Aquarium Age by Ralfee Finn
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Weekly Frequency 2011

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, 2011


This week, complex transitions challenge focus and clarity. Don’t be surprised if you feel on the verge. We’re crossing the threshold from one difficult year into another, and as we leave 2011 behind (I heard that sigh of relief), the uncertainty of what lies ahead in 2012 could feel overwhelming. After all, 2012 is a year whose reputation precedes its reality. (Mayan calendar, anyone?) Most transitions tend to be awkward, but this week promises to be more than a little tricky, especially as end-of-the-year expectations collide with beginning-of-the-year actualities. As always, one of the best ways through a difficult time is to remember that we are all in this collective soup together, and just making an effort to be nice to our fellow travelers tends to neutralize a lot of unnecessary tension.

“2011 ends on a peevish note, as a Mercury/Mars square pushes minds toward gossip and grumbling over what isn’t “right.” Do your best to avoid finding fault with every little thing, especially if you're only being critical out of boredom or dashed expectations. Unfortunately, a Sun/Pluto conjunction, in Capricorn, tilts interactions toward the need for control, which means even casual conversations could easily morph into arguments that insist on agreement.

2012 begins with a wide Moon/Uranus conjunction, in Aries, forming a square to the Sun/Pluto conjunction. Uranus is nearly out of range of this configuration, but the Moon pulls it close enough for us to feel its effect. This is a telling signature for 2012, a year in which we will experience the first two of seven exact Uranus Pluto squares that will occur over the next three years. The entire bundle – Sun, Moon, Uranus, Pluto – indicates a strong need for independence, personal and collective, a need that’s likely to manifest as a stubborn refusal to back down, no matter what the cost. Pay attention: While there is a compulsive quality to this fanaticism, extreme zeal often provides the necessary impetus to deconstruct an existing paradigm in order to create a new one.

But there is something else about 2012 that is less exciting (and quite annoying). Besides being the year that the world ends (just kidding), 2012 is a year of retrogrades. From January 23 to April 13, Mars will be retrograde in Virgo. The first Mercury Retrograde of 2012 begins on March 12 and lasts through April 4, and yes, it does overlap the Mars Retrograde. But that’s not all. Venus goes retrograde from May 15 through June 27. And as if all that review wasn’t enough, nearly three weeks later, on July 14, Mercury goes retrograde again. (Even the goys are moaning “oy.”)

The first half of 2012 unfolds with a “one step forward, two steps back” shuffle, a rhythm that’s certain to drive many of us to the brink. But it is also a pace that can teach great patience – something we’re going to need plenty of in the coming years. So rather than anticipating nothing but hassles, think of the 2012 retrogrades as a necessary backward glance that will allow thoughtful choices about the future.

December 21, 2011

t’s solstice time, once again, and in the Northern Hemisphere that means it’s time to celebrate the return of the light through a wide variety of seasonal festivities. This year, the exact moment of the winter solstice takes place on December 22 at 5:30 AM GMT, 12:30 AM EST, and 9:30 PM PST on December 21. “Solstice” means the Sun’s standstill, and it marks the extreme positions of the Sun when it is rising in the East and setting in the West, positions that appear to occur at the same point on the horizon for three or four days in a row. It is as if the Sun seemingly comes to a halt as it turns around in preparation to repeat its path. Of course we know that the Sun is not following a path – we are – and that the winter and summer solstice occur because of Earth’s axial tilt to the Sun along our orbital path. (And for those of you who want more precise astronomical details, start your search engines, now.) It seems our ancient predecessors in a variety of cultures that span the globe were well aware of these solar extremes, and many archeological sites in the Northern Hemisphere are aligned with the sunrise of the winter or the summer solstice; Newgrange, in Ireland, and Stonehenge, in England, are among the most famous locations.

My favorite solstice symbol is the Sun Dagger, an Anasazi petroglyph located on Fajada Butte in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. Unrelated to any of our Christmas icons – Santa Claus, Rudolf, or the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction known as the Star of the Magi – the Sun Dagger is believed to be the only astronomical marker of its kind: It indicates within a simple spiral, etched in stone, and a secondary smaller one next to it, also etched in stone, the winter and summer solstice, the vernal and autumnal equinox, and the major and minor extremes of the moon. (Frankly, until I studied the Sun Dagger, I was completely unaware that the Moon also had a “solstice” or standstill pattern.) But what’s even more amazing is that all these significant astronomical moments are marked with the passage of light across or at the sides of a petroglyph carved into the side of rock, which (and here’s where it gets mind-blowing) is hidden behind three enormous boulders. (And I’m not even talking about the rattlesnake nests you have to climb through to see it.)

Because the Sun Dagger is staggering in both its simplicity and its complexity, the research about it tends to focus on how the Anasazi managed to calculate and so efficiently mark these solar and lunar events. Yet while the “how” is important, I’m more interested in the “why.” For our ancestors, the cosmos was a structured, orderly, animate and intelligible system that contained both Heaven and Earth. Celestial events mattered because they were organically linked to terrestrial experiences. “As above, so below,” goes the old adage. The Sun Dagger marks the solstice at Noon, another archeological rarity that reminds us of the diversity of ways cosmic order is observed and expressed. This solstice, from dawn to dusk, invite the Sun to light your way, as a reminder that no matter how chaotic and out of control life may seem, a greater order persists.


December 14, 2011

It’s pretty much a “Bah! Humbug!” week, as the planets align in a variety of configurations that refuse to allow visions of sugarplums to interfere with the need to complain, loudly, about all that’s wrong with the season. As a young friend of mine who will be nine this week said just recently, “Oy vey.” We’re headed straight into the darkest days of the year and it’s going to take a mighty effort to play well with others. The good news is that it’s not all bad news: For those who are willing to make the effort, it is still possible to hold the banner of goodwill high above the need to whine and whimper. But it will require the courage to stand proudly in altruism, impervious to the criticism of others less inclined toward an optimistic or generous heart.

Several source contribute to the collective dyspepsia. First, a Venus/Saturn square generates the potential toward dissatisfaction, particularly in relationships. This squares feeds jealousy, in all its pernicious manifestations, particularly the kind of sexual jealousy that can lead to premature separations. Breathe deeply and be aware that jealousy always has its roots wrapped around issues of fear, insecurity, and a general lack of self-confidence. Also keep in mind that this general tendency toward suspicion and distrust is not limited to romantic interactions. Friendships and professional associations are also challenged by this square. Rather than acting out, use any uncomfortable feelings as a way of gaining greater self-awareness. Remember: Being joyous for another only increases your own happiness.

The next source of astral irritation is a square between Mars and the Moon’s nodes. The friction created by this interaction is known to spark quarrels that can ignite into full-blown disputes. Put aside you need to be right, if just for a couple of days. Not every immediate fight is worth the long-term animosity it might engender.

Third, a wide opposition between Jupiter and Saturn is likely to produce a pessimistic air, especially when it comes to economic conditions. Expect the workplace atmosphere to be a little thick, as everyone feels the tension of having to provide a happy holiday spirit in the face of uncertainty about the future.

The good news is that a Sun/Saturn sextile lends a stabilizing force to the week. This positive interaction is in keeping with the seasonal trend toward introspection; even if the astral indications weren’t skewed toward Scrooge, you might be inclined to withdraw under the covers and hibernate. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we are only days away from the winter solstice, which celebrates the return of the light, and the promise that the days will once again grow long and warm. But until that time, perhaps we our energy would be best spent aligning with nature, and like the trees, pulling our energy deep into our roots, in preparation for another year of growth.


December 7, 2011

The world goes even more topsy-turvy this week, as a series of planetary events, each with differing time signatures, makes it nearly impossible to find a comfortable personal pace. Don’t be surprised if you can’t catch your breath between the rise and fall of crises big and small – and I’m not just talking about the stock market. The planets are so busy this week, and each astral presence is so strong, that even the non-believers might be inclined to believe there is a connection between heaven and earth.

Here’s the skinny:

(1) Early in the morning on Saturday, December 10, Uranus goes Direct. Pay attention. We always experience a “bump” in the ethers when Uranus, the representative of startling plot twists, makes a “course correction.” The days prior to this turn around are certain to be uncomfortable, if only because Uranus always affects nervous systems. Don’t be surprised if you or those around you are experiencing high anxiety or disturbed sleep patterns.

(2) On that very same day and only a few hours later, there is a lunar eclipse, with the Sun, in Sagittarius and the Moon, in Gemini. During a lunar eclipse, conscious concerns override unconscious ones. Eclipses tend to distort time, so put aside any expectations that any of your plans will go smoothly. (Then you can be pleasantly surprised if they do.) Also be prepared for emotional tides – yours or others’ – to run much higher than usual, even for this time of year. (Think: “flood zone.”)

But that’s not all.

(3) Mercury goes direct on December 13. Normally, the last few days of Mercury Retrograde slow to a crawl, but because Uranus will be gaining forward momentum, the end of this retrograde is going to be particularly eccentric. Translation: Regular routines will take on peculiar rhythms. One minute it’s “full speed ahead” and the next, it’s “step on the brakes.” Try not to get confused, and most importantly, be patient with yourself and your fellow travelers.

(4) In the midst of all this astral activity, the Sun/Mars square that’s been turning tempers more than a tad testy is finally separating, and as that fractious interaction ends, many of us will find it easier to be kinder to ourselves and to each other.

Fortunately, a Saturn/Neptune trine, fosters foresight, and for those who need it, restraint. The mantra for this Saturn/Neptune trine is “Cooperation. Consideration. Collaboration,” a refrain you might want to substitute for the seasonal “fa-la-la-la-las.” Chant it often, especially on days when you think you’ll just melt down in antsy frustration or anxiety. Also, use it in dealing with others who may not be as kind as you. Remember: Each one of us has the power to change the world through simple acts of heartfelt charity and care for our fellow travelers.

November 30, 2011

The only way I know to express the astral intensity of this week and the next several weeks is to modify that old cliché: “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a wild ride.” And while you may think that I am exaggerating, over the course of the coming days and nights, as emotional tides rise to higher-than-usual holiday levels, you’re more likely to think that I was underestimating the intensity. As families and friends gather to celebrate a variety of festivals that began with Thanksgiving, and will crescendo with the solstice (in all its iterations, from the actual day of the return of the light to Hannukah to Christmas to Kwanza) and ends with the New Year (which is also solstice-related), deep-seated and long denied feelings are likely to surge through the festivities, adding new depth to the meaning of “dysfunctional.” (I’m tired just thinking about it.) Be prepared for meltdowns, as well as a wide range of declarations, some pronouncing independence, and others proclaiming revolution. The best way to ride these planetary waves is to remember the underlying message of the season: Peace and goodwill.

Several sources contribute to this week’s complexity: First, we are in the wake of a solar eclipse on November 25 and headed straight for the swell of a lunar eclipse on December 10. So don’t be surprised if the world continues to wobble. The eclipse effect is often felt before and after the actual events, which is why they are believed to distort time. Add in Mercury Retrograde, and that time distortion is off the charts. This is the final Mercury Retrograde of the year, which means some of its review is going to include looking back on the details of twelve months of unbelievable shifts, personal and collective – a review, by the way, that is completely appropriate for this time of year.

Unfortunately, the frustration of the retrograde is going to collide with two equally potent configurations: A Venus/Pluto conjunction stimulates everyone’s need to have it their way, especially when it comes to love. The signature of this conjunction is fanatic love. So don’t be surprised if you become obsessed with someone or something. And while passion is always a good thing, Pluto often insists on having its desires acknowledged. And given that we are also in a Sun/Mars square, the inclination to push to have want we want is also going to be off the charts. A square between the Sun and Mars tends to incline dispositions toward being hasty, restless, and irritable. (I won’t make my joke about those Disney dwarves just yet.) As that hot-blooded wind coalesces with the insistence of Pluto/Venus and the “detail fatigue” of Mercury Retrograde, many of us are likely to be more than just a tad testy.

I realize you might get tired of the constant reminder to “play nice with the other children,” but given the escalating existential anxiety about our personal and collective situations, making kindness a constant companion through this holiday season is still the wisest possible choice.

November 23, 2011

Expect the world to wobble a bit this week, and while some might say it’s been wobbling for a while (and they might be right), over the next several days many of us are likely to feel its quivers quite keenly. Rather than be alarmed, be aware. The current challenge being presented by these planetary tremors is figuring out how to discern the shifting terrain of change from the solid ground of certainty – distinctions that won’t be easy to make, so don’t be dismayed if you’re feeling confused. Finding and maintaining clarity will require more than a fair degree of mindfulness, especially as emotional reactions, personal as well as professional, season interactions with more than a modicum of intensity. As always, kindness and respect for yourself, those you love, and your fellow travelers will act as a powerful soothing balm for frayed nerves and fluttering hearts.

Here’s the astrology: The final Mercury Retrograde of the year begins on Thursday, November 24 and lasts through December 13. Mercury Retrograde is all about communication snafus and travel hassles, so if you are traveling, be prepared for a longer than usual trek for Thanksgiving. Also (if you can), avoid installing new software or buying new hardware. Don’t expect your emails, texts, tweets, or any other kind of messages to go through without a hitch. And if you don’t hear back, don’t assume that silence is a response. Hit send, again.

But it’s the solar eclipse on Friday, November 25, that ramps up the rattles and rolls of routine reality. From an astrological perspective, during a solar eclipse, conscious concerns are overshadowed by unconscious drives; as a result, emotional immediacy tends to overwhelm practical matters. This may not be new news, given that we tend to feel the effect of an eclipse six weeks before or after the actual event. And because Uranus, the symbol for startling plot twists, forms a trine to both the Sun and the Moon at the time of the eclipse, there’s plenty of potential for sudden shifts in consciousness, moods, or circumstances. For those readers celebrating Thanksgiving, you can expect your holiday feast to be peppered with odd bits of blurts or at the opposite extreme, staggeringly long bouts of boring details. Those readers not celebrating the harvest of the year on that particular day can expect the same sort of staccato conversation, with a slightly diminished need for emotional revelation.

As many of us either know or sense, we’re on the threshold of a paradigm shift that will play out over the next several years of Uranus/Pluto contacts. As those astral change agents quicken consciousness and catalyze revolution, each of us will experience the potential for deep and lasting transformation. Future columns will go into that potential in deeper detail as this Uranus/Pluto phase unfolds, but for now try to remember that true transformation occurs one heart at a time. And this week, be thankful for all the hearts that care about the well being of others.

November 16, 2011

Daily life moves at an almost feverish pace for yet another week. As regular routines continue to reflect powerful planetary interactions, life on planet Earth turns even more mind-bogglingly hectic. This quickening is attributable to two factors. First, we are still under the influence of a Grand Trine that continues to provide the steady, solid, grounded energy needed to reap the rewards of hard work. Second, Mercury is about to begin its final retrograde phase of the year, which means most of us will be scurrying around trying to attend to a myriad of details before the retro-rewind commences. Expect to be exhausted by your own hustle and bustle, so exhausted that by this time next week, even vegetarians and vegans will be so grateful for a day off they won’t mind a holiday symbolized by a turkey. The best way to navigate this astral intensity is to find a comfortable personal pace that allows you to breathe deeply enough to feel sustained as well as grounded. Most importantly, if you can leave all expectations about matching the cosmic pace behind you, you’ll have a much easier time being pleased with what you actually accomplish.

The ongoing Mars/Jupiter/Pluto trine continues to generate enormous reservoirs of energy, strength, and stamina. All three planets are in Earth Signs: Mars is in Virgo, Jupiter is in Taurus, and Pluto is in Capricorn. It’s simply an extraordinary combination of grounded power that can be applied to all sorts of enterprises. Use it to organize what might otherwise be unwieldy projects and plans. Or use it to organize wardrobes, closets, and bookshelves. Just use it. This planetary bundle doesn’t happen all that often.

