The Low-Down on the Far-Out

New Moon in Pisces, Planetary Transits

New Moon in Pisces
Chart of New Moon in Pisces

Feb.21 – NEW MOON in PISCES (02:42 of Pisces)

NEW MOON in PISCES

Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Feb.21, 2011, 5:34 PM EDT

London, UK:

Feb.21, 2011, 10:34 PM BST

Sydney, AU:

Feb.22, 2011, 9:34 AM AEST

"What's a New Moon?"

Read more about the Sun-Moon cycles.

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

We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.
~ Joseph Campbell

Have you been wondering what Neptune in Pisces will be like? Well, you're marinating in it right now!

The New Moon in Pisces is tightly conjunct Neptune. And they're part of a 5-point Pisces Stellium ("What's a Stellium?"). Is that enough Neptune and Pisces for you??

Whether you use Neptune as the planetary ruler of Pisces or not, Neptune is a very Piscean energy. Since Neptune is now in Pisces for the next 13 years, we have a double dose of this mysterious, magical and sometimes misleading energy.

The Pisces Meltdown

If you feel like you're wandering through a fog or floating on a cloud, now you know why. If you feel a bit confused, dreamy, psychic or have an overactive imagination, now you know why. If your creativity feels unusually fluid, or you're unusually moved by music and art, or you fight back tears watching a TV commercial where a couple reconcile 8 years of squabbling when she finally uses the right laundry detergent, well.....

Pisces and Neptune tend to dissolve your outer shell that is hardened toward life, making you more vulnerable—and therefore more responsive—to the world around you. They can also wash away the part of you that is steeled in resistance against losing something that feels important, although often isn't as crucial as you think—that is, you can survive without it. In fact, the development of your inner/higher self often depends on you losing whatever becomes lost under Neptune's erosion.

Archetypally, Pisces is the place in the zodiac where you let go of what has been, in anticipation of beginning something new that grows out of it. Due to its lack of solid definition, its energy can feel a bit sad, melancholy, lethargic or spaced out. However, because its lack of definition doesn't get in the way, your awareness can reach far beyond its usual realm. As a result, Pisces can also feel inspired, imaginative, visionary and deeply moving, as if you are lovingly cradled in the tender hand of the Universe.

It's easy to become over-identified with certain things about ourselves and our lives. "What would I be without you in my life?" "Life would be meaningless without my job/child/spouse." "If it weren't for ___ I would be lost." "I can imagine what life would be like without ___."

Neptune doesn't always bring painful loss (sometimes it does), but it challenges us to look and move beyond the usual boundaries of what we use to define ourselves and our lives. Neptune says, "There's so much more to life than what you see in front of you! There's so much more to who you are than what you're consciously aware of."

Individuality, Freedom and Neptune

One of the most fundamental cornerstones in Western culture is the idea that we can be in control over our lives. It is one of our most shining and cherished illusions. Yes, there are certain things we can control, direct and change about our lives. A belief in the sanctity of individuality is one of the critical ingredients of this recipe. Closely related to this, we tend to see freedom as the ability to be self-sufficient and self-directing. Our concept of freedom is something that releases us from being dependent on other people, situations and things to do what we want or need to do.

And yet ironically, our belief in these things can get in the way of the highest growth we could achieve and our greater potential. If we say, "This is who I am" or "This is what I am making my life into" then we can miss the bigger perspective of who we are and the broader realm that our life can grow into. By using conscious focus and deliberate action to navigate through life, we may miss the natural current that could guide us to something even more fulfilling and rewarding than what we imagine on our own.

At a certain level, Neptune asks us to let go of definitions, focused intention and determination to manifest something of our choosing. It is the flow of the Universe that calls to us like a distant waterfall, drawing us into the unknown to see what we will find there. However, for all its Mutable energy (adaptable, changeable), Neptune can be surprisingly stubborn about it! If the growth of your soul (your essence; the core of who you are) depends on you moving beyond the familiar, then the more you hold on, the more it can feel like you're spinning your wheels in the mud and getting nowhere fast.

Our view of freedom and individuality tend to be focused on the outside world and our relationship to it. Neptune's idea of freedom is more about connecting with a greater reality—one that we have to leave our familiar reality in order to find. Neptune's idea of individuality is about expanding the boundaries of who we think we are to embrace something more than what we think we are or could become.

Sounds wonderful. The catch is: what you think that will look like is often very different from what it actually does look like. In fact, while you're teetering at the edge of the abyss between the familiar and the unknown, it might look like what lies ahead is exactly NOT what's best for you or where you want to go. And the catch about that is: it might not, in fact, be what's best for you. It might be absolutely wrong, even putting you in danger. Whether it's a good thing or a bad thing, Neptune's call to surrender to its undercurrent can look the same.

Neptune is the planet of magical transcendence, but it's also the planet of illusion. Your conscious mind might not know the difference. When Neptune wants to lead you in a direction away from the focus of your conscious longing, you might not see the benefits of Neptune's itinerary.

On the other hand, when Neptune's illusion mixes with your unconscious longing for something that feels achingly out of reach, you might not see the danger that lurks beyond the veil of what you hope will be there. So a reality check can be essential when you're dealing with Neptune or Pisces.

