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Venus turns retrograde March 4, 2017 – what does this mean for you?

Venus usually slips through our lives like a whisper, and we barely experience her transits.  Her influence is usually soft and encouraging and I often say that we only really take notice when we experience discomfort of some kind.  Even the challenging transits of Venus are benign, offering us only an opportunity to indulge in greater indulgence.

Venus is famous for her influence on relationships.  As the goddess of love and beauty, she bestows an attractive power and grace, but that attractive power draws more than love.  It can also be a magnet for financial wealth and personal possessions so in that way, Venus is said to rule our values and the things that we love as well as the people. Venus also rules our ability to love and relate to our self, and the kind of talents and personal resources that we possess as well as the material possessions.

Venus is in Aries now, where she is more of a Warrior Queen than a cartoon sex goddess.  This befits her divine lineage, since the archetype of Venus descends from Ishtar, Inanna, Astarte – the goddesses of war and power as well as sex and love.  When Venus in Aries turns retrograde, she has some scores to settle.  Relationships from the past can be healed or resolved now, but confrontations may occur.  This is not a warm and fuzzy Venus retrograde in which we find our old friends on Facebook, but we can find real resolution here and true transformation of weak links in our links to those around us.  Venus retrograde periods are not ideal for beginning new relationships since we are looking back into the past rather than thinking sensibly about the future.

Venus also presides over our values and the possessions that we own, and in her role as attractor she is also involved in issues of wealth and money.   This retrograde period will likely break the dramatic spike in the stock market and create a pullback in financial markets, and during the Aries portion of the Venus retrograde things could be volatile.

Venus will slip back into Pisces on April 3 and will turn direct again on April 15th.  During this period, while Venus is in Pisces, there will be a softening and a rebalancing in these areas, and once Venus turns direct on the 15th everything will feel more settled.

Venus moves back into Aries on the 28th of April, infusing us with a renewed sense of purpose and clarified energy.

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By | 2017-03-03T08:34:03+00:00 March 3rd, 2017|Featured posts|5 Comments

The Astrology of Donald Trump

There’s no doubt that Donald Trump is one of the more colorful characters in American life today.  A real estate mogul who turned an inherited fortune into a mega fortune of his own, he has embraced the spotlight and has taken advantage of every opportunity to put himself in the public eye.  He has been undaunted by criticism or failure, and his brash and aggressive style has both charmed and appalled Americans for many years.  Now that he is running a serious candidacy for President, he is in the limelight like never before.

Psychologists and pundits the world over have attempted to analyze Trump with little success.  Let’s see what the astrology tells us.

Donald Trump (see chart here) was born with the Sun in chatty Gemini, and under an exact Lunar Eclipse (with the Gemini Sun opposite the Sagittarius Moon).   In a lunar eclipse, the instincts and emotion of the Moon are eclipsed by the Solar conscious energy of the Sun.  When emotions and instinctive drives are forced to hide away from the solar light, they can intensify and become more powerful and we often see this with people who are born under a lunar eclipse.  (Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, is another example of a lunar eclipse baby.)

People born under a total eclipse carry the intense emotional energy with them, though these lunar instincts may remain hidden for much of their lifetime until they are forced to emerge through some kind of confrontation.

Uranus  is connected to the eclipse as well – conjunct the Sun where it encourages innovation and radical behavior, and opposite the Moon where it makes personal relationships difficult and suggests a distant relationship with the mother.  Uranian people tend to dislike following the lead of others and prefer to create their own way.

Trump’s chart shows Leo rising, reflecting his need to shine in the spotlight and be admired.  At its best, Leo is driven to do admirable works that will gain public recognition; at its worst there can be a Machiavellian manipulation for attention.  Statements like “I’m very rich” and “no one builds better than me” are examples of Leo gone bad – the desperate need for attention taken to its extreme.

This tendency for self-aggrandizement is exacerbated by the presence of Mars (planet of aggression) which is also in Leo, intensifying that need for attention, right on the ascendant where it becomes the projection of the personality.  It’s Mars which we see when Trump bullies those around him, or pushes his way through business dealings and presidential debates.

