mercury retrograde

Evolutionary Sparks: The Astrology of November 2018 and Onward

Hello everyone! 

November is a very big month of planetary movements.  My working life has been quite busy lately with teaching and some new projects underway, so I have not been able to write as often.  However, this month is so eventful with many significant shifts that I wanted make the time to share a bit about them and their longer-term impact.

Here is a short list of important astrological events in November:

November 6 - Uranus Rx returns to Aries
November 6 – The Nodes of Fate move into Cancer/Capricorn (precisely square Uranus for the past few weeks, and at the time of ingress)
November 7 – New Moon in Scorpio
November 8 – Jupiter Enters Sagittarius
November 15 – Mars enters Pisces (after many months retrograding in Aquarius/Capricorn)
November 16 – Venus goes Direct (Libra/Scorpio, Rx since October 5)
November 16 – Mercury goes Retrograde (Sagittarius)
November 23 – Full Moon in Gemini
November 24 – Neptune goes Direct

And here are a few notes, elaborations and explanations of the above events, what they mean, and how they influence the energetic currents of this month and the coming months…

 

Long Term Influences: 

  • Uranus Returns to Aries:  Uranus moved into Taurus for the first time in 84 years back in May and will return to this sign in March.  This brief dip back into Aries (now through March) triggers resurgence in the Aries-Uranus issues (2011-2018) and reignites a spark of inspiration and revolutionary zeal around issues of individuality, self expression and independence.  Identity, human rights, and the sovereignty of the individual voice were all major themes of the Uranus-Aries transit.  We have a chance to revisit what might have been left undone in this area and become re-motivated as to the deeper purpose of the Uranus-Taurus projects/ideas that have come up in the collective consciousness over the course of the last few months.  Now that we’ve had a chance to experience Uranus in its new sign, we can assimilate more of what the experience of Uranus in Aries was for, and bring it more deeply into the foundation-breaking / awakening embodiment of Uranus-Taurus energy.   (For a full analysis of the Uranus-Taurus transit, please check out my article here: Breaking Ground:  Uranus in Taurus)

  • The North Node moves into Cancer for 18 months, and crosses this threshold precisely square to Uranus.  For the past several weeks the planet of Uranus has been traveling in precise square to the axis of fate, known as the North & South nodes – a very intense aspect implicating important choices and sudden shifts in the direction of the collective soul.  To have these two travel together through a sign change is quite unusual and powerful.  The chart at the moment of a planetary ingress (sign change) describes the essence of how the transit will play out – and so aspects to the planet/point in question are particularly important.  In this case with the nodes of Cancer & Capricorn square to Uranus the awakener/revolutionary, who is changing signs simultaneously, suggests immense change, instability, and breaking from tradition on many levels over the course of the next 18 months.  Uranus still was in the sign of Taurus during the nodes’ precise ingress, emphasizing that the nature of this change is foundation shaking at the soul level.  It feels as if there is a strong sense of cause & effect at play… Because of the embodiment process suggested by Uranus in Taurus (people becoming more aware of their bodies, health, the earth’s health, feminine roles/health, spiritual engagement with the body, etc), it forces us to fundamentally review, re-envision, and remake the pillars of family (Cancer) and Societal/Governmental Structure (Capricorn).  At the same time the outmoded ideas held by the Cancer/Capricorn archetypes can be experienced as limitations, triggering an even more profound desire to break free from them.  We can expect this to be a big source of inner & outer conflict as comfort zones are severely tested and questioned. 

  • The Nodes in Cancer/Capricorn also means that the points of fate will be involved in a significant configuration of Capricorn planets from now through 2020.  The South Node traveling through the sign of Capricorn means that it will be joining Saturn and Pluto over the course of the next few years.  By 2020, the South Node, Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto will all be together in the sign of Capricorn where Saturn/Pluto & Jupiter will make a grand conjunction.  This is an extremely significant and rare configuration that marks tremendous instability, change, and revolution.  In addition this alignment is occurring in the lead up to the USA Pluto return (an event that happens once every 248 years) making it significant to US politics and government especially.  The South Node traveling through this configuration is sure to bring up the immense shadow side of government systems (Capricorn), institutions and the way power and authority play out in our lives in general (personal & world).   This is a force to be reckoned with and through this energetic alignment the world is guaranteed to go through a huge metamorphosis.

