Low-Down Archives for November 2013

Solar Eclipse in Scorpio, Planetary Transits

Chart for the Solar Eclipse - New Moon in Scorpio
Chart for the Solar Eclipse ~ New Moon in Scorpio

Often secrets are not revealed in words. They lie concealed in the silence between the words or in the depth of what is unsayable between two people.
~ John O'Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

Nov.03 – SOLAR ECLIPSE ~ NEW MOON in SCORPIO (11:15 of Scorpio)

NEW MOON in SCORPIO

Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Nov.03, 2013, 7:49 AM EST

London, UK:

Nov.03, 2003, 12:49 PM GMT

Sydney, AU:

Nov.03, 2013, 11:49 PM AEDT

"What's a Solar Eclipse?"

"What's a New Moon?"

Read more about the Sun-Moon cycles.

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

This Solar Eclipse is most visible from Africa and the North Atlantic Ocean, with a partial view visible from the east coast of North America, the northern part of South America, southern Europe and the Middle East. Remember: you should never look directly at a solar eclipse or you can damage your eyes.

It's said that you're only as sick as your secrets.

And we all have secrets.

It's those things we don't talk about except with extremely trusted friends or a therapist, and maybe not even with them.

It's the knowledge we dare not speak aloud. The actions we regret that contradict a standard of goodness.

The parts of ourselves we hide away fearing they will reveal the deeper nature of a tainted soul.

Our inner thoughts, feelings, desires and longings that we believe make us less than good people.

A shameful inner nature that feels like it would cause anyone who really knew us to run screaming from the room.

These are the things we hide in the dark corners of our psyche. These are the things that lurk in the Scorpio shadow.

Scary? Sometimes, yes. But is it true? Is it real? Is it as bad as we think?

Every heart has its secret sorrows which the world
knows not, and oftentimes we call a man cold,
when he is only sad.
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

In Scorpio lie the innermost depths of who we are. Much of what lives there is so deep that for much of our lives it may even be hidden from us, camouflaged in between our day-to-day thoughts, feelings, reactions, opinions.

It can take a lifetime to discover it, understand it, accept it, transform it, reclaim it and embrace it. Every time we face a deep truth in ourselves and listen to what it has to say to us, we take another step on that journey.

This journey is not for the timid.

There's a reason why we hide parts of ourselves deep inside, behind an obsidian firewall. Consciously or unconsciously, mentally or emotionally, one way or another, we believe this stuff makes us a bad person.

We may feel shame about these parts of ourselves and try to compensate for them in other ways, to prove that we're not "that person" while sweeping the shameful bits under an increasingly lumpy inner carpet.

Self-help gurus abound who urge us to focus on our best potential, so that we don't dwell on our negative potential. Indeed, it is very important, even crucial, to remember that we are far more than whatever might live in that Scorpio shadow inside us. Whatever secrets we harbour inside, they are only part of who we are, and we all have so many gifts and blessings that counterbalance whatever we believe makes us less than perfect people.

On the other hand, the ugly truth is that human nature is indeed capable of some pretty dreadful behaviour, attitudes and beliefs. The history books recount long lists of detestable deeds inflicted on the world, often in the name of honouring something that is (believed to be) good. Surely such a glowing, commendable principle or goal would ultimately justify whatever was necessary to achieve it or would excuse any mistakes made along the way. Maybe, but the trouble is that others who bear the brunt of those "noble" intentions usually disagree with how worthy, justified or excusable they are.

You live with someone long enough, you can see what they're trying to hide by the way they try to hide it.
~ James Garner as Shep Walker,
The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

So if human nature is capable of terrible things, what makes me think that my human nature is any better, deep down? If we all have the potential to be bad people—with or without the good intentions to give us a shiny polish on the surface—then how can I honestly look at the things that cause me shame and guilt and tell myself I'm not a bad person because of them?

It's so easy to get sucked down into a "shame spiral."

And regardless what my bad potential might say about me—what if others find out what lurks in the secret corners of my private self? I could be judged, rejected, blamed or shunned.

And worse: what if they're right? What if, despite all my best intentions, good deeds, compensation and penance—what if none of it matters? What if there's really just something wrong with me?

Isn't that what we're really afraid of, deep down inside?

This may be the deepest, most toxic secret we carry – the fear that at the end of the day, in spite of all our efforts, there's still something wrong with us that somehow makes us unworthy of love, forgiveness, compassion and understanding.

