Aquarium Age by Ralfee Finn
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Weekly Frequency 2005

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 28, 2005
2006 Overview, Part I
Balance is the key to navigating the seas of conscious living this week in 2006. But be aware, maintaining an even keel is not as simple as just relaxing into a “whatever” or “go with the flow” attitude. Staying balanced is going to require a strong spirit, resilient heart, clear mind, and healthy body, and that’s going to take awareness. The energetic seesaw that’s been swinging high and low, wide and narrow, slow and fast that plagued the last weeks of December is present in the chart for the New Year. And its long shadow stirs erratic rhythms that are likely to leave some of us bewildered or belligerent about how to keep up. What’s more, hidden undercurrents that won’t register on normal navigation equipment easily confuse and confound. So never mind that “moderation” is always good advice. This coming year, it is the perfect remedy to keep you from going to extremes.

That same T-square that’s been grinding through the ethers since the beginning of December is the source of tension. T-squares are notorious for magnifying stress, and this T-square consists of an opposition between Mars and Jupiter—an extreme relationship known to drive the most fastidious mad with unruly bits of information that just won’t cooperate. By the January 1st, Saturn begins to pull away (that will take about two weeks) but our pal Neptune is already filling the vacant space. While Neptune is not as bitter as Saturn, a T-square between Neptune, Mars and Jupiter does lean toward dissatisfaction or jealously that broods rather than expresses. So if you find yourself frustrated over a perceived lack of recognition, before you slip into an extreme reaction, examine whether your hissy fit is motivated by projection. The pot of gold at the positive end of this T-square is the compassionate capacity to envision altruistic solutions that benefit individuals, as well as the collective.
The oh-my-god-when-will-this-end-T-square falls apart by the end of January as Mars, too, moves out of range. And what we are left with is a square between Neptune and Jupiter that persists until nearly the end of April and then makes a brief comeback in the fall.  The square between Neptune and Jupiter is tricky—and it is one of the reasons balance is so crucial to riding the waves of 2006. Neptune longs for boundlessness and Jupiter also appreciates an open horizon. Which means we are at risk for expansive distractions that alter a previously well-plotted course. It goes without saying that detours often prove exciting, but this square can also encourage the kind of self-indulgence we later regret.
As this tumultuous year comes to a close, set your intentions for 2006 and be sure to include a prayer for peace, prosperity and joy for all.

December 21, 2005
Today is the Solstice, a day of real magic that marks the turning point between the dark and the light, the liminal threshold between the old and the new.  For some of us it’s the true New Year, and we rejoice, as our ancestors did, in the Sun’s affirmation of life. The Solstice is the template for most of our modern seasonal rituals--we light candles, bring trees into our homes, bake rich breads to invite an abundant harvest in the coming year. It is a holy day that everyone can celebrate because we are all alive on the same planet, spinning in space around the same Sun, a brilliant star that provides the fire and the heat for life. The only suggested Solstice rite is taking a break from the madness of what has become the season of our dysfunction and finding a few quiet moments to honor a shared primal passage.
Unfortunately finding time to honor anything except frayed and frazzled nerves will require a miracle of determination. The on-going configuration between Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and Neptune continues to add a grousing undertone to most interactions. This is not a jolly combination so don’t be dismayed if you’re not in the mood. The Jupiter/Mars opposition inclines toward premature action, and as Saturn squares both Jupiter and Mars, that hastiness could have a ruthless, mean-spirited edge. The Saturn/Neptune opposition tends toward hypersensitivity and this week that could easily turn into paranoia. The Jupiter square to both Saturn and Neptune is likely to exaggerate a sense of personal injury, especially if egos are involved. The Mars square to Saturn and Neptune adds a paradoxical mixture of belligerence and collapse that translates into a profusion of victims but an absence of the necessary strength to take a stand for justice. Whew—I’m exhausted just writing about it.
This week, there just isn’t a lot of room for ho hos, but just because the planets are grumpy doesn’t mean we can’t use the power of that planetary friction for transformation.  We are not subject to the stars, and it’s important to remember that even if it’s impossible to write about astrology without implying that the stars determine who we are and how we live. Earth is a fee will planet, and we are always participating in the creative power of choice. So as the next ten days unfold, try to be stay as present as possible for authentic opportunities for compassion for yourself and others. It’s been a year of overwhelming intensity and it would be so helpful to so many if each of us could end this year with genuine goodwill that’s grounded in the real magic of peaceful behavior.

December 14, 2005
Don’t be surprised if you can’t find your fa la las this week and next—a difficult planetary pattern dials up a less than joyous frequency, and the ghosts of Christmas, past, present and future haunt the festivities. Testy, Touchy, and Temperamental, three elves normally kept in captivity, tag along with Santa, and their presence turns the season into Scrooged Redux. Flexibility is the key to handling the intensity, so rather than cling to a specific vision of what the holidays should look like, surrender, and go with the flow.
The source of conflict is an on going Fixed T-square between Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars that morphs into a Fixed Grand Cross when Neptune joins the team next week. (Oy.) Fixed Signs—Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius—have a tendency to hold fast to their opinion and seldom feel the urge to compromise. Yet in spite of that infamous rigidity, they are all potent creative forces. Taurus represents the fertility of potential. Leo signifies the capacity to express that potential. Scorpio symbolizes the continuous process of that energy through death and resurrection. Aquarius crystallizes new paradigms. When planets in each of these Signs square off and oppose each other, the physical grinding motion of change turns the air tense with frustration—it’s the astro equivalent of shifting gears without putting the clutch in. Because each of us has every component of the astrological system somewhere in our birth chart, each of us faces the challenge of this rigidity somewhere in our personal life. So best to pay attention to where you don’t want to budge and then, rather than allowing stubborn resistance to determine your fate, try to participate positively by being open to change, even if that means relinquishing a cherished tradition.  
There isn’t enough room to go into a detailed description of the squares and opposition between Neptune, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars. Besides, only an astrologer would be fascinated by the particulars, and frankly, this astrologer is more interested how the tension plays out. This entire bundle can either be a cross to bear or a mandala of transformation. Choose the victim role, and you might collapse from the weight of the disappointment and dashed expectations. Opt for personal growth, and those very same feelings of futility can become the fodder for self-awareness, especially if you are willing to be honest about what keeps you holding on.
So if you’re already exhausted from an already overwhelming year of intensity, give yourself permission over the coming weeks to take a break and indulge in as much quiet time as you need. It takes a lot of energy to move the Karmic Wheel in a new direction. And sometimes, just sitting still can work wonders for the soul.

December 7, 2005
This week, we’re out of the retro-zone and shifting into warp factor ten. Mars goes Direct during the very lasts moments of Friday, December 9th, and its forward motion ends a nearly two-month excursion into the Land of Stall. Which means for the first time in nearly a month, the mechanics of daily life won’t be hampered by a dual retrograde. It also means a non-stop surge of activity and intensity carries us into 2006. It’s hard to imagine life any more intense than it already is, particularly this year, with its enormous waves and storms. But as we approach the Solstice, and the days turn dark and nature contracts in anticipation of winter, the planets align in an extreme pattern, reflecting and reminding us of this year’s dominant signature. Best be prepared for extreme emotional responses, yours and others, and don’t be surprised if you or someone you love—or even a stranger—suddenly starts weeping, laughing, or yelling. Lots of us are under too much stress from too many directions, so when possible, be generous of heart and realize the outburst, while in your presence, isn’t necessarily about you.
The core of this extreme alignment is a Fixed T-Square between Saturn, Mars, and Jupiter. Mars, in Taurus, opposes Jupiter, in Scorpio, a tense relationship that resembles a seesaw—apply stress or pressure on one side, and the other side springs into the air. Mars is happy, happy, happy to be moving ahead, and its exuberance fuels self-assertion. Jupiter is always jubilant about expansion, and that enthusiasm is apt to infuse Mars with overreaching ambition. The result is an up-and-down pattern that’s certain to exacerbate the already seasonally charged emotional air. Don’t let Mars seduce you into taking on more than you can handle. If you don’t know how to knit, don’t fool yourself into thinking you can learn in time to knit everyone a scarf for Christmas. Buy the scarf, now. Learn to knit, later.
Saturn squares both Mars and Jupiter, which is another good reason to keep it simple. Fractious interactions between Saturn and Mars often have a bitter edge, and, unfortunately, that means the “bah humbug” spirit is certain to be a guest at most of the seasonal the festivities. Try not to make daily interactions, professional or personal, a battle zone. Instead, use Saturn/Mars to support a diligent attitude that will get the job done.  As part of this T-Square, Saturn also squares Jupiter, another irritable interaction that tends toward pessimism, especially when Saturn becomes the voice of reality and its stern advice tethers Jupiter’s expansive perspective to the ground, a position that breeds resentment.
Fortunately, the on-going trine between Jupiter and Uranus support good intuition and the ability to stay positive about almost any situation, making it the perfect is antidote for this sour T-Square. Use this benign force to soothe feathers and egos, yours or others. And despite the grousing spirit of Christmas present, also allow it to nourish joy, hope, and goodwill toward your fellow travelers.

November 30, 2005
This week and the next several weeks, first Mercury and then Mars end their retrogrades, and as they do, daily routines here on Earth shift out of the slog and plod of recent weeks into an end of the year near manic-pace that’s determined to make up for lost time by squeezing as much as possible into every minute of every day. And as that pace combines with “normal” seasonal excesses, the next several weeks are sure to unfold with escalating intensity of every dimension—something akin to a jack-in-the-box boing that jars and delights all at the same time. While these jolts to the nervous system are generally benign, you may still need to regroup or recoup. So find a comfortable personal pace that allows you to experience these shifts without getting swept away.
Mercury goes Direct on December 3rd, late in the day, which really means it isn’t Direct until December 4th. Take your time adjusting—you’re going to need your strength, because on Monday, December 5th, everyone, including you, is certain to want everything all at once. Of course that won’t be possible because despite Mercury’s forward motion, Mars is still retrograde until late in the day December 9th. Nothing is going to move like lightning until December 12th. And that means the twelve days before Christmas are a gathering whirlwind of the compulsive need to make up for lost time.
That compulsion is fed by a complex configuration between Mars, Jupiter and Saturn called a Fixed T-Square, which lasts until the end of the year. Mars is in Taurus opposite Jupiter in Scorpio, while Saturn is in Leo in a square to both. Mars and Jupiter thrive on opportunity and movement, and when their energies engage in any configuration, they easily encourage each other to take it to the “limit”. A Mars Jupiter opposition is notorious for rarely finding a balance and even when it does, barely holding on to it. Saturn, seldom comfortable with excess, doesn’t mind dolling out criticism or punishment when it judges a situation to have gone beyond what it deems sufficient or appropriate. It’s a confusing bundle of excess and restraint that’s bound to be a little crazy making.
Fortunately, the on-going trine between Jupiter and Uranus, also in operation for the next several weeks, lightens the load by providing interventions at just the right moment. Uranus represents surprise, Jupiter symbolizes good fortune, trines signify a positive flow, and the entire package offers sudden, unexpected relief from sticky moments. Don’t be surprised if a kind word or gesture turns your world around in an instant. Or, you shift someone else’s view with a kindness of your own.
While some of the excesses of the next few weeks are certain to be fun, the physical, emotion, mental, or spiritual cost may not be worth it. Avoid becoming enslaved to your appetites by cultivating a devotion to clarity of body, mind, heart, and sprit that allows you to indulge without drowning.

November 23, 2005
Thanksgiving snuck up on me this year. I’m living in the United Kingdom at the moment, where there is no seasonal advertising blitz about turkeys, no pictures of pilgrims, no pumpkin displays, and no discussion about shopping on the morning after, aka Black Friday. After all, Thanksgiving is a “New World” holiday, celebrated in the United States and Canada, not in England, which if you think about it was the place those original North American settlers were thankful to leave behind. Halloween isn’t big here, either, and because global warming has extend summer until Christmas, it wasn’t until I saw cranberries in the grocery store that I realized the year was nearly over and my favorite holiday was tomorrow. Thanksgiving has always been my first choice of festivals because it is a non-stop non-denominational celebration of food. But over the last years, Thanksgiving has become increasingly important to me as a day set aside for non-denominational conscious gratitude. Not that every day can’t be a day of being thankful—I just like the idea of special day, because gratitude is such a powerful remedy for fear or futility. And despite its political incorrectness, any holiday that helps recalibrate an awareness of what’s good can’t be bad.
This has been an extraordinarily hard year for Planet Earth. Hundreds of thousands of our fellow beings have faced and are facing tremendous hardship and those disasters have exacerbated both personal and collective anxiety about safety and certainty. It’s likely that when those of us not living in a danger zone have faced a personal challenge over the course of the year, we have either said or thought, “At least I’m not in the path of tsunami, hurricane, or tornado.” And while that is authentic expression of thanks and in no way meant to dismiss or diminish the suffering of others, it is still gratitude defined by another’s bad fortune, rather than an appreciation of our own life in all its niggling, frustrating, confounding, and sometimes disappointing particulars. So a day set apart to offer thanks for the simple things we take for granted—a sound mind or body, a sense of humor, the ability to love and be loved, friendship, curiosity, our senses, the mysterious beauty of a full moon—is a way to ground ourselves back in our own lives, without losing compassion for the lives of others.
Gratitude is also a great way to navigate the planetary challenge of this week and the next several weeks, as Mars, Jupiter and Saturn form a Fixed T-Square, a configuration that’s certain to turn the air hypercritical with a parsimony that would make Scrooge proud. For some, it’s an inventory about what you have and what you don’t. For others, it’s about what they should or shouldn’t have. For the rest of us, the focus is on finding the balance between reality and desire. And being thankful for what we have is a great way of delineating what we really need.