    We experienced the energy of the South Node transiting an outer planet (South Node in Pisces conjunct Neptune) back in 2016, and the results in that case were quite chaotic, however it did trigger a deeper collective impulse towards clarity, participation, and tangible truth/practical solutions (Virgo North Node) in light of the intangible, emotional and confusing illusions & deceptions brought out by Pisces (easy example being the way social media algorithms influenced public division during the 2016 election – this was an insidious & hidden thing which affected the subconscious, very Pisces).  I feel that we can expect some similar “Wake Up” moments over the course of these next few years as the nodes cross Pluto, Saturn & Jupiter in Capricorn.  The echo effects will be far reaching, but significant progress can emerge from these as collective lessons are assimilated and understood.

    The North Node traveling opposed to these giant planetary influences in the sign of Governments and Institutions suggest that despite all of the trouble coming from this area of life, the answers we need stem from something more direct and basic. Family values, loving acceptance, protection of those we care about, nurturance of people in need, improvements to the home environment, tackling the domestic/local/internal issues first, basic necessities as priority — These are the priorities of the Cancer archetype and these are all things that the higher governing structures and other controlling bodies (such as media, etc) have totally lost touch with. So the collective soul lesson of this time is about recognizing the importance of reconnecting and repairing the intimacy of home, family and community, and using that as the rooted place from which we make changes in the outer world.  As a society we have placed so much importance on ambition, fame, “the hustle” etc that we have come to neglect and even shun the fundamentals of life in favor of money or power. This next 18 months will likely bring some major reality checks to this area, to remind us that at the end of the day if we don’t value the real and tangible connections we have with others, we lose out on what truly nourishes us as beings.  When false ambition, power, and ego fail us, what is left?  Did we care for others – or did we only care about ourselves?

    We can expect considerable stripping away of what we currently hold true regarding the dynamic of Work & Family (Cap/Cancer), reflections on what has evolved over time with regards to these two basic realms of life, and where to go next.  The image that comes to mind for this transit is a beautiful home (Capricorn) on a weak foundation (Cancer).  Remembering our humanness and returning to our roots, we can progress further with less effort.  This is a secret that we’ve forgotten.

  • Jupiter moves into Sagittarius only a few days after the Node/Uranus transition, amplifying its energy.  As I mentioned earlier, the planetary configurations at the time of a planetary ingress describe a lot about how the transit as a whole will play out.  Now, think about all I have discussed this far and add Jupiter, the planet of expansion to the mix.  A big energy grows even larger!  However, there is a bright side: In Sagittarius, Jupiter is quite a bit more optimistic than in Scorpio – so it gives a buoyant, more hopeful influence that allows us to see the positive side of change.  Jupiter in Scorpio, where we spent the last 12 months, is a difficult energy because wherever Jupiter travels, it increases the energy and asks us to expand our perspective in order to see MORE.   Scorpio is a dimension of reality that contains many things that most people find unpleasant – sexuality issues, power issues, trust issues, money dramas, abuse, death – so when Jupiter transits here it brings up a lot in the collective consciousness that is highly charged and emotional.  After a very challenging year around these issues (the most prominent Jupiter-Scorpio topic being the “Me Too” movement), Jupiter moving into Sagittarius will help us take action, achieve justice, and see with greater vision what has occurred, what is coming, and how we can influence the issues toward positive growth.  This also amplifies the sense of exploration and discovery that is essential to arriving at unique solutions to collective issues.  Jupiter in Sag will also expand and carry forward the energy of breaking tradition/social norms as it occurs the day after a new moon (always a symbol of a new path/uncharted territory) and with the Uranus/Node aspect strong in the chart.

 

 

Short Term Influences:

  • The New Moon in Scorpio occurs in close relationship to the above planetary movements is a particularly potent one occurring amidst so much change.  The changes and alignments echo each other… suggesting mystery, transformation, and deep discovery in the years coming.  This is a time to embrace that walk into darkness, as winter approaches, and as the cycles unfold.  The collective shifts of this time are not comparable to the past… they are distinct, and in a way, unpredictable.  So I feel this is a call to be in the present moment with everything, in the moment it is occurring.  As that is the nature of the dark moon, of Scorpio, and of the time in general.

