaunting her multiple charms. And while it’s true, some of her astral melodies are likely to gush with emotion or seduce you into an erotic stupor, not every ditty is hopelessly romantic or designed to make you lose your mind. Some of her songs remind us of spiritual love and its power to heal the weary heart. Others tell a story about creative inspiration and aspiration.
A Venus Neptune trine allows Venus to display a wide range of her talents. This is a positive alliance that just loves love in all its possible manifestations, from the romantic longings of lovers to the comfort and durability of friendship to family ties that bind beyond history or memory. Neptune amplifies Venus’ beauty, but this magnification doesn’t only focus on physical appeal. This configuration is highly idealistic and that fuels an understanding that physical beauty is relative, a construct of culture, and that true beauty is transcendent and never limited by the confines of trend or fashion. Through the Venus Neptune filter you just might find yourself doing a double take because someone you’ve known forever and likely taken for granted suddenly glows with a blinding radiance of spirit that is simply irresistible.
Mars sextiles Venus, which increases the passionate charge of the week, but Neptune opposes Mars, and that influence is apt to confuse some of those romantic urges, especially if all that wishing and hoping isn’t based on mutual attraction. Be clear about what you want, but don’t force it. Unfortunately, staying realistic won’t be easy, because Venus also begins a square to Jupiter, and by the end of the week, that combo turns the whole bundle excessive.
Fortunately, despite Venus’ reputation for driving us crazy for love, she is not a negative force. Yes, love can break your heart, but that doesn’t mean love isn’t worth it. If you’re not inclined toward romantic reveling, the entire Venus concentration can be aimed at artistic endeavors, which are likely to flourish under her guidance. What’s more, as these Venus energies coalesce, mystical experiences become visceral and that leaves a lingering imprint of spiritual love.
As the week unfolds, allow yourself to dream about what you most desire, but also aim the light of Venus on what you already have. When we see the world through the eyes of love, we deepen our appreciation and gratitude for what’s already present.

July 7, 2004
Two alternate realities shape the astro-atmosphere this week, and while these influences aren’t at odds with each other, they also aren’t working together, and that translates into a jarring rhythm. One moment, you’re likely to get caught in controversy, just for the sake of stirring it up, and the next, a sudden need to withdraw could stop you mid-sentence. By the end of the week, this push/pull is amplified by the power of projection, which further muddies the psychic and emotional waters. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself saying more than you normally would because you’re irritated or grumpy. But also expect paranoia to make you reticent to say anything because you’re anxious about being misunderstood. Moving between these parallel universes isn’t dangerous; it just requires a steady internal compass that keeps you focused on what’s real. Of course, that’s saying a lot, especially these days, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.
A Mars Mercury conjunction is Leo is the source of this week’s cantankerous energy. Mars represents the warrior, Mercury represents the intellect, and when they share the same space, the spur the power of thought. But because conjunctions don’t leave a lot of wiggle room, their combined influence tends toward rash, edgy repartee that devolves into a quarrelsome attitude as a way of coping with the intensity. By the weekend, both Mars and Mercury move into an opposition with Neptune. That configuration not only produces the potential for projection and the resultant boundary issues, but the presence of Neptune also feeds a need to deceive. And because Mars and Mercury are both in Leo (a Sign well known for its love of drama) plans, ideas, and promises run the risk of exaggeration.
A Saturn Sun conjunction in Cancer offers an antidote to this excess, but not directly. When Saturn sits on the Sun, we experience a sobering sense of inhibition that fuels a desire to isolate as a way of protecting ourselves from an almost hypersensitivity to criticism or judgment. Given the unsettled climate of the week, that could be a good thing. But withdrawing to lick hurt feelings could lead to a full-scale brood over all that wrong with others or ourselves.
The task this week is finding a way to navigate these alternate realities without getting trapped in the extreme of either one. If you notice yourself arguing or embellishing just for a thrill, try to quiet your emotional body. If you notice you’re secluded because you’re afraid, try to explore and examine why you’re worried. As always, try to bring awareness to your reactive state and see how that consciousness can help you to grow.

June 30, 2004
This week and the next several weeks, the planets sing sentimental songs and life on Earth hums with feeling. Expect to feel vulnerable, as emotions, yours or others, dominate daily routines. Also anticipate an increased need for solitude as a way of coping with the tenderness. Of course, the stars aren’t only singing sad songs, but even the happy melodies are likely to stir a melancholy mood. The good news is that this hypersensitivity offers possibilities of spiritual insight, specifically, the sort of understanding we gain when we have the courage to feel deeply and learn from the intensity of our emotions.
The source of vulnerability is a Saturn Sun conjunction in Cancer that starts building this week and is exact on July 8th. This conjunction tends to inhibit vitality. It also stimulates a need for protection that translates into the desire to withdraw or isolate. Cancer represents the mother and the primal urge to feel connected to others through love. Saturn represents limits, and when it overshadows a Cancer Sun, it’s easy to become self-conscious about both giving and receiving love. If you’re dissatisfied with the quality of a current relationship, this conjunction could magnify your disappointment. If you’re not partnered, but wishing you were, you might find yourself despairing if true love will ever come along. Whatever your partnership status, don’t let this conjunction devolve into harsh, bitter judgment about neediness, yours or others. If it’s one thing we all share, it a need for love. Instead, use the sober, probing quality of Saturn Sun to explore how you can create positive nurturing relationships where mutual needs are accepted and respected.

Fortunately, Jupiter sextiles the Sun and Saturn, softening the seriousness of that conjunction with humor and a philosophic attitude that encourages exploration into the emotional waves of the week. Use Jupiter to examine your beliefs about intimacy, and as you do, consider whether or not it’s reasonable to expect a partner to love you unconditionally, the way your mother did or should have. Asking another to satisfy that need could create an imbalance that blinds you to the love that’s already there.

As the week unfolds, and the atmosphere grows increasingly sensitive, try to be as patient as possible with yourself and others. Some of your fellow travelers are likely to respond to the emotional climate with mood swings, others may turn sappy, and still more may feel overexposed. It takes skill to handle powerful feelings, so when possible, offer a helping hand. Really, we belong to each other, and sometimes a kind word or gesture acknowledging that connection is all that’s needed to soothe the heart and comfort the spirit.

June 23, 2004
Passionate planetary threads weave the energetic fabric of the week into a dynamic tapestry of change. One strand provides a need for personal freedom; another stimulates drama, and one more, endurance. It isn’t possible to predict a precise pattern because Uranus dominates the design, and, as most of us already know, when Uranus guides the process there’s just no predicting the outcome. But that shouldn’t be a reason to worry. Even though Uranus tends toward upheaval, there are times when its catalyzing force can be a blessing.
A trine between Uranus and the Sun is the source of this week’s urge to break free from stagnant systems. Both Uranus and the Sun are guiding lights of creativity, and when they unite in a positive alliance, their combined brilliance illuminates what needs to change, as they simultaneously stimulate a vision of what needs to happen next. Together, the Uranus and the Sun embody the true spirit of revolution not just the restless need to rebel simply for rebellion’s sake. And while it’s true, this configuration can empower zealots, not all freedom fighters are terrorists, nor is every movement for independence violent. This trine is the planetary signature of artists, teacher, and inventors who dare to see beyond the confines of what’s known and have the courage to believe that what they envision is possible. Use this trine to both explore how to create greater personal freedom and how to implement those insights.
Mars moves into Leo, today, fueling self-confidence, as it simultaneously adds a touch of drama to daily routines. Mars, always happy in a Fire Sign, enjoys the heat of Leo, and that pleasure translates into a spirit of enterprise. And although Mars makes no direct connection with Uranus or the Sun, its entry into Leo contributes to the overall desire for action.