We would expect someone with Trump’s supreme confidence to have a strong Jupiter component, and we see that Jupiter (planet of good luck and self-righteousness) in the 2nd house of money in a harmonious trine to the Sun.  This trine of Jupiter to the Sun tends to bestow a sense of having been chosen by the gods – there is a tendency towards luck and the kind of success that comes from an abundance of positive thinking.  His Jupiter-ruled Sagittarius Moon helps to cement that super-confidence into a belief system that is virtually unshakeable.  One writer said

However, there are no planets in earth elements in Trump’s birthchart which would help to ground him and give him a practical sense of moving through the world.  He is all fire and air – energy, enthusiasm and ideas.  In his presidential candidacy he can’t be bothered coming up with a practical blueprint for solving the nation’s problems – he is more interested in motivating and exciting.

His achilles heel is in his relationships.  With three planets in the emotional and family-oriented sign of Cancer he doesn’t lack sensitivity for those he loves.  His Mercury (mind) in Cancer reflects his emotionality when speaking and reacting to the words of others.  His Venus in Cancer reveals his desire to nurture and care for those he loves, which we can see in his relationship with his children, most of whom work with him in one way or another, though not so much in his marital situations.  Marriage has been tricky for Trump which isn’t surprising with Saturn (tests and challenges) conjunct Venus (relationships) and Chiron (wounding and healing) in Venus-ruled Libra.

Some writers have suggested that perhaps Trump’s grandiosity is a narcissistic wound that comes from damage to the Self that he tries to fix by doing more and being more – a bottomless pit that will never be satisfied.  However, I am not seeing this kind of wound in the chart.  I do believe that he is addicted to the glamor and the attention that comes with being The Donald, and he is driven by the desire to expand and become bigger and bigger rather than by some insecurity to be accepted by others.  The danger with a drive to continually amplify and inflate your life is that there is a limit.  Either the bubble will pop, or someone else will become bigger than you and take your place.

Trump’s progressed Midheaven, revealing the evolution of his career path, just moved from sensitive Cancer into Leo in March of this year.  This would have encouraged him to seek a greater role in the public eye, and right on schedule he announced his candidacy for President in June.

This is a particularly emotional time for Trump with Chiron hitting the sensitive Sun and Moon and eclipse points, and Pluto challenging his Chiron.  I’ll be looking at the transits and doing more forecasting for him in another post, but for someone like Trump it’s sometimes the challenging aspects that empower us to overcome obstacles and achieve our greatest success.  This is NOT an evaluation of his chances at the presidency – that I will tackle in a future article.

Note on Trump’s time of birth:  Astrodatabank uses a birth time of 10:54 am on June 14, 1946, citing a birth certificate posted online.  But since Trump has refused to release his birth certificate I have requested clarification from Astrodabank.  Another time of 9:51 am has been bandied about.  The two charts are not that different – the later time has Leo/Virgo cusp rising and the Sun in the 10th house of career and the public eye and with Mars on the Ascendant; the earlier time has Leo rising with Mars in the first house but with the Sun in the 11th house of friendship and groups which makes less sense.

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By | 2016-06-13T21:14:34+00:00 September 4th, 2015|Featured posts, People|6 Comments

Living successfully through Mercury retrograde periods

Mercury retrograde June 2014Mercury turns retrograde June 7, and you may have already noticed that communication is getting wonky and glitches are everywhere.  Yesterday a client’s phone service was temporarily terminated in the middle of our consultation which is an everyday type of occurrence when Mercury is retrograde.  (If you missed my posts on retrogrades you can catch up here and learn more about the positive aspects of retrograde planetary cycles.)

Conventional wisdom instructs us not to make any big decisions or sign contracts when Mercury is retrograde.  Yet Mercury retrogrades for three weeks four times a year and life doesn’t stop during these times.  I often get questions from readers who have to buy a car and Mercury is retrograde – do they have to wait?  Or they have to sign a contract for a new job or they will lose the job.  Or there is a court ruling and they need to sign off on it or be held in contempt.   Clearly under circumstances such as these commitments must be made.

The mythological Mercury was the messenger of the gods.  He carried information and moved freely between the domain of the gods and the world of the living.  Astrological Mercury is associated with communication and the workings of the mind, as well as the mechanical implements through which we communicate.  When Mercury appears to move backwards as it does during the retrograde periods we are forced to slow down and review our past actions, or re-do a current action over and over.  During a recent Mercury retrograde I was writing the monthly Planetary Illuminations report and my browser kept crashing, necessitating me to write and rewrite the article multiple times.  Every time I rewrote it I discovered new layers of information, so while it was extremely frustrating I believe it did make for a better article!

