Saturday, December 1, 2007

This Sagittarian Season of Joy

Is it really December already? Wow, that’s a difficult one to wrap my brain around, even on a cold, blustery day like today! Sometimes the passage of time can be challenging to reconcile within ourselves and this just happens to be one of those times for me. It seems only a few weeks ago that we were walking around in shorts and exclaiming how we were being treated to such a long summer. Wait a minute…come to think of it, that was a few weeks ago!

December’s astrological focus will be on the fun and frolicking sign of Sagittarius, who happens to be throwing a party for most of this month, with a few key planets in esteemed attendance. Sagittarius is the 9th sign on the zodiac wheel, and therefore resides naturally in the 9th house of long-distance travel, higher education, philosophy and religion. Sagittarius is occupied by the Sun from November 23 to December 21, which inspires us to be more indulgent and expansive, lighthearted and optimistic during the holiday shopping season. Its symbol is the archer and centaur, who is ever aiming his arrow upward and outward. Positive, masculine, and extroverted, those who have chosen Sagittarius as their Sun sign are people who can be the life of the party, and it’s a good idea to have at least one of them in attendance as you move through this mortal existence.

Throughout my life as an Aquarian, I’ve had the (mostly) delightful pleasure of knowing several persons sporting Sagittarius as their Sun sign, and I have to say, it’s been quite a romp! It’s rarely a dull moment with these lively characters around, who will entertain you as the class clown or funny girl during school, woo you with a uniquely quirky charm in the dating arena, and may inadvertently break your heart if you venture too close, wagon hitch in hand, at too early an age for them to even consider commitment. You see, Sagittarians are the perpetual Peter Pans of the zodiac, flitting around from one adventure to another; restless for ever more exotic experiences to fill their insatiable appetites for discovery.

Many of these spontaneous souls continue this pace long into adulthood, without even a passing concern for where they left their shadow. They’re much too busy slaying (or befriending) dragons, exploring uncharted dimensions, and tasting as many flavours of human experience as they can find to simply settle down and do something as mundane and boring as, like, grow up! I’m serious. Some of them will look at you quizzically, head cocked and hands on hips, like you’d just grown a second head straight out of your third eye if you even suggest such a ridiculous thing. To put it in simple terms, these people virtually invented Never-Never Land.

Even those reserved archers who choose to adopt the more conventional standards of adulthood may do so quite loosely, altering and integrating them a bit with their own personal, pleasingly peculiar style of moving through their days. Ever restless, Sagittarius needs some form of departure from the norm, just to add a little spice to the mix. For example, the staunch businessman may occasionally raise some eyebrows by doing something seemingly out of character, like humming a few bars of “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” under his breath at the back of a board meeting. Or the outwardly prim and proper librarian who occasionally dons a dress with a neckline just low enough to let the shockingly brazen tattoo she wears on her chest barely peak out and say hi. If you happen to know that rare, conventional Sagittarian, don’t be fooled; underneath the starched shirt and grey flannel is a forest green tunic just itching to be uncovered.

Ruled by Jupiter, the indulgent planetary father, Sagittarians are seemingly allowed to run around doing and saying whatever it is they like, without any form of restraint being imposed upon them. I’ve often grumbled to a close Sagittarian friend of mine, who milks his lack of restrictions for all they’re worth, that Jupiter merely pats him on the head and lets him run amok while the rest of us have to atone for everything we do – even if it’s remotely naughty. He just beams at me, happily enjoying his unhampered, tactless self-expression, and lobs another zinger at me. I then remind him not to get too cocky; for the laws of karma also apply to Sag’s…they just don’t have to worry about it ‘til next lifetime.

In matters of love, it would appear that timing and motivation are both vital ingredients to anyone considering merging households with their freedom-loving Sag. If attempted too soon, heartache could ensue, with the Sagittarian hopelessly sabotaging everything in a blind, panic-inspired race for the door. Don’t take it personally, honey. Your fun-loving archer soul-mate likely loves you dearly, and merely fears a frightening loss of freedom if he commits too soon. The prospect of committing to one person eternally in the mind of a yet to be evolved Sagittarian can make them break out in a cold sweat. You see, one thing they haven’t figured out yet is the innate understanding that absolute freedom includes the ability to love and be loved, without the need to possess. The more evolved archers understand this, and can make for ardent, sincere and straightforward lovers, passionate and faithful spouses, and devoted parents. They are the fortunate Sagittarians who find divine freedom and joy in loving another, who have released themselves from the limiting notion that love has to involve possession, because ultimate love is without possession. They are the ones who have discovered that the adventures are much more fun when there’s another kindred spirit around to share them with.

There are a few key planets in attendance at the party I spoke of earlier in the article, who are currently transiting the playful, ever-questing Sagittarius, and contributing their unique energies to the festivities. Of course, there is the Sun, who during this transit inspires us to reach outward in the world to connect with something larger than ourselves. Our awareness of the idea that there’s more to life than the mundane is expanded, and we become courageous and optimistic enough to focus on that which is beyond ourselves; the “big picture,” if you will. With this influence, we now have the energy to nurture our faith, hope and dreams.

Jupiter will end his thirteen month transit in Sagittarius on the 19th, so we still have time to open up and really feel the wonderful sense of optimism and growth that he has indulged us with during this expansive time. Jupiter’s transit has been inspiring us to open our collective consciousness in matters of foreign relations and cultures, law, global standards, religion and spiritual values. As individuals, we’ve likely experienced his influence through the desire for expanding one’s knowledge using such vehicles as reading, higher education, long distance travel, and the pursuit of philosophical or religious study. Overall, Jupiter has been encouraging us to learn about our own greater potential through providing elevated experiences of other viewpoints and ideals.

Mercury joins the party on the 2nd, adding to the intellectually expansive spotlight by inspiring us to broaden our mental faculties and inner wisdom, rather than relying on external knowledge. With Mercury here, we learn to trust our innate ability to be in the present, allowing higher wisdom to flow through us. Our desire, then, is to share our inherent wisdom with the world, and to let go of the belief that we need credentials and degrees to be qualified enough to teach others. We are all teachers everyday, and we are all qualified, and encouraged, to do so.

Pluto has been in Sagittarius for quite some time, and his own unique contribution to the energies can be more thoroughly examined in the May 2007 issue of Conscious Mind Journal. Saturn will shift into retrograde motion in Virgo on the 19th, and requests that while we’re enjoying the indulgent energies of Sagittarius, we integrate that with common sense, taking care of our physical needs and getting some good quality rest in the interim. Venus arrives fashionably late to the party, helping us to ring in the New Year with style, grace, and overflowing optimism. Flirtatious and friendly, we’ll mingle together nicely with an abundance of interesting people to bounce our ideas off of, and we’ll flow through any crowd, absorbing what we wish before moving on to the next interesting topic.

This is a light-hearted, joyous time of year, made all the more magical by the presence of so many planets in Sagittarius. Be sure to take advantage of these energies, and open yourself to allowing joy and abundance this holiday season.

Namaste.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Entering Scorpio’s Lair

As I sit writing this month’s article, the climate cools, the trees shed their colorful mantle, and my thoughts become introspective and deep. The Sun has moved into Scorpio and winter looms ahead, bringing the opportunity to cozy up to those around us and celebrate the good fortune of being in each other’s company for another year. I have been blessed throughout my life to be in the presence of several Scorpios, both Sun and Rising Sign, and since we have moved under this powerful sign’s influence, I would like to pay homage to them and to the delectable spirit that Scorpio embodies.