And now for the retrograde. Mercury goes retrograde from November 24 through December 13, just in time for Thanksgiving travel plans to go awry. For those new to Mercury Retrograde, here’s the drill: It’s always about travel and communication delays and detours. If you haven’t made your travel plans for the holidays, don’t wait until Wednesday. Make them by Monday. There is a strange three-day rule about Mercury Retrograde that seems to hold water: The three days before and after the actual retrograde are just as difficult as the retrograde itself. If you need to make Christmas travel plans, make those now or be prepared to wait until after December 16. Also back up your hard drive, immediately. Mercury Retrograde wreaks havoc with computers, even new computers with all sorts of “fail-safe” magic apps and innovations.  

As the week unfolds, participate in physical activities that will allow you to spend any excess energy in a positive way. It won’t be easy maintaining equanimity in the midst of this maddening pace, but it can be done, especially if you stay aware of what you need to feel supported throughout the process.


November 9, 2011

If you’re thinking of leaving something – anything – for later, think again. Whatever you put off, push back, or postpone during this week and the next several weeks is likely to linger until July 2012. And because there’s simply no room for slackers, now would be the time to get busy and get “it” done. The best news about this astral hustle and bustle is that the planets provide the power to accomplish just about any task. But don’t worry if you don’t feel like working. There are equal opportunities for fun. Just be aware: The impulse that underlies the coming days and nights could persuade many of us, even those who prefer to revel, to roll up our sleeves and devote ourselves to the gratification of hard work and the satisfaction of a job well done.

Mars takes the helm of this enterprising phase, and given the intensity of its interactions, we would be wise to listen closely to its commands. Mars enters Virgo on November 10 and doesn’t leave Virgo until July 3, 2012. Mars is the principle of energy. Virgo is the Sign of details, and while its devotion to the minutiae can often devolve into a cliché, it’s important to recognize that the core of that devotion is a deep awareness of the interconnectedness of life. Virgo is where we recognize all our relations. Pisces may get all the kudos for psychic sensitivity, but its counterpart, Virgo, is no less sensitive, and no less aware of the oneness of being. It sees the sacred in the particulars.  On a practical level, eight months of Mars in Virgo is going to insist on organization – so get ready to get rid of all kinds of clutter, inside and out.

As soon as Mars enters Virgo, it forms an immediate trine to Pluto, which will be exact on November 23 and linger until December 6. A Mars/Pluto trine supplies prodigious amounts of power and energy that can be channeled into all sorts of endeavors from the physical to the metaphysical. But that’s not all. Mars also trines Jupiter from the November 8-25, forming a Grand Trine in Earth, which is exact on November 16. This combination of Mars/Jupiter/Pluto provides the possibility for grounded success, because it affords the ability to see the big picture in all of its glorious particulars. When concept aligns with the nuts and bolts of manifestation, the result is the potential to ground vision into reality.

For some, the high-pitched, fast-paced rhythm of recent weeks already feels overwhelming: Too much needs to get done in too little time. But being busy doesn’t have to lead to burn out and time isn’t a tyrant. As always, it’s our response to the planets that determines our experience. So find a comfortable personal pace that allows you to move through these astral currents without getting swept away. And when possible, help your fellow travelers to do the same.

November 2, 2011

Eccentric astral winds blow through the ethers this week, shifting the psychic air and cleaning out the cobwebs of stagnant situations. These winds also inspire and invigorate invention and innovation, so expect to be busy, or should I say, “busier.” Also anticipate a deep awareness of what has to change, and why. These winds provide a wealth of ideas about how to strengthen our personal and collective determination to live with greater spiritual consciousness. Just don’t confuse the creative intensity of the week with a guaranteed smooth ride. The changing velocities of moods and attitudes, yours or others’, could strain nerves. As always, make an effort to be kind to your fellow traveler. A compassionate word or gesture is likely to have an exponentially beneficial effect.

Several configurations contribute to these unusual winds.

Uranus trines a Mercury/Venus conjunction, in Sagittarius. Mercury symbolizes communication and travel. Venus represents beauty and love. And when they travel in tandem, we experience, among other things, a deep love of form and design. Uranus signifies unforeseen plot twists, and when it combines with Mercury/Venus, surprising alliances form.  The hidden power of this interaction is its potential to put things together in a pleasing, but unique arrangement that doesn’t sacrifice substance for the surface razzle-dazzle. On the personal plane, you may find yourself falling in love with an unlikely candidate – or at least someone who’s not your type. Be willing to let go of what you think a relationship should look like and you might invite in an entirely new way of assessing intimacy. On the collective plane, this interaction could generate a new appreciation for the necessity of financial reform and reformation. Venus does, after all, represent m-o-n-e-y. Perhaps a large enough movement could exert enough pressure to persuade the banks to forgive all student loans as a gesture of good faith in our combined future.

A Mars/Neptune opposition adds a slightly irritable edge to the eccentricities of the week. Mars is finishing up its journey through Leo; it enters Virgo on November 10, and stays in Virgo until July 3, 2012. (No, that’s not a typo.) And here’s why: Mars goes retrograde in Virgo, the Sign of particulars, on January 23, and by the time it goes direct on April 13, and then finishes its forward motion through Virgo, we will be celebrating the Fourth of July, finally free from having to concentrate on the details of every little thing. But that’s not all. Neptune goes direct on November 9, beginning the last leg of its journey through Aquarius, a journey it won’t repeat until 2175. So it’s likely we will feel the effect of this Mars/Neptune opposition quite keenly over the next several days. Don’t be surprised if you or someone close to you is in need of extra attention.

While these winds of change will have an overall positive effect, they are still likely to disrupt or disturb the status quo. If you feel yourself being propelled into premature action, take a breath, and step aside. These next few weeks are not about shift for its own sake; they are about how to use intention as a powerful tool for change.

October 26, 2011

The planets provide perspective this week, and despite some predictions that October 28 is the true end of the Mayan Long Count and therefore the end of the world, this week’s wide-lens, astral long-view provides profound opportunities for optimism about the future – something we could all use a lot more of. The intensity of current personal and collective situations is producing huge waves of anxiety about the future. For some of us the situation is so bad that the end of the Mayan calendar and the possibility of a doomsday looks like relief. But resignation or capitulation to negativity is not the answer. Which is why it’s important to make the most of this week’s astrological opportunity to take an expansive, multidimensional look at the present moment. Apply a cyclical perspective on time that will allow you to examine how you got here, and then see if you can map how the past has created the present and how this moment holds the potential for the future.

The Jupiter/Pluto trine is at the heart of this week’s broad perspective. This week, the Sun opposes Jupiter as it simultaneously sextiles Pluto, all of which skews this positive interaction toward issues of personal power. Jupiter is in Taurus, the Sign of personal value, and the Sun is in Scorpio, the Sign of the values of others. Finding a balance along that axis can be problematic: lean too much on either side and a clash of priorities could occur. On one side lurks crippling codependence and on the other unbridled narcissism. Among many solutions, finding the balance between those two extremes means examining the need for validation and approval.

If you’re focused on the end of the Mayan Long Count, (or what I like to call the New Age equivalent of the Rapture), you might find it difficult to align with the inherent optimism of this Jupiter/Pluto trine. Jupiter is the symbol for good fortune, Pluto represents intensity, and when they work together, there seem to be infinite possibilities for hope. And while hope is something we all need, I’m starting to think that young people need a little extra. It’s got to be really hard for them to be optimistic about the future. Most preschoolers, children, tweens, and teens are exposed to an overwhelming barrage of negative forecasts. Almost everywhere – on TV and in the movies, in school, on the Internet, and around the dinner table – there’s a lot of talk about the end days. Water is running out, oil isn’t far behind, the bees and trees are dying, Nemo is caught in a net of plastic debris, and polar bears are on the brink of extinction. Last week, there was even an announcement that due to global warming in ten or twenty years we would run out of coffee and chocolate. It’s a dire picture of a wounded world and it must have a devastating effect on a child’s psyche. It’s hard enough dealing with the harsh reality of no Santa. What’s it like to wonder at age five or ten or fifteen whether you’ll survive a nuclear winter?

No one is immune from the news, and most of the adults I know are suffering from overexposure to negativity. Just like the younger generation, they are struggling to imagine their future. Use the current positive astrological moment to shift out of a negative view. Mayan time may end, but the time before anyone began counting will endure.

October 19, 2011

Daily life plays out on a split screen this week. On one side, personal red threads of persistent karmic themes continue to turn daily life into an emotional obstacle course. On the other, collective red threads of persistent communal karmic themes continue to cause unrest. While at first glance these divided narratives may appear unrelated, they are, actually, a micro/macrocosm of reality: These protests, individual and collective, are born of real experience and real suffering. Of course, certain causes will fail to reach critical mass, today, but eventually “the first one, now, will later be last.”  So don’t despair if demands aren’t met immediately. There is no miracle cure other than a consistent intention coupled with the determination to do the hard work of transformation.

The source of this week’s astro-drama is a Jupiter/Pluto trine. All Jupiter/Pluto contacts signify a desire for power. Many of us tend to characterize that desire as a negative urge, but power can also be positive, and the current trine, exact on October 28, represents that positive flow. It provides the potential for the kind of personal power that allows individuals to stand in the world, fully centered and ready to participate fully in life. This trine stirs social uprisings, especially movements geared toward spiritual regeneration. You may think Occupy Wall Street is a political protest, but politics is just the way into much deeper common ground; the recognition of shared interests has the potential to cut through the artificial boundaries of class, race, religion, gender, age, or education, and the dissolution of those boundaries generates a powerful momentum.

Part of the reason we are experiencing such dramatic personal and collective upheaval is that we are on the threshold of a major interaction between Uranus and Pluto, the two change agents of the astrological system. Next year, we start a series of seven exact contacts (which I will address in depth in future columns), but this summer Uranus and Pluto gave us a preview of things to come. When they make contact, we experience shift – whether we like it or not. Most of the movements we recognize as progress toward social justice have their activists’ roots planted firmly in Uranus/Pluto cycles.

The current cycle of Uranus Pluto began with in the 1960s, and no one needs to be reminded of just how much that period of time changed the world. The conjunction was exact three times from October 1965-66. And here’s where astrology gets interesting – just prior to those exact conjunctions, there was also a Jupiter/Pluto trine, with Jupiter, also in Taurus, the Sign it’s in, now. And the red threads associated with movements for social justice that occurred fifty years ago are the same red threads we are currently trying to transform.

History is repeating itself. For some, it might seem as if we haven’t learned a thing in the last nearly five decades about how to make the world a better place for all of its inhabitants. For others, the work of transformation is simply kicking into another gear as more and more people experience their personal power as the determination to make a difference. Remember, lasting revolution occurs one heart at a time, and any one of us could be the Hundredth Monkey.


October 12, 2011

The planets promote a psychedelic perspective this week that’s likely to make daily life more than a little confusing. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself dealing with a sense of dislocation, confused about time, or just plain wondering how you became separated from the Mothership. For many, the remedy for social and psychic disorientation could be a quick refresher on creating our own reality. For others, unaware of the notion of karma, regular routines might provide the only constant through a maze of shifting schedules and priorities. Put simply: It’s a trippy week, and staying grounded in the here and now is going to require a special effort.

Neptune plays a key role in this week’s psychedelic signature. A Mercury/Neptune trine heightens imaginative faculties, and while this trine doesn’t last long – it’s over by the weekend – it has a lingering, poetic after-effect that is perpetuated by a Sun/Neptune trine that lasts until nearly the end of the month. While Sun/Neptune contacts can produce hypersensitivity, this trine has the potential to transform susceptibility into a powerful capacity for receptivity. Use this trine to enhance your meditative experiences, especially the visualizations. For those not inclined toward meditation, this Sun/Neptune trine also amplifies artistic inspiration and expression. Another benefit of this positive configuration is increased empathy for others. This is where you might encounter relationship issues, given the Sun/Neptune tendency to merge. Handle the intensity of this energy by keeping good boundaries.

And speaking of relationships and boundaries, this week, the never-ending relationship intensive is symbolized by a Sun/Saturn conjunction, in Libra, the Sign of relating. Normally, this conjunction represents the sort of critical attitude that seizes on imperfections or withdraws as a way of avoiding contact. But what’s interesting about this particular conjunction is that it occurs in the midst of a Sun/Neptune trine, which means that rather than experiencing its flaw-finding voice, we are likely to feel its presence as an opportunity to solidify spiritual aspirations into applied behavior.

The ongoing Jupiter/Pluto trine continues to ask us to consider our relationship to power, personal and collective. Jupiter, currently in Taurus, represents the principal of expansion – physical as well as metaphysical. Pluto, currently in Capricorn, represents the principal of transformation. Taurus symbolizes material resources. Capricorn symbolizes governments and corporations. This trine often signifies uprisings, something we can see quite clearly through the Occupy Wall Street movement. Perhaps the Jupiter/Pluto trine will help restore power to the people.

One of the best ways to navigate this week and coming weeks is to rely on the first rule of magic: Whatever you focus your attention on becomes your reality. Yes, I know I’ve used this line many times, but that doesn’t diminish its truth – or its power. Pay close attention to what occupies your mind as well as your heart, and see if you can discern how your concerns determine your reality. As always, try to be patient with others less skilled or experienced at conscious co-creation. It’s actually quite a complex process.


October 5, 2011

Listen closely and you’ll hear the planets chanting: “All relationships, all the time.” Listen even more closely and you’ll hear yourself or those you love groaning from the intensity of non-stop interactions, many of which require a Zen devotion to staying in the moment. And this relationship cycle isn’t only about romantic liaisons. Associations of every ilk are center stage, and because relationships are one of the most, if not the most important areas of life, more than a few of us are exhausted from the rigors of conscious relating, even those of us who already know how much work it takes to integrate awareness and compassion into action. Of course, there will also be plenty of unconscious interactions to challenge body, mind, heart, and soul, but as we know from experience, most situations can be transformed by the willingness to grow.

The Sun, Mercury, Saturn, and Venus are still in Libra. The Sun has finally moved out of range of Uranus and Pluto, those two dynamic agents of change that stoked the need to break free from any and all confining relationships, personal or collective. But that doesn’t mean we are free from thinking about all our relations. The Sun moves right into a conjunction with Mercury and Saturn, also in Libra. This is a powerful planetary combination that is likely to stir a serious and sober review of recent relationship developments. While that review may stir more than a few regrets, as you contemplate your recent choices, remember to include the power of Uranus to catalyze stagnation, and then ask yourself if part of your regret is simply the longing for a previous comfort zone. As you continue to contemplate your partnership patterns, be sure to remember that this includes all your relations, not just amorous ones.

While I was writing this, a friend sent me a video that’s been circulating for quite sometime about a reunion of two elephants at a rescue sanctuary in Tennessee. (Here's the link: It’s a story of love and friendship – non-verbal, at least to the human mind, and enduring over time and space. One of them was brought to the circus as a little baby, and looked after by another older elephant. They were separated, only to find each other twenty years later, both finally rescued from the vicissitudes of circus life. I was reduced to tears several times. First, by the idea of separating a young baby from her mother, and next, when the trainer speaks of freeing the younger elephant from her chains for the last time. Again, when the two elephants meet and bend the gates from the sheer glee of finding each other. Finally, from the pathos of the entire situation – that too few humans are able to acknowledge how deeply connected all of us are to each other and to every living being on the planet.

This week, as the planets point to relationship, try to remember that we are always in relationship to everyone and everything, regardless of species, gender, religious belief, age, color, or any of the other ways we pretend to be alone.


