2016 astrology

New Moon in Aquarius // Lunar New Year // Year of the Fire Monkey


A conversation with a friend today reminded me of the classic Taoist image of Lao Tzu riding atop a Water Buffalo. The symbolism of which is the concept that Spirit (represented by Lao Tzu) rides Matter (the water buffalo). This is the image that strikes me when I consider what has arisen as the primary theme of the year ahead – The Fire Monkey – and that is: redefining the balance between the spirit self and the ego self. The general energy of this theme has been with us for many years now, and has come to us with many different names. Some call it the re-emergence of the divine feminine. Some say it is the dropping of the veils. Some simply refer to it as an awakening. No matter which way you observe it, the overarching perspective is that the presence of spirit is becoming greater, and the dominance of the material is becoming looser. Since the winter solstice I have been meditating upon the year of the Fire Monkey and the prominent Tropical astrology patterns that we face in 2016. The element that I have been speaking to the most is how important it is at this time to find, cultivate, and move from our “center.” As 2016 has unfolded, this sense of need has become even more anchored. The Monkey year promises to bring us many things – but the thing that it demands most rigorously is our absolute alignment with our inner self.


That is – through all of Monkey’s curveballs and challenges – we must learn to work inside first. Our project for this year is to learn to follow our intuition above and beyond our normal capacity. In fact, to work from intuition as a primary, and bring in the power of logic and reason only after the intuitive has been established. For though the Monkey is an animal associated with the mind, science, and analytical pursuits – he is a creature that excels in the realm of research, writing, etc. – Monkey can also take our mind on endless meandering jaunts through the jungle if we do not harness his energy appropriately.   And so the message I keep getting over and over again, is about HOW we harness the power of the mind and learn to wield it.

The Monkey is a free-wheeling, intelligent, and community-oriented animal. Inventive, creative, and a deft problem solver – the Monkey year brings the energy of proactive change, new ideas, and unforeseen new twists in the direction. The Fire Monkey calls us to embrace fun and freedom again after a long stint of seriousness and depressing difficulty. The Monkey energy suggests to me that we need to cultivate this aspect of our spirits REGARDLESS of seriousness and difficulty. Taking a lighter stance and allowing ourselves to step back from a situation, may bring forth solutions more readily. Monkey uses humor to save its own life regularly. It teaches us that even with a joyful and light spirit, we can still be protected – and in fact, it is from a place of less attachment and more ease that we operate with more freedom, even in a tight situation. This is because our attitude when we are in a place of humor is one that expands beyond and transcends. For many people who have been in the deep during this profound 9-year cycle (which this year, 2016, concludes), just the idea of being lighter and more optimistic is enough to put one on edge. The emotional currents of the past decade, particularly since 2008 when Pluto’s ingress into Capricorn brought about great structural upheavals that affected millions of lives, have been far from light – and there still resides a great deal of churning anxieties, weariness, and fear. The fears and attitudes that things never get better, that we live in a society of working wage slavery, political corruption, and extreme lack are all very present in the consciousness of our culture. It’s true that we have been on a slog through a mud pit for what feels like an awfully long period of time – and it is this reason that we feel the contradiction and paradox within the need to be connected to a lighter, freer, more hopeful self (at last), and the simultaneous sense of being bogged down by the resistance and irrational fear of this pull. But if I follow what my spirit wants today – what about work? What about obligations? What about money? What about... what about… what about? Cynicism, self judgment, and reluctance to embrace any idea that hope and sunshine are anything beyond schmaltzy hallmark cards and propaganda theme songs can hold us in place.   We deeply feel a sense that ‘Gone are the days of the carefree self’ and right now we are, as a culture, most interested in discovering real solutions to our very real problems – on a personal and societal level – not just more feel good talk.

So from the outside, we might feel there are plenty of good reasons to ignore the call of our spirit and continue with business as usual, staying within the safe zone of our practical concerns. But our inner selves keep nudging us and nudging us and nudging us! To the point that not acknowledging the pull toward our inner spirit is actually painful in some way. For any who have made it as far as feeling pretty well in tune with the inner self, there is still a sense right now that there is a “great leap” before us from working with spirit in a mostly practical reality – to directing our practical reality from spirit. As inconvenient as it feels, the urge to follow the dream of our life is becoming overwhelming, and demanding the full attention of our spiritual resources. I’m not talking about merely surviving in this world, what I am expressing is what it is going to take to truly and deeply thrive in this world. And by thrive – I mean find fulfilled happiness. In order to arrive at this place of thriving, we need to employ a tremendous amount of inner strength, faith, and TRUST. What we truly want is possible, but the challenge the Monkey presents us is the challenge of maintaining this vision to spite all obstacles and distractions. If you can harness the Monkey mind – this year will leave you better for it.