Scorpio is co-ruled by Pluto and Mars, and individuals can display powerful Plutonian influence, dominant Martian energy or more often both at varying times. Scorpio is a water sign, and therefore intuitive and emotional by nature. However, unlike Cancer and Pisces, this water sign holds its emotions close; feeling them, but not revealing them fully. The Sun meanders its way through the sign of Scorpio once a year between October 23 and November 22, making it very fitting that Halloween, the time of year when the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is thinnest, falls within the scope of Scorpionic influence. Scorpions love to delve deep into the farthest reaches of understanding to uncover the secrets held within.

Those individuals with this Sun sign have Topaz as their personal stone, and resonate well with the colours black and deep red. The evolutionary degrees of Scorpio are represented by three creatures respectively; the snake, the scorpion, and the eagle, with the eagle being the most highly evolved of the three. They are fixed in nature, and therefore very stubborn and persistent. Once a Scorpio has made a decision, it very rarely wavers, and they will strive to fulfill their perceived destiny with a resolute passion that is beyond compare.

Those of us who have had the opportunity to know a Scorpio personally will likely nod their heads knowingly as I describe the uniqueness of those who personify the traits of the eighth sign of the zodiac. There is a deep, quiet intensity to these people, and they can make the meeker of us a bit uneasy with their penetrating gaze and shrewd annotations to our conversations. Scorpios possess great knowledge – while the rest of us are busily revealing our stories, they simply observe, offering little of their own inner world.

I know one particular Scorpio who moves coolly through every party like an arrestingly beautiful, silent, dark mist, feigning boredom until he finds a far off corner to inhabit for hours, quietly studying those around him. He’ll briefly speak, or merely nod, to those who venture up to make idle conversation, until each one eventually wanders away in pursuit of a more active participant in the merry-making. You see, Scorpio does not engage in “chit chat.” When this particular Scorpio deigns to talk, the words must be deep and meaningful. And when a person wants to converse with him, she or he had better have something interesting and intelligent to convey if they want to keep his attention. Otherwise, they may just be treated to a scornful, knowing smirk, which generally reduces the other to about one sixteenth their original size.

This man embodies the more mysterious, somewhat snobbish distain for others that some Scorpios have been known to adopt. It’s a lonely undertaking, but he doesn’t seem to mind. He occupies himself with what he deems to be higher matters; his work, his music, and his intellect. The latter of the group holds more seduction for him than the prior two, and he embraces his ponderings with far more passion than he does his long-frustrated wife. Ah, but to paint some color into our perception of this man, lest I leave you with too negative a taste…if one manages to win his favor, he will become a great help to them whenever there is a need. Anyone who has succeeded in holding his interest will be considered an insider by him, for as long as his interest is held, and could be given the honor of an invitation into his inner sanctum, a.k.a. his den, to partake of the latest installment to the wonderful wall of sound he’s constructed and will be an occasional guest at his table. If the person should have a particular talent that this gentleman finds interesting or useful, all the better for them.

Of course, Scorpios are as varied in personality as any of us, and the traits of their sign will be presented according to each one’s unique style, as well as to the rest of their own personal horoscope. I’ve known some to be effusive, talking my ear off about their latest endeavor, and exhibiting a charm that can be quite disarming. Others I’ve known can be deeply introverted, guarding their inner secrets from all, except for an occasional trusted soul who manages to slip through the iron gates of Scorpionic caution. Yes, it is possible to charm a Scorpio; and if you do, make sure you have the best of intentions. Scorpios have long memories, and if they’ve suffered a slight, real or imagined, woe to the offender who will have to watch his back against the Scorpion’s sting for the duration. And boy can they sting! Definitely not pretty by any stretch of the imagination.

There are still other Scorpios, who at first glance seem normal enough, but on closer inspection the Plutonian/Martian influences begin to emerge. It’s in the eyes. Look closely at a Scorpion’s eyes…I dare you. They can be as fathomless as inky pools, and as piercing as a lightning bolt, all at the same time. Their eyes can display a probing, discerning quality that makes one feel as if they’re pinned to a board, squirming under a microscope. I’ve also seen them suddenly become brazenly sexual in nature, undressing a person with their eyes so completely – as if the threads of the intended’s garments have disintegrated within seconds.

While I’m on the subject, there’s something powerfully sexual about these people; sometimes dangerously so. The impulse can come on swiftly, deliberately, like the vampires in a really good Anne Rice novel; taking the hapless target completely by surprise, and not letting go until they’ve had their fill. Are you intrigued yet? You should be. If these people are anything, they are immensely intriguing. They can be the most intense, profound and overwhelmingly powerful people in the zodiac. They can be the most unnerving, and the most seductive people you’ll know. One thing’s for sure; when one encounters a Scorpio, it can be one of the most memorable experiences of one’s life.

When the Sun transits Scorpio, the mood becomes intense. This intensity infiltrates our interaction with everything, from work to romantic play. Unlike the intensity that Leo or Aries can generate, Scorpio is a smoldering, cunning sort of intense. We are all affected in one way or another, and can expect to experience periods of insightful, deep focus and a desire to probe into matters that run beneath the surface of things. We become inspired to delve into matters that are significant and meaningful to us, and we are able to get to the heart of things more easily at this time. The underlying motivations of those around us are revealed, and masks become transparent to us. Our propensity for excitement is powerful, and we’ll likely approach physical love with an unusual fervor, force and possessiveness during this passage of the Sun. Be mindful of the possibility of jealousy and vengeful feelings during this time, as the intensity of our emotions inspire us to act out these extremes a bit more than usual. Good activities during this period include solving riddles and mysteries, delving into scientific work, and thoroughly exploring topics of interest.

Mercury enters Scorpio on November 11, making our thoughts more probing and intense than usual. We will be inspired to seek hidden truths and deeply held understandings. We will want to probe deeply during our communications, observe our daily experiences more closely and focus our thoughts on matters of Scorpio’s influence. Intellectual needs will become manifest through our probing for deeply buried motivations behind the actions and beliefs of others. Superficial niceties will take a back seat to more evocative communications, and our thought processes will tend to be narrower in focus and sometimes even obsessive in nature.

With that said, you may wish to utilize this time to really get to the heart of matters of significance in your life, and above all else, enjoy the ride!

Namaste.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Finding Balance with Libra

This month, I’d like to focus your attention on the sign of Libra. The Sun occupies Libra every year from September 23 to October 22. As an air sign, Libra is more cerebral than emotional; it's interesting to note that Libra is the only sign of the zodiac that has an inanimate object as its symbol, and many astrologers feel that this is symbolic of Libra's tendency to disassociate itself from its emotions.

I have had the distinct pleasure, and occasional sorrow, of knowing several Libras in the course of my life. I can honestly say that I greatly value the contribution that each one has made in my evolutionary path.

Libra is all about partnership. This means romantic, business, and social affiliation. It is difficult for Libra to feel truly complete without a partner, and I’ve personally known some hapless Libras that have endured a few costly marriages before finally hitting the jackpot...as well as some who haven't quite made it there yet. The compulsion that drives Libra to seek out partnership has its share of pitfalls, as Libra is known to settle into an unhappy relationship or affiliation in an effort to maintain that balance of partnership that they so desperately desire, for better or for worse. Libra will do well in seeking to find the balance within, and when this is accomplished, only then go out into the world to find that perfect partner to balance their outer selves.