September 28, 2011

It’s “Everyone’s a Libra Week” here on planet Earth, and no one, especially Libra, is likely to escape being consumed by relationship issues. And while I recognize this sweeping generalization for what it is, I’m holding my ground: There are four planets – the Sun, Mercury, Venus, and Saturn (the Moon leaves at midnight tonight) – in Libra, the Sign of relating, an astral concentration that’s stirring intense experiences, positive and negative, of what it means to be connected to another being and to ourselves. From the deeply personal to the strictly professional to the somewhat strange to the most important relationship of all, our relationship to our heart, each of us is having our own private intensive. Expect to vacillate between enthralled and repelled, intrigued and impatient, preoccupied and detached, infatuated and infuriated, consumed and blasé – and that’s just with your behavior. Be aware, everyone will be weighing the pros and cons of their various alliances, which could make daily interactions buzz with reactivity. The best ways to navigate these waves is to be honest with yourself and others about what you feel and why.

The Sun and Mercury are conjunct in Libra, as are Venus and Saturn. Sun/Mercury interactions symbolize the power of the mind; Sun/Mercury conjunctions often tilt that power to the purely personal. Ask yourself if you’re unwilling or unable to view the situation from the perspective of your partner, and then see what’s necessary for you to stand in the shoes of the other. Venus/Saturn interactions learn toward emotional reserve; Venus/Saturn conjunctions often represent a heart that is burdened by duty. Again, ask yourself if your affection is born of passion or obligation.

But it’s not simply the planetary concentration in Libra that intensifies human interactions. Uranus and Pluto also throw their weight around. Uranus opposes the Sun/Mercury conjunction in Libra, a combination that could unsettle minds, but could also inspire inventive ways to transform stagnant relationships. Take the time to really examine the situation rather than latch on to a quick fix. Pluto squares that very same Sun/Mercury conjunction, and because squares aggravate the situation, Pluto’s presence is likely to be felt as brooding self-absorption over what isn’t working.

Fortunately, the Venus/Saturn conjunction is out of range of Uranus and Pluto. But that still leaves Mars, which continues to sextile the Sun and trine Uranus, making most of us antsy for action, and that need to do something – anything – to alleviate the tension could continue to cause all sorts of premature decisions.  

The crux of Libra is figuring out how to participate in a relationship without losing yourself in the other or requiring the other to get lost in you, and that “other” applies to partners of every denomination – people, plants, pets, or places. So as you move through the week, try to frame your situation as an opportunity to achieve greater equality with all your relations and you’ll have a much easier time establishing and maintaining your equanimity.

September 21, 2011

Planetary patterns continue to generate prodigious amounts of energy this week, but because many of us are already tired from trying to keep up with the non-stop intensity of daily life, taking advantage of this power supply won’t be easy. And while it’s true that some of us are thriving in the midst of this madness, many are suffering from overload, overwhelm, and overextension. Too much is happening too quickly, and because so much of what’s taking place is physical as well as psychological, emotional bodies prickle at the slightest touch, a reactive condition that makes it nearly impossible to make sense of what’s going on. For some, especially those born in the early days of Cardinal Signs – Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn – life just feels as if something’s gotta give. These are the action Signs, whose first response is doing something – anything – to relieve the tension, often without regard to the consequences. Even if you’re not a member of this Cardinal Gang of Four, you may be feeling the need to be decisive. But because all the pieces of the puzzle aren’t quite in place, you need to be cautious about acting prematurely. Before you leap, breathe deeply and keep breathing deeply until you calm the need to act for action’s sake.

The source of this astral vigor continues to be the Mars/Uranus trine. These planets both symbolize energy; Mars is physical energy, and Uranus is nuclear energy. When they work together, we experience the power to accomplish almost any task. This is the power to lift cars, as we saw demonstrated last week in Salt Lake City. The current trine is particularly intense because both planets are in Fire Signs. Mars is in Leo and Uranus is in Aries. Fire Signs thrive on excitement, so be prepared for all sorts of dynamic and dramatic encounters.

If you haven’t already experienced the intensity of this Mars/Uranus trine in the form of meltdowns or breakthroughs, don’t worry – there are still plenty of opportunities. As the Sun moves into Libra early in the morning on September 24, it signals the start of autumn, as it simultaneously forms an exact opposition with Uranus. There is no more powerful symbol for energy than the Sun, and when it combines in opposition with Uranus, the revolution hears the call to arms. Add to the mix a sextile with Mars, and increased agitation, personal and collective, becomes probable. Uranus only catalyzes stagnant systems, and part of that catalyzation turns comfort zones uncomfortable. Be prepared for more than a few awkward moments as you and those around you cope with the need to break free from whatever holds you hostage to behavior that no longer serves a positive purpose.

Sun/Uranus combinations also signify the rhythmic power of the heart – all hearts. And while each of us will experience the intensity of the week individually, we are also all under the same astral umbrella. Do your best to keep your heart open to yourself and to your fellow.


September 14, 2011

Gripping your tightly fastened seatbelt any harder than you already are won’t give you the security you’re seeking: Daily life is traveling at the speed of light and there is every reason to believe that the escalating event velocity will turn regular routines into a multitasking blur. Don’t worry – everything will get done. That’s not the problem. Actually, there is no problem other than the strained capacity to keep up with the twists and turns of unexpected and spontaneous developments and revelations. Most of us are getting used to expecting the unexpected, but that doesn’t make it any easier for nervous systems to adjust to the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual quickening that lots of folks are feeling. Really, there are days when even the air feels excited. This is why remembering to breathe will be crucial to navigating the electric environment. The good news is that there is nothing pernicious about this pace. The only danger lies in its potential to sweep reason away, as well as to overpower and overwhelm those of us who try to match its rhythm. Some will flourish under this influence, but many are likely to suffer from frustration and confusion. So when possible, remember to be kind to and patient with your fellow travelers.  

A Mars/Uranus trine generates the extraordinary pace. Mars symbolizes physical energy, as in muscles and movement. Uranus signifies nuclear energy, as in volatility and instability. When they unite through a positive interaction, their combined power produces prodigious amounts of energy at a moment’s notice. Procrastinators suffer under this influence, particularly because this positive combination of Mars and Uranus can be used to break through, break apart, or break away from old patterns – physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. This trine is also one of the signatures for the freedom fighter who can no longer tolerate oppression of any kind. Be prepared for rebellion – yours or others’ – and also anticipate that certain uprisings might catch you off guard, and as a result, you’ll find yourself on guard.

The ongoing Venus/Mars sextile still exerts an amorous influence, but this week, Venus moves into an opposition with Uranus adding an eclectic and eccentric element to any passionate urges the sextile may be stimulating. Be aware, when Venus and Uranus form any union, positive or negative, attraction dies down as quickly as it flares up, making it wiser to avoid throwing caution to the wind when accepting proposals based on a momentary fancy. Sometimes Uranus/Venus magnetism endures, but mostly it just fades away into memories.

Many of us are likely to succumb to the stress and strain of trying to match the celestial pace, which is why it would be wise to remember that the planets have a rhythm all their own, and each of us has a unique response to that pace. So as the week unfolds, find yours, and then encourage your fellow travelers to do the same.

September 7, 2011

Daily life moves almost faster than light this week, and while the planets (including Earth) aren’t accelerating in their orbits, regular routines feel as if they are moving at Warp Factor 9. Expect multitasking to take on a new dimension, and don’t be surprised if you start to grow additional hands and feet (not to mention brain cells) to cope with the shifting pace. Resistance is futile, and even as I think about writing the next sentence, I’m aware of its improbability: Try to think before you speak but especially before you act. There is a strong tendency toward impetuous and reactive behavior you might later regret. Of course, spontaneity is always welcome as a creative response to what is. But that’s not the impulsivity I’m talking about. The current danger lies in the sudden urge to download, discharge, and disclose, saying all the things you previously managed to hold back. Continue to be discriminate. Just because you feel it’s time to come clean doesn’t mean the object of your tirade or your confession is ready or able to hear you. Let your conscience as well as your consciousness be your guide.

The source of the quickening pace continues to be a wave of Martian interactions. Hold on tight; we’re riding variations of this wave for the next several weeks, and because Mars symbolizes physical activity as well as strength and stamina, it’s bound to be a lively expedition. Anticipate a high level of ambition and motivation. Also expect the need to spend the surplus energy of this sextile physically.

The next couple of weeks could also be quite a romantic ride, as Mars continues to sextile Venus. This passionate interaction stimulates strong amorous desire that could turn a casual fling into a consuming obsession, especially next week, when Venus moves into an opposition with Uranus and a square to Pluto. Venus/Uranus interactions are notorious for unusual liaisons that are sudden, spontaneous, and excessive. Just be aware: These ardent adventures tend to die down as quickly as they flare up.

Venus is traveling in tandem with the Sun, and as she continues to form that perfect union, those not inclined toward the sexual expression of love may find themselves drawn to other passionate endeavors. This entire combination inspires the artist within, whether poet, musician, painter, writers, actor, or gardener.

Mars is the planet through which we take a stand—for ourselves or for others—and handling its might with skill requires staying present and in the moment. Don’t be surprised if your patience and tolerance are tested. Lots of people will experience the dynamic force of Mars as permission to act on the basis of every urge without regard to the consequences. On the positive side of the Martian spectrum lies a deep reservoir of energy that can be put to good use accomplishing the tasks at hand, whatever they may be.

August 31, 2011

The planets support a back-to-school attitude this month, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself eager to roll up your sleeves and get to work getting organized. Also anticipate a strong desire to simply get it done — whatever “it” might be. From finances to feelings to freedom, the summer of 2011 was a summer of upheaval, and whether you were uprooted, upset, or upended, you might still be shaking from the shifts. Just keep in mind that it won’t be possible to rewrite history – what’s done is done, and what’s been said is said. Which means part of this week’s planetary organization process involves learning to live with the consequences of action.

Fortunately, several positive (yes…I’m using the “p” word) interactions provide solid support for getting grounded and staying that way. (1) Mercury Direct makes forward movement downright probable, and all those new plans and projects you’ve had on hold finally have a chance to take root and grow. But that’s not all: Mercury Direct also makes it possible to implement all the revisions the retrograde highlighted.

(2) A Sun/Venus conjunction, in Virgo, underscores the aesthetic pleasure of creating order. Clean those closets, purge wherever necessary, and arrange and assemble systems that help you to stay uncluttered.

(3) It won’t be possible to go completely Zen (although you can try if that’s your style) because Jupiter trines that Sun/Venus conjunction. Jupiter symbolizes more not less, and when it forms a positive angle to the Sun, their combined generosity of spirit encourages optimism and creativity. And because creativity is seldom tidy, your neatly organized desk could become a field of colors and collages.  

(4) On August 30, Jupiter began a retrograde that lasts until December 25. Jupiter Retrograde is not pernicious and nothing to stress over, and as Jupiter retraces its entry into Taurus, we will be revisiting and reviewing decisions made since June, especially decisions related to resources.

(5) A Sun/Mars sextile supplies the “get-it-done” mantra. Both the Sun and Mars signify physical energy, and when they work together, we tend to experience increased vitality. Expect to feel ambitious, as well as determined to achieve your goals. Be aware that those goals don’t have to be professional or career-related. This positive interaction supports all sorts of efforts – even the resolve to go to the gym. The Sun/Mars sextile lasts until mid-October, giving us plenty of time to make good use of its vim and vigor.

As you make your way through the next several weeks, do your best to create internal as well as external order. Organize, arrange, and tidy up those closets, shelves, garages, attics, and desks, but also align thought, word, and deed. Upheaval can produce valuable results if we make it a practice to be mindful of our reactions. Reactions under stress tend to be habitual, and while useful in the moment, they often no longer serve who we are in present time. They can be transformed into positive, thoughtful responses if we are willing to stay conscious and aware. Not an easy task, but certainly worth the effort.


August 24, 2011

Here’s the good news: Mercury Retrograde ends on Friday. And here’s the not-so-good news: Most of us are likely to be too exhausted to notice. But the best news of all: By the end of the week, the planetary pattern generating so much of the recent intensity begins to recede, and while life won’t return to normal (whatever that is and whenever that was) at least the tumult starts to settle down. But until then, emotional overwhelm is probable, especially for those of us slogging through a thick soup of issues that challenge body, mind, heart, and soul. Those born during the early degrees of the Cardinal Signs — Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn — have been hardest hit by the current planetary pattern. No one is exempt from the intensity, and those whose birth charts contain planets at the same early Cardinal positions are certainly feeling an equally intense force somewhere in their personal lives. Of course, some are thriving under the might of these astral interactions, and acknowledging that happiness is possible, too, is a good reminder that here on Earth (and perhaps elsewhere) the reality of daily life is created by a kaleidoscope of perspectives. No matter where you find yourself along the energy spectrum—exhausted, overwhelmed, or joyous—remember to be mindful of the situation of others. A singular act of kindness could have an exponentially beneficial result, especially when directed toward helping those who are consciously or unconsciously channeling the power of the planets.

Retrograde since August 2, Mercury goes Direct on Friday at 6:02 PM EDT. Whew…it’s been a crunchy retrograde with a disturbingly uneven pace that distorted time by quickening the minutes as it simultaneously elongated the hours. (Honestly, there were a few times I thought Tuesday was Thursday and Friday was Monday.) While some astrologers feel that we aren’t quite free of a retrograde until Mercury pulls past the point where the retrograde began (which would be September 10), I’m not certain the shadow rule always applies. That being said, there is a three-day rule that gives Mercury a chance to gain momentum, so if you can continue to be patient, wait until Monday to jump into new plans and projects.

The hot spot of the week and the source of continued irritation is the ongoing Mars/Saturn square. This difficult interaction tends to manifest either as a belligerent, judgmental attitude that needs to have its own way. Or at the other end of the spectrum, a broken, atrophied vitality, incapable of lively participation. Be especially mindful of how this plays out in your relationships. Saturn is in Libra, the Sign of relating. Mars is in Cancer, the Sign of belonging. Squares represent friction. The strife between these two planets has the potential to illuminate the clash between your needs and the needs of others.

This week, we are in the final phase of the Mars/Saturn square, a phase that concentrates the volatility of the last several weeks. Pay attention: This volatility is not only about the stock market. It’s also about the emotional instability of recent weeks and how each of us has chosen to either react or respond to that flux.

August 17, 2011

Normally when a pernicious planetary pattern – like the one hanging over us for weeks – is so bad for so long, Whiney, Miserable, and Worse-Than-You-Thought (three shadow Disney Dwarfs who only appear when we’re drowning in the psychic soup) plant themselves next to my keyboard and yap at me until I acknowledge just how hard daily life is. But for the last several weeks (which have been anything but normal), three new dwarfs, Shpilkes, Angst, and Tsouris, materialized on my desktop reciting a long litany of the problems currently challenging our personal and collective condition. At first, I thought I could quiet them by putting my head between my hands, swaying side to side, and chanting long choruses of “oy.” But all that did was encourage them. Simply bemoaning fate won’t transform the underlying pattern. The only thing – besides denial – that could possibly nullify the recent overwhelming stress of this astral mosaic would be figuring out how to channel its intensity into creative action. Earth is a free-will planet, after all, and part of the gift of being here is the ability to integrate insight and turn it into action. Put simply: There has never been a better time to walk your talk.

This perfect astrological storm took hold on two fronts. (1) At the end of July, the Uranus/Pluto square moved within one degree of exact contact, a mathematical relationship that’s known to reveal the core themes of an interaction. That close contact persisted until this week. Now, as Uranus and Pluto pull apart, we’re likely to feel the effect of this square even more keenly. (2) For the last two weeks, as the Uranus/Pluto square tightened its grip, Mars moved in to heighten the intensity. Mars, among its many meanings, symbolizes the ability to take a stand, a characteristic that can be seen in tantrums as well self-actualization.