No one wants their whole being to be defined by only a part of who they are, nor to be outcast for it. And the hallelujah truth is that there is more, much more, to every one of us than any one part of us. Even mass murderers have done something good things in their lives.

To believe, even just in the private, shadowy corners of our mind, that something inside of us makes us irredeemably bad, is to believe in perfection. But perfection isn't exactly in the human job description. To believe we "should be" perfect is to deny the most basic essence of our human nature, which is that we are always a work in progress.

Every one of us is trying to do what we think is right, even if others disagree. Even if we come to see that our best efforts fall short of the best we can be. Good or bad, virtuous or selfish, there's always a reason why we do what we do. And there's always room for improvement. Every one of us is always changing, and change never happens in a straight line. We grow, we change, get stuck, drift backwards, push forward again, stumble, fall and get back up or even just crawl as best we can.

That's our job description as human beings. And accepting this about ourselves is essential for true transformation to take place.

We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all of the power we need inside ourselves already.
~ J.K. Rowling

Scorpio is also known for its ability to transform whatever it touches, but how does that work? How do you transform internal shame, and what does that even mean? Does it mean it disappears? Does it mean you amputate that part of yourself?

Actually, trying to disown something inside you and removing it from who you are is often the worst thing you can do. The more you try to push away a part of yourself, the more persistently it hangs on, which often just leaves you feeling even worse for failing to deal with the problem.

Addiction is a classic example of this. The more you try to pretend the problem doesn't exist, the more powerful it seems to become. It's important to understand how the addiction works, what triggers it, what happens in your body and mind when cravings strike and what you can do to deal with them.

Addictions also tend to have an emotional or psychological component, in that they are usually start out as a coping mechanism for feelings that are otherwise unbearable. Shame and guilt are often at the top of the list, along with powerlessness, loneliness, grief and despair.

So how does transformation work? Ask anyone who's been through a 12-step program: the first step is to acknowledge that there's a problem. This is true whether we're talking about addiction or any other issue that makes our lives difficult. You can't resolve something if you don't know what it is and if you haven't admitted to yourself that it's a problem.

This might sound ridiculously obvious or simple, but this can often be the hardest part of breaking the cycle of toxic secrets. In order to start dealing with a problem, you have to admit that there is one, that you haven't been able to solve it and perhaps don't know how—or you know what you must do but for some reason can't bring yourself to do it. Transformation begins by admitting there is something that needs to be transformed.

We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.
~ Maya Angelou

From there, it's all about awareness. The process essentially consists of progressively shining a light into the dark corners of your psyche so you can see what's really going on in there. What we fear is there is almost never as bad as we expect it to be, but the only way you can know this is to get in there and be willing to see what's there—not through the lens of your worst expectations, but by looking inside without judgment.

What you come to see in the light of non-judgmental awareness is something that is human. You're not perfect. And that's okay. You're allowed to be human, simply because you are human.

It doesn't mean you don't strive to grow and improve; it means you're a work in progress. Neither does it mean you ignore or dismiss the consequences of your behaviour and attitudes that cause harm to yourself or others, but rather that you strive to learn from them.

That's a longer process. Transformation is always a process—never a simple event. Instant transformation only happens in the movies, and what might seem to be instant change is actually preceded by a lot of struggle, hard work and willingness to keep moving through the process, one step at a time.

Even if you try something and it doesn't work, you've learned something from that and the experience has started to shift something inside you. A seed is planted or brought a little further along the path of germination. When a baby first learns to stand it falls down a lot, but with each attempt its leg muscles are learning how to coordinate themselves and gaining strength. Scorpio knows that persistence pays off.

I felt suddenly shy. I was not used to shy. I was used to shame. Shyness is when you turn your head away from something you want. Shame is when you turn your head away from something you do not want.
~ Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Facing the secrets hidden inside you starts with one step. Then another, and another. It's like walking into a dark cave where you hear terrifying noises echoing from deep within. You figure no one in their right mind would go in there. Surely it's the wailing of a banshee or a demon! But with the light of awareness that is willing to see only what it sees, uncoloured by fears or expectations, you eventually discover that the wailing is really the cries of a hurting, frightened child—your Inner Child—who longs for comfort and connection. By developing and building your connection with that part of yourself, you can start to bring it out into the light of day where it can be integrated into the whole of who you are.

