Hello to readers in Baltimore!
Once again, it’s hard to know where to begin delineating and describing December’s astral weather—the sky is busy this month, and while the first two weeks are the busiest, underlying the hustle and bustle of seasonal festivities is a potent, negative interaction that keeps spoiling the fun. November was rough, especially as we endured one pernicious planetary interaction after another. December (at least on the surface) doesn’t appear to be as aggressive, yet it nevertheless unfolds with a stinging intensity as we move inexorably toward the third and final square between Saturn and Uranus that occurs on December 24. Sorry to be a messenger of woe, but the 2021 holiday season isn’t all that jolly.
The source of December’s sour signature is a monthlong build-up toward the final Saturn/Uranus square of this year, which is also the final square in a cycle that began in 1988 with three conjunctions at the final degrees of Sagittarius (the was on February 13, the next occurred on June 26; the final conjunction was on October 18, 1988. It’s always helpful to remember that the start of a cycle sets the agenda for the entire cycle and the final square within that cycle tends to reveal information about the whole interaction—no phase of any cycle exists in a vacuum. A quick look at what was happening in 1988–89 could prove insightful as we try to make sense of what is happening now. As I often remind readers, the past creates the present just as the present creates the future, and understanding where time intersects is always a valuable endeavor.
But before we do, we should know our players: Saturn represents the status quo—it is the structure of all things, from the spine of a human being to the spine of an idea. It holds things together and therefore also signifies order that is expressed through authority—government and all the other organizations that hold things together. Uranus symbolizes the principle of change. It signifies revolution and holds high the banner of innovation and invention. But Uranus isn’t necessarily only an anarchist—Uranus is the ancient sky god who throws its lightning bolts of illumination into stagnant waters to provoke upheaval and stimulate progress. So when Saturn and Uranus interact in any configuration, the power of their combined influence challenges the status quo as it simultaneously provokes change. The reaction to that challenge and the ensuing creativity can often be quite extreme.
Soon after those conjunctions in 1988 we saw the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989; we also witnessed the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union. Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990.
Within the range of the first waxing square in 1999, the Columbine High School massacre occurred. The Euro was introduced as a currency. Putin replaced Boris Yeltsin as president of Russia. Napster was also founded in 1999. And we all made it through Y2K.
There were five oppositions in the middle of this 1988 cycle, the most important one being the first that occurred on November 4, 2008. (The others took place on February 5, 2009, September 15, 2009, April 27, 2010, and July 27, 2010.) That first opposition is the significator for the cycle because Barack Obama was elected President of the United States on the day it was exact, and never was there a more perfect example of a challenge to the status quo and the changing of the old guard than the election of a black man to the most important office in the land. We’re still dealing with the reactions to that shifting paradigm.
Currently, we are in the final waning square of the entire 1988 cycle. (A new Saturn/Uranus cycle begins on June 28, 2032 at 28° Gemini and it’s interesting to note that the new cycle will begin almost exactly opposite from where the current cycle began in Saggitarius in 1988.) All month long we are in the final square, which is also a significator for the entire cycle. While it cannot be divorced from current events, almost all of which are indicators of the failure of the status quo to hold, it’s interesting to note that this is a square between the co-rulers of Aquarius. Saturn was the traditional Ruler until the discovery of Uranus, which was then assigned to Aquarius. At the moment, Saturn is in Aquarius, the Sign of an egalitarian value system and Uranus is in Taurus, the Sign of resources. Square represents a clash of purposes. Saturn wants to hold onto what is, whereas Uranus wants a values shift, especially what’s best for the Earth and all of her inhabitants.
We know there is a need for a more egalitarian society—something many of us have known for quite some time—but the disparity was brought into sharp focus through COVID-19 and what it revealed about the inequality that has always been there. And when you add in that we are moving straight into the United States Pluto Return on February 20, 2022, this final Saturn/Uranus square is sure to highlight anything we might have missed as well as anything that needs to shift—now. This is true for both the collective and the individual dimensions of daily life—there’s no return to regular routines anytime soon because those routines have to morph into their next phase, and that is going to take time.
A Solar Eclipse on December 4 turns the first week of December upside down and inside out. It’s a busy week with a lot of astral activity; there’s too much to go into and none of it is as important as the eclipse. When the Moon overshadows the Sun, feelings dominate the environment, which makes it all the more important to anticipate that emotional reactions are likely to run high, especially as new information comes into focus on a variety of issues, individual and collective. Some of those may include more disturbing details about the insurrection on January 6 and about Mr. Trump and his Gang of Hungry Ghosts.
Neptune Direct begins on December 1 and as it makes its course correction it trines Mars in Scorpio, supporting the urge to merge with those you love and supporting empathetic interactions with your fellow travelers.
Venus Retrograde begins on December 19 and lasts until January 29, 2022. Venus goes retrograde in a conjunction to Pluto, an interaction that’s likely to enhance romantic inclinations, turning infatuations into obsessions. Be careful who you kiss under the mistletoe. You may just be fooling around, but the other person may be far more serious.
The Solstice happens on December 21, signaling the return of the light and a new solar year. It’s hard for many of us to accept that the winter solstice is the source of all our seasonal festivities—the days will start to get lighter, but it isn’t until late January that we’ll really start to notice the longer days.
The Saturn/Uranus square is exact and separating on Christmas Eve. My prayer is that there will be an absence of violence everywhere on the planet so that all our fellow travelers can experience peace, if only for a moment.
2021 has been an extraordinarily long year of extraordinary strife. It’s not easy coping with change, especially when the shifts have necessitated giving up so much of what was once normal. Mental health can often be determined by how well we cope with uncertainty, and learning to live comfortably in a world that we cannot control is certainly a challenge for all of us. So do your best to embody the message of the festivals of light—be kind and compassionate to your fellow travelers and model the best attitude you can. We are all in this together and we need each other more than ever.
Hello to readers in Pittsburg!
November is all over the place, so don’t be discouraged if you find it hard to concentrate or complete the task at hand. It’s a month of many distractions, some of which are confrontational, and a few of which are quite surprising. If you’re feeling scattered and uneasy, you’re accurately taking the social temperature. There are so many astral interactions that you could feel like staying under the covers until December, or at least until Thanksgiving.
Unfortunately, Mars is at the helm of many of November’s planetary patterns, and the reason that is unfortunate is because it simultaneously translates into a get-up-and-go attitude and an anything-goes attitude to get the job done. But the problem is once you arrive at wherever it is you’re going, you may have fought so many obstacles to your success that you’re too tired to enjoy it.
As I always advise when we’re in the midst of Martian domination, take a stand if you must, but be aware that self-righteous stands will boomerang almost immediately. Keep in mind as you attempt to make positive decisions about how to handle difficult encounters that instant karma has a way of leveling the playing field and evening the score. I know it doesn’t need to be said, but I’m gonna say it anyway: be kind to your fellow travelers. We are all affected by the confrontational signature of Mars and everyone has a story to tell about what’s happening, especially about who’s right and who’s wrong. Rather than listen begrudgingly, be wise and listen compassionately.
Also, as Mars usually does when it’s leading the way (a role it is quite content with, even if it leads you astray), lots of folks, including you, are likely to feel empowered, and in that rush of confidence, pushing the ambition river may seem the best choice. But it’s not. Forging ahead by pushing harder will likely manifest as being dragged along the bottom of the river bed. Try to refrain from engaging in any sort of ruthless behavior aimed at undermining your competition. Again, bad behavior will backfire with detrimental, and most likely long-lasting, negative results.
The good news about Mars is its vitality, and if you can harness that energy field, you can turn November into a month of accomplishment. Again, if you can’t align wholesomely with forward progress, it really is better to stay under the covers.
The other good news about November is that its turmoil has the potential to provide opportunities for transformation. (Yes, I know: do we really need another month of growth opportunities? Well… like it or not, we have one.) Being aware of those opportunities for growth and taking advantage of them requires noticing your reactions when things don’t go your way and avoiding either a belligerent attitude or a victim mindset.
Tantrums won’t work and neither will ultimatums. Being thoughtful and conscious of the consequences of your choices will yield much better outcomes. Being willing to discard inappropriate attitudes or expectations that won’t support peaceful negotiations is a good first step toward positive results. Next, and most importantly, align your ambition with your highest principles—that’s the way to work toward long-term, beneficial effects. Sounds like a no-brainer, but the temptation to fight with who and what isn’t working over the way you would like things to work is ever present this month and that makes it harder to hike the high road. Nonetheless, the high road is the only road that allows a means of steering clear of dicey situations and complications that will only make you weary.
There is also a lunar eclipse on November 19. As longtime readers of this column already know, I don’t think eclipses are ever good. They are disruptors of the normal flow and they reveal things hiding in the shadows. I know—we can only wonder what more could possibly be revealed (something we’ve been wondering for years). But more will come to light. Lunar eclipses are all about practical matters and this one is along the Taurus/Scorpio axis, which means that money matters will play a large role in the effect of this eclipse. The other thing to keep in mind is that an eclipse shadow extends six weeks before or after the actual event. So we are in it all month long.
Here’s the breakdown:
Week One: November 1–7
November opens with a separating Sun/Saturn square that began on October 25, was exact and separating on October 30, and lingers until November 5. This is a serious, sober interaction that tends to encourage separation as a way of managing differences as it simultaneously leans toward a judgmental attitude that needs to blame and punish. So many people find it easier to assume a victim position rather than taking responsibility for their part in whatever the particulars might be. I’m not suggesting there aren’t victims—we all know there are. But many situations can be solved by the recognition that all the participants contribute to the whole and that if all are willing to own their part, the situation doesn’t have to end in a standoff.
November also starts with an ongoing Sun/Uranus opposition that began at the end of October, is exact and separating on November 4, and lingers until November 10. This is a fractious combination of energies that feeds the need to break free from whatever enslaves, and whether those bonds are physical, financial, mental, emotional, or in some cases spiritual, this square signifies rebellion against those controls. It’s the freedom-fighters astrological signature and we can see its influence as many of the resistance movements take a stand and will not be silenced.
A Mercury/Saturn square that begins November 7, and is exact and separating on November 10, ends November 13. This is also a fractious planetary interaction that insists on learning the difference between fact and fiction, as Mercury symbolizes all mental processes and Saturn symbolizes reality. Of course, we’re already embroiled in the battle between fact and fiction, and unfortunately, there’s no end in sight for the battle, which has boiled down to the “big lie” that has assiduously planted more seeds of destruction. As you encounter those who seem eager to foster fiction, take a breath, recommit to the truth, and try to be patient. Some of us just can’t tell the true from the false.
Fortunately, a Mercury/Pluto trine provides the potential for deep intellectual diving. Pluto pushes Mercury to probe beneath the surface of everything, but it can be used to explore ideas that disturb and disrupt both individual and collective equilibrium. It’s a good planetary combination to align with, especially now that we’re banning books, although no one can ban the ideas contained in those books (yet). This positive interaction began on October 30, is exact on November 2, and lasts until November 6.
The truly troubling undercurrents of the month begin on November 3 with a Mars/Saturn square. This pernicious influence is exact and separating on November 10 and it persists until November 19, adding a bitter, harsh frequency to November’s already problematic days and nights. This square can be brutal and destructive and often manifests as tests of strength, physical as well as psychological. Try not to succumb to the desire to fight for your point of view. I’m not suggesting wimping out and turning passive. I’m simply advising that this Mars/Saturn square is an extraordinarily tough interaction that could land you in situations that don’t have an easy out—and uber-aggression isn’t the solution.
The next day, on November 4, a Mercury/Mars conjunction begins; it’s exact on November 10 and lasts until November 16. This conjunction signifies an active mind and the power of thought, so if you are attempting creative visualization, this is the planetary signature for making it so. It’s also likely to make minds race, but its power can be harnessed and put to good use sorting through a wide range of details. Use it to prioritize and organize your time and energy. Remember: the month is driven by Mars and that translates into more than a modicum of ambition. This conjunction can be put to good use realizing your goals.
And speaking of creative visualization, a Sun/Neptune trine amplifies the potential of that practice because it fosters active imagination. This positive interaction begins on November 6 and is exact and separating on November 12, lasting until November 19. While this trine is positive, it can also provide an atmosphere of hypersensitivity, so be wary of your surroundings and try not to put yourself into situations that might trigger addictive appetites. Also pay attention to your dreams; they are likely to be quite vivid and filled with interesting imagery and information.
Week Two: November 8–14
The planets continue to be busy during the second week of the month. On November 9, a Jupiter/Sun square stretches the boundaries of good humor as it sucks the joy out of the air. Jupiter rules humor, good fortune, expansion, and excess, so don’t be surprised if during the next two weeks, as it squares the Sun, which signifies spirit and life force, gallows humor feels like a better choice for a laugh than slapstick or sophisticated stand-up. This square is exact on November 15, ending by November 20, when the Sun moves into Sagittarius, Jupiter’s ruling Sign, offering the potential of a cheerier mindset—yours and others’. But I wouldn’t expect difficult areas to lighten up right away.
Difficulties of every variety are likely to persist, given that a Mars/Uranus opposition exacerbates the already toxic polarity that has insinuated itself into daily life. This opposition begins November 10 and is exact and separating on November 17; it’s finally over on November 25—something we are all likely to be thankful for. The reason for that gratitude will be self-evident once the influence lifts.
This is another pernicious combination of planetary energies: Mars symbolizes assertion as well as aggression and Uranus symbolizes the unexpected as well as the need to rebel. Mars signifies physical energy; Uranus signifies erratic energy patterns—think uranium and then think Geiger counter. Also fold into this dynamic opposition that the Sun/Uranus opposition ends on November 10, just as this next Uranian opposition begins. Mars/Uranus also feeds the need for rebellion, so be prepared for rebels, with or without a cause, to be even more adamant about their need to break free from any shackles that keep them tethered to restrictions of any kind.
Much as I tend to align with freedom fighters, this opposition bumps things a bit too far and that stretch could result in conflicts, big and small, individual and collective, and given that a portion of our personal and collective psyche is already on alert for the next cultural, political, or economic battle, this opposition excites an already unsettled air. During the duration of this opposition, do your best to avoid any unnecessary confrontations, and if you feel compelled to engage in a fight, before you start swinging, check your intentions. Negative intentions won’t yield positive results—in the prickly climate of November, instant karma will actually be instant.
Week Three: November 15–21
A Mercury/Neptune trine begins on November 15, is exact on November 18, and ends on November 21. While this positive interaction is short lived, it does provide the potential for the ability to think below the surface of any situation. Yes, it does stimulate imagination, making fantasy a strong influence in forming a worldview, but it simultaneously supports compassion and empathic reasoning and perception through that view. Use this influence for inspiration and let it inform your creative efforts as well as your point of view.
