Low-Down Archives Dec.2009-Jan.2010

December 2009 to January 2010

For the New Moon in Sagittarius:
December 16-31, 2009

...and the Lunar Eclipse and Full Moon in Cancer:
December 31 2009 to January 15 2010

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Dec.16 – NEW MOON in SAGITTARIUS (24:39 of Sagittarius)

NEW MOON in SAGITTARIUS

Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Dec.16, 7:14 AM EST

London, UK:

Dec.16,12:02 PM GMT

Sydney, AU:

Dec.16, 11:02 PM AEDT

"What's a New Moon?"

Read more about the Sun-Moon cycles.

Read more about how you experience SAGITTARIUS energy in your life.

What does it all mean? We live in "interesting" times, as the saying goes. In today's world, we see some incredibly inspiring examples of human potential, from random acts of kindness in times of trouble to entire movements that aspire to change our world. Yet, we also see or hear of examples of the worst in human nature, from appalling displays of human cruelty to unconscionable injustice to just plain stupidity that threatens the health and survival of our planet.

What does it mean? How do we make sense of so much contradiction? In today's world, it's easy to feel full of hope, potential and promise one minute, and then lost in depression, disappointment or discouragement the next. It takes a strong sense of faith in the long-term destination to get through the shorter-term rocky terrain on the way there. Or, sometimes it means focusing completely on what's immediately in front of you, concentrating on taking just one baby step at a time.

The New Moon chart suggests we may have some rather contradictory, stop-and-go energy brewing over the next few weeks. The New Moon being in Sagittarius seeks understanding, insight, perspective and meaning in this jumbled array of information and experience. Sagittarius ultimately wants to acquire knowledge, and from it derive wisdom about how best to approach the uncertainties and misfortunes of life. Archetypally, after journeying through the darkness of the Scorpio Underworld, Sagittarius wants to believe in the rapture of the light.

At this time of year when many of us celebrate various December holidays, it's not uncommon to feel like you're on an emotional roller coaster. It can be a very high stress time when culture seems to demand that you put on a happy face (whether you feel like it or not) and when commercial interests apply enormous pressure to buy, Buy, BUY!! If you're dealing with a strict budget, it can be exhausting trying to resist the pull of that siren call without losing your self-esteem in the guilt trap.

What does it all mean? Does it all have to be so dark and gloomy? We're in Sagittarius, no Scorpio! Yet, here in the northern hemisphere, we are at the time of maximum darkness as we approach the Solstice on Dec.21. This can contribute to low physical, mental and emotional energy, so if you've been finding it hard to get focused and productive (like me), this might be one reason why!

But what does it all MEAN?? Can we take this information and mould it into a principle or a truth or a way of improving our worldview? Can it help us find a way to chase away the winter blues? Could it uplift us during a season that's meant to be joyful? Will it realign us with our best potential, our highest aspirations, our brightest promise and our most sublime experience of life? Perhaps.

A closer look at the transits could shed more light on a higher perspective. The Sun and Moon in Sagittarius are closely sextile (60°) to that sign's ruler, Jupiter. Jupiter, in turn, is moving through its final conjunction with Chiron and Neptune, all of whom have been waltzing together this year. This combination offers some very creative ways to raise your spirits, find delight and be surrounded by a healing glow. The trick is to be open to unexpected, unusual or unconventional ways for this to happen. And with two planets moving very slowly before their retrograde cycles (Mercury and Mars), they caution against trying to sustain a fast pace in doing anything.

For example, if you're feeling overwhelmed by all the commercialism of the season, try slowing down and look for simple things in the moment to appreciate, share or enjoy. It could be something as "trivial" as sitting down in the shopping mall and watching people as they pass by. Or do a random act of kindness – buy a bag of chocolate kisses and hand them out one by one to strangers. Watch their mood lift as they are pulled into the moment and away from their frenetic activities. By slowing down and finding your center again, your natural enthusiasm for life can re-emerge in true inspiring Sagittarian style.

The Sun and Moon are trine to Mars in Leo. This emphasizes the creative potential of this lunar cycle. However, Mars is virtually stationary as it gets ready to go retrograde in just four days. That means Mars energy is likely to be unusually intense, sharp and loud. At its worst, this could make everyone a bit short-tempered, anxious or aggressive. It's wise to keep an eye on the energy levels, so that you can slow down and recenter yourself if you get too wound up, or ease up a bit if you get into too heated an encounter with someone who dives for that last perfect gift at the same time you do.

Mars energy that's overheated can also short-circuit and become inverted in the form of depression, discouragement, resentment or cynicism. Bah humbug! Who needs all that joy and peace anyway? If you find yourself in this emotional space, the Sagittarian New Moon has some optimistic solutions for you. Start by taking some time out and get away from the situations that make you feel worse. Find things to do that you enjoy and help you feel like yourself again – your better self.

Go to a movie with a friend, or take a bubble bath by candlelight while listening to beautiful music. Or spend some time in your favourite spiritual refuge – a church or a garden (indoors, if it's winter where you are) or a walk in the woods. Find ways to just be playful. If you feel too guilty about taking your focus away from what you're "supposed to be" doing, give yourself permission to rebel against the heavy expectations and let yourself just have fun for a little while, even just for a few minutes. Have a playful snowball fight with a friend (if you're in a snowy place), or splash in the puddles if it's raining – you get the idea!

Mercury is unaspected in Capricorn at the time of the New Moon, with only a conjunction to the North Lunar Node and a few minor aspects – a biquintile to Mars (144°) and noviles to Neptune and Jupiter (40°). This likely contributes to the "up one minute, down the next" experience. This is further underscored by the New Moon square Uranus.