 

  • Echoing this, Mars’ exceptionally long transit in Aquarius this year comes to an end on November 15, bringing us into a space of the unknown – Pisces.  Coinciding with all I just mentioned plus Venus & Mercury Retrograde – from now until the end of the year Mars will transit Pisces.  After we spent the summer in a doozy of a Mars Retrograde that was accompanied & aligned with 3 eclipses and 5 other retrograding planets, Mars’ shift into Pisces is a fascinating end to an elaborated reevaluation of our use of will and considerations of the collective direction. The transition reads to me like a period of integration, as well as an opportunity to practice intentional openness with the sea change we are about to dive more deeply into.  Mars is the principle of action and in Pisces, its direction is vague.  In this moment, the directions feel most appropriately guided towards listening inwardly to the new ways of being that are waiting to be discovered.

 

  • Venus moves Direct and Mercury goes Retrograde on November 16.  Venus will move forward in Libra and return to Scorpio on December 2 where it remains until January.  Mercury goes Retrograde in Sagittarius.  Both influences are active until the end of the year, adding to the evaluative, reflective, deep nature of this time period.  Venus & Mercury in the realms of Scorpio & Sag also seems to echo the transit of Jupiter across these two signs, showing deeper evaluation of the issues that Jupiter has brought forth in Scorpio and will spark in Sag.  Sex, money, power dynamics, control issues (Scorpio) – dogmas, creeds, philosophies, meaning, and ideals (Sag). Venus will also pass through the space of Uranus and the Nodes at the end of November, triggering the message of change in relationships/finances that has been active throughout this time in a new way, adding another dimension to what we’ve working with since September, because both Uranus and the nodes are in different signs than they were when Venus first crossed them during this retrograde period.

 

In short, November kicks off a wide array astrological events, while also calling us deeply inward for integration, presence and perspective on a variety of different issues we face in our lives. As I anticipated when reading the chart for the Lunar New Year, 2018 has been very intense, karmic, and evolutionary year. Incredibly challenging, but deeply transformative on so many levels it is truly amazing. It is a change so involving that it calls every part of us to the table, and we cannot ignore it — but yet this is what we are here for. To become present, whole, and healed.

I really hope that these notes are helpful to you in navigating the remainder of the year.  The most essential message that I can distill from ALL that is coming through right now is to not be afraid of change, and to remember that it’s the little things that matter.  Change starts with the individual – with the dreams that call you, with the visions that inspire you, with your way of being in the world, and the people whom you love and attend to.  Harmony within the self, within the family, within the community, within the country, and then within the world.  This is the way we can grow as a collective at this time.

Peace and blessings.


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Retrograde City: Some Food For Thought on April's Astrology

I shared this a few weeks ago on Facebook with full intention of also posting it here, but it turns out my progressed moon in the 12th house is more powerful than previously imagined (to put it simply, life is just very fluid right now), so it took me a minute to actually post it.

I wanted to share these insights and timelines to help put April's Astrology into the bigger picture.  Today as I write this particular post Venus is now going direct after a long retrograde through Pisces & Aries -- so we now begin the process of wrapping up the Venus story which has been running since January 30th.  This is a NEW BEGINNING and a conclusion to cycle started 8 years ago, when Venus last went retrograde in Aries :)

But Venus is not the only planet to change directions this month.  Mercury also just recently went Retrograde in Taurus/Aries -- covering issues of self worth, value, being in the body, and also leadership & autonomy.  This Mercury/Venus Retrograde confluence is and has been an excellent time to make significant shifts in matters of love & money, and because Mercury happens to be in a stubborn sign like Taurus, it's a great time to work on some of those habits that just don't seem to die -- particularly if they pertain to Taurus' dark side... food, inertia, miserliness and laziness (And Aries:  Selfishness, egotism, impulsiveness, and anger).

