Low-Down Archives for October 2013

New Moon Libra, Lunar Eclipse Aries

Chart for the New Moon in Libra
Chart for the New Moon in Libra

All creatures must learn to coexist.
That’s why the brown bear and the field mouse
can share their lives in harmony.
Of course, they can’t mate or the mice would explode.
~ Betty White

Oct.04 – NEW MOON in LIBRA (11:56 of Libra)

NEW MOON in LIBRA

Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Oct.04, 2013, 8:34 PM EDT

London, UK:

Oct.05, 2003, 1:34 AM BST

Sydney, AU:

Oct.05, 2013, 10:34 AM AEST

"What's a New Moon?"

Read more about the Sun-Moon cycles.

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

All things in balance.

We hear that saying a lot, but what does it mean?

Well, it depends on what you're balancing. If it's a relatively simple case of two things, a duality, then one side needs to be equivalent to the other.

Like the Libra scales, they need to even out. Or an algebra equation, where one side must equal the other side. Even when both sides are dissimilar—especially then!—one side should have equal value or meaning or qualities compared to the other side.

So: start with measurement. What you are measuring by can produce very different results. For example, I could compare a fist-sized rock to a snowball. They may be equal in their dimensions, but their weights will be quite different. Or I could compare 5 pounds of potatoes to 5 pounds of feathers, and although they weigh the same, their size and mass will be dramatically different.

How then can we compare two things and be confident that we know when one is equal to the other?

The short answer is: we can't. No matter how many ways we compare apples and oranges, it won't make them equal and the same. But we can devise parameters and guidelines to determine if they are equivalent – in other words, equal in some specific way even if they're unequal in others.

And perhaps more important, even if apples and oranges are not equivalent (by whatever definition we want to use), they might still balance each other out. The white crunchy tartness of the apple could provide a pleasing balance with the orange, soft, tangy taste of the orange in a fruit salad, for example. Each contributes something the other lacks.

Passion and courtesy are two polar opposite traits that serve to balance each other into a full-blooded whole. Without socialization, passion is a crude barbarian, and without passion, the elegant and polite are dead. Allow both passion and courtesy into your life in equal measure, and be complete.
~ Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

Libra and Aries, Venus and Mars

With that in mind, let's compare planets. Venus, ruler of Libra, is the archetypal feminine principle. It is about receptivity, negotiation, beauty and grace. Mars, ruler of the opposite sign of Aries, is the archetypal male principle. It is about aggression and assertiveness, force, power and victory.

Mars is initiatory – he goes after what he wants. He activates and pursues what he focuses on. Venus is more reflective – she draws what she wants to her (hence: attractive). She responds to what comes her way, often by mirroring it back in some way.

Venus and Mars are dramatically different – opposites, in fact. And yet, they balance each other out. When you have these two energies in balance, you are able to both initiate action and respond to action that comes to you. Mars serves the ball and Venus hits it back to Mars. Venus encompasses; Mars conquers.

Does this mean Venus isn't capable of being assertive or aggressive or initiatory? On the contrary! But the Venus archetype will do it in a different style and manner than Mars will. Venus is more likely to act because something is out of balance and her action is intended to bring things back into balance again. This isn't always a peaceful process. Some notable military figures have had Libra energy prominent in their charts.

Mars is more likely to act for the challenge of it and because it seemed like a good idea at the time. "Just do it!" as Nike says. George Mallory, who made three attempts to reach the summit of Mt. Everest in the 1920s, was once asked why he did it, to which he famously replied, "Because it's there." Mars goes after something "because it's there." He loves to test his power and the chance to exercise and prove his prowess. And he doesn't necessarily need someone to pitch something first in order to swing back – he'll go out and find it, if need be.

On the surface, we're polar opposites. Under the skin, though, we're the same: people think they know what they're getting, and they're always wrong.
~ Jodi Picoult, My Sister's Keeper

Complements or Polar Opposites?

Venus and Mars are as different as chalk and cheese, yet they are able to coexist with each other when in balance. One doesn't overpower the other and push it out. Much of what makes this work is because each has something the other lacks. Mars has the bravado and derring-do, and Venus has the strategy and diplomacy. Venus can attract what she wants and Mars can go out and grab it. Venus is about attraction and love and Mars is about pursuit and libido.

They have largely conflicting agendas and styles, but together they become a force to be reckoned with! This is the classic dynamic of duality. It is the essence of multiplicity. If variety is the spice of life, then multiplicity and diversity are essential to make that work. In fact, contradictory elements can enhance our enjoyment of each one. Bad times make you more appreciative of when the good times come, and good times help make the bad times more bearable. The dark, cold winters make spring and summer that much sweeter, while the winter can look beautiful in its bleak contrast.

When we're talking about people or groups of people, this complementary fit—where one has something the other lacks—can actually backfire. When we lack a certain quality, it often means we have lots of its opposite. It can be tempting to believe that if we don't have it, we don't need it, and therefore anyone who does have it is weak, bad, stupid or ridiculous.

An age old example of this is the so-called "battle of the sexes." Femininity has long been synonymous with being soft, gentle, empathic, caring, nurturing, attentive and sweet. Masculinity tends to be defined as powerful, strong, tough, independent, autonomous, decisive and forceful.

Men, although idealizing feminine qualities in women in archetypal ways, have historically tended to disparage those same qualities because of their lack of masculine "strengths." In the same way, women have tended to revere masculine traits in men, while also criticizing them because they lacked the softer, more attentive feminine qualities.

This is what happens with polarization – it's all too easy to equate complementary with antagonistic. Instead of the hand and glove realizing they can come together to form a greater, stronger whole, they each malign the other for not being the same as them. It takes courage and receptivity (both masculine and feminine principles) to relax the rigidity of a polarized stance and become open to seeing the positive in the opposite side. It takes the ability to embrace both sides to be able to transform polarity into wholeness and fragmentation into integrity.

Unfortunately, when two people are involved, if one of them is determined not to participate in this process, then peace can be difficult to achieve. However, one person can undergo this transformation within themselves to achieve personal integration. This takes even more courage, since there is usually the fear that "if I admit that they're right in anyway, then I've lost and they'll take over." You have to do it for yourself, within yourself. Then you can decide whether and how to change your stance.

Whenever I happen to be in a city of any size, I marvel that riots do not break out everyday: Massacres, unspeakable carnage, a doomsday chaos. How can so many human beings coexist in a space so confined without hating each other to death?
~ Emil Cioran

Balance and Coexistence

What if there are more than two things to balance together? Well, it gets a lot more complicated, of course, but the principles remain the same. Diverse, even conflicting, components can still coexist—provided they exist in balance. When one component starts to take over, the whole system gets thrown out of balance, but balance enables competing elements to live in overall harmony.

Living creatures in the wild vie for survival in life-and-death struggles with each other. Eat and be eaten. And yet, millions of species of insects, birds, fish and animals have flourished together over millennia, despite the fact that each one can and does reduce the populations of others.

All things in balance.

Some of the best recipes combine a balance of flavours: sweet, sour, salty, bitter and others. As long as they're held in balance, the result is delicious! Designing your home involves choosing a combination of colours that, although very different from each other, will enhance each other and produce something quite beautiful.

All things in balance.

So what happens when something gets out of whack? Sometimes it's just a case of adjusting what's already there or adding something extra to shift the balance. If something is too strong or overwhelming, it's possible to use something else to bring the system back into balance.

For instance, if a dish is too bitter, try adding something salty or sweet to make it more palatable. Or, say you just painted the wall but much to your horror, your cheerful yellow turns out looking more like snot green. Accent it with a wallpaper that contains a significant amount of blue and it will push the yellow back toward the orange side of the spectrum. No more snot! (I have personally done this successfully.)

Candida Albicans is a yeast that is part of the natural gut flora in the human digestive system. Most of the time it's harmless, but when it becomes overgrown, it can produce symptoms ranging from bloated tummy to diarrhea to cravings for sugar and alcohol to itching in embarrassing places. This is a classic example of how something that is detrimental in excess can exist within the natural system harmlessly when held in balance.