Libras are generally gifted in the area of diplomacy, and therefore make excellent mediators, as long as they are not personally involved in the issue at hand. In such circumstances, they happily play devil's advocate, presenting the opposing view as being equally valid, while suggesting effective methods of resolving the situation. Disliking crudeness, they strive to keep emotions at an even keel, practicing refinement and dignity in all their associations, and fully expect the same from others.

Being ruled by the lovely and socially artful Venus, Libra appreciates beauty, attempting to immerse themselves in pleasant surroundings while accompanied by equally attractive people. They possess a profound love of art in all its forms, and are often found at leisure time blissfully absorbed in the offerings of art galleries, concerts, scenic vistas, and other places of beauty. Individual tastes vary, of course. One particular Libra that I happen to know well, while seemingly unappreciative of traditional forms of art and literature, is a master at creating beautiful gardens that are not only show pieces, but also harmonious places of refuge and serenity.

Many people believe that since the symbol for Libra is an image of balancing scales, they are consequently the most stable and rational sign in the zodiac. This isn’t quite accurate, however. The truth is that Libra requires balance, and so actively seeks it out in an effort to feel complete, or to become self-actualized. Libra is associated with the Greek goddess of Justice, Themis, which can help explain Libra's reluctance to make snap decisions, choosing instead to weigh the options and influences carefully before proceeding. Because fairness is imperative to those with Sun in Libra, it can be quite frustrating for others to deal with them while faced with making a final verdict, often no matter how simple it may be. While looking up the word indecision in the dictionary, one could almost find the concerned visage of one's closest Libra loved one peering imploringly back at them. Aside from shying away from conflict, being decisive is likely the most vexing challenge Libra must face, and the most difficult for their loved ones to tolerate.

Libra detests unpleasant confrontation, to the point where they can become visibly disturbed, or even physically ill in the aftermath of a particularly negative encounter. For this reason, Libra can be known to stick their heads in the sand when faced with anything unpleasant, which is akin to Scorpio's method of "denning it" when there's something they wish to avoid. This can be another source of frustration for those close to them who desire a resolution to the problem, the result being endless conflict. The key here is for Libra to learn to manage their sensitivities while bravely treading the narrow precipice of challenging relations. If they learn the value and growth benefits of peace after conflict, or of employing their innate abilities at diplomacy in conjunction with a strong desire to reach happy resolution within their relationships, they find that everyone benefits. It may help if Libra can learn that conflicts and difficulties do not define them personally, and that the ability to face them head-on is an art that can be accomplished easily once they put their minds to the task.

Its important to remember that it isn't necessary to have Sun into Libra to possess some of its tendencies. Libra, as well as every other sign in the zodiac, has a modicum of influence in every astrological chart. Depending on which house it resides in your personal chart, and whichever planets, if any, have chosen to keep it company is where its level of influence for you can be determined. For instance, if you have Libra in the Seventh House of partnership, the natural placement for Libra, you require your associates to be fair, balanced and harmonious. Your life partner must be quite adept at the social graces, display a witty intellect, and be pleasing to the eye. Affection or passionate exchange with your partner may not be as important to you as the ability to create a relationship together that hums steadily along with very few, if any, bumps in the road.

As the Sun moves through Libra this month, you may find yourself desiring of more harmonious, aesthetically pleasing surroundings and relationships, and may become inspired to seek out the company of others who share your personal ideals and temperament. Working in partnership may be highlighted, and projects initiated with this in mind should flow very well toward fruition. Be sure to put a little fun into the mix, so you remember that joyous living is the name of the game.

Namaste.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

What’s Your Motivation?

There are many reasons for wanting to know what motivates us. Perhaps we’re trying to find our career path in life, and may be continually frustrated by our efforts thus far. Or maybe we’re wondering why we interact with others the way we do, and why all of our romantic relationships seem to start out unique, but end up walking the same old path. We may want to learn more about our family dynamics, and how we, as individuals, contribute our own unique spin to the events that take place within them.

Since our primary objective for being alive is to evolve beyond ourselves by striving to reach our full potential, it’s important to discover the things about ourselves that keep us running on that hamster wheel, and to gain insight into what we can do to finally stop spinning, step off the wheel, and start moving forward on solid ground.

Astrology can serve a very beneficial role in our quest for greater understanding into our own personal motivations, and the motivations of others who are in close relationship with us.

Astrological chart analysis is a complicated process with many nuances to look for that can change the flavor and direction of any horoscope. While there are many motivating factors in an astrological chart, this article will highlight a few simple, but key elements in determining the overall motivation of a person’s birth chart. A qualified astrologer can provide you with insight into the specific patterns your personal chart indicates that propel you toward your experiences, any possible pitfalls in the dynamics of these patterns, and suggest possible strategies to re-pattern your tendencies in these directions.

When a client who is searching for direction in life presents his or herself to me, I begin by looking at key patterns in the planetary placement of their chart, including the locations of their major personal planets, and their chart ruler. I look for Mars as an important indicator of where they focus the most energy. If Mars is located in their Second House, for example, most of their energy is likely to be directed toward financial endeavors, and according to whatever sign Mars is in, the manner in which they direct this energy, and anything that they may place personal value upon. I then look for any relationships that Mars may have with the other planets in their chart in an effort to determine how Mars’s energy can find its most effective expression.

Since your Fourth House is the pivot point on which you build your life upon, and is likely where you feel most at home, I focus upon which sign is on the cusp, and any planets that may reside within. For instance, if Libra is on the Fourth House cusp, I know that this individual is seeking personal expression through partnership and cooperation, and is also striving to create balance within the realm of home, family, and anything he or she places as their foundation. If Pisces is on the cusp, I know that spiritual endeavors are a focus, intuition is highlighted, and that the individual feels most at home in activities related to charitable, artistic, and divinely inspired pursuits. Any challenges associated with Fourth House issues can be helped by other influences in the overall chart, and if not, I can serve my client further by suggesting possible strategies they can employ to help assuage any problems that may arise.

An example of this can be the person with Pisces in Fourth in the above example. While the individual is interesting, mystical and has a direct and easy connection with Universal energies and knowledge, he or she may lack the proper grounding in order to function effectively in the realm of mundane existence, especially if Mars resides here. Without other powerful grounding influences in the chart, such as a few well-placed planets in Earth signs, this person will appear to float through life, going with the tide and never quite anchoring themselves. This person likely experiences confusion and detachment when it comes to personal relationships, and is possibly feeling frustrated in her or his efforts to exist in the everyday world. He or she may choose to retreat, existing for the most part in the spiritual realm, because that is where they feel most secure. I may therefore counsel this person to utilize the strengths in their overall horoscope, and to find practical applications for their unique gifts. It’s likely that this individual has the ability to present wonderful ideas and information to humanity, and finding practical, down-to-earth expression for these ideals will serve to benefit us all.

Please note that the information within this article is by no means comprehensive, as there are many nuances in each individual chart that serve to compose the entire symphony of our lives. An astrologer can help by analyzing these influences, helping us to discover where our energies are most effectively expressed, and inspiring us to listen to the inherent melodies that exist within. With deeper understanding of our individual gifts and motivations, we can apply them most effectively in our lives, thereby best serving ourselves and humanity as a whole.

Namaste.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Loving Your Solar Opposite

Romantic love can be an amazing, wonderful, somewhat complex, dizzyingly delicious, profoundly transformative experience that is filled with a myriad of qualities that offer spice and opportunities to jazz up our lives. It can be whatever we desire, actually, depending upon the intentions that both individuals bring into creating a relationship together. Remembering that each experience is tempered with choice, we can choose to proceed with a sense of happy anticipation of what is to come.