The lunar eclipse on November 19 occurs at 27° Taurus/Scorpio—so for all those born in the last degrees of those Signs, you’re likely to feel the power of this eclipse quite keenly, and for those born in the final degrees of Leo and Aquarius, you’re like to feel it too. When the Sun overshadows the Moon, practical matters tend to overwhelm all other concerns. As mentioned above, the effect of an eclipse—lunar or solar—can be felt six weeks prior to or after the actual event, which means that the entire month of November, in addition to the actual planetary interactions stoking the intensity, is an emotional rollercoaster as we struggle to deal with an eclipse effect that feels as if it is aimed at suppressing or repressing potent feelings, some of which might be best left unexpressed. So expect to feel as if you’re managing lots of emotions, many of which need to remain hidden until the atmosphere settles down—which could be well into the new year.
Week Four: November 22–31
Two influences end the month:
(1) A Venus/Pluto conjunction begins on November 30 and is exact and separating on December 11, and lasts until the first week of January 2022 because all December, Venus slows down in preparation for her retrograde phase that beings on December 19. (More about Venus Retrograde in December’s column.) This conjunction has the power to fuel compulsive feelings of love. It is generally characterized as fanatical feelings, fueled by a strong power of attraction and it can be quite intense, especially if you are the object of affection and you’re not similarly inclined. Unrequited love is always awful, but it is never an excuse for forcing yourself on another. This inclination toward obsession is also likely to coalesce with all the differing points of view vying all month long to be the dominant one. Try not to get embroiled in any kind of relationship, personal or political, that disregards and disrespects the feelings and convictions of others.
I realize that I often voice the idea of not letting your feelings get the best of you. But the second influence of November and one that carries on for the entire month of December is:
(2) the Saturn/Uranus square that tightens its grip all November and December, is exact and separating on Christmas Eve, and takes us into the New Year just in time for the United States Pluto Return in February of 2022. This square signifies the dissolution of the status quo. I can hear you thinking “so what else is new?” But what is new is the friction symbolized by this negative interaction that aggregates, builds momentum, and intensifies during November, a month that offers little if any healing salve to soothe the weary soul. (More about this Saturn/Uranus square next month.)
November is a restless month: unsettled, and disrupted by anxiety, specified or unspecified, which triggers nervous systems, individual and collective, making it hard to find moments to relax. Do whatever it is you do to soothe your nervous system, but try to keep it healthy. And when possible, please try to help your fellow travelers cope with and manage their anxiety. Meditate together, share meals, safely socialize. We need each other right now, and when we recognize that need, it feels good to commune with others.
September 1, 2021
Hello to readers in Austin!
To be completely honest, September is sluggish, so it won’t be easy to gain autumnal momentum. There’s nothing wrong about its days and nights, although there are bound to be more than a few difficult moments. The sluggishness is more about September’s overall energy field; we are used to September being its own kind of new year—it has that back-to-school and vacation-is-over frequency that signals the start of a new phase. But this September, the days and nights are inclined to move at the speed of slow, especially when you add in concerns about the delta variant and a natural reticence to become engaged in too many social interactions. However, there are plenty of lively interactions among the planets and no pernicious obstacles impede forward motion—Mercury Retrograde doesn’t happen until the end of the month.
The source of September’s underlying sluggishness is an absence of astral fire—there are no planets in any Fire Signs—none (with the exception of Chiron in Aries, which doesn’t really count), which has the potential to manifest as an absence of passion. No planetary fire to heat up the days could manifest as an irksome feeling that something is missing. Or for those more keenly attuned to the astrological elements: no fire translates into no magic, which has the potential to turn September’s days and nights dull with routine. Try not to despair—there’s plenty going on and most of us are likely to be busier than we want to be. But without fire and the zeal it provides, many are likely to grow bored with the same old same old.
For some, the slower pace might be a welcome relief. August moved fairly quickly as well as intensely, and a break from that pace might be appreciated. But don’t confuse September’s sluggishness with a vacation—far from it. The month is busy. It’s just that the sparkle behind all that busyness isn’t quite as brilliant as you might want—and that missing piece could make it hard to feel motivated to enthusiastically do all the things that need doing. For many, this translates into a dullness that drags the spirit down. You’ll need to muster your desire and determination to have fun.
Please don’t misunderstand—Fire Signs aren’t the only fun-loving members of the astrological system. We do get fun from Jupiter, the most enthusiastic planet. But we need fire to heat things up and lend its light to the shadows; without fire, regular routines become a mundane slog of things to do. Fortunately, there are several astral interactions that indicate powerful surges of energy, and those spurts could infuse regular routines with a bit of much-needed passion.
Week One: September 1–7
For all its sluggishness, September begins with a strident planetary signature: a Sun/Uranus trine that started on August 31 is exact on September 6 with the New Moon in Virgo and lasts until September 12. This is an intense interaction that fuels freedom fighters everywhere, so don’t be surprised if you feel the need to break absolutely free from whatever you believe enslaves you—an idea, an obsession, or a political system. This is a dynamic interaction and because Uranus signifies startling plot twists, instability, and rebellion with or without a cause, we can expect (and we don’t need astrology to know this) lots of difficulties in all the areas of the world where things are already too intense and unstable. This Uranian source of prodigious energy can also be used to get all sorts of things done, so don’t hesitate to take on big projects under this influence.
Unfortunately, a Mars/Neptune opposition interferes with the strength of that Sun/Uranus trine. This opposition began on August 26, is exact on September 2, and lingers until September 11. While this interaction fosters empathy, it is also enervating, so try not to lose yourself in the energy of others because you might have a hard time extricating yourself. Yes, it can be used for shape-shifting your way through the days, but finding yourself and establishing personal boundaries in the midst of all those transformative dimensions could be problematic. Under this influence it would be wise to anticipate being more than a little sensitive as well as highly susceptible to suggestion. The best use of this Mars/Neptune permeability would be to let yourself be inspired—write, draw, paint, sculpt, sing, play any and all musical instruments, to name just a few possible creative outlets for this deeply inspirational planetary combination.
A Venus/Pluto square also opens the month. It begins September 1, is exact September 5, and ends on September 10 as Venus conjuncts the New Moon in Scorpio, also on that day. Venus/Pluto interactions often feed obsessive or compulsive romantic attractions; have at it, but be sure that the object of your obsession is as interested in you. If romance is not on your daily playlist for the next couple of weeks, this square also supports creative efforts like those listed above, but add gardening, hiking, cooking, or whatever else feeds your heart.
For the first week of the month, we’re also under the influence of a Mercury/Saturn trine that begins on September 1, is exact on September 5, and ends on September 9. I love this interaction because it engenders a keen and penetrating mental mindset that isn’t afraid to be logical and thoughtful—and it also encourages thinking before speaking! And best of all, it can help us to recognize the difference between fact, opinion, and fiction, and everything else lots of folks are throwing up against the wall for personal profit or simply from a desire to create chaos. (On that note, I am reading Mindf*ck: Cambridge Analytica and the Plot to Break America by Christopher Wylie, a book that delineates the depth of digital manipulation of information in order to foment division—it’s a mind-blowing insider look by one of the key architects at how the digital world has fostered our current crisis of polarization.)
The ongoing Mars/Pluto trine that began on August 28 is exact on September 6 and lasts until September 13. This is a powerful, positive combination that also has the potential to dispel some of September’s slow pace, especially if you aim it at specific goals. If you are in a management role or leadership position, try to avoid falling into the trap of insisting that others work harder toward your goals and your tasks than they would toward their own accomplishments.
Week Two: September 8–14
The second week of September opens with a Sun/Neptune opposition. It starts on September 8, is exact on September 14, and lingers until September 20. This is yet another octave of Neptunian sensitivity, and because it is an opposition, we run the risk of being overwhelmed with sensitivity, especially because this interaction makes susceptibility to suggestion likely. Be careful of get-rich-quick schemes and other trickeries that could become quite difficult to discern. If something sounds too good to be true, it likely is. And if you lean toward addictive behavior, do your best to stay sober—Neptune symbolizes every addiction we know of and under this influence, it is very easy to succumb to the notion of “I’ll be okay if I just stick to moderation.” And before you know it, not only have you fallen off the wagon—the wagon is miles ahead and catching up will take a Herculean effort.
Week Three: September 15–21
Mars moves into Libra on September 14, and on September 17, it begins a conjunction to the Sun in Virgo. This conjunction lasts for several weeks. It is exact on October 8 and then finally separates by October 25, with the Sun’s entrance into Scorpio. A Sun/Mars anything signifies a vital interaction, and because Mars is an essentially fiery force, this conjunction could provide a facsimile of heat and passion. But I offer this caution: I think this conjunction is going to be tricky to handle and a little bit of a pain in the butt. I’m not sure how it’s likely to manifest, other than to say that however we experience its presence, it is certain to be quite intense because Mars is changing Signs as we are moving from one season to another. Seasonal transitions tend to be difficult for lots of us, and this Sun/Mars conjunction could make those of us who struggle with seasonal shifts even more cranky. So if you find yourself wanting to pick a fight just for the sake of blowing off steam, back off and do whatever it is you do to soothe your discomfort.
The Sun moves into Libra on September 22 at 3:20 PM EDT, signaling the start of autumn, and we begin a new season.
Week Four: September 22–30
Mercury Retrograde begins on September 27 and ends on October 18. Most of us know the retrograde drill: Mercury Retrograde is not a good time to initiate any new projects. It’s also not a good time to buy a computer or anything else related to technology. Mercury signifies all things related to communication and commerce, so if you can, avoid signing contracts, leases, and all other kinds of agreements. It is an excellent time to review, reflect, and reconsider recent choices with an eye toward finding details you might have overlooked. We know that Mercury doesn’t actually reverse its orbit around the Sun, but sometimes it can feel that way, especially when we are in the midst of negotiations. Also be aware that the three days before and after the retrograde officially starts can feel as if they are laden with obstacles that interfere with decisive forward motion. If you can hold off on big moves, do so. But also know that sometimes Mercury Retrograde can be a great asset in taking care of things you’ve been avoiding and solving problematic situations that have been moldering for long periods of time.
There is a lot going on this month and it may not be easy to find enough passion and enthusiasm to tackle all that needs to be done. I have purposefully avoided talking about strife and conflict, primarily because there’s just too much of it and delving into the details isn’t going to help to dispel those entanglements. More than ever, a commitment to kindness is of utmost importance. What I have learned from reading about Cambridge Analytica has only reinforced my trust in compassion as a unifying principle that will help us recognize just how much work lies ahead. In the absence of external fire it’s necessary to find the fire within—it’s there and we don’t have to rely on external stimuli to feel its presence. Yes, there are times when we need to be reminded, prodded, and invited to tend that fire and care for it properly and consciously. So do whatever it is you do to keep those embers burning. And whenever possible, help others to find and tend theirs.
Hello to patient readers everywhere!
August opens on a somber astrological note but the weight of that moodiness is mitigated by flights of fancy and more than a few zany antics, making it possible to find moments of relief from what might feel like an unrelenting need for discipline. Yes, for those familiar with astrology, the somber—sober—frequency is provided courtesy of Saturn, the symbol of serious endeavors. It is currently in Aquarius opposite the Sun and Mercury, both in Leo, that fun-loving Sign that wants to enjoy the vitality, warmth, and playfulness of summer.
Unfortunately, a Saturn/Sun opposition tends to dampen Leo’s vitality. Saturn is serious and when it puts pressure on the Sun, many of us are prone toward self-consciousness and/or a judgmental attitude about everyone and everything, including ourselves—and that’s no fun at all. Mercury/Sun conjunctions tend toward a lack of objectivity and as Saturn simultaneously opposes Mercury, you could find yourself caught in a loop of self-recrimination. Saturn’s opposition to Mercury is over by August 4; its opposition to the Sun lasts until August 16. The best antidote for this sobering intensity is releasing the need for perfection as well as any addictive inclination to negative thinking.
This is the month we start to get a respite from the first two Saturn/Uranus squares that characterized the most active force for change in 2021. The first was February 17; the second was June 14; the third will be on December 24. This fractious interaction has the power to challenge the status quo of stagnant systems, both individual and collective, that are running on autopilot or have outlived their usefulness. We’ve mostly witnessed the power of this square through political machinations, as the right wing and white supremacists in this country and around the globe have sought to solidify their presence and power by attacking government institutions that attempt to help establish and maintain diversity. These factions are not hiding their need to disrupt democratic systems that hold egalitarian principles in place.
I realize that for many of us, framing the right-wing white supremacists through Uranus—the astral revolutionary—seems odd. We seldom, if ever, think of fascists as revolutionaries. But currently, as the world continues to turn upside down and inside out, they are playing the role of the instigators, determined to disrupt all efforts at maintaining and furthering progress towards social justice and an evolutionary perspective. While their intent as well as their actions are reprehensible, they have taken on the role of being change agents, if only because they remind us of just how deep the problems that plague us truly are.
(As a side note, someone recently wrote in saying that I shouldn’t call the Aquarium Age an astrology column; rather, I should call it a political opinion column. For the many astrology fans and followers that aren’t familiar with the history of astrology, it’s important to point out that astrology has always been political. More importantly, these last several years have been and will continue to be fraught with political strife that can be viewed through the positions of the planets, all of which have been present at other politically sensitive and intense times. Remember, the planets move in repetitive patterns, which is why astrologers are able to make predictions; also remember that astrologers aren’t always right, which is why we don’t rule the world.)
This square is part of a greater cycle that began in 1988, when Saturn and Uranus were conjunct in Sagittarius. The first square in that cycle happened in 1999–2000 and the opposition within that cycle took place in 2008–09. Although the current waning square is believed to be weaker than the other previous contacts within this cycle, it still builds upon what was set in motion in 1988.
The opposition of 2008–09 was the astrological signature for the Great Recession—the banks needed to review and eliminate the systems that failed, failures which engendered the collapse of so many lives through the loss of homes and jobs. While the status quo was temporarily disrupted, those systems weren’t changed. Now as we near the end of this Saturn/Uranus cycle that began in 1988, we might see the issues of the Great Recession revisited. As I write this, the eviction moratorium has ended and we don’t know what will happen next as people scramble to stay in their homes. It’s important to be clear about what is being disrupted: if we have hundreds of thousands of families homeless, we will experience an enormous destabilization of lives, the cost of which will far exceed the lost housing revenues. A disruption of the status quo through a massive increase in homelessness will affect everyone and all of us will suffer.
Of course, we could experience another recession. Uranus is in Taurus, the Sign of money; Saturn is in Aquarius, the Sign of universal trends; and given that Uranus is the great disruptor as well as the symbol for startling plot twists, the clash between these two planetary influences could indicate another shift in global finances. There’s one more exact contact of Saturn/Uranus on December 24. And while I’m not saying that a recession is inevitable, I am saying pay attention. It is important not to be careless when assessing Uranus transits, especially when Saturn, sometimes called the Lord of Karma, is throwing its weight around and adding boundaries to Uranus’ freedom-loving spirit. From a personal perspective, it’s important to be moderate and disciplined during these Saturn/Uranus squares so that you won’t be caught off-guard should this influence manifest as money issues.