Now let us consider the Tropical chart for today’s New Moon. I set this chart to the location of Washington, D.C. to be relevant for all USA readers.


The previous analysis comes from both my understanding of the Monkey year as a whole and my sense of the Western astrology throughout 2016 generally… but when we look at the chart for the Lunar New Year specifically there are a number of interesting details which further illustrate this greater theme of “Directing the life from Spirit” that I feel.

First of all I want to talk about two of the major aspect patterns and the correlation with the Monkey… First, is the Saturn-Neptune Square which has been active since the fall. In short, this aspect is about The Structure of Things (Saturn) undergoing a process of Dissolution and Spiritualization (Neptune). Since these planets fall in mutable signs and are also relating with Jupiter (good opportunities, benevolent change) and the North Node (spiritual direction, fate), the sense that things are “malleable” right now is VERY strong. Reality (Saturn) is MORE malleable now than it has been for a VERY LONG TIME.

Pair that basic concept with the fact that we are dealing with Fire in a Metal (Monkey is ruled by the element of Metal) year. In the Chinese 5 element cycle, Fire bends Metal. It is not the most compatible of combinations… as this element of Fire can be seen as creative on its own, but is weakening to the element of Metal, whose typical action is to precision and piercing focus. This metaphor is an almost direct mirror to the Saturn-Neptune Square. One is using water to dissolve the hard structures of metal and earth, while the other is using fire to do the same. When dealing with structures collapsing – even if they are long worn out – confusion and chaos is the natural next stage of the process. This is why we must be so very careful and conscious in our spiritual sharpness – because it is from this place that we can direct the appropriate changes, and make sound decisions. Our ego mind is likely to become too overwhelmed and confused by the outside changes to see it clearly enough.  In the midst of the change, we might not even be able to discern what is happening and may tend to be rash, impulsive, or even attempt to retrench. But the more we try to hold on to the tangible the more elusive it becomes, especially under Neptune’s influence – and the only way beyond the fog is to see past the realm of rational mind and into the realm of the spiritual mind. If the mind is extremely full of conflicting emotions and trying to rationalize everything, it will be almost impossible to figure out what the next step is and make a right choice. It is very important to remember that in this year – even though the impulse to act will be VERY STRONG (especially with Aries on the Ascendant and Mars impacting the New Moon!) – making wise action is tantamount. And in some cases that might mean waiting even when you don’t want to wait. Or sometimes it might mean following and flowing with the situation until the right action emerges. In all situations it is important to continue to do the things that you do in your life to cultivate your strength of spirit – because in order to affect positive change in your life, and world, your spirit needs to be strong enough to influence its surroundings in a positive way, rather than be continually influenced by things on the outside. Though this is an active year with a lot of outgoing movement, spending some time inward to keep in tune with this spiritual vision and inner truth is going to be necessary to keep it peaceful and relatively smooth.

The second pattern I wish to discuss before talking about the chart as a whole is the Uranus-Pluto Square. In the chart for Washington D.C. Uranus is SMACK DAB on the ascendant and Pluto is prominently placed in the 10th house.   This pattern has been a major influence in shaking up the world since 2012 and is finally beginning to separate this year. However, its close aspect and prominence in the Fire Monkey chart should not be overlooked – even though Uranus & Pluto do not make another exact square this year, they will be making sure the job gets done. This really adds to the instability mentioned – even if it is familiar instability – and in this chart I believe it speaks to many of the things I mentioned about directing the mind.   In this case specifically, Uranus on the Ascendant (conjunct the Part of Fortune & Vesta – the Goddess asteroid of the hearth, keeper of the eternal flame of truth, focus, and passion) really speaks to the power of individual autonomy, particularly when working from a place of the clear-divine mind in order to revolutionize the personal self and the “self” ego image of society as it currently is.  Uranus has a tendency to shock, and will encourage an energy of individualism and freedom at all costs in this powerful position.  It will not yield to conform and will instead be inclined to rebel.  This is where the Fire Monkey energy can be very intense -- as it will generate a lot of forcefulness around its ideas, for better or worse.  Uranus tends to bring about change and revolution that serves more people, but the energy is quite difficult to control in this fire sign of Aries.  On an individual level we need to really work on our impulse control, especially when anger is triggered, as the outbursts can be explosive.  However, this can be useful for gut flip and switch type decision making -- in moments where there is pressure to act and act NOW and we have no other choice, we can appeal to divine mind for the quick response.  In a similar sense, this energy can also bring sudden insight, and is likely to also bring major, sudden shifts in individual rights and the social scene as a whole in 2016.