You might find yourself struggling to take the more optimistic, upbeat aspects of the Sagittarian New Moon energy and apply it in practical, methodical, predictable or concrete ways, yet not sure exactly how to do this. A possible solution could land on the doorstep of your mind with a thud, leaving you to wonder afterwards how you're ever going to drag it into your thoughts and make it work. Then what seemed like a great idea might become more of a nuisance that won't go away but you can't find a use for it either.

Don't dismiss those ideas, though. They will become the raw material for a longer-term project or development over the next few weeks. Mercury goes retrograde on Dec.26, which will give you the chance to pour over the ideas, challenges, obstacles and puzzles that arise around the New Moon. When Mercury retrograde conjoins the Sun on Jan.04, they will be at the same degree that Mercury is now, at the New Moon. This will likely be a time when you are able to see these ideas, problems and issues from a different viewpoint. By the time Mercury comes back to this position again, it will be at the end of January just before the Full Moon in Leo (which interestingly will be exactly conjunct retrograde Mars at that time). So the New Moon in Sagittarius initiates the longer-term development of a project, analysis, plan, idea or awareness.

Saturn, which disposits Mercury (rules the sign it's in), is still closely square Pluto. These two planets are all about digging into the foundations of the structures you build in your life and the hard work that make this happen. However, it seems a lot of people have found it very difficult to be productive and make concrete progress in the last several weeks. We can blame this on any number of astrological factors right now: Mercury in the retrograde shadow, Mars in the retrograde shadow, and for those of us in the northern hemisphere, the shortening of daylight hours coming up to the Winter Solstice.

However, I also think the Saturn-Pluto square is a prime culprit in this drain of focus, energy and motivation. Oh I'm sure these qualities will return in time, but right now I think Pluto has Saturn digging far below the surface of our consciousness. In other words, much of the work is being done in the unconscious where we may not be easily aware of it. How are your dreams lately? Have you been active, involved, busy and breaking new ground in your dreams? This is one place where that unconscious work can show up, especially while Mercury is going through its retrograde cycle (Dec.09 to Feb.04.2010).

So, if you've been feeling a bit stuck, lethargic, unmotivated or sluggish lately, it's possible you're actually busy under the surface of your awareness preparing the ground for bigger things to come. You're likely to start rebounding like a slingshot in June, when Jupiter and Uranus sprint into Aries, opposing Saturn and squaring Pluto. In the meantime, make progress when the opportunities and inspiration arise. You can most likely move forward a few steps at a time when Saturn and Pluto are aspected by other planets. And of course, you can come back to this webpage to find out when those times are.

In the meantime, your astrologer (that's me!) can provide you with some extra inspiration, insight, encouragement or ideas when you need them!

Dec.17 – Venus trine Mars (19:38 of Sagittarius/Leo)

It will be a lot easier to balance assertiveness with receptivity under this transit. In fact, it is a great time to take firm action that requires a sensitive touch, and to negotiate agreements in a way that is diplomatic, fair and powerful. Your ability to attract what you desire (money, love, pleasure, flirting, etc.), and to act on those desires, is strong right now, so use it wisely. This may include romantic attraction and sexual interaction, or it might involve artistic creativity. It could also be a time when your actions attract money and possessions, but it could also go the other way -- your spending may also increase! Again: use this energy wisely and don't overextend yourself, but do have fun with it!

Mars is turning retrograde in just 3 days, so it is virtually stationary and therefore very intense! At its best, this can motivate you to pursue what you want, filling you with confidence and energy. At its worst, it's possible to become obsessed with getting what you want to the point where it's extremely difficult to take no for an answer. Although this might seem like a good thing (and it could be if you struggle a lot with chronic internal inhibition), it may not be a good thing if it means you're not willing to respect other people's boundaries, privacy or free will. Just be careful not to let it become too much of a good thing.

Dec.19 – Venus sextile Chiron (22:28 of Sagittarius/Aquarius) (Dec.20 in AU)

Although this transit lasts for only a few days, it is possible to make some progress in your healing and rebalancing efforts, although it will take some effort to make it happen. This may show itself in relationships, social interaction, finances, values, health or your spiritual connection to the Universe. You have an increased ability to negotiate with others and with your circumstances to achieve a fair compromise that results in equal sacrifice and benefit for all concerned. However, there is a risk of wanting to avoid conflict and discord so much that you negotiate beyond what you are truly comfortable with -- peace at any price. By accepting and embracing the effort or struggle that is required, you can get out of your own way and achieve a more healing balance in those struggles. You now have increased ability to facilitate changes in situations that are within your control. It can also be easier to accept and adapt to that which lies beyond your control. Your effect on others can be potentially healing right now, especially by helping them find a new balance and point of acceptance in the conflicts and struggles of their lives.

Dec.19 – Venus square Uranus (22:50 of Sagittarius/Pisces) (Dec.20 in UK, AU)

Under this transit, you may be tempted by impulse spending, or you might be somewhat erratic in your use of resources. This can result in unpredictable or unstable finances, so double check your bank accounts and credit cards before you draw on them. It is also a time when the way you relate to others (or they to you) could be somewhat inconsistent, fickle or impulsive. If your relationships or financial situation have been struggling with difficulties for a while, this transit could bring a lingering problem to the surface and require attention. On one hand, this could be a welcome breath of fresh air that cuts through the complexity of your problems and puts the cards on the table (despite the stress and conflict that likely triggered it). Or, you might feel resistance to making these changes and instead experience this as a time of unwelcome instability, upset and adjustment. However, this may be a good way to break free of excessive restraint, control or structure, which allows new possibilities to emerge that couldn't do so otherwise.

Dec.20 – Mars stationary Retrograde (19:41 of Leo; until Mar.10.2010) (Dec.21 in AU) ("What's a Station?"  Read article on Mars Retrograde.  Read more about Mars Retrograde.  Read more about Retrograde Planets.)

