Low-Down Archives February-March 2013

New Moon Aquarius, Full Moon Virgo

Chart for the New Moon in Aquarius
Chart for the New Moon in Aquarius

Feb.10 – NEW MOON in AQUARIUS (21:43 of Aquarius)

NEW MOON in AQUARIUS

Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Feb.10, 2012, 2:20 AM EST

Vancouver, Canada and
Los Angeles, USA:

Feb.09, 2012, 11:20 PM PST

London, UK:

Feb.10, 2012, 7:20 AM GMT

Sydney, AU:

Feb.10, 2012, 6:20 PM AEST

"What's a New Moon?"

Read more about the Sun-Moon cycles.

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

There's nowhere you can be that isn't where you're
meant to be...
~ John Lennon

It's time to recalibrate your vision of where you're going and how you're trying to get there.

Why? Well, at worst you may be running headlong into a wall that has the inscription, "Can't get there from here." On the other hand, you might encounter a doorway with the inscription, "This way to unexpected blessings."

Either way, there is a tight corner turn ahead that requires you to carefully navigate a change in direction. It's probably a good time to ask yourself if the change is really worth the effort it will take.

This is a challenge to your degree of commitment. If you're already feeling your destination isn't what you had in mind, this is a good time to rethink where you want to end up and the changes that are necessary to get you there instead.

As you recalibrate and refine your direction and destination, it might seem at first like you're only making things worse. Like the Sorcerer's Apprentice, as you try to correct what's wrong, you might find that it only seems to amplify the original problem.

Why? Because the motivational energy and grounded reality required to make these adjustments must be squeezed through the Uranus-Pluto square. In other words, the effort required to really reorient your vision of a better life will be most effective if it is transformative and far-reaching.

This is no quick fix.

Here's the astrology behind it all. Let's start with the New Moon in Aquarius. Aquarius is dishevelled, unsettled and changeable at the best of times. That's part of its job description: to take what is stable, conventional and regimented, and break it apart to give it room to breathe and grow.

Aquarius' Fixed nature wants to see these changes implemented in a way that will perpetuate the benefits of what changes. This means there is a conflicting agenda in Aquarius – change the status quo, but also establish a new status quo that incorporates the change.

The result can be somewhat erratic. Change! Okay, now stop changing!

Anyone trying to dance to that music will understandably yell out, "Enough! Make up your %#&^@ mind!" In the midst of the commotion, your instinct may be to retreat off the dance floor into the shadows of the sidelines until it feels safe to come out again.

On the other hand, the Aquarian energy in you might jump into the fray and invent a new dance step!

Much of how you respond can depend on what is changing and how much your sense of emotional safety depends on the old status quo.

There are winds of destiny that blow when we least expect them. Sometimes they gust with the fury of a hurricane, sometimes they barely fan one’s cheek. But the winds cannot be denied, bringing as they often do a future that is impossible to ignore.
~ Nicholas Sparks, Message in a Bottle

Aquarius New Moon square Lunar Nodes

What tips the jar of the Aquarian water bearer to go from a flowing cascade into a deluge is the fact that the New Moon in Aquarius is exactly square the Lunar Nodes. Always precisely opposite each other, the North and South Nodes form an axis in the chart. The Nodal axis represents our path from where we were (South Node) to where we are heading (North Node).

When anything squares the Nodes, it disrupts your movement from one to the other. When the Sun is involved, it is called Moon Wobbles – a somewhat confusing term since it has nothing to do with what the Moon is doing. The Sun is your central sense of self, purpose and vitality, so when that part of you is disrupting your path of (what feels like your) destiny, it can feel upsetting, disorienting and sometimes a bit startling—kind of "wobbly"—especially when an already unruly energy like Aquarius is doing the disrupting.

When a planet squares the Nodes, it can feel like something is in your way or you're forced to take a detour away from your chosen path. Either way, the feeling is often one of frustration and feeling a bit cheated out of what you assume to be your earned reward or your birthright. However, this typically involves an encounter with something that is ultimately in your best interest, even though it might not seem like it at the time.

Sometimes the dreams that come true are
the dreams you never even knew you had.
~ Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones

Here's an example. The North Node is currently in Scorpio, while the South Node is in Taurus. You might be trying to grow in a way that will give you more conscious, proactive control over your life (Scorpio), while needing to let go of a tendency to go with whatever feels good (pleasure) and gives you the most results with the least amount of effort (Taurus).

Having the Sun-Moon conjunction in Aquarius, in square to the Nodes, might bring an unexpected, unsettling or shocking turn of events that makes you feel powerless or out of control. So much for gaining that conscious control, right?

If it feels especially disruptive, you might even feel discouraged enough to want to abandon your goal. If you feel very upset about it, you might explode in rage at the source of that disruption, impulsively trying to intimidate the cause of the disruption into backing down and going back to the way things were. Good luck with that – it is more likely to make the situation worse, even if it makes your Inner Child feel more powerful.

However, if you look at it a little differently, you're likely to find an unexpected opportunity to discover an aspect of gaining control that you hadn't recognized. For instance, when you exert influence over outside circumstances, it might be one example of using control, but not all things outside yourself can be (or should be) controlled by you. You must ultimately be a co-creator of your life with the Universe.

True control and power will inevitably be found within yourself. This occurs by strengthening your sense of self. You need to be able to adjust your position to work cooperatively with outside events. And to some extent, you need to detach your sense of identity from needing your surroundings to match what you want to see in yourself.

When your outside circumstances contradict your internal sense of self, it can be upsetting, disorienting and uncomfortable – but this can be an opportunity to do a valuable internal reality check. Are you truly less of who you are if you aren't surrounded by people and things that reflect that back to you? Or can your own sense of self and passion, and memory of past achievements, also validate that vision of yourself that you want to create?