November 16, 2005
A dazzling array of astral contrasts turns daily life dizzying with contradiction. On one hand, a sense of expansive opportunity offers promise, but on the other, the harsh voice of reality delights in delineating the obstacles. On a third hand, radical new approaches guarantee solutions to old problems, but authoritarian despots squelch enthusiasm. It’s a mixed up muddle of yes/no, on/off, and up/down/up again—a cadence that’s certain to be disconcerting. Don’t be surprised if you’re grumpy, a tad sad, or you just feel like staying in bed until the static clears. There’s no right way to handle the confusion, so do whatever it is you do to stay steady and stable inside and out.
Unfortunately, maintaining an equilibrium, internal or external, won’t be easy. Uranus just went Direct, yesterday—and when the planet of startling plot twists makes a course correction, even what’s boring feels exciting. What’s more, as Uranus turned around it strengthened its on going trine with Jupiter, a configuration notorious for bestowing last minute saving graces. We love this. A lot. Even if some of those miraculous interventions don’t appear at first glance to be sublime. We just wish the Saturn/Mars square, a fractious interaction notorious for blame and punishment, wasn’t interfering with the Uranus/Jupiter optimistic bliss. Try not to let the sparks from this Saturn/Mars square ignite a pessimistic attitude that only fears the worst. Instead, use its critical eye to focus on what needs attention and care.
But that’s not all. On November 14th, Mercury began its last retrograde phase of the year. As many of you know, forward progress under Mercury Retrograde is fraught with delays and detours, especially when it comes to communication and travel. And as many of you already know from experience, Mercury Retrograde is not the best time to initiate new projects. Any Mercury Retrograde is best spent culling through the details of previous choices, and given this retrograde is at the end of a very long year, packed with lots to think about, it would be wise to use the retrograde reflecting on decisions, big and small, made over the course of the last eleven months.
The on-going Mars Retrograde magnifies the focus on the past, but Mars as many of us are learning, isn’t at its best moving in reverse and that discontent translates into frustration about getting anything done quickly—a frustration made nearly impossible to tolerate by Mercury Retrograde. This is not the sort of river you want to push, so rather than insist on “now”, have alternative plans ready.
It’s a discombobulating week that requires more than a fair share of humor to adjust to the differing qualities of energy and attitude. As always kindness is the best way to deflect frustration—compassion has a way of calming the waters and soothing the air.

November 9, 2005
It’s a stop-start-stop-and-then-start-all-over-again week that’s wrecks havoc on schedules and plans, big and small, as well as nervous systems, old and young. Back up your computer information as you read this, please, and copy your cell phone address book, too. We’re entering a double retrograde maze of delays and the frustration produced by that combined resistance to forward progress is certain to make even the stoic weep.
Here’s the skinny: Mercury goes Retrograde on November 14th, and as the retro-experienced know, Mercury’s seemingly backward motion translates into a slo-mo rewind review of paths previously taken. Mercury stays retrograde until the end of the day December 3rd, so don’t rely on forward movement until December 4th. Mercury represents all things related to communication and travel and when it turns around almost everything within that vast domain pivots toward the past, which why a retrograde is the perfect time to finish up what’s already started. Edit, Tweak, and Refine are Mercury’s Retroettes, and their sole mission is to help sort through the details. Unfortunately because most of us tend to suffer from techno-anxiety, we resist or resent this forced concentration on detail, a reaction that only exacerbates the already existing frustration of a thousand necessary or unnecessary retrograde interruptions.
And let’s not forget, Mars is also retrograde and will stay that way until December 10th. Mars and Mercury drive the mechanics of daily life and when they are both focused on the past rather than the present or the future, normal tasks—really simple, easy, this isn’t complicated tasks—morph into experiential lessons in quantum physics. The best way to deal with the frustration is to do whatever it takes to maintain a good attitude.
But that’s not all. On November 15th, Uranus goes Direct. Even if you are immune to the Mars/Mercury Retrograde (which would make you a Saint) you’ll feel this. We always feel a shudder in the ethers when Uranus goes Direct, partly because Uranus signifies surprising developments, and also because Uranus has a close relationship with the heart. When Uranus moves ahead, many of us tend to experience abrupt shifts in the direction our lives are taking—as in “I thought I was on a solid career path, but suddenly felt an uncontrollable urge to quit my job and go back to school.
Because Uranus prepares for its course correction at the same time Mercury is preparing for its turn around, holding your orientation during the coming week is going to take some doing. It’s not that time stands still, exactly, but perceptions of time become distorted. Use this dimensional warp to your advantage by stretching the hours out and packing in as much as magic will allow. 

November 2, 2005
The planets plot a jagged course of uneven rhythms for the next several weeks and their erratic pace wrecks havoc with human nervous systems. Don’t be surprised if you have the jitters for no “good” reason or find yourself suddenly self-medicating with substances known to calm the heart, ease the mind and soothe the soul. Also, anticipate disrupted sleep patterns to amplify the already unsettled air. You’ll need strength and stamina—physical, mental, emotional and spiritual—to navigate these waves, so do whatever it is you to get centered and stay centered.
The on-going Mars Retrograde in Taurus continues. Mars is the principle of ambition and the need to succeed, Taurus is the Sign of Resources, and a major piece of this Martian retrospective is an examination of assets and means. Not just from a material perspective, but also from a spiritual point of view, and not only from a personal perspective, but also from the standpoint of the collective. It’s interesting that during this retrograde, we are assessing and reassessing the reality of recent global disasters and the cost of restoring thousand and thousand of lives to solid, healthy ground.
Unfortunately, Mars opposes the Sun for the next ten days, a tense interaction that tends to turn tempers testy.  More unfortunately, this opposition is part of a complex configuration that includes Neptune and Saturn, which oppose each other (widely) as they both square Mars and the Sun. Don’t expect touchy/feely reactions or responses, your own or others, especially if power or money is involved. Do anticipate a political edge to invade everything from picnics to diaper changing. Be aware, Saturn/Mars contacts lean toward a bitter, punishing attitude that needs to assign blame as a way of coping with the frustration of feeling thwarted or opposed (Can you spell “retrograde”.) Blame if you must, but be prepared for the instant karma of a boomerang. While there is no denying just how good it feels to wag that judgmental finger, if there is too big a charge on the end of that wag, rest assured self-righteousness will bite you in the ass.
Fortunately, the on-going trine between Uranus and Jupiter provides the potential for spontaneous solutions from unexpected sources. This is not a guarantee that John Beresford-Tipton will send Michael Anthony with a million bucks to solve your problems. Yes, this trine is notorious for surprising, positive twists of fate, but its influence is more likely to manifest as a sudden satori of awareness that the solution to your problem is already present—it’s just been hidden by a stagnant point of view.
As the coming weeks unfold, try to widen the scope of your heart and mind—“It’s gonna be a bumpy ride.” Which means the journey, personal and collective, is best made with a determination not to aggravate, but rather to soothe wherever and whenever possible.

October 26, 2005
Not even a moment ago by cosmic standards, not even the thought of a moment ago, not even the beginning of the beginning of the beginning of a thought of a moment ago, Jupiter, the expansive, expressive, exaggerated, enthusiastic great grand planet of good fortune moved into Scorpio, the secretive, sexy Sign of intrigue, intensity and transformation. The exact moment was 10:51 AM, EDT on October 25th, the beginning of a new, year long Jupiter cycle that promises to deliver several exciting plot twists—although the way things have been going lately for lots of us, boring might receive a more welcome response. Whatever your personal preference, the planets are aligned in a positive pattern this week. And while the Mars Retrograde continues to be a misery for many, this new pattern provides opportunities to put that frustration aside and instead, tune into an encouraging frequency.
The good news is as soon as Jupiter enters Scorpio it forms an immediate conjunction with the Sun. We love Jupiter Sun conjunctions wherever and whenever they occur because when the planet of beneficence shares the same space with the brightest of all lights, we experience their perfect union as enlightenment. For some, that translates into a shedding of ignorance or prejudice. For others, it’s a new understanding about an old situation. For more, it’s an expanded awareness or experience of the sacred. And for most of us, it’s as simple as a good mood coupled with an even better attitude.
And then there is the really good news. As soon as Jupiter forms its conjunction with the Sun in Scorpio it also moves into a trine with Uranus—a positive alliance that grows in intensity and lasts until the end of the year. We love this Jupiter Uranus trine as much—well, okay, maybe more than we love the Jupiter’s conjunction with the Sun because Jupiter’s trine to Uranus has a “thank the lord” signature that augurs rescue from difficult circumstances just in the nick of time. Of course, it’s not a panacea for all that ails, and it’s not necessarily going to get you out of jail if you’re guilty, but this positive connection between Jupiter and Uranus does tend to offer last minute alternatives that some how “save” the day.
Despite the devastation of recent overwhelming disasters—physical, psychological, and spiritual—this week is a good week. Spend it well and you will mend fences, ease tensions, and encourage hope.

October 19, 2005
If I were writing this column for The Lazy Astrologer’s Guide to the Planets, I’d sum up the coming week as: “Third verse same as the first. I’m Mars, the Retro, I am. Mars, the Retro, I am. I am.” But I’m not, so I can’t. And this week isn’t exactly like the last two weeks, which means while Mars Retrograde does underscore the action, other astral influences vary the theme, providing contrast, nuance, and welcomed relief from the sluggish side-effect of retrograde monotony. Keep in mind, the retrograde still disrupts daily tasks and those disturbances are certain to translate into frustration. But as these other patterns offset the heaviness, the need to gnash your teeth or bang your head against the gate is diminished. So breathe, deeply, gather your wits, get back in your body, and remember, very few situations are really worth a complete meltdown.
An on-going conjunction between the Sun and Jupiter lightens the emotional load with laughter. Jupiter and the Sun travel in tandem until the end of the month. The Sun goes into Scorpio on Sunday; Jupiter goes into Scorpio next Wednesday, October 26th. Until then, Jupiter is in the final degrees of its transit through Libra, a journey that began in late September 2004. As Jupiter prepares to leave the Sign of Partnering and Relating, we’re likely to experience a few “moments” about what this sojourn stimulated in our personal lives. The final days of a transit are often the most intense. So don’t be surprised if old infatuations flare up or, conversely, sudden new sparks ignite a bonfire. An on-going (and diminishing in power) trine between Saturn and Venus could turn some of those attractions serious, if you and the object of your affection are so inclined.
A Mars Mercury opposition amplifies mental meanderings. Mercury is in Scorpio, probing what lies beneath surface appearances, and as it “polarizes” with Mars, in Taurus, themes of value, financial or otherwise, are likely to dominate intellectual processes. Expect to ask more than once about more than one situation, “Is this worth it?” And don’t expect an easy answer. This opposition often creates an overactive mind and mental anxiety. A helpful remedy for that agitation is being able to discern the difference between pure projection and valid concern. 
There is nothing lazy about the coming week, so try not to let the repetition component of a retrograde lull you into a false sense of what needs to be done. Try not to take on more than you can comfortably handle, but when possible, lend a hand to your fellow travelers.

October 12, 2005
The planets offer up a slightly different perspective this week, and as the astral pattern shifts, heads lift out of the slog of mundane routines to take in a broader horizon.  Don’t misunderstand—the Mars Retrograde review that began on October 1st isn’t over; it ends on December 9th, and we’re only entering week three. But by now, many of us have adjusted to the new non-in-un-direct Martian pace and are making the necessary modifications to schedules and plans. Of course, some continue to be mired in retrograde delays, and while those situations can’t be hurried along, this week, the stars also provide opportunities to grouse about the interference. Permission to complain is a great and wondrous thing, and fortunately, a lot of the whining is underscored by large strokes of jest.
The source of grumbling is a Saturn Mercury square that started on October 11th and ends on October 17th. Saturn is well known for its critical eye, and although Mercury is famous for making the most of any situation—positive or negative—when these two bang heads, faultfinding abounds. Fortunately, the source of this week’s bigger picture is a conjunction of Jupiter and the Sun, a configuration that always provides a humorous approach to whatever ails. Again, fortunately, this conjunction begins today and lasts for several weeks.
Mars Retrograde Part III
At the end of May 2000, a Saturn/Jupiter conjunction, in Taurus, signaled a new 20-year cycle specifically focused on resources, personal and collective. The best way to understand a Saturn/Jupiter cycle is to liken it to the growing phases of the Moon. The first quarter, or first five-year period, is about preparing the ground for what you want to grow—removing the rocks, fertilizing the soil, planting the seeds, invoking the plant spirits, and dealing with the weeds, insects, and animals. This spring we hit the end of that first growing phase.
For the past several days and for the next several days, Mars retrogrades over the same degree in Taurus that Saturn and Jupiter occupied when they formed their conjunction. The position of Mars translates into a look at what’s been put in motion over the course of the last five years, especially as those events relate to resources, again, personal and collective. Use this time to take stock: What did you set in motion? A marriage? A divorce? Children? Career and/or creative goals? The Saturn/Jupiter cycle isn’t over, and part of the value of the current Mars Retrograde can be the revision and refinement of plans, pursuits, and strategies for success.
As the week unfolds, allow your mind to achieve an altered state, sigh, a lot, and find the funny as often as possible—remember, nothing heals the heart better than laughter.