Another example is vitamins and minerals, which must be carefully balanced in their dosages so that they support maximum absorption by the body without interfering with each other. All of these are a good thing, but too much or too little of certain nutrients can inhibit the proper absorption of others.

All things in balance.

One of the greatest problems of history is that the concepts of love and power are usually contrasted as polar opposites. Love is identified with a resignation of power and power with a denial of love. What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and that love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.
~ Martin Luther King Jr.,
The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.

New Moon in Libra

The New Moon is in Libra, the sign of the scales, and hence we are dealing with issues of balance and imbalance. In fact, it is more imbalance that we are concerned with because the New Moon is opposite Uranus and square Pluto.

Uranus is standing on the gunnels and rocking the boat, shrieking with glee. The Sun and Moon are strategizing how to use their paddles to knock him off and into the water, leaving them in peace to drift placidly downstream. No such luck. Anything left unshaken by Uranus will become destabilized by Pluto in his agenda to transform the "river of life" into a more effective waterway for higher traffic in our dramatically changing times. The Sun and Moon are no doubt glad to have each other for support as they fend off these other two and try not to capsize!

T-Square aspect pattern at the New Moon in Libra

This T-square aspect pattern (Sun/Moon, Uranus and Pluto) is not merely about creating stability in the face of chaos – it is about learning how to function amid instability. If you're wishing for calmer waters right now, it might be more helpful to learn how to roll with the waves. It may not be possible to stop the turmoil entirely, so balance will need to be found by responding to the upheaval, changes and fluctuation that is going on right now.

Polarization is a serious risk in this configuration. Uranus lives in the extremes, and being in Aries compromise, negotiation and moderation aren't exactly in his vocabulary. If Uranus doesn't get what he wants, he's likely to keep changing the rules of the game until he wins.

At its most difficult, this can result in a situation where resolution is not likely to look like you hoped, and your best bet is to keep the situation moving so that a solution can be eventually found. Kind of like an airplane circling around waiting for an opportunity to land.

At its best, this is a time when new solutions can be devised (since the old ones probably don't work anymore anyway). It's good to keep your options and your mind open so that when the opportunity does come along to change the steps of the dance, you'll be ready to change with it.

Adding to this is Venus, the ruler of the Libra New Moon, who is in square aspect to Mars, the ruler of Uranus in Aries. So while the Sun and Moon argue with Uranus, their planetary benefactors are also bickering about what is to be done, how, when, where and why.

Therefore, balance is unlikely to be in the form of a lovely, meditative, placid calm. Rather, it will be like walking or running – as long as you stay in motion and keep things moving as regularly and consistently as possible, you will minimize the chance of tripping over the unexpected.

I learned that realism can come in all shapes and sizes.
The world is big enough for different values to coexist.
~ Haruki Murakami, The Folklore of Our Times

Uranus and Diversity

Uranus represents multiplicity and diversity. As such, it carries the ability to find an overall common ground that can unite people who may otherwise have little in common. In other words, the highest expression of Uranus in this situation may be to find a way for distinctly different people, components, things and issues to coexist—provided they are held in balance.

This may require a commitment to cooperation and having the discipline to avoid reacting in the extreme in order to get your own way. It may help to think about the hand-in-glove analogy. The quality the other person exemplifies may be something you find objectionable, but try to think about what could be accomplished if you combined forces. Or maybe that quality is something you secretly wish you had or could allow yourself to indulge in.

The idea is to see the situation more objectively instead of simply vilifying the other person or their qualities. That combined forces view can provide a common ground that can be developed and built on. This is how peace is made – not by one side conquering and vanquishing the other so that only one side is left, but by coming to recognize that your "enemy" actually possesses some of your own greatest gifts which you have somehow disowned in yourself. The more extreme the gap seems between you and them, the greater the gift that awaits your recognition.

What if your adversary is trying to do you harm? Surely violence or hostility isn't a quality worthy of reclaiming! No, but the trick is to isolate out the qualities that are part of the negative trait. For example, someone who is aggressively hostile may also possess the ability to be decisive, confident, forthright and direct – these are the traits that s/he uses to express that aggression. But those are more neutral qualities that can be applied to a more positive agenda; they don't have to be negative.

We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there "is" such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.
~ Martin Luther King Jr.

A Bag of Hammers

There's an old saying about being as stupid or crazy "as a bag of hammers." I'm not sure where the saying came from – maybe that there must be better ways of transporting a bunch of heavy hammers than lugging them around in a sack! Nevertheless, this cliché seems to describe the next week or two.

We have three—count 'em, three Thor's Hammer aspect patterns hurling through the skies! Thor's Hammer (a.k.a. Quadriform or God's Fist) is somewhat like a T-square in that it involves aspects from the square family (45°, 90°, 135° and 180°).It consists of two planets in a square aspect (90°) and a third planet in sesquiquadrate aspect to them both (135° or a square-and-a-half).

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The first one, in effect at the New Moon (Oct.02-05), includes the Venus-Mars square pointing to Uranus. The second, also in effect now (Oct.03-09), consists of the Uranus-Pluto square pointing at Mars. The third one, which is in the process of forming now (Oct.07-12), involves a Sun-Jupiter square pointing at Neptune.

Each of these are described in detail below, so I won't go into them in depth here, except to say that this energy is very strong at the time of the New Moon. These aspect figures collectively contribute an insistent striving kind of energy – a kind of "do or die" feeling of urgency. The Sun-Moon conjunction is also in exact semisquare aspect (45°) to their ruler, Venus, which just adds to and complicates the pressure that abounds.

It's the perfect breeding ground for polarization and projection, as the need to succeed becomes amped up by dire projections of disaster should the mission fail. It's easy to get so caught up in reaching the goal that you miss opportunities in the moment that could create a better win-win solution.

It is better to live presently. By living thus, perhaps we can learn to understand
the nature of this fragile coexistence we share with the world around us.
~ Colin Meloy

Mercury, Node, Saturn, Pluto, and, and, and...

Last month there was an extremely tight Venus-Saturn-Node conjunction, all squared by Mars (see Aug.28-Oct.12). Venus has left Saturn's clutches and is beginning to outrun Mars (at least until next January, when Mars catches up to another square aspect when she goes retrograde). However, Mercury is now in a multiple conjunction with the North Node and Saturn. This one isn't quite as cozy as with Venus, with the three spanning a 3:40 orb at the time of the New Moon.

Mini-Trine aspect pattern

So Mercury and Saturn are conjunct in Scorpio, and all of them are sextile to Pluto in Capricorn. This is some pretty intense, determined energy! If you need some hard-edged resolve, discipline, determination and laser-beam concentration, this transit could give you the boost you need. On the other hand, it could also lead to pig-headedness, rigidity and stubbornness simply for the sake of deciding never to back down or change course. If you're going to dig your heels in, make sure you're still open to alternatives and seeing things from other perspectives.

The Scorpio gang are also trine Chiron in Pisces, so the bunch of them form a Mini-Trine aspect pattern. This circuit of energy can provide some nice creative problem solving and flexibility to solve problems using innovative ideas. On the other hand, in the context of that "bag of hammers" and the multiple conjunction in Scorpio, this Mini-Trine could be used to find new and wonderful ways to dig your heels in even further on issues that you aren't prepared to be flexible about. The point is to be careful how you use it. If a fly swatter will do the job, leave the heavy artillery in the basement.

Balance. It was all about balance. That had been one of the first things that she had learned:
the centre of the seesaw has neither up nor down, but upness and downness flow through it
while it remains unmoved. You had to be the centre of the seesaw so the pain flowed through you,
not into you. It was very hard. But she could do it!
~ Terry Pratchett, I Shall Wear Midnight

Oct.02-05 – Thor's Hammer (Venus, Mars, Uranus)  ("What's a Thor's Hammer?")