This week, Mars moves into a square with Saturn, adding yet another pernicious edge to the entire bundle. This square often signifies a willful determination that will bully its way through any obstacle, real or imagined. It also encourages blaming and punishing as a way of coping with thwarted ambitions. Lots of us might be tempted to use this Mars/Saturn square to support a self-righteous attitude that assumes superiority to others as a way of coping with frustration. Refuse to engage in any activities that require the suffering of others to support your prosperity.

Currently in Cancer, a Sign that is always concerned with issues of security, Mars calibrated the Uranus/Pluto square toward financial security. But don’t be fooled into thinking the debt ceiling or the stock market is the real issue. Remember: We are in a preview of things to come, and as this square unfolds over the next several years, it will reveal the underbelly of any system, personal and collective, that refuses to acknowledge just how deeply connected to each other we really are. And just as the condition of the planet bears witness to the truth that corporate greed is no longer viable, unsustainable personal systems will also continue to fail until each of us finds creative ways to shift out of patterns that keep our hearts shut to each other and to ourselves.

August 10, 2011

The planets continue to generate a multidimensional time warp this week, and as they obscure the distinctions between the past, present, and future, many of us are likely to continue to feel more than a little disoriented. Of course, it is possible to remedy the confusion by making your mantra “be here now,” but it’s really hard to be in the moment when the moment keeps shifting. When chronological continuity breaks down, holding a steady internal or external bearing requires a mighty effort of concentration and focus. It also requires patience—and lots of it—especially if the ones we love (or the ones we hardly even know) are reacting to the intensity by pointing a shaming or blaming finger, or demanding more than we can deliver. The best way to avoid getting snagged is to remember the basics: Be thankful for what is true in your life. Honor what brings you joy. Be humble in the face of uncertainty. Be determined to do whatever it takes to live consciously in the midst of change.

This planetary time portal has more to do with the ongoing Uranus/Pluto square than it does with Mercury Retrograde. It’s not that I want to take any credit away from Mercury Retrograde—we all know how powerful that astro trickster can be. But Mercury Retrograde is all about the superficial (albeit at times consuming) interruption of regular routines through a maze of delays and detours. Annoying, but manageable.

The Uranus/Pluto square is disrupting time at a much deeper level because it is previewing what is to come by pointing out the problems with what is. But that’s not all. It is also insisting on a new paradigm that will transform the paradigm of the past. From a personal perspective, that translates into understanding that the roots of repetitive relationship behavior are rooted in family of origin dynamics and that those patterns won’t change until the causal level is revealed and integrated. From a collective point of view, it’s all about the realization that myopic economic systems that fail to acknowledge the interconnectedness of the global market will no longer work—for anyone. We are currently in the first close contact of the Uranus/Pluto square, which means we are in a preview of what is likely to emerge over the course of the coming four to five years, when Uranus and Pluto form seven exact squares from June 2012 through March 2015.

This week, Mars continues to write, direct, and star in the Uranus/Pluto preview as it squares Uranus and opposes Pluto. Mars signifies energy. Uranus symbolizes the need to be independent. Squares represent friction. This square tilts toward intolerance, and the entire combination plays out as a battle against anything or anyone that inhibits or impedes freedom. When you add a Mars/Pluto opposition to the mix, that need for liberty easily leans toward brutality and violence as a way of establishing dominance and power. Refuse to engage in any activities that threaten or harm any sentient being, including yourself. Nothing ever comes of violence except more violence.

August 3, 2011

For the next several weeks a planetary time warp blurs the past, present, and future into an intense mosaic of cause and effect. This suspension of chronological time turns the veils of consciousness even more transparent, and the ability to see behind as well as beyond ordinary reality has the power to either distort or clarify perception. Do your best to avoid assumptions about what’s real. Instead, put on your multidimensional beanies, attach the wide-frequency antennae, and stay open to a variety of sources. Listen carefully to what’s said and then listen just as carefully to the silence. The messages being broadcast are packed with information, and while some of the data is instantly recognizable and has an immediate effect, other threads are programmed to release their information sometime in the future, as needed.

The source of this time twist isn’t completely attributable to Mercury Retrograde, which began August 2 and continues through August 26. Mercury rules all things related to communication and travel, and when it seemingly retraces its path across the night sky, we retrace our recent past, a review that often reveals what needs more attention. Mercury Retrograde is always about snafus, delays, detours, and time distortions, but this Mercury Retrograde phase isn’t the sole contributor to the current time warp.

Mars is the linchpin, as it moves into Cancer on August 3, and forms a T-Square with the ongoing Uranus/Pluto square. Mars squares Uranus, in Aries, and opposes Pluto, in Capricorn. The square between Uranus and Pluto symbolizes confrontations between the individual, represented by Uranus, and the collective, represented by Pluto. This challenge plays out along a wide spectrum of issues from healthcare to education to unemployment benefits. Mars amps up the intensity of this square (as if that is possible), and as it does, certain choices (again, personal and collective) made in the heat of the moment will yield lasting results.

Mars signifies the presence, power, and fire of the individual to take a stand; it’s the warrior who fights for might or right. Cancer is an emotional Sign that tends to focus on issues of safety and security. Mars isn’t all that happy in Cancer – its fire doesn’t mix that well with Cancer’s need to feel. Mars wants to move; Cancer wants to sit. Mars wants action, and so does Cancer, but before Cancer moves into action, it needs to brood over what was, what is, and what will be.

A Mars/Pluto opposition generates the potential for ruthless attitudes anxious to achieve personal security by any means possible. Refuse to profit at another’s expense. Mars/Uranus square feeds the need to break free from whatever enslaves. Also refuse to hold another captive by any means, material, emotional, psychological or spiritual. This entire bundle is likely to manifest as angry action based on the need to mask deep-seated anxiety. Under this influence, toddlers have tantrums, teenagers rebel, and far too many adults behave like children.

As the next several weeks unfold, commit to being a peacemaker, and when possible, try to make kindness your first response.

July 27, 2011

The planets are dialing up a new frequency this week, and as the astral winds begin to shift, daily life takes on a new level of intensity. I know…I can already hear that collective groan – “How could daily life possibly get any more intense than it already is?” This is a question we’ve been asking for several years now, and there is no reasonable answer other than “That’s just the way it is.” And we are just going to have to get used to it because life isn’t going to get less intense anytime soon. That doesn’t mean that the astrological news is only bad. Increased intensity can also translate into increased gratitude, joy, or a sense of groundedness – it’s simply a matter of how you choose to respond to your situation. This is, after all, a free-will planet, and as the intensity increases there will be plenty of opportunities to move out of habitual reactions and into conscious responses.

Several planetary configurations coalesce to create the new pattern. Mercury is retrograde from August 2 through August 26. Those of you experienced in the Mercury Retrograde phenomenon already know the drill: Expect delays and detours, snags and snafus, and a thousand interruptions that turn the simplest tasks into Herculean challenges. Those of you new to Mercury Retrograde: Mercury symbolizes all things related to communication and travel, and when it appears to be moving backwards, lots of things here on Earth appear to move behind instead of ahead. All forms of mail become problematic, as do contracts, negotiations, papers, and applications. Travel also is adversely affected, which means no one goes anywhere quickly; a routine trip to the corner mini mall could take an hour or more. Mercury Retrograde is best spent reviewing and refining what’s already in motion.

Unfortunately, because most of us aren’t interested in combing through the details of the recent past, Mercury Retrograde phases are often times of increased frustration. The common reaction to Mercury’s slo-mo rewind is to forge ahead anyway, but that need to overcome obstacles often only exacerbates the problem – especially this retrograde, as the Uranus/Pluto square tightens its grip and turns tempers testy. On Wednesday, July 27, we get the first clear glimpse of the emotional depth of this influence, as the Moon conjuncts Mars, in Gemini. Later in the day, as the Moon quickly moves into Cancer, squaring Uranus and opposing Pluto, emotional bodies are likely to quiver with anxiety. This is a precursor to the next several weeks, when Mars moves into Cancer and forms the same difficult relationship to Uranus and Pluto. Because Cancer is always about issues of safety and security, raw emotions are apt to color personal and collective situations – it’s not just the United States government that’s dealing with the meaning of “enough.” It seems the entire planet is grappling with the same issue: Is there enough? Am I enough? Will there be enough? And when exactly do we say, “enough is enough?”

July 20, 2011

The planets continue to align in fairly simple patterns this week, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that daily life is any less intense than it has been. Despite the absence of astro complexity, the travails of human existence still drive the drama, individual and collective, pressing reactive buttons and triggering old (and most likely negative) patterns. So don’t be surprised if you or someone close to you gets swept away on waves of emotion. Also anticipate that a few people might be singing an old familiar “victim” refrain. Be aware: There’s very little you can do to stop this lament. (Other than suggesting a visit to iTunes where you can download Otis Redding’s “Mr. Pitiful;” it helps to have a good song to sing when you’re miserable.) What you can do is dial down your need to take care of theirs. I’m not suggesting avoidance, denial, or discounting another’s suffering. I’m simply advising you to cultivate an objective consciousness capable of discerning a real need in someone else from your own co-dependent urge to be needed. For those of you experiencing joy, especially from the fruits of your efforts, the week offers an opportunity to take a deep breath and replenish your reserves.

A Jupiter/Pluto trine continues to provide positive support for practical matters, which means there’s hope for pulling out of a negative tailspin through the application of common sense. The energy of this trine can be used to organize all sorts of areas -- financial, physical, emotional, or spiritual. Whether it is cleaning your closets, negotiating a tricky business deal, or arranging an exercise schedule, this positive partnership is the antidote to procrastination and the key to accomplishment. What’s more, a Mercury/Mars sextile provides additional positive mental support for making plans. Yes, when Mercury and Mars combine some minds may find it hard to settle down – but it’s important to remember that an active mind is not necessarily negative. It’s all a matter of where you focus your attention.

This week, the Sun moves into Leo, the Sign of creativity, forming an immediate trine to Uranus. Uranus is in Aries, the Sign of individuation and exploration, and as it combines with the Sun most of us are likely to feel the power to break free from whatever inhibits authenticity, whether those shackles are real or imagined. Expect surprising and dramatic declarations of independence from just about everyone. Aries and Leo are both Fire Signs, after all, and when they spark each other, they ignite quite a passionate blaze. Use their fire to burn off negative feelings as they arise, and you’ll have an easier time aligning with the simplicity of the week.

July 13, 2011

Celestial interactions are less complex this week than they have been in recent weeks, and as the planets align in simpler patterns, life on Earth aligns with greater ease. The routines of daily life become more manageable, and as a result attitudes shift out of “we gotta get out of this place” and into “be here now.” The simple willingness to show up for what’s actually taking place rather than what’s imagined, allows practical concerns to gain traction, which is a welcome change for those who have felt hopelessly mired in emotional upheaval. It makes no difference whether you attribute this change in the emotional weather to the stars or to the lazy days of summer. Whatever the reason for the downshift, one thing is certain: As the astral excitement diminishes, it’s a whole lot easier to feel grounded and centered, inside and out.

Of course it would be premature to say that the drama is completely behind us. We are actually in the first tight grip of a Uranus/Pluto square, a dynamic interaction between astrology’s two most powerful agents of change, and it is their astral aggravation that’s at the heart of the recent waves of change. It seems that every time these two planets come into direct contact with each other, personal and collective revolution and evolution occur. A review of cultural trends related to interactions of Uranus and Pluto reveal seismic shifts in consciousness. From civil rights to human rights to gender rights to workers rights, Uranus and Pluto are always at the epicenter of the struggle for social justice. For those of you interested in the historical particulars, Rick Tarnas’ Cosmos and Psyche traces the various movements for social change that have occurred during powerful interactions between Uranus, the planet most determined to transform stagnation, and Pluto, the planet of molecular reorganization. From a personal perspective, this square will continue to bring persistent issues that impede progress into greater focus.

Two positive configurations support the curiosity and determination to pursue a deeper understanding of those repetitive patterns. First, a Mercury/Mars sextile provides the mental agility and intellectual flexibility for introspection. Use this positive signature for continued self-examination, especially in areas that have previously felt too tender to explore. Second, a Jupiter/Pluto trine sustains and actualizes the potential for penetrating insight. Jupiter is in Taurus, a Sign that embodies sensible wisdom and its practical application. Pluto is in Capricorn, the Sign that personifies the ability to distill wisdom from experience. At its best, this positive interaction offers the possibility of applied insight that manifests itself as an expanded capacity to integrate spiritual understanding into action.

Despite the inexorable undertow of the Uranus/Pluto square (a pull that will be with us for quite sometime), use this week to replenish and restore body, mind, heart, and soul.

July 6, 2011

The full force of the July 1 solar eclipse is behind us, but the tremors of emotional upheaval persist. Uranus, symbol of unpredictable plot twists, goes retrograde late in the day on July 9, and because its “course corrections” always seem to provoke drama, unanticipated events are certain to challenge hearts, minds, and especially nervous systems. Do not expect to feel settled or comfortable. Do expect to feel disconcerted and discombobulated. During Uranus shifts, my personal mantra is always “Expect the unexpected,” and whether I’m muttering it with anxiety or chanting it with glee depends more on my ability to live comfortably with uncertainty than it does on the immediate environment or current company. So no matter what form the external tumult might take, do your best to stay steady inside. Find healthy ways of managing your stress, and when possible, try to lend a hand to those less capable of coping with the intensity.

Uranus is retrograde until December 10, and as is true for all retrograde phases, as Uranus seemingly retraces its path, so do we, which means during the coming months we will be revisiting what we’ve set in motion since March of this year, as well as choices made from June through August of last year. Many lives have changed quite dramatically over the course of the twelve months, and even if you haven’t lived through an actual earthquake, this Uranian retrospective could make you conscious of just how radical your personal pole shift may have been – and continues to be. Uranus is infamous for provoking the need for freedom, and often its influence manifests as declarations of independence, personal as well as collective. While these pronouncements tend to be seen by others as impulsive assertions – especially if they are disruptive to the status quo – Uranus only catalyzes what’s stagnant and in need of creative transformation.

Be prepared for speed bumps, big and small, as you reconsider the consequences of recent decisions. Also get ready for interruptions, some necessary and some simply a nuisance. When Uranus moves, staying still is next to impossible, and while I would like to suggest breathing deeply before you leap into a reactive mode, it may not be possible to be circumspect (especially on the tailwind of such a powerful eclipse). Just keep in mind that the tricky part of Uranus Retrograde is when it goes direct in December, you might feel compelled to change your mind…again.

Uranus is an erratic, inconsistent, unstable force that likes to turn the ordinary on its head in order to make the extraordinary visible. Rather than resent this retrospective, greet it with enthusiasm. And don’t be dismayed if disruptions disturb any steady rhythm you’ve managed to cobble together. Uranian interference is often a creative opportunity to see what’s still in need of a radical shift. Use this time to begin or to refine your personal revolution.


June 29, 2011

The celestial hustle and bustle of last week spills over into this week, and terrestrial activities continue to mirror heavenly interactions. Don’t be surprised if you feel more than a little overextended as you try to handle myriad demands, some self-imposed and some simply the day-to-day requirements of regular routines. Just be aware: Daily life is infused with strong emotional undercurrents capable of turning mundane tasks into mighty melodramas that require Herculean efforts of the heart. We are in the thrall of a powerful solar eclipse on July 1, and while the strength of its force field has already insinuated itself into daily life, as we approach and withdraw from the actual event, many of us are likely to feel the increased depth of its influence. This eclipse intensity translates into anxiety (real to imagined) about the past, the present, and the future. Do your best to quell concerns by trying to remember that change is the only constant, and that on this planet, growth is always possible.

Eclipses symbolize a disruption in the normal order of things. Day turns into night, and from an astrological perspective, when the Moon or the emotional body, overshadows the Sun, feelings override logic. One of the defining features of an eclipse is the tendency for impulsive reactions to override carefully considered strategies.