In astrology, there are many factors that indicate romantic compatibility between two people, and a good astrologer can help you to determine these factors. While traditional astrology contains some hard and fast rules when determining the compatibility of two people, I'm of the Aquarian school of thought where most rules go out the window, and intentions set the tone! That is to say, it's good to have an idea of the basics of astrological compatibility, and it's also good to have an attitude of allowing things to flow with whatever feels good. So many times I've encountered someone who had fallen in love with another, only to have their elation deflated because some well-meaning friend mentioned that their Sun signs weren't compatible, or it was pointed out that there would be problems down the line due to such-and-such aspect in their chart. Setting limits upon experiences such as these can do a grave injustice to the potential gifts this type of relationship can offer a couple. It helps to understand that while it's good to have deeper insight into the dynamics of a relationship, care should be taken not to pinch off the opportunity for growth through this experience just because there may be a few bumps in the road up ahead.

Take Solar opposites for example. There are some who believe that two people coming together with opposing Sun signs are in for a tumultuous ride that consists of severe emotions and calamitous battles of will. While there may be potential for such extremes, there is also greater opportunity for a profound and uplifting love that creates balance and harmony between the couple as a whole, and within each individually. The difference comes down to the basics; choice and intention. Those who desire it can create a relationship with each other where individual differences are embraced, and the opportunity to learn and grow is nurtured and fully utilized. Let's take a look at one factor in the Leo/Aquarius connection, for instance. Leo tends to be fully in tune with self, while Aquarius is focused outward toward humanity. Can you see the opportunity for each individual in this example?

If Leo chooses to become inspired by Aquarius's example, he can learn to expand his inner focus outward a little more, sharing the abundant love he feels within with humanity as a whole. In doing so, he can learn to embrace all the gifts that such expansion brings, which includes unlimited vitality achieved by profound knowledge of Universal connection. This knowledge can become much more than mere intellectual knowing, but a deep, inner feeling of connectedness with All That Is. Conversely, if Aquarius chooses to become inspired by Leo's example, she can learn to channel some of her expansive, outwardly-directed humanitarian instincts inward, savoring the energies created, and utilizing them to gain deeper knowledge and compassion of self. She can also achieve profound inner healing, at the soul level, by learning that love must begin by loving oneself. What amazing gifts these two have to teach each other, and then to share with the world!

There is much to be gained by exploring unfamiliar territory, and embracing the experiences that being with your Solar opposite can bring. Opposing Sun signs have an elemental advantage that can also be utilized, as complementary element combinations are Water/Earth, and Fire/Air. Each sign of the zodiac is associated with one of four elemental qualities; Earth, Air, Fire and Water, and by looking at the charts below, you can see how Solar opposites can compliment each other on this level:

Solar Opposites:
Aries & Libra (Fire/Air)
Taurus & Scorpio (Earth/Water)
Gemini & Sagittarius (Air/Fire)
Cancer & Capricorn (Water/Earth)
Leo & Aquarius (Fire/Air)
Virgo & Pisces (Earth/Water)

Element Compatibility:
Fire -- desires freedom.
Earth -- needs security.
Air -- like fire, but with a different emphasis, desires freedom.
Water -- like earth, but with a different emphasis, needs security.

As I've mentioned in some of my previous articles, there are a myriad of factors other than Sun sign resonance that help to determine the romantic compatibility between two people, although looking at Sun sign potential can be a fun place to start! Bearing in mind that even the most challenging chart comparison in the world can yield happy results if the couple involved are willing to work with each other toward a common goal, it's a good idea to have a chart comparison and/or composite chart done by a professional, positive-minded astrologer when you meet that special someone who you think may have some long-term potential. An astrologer can indicate the strengths and opportunities for growth in your union, assisting you in choosing the emphasis of your alliance with each other. In this way, you both can start out on solid ground with a good idea of how to create the most harmonious, open-hearted relationship possible.

Here's to happy loving, everyone!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Relationship Astrology: Is this Experience Right for Me?

Let's face it, we'd all love to get through life as unscathed as possible, right? While intellectually and spiritually we know that we're here to learn and to evolve, our emotional natures may inspire us to duck and cover from the very situations that provide us with the most growth opportunity: Our relationships. These can range from familial, romantic, friendly, and work-related associations and every one of them are important to us for very specific reasons.

Let's observe a few scenarios:

You've just met and connected with this really great guy - or gal - and your body, mind and heart are singing a chorus of happy anticipation for what is yet to come. You can't recall ever experiencing such a strong initial attraction before, and you feel as if something within you has awakened from a long, lonely slumber. At this point, the possibilities are endless, and you find yourself adrift amid happy mental images of true connection that you hope will become an enduring reality.

What is it that has inspired this initial attraction? You know, the one that gets your whole being blissfully buzzing? How long will it last? What are the benefits of intimacy with this person? Is there a soul-connection? A karmic link? Would co-mingling with this individual provide the perfect chemistry for what your life resonates right now?

How about this one:

You love almost everything about your job, trained hard to reach your career goals, apply yourself diligently to your duties, and yet there's a big, fat, hairy fly in the ointment: your boss. Nothing you do seems to satisfy this person, and try as you might, you just can't seem to rise above the deep emotion her/his disapproval evokes within you. You are continually subjected to petty reprimands, overloaded with more than your fair share of projects, and given impossible deadlines. What is the nature of the challenge here? Have you contracted with this person prior to your birth to provide you at this time with an opportunity for growth? Will you ever be able to measure up to his/her standards?

Let's try another one:

All your life, your sister has tormented you. From the moment your shining face appeared within the loving embrace of your mother's arms, your elder sibling's mean-spirited countenance sneared back at you, attempting in any way possible to make you go away. If she couldn't manage it physically, she was determined to do it emotionally. She tripped you during your first efforts to walk, bullied you in the school yard, humiliated you at family functions, and to this day attempts to undermine all your efforts at establishing yourself as a confident adult. Is this simply a classic case of sibling rivalry, or is there a deeper matter at hand? What needs to happen between you and your sister to rectify the situation?

Do any of these circumstances feel familiar? Have you asked yourself these or similar questions about your own relationships? It is very likely that you have, and may still be looking for the answers, which can be discerned with the help of your friendly neighborhood Astrologer.

Since no one is an island -- no, not even Scorpios, though some may fancy themselves to be -- we benefit from connection with others as we move through our lives. We have the opportunity to learn so much about ourselves through our relationships, even the perceived "bad" ones. They can mirror us, showing both our negative and positive traits, while inspiring us to move forward, and to change through personal growth.
Many of us have been wounded through our experiences with various groups and individuals, and some of us may still have scars that block us from thriving or experiencing certain joys as a result of previous conditioning. Since everything happens for a reason, it is through understanding the true purpose behind these experiences, how and why we have personally contracted them, and how they can prove to benefit us when we accept the opportunity for growth and expansion they offer us, that we can begin to heal these wounds, and to move forward into our highest soul purpose.

Relationship Astrology, or Synastry, offers us a profound opportunity for understanding the inner mechanisms of all our personal and social connections. It can show us why some relationships are easy and flowing, while others seem to trip us up at every turn. It can also indicate where we block the easy flow of our own close relationships through fear and unconscious patterning, and suggest alternative attitudes and behaviours that can inspire us to allow these connections to flourish once again.