Uranus lingers at 14 degrees Taurus all of August, so those born in the middle of any of the Fixed Signs—Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius—are certain to feel this Uranian intensity quite keenly. It lingers at 14 degrees because that is the degree at which it goes retrograde on August 19; it finally goes direct again on January 18, 2022. This is a normal Uranus Retrograde pattern, but Fixed Signs tend to be stubborn and if things aren’t going the way they desire, they are easily challenged and many times unable to assume a flexible stance when things aren’t quite “right.” So try to be as patient as possible—Uranus stays at the same degree throughout August and September; it finally changes degrees at the beginning of October.
Be aware that the beginning days and sometimes weeks of Uranus Retrograde tend to resemble a ring of hell that Dante could never have imagined. Let’s just call it Techno Hell because Uranus symbolizes all things related to technology—computers, phones, TVs—which always act up when Uranus begins its retrograde. Be prepared for the middle of August to feel like Mercury Retrograde—it won’t be, but it will feel as if it is. Mercury Retrograde doesn’t return until September 27, running through October 18.
There’s nothing lazy or hazy about August’s summer days this year. But while the month is not a completely smooth ride—Uranus prohibits any semblance of smooth—it’s also not as difficult as some might anticipate—or maybe that’s just my wishful thinking, because like many of my fellow travelers, I am so tired of having to listen to the nonsense that spews from so many politicians who do not have anyone’s interests at heart but their own.
There will be many demonstrations all over the country as people organize to defend their rights as well as the rights of those whose voices still aren’t strong enough to be heard and those demonstrations will require support—either through physically showing up to protest or contributing financially to make sure the protests take place. Some of those demonstrations will be marred by violence, making it all the more important to stand for civil disobedience and peaceful transformation.
There has never been a more important time to practice compassion—kindness is going make all the difference in the days, weeks, and months that lie ahead. So be kind to yourself, to those you love, to strangers, and when possible to those you don’t agree with. We are all making this up as best we can and when we remember that, it’s easier to avoid a critical stance that only points a judgmental finger aimed at punishing and instead assume a compassionate perspective that doesn’t blame people for their mistakes.
Week One: August 1–7
A Mars/Jupiter opposition that began on July 22 and lasts until August 7 has been supportive of finding a more moderate approach to getting things done. Mars is movement; Jupiter is expansion; oppositions indicate tension; and the overall effect of this opposition is most likely seen in the need to get as much done as possible. Because this opposition leans towards taking on more than is possible to manage, you might find yourself overwhelmed by all there is to take care of, but it could just as easily leave you unwilling to take on one more thing. It’s likely that most of us are tending to take on too much, given that we are out in the world, newly vaccinated, and doing our best to hurry the return of normal.
A Venus/Uranus trine that began July 29 and ends on August 7 adds to the sense of no longer being restricted—this is the astral combination that indicates the ability to fall in love with everyone for at least five minutes. If you’ve been infatuated with almost everyone you encounter, this trine would explain it. As I often advise, have a great time under this influence but remember the Venus/Uranus motto: marry in haste, repent at leisure. Uranus can be quite fickle and you don’t want to embroil yourself in a situation or a relationship that could turn cold as quickly as it heated up.
From August 6 through August 14, exact on August 9, a Venus/Neptune opposition intensifies romantic inclinations. Venus is the goddess of love and beauty; Neptune signifies imagination; and when the two combine in any arrangement, it’s almost impossible not to think of love—all sorts of affections are possible under this opposition. But you want to be careful not to delude yourself into thinking that the affection is neutral. Neptune is a trickster and if we are so inclined, it can take us on flights of fancy we might later regret.
A Sun/Uranus square that began on July 31, is exact on August 6, and persists until August 13 fuels revolutionary spirits. Uranus is the freedom fighter always ready to break free from whatever enslaves. The Sun represents spirit, and when the two combine, the rebel with or without a cause is born. This square can be harnessed for political inspiration but it can also be a great source of creative innovation and invention. On August 8, the Moon in Leo joins the Sun/ Uranus square, which translates into heightened emotions that are likely to be expressed dramatically!
Week Two: August 8–14
Also on August 8, Venus in Virgo trines Pluto in Capricorn, stirring deep desires for sexual and sensual interactions. Don’t be surprised if you feel obsessively or compulsively attracted to someone. This trine is a potent influence for love, but as always, it’s important to make sure that the object of your affection is mutually obsessed. On August 11, Venus conjuncts the Moon, both in a trine to Pluto, but the presence of the Moon is likely to turn the sexual tension more emotional. There are plenty of opportunities to fall in love this month, and this Venus/Pluto trine could turn dalliances into serious affairs of the heart.
A Mars/Uranus trine begins on August 14; it’s exact on August 22 and lingers until the end of the month. This is a powerhouse interaction, which means you can expect to feel supercharged. Mars symbolizes muscles—it’s physical movement. Uranus represents electricity. When they are combined, lots of things that usually don’t move suddenly break free with unusual intensity, which is why some astrologers see this interaction as a symbol for extraordinary power. It’s unclear how this trine will manifest collectively as Uranus is slowing down in preparation for its retrograde on August 19. But there is no interference with Mars—it is conjunct Mercury the day of the exact trine, a positive interaction that could lead to startling revelations.
From a personal perspective, the explosive energy of this Mars/Uranus trine can be put to good use, applying it to stagnant areas in your life that need a special effort to get into the flow. From a collective perspective, there’s no truly no telling. So much is in flux around the globe, from climate to Covid issues, that the intensity of this trine could manifest as a blip on the screen, as in, “Oh yeah… just another hotspot.” But because so much seems to be converging around mid-August, it might be wise to keep your patience pills handy.
Week Three: August 15–21
The romance trend continues into the third week of August with a Venus/Saturn trine. Venus enters Libra on August 15 and by August 19, the day Uranus Retrograde begins, Venus trines Saturn, forming a perfect union. If you’re taking notes, you’ve probably noticed that this week is quite intense with astral activity, so best be prepared that you, those you love, and even those you don’t know may get immersed in situations that require assistance. Some of our fellow travelers may be deliciously happy while others might be melting down from the intensity. This Venus/Saturn trine acts as a grounding rod, enabling serious intentions, especially romantic and creative interests, to take root.
Uranus Retrograde begins on August 19; its review lasts for nearly five months, turning direct on January 18. As mentioned above, because Uranus signifies technology of every ilk, the several days before Uranus “turns around” are likely to resemble Mercury Retrograde—phones, computers, tablets as well as smart devices are certain to be messy with snafus that can only be explained by Uranus’ shift in direction. Also be aware that Uranus transits, individual and collective, can agitate nervous systems and dynamically affect sleeping patterns.
On August 15, a Sun/Jupiter opposition kicks into gear. It is exact on August 19 and lasts until August 26. Sun/Jupiter contacts are usually quite optimistic, but because this one lands in the middle of such an intense week, it could lead to excesses you might later regret. So be mindful of how you are coping with the stresses of the month and wherever possible try to stay moderate when self-medicating. This is not a dangerous opposition; it just happens to be most powerful when so many other powerful interactions are taking place. (Just writing about it makes me feel pulled in several directions simultaneously.)
Week Four: August 22–31
Compared to all the astro-action of the first three weeks of August, this last week is comparatively quiet. Several of the interactions mentioned above are waning, including and especially the adjustment to Uranus Retrograde, which means nervous systems are sure to settle down just a little.
One last word about August: If you can find the time to rest, rest. The fall is going to be quite busy and it may often feel as if we’re hurtling through time and space, seeking a dimension where life is easier on the nervous system. So whenever possible, use this month to replenish your reservoirs of energy. We are all going to need all our strength to face the fallout from the Saturn/Uranus square on Christmas Eve. And don’t forget, we are heading directly toward the United States Pluto Return in February 2022—we will need spiritual fortitude to endure and harness the power of that event so it can be used for positive personal and planetary transformation.
Hello to readers everywhere.
If you’re still searching for solid ground, you might want to reconsider—nothing is steady right now and even the most reliable, tried-and-true people and places you previously leaned on without question are in flux. The planet is having a moment— actually a long, extended series of moments, exacerbated by the suffering of its inhabitants. Everywhere you look it’s possible to bear witness to the difficulties people are having, but not always possible to alleviate that suffering, a fact that could intensify feelings of impotence in the face of all that needs to be done. Unfortunately, the only stable ground to rely on is internal. That might sound like a no-brainer for those who have been cultivating and maintaining such stability, but for the majority of our fellow travelers, the lack of solid, external ground can contribute to a deep experience of internal dislocation that is simultaneously physical and psychic. While finding internal stability is always a worthy goal, right at this moment in time and space most of us need recognizable regular daily routines to anchor our comings and goings because those reliable patterns allow us to settle down and settle in, which is stabilizing, reassuring, and comforting.
It’s always hard to know where to start any attempt at organizing chaos into a familiar coherent order, especially when the chaos seems necessary. COVID-19, in all its many variations, has blatantly exposed every societal sinkhole in need of our attention and there is no way to put the lid back on that exposure. We’ve come to acknowledge that those issues, personal and planetary, can no longer be denied or ignored. Of course there are those who prefer that we stay mired in the mud of racial, gender, and economic inequality, but there are far more people holding the ground of positive transformation and they aren’t afraid of doing the work it takes to make it so.
That’s where we’re at this month and the many months that lie ahead. On July 4, we celebrate Independence Day—the final one before the United States of America Pluto Return, which occurs on February 20, 2022. It’s fascinating to listen to the news and hear people constantly talking about how we are facing the death of democracy because from an astrological perspective, Pluto signifies the process of death and rebirth—and surely we are in that process.
We are not living up to our ideals—especially the promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—and knowing that Pluto is rattling the foundations of the country and listening to all the lies being told and sold is nothing short of mind-blowing. All the principles that have sustained the idea of American democracy are being challenged because they are not a lived reality for all its citizens, and that disparity can no longer be hidden.
The astrology for Independence Day, July 4, 2021, and the days leading up to it is extraordinary in its articulation of the energetic weather—the turmoil we’re in is actually written in the stars.
On July 4, the Moon will exactly conjunct Uranus, as part of the ongoing Saturn/Uranus square. As the Moon joins this pernicious planetary combination (which has been in effect since January 2021), Independence Day takes on a supercharged emotional atmosphere.
The continuing Saturn/Uranus square represents the deconstruction of the status quo, including challenges to the ideals that hold our shared reality together through mutually agreed-upon social contracts. The Moon’s presence amplifies emotions of every ilk, so be prepared for lots of folk to be more than a little attached to their feelings and for an equally intense desire to dynamically express those feelings, especially their desire for liberation from whatever holds them hostage to habits that no longer serve.
Uranus is the freedom fighter, with or without a cause, and when the Moon ramps up that Uranian need to fight against oppression, real or perceived, all sorts of personal revolutions are possible. But wait; there’s more:
Mars began an opposition to Saturn and a square to Uranus on June 24 and yes, this astral combination is as intense as it sounds. Mars signifies the warrior who wants to fight, and as it squares the Moon and Uranus and simultaneously opposes Saturn, that need to take a stand is intensified.
All these planets are in Fixed Signs—the members of the Zodiac who take a stand and hold onto it, stubbornly. Mars is in Leo; Saturn is in Aquarius; Uranus is in Taurus, where the Moon joins it.
The astrology for the beginning of the month is reminiscent of the astrological chart for the Columbine tragedy on April 20, 1999. At the level of the collective, this could be an indication of some sort of organized (or not) violence at celebrations around the country. From a personal perspective, it might be wise not to engage in any activities that could lead to violence. Those of you who have been sensing something ominous—this week might be it.
The best course to take through this pernicious planetary configuration—and through the whole month—is to align with what’s positive. Aligning with what is positive is not about denial; it’s about recognizing the consequences of negative actions and choosing not to engage in any, wherever possible. So find activities that lift your spirits and that help you to hold high the banner of something greater than the mess we are currently in. But don’t make the mistake of conflating your choice to be positive with an external stability. The only stability this month is internal. Find the pillar that holds you steady and chain yourself to it. You’re much less likely to get blown into a brouhaha if you strengthen your internal confidence and connection to your Higher Power.
Week One/July 1–7
The interaction of Mars, Saturn, and Uranus discussed above dominates the first week of July (and probably the entire month). It’s a T-square that began on June 25, is almost exact on Independence Day, and lasts until July 9, when retrograde Saturn begins to pull away. Try not to let the volatility of this T-square, and all the tension it symbolizes, pull you out of alignment. Also try to remember that everyone is under this influence, which makes empathy an important quality to align with—always, but especially this week.
Week Two/July 8–14
We’re also under the influence of a Venus/Saturn opposition which began on July 3, is exact on July 6, and lasts until July 11. The problem with this opposition is that the tension it represents tends to manifest as jealousy and other forms of self-torment. Be careful not to over-analyze situations, especially if that analysis is intended to gain control. The best way through this interaction is to attempt to establish and maintain emotional sobriety.
On July 12, a Sun/Pluto opposition begins, is exact and separating on Bastille Day, July 14, or French Independence Day, and lasts until July 22. This opposition is all about power—individual and collective. Try to notice where you feel confronted by a sense of impotence and be careful not to get roped into tests of strength, personal or professional. The best way through the intensity of this opposition is to contemplate the idea of personal power and its benefits. It will be easy to feel powerless during this opposition, which is why it’s necessary to have the courage to look at your beliefs about power. It’s also important to be kind to others you may deem less powerful than you—they are likely to feel invisible.
Week Three/July 15–21
A Sun/Neptune trine began on July 10, is exact on July 15, and lasts until July 22. This positive combination increases sensitivity, susceptibility to suggestion, as well as the power of imagination. Many of our fellow travelers could be happy to live in fantasy instead of reality under Sun/Neptune. Do your best to plant your feet firmly on the ground even as you reach for your dreams.
Week Four/July 22–31
Venus and Mars travel in tandem all month long, transiting Cancer and Leo as a couple. A Venus/Mars conjunction, no matter what Sign it occurs in, stirs deep passion, especially sexual passion Mars/Venus, so be prepared for flirtations—lots of them, and many encounters of a sexual kind. This is what summer heat used to be about—not just the ability to see the devastating effect of climate change. Be aware that the object of your affection may not be as interested in turning those fantasies into reality, so try not to force yourself on anyone or any situation.
Venus moves out of that tight conjunction with Mars on July 21 and as it enters Virgo, it’s opposed by Jupiter. But that opposition can be joyous rather than intense. Venus and Jupiter are benign forces and when they interact it is possible to experience the healing power of joy and love.
Hello to readers everywhere!
The ongoing Saturn/Uranus square is the only big astral story this month. Yes, there are other sky events—an eclipse, an aggregation of retrograde planets, the summer solstice, a Mars/Pluto opposition, and a Jupiter/Venus trine. But as Sinead O’Connor once sang (without the planets in mind, but a song you might find yourself singing throughout June when it comes to the power of a Saturn/Uranus square), “nothing compares 2 u.” This fractious interaction between Saturn, the planet of stability, and Uranus, the planet of upheaval, signifies the immense deconstruction we find ourselves experiencing day in and day out. It is mind-bending. It is everywhere. It is unnerving. And it isn’t getting better anytime soon.