This is the hidden gift in the square to the Nodes – you get to see how something seemingly disruptive can actually open you up to growth that you wouldn't have encountered if you had simply forged ahead.

Destiny is a name often given in retrospect to
choices that had dramatic consequences.
~ J.K. Rowling

4 point Stellium square Jupiter

Adding to this intense scenario is Jupiter in close square aspect (90°) to a 4-point Stellium in Pisces: Neptune, Mars, Mercury and Chiron, all within less than 6° of each other. The Stellium (several planets in the same sign) in itself puts substantial emphasis on Pisces energy – visionary, imaginative, idealized, flowing perceptions and assumptions about the reality around you.

Pisces is good for showing you what you hope the best case scenario will be, although under stress it can also flush out of your unconscious what you fear the worst case scenario could be. Pisces can be the smoke and mirrors onto which you project your most sparkling dreams or your most sinister nightmares, and in the absence of a reality check these can look just as real as any mirage in a desert or holographic image.

Jupiter is the traditional ruler of Pisces, which makes it even more interesting for those Stellium planets to be in a stressful, conflicting aspect relationship to their dispositor (the planet that rules the sign they're in). Some astrologers feel this softens the square's stressful effect, although others (including me) feel it can amplify the more negative or difficult characteristics of both the sign and its ruler.

In this case, the puffed up quality of Jupiter (whose physical make-up makes it appear to have far more substance than it actually has) could inflate the effects of those 4 planets in Pisces out of proportion. This could create an unrealistic "rose coloured glasses" syndrome in which real concerns are dismissed or trivialized.

In the same way, an over-amplified Jupiter might also respond with judgment and blame when compassion, understanding and a broad perspective would reveal a truer and more accurate picture of the situation. On the other hand, for Jupiter to inflate the situation like a balloon could enable you to see more clearly the topography of what is on the balloon. The trick is to inflate it just enough to gain clarity, not too much so that it would distort, ruin or explode the essential meaning.

When all the details fit in perfectly,
something is probably wrong with the story.
~ Charles Baxter, Burning Down the House: Essays on Fiction

Ultimately, Jupiter challenges you to expand your horizons and see the bigger picture. Allow this new space to show you new truth, while resisting the urge to fill it in with projected imagination from your personal unconscious.

On one hand, this will become easier as the month progresses because Mercury and Mars in Pisces are moving up to trine Saturn as it prepares to go retrograde on the 18th. Mercury shakes hands with Saturn on Feb.12, while Mars gives him a good ol' slap on the back on the 16th. Saturn will help ground the Piscean energies, making a reality check a little easier. And since Saturn is the traditional ruler of Aquarius (the New Moon that is the focal point of the chart), this grounding influence should help to stabilize that Aquarian energy as well.

On the other hand, Mercury is coming up to another retrograde sleepwalk (Feb.23 to Mar.17). So, although the trine to Saturn can help Mercury from becoming too dizzy from the imaginative vertigo, he doesn't exactly have both feet on the ground either. This is likely to be an unusually weird, wonky, dreamy, creative and fuzzy retrograde cycle, whose effects you are no doubt already starting to feel (since Mercury went into the Shadow just 2 days ago).

The fact that Saturn will be stationary, at the time of the Mercury and Mars trines, might actually deflate those Piscean apparitions a little abruptly, so watch out for swings of extremes. If that starts to happen, do something that will bring you back into your body in a positive way: have a bubble bath, get a massage, dance, swim, go for a walk in nature, eat a nutritious meal, wash your hair.

Destiny is what you are supposed to do in life.
Fate is what kicks you in the ass to make you do it.
~ Henry Miller

The Uranus-Pluto factor, mentioned at the beginning of this article, stands out because they are singletons in their respective elements. Pluto is the only planet in an Earth sign (Capricorn), and Uranus is the only planet in a Fire sign (Aries). By modern rulerships, these two disposit (rule) both the New Moon in Aquarius and the North Node in Scorpio. In other words, the New Moon in square to the Nodes is a reflection of the Uranus-Pluto square, but on a more personal, accessible level.

Pluto also disposits Saturn in Scorpio, so that grounding effect will work best when it penetrates much deeper than superficial or token gestures. Don't just bathe or massage or dance or swim or eat – allow yourself to really experience it on a personal, physical level.

As the Aquarius New Moon squares the Nodes and wants to (seemingly) pull you off-course, it may well not only open up new awareness and hidden gifts, it might ignite a sense of inspired passion (at its best) or explosive reaction (at worst). In other words, what might come out is a part of your primal energy that has been pushed to the sidelines while you have been busy moving toward your goal of control, empowerment and endurance.

Even when you think you have your life all mapped out,
things happen that shape your destiny in ways you might never have imagined.
~ Deepak Chopra

Feb.10 – Mars square Jupiter (06:31 of Pisces/Gemini)

Under this transit your energy is more accessible, but this could be more problematic than helpful. On one hand, you have more enthusiasm and motivation available to take bold steps toward your goals. However, you might be forced to do this out of a sense of moral coercion, rather than freely choosing it. Or, your actions could be triggered by exasperated impulse more than by a sense of what is right for that moment. Impulses are likely to become easily amplified, but also more difficult to control. This includes anger, sexuality, aggression and assertiveness. Confidence could come across as arrogance. Courage might become reckless or brazen. If you find it difficult to bring out these qualities in yourself, they may come spurting out in a way that might be frightening or intimidating. But once your energy has emerged, you are in a better position to learn how to harness it, use it, work with it and summon it at will.