October 5, 2005
Mars Retrograde Part II
The big news continues to be a Mars Retrograde phase that began October 1st and ends December 9th. This week, as Mars adjusts to moving “behind” instead of “ahead” we’re invited to grow accustomed to a new pace. Unfortunately, settling down or settling in won’t be easy. Mars isn’t all that happy leading a retrospective, so don’t be surprised if you or someone you love starts barking, growling or snarling—tolerance isn’t a Martian strong suit. Anyone who demands or insists without regard to others is likely to meet with lots of resistance, as are those who expect co-workers to be mind readers. And “superhumans” used to moving mountains by sheer will are forewarned: forward momentum is a struggle. And this isn’t a “bad” week—it’s simply a self-ish week.
Among its many meanings, Mars represents the principle of individuation, and during a retrograde that puts the emphasis on issues of selfhood. Self-assertion, self-confidence, selfishness, self-centeredness, even selflessness are all pieces of the Martian puzzle. Mars is the energy that allows the experience of being separate and distinct from others, and now, as the retrograde becomes a reality, individual need becomes a priority. Anticipate reasonable and unreasonable demands, your own or others, to interrupt or interfere with plans and schedules.
And because Mars also signifies anger in all its flagrant varieties, tempers turn more than a little testy if and when individual desires are denied. Avoid going “postal”—it’s unlikely someone is intentionally trying to withhold your package. Similarly, while road rage is certain to escalate during this period, it’s not probable that other drivers are actually trying to kill you. Wherever you find yourself on the impatience meter, try not to get driven to extremes. Frustration is certain to infuse interactions with an uncomfortable edge, but that doesn’t every event is a personal affront.
While you could say the best way to handle this retrograde is to stay at home tucked under the covers, hidden away from the possibility of negative interaction, denial may not be the wisest choice. The dissonance you’re trying to avoid could just as easily be internal and isolation often tends to exacerbate a negative mindset. So do whatever it is you do to focus on finding creative solutions. Instead of allowing the angry impatience of selfish motivation to ruin the situation, think before you act. Allow thoughtful introspection to guide your choices and you’ll emerge from this retrograde with a deeper understanding of how to get your needs met without causing harm to yourself or others.

September 28, 2005
Mars Retrograde Part I
The really big news for the next several weeks is a two-month-plus Mars Retrograde that begins on October 1st and ends close to the stroke of midnight December 9th. Don’t underestimate the power of this Martian retrospective—it upsets and undermines the traditional seasonal hustle and bustle with a slo-mo rewind certain to drive even the saintly slightly mad with frustration. But that’s not all. On October 3rd, a Solar Eclipse (the first of two eclipses during the month of October) also disrupts “normal”, stirring a high degree of emotional intensity. You’ll need an objective perspective to make it through these days and nights, because tumult permeates the air and handling the commotion will require patience—lots and lots and lots.
From an astrological perspective, a “retrograde” describes a period of time when a planet appears to be moving “backward” across the sky. As the retrograde planet retraces its path across the sky, we experience that review as a series of delays or interruptions that inhibit direct progress. We experience that interference through the various symbolic meanings assigned to retrograde planet, as well as the qualities of the Sign the planet goes retrograde in. Mars represents vitality—it thrives on fast, physical, forward motion and it doesn’t like being restrained. One of the ways its retrograde resistance tends to manifest here on Earth is through uneven rhythms that disrupt daily routines. Expect the already noticeable stop and start quality of plans and projects to increase.
Mars goes retrograde in Taurus, the Sign of Resources. Mars moved into Taurus on July 28th and stays in Taurus until February 17th. As Mars spends nearly seven months concentrating on “means and ways”, we do, too. For some, that translates into a gathering of reserves. For others, it’s recognition of what’s already in place. For most of us, this retrograde points out the gaps between what we have and what we need or want. Taurus is an abundant Sign and Mars is ambitious. So focus on no matter how bleak the initial assessment, focus on gratitude and prosperity and this retrograde will work for you.
Unfortunately, the Solar Eclipse on October 3rd exacerbates emotional intensity. During a Solar Eclipse, the Moon overshadows the Sun, the rational takes a backset to the “irrational, and because this eclipse occurs in Libra, relationships are at the core of the disruption, especially boundary issues.
As the next weeks unfold, try to keep in mind, most of us aren’t consciously trying to hurt each other—so whenever possible, rather than react in the heat of the moment, try a little tenderness.

September 21, 2005
Astral speed bumps alter the pace of earthly life this week, and even though the energetic deceleration is sure to produce frustration, what this slow down does provide are plenty of opportunities to both catch our breath, as well as take a breath. Don’t be surprised if you’re suddenly willing and able to find time or make time for all those small things that tend to be put on hold in the midst of an emergency. And because the immediacy of a crisis often masks mundane concerns, as we move into a more moderate rhythm what isn’t working is certain to be revealed. One thing won’t change—the current workload—whether it’s hyperspace or a snail’s pace, there is simply too much to be done and not nearly enough hours in the day to complete the appointed rounds. 
Mars is the source of the stop/start rhythm. Known as the planet of vim and vigor, over the course of the next ten days Mars slows down its normally peppy pace in preparation for a retrograde phase that begins October 1st and lasts until December 12th. This Martian downshift translates into all sorts of speed reductions, and the slower stride is likely to cause more than a few “moments”. Patience is the key to handling the uneven pace, especially as a thousand necessary interruptions couple with a thousand thoughtless intrusions. It won’t be easy to focus or concentrate, so do what you can, but don’t beat yourself up if you space out or meltdown.
And speaking of meltdowns, it’s not just the looming retrograde that’s turning the normally clear fall air sticky. Katrina’s winds and floods continue to batter, as individuals try to cope with the aftermath of her destruction. Even those of us not directly affected by the aftermath of the storm play a role in the healing process. Hearts and minds, bodies and souls continue to be agitated and disturbed, particularly as horror stories continue to surface about what really went on in New Orleans during those devastating days before relief finally arrived. And the collective psyche is struggling to maintain its grip as waves of emotions—anger, grief, fear, and deep disappointment in the behavior of our fellow humans—turn the air sour with disbelief and despair.
As the coming weeks unfold and Mars retraces its path, it will also retrace the path of Katrina—not necessarily as another hurricane, but as a slow motion look at the reality of Katrina’s violence. Many of us are likely to experience this retrospective as a poignant vulnerability. That sensitivity will be easier to bear if we can find the courage to try and understand the choices made, as well as summon compassion for those decisions. Not in a way that condones harmful behavior, but in a manner that facilitates transformation so that we can muster the hope to sustain a determination to heal and grow.

September 14, 2005
I was wrong a couple of weeks ago when I assumed the foreboding air many of us were feeling was prescience about the looming retrograde slog of October and November, when both Mars and Mercury go retrograde and slow routines to a crawl.  What we sensed was Katrina. And how her violence would transform our lives long after her storm was over. The problem is I don’t know where to begin to write about Katrina because as most of us are I am overwhelmed by the devastating consequences.
I’ve never seen so many talking heads lose their minds—unrehearsed reactions convey the shock and the horror better than the carefully crafted news pieces we’ve become accustomed to. No antiseptic reporting seems possible. No whitewashing of the facts can cover the extent of the destruction. The press no longer hides behind an ivory tower dispassionate distance or a jaded perspective. Unlike Iraq, you can’t hide the dead. This catastrophe is happening at home.
Did the stars predict Katrina? Some astrologers will answer, “Yes.” But the knowledge of this impending disaster was public domain—no planet watching needed—anyone and everyone connected to the levee systems knew it would fail in the face of a Category Five Hurricane. So what is it about us humans that allows us to deny realistic, factual information? Do we really think we can control Nature? Is our individual and collective hubris so extreme we believe we can handle anything Nature throws at us? Are we so sure a mysterious “someone” will always save the day, no matter how egregiously we violate our environment?
Cleaning up Katrina’s poisonous floodwaters will require the collective efforts of many, many, many someones. The myriad life forms—people, plants, animals— dependent on that ecosystem have been irrevocably affected and who knows how long it will be before it is safe to grow food. Or how long it will take to grow the lives of Katrina’s survivors. So much kindness is needed by so many and will be for so much longer than we can imagine. Survivor and witness irrevocably interconnected in this healing process.
The toxic waters of Katrina aren’t only physical—the waves of grief, desperation, displacement, horror, fear, and anger will wash over all of us for sometime to come. The way of transformation is to look toward the lesson. But a transformational view doesn’t serve when it denies, ignores, or bypasses the reality of suffering. Spiritual common sense demands presence—taking in what is at first incomprehensible and indigestible and then, responding to immediate needs in a thoughtful, conscious way. And at the same time, keeping a keen eye on what needs to change at the core of our culture so that we can transform our hubris into humility.

September 7, 2005
This week, you can try planting both feet firmly on the ground but don’t expect to stay put or stay grounded. Too much happens too quickly, and the result is a mind exploding hustle and bustle. (Okay…I’m exaggerating just a little…but that squeaking squeeze you hear is the sound of brains trying to contain an overwhelming amount of information about an overwhelming number of subjects.) While some of the mighty minds among us will be able to sway with these mental winds, others of equal intellectual prowess are likely to snap from the stress. Most of us will adapt and deal with the intensity by simply going to bed, zoning out on computer games, losing ourselves in a fictitious universe the size of Middle Earth, or just taking drugs. As John Lennon once wrote, “Whatever gets you through the night….” And certainly coping is key. But keep in mind as you self-medicate, conscious awareness facilitates wise responses. So no matter how mind-bending life gets, don’t check out completely.
A Uranus/Mercury opposition is the source of this week’s mind games. Uranus/Mercury interactions are the astro equivalent of the “inventor’s light bulb” and when their combined light turns on, we experience an increased capacity to innovate, conceptualize, and invent. Use this opposition to solve previously impenetrable problems and situations. Just be aware, Mercury also symbolizes the Trickster. That role could translate into answers you might at first reject because while they solve the problem, in order to apply the solution, you have to transform a cherished attitude or position, and releasing what’s old won’t be easy.
A Pluto/Sun square generates the potential for power plays. Pluto, the planet of death and resurrection, always wants the final world. When it clashes with the Sun, conflicts with authority, particularly father figures, tend to turn the air toxic with control issues. That fractious signature is likely to complicate the already difficult task of handling relief efforts for the lives laid waste by Katrina. But it is also important to remember that this configuration can also support ceaseless efforts to do whatever needs doing.
One of the wrathful forms of the Goddess Kali depicts her eating her children—a potent reminder of the cyclic nature of existence and the inevitability of death. These next weeks, as we all attempt to cope with the magnitude of Katrina’s destruction, it might be useful to remember that Kali also symbolizes rebirth, resurrection, and the inevitability of life.

August 31, 2005
Lots of people, astrologers and civilians alike, are wondering if the planets are leading a double life. Mercury Retrograde ended on August 15th, but its aftermath feels more like a retrograde than the Retrograde did. I’m sure in some other dimension where direction differs according to your holographic gradient, the planets do lead an infinite number of lives. Certainly here on Earth their movements have as many interpretations as there are people watching the sky. But on paper there is no astrological explanation why so many hearts and minds are currently experiencing so much energetic congestion and neither are there any immediate or extraordinary planetary reasons why so many people seem to be so overwhelmed.
The only thing that makes sense to me is prescience—we are overwhelmed, now, in anticipation the of future, a future that includes two-months of retrogrades beginning October 1st. Just as animals sense an earthquake, some of us sense the slog that lies ahead, and are feeling the burden of getting “it” done before it takes twice as long to do anything. Don’t misunderstand: I am not predicting two months of disaster. I am saying Mars and then Mercury Retrograde define October and November, a delineation that could translate into an endless fall. Some will prosper during these months, but most of us will feel as if we are constantly pushing the river. And the current psychic jam is an early warning signal not to procrastinate about important matters. This week and all the weeks of September are the only retrograde frustration free forward motion weeks before mid-December. The only commentary I can offer is, “Oy.”
This week opens with Uranus and the Sun forming an exact conjunction, tonight. When tense configurations pull apart, we often experience that release in the form of intense events. Because Uranus and the Sun are always about freedom, personal and collective, for the next few days we are likely to be confronted by emancipation declarations of every denomination.
The good news is a Jupiter Venus conjunction. Venus is in Libra, one of her Home Signs, sharing the same space with Jupiter, the planet of great good fortune, and their coupling engenders an atmosphere of beauty, grace, and sensual pleasure—a frequency that is sure to soothe overextended and overwrought nervous systems.
What makes astrology a practical tool for conscious living is its ability to delineate cycles. Forewarned means well prepared. So rather than dread what lies ahead, decipher the code of what’s happening now, and then, use that information to create the appropriate strategy for handling the intensity.

August 24, 2005
The planets dial up a different frequency this week, and the new patterns move us out of the summer doldrums into the brisker pace of fall. Unfortunately, before the stars lock in on the new broadcast signal, we’re in for several days of static. Expect interruptions, interference, and intrusions, major and minor, but don’t batten down the hatches. It’s just a transitional phase, which means some of the shifts are uncomfortable. A healthy dose of humor is the best way through these changes, especially the irreverent kind that makes it impossible to take anything, including yourself so seriously you forget to laugh.
A lingering T-square between Neptune, Mars, and Mercury continues to fuzz perceptions, feed projection, and impede precision (interestingly, all three planets never quite form an exact relationship at the same time). Both Neptune and Mercury delight in assuming the role of Trickster, and are ever eager to baffle or bamboozle. But Mars doesn’t handle bewilderment well—the warrior planet likes things direct, which makes it easy prey to the shenanigans of Neptune and Mercury. That Martian vulnerability is likely to translate into fuming frustration, as firm commitments evaporate or slip away before you can nail down the details.
The fog lifts by the weekend, when an opposition between Uranus and the Sun starts to clear the air and clarify confusion. Uranus/Sun contacts are always about freedom, personal and collective, oppositions are always about tension, and this one is no different. This opposition is exact late in the evening of August 31st. As the tension of this opposition builds toward the 31st and then starts to release, try to notice where and why you are craving independence and how to create greater liberty without causing harm to yourself or others.
A Jupiter/Mercury sextile provides the wit for the week and can be utilized as an inspirational source, especially for humor in all its varying disguises. This is also a philosophic coupling that encourages musings about what makes the world tick. And because Jupiter is in Libra, the Sign of Relating, and Mercury is in Leo, the Sign of Romantic Risk, the thoughtful focus is certain to be on love.
One more bit: On October 1st  (only a few weeks away) Mars begins a retrograde phase that lasts until December 9th. Mars doesn’t like retracing its steps and its seeming backward motion is certain to obstruct the seasonal taking-care-of-business-momentum of fall. So allow yourself to still enjoy what’s left of summer, but also try to ease into an attitude that will allow you to get as much done as possible right now.

