Mercury retrograde at the Aquarius New Moon, January 2015

Aquarius New MoonMercury turns retrograde on January 21st where it will encourage us to look back rather than forwards and see where we need to reflect, retreat, relax, or revise.  Mercury of course rules the mind and the way we communicate with others and generally process information, including the vehicles for that communication such as our technological devices and travel timetables.

Mercury retrograde is a mainstream concept now and even the New York Times, which as recently as 2006 pooh-poohed the idea that a planet appearing to move backwards could be a real thing.  Times have changed, and I like to think that’s largely because of the explosion of REAL astrology on the Internet, and the most recent article in the New York Times is more supportive of the concept if not totally enthusiastic.  The lack of enthusiasm can be blamed on astrology writers who admonish readers to put everything on hold while they hide from their lives until the retrograde is over, which is silly and unhelpful.

To understand the illusion of its movement means to realize that we are not at the center of things, that there is a reality beyond the one we see. (For astrology bloggers, this is less a problem than further evidence of the planet’s wiliness — as if its dangerous power is drawn less from what the planet actually does or is and more from the story of our confused efforts to understand it.)

There is a wisdom behind retrogrades that encourages us to take a breath and stop what we are doing, if only for a moment, and look back at our lives before forging ahead with something new.  Mercury isn’t the only planet that retrogrades, but it does so more often and therefore is more newsworthy.   Mercury will turn direct again on February 11th.  Yes, there are shadow periods as Mercury slows down and invites us to slow down as well, but there is no magic number about when these start or how we will be affected by the retrograde.  Finding time to be more present in our lives and cultivating a sense of humor when things go wonky, which they will, will go a long way towards helping us successfully navigate these times.

We also have a New Moon in Aquarius to precede Mercury’s retrograde turn.  The modern ruler of Aquarius is Uranus, which I like to call the “higher octave” of Mercury.  Where Mercury rules the human mind, Uranus rules the higher mind – intuition, awareness, consciousness.  Aquarius is ruled by the higher mind – intuition and advanced consciousness are its domain.  Under the Aquarian influence we are lifted far beyond the personal into a more transpersonal and transformational perspective that provides reason and knowledge.

This is the third New Moon in a row that has occurred at the very first degree of a sign, doubling the symbolic new beginning.  The New Moon marks a new lunar cycle, and at zero degrees Aquarius there is a sense of being washed clean and emerging into a new awareness.

This New Moon aligns in a harmonious sextile with Saturn, helping to ground us and use that innovative inspiration in a more practical way.  This New Moon opens up a window of consciousness that can help us to envision our lives completely differently, and with a new awareness that can begin opening doors for us.  Mercury is stationary at the New Moon, at a complete standstill like a moment frozen in time.  If we pay attention now, we can see all the way to infinity.

The astrology of recent violence in France

Photo source: Yahoo News
Photo source: Yahoo News

With Uranus, planet of radical behavior and revolution, in Aries, the sign that’s ruled by the God of War (Mars), it is not surprising that there has been an increase in global violence since Uranus entered that sign in 2010.  The square from Pluto (death and destruction) in Capricorn (political and financial structures) exacerbates this even more, and we are heading into the final phase of that cycle (see the sidebar for more information if this is new to you).

In France over the past week there have been several attacks of religious extremists using terror tactics that have shaken the nation to its core.  Astrologers can explain these attacks by citing the fact that both Uranus and Pluto are in stressful aspects to the Libra Sun in France’s universally accepted 1958 chart and certainly this is true, but it is also true of the Cancer Sun in the US chart.  What is perhaps more significant is that as Saturn entered Sagittarius it triggered Mars (planet of warfare and defense) in the France chart.

With Mars in Gemini, the sign of communication, the style of the French has been to fight a war using words rather than armaments, often to the despair of other nations.   In Sagittarius, Saturn challenges all of our belief systems and this will be particularly challenging for France and other countries which attempt to hold onto their cultural identity in an age of globalization.

Pluto’s trip through Sagittarius, sign of foreign culture and travel, witnessed the relocation of millions of immigrants into France, many from north African former french colonies.  This migration helped strengthen the French economy, but also meant a growing percentage of French residents held beliefs that were foreign to the French, including those of the Islamic faith.  Facing growing discrimination, many Islamic youth across Europe are seeking comfort in terrorist cells.

Saturn will soon move away from France’s Mars, for now, but the legacy of colonialism and prejudice in France and many other of the first world countries will not soon disappear.  Uranus is the great equalizer, and in Mars its path is through aggression and violence.

Cancer Full Moon is a powerhouse of energy

full_moon_stock_by_Moon_WillowStockIn its own sign of Cancer the Full Moon is an emotional one – opening up the heart and requiring us to explore our own vulnerability. This particular lunation is powerful, with the Pluto (transformation) conjunct the Sun and opposing the Moon. Pluto encourages/forces us to go deep, beyond the superficial, and discover the treasure that lies there along with the ugly stuff that we prefer to keep hidden. Creating additional intensity is the square to Uranus which brings impatience and a potential for reckless behavior.

The Sun is in Capricorn now, and this Full Moon asks us to find balance between the emotional reactivity of Cancer and the cold hard facts of Capricorn.  Our feeling nature and our practical side must find balance now.

All of these energies combine to create an intense experience that will be made easier with conscious attention. Psychodrama and ritual can be a great benefit during this lunation – this is a perfect time for prayer through dance or movement. Fortunately there are several beneficial aspects that will help to provide ease and support during this time (the power of the Full Moon usually lasts for about three days) including the harmonious sextile from both Mercury (mind) and Venus (relationships) to Saturn (grounding and structure) that provides stability and sensibility.

Happy New Year! Moving forward in times of change

2015 new year astrologyFor many, the first day of a new year is a day like any other, and to think otherwise is just a trick of the calendar. But a magical life is filled with symbols and meaning, and the passage through the doorway into a new year can be filled with the magic of transformation.

The Romans celebrated the first day of the year as a festival to Janus, their god of gates, doors, beginnings and endings. janusThey named the month of January after him, and portrayed him with two faces: one looking back and one looking forward. Janus presided over transition from past to future, the passage from childhood to adulthood and into old age. One of his faces was often portrayed clean-shaven with the other bearded.

Gates and doors are both portals from one experience to another. We enter through a gate and leave a part of ourselves behind; we enter the world of the unknown when we transition from one phase to another. Sometimes we seek change, sometimes we embrace it. Other times we fight it – holding on to the past for dear life. However we approach change it is, of course, inevitable. No matter how hard we wish for the day to remain, the night will come – followed by the next day of new beginnings.

I love the African concept of “Sankofa,” which literally means “it is not taboo to go back and fetch what you forgot.” The word “Sankofa” comes from the Sankofa bird which flies forward while looking backwards. Sankofa teaches that we must look backwards to look forwards, reclaiming and preserving the past as tools for the future. In this way we can pass through the gateways without losing any part of ourselves in the process, achieving a wholeness and grace of spirit.

I wish you all a magical passage into the New Year!

January 2015 Planetary Illuminations astrological forecast

January 2015 astrologyHappy New Year to my dear readers!  I’ve posted the January report a day early and you can read the report in its entirety here at this link.

If you are on my mailing list you will receive your monthly newsletter with a translation from the complex astrologese into a more simplified version that is easy to understand.  If you are not yet on my mailing list please sign up in the sidebar.  Meanwhile, here are the main astrological events for January:Please, continue reading »