Between Two Shores ~ Chiron and Neptune

In the New Moon chart, Jupiter is the only planet in a Fixed sign (Taurus). This is significant because Jupiter is the traditional ruler of Pisces, and it can therefore help to contain and stabilize all that Mutable ebb and flow. Jupiter (your sense of understanding, knowledge, wisdom and perspective) can help you tell whether something leans more toward imaginative potential or deceptive illusion. If in doubt, though, it's best to consult a trusted advisor who can offer a realistic perspective.

Jupiter in Taurus is also sextile the New Moon. As an ally, it can also help to slow down whatever is happening. If you listen to your body's intuition, you can learn a lot about how you feel about this. Regardless whether something is a bad thing, objectively speaking, if you don't feel right about it then maybe it's not in your best interest.

On the other hand, it might just make you crave chocolate brownies and fuzzy navels (peach schnapps and orange juice). In that case, the sextile (60°) from the New Moon to Pluto, and the trine (120°) between Pluto and Jupiter, could create enough obsession that you'd be willing to walk across hot coals just to get the ingredients. ;-)

The Sun-Moon conjunction (a.k.a. the New Moon) is right on the midpoint between Neptune and Chiron, and conjunct them both. This can bring back into focus the Chiron-Neptune conjunction. These two have been in wide conjunction since around 2007 and will remain so until around 2014, having peaked in 2009-2010. They bring together a dynamic of learning through (or getting stuck in) conflict, sacrifice, suffering and surrender.

So... how have you been doing with your experience of these qualities in the last few years? Chiron and Neptune can bring you to a state of healing, but often it will take you through a detour first (at least it can feel that way). What kind of detour have these planets taken you on for the last several years? Do you feel like you're still on it? At what point did you stop fighting it and surrender to it? Or are you still fighting it? Does it feel like fighting it is part of the learning process? What kinds of wounds are being healed during this time? Where are you in this healing process?

Wedge Aspect Pattern

This lunar cycle gives you a chance to take a step back and see your journey over the last few years in the greater context of the vast Piscean landscape. The multiple conjunction (Neptune, Sun, Moon, Chiron) forms a Wedge aspect figure with Jupiter and Saturn. It can therefore allows you to see how your healing process is embedded in and brought back into the concrete events, decisions and necessities of your life, both in the recent past and in the foreseeable future.

By the way, none of this surrender stuff is meant to turn you into a lethargic wimp. On the contrary, the New Moon is conjunct the asteroid, Pallas Athena. She is your inner Wise Warrior who can wield her dispassionate wisdom in the struggles you are still working through. She's the kind of gal you definitely want on your side – kind and fair minded, but also fearsome enough to be the kind of goddess you don't want to mess with. She is the patron of weavers and other artisans, so this Piscean and healing energy could potentially be channelled into practical creative work very nicely.

Best advice? Keep the alcohol and other mind altering substances to a minimum. Trip out instead on rapturous music, inspired art and witnessing the awesome mysteries of nature.

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Feb.23 – Mercury opposite Mars (17:14 of Pisces/Virgo)

Fiery speech, argument, hot debate and impatience characterise this transit. You may encounter conflicts of interest with others and want to solve them NOW, but in your haste to find a quick fix, you could create more problems than you solve. On the other hand, it can be a time of sudden or impulsive decisions, as well as taking action on ideas you've been mulling over for a while. There is a strong tendency to say what's on your mind ...perhaps more abruptly or harshly than is wise, which could result in argument, overreaction and hurt feelings. Although argument can clear the air and be healing, it can also wound those involved and create ill will that lasts far beyond the original problem. This energy is potentially powerful, yet volatile. It can be used to pump up your motivational fire ...or to explode in hurtful anger. It is like a race horse that can achieve great things when carefully paced, but can be dangerous if allowed to run out of control.

Feb.24 – Sun conjunct Chiron (05:09 of Pisces)

For a few days, you may become focused on physical, spiritual or psychological healing...or you might become aware of the need for it due to problems. Your physical vitality may be more susceptible to health problems, and your inner or spiritual strength and sense of purpose may feel a bit weak or vulnerable. However, you might also experience new motivation to build up your strength and endurance on all levels. Therefore, this could be a time when you embark on fresh health or fitness goals, or new directions that carve reformed purpose out of previous hardships. Psychologically, you could become aware of the ways that your self-esteem is undermined or sabotaged – either by outside situations or people or you doing it to yourself without realising it, or even ways that you do this to someone else. This is a good time to observe and learn about how these issues operate in your life, what role you play in this dynamic, and how you could make different choices. By increasing your level of acceptance of human imperfection, of both yourself and others, you can strengthen those areas where you now feel vulnerable. Since self-esteem (yours and others') can be a bit fragile now, boosting self-confidence through praise, support, encouragement and confidence can have a powerful and healing effect right now.