August 17, 2005
Past, present, and future merge this week, and the days and nights sway to strange time signatures—minutes pulse like hours, hours play like days, and the blink of a single second packs enough power to rearrange reality. It’s likely to take a while for your brain to adjust to these shifting dimensions. Mercury is D-I-R-E-C-T and for some that signals an abrupt shift out of sluggishness into hyperspace. For others, Mercury’s forward motion ends the “stop and start stride” of recent weeks. But for most of us, this week’s weird time zones are simply confusing; so don’t be dismayed if you need an extra moment or two to adjust. Do sit down and breathe if you feel dizzy from the acceleration. You won’t miss anything if you take a break and there will be plenty of opportunities to catch up.
Mars, famous for its urge to action, is currently in Taurus, forming several interactions with other planets, all of which affect timing. (1) Mars squares that forward moving Mercury, the planet of all things mental. Mars thrives on motion. Mercury does, too. Squares symbolize friction, and as Mars and Mercury butt heads, their sparks ignite busy minds—very busy minds. This combination can spawn the kind of mental machinations that waste time, disturb clarity, or lead the unaware astray, as well as make you think more about the future or the past than the present. Avoid rehashing old conversations, situations, or worrying about the outcome. Also try not to talk trash or gossip. If you need to download or discharge tough feelings or overwhelming reactions, try to find healthy ways to release the pressure.
(2) A Neptune/Mars square, also a friction producing interaction, ripples across routines, too, but is likely to be experienced as mostly subtle disturbances. Boundaries blur under this influence and co-dependence is commonplace. But don’t let the “I don’t know—what do you want to do?” response fool you into thinking everything is hunky-dory. It’s likely a fair degree of anger fuels the “nice” response. Neptune/Mars squares often indicate passive aggressive behavior. That being said, the Mars/Mercury square makes decision making difficult.
(3) Fortunately, a Uranus/Mars sextile facilitates a direct approach. But it also amplifies a need to hurry up and get “it” done, which is why Uranus/Mars interactions are infamous for accidents. A cautionary word: While this sextile does provide enough energy to get the job done—you can still over do.
As the restlessness of recent weeks finally finds an outlet, try not to push too hard to make up for “lost” time. Instead, find a comfortable personal pace that allows you to make the most of present time.

August 10, 2005
I don’t know about you, but I’m incapable of hearing (let alone writing) one more word about Mercury Retrograde. I definitely have the Retrograde Blues, again, and frankly, despite all that’s positive about a Retrograde, I can’t wait until Monday, when this slo-mo rewind painstaking attention to detail quirky warp factor/time-distorter thing is finally over. Unfortunately, the end of this retrograde cycle has two technical glitches: (1) A Mars Mercury square, in effect now, exact this weekend, and still making contact on the 15th, continues to generate cranky attitudes.  (2) Even though Mercury technically goes Direct on August 15th, it doesn’t turn around until the end of the day, which means Monday isn’t freedom day—Tuesday is—and you won’t hear the collective sigh of relief as it ripples through the ethers because it won’t be uttered until the middle of the night on August 16th when many of us will be sleeping.
Which is why this column is devoted to something you can hear—Saturn. “Singing Saturn Electric”(www.abc.net.au/science/news/stories/s1425596.htm) is an article published on line and if you visit that site you can actually hear Saturn sing. While I realize for some of us listening to planets is not new news, it is for me, and “wow” is the best word I can think of to describe Saturn’s music. What’s more, because we are the first generation to physically hear Saturn (other’s may have metaphysically tuned into Saturn’s broadcast), I decided it would be appropriate to not only share my wonder with you, but also to interpret the news of Saturn’s singing as a synchronicity. Saturn just began a two-year plus cycle through Leo, the Sign of creative self-expression. Perhaps its song and our capability to listen is both a cue and a clue as to what Saturn’s journey through Leo might inspire.
For those of you new to astrological symbols and their meanings, Leo is the Sign of creative self-expression; Saturn signifies limits and boundaries; Saturn is seldom associated with uninhibited self-expression, which means its journey through Leo is sure to cool Leo’s creative fire. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Saturn represents the capacity to learn and to teach, and its presence in Leo is likely to transform a casual approach into a serious one—the decision to study the structure of chords rather than just memorizing them.
Yet no matter how astrologers try to promote a positive spin, Saturn will never lose its reputation as the “Lord of Karma” because among its many properties, Saturn it gets down to the bones of things and reveals what’s at the core. If the Emperor has no clothes, Saturn says so. If the music is only fluff, Saturn critical eye will point that out and demand substance. But even if those revelations are painful, don’t confuse Saturn’s eye or its rings with Sauron. The Lord of Karma isn’t in cahoots with the dark side. And perhaps listening to its physical song will help lesson the fear of its metaphysical presence.

August 3, 2005
The planets produce drama this week, and even though the script doesn’t strictly define daily life as a Passion play, we are sure to hear several zealous stories of suffering. Being patient as the “greatest story ever told” unfolds won’t be easy—whining voices salt certain situations with complaints, big and small, and sorting through the “true” from the self-indulgent will take a keen ear. Fortunately, there are also tales of hope and redemption waiting to be told, and those stories will lift the heart and feed the spirit.
Mercury Retrograde continues to be the protagonist; we’re only midway through its second review of 2005, which ends August 15th. For those of you just tuning in, here’s the retrograde recap: During Mercury retrograde all things related to communication and travel tend to go awry, and the fall out from those rough spots feeds frustration, as it simultaneously tries patience. The best way through is simply accepting the delays and glitches with as positive an attitude as possible, even if that means smiling as you repeat yourself twice and thrice.  But keep in mind, this is the perfect time to clean up anything and everything—desks, closets, garages, organizers, email, you name it.
This week’s suffering stems from a square between Saturn and Mars, which is separating, but won’t really lessen in intensity until Monday. This pernicious influence fuels the dance of the victimizer/victim, one position pointing the punishing finger of blame, the other refusing to acknowledge participation. The energy of this square can be channeled into the sort of determination that won’t allow obstacles to impede the flow of progress, but that devotion to hard work can also have a complaining edge.
Starting tonight and continuing until Saturday morning, a Leo Moon drives the first as well as the second act of the week’s melodrama. Today, the Moon is in the final phase of an old cycle. But it can’t fully express itself because Saturn, also in Leo inhibits a full emotional catharsis. Late tomorrow night, a New Moon in Leo, conjunct the Sun and Mercury, also in Leo, strikes an impressive chord that makes up for any previously held back feelings. New Moons are an excellent time for beginnings, but because this New Moon is conjunct Mercury Retrograde, nothing starts nor flows without great effort.

There is no more generous Sign in the Zodiac than Leo when it's happy, and because all of us have that potential generosity of spirit somewhere in our birth charts, this week, as the Moon and the Sun shine equally on all beings, each of us has an opportunity to do the same and be as big-hearted as we can possibly be.

July 27, 2005
Grouchy and Cranky, those two lesser-known Disney Dwarfs turn this week and next antsy with aggravation. Fortunately, Funny and Funnier are also on call, which means we can choose to laugh ourselves silly over all the things we’re tempted to fuss about. Choosing laughter sounds simple, but funny bones could be obscured by constant confrontation, so make sure you have plenty of patience pills and several pairs of rose-colored glasses at your disposal.
The first source of angst is Mercury Retrograde, which began on July 22 and lasts until August 15th. During a retrograde, as Mercury appears to retrace its orbital path, we actually do retrace ours. As the seasoned among us know, Mercury Retrograde is not a good time to start anything new because whatever begins under a Retrograde tends to be beset with obstacles well after the Retrograde is over. Retrograde projects do come to fruition, but by the time you arrive at the finish line, you’re too frazzled and furtutzed to appreciate the accomplishment. Mercury Retrograde is best spent finishing up what’s all ready on the boards because the prime motive of a Retrograde is seeking out what needs a little (or a lot of) tweaking.
The second source of aggravation is a Saturn Mars square that just happens to run concurrently with Mercury Retrograde. (Bummer.) Saturn square Mars is a fractious interaction infamous for arousing anger. Don’t be surprised if a friendly difference of opinion over something inconsequential escalates into a full-scale battle. Do your best to stay neutral, not because being a wuss is best, but because high-density emotions are charging the air and you don’t want to get swept away in the heat of the moment.
Fortunately, our pal Jupiter, the great planet of wisdom and humor, offers psychic support through a trine with Neptune and a sextile with the Sun. A Jupiter Neptune trine produces the potential for deeply mystical experiences, but making those altered states a reality requires the discipline to walk your talk. Peace isn’t just an idea—it is a way of life.
The Jupiter Sun sextile supplies laughter—apply it liberally, and allow humor to diffuse short fuses—yours or others. Just don’t aim sarcasm (especially if it’s masking passive aggressive behavior) at the sensitive spots of those you love. Instead, go for the broad stroke, find the cosmic joke, and encourage others to acknowledge the absurd.

July 20, 2005
You’ll need specialized equipment to navigate this week’s slightly wiggy time warp—so dust off those gravity boots and make sure the magnets are charged and ready so you can safely walk upside down or straddle parallel universes when necessary. Just don’t be surprised if your experience of daily life seems skewed at an odd angle. This week perspectives and perceptions shift in the blink of the mind’s eye.
The source of this planetary REM is Mercury Retrograde. Mercury goes Retrograde on the evening of July 22nd and stays that way until August 15th. Mercury’s seemingly backward motion lifts us right out of hyper pace of recent weeks and plants us firmly in a snail’s pace—a shift in tempo that’s certain to cause every sort of whiplash, because although minds may be moving at the speed of light, physical, earthly activities won’t. Again, don’t be surprised if you suddenly feel physically depleted, mentally weary, and emotionally or spiritually empty. Many of us have been runnin’ on fumes of intensity since June (okay—I concede—the intensity feels eternal) and now, as Mercury grinds regular routines to a crawl, that slower pace is sure to reveal a deep level of psychic exhaustion. What’s more, while it looks as if there are still a couple of days to power through what needs to be set in motion before the retrograde begins, that’s not quite the case. The next seven days Mercury hardly seems to move at all, and here on Earth, Mercury slight of motion creates the illusion of time standing still. So if you’re going to push, do so with respect--this retrograde river has a current all its own.
Most of us know the drill, but for those who aren’t familiar with Mercury Retrograde, here are the basics: Mercury Retrograde is a great time to review, reflect, and reconsider what’s already in motion. It allows us to go through the details with an eye toward making any necessary adjustments or revisions. Mercury Retrograde is also a time when daily life downshifts into a gear that allows for thoughtful reflection rather than rapid progress.  Unfortunately, because Mercury symbolizes just about everything having to do with communication and travel, when it moves “behind” very little in our world (so dependent on modern communication technology) moves ahead; and that translates into computer crashes, traffic snarls, lost mail of every denomination, and lots and lots and lots of frustration at having to say just about everything twice.
But let us keep in mind during this new age of fundamentalism Mercury Retrograde is not the devil. Life goes on—and during Mercury Retrograde it just unfolds at a different and, yes, diminished pace. And while the retrograde is certain to stimulate a great collective gnashing of teeth, sometimes we don’t even know how much we need a break until we take one.

July 13, 2005
Powerful planetary patterns continue to warp daily routines and life continues to unfold at an irregular pace—don’t be surprised if one moment feels wide enough to drive a year’s worth of work through it and the next several hours blink by with the rapidity of a strobe light. And time distortions aren’t the only dimensional twists—moods also shape shift, as one configuration dazzles with rare brilliance causing minds and hearts to sear with creative imagination, while another signals sober reflection and serious planning. You’ll need a good attitude to manage these disparate signatures, especially an attitude that’s grounded in humor—laughter, as the sages often remind us is one of the best ways to cope with contradiction.
That ongoing (and seemingly interminable) Mars/Sun square was exact yesterday, and now, as it separates, we’re likely to experience increased vitality. Anticipate the need to move, but rather than mindless movement, get purposeful, get physical and expend the inherent power of this square in healthy ways.
The brilliance of a Grand Trine between Pluto, Mars, Venus, and Mercury helps inspire creative ways of spending that extra energy. This configuration could (and probably will) instigate melodrama. But don’t let that interfere with your ability to access its power—this Grand Trine can lift a spirit set adrift in the doldrums of the mundane and galvanize that weary soul into transformative action. Allow this positive combination to stoke the fires of your imagination (the energetic signature of the year) and then, let that heat turn the common place into the extraordinary. And be sure to dream big—it’s been a while since we’ve had such a positive powerful signature to support our highest hopes.
Saturn moves into Leo on July 16th, a placement it hasn’t held since 1977. While we aren’t supposed to think of Saturn as “The Lord of Karma”, there’s still no denying when Saturn shifts from one Sign to another, everyone trembles with the wonderings of what will be. Yes, on the negative end of its spectrum, Saturn can be the faultfinding critic or judge, but on the positive side, Saturn represents the capacity to discern, which is why it symbolizes the ability to learn, as well as teach. One possible outcome of Saturn’s journey through Leo, the Sign of self-expression, is a strengthening and deepening of creative talent. On the 16th, the Grand Trine between Pluto, Mars, and Venus will be nearly exact—an interesting omen for Saturn’s journey.
As Saturn alters the undertone of daily life, Mercury shifts the overtones as it prepares to go Retrograde on July 22nd (and stays that way until August 15th). So back up those hard drives and make those last minute reservations, before the 21st.
This week, as you navigate the energetic complexity, try to hold on to a sense of the absurd and allow laughter to soften any rough edges.