Feb.10 – Mercury Direct conjunct Chiron (08:15 of Pisces)  (Feb.11 in AU)

Words can wound, but they can also heal. This transit may bring new awareness of the ways that you need to heal...and perhaps also the ways that you wound yourself or others, especially through thoughts, words and attitudes. You might become aware of harming yourself through negative self-talk or harsh self-criticism. Or, you might expect rigid perfection of yourself and forget that you are a multi-dimensional being who is, by your human nature, inconsistent and fallible. Your mental focus or attitude might have a sharp edge to it that is harsh, or you may encounter harsh attitudes from someone else that are hurtful, perhaps without meaning to be. Words and thoughts can be powerful tools. By reframing the message or situation in a different way, it is possible to turn hurt into healing and ignorance into wisdom. For example, it may help to eliminate either-or thinking by accepting that paradoxes and contradictions exist and may not have to be fully resolved for you to find a workable balance within them. By adopting a bit of a philosophical attitude, you may find it takes some of the pressure off the need for everything to fit together perfectly, which can leave some breathing room for everyone involved to be human.

Feb.11 – Venus square Saturn (11:28 of Aquarius/Scorpio)  (Feb.10 in MT, PT)

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.

Feb.12 – Mercury Direct sextile Pluto (10:42 of Pisces/Capricorn)  (Feb.11 in CT, MT, PT)

Penetrating insights and passionate communication are possible under this transit ...although, so is speaking more forcefully than you intend to about things that require a bit of delicacy or discretion. It is also a time when your mental concentration can come together so easily that you become obsessed. You may prefer in-depth discussion to small-talk, and it might feel awkward if you aren't able to explore the depths in your interaction or communication with others. However, you likely have an increased ability to pick up on undercurrents of what's happening around you. This is also a time when you can start to shed and leave behind old worn out perceptions and ways of communicating. You also have an increased ability to take thoughts, ideas and information and transform them into something healing ...or wounding. Choose your words carefully and mindfully. Writing down your thoughts and ideas to capture the energy of this transit can help you gather the deeper qualities.

Feb.12 – Mars conjunct Chiron (08:23 of Pisces)  (Feb.13 in AU)

There is a lot of potential for both healing and harm under this transit. The forcefulness of Mars is like a surgeon's scalpel that can heal by cutting through resistance, lethargy, pain or denial – but could also be a knife that causes damage when not used with precision and care. The healing aspect of this energy can bring some relief to chronic or persistent problems, but if inflicted with anger, hostility or insensitivity it could just aggravate those problems. Physical energy could be affected by this transit, either beginning a new approach that can bring improved strength, or by depleting your energy through physical, emotional or spiritual malaise. You might feel a bit discouraged or powerless...or you might start to see a light at the end of the tunnel that you can start to move toward. This is the beginning of a new cycle of working with these combined energies, which lasts about 2 years. To participate with positive intention in this initiation, it can help to observe what conflicts, problems or struggles come up around this time, since there is something about these issues that will unfold and develop over the next two years.

Feb.12 – Mercury Direct trine Saturn (11:29 of Pisces/Scorpio)  (Feb.13 in AU)

It can be easier to take a logical, practical approach to problem-solving and pursuit of your goals now. Your mental outlook is likely to be calm and grounded. This is a good time to make plans and work out the logistics of how you're going to get from "here" to "there" in pursuing your goals. You may find it's time to bring closure to finished goals by distilling and systemizing what you've learned in the process of pursuing those past goals. Or, you might find you are able to draw on past achievements to assist and support your current goals and plans. It is a good transit to bring structure to your thoughts and communication. You may find it's a little easier to accept authority – yours or someone else's – and that you are able to speak authoritatively about things about which you have knowledge or experience.

Feb.15 – Mars sextile Pluto (10:48 of Pisces/Capricorn)  (Feb.16 in AU)

This can be a time of intense and powerful energy. It can be especially so if you focus your intention to tap into and use this energy deliberately, although if you are triggered into a reaction you might find it is more forceful than you intended. This can be a good time to make changes that have far-reaching, transformative effects. Your powers of persuasion can be stronger now, so be careful you don't try to force things to the point of making something happen that perhaps should be left alone or treated with a gentler touch. Sex and other passionate urges may rise more easily now, although obsession and the need to control your surroundings might come up with them. This transit is perhaps best used to refresh your sense of passion and transform your sense of purpose and direction.

Feb.16 – Mars trine Saturn (11:31 of Pisces/Scorpio)  (Feb.17 in AU)

This is a great time for disciplined action that can produce grounded, specific and stable results. If you have a project that needs to push ahead to the next step, you may find this is a good time to do that. If you want to make progress with your ambitions, goals and plans, this can be a good time to make plans or to take action. You are likely to feel "together," capable and strong, giving you a serious, calm and realistic confidence. It's usually easier to control or restrain your more volatile emotions, and present yourself as someone who is stable and on top of things. This transit can bring sustained physical energy that doesn't burn itself out quickly and can pace itself for lasting endurance. Remember that the effects of this transit typically last only about a week or two, so make the most of it!

Feb.18 – Sun enters Pisces (until Mar.20)

Happy Solar Return to all Pisces! While the Sun travels through Pisces we all have a chance to attune ourselves to our intuitive, creative, spiritual and reflective nature. This can be a time when dreams may become more important, meaningful or frequent, as the unconscious swells into consciousness. It is a time to spend quality alone time with yourself away from the noisy world, so that you can tune in to the still, small voice within. This might be done through meditation, prayer or seclusion. Although not necessary to do in seclusion, you might also connect with that inner space through music, art, dance, yoga, Tai Chi or walking a labyrinth. This is a non-rational space (not necessarily the same as irrational) that emerges from the formlessness of the unconscious full of possibilities for manifestation. Pisces holds the gateway to our source of creativity and our spiritual Source. It points the way to the Great Unknown, where all life begins. Therefore, while the Sun is in Pisces, we have a chance to meditate on our relationship to this womb of creative energy. So try your hand at writing poetry. Or, try drawing or painting, especially with your non-dominant hand. Immerse yourself in a warm bath and listen to the most beautiful music you can find. Walk through a labyrinth, or walk through a forest. Take some time to just BE.