Anyhow -- here is the timeline of all of the big retrograde cycles that are happening this month plus some of my notations about them.  Jupiter is also retrograde right now but I did not include it as my thoughts were primarily connected to the "stop and go" vibes of many planets changing directions at once.  However the Jupiter retrograde does have significance here because it is in one of Venus' signs:  Libra -- which is already creating an need to evaluate the role of relationships in our lives -- expanding our potential to make new and interesting connections, while also making us aware of dead and uninspired energy that needs to be released.  Jupiter will go direct in June and finish its transit in Libra by the fall.

OK, now continuing on...

 

TIMELINE OF CYCLES CONVERGING IN APRIL'S ASTROLOGY...

Venus Retrograde -- Aries/Pisces concludes (or moves towards conclusion)
JAN 30 -- Venux Rx Shadow
MAR 4 -- Stationing Retrograde
APR 15 -- Stationing Direct
MAY 18 -- Clears shadow

Saturn Retrograde -- Sagittarius begins
DEC 30 -- Saturn Rx Shadow
APR 5 -- Stationing Retrograde
AUG 25 -- Stationing Direct
DEC 1 2017 -- Clears shadow

Mercury Retrograde -- Taurus/Aries begins
MAR 27 -- Mercury Rx Shadow
APR 9 -- Stationing Retrograde
MAY 3 -- Stationing Direct
May 20 -- Clears Shadow

Pluto Retrograde -- Capricorn begins
DEC 29 -- Pluto Rx Shadow
APR 20 -- Stationing Retrograde
SEPT 28 -- Stationing direct
JAN 19, 2018 -- Clears shadow

 

QUICK NOTATIONS...

Venus & Saturn are square to each other when they both station which extends the length of the square substantially.  There is a feeling here of important and permanent shifts in relationship dynamics.  It will likely be spurred on by a conflict -- something is outgrown in favor of a more mature/responsible or serious undertaking.

The Sun travels through Pluto/Uranus/Jupiter T-Square so everything feels extra big.

Mercury & Venus cycles overlapping makes changes very immediate and pressing ... Saturn & Pluto stations add to tension as it irritates everyone's natal Saturn & Pluto stuff (power and control, whee!) ... but there is a lot of important stuff at the guts of it -- worth, value, boundaries, secrets revealed, deep purging, discovery, stubborn and volatile issues coming to the surface -- so try to see it for the lessons, solutions and resolutions, rather than getting roped in to the same old loops.

 

FURTHER WORDS...

Everything in life is an opportunity to return more truly and more deeply to wholeness and completeness within self.

Venus and Mercury retrograde overlapping is a very personal / interpersonal type of review process. What do we really desire? Who are our true friends? What do I value? Think? Feel? And want at this time of my life? If things have been revealed about your relationships of various kinds, how do you move forward towards a better, more actualized you, and better harmony within those relationships? What have been the blind spots, the failures, the expectations? If old news has reappeared how can you bring that old energy back to the wholeness that is you? How do we bring the errant elements of our being into harmony, truth and integrity with what we really feel inside?

Always returning. Always becoming more singular, more whole... Sometimes by letting go of the things that are binding us without us realizing they are.

Saturn and Pluto both going retrograde and thus amplified really brings issues of power and control into the mix as well. Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to fix and manage that we make the process harder for ourselves. But the key with both of these planets is ultimately inner strength and clarity -- not outward perfection. If you do not have clarity right now, inner strength also is a state of surrender and faith that the processes are still playing themselves out and have not yet reached completion.

The realizations have many levels... So being open to what comes, you can discover more and more layers. No matter how stressful or painful on initial impact, we find that we can learn something greater about ourselves.

I do not personally feel conflict is inherently negative when it shows up cosmically and in life. I see my life as about evolving and becoming myself more completely and better, not maintaining perfect mundane stability at all times... so for me it's all fodder for growth and I embrace that. True freedom and stability comes from within. It's real trying sometimes but when I rise above and really transmute something, I'm better for it always. That is the beauty of working with astrology. It's understanding that consciousness is always evolving. It never stops. Ever.

So let yourself grow. And don't be afraid of it when it knocks on your door. Know yourself better in life's reflection. Find peace there.