Thor's Hammer - Venus sqr Mars sqq Uranus

If your relationships seem a bit wonky or unpredictable... If your finances seem to slip beyond your reach just as you're about to get hold of them... If your libido seems to blow hot and cold in the blink of an eye, for no apparent reason... Then you may be feeling the skittish energy of this aspect pattern. On the other hand, this Thor's Hammer (a.k.a Quadriform or God's Fist) also has the potential to light a fire underneath you and give you the courage to try new things, especially in the areas of relationships, sex and how you handle your finances, possessions and resources. Just remember that you'll have to live with whatever consequences come out of it, so have fun being adventurous and open-minded enough to add some zest to your life but not enough to do damage.

Oct.03-09 – Thor's Hammer (Uranus, Pluto, Mars)  ("What's a Thor's Hammer?")

For about a week or so, you might feel a bit edgy, intense, prone to losing your temper or just extra sensitivity to volatility and intimidation. Mars is currently impaled on the pointy end of a Thor's Hammer aspect pattern (a.k.a. Quadriform or God's Fist) with the Uranus-Pluto square. The forces of upheaval and momentum (spearheaded by Uranus in Aries) have been battling the forces of order and certainty (Pluto in Capricorn).

Now along comes Mars in Leo, giving Uranus and Pluto a common enemy to unite against. Mars is a brave warrior, but against these two is bound to feel a bit outnumbered and extra defensive. He might even feel like his survival is at stake. However, Mars isn't going to take this lying down and is ready to fight back with all the Leo passion he can muster. There's no force stronger or more formidable than someone who believes their survival is at stake, and when that Mars impulse rises up in this aspect configuration, it can move mountains...or destroy them.

Thor's Hammer - Uranus sqr Pluto sqq Mars

On the other hand, that Mars part of us needs to be careful not to fall into the trap of taking these challenges too personally, nor to go to the overkill extreme of leaving scorched earth behind. The best strategy is to use your sense of personal passion and purpose to push back and meet the challenges, but not to feel that your whole sense of integrity and self-worth are on the line.

You may find that displays of frustration, anger, annoyance or confrontation could evoke a backlash designed to intimidate or suppress, regardless. Alternatively, it can be tempting to get pulled into a "blame/shame game," where you and others essentially gang up against a person or a social or political issue that you see as responsible for dreadful problems that are especially irritating right now. Even if you truly believe this accusation is deserved, it's another thing to use this as an excuse to add some of your own unresolved anger that has nothing to do with the problem at hand. Stick to the immediate issue; otherwise you risk evoking a backlash similar to putting out a fire by throwing gasoline/petrol on it.

At its best, this circuit of dynamic energy can get you moving if you're feeling stuck. This transit can show you the dire consequences of procrastinating or continuing to deal with a problem in the same ineffective way (as in "How's that workin' for ya?"). Again, the trick is not to take to heart any past failure to resolve the situation, which only wastes and corrodes the confidence and courage you need to get moving. Instead, focus on solving the problem, not blaming yourself for not having solved it yet.

Oct.05 – Mercury conjunct North Lunar Node (07:48 of Scorpio)  (Oct.06 in AU)  ("What's a Lunar Node?")

Ideas are in focus, especially when they're shared with others. It could be a time when you observe or notice something new, giving you a new perspective that you will mull over for the coming several months. Or you might be called upon to give a talk or presentation that shares information with others. It might be an especially active time with emails, Facebook, Twitter or texting. Communication and collection of thoughts and ideas is the central theme here. Keep your eyes, mind and curiosity open – the world could be showing you something important and fascinating!

Oct.06 – Australia begins Daylight Saving Time (DST)

If you life in Australia, Paraguay or Uruguay, you might be turning your clocks forward one hour today. Since the time usually officially changes at 2:00 AM (your local time), it's best to turn your clocks ahead the night before. Not all areas observe Daylight time, though, so be sure to check if this applies to where you live.

Oct.06 – Mercury sextile Pluto (09:03 of Scorpio/Capricorn)  (Oct.07 in UK, AU)

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.

Oct.07-12 – Thor's Hammer (Sun, Jupiter, Neptune)  ("What's a Thor's Hammer?")

Once again, we go through a cloudburst of intense energy in the form of an aspect pattern called Thor's Hammer (a.k.a. Quadriform or God's Fist). This time we have the Sun square Jupiter, with both in sesquiquadrate aspect to Neptune. This is a harder configuration than the Mars-Uranus-Pluto (Oct.03-09), in some ways because Neptune makes it harder to get a firm grip on the energy.

Thor's Hammer - Uranus sqr Pluto sqq Mars

On one hand, Sun square Jupiter can bring a crisis of low confidence or a crisis brought on by too much confidence I an effort to compensate for too little. This could manifest as being overly hard on yourself or blaming others for your own troubles. At its best, it can spur you to form a better understanding of why things are the way they are, possibly because you discover that your old perspective doesn't work very well.

Neptune introduces a magical and ambiguous energy to the mix. Since this aspect pattern is entirely stressful aspects, this is likely to stir up trouble. For instance, misconceptions or flawed beliefs could become shrouded in the glow of convenient rationalization, making it much harder to see the issues clearly and objectively. Your judgment might be "off" as it becomes difficult to tell the difference between genuine truth and wishful thinking. And the force of the aspects involved could make the illusion and fantasy extremely compelling and hard to resist.

At its best, this group of energies can be tremendously creative and inspiring. It could hit you forcefully when you wake up in the middle of the night or while you're doing something else. You might even make it difficult to concentrate on other things until you do something to acknowledge or act on the insight or inspiration. So: write it down. Try it out. Explore it. Let your imagination run with it. Do use your better judgment, though, if it seems to lead you in a direction that is normally against your code of ethics. Do a reality check with someone you trust to be honest with you.

Oct.07 – Venus enters Sagittarius (until Nov.05)  (Oct.08 in AU)

Venus focuses her passion on truth-seeking, philosophical exploration, a lust for knowledge, spiritual intimacy, music in foreign languages and multicultural social discourse. It is a time to explore the meaning that your close relationships bring to your life, and the value that you bring to the Significant Others in your life. It is also a time when you might seek to increase your income (or your spending – careful!) and expand your potential for material wealth and self-worth. You will likely find that negotiations, interactions and transactions work best when you apply spiritual values to them and keep the big picture in mind. You may also find yourself involved with people and transactions that involve other countries, cultures, languages and travel. There could be a teaching-learning element in your dealings with people, so aim for the highest good of all concerned.

Oct.07 – Mercury trine Chiron (09:56 of Scorpio/Pisces)  (Oct.08 in AU)

Your mental focus and communication now get an injection of healing energy. Cynicism and depression may soften now, as you become more receptive to a more optimistic viewpoint. If you have been caught up in escapism or "stinkin' thinkin'" (thinking you're more in control of your impulses than you really are), you may now find some relief and healing. Mental argument and critical "self-talk" can now find some reconciliation and acceptance that brings some peace of mind. You have increased ability to find the right words and understanding to help others with their problems. Compassion and empathy may be more accessible because you can identify your own experiences with what you see in others. You might also find someone who can give you good advice or support about your own problems – possibly a teacher or mentor – or you could become this to someone else.

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Oct.08 – Mercury conjunct Saturn (10:52 of Scorpio)  (Oct.09 in AU)

It's time to take a serious look at the circumstances and situations in your life. This transit may not exactly be "party time" but it's a great transit to have when you need to take a dispassionate, objective, clear view of life. You may be called upon to make a decision about something. For example, you might need to commit yourself to a particular plan of action, or start developing plans toward a particular goal. In either case, it may be necessary to limit or let go of other options. You might come to the conclusion that something has run its course and it's time to leave it behind – like an opinion or project or mindset. It's a time when your perception, thoughts and words may not be exciting, imaginative or entertaining, but you're probably more able to be clear, grounded decisive and hard working.