July 6, 2005
This week, last week’s planetary patterns carry forward with an increased intensity that distorts perception. Don’t be surprised if you feel a little like Alice in Wonderland—one planet will make you small, another will make you tall, and the Red Queen is certain to be making unreasonable demands. It won’t be possible to stay linear, so keep your head by multitasking—just avoid getting caught in a maze of your own making trying to finish everything at once.
First the not so good news: The on-going Mars/Sun square continues to aggravate the atmosphere, engendering bad moods, ill feelings, and foot-in-mouth disease. Mars is in Aries, a placement that excites its ire. The Sun is in Cancer, and while Cancer isn’t volatile, it is given to internal anxiety storms, and when those tempests aren’t acknowledged, they often explode as preemptive strike meant to protect, but only seem to make matters worse. Unfortunately, a Neptune/Mars square incites, making it hard to maintain healthy boundaries, which contributes to the already testy atmosphere.
Next, the good news:  An on-going Venus/Mercury conjunction in Leo continues to inspire creative thinking. Venus supplies a devotion to beauty, Mercury lends intellectual support for her aesthetics, and together, they produce opportunities to deepen our appreciation, as well as our participation in creative pursuits. The really good news is Jupiter, in Libra, sextiles both Venus and Mercury. We love this because when Jupiter, the happy planet of good fortune and good humor, forms a positive alliance with Venus and Mercury, the entire bundles amplifies the possibility of creative solutions to all sorts of situations.
But the really, really good news is a Grand Trine in Fire, that begins on the 8th between Pluto, in Sagittarius, Mars in Aries, and the Mercury Venus conjunction in Leo. This hugely positive alliance sparks passion of every persuasion, igniting amorous adventures, intellectual zeal, and belly fires of ambition.
Yet in a parallel universe, moving at a very different rate, Saturn is changing Signs. In ten days, on July 16, Saturn leaves the Sign of Cancer, where it has been since June 2003, and enters Leo, where it will stay until September 2007. When Saturn shifts Signs, we experience that movement as an intense transitional phase. But more importantly, because the final degrees of any Sign are the distillation of that Sign’s essence, when Saturn finishes its current journey through Cancer, we experience the distillation of the entire journey. Which means you can expect the next ten days to be an existential pop quiz on what you’ve learned over the last two years and a half years about issues of safety, security, nourishment and belonging—all primary Cancer themes. 
Saturn’s forward movement, combined with its retrospective, mixed with the momentum of the other planets is certain to create reality warps. So don’t be too hard on yourself or others if you need to call time out—remember, Wonderland was exhausting.

June 29, 2005
Planetary mood swings still define the highs and lows of daily life, and the flux between “everything all the time” and the exhaustion that comes from living in excess continues to wreck havoc on already stressed nervous systems. Don’t be surprised if you can’t catch your breath; the recent rapid rate of change could leave a marathon runner gasping for air. But also anticipate the ability to breathe fire; the atmosphere is rife with conflict and those irritations are sure to give birth to attitude—and lots of it. Do whatever it is you do to keep your cool and try to be patient with others if and when they lose theirs.
Several major planetary configurations contribute to the intensity. First, we’re on the tail end of the Jupiter Mars opposition, an energetic seesaw that soars with bold ambitions, but slams down to earth as the reality of what it will take to make those goals successful dampens enthusiasm. Second, we are also still in the throes of a T-Square between Jupiter, Mars, and the Sun, a tense interaction that turns the air steamy with irritating arguments.
While the vacillations of Jupiter Mars opposition end on July 5th, a trine between Uranus and the Sun generates its own erratic pulse that bestows permission for impulsive behavior. At the lowest common denominator, Uranus trine the Sun is about a selfish need to break free from whatever enslaves regardless of the consequence of that emancipation act. This is the revolutionary who strikes a blow for freedom by harming others, never realizing how his or her behavior only shackles the situation to the existing paradigm of violence. At the highest possible expression, the Uranus Sun revolutionary holds the vision of a revolution capable of freeing everyone from his or her chains—the oppressed as well as the oppressor. For those of us not interested in violence, the creative power of this trine fosters the need for something new, even if that antidote to monotony is a cup of tea in the morning rather than a pot of coffee.
Fortunately, we’re also under the influence of a Venus Mercury conjunction, a coupling that sets minds and hearts on fire with a desire to dramatically express every thought and every feeling. And while some of us may not be interested in listening to someone recite with excruciating detail his or her daily routines, when Venus and Mercury travel in tandem those details are elegantly expressed and gracefully embellished. This is an excellent configuration for writers, artists, negotiators of every ilk, as well as diplomats of all denominations who need smooth tongues to soothe ravaged hearts.
And given the testy and tempestuous nature of the week, many of us are certain to be called to diplomatic duty, calming hot spots, settling ruffled feathers, and cooling heads, our own or others. So do your best to avoid getting entangled or embroiled in battle, and instead search for healthy ways to blow off the steam.

June 22, 2005
For the next ten days, daily life resembles a seesaw—one moment, manic ambition drives routines and the next, genuine exhaustion makes one more step nearly impossible. And while these ups and downs aren’t necessarily pernicious, the constant flux is bound to engender an edge. Expect testy tempers, and don’t be surprised if you find yourself growling or howling; sometimes words just don’t do the trick. Also anticipate a need to flex your freedom muscles, especially if your extreme highs and lows are determined by the erratic or unreliable behavior of others.  Keep in mind, this intensity isn’t without benefit; it produces a lot of energy that can be harnessed and aimed at specific goals. But to use it to your advantage, you have to avoid the stand trap of self-indulgent anger.
This vacillating rhythm pivots on a Mars Jupiter opposition. Mars is currently in Aries, its Home Sign, and that placement enhances its strength and vitality. Jupiter, the symbol for expansion, is in Libra, a Sign infamous for its mood swings. Oppositions spell tension, but because this opposition isn’t mean-spirited, the tension translates into excessive activity rather than malice. Finding a comfortable pace with a reasonable agenda is the key to handling this energy, so rather than push too hard and risk collapse, practice moderation.
The Sun moved into Cancer, yesterday, and by the weekend it squares both Mars and Jupiter, a position that is sure to feed that need to take on more than you can handle. The result is overwhelming overload that’s likely to manifest as testy tempers. Mars likes a good fight, Cancer, while nurturing, can easily hold its battleground, and when the Sun and Mars clash, tempers flare. And because the Sun is in Cancer, a Sign known for its sensitivity, these argumentative eruptions are apt to be highly emotional, especially if they are based on issues of safety and security—Cancer’s favorite subject besides food.
But that’s not all. Saturn is in the final moments of its journey through Cancer, a journey that began in June 2003. Saturn moves into Leo on July 16th, and for the next three weeks, as it hits the last degrees of Cancer, we will experience the distillation of this entire journey. Cancer is always concerned with whether there is “enough”; so don’t be surprised if you find yourself brooding over how many nuts to stash away for winter. And as if to put a period at the end of a very long astrological sentence, Mercury and Venus are both conjunct Saturn, in Cancer, a configuration that is certain to cause already agitated emotional bodies to fret about the future, particularly the financial future.
Fortunately, humor is one of the benefits of a Jupiter Sun square, which means we can also expect lots of laughter—even if those jokes are flagrantly lopsided toward gallows humor. Remember, the wisest sages tend to laugh themselves silly at the energy and effort the rest of us spend trying to control an uncontrollable universe. So this week, instead of pushing too hard, let go, and allow a Higher Mystery to unfold.

June 15, 2005
This week, as upheaval, personal and collective, continues to unravel routines, it’s not just nervous systems that need a tender touch—it’s tattered hearts that require special attention. There’s simply too much to feel and it’s been such a bumpy ride, even the stoics are struggling to maintain their cool. Of course, not everyone is melting down (although I’ve heard convincing arguments to the contrary), but those who are, are collapsing with a toxic emotional intensity that’s causing chain reactions. Navigating this psychic landscape will take skill and patience, especially if your or someone you love is freaking out or holding on by a thread. Please do your best to be sensitive to the whole picture and not just your part in it. This is not the time to pony up with ultimatums or I told you so. Nor is it the moment to sternly delineate the lesson to be learned. No one wants to be lectured about what they’ve done, are doing, or about to do. And more importantly, intellectual process doesn’t protect a vulnerable heart—a delicate heart responds to understanding and love.
The intense sensitivity stems from several sources. The Pluto Sun opposition is pulling apart and as that tension releases so do emotions, particularly those held in check because it wasn’t safe to speak the truth.  Now, as the opposition lets go, lots of us will also let go with what’s been held back. Be forthright, but also try to stay conscious about the effect of your words.
Uranus also contributes to the intensity. It went Retrograde yesterday (and stays that way until November). When Uranus changes course, we experience that adjustment as abrupt shifts, and because Uranus has a unique relationship to the heart, those shifts tend to cause palpitations of all kinds, not just physical. Expect an uncertain air, emotional as well as intellectual. What’s more, Uranus thrives on rebellion, with or without a cause, and while all things must and do change, provocation born of boredom doesn’t necessarily lead to freedom and often leads to harmful consequences. At the moment it’s hard to imagine tweaking any situation tighter than it already is, but it still would be wise to resist the temptation to stir anything up. Uranus began its Retrograde in a trine to Mercury and Venus, a combination that fosters creativity and invention, as well as a love at first sight atmosphere. Just remember, Uranus Venus affairs often end as quickly as they begin—have fun, but don’t elope just yet.
It’s not the kind of week to worry about whether you will have enough to do—even if you’re schedule isn’t jam-packed, there will be plenty of surprising developments to keep you both busy and slightly frazzled. Try to remember to breathe deeply as often as possible and to do whatever it is you do to stay centered and calm. And of course, when you can, offer a steady hand to others.

June 8, 2005
This week, a bumpy planetary pattern turns daily routines lumpy and cheerful attitudes grumpy. And because an almost constant need to adapt or adjust strains already stressed nervous systems, flexibility of every kind—physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual—is essential to successfully navigate the flux. Unfortunately, sleep deprivation is also probable and it’s not about staying up or out too late or too long—it just not still enough to sleep deep. I realize it’s redundant to constantly advise kindness as a balm for what ails, but this week, it needs repeating. Everyone will be experiencing the same edgy signature, and a thoughtful word to remind and acknowledge our mutual reality will offer welcome relief.
There are three sectors of astral disturbances. First, on June 11th, Mars moves into Aries, its Home Sign, a placement that strengthens its natural vigor. As many of you may recall from last week, we are already in a Martian kinda way, and Mars in Aries tends to stimulate a militaristic attitude. This week, Mars also moves into a square with Mercury, in Cancer, and while it is hard to envision an even more fractious world than the one we already live in, conflict and combat are likely to escalate under this influence. It goes without saying that violence can take many forms, so try to stay mindful about emotional or mental conflicts, and do your best to adhere to non-violent resolution in all instances of battle.
Second, a Pluto Sun opposition begins today and is exact and separating on June 13th. This opposition signals tension between differing perspectives on information—what you want to hear vs. what’s being said. Or, in our new if-you-say-it-enough-you-will-make-it-true climate of communication, what you want to others to believe vs. the truth. While most of us aren’t in a position to control the media, we can be responsible for our own veracity. What’s more, as this tense configuration brings power struggles to a head, try not to spew in the heat of the moment. Angry words said in haste could have the half-life of Plutonium.
Third, Uranus goes Retrograde on the 14th and stays that way until November 15th. Even though that’s a week away, we’re likely to feel the impact of this change several days before it actually occurs. Uranian movements impact nervous systems and when Uranus turns around, the most sensitive among us and the not so sensitive tend to feel disoriented. Given the intensity of the week, Uranus’ course correction is likely to be discombobulating.
It’s an undeniably uncomfortable week, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it work for you. Be willing to notice what bubbles to the surface of your personal caldron and then, be equally willing to examine the source of that heat before you react to it unconsciously. Make your mantra, “Consciousness counts”, and you’ll do fine.

June 1, 2005
From unbridled ambition to the moral courage of conscientious objection, this week and the next few weeks sing hymns to heroes, actual or fictional. And while it would be completely over the top to say every day will resemble a tale of brave Ulysses or a labor of Hercules, it also wouldn’t be accurate to deny that for some of us the intensity promises a ride of epic proportions. Of course, epic is relative, and that means for many of us the grander sweeps may occur through quantum leaps. But for others, the opposite may be true, and audacity and spontaneity replace caution and conformity. No matter how you experience this planetary invitation to a personal hero’s journey, on thing is sure, the emphasis is on selfhood, from selfishness to self-actualization, and every nuance in between. The range of this “self-ish” energy doesn’t necessarily follow a chronological or age appropriate pattern; so be prepared for 65-year olds rebelling like adolescents and teenagers compromising with the wisdom of elders. Count on individualistic behavior, yours or others, and you’ll assume the prefect state of mind to handle this assertive force.
As many of you may have already guessed, Mars is setting the self-ish tone.  Mars symbolizes the multifaceted ways we not only build a self, but also the many ways we express that self. Best known as the warrior, Mars assists us when we need to take a strong stand and delineate personal boundaries. This can be seen in the perfectly natural defiance of a 2-year old who says “no” not because she’s trying to cause trouble, but simply because she can. And she can because she is in a developmental stage of experiencing herself as separate from others. Her “no” is one of the ways she gets to say, “Hey...I’m me, not you, and I want something different from you.”
Tomorrow, the on-going Pluto Mars square is exact and separating, and when harsh combinations reach a peak and release, we experience increased intensity. Both Mars and Pluto symbolize energy; Mars is physical, Pluto, atomic, and squares generates friction; that friction creates sparks and those sparks ignite bonfires. And yes, some are vanity based. So don’t be surprised if the week turns explosive with emotional, tantrums or hissy fits, yours or others. Just try not to judge these meltdowns too harshly—most of us have an inner two-year old in dire need of self-expression.
Unfortunately, a light-hearted attitude won’t be easy. A Saturn Mars trine is exact on June 4th, and while this interaction is stable and positive, it could produce the potential to rely too heavily on a rigid letter of the law approach doesn’t allow for justice or easily forgive mistakes.