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Mercury Retrograde in Capricorn: Observations

It is officially "that time of year" again -- Mercury Retrograde time!

Since I did not cover this in my previous article, I thought it would be helpful to share my observations about this cycle thus far.  As of December 1st, Mercury entered it's "shadow zone" at 28 degrees of Sagittarius, and on the 19th of December it will begin its journey retrograde in the sign of Capricorn, goes direct again on January 8, and will clear it's shadow on January 27, 2017, completing the retrograde process.

So what does this all mean?  During the LAST Mercury retrograde in Capricorn (earlier this year) I actually wrote a fairly in-depth explanation that you can review here -- but the short version for today's purposes is that basically starting December 1st we began receiving the "story" that is going to undergo a review process in the coming weeks.  We are in a fiery, quick moving time as Saturn & Uranus come to meet in a trine formation -- manifestation is happening rapidly, often suddenly, and the energy is very difficult to control.

Mercury moving retrograde in the earth sign of Capricorn is causing us to have to confront physical-reality problems in the midst of all of this quick action.  The coming year is going to be more of this fast-fast energy, with a strong emphasis on getting out of the head and into the heart, so I have a sense that this getting-down-to-the-details Mercury Retrograde, if worked with properly, will be helpful preparation for the adventures and whirlwind of here-and-now concerns that 2017 is going to bring.

So, in light of that -- Here's a bit of what I've noticed arising...

 

1) Since Capricorn rules authority internal and external... I have observed many people dealing with experiences that clash against their typical ego-comfort modus operandi. In general, I feel it is causing us to have to face a need to revise or change how our inner authority thinks about itself. In particular the part that thinks it's immune to a need for constructive criticism and adjustment that goes against our perception of how we are/need to be. It's really touching people in tender and resistant spaces.

Think of the Capricorn archetype -- every Sun-Capricorn I know has a strong sense of "image" and an innate desire to be on top of their respective worlds. It is a sign that carries a lot of hidden judgment and insecurity in its shadow. If you go into battle with a Capricorn, you can be assured that they will not let you see them vulnerable.

Each and every one of us has this archetype within us, somewhere in our chart. This Mercury retrograde really feels like it's triggering the contrast between the "image" we carry of ourselves and the actual truth of what would actually make us stronger. Vulnerability and openness is basically essential to transformation, but this is a sign that HATES THAT and wants to change on its own terms, in its own way, and would rather keep doing things the hard way than accept an outsider's opinion.

Capricorn's strength is its wisdom. Wisdom comes through the experience of hard won battles, mistakes, and at times, the ability to listen and consider the value of an unpleasant truth. Whatever story has come up in the past week or so since Mercury crossed into its shadow, this Retrograde feels like a good time to listen and evaluate that resistant part of ourselves. Sometimes doing something different from the norm is wise.

True strength is in an open mind. It sounds good on paper, but does that Capricorn part of us really believe it? Skepticism is Capricorn's idea of strength... a valid skill -- but does it always serve your highest and best?

Just a few questions to consider.

 

2) Capricorn being an earth sign will bring up physical, hard reality, logistical challenges. In my own life, the phrase "Major Repairs" has been a basic theme of several life situations. The no fun, bank account draining, ultimate drudgery type of repairs. The kind that involve taking the whole machine apart and putting it back together again. Quite literally.

Capricorn is also a very financial sign. Sure we think of Taurus as finances -- but the Capricorn archetype is one that tends to desire success and recognition -- which includes financial achievement and class. The Capricorn "look" is like a modern NYC penthouse apartment with skyline views. Everything is angular, granite, etc.  Even if a Capricorn individual is not a person who strives in this way, they are at the very least extremely thrifty.

For Capricorn, money is a form a security and power -- not in some kind of messy, emotional battle way like you might find it in Scorpio -- but from a purely shrewd business-like outlook. Capricorn doesn't want to be a lowly minion, they want to be the BOSS. It values SUCCESS and ACHIEVEMENT over emotional matters.

So another effect I've noticed with Mercury Retrograde is a lot of money matters coming to the fore. WISDOM IN INVESTMENTS is very important under this Mercury Rx...