Feb.18 – Saturn stationary Retrograde (11:31 of Scorpio, until Jul.08)  (Feb.19 in AU)  ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read more about Retrograde planets.)

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.

Feb.21 – Sun conjunct Neptune (02:49 of Pisces)  (Feb.20 in PT)

This can be a time of great creative ability by taking unfamiliar or little-used sources of inspiration and channelling them into self-expression. This may or may not be "creative" in the artistic sense of the word, but definitely can involve taking an inspired approach to problems and challenges. It is a great time to be romantic, creative, intuitive/psychic or spiritual. Just remember that inspiration still means you have to work for the results. Don’t confuse intuition with being able to take divine intervention for granted. You may experience profound faith in the bountiful blessings of the Universe under this transit, but don't just assume you'll be granted everything you wish for. What you pick up from others and your environment can also become mixed up with your own wishful thinking, making it hard to tell where you stop and the rest of the world begins. However, hope, optimism and imagination spring eternal. Your sense of self can become infused with a sense of vision and having a mission, feeling that you are truly a Child of the Universe. Enjoy it while it lasts, as this transit only lasts a few days, but do a careful reality check before you act on the magical possibilities before you.

Feb.23 – Mercury stationary Retrograde (19:52 of Pisces, until Mar.17)  ("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.

Mercury is retrograde in Pisces, which can put you in a very dream-like, meditative space. Logical or analytical thought may not be easy to achieve during this transit – or you might find that logic and analysis seem to ride in the slipstream of intuition. Creativity and imagination could rise spontaneously or unexpectedly...or they might seem to go underground where you can't access them at all for a while. In fact, much of your usual mental awareness could seem less than solid, reliable or accessible during this transit. On the other hand, you may find you have access to a different kind of perception and awareness during this time. Your psychic and intuitive abilities are likely to be much more sensitive now. Dreams could be more vivid, and you may float in and out of daydreams that could actually provide valuable information and insight. It's not always possible to put your life on hold for 3 weeks (while Mercury is retrograde), but it will help to take some time out to just drift and "be" during this time.

Chart for the Full Moon in Virgo
Chart for the Full Moon in Virgo

Feb.25 – FULL MOON in VIRGO (07:24 of Virgo)

FULL MOON in VIRGO

Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Feb.25, 2012, 3:26 PM EDT

London, UK:

Feb.25, 2012, 8:26 PM BST

Sydney, AU:

Feb.26, 2012, 7:26 AM AEST

"What's a Full Moon?"

Read more about the Sun-Moon cycles.

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

It took a lot of work to be perfect. If you didn't want to break a sweat, there was no point in even bothering.
~ Sarah Dessen,
The Truth About Forever

Virgo LOVES perfection.

In fact, Virgo often does something just for the love of creating perfection. Life as it's "supposed to be."

This is not some abstract idea either. It's not perfect until it's manifested in real life. Perfection must be demonstrated, seen and proven.

To achieve this, Virgo strives to be organized, consistent, logical, and holistically correct, with no annoying loose ends that don't fit into the whole. No gaps. No leftover parts. Nothing messy to disturb the picturesque vision of excellence.

It's not just the "what" – the "why" is important to Virgo, too. It's not enough to merely do something flawlessly – ideally that "something" should be done in service to a greater purpose. And it's not just about the reason it is done, but also the greater "why" – how does it contribute to the greater vision of ultimate perfection? No sense giving your energy to a whole recipe that doesn't live up to its ingredients, nor if the recipe doesn't live up to the meal it is part of.

The "how" is also of utmost importance. How you do something affects, perhaps even determines, the outcome or result. Put the wrong ingredients into the cake batter and you'll wind up with...well, who knows but it probably ain't cake. Hard boil the eggs before you add them to the batter and it sure won't be the same cake either. Method can make all the difference.

Fractal
Fractal patterns are constructed of larger and smaller versions of the same shapes, all perfectly interlocking.

"How much" is also a pivotal question. By what yardstick is success to be measured? Which is more important: quality or quantity? The devil's in the details, as the saying goes, and no one knows that better than Virgo. That's the quantity side – what seems to be perfection will fall apart if it isn't reflected in the finest minutia. Like a fractal pattern that is constructed of larger and smaller versions of the same shape, Virgo wants consistency at every level. On the other hand, if all those details don't add up to quality then all you have is a lot of pointless details. It's not enough to have a perfect egg for your cake, if the recipe requires three.

The "when" must be carefully chosen as well. Timing is crucial. If you start to mix the cake batter before you have all the ingredients, it will probably deteriorate while you go out to shop for eggs and baker's chocolate, and maybe some of those little sprinkles as a finishing touch. It's important to be ready before you act.

Plan it out, gather and prepare your best ingredients, and then do it all according to plan—unless you discover you could do something even better a different way. Being a Mutable sign, Virgo can be flexible when the situation warrants it, as long as it doesn't require backtracking or significantly changing the original plan.

Stick with the basic recipe. What could go wrong?