He's baaaaaack!! Mars now turns retrograde until Mar.10.2010, creating a need to reconsider the direction and use of our energy. For a week or more before and after today, your physical energy may be a bit erratic or wonky—here one minute and gone the next; active one minute and lethargic the next. Forward progress that was made over the last couple of months may seem like it has hit a roadblock or forced into an annoying detour. Tempers can flare easily from frustration and trying to push through the obstacles that don't want to budge. This can also trigger old unresolved anger, which might need to be worked through over the coming retrograde period. This might also be a time when you feel a bit depressed or lethargic due to repressed anger, particularly if you find it difficult to own, express or accept anger as a natural emotion.

Although this might sound like a totally negative experience, it's not! All that energy can also fuel a time of great productivity and determination. The retrograde period could also be a time of respite from anger, conflict or high stress, as you pull back for a while to coast, regroup and rethink how you want to deal with a stressful situation. It is a time to take stock of what you are investing your energy and ambition in and consider if you are spending your energy wisely. It is a time to evaluate whether your plans and actions are working for you, or whether you need to make some adjustments in your direction, or whether you need to consider a complete change of direction. It is also a time to work hard in preparation for plans that can be put into action after Mars goes direct (Mar.10.2010). Think of it as taking inventory, revising your goals and adjusting your plans for the next two years (until the next Mars retrograde).

Dec.20 – Venus sextile Jupiter (24:15 of Sagittarius/Aquarius) (Dec.21 in UK, AU)

There is an abundance of creative inspiration, material enjoyment, feel-good pleasure in the air! Your luck and opportunity to attract money, love, resources and self-esteem are high right now. It may be relatively easy to attract the people, possessions and opportunities you want or need, but you'll still have to work to get them. On the other hand, your eyes may be bigger than your stomach (as mother would say) and you might be tempted to charm, flirt or bluff your way through a situation more than usual. There may also be a tendency to self-indulgence. These are not necessarily bad things, but it's probably wise to remember to use this energy to enhance your best judgement, not override it.

Dec.21 – Venus sextile Neptune (24:17 of Sagittarius/Aquarius)

Artistry, romance, creativity and faith have the potential to flow freely now. Your creative Muse is whispering in your ear, although it will still take your own elbow grease to turn it into something real. Socially and romantically, things could run smoothly and even a bit magically, so be sure you are clear in yourself about what you really want. This can be a time of blessings and abundance (in all areas of life) ...but there is also the risk of overspending and being overly optimistic in your assumptions about money and relationships. Your natural beauty and warmth can be brought out by this transit, but don't just waste it on creating a faηade of outer glamour and charm. Let the essence of your inner beauty and pure spirit shine through your appearance and mannerisms!

Dec.21 – Jupiter conjunct Neptune (24:17 of Aquarius) (Read article on Jupiter-Neptune-Chiron Conjunction)

Vision and a sense of mission are conjured under this magical transit! This conjunction comes around approximately every 13 years: 1907 (Cancer), 1920 (Leo), 1932 (Virgo), 1945 (Libra), 1958 (Scorpio), 1971 (Sagittarius), 1984 (early Capricorn), 1997 (late Capricorn) and now in 2009 (Aquarius). Those born under this combination tend to have a strong sense of what the "perfect world" should look like, and usually strive to live in a way that will bring that about. While these planets are conjunct, everyone is touched by this same kind of energy – envisioning how the world could be a better place, with lots of opinions and ideals about how to make it so. This transit can bring an abundance of creative imagination as well as a refreshing sense of hope and optimism. Spiritual renewal is in the air, as greater possibilities promise to feed our hunger for connection and belonging to something greater than ourselves.

No transit is without its challenges, though. The trap here lies in the idea that simply believing will make it so. Belief and faith are certainly a central and essential part of translating hope into concrete change. But they aren't enough by themselves. What happens when beliefs contradict each other, whether that's between people, cultures, religions, or even between different feelings or motives within yourself? What happens when faith collides with reality and we must then either question its assumptions or succumb to "blind faith" that is disconnected from the world around it?

The challenge lies in how to use faith, hope and idealism as a guide rather than as a final destination. The deeper magic lies in allowing the vision to be like a rainbow that inspires you to move toward it. But rainbows are a temporary phenomenon made of reflections of light – they're not solid things. However, they can still entice you toward a worthwhile destination even after they vanish. Sometimes we need a vision that seems miraculous to get us moving forward, but that doesn't mean the journey is worthless when the vision fades – it just means we had help to get moving in the right direction.

This is the last of three passes of this transit: May.27, Jul.10 and Dec.21. Perhaps that rainbow vision you've been pursuing all year has led you to a pot of gold that is giving you a reward for your loyal faith. Or, maybe you have discovered that the vision was mostly an illusion. However, your learning from this is probably as valuable as gold, so don't throw it away in resentment, disappointment or grief. Or, you might be realizing that in order to make the dream a reality, you've got some hard work ahead and are preparing to do just that, or are in the process of deciding if you are ready to commit yourself to whatever it will take. The important thing to remember is that you have arrived at a perspective on the truth about something in your life. You might feel enlightened or you might be disappointed, but it is a gift that will enable you to move forward.