The repercussions from the intensity of the current deconstruction, both personal and planetary, are numerous and far-reaching—effects so vast it’s impossible to list them in order of importance because each and every one is significant. COVID-19 poked holes in the fabric of all of our lives, revealing all that has been and continues to be wrong with the way many of us live. Not only did the pandemic insist that we face our own mortality, it forced us to face the deeper cultural diseases that have long been ignored but whose effects are nonetheless detrimental. COVID-19 laid bare the hatred, violence, and poverty that inform the foundation of our cultural norms, leaving some of us asking, “What are we going to do about it?” and others despairing that we may never be able to right our personal ships, let alone Spaceship Earth.
The virus kept most of us in place, beyond the reach of daily distractions that had previously blinded many of us to those problems. In the stillness of lockdown, we were also invited to experience a profound grief: grief for those dying from a disease that some still have the audacity to call a hoax; grief for the consequences of bigotry—racial, economic, or gender-based; grief over the failure to find solutions to the many situations we know need to change but don’t know how to shift. And grief because the virus exacerbated a growing sense of impotence that began long before the pandemic, but seemed to grow exponentially with each day of Mr. Trump’s inability to lead the country to safety.
George Floyd’s murder changed that impotence into a collective power, his death moving many of our fellow travelers out of apathy into activism. We’re okay with watching murders on TV or in film—they are violent, but not real. But when we witnessed the horror Mr. Floyd’s murder, we witnessed it in real life, and for many, simply bearing witness to his murder made us feel complicit in the crime. Not only did we witness its cruelty, we also witnessed the profound entitlement of a corrupt system based on systemic racism. And so we took to the streets all around the world, pandemic be damned.
We also took to the voting booth, and although a staggering number of people voted for a man who loves lies more than truth, the majority of us voted for the restoration of decency.
But America is still roiling with all that’s wrong with its systems, a state of the union that is a direct manifestation of its Pluto Return, or the American Revolution 2.0. Pluto transits reveal what is inauthentic. The notion that human beings are created equal and are entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is an idea as well as an ideal that we have failed to embody. The current upheaval is emblematic of where the country has failed to live up to its promises of equality and freedom for all its citizens.
As I contemplate the power of the Saturn/Pluto conjunction of January 2020 to change the world and then synthesize that information with the power of Saturn/Uranus to wipe away structures that no longer serve, I am struck by the resistance to change. It seems so useless to resist the inevitable, and yet so many of us do with passion and intensity. January 6 was just the beginning of the violent resistance to change. Don’t think for a moment that this violence was a one-off—it was coordinated, it will continue to be coordinated, and as the coming months unfold, we’re likely to become increasingly aware of who is pulling the strings, creating and then manipulating the mob.
I am also struck by the cynicism of politicians on the right, who have seized upon the grievance culture of a certain segment of the population and harnessed that suffering to try to stave off the cultural tsunami occurring everywhere; it is a tidal wave of diversity that scares them to the bone. Yet it is a wave that cannot be stopped and because it will wipe away the privilege of white people to exploit others based on their color or gender, the resisters are employing every and any machination possible to thwart the new, emerging paradigm.
The resistance to this emerging paradigm as well as the cynicism of right-wing politicians can also be seen clearly in the refusal to support a January 6 insurrection investigation. We’ve all watched enough procedurals on TV to know that their refusal is likely based on their fear of being implicated in the planning of the insurrection. What is so unsettling and so very sad is their determination to cover up this seditious act in broad daylight, certain that they will not be caught or punished by the mob they have created.
But the cynicism of lying so blatantly to people who are not able to think things through or reason with common sense or have been taught to be afraid of the “other” or brainwashed by right-wing media is diabolically cruel. Wacky conspiracy theories have already driven some mad with paranoia; the bald-faced lie about the November election results having been rigged continues the process of deconstructing the government and our trust in it, a process that began in the first days of Mr. Trump’s term.
All of what has transpired is best understood through the lens of the Saturn/Uranus square, which symbolizes the dissolution of the status quo on every level and in every arena of daily life—and we are in it. There is no escaping the tension between what was (Saturn) and what is being born (Uranus).
Week One/June 1–7
Mercury Retrograde began on May 29 and continues until June 22. Mercury is retrograde in Gemini, the Sign of communication and information, so it might be wise to anticipate that more than a few snafus will interfere with the smooth flow of data, whether that’s as simple as a phone glitch or as complex as one or more networks going down. Patience is the best antidote for this retrograde, so despite the desire to push through any obstacles, take your time and figure out how to work through it without too much angst.
Unfortunately, avoiding angst won’t really be possible, given that the Saturn/Uranus square begins tightening its grip—they are within a degree of exact contact—and that grip translates into increased tension as more and more of our fellow travelers are going to struggle with holding on and letting go. Remember to be kind—not everyone is interested in or attuned to progress.
A Mars/Pluto opposition began on May 29 and is exact and separating on June 5, and lingers until June 13, a day before the Saturn/Uranus square is exact. When Mars opposes Pluto, lots of folks feel invincible and determined to get what they want, even if they have to use unscrupulous methods. Another probable manifestation of the Mars/Pluto intensity will be flaring tempers and the willingness to fight over almost anything. Try to be patient with yourself and your fellow travelers—almost everyone is feeling under the gun and the pressure is almost unbearable.
Fortunately, an ongoing Venus/Jupiter trine is exact and separating on June 3 and lasts until June 8. This is a warm-hearted interaction that will be quite useful in dispelling some of the week’s tension as well as providing the potential for real joy and harmony.
Week Two/June 8–14
There’s a solar eclipse on June 10 at 19° Gemini 47'. It might be best to expect the revelation of hidden information—that’s what eclipses do. But because the shadow of an eclipse extends six weeks prior to or after the actual event, you may already find yourself dealing with the consequences of such revelations. This eclipse happens very close to Mr. Trump’s Moon, which means we are likely to have to endure even more unsavory and unsettling information about the former president.
The Saturn/Uranus square is exact and separating on June 14, but its effect lingers well into the third week of July. Usually the worst of a pernicious interaction—and this is definitely a pernicious combination—manifests as the planets separate, but because Uranus is the planet of surprising plot twists, you may be in for sudden twists of fate prior to June 14 or after.
Week Three/June 15–22
Jupiter Retrograde begins on June 20 and continues until October 18. Jupiter is going to retrograde back to the degree it occupied toward the end of March. I don’t usually pay much attention to Jupiter Retrograde—and I have one in my birth chart—so I wouldn’t be concerned about this retrograde phase at all. It occurs on the same day as the summer solstice, about twelve hours before the Sun moves into Cancer, signaling the start of summer.
Week Four/June 23–30
There is a Mars/Saturn opposition from June 24, exact and separating on July 1, and ending on July 9. This is another pernicious astral interaction that easily inclines people toward duking it out. Because this opposition may trigger a ruthless attitude that could devolve into destructive criticism, it might be wise to channel your intensity into a specific task rather than a specific person. Spend the intensity of this interaction playing well with others—it won’t be easy, but it will go a long way toward keeping the peace.
The month ends with Neptune Retrograde on June 25. Neptune joins Saturn, Jupiter, and Pluto—all retrograde and all direct in October. Until then, we’re kinda in a review of all that has transpired. But don’t worry about starting new projects during this time—Mercury Retrograde is the one with the power to stall things.
June is the month of the COVID-19 reset—we’re emerging from hibernation but not quite sure where we are, who we are, and what we are waking up to. The world isn’t the same and many of us are going to wrestle with the shifts that have occurred while we were hibernating. Saturn and Uranus are going to shake things up, but before you get too antsy, be glad for the push—we’re in a transformational battle between stagnation and growth. As always, be as kind as possible to those you love, to yourself, and to your fellow travelers—all efforts to make the world kinder help create a better world.
On a different note: Thanks to everyone who wished me well during my month off. Your kind words and sentiments were much appreciated.
I decided to shift the scope of the column and turn it into a monthly. If I am ever going to finish writing the book I’ve been working on forever, I will need those words—and a monthly column will save me about 4500 words that I can dedicate to other writing. Let’s see how this new format works. My hope is that it will be as satisfying for you as it is for me.
All subscriptions have been extended for a month, as promised. Let me know if you experience any subscription issues.
The column will now appear on the first of every month.
Again, thank you for your support.
May 5 - 11, 2021
I am taking the month of May off from writing the Aquarium Age. I made it through Trump and his Gang of Hungry Ghosts and most, but not all, of the pandemic, and now I need a rest to restore, replenish, reconsider, and recalibrate what I want to say and how I want to say it. (Yes, I am having my own personal retrograde.)
I will return to these pages on June 2.
Those of you with subscriptions: I will be extending subscriptions for a month.
Of course, I will still be reading charts.
April 28 - May 4, 2021
Hello to readers everywhere!
It’s a crunchy week, filled with clunks and awkward elbow jabs, and maybe even too many rough edges to navigate with a smile. Strong determination is required to stay on whatever track you’re on and to maintain an unwavering commitment to kindness as the best way of navigating the difficulties, mundane or exceptional.
Pluto Retrograde began yesterday, April 27, a retrograde phase that lasts until October 6—yes, it is a very long haul. Pluto is reviewing slightly more than a year of activity, turning around at a degree it occupied in March 2020. Although Pluto does not have a relationship with technology—Uranus and Mercury have that domain of snafus to themselves—we’re still likely to feel its “backward” glance. Some of our fellow travelers felt it as early as last week, while others might feel its drag as this week unfolds. As you navigate Pluto’s retrospective, keep in mind that we are in full-blown Pluto Return mode and that its return is emblematic of our fomenting political culture, which I love referring to as the American Revolution 2.0.
The main crunch comes from Saturn—it squares the Sun, Uranus, Venus, and Mercury. (Oy; so much conflict and so little time.) This entire bundle brings out the critic in almost everyone. Saturn is quick to point out flaws and to promote self-conscious inhibition as it simultaneously suppresses spontaneity. Don’t be surprised if you’re judging yourself or others too harshly. Once you realize you’re being hyper-judgmental, try to tone it down; no one does well under fault-finding scrutiny.
The best antidote to constant criticism would be to rely on compassion—it is always the best way to diffuse tension and polarization. We all have different voices and somewhere along the way we’ve stopped appreciating the value of our differences. I’m not suggesting that compassion changes opinions; I’m thinking that learning to be compassionate toward people we would otherwise dismiss has the potential to restore our respect for each other, even if we don’t agree. Of course I realize that it is almost impossible to have compassion for those who hate and who act on that hatred to harm others. But what we have learned from Gandhi and others practicing nonviolence as a way of life is that even attempting to have compassion for our enemy strengthens the heart.
Here’s an interesting essay on learning to hear each other: www.dailygood.org/story/2728/they-sang-with-a-thousand-tongues-bayo-akomolafe/
On an entirely different note, I have an important announcement:
I am taking the month of May off from writing the Aquarium Age. I made it through Trump and his Gang of Hungry Ghosts and most, but not all, of the pandemic, and now I need a rest to restore, replenish, reconsider, and recalibrate what I want to say and how I want to say it. (Yes, I am having my own personal retrograde.)
I will return to these pages on June 2.
Those of you with subscriptions: I will be extending subscriptions for a month.
Of course, I will still be reading charts.
April 21 - 27, 2021
Hello to readers everywhere!
I was watching The 11th Hour with Brian Williams last Friday night when he asked one of his guests, Caroline Randall Williams, what she saw as she looked at where we were at the end of last week—a week troubled by so many tragedies. Her reply: “I see a heartbroken and endangered place.” She went on to say how she “wants to be a witness” and wants to be someone who “understands grief and inherited and generational and collective cultural trauma,” but something about Daunte Wright’s death was just too much. “We are a country that is not able to equitably care for our citizens.” I felt the pathos of her commentary and it matched my own.
In honor of Earth Day, I’m modifying those poignant words to include Planet Earth and all the sentient beings we share our habitat with because we are not able to equitably care for each other. I grieve for all the beings extinct due to our neglect and to our hubris—the conceit that we, above all others, are in control of the life on Earth and should be valued above all others. Those of us who have been to see the Great Oz and have a brain, a heart, and some courage know that our planet is in grave danger. We also know that it is up to each of us to make a difference. So far we’ve failed, but hope does actually spring eternal and more and more of our fellow travelers are rising to the occasion of doing what’s necessary to keep spaceship Earth afloat. Yes, there are a plethora of obstacles for every movement working for positive progress, but hopelessness won’t change a thing—all it does is numb the spirit.
We are in a heartbroken and endangered place, but the sky is speaking to the necessity and possibility of change through the symbolism of a Saturn/Uranus square, a fractious interaction that represents the dismantling of the status quo. The cycle of this square began with a Saturn/Uranus conjunction in 1988. There were three conjunctions that year: February 12, June 26, and October 18. The first square in that cycle was exact on July 17, 1999, again on November 14, 1999, and finally on May 13, 2000.
The opposition within that cycle occurred on November 4, 2008—Election Day in the United States. There were four additional oppositions within that cycle: February 5, 2009, September 15, 2009, April 26, 2010, and July 26, 2010. I’m listing the dates for those interested in researching the social, political, and financial climate of those years. The seeds of what we are dealing with now were sown during those pivotal years.
The current Saturn/Uranus square (and final square of the cycle) began on February 17, 2021, and the next two squares happen on June 14, 2021, and December 24, 2021. This final phase of the cycle that began in 1988 brings much of what was disrupted since the cycle began home to roost. The next Saturn/Uranus cycle begins in June 2032 with a conjunction at 28° Gemini. Much of what happens during the nearly eleven years between the end of the current cycle and the beginning of the next will clarify what this cycle set in motion. This includes the crises of racism, poverty, and fascism in America, all of which are emblematic of our inability to care for our citizens equitably.
These next several weeks, Saturn and Uranus are separated but still within three degrees of each other. When hard aspects pull apart, it is easier to see their effect. By the beginning of May, as Saturn slows down in preparation for its retrograde on May 23, the gap between Saturn and Uranus starts to close. Anticipate the intensity to intensify everywhere that life is already too intense, but especially in those areas that are already riled up. Finding the best solutions—going to the causal level and healing from the core—is going to take time.
The good news is that the Sun, Mercury, and Venus join Uranus in Taurus this week and that aggregation of planets in an Earth Sign offers the possibility of getting grounded with what is and taking practical steps to transform what needs to shift. Uranus is highly creative and it signifies innovation and invention as well as the need to break free from the shackles of whatever enslaves. Over the next two weeks, Saturn will square all those Taurean planets as it also squares Uranus, so be prepared for more than a few disgruntled moments.
Also try to keep in mind—there are so many things to keep in mind that it’s entirely possible to forget—that we are in the midst of the United States Pluto Return as well, ending a cycle that began with the formation of the country and ends with a spotlight on where we have failed to embody our highest principles. Pluto is within one degree of its position in the United States birth chart, so we’re in the thick of it. Pluto is an unrelenting taskmaster in search of authenticity, and this could be one of the reasons that America is experiencing such a deep and disturbing reckoning with itself—what is incongruent with the founding principles of the United States of America can no longer be tolerated by the majority of its citizens. And its citizens are having a hard time tolerating each other.