Oct.10 – Venus square Neptune (02:53 of Sagittarius/Pisces)

Money, material resources, relationships and pleasure could be subject to confusion, deception, or unrealistic wishful thinking under this transit. It may seem that what you thought you had (love, friendship, pleasure, money, resources) has suddenly disappeared or isn't as dependable as you thought it was. You might feel disappointed, disillusioned, sad or alone, but this is more likely to be a passing phase than a serious crisis. The question is: what are your secret longings and subtle desires that may be operating unconsciously? These could be clouding your ability to relate to people and situations in your life. Old addictions, depression or idealism may surface as way of dealing with feelings. A better outlet would be to channel your feelings and experiences into creativity, beauty, inspiration and compassion; for example, art, music or helping others.

Oct.12 – Sun square Jupiter (19:27 of Libra/Cancer)  (Oct.13 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).

Oct.15 – Mars enters Virgo (until Dec.07)

You are likely to have a lot of energy for working in practical ways under this transit. This can be a good time to respond to projects, challenges and obstacles with some analytical problem-solving. It may be easier now to take action in ways that are adaptable and flexible to match the situation at hand. However, it is also possible for your actions to become fragmented or bogged down in detail, so try to approach what you do with a purpose and an easily reachable goal in mind. Health issues may be a focus now, either out of necessity (health problems may flare up) or out of motivation (determination to improve your health). If you are looking for a new job, this could be a good time to get focused and go after what you want. It is also a good time to devote your energy to service of some kind. For example, you could help a friend move, or volunteer at the local food bank, or just perform some "acts of random kindness."

Oct.16 – Venus square Chiron (09:39 of Sagittarius/Pisces)  (Oct.17 in AU)

You may be forced to make adjustments to relationships and/or finances now, as you face situations in these areas that just don't want to balance out the way you want them to. You may feel a bit like you're in a catch-22 (no-win situation), where the more you try to find balance and harmony, the more you feel like you're chasing your own tail around in circles. This is a time when healing in relationships and financial problems may be difficult to obtain. Harmony in these areas can seem impossible or blocked, yet it is still necessary to keep trying. By trying anyway, it may be possible to find a solution that meets your needs, even if it may not be what you wanted, hoped for or expected. Strive to find a creative solution that draws on your best side.

Oct.16 – Venus trine Uranus (09:59 of Sagittarius/Pisces)  (Oct.17 in AU)

Spontaneity and liberation burst into your relationships, finances, resources and pleasures. You might feel compelled to try something completely different that shakes up the "same-old-same-old" routines you're used to. The upside is that you have the opportunity to break free of some old habits and breathe some fresh air into your life. But the downside could come in the form of impulse spending beyond your budget, or recklessness in your interactions and relationships. Strive to break free of what holds you back from being your true self, without destroying the structure of order in your life.

Chart for the Lunar Eclipse - Full Moon in Aries
Chart for the Lunar Eclipse ~ Full Moon in Aries

There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.
~ John Lennon

Oct.18 – LUNAR ECLIPSE ~ FULL MOON in ARIES (25:45 of Aries)

LUNAR ECLIPSE
FULL MOON in ARIES

Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Oct.18, 2013, 7:37 PM EDT

London, UK:

Oct.19, 2013, 12:37 AM BST

Sydney, AU:

Oct.19, 2013, 10:37 AM AEDT

"What's a Lunar Eclipse?"

"What's a Full Moon?"

Read more about the Sun-Moon cycles.

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

This Penumbral Lunar Eclipse will mostly darken the Moon but probably won't have the deep orange or red colour. It will be visible in Europe, Africa and most of Asia. The Americas can catch it just after moonrise near the end of the eclipse. It's okay to look at a Lunar Eclipse (it's the Solar Eclipse that can hurt your eyes).

For the sake of impatient Aries I'll get right to the point. ;-)

Aries is about taking action, being assertive, putting your foot forward and being who you are.

It's about what gets you up off the couch to do something.

So: what motivates you?

What brings you to life enough to do the deed, to put yourself out there and take the risk?

What lights the fire under your backside that can launch you out of your seat?

And what kind of carrot on the end of the stick will keep you moving? What do you imagine it tastes like, smells like, what kind of texture? And when you get it, does it live up to your dreams?

Sometimes we don't even know what motivates us. We're moved by some invisible force.

It might be a feeling or an intuitive sense. It could be something that fires your imagination and shines a light into a dark corner of the unknown and gives you hope. Or it might be fear that rises up from that unknown in ghostly shapes that grow more vivid the more you stare at them.

Mars and Motivation

Mars, the planetary ruler of Aries, is one key to understanding what motivates you; what gets and keeps you moving. In your natal chart, its sign, house and aspects tell a story about how that part of you is wired and what tends to work best. Planets in Aries or the 1st house are another part of that story.

Your natal rising sign (or Ascendant), being the doorway into the 1st house (Aries' natural house), also has its story to tell. Similar to Mars and Aries energy, the rising sign is what you lead with when interacting with the world around you. It's your cutting edge when moving forward.

Mars in a Fire sign or Fire rising (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius) requires inspiration, excitement and vision to get going. If you're faced with having to do something boring or mundane, it might help to find some part of it that is exciting, risky, daring or requires courage. What can you do quickly? Never mind what lies down the road – what can you do right now? Take the first step.

On the other hand, Mars in Fire can be very distractible. Possibilities that appear on the horizon can beckon. Mars tends to have a singular focus at the best of times, so it's not easy for a Fire Mars to multi-task. You can therefore get pulled off course when something new and exciting comes along, causing your efforts to become fragmented or diluted. Put reminders around your space that can help you remember what you're aiming for and why. If something new genuinely seems better, it's best to decide consciously, not impulsively.

Mars in an Earth sign or Earth rising (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn) is more cautious, methodical and concerned about the results of your actions. What you do needs to make sense and at least look like it will work. Having a concrete goal in mind and a clear idea of how to get from here to there can help you get moving. If you haven't mapped out your path, it's hard to know what the first step is – will it take you closer or farther away from your destination? The clearer your vision and path, the more it will make sense to take that next step.

Mars in Earth can also get stuck if you're expecting everything to happen the way you expect it to. You need to leave some wiggle room for reality to unfold in its own way. Life almost never happens exactly as anticipated, so don't let changes in the result convince you that the whole plan is suspect.

Mars in an Air sign or Air rising (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) likes to operate based on the idea of where it's going. It can be turned on by an idea, a concept, curiosity or something interesting. The urge to find out and learn more can be a powerful motivator – it is the air that fuels the fire of your passion. Moving forward can be facilitated by talking about what you want, gathering ideas from others, writing down what you're curious about or putting into words any vague sense of what might lie down the road.

The down side is that motives and direction can change quickly like a flag in a breeze – new ideas can be distracting since they may blow you off your original course or cast doubts on what you're aiming for. Best to look at your goal in the context of the Big Picture when taking new possibilities into account. No sense wandering all over the map, still trying to decide where you want to end up.

Mars in a Water sign or Water rising (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces) is about emotions and intuition. To move forward, it has to feel right. What allows it to feel right? Safety, for one thing. Mars, the energy of self-preservation and survival, placed in the element that is most vulnerable will be hard to motivate if you don't feel safe, and in fact will quickly tell you if something feels off or out of place or too risky.

Creative methods can fuel your imagination and use positive fantasy to grease the wheels of action. Affirmations, for example, might help to focus your intentions and courage. On the other hand, listening to your intuition can be very illuminating but this can also be coloured and clouded by personal longing, fears and beliefs. It's best to listen to your other senses as well, like reasoning, reality check and courage.

Mars in Virgo: You can be a bit like the Boy Scout who drags the little old lady
across the street in spite of her protests that she doesn't want to go.
~ Donna Van Toen, The Mars Book

Mars in the Full Moon Chart

At the Lunar Eclipse, Full Moon in Aries, Mars is in Virgo. This Earth Mars is all about applying effort efficiently, methodically and honed to the highest degree of perfection as humanly possible. Fine-tuning your goal and making it specific and clear will make a happy Mars.