Dec.21 – DECEMBER SOLSTICE – Sun enters Capricorn (until Jan.19.2010)

DECEMBER SOLSTICE

Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA
Dec.21, 2009, 12:47 PM EST

London, UK
Dec.21, 2009, 5:47 PM GMT

Sydney, AU
Dec.22, 2009, 4:47 AM AEDT

Happy Solar Return to all Capricorns! And Happy Solstice and Happy Yule to all of us! When the Sun enters Capricorn each year, it marks the Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere (longest night) and the Summer Solstice in the southern hemisphere (longest day). Yule is the traditional celebration of the December solstice in European-derived cultures, welcoming the start of the increasing light. While the Sun is in Capricorn, we have the opportunity to explore our connection to the earth (Capricorn being an Earth sign) in a physical way. Whether you are bundling up to survive a cold winter, or unwinding after the summer heat, or getting down to business as the landscape blooms in "downunder" summer splendour, there is something very manifest and substantial about the experience of Capricorn. This energy calls on us to get real in whatever we are doing -- to bring structure, responsibility and discipline to whatever we do. It is a time to work on our "containment." Not in the sense of suppression, but in terms of defining the boundaries within which our growth can flourish down the road, and keeping our impulses from inconveniently spilling over the edges of those boundaries. Sometimes that means cutting back in certain areas in order to focus your energy and make room for new growth. Sometimes it means having to delay gratification and reward until you reach a certain point of progress. The Capricorn rule of thumb is: if you do whatever is necessary, the rewards will come.

Dec.21-25 – Focused Yod aspect pattern

Focused Yod aspect pattern

As Mars turns retrograde, it is at the apex of a Focused Yod aspect pattern, also known as a Boomerang figure. Mars opposes (180°) Chiron, Neptune and Jupiter (and on Dec.21, the Moon is thrown in there for good measure). Mars is also exactly quincunx (150°) Mercury in Capricorn, as well as widely quincunx Uranus in Pisces. Mercury and Uranus are in sextile aspect (60°), with Mercury also conjunct the North Lunar Node.

All of this could make for either a very creative or a very stressful holiday week – or both. At its best, it can be a time when creativity comes from thinking outside—way outside—the box. Intriguing results could come from trying unusual experiments and stripping away all the pretence to leave only the raw creative energy of whatever you're aiming to do. On the other hand, at its worst this can be a time when everyone feels a bit extra sensitive to anything that could make them feel invalidated, invisible, undermined or self-conscious. This kind of energy is best harnessed and used for creative purposes. Write it out, dance it out, paint it out, sing it out, shout it out – find ways to express whatever you're feeling.

Dec.23 – Mercury Direct conjunct North Lunar Node (21:14 of Capricorn) (Dec.24 in UK, AU)

Ideas are in focus, especially when they're shared with others. It could be a time when you observe or notice something new, giving you a new perspective that you will mull over for the coming several months. Keep your eyes, mind and curiosity open – the world could be showing you something important and fascinating!

This is the first of three passes of this transit: Dec.23, Dec.29 and Feb.03.2010. It is also the only repeating major aspect Mercury makes during the current retrograde cycle. This cycle is coloured by seeking out a meeting of the minds with others, particularly those who can help you advance in your plans and ambitions. On the other hand, this could also be a time when you gather ideas to make plans for the future. Listen to your intuition, notice your observations and consider your options carefully. They could bring new clarity—or a riddle whose answer can bring hidden insight.

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Dec.24 – Sun conjunct Pluto (03:02 of Capricorn) (Dec.25 in AU)

Your sense of purpose is potentially very strong right now, as you are able to tap into a deeper level of energy and determination. Your personality is likely to be more forceful now, which can be great if you need to make a strong impression but perhaps not so great in situations requiring delicacy, subtlety or diplomacy. You have increased ability to see below the surface of things, although it may not be as easy to articulate it in a way that is received comfortably by others. What you pick up from others can also become mixed up with your own personal issues, making it hard to tell where one stops and the other begins. Paranoia and suspicion can be strong. It is possible to unearth secrets or get at the core of unconscious patterns (yours and others'), but it is important to be prudent in how you respond to this awareness. You have the ability to wound as well as heal right now, so probe into the depths (yours and others') as you would into an egg shell that you don't want to break -- gently, mindfully and respectfully.

Since the Sun is moving through the Saturn-Pluto square, the time a few days before and after this is likely to be an unusually intense period. Be prepared to confront any indecision, inhibition or circumstances that may have been holding you back from being who you truly are. It is also a time when you might have to dig into some very hard work in order to get past some obstacles, but this is necessary to strengthen the structure of the changes you are making. Think of it like having to exercise a muscle – it might burn a bit at first but if you keep at it, those endorphins will start to kick in and you'll be stronger for it. And in the same way, it's best not to push yourself too hard or you could set yourself back a bit.

Dec.25 – Merry Christmas!

A very joyful Christmas to all those who celebrate this holiday!

Dec.25 – Venus enters Capricorn (until Jan.18.2010)

Friendly, abundant Venus travels through serious, structured Capricorn, bringing out her grounded, material side. It may be time to make new plans and commitments for material or relationship goals. It can be a time to get serious and make some solid decisions about what works and what doesn't. It may help to organise and systemise the way you approach relationships, finances, resources and pleasure. An example of systemising pleasure is to schedule regular time to pamper yourself, or to make a point of doing the hard work that will pay off in pleasure later (like eating healthier food or working out more). Although this might seem a bit unromantic or uninspiring, you'll find that laying the groundwork for what you want to attract into your life will provide support for the rewards to come.

Dec.25 – Sun square Saturn (04:20 of Capricorn/Libra) (Dec.26 in AU)

It is necessary for you to come to grips with limitations, boundaries or expectations. If you have been avoiding some task or obligation, this transit might bring consequences from that avoidance or a warning of consequences to come. You might also encounter a situation that requires you to accept unwanted responsibility or restricts your freedom in some way. You might be faced with some part of your life being pruned back, either to rein in something that is out of control or to make room for new growth. This is likely to be more or less stressful depending on how comfortable you are dealing with responsibility, authority, limits and hard work. If you have a hard time with authority issues, you might find yourself in conflict with someone in authority under this transit -- perhaps in part because your buttons are getting pushed. On the other hand, this could also be a time when you are challenged to take action or make a decision that involves taking on more responsibility. It is also a time when you may have to find better ways to deal with personal boundaries -- accepting others' or learning to assert your own. You're bumping up against reality, so try to work constructively with it, not hurl yourself against it.