Saturn conjuncts Mercury all week long, which could dampen enthusiasm, especially if you have an inclination to brood over what you believe can’t change. But don’t let the heaviness of this conjunction fool you into thinking you’re hopelessly stuck. Instead, attune to the positive end of the Saturn Mercury spectrum, which provides the thoroughness and depth of thought to recognize what structures would benefit from the innovation of Uranus trine the Sun.

Use the planetary threads of the week to weave your own personal picture of reform, and then, dare to believe those changes can occur.

June 16, 2004
This week, planetary crosscurrents create an uneven pattern making it hard to feel energetic and enthusiastic about grabbing hold of what should or must be done. So don’t be surprised if you find yourself wishing you were on vacation, lying by an ocean or a lake, nestled into a comfortable chair with a great big fat book you can’t put down, or dozing the days away in a hammock. Fortunately, this longing to lull isn’t motivated by a desire to escape pernicious astral intensity or a negative atmosphere. A large part of this week’s urge to blob is seasonal—it’s June, the time of year we tune out and relax into the heat of summer. The rest of that desire to get away is a natural result of nervous systems depleted from having to cope with so much intensity for so long. And because the planets aren’t pinpointing emergencies that require an adrenaline-fueled focus, the ragged rhythm of the week reveals a very real need for rest and recuperation.
A trine between Neptune and Venus supports this week’s desire to take a break. Venus represents the pleasure principle, Neptune symbolizes fantasy, and together, they produce a strong inclination to dream. And because Venus is the goddess of love, erotic reverie is likely. This trine also delivers a high degree of artistic sensitivity and receptivity, which means its possible to channel this energy into creative endeavors with skillful ease, your Muse guiding words, notes, or movements.
Jupiter squares Venus, producing the possibility of squandering that sensitivity through excess. Jupiter and Venus both like to revel in all sorts of indulgences, and that could lead to too much everything—wine, food, retail therapy, even conversations about what you could, would, or should spend your time doing, but can’t because you’ve spent it all talking. What’s more, this square leans toward laziness, which is another reason the craving for vacation is apt to override even the best intentions toward industry and enterprise.
One more bit. As the week unfolds and the longing for a vacation takes hold, be careful not to vacate consciousness. Earth is still in crisis, and often an absence of urgent astro interactions allows what’s been brewing as a result of previous tension to finally emerge. So don’t be surprised if strong feelings, yours or others, bubble to the surface with an intensity that seems incongruent to the specifics of the situation.

June 9, 2004
Uranus and Pluto are the newsmakers this week, and while they aren’t interacting with each other, these two agents of change are stirring the already agitated atmosphere and that translates into yet another week of tumult, both personal and collective. Uranus is changing direction, Pluto is promoting power plays, and the combined effect of their astral irritation is likely to produce aggravation. If you’re tempted to push, take a moment to consider the consequences of insistence. Sometimes no action is the best action.
Uranus goes Retrograde on June 10th and stays retrograde until November 11th. When Uranus moves, nervous systems respond to that motion with heightened sensitivity, which means for the next several days sleep patterns are likely to be disturbed, and attitudes are apt to be anxious. As Uranus retraces its path, it revisits the last four months of upheaval—and so do we. The best way to handle this review is the willingness to rethink decisions, especially impetuous behavior motivated by the heat of the moment without regard to how those acts might impact others. From a collective perspective, this retrograde could reveal even more disturbing political information. These last few months were the months of Clarke, Dean, Woodward, and Abu Ghraib, and while it may be hard to believe, this retrograde is bound to deliver even more startling disclosures.
The opposition between Pluto and the Sun is exact on June 11th the day after Uranus goes Retrograde. Pluto Sun oppositions stimulate an appetite for power. Despots like to throw their weight around under this influence, so be prepared for demonstrations of power, small and large, to spike over the next few days. Avoid a swelled head, puffed chest, or an arrogant attitude that could distort your vision or motivate regrettable behavior. Be aware, this opposition also fuels the psychotic urges of those who use their own life to take the lives of others. We can only wonder in sorrow how many people will have to die before the collective agrees that terrorism of any kind—political or religious, child or spousal abuse, poverty, hunger, homelessness, or apathy—never works.
Humility is the best antidote to this week’s intensity, because a humble attitude in the midst of turmoil allows an opportunity to accurately assess reality. And that clarity offers protection from the fog of grandiosity, which could help us to function well, where we are most needed.

June 2, 2004
Each week, I try to provide an overview of planetary activity and a forecast of what those patterns might mean relative to daily life. But not this week. Because like many of you, my attention isn’t on the stars, it’s on the violence infecting our planet and the challenge that violence poses to staying hopeful about the outcome. And it seems a daunting task. On one hand, I want to have the strength to take in the deepest truth about what we’ve set in motion and what that means about us humans. On the other, I struggle with the psychic frailty that comes from recognizing the magnitude of what needs to change before we can create a truly peaceful solution.
Recently, I attended a teaching with the Dalai Lama where he taught about compassion and the Buddhist method for living a compassionate life. The Dalai Lama didn’t directly address our collective crisis. He taught about cause and effect and how to bring awareness to what we set in motion as individuals, as well as how to end that motion through a lucid clarity that ends the illusion of separation. But Buddhism isn’t the only religion that teaches loving kindness. All religious traditions teach peace, even those ancient religions now locked in a battle to the death.

Daily the media chronicles the unraveling of our collective heart, an unraveling caused in part by spiritual distortion on every side of our many wars. People cling to fundamentalist dogma when they are afraid. When you can’t make sense of life, certainty, no matter how extreme, offers the promise of meaning. Desperate circumstances and unbearable suffering give birth to desperate, unspeakable acts. And that suffering isn’t only spiritual, economic, cultural, or even the physical horror of war—it’s also the suffering of the human heart that can no longer bear its own shame and needs to project that shame on to others.

As I stand on the dangerous edge of our world, peering into the abyss, knowing what’s being reflected is what’s worst about being human, I keep reminding myself that the miracle of being human is that we can choose. We don’t have to follow orders, especially when our hearts know what we are being asked to do is wrong. We can choose to respond to violence with non-violence wherever and whenever we encounter it—at work, on the street, at home, or in our own hearts. When we do, we set peace in motion. And that gives us a chance.