Virgo is also about health, so while Mars travels through this sign, any actions taken toward improving your health—physical, emotional, spiritual or mental—will get a boost of extra enthusiasm from Mars.

A Virgo Mars can be a difficult task master, but it's all in the name of being the best you can be and helping others do the same. When offered to others, your well-meaning guidance may or may not be welcome; and when directed toward yourself, it could be easy to be overly strict about what needs to be done. The bar could be set so high that it's impossible to reach, stirring feelings of inadequacy, guilt or shame. Who needs that?

Virgo is the sign of service; giving of oneself in pragmatic ways in support of a person, goal or cause. This might be through your job, or it could involve volunteering, or just helping out a neighbour or friend. This is the investment of energy toward the betterment of yourself and/or the world around you.

Therefore, if you are motivated right now by something that is focused primarily on personal gain, you could find yourself spinning your wheels instead of making progress. By broadening your purpose of why you want to do something, or expanding the potential of what the final result can be, you could have access to increased resources, skills and options that make your efforts more wholesome and encompassing.

For example, watching what you eat simply to lose a few pounds may be a good idea, but might not be as effective or motivating as focusing on the bigger picture of choosing food and activities that improve your overall health and is good for the planet. By placing yourself in an overall routine that touches on many factors, you could become guided by multiple reasons to move forward. If one of those reasons becomes stuck in doubts or complications, others can help to get you back on track.

The Pentacle - The ancients envisioned their world in two halves - masculine and feminine. Their gods and goddesses worked to keep a balance of power. Yin and Yang. When male and female were balanced, there was harmony in the world. When they were unbalanced there was chaos.
~ Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code

Anima and Animus

Mars is conjunct the fixed star Regulus. This star recently shifted from being in the tropical zodiac sign of Leo (where it's been since 157 BCE) into Virgo. (Read my article about Regulus in Virgo.) Regulus is the star associated with kings and positions of authority historically held almost exclusively by men.

As the tropical zodiac has moved ever so gradually backwards through the constellations (see Precession of the Equinoxes), Regulus reached the final degree of Leo in 1940. Since that time, women's rights and empowerment have risen and expanded. Increased emphasis has been placed on integrating feminine principles and energy into the previously masculine-dominated world. Interest in nature and goddess centered spirituality has also flourished since the 1950s. The last several decades have heralded a significant archetypal shift in the collective consciousness toward feminine principles of nurturing, healing, conservation and environmental awareness.

Yin-Yang symbol

Carl Jung called the unconscious feminine energy in a man the Anima, and the unconscious masculine energy in a woman the Animus. In other words, although we typically focus our consciousness in accordance with our gender, each of us possesses some of the other gender within us. The unconscious gender is often projected onto others of the opposite sex where we can interact with that energy more consciously. Ideally, we learn to embrace both sides of us – women owning their assertive, forceful, independent nature, and men owning their nurturing, receptive, interdependent nature.

Mars is now conjunct this re-gendered fixed star, which juxtaposes a masculine energy (Mars) with a feminine one (Virgo). This can be read in various ways. This could be an opportunity to bring into balance the male and female energies in yourself and the world around you – balancing assertiveness with receptivity, aggression with compassion and autonomy with connection.

It can also be a time to empower feminine energy in yourself and the world around you through the masculine principles of bold action and decisiveness. Or you might invoke masculine powers to fight for or defend feminine issues.

At its worst, there is also the potential to unleash a more destructive side of the feminine which is capable of "eating its young" – in other words, sabotaging or annihilating its creation rather than seeing it become something other than what was intended. This is the "I must destroy this village in order to save it" mentality (from a controversial quote referring to the Vietnam War).

We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.
~ Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night

Awkward Alliances

Mars is tightly opposite Neptune in the Lunar Eclipse chart. This puts even more emphasis on summoning the greater vision of why you do something and the benefits that can be had from doing it. Connecting with something you believe in and taking action with that "something greater" in mind can boost your energy and motives to sustain you longer than by focusing on the immediate rewards.

So: what do you believe in? What enables you to feel that you're taking part in a greater momentum that serves a higher purpose? It may help to use this as a vision that frames your immediate, practical motives and actions, which can make those actions seem more manageable. Neptune perfection can seem so far out of reach that the prospect of taking concrete action to manifest that vision becomes overwhelming and discouraging.

Don't expect you can do it all at once. Taking a finite (human, concrete) amount of energy and trying to spread it across the vast unlimited potential of a Neptunian vision can diffuse that energy and make it seem futile.

Mars and Neptune in a stressful aspect (conjunction, square, opposition) can also start toward an worthy goal, but veer off in a different direction when it gets bogged down in complications, discouragement or obstacles. When the going gets touch, it can seem much more inviting to think about it for a while in the nearest bar or shopping for new goodies or trying out a different direction altogether – anything to avoid or soothe the pain and frustration of struggle. Escapism is a danger with these two, especially the kind that becomes rationalized as a better option but is really just avoidance of the inevitable.

By aspect, Aries and Virgo are quincunx (150°) to each other, which means they sit in each other's blind spots. They don't see eye-to-eye on much (if anything), so trying to get them to work together is like trying to mix oil and water.

The Aries/Virgo challenge: what can you do now, in this moment? One concrete step at a time. Take one bite, chew and swallow it before you take another bite. However, Aries impatience might want to gobble down a bigger mouthful to finish faster. And Virgo perfection might want to be more precise about what bite to take, to make it more efficient, but stick with the plan. Find that narrow crack "between the rock and the hard place" where these signs have a brief moment of common ground.

Mars opposite Neptune can enhance your intuition to come up with ideas for how to get Aries impatience to work cooperatively with Virgo perfection. For example, both signs like to get to the point, even if Virgo prefers to triple-check to make sure the point is correct first. Both signs have to do with expenditure of energy – Aries through action and Virgo through work and daily routines.

Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of
what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don't.
~ Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

Mercury and Mars

Mars is in mutual reception with Mercury. In other words, Mars is in Virgo, ruled by Mercury, and Mercury is in Scorpio, ruled by Mars (using traditional rulerships). Although they do not form a major aspect with each other, the mutual reception gives us a double dose of Virgo/Scorpio, Mercury/Mars energy and reinforces both planetary placements.

Mercury in Scorpio lends a piercing, penetrating mental focus to Mars' agenda of aiming for precise perfection. This could emphasize the "task master" component to Mars in Virgo, but it can also add a lot of depth and passion to the Mars agenda. Digging under the surface of events, motives and ambitions can lead to discovering the underlying reasons why your drive and impulses are so enticing. This in turn can minimize the risk that your motives and actions might become clouded by escapism, muddy reasoning or fooled by too-good-to-be-true illusions.

What's especially important about this mutual reception is that Mercury is stationary. It turns retrograde 2½ days after the Lunar Eclipse, in the same degree that it's in now. So Mercury's energy is very strong right now. (Think of putting your finger through a candle flame – when you do it quickly it's no big deal, but when you do it slowly, like a very slow-moving stationary planet, the experience is intense!)

A word of caution about stationary Mercury in Scorpio: watch your words! Mercury in Scorpio can be blunt at the best of times. With Mars in Virgo also feeding into it, even with the best of intentions, your words could have the effect of slicing and dicing people's feelings and self-confidence, leaving them lying in bleeding pieces on the floor. And when aimed at yourself in the form of self-critique or amping up your motivation, you might wind up just flogging yourself with guilt, shame and self-deprecation. Try including 3 positive points for every negative or critical point – this will help soften your message, encourage the recipient to be more receptive to it, and put things into a more healing perspective.

The only way of discovering the limits of the possible
is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
~ Arthur C. Clarke

Lunar Eclipse in Aries

This Full Moon is also a Lunar Eclipse. Welcome to eclipse season! Are we having fun yet?? We have two eclipses this season – the Lunar Eclipse in Aries (Oct.18) and the Solar Eclipse in Scorpio (Nov.03).