What distinguishes this solar eclipse, and makes its effect more powerful than others, are the other planetary participants. A square between Uranus and Pluto – the astral agents of change – plays a significant role. When Uranus moved into Aries on March 11, we entered the stream of this interaction. Aries is the Sign of individuation. Uranus is the planet of revolution. And when Uranus transits Aries, individual need tends to overpower collective concerns. Pluto is in Capricorn, the Sign of authority and societal structures. Squares indicate abrasive friction that almost always manifests as conflict. One way among many (and there is plenty of time to explore most of them) of understanding this square is to frame it as a challenge to systems that no longer reflect the needs and concerns of the many. We tend to think of government and society as having a life of its own – a life that most of us imagine is more powerful than our own – and forget that society is comprised of individuals. We co-create collective reality just as we co-create personal reality. And as the power of this square reveals itself, even more of us will be questioning what kind of society we want to co-create.

Friday’s eclipse occurs in Cancer, putting the focus on issues of safety and security, particularly financial security, personal and collective. It will also raise the issue of belonging, so don’t be surprised if you’re facing a deep, unsatisfied need to feel emotionally connected. Saturn, currently in Libra, the Sign of relating, squares both the Sun and the Moon, and because Saturn can often be a stern or harsh critic, there is a very real potential for that longing to belong to turn morose. Resist the temptation to wallow or to project your discomfort on to someone else. Instead, use Saturn’s discerning eye to figure out how to deconstruct any sense of isolation.

June 22, 2011

The planets are arrayed in complex patterns this week and here on Earth, nervous systems, already frayed from the ongoing intensity, are likely to unravel even more as interactions, personal as well as collective, grow increasingly convoluted. For some, meltdowns are probable, especially for children (of all ages), as hypersensitivity interferes with the ability to listen objectively to a different, and perhaps antagonistic perspective. For others, old, familiar ways of coping with the stress of uncertainty – survival systems you thought were long-gone – are suddenly back and lookin’ good, as only addictive behavior can. For most of us, daily life simply feels chaotic, and this seeming lack of order could produce or exacerbate a sense of anxiety or dread. (Unfortunately, some of us have been experiencing this state of mind since the earthquake in Japan.) The best way to stay calm is to stay mindful. Pay attention to wherever it is you find yourself along the spectrum of emotional intensity, and if you find yourself mired in a habitual response, take a breath and try to settle into your body, as well as into present time. Then, see if there is a way to transform your routine reaction into a consciousness response.

The Sun, in Cancer, is at the core of several key interactions. (1) A Sun/Pluto opposition highlights themes of power and control, as it agitates despots of every denomination to do whatever it takes to solidify their position. (2) Uranus squares both the Sun and Pluto, forming a T-Square, which is a difficult interaction that tends toward action as the antidote to tension. Leaping before your leap isn’t always the wisest choice, but because Uranus is the rebel with or without a cause, action is likely to be first on the list of remedies. One of the many ways to interpret the meaning of this square is to understand it as representing a fractious clash between the needs of the individual and societal demands. Lots of us are feeling the need to break free from the shackles of oppression – physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. And because Cancer is always concerned with issues of safety and security, the drama is sure to focus on financial and emotional stability. Another important component is a Mars/Uranus sextile, which provides prodigious amounts of physical energy that amps up the need to move. To avoid the lingering consequences of rash behavior, assuming the Taoist stance of no unnecessary action would be a wise choice.

(3) A Sun/Neptune trine produces heightened sensitivity, a condition that encourages an active imagination as well as an inclination toward meditation, contemplation, and creative pursuits of all kinds. Mars also meddles here as it squares Neptune, a position that encourages addictive appetites as a way of coping with stress.

(4) The best news of the week is a Sun/Jupiter sextile that supports enthusiasm and laughter. This benign interaction is about common sense as well as a sense of humor. Apply it liberally wherever you run into the hard edge of this week’s Sun/Uranus/Pluto power plays.

A Jupiter/Pluto trine ups the ante on the week’s power issues, and while this is essentially a positive interaction, when it combines with the need to lead at any cost, it can feed an unbridled hunger for control: all the more reason to make mindfulness your constant companion.

June 15, 2011

The veils between conscious and unconscious realities continue to be quite transparent this week, and as they billow in the breezes of yet another eclipse, information, long stored in the shadow of the unconscious continues to be revealed. I know this sounds all too familiar, and I can only wonder (along with you) what additional information could possibly bubble to the surface of daily life. Without doubt, the revelations on the public stage have been more than a little disturbing. I mean, really, can you believe all the sex scandals? Weinergate inspired the following solution: A fifteen-minute reality TV show where politicians, and other celebrities so inclined, could just whip out their “junk” for all those who might be interested in taking a look. Viewers could record or download the images, and the rest of us would be spared another news cycle based on the peculiar conceit of successful cultural demigods that they are exempt from the consequences of the digital age, where nothing – not one little thing – is private. It’s not the desire to send the pictures that’s the most disturbing to me (although it is troubling); it’s the stupidity of thinking you won’t get caught.

For us mere mortals, the revelations of the week are likely to be more emotional than scandalous, as deep feelings hidden in the unconscious or repressed by denial continue to spill over into conscious life. During today’s lunar eclipse, the Earth passes between the Sun and the Moon, casting a shadow and causing the Moon to lose its light. This is often interpreted as conscious concerns overriding unconscious drives and desires – but not this time. We are too close to the Solar Eclipse of July 1, and its powerful emotional signature, for the unconscious to take a backseat.

Mercury figures prominently in this lunar eclipse – it’s conjunct the Sun and opposite the Moon – and because Mercury signifies language and communication, conversation and dialogue drive the emotional intensity of this week’s revelations. Expect confessions from lots of unexpected places: ex-wives or ex-husbands, long lost lovers, children, mothers, fathers, neighbors, or childhood friends you thought you’d never hear from again. Anticipate being taken aback by some of what is said, even if you suspected those feelings were there all along. Some of these revelations will be delicate, so make every effort to be kind. As you speak your truth or listen to another tell his or hers, keep in mind that difficult as it might be for you to hear what’s being said, it may be just as or more difficult for the person delivering the information to find the courage to communicate. Be aware: Because this lunar eclipse occurs at 24 degrees of Sagittarius, a degree Pluto occupied from February through May 2005, during December 2005, and from July through early November 2006, some of what’s expressed could reach back to situations that occurred during that time frame.

Wherever you find yourself this week, it’s likely to be in the midst of an emotional convergence, where feelings from the past merge with desires of the moment to create questions about the future. As you navigate this transformational portal, try to remember that the unconscious is ultimately user-friendly, and when viewed that way, offers tremendous support for soul growth.

June 8, 2011

Several planetary crosscurrents coalesce into a strange brew of betwixt and between this week, so don’t be dismayed if you experience an uncomfortable state of suspension. We’re in a time warp, caught in the tides of three eclipses, and as the past swirls behind and beneath us, it shifts the present, causing the future to cloud with uncertainty. This lack of clarity will make some of us ill at ease. Others won’t be able to settle down– even the dog will have to scratch its bed a thousand more times than usual. Time warps are seldom smooth, and this one is particularly prickly. Anticipate encounters with resistance, yours or others’, as reactions to the psychic displacement make it difficult to be direct or to push ahead as dynamically as you would like. The best way to navigate these currents is to simply put one foot in front of the other, and to keep breathing, deeply, each breath grounding you in the here and now of the body.

Several sources contribute to the distortion. First, we are in the midst of an eclipse triple-header: The first solar eclipse of the season was last week, the lunar eclipse is next week, on June 15, and the second solar eclipse is on July 1. Eclipses alter the “normal” order, as they illuminate shadows and reveal what was previously concealed. Very few of us (except for the guests on Jerry Springer or the casts of reality TV) want our secrets laid bare, especially the secrets we keep from ourselves. So when eclipses part the veils, and private information becomes public, daily life tends to feel out of control. Because the first two eclipses of the season take place along the Gemini/Sagittarius axis, information has the power to shift perspectives almost instantly. The second solar eclipse, on July 1, occurs along the Cancer/Capricorn axis, which means issues of security, personal and professional, are the primary concern. This is one of the reasons so many people are buzzing about finances. The emphasis of this eclipse also stirs the longing to belong, and could make many of us needy for attention. Avoid judging others and try not to feel self-conscious about your hunger for connection. Make contact where you can, and remember: Love doesn’t have to be romantic to be satisfying.

Saturn also contributes to the time warp as it slows to a glacial pace in preparation for its Direct motion on June 12. Willie Nelson offered the best description of Saturn’s presence this week when he sang, Still is still movin’ to me. Don’t despair if there are moments when you feel frozen in place, especially when it comes to relationships. Saturn is in Libra, after all, and that means relating is its main interest. As it gathers forward momentum, what has seemed hopelessly stuck will begin to melt into motion.

Jupiter entered Taurus on June 4, concentrating its expansive presence on practical matters. Taurus is an Earth Sign that is grounded in material matters – and not just financial concerns. Taurus is the Sign of resources, and part of its richness is the realization that beyond the tangible manifestations of abundance lies the intangible resource of human creativity. Jupiter will be in Taurus for the next year, making it possible to use this journey to concretize creative vision.

June 1, 2011

For the next several weeks, a network of astral activity signals the potential for significant shifts in the routines of daily life. These changes, both personal and collective, happen quickly, so quickly, you’ll need to be careful you don’t strain yourself trying to keep up. Persistent attempts to mimic the cosmic pace could result in psychic whiplash. Because information drives these shifts, and some of us are likely to feel discombobulated or disoriented by an overload of data, especially when it alters compass headings and sets some of us traveling in an entirely different direction. What’s more, extreme emotional sensitivity is also probable, as previously veiled places of the heart are revealed, and feelings long held at bay surge to the surface of interactions. But that’s not all: Because this is an eclipse season, time feels distorted, and that irregularity exacerbates a sense of dislocation. As always, try to remember: We are all going through this together, and a kind word or gesture to a fellow traveler could have a powerful, positive effect. 

A solar eclipse, in Gemini, on June 1, is at the epicenter of this week’s shifts. When the Moon overshadows the Sun, what’s unconscious dominates conscious concerns, and because Gemini gathers and disseminates data, all sorts of unconscious information could emerge from the shadows of psyche, personal and collective. Don’t be surprised if you suddenly remember a lifetime on Alpha Centauri that explains why Star Trek is so pivotal to your worldview. Also be prepared for emotional realizations about the power of relating. Saturn, in Libra, trines both the Sun and the Moon during this solar eclipse, a position that is likely to skew some of the emerging data toward relationship issues. Be prepared for heartfelt encounters about what could have been, what should have been, and what is still possible. Saturn has been retrograde since January, but on June 12, it goes Direct. This change in direction is likely to ground some of the recent relationship issues and emotional revelations into concrete action.

But before that, on June 2, Neptune begins a retrograde phase that lasts until November. Neptune is the Olympian God of the sea and also the Ruler of Pisces. It symbolizes the waters of the world, and in the astrological system, the waters of psyche, conscious and unconscious. Part of its initial entry into Pisces, on April 4, opened the floodgates, with torrential rainstorms, as well as a catharsis of heartfelt tears for those suffering from floods and tornados.

And there’s more: On Saturday, June 4, Jupiter, the planet of great good fortune, moves into Taurus, the Sign of earthy sensuality. It’s a combination certain to arouse lusty appetites, as well as a desire for comfort, and the need for creative expression. Life is the greatest garden you will ever plant, and while Jupiter is in Taurus, the potential for gorgeous growth is gigantic.

The good news is that while the current planetary patterns are intense, they also provide opportunities for deep transformation, through great leaps of creative and spiritual faith. Be courageous as well as hopeful about the possibility of positive change.


May 25, 2011

Welcome to the season of the eclipse, when the veils between conscious and unconscious realities turn exceedingly thin, and synchronicity infuses even the most mundane interactions with a powerful sense of destiny. Be aware: Breathing too much of this sensitive air could turn you emotionally transparent, and not because you are revealing more than you normally do. Eclipses simply reveal what’s hidden just beyond the reach of normal vision. They offer a kaleidoscope of perspectives, all of which have the power to tilt ordinary viewpoints to extraordinary angles. For those interested in delving into undercurrents – psychological and spiritual – these new angles have the potential to provide penetrating insight into deep dimensions of human interactions, personal as well as collective. Certain secrets, even those you’ve kept from yourself, will be secret no longer. Proceed with caution: During the coming weeks, many of us are likely to be feel just a tad oversensitive, a condition that could trigger old, reliable and outworn defensive postures. Rather than complete candor, err on the side of kindness and compassion.

Three eclipses occur during over the next five weeks; this pattern begins with a solar eclipse on June 1, followed by a lunar eclipse on June 15, followed by another solar eclipse on July 1. Eclipses, both solar and lunar, are known to distort time, and we tend to feel their effect six-weeks before or after the actual eclipse event. (Strikingly, all three eclipses trigger Arnold Schwarzenegger’s natal chart.) Eclipses signify the interplay between conscious and unconscious realities, and although we understand why they occur, an understanding of the mechanics doesn’t seem to diminish the psychic effect. During a solar eclipse, the Moon overshadows the Sun, day becomes night, unconscious concerns overpower conscious ones, and previously stable worlds seem to wobble.

The first eclipse in this current cycle occurs in Gemini, which focuses the eclipse effect on communication. Notice who or what draws you into conversation. Pay attention: As previously withheld information sees the light of day, what was previously assumed or implied could evaporate with a simple sentence For some, this could translate into apologies for harsh words spoken in ignorance or haste, or for words left unspoken for too long because they were too true.

The eclipse effect could also trigger a deluge of feelings, especially as the waves of the first solar eclipse coalesce with those of the second solar eclipse on July 1. This eclipse occurs in Cancer, the Sign that longs to belong. Be prepared for a deep need to feel connected and bonded with those you love.

For the next several weeks, opportunities to integrate conscious and unconscious realities abound, and while that sounds great (and it is), the integration process could turn life more than a little wonky. So do whatever it is you do to get grounded, and then do your best to stay that way.


May 18, 2011

This week and next, the planets are aligned in “down-to-earth” formations that turn the air of daily life hyper-ambitious and super-determined. Be prepared to make “priorities and commitments” your personal mantra, but don’t be surprised if you hear plenty of other people muttering the same chant. Also be aware, not everyone you’re involved with or connected to, personally or professionally, shares the same goals – no matter what they may profess. And as the next weeks unfold, that lack of shared vision could produce sudden and startling twists of fate. Because it’s never possible to control the outcome of this week (or any other), rather than assume a rigid stance, be flexible. Be willing to modify your position, but don’t think for a moment that your capacity to stretch is equivalent to
abandoning your vision. The “priorities and commitments” mantra is the product of a much deeper current underlying the flow of the week: the potential for crystal-clear clarity about what you want to accomplish and how you want to go about creating that reality.

Several positive Pluto configurations form the core of this week’s powerful potential to actualize your vision. Venus, Mercury, and Mars are conjunct in Taurus and each is also all in a trine to Pluto, in Capricorn:

(1) A Venus/Pluto trine supports powerful creative endeavors as well as the power of attraction. Use this positive force to fall madly in love with almost everyone – including you. But be aware that in some cases the underlying magnetism may be more about a power game than an openhearted amorous adventure. Under Venus/Pluto contacts, the thrill of the chase and conquest is often more exciting than the “happily ever after.”

(2) A Mercury/Pluto trine is certain to facilitate sharp minds, and because everyone has access to this intellectual power-boost, quick repartee based on astute powers of observation could lead to extraordinary insights. This mental might could just as easily turn into the power to persuade or bamboozle, so be careful how you use “the force.” You don’t want Obi-Wan Kanobi-ize the wrong person or people for the wrong reason.