As the coming weeks unfold, try not to judge yourself or your fellow travelers too harshly. The process of growing a self is hard work, and perfection is an ideal meant to inspire excellence not punishment.

May 25, 2005
The planets pass the Talking Stick this week, facilitating discussion, dialogue, and discourse. As conversations define daily routines, you can anticipate “sharing” to open and close even mundane chores. Don’t expect silence to pass as consent—not only are you going to have to tell why you approve, but you’ll also have to provide more detail than would normally be necessary. Some of what’s talked about is highly charged with an emotional intensity that seems to tap into a never-ending well of feelings. While at the other end of the spectrum, some chats are just that—substance not included. What’s more, a fair number of these exchanges stimulate the spirit and rouse the rebel. Please keep in mind, talking sticks are also listening devices—they are meant to give the person who is speaking a chance to be heard. So even if the cacophony of words is overwhelming, take the time to listen, closely. Beneath the din, much is being said.
Several planetary combinations contribute to the loquacious atmosphere. First, the Sun is in Gemini, the Sign of language and communication, as well as the Sign devoted to disseminating information to any and all. Jupiter, lover of excess and infamous raconteur, is in Libra, where it is currently trining that Sun in Gemini. We love this because Jupiter is the planet of humor and that translates into funny.  Expect to laugh—even and especially at the silly. Second, Mercury, planetary ruler of Gemini and mighty mental wizard par excellence, moves into Gemini on Saturday. Always at its best in its Home Sign, Mercury immediately conjuncts the Sun, and that leads to non-stop chatter about everything and anything—no distinction is necessary (forgive me dear Gemini for stretching the point).
Third, and adding the emotional overtone, today, we’re in the midst of a Pluto Moon conjunction, in Sagittarius, the opposite Sign and counterpoint to Gemini and also no slouch when it comes to garrulous narrative. Sagittarius lives to talk and isn’t shy about announcing its love for discourse and debate. Fourth, and more than likely to strike a sour note, Mars moves into a square with Pluto, forming a fractious interaction that is apt to lead to harsh or mean-spirited words uttered in the heat of the moment.
But wait, there’s more? Yes, by the end of the week, Jupiter trines Mercury and that feeds the need to articulate every nuance of everything, so expect to be bored by also amused by the exhaustive attention to detail.
Since it won’t be possible to easily refrain from verbal excess, don’t be too hard on yourself or others if small stories start to sound like whoppers. Just remember, while embellishment entertains, the truth sets you free. Use this planetary talking stick to speak as well as hear, and you’ll be surprised at what you discover about yourself and your fellow travelers.

May 18, 2005
This week, hyperactivity continues to combine with hypersensitivity, overloading nervous systems already stressed from several weeks of persistent intensity. What’s more, blurry boundaries are also a part of the energetic terrain, and those fuzzy edges encourage extreme emotions. Expect reactions, yours or others, to move between laughing and crying with the speed of light. But that’s not all. A flurry of unforeseen developments is likely to disrupt schedules, turning daily routines into nocturnal activities and evening rituals into tomorrow’s “must do.” Humility is the best way to walk through this chaos with confidence. And while that sounds like a contradiction, as the week unfolds, a humble approach will calm anxiety and soothe the weary soul.
The volatile conjunction of Uranus and Mars is still the source of disruption. There’s never really enough room for these two titans of energy to share the same space, so when they do, their crowded house tilts toward impatience, frustration, and a restless need to act regardless of the consequences. This week, as their conjunction ends and Uranus and Mars pull apart, the ethers rattle from the separation. Don’t be surprised if pent-up feelings spill over and spray your situation like a newly opened bottle of seltzer. Fortunately, seltzer doesn’t stain, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be power struggles over whose feelings matter more.
The good news is a trine between Jupiter and Venus that lasts until Saturday. When these two planets join forces the air breathes with optimism and hope—attitudes most welcome in nerve-wracking environs or in an atmosphere where emotional control could become more important than respect for the feelings of others.
Putting the “hyper” energy of the week to good use means meeting the challenge of actualizing your potential. Mars loves the thrill of adventure and the heightened sense-awareness of exploration. Uranus thrives on invention and innovation. And even though their combined energy can strain and drain, it can also inspire and motivate. Just don’t fall prey to the hubris of over-estimation that tends to end in defeat. Rather, use the intensity of the week to facilitate the full use of body, mind, and spirit as the primary tools for transforming imagination into reality. 

May 11, 2005
Heads and hearts crash and thrash, as nervous systems, personal and collective, strain and struggle to cope with the ups and downs of planetary turbulence. For some the hyperspace of hyperactivity is thrilling because there’s absolutely no time for boredom. For others, it provides an inescapable push out of involuntary inertia. But for most of us, this commotion is emotionally overwhelming, more akin to a roller coaster ride than anything else, which means at some point, the continuous experience of deep lows and huge highs are bound to exhaust more than they excite. Expect the pace of daily life to be too fast to integrate new information before reacting—there just isn’t time to think before you speak or to consider alternative responses. As always, consciousness is the best compass for navigating these waves, but try to avoid “awareness-by-rote.” There’s nothing “normal” about this erratic pulse of the next two weeks, and you’ll want to be prepared for and open to making almost instantaneous course corrections.
A Uranus Mars conjunction is the epicenter of the flux. Both Uranus and Mars symbolize energy. Uranus represents electricity, among other things, and its currents tend to be inconsistent and unpredictable. Mars signifies physical energy, especially muscle movement and its force informs the warrior’s strength.  When Uranus and Mars share the same space, neither has enough room to feel comfortable, and the result is often impulsive choices made under the pressure of impatience, or, unfortunately, explosive bursts of energy aimed at relieving tension, again, personal or collective.
By the weekend, Venus moves into a square with both Uranus and Mars, adding an erotic touch to the already erratic pulse. While the entire carries a decidedly sexual charge, for those not interested in into sexual activity, this combination is also highly creative and can be applied to a wide range of artistic endeavors. Unfortunately, because Uranus is unstable, many of its urges evaporate as quickly as they arise.
Uranus is ever eager to shake-up the status quo, as well as wake up anyone who may have fallen asleep at the wheel of his or her own life. So don’t hesitate to align with its revolutionary intensity. Just also keep in mind, not every evolutionary leap needs to be made with a reckless abandon that might cause harm to yourself or others.

May 4, 2005
This week and the next several weeks a deluge of planetary interactions transforms daily life into a flood of activity. And while most of these goings on aren’t urgent and the action isn’t quite a put-your-affairs-in-order-‘cause-you-don’t-know-what’s-gonna-happen-and-when”, it would be wise to be prepared for just about anything. Fortunately, few will be called on to participate in physically dangerous missions, yet everyone (with hardly an exception) will be asked to participate in an astonishing variety of pursuits. The key to handling the astro-bustle is finding a comfortable pace that’s steady but also capable of an occasional sprint or three when needed.
No one planet dominates the action, although Uranus does demand the most attention. Keep in mind as the next several weeks unfold that because Uranus is such an unsettled and unsettling force, its movements tend to underscore disruptive events, personal or collective. It is hard to imagine a world more disrupted than it already is yet the coming weeks could deliver several unanticipated developments. Again, just expecting the unexpected would be wise.
Last week’s Uranus Sun sextile spills over into this week and continues to support an innovative approach to stagnant habits. But on the 8th, the Uranian mood shifts into hyper-gear, as Mars begins to move into a conjunction with Uranus, forming a close union that intensifies an already restless need to move everything—bodies, minds, hearts, and souls, as well as material plans and projects. This conjunction encourages extremes, but it doesn’t support them. Even as you experience your “inner super hero” resist the urge to put yourself or others in harm’s way by taking foolish risks or by being hasty.
Tomorrow, Mercury beings a trine with Pluto and as it does, Mercury hits the “sensitive degree” of the April 8th solar eclipse. That position translates into an opportunity to synthesize yet another level of the effect of that eclipse. Don’t be dismayed if previous revelations present themselves yet again for further examination. Fortunately, the trine between Mercury and Pluto produces the mental might to delve into the rich waters of intellection inquiry, as well as the tenacity to keep probing until the conclusions truly answer the questions.

A Saturn Sun sextile begins on Saturday and assists in modulating the erratic pulse of the Uranus Mars conjunction. One of Saturn’s many gifts is its capacity to help us stay grounded and realistic, and that stability will be a great asset during the coming days and nights as the Uranian intensity escalates. But also keep in mind, not every surprise is negative. And sometimes not being in control doesn’t mean life is out of control.

April 27, 2005
This week, a restive wind stirs a hankering for adventure, and as this longing for excitement intensifies, it gives birth to an equally restless curiosity about what lies outside the comfort zone of “the known”. Don’t be surprised if a desire to engage in previously untried or unauthorized activities of body, mind, and spirit spurs you into situations you’ve never even dreamed of trying. Also be prepared for these urges to translate into a longing for experiences that not only satisfy an immediate or superficial craving, but also satiate the deep yearnings of the soul.
A sextile between Uranus and the Sun is at the heart of this adventure zone. Uranus, as many readers know by now, represents the principle of change; it’s the Patron Saint of Revolutionaries, and when it “plays with others” the result is often a surprising twist of fate. The Sun signifies “spirit” in its most vital manifestation. Sextiles are positive, and because both planets symbolize creativity, this entire bundle gives birth to innovation and experimentation. Channel this energy into projects in need of a little oomph or, projects in need of a strong vision to reestablish focus and direction. If there is an area of your life that’s feels sluggish, this combination of Uranus and the Sun can also help to build momentum and maintain it.
A square between Neptune and Venus adds an element of seduction to the week. Venus, goddess of love, is in Taurus, a placement that enhances her beauty and appreciation for the pleasure of being in a body. Neptune is infamous for its powers of illusion and delusion. And because squares always signify friction, the current clash between Neptune and Venus is apt to alternate between attraction and repulsion. Allow Uranus to draw you toward something different, but don’t’ be surprised if once you’re in the midst of it, that “something” isn’t what you wished or dreamed it would be.
This week, as the hunger for adventure grows, try to stay as conscious as possible about the consequences of your choices. Exploration can be rigorous and sometimes “adventures” are best left to the imagination, especially if the actuality of the new, uncharted territory, is uncomfortable or disconcerting. That being said, sometimes discomfort can work on our behalf, not because suffering is noble or necessary, but because it can catalyze a valuable period of growth.

April 20, 2005
This week, the gooey ooze of blurry boundaries evaporates and an absence of ambiguity provides much-needed psychic relief. Attitudes, personal and collective, ease just a tad, and that facilitates analysis rather than reaction and digestion rather than rejection. Use this period to assimilate and process what’s felt confusing and out of reach. Or, give yourself permission to take a break. Sometimes processing is productive, but other times, simply letting go and allowing something cook in the caldron of the unconscious delivers a powerful result.
Several sources generate the new frequency. First, it’s defined by what it isn’t: the murky atmosphere of the Neptune Mars conjunction is over, as is Mercury Retrograde. Not that we should dwell on the past, but those two Tricksters led some of us on a mighty chase, and it would be wise to acknowledge what it feels like to not be operating under a spell.
Second, yesterday the Sun, the brightest light in the sky, entered Taurus, illuminating the tactile, tangible creativity of that fertile Earth Sign, as it simultaneously shifted the focus from fantasy to actuality. We like this. Okay…we love it. And we do because Taurus is so rich with possibilities and because Taurus delineates the lusty time of year when we move out of our heads and into our b-o-d-i-e-s. What’s more, Venus is conjunct the Sun in Taurus, amplifying its sensual, earthiness, as she simultaneously sextiles Uranus, in Pisces. Venus/Uranus contacts are infamous for their erotic eccentricities and that proclivity toward unusual choices spices up the mundane.  If you’re not particularly interested in sexual escapades and prefer less rigorous encounters, this entire bundle of the Sun, Venus, and Uranus can be used to stimulate artistic expression of every ilk from pottery to gardening or science to surfing.
Another major contributor to the change of air is the change of season. Yes, the vernal equinox was last month, but now we’re in the full throttle of spring, the vibrant season of renewal. The signature of the season adds a touch of confidence and certainty to the energetic landscape—something we could dearly use to remedy the last several weeks. The actual arrival of spring and its glorious promise of life was sullied by a descent into the culture of death. Don’t misunderstand; contemplating death is an essential component of conscious living, especially if those musings expand an appreciation for living life with greater awareness.  But objectifying a human being in the midst of such a sacred passage, and then exploiting every moment until that being and his or her process is nothing more than a perverse profanity serves no one. Fortunately, the media is quiet for the moment (at least as I am writing this), which means the full power of spring can finally emerge to catalyze a renaissance of body, mind, and spirit.
So let the power of the planets and the power of planet Earth lift you into a new perspective and allow yourself to feel the power of being a spirit in a physical body living in the material world.