Dec.26 – Mercury stationary Retrograde (21:47 of Capricorn; until Jan.15.2010) (Dec.27 in AU)

Mercury now goes retrograde for the next 3+ weeks. For up to a week before and after today, Mercury is moving very slowly or stopped during the station. During this time, you may experience intensity, frustration, confusion, miscommunications, or feel like you're getting bogging down in your progress. Mercury retrograde is usually a time when it is best to rethink, rehash, reflect, and tie up old loose ends, rather than begin new ventures. It is typical for new insights and information to emerge later in the retrograde cycle that you didn't anticipate, which can change the whole picture. Because of this, it is usually advised to avoid making final or permanent decisions (e.g., signing contracts or putting new projects into action), during the retrograde and even up to 2 weeks after Mercury goes direct. However, it is an excellent time to do fact-finding, research and investigation to prepare for major decisions, which are usually best put off until well after Mercury goes direct. In the meantime, while Mercury is retrograde, expect the unexpected, and leave lots of extra time when planning your schedule (to minimize any disruptions from delays and complications). Stay flexible; for example, it's common to have to reschedule appointments. Do some things that use your intuitive, creative, non-rational mind for a while until Mercury goes direct again.

Mercury is retrograde in Capricorn, which can create a very serious mindset. It might be a bit of a struggle to maintain your optimism, especially if you keep trying to escape that seriousness by pretending it doesn't exist. If you have a tendency toward depression, this transit might bring that up to some extent, so it might be a good idea to be prepared for this with a list of coping strategies (things you can do that make you feel better about yourself). This can be a good time to slow down and lower your expectations a little -- not because you don't deserve better or because you're giving up, but because you're willing to be gentle with yourself and simplify your life a little. On the other hand, this can be a great time to apply yourself to some productive work on a project or goal you have. If you're facing a situation in your life that requires you to "get real" and get results, this transit can be a resource for that.

Dec.28 – Venus conjunct Pluto (03:10 of Capricorn)

Intensity in love and close relationships can occur under this transit, as well as a compelling need to get more control over your finances and assets. This could manifest as power dynamics emerging in your interactions with others, in which you engage in a negotiation for a better balance of power that is more in your favour. Or, you might become somewhat obsessed with the pursuit of pleasure and beauty, possibly trying to compensate for a low sense of self-worth. Or, there can be a valuable opportunity to develop a deeper connection with those close to you. You might find it necessary to negotiate with others for financial support. You may have to dig deeper than usual to extract needed resources from hidden places (or to deposit them there, out of reach from others who want a piece of your hoard). Keep your integrity high and dry by being honest with yourself about the ethics of your actions.

Like the Sun on Dec.24, Venus now passes over the Saturn-Pluto square, which could bring some intensity and stressful dynamics in relationships, financial areas and well-being in general. Take things one step at a time. And if your relationship or finances spring a leak, take some time to decide how best to respond, if possible. Resist the urge to simply assume it's a lost cause and sink the ship just to get it over with. Remember that Pluto is about transformation (changing into something new) and Saturn is about careful decisions, both of which work best when you gather your strength, own your personal power and give the process a chance to work its magic.

Dec.29 – Mercury Retrograde conjunct North Lunar Node (21:07 of Capricorn)

Ideas are in focus, especially when they're shared with others. It could be a time when you observe or notice something new, giving you a new perspective that you will mull over for the coming several months. Keep your eyes, mind and curiosity open – the world could be showing you something important and fascinating!

This is the second of three passes of this transit: Dec.23, Dec.29 and Feb.03.2010. This is the only repeating major aspect Mercury makes during the current retrograde cycle. This cycle is coloured by seeking out a meeting of the minds with others, particularly those who can help you advance in your plans and ambitions. On the other hand, this could also be a time when you gather ideas to make plans for the future. Listen to your intuition, notice your observations and consider your options carefully. They could bring new clarity—or a riddle whose answer can bring hidden insight.

Dec.29 – Venus square Saturn (04:26 of Capricorn/Libra)

Finances, relationships, social contacts and/or pleasures may seem blocked or require extra effort right now. Manifesting your desires may require added hard work, but this struggle could also bring you closer to your goals. It may feel like there is a huge rock blocking your path that keeps you from fulfilling your heart's desire. It may be necessary to face some difficult aspect of your situation before it is possible to know how to proceed. This is ultimately a problem to be solved by confronting that which is unrealistic, unworkable, or just not in your best interest. This can also be a time when you arrive at a crossroads and must make some firm choices, or when circumstances might force you to change your direction. This transit can make your choice clear, although it might not be the one you hoped for.

Sabian Symbol Cancer 11: A clown making grimaces.

Sabian Symbol for the
Lunar Eclipse - Full Moon in Cancer

Cancer 11

A clown making grimaces.

This seems to be a simple Sabian Symbol ("What's a Sabian Symbol?") on the surface, but is actually a rather complex figure when you look below the surface make-up.

There are many different types of clowns. Today the clown is usually thought of as a character of amusement for children, like a circus clown. Grimaces are exaggerated facial expressions meant to amplify the comic aspects of the clown character.

Historically, the jester was hired to say outrageous things to royalty and aristocrats, and could get away with it as long as it was cloaked in humour and didn't go too far.

The Fool is the first Tarot card in the Major Arcana or Trump section of cards. It represents the innocence with which we step off the precipice and into the unknown, embarking on a new journey.

The trickster archetype also seems related to the clown, although this usually refers to a deity or magical creature who deceives or rebels in some way. The astrological trickster is Mercury. Since he is currently retrograde, he is very much in his trickster mode and perhaps more like a silent mime than a circus clown!