Feb.25 – Sun sextile Jupiter (06:13 of Pisces/Taurus)

This is a time when your understanding of the Big Picture and your place within it has the potential to click into place. As a result, your confidence and self-esteem can be quite high right now. Your ability to see opportunities and possibilities more clearly can produce an experience of being "lucky." Your insight into life and the world around you may be especially bright, optimistic and inspired. This is a "feel-good" transit, when your sense of self can seem to expand and become free. You may feel especially connected to spiritual energy during this time. Just be careful that all this self-assurance and "knowing" doesn't backfire, by overestimating the extent of your knowledge or underestimating the reaction of your audience. It is possible to become a bit self-indulgent under this transit, so be careful not to overdo it. Beyond a reasonable caution, this is a transit to enjoy!

Feb.27 – Mercury enters Retrograde Shadow (23:50 of Pisces)  ("What's the Shadow?"  Read my articles about Retrograde Cycles.  Read my article about Mercury Retrograde.)

Mercury is now "in the Shadow" – the area of Zodiac where it will later go retrograde in about 2½ weeks time. During its retrograde cycle, Mercury travels through the same span of the Zodiac three times (called the Shadow). The first time through, it is going in direct motion (moving forward), then retrograde (looks like it's going backwards), and then direct again. This means there is a more extensive process of development and change involved with things that Mercury influences—ideas, thoughts, frame of mind and mental focus. It also concerns the collection, exchange, analysis and organisation of information. All forms of communication are also affected. This includes not just talking, but also email and snail mail, the Internet, the media in general, books and magazines, as well as public transit (buses, trains, etc.) and neighbourhoods. The situations developing over the next couple of weeks (leading up to when Mercury actually goes retrograde) will likely require further research, deeper consideration and adjustments to unexpected discoveries over the next couple of months. Expect changes in your plans, increasingly disrupted communication, and new information coming to light that may not fit conveniently into your plans. It's wise to leave lots of extra time to do things, to plan future projects and get to wherever you're going. Patience is a valuable quality during this time. If you must make important decisions during this time, try to build some flexibility into your plans to allow for later changes—or if possible, you may want to delay final or irrevocable decisions until well after Mercury goes direct.

Mercury makes 3 conjunctions with Uranus in Aries during this retrograde cycle: Mar.05, Mar.18 and Apr.22. At worst, it could make for some reactive and erratic thinking! At best, it can open up a closed mind to new possibilities, envisioning life far beyond the boundaries of the proverbial box.

Information is the name of the game during a Mercury retrograde cycle! If you're a beginner and want an easy to understand what it's about, check out my articles on Retrogrades.

If you know your way around a chart fairly well, there are two books I highly recommend on retrogrades in general. One is Erin Sullivan's Retrograde Planets: Traversing the Inner Landscape which is detailed, comprehensive and very in-depth. Everything you ever wanted to know about retrograde cycles and planets! Erin's book is also available in a Kindle edition.

Another excellent retrograde book is Joanne Wickenberg's republished and updated Your Hidden Powers: Intercepted Signs and Retrograde Planets, which includes information about interceptions. It too is very comprehensive and detailed about retrograde cycles, including progressions, natal retrograde planets and transiting retrogrades.

Feb.28 – Sun sextile Pluto (09:06 of Pisces/Capricorn)

Your sense of purpose is potentially strong now, being able to tap into a deeper level of energy and determination. Your personality may be more forceful now, which can be great if you need to make a strong impression but perhaps not so much in situations requiring delicacy or subtlety. You have greater ability to see below the surface of things now, although it may not be as easy to put it all together and understand what it all means. It can be possible to unearth secrets or get at the core of unconscious patterns (yours and others'). However, you'll have to work to harvest the fruit of these potentials, and some of the insights and benefits may not become apparent until later.

Feb.29 – Leap Day!

Happy Leap Day! Once every 4 years, the year has an extra day, which is tacked onto the end of our shortest month, February. If you were born on Feb.29 then technically you have a birthday only once every 4 years – which means you're only a quarter of your "normal" chronological age! So, if you're turning 24 "years" old, then you're really just 6. ;-) If you're turning 28, you're really 7. 32 = 8, 36 = 9, 40 = 10, 44 = 11, 48 = 12, 52 = 13, 56 = 14, 60 = 15, 64 = 16, 68 = 17, 72 = 18, 76 = 19, 80 = 20. So you see, once you hit midlife you're really a teenager for the rest of your life! ;-) Whatever way you choose to acknowledge this day, be sure to do it with gusto – it won't come around again until 2016!

Mar.02 – Mercury Direct enters Aries (until Mar.23)

Directness of speech, fast perceptions and an attitude of "just do it" mark this transit. While Mercury sprints through Aries, you may feel the impulse to cut through and get to the point in conversations and other forms of communication. Body language speaks loudly now, as do actions. At its best, this transit can help words, awareness and insight to arise spontaneously, combined with the courage to express them. On the other hand, you could also say things out of anger, impatience or impulse that you later regret. It may be a time when you'd rather cut to the chase – acknowledge things and move on – rather than hang around to process the details. It's a great time to spin ideas that can be developed later. It is also a good time to think independently and follow your thoughts into new perspectives.