May 26, 2004
It’s another funky week here on Earth as planetary tension and its release makes it hard to concentrate on what needs to be done. Avoid letting the pressure to cope with what develops devolve into overwhelm. And don’t try to match the planetary pulse—it’s too erratic to follow, and trying will only stress your system.
The conjunction between Saturn and Mars started separating yesterday, and when difficult configurations pull apart, standard routines tend to come unglued. Anticipate emotional discharges yours or others, as the tightly held tension of this conjunction continues to let go, and feelings, previously held back, gush to the surface of daily interactions.
A Uranus Sun square excites the already agitated atmosphere of the week. This square excites revolutionaries of every ilk, but it also signals a hardheaded resistance to compromise. Jupiter squares the Sun and opposes Uranus, and while this entire bundle never reaches an exact T-square, it does amplify existing tension, as it simultaneously feeds a need to act as a way of resolving that tension. If you’re thinking what you’re about to do is rash, it probably is. So when possible, take a deep breath and ponder whether you’re ready to deal with the consequences of what you might set in motion.
The on-going Pluto Venus opposition signals yet another level of stress—the tension between opposing ideologies. Don’t be surprised if the political and religious debate heats up even more. Keep in mind, all Pluto Venus contacts are creative, which means this opposition can be used to transform a rigid stance. But only if you’re willing to step into the shoes of your opponent and see the issues through his or her eyes. Rabid opinions only polarize, and the problem with a fundamentalist approach, political or religious, is that it doesn’t leave room for another choice. Of course, other choices are always available because god is on everyone’s side. Compassionate role reversal isn’t about abandoning your beliefs or even agreeing with your “enemy.” It’s simply a way of transforming the debate into a process of tolerance, understanding, and respect.
As the week unfolds, don’t worry if routines turn screwy--handle what you can, do your best to relax about the rest, and make patience your constant companion. And when possible, try to lend a helping hand wherever one might be needed.

May 19, 2004
Planetary power surges create an unsettled atmosphere, turning the days and nights of the week into a marathon of unexpected events. Uranus, whose middle name is “surprise”, is at the epicenter of this astro activity and that means there’s just no tellin’ what’s next. I’m not gonna bore you with the standard advice about expecting the unexpected because the unexpected has become the norm. I am going to suggest that stamina is what’s need to handle the swells, especially the mental and emotional endurance that can stay clear about what’s wrong and what’s right.
Uranus, in Pisces, is loosening its opposition to Jupiter, as it simultaneously trines both Mars and Saturn, both of which are conjunct in Cancer. Because neither Uranus nor Jupiter is moderate, the tension generated by their opposition manifests as the urge to exaggerate, which means zealous opinion and the need to act on those convictions is probable. The Mars Saturn conjunction, exact on May 25, supports a rigid stance. Saturn sits on Mars’ the fighting spirit, and the frustration produced by Saturn’s restraint is apt to engender hard, angry, self-righteous attitudes that hold on. Unfortunately, when you add the primal power of Uranus to the mix, that volatility spurs the need for rash action as a way of relieving tension and demonstrating self-interest. It’s not a pretty picture—and let’s face it, we don’t need astrology to tell us that the world is a mess. And while I’m totally committed to “finding the pony”, before you can effectively transform one thing into another, you have to be clear about what it is you want to change.
Fortunately, Mercury, the alchemist’s agent, trines Jupiter all week, providing the lucid clarity that can distinguish right from wrong. This trine offers the possibility of putting the intensities of the week to good use, but only if your willing to have a true, personal revolution that includes rejecting violence as a solution for violence. Also surrender the notion that the world’s leaders are going to create peace—they won’t, because creating a peaceful world is the job of the people, not the politicians. If you’re outraged by the outrageous, heartbreaking cruelty infecting the world, answer the Uranian call to action by taking a stand against injustice wherever you encounter it. Don’t let the constant barrage of violence numb your heart and mind into apathy. Instead, take part in positive action wherever you can and have the faith that your participation will ultimately make a difference.

May 12, 2004
Last week’s moody signature spills into this week and because nervous systems tend to get weary from the strain of change, as these unstable planetary systems continue to trigger reactive patterns, the thrill of “new” is likely to become anxiety about what’s next. One thing we know for sure about change is that it is inevitable. We also know that sometimes, no matter how hard we try, there’s simply no controlling the outcome. So once again, rather than pushing the river, make it through these waves by being flexible.
Uranus continues to be the source of this unsettled atmosphere. It is still in an opposition to Jupiter, and that tension is still powering urges for independence, especially the desire for philosophical and religious freedom. Saturn continues to trine Uranus and sextile Jupiter, inhibiting the volatility of the opposition and attempting to anchor its intense urges by insisting on disciplined, practical application.
But this week, Mars adds a new twist. On May 8th, Mars joined the Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter team, as it moved into Cancer and began a trine to Uranus. This powerful alliance sends power surges of extraordinary force through the ethers, as it simultaneously increases the need for movement, and lots of it. But—and this is a big but—Mars also moves into a conjunction with Saturn on the 14th. And that’s a problem. First, because Cancer dampens Mars’ assertive nature and dissipates its energy and second, because Saturn’s weight inhibits what little energy Mars can muster, and the combination results in an impotence that tends to manifest as ill will directed at the self or others. This conjunction also tilts moods toward brooding over issues of safety, and that focus on security skews attitudes toward anxiety. Mars also sextiles Jupiter, producing the potential to blow minor incidents into full-blown confrontations. It is possible to harness the power of this force and aim it at positive goals, but that transmutation will require a determined effort to deflect or transform the negativity of others.
The essence of Uranus is change, its influence is unpredictable, and when it unites with other powerful planetary forces, we experience startling, disruptive events that challenge the status quo, personal and collective. All change, all the time, is exhausting, even to the most seasoned agent of transformation. So if you or those you love are feeling fatigued from the spin of Uranus, try a little tenderness, and let a soothing word, gentle gesture, or goofy smile refresh the heart and restore your center.

May 5, 2004
The planets are going to extremes, and as earthly life mirrors that heavenly motion, emotion rules routines and moods swing high, low, light, or heavy. Whether it’s bold moves, quiet caution, grand plans, or disappointment, feelings dominate the days. And because the one thing we can always count on about feelings is that they will change, the rhythm of the week plays out like a seesaw. Managing this ride without losing your balance requires finding a middle path and sticking to it.
Two oppositions contribute the oscillation. (1) The on-going Pluto Venus opposition continues to stimulate sexual desire—energy befitting the lusty month of May. Pluto symbolizes sexual power, Venus is always ready for pleasure, and when they mingle, even through the polarization of an opposition, they transform almost any environment into an erogenous zone. The downside is Pluto’s need for control, which could translate into fanatic or compulsive attraction that some might not find appealing. So fantasize, but don’t fixate; pursue, but don’t insist. If you’re not inclined toward carnal knowledge, this opposition also provides abundant creative passion that can be channeled into artistic expression. Mercury trines Pluto and sextiles Venus, turning conversation into foreplay, but also arousing a deep appreciation for beauty, in all its varying forms.
(2) The on-going Uranus Jupiter opposition provides an unsettling edge to this week’s ride. Uranus pulses to an erratic beat. Jupiter tends to push the limits. As these two active forces combine through the tension of an opposition, the result is exaggeration and excess. Uranus is famous for catalyzing sudden twists of fate, which means as this opposition unfolds, we’re likely to witness startling developments, both personal and collective. But those upsets aren’t necessarily negative. Some astrologers have dubbed Uranus Jupiter contacts as the “Thank the Lord” influence, because the combination of energies always signals a release from a burden too painful for mere mortals to endure without divine intervention.
Saturn is still providing a steady hand as it continues to trine Uranus and sextile Jupiter, which means no one is likely get thrown completely off balance as one side of the seesaw slams into the ground and the other side blasts off into outer space.
But don’t count on Saturn to do all the work. Find a way to establish and maintain your equilibrium by doing whatever it is you do to strengthen your center, and if you need help holding on to that balance, ask for it. Sometimes situations demand a solitary stance that allows us to build character. Yet other circumstances are best experienced communally, where the core of the group’s shared intention helps to solidify our own.