(3) The temptation to dominate is exacerbated by a Mars/Pluto trine, also a positive interaction that has the capacity to supply almost superhuman power, as well as off-the-chart self-confidence. When Mars and Pluto join together, we mere mortals experience nearly immortal strength, a state that can cause many of us to work or play nonstop. While moderation won’t be possible, even the idea of temperance could help you to avoid overextension.

For the last several weeks, as the planets piled up in Aries, there were lots of opportunities to envision new frontiers. Now, the planets are providing the physical and practical muscle to realize some of those dreams. Seize the moment, but as you do, remember to be kind, courteous, and generous to your fellow travelers who are also trying to turn their dreams into reality.


May 11, 2011

Practical matters begin to dominate the routines of daily life, as several planets move out of the idealistic perspective of Aries and into the realistic viewpoint of Taurus. As the astral emphasis shifts from the fire of Aries to the earthiness of Taurus, attitudes, good or bad, naughty or nice, are likely to reflect the new arrangement. Gone are the tempestuous, reactive, and maybe just a little over-the-top dramatic releases that don’t really accomplish much except provide a fleeting moment of feeling “better.” And while we may miss the drama, it won’t be for long, especially as it is replaced with the soothing, sensible, pragmatic levelheadedness that allows for sensible plans and projects. Don’t worry: You won’t be bored because you’ll be too busy.

Mars is the first planet to leave Aries; it enters Taurus on May 11. (Pacific Time, that departure is just moments after midnight.) Whenever Mars transits the Sign of Taurus, we experience the increased capacity to work hard – very hard – and as a result, Mars, in Taurus, is a signature of stamina, patience, and endurance. Don’t be surprised if you’re suddenly quite content to approach any problem with renewed determination to find pragmatic solutions for all concerned parties.

Also anticipate a desire to acquire, specifically things that are useful as well as beautiful. Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, and Mercury, symbol for all things mental, both enter Taurus on May 15, where they continue their ongoing conjunction with Mars. Venus is the Ruler of Taurus, and when she returns home for a visit, her powers are heightened. Be prepared to experience a deep desire for love, and because her mesmerizing powers are legendary, even if you are not inclined toward amorous adventure, you just might find yourself drawn to the sensual, as well as the sexual.  Mercury’s presence in Taurus amplifies an appreciation for form, especially when it expresses function, and because Mercury is joined at the astral hip to Venus, many of us could experience a strong urge to speak in verse or to break into song at any moment. Taurus is the Sign assigned to the throat and really, wouldn’t life be just a little more interesting if everyone broke into song once in a while?

As the week unfolds, Mercury, Venus, and Mars all move into a trine to Pluto. We mostly love this, if only because the entire configuration is supercharged with creative power. Mercury trine Pluto always indicates an unrelenting need for intellectual understanding – something we can use a little more of these days. Venus trine Pluto creates extraordinary powers of attraction, coupled with artistic prowess. Mars trine Pluto provides the power to accomplish almost anything. The entire bundle supports the confidence to turn those Aries visions of the last several weeks into concrete reality.

May 4, 2011

Minds are bold, hearts are strong, and vision is clear this week, so don’t hesitate to put everything, including your body, in motion. The planets are aligned in a powerful formation that supports decisive action and rapid, yet clear-headed, responses. All of this translates into success at almost every endeavor, especially if you’re willing to commit the muscle – physical, as well as spiritual – to doing whatever it takes to get the job done. There are no obvious obstacles other than the potential for over-extension. So don’t take on more than you can handle just because you are afraid your opportunities will disappear. They won’t. What’s more, taking on too much could weigh you down. And it would be a shame to squander the week’s brilliant astral energy with unnecessary baggage.

Once again the astral story is all about Aries, but this week, Saturn loosens its grip, and as it lets go, that Aries fire is free to follow its bliss through an uninhibited Venus/Mercury/Jupiter/Mars conjunction. This is a powerful configuration that allows Aries the freedom to be direct and candid – two of its most prominent features. Bold, opinionated, and maybe just a little rash, you can always count on Aries to make its point. Okay…occasionally Aries errs on the side of subjective opinion, which skews its perspective toward the purely personal and renders it irrelevant. But absent individual bias, nothing beats the Aries knack for cutting to the chase with uncanny, even if unprocessed, clarity. As Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, and Mars, refract Aries candor, we can count on plenty of personal opinion. But we can also expect foresight and forethought. Use this signature to make plans that will bear fruit in the future.

Oddly, the combination of Mercury, Jupiter, and Mars often indicates the contemplation of marriage, so those of you on the fence about tying the knot, might be moved into fortunate decisions about your amorous future. Those of you who are only thinking about making “the call” could find the urge for contact too strong to resist. Add Venus to the mix, and you may find yourself lost (or should I say found) in the presence of an irresistible attraction of mind, as well as body. For those of you not inclined toward romance, Venus also provides the potential for artistic expression. Don’t hesitate to put this energy to good use through a variety of creative modalities.

It’s a good week to be completely honest with yourself about what you truly desire – not what you should want, but what makes your heart sing with joy. You could have a life-changing vision of what that bliss might be, or you could discover that where you are and what you are doing is exactly where you belong.


April 27, 2011

Don’t expect too great a shift in the astral weather this week. The planetary heat concentrated in Aries continues to be at the epicenter of human interaction. For those of you just tuning in, for the last several weeks we’ve been in a “how many planets can fit into Aries at once?” pattern. And even if you’ve managed to handle this fiery intensity with skill and avoided erupting like a volcano (which, by the way, I haven’t), this week, you or someone close is likely to spew molten lava – emotional, mental, or spiritual. Expect almost everyone’s capacity for control to be challenged. But also understand that catharsis is sometimes necessary and occasionally beneficial, especially if you’ve been in denial of your own or enabling someone else’s negative behavior. Sometimes a good spew is necessary, and although there are always consequences, often those consequences are worth it – but only if you or others can move beneath the superficial squabbles and identify the true issues at the core of the eruption.

Uranus, Venus, Mercury (now Direct), Mars, and Jupiter are all transiting Aries. . This fiery aggregation started mid-March, when Mercury, Uranus, and the Sun joined Jupiter, already in Aries. Aries is a tempestuous, impetuous, dynamic energy that needs to move and express, physically as well as every other way. This need for motion was restrained somewhat by Mercury Retrograde. Saturn, in Libra, further challenged unrestricted and uninhibited movement; as all of the planets with the exception of Uranus, moved through Aries, each had a “confrontation” with Saturn’s often-critical eye. Venus is the last to pass through the Saturn portal; her test will occur on Saturday, April 30. Normally, there would be nothing to dread about this Venus/Saturn opposition, but the Moon also enters Aries on Friday, April 29, and during its two-day-plus journey its sparks will ignite the fires of emotional bodies, despite previous efforts to contain certain feelings. Be prepared for meltdowns, yours or others. Also understand that what’s likely to spew is pent-up frustration over issues or incidents that have been dormant for too long.

I’m not sure what the best way through the brush fires of the week might be. Aries is an impulsive Sign, but it doesn’t necessarily hold a grudge. When stressed, Aries tends to bark, much like dogs do with each other when they aren’t interested in playing; their moods pass swiftly. But a full-scale meltdown is more than momentary grumpiness, and always indicative of some deeper, long-standing difficulty. If you or someone on your field starts to erupt, do your best to discern the depth of the disturbance. If it feels superficial, let it pass without a thought. If it feels deeper, try to give it thoughtful consideration. And if you react before you have a chance to figure out what’s going on, try not to be too harsh on yourself or others.

April 20, 2011

The planets alter their alignment this week, and while the change in formation is significant – the Sun moves into Taurus today – the concentration of planets in Aries persists. Uranus, Mercury, Mars, and Jupiter are still in the Sign of adventure, and tomorrow, Venus replaces the Sun, which means even simple tasks will continue to play out as passionate expeditions. The heat of this aggregation has been so powerful for so long, it’s a wonder some of us haven’t just suddenly burst into flame from the sheer intensity of trying to handle certain situations. So if you find yourself obsessing about a particular person, place, or thing, this would be a good week to step away from the vehicle. That’s right: Surrender whatever is burning a hole in your psyche and hand over your need to control the outcome to whatever higher power works wonders in your life.

Several factors contribute to this week’s intensity. First, Mercury Retrograde ends on April 23, early in the morning. Yes…it’s okay to breathe a sigh of relief, but there are mitigating factors: (1) Mercury goes Direct in an exact opposition to Saturn. Saturn’s presence restrains the enthusiasm of Mercury’s forward motion. That restraint worked well when it opposed Mercury Retrograde because Saturn’s natural reticence has the potential to keep Mercury focused on the details in need of review. Unfortunately, as Mercury goes Direct, it’s going to want to blaze forward. “Not so fast,” says Saturn, and before you know it, the retrograde feels as if it will last forever.  (2) Especially because as Mercury goes Direct, it also forms an exact square to the Moon, in Capricorn. The Moon adds an element of drama (even in Capricorn), creating the perfect portal for an emotional meltdown. Please don’t kick the dog or cuss the cable guy – they don’t deserve your ire. Instead, take a deep breath, and be realistic. Mercury Direct is not going to solve every problem. (3) Also be aware that the three-day retrograde rule applies: Mercury needs more than a moment to gather forward momentum, which means plans and projects will not instantly move at the speed of light. (4) Mercury continues its conjunction with Mars, meaning agitated minds continue to provoke premature action. Be patient – you will find the appropriate time to make your move over the course of the next several weeks.

The second contributor to the intensity is a Mars/Jupiter conjunction, a dynamic combination that provides visions of success, as well as the energy to turn those dreams into reality. Use the power of this conjunction to find creative solutions to problems in need of decisive action.

A Venus/Uranus conjunction adds a touch of razzle-dazzle to the week’s already passionate signature. Be prepared to fall madly and deeply in love at a moment’s notice, but don’t expect that love to necessarily endure. When Venus and Uranus join forces, especially in the tempestuous, adventurous sign of Aries, strong urges for love-adventures tempt even the most staid among us into dalliances we might otherwise avoid. My motto for Uranus/Venus contacts is: Marry in haste; repent at leisure. I’m not suggesting you just say “no” to a good time or a wild ride. I’m just saying you shouldn’t expect it to last.


April 13, 2011

It’s a funny thing about retrogrades – after a while, you get used to them and don’t quite mind the interference or the interruptions. When regular routines of daily life take a little longer than they should, you just shrug your shoulders and smile with retrograde savoir-faire and carry on. You’re patient about endlessly repeating yourself and continuously being misunderstood. You evidence a good attitude, by laughing when your computer keeps asking for passwords it previously remembered and stored quite safely—until now. When a trip to the grocery store takes two hours instead of twenty minutes, you don’t die from an apoplectic fit of frustration, you simply take out your Kindle, iPhone, iPad, or other device and read, talk, email, or text-message your way through the seemingly never-ending delays and detours. And when you realize all the providers are down, rather than blowing a gasket, you just find an app and let it blow for you.

But not this retrograde. Keeping cool during the current Mercury Retrograde phase isn’t all that easy. From now until April 23, Mercury continues to be part of a pile up of planets in Aries, and because Aries is the go getting, push-forward, fiery muscle of the astrological pantheon, patience, pacing, and postponing aren’t really part of its repertoire. As a result, many of us feel caught in a strange static storm, unable to locate true north because navigation systems of every ilk, external and internal, can’t quite find the signal. (For those of you new to retrograde lore: Mercury symbolizes all things related to communication and travel: when it seemingly moves backward in its orbit, all things within its domain seem to move backward, too.)

But hassles and delays are not the issue. The big problem during this retrograde is that Mercury keeps triggering the core of all those Aries planets. As Mercury moves behind, it conjuncts Jupiter, and although this is a benign, even positive combination of astral energies, Jupiter amplifies Mercury’s restless and often mischievousness nature. Again, not so bad, unless you are trying to push a deal through and the deadline seems to keep moving at a whim, or you’re thinking it’s cinched and every time you try to sign, some new demand alters the landscape.

But that’s not all. Saturn opposes Mercury, as Mercury conjuncts Mars, and this is the true trouble spot. Mercury/Mars/Saturn configurations can provide intellectual depth, but they can just as easily feed a brash mouth, especially when additional tension exacerbates already existing stresses and strains. Be careful what you say and to whom—you may need that person as a bridge, later on, when you make your Indiana Jones (probably an Aries) escape. Also be aware, during highly-charged times, sarcasm can often be misunderstood and quite hurtful. Humor is a great ally, but not if it causes harm.

As this retrograde throws one obstacle after another in the path of progress, it won’t be easy to feel anything other than stuck. So rather than struggle against the wind, relax. Let go. Really. Let go. Allow the week to unfold in its own time, at its own pace. And as always, whenever possible offer help to those in need – especially those less experienced with retrogrades.



April 6, 2011

The planets continue to align in powerful patterns, this week, and as they do, we continue to go through powerful transitions. (So powerful, you could just stop reading and start singing, “Ch…ch…ch…changes…” and call it good.) Some of these shifts are simply seasonal, while others are related to personal and collective identities, as well as environmental issues. But it doesn’t matter where you are experiencing the stress of moving from the old to the new; wherever you are feeling the heat is likely to be exactly where a transformation needs to occur. Be aware, this transitional phase, whether it is personal or collective, is not going to end anytime soon – so best to make flexibility part of your spiritual foundation. Also don’t try to push too hard through the intensity of these changes. While it’s essential to face the strain, it’s also important to remember that we are in the midst of a process, and that process includes bringing awareness to the what, why, and how of the shift and then digesting and metabolizing that information.

Five planets, in Aries – Uranus, Mars, the Sun, Jupiter, and a retrograde Mercury – continue to spark a wide variety of personal passions. From eros to agape, infatuation to devotion, and affection to compassion don’t be surprised if you’re suddenly aroused by a zealous need to express your deepest desires. It won’t be possible to hold back (well maybe some of us will have the strength to deny what we are feeling) so try not to waste too much time or energy refusing to acknowledge the intensity of your passion. Just be aware, not everyone will share your enthusiasm, which means you’re going to have to either modulate your intensity or be prepared for disappointment.

This Aries concentration carries a swaggering creative signature that could turn even the mild-mannered into swash-buckling pirates. It could also be the source of extreme discomfort, especially if you are experiencing the pile-up as pressure to perform or produce. A square between Mars, in Aries, and Pluto, in Capricorn, is in effect from April 5 through 15; this square amplifies the militant qualities of Aries, and that could be a problem, especially for those who need to be in charge even when they haven’t been asked to take the lead. Try not to get into petty disputes that could easily ignite much bigger quarrels. Take a stand when necessary, but mostly just keep breathing, and let the steady rhythm of your breath help you to maintain your equipoise.

Alas, it won’t be all that easy maintaining your composure because equally deep currents of sensitivity exacerbate the force of this passionate fire. Neptune is in Pisces, the Sign it rules, amplifying empathic sensitivity, psychic receptivity, and susceptibility to suggestion. Both Neptune, and Pisces symbolize the urge to merge, an inclination that makes healthy boundaries, personal as well as collective, essential to skillfully navigating this journey.

This week, as we wrestle with the discomfort of transition, the Piscean capacity for merging could soften the Aries need to individuate – just as the Aries ability to take a stand could serve an antidote to Piscean codependence. Whatever your position, remember to be kind to yourself and to your fellow travelers. We are all in this dream together.

March 30, 2011

For the next several weeks, unusual traffic patterns along the astral skyway are sure to be felt as major and minor disruptions throughout the routines of daily life. It’s a stop-and-start stride that resembles a global game of Simon Says so don’t be surprised to find yourself taking three steps forward and an “umbrella step” back. Unfortunately, this uneven pace is at odds with uncontrollable urges to surge forward, no matter what the obstacle or what the cost. Oy…it’s a celestial mess that’s bound to confuse and confound. Best to keep your patience pills close – like in your pocket. Handling these erratic planetary rhythms with skill is going to take fortitude and stamina.