A qualified Astrologer can assist your efforts by casting various charts that can include your own natal chart, which will indentify any karmic or subconscious behaviours you have generated within your own psyche; a composite chart of your relationship to another, which can indicate the benefits and/or challenges that such a relationship provides each of you; and/or compile a report that compares your natal chart to that of another to determine what type of spiritual contract you both have with each other. It is important, and self-empowering, to remember that Astrology is a very effective tool in gaining deeper insight into ourselves and our circumstances.
Your astrologer is there to assist you by pointing out specific challenges that could be interfereing with your creation, and acceptance of harmonious relationships, and by suggesting possible alternatives. Since free will is the name of the game, it is up to you as an individual, or the two of you together, to determine what course of action you will utilize, based upon the information provided, to bring about constructive resolution to the challenges you face, or to determine whether this relationship should even continue at all.

We instinctively reach out to others because we innately recognize the value of such connections. Each person we meet has something to teach us, and we have something to teach them. Why we sometimes engage in destructive knee-jerk reactions and attempt to pinch off those very connections, or why the individuals we attempt to relate to are blocking the flow of harmonious exchange through their own counter-productive tendencies, is often the cause of a great deal of confusion and distress in our lives. It is through understanding the origin of these inclinations, gaining insight as to how these particular situations serve us, and determining a more constructive method of handling these circumstances that can allow us to continue moving forward in our own personal evolution.

Best wishes for your healthy relating!

Namaste.

Friday, June 1, 2007

A Fresh Look at Saturn

Much like Pluto, the planet Saturn has long suffered a bad rap from traditional astrologers and lay people alike as a diabolical fly in the ointment, when in fact, Saturn indicates many opportunities for our own personal, and societal growth. Therefore, it is my intention for this month’s article to illuminate the gift of Saturn, and perhaps inspire us all to utilize the benefits these opportunities bring.

According to the science of Astrology, there are two paternal planetary influences in our solar system; Jupiter and Saturn. Each of these fatherly planets takes on a significantly different role in promoting our personal and spiritual development. For instance, Jupiter is the indulgent father who, when he is not being restrained through hard aspects or retrograde motion, indicates an open door for gainful opportunity and expansion. He blithely pats us on the head and sends us merrily on our way absolutely unchecked, unless other planetary influences become involved. This can be beneficial in many ways, and can also lead us into a bit of a jam if we don’t use our heads a bit. Jupiter rules Sagittarius, and those of us who know a Sagittarian or two can testify to just how unbridled these fun-loving people can be under the supervision of such a lenient ruler!

Saturn, on the other hand, is the seemingly stern disciplinarian associated with restriction and limitation. He rules Capricorn, who calmly accepts the responsibilities and limits that Saturn imposes, and co-rules rebellious Aquarius, whose unconventional nature has been tirelessly flinging itself against the bars of Saturn’s constricting traditions for quite some time.

Aquarius represents freedom, after all, and Saturn’s insistence on boundaries, discipline, schedules and limitations has been a source of profound discomfort to Aquarius’s free-flowing habits. A modicum of relief appeared when Saturn, who had likely grown weary of Aquarius’s unflagging attempts at mutiny, went into semi-retirement some time in the 19th century, passing the baton, and most of the responsibility, over to Uranus, who seems to resonate more closely with Aquarius’s unpredictable behavior.

It should be said, however, that we impulsive Aquarians, as well as everyone else, would do well to embrace the opportunities and discipline that Saturn seems to impose, as the effects of such limitations can ultimately free us from irresponsible patterns and inclinations that can trip us up, ensnaring us in a bit of a nasty episode or two that may be difficult to shake off. Conversely, it is also important to insure that we are not seduced into remaining in a habit of unmoving stasis due to Saturn’s more depressive qualities.

As a bit of an aside, it’s interesting to note that while Aquarius is eccentric, freedom-loving and spontaneous, Capricorn resists change like the plague, choosing instead to duck themselves deeply beneath the covers of a situation long after its use and joy has run out. It is quite likely that Capricorn is the inspiration behind the term “comfortable rut.” Capricorn tends to take on a woeful, depressive stance – likened in my mind to A. A. Milne’s gloomy, yet endearing Eeyore – while Aquarius bounces around like the hyper loveable Tigger…sometimes bouncing itself right off a cliff! Small wonder that Saturn can be a bit grumpy with these two to watch over! It also leads me to wonder how Saturn ever got assigned to Aquarius in the first place. I feel a research binge coming on…

Ah, but it is time now to refocus on the task at hand: learning to appreciate Father Saturn.

Saturn has two faces; that of the strict authoritarian whose actions seem to manifest in some level of pain, and that of the benevolent teacher, who inspires us to utilize these painful experiences of restriction and discipline in order to gain greater clarity and fulfillment. Yes Virginia, there is an intrinsic value in our experiences of pain. As difficult as they can be, these experiences can awaken a deeper insight within ourselves, inspiring us to release our minds from past conditioning as well as our attachment to the past, and to discover our own internal values that are held deep within. How else will we discover profound, joyful freedom if we aren’t first inspired to throw off the chains that bind us? Saturn brings our anguish or imposition into the forefront, forcing us to meet it head-on if our intentions are to find joy and fulfillment on the other side.

This is where we meet our choice-point: Do we decide to work toward freeing ourselves joyfully, or do we elect instead to wallow in despair? Free will is the name of the game here, and we always have the opportunity to exercise it, regardless of how scary that may seem. Saturn’s role is integral to this process, and when we begin to embrace and appreciate his contribution of introducing the motivation for this change, he will transform before our eyes from the fearsome father to the benevolent one.

By his placement in both house and sign in your personal natal chart, Saturn indicates which areas of your life that you are likely to feel held back in your self-expression, embroiled in self-denial, frustrated, or faced with difficulties. Know that Saturn, in exposing these conditions, holds the keys to the gateway of eventual freedom via a deeper personal insight. We merely have to pay attention, focus ourselves on the desired goal, and allow Saturn to give our ideas form.

As if this wasn’t enough to chew on, I’m going to throw one more thought in the mix. Approximately every 30 years or so, each of us experiences a profound growth opportunity called a Saturn Return, in which Saturn transits the exact location of our natal Saturn, which is called a conjunction. These are some of the most challenging, and the most important times of our lives, in which we make quantum leaps in maturity. While they may be seen as excruciating by some, it’s all in how you look at it. This time is of endings and new beginnings, and will be dealt with in one of two ways. If you have been living your life up to this point in full resonance of your soul purpose, this period will mark a time of the completion of one stage of life, and the beginning of another, more mature stage of life. This period could be likened to a rite of passage, as it were.

If you have been living your life to this point in a manner that has been out of alignment with your soul purpose, this could be seen as a time of great crisis, or as an opportunity to get yourself back on the right track. Saturn urges you to face the issues you have neglected, do the requisite work to realign yourself with your true purpose, and embark upon the next 30 years with more wisdom and maturity. You would do well to avail yourself of this opportunity with courage, rolling with the punches, and doing the essential work so that in another 29 years, you are not obligated to experience an even more challenging Saturn Return. As far-fetched as this may sound, you may even wish to look upon this time with much enthusiasm and anticipation, knowing that you are fulfilling your soul’s desire for progress.

If you are nearing your second Saturn Return, say around 58-60 years old, you may be faced with the need to make some radical changes in your life. These changes may be in the form of releasing yourself of outmoded habits and thinking. I suggest you observe yourself objectively, and make the necessary changes, no matter how challenging they may seem. If you do, it is likely that your golden years will be much more rewarding.