Dane Rudhyar sees this symbol as a reminder that humour and laughter can liberate us from a restrictive or overly serious frame of mind. (An Astrological Mandala)

Blain Bovee points out the potentially misleading nature of the clown, which could run from deliberate deceit to our human tendency to "mask" our vulnerable feelings. (The Sabian Symbols: The Original Symbols Fully Revealed)

Perhaps this symbol is simply saying that there is more to your situation than meets the eye. Or maybe it's saying you're more susceptible to wearing your heart on your sleeve and you might do well to cover up your emotional nakedness a bit.

 

Find out more about the Sabian Symbols in these recommended books:

An Astrological Mandala,
by Dane Rudhyar

The Sabian Symbols: The Original Symbols Fully Revealed,
by Blain Bovee

The Sabian Symbols in Astrology,
by Marc Edmund Jones

Dec.31 – LUNAR ECLIPSE - FULL MOON in CANCER (10:14 of Cancer)

LUNAR ECLIPSE
FULL MOON in CANCER

Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Dec.31.2009 2:13 PM EST

London, UK:

Dec.31.2009,7:13 PM GMT

Sydney, AU:

Jan.01.2010, 6:13 AM AEST

"What's a Lunar Eclipse?"

"What's a Full Moon?"

Read more about the Sun-Moon cycles.

Read more about how you experience CANCER energy in your life.

This Lunar Eclipse can be seen in Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. It's okay to look at a Lunar Eclipse. (It's only the Solar Eclipse that can harm your eyes). Here's a website with cool animations showing how this Lunar Eclipse works, as well as the Mars Retrograde cycle.

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Happy New Year! What a way to welcome in the New Year, with a Lunar Eclipse in Cancer!

Cancer is our nest, our home, our headquarters, our safe place; where we hang our hat. It is where we are nurtured, both physically and emotionally. Our nest is also the foundation from which we launch ourselves out into the world. Until that point in the growth process, we (hopefully) receive nurturing to make us strong enough to withstand the challenges of the journey.

Although we tend to associate nurturing with the role of the mother, it is not exclusive to a particular gender, age or family context. Cancer is also where you eventually learn to nurture yourself. When Mom's not around to take care of you (or when you need to be independent from Mom), your internalized Cancer energy is where you learn to be your own parent and take care of yourself.

Cancer is also the sign where you reach out to nurture others. When you care about someone – either because they are personally close to you or because you feel a farther-reaching compassion – your Cancer nature often comes out and wants to take care of them, help them, support them, hug them or "mother" them. If someone is hurting, you might want to provide a shoulder to cry on and a hug. When someone is struggling emotionally, your Cancer nature offers a listening ear. And your Cancer nature is involved when you are moved to give a couple of dollars to a panhandler, donate to the food bank or volunteer to make sandwiches for the local homeless shelter.

This sounds very virtuous and loving, and most of the time it is (or at least it's meant to be). However, Cancer has a shadow side. All that caring can actually send the opposite message and even have the opposite effect from the one that was intended. Instead of the recipient feeling loved, nurtured and supported, they can sometimes ironically feel smothered, undermined or even humiliated. The message of "I care about you enough to help" might instead be heard as "I don't believe you can do this yourself, so I have to do it for you."

Does this mean Cancer nurturing and giving are wrong? Of course not! Generosity, caring and support are essential to our collective and personal survival, both physically and emotionally. We all need human connection, and Cancer is where that need for connection first emerges. It is a primal part of our human nature that is rooted in infancy and our DNA. And collectively, we depend on each other to survive and thrive, which comes down to us sharing our mutual support.

However, the spirit in which that support is offered can make a huge difference in how it is received. Giving is typically rooted in subtle or unconscious agendas, motives and expectations. That doesn't make it bad or unwholesome, but it can make it complicated. If I help someone out today, do I harbour an unspoken expectation that they will be miraculously healed of their hardship? What if they need more help than I can give them? Or is it possible that I hold a secret need for the person to stay dependent on my help, only to feel resentful if they become stronger and no longer need me? Or, if I help out someone today, do I do so with a hidden expectation that they are now obligated to do whatever I ask later as payment? If I don't make that clear up front, it can become an awkward problem when the bill unexpectedly comes due.

These are the kinds of questions and issues that could arise under the Full Moon in Cancer. This Full Moon is also a partial Lunar Eclipse, which means part of the Moon dims for a few hours as passes through the Earth's shadow, provided you're in the right location on Earth (Europe and Asia, primarily).

Planetary Transits – Eggs from the Nest

The Full Moon chart is an "interesting" one with lots of condensed energy! For starters, we have a Stellium in Capricorn: Sun, Mercury, Venus and Pluto, as well as the Lunar North Node. Mercury is now retrograde, pointing our thoughts inward and toward the past. Be sure to leave lots of extra time for whatever you have planned over the next couple of weeks. And bring your patience out of the trunk in the attic and dust it off – you'll probably need it!

The Sun, Venus and Pluto are conjunct (spanning just less than 7°), and of course are opposite the Moon in Cancer. This makes for a rather intense energy, where the stern demands of Pluto in Capricorn combine with the practical, sensual desire for pleasure and harmony in Venus, plus the self-discipline and ambition of the Capricorn Sun. All of these are brought to bear on the creative, caring, moody and sensitive Cancer Moon.

This planetary combination could, for example, be felt when your credit card bill comes in, carrying with it the reality of your holiday spending. Or, you might encounter a stressful dynamic with someone you exchanged gifts with, where a hidden expectation emerges as a result of the gift and brings an uncomfortable sense of obligation. This would be a good opportunity to examine the underlying assumptions that you or the other person might have had which were unspoken at the time of giving. Although the situation might seem to focus on the other person, there is likely to be something on your side of the situation that is also contributing to it. You'll navigate the minefield safer if you're aware of where the mines are hiding.