At the same time Pluto, the planet of intense evolution, is in the 10th house of the public, forming a square to Uranus & the chart Ascendant as well as connecting with Venus (social connections, harmony) & Jupiter, suggests profound change at the structural level will be a huge theme of the year, as it has been for some time. The main difference that I sense from this year over years previous is that the structure has loosened so much now, that there is finally room to insert some new energy – and these new energies/structures/etc. will be most successful if they are coming from truly new, strong, soul level evolved perspectives… whereas anything that attempts to create from the dysfunctional paradigm that is now falling apart, will also show itself to be dysfunctional and ultimately destructive.  This is not to say that those dysfunctional elements won't try their best -- this will certainly be a big part of the energy of the year, especially for the U.S. with an election coming up.  But by and large the power structure has been destabilized, and with the appropriate use of will and gathering the Monkey energy has the capacity to really fight for its rights and make demands for change through persistence and also perhaps, some new inventions, techniques, and strategies.  Pluto in close aspect to Venus will challenge us to really change how we relate to each other and especially in public spheres.  We must try to learn to understand power from new levels if we wish to make genuine changes or else the patterns of power that we are used to are bound to persist.  The plus side is that people will not be easily controlled or manipulated under this Monkey energy, and so will not as easily fall for obvious power plays.

Pulling back to look at the chart as a whole, we can see that the energies are mostly residing in societal houses – 10th, 11th, and 12th, houses with a few very important keys in the 6th house of work/environment/service, the 7th house of relationships, and the 8th house of deep psychology, sexuality, and shared resources.  The New Moon itself is in the social, community-oriented sign of Aquarius, happily presiding in its home -- the 11th house. This connects to Monkey’s more social element… Monkey wants us to collaborate, be active in community endeavors, support one another, develop friendliness and networking, and contribute cooperatively to the greater good of the tribe.  This year, with such an emphasis in the chart on the public houses, there is a great deal of focus on what we can do on a much larger social level.  This is yet another reason why our work on strengthening our own individual spirit has been and remains so important... since what we do with ourselves has the potential to greatly influence the other people around us.  The clearer we become, the more fearless we are, and the more deeply we realize our truth, the more effortlessly we can affect change.  If we work from our heart, and from spirit, many other spiritual friends will come to join our mission and we will feel happiness in these connections.  This can be a great year to team up with friends an do group projects or simply invite more collaborative elements to your business.  Collaborations can help build the visions of multiple individuals and be supportive for all people involved.  The energy here expresses that we don't need to live our lives through the idea that it's a dog-eat-dog world, nor do we always have to be lone wolfs.  At least, in this year, the more we connect, collaborate, and feel 'a part of' the better and more grounded we will feel about creating real, impactful, and long term change in the larger culture.

The final, important key to this chart is the Virgo Jupiter-North Node conjunction in opposition to the Pisces Chiron-South Node conjunction in the 6th and 12th houses respectively. This is a big energy theme for this winter and will influence the Monkey year. Jupiter and the North Node together bring luck and good opportunities – positive connections that can greatly influence our future path… especially in the realm of our service to the world, greater mission, and spiritual goals. Chiron on the South Node shows that we are also in a process of really working through the DEEPEST of our old wounds, especially around our failed ideals.  Times when we’ve fallen for illusions, when our unrealistic expectations caused heartbreak, when we were punished for being a dreamer, and when we believed in something that didn't work out are all things that can show up here. Anxieties, feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, uncertainty of what is real, feelings of hopelessness, despair, and not knowing if we’re doing the right thing are all a part of this wound. This combination basically wants us to use these wounded experiences, lost feelings, and mystical visions to create something practical and useful for the future going forward.  This can include creating positive spiritual habits, new health routines, learning to apply ourselves anew, creating outlets for our previous grief and guilt, and also opening ourselves to meet the important people who can help us along the way.  This combination of energies is extremely powerful for bringing in healing energies, spirits, and higher guidance.  Now is definitely a time to connect with mentors, begin or deepen spiritual studies, begin or deepen anything that pertains to healing, or health.  The idea is grounding the mystical and spiritual forces into some kind of form -- using the insight from the Pisces realm to inform the order that Virgo so desires to manifest.  And to use the Virgo energies of discernment and analysis to make sure that every idea is authentic, useful, and helpful.  I sense also with this combination that this is a wonderful time for people who are already established in a field of study to bring some new levels to it -- perhaps of their own insight and creation.

Overall, my feeling is that we are entering a phase that is more like Lao Tzu riding atop the water buffalo. More and more, the concept that the material dominates is becoming old paradigm logic. The concept that we need to leave the world of the material to become spiritual, is also old paradigm. The time we are in is about integrating spirit with our every day lives. This paradigm is about the mythic and magical shift back to a reality where the spiritual rules and the material supports. In order to arrive at this we must ultimately honor both sides of reality equally and simultaneously.  When we make it a task to tune in to our inner self before going about our every day activities, we have an opportunity to live more and more from this integrated reality.