The menacing growls from deep inside that cave may come from a snarling animal inside you, which is capable of pouncing on people in a cruel effort to hurt them or strip them of self-worth. But inside the cave, you may discover that this beast is actually protecting a babe that is vulnerable and afraid. Or perhaps the supposed monster has known only cruelty done to itself, and therefore believes cruelty is the only way to avoid becoming powerless.

There are all kinds of reasons why we hide parts of ourselves away, and there are always even deeper reasons why those parts behave in a counterproductive, antisocial or misunderstood way. Scorpio transformation involves digging under the surface to unearth the deeper truth behind the myth, the reasons behind the menace and the real face hidden behind the mask.

And surprisingly, the parts of you that you compulsively hide away, fearing they make you unworthy or bad, often turn out to harbour our most beautiful gifts. The hurting Inner Child contains your ability to be open, trusting and genuine. The inner animal baring its teeth at the world also contains your ability to be assertive, stand up for yourself and be strong in the face of fear. The inner monster may conceal your true beauty and love inside an attitude of cynicism, cruelty and self-loathing.

It is by shining your light of awareness on these hidden parts of you that you will learn what they are truly made of. And ultimately it is through self-acceptance, knowing you are an imperfect work in progress, that you will find the strength to face those inner monsters and start to see their true faces.

That's the Scorpio journey.

The secret was a hole in the middle of me that every happy thing fell into.
~ Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

The New Moon and Solar Eclipse in Scorpio is loaded with dense energy to support you in taking another step on your journey toward authenticity and self-acceptance. Start with the Stellium in Scorpio: Sun, Moon, Mercury and Saturn, and the North Node is thrown in for good measure. This much planetary weight in Scorpio says there are several doorways through which to explore your inner workings.

Mercury has been Retrograde in Scorpio since Oct.21, and lurking in Scorpio since Sep.29. Hermes/Mercury in Greek mythology was not simply the messenger god; he was also a psychopompos who escorted the souls of the dead into the underworld—Hades, Pluto's realm, land of the dead. So Mercury is an honoured guest in Scorpio, and his retrograde cycle invites you into the underworld of your unconscious. Mercury is retrograde until Nov.10 and remains in Scorpio until Dec.04.

Saturn has been in Scorpio since Oct.05.2012 and remains there until Dec.23.2014. Saturn, the task master who both demands and rewards hard work, has been pushing us to dig deep into the foundation underneath the surface of our problems. Strengthen the buried foundations by clearing away the rotted old structures and replacing them with solid beams that will support future growth.

Saturn also has a way of taking a problematic situation and putting a stop to it so that it can be fixed or disposed of if it can't. Therefore, if you are avoiding facing a problem or hiding a vulnerable part of yourself deep inside, this could be a time when the need to confront these issues is especially strong. Or, you might feel extra pressure to take necessary action that you've been resisting because it will make your life more difficult, but eventually it can make you healthier, stronger and more effective.

This might involve having to come clean about secrets you've been keeping that keep you from being fully who you are. Here in Canada, this has taken a dramatic form with scandals involving some Senators' inappropriate expenses, as well as Toronto Mayor Rob Ford allegedly smoking crack in a mysterious video that was finally found by police. Although these issues have been brewing for many months, both have intensified around the time leading up to the solar eclipse. In addition, this eclipse will preside over the Conservative Party's 2013 Convention this weekend, which some speculate could become a political crisis for Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper who recently was accused of orchestrating and covering up the Senate scandals. It will be interesting to see how it all unfolds.

In your personal life, the eclipse is unlikely to take on such a public or outrageous form. However, you might need to face up to some decisions, actions, attitudes or priorities in your life that have been guided by some hidden motives or defences designed to protect you from embarrassment, humiliation or blame.

Saturn's agenda is to remove the fluff and padding and reduce a situation down to its bare essence, so that you know what's up, what is real and what you're really dealing with. From there you can rebuild a stronger situation, point it in a new direction or reconsider your priorities altogether. But first, says Saturn in Scorpio, you've got to clean house, take out the garbage and then see what's left.

There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of
their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun.
~ Pablo Picasso

There's a Cradle aspect pattern that features strongly in the New Moon chart, which I talked about in the last update (see Oct.26). It starts with Mars opposite Chiron, which seems to echo the need for a healing process in how you spend your energy, what you protect and how much you expect of yourself in order to be self-accepting. This opposition takes on extra importance since Mars is the traditional ruler of Scorpio and therefore a ruler of the New Moon.