Mar.03 – Sun opposite Mars Retrograde (13:39 of Pisces/Virgo)  (Mar.04 in AU)  (Read more about Mars Retrograde)

This is a stimulating energy that could bring positive action or frustrating struggle, and maybe both. If you've been waiting to take action on something, you might feel inspired to do it now, although it might be based more on impulse than careful consideration. You could also experience a battle wills under this transit, between yourself and another person, or between different parts of yourself that are at odds with each other. This transit is about asserting yourself and your will, which could be done constructively...or possibly destructively. There is much potential right now to project your own anger or defensiveness out and then think it's just "the other guy." On the other hand, if you find yourself embroiled in conflict, this is a great opportunity to test out a new way of reacting to see if that works better than your usual style. Although anger and conflict are the most common ways for this transit to manifest, this could also be a time when you become extremely active or busy. Or you might find your libido running unusually high. Accidents are a possibility, since the impulse is often to act first and think later, so try to slow down long enough to see the obstacles coming and sidestep them.

Mars is always retrograde when it is opposite the Sun. This aspect marks the half-way point in the Mars retrograde cycle. For the next 6 weeks you are involved in the deeper work of Mars retrograde. What have you been working on for the last 6 weeks? Have you been busy preparing a new project? Or perhaps you've been dealing with issues involving anger, assertiveness, aggression or hostility? Or possibly you've been focused on the need to strengthen and build up your physical energy and fitness, or maybe changing your physical appearance? The next 6 weeks will call for a deeper, more steadfast commitment to your goal. If you've been consumed with frustration, anger or passions that feel like they have a life of their own, it will probably help to find constructive or safe outlets for your emotions. This way, you are having your feelings rather than them having you. If you're involved in developing a project or improving your physical energy, be careful not to drive yourself to the point of burnout. Take a break sometimes and allow yourself to appreciate and celebrate what you've been able to accomplish so far. It may be best to wait until Mars goes direct before assuming that you're at the point of clear sailing. Use the final days to ensure your t's are crossed and your i's dotted.

Happy Astrology Day!

Happy Aries Equinox!

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Mar.03-26 – Grand Trine in Earth Signs

Mars retrograde now comes back to repeat the Grand Trine aspect pattern that he created back in November with Jupiter and Pluto. This will not repeat again when Mars goes direct, however, since Jupiter will have moved beyond the orb for a trine aspect (120°) to Pluto. In fact, these 3 planets won't form a Grand Trine again until 2041! So this is it – enjoy it while you can!

When this pattern begins, the Sun opposes Mars and forms a Grand Trine Kite, although this extended aspect figure only lasts a few days. As the Sun moves out of orb, Chiron moves in and completes the Grand Trine Kite until late March. As a result, the possibilities, vision and optimism of the Grand Trine becomes part of the critical turning point in the Mars retrograde cycle.

So... how are you currently regrouping and reorganizing your energy and plan of action? If you can get past the promises of the Trine and make the connection about how to put that potential into action, then you will have that optimism and vision to draw on as a powerful resource. However, if you just look at the promise of it and aren't able to get moving and put it into concrete action (or at least take the first steps), this energy might feel more like a carrot dangling in your face that seems to stay out of your reach. With Mars in Virgo involved, your plans, hopes and dreams must be applied with good old fashioned elbow grease or it's not going to happen (at least not as much as it could).

The events, decisions and dynamic movement now will have a connection to things that were happening last November when the first Grand Trine took place. You might be in a position now to put a plan into action or you might be able to gather the resources you need to launch a special project. With Pluto involved, don't forget to look in hidden, secret, deep or unconscious places for those resources, including your own fortified sense of personal empowerment.

From Mar.09-18, Venus conjoins Jupiter. These two planets are like lovebirds that were naturally born for each other. Together they could provide a boost in the resources and/or finances you have available to fuel your efforts or increasing the results from them. They could also help to create an even sweeter payoff for all your hard work, whether that means a higher quality of payoff or just more enjoyment of it.

Where this energy could go wrong is in overestimating the payoff and underestimating the work required to make it happen. If your ability to do the work is disabled in some way (e.g. illness, discouragement, depression, laziness, exhaustion, or anger or resentment about why this couldn't have happened before now), be careful not to sabotage things by failing to deal directly with the problem. In fact, it might be precisely by dealing directly with the problem that you are finally able to break through to that new potential. So don't consider an obstacle a waste of time or a distraction – it might be the very point of your process!

This whole aspect figure is closest from Mar.13 to 18, so take advantage of its energy while you can!

Mar.04 – Venus opposite Saturn (28:56 of Aries/Libra)

There are realities to face and deal with, probably related to the way you handle relationships and/or finances. This is a time when you start to see a return on your investments – literally or figuratively. This could be an investment of energy, cooperation and good faith in a close relationship, or it might be the long-term development of a goal requiring financing or resources. It can be a time when "the bill comes in" and you are required to "put your money where your mouth is" and make a deeper commitment to that investment. Or, you might have to admit that the results are not what you had hoped for and you must decide whether to continue or reinvest your energies elsewhere. In other words, this is a time when something might come to an end or your situation becomes more stressful because you have some hard choices to make. The key is to take a long hard look at the realities before you – is it worth it to continue in the direction you're going? What is required if you decide to take it to the next step? The situation may demand effort, but there's also a more solid footing waiting on the other side.