I think strengthening the financial foundation and checking for "leaks" and "need for repair" of the bank account is also coming up right now for many. For me, Capricorn presides over my 2nd house of finances, so I have been going over and observing a LOT of oversights in my financials that I had no idea about, and learning a ton of new things about money management. But I have seen very Capricorn-like financial situations appear around me as well.

Also important, I feel, is clearly understanding the motivations behind the striving for success and checking yourself for whether or not you are in the best possible position to be properly aligned with your greater vision -- and this includes looking at your various sources of financial support (particularly around work, because Capricorn is all about WORK and MANAGEMENT), and adjusting for changes, repairing leaks, etc... so that you can be standing in line with the stream of financial flow, success, and strength rather than just-missing it.

This also goes back to an inner-authority relationship that requires knowing who you really are and making a critical analysis of what is truly functional and dysfunctional in your business exchanges -- then addressing those things.

This is also a good time to consider some new, out-of-the-box ideas that make you stand out from the crowd, and be more recognized and demanded for what you offer as an individual, not just what you offer as your job description, business umbrella, etc.

 

3)  In general, I've noticed communications to have themes of a) Needing to be recognized  b)  Focus on details and fixing errors ... a requirement for absolute and quite literal clarity.  c) Struggles for control.

This is a time of delineated thinking, noticing mistakes or vagueness that you did not see in the previous months with all of the super-foggy, watery energy that has been afoot.

It's a time to be clear and to the point.  Be wary of ego battles, and aspire for truth but keep the peace -- or, if it is appropriate, and the situation is not useful, helpful or serving any kind of purpose, direct your inner authority to disengage completely.

 

So those are just a few of my thoughts and observations with reference to what has been reflected towards me.  How have you been feeling about this round of Capricorn Mercury Retrograde?  Let me know in the comments :)

Taurus New Moon

New moon tomorrow 5/6 at 3:30EDT. Moon goes void of course at 10:10pm EDT conjunct Mercury rx. If you miss the window for intentions, wait till the moon is in Gemini on Saturday 5/7 at 12:34pm EDT.

It's a great moon cycle for focusing on growth and productivity, and is also the most powerful moon of the year for cultivating one's finances. The Moon's last aspect to Mercury rx says to me that it's a great moon to make improvements -- especially with Virgo rising on the Washington, D.C. Chart. So if there are areas of your physical reality where things have been lacking, you can really start to create some movement in those areas. Health, routine, money -- anything pertaining to the body, pleasure, relaxation, luxury -- are all great areas to focus upon. Live like a Taurus -- you know you can do it!! Ha ha!

This month is a good time for reevaluation with both Mars and Mercury retrograde. With the Taurus moon, I'm feeling it is an especially good time to create space for the "slow down" amidst the chaos, as the Gemini half of this month is going to be significantly more crazy. Taurus is a firm believer in the good life, and so there is a pull right now to access that level of being, and remind ourselves of it very well, so when life starts pushing us around, we can always find our emotional / mental safe space. Taurus is also about the fundamentals of things, and so we can use this period to firm up our life foundations in order to create more stability for ourselves down the road. Mars rx is going back over the path of Saturn the past two years, so we are doing a final sweep of clarity around our vision, and then moving into June, revisiting the psychological processes behind it all. So all around, we're really in a phase of making stable all that has been in development for the past several years.

This Taurus moon is very oriented toward action -- but not in a crazy, running around, mania sort of way... It is very deliberate, thoughtful action that keeps the long range view in mind. What level of comfort and peace would you like to attain? What does it take to get there? How can I start something today that will lead me towards that goal? And remember, Taurus processes are cumulative. It's not about doing it all at once... It's about focused consistency. So be practical about it. Choose pathways that are realistic, something you are ready to commit to, but still stretch and expand you in a healthy way. Since Taurus is also about value -- as in what we value and our own self worth -- it's also a wonderful time to practice treating yourself well by honoring your goals.

All in all, remember that Taurus is a sign that's a big fan of quality over quantity. Whatever you do, whatever your visions are at this time, keep it simple and be abundant.