We are all wonderful, beautiful wrecks.
That's what connects us—that we're all broken, all beautifully imperfect.
~ Emilio Estevez

Along comes Pisces. About 637 planets in Pisces, actually. And a 638th planet—Venus—just inches away from joining them. To Virgo, Pisces looks like the weird relatives from "waaaay out yonder" who don't bother to assemble their cooking ingredients first, or carefully choose the best ingredients, or even follow a clear recipe. A pinch of this, a sniff of that and "oh look—kittens!" and just enough of something else until it "feels right," and "This is a pretty colour, so let's put that in too." Virgo asks, "What's for dinner?" Pisces intuits, "Oh I don't know, but I'm sure it'll be good."

That sound you hear is Virgo grinding their teeth.

At the moment, the Virgo with the impending dental breakdown is the Moon, shining full and bright across from the loony relatives in Pisces. The gathering clan at the Pisces BBQ consists of Neptune, Sun, Chiron, Mars and Mercury, just freshly retrograde and coming back for seconds. Next door in Aquarius, Venus is rattling the gate, eager to taste this unusual recipe she's been smelling from across the fence.

Mars and Mercury are secluded at the far end of the yard. Mercury (retrograde and in Detriment/Fall) is trying to entertain Mars with a combination of a mime performance, Sufi whirling and mystical chanting. Mars is shaking him and screaming at him, "What does it mean?? Why are you doing this? What are you saying? Tell me!!!"

On the other side of the yard, the Sun is huddled around the BBQ with Neptune and Chiron, taking turns dabbing some their famous secret sauce (the one without a specific recipe) on a grilling fish. Chiron is trying to talk them into adding a side of steamed seaweed, convinced it will supercharge everyone's immune systems. Neptune agonizes that maybe they should have gone vegan, serving fish made of tofu instead. ("With our secret sauce, who would know the difference anyway?")

The Sun is in charge of the BBQ. He's open to suggestion but doesn't want to appear wishy-washy in the eyes of critical Virgo Moon. Sun is therefore a bit stuck trying to make a clear decision, and with Mercury behaving like he's on drugs, there's no help coming from him either.

Before you judge a critic, consider the irony of it.
~ Brandon A. Trean

T-square aspect pattern: Sun, Moon, Jupiter

In the middle is Jupiter in Gemini. He's annoyed with all of them—well, most of them, but especially the Sun and Moon. All three are locked in a T-square aspect figure, glaring at each other from the same degree of their respective signs (7°).

Jupie thinks the Moon only needs more information, a bigger menu and better glasses to stop being so judgmental. (And a surgical procedure to remove the bug up her anterior aperture wouldn't hurt either. Where's Mars when you need him??) Jupiter says Moon should stop demanding perfection and just relax, have some fun with playful ideas and fool around with philosophical what-ifs. Virgo Moon is not amused.

At the same time, Jupe looks at the Pisces party and sees that everyone is mostly floating around—in an alcoholic haze, no doubt. They could be having fun discussing the meaning of life, but nooooooo. He thinks they just need to sober up, get focused and stop trying to turn the BBQ into an altar for burnt offerings. And the Sun should just man-up and tell Neptoons and Chiron to go float off!

The Pisces clan see Jupiter as the annoying neighbour who always wants to invite himself over for dinner and then hoovers up half of the food. Virgo Moon regards Jupiter as the annoying neighbour who's far too full of himself and is so undiscriminating that he wouldn't care what he was eating as long as there's lots of it.

Just yer average dysfunctional neighbourhood full of crazy people.

At times, we are the bridge that allows another to re-enter the world after a loss.
Don't mistake it for more or its beauty may be lost.
~ Danielle Pierre

Cradle aspect pattern: Sun, Moon, Saturn, Pluto

Saturn and Pluto are the neighbourhood watch, trying to keep the peace between the locals and the greater region. Forming a Cradle aspect pattern with Moon, Sun and Chiron, they lay down some firm but reasonable boundaries, making sure everyone can co-exist. And if anybody gets out of line, they're there to restore everyone back to their designated camps.

The Saturn-Pluto gang aren't quite sure what they think of Jupiter yet. Pluto in particular is suspicious, since Jupiter is in a close cooperative sextile (60°) with Uranus, Pluto's current archenemy. He could become a troublemaker but it's too early to tell. Saturn and Pluto decide to give it a couple of weeks before they form any conclusions. (At that point, Jupiter will definitely be trouble, as he forms a tight Yod aspect pattern with them from Mar.12-Apr.04. More in the next update!)

The irony is that Virgo and Pisces have quite a bit in common. Both relate to the ideal of perfection, but differently. Virgo insists it must be capable of manifesting in physical reality, whereas Pisces sees it in a universal context with its edges merging into the sacred Unknown. Virgo knows that details must be consistent with the whole, while Pisces looks at the microcosm level of things and knows it contains the macrocosm essence of the whole already.

Saturn and Pluto "get this" and are able to talk to both signs with equal understanding and acceptance. In particular, Saturn, being one of the traditional planets that are visible to the naked eye, understands the Virgo quest for manifest excellence. In addition, Pluto, being the last of the transpersonal, modern bodies to be called a planet, understands Pisces' need to connect with a level of the universe far greater than itself. And since Saturn and Pluto are currently in Mutual Reception (located in the sign the other rules; in this case, using modern rulerships), they also understand each other and work together well.

Everyone ready for a group hug?

Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn't.
~ Erica Jong

"But what does it all mean???" whinges Mars, still cornered in the Pisces backyard by a decidedly freaky Mercury, "and what should I do??"

Here's a list of suggestions that Virgo gave me to pass along...

Making a dream into reality begins with what you have, not with what you are waiting on.
~ T.F. Hodge, From Within I Rise

When you've untangled yourself from any complications, problems, obstacles or anxiety you might be feeling, look for ways to turn those lemons into a delicious lemon meringue pie topped with little twists of lemon rind, or some other lemon goodies. And while you're at it, discover the many other practical uses for lemons!