Follow the pull of spirit to spite the ego. Find the place of trust. Honor the physical through positive routines and lifestyle choices – but let it happen from a place of natural flow, rather than an enforced ego goal. Trust. Trust that stability is easily found when one allows oneself to be internally guided and that the earth beneath us supports our honest endeavors and simple needs.  All that we manifest depends entirely on the strength and purity of our inner work. The stronger we are inwardly, the more clarity we have inside, the more powerful the influence and capability to create positively in the world. Learn to direct the mind. And do so with the humility and willingness to yield to the higher messages that we receive. And we should be able to find peace within chaos, stability in uncertainty, and wholeness of self.

All things happen in their due time, in flow, effortlessly.  Stay undistracted.  Live from the inner self.  And work that Monkey ingenuity to create positive change and empower others in your community.

Happy New Year -- for real this time :)

Getting Real About Mercury Retrograde // Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius/Capricorn 2016


Mercury Retrograde is approaching again, and the internet is alight with doom and gloom prophecies and people getting ready to jump into a Mercury Retrograde bunker and hide from life for the next 3 weeks. Perhaps it is because Mercury this time around is in Capricorn, a sign oriented towards order and realism, that I feel inclined to set the record straight about what’s really going on with Mercury retrograde. In this article I will explore the various layers of Mercury retrograde’s meaning and function, as well as talk about the upcoming retrograde in Aquarius/Capricorn. So first, a basic explanation of the term “retrograde” for those who do not know: The term retrograde refers to the backwards motion of a planet in the sky from our vantage here on earth. From an astrological perspective, all planets in the solar system apart from the Sun & Moon go through retrograde cycles. Since the Moon orbits us, and we orbit the Sun, we don’t perceive either of these bodies as going “retrograde.” However, in respect to the other planets, earth is just one of many bodies that revolve around the star we call our Sun. As such, due to the rotating nature of the solar system, there are times where our orbit, and the orbits of our neighbors will align in such a way that they appear to us as if they are “going backwards.” Basically, all that is really happening is that we are all moving different speeds, different distances, etc. and passing each other on the track. When we observe a planet moving retrograde, it is believed to cause a change in the flow of the energy of that planet from one that is direct, typical, and forward moving – to one that is more inward, atypical, and slow or even backwards moving.


Planets beyond the earth tend to have longer retrograde cycles.  Slow movers like Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are retrograde for 6 months out of the year… That’s why when you experience a transit of Neptune or Pluto to your natal chart it can seem never ending. These planets can hover around the same degree for 2-3 years before completely moving on. Because outer planet retrogrades are much longer they are also more subtle and we tend to feel them most when the planet “stations” e.g. when it is changing direction. The energy of a stationing planet is amplified because it is giving the sense to us earthlings that it is “standing still” emitting its rays everywhere chaotically vs. the usual feeling of the energy in some kind of motion. For all planets we will feel stationing energy most strongly for 5 days before AND after the official day of “retrograde” or “direct.” So that is why the lead up to and exit of retrograde can often feel very strong.

Now, let’s focus on Mercury retrograde specifically – Mercury is the closest planet to the sun in our solar system and speeds through the zodiac at quite a clip. In the course of a year, Mercury goes retrograde 3 separate times. Its actual “retrograde motion” is only about 3 weeks but the total period of Mercury retrograde is technically about 2 months. Why? When you look at the motion of any retrograde planet whether in a chart or just visually, it is literally “retracing” a part of the sky. So the “revision process” actually starts when Mercury enters its “shadow” which is the degree of its later direct motion…

OK So – to explain: This month Mercury Retrograde will span the degrees of 14 Capricorn and 1 Aquarius. Mercury FIRST crossed 14 Capricorn on December 19. It will reach 1 Aquarius the day it goes retrograde, January 5. It returns to 14 Capricorn and moves direct again on January 26, and will finally pass 1 Aquarius again on February 14.


So understand that this patch of sky is where the work is happening. Mercury is about communication, information and mental processes. So think of it like this: Once Mercury enters its shadow we are receiving information about what will need review. Once Mercury is retrograde, we are in the process of doing the reviewing. And finally, when Mercury turns direct, we should be making our final edits and be ready to move forward with the revised plan. Recognize this process as something that is GOOD FOR US. It helps our brains declutter and reconfigure. Also recognize that 2 months x 3 times a year means we are doing these mental reviews frequently – 6 months out of the year… so none of this needs to be world destroying. It is just another cycle that we can become aware of, recognize, and learn to flow with.