We are in a mighty transition and those of us who’ve been committed to personal growth know only too well that you gotta feel to heal, and a huge part of that means feeling the wound, with all its messy toxicity, pain, and sorrow. Courage and confidence in the process of healing is essential. Courage, because the resistance to growth can often be dangerous. Confidence, because sorting through the mess we’re in requires knowing that the status quo structures keeping us from living our deepest principles can be dismantled and then replaced with a civil order that is more in keeping with the highest ideals of our democracy. Perhaps the guilty verdicts just handed down for Derek Chauvin signal a shift in realigning our justice system towards those equitable ideals.
As always, be kind to yourself and your fellow travelers during the coming weeks—we’re all gonna need a helping hand.
April 14 - 20, 2021
Hello to readers in Normal!
Each week a friend or reader always asks if life is ever returning to normal, and every week when I sit down to stargaze, observe, and deliver an opinion about planetary patterns, I keep thinking there’s a way to return to a normal report on the sky—but it’s just not possible. I tried last week, but last week was hardly normal. There’s nothing normal about a pandemic, a fight over masks, a refusal to get vaccinated because you’re sure Bill Gates has embedded a microchip that will be able to track your every move—hel-lo, why would he even be interested? There is also nothing normal about the ongoing dismantling of political and cultural norms, a dissolution fueled by, but not limited to, the narcissistic wacko ex-president, his gang of hungry ghosts, and since he left office, his deplorable (yes, I am using that word) goons who seem hellbent to return to the days of yesteryear.
But the more I reflect on when normal got lost, the more I realize that even before this current set of crazies and crises took over daily life, there was the Great Recession, caused by voracious greed and lack of concern for the harmful consequences of an unbridled appetite for “more,” a hunger that characterized the ’80s, with its glamorization of fame and fortune fueled by cocaine and its derivative, crack. While it’s true that the Great Recession engendered a new righteousness in the social justice movement—Occupy everything—which accelerated an awareness of what needed to change societally, those changes were stymied by both the Tea Party—Q’s dysfunctional family of origin—and the GOP’s unapologetic (until John Boehner’s recent tell-all) need to thwart the efforts of President Obama simply because he was black, making his failure a priority above all others.
But before all of that there was the attack of 9/11, which led to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and to hundreds of thousands of deaths. The Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University puts the human cost of the post-9/11 wars at between 480,000 and 507,000 dead. Their calculations also include deaths in Pakistan. Prior to 9/11, there were the hanging chads of the Bush/Gore election, and I have often wondered if those wars would have happened if Gore had won instead of Bush.
Continuing on my search for normal, I arrived at Y2K and I couldn’t help but think that maybe the world did end in 1999 (and maybe Prince was our modern Nostradamus, warning us that we should party like it’s the end of the world because it was). But I couldn’t stay there for too long because it dawned on me that nothing has ever been normal. Not even the repressive ’50s, which white people commonly like to refer to as the standard for normal, but those years weren’t normal and the wild ’60s can be seen as the need to break free from the tyranny of trying to conform. “I’m doing my thing” was the mantra that helped so many to liberate themselves from the shackles of pretending that the kids were alright. They weren’t.
Then I had a think about what “normal” really is and why I (and so many others) want to return to it so badly. What I realized is that each of us defines normal differently and our definitions are defined by our values—as is everything these days. Normal for me is not carrying a gun; normal for someone else is. And therein lies the problem: I don’t think that toting a gun will ever be normal, nor do I think that lying, racism, fascism, misogyny, violence, or hatred is normal.
My search for normal had a beneficial effect: it freed me from pretending that there is some standard way of writing about anything—including the sky—and while many readers may think I don’t need freeing, I do. The only value in writing is telling the truth as you see it. If others resonate with that point of view, all the better, but that is not why I share my ideas about the messages of the sky each week. I share those thoughts because I have a deep need to belong to something greater than myself, something that’s akin to order but nonetheless mysterious. I think that longing throughout time and in every culture is the origin myth of astrology. We are stardust, and telling our personal story through the stories of the sky enlivens our connection to all that is. For me, that’s normal.
April 7 - 13, 2021
Hello to readers in Bee Cave!
This week planetary alignments shift just a little making the astral air slightly easier to breathe and to bear. The planets are aligned in positive patterns and as a result, there is a lessening of certain stresses. Please don’t misunderstand; it’s not quite a hallelujah moment and there is no massive collective sigh that signals the end of the pandemic. Most of us know that even if enough people are vaccinated, the tension and danger of COVID-19 will linger for a while. But there are positive interactions that support all sorts of interests and endeavors, making it possible to enjoy life a little more, something many of our fellow travelers have found difficult to do for the last little while.
Several sources contribute to the change of astral air.
1. A Sun/Venus conjunction in Aries celebrates the energy of spring and a fresh start. It’s a fiery, dynamic, positive interaction and while it is impetuous and tempestuous, it is also creative, romantic, and lusty. This Aries fire fuels a desire for renewal of every sort, so don’t be surprised if you’re ready to donate the clothes you are never going to wear or the shoes that don’t quite match your lifestyle or that extra set of something—dishes, glasses, or matching pajamas that are carrying the energy of springs past.
2. Jupiter in Aquarius trines the Sun/Venus conjunction in Aries, ramping up enthusiasm for those new beginnings. Jupiter amplifies the need to stretch into new areas, and that positive intensity can be used to unabashedly pursue your passions and explorations. Aquarius colors Jupiter more than a tad eccentric, which means that some of your passions—or others’—could manifest in quirky, iconoclastic ways that could add many different colors to the spring palate. And because Jupiter symbolizes humor, you just might find yourself laughing at the silliness of certain choices.
3. Mars in Gemini trines Jupiter, enhancing its enthusiasm and stirring a need for physical activity. This is the time of year to get outdoors and the Mars/Jupiter trine has the power to move you into that exercise program you’ve been longing to explore.
4. Mars simultaneously sextiles the Sun/Venus conjunction, which means some of that need for physical activity is likely to manifest as sexual desire. This combination of Sun/Venus/Mars/Jupiter is an undeniable and irresistible romantic influence that makes it easy to fall in love, so anticipate lots of flirtations with lots of people and be prepared for some of those amorous sparks to ignite more than just a passing fancy.
5. The Mars/Neptune square continues, as does its emphasis on empathy. Mars/Neptune interactions are always about the urge to merge, but the problem with this square is that while it represents the capacity to stand in another’s shoes, it doesn’t quite make separating easy. When you combine that merging quality with the romantic fantasies of the week, it might be hard to keep your balance—losing yourself in someone else isn’t always awful, but not being able to extricate yourself could be problematic—as in having to fight in order to pull away.
6. In the next couple of days, Pluto in Capricorn squares the Sun/Venus conjunction in Aries, which could turn romantic feelings a little too intense. At best it signals a deepening interest that turns flirtations into something more serious. At worst, Pluto turns the entire bundle obsessive, which can make it quite uncomfortable for the object of your affection, or for you if you are the object of affection. Do your best to avoid forcing your interest on someone else and instead wait for the energy to flow easily.
The ongoing Saturn/Uranus square continues to exacerbate the chaos caused by the great unraveling of the status quo. The Georgia bill restricting voting rights that was just made into law is emblematic of this square—the old guard knows they’ve lost the fight over their supremacy and will do anything to hold onto what they no longer have. Meanwhile, President Biden’s infra structure bill raising corporate taxes also signals a new determination to close the economic gap, acknowledging the Earth where most of us live, and the trial of Mr. Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd also continues to highlight all that’s wrong with the way we have tolerated the hatred, guised in authority that has allowed so many black women and men to be murdered.
Watching the testimony of those who witnessed Mr. Floyd’s murder was heart-wrenching, for the suffering Mr. Floyd endured; for his family, and also for all those at the scene who could do nothing to stop his death and continue to be traumatized by a sense of guilt at not being able to help; and for many of the rest of us made painfully aware by Mr. Floyd’s death of just how deeply the poison of racism has insinuated itself in the status quo of our culture—we were all impotent in the face of that evil but because of his death, we can no longer stay silent and do nothing. There is no reasonable or rational explanation for the murder we all witnessed.
The Saturn/Uranus square will also continue to provide startling plot twists and reversals of fortune, so try not to get complacent—under this influence nothing should be taken for granted. But not all of those surprises are guaranteed to be negative. Many of what gets stripped away during this transit gets stripped away for the greater good. While it won’t be easy coping with this process, it is nonetheless valuable to let go of attitudes and behaviors that are best left behind.
The good news is that this week’s breath of fresh astral air offers the promise of hope, so despite the persistence of Saturn/Uranus changes, do your best to embrace the positive potential available and let that potential inform an optimistic attitude. As always, do your best to be kind to yourself and your fellow travelers—we all need more than a little compassion during these transformative days.
March 31 - April 6, 2021
Hello to readers in Minneapolis!
My head is exploding from trying to track the many social and cultural revolutions happening simultaneously, and when I couple that with the dizzying pace of change turning so many lives upside down and inside out, it becomes increasingly difficult to stay centered in an optimistic perspective. Some of our fellow travelers are moving at a breakneck pace toward progressive change while others are desperately and blatantly clinging to a mean-spirited and mendacious set of retro-values that cannot be sustained. So don’t be dismayed or disappointed in yourself if you’re feeling discombobulated, dazed, or confused by what’s going on. Even though it is a relief to wake up in the morning without having to worry about the tweets and whims of a crazy king, the damage done and the repair that’s necessary to right our collective and individual ships is extensive.
Pluto is within one degree of its position in the United States chart, which means we are fully in the United States Pluto Return, or what I like to call the American Revolution 2.0. Pluto signifies the process of transformation, which often manifests as the process of death and rebirth—what is useless has to go so that something new can be born. There’s no need for me to enumerate all the pernicious policies that need to be transformed, but it’s worth noting that this process has a global effect as well—as America goes, so goes the world. I am not advocating an America-centric viewpoint; it’s just impossible to deny our interconnectedness. Even if the United States fails to maintain its leadership role during or after its 2.0 Revolution, it’s certainly leading the way on demonstrating what needs to shift.
Uranus leads another revolution—a revolution of values—as it transits Taurus, the Sign that signifies resources, all assets other than real estate, and at a deeper level, our individual and collective values. As Uranus asks us to examine what matters most, it is simultaneously taking an inventory of all our resources, and this inventory is catalyzing a crisis of values: we are divided over what matters most—money and power, in the form of unbridled individual and corporate wealth and their outsized influence, versus the collective good. This is also a crisis of kindness and compassion, in the form of concern for the well-being of Planet Earth and all who dwell here. The divide between those who care about their fellow travelers and those who don’t is crystal clear.
This week, the ongoing Saturn/Uranus square continues to challenge the status quo, which emphasizes the ongoing Uranian revolution of values. The good news is that many of our fellow travelers are accepting this challenge and actively working to transform their worldview and, more importantly, their behavior based on that view.
The Black Lives Matter movement has been and continues to be instrumental in exposing the depth of racism and how malignant bigotry has insinuated itself into almost every facet of life. It’s up to each of us to ferret out where racism lurks in the regular routines of our daily lives. It’s also up to each of us to continue to stand for what matters most.
George Floyd’s murder symbolizes this Uranian crisis of values—we all watched him being murdered, and millions and millions of our fellow travelers here and all around the world rose up in outrage to protest this blatant, evil hate crime. Uranus is at the same degree it occupied on May 25, when Mr. Floyd was killed, and once again, as the trial of Derek Chauvin unfolds, we are watching. But this time we are watching to see if justice will be done.
March 24 - 30, 2021
Hello to readers in Toronto!
It’s another week of dynamic contradiction, which isn’t surprising given that we are in the midst of so many monumental challenges to the status quo. On the one hand, there is the continuing effort to right the ship of government—how it functions and serves its citizens—while on the other, the right wing is zealously clinging to a retro status quo that’s crumbling before our eyes. Some of us desire sweeping change while others are attempting to deny the inexorable process of societal shift. The self-righteousness of zealots on both sides grows more entrenched every day. The collision between what was and what is can be discombobulating and disheartening, especially if you are doing your best to keep your personal world afloat amidst a deluge of difficulties. Very few of our fellow travelers, if any, have a clear vision of what the future might be because we are in the process of creating it and that process is far from over. We have yet to integrate all that needs to change into a coherent plan because we’re still sorting through the debris of what once was.
One of the ways the collapse of the status quo is revealing itself is through the pandemic. People all around the planet are rebelling against wearing masks and getting vaccinated. Every person seems to be their own political ecosystem and sole expert and authority, and as a result unity continues to be just out of reach. Don’t misunderstand; I support differing opinions about everything. But that’s where it gets tricky. If you refuse to wear a mask and your refusal to do so puts me and those I love in danger, how do I reconcile my need to follow the science and your need not to—a need I respect but a need that science says causes harm? It’s tricky. And it is a challenge most of us are facing as we work through our regular routines and try to establish a smidgen of normal.
I keep thinking about how brainwashed many of us are about science. On both sides of the argument, extremists hold that religion and science are antithetical positions within our human experience. But they are not—they are coexisting dimensions of life. Science asks “how?” and religion asks “why?” and both questions have the power to deepen our appreciation of the brilliance of the human mind, heart, and spirit. The unification of these two dimensions and their respective questions are among the most important subjects we can address in the midst of this pandemic: we need science to help us find relief from the virus and we need a spiritual frame of reference to remind us how deeply connected we are to one another, regardless of our differing opinions. Respect for those differences is essential. Unity between science and spirituality is also essential if we are to successfully fight COVID-19 as well as the virus of hate it brought into focus.
Driving is a social contract that most of us willingly support and when someone violates its rules, we all feel the danger: think drunken, careless, or angry drivers putting others on the road at risk. We think it’s the law that makes us adhere to the speed limit, but it’s actually a social contract we’ve made to acknowledge the risk involved should one of us decide on a personal need for speed, or conversely a personal need to move at a snail’s pace, that pushes others straight into the danger zone. Wearing a mask is no different. It requires that we agree to do what’s best for the many; it assumes the wisdom of science and reinforces our social contract that we will try not to harm each other. Imagine trying to pass a seatbelt law in our current contentious and resistant climate.
I’m concerned that during this great dismantling (which from an astrological perspective is going to persist for several years), we are descending into some sort of huge black hole that is disabling our ability to reason, to discern fact from fiction, and to recognize when personal conceit is negatively affecting clarity. Several thoughtful people recently shared with me that they weren’t going to get the vaccine—they all had good reasons, but none of those reasons were based on science and none assumed the value of a social contract benefitting all of us in fighting this disease. I am not an anti-vaxxer and neither do I think that doctors are gods and modern medicine has all the answers. But what I know is this: I didn’t get polio because I was vaccinated.