The length of time each Saturn return lasts can vary individually, according to the nature of the sign Saturn is placed in, and the size of the house in which it resides. Generally, Saturn Returns last approximately 2 ½ years, and if it’s anything like mine, it could go as long as 4 ½ years. Utilize this time to its utmost potential, and you will benefit tremendously. It’s of added benefit if you know when your Saturn Return will begin, so that you can reflect upon the requisite issues covered ahead of time, in order to be better prepared.

It is my desire that this article has been helpful in sharing a fresh perspective on Saturn, and a new appreciation on how he operates so that we can all best use his influence to our full advantage. Remember that it’s all about free will, so next time Saturn places a weighty finger on our heads, forcing us to stay grounded and focused, we can choose to groan under the weight of it all, or find the moxie to face the lesson with fervor, forging ahead toward the sure promise of eventual freedom. Remembering always that fear is actually False Evidence Appearing Real; perhaps we can then liberate ourselves from such an illusion.

June Celestial Events of Note:

Mercury Retrograde in Cancer, June 15 (Please see archived article on Mercury)

New Moon in Gemini June 14

Summer Solstice June 21

Full Moon in Capricorn June 30

Have a wonderful Summer Solstice, everyone!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The Gifts of Pluto

Following a recent experience involving persistent health issues, I feel moved to base this month’s article on the distant, yet powerful “planetoid” called Pluto. The particular health challenge I have experienced has been both painful and distressing, stubbornly refusing to respond to both naturopathic and medical intervention. Quite perplexing indeed…and very Plutonian in nature. It was only when, assisted by tireless support from my boyfriend and the prayers and warm energies of the lovely people in my life, that I found the stillness within, began to discern the basis of this particular experience, and found the strength to ask Source, Higher Self, the Universe, etc., what it was that I needed to do.

You see, Pluto is currently in Sagittarius, and transiting my Sixth House of health and work; not necessarily what I do for a living, but how I do it. Allow me to take a moment here to share a bit of insight into this powerful, awe-inspiring force we call Pluto. It might help to think of Pluto as this little Feng Shui man who comes into your house and begins to rearrange, purge, and otherwise upset the setting you’ve cultivated, settled on, and to which you’ve grown accustomed. You can protest all you want, but this little guy’s going to complete his mission no matter what, and you eventually find that the less you resist, the easier it is for you in the long run. That, my friends, is the essence of Pluto.

It helps to know that this is not a quick rearrangement by any means. Pluto’s slow movement through our charts is deliberate and thorough. He’s just a guy with a job to do, and it helps if we can think of him as a gift, rather than a baneful force that goes around disrupting everything. Pluto’s main mission is to destroy the stale old, outmoded behaviours and situations that have become our comfort zones, or worse, our emotional and spiritual tombs, and transform them into fresh, vibrant, fully functional mechanisms that enable us to cruise along at full efficiency.

The best thing for us to do is just stand aside, pay attention, and let him do his job. In other words, go with the flow. How many of us find this far more challenging that it seems? We often seem to cling to what we know and have grown used to as if our lives depend on them, even if what we’re clutching brings us untold pain and suffering. We often refuse to even consider the changes that could bring us so much joy and satisfaction. When Pluto makes his way into the situation, we are given an opportunity to go deep within, purging ourselves of what has become cluttered and unwieldy, and continue on renewed, refreshed, and considerably wiser.

When Pluto first briefly peeked into Sagittarius in January of 1995, we likely began to feel pangs of unease in the spiritual, philosophical, and religious sectors of life. By the time our little Feng Shui guy finally set up shop by November of that year, the world was gearing up to have these old and moldy sectors of life turned on their ear, exposed for what they truly were, and revamped completely. New spiritual leaders have been, and continue to arrive to facilitate this transformation, and the restoration will continue until about November of 2008, so we are currently in the final push.

If we utilize this magnificent opportunity to grow that Pluto is indicating, we should come out of this with a renewed, unified spiritual understanding, and a strong communion with the Source of all that is. This new perception will serve to merge all the highest expressions of the great religions of the past, with a more comprehensive, scientific understanding of the underlying forces of life. Anyone who cannot conceive of the blending of science and religion is likely in shock because as I write this, we are collectively flowing into that profound clarity, and many changes are definitely afoot. I can just hear the Scorpios out there saying in unison, “Well, duh!” (Pluto is their planet, and they’ve known about this all along.)

Now, depending on where Sagittarius is in your chart is where you’ve been experiencing these changes, as Pluto makes his transit through that sector. I’ll give a brief outline here:

If Pluto is transiting your First House, you are likely feeling these adjustments in the areas of your past conditioning, and outward reflection. The First House is the house of Self, and you are learning what makes you tick. Perhaps long-buried traumas are resurfacing to be examined, acknowledged and finally released, which will have a profound effect on how you relate to others, and how you are looked upon by the world.

If your Second House is going through restoration, the way you have dealt with personal finance and what you value are being scrutinized and restructured. This can be particularly uncomfortable for many of you, but I assure you that the end result will be much more workable if you cooperate with this metamorphosis.

If Pluto has set up shop in your Third House, your relationships with siblings, neighbors, and everyday contacts are being overhauled, as well as the ways in which you process knowledge and communicate. Situations that you have long been struggling with, and have considered to be permanent, are now reaching a crisis point, and will need to be dealt with once and for all.

Fourth House Pluto transits indicate major upheavals in the most upsetting ways. The Fourth House is your foundation. It’s what you’ve built your lives on, and it’s in the process of being shaken to the core. Old, outmoded structures are being repatterned, family issues are being brought to a head, and you will be inspired to make great changes. You may be amazed at the profound results when the dust finally settles.

Pluto transiting your Fifth House indicates a restructuring in how you perceive romantic love, and how you function in your love relationships. If you’ve been experiencing one dud after another, know that you have attracted them into your life so that you can become wiser and better at future relationships. Pluto is also revamping your creative expression, and the way you deal with your children. You are likely experiencing major insights into these situations.

Pluto moving through the Sixth, as I mentioned earlier, deals with your health and the way you work. You may have experienced profound and unsettling changes in your career, but know that these changes are for your better good, and look to the opportunities being presented to you. Utilize them. Trust me. In health matters, old situations that you’ve neglected or have been unaware of are demanding your attention right now. You are likely being forced to change your lifestyle, diet, or the way in which you seek health care.

Pluto transiting the Seventh House can be particularly upsetting, since it deals with marriages and partnerships. Some marriages may not survive this transit, and those who have experienced, or are experiencing divorce at this time will do well to have faith that this change will prove beneficial in the long run. Only the strongest, most solid marriages survive a Pluto transit, and the transformation experienced within the relationship as a result of this transit are infinitely more beneficial than how the partnership was before Pluto worked his magic.

Those with Pluto transiting the Eighth House are likely experiencing some profound changes in their deepest selves, as this is where Pluto naturally resides. Perhaps life has taken on a deeper meaning, and you’ve been awakened to realms of existence that you never knew were possible. Your joint assets with others may also be going through some changes, and you may feel that taking out a loan should wait awhile. I would say to go with that instinct.

Pluto making his way through the Ninth is getting to the heart of your religion, spirituality, and philosophical outlook. You have likely felt the profound changes that the rest of us have been experiencing collectively on a more personal level, and the insights that you are gaining are substantial.