Now there are two other important factors to understand with reference to Mercury Retrograde. I’ll start with the simplest first: The sign or signs that Mercury is retrograding in will explain a lot about what we are specifically working on. Since Mercury Retrograde this time is happening mostly in Capricorn and throughout this year will be occurring primarily in earth signs, I can say that this year’s mind-revision work is centered in practical matters. Specific to Capricorn, we are working with revising our relationship to work, business, authority, leadership, discipline, and the overall functionality and structure of our lives. This is a retrograde cycle that will be very centered around reorganizing, upgrading, and developing a new order for ourselves. We will likely feel very serious and focused during this phase, and it is a very important cycle of development for the coming year that we should all strive to work with as this month, with this Capricorn Mercury Retrograde, is a time for laying important groundwork for 2016 as a whole.

Now, we can expand this interpretation even further by looking to Capricorn’s natural ruler, Saturn, which is currently residing in Sagittarius. So in addition to all of the aforementioned qualities of Capricorn, we can see that this Mercury retrograde is also about the development of our Sagittarian quest & vision for the next two years. So in our rethinking and restructuring, the primary consideration is actually the hopes, dreams & visions that we’ve been cultivating in recent months -- as well as the overarching desire for more freedom, adventure and joy in our lives. Sagittarius energy is about a truth seeking, and we may find that our intuitive truth is more apparent to us as it is striving to be acknowledged and worked realistically into our lives. We know that Saturn can be our ally – but it makes us work for everything, even our happiness – so this month, too, can be a time when we really visit with ourselves and find out where we have an inner curmudgeon undermining all of our hopeful optimism, and find the way to work with our limitations so that we can experience more limitlessness in our perspectives. The mind is a powerful creator and with Mercury in Capricorn, we may experience this power more immediately.

If you wish to understand Mercury Retrograde even more personally, you can go to your own natal chart and see what house Mercury Retrograde is happening in for you, to understand what aspect of your own personal life is getting the attention (is it 1st house of self image? 2nd house of finances? 5th house of creative expression? Etc…) For even more depth, you can even look at the natal planet associated with the Mercury retrograde in question – in this case, Saturn (But it will vary depending on the sign Mercury is in). So wherever Saturn is in your chart, this area of your life is also being looked at and worked on from a Mercurial perspective.

The other factor that is of considerable relevance to understanding Mercury retrograde (or any retrograde really) are its actual aspects. The “aspects” in Astrology are basically the moments when one planet forms some kind of close relationship with another planet. For example, Mercury in this retrograde period is relating with Mars in Scorpio (both at 0 degrees of fixed signs currently, as I write), it will also be connecting with Pluto in Capricorn (15 degrees), Uranus in Aries (16 degrees, the Sun in Capricorn, Chiron in Pisces as well as the North Node & Jupiter in Virgo. So, in addition to Mercury by itself, we are looking at many of the major components of the current astrological map that Mercury is touching upon in his travels between 14 Capricorn and 1 Aquarius. Why is this important? Because we need to understand that Mercury is not a solo operator. His RELATIONSHIPS to these other planets are what really bring the juice to the party. Mercury is a MESSENGER. When he bumps into a planet like Pluto 3 times in a month, you know that Pluto is going to have something pretty important to say to us about how we need to evolve.   Now add in the influence of any natal planets you have between the degrees of 14 and 1, and you can get a bit of a sense of how this experience may affect you, personally.


So here’s the part that makes it crazy.

For those of us who reside in the USA, we are an extremely intellectually oriented society – so when things concerning the mind turn inward, as is the energy of the retrograde – everyone basically goes nuts. All of these aspects that are already hanging out up there creating subtle tension suddenly become amplified because we can’t rationalize our way out of it. And on another level, Mercury might even be triggering some of these energies so that they become more conscious than usual, and show up in all kinds of crazy, funny, bizarre, and sometimes stressful ways in our lives.


You do NOT NEED to go crazy.

What you need to do is to just flow with the energy and understand what it is asking you to do – which is to review and make changes. To let yourself SLOW THAT BRAIN DOWN for a second and look into things more deeply. If something is popping up for you right now from the past – talk to it… why is it here? What is it saying to you about where you might need to change, let something go, or even revive something lost? If a misunderstanding occurs, how can we listen better? Find clarity about what we really mean to say? Understand our own perspectives from a deeper level and hear others intent beyond their words? Yes – it is helpful during Mercury Retrograde to check things over a few times, to make sure you heard right, understood well. There is a propensity for mistakes to be made, things to be missed, and plans that fall through. Yes, yes, these effects can be very real. But even these processes are a form of revision, and if you play your cards right, it may work out even better for you in the end than you planned for in the beginning – because now we had the opportunity to look at the offer on the table not just once, but a few times, before it passed our test. Mercury Retrograde is a fantastic time to negotiate and resolve difficult conflicts. Even if it might not be the best time to initiate certain arrangements, it can definitely be a good time to finally put a long-term irritation to rest.