The astrology for the week continues to symbolize our great divide. The ongoing Saturn/Uranus square represents challenges to the status quo. This is the last square in a cycle that began in 1988, and because we are at the final square of this cycle, it might be a beneficial exercise to look back on where you were when it started. For those younger than the conjunction that started it, you might want to examine where you were for the first square in 1999-2000, and for the five oppositions that occurred between 2008 and 2010. The current square was exact for the first time on February 17 and there will be two more exact contacts later this year—more about this ongoing fractious interaction in the weeks to come.
A Sun/Venus conjunction in Aries stimulates all sorts of artistic endeavors as it simultaneously feeds a desire for love and for harmony—a powerful antidote for this phase of societal strife. Use this benign alliance to infuse your personal life with beauty.
The ongoing Mars/Saturn trine continues to supply the strength to endure whatever is necessary for overcoming obstacles—again, a powerful signature for having the stamina to face the challenge of creating unity, especially as this planetary combination also supports the power to hold fast to resistance. As you experience its strength, try not to devolve into violence of any kind—physical, psychic, or verbal.
A Mercury/Neptune conjunction begins on Friday, is exact on Monday, and ends on April 1. This is a fast-moving interaction because Mercury, unless it’s retrograde, moves with lightning speed. This conjunction fosters a lack of clarity, which includes projection as one of its many manifestations, so before you point a finger of blame, take a personal inventory and at least consider that you may be projecting onto others rather than taking personal responsibility.
This Mercury/Neptune conjunction also feeds the power of imagination, something we need right now to envision our way out of the mess we’re in. Use this potential to imagine not just positive solutions but to envision what’s needed to integrate those solutions through systems that better address the needs of the many. One way each of us can participate in creating a new paradigm is reaffirming our personal commitment to compassion—another thing we need right now to facilitate a safe journey through the work that lies ahead.
March 17 - 23, 2021
Hello to readers in Busan!
The psychic air shifted over the last several weeks and that change is attributable to several factors, not all astrological, although the speedy feel that moved through last week and continues through this week is attributable to Mars moving into Gemini on March 3. That Martian shift in emphasis helped lift spirits—not all spirits, but enough to notice a mood change in the day-to-day goings on. Regular routines, struggling under the weight of the pandemic, are settling down just a bit. Nothing is really normal, but waking up in the morning to the continued absence of inflammatory tweets is a relief, and that makes morning coffee a little closer to normal, although the fight for equality that lies ahead is going to continue to disrupt the status quo.
Mars in Gemini trines Saturn in Aquarius, a positive alliance that began on March 10 and continues through March 31. This trine promotes ambitious activity, so harness its power to make progress toward your goals, whether they are business aspirations or something more personal; for example, spring-cleaning efforts benefit from this planetary combination. Be aware that Gemini is a convivial Sign that seeks the company of friends and family and Mars drives that desire for social contact. Be sure to maintain the COVID-19 guidelines for safe, small gatherings—it will take effort but it can be done. The best news about this trine is that it engenders endurance, something we need right now if we are to continue successfully battling the virus.
On Saturday, the Sun moves into Aries, heralding the start of spring in the northern hemisphere. The vernal equinox signals the season of renewal and it’s a great boon right now because we need to be hopeful about the coming months and spring has the power to ignite the desire for a fresh beginning. Allow yourself to be inspired by the seasonal shift.
Venus, the goddess of love, beauty, and what matters most, also moves into Aries on March 21 and her presence enhances this seasonal shift, deepening the inspiration of spring and amplifying the value of new beginnings.
Another large contributor to the ongoing change of air is the American Rescue Plan that allows millions and millions of our fellow travelers to exhale, deeply. The plan makes progress in battling COVID-19 with financial support for vaccinations, among many other means of assistance. It also offers much-needed economic relief, lessening the unbearable load of physical and economic survival—at least for now. The possibility of hope it brings also makes it a true relief package, especially because that relief is underscored by empathy for our fellow humans.
We are still in the midst of the ongoing Saturn/Uranus square, which means we are still in the tumult and turmoil of challenges to the status quo, individual and collective. Lots of us are going through tremendous upheaval as routines and practices are challenged by this powerful planetary combination. It’s important to formulate a strategy for handling the effect of this square, not just because it is with us for the next several months, but because each of us needs to know how we are going to manage the many more weeks of shift that lie ahead. Make kindness a part of your plan—kindness for yourself and others, as we all try to make it through these waves of change. We need to work together if we are going to co-create the new reality that lies ahead.
March 10 - 16, 2021
Hello to readers in Amarillo!
Welcome to the Saturn/Uranus square and its power to dismantle atrophied systems that can no longer be carried forward into the future. We’re in the midst of an unfolding collapse of so much at once that it’s simply overwhelming to think of all that needs to change—so many systems in dire need of reform and replacement. The Earth continues adjusting its tilt, perhaps in the hope of surviving and transforming the damage done by our collective ignorance, while those still clinging to the status quo refuse to adapt and are instead devoting their efforts to perpetuating an increasingly crazy amalgam of ideas that defy reason.
Unfortunately, those who cling to the weirdest ideas are trying to justify their behavior via these outrageous theories, but in reality are only revealing their ignorance. Couple that willful ignorance with the opportunistic cynicism—actually, nihilism—of politicians hell-bent on winning the favor of Trump’s base and you get the mess we’re in. Oh… and of course premeditated lies are the motivating force behind their manipulations and no one has the conscience or courage to tell the truth.
We are in a crisis of values, signified by the ongoing Saturn/Uranus square, which is inviting us (in some cases, forcing us) to examine what we value and why. There are three exact squares over the course of 2021. The first was on February 17, the second is on June 14, and the third occurs on December 24. But because of the retrograde pattern of both Saturn and Uranus, the intensity of the first square lingers through the second, amplifying its effect through mid-July. While it is possible to see this Saturn/Uranus square as an indication of economic destabilization (and I’m not sure it isn’t), what’s clear in this moment as well as from the beginning of Uranus’ transit through Taurus, is that everything that occurs under this influence is always going to create a crisis of values.
Uranus began its transit of Taurus in 2018, retrograding back into Aries and then making its final entrée into Taurus in March 2019. It shifts into Gemini in 2025, and until then we are learning the value of being spirits in the material world—this is the deepest truth of this transit. If you aren’t certain about why that’s so, take some time to contemplate just how creative human beings can be when they are expressing spirit without hesitation.
Saturn began its transit through Aquarius on March 21, 2020, fully entered it on December 17, and stays there until its move into Pisces in 2023. Saturn signifies the bones of things and wants stable structures; the status quo is created to protect those structures. Aquarius represents innovation and while co-ruled by Saturn, its modern Ruler is Uranus, the symbol of rebellion and invention. As Uranus pushes against that Saturnian stability, any structure that isn’t built on solid ground is going to shake until someone pays attention and provides the needed remedy—this is true for the individual as well as the collective.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how people can lie so effectively. Some friends have suggested that these people—the liars—believe what they are saying, so it doesn’t feel like a lie; it’s simply their truth. I disagree. The Hawleys, Cruzes, McConnells, and McCarthys of our world know they are lying. And it doesn’t bother them because they don’t believe in anything other than their hunger for power—a persistent group of Hungry Ghosts, still hanging on Trump’s coattails, still supporting egregious behavior. When there is no external, transcendent force that you measure yourself against (for atheists that higher ground is often a moral imperative), humility is impossible because you see yourself as the sole source of power. Therein lies the danger: when you stand for nothing greater than yourself, you can lie about anything and everything.
But don’t let the bastards wear you down. The times they are a-changin’, and the structures that support our lives will eventually yield to change. This is our purpose—to grow.
March 3 - 9, 2021
Hello to readers in Casablanca!
There’s a definite shift in the wind this week, and although winter continues for a while longer here in the Northern Hemisphere, spring is just about to begin. Couple the promise of spring with the hope that the vaccines will finally make it possible to be less constrained, and it’s almost possible to be optimistic going forward.
Mars reinforces this change of air later today (10:29 PM EST) when it moves into Gemini, starting a new phase of Martian influence. Gemini is the Sign of communication and information, Mars is the planet of action, and as their influences combine, we can expect lots of discussions, dialogues, debates, and diatribes over what’s true as well as what’s necessary information. Of course these Mars-in-Gemini communication marathons are political (what isn’t these days?), but they are also personal, so anticipate spending lots of time talking with family, friends, co-workers, and maybe even strangers about a wide range of your personal processes as well as theirs.
Amplifying that need to share, a Mercury/Jupiter conjunction in Aquarius stimulates the need to communicate in unconventional ways as well as conventional ones. Mercury symbolizes communication and travel, and Jupiter signifies expansion on a multitude of levels, from the physical to the metaphysical and everything in between, which means you can anticipate all sorts of signs, signals, and messages being delivered in all sorts of ways, some understated and some quite dramatic.
A Sun/Venus conjunction in Pisces softens the air and that could translate into a gentler and easier way of sharing ideas, but it could also exacerbate the delusion that the presidential election was stolen, especially as the Sun moves into a conjunction with Neptune, beginning today and lasting through mid-March. Neptune represents imagination, and included under that infinite umbrella of possibility is illusion and delusion. When Neptune is illuminated by the Sun’s presence, a skilled fabulist is likely to grab the spotlight. We already have so many liars telling us so many lies that it’s hard to imagine that another won’t appear. I don’t know about you, but I’ve learned that anything is possible.
The good news is that the Sun/Venus conjunction is with us all month long, continuing to soften the blows of fraud and fakery, but more importantly, adding inspiration to the daily mix. So if you’re on the move when a great lyric or a wonderful opening sentence crosses your mind, write it down or record it—don’t just let it slip away.
As this week and the coming weeks unfold and as the vaccines provide a modicum of relief and safety, many of us will start to move out into the world with slightly more confidence. But we’ve been inundated for so long with so much anxiety and no way to shake it off that many of our fellow travelers may find it difficult to move freely again, even when bolstered by the reassurance of a vaccination. We’ve been isolated for so long, we’re gonna need remedial classes in social skills. We’ve also been saturated with grief over those who have lost their lives as well as grief for the way we used to live our lives, so don’t be surprised if it takes more than a moment integrate all that’s happened into the creation of new routines. Many of our fellow travelers will need help gathering the confidence to move forward into a new way of life so where you can, extend a helping hand to others.
February 24 - March 2, 2021
Hello to readers in Suwon-si!
Mercury is direct. The Saturn/Uranus square continues. Mars trines Pluto, providing a hardworking, concentrated, and persevering attitude toward getting “it” (whatever that may be) done. It’s not a quiet astral week, it’s just not that much different from last week. Texas may finally be warmer but the bureaucracy its citizens now have to confront might be an even more damaging storm; moving toward healing and rebuilding could be more overwhelming for some than the freezing temperatures, and at times seemingly impossible to overcome.
This is yet another manifestation of all the healing we need to do. COVID-19 has revealed all the holes in all the systems (not just here but around the world) that desperately need attention if we are to heal ourselves and our planet. As we move through this seemingly endless process, it’s important to remember that each day, with every thought, word, and deed we are moving steadily toward creating a better world, even if progress feels stymied by the limitations of reality in the third dimension, where it takes a long time to heal and stay healed.
I was talking with a friend last week about how long it might take to heal the great cultural divide that threatens so many dimensions of our everyday routines. It was a distressing conversation until he mentioned the Hyperbolic Time Chamber from Dragon Ball. I confess, I’d never even heard of Dragon Ball let alone watched it, but as soon as he mentioned the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, I was hooked. I did a little research and discovered that this chamber is also called the Room of Spirit and Time—right up my alley. Other qualities also piqued my interest: “it can be accessed through different doorways throughout Universe 7,” and of course I’m asking how can I get to Universe 7? But the most important feature was its time warp: “one year inside the chamber” equals “one day on the outside,” or one day of Earth time. (dragonball.fandom.com)
As soon as you enter the chamber, time shifts. That dimensional distortion could manifest in an infinite number of imaginative ways, but a visit right now would be useful because the ratio of a year to a day has the power to accelerate learning; you could enter with the express intention of finding and mastering the techniques to solve our long-standing destructive polarization and then return to Earth time with practiced solutions. I realize I sound a little like I’ve lost my mind, but access to an accelerated path to healing our individual and collective situations is undeniably attractive. Finding the best and most efficient means of facilitating solutions to the simplest yet most complex question should be a primary goal: how do we open our hearts to each other and genuinely accept and embrace our differences so we can put strife aside and move forward?
Of course, because the goddess is always listening, I stumbled upon an existing process that is already healing deeply damaged hearts, and even though this process moves at an Earth-time pace, it seems to have lasting transformative power because it is actively teaching people how to open their hearts to each other even in the worst of circumstances.
Its name is the Reverence Movement. I won’t go into too many details because I won’t summarize them as well as the person who started the movement, Aqeela Sherrills. At the heart of the Reverence Movement is the commitment to healing the wounds of hatred and violence without pointing the judgmental finger of blame. Instead this movement focuses on how to transform ossified positions, born in and from violent trauma, and then healing those experiences by growing beyond the limitations of those wounds to become strong, restored, individuals able to help others to transform. Here’s the link to this terrific story: www.dailygood.org/story/2689/the-reverence-movement-aqeela-sherrills/
While the Reverence Movement is not a Hyperbolic Time Chamber, it is a way of applying what we already know about trauma and recovery: the victim and the victimizer need to be heard and understood if that dynamic is to be transformed and eventually neutralized. There are many movements of compassion facilitating effective shifts of awareness—something I need to remember because the mainstream media rarely reports on any significant gains from positive actions. The media is primary focused on right-wing white supremacist groups, and while those extremists do pose a grave danger, there are far more people interested in peacefully transforming their lives than there are those joining militias fueled by hate and fear.
Not every fellow traveler is agile enough in body, mind, and heart to leap across the abyss from judgment to compassion, but steady progress is being made in so many places we never hear about. Many more people than we realize are turning toward compassionate awareness and all it can provide. Recently, I read that “kindness is the new black,” and while the idea of compassion being a fashion statement made me a little uncomfortable, it also made me smile. Compassion is the Hyperbolic Time Chamber of each and every heart and the more we visit that chamber, the more we accelerate our individual and collective skill to love each other.
February 17 - 23, 2021
Hello to readers in Tuba City!
Endurance is the key word for this week and for oh so many weeks going forward. We’re under the influence of a Saturn/Uranus square that is exact and separating today, but because Saturn and Uranus stay within close proximity to each other for the next several months, we can easily call this influence the square that never quits, and its persistence is both a gift and a tyranny. Its gift is the potential to break free from whatever you experience as holding you back and inhibiting your personal freedom; its tyranny is its skill at fostering rebellion and irritating nervous systems—individual and collective. And because all of our nervous systems are already overwrought from so many crises, it won’t be easy to calm down during the extended reach of this Saturn/Uranus square. So do whatever it is you can to soothe agitation, yours or others’.