T-square aspect figure at Lunar Eclipse

This opposition also forms a T-square with Saturn, bringing into focus the Saturn-Pluto square and its intense dynamics of power, authority, ambition and the need to transform these qualities in our lives into something that is effective, ethical, honest and real.

With Saturn now in Libra, the challenges of the Lunar Eclipse are likely to hinge on issues about relationships, interaction, fairness and justice. This is a dynamic involving karma in the broadest sense of the word – the process by which our experience, knowledge and perspective become balanced and whole. For example, if you have been primarily a giving person, it could be time for you to learn what it feels like to be the receiver. If you have lived in a vulnerable state of need, relying on the generosity and caring of others, you might be called upon to be the giver or to give back.

Mars is now retrograde and is the only planet in a Fire sign. Your physical energy could either be a bit dampened (hard to get that spark of motivation and enthusiasm to catch fire), or you might feel like a hot furnace inside (full of excitement, reactivity and energy) but find it a bit difficult to put it to use. You might find it is more effective to allow your energy to build for a while before putting it into action, instead of trying to jump into action quickly.

Easy-going aspects are few in the Lunar Eclipse chart – there are no trine aspects (120°) and only one sextile (60°). There is also an overabundance of stressful aspects – an unusually high number of oppositions (180°), sesquiquadrates (135°) and semisquares (45°). This suggests that the eclipse brings more challenge than comfort. Things may not flow gently but are more likely to be forceful – think waterfall that drives the turbine to generate energy which, once accumulated to critical mass, must be used lest it become corrosive. This can provide some powerful, dynamic energy that can be used for transformation and productivity, but it could also provide some rather intense swings of mood and emotional reactions. If you get too wound up or emotionally overwhelmed, take some time out to take care of yourself and get grounded again.

Happy New Decade!

As you decide where, how and with whom to welcome in the New Year – indeed, a new decade! – think back over the years since the turn of the millennium. Has it really been 10 years since then?? Most of us anticipated great things during the years leading up to that threshold. For many of us, it was bizarre to imagine a world that counted its years in the 2000s – this was the stuff of science fiction novels, not real life! It was like a whole new world with new promise and vision that led off into the rising Sun on the horizon.

Now we're looking back after living in that new world for 10 years – 10 years! In what ways has it been like you imagined it would be? In what ways have you been surprised? Or disappointed? Do you see yourself as the person you thought you would be 10 years afterwards? In what ways have you become that person, or how are you different? And how do you feel about that – happy, relieved, disappointed, pleasantly surprised? Do you feel like a little child facing a vast expanse that leads into an unfolding new millennium? Or do you perhaps feel like a jaded adult who struggles to imagine a future full of potential? Or maybe you see yourself as someone who has grown to create your own future and potential?

This is a time to reflect on where you have been, and realize that this is the nest from which you now launch yourself into a new decade. It is a time to acknowledge the nurturing from the Universe that has brought you this far, as well as to anticipate how your as yet unmet needs can be addressed. It is a time to feel good about the ways you have helped feather the nests of others, as well as to take an honest look at what you got out of doing so.

May 2010 and the dawning decade bring renewal, revitalization and brightest blessings to you and those you care about!

Blue Moon?

Oh—one more thing! If you live in the Americas or west of (roughly) Afghanistan, your calendar might tell you that this Full Moon eclipse is also a so-called Blue Moon, since it is the second Full Moon in December. Just to make things more complicated, if you are east of Afghanistan, this Lunar Eclipse actually takes place after midnight, putting it on Jan.01. This makes the Full Moon on Jan.30 the second Full Moon in a calendar month. So in that case, your calendar might say that the Jan.30 Full Moon is a Blue Moon.

The truth is they're both wrong! These are based on an incorrect definition of Blue Moon given over 50 years ago, and this error has unfortunately stuck with us. You can read the whole whacky tale about how a Blue Moon is and was calculated, and why we should care in the first place.

Jan.04 – Sun conjunct Mercury Retrograde (14:19 of Capricorn) (Jan.05 in AU)

When the Sun conjoins Mercury Retrograde, there is a new beginning in the areas of awareness, communication, use of information and exchange of ideas. This may or may not be heralded by a recognisable event or experience, although for a day or two your consciousness may shift. Your awareness and mental concentration may take a dip into the unconscious, becoming unusually murky and muddy, or it may rise into ultra-consciousness and become suddenly clear and lucid (afterwards returning to the usual Mercury retrograde fog). A new awareness or perspective on what has unfolded during the retrograde cycle thus far may surface now, or an unworkable attitude or perception of these events may fall apart under the weight of new information. This shift of awareness may be obvious or subtle, sudden or gradual, but this transit marks a turning point in the Mercury retrograde cycle. It also marks a time when mental awareness often goes further underground, for the rest of the retrograde period, making it a little harder to operate objectively and rationally in the outside world. Spend some time in your right-brain, intuitive, non-rational mind, which can coax your mental creativity and inventiveness to the surface.

Jan.05 – Mercury Retrograde conjunct Venus (13:26 of Capricorn)

Social connections, diplomatic communication and receptive awareness mark this transit. It can be a great time to negotiate contracts or agreements because the communication can usually flow easily. Focus your awareness on achieving a mutual balance between you and the other person. A win-win solution is especially easy to achieve now – so much so, in fact, that it might be tempting to only say what you think the other person wants to hear (which may or may not be wise). This can also be a time of appreciating and expressing beauty, pleasure and sensuality. If there's someone you want to get closer to (in terms of romance, friendship, business, partnership, or even an adversary!), talking gently and listening receptively can be the key that unlocks the door. You may also get new creative ideas from your interactions with people or from observing them.