The first planetary disturbance is Mercury Retrograde, which starts on March 30 and lasts until April 23. All of the normal retrograde rules apply: Don’t start anything new. Clean up what’s already in motion. Pay attention to the details, no matter how time consuming. Expect to repeat all instructions at least three times. But be aware, this is going to be a rambunctious retrograde, with little or no slogging through the molasses of a normal, slo-mo retro-review. And here’s why.

First, on April 2, Mars enters Aries, its Home Sign, where it forms an immediate conjunction with Uranus, which just moved into Aries on March 11. This powerful planetary alignment speaks to prodigious amounts of energy. Mars symbolizes physical energy, and Uranus signifies the instability of radioactive energy. When Mars and Uranus share the same space, especially in a Sign as physically dynamic as Aries, you can count on haste and hurry, which is likely to result in accidents and injuries caused by irrepressible urges to act, even when acting is ill-advised. Don’t push the river. Instead, breathe, as often as is necessary to settle your nervous system.

Also on April 2, the Moon joins that Mars/Uranus conjunction, exacerbating emotional volatility by increasing the need to act on impulse. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself in a shouting match. The Moon is the feeling body; Mars signifies aggression, and Uranus … well … is Uranus, always happy to instigate an insurrection. This powerful emotional drive coalesces with an already all-time-high need for action, because along with the Moon, Mars, the Sun, Jupiter, and Mercury are also in Aires. This planetary concentration is certain to override the resistance and reticence of Mercury Retrograde. Just be careful not to let it turn into a conflagration of rash and reckless behavior. Despite the thrill of this Aries heat, what gets set in motion under this intensity will yield consequences – and you want those results to be positive. If you must act, by all means, have at it. Just try not to burn too many bridges – especially the ones you might need later on.

And there is more: On April 4, Neptune moves into Pisces, its home Sign, and a Sign it hasn’t occupied since 1847. Despite the often subtle presence of Neptune, this stirs deep psychic currents, personal as well as collective, so don’t be surprised if your dreams are in Technicolor and your fantasy life more vital than reality.


March 23, 2011

Don’t be dismayed if you can’t relax this week. The planets continue to align in unsettling combinations, and life on Earth continues to unfold in an equally erratic rhythm. Patience is key to handling this tumult, particularly patience with those less able to cope with anxiety about what’s going to happen next. I often think that spiritual health is learning to live comfortably in a state of uncertainty. It’s hard to live that way all the time, but this week, as Uranus’ entry into Aries continues to stir surprising developments, staying open and flexible is the best way to manage the intensity of change.

There are only two important astral news items this week: (1) Mercury goes retrograde on March 30 and  (2) Uranus continues its entry into Aries. We all know the drill on Mercury Retrograde, but just in case a new convert is tuning in, here are the basics.  Mercury symbolizes all things related to communication and travel, and when it seemingly turns around and retraces its path, all those areas of life appear to work in reverse. The best way to handle Mercury Retrograde is to back up your computer, now – as in today. Also, if you are making travel plans, try to have all your arrangements fixed by March 27. The three days before a retrograde can be a little sticky, and so can the three days after. Mercury goes Direct on April 23. The most important advice for Mercury Retrograde is to not initiate new plans and projects during this phase. Mercury Retrograde is best spent reviewing what’s already in motion and refining those plans.

Uranus’ entry into Aries is a far more complex subject than Mercury Retrograde. While we know that Uranus is volatile and unstable, very few of us would have predicted the 8.9 earthquake in Japan or a nuclear meltdown as a symbol its explosive intensity. Uranian events do challenge nervous systems to stay steady in the midst of change, but the magnitude of this change is hard to bear. We are no longer a planet of isolated countries, cut off from events that happen thousands of miles away and to someone else. We are a global system, an ecological web of interconnected systems that register cause and effect almost instantaneously. This means, among many other things, that we can feel each other’s crises as it happens, and the emotional toll is palpable. It shows itself in small things – in minor anxiety attacks about seemingly insignificant details. Many of us don’t need to experience a tsunami to feel the fear, grief, and loss that disastrous wave set in motion. Don’t misunderstand: Those of us not directly affected are not experiencing the same degree of loss. But for many, the sheer idea that life could change so violently in an instant – the reality that we are not in control of our planet – can have a tremendous emotional effect.

This week, as you attempt to cope with your relationship to Uranian uncertainty, be as gentle with each other as you can. All acts of kindness have a beneficial effect.

March 16, 2011

This week, attitude is everything. Everything. So don’t be careless, cavalier, or reckless about what you think, say, or do. We are at the beginning of two new planetary cycles – the astral equivalent of the planning and planting stage of a garden – and how you approach the details of daily life during this phase will determine what and how your garden grows. If your current situation is dreadful, find a way to frame it as an opportunity to grow and transform; if your situation is brilliant, make a conscious choice to be grateful for your good fortune. Most importantly, be aware of how your conscious choices co-create your future. And then do your best to plant the seeds of positive change, personal as well as collective.

Aries is the starting point for both new cycles. The Sun enters Aries on March 20, the vernal equinox and the start of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. For those of us who made it through the harsh and dark winter of 2011, the scent of spring and the promise of longer and warmer days is a much welcome relief. (Here in New York City, even if there is another snowstorm in April, we can be optimistic that winter is finally behind us.) Seasonally, the coming weeks are the time to prepare the garden for planting. The same phase can also apply to inner landscapes. Use this time to envision what it is you want to plant and bring to fruition during the rest of this year.

As the Sun enters Aries it forms a conjunction with Uranus, which moved into Aries just nine days ago on March 11, where it will stay until May 2018. Uranus takes 84 years to orbit the Sun and journey through all twelve (not thirteen) Signs of the zodiac. The last time it transited Aries was 1927-1934/35, historically a time of tremendous economic and political upheaval. And over the course of the coming months, this column will examine the patterns of that last journey in an effort to better understand the current one.

But for this week as well as the next several weeks, it’s best to stay in the present moment. The only problem is that the creative power of a Sun/Uranus conjunction makes it hard to get grounded and stay that way. Nerves jangle and hearts pound under the sway of this influence, and because it has the power to transform certain situations in the blink of an eye, you could find yourself catapulted into the future – of an entirely different dimension. Even mundane routines are likely to produce a nervous system buzz. As you move through the intensity try to remember that thoughts, words, and deeds are all seeds that put intention into motion. And, as always, keep in mind that your fellow travelers are under the same sway and that many of them may not be as skilled or experienced as you are in handling the intensity.

March 9, 2011

The mad, nearly manic rush of the last several weeks continues, and while it may be hard to believe, the seemingly unrelenting sense of urgency actually seems to intensify. It’s hard to know exactly when the mad rush began: Was it Jupiter’s move into Aries that upped the pace? The final pass of Uranus through the last degrees of Pisces, encouraging hearts and minds to squeeze as much as possible into as many moments as were available? Or is it Uranus’ entry into Aries that’s generating such a powerful field of constant activity? Perhaps it’s an aggregation of all these events that’s pushing the pace. But whether it’s a single cause or many, one thing is sure: The wild ride of daily life is gaining momentum. Expect to feel pressed for all sorts of things – time, money, words, or breath. The good news is that despite feeling stretched, an odd sensation of rising to the occasion will support most endeavors.

Uranus moves into Aries on March 11, and as it starts a new cycle, so do we. Uranus signifies kinetic energy, especially the dynamic motion of change. Aries represents volition expressed through action, particularly activities motivated by passion, ambition, and desire. And the power of their combined presence tends to manifest as a quickening of stagnant issues, personal or collective. As that urge for action combines with the drive of a new cycle, you may want to reevaluate those New Year resolutions. Go ahead – spring is a fine time to celebrate a new beginning and the vernal equinox is only a few days away.  

All new cycles have signatures of adventure and anxiety, and this one is no different. Uranus is an erratic, unpredictable force, and Aries, while not necessarily unpredictable or erratic, can be impatient, tempestuous, and rash. These are the very qualities that often land Aries in the thick of controversy, defending choices and positions that seem a bit extreme to the rest of us. But it is important to remember, first, that we all have Aries somewhere in our birth chart, and second, without that Aries need to forge new pathways, few of us would ever leave the comfort of what’s known for the thrill of the unknown.

Also keep in mind, new cycles tend to excite old habits – it’s almost as if certain themes you thought were long gone make a momentary, and often splashy, comeback. Don’t despair if you find yourself caught in an onslaught of old behaviors or attitudes. Be confident, face the challenge of transformation, and understand that the persistent red threads of karmic patterns appear at every significant juncture. And this new Uranus cycle is going to offer a plethora of opportunities to face those areas that still suffer from a lack of awareness.

As you move through the next several weeks of adjusting to the new signature, do your best to remember that all of us will be experiencing this new frequency, which means all of us are going to need more than a little tenderness. Do your best to make kindness your default setting.


March 2, 2011

It’s another week of astral intensity, and as always, when the planets stir earthly waters, emotional bodies tend toward hyper-reactivity. There’s no easy way through these troubled waters; the best bridge over or around them is the willingness to acknowledge and confront whatever obscures creative solutions to the very real problems they represent. As part of this process, some may encounter psychological demons that persistently inhibit free expression. Others may meet mercenaries hired to hold back the freedom of others. But whether the despots are internal or external, moving forward means removing them from power and requires spending your time and energy wisely. For still more, dealing with surprising twists of fate that turn the Wheel of Life in an entirely new direction might be the biggest challenge of all. We are at the end of one planetary cycle and the beginning of another, a time of profound transition whose signature is manifesting as a multitude of crises, personal and collective, that cannot be ignored or denied. It takes a strong heart and a strong soul to face impediments to progress, so do whatever it is you do to hold steady and true.

The source of emotional intensity is a concentration of planets — the Sun, Mercury, Mars, Uranus, and, from approximately March 3 through 6, the Moon — in Pisces, a Sign known for its expanded capacity for feeling. Translation: Expect to be touched by all sorts of tender stories. Consider this aggregation an astrological farewell to Uranus, which enters Aries on March 11.

From an entirely different perspective, this planetary lineup exacerbates the already turbulent last days of Uranus in Pisces, which seem to be characterized by so many revolutions it’s hard to keep track. In Madison, a poignant iteration of Tahrir Square is taking place, as public employees take a stand for their rights. This protest is fascinating for two reasons: First, this is where the consequences of the Tea Party and its campaign to bamboozle voters by playing on their emotions are finally laid bare. The hype has dictated that this is the party of ordinary people committed to taking back their country and putting an end to big government. Now, as the role of the Koch brothers is revealed, we have even more evidence of a different, more sinister intention. Second, Wisconsin is the birthplace of Bob La Follette, representative, governor, and senator from Wisconsin, who recognized the danger of corporations dictating government policy early on and stood against corporate rule. It seems fitting that this next phase of confrontations between corporations and workers should take place in Madison. What’s more, the University of Madison was one of the first college campuses to hold protests against the war in Vietnam in the Sixties. Those protests were the seeds of a much bigger antiwar movement that gained traction during the exact Uranus/Pluto conjunction that occurred from 1965-66.

When Uranus moves into Aries in a few days, we will cross the threshold into several years of Uranus/Pluto squares that will occur between June 2012 and March 2015. What’s happening now, at the end of this Uranian cycle, sets the stage for what lies ahead. There’s no need to be afraid of these changes, and every reason to learn from them.

February 23, 2011

Several astral interactions have the power to transform the next couple weeks into a series of poignant reflections on eight years of potent transformation. Although many of these insights won’t be new, a heightened consciousness about the consequences of change could turn certain hearts unusually tender. And that sensitivity could lead to a variety of meltdowns — physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. So do your best to witness the intensity without getting swept away.

The source of this keen awareness is two-fold. A Mars/Mercury/Sun conjunction in Pisces, the Sign of sympathy, stimulates concern for others. But more significantly, Uranus is ending its transit through Pisces and its final phase is concentrating the essence of the entire journey, which is why we are in review.

Pisces is a deeply spiritual Sign, and among its many attributes are empathy, mysticism, psychic sensitivities, and altered states of consciousness, all of which allow movement beyond the boundaries of physical reality. Uranus is a catalyst, always throwing lightning bolts at stagnant waters as it simultaneously supports innovation by generating fields of creativity. Much of how it currently makes itself known is through technology.

Ten days after Uranus began its transit through Pisces in March 2003, the war in Iraq also began, a manifestation I found hard to contextualize astrologically. I could only see the Iraq war as a religious war — it was the only interpretation that made sense. We started the war claiming our intention was to bring democracy to the Middle East. But we really began that war to satisfy a chosen few: Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell, and the rest of their cohort. Some of them had old grudges to satisfy or pride to uphold, and all of them had a vested interest in the spoils of war — a war that has come at great cost to all of us, not just the 4,500 American soldiers killed, or the 33,000 American troops wounded, or the more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians killed.

Now at the end of this Uranian cycle another “war” for democracy has occurred, 28 days before Uranus moves into Aries on March 11. But this is a revolution by the people and of the people. It is not a revolution led by private interests, religious fanatics, or an outside group of millionaires looking to pad their already padded purses. It’s a revolution based on the principles of democracy, with far fewer casualties than the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan. And it happened through technology.

The notion that a cell phone is more powerful than an automatic weapon is an idea I can embrace. The idea that a revolution can coalesce through the ethers over wireless routers thrills me. And it’s here that I see the power of Uranus in Pisces. Pisces, signifying the undifferentiated oneness of being that blurs boundaries and erases the distinctions of separation, is the perfect network for the Uranian utopian technology that blazes through the invisible realms, connecting and enabling people to stand with each other against their oppressor. Technology as a power tool of change is a Uranus-in-Pisces revolution I can finally understand – and it makes me glad.

Take time this week to contemplate the arc of transformation in your life and how technology may have affected your personal revolution. And, as always with life according to Uranus, remember that the situation is sure to keep on changing.


February 16, 2011

The planets provide a quirky frequency this week, and for those of us restless, eager, and in some cases desperate for a noticeable shift in the weather – all types of weather from climate to cosmic – daily life unfolds with a hint of something new. It’s not quite the promise of Spring, but it will do, especially for those of us that need inspiration. Unfortunately, the gap between now and the real renewal of springtime feels mushy, gooey, and sticky (three more of those shadow Disney dwarfs no one dares to mention). Because that gap is a mood trap, navigating the next several weeks without getting caught in a negative frequency is going to require concentration and determination. What’s more, some, less inclined toward personal responsibility than others, will ask: “Do I have to actually participate in the process of maintaining a healthy attitude under the weather shifts?” The answer is “yes,” especially if you want to play a conscious role in determining the direction of your personal Wheel of Karma.

The biggest contributor to the mush is a Mercury/Mars/Sun/Neptune conjunction, in Aquarius. At first glance you might think this line up signifies the potential to take dynamic steps toward to utopian aims. And while that potential is there, a deeper looks identifies a mishmash of hypersensitivity, a worried mind, and a desire to act quickly combined with a lack of clarity about what action to take. It’s an odd astral cloud that doesn’t start to dissipate until February 25 or 26, and until then we are in what a good friend of mine calls “the stuckedness” – you know you want to move, but a peculiar paralysis stymies every effort. It’s akin to those moments when you’re in a dream and need to run as fast as you can and yet just can’t get your legs to move. So do whatever it is you do to stay alert.