April 28, 2004
This week, a breathtaking array of planetary interaction moves us out of the past and into the present at an almost breakneck pace that’s likely to leave most of us simply breathless. Anticipate all sorts of heavy breathing as daily routines rev-up to a new rate and mere mortals struggle to match the pace. But before the action even begins, there will be a huge collective sigh of relief early Friday morning, as we say “bye-bye, so long, farewell” to Mercury Retrograde. It’s a busy week, and in case you haven’t noticed, breath is the key to handling the hectic pace, especially if you start to feel overwhelmed or over-extended.
Several complex configurations contribute to the lively atmosphere, and the first five are so interconnected, they require a scorecard. (1) Jupiter continues to trine the Sun, fostering an optimistic enterprising attitude. (2) Saturn sextiles Jupiter, providing a patient groundedness that makes those ambitious plans possible. And (3) Saturn sextiles the Sun, tethering the boundless energy of the Jupiter Sun trine to a practical, realistic perspective. Saturn’s sobering presence is a boon, because (4) a Uranus Jupiter opposition is tilting attitudes toward extremes. Uranus thrives on surprise, Jupiter delights in excess, and the tension generated by their opposition produces a non-stop need for freedom, regardless of what that liberation might cost others. Fortunately, (5) Saturn continues its trine to Uranus and that positive alliance strengthens Saturn’s already sober presence, easing the edgy exaggeration of the Uranus Jupiter opposition. (Whew—I’m out of breath just writing about it!) Be aware, intense Uranian interactions, positive or negative, always take a toll on nervous systems, which means sleep patterns are disrupted, and daily routines no matter how mundane are likely to have a disturbing, is-there-another-shoe-that’s-gonna-fall attitude.
And there’s more. By the weekend, Mars will move out of its opposition to Pluto, but Venus takes the baton, and closes the gap in her Pluto opposition, which lasts for the next several weeks. This dynamic partnership stimulates sexual desire; so don’t be surprised if some of this week’s heavy breathing has an erotic rhythm.
But that’s not all. On Tuesday, May 4th, there is a Lunar Eclipse. And while astrologers interpret this event as a time when practical concerns overshadow emotional issues, the atmosphere is too stimulated to deny deep feelings or spontaneous reactions. Be prepared for meltdowns, yours or others, appropriate or not, as this eclipse amplifies an already intense environment.
As Mercury goes Direct, it continues its trine to Pluto, which should supply the ability to think quickly—something that will come in handy in the midst of so much activity. So, breathe, deeply, and enjoy this week’s wild ride.

April 21, 2004
Distinctly different planetary signatures divide the week into parallel universes and the mission, should you accept it, is choosing a world that works best for you. One universe is built around the need to convince others that the ends justify the means. The other is structured around an enthusiastic tolerance for a variety of viewpoints. The only unifying force is the on-going Mercury Retrograde, which means no matter what reality you choose frustration is a part of the package, so be sure to make patience a constant companion.
A Pluto Mars opposition engenders a no frills, ruthless environment that only concerned with success. Mercury (still retrograde until April 30th) trines Pluto and sextiles Mars, and even though those interactions are positive, Mercury’s presence is a nervous irritant that’s likely to incite acts aimed at eliminating differing opinions. On a personal level, that aggravation undermines compromise. From the collective perspective, all the global hot spots are likely to experience even more violence. Pluto symbolizes the process of death and rebirth; it’s been traveling through Sagittarius, the sign of belief systems, since 1995 probing the basis of faith, both individual and collective. And as part of that process, fundamentalism and its shadows dominate the world screen. While some of us know it’s not possible for everyone, everywhere to share the same religion or philosophy, many more are insisting on one way and one way only. From an astrological perspective, that insistence is rooted in fear—confronted by so many possibilities, so many realities, and so much uncertainty about the meaning of life it’s completely understandable why someone would seize on a specific system and fanatically insist that it is the true view. Even if you don’t share that zeal, it’s important to discern its cause, and to use that understanding compassionately.
The other parallel universe involves a complexity of interactions (too numerous to delineate in detail) between Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter and the Sun. This is a big, fat, positive bundle that promotes optimism. And while certain components lean toward extremes (more about that next week), those excesses are not pernicious, unless you believe that too much laughter, fun, or stimulating conversations are harmful.
Choosing the positive universe sounds easy but as the week unfolds, you may encounter situations that spark a desire to vanquish those who don’t agree and that could instantly move you into the other dimension. So walk the week with awareness, and whenever possible try to calm the tension and soothe the air. No matter what reality we choose to live in this week, we all live on earth together.

April 14, 2004
A Solar Eclipse wobbles through the hours and minutes of the days this week, and as it combines with the on-going time warp of Mercury Retrograde, the days unfold through a disconcerting blend of past, present, and future that’s likely to result in disorientation, dislocation, or discombobulation. The morning hours clip by at an alarming rate, as you push to polish the details for an afternoon appointment. But after lunch, the minutes crawl, making you wonder why you ever thought you wouldn’t be ready by 3. It’s a time zone mess that could make you long for the comfort of bed, so be sure to take as many breaks as possible to maintain your mental health.
Time distortion is a peculiar feature of an eclipse. Not only do eclipses disrupt the “normal” flow (did I hear someone say, “whatever that is?”), but their effect is also often experienced weeks before or even months after the actual event. This Solar Eclipse takes place on April 19th, as the Sun and the New Moon are in the last moment of Aries—the final degree that concentrates the energy of the entire sign. Because Aries rules beginnings, and New Moons signal new cycles, at first glance this eclipse appears to capture the fire of initiation. But there’s a glitch—Mercury is retrograde in Aries, conjunct both the Sun and the Moon, and that strong backward pull puts on the brakes. Push too hard to get something started, and you’re likely to experience energetic whiplash.
This eclipse also contains an opposition between Pluto, in Sagittarius, and Mars, in Gemini. Pluto represents a compulsive need for power and control, Mars symbolizes aggression, oppositions generate tension, and because both Gemini and Sagittarius are about information and ideas, the whole bundle translates into ideological squabbles. Political rhetoric turns even more ruthless (if that’s possible), and aggressive behavior, personal or collective, increases. Pluto does trine Mercury, offering an opportunity to explore differences of opinion—never a bad choice—but the climate isn’t quite right for quiet consideration.  
What’s more, during a Solar Eclipse unconscious forces overshadow conscious intent, producing an emotionally charged atmosphere. Add the frustration of Mercury Retrograde to the mix, and it’s easy to assume that meltdowns will be a part of daily routines. Rather than react, do what you can to soothe and comfort those in need. A kind word in the midst of a verbal barrage is an effective way to startle most of us back into present time.