A Cradle consists of two points that sextile (60°) and trine (120°) both sides of the opposition. Those points can ease the tension of the opposition in two ways. One is by distracting from it and soothing the struggle; this is more likely if you're trying to avoid the difficulty of the opposition. The other is by providing creative problem-solving ability that can find a way around the road blocks of the opposition; this is more likely if you're engaged in working through the challenges of the opposition.

Cradle aspect pattern

In this case, one of those points is populated by the Scorpio Stellium, all of which trines Chiron and sextiles Mars—including the Sun-Moon combo which is exact in orb. On the plus side, this Stellium can provide abundant support and approval for facing and dealing with obstacles—perhaps even to the point where it could be hard to resist doing so. (Think of a big bad gnarly Saturn with tattooed knuckles hovering over you, saying "You might want to consider doing as I say...")

On the down side, the Stellium in Scorpio could make it tempting to sink into feeling morbid, fatalistic or powerless. Ironically, this might actually have a strangely soothing effect, since giving up on the possibility of rising above it all could mean you can just relax and enjoy your captivity. However, this probably isn't a very effective way of dealing with the problems, since they still exist.

The other point of the Cradle is Pluto – again bringing a Scorpionic energy into the Cradle dynamic, since Pluto is considered by many to be the modern ruler of Scorpio. This intense energy could tempt you with obsession as a way to avoid truly dealing with problems. For example, you might insist that your way (of avoidance or refusal to change your approach) is immune from both reproach and criticism, although a stubborn position doesn't make it so. However, that obsession could also be used in a more positive way to drive your persistence in finding a way beyond the brick wall in your path.

Some feelings sink so deep into the heart that only loneliness can help you find them again.
Some truths are so painful that only shame can help you live with them.
Some things are so sad that only your soul can do the crying for them.
~ Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram

With so much Scorpio energy in this chart, there's one other possibility that should be considered – that the best response to a road block may not be to push past it, shove it out of your way or blast it into smithereens with your mega-torch laser beam. The best response just might be to stay put and see what the situation has to teach you.

We tend to assume that a dilemma must be resolved and eliminated so that we can move on with our lives, but in the land of Scorpio (especially when Chiron is involved), sometimes the most relevant and effective transformation involves staying right where you are and allowing the dilemma to shape you and teach you.

Obviously this is not always a good thing to do. If you're in physical danger, clearly you need to seek safety. If your health is at risk, you need to get medical help. If you stand to lose your home or starve if you don't have a job, then you must do what you must do to ensure your basic survival needs are met.

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However, beyond the risk of a serious crisis, it might be worthwhile to consider if a dilemma might be not merely a problem to be solved but an opportunity to explore. Only you can look into yourself and decide if you need to move out of your situation or if there's something you can learn by staying in it. If you're not sure, check to see which alternative makes you feel the most scared, depressed or panicked. That one might be the one you could learn the most from by sticking with it—but again, use your best judgment. Even if you feel there's something important to learn from the situation, it may or may not be the best time to jump in head first. It might be enough to just get your feet wet for now and prepare yourself for a deeper dive later down the road.

With a Solar Eclipse in Scorpio, the idea is that a healing crisis is ultimately supposed to heal you, not leave you damaged. In the most morbid corners of Scorpio, it's possible to become obsessed with the darkness to the point where it just feels normal after a while. Archetypally, the journey into the dark Scorpio cave must eventually lead to the return into the sunlight in Sagittarius.

Don't go in there without a lifeline. You don't want to get lost in there, and it helps to have the support of someone who understands the territory. Talking about it helps since this can start to shine a light on the stuff deep inside that you're tripping over. Please contact me for a reading to get some insight and understanding about what's going on and what can help you heal and work through it. Remember: you're not alone.

Forgiveness has nothing to do with absolving a criminal of his crime.
It has everything to do with relieving oneself of the burden of being a victim –
letting go of the pain and transforming oneself from victim to survivor.
~ C.R. Strahan

Nov.05 – Venus enters Capricorn (until Mar.05.2014)

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

Venus stays in Capricorn for a whopping 4 months! Why? Because Venus will go retrograde in Capricorn from Dec.21.2013 to Jan.31.2014, and remains in the shadow from Nov.21 until Mar.04.2014. It means that all things Venusian will take on a very practical, perhaps serious energy for a while. Overall it can be a good time to get serious and disciplined about finances and material worth, as well as becoming more concrete about what your values and priorities are in your life. If your budget is well organized—and especially if it's realistic—this can be a productive time for steady, if slow, progress and improvement.