There are three exact Saturn/Uranus squares this year. The first is today, the second is on June 14, and the third is on December 24. But there is hardly a break between the first and second contact—between now and June 14—because Saturn and Uranus don’t stray far from their fractious interaction. Their close contact continues through February, March, April, May, and June; it isn’t until mid-July, weeks after the June 14 exact square, that there is a break from the intensity. Saturn/Uranus contacts are about the dissolution of the status quo. Like you, I’m wondering (even as I write) how could there be more challenges to the status quo? But it is likely that many more challenges to the tried-and-true of daily life will continue, and that persistent friction translates into increased agitation—physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual—that is simultaneously individual and collective.
Saturn represents stability; Uranus represents instability. Saturn symbolizes structure; Uranus symbolizes change, which often resembles chaos until the process is over. Saturn signifies limits and regulations; Uranus signifies limitlessness and defiance in the face of any rules that have lost their meaning.
Saturn is currently in Aquarius, one of its Home Signs, the Sign of invention. Uranus is currently in Taurus, the Sign of ultimate value, and its journey through Taurus is stirring the stagnant waters of what no longer has value, yet still serves as a measure of reality. Saturn is holding on, Uranus is letting go, and we’re caught between the two.
It won’t be easy making your way through the intensity of this Saturn/Uranus influence. One of the best ways through is to hold fast to your spiritual practice and principles, especially those that have stood the test of time without becoming stagnant or dogmatic. Those enduring truths have the power to guide you through the tumult. Even if you’re allergic to anything related to a Higher Power, hold fast to your ideals.
It’s never easy standing by your principles when the earth is quaking and when compromising those principles might seem to be a way to settle things down, so make every effort to live your highest truth. And when possible help those less capable of identifying such truths for themselves to continue in their search; your fellow travelers will appreciate your aid.
February 10 - 16, 2021
Hello to readers in Kula!
There is always something interesting hidden in the frustrating snafus of a Mercury Retrograde and it’s worth searching through the details, even if your computer decides to have a mind of its own (which mine did), but here’s what I discovered in this first retrograde phase of 2021:
President Biden, elected to the office in the midst of the most severe combination of crises we’ve ever faced, was also elected vice president in the midst of the most severe financial crisis since the Great Depression. That first election took place during a Saturn/Uranus opposition. He was sworn in as president at the beginning of a series of Saturn/Uranus squares that will set the tone for not only for 2021 but also for the entire term of his presidency. All Saturn/Uranus contacts are about the dismantling of the status quo, and while it is hard to imagine anything else being dismantled, the process of righting our ship will take quite some time.
President Biden’s natal chart contains a wide Saturn/Uranus conjunction in Gemini, the Sign of ideas; while it’s a 7° orb rather than the standard 5°, it is nonetheless a potent contact, given that Biden stepped into his greatest political roles under two Saturn/Uranus combinations. The conjunction in President Biden’s natal chart did not transform him into the James Dean of the Democrats; he is neither a political nor a cultural rebel. Yet he resonates with the energetic signature of that planetary combination, which is an interesting detail and might be why he is a good choice to lead us through this particular transition. He recognizes the value of wisdom gathered from experience—Saturn—but also recognizes the need for innovation—Uranus.
There are three exact Saturn/Uranus squares this year. The first direct contact is exact and separating on February 17, 2021. The second occurs on June 14 and the third on December 24—so pretty much all year long we are under this astral influence, which means all year long we are under a fair degree of turmoil. It’s important to remember that times of tumultuous societal change always include a period of reaction. The most recent blatant acts of white supremacist aggression are a continuation of the backlash to the election of Barack Obama, which shifted the cultural and political paradigm of the presidency, and the country as a whole. President Biden’s personal experience with the aftershocks of that election might make him exceptionally sensitive to the rise of the unbridled racism that found its voice in Mr. Trump.
And speaking of Mr. Trump (and I am so looking forward to the day when I don’t have to), we are still hopelessly caught in his personal Groundhog Day—or maybe it would be better to say his impeachment déjà vu. I am not going to reiterate anything about history repeating itself. While it would be gratifying to see him repudiated by Republicans, that’s not likely to happen. That being said, on February 17, the day of the first Saturn/Uranus opposition, Mr. Trump has Pluto exactly opposite his Venus. It is possible to see this transit as a Plutonian light shining on Mr. Trump’s values. However the tension of this opposition manifests, it will have a compulsive quality; in Mr. Trump’s case, it could be the continuing insistence on his position regardless of reality.
There are currently five planets in Aquarius. In order of their appearance, by the degree they are currently occupying: Saturn, Venus, Jupiter, Mercury (retrograde until February 20), and the Sun. A New Moon in Aquarius began last night at 8:20 PM, and for the next two days, it will transit all those planets, adding an emotional component to the usual Aquarian reserve. Despite its natural cool, Aquarius is also known for its spontaneous and zany behavior, which means we can expect several surprises. Yes, I know we’re used to Uranus delivering the unexpected, but all these planets in Aquarius are kinda the equivalent of an extra Uranus transit.
The overarching influence of the week is the Saturn/Uranus square. A friend suggested that the worst of it was over after the assault on the Capitol that coincided with the square’s start. Although on January 6, Mars was conjunct Uranus, the most explosive signature in the astrological lexicon, that event is likely to be just the beginning of the Saturn/Uranus dismantling. Perhaps history will see it as the first shot fired in the United States revolution 2.0. As always, time will tell.
And as always, do your best to be kind to your fellow travelers. These are not the easiest times and the kinder we are to each other the easier it will be to get through the turmoil.
February 3 - 9, 2021
Hello to readers in Boston!
Yesterday was Groundhog Day, and because I am writing this column a couple of days before the actual event, I have no idea whether the groundhog saw his shadow. (Talk about a time warp.) But regardless of winter’s length, we are seeing and living our collective shadows, which are pervasive as well as pernicious, which means our winter of discontent is going to last for a long, long time. I don’t know about you, but even though there’s a new president and a new, more compassionate administration, daily life still feels like a slog through the wreckage of the past. Trying to heal the past in the present so that the future will be built on wisdom is a hard position to hold—it’s not impossible, but establishing and maintaining that balance requires effort and energy. So pace yourself and don’t let the bastards wear you down. We are healing the damage, but our focus must be on the world we are creating.
Mercury Retrograde, which began on January 30 and lasts until February 20, exacerbates what already feels like an endless retrospective on the last four years. There’s no sense resisting this retrograde review, but you can focus on your recent personal past rather than dwell on our recent collective history, especially if our collective history is too hard to bear. Embrace this first retrograde phase of the year with the willingness to reconsider recent decisions, not with the intention to find flaws but rather with a strong desire to work on whatever needs attention. Mercury Retrograde is always about reviewing the details of what’s already in motion as you’re simultaneously coping with its predictable communication and travel snafus. This isn’t a good time to start new projects, but it is a good opportunity to slow down and reflect on where you find yourself in the present moment.
The astral air continues to be testy—a Mars/Sun square intensifies the already too-belligerent air, so try to exert a little restraint in social interactions. Try to remember that very few of our fellow travelers are trying to do harm. Unfortunately there are those who thrive on discord and violence, and under this influence it’s hard to stay patient and calm. Still, there’s no need to contribute to the irritation and aggravation. Avoid starting a fight just for the thrill of a volatile release. Be especially patient with children and pets, who are feeling the intensity and may not know what to do with it.
Decades ago, many local school boards were infiltrated by right-wing Christian groups determined to seize the moment and build their movement from the ground up by taking control of the curricula. According to Pat Buchanan in the documentary The Day the Sixties Died, Republicans knew they had lost the culture war of the ’60s, but they were determined to win the political battles of ’70s and ’80s, and they did, particularly as many Democrats, disturbed by the multitude of progressive cultural changes, shifted to the Republican Party to help form the silent majority.
Part of the Republicans’ success was their influence over what children were taught in schools—science and the liberal arts were diminished in stature; not everywhere but in enough areas to make a difference. Civics classes were no longer taught and the importance given to teaching critical thinking diminished, greatly. It became more important to teach children what to think rather than how to think. We are now living with the consequences of those efforts. If you can’t think critically, you can’t discern true from the false or fact from fiction.
There’s no way to understand where we are without understanding how we got here. One way—not the only way—to make sense of the bizarre twists and turns of the right-wing zeitgeist is to understand that it was born as a reaction to change and matured (some would argue mutated) into a worldview that is exclusive rather than inclusive, more antiquated than it is contemporary.
As I keep saying each week, a lot of work lies ahead of us, and while a reasonable assessment of what needs to transform is overwhelming for us mere mortals, it is important to remember that it can be done—slowly, thoroughly, and persistently as we consistently work toward our best intentions for all sentient beings.
January 27 - February 2, 2021
Hello to readers in Iqaluit!
On Saturday, January 30, Mercury begins its first retrograde phase of 2021, which lasts until February 20. Mercury Retrograde is the new urban sky myth and its woes as well as its gifts are well known. But for those unfamiliar with Mercury Retrograde here are the important things to know: it usually occurs three times a year and during these phases all things related to communication and travel tend to go awry. Mail of all denominations gets lost, detours of every kind become regular occurrences, and negotiations of all sorts become labored with refusals to budge or delayed under tons of revisions. Mercury Retrograde is a great time to review, reflect, and reconsider plans and projects already in motion. It’s also a good time to revisit and recalibrate opinions and positions—something many of us might benefit from right at this moment, especially those who entered the rabbit warrens of conspiracy theories and are now struggling to reconcile the disparities between those theories and reality. I can’t even hear the word QAnon without thinking I’m trapped in a bad Star Trek episode starring Q himself, and part of his deception this time is a plethora of theories that don’t make sense, designed to drive you mad. I can only imagine how frustrated Picard must have been—caught in neither fact nor fiction; just a mind fuck.
Venus in Capricorn is conjunct Pluto, also in Capricorn, a relationship that began on January 24, is exact tomorrow, January 28, and lasts until February 1. This planetary combination normally manifests as extraordinary powers of attraction, like being madly in love (emphasis on madly). It also manifests as extraordinary creative gifts. But the conjunction leans toward compulsive or obsessive love, so if you are smitten during this time, avoid becoming a weird stalker—if your affections are unrequited, just let them go rather than insist. This is an intense interaction that encourages fanaticism—something we could use a lot less of right about now.
Also this week, Saturn and Jupiter continue to sandwich the Sun in Aquarius, and although at first this sounds like a beneficial confluence of energies, don’t let it fool you into taking risks you might later regret. Jupiter signifies expansion and optimism while Saturn represents contraction and pragmatism, and when both simultaneously align with the Sun you might experience a little confusion regarding where and how to spend your enthusiasm. Try not to take on too many unrealistic projects, especially with Mercury Retrograde beginning this week.
The Saturn/Uranus square also continues, and it will be exact and separating on February 17. This fractious interaction challenges the status quo. Saturn represents boundaries, structures, and limits. Uranus signifies radical change and stirs stagnant waters of every sort, individual and collective. There is no way to prepare for the full throttle of this square other than to make a commitment to flexibility—physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.
Tolkien’s Middle Earth and its struggles is one of my favorite universes. When I was in college and on semester break, instead of going on vacation—I couldn’t because I was working—I would either lose myself in the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy or just drop in here and there. I loved the movies years later even though they focused more on Orcs than Elves and Ents or the great Gandalf. (I suppose the battle scenes were intended for young boys, who seem to thrive on such things.) I could forgive the loss of Tom Bombadil; he was of another era, after all. But my greatest disappointment (all those with a favorite book mourn when the movie version leaves out their favorite part) was the absence of key details about Sam’s return to the Shire. The other Hobbits returned too, but it was Galadriel’s gift to Sam that works the final magic and healing. Galadriel gave Sam a small box of soil from Lothlorien where she dwelled, and when the Hobbits arrived back at the Shire and saw the destruction that had occurred while they were gone, Sam devoted himself to healing it by planting new trees and placing a bit of the elven-earth at the root of everything he plants. The one seed she gave him grows into a Mallorn tree and the Shire’s beauty is ultimately restored.
For the next days, weeks, months, and in some cases years we will be witnessing the damage done to our Shire, and unlike Sam, we don’t have Galadriel’s gift. More importantly, we can’t go back to what was. We must create a more perfect union, one that includes all of us—every sentient being—and our work will be expansive and demanding because we have to change hearts and minds. But the work is necessary and there are more fellow travelers willing to change and grow than there are those who cling to the past. As always, make compassion a constant companion; we need kindness more than ever. Compassion and kindness are our elven-earth and they will help us restore truth and beauty.
January 20 - 26, 2021
Hello to readers in Philadelphia!
It’s a disquieting week—I want to call it discombobulating, which would set a lighter tone, but that would be too superficial and wouldn’t really address the deep and in most cases dark undercurrents that flow through and inform the goings-on of the week. It’s Inauguration Day here in the United States and the day, while hopeful for so many, carries a dangerous astral signature. Of course you don’t need an astrologer to point that out—just about everyone everywhere can feel the uncertainty of the day and the potential dangers informing that uncertainty. Uncertainty that has triggered anxiety for even the most confident and optimistic among us.
The source of danger is a Mars/Uranus conjunction in Taurus squaring a Sun/Saturn/Jupiter conjunction in Aquarius. The energetic signature for a Mars/Uranus conjunction is the revolutionary or freedom fighter who tends toward violence as a way of satisfying his or her selfish interests. It’s a pernicious interaction with incredible stamina and endurance. The aggregation of planets in Aquarius amplifies that fighting spirit with a profound capacity for resistance, and the clash between these two groups of planets tends to manifest as tests of strength that challenge body, mind, and spirit. For those of us not planning an insurrection, the probable manifestation of this fractious interaction is increased stubbornness and the determination to take a stand, no matter what the consequences. It will be hard to resist doing something, but it would be wiser to refrain from taking any action that while satisfying in the moment has the potential to set things in motion you might later regret. From a collective perspective… well, we already see how this harmful and destructive energy is making itself known.
And if all of that isn’t enough, today the Moon squares Pluto as it moves into a conjunction with Mars and Uranus, exacerbating the already volatile atmosphere with volatile emotions. The highly technical way of interpreting the entire bundle is simple: it’s a mess. Even if you stay home, hide under the covers, and refuse to watch or listen to any media whatsoever, you’re likely to feel the intensity of these extreme interactions, all of which (with the exception of the Moon) continue to play out for the rest of the week—and then some.
The Mars/Uranus conjunction persists until January 30. The Saturn/Uranus square won’t even be exact until February 17, which means we aren’t exiting this intensity for several weeks. Saturn/Uranus interactions are all about destabilizing the status quo and when these two planets unite in a negative combination, existing conditions, especially structures built on shaky and often ossified foundations—whether physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, or political—tremble under this influence. Anticipate earthquakes of all kinds.
The effects of these configurations are going to persist for weeks, months, and years to come; they symbolize collective wounds in desperate need of healing, and it is going to take a lot of healing to transform the hate that had been percolating for decades and was finally brought to the surface through the intentions of Mr. Trump and those who put him in power.