Astrologically, that insatiable Jupiter in Gemini (who's battling it out with the rest of the solar system) can be used as a valuable resource for fresh, innovative ideas that could give you a fresh perspective on whatever challenges you're facing.

That perfectionist Virgo Moon can also bring out the part of you that knows what you need when you see it. She's resourceful and knows how to figure out how to get it and how to make it work for you.

Those Pisces planets can surround you with a warm aura of believing that, even if you can't see what or when or why or how, you can and will make it through this. Pisces also blesses you with rich imagination that can see the potential beyond the walls of whatever seems to hold you captive at the moment. And it can give you ways to relax and distress through music, art, poetry, dance, beauty and even silence.

Even Mercury retrograde has its uses! Look at your situation upside down and inside out. Picture it with bells on, perched up in a tree, rolling somersaults down the street or covered in butterflies. Imagine yourself in a Star Wars battle with it.

HOW
do you define a word without concrete meaning?
To each his own, the saying goes, so
WHY
push to attain an ideal state of being
that no two random people will agree is
WHERE
you want to be? Faultless. Finished. Incomparable.
People can never be these, and anyway,
WHEN
did creating a flawless facade become a
more vital goal than learning to love the person
WHO
lives inside your skin? The outside belongs to others.
Only you should decide for you -
WHAT
is perfect.

~ Ellen Hopkins, Perfect

Feb.25 – Sun square Jupiter (07:29 of Pisces/Gemini)  (Feb.26 in AU)

You may be inspired to expand far beyond your usual boundaries during this time, although this may or may not work in the way you hope it will. It can be a time of challenge, when you decide that now is the time to move beyond your current horizons and make the ultimate push for something you believe will bring you happiness, fulfilment and prosperity. How successful you are will probably depend on how prepared you are for what comes next. Your judgment and your ability to see things objectively and realistically can be a little "off" during this transit, since your hopes and ideals might distort what is actually possible. It can be easy to overestimate the envisioned results, or you might underestimate the amount of work necessary to sustain your dream and prevent it from being just a flash in the pan. Try to avoid being overconfident and making promises you can't keep (including to yourself).

Feb.25 – Venus enters Pisces (until Mar.21)  (Feb.26 in UK, AU)

Creativity, harmony and compassion permeate our experiences while Venus waltzes through Pisces. If you are an artist, musician, writer or other imaginative artisan, this can be a time of great creative inspiration. Even if you're not, this can still be a time when your appreciation of the arts is heightened and your sensual enjoyment of life increases. Relationships can be influenced by this placement, by encouraging more openness to love and romance. While this can make interaction smoother and more magical, it might also make you more vulnerable to deception or disappointment. Be receptive don't misplace your better judgment. This can also be a time when you are prone to feeling a Universal Oneness with humanity. You may find you have increased capacity for compassion, caring and connection with others. This, too, can be a mixed blessing – it can bring out your most loving side, but could also make you more easily taken advantage of. You might feel inspired to make a selfless sacrifice, or to donate money or resources as a form of service. It is all done in the name of Universal beauty, truth and compassion. Celebrate this transit by going to a concert of beautiful music, or stroll through an art gallery, or indulge in dreamy sensuality, or let yourself feel a loving connection with all that is around you.

Feb.26 – Mercury Retrograde conjunct Mars (19:09 of Pisces)

Spontaneous or impulsive words may come flying out of your mouth under this transit! If you've been struggling to keep opinions or observations to yourself, you might find it hard to keep them quiet, especially if you feel strongly about the situation. You might see things as more "cut and dried" than usual. Although you might feel frustrated if things don't happen in a direct, quick, straightforward way, it can also be a good time to make decisions and move forward with plans. On one hand, this can have a positive effect because it can give you courage to speak your mind and assert yourself candidly and honestly. On the other hand, you might also come across as abrupt, cranky, argumentative or even downright hostile, especially if you've been stuffing down anger or resentment for a while. This transit represents a new beginning in how you can handle self-assertiveness, communication and decision-making. By "listening to" your impulses, passions and urge to speak your truth, you can get an idea how your "inner voice" wants to emerge – and how to do that without annihilating the other person. ;-)

This is the second of 3 passes of this transit: Feb.08, Feb.26 and May.07.

Feb.27 – Sun conjunct Chiron (09:21 of Pisces)  (Feb.28 in AU)

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.28 – Venus conjunct Neptune (03:06 of Pisces)  (Feb.28 in AU)

This can be a time of romance and dreamy desire on one hand, or deceptive manipulation and self-serving negotiation on the other hand. At its best, this transit can inspire enormous creativity and healing faith in love and abundance. We can be extremely open to the loftiest possibilities of our close relationships and our ability to attract what and who we desire. However, it may not be as easy to assess these areas in light of the realities that must be dealt with in order to realise that potential. We may find it easier to have faith in the power of negotiation – that the Universe will ensure our desired outcome – but it is also easy to slide into wishful thinking that loses touch with the reality of the situation. If you are considering a major change involving income, investment, spending or resources, it is probably a good idea to do a reality check with a trusted friend or advisor. If you are starting a new relationship or negotiating changes to an existing one, it might be wise to take a long-term view to wait and see if your dreams really will come true or if your hopes are colouring your thinking a bit too much. A reality check with a trusted friend might also help with this. This transit begins a new cycle that brings these issues into our lives to explore and gradually unfolds over the next 12 months (approximately).

Mar.01 – Sun sextile Pluto (11:07 of Pisces/Capricorn)  (Mar.02 in AU)

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.