April 7, 2004
Mercury Retrograde, that pesky astro event famous for turning well-traveled routes of travel and discourse into obstacle courses of delays and detours, is back. And that means schedules are likely to change and then, change, again. Simple chores become Herculean tasks and frustration clouds the day. Well, maybe it’s not that bad. After all, Mercury Retrograde is an opportunity to slow down and pay attention to the details. But the problem with this retrograde is that it takes place alongside other planetary influences, all of which want action, and the energetic clash creates a stressful dissonance. The remedy for this astro pressure is mental and emotional flexibility, so when possible, be willing to stretch—a lot.
Mercury began its retrograde yesterday and that seemingly backward motion continues until April 30th. Mercury rules communication and travel, and when it “turns around” all things within that large domain tend to go a little screwy. Do expect to repeat yourself—even if you’ve been clear. Also anticipate strange events with mail of every ilk. If you’re traveling, leave plenty of room for unexpected time at the security gate. Life doesn’t stop because Mercury changes its course, and when Mercury retraces its path, our time is best spent reexamining our own. Make the most of this phase by being willing to revisit the details of plans and projects already in motion, rather than trying to initiate something new. Mercury goes retrograde in a sextile to Uranus, the planet of surprises, which means some of this review reveals startling information.
A Jupiter Mars square is still encouraging excess activity and that makes it difficult to say “no” even when you know you won’t be able to deliver. Unfortunately, it won’t be easy staying realistic, because a Neptune Mars trine is simultaneously encouraging fantastic plans. But that’s not all. Today, Uranus and Jupiter begin an opposition that also generates an air of exaggeration. As this opposition provokes an “even more” philosophy, you could be tempted to abandon a practical approach for a much grander, but slightly wacky, scheme.
And there’s more. A trine between Pluto, in Sagittarius, and the Sun, in Aries, powers up a desire for success and an equally strong intention to be in control of both the process and the outcome.  Positive support between Fire Signs sparks passion and ignites action. But because Mercury Retrograde is not the best time to initiate new projects, the heat of this trine is likely to smolder with frustration.
While Mercury Retrograde cycles are a hassle, Mercury Retrograde is not the devil, so don’t let it steal your sense of humor. If you meet a snafu you can’t handle, just call time out and take a mental health break until you feel ready to try again.

March 31, 2004
This week and the next several weeks, it’s two steps forward, one step back, and giant leaps both ahead and behind, as a push/pull pattern of planetary interaction merges the past with the present in a dizzying display that makes us long for the future. Routine tasks could take forever, while others might move at the speed of light, and as this time warp unravels, you may experience a fairly regular need to reorient yourself. Patience is the key to handling this disconcerting field, and fortunately, there’s also plenty of astro-support to find and hold onto an efficient personal rhythm.
The first source of the time distortion is Mercury Retrograde. Yes—it’s back. Mercury goes Retrograde on April 6th and stays retrograde until April 30th. As Mercury prepares for its turn around, we experience a slow down, especially in all those areas included in Mercury’s domain—the realm of communication and travel. Next week’s column will cover the particulars of Mercury Retrograde. Now is the time to do all those things that you don’t want to do during the retrograde. So if you need a new printer or new software, install it now. The same goes for travel plans, contracts, term papers, and anything else you’re thinking of putting off until after the tax season.
But just as Mercury is hitting the slo-mo button, two other influences are pressing fast-forward. (1) The Mars Uranus square, so active last week continues to the end of this week, which means it also continues to foster a hurry-up-I-just-can’t-wait-another-moment-attitude that hastens premature activity. And (2) a Jupiter Mars square, from the 1st-13th, also encourages the strong desire to push ahead, in part because the push feels so good, and also because this combination promotes excess activity. As both of these inclinations to act quickly collide with the plodding energy of Mercury Retrograde, we can expect much gnashing of teeth and tapping of foot, as well as meltdowns over schedules and deadlines.
But here’s the good news: Saturn sextiles Jupiter for the next several weeks, bestowing the gifts of careful consideration and thoughtful, yet direct, honesty. What’s more, the on going Uranus Saturn trine continues to provide the strong determination to do whatever it takes to make progress.

March 24, 2004
The stars sing strident songs this week, and as their astral melodies move through the ethers, earthly attitudes are likely to turn militant. Expect less patience and more insistence, especially in areas already aggravated by frustration. Also anticipate close encounters of an angry kind as little disagreements turn into major disputes. From a positive perspective, this combative force offers the promise of steadfast intensity—the kind of certainty that’s required to take a stand for your principles or to defend someone who can’t defend his or herself. But don’t misunderstand, no matter how prickly the air this is not just a week for bullies. While the thugs of the world will definitely feel an influx of power, that very same energy increase will also empower the rest of us to say, “No—I refuse to tolerate injustice and I’m willing to do something about it.”
The source of this martial atmosphere is three-fold. (1) Saturn, in Cancer, squares the Sun, in Aries. A Saturn/Sun square inhibits the free flow of vitality, but as a reaction to constraint, it often incites a harsh, selfish determination to push through “no matter what.” (2) Mars, in Gemini, sextiles the Sun, and while this is a positive alliance that encourages self-confidence and ambition, this week, that vigor is likely to turn aggressive and pushy because (3) Mars also squares Uranus. Mars Uranus interactions thrive on action simply for the thrill of movement. And that tendency toward reckless behavior turns the entire bundle potent with an aggressive energy that easily imbues a fighting spirit. Of course, aggression can transform into assertion, and fighting for what you believe in doesn’t have to cause harm to anyone if you’re willing to consider the motives behind your stand, as well as the consequences of what you set in motion.
One last bit: Pluto goes Retrograde today, and as the planet of transformation turns around, it forms a positive alliance with Mercury, the planet of thought, generating the potential to probe, deeply, into how we think and what we believe about the nature of aggression. Use this reflective energy to witness this week’s restless edge instead of reacting to it. Yes, this is easy to advice to write—but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Gandhi did it. So did Martin Luther King, Jr. And so do countless others, less famous but no less heroic, who refuse to use violence as a solution, yet still manage to find the courage and strength to take a stand for what they believe in.

