A new sunspot cycle?

The current Solar Minimum cycle has had 619 days of a spot-free Sun (as compared with the typical solar minimum of 485 days).  But Spaceweather reports today that a new active region on the Sun produced a Coronal Mass Ejection and a burst of radio emissions on the far side of the Sun that probably points to a new sunspot.

Increased solar activity affects satellite transmissions on Earth, and it seems to me that it likely affects the human electrical fields as well.  The next sunspot cycle is expected to peak in 2012, leading some scientists to issue dire warnings about the collapse of the electrical grid.

Spaceweather suggests that the CME will be visible from earth over the next couple of days and more information will be available then.

What is Mercury Retrograde good for?

When we say a planet is retrograde we mean that it appears to move backwards from our perspective on earth.  Astrology is not astronomically correct because we are observing the planets from earth rather than objectively from space.  When a planet is traveling retrograde, its effect can be more intensely personal and there is a sense of looking back into the past to go back over events that have already taken place.

Mercury rules the processing of information and the mental function, and it also presides over small machinery, short trips, and messages.  While Mercury is retrograde, we can expect glitches in all of these areas as our attention is drawn back into any area that needs to be revisited and given a second look.  Often we find breakdowns in our email and communication systems, which can usually be traced back to human error.  Contracts signed and agreements made during Mercury Rx periods often need to be renegotiated and plans made often need to be altered.

Because our attention is turned inward and backward during these periods (Mercury will be retrograde until May 30), they are excellent times for anything that needs a do-over.  Anything that begins with the prefix “re-” (from the Latin “back” or “again”) is suitable during the Mercury retrograde period:  Rewriting a manuscript, renovating your home, returning to a place you have been before to learn something new, retreat into contemplation and meditation.  Try to avoid buying a new phone system or a new computer until Mercury turns direct, and don’t make any major changes to your software systems.

If you do need to begin a new project, hire a new employee, or sign a contract during this time, try to be as clear as possible and have all agreements in writing, but expect that there will be some renegotiation required.  Mercury retrograde does not by any means ALWAYS bring problems, but being aware of the potential for difficulty and the reason behind it goes a long way towards easing any problems that do arise.

Musings on the recent Venus Retrograde

The Venus retrograde period (March 5 to April 17) was greeted with great trepidation by some astrologers and the readers who follow them. Venus is generally known as a beneficial planet, but when retrograde she can challenge our relationships and force us to look below the surface at what motivates us in our interactions with others.

There was a large number of mass murders (eight?) during the Venus Rx period, and most of those were connected to disappointment and resentment of family members and spouses.  Fortunately, it’s a very small number of people who experienced the self-examination of the Venus Rx period in this manner, but many people wrote to me of their experiences dealing with friends and loved ones.

I was not exempt from this process, and much of my Venus Rx experience was facilitated by Facebook which I joined after much resistance (I already spend way too much time online!!).  But through Facebook I found a couple of old friends who I had just lost touch with because we never found each other and as it happened, both of them made visits to where I live during the Venus Rx period so we were able to reconnect.

There were some challenging moments, such as the time I asked one friend why she had broken up with me 15 years ago (we had since made up, but never addressed the cause of the breakup).  I wasn’t very happy with the answer (Chiron was also squaring my Venus at the time) and it caused me some distress as I vacillated between anger (how could she misread me so badly?) and shame (how could I have hurt her feelings so carelessly?).  But in the end a resolution occurred that has already improved our connection.

I found another old friend on the Facebook page of a good friend of mine.  I have known this friend for a shocking length of time (let’s just say that it’s longer than many of my readers have been on the planet) and we have had some serious ups and downs. It seemed we would never be able to reconcile the differences in our personalities.   As it happens, she moved back to Chapel Hill during the Venus Rx period and we have reconnected with a new wisdom in how to dig beneath the crap to find the jewel of the love that lies beneath.

We would like to think relationships are meant to be easy, but the relationships with people that are truly our soulmates are designed to aid us in our personal growth.  Sometimes this is fabulous and thrilling, and sometimes it’s painful and exposes parts of our selves we would just as soon ignore. This, to me, is what the Venus retrograde period is all about.

Interesting timing of bank stress test results

Evidently the Federal Reserve will disclose the results of the “stress test” on May 7, the day that Mercury turns retrograde.

While bank executives are still muddling through stress-test results, their communication managers are wrestling with the question about how and what to tell the public.
The big day for the unveiling of the results is Thursday, May 7.
Interviews with heads of corporate-communication and public-relations departments at a number of the 19 stress-tested banks revealed an intense struggle to come up with a plan to reassure investors, counterparties and customers. Communications from the banks may be critical even for those whose bill of health is reasonably clean.  Those deemed short of capital face a daunting task to keep their heads above water, PR executives and lawyers said.
Banks are under a gag order from regulators not to disclose anything about the stress test, but the Federal Reserve, which conducts the test, has made clear that it will disclose certain details about the capital position and capital needs of individual banks.

This is a good example of what Mercury Retrograde periods are good for: looking backwards to see what can be done to improve a given situation.  This particular exercise is likely to lead to a certain amount of financial instability, but at least it will be known which banks are in trouble which will help lead to a solution to the bank problems.

Any retrograde turn of a planet can cause reversals in the financial markets  which have been doing pretty well lately (the Dow rose 7% in April).

Skywatch for May is posted!

SkywatchThe complete Skywatch article is posted here, but here is the introduction:

The big news in May is the triple conjunction of Jupiter, Chiron, and Neptune which culminates on the 26th and 27th of May. We have been building up to this for quite some time ? this is a tremendous force for healing and for realigning our inner sense of purpose to fit with our outer dharma and destiny. You can read more about this major cycle here, but essentially what we have with this combination is the longing of the soul to experience a life that has a deeper meaning (Neptune) combining with the necessity to work through any blocks and painful experiences that are standing in our way of that goal (Chiron). The expansion of this process in a way that can be beneficial or simply more painful is facilitated by Jupiter. Jupiter is usually considered a positive influence, and because it provides an expansive force when combined with Chiron it can be a wonderful aide to the healing process. But that healing process when Chiron is involved requires that we revisit our wounds, and this can be extremely difficult too, depending upon the experiences that are involved here.

As the month of May begins, we find only one planet representing the water element: Uranus which is in Pisces. Water is the element of the emotional realm, and when water is underrepresented it becomes more difficult to manage our emotions. Uranus is a dry planet, and in a water sign it does not provide the watery flow that assists in the processing of emotions. Other than the Moon (especially the Scorpio Full Moon on May 9th), we will not have any planets other than Uranus in water signs until the Sun enters Cancer in June. Until then we are living in a realm of ideas and action, with a predominance of air and fire.

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