*~*~*~*~*~*

Here is Astrologer Ellias Lonsdale's write up on the degree of 16 Taurus, where our new moon is this month:

TAURUS 16
A young girl and boy explore a perfume counter. 
Weaving polarities adroitly with alchemical awareness of what can come from the right combinations. You are fascinated and awestruck by all the various combinations, facets, and ways the life-force distributes itself and plays itself out. The rapt admirer of the wisdom and beauty of nature, transfixed by what happens around here. Coming at things always from yet another side, yet never feeling it is enough. There is more to be done, infinitely more to partake in and enhance. The world is an open book. And it magnetically, almost hypnotically draws your attention and interest to what is needed next, to what is emergent and outstanding as life matches dreams and dreams encompass fantastic variety and vivid spectrum to lose yourself in and discover everything through, from one end of the Earth to the other.

*~*~*~*~*~*

Love and peace.

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

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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.

retrograde_mars_tezel_2007-2008

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.

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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.

OK.

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.

THAT SAID.

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.

Sept 27 Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse: Aries Style Quick Version

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I have been trying to write an article about this upcoming Lunar eclipse for the entire week and it just hasn't been working out. I even wrote a status update that disappeared before I got a chance to post it. So here's the quick and dirty...

The energy of this eclipse has been blowing me away with its intensity since last week. I feel it is powerfully influenced by the square between Mercury Retrograde and Pluto direct. Mercury retrograde is always a reflective energy, and Pluto is bringing up some really OLD stuff. A grieving and feeling that something has died and it's time to move on.

With the Full Moon in Aries on the South Node, I feel there is a strong message about releasing headstrong, willful attitudes, letting the guard down, and being willing to collaborate. We're really looking at the relationships in our lives -- and this encompasses interpersonal relationships as well as how we relate to our life in general -- and assessing how these relationships make or made us FEEL, acknowledging our feelings, and perhaps seeing our lives from a different light. I feel the need for greater balance in our concern for others and what we require to be happy within ourselves is coming to clarity. Where we have been previously unyielding, we might find ourselves softening... Where we have been overly accommodating we may be finding that it's time to stand up for ourselves, with grace.

With Saturn in Sagittarius influencing things, there is a sense of wanting to reconnect with friends and an openness for new adventures that we haven't felt in a while. I feel this energy is also bringing a strong element of truth to the Mercury Retrograde ... Certainly this has appeared in the public discourse of late, but even within the energy there is a sensation of needing to acknowledge one's own truth... "The truth is I really do want to do this. The truth is I really do feel that towards that situation..." When we acknowledge the truth we can be free, otherwise there's a lot of anxiety about whether or not the truth is OK for us. It's finding that balance between Libra's desire to please others and Aries' forcefulness. We worry about what other people think, and then want force the worry into submission... in the end, we just have a worry in a headlock.

Mars Square Saturn -- not a lot of forward movement at the moment, but a feeling like there is a fire under our bums. It's Mercury Retro, so seriously, it's cool, you don't have to push as hard as you think. Take a breather. It seems wiser to stop and evaluate than attempt to charge forward. This is an opportunity to see where we're going to go. We're finding that it's time to let go. Of a lot. All at once. But it's stuff that's been waiting to be gone for a while now. Stuff you knew you'd have to release eventually.  Let it happen because it's beyond your control at this point.  And though it's sad to see these lingerers go on their way, the visions of where we're headed are strong and keep us looking towards the future. This is a new chapter.

The crossing of another threshold into a purer state of true being. Into an even more specific and simultaneously expanded and empowered version of ourself. A leveling of extremes.  This is a life changing/world changing energetic climate.  We really feel we want to get it right.  Put it all in order.  Find central equilibrium.

Somehow it seems like being flexible is important. Perhaps it is the strong mutable influence coming into play. Being attached to outcomes is not the name of the game at the moment -- it's more about dealing in the present as situations arise. Keep the sketch in the back of your mind, but allow yourself to wander.

Keep your feet on the ground. It's a lot of emotions right now but it's best to not get involved. They're not today's emotions... they're from some other time, some other place. Feel them, acknowledge them, and be free.

Hope that helps <3 :)

Happy Equinox ! :D

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

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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.