Mar.05 – Venus enters Taurus (until Apr.03)

Venus rules the sign of Taurus, so she is very comfortable here! Your experiences of pleasure and sensuality are likely to be heightened...perhaps even a bit too much! You might be tempted to overindulge in sensory delights. On the other hand, you may feel the urge to be more grounded, practical and methodical in the way you handle relationships, money, possessions, material values, and attracting what you desire. It is also a time when your desires could manifest tangibly or at least become more apparent. It may be possible to see more clearly the ways that your self-worth is tied to material things, like income, savings, possessions and spending. Your finances and possessions could act like a "touch stone" to reassure you in times of stress. The trick is not to let this become a substitute for genuine self-respect. To make the most of this transit, take some time to relax and enjoy life! Take your time, smell the flowers, drink in the sunsets, listen to beautiful music, get an aromatherapy massage or explore new uses for chocolate. ;-)

Mar.05 – Mercury Direct conjunct Uranus (03:25 of Aries)

Communication and thoughts can be radical, spontaneous, unusual and uncharacteristic under this transit. You may be compelled to speak your mind to say things you've held back from saying before now. However, as the saying goes, there is a risk of "shooting off your mouth before your brains are loaded." It is a time when you are likely to be open-minded and flexible in your perceptions. Our eyes are wide open, and as a result, we may be a bit shocked, surprised or stunned by what we see. This can also release our creative genius and bring inspired clarity, especially as we look to the future. Encounters with groups, friends and the greater community are also possible at this time.

This is the first of 3 passes: Mar.05, Mar.18 and Apr.22. Expect a lively Mercury cycle!

Mar.06 – Venus sextile Neptune (01:11 of Taurus/Pisces)

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 façade of outer glamour and charm. Let the essence of your inner beauty and pure spirit shine through your appearance and mannerisms!

Full Moon in Virgo Chart of the Full Moon in Virgo

Mar.08 – FULL MOON in VIRGO (18:13 of Virgo)

FULL MOON in VIRGO

Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Mar.08, 2011, 4:39 AM EDT

London, UK:

Mar.08, 2011, 9:39 AM BST

Sydney, AU:

Mar.08, 2011, 8:39 PM AEST

"What's a Full Moon?"

Read more about the Sun-Moon cycles.

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

There are two sides to Virgo: "It can be done," and "It will never be good enough."

The side that says "it can be done" is industrious, methodical, dedicated, determined and willing to do whatever it takes to "make it work." Perhaps more accurately, its slogan is more like: "How can it be done?"

The side that says "it will never be good enough" is perfectionist, nit-picky, obsessed with fine-tuning and believes everything, no matter how well something works, it can always be improved on.

Both of these approaches have their benefits and drawbacks. It's true that improvement on pretty much anything is always possible, but at some point you have to step back and ask if going that one teeny-tiny step further and fine-tuning things one more time is worth the energy, time, obsession and stress it will take to get you there.

Ways to Make Things Work

There's also a lot to be said for being satisfied with "making things work,” but there's more to what something is or can be than mere functionality. What makes something truly excellent requires going the extra mile.

Compare a DeLonghi espresso machine with a Mr. Coffee espresso machine. Both are perfectly good appliances, I'm sure, but the DiLonghi probably operates more effectively and efficiently, smoother and with many more features than Mr. Coffee. That's the difference between good and excellent. There's nothing wrong with "good," but if you won the lottery which would you rather buy?

How you get from good to great is another matter. You could flog yourself into a froth trying to live up to a rigorous standard, or you could focus on the benefits of what you want to achieve through encouragement, confidence and dedication. One is not necessarily better than the other. Both can (potentially) get the job done. But there are factors to consider when choosing which path to take.

For one thing, one method may work better than the other for a given person. A strict standard can be an invigorating challenge to one person, but a burden to the self-esteem and confidence of another. And focusing on the goal through positive thinking about the benefits might be too tempting to succumb to laziness and pampering for one person, while for someone else it can lift the burden of expectations enough that their natural ability can take flight.

These are often the reasons we love and hate Virgo energy. On one hand it can seem critical, dry and perfectionist – all work and no play. On the other hand, it can be the sign that knows how to problem-solve to get thing done – grounding, wholesome and rewarding.

Through a Different Looking Glass

Grand Trine and Hard Wedge at the Full Moon

The truth is Virgo energy usually works best when there's a balance of the two. No matter which approach gets you closer to where you want to go, the Full Moon in Virgo has a little something for everyone! The Moon is conjunct Mars – they are getting a little on the wide side (6:21 and separating) but it's still well within orb, if perhaps becoming a little diluted.

However, because this conjunction is so wide, it creates an intriguing split in the chart. The Moon has only stressful and dynamic aspects – opposition (180°) to the Sun and a sesquiquadrate (135°) to Venus. Mars, on the other hand, is part of a lovely, easy-going Grand Trine with Jupiter and Pluto.

The result is that in the Full Moon chart, the Moon and Mars each see the world through a very different looking glass. The Moon sees hardship, challenge, struggle and obstacles to overcome – conquering what seemingly can't be done (which could be stimulating or stressful, depending on how you look at it). Mars, on the other hand, sees things more optimistically and is able to see the benefits and potential of a situation – focusing on what can be done.