Eclipses are super-charged New Moons and Full Moons – in this case, a Full Moon. Physically speaking, a lunar eclipse happens when the Sun, Earth and Moon are aligned so precisely that the Moon passes through the shadow cast by the Earth. Visually, the Moon turns dark, orange or deep red, depending on the degree of precision. In short, a lunar eclipse involves the blocking of light reflected off the Moon.

Astrologically, eclipses seem to poke a hole in the fabric of consciousness, allowing hidden issues in the unconscious to leak out. This could be in the form of unusually intense emotions, blurting out controversial thoughts and feelings, reactions to events and experiences that seem out of proportion to the situation, or feeling ultra-sensitive to events and energy around you. It doesn't have to be a negative experience, although if what's coming out is something you've kept under wraps it could feel uncomfortable or disorienting.

In the case of this Lunar Eclipse in Aries, what could leak out is unexpected or unusually intense anger, libido, drive or ambition. Your energy level might skyrocket, perhaps sporadically, or it could take a dive and go dormant for a few days. With dispositor Mars in Virgo, health issues might become a concern—or you might find this is the perfect time to make changes to improve your health or restructure health routines more effectively.

If you carry suppressed anger, resentment or frustration inside, this could burst out as short temper or some other volatile way—or it might burrow further underground, resulting in depression, discouragement, sadness or low energy. Either way, it will help to find a safe outlet to explore, vent, express and understand what is underlying your feelings.

Mars in Virgo forms a trine aspect (120°) to the Moon and sextile (60°) to the Sun. These aspects are wide and dissociate (a.k.a. out-of-sign). That means Mars' sign (in Earth) is not in the aspect relationship with that of the Sun and Moon (in Air and Fire). This muddies up the normally easy flow of the trine and sextile energies. Usually the trine and sextile aspects give a cooperative, creative, easy flowing energy, although being dissociate this might be only very weak or difficult to tap into at the time of the Eclipse.

However, as they apply toward being exact (Moon trine Mars on the same or next day; Sun sextile Mars on Nov.03), this energy will become stronger. As a result, it may be easier to focus your desires and impulses into a sense of purpose, your purpose into intention, your intentions into action.

Of course motivation is not permanent. But then, neither is bathing;
but it is something you should do on a regular basis.
~ Zig Ziglar, Raising Positive Kids in a Negative World

A Final Kick at the Can

This Lunar Eclipse is about focusing your intentions and actions. The challenge is to be open to seeing a side of these in yourself that might have been hidden, obscured or avoided for some reason. Before you can effectively focus your energy into action, you need to hear from all the different parts of you that might have something to say about it. Any or all of:

Fears, hopes, dreams, expectations.

Guilt or shame about why you haven't done it already.

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Vision and imagination about what you believe will result from your actions.

Thoughts about options, possibilities, choices and decisions.

Reasons why you want to accomplish your goal.

Ethics and principles that are important to you.

Worry about failure—and about success.

Anger at the Universe, other people or circumstances because of the obstacles that have been in your way.

Determination and persistence to get past the bumps in the road.

Confidence and courage to do whatever needs to be done.

Listen inside for your passion and drive, and allow it to tell you its story and what it wants. Understand it and choose how you want to respond to it, using your highest sense of purpose and vision. Gather all your ideas, desires, impulses, visions and dreams, and then go out and do it!

It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it.
~ Lou Holtz

Oct.19 – Mars opposite Neptune (02:44 of Virgo/Pisces)  (Oct.20 in UK, AU)

For up to a week before and after today, you have a chance to discover and work with your blind spots and the hidden motives that trip you up. You can get a better look at the ideals, hopes, longing and dreams that motivate you. Your actions may reach for heights of inspiration or the ecstasy of surrender. This could bring release of tension...or an encounter with illusion and deception – and it might not be easy to know which is which. It could feel like you are spinning your wheels or "shadow-boxing" and not sure why. You may be dealing with a hidden agenda or unconscious motives (yours or someone else's). You might be trying to apply a proactive solution to an ambiguous situation, and wonder why it doesn't work very well. Responding to conflicts or obstacles in a passive-aggressive or manipulative way could be tempting under this transit, since it may be hard to know how to take direct and effective action. Resentment might become a defiant way to express "toothless" anger. Part of the problem may be that you are fighting against your own unconscious idealism. Feelings of disappointment, helplessness or frustration may bring up deeper feelings from your unconscious, making it difficult to know how to respond effectively in the here-and-now. Being honest with yourself about what's really going on inside you will go a long way toward increasing your empowerment.

Oct.21 – Mercury stationary Retrograde (18:23 Scorpio; until Nov.10)

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 Scorpio, so you may find you are extra sensitive to the undercurrents around you, especially the energy in other people that pushes your buttons and might make you feel "on guard." Your attempts to voice your concerns and perceptions to others may or may not be well received. You might be picking up on something they're not aware of (and might prefer you weren't either). It may help to remember that it is ultimately possible to control only ourselves. You are therefore challenged to look into your own "shadow" – the part of yourself that lives in your internal blind spot. Take a long look at yourself, your motives and assumptions, which may reveal issues in need of some intense self-honesty. You might feel a bit wary or suspicious of people and situations outside of yourself. However, even though the objective situation may be real and valid, there is probably also something about your experience of it that originates within yourself. It will help to shine a light into your unconscious to learn how you are playing a role in the situation. This can transform mental defensiveness into true empowerment by shifting your perception of events, allowing you to choose a different response and therefore a different outcome, especially after Mercury goes direct.

Oct.23 – Sun enters Scorpio (until Nov.21)

Happy Solar Return to all Scorpios! While the Sun is in Scorpio, we all get to explore our passions and probe the secrets within our depths. There is an intensity to the Scorpio experience that goes right to the core, and Scorpio challenges you to take a closer look at how that intensity manifests in your psyche. What are you passionate about and what fires up that passion? What events and experiences have brought you to "rock bottom" and then turned the tide to rejuvenate you back to a new lease on life? What people, causes, beliefs or physical things are so important to you that you would even risk death for? What secrets do you harbour inside, even from yourself? Posing these hypothetical questions doesn't mean you'll bring it on! But doing so can help you tap into the Scorpio experience to understand better how you experience transformation and touch the deepest heart of life itself. The danger is in becoming so obsessed with your passion that you neglect the practical realities. Or, you could become stuck in the "dark side" of transformation and letting go of the old, that you forget that figurative death and transformation are meant to lead into rebirth in order to complete the cycle. During this time, celebrate the endings in your life. Honour the hard times when you have had to face painful losses. And take passionate pleasure in the things that pull you out of your routines and make you feel alive. In some way, they have all allowed you to survive, thrive and grow.

Oct.25 – Sun trine Neptune (02:40 of Scorpio/Pisces)  (Oct.26 in AU)

Faith in the bountiful blessings of the Universe is within reach under this transit...but then, so is the fantasy that you will be magically granted anything you wish for. Hope, optimism and imagination spring eternal right now, which can bring some relief from any depression or discouragement you might be feeling. Your creativity can become very inspired under this transit. Your sense of self could also get an infusion of uplifting vision. And you experience a sense of mission, feeling that you are truly a Child of the Universe. There is potential to lift you out of the ordinary and into the sublime – spiritually, creatively, romantically or compassionately. Enjoy it while it lasts, but before you make changes based on what might feel like a permanent condition, remember that this is mostly a temporary influence and you will still have to live within the bounds of the physical world after it passes. Don't make overly optimistic promises now, that you will have to fulfil later when the euphoria wears off.

Oct.26-Nov.08 – Cradle aspect pattern

Cradle aspect pattern

This aspect pattern features prominently at the Solar Eclipse in Scorpio on Nov.03, but its energy builds for a good week or more before that. This figure is at its closest Nov.01-02.