Finally, you can’t “hide” from Mercury retrograde. It is not a “stay inside and all will be well” situation. This is an energetic influence that affects everybody. The situation of Mercury retrograde is mind-based, and so the problems of it RESIDE WITHIN OUR OWN MIND. If we carry a perspective that Mercury Retrograde is a doom time when we can’t trust anything we’re just creating resistance around the process of actually reshaping our mind to live from a clearer place. I’m not saying that there will not be moments during Mercury retrograde phases that are stressful, upsetting, confusing, etc… It does have a very specific vibe to it that can be pinpointed as, “Yes, that is definitely a Mercury Retro thing.” What I am saying is that living in fear of planetary cycles of any kind without seeking to understand them more deeply is not helpful for anyone.

Working with Astrology is ALCHEMICAL -- it is not a useful tool if it is wielded in the basis of fear. Astrology becomes USEFUL when we understand it as a LANGUAGE that allows us to have a structured concept of life and its ebb and flow. The purpose of Astrology is to provide DEEPER INSIGHT into who we are, what we feel, and why we feel it. It is a USEFUL tool when we recognize and utilize the different energetic influences for our personal growth and development. Honor and respect all cycles of life and you can reap the rewards. Like a good student to a wise elder, there are things we can only know through hard lessons and inner work. This is indeed a Capricorn notion.

When in Mercury retrograde, work on the mind. Look INWARD and see what’s really happening with you. Be WILLING to see the good & bad. Take the time to understand the messages that life situations are conveying to you and then implement changes according to your new understandings. Be willing to live a life in flow – stop holding on, and most of your problems will diminish considerably. Experience your life in its fullness – fantastic & wonderful, sad & dreary, Mercury Retrograde, and beyond. Don’t try to separate yourself from the things you don’t want to feel – for Mercury Retrograde just may be the time that we truly realize how much padding and resistance we’ve created through the very fact that our mind isn’t dominating everything for once. If that happens to you, take heed. Any separation from your emotions and experience is like a separation of mind from body. We can only ever be at peace when we experience our life completely – mind, body, and soul together.

This Capricorn Mercury Retrograde WILL be a bit of a feisty one. I can feel it already writing this article, since Mercury’s aspect to Mars today is really fueling the writing of this piece. This can create a really aggressive energy if not channeled correctly, and a tendency to be more snappish, irritable, etc. Or it can inspire you to write an impassioned astrology article borne out of Mercury Retrograde induced frustration (lol). Mercury’s other planetary aspects throughout the next month are really going to bring some intensity to the table and make us feel a strong impulse for change and DEEP evolution. We can use this productively. This is a VERY POWERFUL month -- Don’t run from it. Take some of that Capricorn confidence and zest and jump into it, because a LOT can be accomplished.   And I mean that both literally and metaphysically – Capricorn is an EARTH sign so we’re really reshaping life in the real world, and at the same time we’re reworking our inner world. If I were to describe the energy in the simplest sense – I would say that this Capricorn Mercury Retro is about redefining our relationship to our ability to create & manifest… and also beginning to form the physical structures and practical outlines that we need in our lives to create & manifest those things that we are envisioning. This can mean a literal office overhaul, scheduling adjustments, mapping out new projects – or re-envisioning old ones to suit the new perspective -- and really finding that place of comfort and sovereignty – that YOU get to call the shots. It is YOUR life after all! Be proactive and you’ll also be productive. We all have the choice to either be dragged down by our fear of change, or direct these energies to their higher purposes of evolution and creation.

Since the Winter Solstice (which is also around the time Mercury moved into its shadow), I’ve been really feeling into Capricorn energy in a very different way than I ever have in the past. Over the winter holidays, I felt a deep recognition of Capricorn as the harbinger of tradition and past wisdom. During this season, this time, we are naturally drawn inward. If we allow it, this can be a time when we really take stock of our lives. Capricorn’s wisdom seems to me twofold – first, there is a deep honoring of the wisdom of our elders, and the knowledge that they have kept alive and passed down to us over the centuries. Second, there is the wisdom that we glean from our own lives – when we revisit the past and see it differently, maybe even with new eyes. It is so important to honor the past – to honor those who have taught us, provided for us, and granted us their wisdom because knowledge gives us richness – and without the work of those who came before us, our progress in life would be slow or non-existant. And also, to honor our own past by recognizing that everything we’ve ever been through has also taught us. And continues to teach us. For with each year, our perspective changes. The lessons we gain from the past, if we’re really willing to look at it, are continuous. It is the sobriety and maturity we develop as we age that allows us to really understand life and to see the persons we have been with increasing gentleness, forgiveness, and understanding.   What we thought we knew, we know again but differently, more deeply. We can see, through our own experience, that even the most painful memories change with time. That one day, we look at it, and what was once the definition of how we saw life, is now a faded old book with yellowed pages. No longer does it move us.