In the comments Nancy wrote that she completed an entire book during a retrograde Mercury period.  Often problematic situations are repaired when Mercury is retrograde, such as the time NASA repaired the flawed Hubble launch during a Mercury retrograde period (the launch itself also occurred during a retrograde).   As we always say, anything that begins with an “re-” is favored during Mercury retrograde.  Re-connect with old friends.  Re-vise your will.  Re-visit your financial plan.  Re-model or re-novate your house.   These are also times to go back and finish something from the past.  Complete a novel.

These are challenging times to plan a trip or a vacation, but sometimes it can’t be avoided.  If you must schedule travel during Mercury retrograde periods do everything you can to be sure that you are paying attention to ALL of the details.  Often Mercury retrograde problems are due to simple user error, such as scheduling your trip on the wrong date.  Be sure you obtain written confirmation of all travel plans and print them out to carry with you because electronic copies may not be available if your device fails!

Decisions under Mercury retrograde can be very effective if they are resolution of past problems such as a decision to divorce or to quit a job.  Starting a new job under Mercury retrograde isn’t ideal, but it isn’t fatal. If you do begin a new job during this cycle see if it’s possible to do your training during the retrograde period and then actually begin your new duties after Mercury turns direct.  If the new job involves correcting errors from previous employees that is even better.

In my other life as a realtor we are always signing contracts during Mercury retrograde periods.  It’s absolutely true that these contracts nearly always have problems that require us to go back and revise them or renegotiate terms.  Often we discover title problems at the last minute, or the inspection fails to reveal a defect that turns up later.  We can try to minimize these problems by being especially careful, but I have found it avoids a great deal of frustration when we are aware of the natural flow of Mercury cycles.  Generally the contracts that we sign under Mercury retrograde DO close successfully, they just take more effort to navigate.

Please always remember, living in fear of challenging planetary cycles has a far more negative effect than the cycle itself!

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By | 2014-06-06T09:05:15+00:00 June 6th, 2014|Featured posts, Mercury retrograde|6 Comments

Astrology lesson: The effect of planetary cycles

planetsA client asked this question so I thought it might be a good thing to cover in this column:  Do planetary cycles like the Uranus/Pluto square (see the sidebar) affect everyone the same?

I used this example to explain how planetary cycles work:  When it’s raining in your community, rain pours down on everyone.  But everyone is affected differently.  Some people love being out in the rain and they may be dancing in the streets.  Some people hate to get wet, and they will stay indoors or cover themselves with rain gear.  Some people get depressed in the dark days, and they will retreat into their sadness until the Sun returns.

A planetary cycle or movement, whether a huge cycle such as the Uranus/Pluto square that is going on now (see the sidebar) or a tiny little lunar event that may last an hour or two, will affect all of us to one degree or another.  If the planetary cycle is near the same degree as a planet in our chart so that it hits us directly, it will have a stronger and more personal impact.

If the planetary cycle is near the same degree as a sensitive point or system in our chart it has the strongest affect of all, stimulating that sensitive point and necessitating some sort of change to bring relief and ultimately, growth and evolution.

For more information and guidance during planetary cycles, you may want to read my article on Transits and Transformation.

Thank you for attending today’s lesson!

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By | 2013-12-07T06:32:58+00:00 December 7th, 2013|Featured posts, Lessons, Planetary cycles|0 Comments

Pluto through Capricorn 2008-2024

Glastonbury towerThis image is The Tower card from the Glastonbury Tarot, a much less frightening image than the Tower in other decks. The Tower in the Tarot signifies destruction and rebuilding of the established order, which is exactly what Pluto in Capricorn is all about.

It’s too easy to get caught up in the distress of change and the sense that things are falling apart around us, and we often forget that from the ashes there is a new and usually improved reality that arises in its place.  That is why I like this Phoenix image representing the emergence of something new out of the ashes of destruction.

Part I: Introduction

Although Pluto is a small planet (in fact, it is now classified as a dwarf planet) it packs a powerful punch. Pluto represents death and endings and the breakdown of the structures in our life that are required in order to bring transformation and fresh beginnings. Pluto brings us face to face with the ultimate reality of life and, watching over us like a shamanic guardian, destroys whatever stands in the way of our soul’s ultimate destination.

Pluto’s passage through the signs brings with it a compulsive fascination in the issues denoted by that sign. He ruthlessly exposes the darkness that lies at the core of the sign’s archetypes and, destroying the old order, demands that we rebuild on the ashes of the old. Like the Phoenix bird with which it is associated, Pluto dies and is regenerated to begin anew.