The Moon's perspective is more severe, while Mars' perspective is likely to be more hopeful and upbeat. Both are in the sign of Virgo, so each brings out a different side of Virgo – the relentless personal trainer who demands one more push-up (Moon) versus the Little Engine that Could (Mars).

Remember that Virgo is involved with health, which could be one area where this plays out. On one hand, you may feel a sincere determination to stick with that exercise/yoga/palates program or your low-carb/vegetarian/vegan diet. On the other hand, you might feel alarm or urgency when you see how much you've slid off the straight-and-narrow in recent days/weeks/months or after reading an article about health risks.

So what does this mean for the Full Moon's effects? At worst, this split could evoke a fight between your need to be driven by deadlines and expectations in order to get things done, versus your need to "keep your eyes on the prize" to keep moving toward your goal. At best, these two motivational approaches can combine to give you the best of both worlds. At worst, they could polarize and compete with each other, leaving you feeling guilty about not living up to the principles of either approach.

Venus and Jupiter

Hard Wedge aspect pattern

The Sun-Moon opposition forms an aspect pattern that I call a Hard Wedge to Venus. She has a sesquiquadrate aspect (135° a.k.a. tri-octile) to the Moon and a semisquare aspect (45° a.k.a. octile) to the Sun. These aspects are cousins to the square aspect family (conjunction, opposition, square) which involves stressful yet dynamic and motivating conflict and struggle.

Venus is strongly placed in her own sign of Taurus and applying to a conjunction with Jupiter. When the two benefics (planets with warm, fuzzy energy) align, with one in her own sign who is also in disagreement with the Sun and Moon, how bad could it be? It's not likely to be a knock 'em down drag 'em out fight. In this case it might focus more on finding the Taurus resources that would give Virgo what she needs to make things happen.

Perhaps the right materials can't be found. Or (with Venus conjunct overdoing-it Jupiter) perhaps you were on your way to buy office supplies for your project, when you got sidetracked in the technology aisle by that feature-loaded printer and couldn't help yourself. Or you found a terrific sale on file folders, but by the time you'd stocked up on a carton or two, you didn't have enough money left over to buy pens and paper. Or, perhaps having to drag yourself away from that gorgeous sleek printer, kicking and screaming, broke your heart and put a damper on your whole week.

One way or another, there's likely to be an obstacle to surmount, a struggle to overcome, or a drawback to an advantage that isn't easy to accept.

Grand Trine – the Sequel

Grand Trine aspect pattern

A Grand Trine can make you feel surrounded by a cushy nest of opportunities, but the other side can be laziness or taking those goodies for granted and not really capitalizing on them. Mars is normally ready and rarin' to go, but being retrograde and in that lovely Grand Trine, he might become hesitant to leave the "ahhhh" of the group huddle with Jupiter and Pluto.

As a result, Mars may not be quite ready to risk disrupting the comfort of the Grand Trine in order to push onward and upward in his usual way. ("There's still background work to be done!" or "I'll do it tomorrow.") On the other hand the intention for serious work might be there, but that lingering Grand Trine just makes it sooo easy to assume that Jupiter's expansion and Pluto's concentration will be around forever to grease the wheels of progress. He can enjoy his retrograde vacation, or at the very least it won't matter if he gets stuck in the quicksand of a million Virgo details.

Not so! When Mars goes direct on Apr.13, he could become grouchy and nit-picky when he realizes Jupiter has moved on without him, breaking up the We-Can-Do-This-Together Club. By the time Mars catches up to the trine with Jupiter it will be mid-July and both of them will have moved on into new signs (Libra and Gemini, respectively). So enjoy the sunny skies of the Mars-Jupiter-Pluto Grand Trine through most of March – it won't come again with these planets until 2036! But don't be surprised if, come April, you wonder why it seems to take so much more effort to do things. ;-)

Mutual Martian Mercury

What can help Mars rise above a totally lazy slump is the Mutual Reception with Mercury. ("What's a Mutual Reception?") Mercury is in Mars' sign of Aries, while Mars is in Mercury's sign of Virgo. This cross-pollination of energies contributes a sense of awareness, articulation, practical intuition, and the ability to visualize and define the path that will get you from "here" to "there."

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Mercury is conjunct Uranus, bringing a zingy flavour to the mix! At its best, this could give flashes of brilliant insight and confidence, as well as the energy to clean out 5 closets in a single bound! At its worst, it could fragment the energies at the Full Moon, bringing too many ideas and possibilities at once. This could make the split between the striving and the problem-solving sides of Virgo much more difficult to bridge or coordinate effectively.

The good news is that the worst of these aspects are separating and therefore dissipating. It's possible that any problems are the aftermath of issues from the recent past, rather than new troubles that are on the rise. You're probably best to work in a practical way with your intuition, desires and ambition to manifest a project.