April 13, 2005
It’s a week of mighty contrasts—one moment the winds of change buffet known reality and create an anxious air, and the next, the thrill of gliding through space and jumping over ancient obstacles, internal or external, turns the atmosphere giddy with glee. It is a magic carpet ride and the only task is figuring out how to stay on the rug. Be aware, the dips between the highs and lows could be dizzying and disconcerting. Also remember, it will take energy, time, and determination to hold your center, but fortunately, the planets also support a sober environment.
First the really good news: Mercury is Direct, and over the course of the next few days, the pace of daily picks up and the travel and communication glitches fade away.
The source of this week’s sorcery is the strange intensity of a Neptune Mars conjunction. This is a slippery coupling that tends to engender a confusing energetic environment. Neptune signifies illusion as well as delusion, Mars symbolizes the will, and when they share the same space, self-deception is probable, particularly if the fantasy is fueled by unexamined emotions or unbridled ambition. Neptune is permeable and susceptible to suggestion, and while Mars can be persuaded through flattery, it prefers to initiate action rather than be acted upon. Of course, that sounds as if Mars could push Neptune around, but it seems that just the opposite occurs. So, don’t be surprised if you find yourself at odds with yourself—wanting to surrender to the urge to merge but resisting the temptation to let go, completely, and then just as suddenly giving in. This conjunction has a tendency to turn people or situations into a perfect projection screen, which means it might be wiser to ask rather than assume what another person is feeling—even if the question bursts your bubble. The truth, no matter how uncomfortable, will eventually create clarity.
On a completely different note, a Pluto Sun trine fuels the air with creative fire, making it possible to move like lightning on all levels—physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. Use this powerful force to finally ignite the spring fever.
The on-going Saturn Sun square ends by the weekend, and even though its effect is diminished, it still provides a steady hand and sober attitude, which can be used to both nullify the Neptune Mars conjunctions, as well as focus the power of Pluto and the Sun.
One more bit: We are still in the emotional surges of last week’s eclipse, which is another reason why this week plays out with such unusual intensity. So again, do your best to find and hold your center, and please don’t be dismayed if others, less skilled, slip or spill over into your world. Just scoot over and make a little extra room—they will be off on their own trip as soon as they catch their breath and find their balance.

April 6, 2005
This week and the next several weeks unfold as if by slight of hand, and while it wouldn’t be accurate to say, “The planets are playing a shell game.” the days and nights do carry a magical charge. Anticipate wild imaginings, excited emotional bodies, and visitations from the Trickster. But don’t let this elusive energy worry you—it’s peculiar, but it’s not pernicious. When a Trickster works its magic, perception shifts; sometimes that point of view is beneficial because it allows a deeper truth to emerge. But be aware, a continual state of altered awareness can also make it hard to hold onto reality. What’s required to make it through this maze of mirrors is a willingness to pay attention, even if your mind is aching for a break.
Here’s how the stars are casting their spell: First, Mercury continues its retrograde until the 12th, and until Mercury goes Direct, time is distorted, unpredictably speeding up or slowing down, and the result is a strange sense of being out of sync. Second, starting tomorrow, Neptune and Mars begin a conjunction in Aquarius; when these two planets share the same space they engender the kind of hypersensitivity that comes from the stress of having to synthesize disparate impulses. Neptune wants to merge and experience the underlying reality of how the many blend into unity—one of its primary functions is facilitating mystical states of awareness. Mars, never interested in merging, unless that union is sexual or financial, gets agitated by Neptune insistence on “blending”, and one of the effects of this irritation is straight-up co-dependence, with that undeniable and peculiar quality of passive aggressive behavior that masks itself as a sincere interest in the “other”, but in truth is only interested in achieving its own agenda.
But the third ingredient is what really stirs the caldron. On April 8th, a Solar Eclipse, in Aries, assumes the role of an emotional steam valve, as it allows whatever you’ve managed to hold back, hold down, deny or stifle to escape into the atmosphere. During a Solar Eclipse, the Moon overshadows the Sun, unconscious drives dominate choices, and reactions rule. As this unbridled energy combines with the mushy boundaries of the Neptune Mars conjunction, all sorts of displaced eruptions are possible. And because eclipses operate within their own mysterious timetable, you may have already experienced these emotional tremors, or, six weeks from now, you may suddenly find yourself breaking down over something seemingly inconsequential.

When the world wobbles even a little, all earth’s creatures feel the effect, so over the course of the next several weeks, try to treat yourself and your fellow travelers with as much kindness as you can.

March 30, 2005
Many of us are likely to find ourselves struggling to maintain a familiar forward pace this week. This is the second week of Mercury’s slo-mo retro rewind—it doesn’t go Direct until April 12th, and that translates into two more weeks of delays and detours. Patience is absolutely necessary, both as an attitude and a coping device. As always the best way through the muddle of a retrograde is to review, reflect, and reconsider. So rather than striving in vain to make progress at any cost, let go, and breathe, deeply. Mercury Retrograde can become a positive period of fine-tuning, if you can attune yourself to a different pace.
When Mercury, the planet of communication, goes retrograde, it “appears” to retrace its orbit across the sky. Here on Earth, we experience that “backward” glance as a period of painstaking attention to detail, as well as a remedial review. Sometimes the review is instant, as in “could you repeat that?” Other times, we revisit old friends, lovers, places, or choices. Still more often, the equipment we rely on to move us forward tends to breakdown. Email disappears, faxes fry, and time sensitive snail mail gets delivered according to the Mayan calendar.
Unfortunately, the current Mercury Retrograde is at odds with a tempestuous Sun Venus conjunction in Aries, and even though Mercury is also in Aries, its retrograde motion grinds against the grain of Aries need to push ahead and cover new ground. And that friction stymies simple tasks. Don’t expect meetings to begin on time or standard routines to run smoothly. For those of us not tied to technology, that could mean delays and detours where none are apparently necessary. Anticipate frustration and expect a collective gnashing of teeth to spill over into angry tantrums about the best way to handle the crunch.
Of course, the appropriate response to Mercury Retrograde frustration is simply to treat the foul ups as opportunities refine the details, and if no such flaws exist, to use the retrograde for rest and recuperation. The appropriate remedy for any retrograde is understanding that retrogrades aren’t personal—everyone is stuck in traffic with a dead cell phone, frozen blackberry and somebody needing to be dropped off or picked up.

March 23, 2005
Lots of folks are likely to be singing some version of The Retrograde Blues this week. For those of you who’ve never sung this song before, it goes something like this: “Woke up this morning. I was already late. Battery died on the clock. Battery died in the car. Oh, I shoulda stayed in bed. Got them Mercury Retrograde Blues again. Seems like nothin’ I do is right, though I try with all my might. Baby, got them retro blues again.” Next Verse: “The traffic was jammed. I finally got to work. The Network was down. The server, berserk. Cell can’t find a line. Palm pilot lost its mind. Oh, I shoulda stayed in bed. Got them Mercury Retrograde Blues again. Oh, I can’t explain. All the words just sound insane. Baby, got them retro blues again.”
All Mercury Retrograde phases focus on the past, rather than the present, and when Mercury, the planet of communication, pays attention to prior details rather than current ones, we tend to experience delays and detours in all areas connected to language and travel. Phones fritz, computers crash and the mechanics of daily life unwind with a persistence that cannot be denied. Because the current retrograde continues until April 12th we can expect all sorts of interruptions and interference. And that spells consternation and frustration, especially this time of year, when the backward thrust of a retrograde is at odds with the full-tilt forward fire of a new Aries Sun that is only interested in burning off the winter blahs.
Venus, the Goddess of Love and Beauty, just entered Aries yesterday, and formed an immediate conjunction with the Sun. A union in Aries between Venus and the Sun stokes the fire of Spring Fever, as it simultaneously inspires idealism, creativity, and romance. But that’s not all: Mars, the Ruler of Aries, is in Aquarius, and that position positively supports both Venus and the Sun, generating additional heat. Be prepared for passion of every variety. Use this dynamic force to motivate a positive attitude, as well as positive behavior.
Coda: “At least three times a year, Mercury makes it clear. You think you’ve got it covered, but there’s still details to discover. Rather than resent, make your time well spent. Be happy to review, it’s not so bad to do. And you won’t mind singing those Mercury Retrograde Blues, again.”

March 16, 2005
Mercury begins its first retrograde phase of 2005 on Saturday and because Mercury’s retrogrades are always about slowing down the pace of life and paying attention to the details, as Mercury rewinds, the days unwind with a different rhythm. The not so good news about this rhythmic shift is the next few days move more like molasses than the mighty winds of March. The good news is while time seems to stand still, this deliberate moment-by-moment movement isn’t sticky. You can still get the job done—just don’t expect it to be a slam-dunk.
Mercury Retrograde beings March 19th at 7:14 PM, EST and continues until April 12th at 3:45 AM, EST. While lots of people are familiar with Mercury Retrograde, many more aren’t, so here’s the skinny: Mercury Retrograde is not a good time to begin new projects. As Mercury seemingly retraces its path across the sky, it encourages us to do the same by combing through the details of what’s already done, correcting, editing, and revisiting problem areas in need of solutions. That’s why a retrograde is best spent mulling over what’s already been put in motion. What’s more, when Mercury, the planet of communication, turns its attention to the past instead of the present or the future, all things related to communication go slightly screwy. Phones, faxes, cable modems, printers, computers, snail mail, and all other varieties of contact between humans, between machines, or between humans and machines exhibit peculiar dysfunctions and idiosyncratic behavior. Use Mercury Retrograde to revisit, reconsider, and recollect, and you’ll be using it wisely.
Saturn goes Direct on Monday, March 21st, and although we usually don’t feel Saturn’s change of direction as a dramatic shift, its forward motion does mark the beginning of its final transit through the Sign of Cancer. Saturn will enter Leo on July 16th, and it won’t be back in Cancer until 2032.
The first day of spring, April 20th, is sandwiched between Mercury Retrograde and Saturn Direct and that’s apt to give the new season a slightly bumpy beginning. But don’t let that discourage you from delving into the promise of this potent season. Just allow the Sun’s movement into the fiery Sign of Aries to burn away the winter doldrums and in a few short weeks, the retrograde will end, and the energy to push ahead will flow with renewed strength and purpose.

March 9, 2005
Routines are anything but “normal”, as excited emotions search for release and surprising developments shift the “regular” into the extraordinary. Just like last week, the planets are continuing to simulcast two different tales—one, a story of power and control, the other, a spiritual sage so universal, no specific religion is required to determine its meaning. But this week, a charged emotional component reminds us to take nothing for granted. Feelings, conscious or unconscious, are as influential as thoughts, words, or deeds, with power akin to the force of a butterfly—even a small flap can generate a storm. The key to handling this potency is balance born of mindfulness. Take the time to think before you speak or act and you’ll avoid falling into habit or assumption.
Two configurations contribute to the tension. First, the Saturn Mars opposition is still separating, and when hard astrological interactions pull apart, we tend to stop holding back and instead say exactly what’s on our minds. While there is nothing wrong with candor, try not to let frustration sully clarity. Speak your truth, but remember that’s just what it is.
The second source of tension is a Pluto Sun square, a fractious relationship that encourages despots of every denomination. Expect tyrants, petty or otherwise, to thrive under this influence, particularly those dictators that use propaganda to inflame the ignorant into harmful behavior. One of the best ways to handle this square is to refuse to participate in activities, political or nonpolitical, that need to diminish someone or something in order to feel superior.
Fortunately, the good news continues to be bountiful. (1) The on-going Jupiter Neptune trine continues to inspire an altruistic attitude, and that selfless approach can be concretized in positive action to help others. What makes this grounding possible is (2) a Saturn Sun trine, which fosters a serious atmosphere that’s determined to get the job done in the best way possible. Let this trine help you turn the idea of helping into tangible action. (3) A conjunction between Venus and the Sun still stimulates a desire for beauty, and that translates into creative expression of all kinds. Again, use this positive alliance to support artistic endeavors.
And if you are not inclined toward an art or a craft, allow this graceful energy to enhance the beauty of living. In the chaos of modern life, it’s easy to forget that life itself is a profound creative expression and that each individual life is a masterpiece.

March 2, 2005
This week and the next several weeks unfold on a split screen. On one side, tension drives the action and distorts both perceptions and reactions. Yet on the other side, sensitive insight about what could and should be writes a completely different tale. For some, these dual dramas feel connected, but for others, the only possible connection between the two is that they are a simulcast from the Mothership. Be aware, both screens are equally captivating, which means vacillation between madness and euphoria probable and certain to be discombobulating.
The source of strife is a Saturn Mars opposition that will be exact and separating on March 7th. Difficult interactions such as these are never easy to endure because as they move into place, the tension escalates, and we often experience that mounting stress as a pernicious frustration that wants to blame someone for “things” just not working out. What’s more, an opposition between Saturn and Mars tends to turn mundane tasks into hard labor, which means you can expect more than average grousing, yours or others. But that’s not all. Jupiter squares both Saturn and Mars (in astro techland it’s known as a T-square) and because Jupiter is always about expansion and because here, on Earth, that translates into excess, this entire bundle turns into a tendency to overwork and overextend.
Fortunately, a Sun Venus conjunction gives birth to a vibrant creativity that activates artistic expression, as well as affection, devotion, and passion of all kinds, not just amorous attraction. Yes, Uranus does join this duo by virtue of a conjunction with Venus and that stimulates powerful sexual urges in the hearts and minds of even the most retiring or prudish among us. And yes, again, Mars, certainly no slacker when it comes to sex, sextiles the Sun and that supports the current of sexual intensity. But this entire bundle is charged with potent creative energy that can also be put to good use solving problems of all kinds, especially predicaments that require an unusual approach to a familiar situation.

As this week plays out, try not to let frustration obscure the very real opportunities for creative revelation. While tuning out what’s negative and angst ridden isn’t really possible, completely denying what’s positive isn’t possible either, so when possible, choose grace.