Pluto has been traveling through Sagittarius since 1995, bringing with it wars (Pluto) over religion and ideology (Sagittarius), as well as “culture wars” and the growing divide between groups that think differently, all Sagittarius archetypes. Sagittarius rules the media and entertainment, and the rise of a new compulsivity in celebrity journalism has grown up since Pluto entered Sagittarius, with the internet spawning a huge new gossip market. Sagittarius carries with it a nearly relentless optimism; ruled by Jupiter with its expansive need for growth, Pluto in Sagittarius has seen soaring home prices and a burgeoning stock market that seems to have no end. The “new economy” of the dot com era occurred under Pluto’s Sagittarian influence, as did the explosion of the vacation home market.

Pluto transits typically include a breakdown phase, where structures that no longer serve us are dismantled to make room for new structures that are more in line with our spiritual evolution. I like to think of these periods as course corrections, where our guides or gods decide that certain changes are required. If we understand the process and can surrender to it with trust, this can be an exhilarating time of transformation and empowerment. If we resist and hold on to the past it can be full of tragedy and pain.

Capricorn is the sign of the builder, the achiever. Capricorn is rooted in the material world and understands that life on earth requires a practical approach to the matters of earning a living. There is also a drive for success; to climb the highest mountains like the goat which is it’s symbol. For Capricorn, the ends justify the means and achievement of one’s goals is the important thing and it is able to maintain a powerful focus.

Its rulership by Saturn gives respect for discipline and authority and Capricorn has tremendous respect for governmental structures and the stability of a moral system. However, Saturn also bestows its tendency towards pessimism and lack of humor as all things personal are sacrificed for the goal. There is often a tendency to prize material things above those of the emotional or spiritual realms, and this lack of balance can create a dry and miserable experience.

When Pluto goes through Capricorn we can expect the transformation of all things ruled by that sign – such as our religious institutions, halls of government and political structures, the way we inter our dead and take care of our old people, construction techniques and buildings, and how we handle ownership of property.

While Pluto takes 244 years to orbit the Sun, its elliptical orbit means that it doesn’t spend the same amount of time in each sign. For example, it only took twelve years to travel through Scorpio, but it took 26 years to get through Cancer and 19 years through Leo. Pluto will be in Capricorn until 2024, and this occurs at a time when our Capricornian structures are ripe for transformation. Industry (Capricorn) in developed and developing countries as become a major source of carbon emissions which threaten the survival of life on earth. The Catholic Church (Capricorn), rocked by sex scandals, is struggling for survival. The very way we do business (Capricorn) is being forever changed by the globalization of politics and the economy.

Part II: The Historical View

Pluto will enter Capricorn for the first time January 25, 2008 and will retrograde back into Sagittarius one final time on June 14. It will journey back into Capricorn on November 26, 2008 and remain there until January 21, 2024. For sixteen years, Pluto will engage in a process of breaking down and then rebuilding the structures on which we depend for a successful experience in the material world.

There is a natural evolution to the path of the planets through the zodiacal signs as each sign offers a completely different experience than the sign before. In Sagittarius, Pluto has been compulsively expansive and optimistic, intensifying religious fervor – all qualities of Sagittarius. In Capricorn, Pluto seeks to contract and solidify and build solid structures for society. In the process, the structures that already exist are broken down and irrevocably transformed

breakupPluto was last in Capricorn from November 1762 until December 1, 1778. Pluto deals with transformation of the political and economic realities of our world, and its entry into Capricorn marked the end of the Seven Years’ War in which France ceded Canada to Britain, but political unrest was felt throughout Europe as well as in the Colonies and this period marked a reconfiguration of many of the nations in the world. Catherine the Great acceded to the throne after the murder of her husband, perhaps at her own hand, and presided over wars with the Ottoman Empire that resulted in Russian acquisition of much of the Turkish lands. The first partition in Poland occurred during this period which split Poland into three sections owned by Russia, Prussia and Austria. Britain traded Cuba to Spain in exchange for Florida; Parliament passed the Stamp Act to pay for the wars that began the Colonial rebellion that resulted in the American Revolution.

The thirst for revolution in France, England and Russia stemmed from a reaction to the breakup and reconfiguration of world nations (Capricorn) that followed the colonial expansion (Sagittarius) that preceded it. Pluto’s previous passage through Capricorn back in 1516-1533 c.e. was preceded by the original exploration of the New World that gave rise to the later Colonial ideals. Once the original explorers had returned to the courts of Europe, under Pluto in Capricorn those countries set out to conquer the New World and create new colonies that were subservient to the European rulers. The rise of anti-Catholic sentiment that brought about the rise of Protestants under Pluto in Sagittarius gave way to Martin Luther’s formalizing his revolt with his nailing his Thesis to the door of the Church in 1517 under Pluto in Capricorn, founding a new structure of worship, the Lutheran Church.