Those with Pluto currently in the Tenth have likely been experiencing upheaval in their careers and public standing. You may be feeling a push to strive for achievement more than ever before. If there’s been anything you’ve been hiding in these arenas, they have been, or will be exposed. Now is the time to practice utmost integrity in all your public and professional dealings.

Pluto transiting the Eleventh people have experienced deep changes in their friendships and group affiliations. Perhaps old issues have resurfaced with long-time friendships and need to be finally resolved and laid to rest. Possibly the change is within you personally, and your perspective on your friendships is shifting and gaining more clarity. Or perhaps a group that you have long been involved with is changing in some way, and will force you to change with it, or decide to seek other, more workable affiliations. It is also likely that you will meet a new friend who will have a great impact upon your life.

And last but not even remotely least…

Pluto working in the Twelfth House. If you are a person experiencing Pluto in the Twelfth, this is perhaps one of the most challenging, yet the most healing periods in your life. You have been urged to examine yourself from a psychological, subconscious standpoint, and the deeply rooted aspects of yourself that have long lay hidden have come to the surface in order for you to confront them and find the acceptance and healing that you have needed for so long now. These are the parts of you that you have been taught to believe are “bad” or have met with disapproval from those who were most influential to you. These long hidden aspects of yourself have caused behaviours that were subconscious in nature and have reflected the wounded child from within. It is now time to reclaim and champion that wounded inner child, so that your true expression can emerge and benefit us all. This is deep, rewarding work, and it is a good time to seek out those teachers and therapists with experience in these realms who can facilitate the profound healing that is taking place within you.

In conclusion, it is important to remember the Divine gift that Pluto brings, which is our complete transformation. We have choices, as always. We can choose to act the victim and whine, stomp our feet, and resist what is taking place…which would rob us of the vast benefits Pluto is indicating for us, and only perpetuate our suffering. Better yet, we can accept and allow the changes taking place, become self-empowered, and work in partnership with Pluto to facilitate our awakening into a much better way of being.

Namaste.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Energetic Interactions

During a recent conversation with my boyfriend concerning the then current Mercury retrograde, he asked me to explain how and why the planets affect us. As an 8th House Aquarian, I am able to look at things with one foot in the logical/linear realm, and the other in the realm of the mystic. Luckily, with Virgo on my third house cusp, the natural home of Mercury (thought processes, communications, short distance travel, etc.); I am also able to clearly articulate this unique perspective to others. I shared with him my understanding of the nature of these topics, and he responded appreciatively, letting me know that it began to make sense to him. He then suggested that perhaps I should write an article containing the explanation I gave him, so that others who may only have a passing awareness of Astrology could benefit from a deeper understanding of the science.

(He's a very sweet guy, and I suspect that up until now he's been mostly humoring me while I drone on about my astrological perspective on things. And with me, everything has an astrological perspective!)

I think his suggestion is a marvelous idea, so here goes:

While most of us are aware of the scientific explanation for the effects of the Moon's phases upon us, relatively few of us have an understanding of the energy behind overall planetary movement, and the effects of that movement upon us both individually and collectively. We can begin to do so when we try to think of the planets in terms of energy. Their natural movement through the Universe can be thought of as people circulating in a room at a party. Their relationship to each other creates a unique energy that changes as they move closer, and then further from each other. All of us have experienced the flow of energy when a person passes near us. It can be felt in the air currents, and for those of us who are sensitive to them, in the energetic currents as well. Our own personal energies can fluctuate when we are alone, and then when someone else is near, especially if that someone has energies that either interact well with ours, or opposes them.

The planets interact in much the same way, either resonating well with each other, or creating friction. In addition, the Universal currents are affected by planetary movement, much like the air currents are affected when a person glides through a room, or when a freight train careens by. When looking at it from an energetic perspective, it's easy to comprehend how planetary movement affects us here on Earth, since we are also part of the Universal current. We can begin to understand as individuals, when we think of our Natal horoscope as our own personal blueprint. Planetary placement within each of our Natal charts indicate how we're constructed and what we're made of. What we choose to do with that information is entirely up to us, and is a matter of our own free will.

Now while we as Earth-bound humans may think of the Universe as a vast expanse of space, and perhaps question how transiting celestial bodies so far away from us can cause particular occurrences in our lives, it helps if we try to look at it from a planetary perspective. To the planets, which can be pretty huge themselves, the Universe isn't really that big after all. It's more like a large room filled with people; each of them moving about doing their own thing, and interacting with each other according to their placement in the room at any given time. How the planets interact with aspects of ourselves is indicated by the current planetary placement in our individual Natal charts. While the Natal planetary placement in our charts remains the same throughout our lives, much like a photograph of the heavens at the time of a person's birth, the planets are always in motion. They interact with our Natal planets as they move through the Universe, and indicate energetic changes, events and opportunities within particular areas of our lives, depending on where in our charts this interaction occurs.

It's really very fascinating! If you haven't had your Natal chart professionally cast, you may wish to, so that you can see for yourself how amazingly accurate it all is. I do apologize if that bit of advice sounds like a shameless plug, but when my friend Rita cast my natal chart all those years ago, I was absolutely flabbergasted at her accuracy. She kept close track of my steady progress into adulthood, advising me whenever the need arose, and facilitated my growth into the woman I am today. It is truly a gift having access to that kind of insight, and those who are interested would do well to avail themselves of their own personal guidance map, complements of the Universe.

Namaste.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Focus on Mercury

While we are in the midst of experiencing (and hopefully utilizing to its fullest) another Mercury retrograde, I thought I would devote most of this month's column to this tiny, yet powerful messenger.

Mercury is the planet that articulates both Gemini and Virgo qualities, and is traditionally called their ruling planet. It resides naturally in the Third House, which is the realm of communications, thought processes, short distance travel, and our relationships with siblings and neighbors. Its energy is quick and responsive. If you've ever tried to catch the physical element Mercury from a broken thermometer (something I don't recommend, since it's highly toxic), you know how quickly it ducks just out of your grasp, and how adaptable it is by shaping itself to whatever environment it occupies. Mercury is the fleet-footed courier who delivers profound knowledge through the fastest channels available.

Anything with moving parts; be it your car, computer, or garbage disposal resides in the domain of Mercury. All elements of communication are also within the sphere of influence of this tiny, yet effective planet. These elements include any form of correspondence via the internet, the written word, snail-mail, telephone connections and office memos, as well as verbal communications. Short-distance travel is associated with Mercury, and those who commute may call upon his strengths to get them from point A to point B efficiently and safely.

Mercury also governs the acquisition and processing of knowledge, and students will do well to utilize his energies to help them to remain alert and attentive during their studies. Thought processes and perceptions are influenced by Mercury, and wherever it resides in our own natal charts - meaning the signs and houses - and whatever planets it interacts with both natally and during transits, will indicate where a person is most likely to apply their mental and communicative energies.

Mercury is certainly a busy, energetic little guy who works hard to keep everything in his territory clicking and buzzing efficiently. But with all energies and influences, sometimes he is inclined to take a rest, giving us a chance at the wheel, as it were. This occurs three times a year, when Mercury goes retrograde.

The retrograde movement of any planet occurs when its forward motion slows down to the point where it appears to be moving backwards from our perspective on the earth. When Mercury slows down his forward motion, we experience phenomenal changes in everything he oversees. Communications of all kinds have the potential for challenges during this period, misunderstandings that normally wouldn't occur if Mercury were direct can result from even the most benign statements between people. Letters mailed can become lost or delayed, computers, telephones, cameras and other mechanical means of transmitting information can begin to malfunction, and mental challenges are prevalent at this time. It can become more difficult to focus our minds, and to connect with information that is valuable to us, and we may overlook important details, which makes it precarious for us to enter into agreements or to sign contracts.