It starts with Mars opposite Chiron, which is about how you react when you are faced with a dilemma. This might be about what action to take to relieve suffering or issues that don't have a concrete solution. Something needs to be done because the situation isn't working well, but without a clear path to resolution it might be difficult to know how to focus your energies most effectively.

Forming trine (120°) and sextile (60°) aspects to Mars and Chiron are Pluto and a tangled knot of the Sun, Mercury retrograde, Saturn and the North Lunar Node all conjunct in Scorpio. These apex planets can either distract you from the primary issue (Mars-Chiron) or provide abilities, opportunities and resources to help you find a creative solution. Distraction might come in the form of becoming immersed in trying to live up to external expectations – distracting because this may or may not actually bring you closer to easing the Mars-Chiron struggle. And following someone else's instructions might actually take you further away from your centre and groundedness.

On the other hand, the apex planets give you access to constructive resources when you take ownership of the problem and search inwardly for an action plan that feels right to you and adheres to your own values, priorities and sense of purpose. It doesn't mean you should ignore or dismiss outside expectations and necessities, but that you are likely to be more empowered if you respond from your own sense of authority over the decisions in your life.

Oct.27 – UK, Europe begin Standard Time

If you life in Europe, the Middle East or western Asia, you might be turning your clocks back one hour today. Since the time usually officially changes at 2:00 AM (your local time), it's best to turn your clocks back the night before. Not all areas change between Daylight and Standard time, though, so be sure to check if this applies to where you live.

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Oct.28 – Pluto sextile Chiron (09:21 of Capricorn/Pisces)

Chiron is about acceptance of obstacles that don't have a clear solution, and mysteries and paradoxes that don't have a clear-cut explanation. Pluto is the process of transformation that requires something to "die" (move out of the way) in order that new growth and evolution can take place. These two energies work together very well. Both involve a certain level of acceptance of something that seems intolerable or undesirable.

These planets come together over a two year period in a sextile (60°) aspect, which combines these energies in a creative, capable and clever way. They actually have been hovering within a 6° orb since about 2010 and will remain there until around 2018. Over a very long period, these energies are forging a gradual process whose purpose is to generate healing and transformation. This could involve physical healing (most notably where chronic health problems are concerned), although more likely it relates to psychological and spiritual healing. In addition, this transit can provide an undercurrent of healing that supports the collective woundedness we are currently struggling with.

The thing about both of these planets is that things often get worse before they get better. Chiron's message is that by accepting and acknowledging our woundedness, we will find opportunities for healing—and that some wounds can't be healed completely. Chiron is about healing what can be, and finding ways to accept what can't—and to discover that there are hidden gifts that the struggle can bring you. The trick is not to get stuck in perpetual suffering, despair or helplessness.

Pluto's process is to dig below the surface to find the authentic essence that is neither apparent nor fully accessible until you shed that top layer that covers what's underneath it. By letting go of one thing, you gain access to something behind it, and the experience can be transforming—if you trust the process.

Chiron and Pluto together stimulate healing through struggle that can be strenuous and demanding. However, the nature of the sextile aspect is progressive change. Your experience of that struggle might be more resilient or gentler than with a hard aspect. It's up to you to do the work, but Chiron and Pluto can provide some profound tools and resources for the task. Pluto is the planet of hidden riches, and Chiron reveals the gift of wisdom that comes from experience. Look for those tools in unexpected, unusual or secret places.

This is the 4th of 5 exact passes of this transit: May.12.2012, Sep.06.2012, Apr.04.2013, Oct.28.2013 and Feb.25.2014.

Oct.29-Nov.03 – Yod aspect pattern

Yod aspect pattern

For about a week, life could get a little more "interesting" than usual! It is most intense on Nov.01-02 and appears in the chart for the Solar Eclipse in Scorpio.

This Yod aspect figure starts with the Sun conjunct Mercury retrograde in Scorpio (and both conjunct the North Lunar Node, thrown in for good measure). Sun-Mercury is in sextile (60°) to Mars in Virgo. All of them form quincunx aspects (150°) to Uranus, the apex of the Yod.

Old fashioned plow drawn by a horse

The thing about a Yod is that if you focus primarily on the apex planet, you're bound to lose a lot of the potential and power of the sextile planets. Like an old fashioned plow, you need to put your weight on the planets in sextile and allow the apex planet to be the horse that pulls the plow. It is the combination of both components that enables the plow to dig deep. What gets turned up from this dynamic is fresh awareness that allows you to deal with paradox and ambiguity in a way that neither resorts to black-and-white extremes nor becomes stagnant.

This Yod is pulled by Uranus, which aims at an agenda of change and breaking free of old outworn dilemmas that keep you stuck. The Sun-Mars sextile provides a dynamic, lively stabilizing energy that can be motivating and action-oriented, but also works best if you let Mercury retrograde help you listen to your inner thoughts, perceptions and ideas first before deciding which direction to point your plow.

Oct.29 – Mercury retrograde conjunct Saturn (13:19 of Scorpio)  (Oct.30 in AU)

It's time to take a serious look at the circumstances and situations in your life. This transit may not exactly be "party time" but it's a great transit to have when you need to take a dispassionate, objective, clear view of life. You may be called upon to make a decision about something. For example, you might need to commit yourself to a particular plan of action, or start developing plans toward a particular goal. In either case, it may be necessary to limit or let go of other options. You might come to the conclusion that something has run its course and it's time to leave it behind – like an opinion or project or mindset. It's a time when your perception, thoughts and words may not be exciting, imaginative or entertaining, but you're probably more able to be clear, grounded decisive and hard working.

Oct.30 – Sun conjunct North Lunar Node (07:45 of Scorpio)  ("What's a Lunar Node?")  (Oct.31 in UK, AU)

For a few days before and after this date, your sense of self and purpose are in sharper focus. You might encounter people who understand you more than usual, or you could find the courage to shine a little brighter than you normally do. However, this also brings a challenge to find and fulfil your potential within a broader context of life, friends, associates, groups and the world. It is a good time to look at your vision of the future—on a personal level but especially the wider vision you have for the world around you. What is your greatest potential over the coming year? Ten years? The New and Full Moons just before and after this transit are usually Eclipses. Check to see if those Eclipses form major aspects to your natal chart, since these will show a future direction for you over the coming months. The Sun-Node transit happening right now will help to focus those changes.

Oct.31 – Mars opposite Chiron (09:17 of Virgo/Pisces)

Your efforts and physical/emotional/mental energy may struggle with fundamental limitations and latent imperfections under this transit. Weakness or chronic problems in health may flare up now, especially if you are under a lot of stress. It will help to do whatever is necessary to support and take care of yourself. You may find it works better to minimize or prevent deterioration, rather than to attempt a complete cure of whatever ails you. Emotional health may also be affected, bringing out latent issues related to anger, sexuality, assertiveness or courage. This is a time when you can probably see all these problem areas more clearly, and as a result it can seem like they are getting worse. While this may or may not actually be true, you are in a position to respond to these issues in a different way now – precisely because you are able to see the nature of the problems more objectively and clearly. So don't allow yourself to just be intimidated by difficult experiences you might have now; use them to take steps toward a new well-being.

Oct.31 – Mars trine Pluto (09:24 of Virgo/Capricorn)

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.

Nov.01 – Uranus square Pluto (09:25 of Aries/Capricorn)

If you haven't noticed that the world is been heating up in the last few years, with controversy becoming the norm and escalating competition for dominance by competing philosophies and priorities... well you just haven't been paying attention. Uranus and Pluto have been moving into position for the square aspect (90°). Think prize fight between the Hulk and Darth Vader. I'd suggest loading up with popcorn and grabbing a seat on the sidelines, but in this drama there aren't really any true sidelines. Everyone will be (and are being) affected by the massive changes that our world is undergoing.