We recognize what the past has offered us to see what the future may hold for us. Nothing in life is truly still, and we experience this clearly at holidays when we revisit the family and friends we’ve known and spent these holidays with since childhood. It’s different this year compared to ten years ago. And so, next year, too, will have its own surprises. Who will we be then? What changes await us?

The ancestors teach so that their knowledge can be passed on. We receive knowledge passed on in order to understand it, and then to take it to the next level. This is what we do as humans. I’d even pose, that this might possibly be one of the reasons we are alive. So why stay stuck? Anywhere? It is against the very nature of our existence!

Capricorn’s virtues are discipline, order, and humility. Capricorn is a Cardinal sign whose purpose is to initiate and create. When Capricorn creates with respect to the past, it can create something very solid and lasting. So what is it you want to build? How do you apply the knowledge of the past to build wise, intelligent structures for the future? How do you apply discipline to simplify your life and bring your dreams into greater focus?

Meditate on what this might mean for you. This coming year is one of major creation and mental manifestation… And so it is appropriate that we start it off working very practically with our approach to the coming changes – whether we are initiating them, receiving them, or simply living them. Clean the cobwebs of your mind, eliminate limiting beliefs around your ability to be in charge of your life’s direction, and take responsibility both for what you truly want, and for the parts of yourself that you have allowed to undermine that. Let yourself change without holding on to self-criticism over past mistakes. It’s cool. It’s about the future now… So be here now.

We’ve all come far. Positive outcomes await us, if we want them. Be glad for the way life provides us direction. When we listen, we become wise.

Sending love.

Wood Horse Exits -- January 20 New Moon in Aquarius: Radical Release & The Sheep Year Ahead


Tuesday's new moon at 0º Aquarius marks the last new moon of the lunar year of the Wood Horse as well as the first of the 2015 calendar year.  The feeling of one phase ending and another beginning is really emblematic of the Aquarius New Moon chart, as well as the energy of this winter season, and in many respects, 2015 as a whole. When I look at the charts for this winter season and observe the development of current and incoming astrological trends, there are a number of immediate standouts.  Working from the most obvious to the more subtle:

  1.  The Uranus-Pluto Square which was exact for the 6th of 7 times around the Winter Solstice, a major astrological cycle that has been working us in profound ways since 2012, are sticking close to each other and having their final joust just as the winter season closes on March 17, 2015.  We feel an increasing sense of urgency as this call for revolutionary change in our personal lives and in the world bears down on us in these final months.  This winter season is like laboring for the gold of the alchemical fire.  We've been working this energy for a long time, and in a big way during the 2014 year of the Wood Horse.  Deeply threaded beliefs are being worked out and unraveled in society at large and within ourselves.  The true impact of this alignment will continue to unfold for years to come.  Nonetheless, we remain in the final clutches of the deep, ongoing cooking process -- anxiety, uncertainty, and instability are real and unavoidable.  Change is upon us, and the best thing we can do this season is direct our minds, wills, and hearts toward positive and evolutionary directions.  Have faith in their significant and positive outcomes -- and know that the stress will abate considerably in a few months.
  2. Saturn's Sagittarius Ingress and dip back into Scorpio this summer -- Saturn represents structures and material matters and therefore his travels through the signs often impact cultural feeling in a big way.  This year of 2015 receives Saturn's first messages from his more optimistic, hopeful, idealistic Sagittarius transit.  This ingress is about the ideas we want to build our life around and our process of hearing, telling, receiving, and giving THE TRUTH.  These are the truths, of course, reflected upon and revealed through our deep passages in Scorpio, the sign of death, rebirth, and profound merging with intimates, family skeletons, and mystery itself.  In 2015, we will return to meet Scorpio for a few months before uniting completely with our Sagittarian visions.  In the current and coming months before the retrograde cycle, we are working quite a lot on developing our initial ideas about moving forward, but we won't have the official go ahead until later in the year after we've finished our Scorpio work once and for all.
  3. Exit Wood Horse, Enter Wood Sheep -- The Wood Horse has come and gone with swift intensity!  Last year's energies from both an Eastern and Western astrological perspective were profound, changeful, and chock full of huge life events, and spiritual growing pains.  Whereas previous years, the changes were felt profoundly within, this past year was jammed with action -- and it hasn't really relented as it normally does come January.  This coming New Moon feels very much like the Wood Horse's last labor of love.  With Uranus meeting the south node and Pluto squaring the nodes last week there is a sense of deep, emotional, profound, BIG release.  The Wood Horse year has had us working!  No matter what area of our life we looked at, we have worked our butts off!!  And for what grand purpose?  If we follow the perspective of the Horse, it was so we could have greater freedom, self expression, and independence in our lives.  This remains true, even if we still feel shackled or that the past year was burdensome -- sometimes it's beneath the shackles and burdens that we are able to find the seed of true freedom that we would have never known existed otherwise.  This New Moon is that seed.  The "Firing" process I spoke of with reference to the Uranus-Pluto square and deep Saturn Scorpio work with commitments are starting to crystallize.  Let go, in a BIG way, to clear the deck for the softer, more creative, nurturing and developing vibe of the sheep.  The barrier between what we deeply want and what is possible has become a lot less stable.  Take your work horse, and march right through that big ole pile of bull ;)
  4. Energetic Preview of the Mutable T-Square -- For me, a big game changing piece in the coming Sheep & Monkey years (end of 2015-2016), is the mutable T-Square that is to form between Jupiter in Virgo, Saturn in Sagittarius, and Neptune in Pisces.  This is the next BIG phase of energy adjustment coming in, and it will provide a totally different feeling from the past few years which have been about discovery, awakening, development of consciousness and taking initial action towards change. Through this, there have been very real, physical, psychic, and emotional trials.  My initial feelings about this coming formation are that they bring with them a test of the mind's ideals and the struggle between practicality and spirituality.  Logistics, thwarted implementation, discovery of false truths, intense & prolific confusion, and the dissolving of previous beliefs.  Our readiness for the incoming time is dependent on our willingness, now, to unhinge ourselves from any aspect of our lives which negatively suppresses our individuality and openness to new and resonating information.  This month Mars in Pisces makes its aspect to Saturn (last week) and Neptune giving us an initial hint of the struggle to make the elusive, beautiful dream world a reality.  It is an interesting image, actually, to think of normally energetic Mars ambling through the slow, undecided watery sign of Pisces (as he does every two years) -- the reminder here is that not all things are gained by doing.  Some, are gained through surrender, through receiving, and through insight.
  5. 0º Point of Potency / 29º Point of Conclusion  -- The new moons this winter season are falling often on the 0º and 29º points.  The 0º and 29º points of signs are considered especially significant as they denote the most powerful and most weak points in the sign -- the vibes of beginnings and endings.  The new moon on the Winter Solstice landed at 0º Capricorn -- indicating a huge season of creating new foundations and also a season of sweeping away deep parts of our past, as Saturn was still at the very last degree of Scorpio.  The January new moon is of a similar essence, landing at 0º Aquarius with both moon and Sun residing in the EST Chart's 12th House of the deep, profound, & subconscious karma.  Moving into the Lunar New Year, the new moons start the year falling at 29º of Aquarius and then a new moon solar eclipse occurs at 29º Pisces on the Spring Equinox, March 20, both of these moons setting the tone for the season of Spring and the remainder of 2015.  With Saturn moving into its retrograde cycle around this same time, we can expect the Sheep's new years resolutions to be centered around cleaning up after some of the eruptions left behind by the horse, healing, reevaluating, and completing unfinished tasks in preparation for the spiritually trying expansive phase to come towards the end of the year.  The peaceful sheep will want to make sure things are in order before chaos returns.
  6. Mercury Retrograde -- The Aquarius moon cycle will also be occurring in stride with Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius.  Since the rising sign of this New Moon chart is also Aquarius with other Aquarian elements strongly thematic (Saturn aspecting the chart's Midheaven, Uranus aspecting the south node) I see this also as a moon that is really working our Aquarian ruled realms -- Our unique fingerprint, intuition, genius, Our connection to community, groups, friends, tribe-members, Social equality issues, technology, science & innovations.  Mercury retrograde simply re-emphasizes the energy of this evaluative moon cycle -- the paradox of planting outer seeds for new growth through a process of inner work and deep letting go.  Allow yourself to be called to your revolutionary new visions, and really feel the one-of-a-kind you -- how we all individually contribute to the people around us is the mainstay of Aquarian ideals.  Being our authentic selves and knowing our authentic selves IS our service to the community.

Working within the context of all of the above, through January's new moon we see the new creation with such depth, that we are left with no choice but to make profound soul-level decisions to radically release impediments, obstructions, and obfuscations that hinder absolute freedom.  All of this being done with the knowledge that it is a necessary part of our evolutionary course -- that loss and karmic release is only a temporary state.  This new moon is REALLY about seeding intentions for our hidden spiritual visions and unique quest, voice & individuality, while sloughing off the uniform.  We still have more to change, more to review, more to settle before we're quite ready for the complete development of our ideas... but we're starting to come into full alignment with these ideas and full knowing of what exactly we will need to address in the coming months.  Right now, we're remodeling our inner home -- brilliantly envisioning exactly what we want it to look like, with an old structure falling down around us.  The new foundation is being laid, but there's still some old dry wall that needs to go to the dump before we can start building.  Now is the time to go crazy, be creative, and joyfully throw out the crap.  Don't think about the logistics, just express yourself (that's for later anyway!)

And most of all, don't let the old house dictate what the new one must look like.