March 17, 2004
The fresh air of a new season quickens the pulse this week, reminding us it’s time to leave the caves of winter and step into the bracing winds of spring. This new seasonal signature awakens body, mind, and heart. It also stimulates a desire for a more direct approach, so don’t be surprised if responses, yours or others, are more immediate or abrupt. Just keeps in mind, seasonal transitions always tend to be awkward and it might take a few days for attitudes to adjust. Some will make this shift with ease, but others might lag behind, so try to be patient if those you love or work with are functioning at a different pace.
Spring begins as the Sun moves into Aries on March 20th, at 1:49 EST. Aries is the bold, fiery sign of individuation, known for its vibrant, impetuous need for adventure—it wants to bold go, anywhere, anytime—and loves beginnings more than endings. We love Aries because it propels us out of the house and into activity. A New Moon in Aries, also on the 20th, amps up this energetic spirit, and because new moons are an excellent time to envision new plans and plant the seeds for those projects, the start of this astro-new year encourages a pioneering spirit. Use this time to set your intentions about what you want to grow and harvest over the next six months. Saturn, in Cancer, squares both the Sun and the Moon, and while Saturn squares can inhibit vitality, this serious energy can also help structure your goals. So rather than allowing Saturn to sour this new beginning, use its discipline to be realistic about the tools and resources you’ll need to bring your plans to fruition. And don’t worry—Mars, the Ruler of Aries, moves into Gemini the next day, forming a positive relationship to both the Sun and the Moon and that alliance strengthens both the desire and determination to work hard toward specific aims.
This week, the only glitch on the screen is a Venus Neptune square, which could tempt you to squander the energy of the week on romantic infatuation that’s based more on illusion and delusion than reciprocal feelings of passion. But if you direct the highly sensitive nature of this square toward creative expression, you’re likely to experience a new level of inspiration and imagination.

March 10, 2004
Questioning reality would be a wiser choice this week than accepting surface appearances. So put aside quick takes or habitual responses, and be willing to probe assumptions before you make important decisions. Two diverse planetary currents generate a jumble of intentions and while neither influence is dangerous, sorting through the energetic mishmash is best accomplished by a thoughtful approach capable of assessing the very real consequences of action.
The first influence is a Sun Pluto square. This fractious interaction stirs a hunger for control that feeds a fanatical approach to gaining power and holding on to it. Petty despots tend to be encouraged by this square, so don’t be surprised if meter-maids insist on writing tickets just as you’re pulling out of the parking spot or office managers suddenly decide to dictate new rules about sick days just as you’re about to take a long weekend. As simple routines turn into frustrating power plays, those without power are likely to complain—loudly—and that constant whine could turn the atmosphere testy. Rather than position yourself at either end of the victim/victimizer spectrum, assume a neutral position. Then, from a non-polarized perspective, try to choose an appropriate response that doesn’t add to an already charged atmosphere.
The second major influence is the on-going trine between Saturn and Uranus. This positive relationship has provided a steady source of energy for several weeks, enabling many of us to make steady progress toward specific goals. This week, Venus sextiles both Saturn and Uranus. Venus symbolizes love and beauty, and when she forms a positive relationship with Saturn, she bestows a sense of graceful sobriety. But when Venus aligns with Uranus, that coupling arouses impulsive and eccentric longings. The entire bundle could coalesce into being absolutely serious about marrying someone you’ve known for less than a day. Or, you could suddenly awake from a 10-year dream of trying to make a bad relationship work. Again, before making any decision, step back and contemplate your choices. You may not change your mind, but your decision has a chance of being grounded by a thoughtful process.
This week, there’s no reason to rush into battle or to impulsively leap before looking, so no matter what the buzz, inside or out, make taking your time a priority.

March 3, 2004
Emotional tides run high this week and feelings flood the days. Some of those surges are likely to challenge composure or generate crisis. Yet others are based on a genuine need for heartfelt expression. The last few weeks have been exceptionally busy, and when schedules fill with what must be done, necessity frequently overrides sensitivity. But keep in mind, an absence of activity can also be an emotional indicator, especially if we’re depressed or isolating. As the flood gates open, it’s likely that whatever’s been held back will finally be set free, so don’t be surprised if you, those you love, or strangers start sharing their deepest hopes or fears. As always, one of the best ways to ride intense emotional waves is to stay present by trying to keep an open heart. And then, to both speak and listen with an intention to heal.
Several influences contribute to the overflow. (1) Mercury is conjunct the Sun, in Pisces, and both are in an opposition to Jupiter, in Virgo. When Mercury and the Sun share the same space, subjective opinion prevails over an objective perspective, and we become identified with our ideas. Pisces is the sign of empathy, but using that gift of caring takes skill, and when it isn’t used wisely, transference or emotional identification can turn a confusing situation even mushier. Jupiter’s opposition to both the Sun and Mercury creates tension between what we wish would come true and what we can actually bring into being. So don’t be surprised if a portion of what releases this week is a melodramatic about the struggle, yours or others, to feel effectual in the world.
(2) By the weekend, a Full Moon conjuncts Jupiter as it simultaneously opposes both Mercury and the Sun, highlighting the tension, and because (3) Pluto forms a square to the entire bundle, unconscious feelings and compulsive emotional patterns also play a role. If “irrational” feelings surface, avoid dismissing them at first glance because they seem disconnected or irrelevant. Vital information could be hidden in those tidal pools that could assist in resolving old emotional wounds.
Fortunately, Mars forms a trine to Jupiter and a sextile to Mercury and the Sun, and those positive relationships support the ability to create and hold on to strong personal boundaries.

The on-going Saturn Uranus trine continues to provide the power to persevere in the accomplishment of great tasks, and this week, one of those feats is likely to be the ability to endure a wide range of emotional encounters. No matter how intense these interactions may be, do your best to keep an open, optimistic attitude.

February 25, 2004
A planetary light bulb of invention illuminates daily life and awakens a longing for intellectual independence. And because several planets are already supporting strong urges for personal freedom, as the week unfolds, minds are likely to change and then change. Be prepared for sudden insights, and expect that acuity to focus on belief systems in need of an overhaul. Also anticipate the agility to consider old circumstances from a new angle. If you’ve been aching for a shift in awareness or praying for a new perspective, this week’s “think free or die” attitude could provide the lightning bolts capable of exposing that new view.
Mercury is the center of this week’s think-fest. Today, it enters Pisces, where it joins the on going Sun Uranus conjunction. Mercury symbolizes the mind, Uranus represents the catalyst, and when they share the same space, their combined force gives birth to spontaneous invention. Because Pisces is the Sign of intuitive perception, as Mercury and Uranus draw from Pisces’ deep empathetic well, one of those spontaneous inventions is apt to be an increased ability to articulate feelings. Be aware, once expressed, some of those emotions could be startling, but after the initial shock, these surprising heartfelt conversations could help to create healthier ways of handling intense feelings. Also keep in mind, all three planets—Uranus, Mercury, and the Sun—trine Saturn, in Cancer. Saturn signifies the principle of structure and this positive alliance translates into stability, making it possible to anchor those groundbreaking insights into demonstrative behavior.
We like Saturn’s steady influence because several additional planetary configurations could add a wobble to the week. (1) A Mars Neptune square (separating, but still noticeable) creates a peculiar lethargy that could turn into irritation, especially when that inertia is contrasted by (2) a Jupiter Mars trine. When Jupiter and Mars work together, they foster activity and enterprise. They also provide the necessary energy and enthusiasm to work hard. (3) By the weekend, Jupiter begins an opposition to the Sun, which is likely to tilt some of those activities and ambitions toward excess and exaggeration. There’s nothing wrong with a little “over-the-top.” But we are thankful for Saturn’s stabilizing force because it can supply the requisite sobriety to discern which of this week’s free-thinkin’, free-wheelin’ ideas can be turned into tangible, practical plans or projects.
As the week unfolds, be prepared for fleeting moments of brilliance—yours or others. If you can’t act on these strokes of genius immediately, take notes. These insights are powerful and the lag-time between inspiration and application won’t diminish their value.