Mar.01 – Sun trine Saturn (11:25 of Pisces/Scorpio)  (Mar.02 in AU)

This is a great time to apply yourself to serious work. You may feel especially self-sufficient and independent, with a strong and clear sense of self and purpose. There is support for your ambitions as long as you stay grounded and practical in how you approach them, which should come easily right now. Your ability to cooperate and feel comfortable with authority figures is likely to be high, along with your capacity to embrace your own authority and make solid decisions. This is a time when you are more likely to feel grounded and deal with problems in a practical, decisive way. Your energy may be more serious than "party animal," but even if you are in "party mode" it will be easier to realistically know your limits and not overdo it. If you've been waiting for the right time to move forward with or manifest a project or plan that you've been putting together (or wanting to), this could be the time when that happens. The final launch or manifestation may or may not happen now, but you will probably be able to at least move forward in some important steps.

Mar.02-Mar.10/Apr.02 – Mini-Trine Aspect Pattern (approx 11° Capricorn, Pisces and Scorpio)

Mini-Trine aspect pattern: Saturn, Pluto and Chiron

There's a Mini-Trine aspect pattern (at least that's what I call it) hovering in the skies most of this year, with Saturn trine (120°) Chiron and Pluto sextile (60°) to them both. What makes this part of that time special is that Mercury and Venus join the party at Chiron's corner. Venus is there from Mar.02-10. Mercury lurks around until Apr.02, making two passes to conjoin Chiron: first retrograde then direct. Below you'll find the individual aspects as they become exact.

What does it mean? At its best, the Saturn-Pluto-Chiron Mini-trine brings together these strong, transformative energies in a spirit of cooperation, creativity and healing. The structure and discipline of Saturn, the rebalancing affirmation of Chiron, and the passionate authenticity of Pluto. This can be a very productive combination, if you reach out and make the effort to use it.

The thing about sextiles and especially trines is that sometimes they only allow the energies to flow together easily. If you shy away from those energies or if you are attuned to their more adverse sides, they might mix together in ways that could be a bit overwhelming or difficult. For example, you might be faced with obstacles that arise out of obsession with unhealthy habits. Think of it like canoeing down a fast river – you need to stay alert, be ready to react, work proactively and try not to capsize!

Venus and Mercury bring a more personalized focus to this collection of energy. Venus might challenge you to look at your finances, close relationships, how you embrace pleasure in your life and your overall style of relating to others. There is opportunity here to become more grounded and authentic, but there is also a potential for increased obsession, so be careful about overindulging.

Mercury could entice your mind with new ideas that can be developed into a plan of action. It might be a good time, for instance, to take on a project like de-cluttering your home, purging stuff that is burdening your space and your psyche, and organizing what's left. Just be careful not to become dazzled by new things that will just fill up the space again, instead of staying lighter.

Mar.04 – Sun conjunct Mercury Retrograde (14:06of Pisces)

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.

Mar.04 – Venus square Jupiter (08:06 of Pisces/Gemini)  (Mar.05 in AU)

"Your eyes are bigger than your stomach" (as Mom used to say). That means you are more likely now to over-indulge, especially in the areas of relationships, spending, desires, pleasure and social contact. Your desire for fulfilment and satisfaction may exceed your resources, and you might not even realise it until the bill comes in later (probably under a Saturn transit ;-). You may also find you require more knowledge, understanding, faith, freedom or optimism than you have available, making it tempting to compensate by inflating what you really have. For example, you might want to resort to flattery, manipulation or over-optimism in an effort to make up for a lack of genuine confidence, rapport or preparation. However, this can also be a time when your creativity is running high and you are able to pull rabbits out of your hat on a moment's notice. The problem is that you could over-extend yourself by doing so.

Mar.05 – Venus conjunct Chiron (09:45 of Pisces)  (Mar.06 in AU)

Unresolved problems and old wounds in relationships and finances may be in the foreground now, with potential for a new beginning and healing. However, in order to heal something, it is first necessary to become more aware of what is out of balance, which can make a situation seem to get worse before it gets better. You have the ability to wound those close to you, as well as to bring healing, as you explore what is and isn't working in your relationships. It is also a time when your approach to finances and resources may require that you face some hard realities that may not be easily or quickly resolved, but dealing with any problems will give you the chance to achieve a new balance. This is especially true when it comes to the ways that you see your physical resources as a reflection of your self-worth, and the relationships in your life as a reflection of your lovability. These issues may become aggravated under this transit, but ultimately this is meant to increase your awareness of these issues so that you can start to heal them in new ways.

Mar.06 – Venus sextile Pluto (11:14 of Pisces/Capricorn)  (Mar.07 in UK, AU)

Close one-on-one relationships with people (close friends, lovers, partners of all kinds) could possibly benefit by being taken to a deeper level now, through creatively combining balanced harmony with deep connection. Just be careful that intimacy and bonding don't go over the top into obsession or domination. There is a brief opportunity now to become more authentic in how you relate to those close to you and how you establish a balance of power with them. The trick is to do this without trying to suppress, control or overpower the other person's interests. Financially, it is a time when you may have an opportunity to profit in your dealings with banks, insurance companies, taxes, and other institutions that deal with collective money.

Mar.06 – Venus trine Saturn (11:17 of Pisces/Scorpio)  (Mar.07 in UK, AU)

Stability in relationships and finances characterises this transit. You have increased ability to be disciplined about spending and to invest the hard work to maximise your earnings. Your ability to grasp the solid, realistic facts will help you choose wisely in your investments of both money and interaction with others. Commitment and structure are easier to achieve and embrace than change or taking risks. Self-worth can benefit now because you are less inclined to give in to mood swings. However, if you are prone to depression, you might want to be careful you don't become so grounded and stable that you lose touch with your sense of hope and potential. It is a good time to make concrete progress in matters involving beauty, love, harmony and balance. Keep your pleasures simple and humble for maximum benefit.