This square aspect is the first major turning point in a roughly 140 year cycle that Uranus and Pluto make together. The last conjunction (the start of the cycle) took place in 1965-66. The social upheaval that occurred during that time was legendary. We are still feeling ripple effects 40+ years later. In fact, those ripple effects, which themselves produce more ripple effects, have built up to the point where they are becoming waves crashing into each other. We have 3 years of exact passes of the square transit, with its effect spread out over a good 15 years, all told, possibly more depending on how you look at it.

So what's a mere mortal to do?

It's so easy to get caught up in the "hooray for my side" politics, trying to persuade others with impassioned urgency. It's as if Pluto is stubbornly refusing to budge, while Uranus does his best to throw the knockout punch. The rock meets the hard place. Everybody's yelling; nobody's listening except to formulate their next argument. And in a competitive world, winning can feel like the only worthwhile conclusion, while losing can feel like the end of the world.

This is the kind of atmosphere that wars are spawned from.

When the negotiation of Venus is overridden by the winner-take-all attitude of Mars, there's more destruction than healing that takes place. Chiron's message is that some wounding can be a good thing if it removes the toxin and stimulates healing, but too much will only destroy what is still healthy and sabotage healing.

This is NOT about any particular political party or religion or nationality or any other group that forms itself around a philosophy or ideology or belief system. In fact, all groups are subject to this escalation of energy as a collective reaction. That kind of dynamic only serves to narrow the focus to such a sharp point that it's impossible to see anything else, and that almost never goes anywhere good in the end.

Here are some suggestions. Use this transit to observe the ways you get swept up in the turmoil. (This could be personal turmoil in your immediate life or global turmoil.) How much of your own opinion, perspective and passion is being amplified by the eruption of energy from those you identify with? Or how much is a reaction to the force with which your opponent is expressing their position and trying to persuade you?

Being influenced and having your own thoughts, feelings and actions affected by the collective currents around you may or may not be something that's beneficial for you. For now, just observe it and be aware of it. See where that leads you. Aim to respond rather than react. Question, question, question. Let go of the belief that you must win at all costs or that the end will justify the means. Trust your ability to find ways to rise above what you do and don't believe to be true – it will allow you see more of what is.

This is the 4th of 7 passes of this transit. Are you getting tired of Uranus-Pluto yet? It's certainly been a challenging and demanding transit! And with two larger-than-life energies locked in mortal combat, it may be easier to see their effects on the global stage than in your own life. The forces of dramatic change from what-has-been (Uranus in Aries) battle the forces of control and staying the course (Pluto in Capricorn). This is most visible in the struggles between liberal and conservative perspectives, which are happening worldwide to one degree or another and in one form or another.

On the global and political stage, many people see Uranus symbolizing a liberal point of view, while Pluto represents a conservative perspective. However, these are largely neutral energies without judgment about how they are expressed by us mere mortals. They don't carry ID cards for any particular political party, nationality or belief system. For example, it is just as illuminating to view conservative-minded folk as being unhappy with several decades of liberal social change and are now fighting to break free of that momentum and steer the world on what they believe is a better course (Uranus). At the same time, liberal-minded folk have enjoyed several decades of (sometimes dramatic) social change and see this as a positive, even essential direction. They are fighting equally hard to keep this from backsliding or being dismantled (Pluto).

In the same way, you can look at your own life in terms of things you're fighting to change, improve or break free from what you see as a dysfunctional status quo. And what is it in your life or your own motives that resists that and struggles to keep things from falling apart or changing beyond recognition? Is the change-oriented part of you tempted to go to extremes in order to make the change? Maybe the resisting part of you is trying to tell you about something important that it's afraid will be lost with that change.

Alternatively, is the stability-oriented part of you digging in its heels a bit too deeply in order to hold it all together? Maybe the breaking-free part of you sees something that isn't working and is trying to make positive change that will keep that stability from becoming stagnant or stuck. Both sides have something to say; have their story to tell. And not all of it is simply bad or negative. To get unstuck from the deadlock, find a way for each side to have its say – write in a journal, brainstorm from the perspective of each side of you, or just talk out loud from each part of you without censoring it.

Last Uranus-Pluto square: 1932-1934.

Dates for the current Uranus-Pluto cycle:

Nov.01 – Mercury retrograde sextile Mars (10:01 of Scorpio/Virgo)

There is a potential now to find the courage to speak your mind and say what needs to be said, if you focus consciously on doing so. In fact, your ideas and words may come so quickly and easily that it's hard to stop them from tumbling out of your mouth before you've had a chance to evaluate the best way to say them. Communication is probably easiest and most effective when it's direct, concise and quick, although it might also be a bit blunt or pointed. If you need to confront someone about a difficult situation, this transit can provide courage and clear words to help you do that – although perhaps a bit too forceful when a more delicate, sensitive touch is called for. It is a time when you might find the nerve to take risks, or to defend yourself if the need arises (especially verbally). This is a good transit for creative problem solving and trying on decisions to see if they fit.

Nov.01 – Sun trine Chiron (09:15 of Scorpio/Pisces)  (Nov.02 in AU)

This is a time when you may find that your recent efforts to mend and heal the chronic struggles in your life start to come together. You likely have the confidence now to try new solutions, or at least to approach problems from a different angle that sheds new light on the situation. Some of this progress may come from daring to walk your own path, or from finding the courage to face the hidden shadow of your worries and weaknesses (the hidden benefit that those worries give you). There may be a variety of different struggles and wounds in your life that could benefit from this kind of healing, although it can be tempting to let this transit pass by without taking advantage of it. Strive to reach a midpoint between merely dipping your toe in troubled waters and thinking that is enough, versus jumping in the deep end and marinating in it.

Nov.01 – Sun sextile Pluto (09:26 of Scorpio/Capricorn)  (Nov.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.

Nov.01 – Sun conjunct Mercury (09:34 of Scorpio)  (Nov.02 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.

Nov.01 – Mercury retrograde sextile Pluto (09:26 of Scorpio/Capricorn)  (Nov.02 in AU)

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.

Nov.01 – Mercury retrograde trine Chiron (09:16 of Scorpio/Pisces)  (Nov.02 in UK, AU)

Your mental focus and communication now get an injection of healing energy. Cynicism and depression may soften now, as you become more receptive to a more optimistic viewpoint. If you have been caught up in escapism or "stinkin' thinkin'" (thinking you're more in control of your impulses than you really are), you may now find some relief and healing. Mental argument and critical "self-talk" can now find some reconciliation and acceptance that brings some peace of mind. You have increased ability to find the right words and understanding to help others with their problems. Compassion and empathy may be more accessible because you can identify your own experiences with what you see in others. You might also find someone who can give you good advice or support about your own problems – possibly a teacher or mentor – or you could become this to someone else.

Nov.03 – Mercury conjunct North Lunar Node (07:46 of Scorpio)  (Nov.02 in MT, PT)  ("What's a Lunar Node?")

Ideas are in focus, especially when they're shared with others. It could be a time when you observe or notice something new, giving you a new perspective that you will mull over for the coming several months. Or you might be called upon to give a talk or presentation that shares information with others. It might be an especially active time with emails, Facebook, Twitter or texting. Communication and collection of thoughts and ideas is the central theme here. Keep your eyes, mind and curiosity open – the world could be showing you something important and fascinating!

Nov.03 – Sun sextile Mars (11:05 of Scorpio/Virgo)

You have power, energy, motivation and enthusiasm to fuel your ambitions now! The catch is you will need to reach for it; it won't simply "come to you." Reach into your past experience and reach forward toward your vision of what you want. This will help to guide your actions and focus your assertive energy in the direction you want to go. This is a good time to make progress toward a goal. Or, you might want to take steps to leave behind inhibitions that have held you back. This transit can also make you more apt to take risks and find the courage to do things you might not otherwise do. Your tolerance for obstacles may be shortened, and making it easy to assume the only way through them is by using direct force. This may or may not be wise, depending on how extreme you want to take it, so use your good judgment and don't throw away your diplomacy.

Next Update:  SOLAR ECLIPSE ~ NEW MOON in SCORPIO, available by November 3, 2013.

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