February 18, 2004
An undeniable need for personal freedom informs the drama of daily life this week, as the planets encourage the irrepressible urge to break free from attitudes or circumstances dictated by habit or the status quo. Fortunately, this need for freedom isn’t necessarily about using violence as the means of gaining independence. And even though it’s likely to turn up the heat in all those places where it’s already too hot, this desire for liberation doesn’t need aggression to underscore its authority. It’s fueled by a clear perception of the unalienable right of all sentient beings to live free from oppression. As the week unfolds, be sure to take a moment to notice where you are enslaved or enslaving, and then, allow a quiet, but committed determination to live absolutely free motivate your thoughts, words, and deeds.

Uranus, Saturn, and the Sun form the core of this call for freedom. Uranus and the Sun are conjunct in Pisces. Uranus is the planet of revolution, and it catalyzes growth. The Sun is the source of life, and it shines equally on all its creations. When these two dynamic forces unite, their combined creative force pushes personal pulses with the need for self-expression, as well as the confidence to shed whatever might be inhibiting authenticity. And while this pulse can be erratic, the empathetic waters of Pisces calm that volatility by encouraging tolerance and compassion, and that respect for everyone’s right to live free from oppression allows this powerful creative current to flow with ease.
What’s more, both Uranus and the Sun trine Saturn, in Cancer. Cancer is the Sign where we long to belong and feel completely safe. When we resist or deny that longing, we can become as hard and crusty as a crab’s shell. Or, we can swing in the opposite direction, and become so identified with our neediness, that no matter how much we “have” it’s never enough to assuage our anxiety. Saturn’s current position in Cancer probes those extremes, inviting opportunities to examine the structure and foundation of personal security systems, and how those security issues are projected onto the collective screen.
This week, as Uranus and the Sun support that Saturnian examination, the combined effect could reveal what binds you to stagnant patterns, as well as illuminate a way out of that debilitating maze. Use this energy—it’s a gift from the heavens and has the power to liberate the true you.

February 11, 2004
The stars support Herculean efforts this week, making it possible to execute extraordinary feats of strength. Of course, just as Hercules faced his trials, we mere mortals are also bound to encounter tribulations. But don’t let that throw you. If you’re willing and able to hold a vision of what you want to accomplish and a plan about how to get there, this is a good week to make great progress. 
The Uranus Mars sextile that kept us so busy last week continues until the weekend. This positive relationship provides the potential for quick spurts of energy—the kind of bursts we all long for when the finish line is clearly in sight, but we don’t think we have the strength to take one more step. Fortunately, Mars is also sextile Saturn and that alliance supplies the stamina to move through or around any obstacles. This indefatigable force can also be used to overcome fatigue—just don’t push yourself into coma-like exhaustion.
But that’s not all. Uranus moves into a trine with Saturn, today, and when Uranus, the planet of revolution, works with Saturn, the planet of discipline, the combined effect redefines the meaning of perseverance. And even though Uranus is bound to push Saturn’s control buttons, especially Saturn’s need to maintain the status quo, the result is still an amazing ability to pull through almost any situation.
A Neptune Mercury conjunction contradicts the straightforward approach of Uranus, Saturn, and Mars. Neptune and Mercury tend toward trickery, and when they share the same space, self-deception is likely, especially when it comes to expectations. Envision what you want to accomplish, but keep your goals realistic. And be sure to include as part of your plan, strategies for handling future obstacles or surprises, even if you can’t imagine any at the moment.
It’s a good week for strong intentions and conscious, carefully considered choices. A catch-as-catch-can attitude won’t have the requisite depth of conviction to align with the strength of the week, so don’t say “yes” or “no” on a whim. Think about your answer before you make a commitment to move into action.

February 4, 2004
This week and the next several weeks, diverse astro patterns play out on several screens simultaneously and daily life resembles a giant energetic multiplex. For some, the feature most likely to beckon is a story of romance. For others, a sensitive narrative of mystical yearning may resonate with greater force. For still more, a gritty tale of power and success is likely to spark ambition. While the multiplicity of plot lines could be confusing, finding a character to identify with won’t be, especially if you choose a role with heart.
Venus is the star of the romantic saga, as she sextiles Mercury until Valentine’s Day. This positive alliance provides the ability to articulate feelings, especially deep emotions that have previously been beyond the grasp of words. If for example, you know your beloved loves you and you’re still suffering from the madness of jealousy, this sextile allows for a healthy discussion about those feelings and the possibility of finding a positive solution. This Venus Mercury configuration also fosters a highly creative atmosphere that inspires artists of every ilk to form a more perfect union with their muse.
A Neptune Sun conjunction inclines toward a mystical journey and the desire to move more deeply into spiritual practice. This conjunction occurs in Aquarius, so don’t be surprised if you’re drawn to unusual types of meditation. Be bold, but rather than delving into the latest trend, search for a method that can help you strength your internal foundation.
A Sun Pluto sextile stokes belly fires and motivates the need to succeed, so don’t be surprised if you feel as if nothing can stop you. And just about nothing can, because a Mars Uranus sextile provides the necessary physical strength to work nearly non-stop. Be aware, Mars Uranus combinations agitate nervous systems and create a restless air. Fortunately, on the Saturday, Mars moves into a sextile with Saturn, and that positive configuration supplies stability.
As these next weeks unfold, the only risk factor is the potential to confuse projection with reality. So enjoy the planetary showings, but avoid getting caught up in fantasies that play out well in the realm of imagination but aren’t likely to pan out in daily life. Do whatever it is you do to stay grounded in and focused on what’s true for you, and you’re inner compass will discern the difference between fact and fancy.

January 28, 2004
An absence of negative astro-patterns continues to create an optimistic atmosphere. But just as pernicious influences do not create tragedy, positive influences don’t create happiness. How we respond to these energies—our reactions, our intentions, and our choices—are what coalesce into life events and our attitude about those occurrences. When the cosmic forces flow without major snags, there’s always a tendency to take that ease for granted, but it’s also always best to use beneficial cycles wisely. There’s nothing wrong with a vacation from the intensity or a couple of mental health days to restore resources. But it would be prudent to not get lulled into thinking a lack of struggle means the hard work is over. What’s more, the absence of crisis often creates the room for what’s been held back to finally come to the surface. The good news is that when there is a sudden eruption of negative feelings in the midst of a positive cycle, the beneficial forces can assist in processing and resolving what’s been festering, denied, glossed over, or put on the back burner because other more immediate matters needed attention.
This week, an opposition between Venus and Jupiter spotlights several themes, all of which relate to positive energy and its shadow. Venus is the goddess of love, Jupiter is the god of more, and when these two form any kind of union we experience an increase in appetites of every denomination. For some, that translates into big bites of food and wine. For others, it’s shopping spree, even though you’re operating at a deficit. For more, it’s a craving for couch time, all day, every day. Fortunately, oppositions between benign planets don’t generate mind-bending intensity, which means it’s possible to use this Venus Jupiter opposition to become more aware of the consequences of excess. Don’t be surprised if you’re visited by Gluttony and Sloth—just avoid being possessed by them. This opposition also stirs amorous urges, especially the excessive expression of romantic feelings through the giving of expensive gifts or exaggerated declarations.
Venus and Jupiter also foster warmth and generosity, which means genuine acts of kindness and compassion are also likely to dot the landscape of the week. And because Mercury is sextile Venus and trine Jupiter, conversations turn toward the topic of art and creative expression, as well of love. One more bit: Pluto squares Venus, which means some of those conversations are apt to be highly seductive.
If you haven’t been having fun these first few weeks of the New Year, don’t be dismayed, disgruntled, or disappointed. The stars aren’t a magic wand for what ails, but they can provide an atmosphere conducive to introspection, insight, and inspiration.