The Virgo Maiden

Virgo is a Mutable sign, meaning she's quite capable of changing direction to suit the needs and requirements of the moment. The Virgo maiden is not married to any particular path, but will go with whatever (or whomever) will enable her to get to her intended destination. The archetype of the maiden is not merely that of an innocent, inexperienced, chaste or unmarried female. This is no "spinster" who was left behind on short watching others sail away on the marriage boat; this is

She is self-contained, self-sufficient and uncompromised, except for where and when she chooses to be otherwise. She is not bound to anyone, but exercises her choice about how and to whom she's prepared to give of herself. She holds the promise and the budding wisdom of youth.

She is Artemis, the huntress who vowed to remain unmarried (and therefore self-determining). She is Athene, goddess of wisdom and civilization. She is Vesta/Hestia who keeps the fires burning at the centre of our being. Virgo's earliest association with a specific maiden goddess was with Astraea, the "star goddess" and a goddess of justice.

At this Full Moon, meditate on the part of you that is (or wants to be) self-contained and free of obligations to another. To what or whom does that part of you wish to give of yourself? What or whom do you want to serve? It's not enough to simply say "I'm going to work on this project or toward that goal" – what is the principle, the quality, the spirit or the reason that the project represents? Why do you want to do it, in other words? And are there obligations or constraints that interfere with you being able to give yourself over to this out of self-determined choice?

What motivates you most effectively? Driving yourself with strict rules and deadlines? Or are you motivated more when you feel the empowerment that comes with having a solid plan, resources and skills, as well as a clear vision of what it will all look like when it's done? What combination of these works best for you? Has your life lately begun to lean a little too much to one or the other approach? What can you do to support and utilize the side that's waning?

Virgo's message is: get to work! Just be willing to see both the easy and hard sides of your goal.

Mar.10 – Venus sextile Chiron (06:11 of Taurus/Pisces)  (Mar.11 in UK, 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.

Mar.11 – Daylight Saving Time begins in North America

If you live in Canada or the US, as well as other locations in or nearby North America, it could be time to turn your clocks one hour forward today. If you're not sure whether your area observes DST, you can check here to see when and if your location changes to DST.

Mar.12 – Mercury stationary Retrograde (06:49 of Aries; until Apr.04)  ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read more about Mercury Retrograde.  Read more about Retrograde planets. )

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.

Mar.13 – Jupiter trine Pluto (09:21 of Taurus/Capricorn)

The quest for freedom, wisdom and truth (Jupiter) now works cooperatively with the cycle of transformation, destruction and renewal (Pluto). The effects of this transit aren't likely to be flashy or perhaps even obvious. However, you now have access to optimism and far-reaching vision that can provide a more positive context to any difficulty you might be having in shedding old baggage, letting go of attachments or simply seeing your life changing at a very deep level. It is also a time when you can bring your understanding and wisdom to shine a light on that deep change, to light a candle in the dark corners of what is unfamiliar or scary.

Mar.13 – Venus trine Pluto (09:21 of Taurus/Capricorn)  (Mar.14 in UK, AU)

Close one-on-one connections with people (close friends, lovers, partners of all kinds) will tend to gravitate to a deeper, more intense level now. Instead of automatically doing the diplomatic, "nice" thing, you may find it is more fulfilling to share more of your authentic feelings. It may be possible now to connect with people on a deeper level, while still ensuring that your interests are equally balanced with theirs. The trick is to do this without trying to control or overpower the other person, and it may be easier to avoid those traps now. You could make some deeply intimate connections with people under this transit. Financial dealings with other people may also go smoothly, although it might be wise to get clear confirmation that you're both on the same page about the fine print.

Mar.14 – Venus conjunct Jupiter (09:33 of Taurus)

Romance is in the air, harmony is reflected in everything around you, and love and beauty abound! This can be a time of sweet mercy, pleasure and peace, both personally and in relationships. It can also be a time when your ability to attract money, resources and rewards into your life are especially strong. You might consider indulging in a lottery ticket! Or maybe treating yourself to some creature comforts, like a massage or a double chocolate brownie or anything that gets the endorphins flowing! Unfortunately, this can also be a time when you are prone to over-indulge in pleasures or overestimate your resources. By all means enjoy this lovely feel-good energy, but it's also wise to keep your "addictions" in check. Don't entirely disregard your diet, your budget or your realism in relationships.

Venus and Jupiter each trine Pluto, all at the SAME DEGREE and MINUTE of their respective signs! The Venus-Jupiter conjunction then reaches exact just 12 minutes of arc later. They also trine Mars, and Mars trines Pluto, the next day. This is the Grand Trine that I've talked about in the Full Moon in Virgo article, above. These aspects are all exact on Mar.13-14.

Mar.14 – Venus trine Mars Retrograde (09:37 of Taurus/Virgo)

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!

Mar.14 – Mars Retrograde trine Jupiter (09:35 of Virgo/Taurus)

Energy, assertiveness, aggression and sexuality are amplified during this time. Physical, mental and emotional energy can run high. Your motivation can take on an air of confidence and purpose. If you normally shrink back from asserting yourself, this can be a time when it's a bit easier to find the courage to take a stand. It can also make you more sensitive to this amplified energy in others around you. If you are distressed by Mars energy in general (afraid of anger, intimidated by aggression, cautious about sexuality, etc.), this transit might bring a bit more of it than you can comfortably handle. However, it can also give you an opportunity to experience and make friends with this energy. If you typically enjoy high energy, this can be a time when you can make progress with plans and projects, and have flirtatious or impish fun along the way.