We may find it difficult to articulate what it is that we are trying to communicate when Mercury is in repose, and can become frustrated when our thoughts don't translate well into our speech. My wonderful friend, the late astrologer Rita Jackson used to get completely tongue-tied during Mercury retrograde, and she was such a riot to hear. She faced these howlers with her usual good humor, having the rare and wonderful ability to laugh at herself, knowing full well the source of her amusing blunders. She may very well have been the shining example we all can learn from when we're feeling out of sorts; which is to laugh it off instead of taking everything to heart. I think I'll call this the "Rita Prescription" in her honor. She'd really like that.

In a recent conversation with a friend, she mentioned that she had read something interesting about Mercury Retrograde, that it was essentially a "do over." I had to ponder that for a bit, since we were so busy she didn't have time to elaborate. After giving it much thought, I feel that I know where the author was going with this particular concept.

Essentially the Universe, in its infinite wisdom, has given us Mercury retrograde as a tool. In order for us to evolve as individuals, it is required that we retrace our steps on occasion to make sure we're still on the right path for ourselves, and to make the necessary adjustments if we've veered off a bit. An important part of our growth is to take a moment to reevaluate, contemplate, make adjustments, reconnect to our soul purpose, and then resume our forward movement. Mercury's uncharacteristic quiet stillness forces us to slow down and do just that, so that we may progress more efficiently through the following four months that lead to the next Mercury retrograde.

There are other benefits to Mercury retrograde in the form of certain activities that are luckier under its influence. Some of us may have the happy occasion to bump into old friends that we haven't seen for quite some time, and reunions with estranged or lost family members can occur now. Lost mail from years ago has a tendency to show up; jewelry and other lost articles can also resurface unexpectedly.

This is also a good time to try to heal some old hurts; wounds that may have lain buried for quite some time, perhaps manifesting themselves as subconscious behavior patterns. Psychotherapy can have a tremendous influence upon us now, as strong breakthroughs in understanding have been known to happen during Mercury retrograde. Old feuds can also be cleared up, and relationships that have long been experiencing difficulty can suddenly become stronger during this period. This is an excellent time to engage in the minor activities that we usually have difficulty finding time for, such as updating our resumes, cleaning out the refrigerator or closets, and organizing our desks.

During this period, people born with Mercury retrograde in their natal charts are treated to a phase of great clarity where they are better able to understand the rest of us, and us them. These people are usually more pensive than most of us, and as a result, a bit heavy on the philosophical side. My eldest son fits this picture well, and the pearls of wisdom that pop out of his mouth at times can stop me right in my tracks! He is always thinking and reflecting deeply about events and issues in his life, and has come up with some pretty interesting ideas along the way. Those who are expecting to give birth to a person with Mercury retrograde in their charts can anticipate having a serious little philosopher on their hands!

So during this last stretch of our current Mercury retrograde, which will go direct on the 8th, we would all do well to make the most of it by finding our stillness within, using quiet reflection as a tool for inner growth, and finding humor in the little blunders that may crop up from time to time. Mercury has not deserted us. He's merely taking a time out, and hoping that we will do the same.

Namaste.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

When Thoughts turn to Love…

Welcome to February, everyone! While this month may seem cold and barren, there’s plenty of excitement and activities that we can engage in to warm us up inside!

The month begins with Sun in Aquarius, which stimulates us mentally, heightens our efforts toward friendship and social interaction, and inspires us to break free of any pre-set standards that may have become stale. Some of us may choose to utilize these energies to plan ahead, employing innovative ideas and unconventional methods to attain our goals. Aquarius gives us the gumption to break with tradition and set out boldly toward new, progressive ways of doing things.

Aquarius also inspires us to work together in groups toward common goals that could benefit society as a whole. Humanitarianism thrives right now, and we may wish to take this opportunity to become more involved in some charitable and/or compassionate pursuits. Wherever Aquarius resides in your own natal chart, and any natal planets currently interacting with the transiting Sun, will indicate how you can best utilize the energies of this transit. This is definitely a time for getting ourselves out there and becoming involved in something that we can wrap our passions around!

When the Sun moves gently into Pisces, on the 20th, we will be moved to turn toward our own inner essence, seeking a deeper personal peace. Through cultivating harmony within ourselves, we are then able to reach outward empathically, approaching others in ways that may have proved challenging in the past.

Mercury, who represents our thought processes and methods of communication, moves into Pisces on the 3rd, inspiring thoughts that are more on the emotional, introspective side. Students may learn more by absorption than by study at this time, and daydreaming may create some challenges in the academic realm, or in any other endeavor requiring serious thought. With this in mind, remaining grounded and focused on the task at hand can help when it is necessary to communicate and think seriously. Intuitions are heightened now, and it may become difficult to distinguish between our sense of reality and our subconscious emotions.

Adding a bit more of an opportunity to the mix, Mercury will turn retrograde on the 14th, and will remain in that motion until March 7th. When Mercury moves retrograde this month, our thoughts can become even more introspective, and people who have Pisces prominent in their natal charts may become especially prone to deepened soul-searching. We are being given the opportunity to reach inside and contemplate who we really are. Digging deep and discovering insights into our own subconscious behaviors, whether they are ego-based, fear-based, or based in some other limiting factor, will surely benefit us in the long run by motivating us to change what doesn’t work for us into that which does. These changes could ultimately allow us to experience our lives more joyously.

Mercury retrograde in Pisces can be a bit on the challenging side, and communications may become a bit blurred and difficult to understand. We could experience strange dreams and more psychic experiences than usual, which could seem complex and trickier to interpret. Realizing that the line between our thoughts and emotions may become fuzzy during this period, we can choose to remain quiet and centered while at work or in the company of others, rather than becoming reactive or overly analytical.

Of special note: You may have noticed that Mercury goes retrograde on the 14th – Valentine’s Day. Did I just sense a shiver creeping down the spines of lovers everywhere? Fear not, for I have a couple ideas to share. Knowing that Mercury retrograde can make communications of all kinds a bit delicate, may I suggest that you get your Valentines in the mail the Friday before? You may also wish to celebrate the famous Day for Lovers early, perhaps planning a weekend getaway with that someone special on the weekend before Valentine’s Day, when sweet sentiments will be more readily spoken, understood and accepted, than on the actual day itself.

For those of you who may have something really big planned -- like “popping the question” to that special someone on the most romantic of days -- and insist on keeping your plans intact, you might try insuring that things go a bit smoother by raising the intention that everything will be harmonious, charming and lovely (it might also be helpful to have a “plan B” in place). Love and sex will certainly be at the forefront on this day, since both Venus and Mars will be in the signs of their exaltation, Pisces and Capricorn respectively, and their influences and energies will be strengthened. This will be a good day to appear more beautiful and passionate than usual, so remaining joyous and enthusiastic will help to buffer any awkward moments we may face.

To ensure an exquisite experience, appealing to the romantic, charming energy of Venus in Pisces to grace your event might be just the ticket, since she has the poise to soothe just about any challenging situation. Venus’ passage through Pisces gives her an even gentler, more compassionate nature that is both romantic and sensitive. A perfect element for lovers on a night such as this!
Have a Joyous, Loving Valentine’s Day!