January 21, 2004
This week, clarity is the key to handling the energetic waves, especially the lucid awareness of what needs to shift and release in order to make room for what’s being created. For some, that consciousness is simply about recognizing an on-going spiral of similar themes and then, understanding how those issues repeat themselves in different situations and different guises. For others, it’s about dropping tired responses that once worked to remedy those repetitive patterns, but have outworn their usefulness, because those themes are operating at a subtler level. And for still more, this week’s clear current catalyzes an entirely new view that is likely to be experienced as a both a culmination and a commencement. Put simply: It’s an “I gotta be me. I gotta be free” kind week that empowers enough self-confidence to shed what shackles and tackle what excites.
Several factors contribute to this soul-strength. (1) The Sun just entered Aquarius, yesterday, and today, there is a New Moon, also in Aquarius. Aquarius is one of the signs in the Zodiac that embraces the big picture. Its humanitarian and egalitarian perspective fosters a sincere desire for communities capable of serving the needs of all members. As the Sun and the Moon begin new cycles through Aquarius, the focus shifts toward individuals participating with others in activities congruent with needs and beliefs. No more pretending to enjoy the book club, when all you really want to do is play golf. If you’re wrestling with issues of co-dependence, this may be the perfect time to say, “I need to do something for just for me.” If you’ve been itching to get involved in the political arena, this could be the energy that moves you off the couch and on your way to the campaign office to volunteer.
(2) The Mars Pluto trine, still in effect until the end of the week, continues to support the stamina and strength to move forward with assurance, certain in the belief that your efforts will meet with success.
(3) Saturn, Venus, and Mercury are forming three connected configurations. Saturn trines Venus, and that’s what’s supplying the focus on true value; Venus sextiles Mercury providing an artistic mindset that promotes creative expression. An opposition between Saturn and Mercury poses the only negative threat, and while this interaction could devolve into narrow-mindedness, this week, it is much more likely to manifest as the ability to probe problems with an astute attention to detail.
As the week unfolds, notice what enslaves or empowers, and as you do, make a firm commitment to change behavior holding you back from being and doing your best.

January 14, 2004
New celestial patterns continue to clear the air, dispel inertia, and inspire astute perception. Three major currents contribute to these astral winds, making it possible to move forward toward specific goals with a positive attitude. The first provides the strength, stamina, and determination to do whatever it takes to complete the process, whether that course is physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. The second current skews imagination toward innovation, and sets minds free for untrammeled intellectual travel. The third contributor supplies the adaptability to forge positive alliances and advantageous associations. These three influences can be put to good use renovating plans or projects that may have previously felt burdensome or sullied by negativity. This fresh perspective is so different from what was it could take a moment to adjust, so don’t be surprised if you feel like pinching yourself every now and then, just to make sure you’re not dreaming.
A Pluto Mars trine is the source of this week’s inertia buster. Pluto likes success, Mars thrives on movement, and when their relationship is positive, they bestow the capacity to make great effort toward great goals. Yes, this relationship can ignite a compulsive need to win. And yes, again, it can be domineering. But it can also solidify goals and provide the requisite determination to achieve those aims.
The second major influence of the week is a Uranus Venus conjunction, with both Uranus and Venus in a sextile to Mercury. This is my personal favorite, because this team combines to create an artistic environment, brimming with an appreciation of beauty and form, and overflowing with inspiration. It’s a generous union that makes it possible to be pleased with your own ideas and have an equal level of appreciation and delight for the ideas and accomplishments of others.
Jupiter trines the North Node (Yes, regular readers—something new to consider.) generating the potential for harmonious connections with people of like mind. And while the on-going Pluto Jupiter square continues to fuel plutocrats, this trine could blunt the edges of exploitive rhetoric designed to mask the personal agendas of those striving for power or desperately attempting to cling to their established base. Use this influence to seek out community experiences that both support and expand your interests.
This week, allow these vital astral winds to cleanse attitudes and bolster confidence about the future. While the turmoil already set in motion won’t magically disappear, a new perspective on these old problems could help to hurry the process of transformation and healing.

January 7, 2004
This week, an air of “can do, will do, and must do” saturates schedules and rehabilitates routines. The planets are dialing up a pattern of activity befitting the start of a New Year and that means we can expect to feel motivated and enthusiastic. Just don’t let relief or zeal morph into mania. This new astro attitude isn’t going to evaporate over night and there’s plenty of time to harness the power of this vital pattern and ride it at a sustainable pace toward realistic goals.
Here’s the skinny: Mercury is Direct and still in a sextile to Uranus. This intellectually invigorating relationship lasts until January 19th, so put on your thinking caps, attach the multidimensional antennae and get ready to receive inspiration. Because Uranus is in Pisces, many of those messages are likely to be mystical rather than rational. And because missives from the invisible tend to be a tad confusing, you’ll need plenty of common sense to decipher the code. Mercury also sextiles Venus for the entire month. When the goddess of true value unites with the master of mind, attention turns toward beauty and art. Artists thrive, but you don’t have to be “creative” to experience the benefits. Use this influence to enhance all your interactions, and you’ll turn life itself into artistic endeavor.
Mars is staunchly in Aries and that placement is the main power source of the week. Mars loves Aries, its home sign, because Aries fuels the Martian need for hot-blooded adventure. Mars still squares the Sun, but this week, Saturn is out of range. Saturn’s absence translates into a slightly lighter touch, making it possible to turn the restlessness of a Mars Sun square into the strength and courage to tackle big tasks. Our pal Jupiter trines the Sun, and that positive alignment supplies the vision of what those tasks might be. Jupiter also provides a humorous bent, so expect laughter—and lots of it. One more bit: Neptune sextiles Mars, softening the need for might, as it turns ambition toward artistic and spiritual goals.

For those of you longing for a good, solid, astrological weather pattern—here it is, at last. Of course, we’re still navigating the consequences of what’s been set in motion. But in order to do that skillfully, we have to feel empowered to meet the challenges and we need to feel supported in our efforts to make energetic progress in the good. 2004 strikes that positive chord, so rejoice in the new atmosphere and allow it to revitalize your hope and renew your faith.

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