Part III:  What can we expect in the future?

Although Pluto will enter Capricorn for the first time in January 2008infrastructure, it will retrograde back into the late degrees in Sagittarius in June 2008 where it will make one final sweep through the Sagittarian issues of religion, philosophy, travel, ideology, journalism, optimism, and general expansion. Throughout 2008 it will be virtually stationary, traveling less than three degrees during this period, from 1 degree Capricorn back through 28 degrees Sagittarius. Because it will be stationary for so long, where its influence is the most powerful, I would expect a great deal of intensity and forced transformation during this period. This will be particularly intense for those of us who have planets in the late degrees of the mutable signs (Virgo, Pisces, Sagittarius, Gemini) or the early degrees of the cardinal signs (Capricorn, Cancer, Aries Libra).

Pluto causes endings and new beginnings – it forces us to surrender as it rebuilds us from the inside out. I suspect that throughout next year the intense optimism of Pluto in Sagittarius will battle with the necessity for realism of Pluto in Capricorn, and it will be a while before the economic problems really hit home. Mars will oppose Pluto in early March, which will create some fireworks of aggression and confrontation, and Saturn will make its second trine to Pluto in April which will ease the challenge of the new requirements of Capricorn Pluto which wants to tear down and rebuild the structures of our life and planet and intensify the power bases that govern society.

Once Pluto is firmly entrenched in Capricorn beginning in December 2008, we will begin to really see it at work. This of course will follow the US presidential election in November 2008. Pluto seeks to focus and intensify as well as break down and regenerate. The structures of our world keep societies in order and functioning: churches, governments, buildings – all of these are ruled by Capricorn. But so are bridges and tunnels, and the entire infrastructure upon which we live, particularly in urban areas, are likely to experience a severe breakdown while Pluto travels through Capricorn. Underground transportation, under the domain of the god of the underworld, could become a battleground as Pluto often brings warfare or death in the areas of the sign through which it passes (such as September 11th during Pluto in Sagittarius, where air travel became a conveyance of death and total world transformation).

During the passage of Pluto, we see extremes and compulsions in the area of life associated with the sign through which Pluto travels, and with the Capricornian association with governments and government buildings I would expect a worldwide attempt to solidify a global government and minimize individual liberties. Pluto deals with issues of power – on a personal level such as personal empowerment as well as with the power structures that govern all of humanity that fall under the rubric of the Capricorn theme. When Uranus enters Aries in 2010-2011, there will be a fervor as the pendulum swings back towards individual liberties. By the time Uranus forms a square to Pluto in Capricorn in 2012-2013 there will be tremendous cultural, social and political upheaval which will further transform governments and political structures.

Pluto’s reach will extend beyond governments, however. Capricorn also rules the elderly and end of life issues, and Pluto’s passage through Capricorn could transform the way we view the entire process of death and dying, including the disposal of the body after death.

Often Pluto’s passage through one sign is a reaction to Pluto’s passage through the previous sign, and in Capricorn there may be a reaction of the practical and materialistic Capricorn against the ideological idealism of Pluto’s travel through Sagittarius. An overdose of pragmatism could lead to the negativity and depression with which Capricorn is sometimes associated. Capricorn is associated with achievement and can be ruthless in its efforts to climb to the top, and we could see an increased obsession (Pluto) with climbing the ladder of success that leads to a breakdown in certain segments of society.

There is always a side to Pluto cycles, and in Capricorn we are likely to see an increase in stability and a more practical approach to economics and business than we saw under the Sagittarian influence. The inflated (Sag) bonuses for CEOs that we saw in recent years are likely a sign of the past as businesses and corporations become more concerned with Capricornian fundamentals than with Sagittarian appearance and image. Capricorn is essentially practical and prizes achievement above all else, which means achievement of real goals and objectives. Although Pluto in Capricorn will bring out secrets (Pluto) of governments and other political entities (Cap), there will be an increased focus on proficiency, skill, and a successful outcome rather than spin and propaganda of the Sagittarian era.

I don’t know about you, but all of that sounds to me like a great improvement and to which I am looking forward!

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By | 2007-12-14T13:01:00+00:00 December 14th, 2007|Featured posts, Longreads, Pluto in Capricorn|Comments Off on Pluto through Capricorn 2008-2024
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