February 23, 2005
Quirky emotional releases stimulate a poignant atmosphere, and because these discharges come straight from the heart, the days and nights turn tender with feeling. Expect meltdowns, but don’t expect those meltdowns to be ordinary expressions of frustration or overwhelm. These breakdowns are apt to turn into breakthroughs, as eruptions of empathy move many of us out of the normal self-centered world-view of “what has this got to do with me” and into a genuine awareness of the presence of others and effect of our choices on those around us. You could call it “Instant Karma Week” but that doesn’t mean something is gonna get you. It does mean there is a lot of opportunity to see how our thoughts, words and deeds affect others, as well as how the intentions of others impact us.
A planetary alignment—the Sun, Uranus, Mercury, and on Saturday, Venus—in Pisces underscores the notion of empathy. Pisces is best known for its capacity to merge with others in a compassionate awareness of mutual and shared reality. And tonight, a full Moon in Virgo, Pisces complement, illuminates the sensitivity and receptivity of both Signs. Uranus, the planet of eccentricity, adds an idiosyncratic touch, and the result ripens into an opportunity to see the situation from more than both sides. Use this energy wisely by allowing it to open the doors of emotional perception—just be prepared to witness your own capacity for projection.
Neptune and Jupiter, both considered to be co-rulers of Pisces are in a trine to one another, and that positive relationship amplifies the capacity for understanding another point of view—even if that position is utterly different from your own.
This week, pay attention to how your heart authentically responds to love. But not the pasteurized and homogenized version that just must look a certain way in order to be satisfying. Be open to what doesn’t fit—and you just might discover a treasure. And don’t overlook the love already present in your life. Too often we forget that the ability to passionately embrace a friend, a child, a pet, or a place, keeps the heart resilient and able to withstand the tenderness of vulnerability.

February 16, 2005
This week, the planets begin a transition from one element to another, and while a surface glance at the new pattern suggests a move from head to heart, we’re not quite out of our minds and neither are we fully immersed in feelings. Expect this changeover to be a little awkward and a tad confusing. But don’t anticipate trouble—there’s nothing pernicious in the wind. For some, the week is a downshift from the high-pitch of activity and offers a welcome relief. Yet for those catalyzed by the busy buzz, the power zone doesn’t disappear; it’s only the ungrounded quality that diminishes. For others, the shift away from a mostly mental frequency to a predominantly emotional sensibility bestows permission to express previously unexpressed feelings. And while that may also sound like a welcome relief, the discharge could be intense, so be prepared for possible meltdowns. For most of us, this new planetary signature simply heralds the upcoming seasonal shift into spring—a move many of us are more than ready for.  Just try not to get overexcited—there may still be a few more weeks of winter weather before the winds of a new beginning clarify the air. 
Mercury makes the first move, today, as it leaves Aquarius and enters Pisces and the Sun follows suit on Friday, and as both Mercury and the Sun change signs and move into Pisces they form an immediate conjunction with Uranus. We love this. It’s the astro equivalent of the inventors light bulb and that translates into opportunities for innovation and reform. What’s more, because this configuration occurs in Pisces, the entire bundle supports intuition and insight. But that’s not all. Mars continues to sextile Uranus and this week that positive alliance includes Mercury and the Sun. Mars signifies ambition and its current position in Capricorn supports tangible implementation of dreams and visions. Use this energy to build a strong foundation for the inspiration of Uranus, Mercury, and the Sun, and you’ll be able to make positive progress turning some of your dreams into reality.
Because transitions are seldom smooth, the routines of daily life are bound to turn a little funky this week. Habits, while comforting, can also be monotonous.  So rather than cling to a rigid regimen, do your best to stay flexible and spontaneous.

February 9, 2005
“Move we must” is this week’s astro-mantra, and as the planets chant the world turns at an increasingly quicker pace, encouraging us to do the same. Don’t be surprised if you experience a “Matrix” consciousness that allows you to see through the illusion of space and time. Just don’t try to leap tall buildings in a single bound. While breakthroughs are possible on several dimensions, pushing the river too hard could boomerang with costly consequence. Keep your head, but also enjoy the rush of freedom dynamic movement can allow.
The source of this powerful flow is two-fold. First, a congregation of planets in Aquarius continues to thaw the paralysis of stagnation.  Venus, Neptune, Mercury and the Sun are all moving together, and their combined momentum stimulates the Aquarian need for individualistic expression within the context of shared community.  Use this energy to connect with fellow travelers who share the same values, but also be willing to step out of your comfort zone. Spiritual and philosophic exploration are especially rich right now because Jupiter, in Libra, trines all those planets in Aquarius. And that‘s a big “wow.” We haven’t had such a happy, expansive planetary bundle for a long time, and while I’m not suggesting we deny the state of the world or the state of our state, solutions born from an optimistic perspective are more likely to open up a locked-down spiritual and political perspective.
Second, a Uranus Mars sextile provides an almost limitless source of energy. Both planets must move. Mars represents physical action, Uranus, electro magnetic force, and when the work together, we experience the need to put more than our bodies in motion. Just try to curb the need for premature action. Haste does make waste and there’s no need to squander this energy by being afraid it wont’ last.
Except in actual cases of slavery, very few of us are actually enslaved (especially those of us privileged enough to have the time and inclination to read an astrology column). One of the gifts of freedom is the power to transform awareness, make new choices, and then, through those decisions liberate ourselves from whatever shackles us to attitudes and behavior that no longer serve us, those we love, or the world we live in.

February 2, 2005
The next few weeks clip by with lightning speed, as fresh astro-winds clear the air and quicken the flow of daily life. Anticipate ten-minute tasks to zip by in five and routines of every sort to unwind in fast-forward. But because adjusting to any new rhythm takes time, also expect nervous systems to strain just a tad with anxiety about keeping up. The key to neutralizing that worry is a healthy respect for limitations—just don’t confuse limits with restrictions. You canstay grounded by being realistic about what can and can’t be accomplished. And while I realize this is familiar advice, it’s important to remember that some things aren’t meant to be hurried or rushed, no matter how fast the rest of the world is whirring by.
A gaggle of planets in Aquarius is the source of this new pattern. The Sun, Mercury, and Neptune are all conjunct in Aquarius, and today, Venus, too, joins the throng. What’s more, by February 8th, a New Moon also in Aquarius amplifies the entire bundle, and that translates into a big concentration of wacky, that’s bound to excite even the most dignified personality into extroverted escapades. Don’t be surprised if your quiet neighbor starts howling at the night sky, or if you find yourself staging a revolution (even if you’re already free as a bird) just for the thrill of the tumult.
No matter how you choose to express this eccentric Aquarian signature, be sure to include fun. Aquarius is celebrated for its spontaneity and that impetuous bent can be put to good use dispelling the winter doldrums. So find a comfortable personal pace, do whatever it takes to maintain that stride, and but also remember to enjoy this madcap signature.

January 26, 2005
This week, last week’s rough and tumble edge crystallizes into emotional catharsis, and feelings, positive and negative, rational or irrational, spill over into daily routines, prompting meltdowns, yours or others. Okay—it’s not great news, but there are mitigating factors that can be used to process this astro-drama in the hopes of gaining valuable insight into what’s been brewing beneath the surface. So rather than despair over the mean-spirited signature of the stars, take heart, because as this pernicious wind blows through, it clears the air for a much more welcome pattern.
The continuing Pluto Mars conjunction is at the heart of the difficulty. Exact and separating on in the wee hours of morning, Friday, Eastern Time, this conjunction, almost always wakes the three dwarfs left out of Disney version of Snow White—grumpy, grouchy, and judgmental. Do your best not to indulge in tantrums, and remember, you’re not the only one experiencing tension and stress. Because Pluto always raises issues of control, and because Mars represents the principal of self-assertion, one of the many red threads of this conjunction is an egocentric need to micro-manage every detail. If your insistence to be in charge is driven by fear, let go. You can’t push this river. You can only trust the flow of life.
The good news continues to be the Venus Mercury conjunction, a configuration that fosters genuine concern for the well being of others, which means it can be used as a balm for egos out of whack. And even though Saturn is opposing Venus with its cold, critical eye, this opposition also promotes common sense. Use it to get grounded in a wholesome reality. And that tethering is needed to balance a Sun Neptune conjunction, an alliance that engenders empathy, but also feeds the tendency to space out or to become delusional. 
As the week unfolds, center yourself in what’s positive, and the winds of discontent or malcontent will blow away what’s negative, without sweeping you away in the process.

January 19, 2005
This week, a rough and tough planetary tyrant tilts emotions, personal and collective, into the cranky range of the reaction meter. Bullies feel this bias as permission, because this same force inspires grandiose ambitions, as it simultaneously justifies doing whatever it takes to succeed. Put simply—it’s a despotic mess—and as we mere mortals struggle to cope with the intensity, meltdowns of every denomination are likely. The best antidote for this disturbing frequency is an attitude that acknowledges upset and upheaval as a part of life. And then, rather than despair about the cost of such ignorance, continues to work toward positive remedies.
The epicenter of this week’s bristle and prickle is a Pluto/Mars conjunction that begins tomorrow and builds in intensity for the next two weeks. Both Pluto and Mars symbolize power and when they share the same space, their union engenders sheer brute strength. Unfortunately, utilizing this force positively requires the kind of skill and precision that can channel such a powerful intensity without becoming identified with it. Use this conjunction in a self-serving manner, and the result is a brute or bully that thrives on ruthlessness and injury. Yet when the power of this conjunction is devoted to selflessness, its force transforms into the capacity to work non-stop in the service of a greater good.
Fortunately, the ongoing Venus/Mercury conjunction assists in maintaining a focus on the greater good as it continues to foster an atmosphere of artistic sensitivity, as well as a devotion to beauty. Use this graceful configuration to marry form and content through a creative attitude that blends the power of the medium with the might of the message.
As the week unfolds it won’t be easy neutralizing the bullies or dealing with their glee, but that’s still no reason to abandon compassion. So rather than bully back, make a commitment to positive action that doesn’t need to harm any living being in order to feel powerful and achieve success.

January 12, 2005
The planets plot a confusing course this week and navigating their counter indications without getting caught in a woozy sway requires a direct approach, as well as a kind attitude. Unfortunately, being straightforward without becoming hypercritical won’t be easy, and it will also take skill to stay compassionate without getting swept away by excessive empathy. The best way to maintain a balance in the midst of this muddle is to be honest about what you’re willing or not willing to take on. No one benefits from grudging gestures. So don’t say “yes” if you don’t mean it. And don’t be afraid to say “no” even if you’re response is likely to be disappointing to others.

A Saturn Sun opposition sets the unambiguous tone and supports clear and precise action. One of Saturn’s primary characteristics is its capacity for no-nonsense concentration—a feature that’s almost always welcome. But Saturn also represents that ability to point out what’s wrong and that tendency to focus on the flaws doesn’t always serve. Oppositions symbolize tension, and when Saturn opposes the Sun, Saturn’s criticism stifles the Sun’s vitality and the result is inhibition, as well as the tendency toward pessimism.  Of course, this tension can be transformed, but in order to use it positively, you need to refuse to dwell on imperfections. Put aside the inclination toward futility, and you can persevere toward specific goals.

A Neptune Mars sextile promotes sensitivity, as well as spiritual inspiration and aspiration. Neptune Mars contacts are tricky. Neptune blurs boundaries and Mars thrives when the atmosphere supports individualism.  The sextile between Neptune and Mars translates into a desire to be of service to others, and Jupiter, which also forms a sextile to Mars, amplifies that altruistic intention. The only problem is Jupiter’s proclivity toward excess, so give, but don’t give more than you have.

Finding a wholesome blend between selflessness and self-ishness could take several lifetimes, so don’t despair if you waffle between aloof disdain for the failings of others and the sort of empathy that erases anything that blinds us to our common humanity. Just be determined to integrate your spiritual insight with renewed effort and you’ll replace confusion with clarity.

January 5, 2005
The first full week of 2005 unwinds with a squirrelly edge, as a crushing amount of interruptions, all of which seem to demand immediate attention, make settling down or settling in problematic. Expect emotional bodies to wobble as overwhelm challenges nervous systems--even the abnormally calm are likely to experience a tremor in the force. It’s not that concentration isn’t possible—it is—but only if you’re willing to turn off all electronic devices, which you probably won’t be able to do because an equally powerful internal craving for the excitement of distraction matches the external intensity. (Whew—I’m frazzled just writing about it.) The key to handling this erratic pace is an objective attitude capable of witnessing without reacting, as well as the flexibility to move from idea to idea to idea without losing a sense of continuity.
A portion of this week’s exotic rhythm stems from the tail end of a Uranus Mars square. When Uranus and Mars join together they produce enormous amounts of energy, and when they clash and butt heads in the form of square, their combined force tends to spend itself in disjointed activity. Nervous tension is another possible manifestation, as is the kind of impatience that pushes forward without regard to consequence.  So again, if you can, witness. Be present, but don’t presume to have all the answers.
Unfortunately, it won’t be easy being humble. A Jupiter Sun square feeds pretentious aspirations, and while this square is not pernicious, an arrogant attitude in the midst of so much intensity could backfire. The best use of this square is to allow it to foster a sense of humor about everything—especially and including yourself. Just be careful not to slide into the kind of humor that gloats on the failings of others.

The good news is the ongoing Venus/Mercury/Pluto conjunction continues to generate a “creative” atmosphere, and while most of us tend to define creativity relative to an art or a craft, creativity is the fabric of existence. And a creative attitude, the key to transformation. So as the tumult of the week whirls through your life, apply this creative conjunction liberally. Let it stimulate a new approach to an old problem, a 180-degree shift in thinking, or the ability to believe in the impossible.

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