Mar.14 – Mars Retrograde trine Pluto (09:22 of Virgo/Capricorn)  (Mar.15 in UK, AU)

You may feel a strong urge to embrace and engage power, assert your desires and act on deep impulses. Your sexual energy could also be very high now (use it wisely). You might feel like nothing can stop you or hold you back. In fact, the ability to create change and take action is especially strong right now. If you have been preparing to put plans into action, this can be a powerful time to do so. But also be aware that too much of a good thing can sometimes backfire – it is possible to overstep your bounds or come on a bit too strong, with this energy. Suppressed anger, frustration or an urge to "vanquish the enemy" may be expressed more forcefully than you intend. It will help to center yourself and focus on acknowledging your emotions, impulses and power – then use your good judgment when deciding whether or how to act on them.

Mars is now retrograde, in its second of three passes of this transit. Perhaps this is an opportunity to look at whether the above effects are a "good thing" or a "bad thing." Are you feeling a bit overconfident? Are you controlling your anger a little too much, or not enough? Or, are you ignoring or dismissing the positive effects of this transit, when you could be benefiting from its gifts? Mars retrograde is basically encouraging you to take a deeper look at how you can use this energy more directly.

Happy Astrology Day!

Happy Aries Equinox!

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Mar.18 – Mercury Retrograde conjunct Uranus (04:10 of Aries)

Communication and thoughts can be radical, spontaneous, unusual and uncharacteristic under this transit. You may be compelled to speak your mind to say things you've held back from saying before now. However, as the saying goes, there is a risk of "shooting off your mouth before your brains are loaded." It is a time when you are likely to be open-minded and flexible in your perceptions. Our eyes are wide open, and as a result, we may be a bit shocked, surprised or stunned by what we see. This can also release our creative genius and bring inspired clarity, especially as we look to the future. Encounters with groups, friends and the greater community are also possible at this time.

Mar.19 – Mars Retrograde square North Lunar Node (07:46 of Virgo/Sagittarius)  (Mar.20 in AU)

For a week or so, it might feel like the actions you must take to deal with current circumstances are at cross purposes to what you see as your higher purpose or optimal direction in life. You might feel at odds with others, or in the wrong place at the wrong time. On the other hand, this can be a time when being forced to take a temporary "detour" off your chosen path can bring an opportunity to gather new resources, information or insight that can actually help you more, in the long run, than if you had stayed on the main path. However, there's never any one way to experience a given transit. The question becomes: is veering off the main path something that enables you to avoid something you should be facing? Or is does this detour bring you to a new perspective or resources that you are resisting because it's off the main path? Either way, it's a good idea to balance your impulses and passions with mindful awareness.

When Mars is retrograde and squaring the Nodes, this is likely to be a time when you need to go back over past actions to retrieve something of value you might have dropped along the way. Did you slide into that avoidance pattern without realizing it? Or did you perhaps charge by an opportunity, thinking it a distraction? This is a second chance to take a closer look at what happened in your life when Mars first squared the Nodes and how you reacted to it. Perhaps an adjustment of your direction is in order?

This is the second of 3 passes of this transit during the Mars Retrograde cycle: Dec.13.2011, Mar.19.2012 and Apr.30.2012.

Mar.20 – Sun enters Aries (until Apr.19)

EQUINOX DATES

Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Mar.20, 2010, 1:14 AM EST

London, UK:

Mar.20, 2010, 6:14 AM GMT

Sydney, AU:

Mar.20 2010, 4:14 PM AEDT

Happy Solar Return to everyone born in the sign of Aries! This is the Vernal Equinox – the time when day and night are of equal length. In the northern hemisphere, this marks the beginning of Spring, as the light increases. In the southern hemisphere, it is the start of Fall, as the light decreases. While the Sun is in Aries, it is a time when all of us (not just those born under the sign of Aries) have the opportunity to experience our Aries nature. The archetype of that nature is like the pure life force that is contained in a single seed. A seed is the residue of a previous cycle of growth – both its resulting harvest and its unfinished business. The Aries energy is about our use of that raw life force within our personal expression of that energy. It manifests in assertiveness, courage, risk-taking, directness, initiative, our sex drive, and the pioneering spirit. It can also emerge as aggression, pushiness, violence, anger, recklessness and self-absorption.

The same forceful energy that can fuel damage and single-minded egotism is the same energy that, applied in a different way, is also essential for self-validation, confidence and the drive to make things happen. While the Sun is in Aries, we all have the opportunity to explore how we use this energy in our lives and whether we want to change this. Here are some suggestions about how to explore your Aries nature: Is there something new you want to start in your life? What activities do you want to begin that you’ve never done before? What will give you the courage and confidence to bring these into your life? If it is not possible to do this, or if you encounter delays, how do you deal with your frustration? Do anger and frustration motivate you to take action, or do these emotions tend to overwhelm and inhibit you? How do you express your anger, and does this clear the air or just create more problems? Use this time to explore these and related areas.

Mar.21 – Sun conjunct Mercury Retrograde (01:34 of Aries)  (Mar.22 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.

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