Mar.06 – Mercury Retrograde conjunct Venus (11:23 of Pisces)  (Mar.07 in AST, UK, AU)

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.

Mar.07 – Mercury Retrograde trine Saturn (11:17 of Pisces/Scorpio)

It can be easier to take a logical, practical approach to problem-solving and pursuit of your goals now. Your mental outlook is likely to be calm and grounded. This is a good time to make plans and work out the logistics of how you're going to get from "here" to "there" in pursuing your goals. You may find it's time to bring closure to finished goals by distilling and systemizing what you've learned in the process of pursuing those past goals. Or, you might find you are able to draw on past achievements to assist and support your current goals and plans. It is a good transit to bring structure to your thoughts and communication. You may find it's a little easier to accept authority – yours or someone else's – and that you are able to speak authoritatively about things about which you have knowledge or experience.

This is the second of three passes of this transit: Feb.12, Mar.07 and Mar.28

Mar.07 – Mercury Retrograde sextile Pluto (11:14 of Pisces/Capricorn)

Penetrating insights and passionate communication are possible under this transit ...although, so is speaking more forcefully than you intend to about things that require a bit of delicacy or discretion. It is also a time when your mental concentration can come together so easily that you become obsessed. You may prefer in-depth discussion to small-talk, and it might feel awkward if you aren't able to explore the depths in your interaction or communication with others. However, you likely have an increased ability to pick up on undercurrents of what's happening around you. This is also a time when you can start to shed and leave behind old worn out perceptions and ways of communicating. You also have an increased ability to take thoughts, ideas and information and transform them into something healing ...or wounding. Choose your words carefully and mindfully. Writing down your thoughts and ideas to capture the energy of this transit can help you gather the deeper qualities.

This is the second of three passes of this transit: Feb.12, Mar.07 and Mar.29.

Mar.09 – Saturn sextile Pluto (11:15 of Scorpio/Capricorn)

Saturn brings stability and structure to Pluto's transformative process of breaking down the old in order to prepare for the new. That stability might help to smooth out the rough edges of that process, or it could encourage you to rebuild some of the structure in your life that's been torn down by those changes. There is a potential to combined raw endurance with responsibility, deep concentration with a forward focus. It can give the capacity for empowerment that can stand its ground when pushed around while still being respectful, responsible and grounded. On the other hand, if you're hoping for a time when you can kick up your heels and fly on the wings of imaginative fancy, this may keep you a little more grounded than you'd like—but it's unlikely to be an unpleasant experience, and you can gain more from it than you might realize.

Mar.09 – Mercury Retrograde conjunct Chiron (09:56 of Pisces)  (Mar.10 in AU)

Words can wound, but they can also heal. This transit may bring new awareness of the ways that you need to heal...and perhaps also the ways that you wound yourself or others, especially through thoughts, words and attitudes. You might become aware of harming yourself through negative self-talk or harsh self-criticism. Or, you might expect rigid perfection of yourself and forget that you are a multi-dimensional being who is, by your human nature, inconsistent and fallible. Your mental focus or attitude might have a sharp edge to it that is harsh, or you may encounter harsh attitudes from someone else that are hurtful, perhaps without meaning to be. Words and thoughts can be powerful tools. By reframing the message or situation in a different way, it is possible to turn hurt into healing and ignorance into wisdom. For example, it may help to eliminate either-or thinking by accepting that paradoxes and contradictions exist and may not have to be fully resolved for you to find a workable balance within them. By adopting a bit of a philosophical attitude, you may find it takes some of the pressure off the need for everything to fit together perfectly, which can leave some breathing room for everyone involved to be human.

This is the second of three passes of this transit: Feb.09, Mar.09 and Mar.29.

Mar.10   North America changes to Daylight Saving Time

Most places in Canada and the US (and other countries) will turn their clocks forward one hour today (technically at 2:00 AM) to begin Daylight Saving Time. Check here to see if your location changes to Daylight time.

Mar.10 – Mercury Retrograde square Jupiter (08:43 of Pisces/Gemini)  (Mar.10 in ADT, UK, AU)

You may be seeing the weak links in your knowledge, understanding or beliefs right now. Your ideas and words might seem to fall short of what your mind envisions, or you might be unable to convince others of your point of view. As a result, it can be tempting to over-compensate with more self-confidence, faith or optimism than you actually have. Or, you might give out "too much information" by over-explaining or through nervous rambling. Alternatively, you might encounter someone else who does this and perhaps have a blaming or judgmental reaction to them. This is an opportunity to learn something about how you might jump to conclusions or blame, possibly triggered by a situation that challenges your beliefs, opinions or perspective. To learn more about this part of yourself, try taking some time to think about what is really bothering you or what you really need to say in that situation. There may be a higher truth to be found if you open your mind to something you're reluctant to acknowledge, rather than looking for a "final truth" around which to close it.

This is the second of three passes of this transit: Feb.09, Mar.09 and Mar.29.

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Next Update:  NEW MOON in PISCES, available by March 11, 2013.

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© 2013 Wendy Guy. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied without the author's written permission. Many excellent quotes for this page are found at GoodReads.com. Images of Aquarius and Virgo by Gerard Mercator (1512-1594) (The Mercator Globes at Harvard Map Collection [1]) [Public domain], via WikiCommons. Photo of ballet class by "kakisky" on MorgueFile.com. Illustration of fractal from CanStockPhoto.com.


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