On the other hand, if you're living beyond your means or if your budget is based on a loosely intuitive sense of what will enable you to make ends meet, this could be a frustrating time of coming up short a lot. You may have to make some tough choices about how to spend your money, for example – is this really essential or just something that would be nice to have? It's not that "nice-to-have" things can't be in your budget (we all need stuff that makes life a little easier and more pleasant) but just make sure that you still have enough left over for the essentials.

Relationships of all kinds, another Venusian area, will also benefit from making sure you are clear about your boundaries. Are you really okay about doing that favour for a friend, or will you feel resentful or short-changed if you do? Can you say no when you need to, or do you cave in for fear they'll get mad at you? Or maybe they've done favours for you in the past and you feel you owe it to them to say yes, but you would rather not? Obligations that are part of an agreement could come up now, and you may be called upon to do the responsible thing.

On the plus side, if you are in a stormy relationship this can be a time of relative stability. On the more difficult side, it may become necessary to face the realities about things in the relationship that aren't working well and eventually make a choice about what to do about that. It might be best to take your time considering all the implications and possible consequences before making big changes in a troubled relationship, since you'll have to live with the results; or at least test out different possible solutions before you decide which one will work best.

Nov.06-14 – Stationary Mercury trine Stationary Neptune (02:34 of Scorpio/Pisces)

When Mercury stations Direct (Nov.10/11), it is exactly trine Neptune, which stations just 3 days later (Nov.13/14). As a result, there are two exact passes of Mercury trine Neptune, just 24 hours before and after the Mercury station. Since stationary planets are very intense, the result can be very powerful! And since stationary planets move very slowly, we are likely to bask in this energy for at least a week.

This is a trine aspect (120°), so it's easy to take all that easy going trine energy for granted. You might find that your mind just coasts and drifts happily for a few days, as if Mercury Retrograde doesn't want to let go just yet. On the other hand, you can take advantage of this by using it to inspire creative work, meditate your stress away, or shape your mental focus using positive affirmations. Pay attention to your dreams, since there could be some unusual symbolic messages there. Anything that uses your imagination can be especially active and useful right now.

There's always a bit of a down side with trines, however. Since this energy flows so easily, anything can flow easily, including illusions and negativity. Whatever you feed it, consciously or unconsciously, that's what will flow. If you are in a pessimistic frame of mind, you could find that your negative imagination runs away with you; a difficult situation might start to look like the end of the world. Also, it can be very easy to delude yourself into thinking that things are the way you want them to be, when in fact they are different. Having a positive outlook is a good thing, but be careful you don't assume that being able to imagine a good outcome means it's a done deal. It's wise to do a careful reality check before making any important decisions around this time, to ensure your judgment is not clouded by what you want to see.

Another example: if it's hard for you to feel confident and believe in yourself, this intense trine energy could make it all too easy to sink into feeling discouraged or depressed. If you start to get into a gloomy state of mind, try doing two things in this order: [1] Listen to the feeling or perception; it might be trying to tell you something—not that you're unworthy, but that there's a part of you that needs to be comforted and treated gently and heard. [2] Allow yourself to realize that there's more to what your thinking, feeling or perceiving than you are seeing right now. That means things can change for the better. It will likely require you to focus on a more positive outcome, believe in yourself more and to accept that a better outcome might look quite different from what you think it will.

Nov.06 – Sun conjunct Saturn (14:14 of Scorpio)

For a few days before and after this date, you may feel serious, studious, stuck, blocked, committed and/or hard working. It could be a good time to manifest well prepared plans, or you might have to get real and deal with difficult realities in new ways. You may have business with authority figures, or you might be called upon to act in a leadership role. It can also be a time to own your own authority – that is, to BE the authority figure, either to someone else or just to yourself. It might be a time of decision, when you have to choose one path or option over another. This can feel like an ending, as much as it is a new beginning, because selecting one possibility means you must let go of the other possibilities (at least for now). This is a necessary part of the process of manifestation and maturity. Doing closure on the people and situations that are passing out of your life will help to complete the process of growth and learning they have brought into your life, and can help clear the space for something new to begin growing in their place.