What’s also unsettling this week is that we are going to start finding out the extent of the destruction that Mr. Trump and his Gang of Hungry Ghosts have perpetrated on the foundations of government—and it will not be pretty. Those revelations coupled with the ongoing pandemic and all the related trauma, from the inability to deliver enough doses of the vaccine to the eviction epidemic that will put so many of our fellow travelers at risk, is going to wobble the world. The pandemic made it nearly impossible to maintain a minimum of regular routines and the challenge to find normal continues. Which means that those of us who have practiced living with uncertainty are going to have to reach out to those less skilled at handling the continuing intensification of personal and collective overwhelm.
Those who are committed to service—this is what you signed up for and your fellow travelers need you more than ever. Much more. Do your best to quell your personal disquiet and whenever possible help others to cope with the changes. All efforts to help each other are needed.
January 13 - 19, 2021
Hello to readers in Washington, D.C.
Growing up with Marxist parents, “come the revolution” always meant that eventually all the workers of the world would unite, overthrow their capitalist bosses, and make them pay, because revolution in our house meant the people would finally be in power. In the sixties, when my personal revolution veered away from my parents’, I tried explaining to them that the radical shifts taking place in my milieu and in my syntax were creating a new revolution, a cultural revolution, when “peace would rule the planet and love would steer the stars.” I was right and I was wrong—and the reasons for the successes and failures of those revolutions are a subject for another time. Nevertheless, the reason I’m starting this week with revolution is simple: we are in one. It’s the American Revolution 2.0 and it is being televised, texted, posted, and recorded. Don’t misunderstand: this revolution isn’t being run by conspiracy theorists wearing red hats; this revolution has only just begun and everyone is in it, like it or not.
The astrology behind this revolutionary spirit is the United States Pluto Return, which is exact on February 20, 2022. Since the start of 2020, we’ve been in the nascent stages of this Pluto Return, and while it can be argued that the seeds of our current revolution were planted much earlier—and they were—this year and the next three years are the most intense period of this influence. Like all astrological transits, this Pluto Return extends its reach before and after the exact contact; Pluto moves very slowly, which means its extended orb of influence, even at one degree (most astrologers use five), spans several years. 2021 puts us in the thick of it. We open the year with Pluto at 24 degrees Capricorn, but by the end of February we will be at 26 degrees, only one degree away from Pluto’s placement in the Unites States chart at 27 degrees Capricorn. Pluto transits these degrees until January 2024—yes, the next time a president of the United States is inaugurated. And we will be working through the upheaval of these next several years for many more years and beyond that.
Contrary to what might be expected—and what’s amazing and absolutely mind-blowing to this old hippie—is that on the surface, white supremacists are leading the American Revolution 2.0—at least for now. Trumpers, manipulated by lies, lies, and more lies, and urged to violence by the unfathomable cynicism of their leaders and those seeking power, have changed the meaning of “come the revolution.” Their rallying call should be “come the devolution” because this is not a revolution that promises freedom from capitalist oppressors—it only allows the right-wing robber barons to grab more power. Steve Bannon, Josh Hawley, and all the others leading the charge to turn the United States into an anarchistic reality show based on religious fanaticism, are probably quite pleased with themselves. Quite pleased. Oh… and let’s not leave out that greed is valued above all else—greed that consistently destroys the foundations of democracy and undermines the ideals underpinning our democracy. Undoing the ignorance that has brought us to this state of the State will take a gargantuan effort—it can be done, but it will take a generation or two to right the ship. Here’s a link that reports on the underpinning of Hawley’s political and religious leanings. www.nytimes.com/2021/01/11/opinion/josh-hawley-religion-democracy.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
The truth—the whole truth and nothing but the truth—would wake us from this collective nightmare. When I think about the enormity of the lie being told to the people who stormed the Capitol, I am heartbroken at the villainy of it. I know there are many other reasons to be heartbroken about that day and I know we all have personal responsibility for our actions, but they have been fed a steady diet of lies for so long they can no longer think for themselves. Those rioters are part of an enormous cult of Trump and they drank the Kool-Aid—a saying that comes from the tragedy of another cult, Jim Jones’ Peoples Temple. Almost the entire community of the Jonestown settlement in Guyana—over 900 people—drank poison that was mixed into Kool-Aid (technically Flavor Aid, but the Kool-Aid moniker quickly took over) because their leader told—by some reports ordered—them to. The people who stormed the Capitol have been poisoned for years by lies, lies, and more lies. To tolerate the awfulness of this I keep hearing John Lennon singing “just gimme some truth.” For more on Jonestown: www.history.com/this-day-in-history/mass-suicide-at-jonestown
What I really want is Molly Ringwald’s character in Pretty in Pink to rise up as a gigantic goddess of truth and slam Cruz, Giuliani, Hawley, Limbaugh, Carlson, Trump’s children, and every other perpetrator of lies about the election, COVID-19, and all the other inflammatory falsehoods we’ve been forced to listen to for the last many years, the way she slammed Andrew McCarthy’s character against the lockers. I want the goddess of truth to slam them all against the wall until they come clean, admit they lied, and apologize to all the people they deceived. www.youtube.com/watch?v=8l7LGK2hnQw
But this is reality. And unfortunately all those people who have been lying will continue to lie until we demand that they tell the truth.
Last week I enumerated the many dangerous days that lie before us in the coming weeks—this week included. We are in the midst of several pernicious interactions, all of which point to violence—there is no sugarcoating any of that. A Mars/Uranus conjunction is exact in one week on Wednesday, January 20. This is a volatile, explosive interaction and it is likely to manifest as some sort of violence on Inauguration Day. I hope I am wrong, but given the current environment, unless the Republicans come clean and finally tell the truth, their followers will continue to riot.
The ongoing Mars/Saturn square is exact and separating today. This is another extremely difficult interaction that usually signifies destructive or harmful energy. The violence isn’t over and I shudder to think what’s next. I hope nothing is next. Nothing. But I know that is not reality—we are in a deep process that isn’t over any time soon.
The most important astral signature of the year is the Saturn/Uranus square, a combination that challenges the status quo. We’re in it now and we will be in it for most of the year. As this interaction coalesces with the U.S. Pluto Return, the challenges we face will go to the bone and we will be asked to identify what is essential in our lives, including, and most importantly, what we value the most.
The good news is that destructive forces are never as powerful as transformative ones, and there are more people who want to transform and grow than those trying to turn back the hands of time. We are not returning to slavery and neither are we going to be ruled by unbridled capitalism—another form of slavery—much longer. The fundamentalism espoused by the religious right that calls for violence against all other religious practices will not endure. We are already too diverse to be limited by the bigotry of others any longer. But the power, as always, is with the people, and the people have to know what they value and why. Then we have to work relentlessly to transform the shape we’re in.
If the United States were a person and I was reading her chart, I would offer the following advice: You are in an extended Pluto transit that challenges your personal power. The best way to handle the intensity of this transit is to make a commitment to authenticity—face all the issues that arise during this time with unstinting self-examination and honesty. Pluto, symbolizing death and rebirth, strips away whatever is not authentic, so be willing to surrender whatever patterns you have that are not based in your highest values. Know that whatever you cling to the most is likely to be the very thing you need to let go of—and let those patterns go.
Identify your highest principles and hold fast to them during the turmoil of the coming days. Above all, hold fast in your desire to help your fellow travelers.
January 6 - 12, 2021
Hello to readers in Halifax!
It’s hard to embrace the optimism of a new year, with all its promise of a fresh start, when pandemic fatigue exacerbated by Trump fatigue sucks the oxygen out of almost every experience, carrying forward the desolation of 2020 with unrelenting persistence. This is our winter of discontent—grief, despair, and anxiety permeate the atmosphere and even a vaccine and a new president cannot turn 2021 into a glorious summer. There are miles to go before we are free from the toxicity of the pandemic and four years of Trump’s cruel, mendacious, and racist reign. And the astrology for the coming year doesn’t offer as much hope as we could really use. Sorry for this disappointing take on reality, but it is best to know what lies ahead rather than pretend that we can simply hit the reset button and return to the factory settings of normal, regular routines. No way—we are nowhere close to normal and forewarned is better prepared.
The good news about 2021 is that we are not plagued by a plethora of retrogrades; it’s only Mercury’s retrogrades that we need concern ourselves with: (1) January 30 – February 20; (2) May 29 – June 22; and (3) September 27 – October 18. You only need to be prepared for the normal Mercury Retrograde snafus, but remember the three-day rule: the retrograde glitches start three days before the actual retrograde and linger three days after it ends—a little longer than most of us would like, but this year we may not mind as much as we have in previous years.
The not-so-good news is that from the get-go, 2021 strikes an ominous chord, comprised of several negative interactions occurring among Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus—a chord that resonates throughout most of the year. Here are the basics:
(1) Mars moves into Taurus today at 5:26 PM EST, and as soon as it does, it begins a conjunction to Uranus that is exact and separating on January 20 (yes, Inauguration Day), finally ending on January 30, the day Mercury Retrograde begins. A Mars/Uranus conjunction is a volatile combination of intensities: Mars represents physical energy; Uranus symbolizes electrical impulses; and together they generate an erratic pulse that often manifests as the sudden release of tensions. While we might be able to feel the building intensity, Uranus signifies startling plot twists, so we can’t necessarily see the surprising shifts until they occur. Uranus is, after all, the planetary symbol of surprise, so it makes sense that we will be surprised by what actually happens.
Mars/Uranus contacts are also the astral signature of the freedom fighter, with or without a cause, often manifesting that fighting spirit through explosive anger and the stubborn inclination to take action regardless of consequences. From the collective perspective, we already know that violence is possible during this time, if not probable. From the individual perspective, it would be wise to refrain from fighting just for the sake of it. I’m not suggesting wimping out; I am advising you to choose your battles carefully and consciously. This is a difficult interaction and what you put in motion is likely to stay in motion for a very long time.
(2) As Mars enters Taurus it also forms a square to Jupiter and Saturn, both in Aquarius. I know everyone is anticipating the start of the Aquarian Age, but that’s not likely to happen right away. Given that disappointment, it’s important to recognize the detrimental potential embedded in this interaction. Mars/Saturn squares can engender a bitterness that tends to manifest as a cold, unyielding hardheartedness that doesn’t shy away from ruthless or brutal strategies and behaviors. This square is exact and separating on January 13 and lingers until January 26.
(3) Running concurrently with the first two Martian interactions, Mars also squares Jupiter. This square began on January 4 and it’s exact and separating on January 24, lingering until February 8. This square amplifies a rebellious attitude and encourages exaggerated gestures and premature action. So pretty much nothing is going to settle down any time soon.
That’s Mars and its busy agenda when it finally leaves Aries, its Home Sign, where it has been since June 2, 2020.
The more dominant force of 2021 is the ongoing square between Saturn and Uranus. There are three exact squares: (1) February 17; (2) June 14; and (3) December 24. While exact contact is what reveals the essence of this interaction and brings things to a head, the buildup to that contact as well as the release of tension that follows it extends this planetary influence. Because of the normal retrograde phases of both Saturn and Uranus, we will be under the influence of this square until the end of July.
Saturn represents the skeletal structure of everything, from bodies to buildings and fantasies to realities. Uranus signifies the principle of change, specifically sudden and startling shifts. Any combination of these two planets presents a challenge to the status quo—as if we need any additional challenges. The pandemic has revealed so many cracks and holes in the skeletal structure of life on Planet Earth that it’s hard to imagine what more can be disrupted, but don’t let my lack of imagination fool you. If I’ve learned anything from COVID-19, it’s that anything is possible. More about this ongoing square as we move forward into the year.
The opening days and nights of 2021 are raw and sore, as if the Band-Aid has been ripped off of 2020, revealing even more untended, festering wounds of a year that will take a decade to process. There are simply so many lives, and so much suffering, that need healing that it’s overwhelming and many of our fellow travelers are at a loss over how to handle the trauma of our current condition. If you need help managing yours, reach out and get help. If you’re okay, reach out to others to see what they need. It’s going to be tough going for all of us and we need each other more than ever.
December 30 - January 5, 2021
Hello to readers in Portland!
The year changes at the stroke of midnight tomorrow, but unfortunately 2020’s issues won’t disappear like Cinderella’s coach and gown. The problems that were revealed in greater scope and intensity this year have always needed attention and correction. The Saturn/Pluto conjunction that started 2020 dissolved almost every regular routine and as that dissolution deepened, the persistent issues of social injustice—racism, poverty, misogyny, inadequate health care and education—became the primary colors of the year, making all those themes impossible to ignore. The truth of those inequities became the dominant themes of daily life, highlighting the deep fractures in the status quo with a persistence that was increasingly intense. Social injustice and all of its negative effects have long undermined the fundamental ideals of the United States Constitution—we don’t live as if we are all created equal and what the pandemic made undeniable is that we don’t die that way either. The corrosive effects of racism and poverty were well known prior to the pandemic, but COVID-19 revealed the depth of our social, economic, and political hypocrisy. 2021 continues to focus on all those issues, in part because we still need solutions and also because 2021 moves us into the next level of the United States Pluto Return and the American Revolution 2.0. More about that over the coming weeks and months.
The last days of 2020 end with a difficult astral interaction but not an unfamiliar one. Mars entered its Home Sign of Aries on June 27; on September 9 it began its retrograde phase (also in Aries) that ended on November 13, and it will finally move into Taurus on January 6, 2021. During the six months that Mars transited Aries, it formed three squares to Pluto. The first was August 13, the second occurred on October 9, and the last square to Pluto took place on December 23. Mars/Pluto squares are fractious interactions that tend to devolve into ruthlessness, and while it’s not difficult to distinguish specific acts of ruthlessness and cruelty perpetrated by the outgoing administration, certainly Mr. Trump's Scrooge-like determination to ruin Christmas was a fine example of just how much harm he has caused—a fitting end to his final year. For the rest of us, this square is still separating, which means we’re still feeling its brutal effect. Try not to get snagged by this negative energy; instead of fighting for the sake of it, pick your battles carefully and above all, don’t take out your frustration on those who cannot defend themselves.
Today the Moon joins the final Mars/Pluto square of the year, turning the entire bundle highly emotional. Mr. Trump will go down in history as one of the cruelest presidents. Let’s make every effort to nullify his example. We can eradicate the effects of his ruthlessness with our commitment to kindness.
Unfortunately, a Saturn/Jupiter/Uranus square begins today, taking us into 2021 on yet another fractious interaction. This triple header is a rebellious signature that feeds the need for freedom at almost any cost. It symbolizes the dissolution of the status quo, often through violent or provocative behavior aimed at disruption. It also is an indication of sudden twists of fate, so expect the unexpected and be prepared for reversals of fortune, yours or others'.
As we move through the last week of an already too-difficult year, do your best to be kind to your fellow travelers. Just about everyone is fatigued from COVID-19 and from Mr. Trump and his Gang of Hungry Ghosts. It’s been a long and troubled slog and so much work still lies ahead. All that work will be much easier if we make kindness and compassion our default setting.