Uranus enters Aries on March 11, but before we can go full tilt into that next cycle, Uranus must finish its seven-year sojourn through Pisces – and that’s what the next three weeks are also about. The last degree of a Sign is the distillation of the essence of that Sign, so as these weeks unfold, be prepared to revisit key experiences that pushed you toward personal revolution. Uranus symbolizes sudden and startling twists of fate, as well as innovation and invention. It also represents a deep urge to be free from whatever enslaves body, mind, or heart. Be prepared for poignant encounters with old partners, friends, family, or lovers. You might also run into old employers, employees, or co-workers. Also expect children to act out a little more than usual, as their natural sensitivity coalesces with this week’s astral inclination toward extreme sensitivity, not to mention the general Uranian tendency to agitate nervous systems.

Uranus also has a tendency to disturb adult nervous system, so don’t be surprised if you’re full of energy one moment and falling asleep the next. Also expect your fellow travelers to be traversing an equally erratic route.


February 9, 2011

Planetary interactions turn daily life into a complex web of power plays this week, and while certain configurations pack an altruistic intention, other combinations, less inclined toward idealism, aren’t the least bit interested in selfless aims. And these mixed celestial messages are certain to be confusing. As we would say in New York, “Hey…we’re dealing with power issues, here.” And confrontations around who’s in charge could include all sorts of stands for freedom and independence, personal as well as collective. The quest for dominance is likely to outweigh humanitarian concerns, but that doesn’t mean compassionate efforts won’t be effective. So when and where you can reach out to your fellow travelers and extend a helping hand. A little bit of kindness will go a long way.

Several interactions contribute to this week’s astral tableau. First, a Sun/Mars conjunction, in Aquarius, continues to arouse a freedom fighting spirit. Expect increased struggle in all those regions of the world already experiencing violence. But also anticipate feeling combative urges on the personal front, even in areas you thought were pretty much immune to aggression. The good news is that Saturn continues to trine the Sun/Mars conjunction, providing the potential to turn hotheaded rhetoric into grounded change.

The ongoing Venus/Pluto conjunction continues to fan the flames of fanatic desire, and while the “heat” of this interaction is more traditionally understood as sexual heat, it could just as easily produce political heat. Venus, in addition to signifying love and beauty, also signifies values. Pluto represents power as well as politics, and when it shares the same space with Venus, they engender uncompromising agendas. But that’s not all. Jupiter squares both Venus and Pluto, and because Jupiter represents a global perspective, our current state of interconnectedness is undeniable: What happens in Egypt has a direct effect everywhere. A Jupiter/Pluto square, by the way, produces a large appetite for power. Be aware, this hunger drives petty despots as well as world leaders, and oppression is just as prevalent at home as it is abroad.

Last week, I promised I would try to explain the intricacies of the “new” zodiac story. But actually, no one knows theexact origins of the "old" zodiac, the one that forms the basis of Western astrology, which is an amalgam of various ancient cultural beliefs about the sky. The prevailing assumption is that astrology is a science based on the position of the planets in the constellations that seem to encircle the ecliptic. But we forget that there are other ways of seeing those star clusters and that other cultures trace different constellations around the same celestial path. I often wonder how the constellations were first identified. Every time I stargaze, I am baffled by how anyone could have imagined such intricate images among a brilliant sky shimmering with so many stars, and I always wonder, “What drugs were those ancient astronomers using when they etch-a-sketched so many complex pictures across the night sky?” On my best night, I can only see the Big Dipper.

The recent arguments about precession and a thirteenth Sign created a brouhaha because they are really arguments about whether astrology is a valid system.  Does it work? That's the real question. And we all know the answer to that: sometimes. A better question might be “Does astrology have value?” That's a question that can be applied cross-culturally to any astrological system that attempts to delineate a relationship between heaven and earth.

February 2, 2011

Shadows are everywhere this week, and their presence is likely to cause more than a little perceptual confusion, a sort of “now you see it, now you don’t” experience that challenges reality (whatever that is).  Don’t be dismayed if you start out assessing a situation from one point of view and wind up shifting your perspective mid-stream because you have a hunch that there might be more to the picture than meets the eye. Just be sure your changing opinion has substance. Given the plethora of information and misinformation available these days, it’s quite easy to mistake fiction for fact, inference for reality, or to believe that something is true simply because you want it to be.

In contrast to these shadows, the astrology for this week is fairly straight-ahead. A Mars/Sun conjunction, in Aquarius, stimulates ambition and the desire to shine brightly in the starring role. This is a dynamic, vital interaction that’s sure to provide positive support for achieving one’s goals. The only drawback is a tendency to react to a situation before there is an opportunity to consider the consequences of that reaction. Make an effort to not let emotions predispose you to presumption. Fortunately, Saturn, in Libra, trines both Mars and the Sun, offering the potential for stability amidst strong desires to do whatever it takes to win.

Venus is cast in a number of roles this week; she’s moving out Sagittarius and into Capricorn, and as she changes Signs, she ends a sextile with Neptune, begins a conjunction with Pluto, and maintains a square to Jupiter. When Venus, goddess of love and beauty, combines with Neptune, we mere mortals are likely to succumb to our sensitivities. A Venus/Pluto conjunction could turn many more of us obsessive or compulsive about sex. When Venus clashes with Jupiter, extravagant feelings are probable, and the entire bundle is likely to be experienced as a paranoid hypersensitivity – especially when it comes to love and money. Again, be careful not to jump to conclusions. Instead, stay present, and let common sense inform your opinions.

And speaking of common sense and perceptual confusion … a couple of weeks ago (and only for a nano second), the big news story was about a new zodiac with thirteen Signs. There is not enough room in this week’s column to go into that story in depth. But the most important point is that the day it broke, there was no other story, especially no horrible story, to fill the 24/7 news void. What’s more, the “new” zodiac story is actually an old one, not to mention an untrue one, but because astrology is hardly ever taken seriously, no one bothered to check the facts or offer an intelligible explanation of what was being proposed. That’s just what I will try to do in next week’s column.

But this week, as you encounter shadows, yours or others (and celebrate Groundhog Day, the festival of shadows), try not to be frightened by a dark patch of hindsight or foresight. But also don’t feel guilty should you decide to stay snuggly fortified in your den until you’re sure it’s safe to emerge. 

January 26, 2011

The routines of daily life blaze by in a fast forward flash this week, and before you can scratch another chore off your to-do list, it’s on to the next. Even if you have nothing to do, doing nothing feels like getting a lot done. I know what you’re thinking: “We must be an anti-retrograde something or other.” And while that would be one way of describing this “how much can you pack into a day” stream, another, more accurate description would be: “Welcome to Jupiter, in Aries, where motion and movement are irrepressible and the desire to expand, irresistible.” Ah … what would we do without Aires impulse or action? There’s no need to answer that question, today or even tomorrow. We have a little time (though not too much) to explore Jupiter’s journey through Aries, from a personal and collective perspective.

Jupiter’s passage through Aries is quick; it entered Aries on January 22 and stays there until June 4. It made its first foray into Aries in June 2010, when it formed an exact conjunction with Uranus on June 8, and remained there until September 8, when it retrograded back into Pisces. (No one needs to be reminded about just how wild last summer was – we are still dealing with the consequences and trying to make sense of the shifts.) But as Jupiter moves into Aries, it leaves Uranus behind in Pisces until March 11, and the dissolution of that partnership translates into a smoother ride. Busy, yes, but not as likely to challenge nervous systems to the point of breakdown by overriding common sense.

Aries doesn’t have the best astrological reputation, and is often criticized for its impatience and impulsivity: “Aries likes to start but fails to finish,” common wisdom says, and maybe there is some truth to that astrological cliché. But I like to think of Aries as the impulse to move. It is the pure fire of ambition seeking to realize its will through action. When that urge for individuation combines with Jupiter, all sorts of accomplishments are possible. Be prepared for lots of people, including yourself, to be motivated to pursue new goals.

Jupiter signifies religion as well as law and justice, and as that spiritual bent merges with the forthright perspective of Aries, you may find yourself exploring different belief systems. What’s more, because Aries symbolizes the warrior archetype, Jupiter’s journey is certain to inspire the inclination to take a stand for what you believe in. Interestingly, Aries, despite its tendency toward self-involvement, often has a clear and unfettered passion for social justice. And when that fire combines with the generosity of Jupiter, taking a stand for others, especially those in need of advocates and protectors, is likely to become a frequent occurrence.

On an entirely different note, Saturn begins a retrograde phase on January 26 that lasts until June 12. This is a significant review, but it’s not likely to nullify the rapid and invigorating pace of Jupiter’s transit through Aries.

January 19, 2011

"Beginner’s mind” is the best way to navigate the seas of conscious living this week. Two planets are beginning new cycles, and as the stars start anew, so do we. So put aside preconceptions, empty your head of assumptions, and show up in the moment, prepared to learn. Even if you’re sure you know the answer, do the math, again, and don’t worry about losing face if you don’t know the answer. You won’t be the only person with more questions than answers. You also won’t be the only one in need of a compassionate word or a kind, considerate helping hand.

The Sun moves into Aquarius on Thursday, and while I don’t often spend time on the Sun’s shift from Sign to Sign, this week, the humanitarian perspective of Aquarius seems like a good place to anchor body, mind, and soul. Because each of us has Aquarius in some sector of our natal chart, all of us have the potential to feel the Sun’s shift in perspective. Known for its egalitarian philosophy, Aquarius is idealistic and hopeful, qualities many of us could use a little more of in our lives right now. As the Sun illuminates the optimism of Aquarius, allow that light to infiltrate your point of view. Remember: Attitude is everything.

On Saturday, Jupiter moves from Pisces into Aries, a change in astral emphasis that promises to produce several dramatic shifts. Jupiter represents the principle of expansion, and its vast domain ranges from global travel and communication to the infinite expanse of spiritual search to the unbounded wells of knowledge that lie between heaven and earth – and it’s funny. Pisces, a Water Sign, signifies altered consciousness, from the infinite realms of the imagination to mystical meditation to drug and alcohol states of awareness. Aries, a Fire Sign, symbolizes passionate physical adventure that often manifests as the need to discover and explore new territories. If Pisces represents the urge to merge, Aries is the desire to individuate. But the distinction between these two Signs doesn’t end there. Pisces is a Mutable Sign, one of the peacemakers of the zodiac, whose spiritual leanings tend toward conciliation. Aries is the Greek God of War, who is far more interested in winning a battle than negotiating a compromise. And as Jupiter moves into Aries, it would be wise to be mindful about how many battles you are determined to win and at what cost. Also be aware of how easy it is to replace receptivity with activity.

As the week unfolds, keep an open heart by keeping an open mind. Listen and consider before jumping to conclusions that may not be appropriate.

January 12, 2011

Make “flexibility” your mantra this week, and be prepared to stretch physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. The planets are either shifting or getting ready to shift positions, and as they alter their celestial alignments, Earthlings will straddle parallel universes. And because several of these simultaneous realities are light years apart, the ability to bridge attitudes on moment’s notice will be a necessary and handy tool.

Mercury moves back into Capricorn on January 13, and as it does, it forms a conjunction with Pluto. Mercury signifies communication and Pluto represents power; when they share the same degree of the zodiac, over-the-top yet convincing rhetoric is probable. Expect an inordinate amount of proclamations, particularly from politicians, who will not only be vying for the lead position, but also competing for dominance, each proclaiming to be the voice of the people. From a personal perspective, this conjunction could produce a tendency to brood over words said in haste or, at the other end of the spectrum, not yet spoken. Either way, what’s clear, is just how powerful an idea can be when it is passionately expressed.

Mars moves into Aquarius on January 15, tilting attention ever so slightly toward altruistic goals. Mars symbolizes ambition and self-assertion, as well as physical strength, and when it moves through the egalitarian Sign of Aquarius, its muscle tends to lean toward reform. Whether this will impact political tactics remains to be seen, but its transit through Aquarius is sure to impact individual efforts aimed at independence. Aquarius is, after all, the Sign of personal freedom. The Sun moves into Aquarius on January 20, forming a conjunction with Mars. The combined influence of the Sun and Mars is sure to excite freedom-fighters around the globe, which means we can anticipate surges in violence – even in those places where the violence is already too much to bear.

Saturn begins a retrograde phase on January 26 that will last until June 12. And while that “turn-around” takes place in two weeks, this week we will start to feel Saturn slow down. But be aware, this retrograde is not about daily life turning into a molasses swamp. Saturn Retrograde is not the same as Mercury Retrograde so don’t panic about communication and travel snafus. Saturn is the symbol of discernment, and it signifies the ability to distill wisdom from experience; as part of that distillation process, Saturn enables us to learn from our mistakes. Its review reaches back to October 2010, which means we will be reviewing and revisiting systems and structures put into place over the course of the last several months with an eye toward whether or not those arrangements could be improved.

Jupiter also throws its weight around this week. It is in the last degrees of Pisces, beginning its separation from Uranus, and preparing for its entry into Aries. While Jupiter has no problem multitasking, handling the wide expanse of its domain could be a problem for some of us, especially if we are susceptible to the pressure of having to get everything done at once.

Remember, flexibility is key to handling the ebb and flow of this week. So do your best to stay agile in body, mind, heart, and spirit, and allow that agility to help you bridge a multitude of demands and dimensions.

January 4, 2011

The new year is best understood as a period of transition between two phases of intense upheaval. And while 2011 does offer the potential of profound transformation, its unifying thread is the need to synthesize what’s already shifted in anticipation of what lies ahead. I realize that sounds ominous. But from an astrological perspective, when you compare 2011 to what we’ve just been through or compare it to what we are about to experience in 2012 through 2015, it’s a relatively calm year.

Of course, 2011 won’t play out entirely without a hitch. On January 22, Jupiter enters Aries; on March 11, Uranus follows suit. But unlike their combined entry into Aries last summer, Saturn is out of the picture and its absence lightens the load. Neptune moves into Pisces on April 4 (more about that as we get closer to its shift date). And only the usual suspects have retrograde phases during 2011; neither Mars nor Venus is retrograde until 2012. But don’t let this seeming lack of astral intensity lull you into a false sense of “normal”–whatever that is. By June, there are hints of things to come, as a Uranus/Pluto square starts to throw its weight around. All Uranus/Pluto contacts signal deep, revolutionary processes of transformation. Squares indicate friction, and as these two agents of change push against each other, we will continue to push against stagnation, personal as well as collective. That square will be exact seven times between 2012-2015, and each contact will increase the intensity, both personal and collective.

The last two years of Saturn/Uranus oppositions shifted cultural, political, economic, and emotional poles so dramatically that it’s no wonder the Armageddonists are convinced the end is at hand. But it isn’t at hand. It’s here. It’s just not the end the alarmists are banking on. It is the end of life, as we know it, just as the invention of the printing press, radio, telephone, television, airplane, and Internet ended life as it was previously known.

Only now we no longer need mechanical inventions. We need innovative ways to better understand ourselves. What does it mean to be a human being? Who are we? How is it that we are capable of so much cruelty as well as so much creativity? How are we going to handle our power? We have so much technology available to us to enhance our physical existence, but technology has no soul. And we need soul to move forward with wisdom.

Recently, I became aware of faith clubs, where people of different religions join together to learn about each other’s beliefs. It seems that as participants get to know each other, stereotypes fade and reason replaces prejudice. Why not have political study groups where Republicans, Democrats, Conservatives, and Communists try to do the same thing? (From a purely selfish perspective this would accelerate my “learning to love Republicans” issue.) If we follow the faith club model, these gatherings could diffuse so much of the sloganeering and sound-byte slang that has replaced thoughtful conversation and mutual respect.

Small groups of thoughtful people devoted to understanding our differences as well as identifying our similarities have the potential to accelerate soul growth in much the same way that microchips transformed technology. When local shift reaches critical mass, global shift eventually follows. Every lasting idea for social justice started with an individual or a group of individuals determined to turn idealism into action. Hearts united in compassion have always had the power to change the world.



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