Jan.11 – Sun conjunct Lunar North Node (21:06 of Capricorn)

You are likely to shine and be especially visible to others right now. Your sense of self, purpose, vitality and confidence are in focus. In general, you are able to project a positive self-image and connect with people who can reinforce that with positive feedback. If other stressful transits to the Sun are also in effect right now, you might have to focus into yourself a bit more carefully, so that your best qualities are projected and expressed, rather than your stress, self-doubt, over-compensating egotism or making promises you can't keep.

Jan.11 – Venus conjunct Lunar North Node (21:06 of Capricorn) (Jan.12 in AU)

Your love, beauty and joy are especially visible to others right now. You are likely to be at your most attractive – both in body and personality. You could become a magnet for what you desire today – just be careful what you ask for, since you might get it! What you attract to you might be admiration from others, material abundance, or perhaps a sense of well-being that brings you into a more beautiful balance with those around you. If other stressful transits are also in effect, you might have a tendency to fall into over-indulgence, empty glamour or compulsive craving.

Jan.11 – Sun conjunct Venus (21:32 of Capricorn) (Jan.12 in AU)

Your ability to radiate an aura of love, pleasure and beauty is very strong right now. You have the ability to soothe the rough edges – both your own and others' – and to spread joy and love around you. You are more able to come across in a diplomatic, gentle and easy-going way. This can also enable you to glide through tricky interactions with others with strategic finesse, as well as to negotiate through difficult conflicts with ease (at least, relatively speaking). Your ability to attract your heart's desire to you is especially strong right now...so be careful what you ask for! This is a good time to take a look at your choices, to see how much you are living according to your values and how much your values bring joy and satisfaction into your life. Relationships may also be on your mind, either looking for someone new in your life or rekindling an existing one. This could apply to committed intimate relationships, business partnerships or close friendships. Your focus could be pointed at acquiring material abundance, gathering resources or cultivating self-worth. You are as beautiful and as prosperous as you feel!

This conjunction is the fruition point from Venus' retrograde cycle in Capricorn back in Dec.24.2005 to Feb.03.2006. Think back to that time. Think about the relationships in your life, the projects you were becoming involved in, the plans and goals you were making at that time, and the investments you were making (which could include investments in finances, skills, experience, authority, power, time, etc.).

This is an especially noteworthy conjunction, since the Sun and Venus are also conjunct the North Node – all at 21° of Capricorn. At best, this could be a time when someone special comes into your life or when someone special who's already in your life takes on new significance in your life. If you need to project yourself creatively, socially or financially, this can be a very powerful transit to do that under. At worst, you might feel like you have to force yourself to come across in a positive way when you don't feel like that inside, in which case your effect could come across as more contrived, glamorized or syrupy-sweet than you want it to. Let your inner beauty and light shine through. If you feel icky and dull inside, then find someone else whose love and light you can enjoy. Or, you might look for someone else who you can cheer up, and in so doing, some of that feel-good shine could rub off onto you too.

Jan.13 – Venus sextile Uranus (23:27 of Capricorn/Pisces)

Relationships, finances, resources and pleasures could benefit from spontaneously trying a completely different approach. If these areas of your life have been getting a little stale or too routine, this transit could shake things up a little...just enough to make things interesting and breathe some fresh air into your familiar routine. Unexpected income could come your way, or you might discover something you just can't resist buying, or you might have an opportunity to make new social connections. The upside of this transit is that it's possible to break free of old habits and enjoy spontaneous interaction. The downside could come in the form of impulse purchases that are beyond your budget, or behaving a bit recklessly or making snap decisions that you can't live with later. This energy is best used to break free of what restricts you, without shattering the foundation you're standing on.

Jan.13 – Saturn Stationary Retrograde (04:39 of Libra) (Jan.14 in AU) ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read article about Stations.  Read article about Retrogrades.)

For up to a week before and after this date, your physical and emotional energy may feel a bit heavy, stuck, serious or sad. You might feel held back by circumstances or pressured by people or situations involving structure, rules, authority figures, expectations and responsibilities. For about the next four months, your ambitions and goals can benefit from planning and development at a deeper level. It is a time to rework and refine your goals to figure out how you are going to achieve them. You may also need to examine your motives for wanting to achieve these goals, as well as how feasible they are. You may therefore look at how your goals, or your method of achieving them, ought to be changed. This can also be a time of improving how you deal with authority, expectations, obligations or discipline. Toward that end, today's station could trigger these issues through events, conflicts, challenges or additional "homework." If you've been having problems or are uncomfortable with these areas, especially during the last 3 months, this retrograde period can allow you to gradually build a new way of dealing with them or problem-solving the difficulties. After Saturn turns Direct in 4 months, you will be in a better position to apply what you've learned and developed more fully. A personal reading can give you a clearer understanding of how to work productively and successfully with Saturn energy.

Jan.13 – Sun sextile Uranus (23:28 of Capricorn/Pisces) (Jan.14 in AU)

You are more open than usual to spontaneity, surprises and "flying by the seat of your pants!" Your sense of humour and fun are more finely tuned during this transit, as is your ability to break out of old outworn habits. It's a great time to try new things and experiment with something that's out of character for you. In fact, it may be surprising how easy it is to break out of your usual routine...so much so that it's good to be careful not to be too reckless under this transit. Just have fun pushing the envelope! You may also find you want things to be spontaneous and new and out-of-the-ordinary so much that it's hard not to feel restless and dissatisfied with ordinary life right now. But remember that trying to plan spontaneity defeats the purpose of the exercise. And if you are hungering for something new but can't seem to find something satisfying, try digging a little deeper to see what is driving that hunger from inside you. You could find surprising answers.

Next Update:  SOLAR ECLIPSE - NEW MOON in CAPRICORN - January 15, 2010. Available by Jan.15.2010.

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