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Nov.07 – Jupiter stationary Retrograde (20:30 of Cancer)  (Nov.06 in CST, MST, PST)  ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read more about Retrograde planets.)

For up to a week before and after this date (while Jupiter is moving very slowly and stopped during the station), you may experience an increase in idealism, longing or inspiration. Your opinions, beliefs and assumptions may come under question, as your understanding of life and the world around you now requires further study. While Jupiter is retrograde over the next five months, you may have to re-examine your assumptions, attitudes, biases and judgments about one or more situations. It can be a time to gather more knowledge and look at things from a different perspective, which can change your interpretation of events.

Right now at the station there is the turning point, which might inspire you to explore already-known territory in a new way, or it could disrupt your journey because your map of the territory isn't accurate or up-to-date. This especially applies to situations that have been developing in the last three months (since Jupiter entered the shadow). Allow yourself to be open to new possibilities emerging gradually out of old situations. There is a deeper understanding that can result from exploring things from a different perspective and questioning what you think you know. That which is known and familiar may seem strangely irrelevant or foreign for a while, yet will eventually become integrated and understood again after Jupiter goes direct in five months.

Nov.07 – Venus sextile Neptune (02:35 of Capricorn/Pisces)  (Nov.08 in UK, AU)

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

Nov.08 – Mercury Retrograde sextile Venus (03:01 of Scorpio/Capricorn)

There is a potential to benefit from social connections, diplomatic communication and receptive awareness during this transit, although a certain amount of effort is needed to make this happen. It can be a good time for negotiating contracts and other agreements, especially if you consciously focus your intent on achieving balance with your counterpart, partner or opponent that results in a win-win situation for all concerned. There is also potential to appreciate and express beauty, pleasure and sensuality. If there's someone in your life that you want to get closer to, try speaking gently and listening receptively, which can be the key that opens the door to harmonious interaction. Creative ideas can also find expression now if you apply your conscious awareness to bring them into focus. The thing to watch for is a tendency to use manipulation to achieve an advantage, which might be done by you or to you. Keep communication straightforward and clear, and find diplomatic ways to deal with manipulation if you sense it happening.

Nov.09 – Mars sextile Saturn (14:35 of Virgo/Scorpio)

There is an opportunity to harness the energy of willpower using practical discipline. Your physical and mental energy are likely to be stable and enduring, or else they can become this way more easily than usual by applying a sustained focus of effort. This is a great transit if you need to be productive or to make progress in a goal that you are working toward. The thing to watch out for is a tendency to be over-cautious to the point where you get stuck in the planning stage and don't get much done. Or, you might try to rush into the production phase before your plans are fully formed. This transit works best when these areas are brought into balance.

Nov.09 – Mercury Retrograde trine Neptune (02:34 of Scorpio/Pisces)  (Nov.10 in AU)

Your mind is very open to imagination, dreams and compassion under this transit. This can be a very creative time, when ideas flow like a magical river. It can also be easy to get caught up in yearning and fantasizing about your hidden wishes, although it is possible to channel this into creative expression. (e.g., writing poetry, dancing, wistful music, singing in the shower, whatever!) Listening sympathetically to others' problems may come easily now, and you are more likely to get a compassionate response from others about your own problems. However, it may also be difficult to draw clear and firm boundaries with others, since you are more susceptible to the emotional gravity of others. It is ultimately a time for optimism, hope, creativity and intuition, although it's wise to keep at least one foot on the ground.

Nov.10 – Mercury stationary Direct (02:29 of Scorpio)  (Nov.11 in AU)  ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read more about Mercury Retrograde.  Read more about Retrograde planets.)

Mercury finally turns direct! Yippeeee!!!! ;-) But we're not out of the woods just yet. For up to a week before and after today, you may experience mental intensity, confusion, and miscommunications or simply changes in your outlook. After being Retrograde for the last 3 to 3½ weeks, Mercury is now taking a slow turn to resume Direct motion. This period has challenged you to rethink and rehash things that required some fine-tuning or revision. The Direct station can be a time when clearer decisions start to emerge from the issues and struggles you've encountered during the retrograde period. Or, it might turn your perspective around so that you're seeing your situation fresh again.

Over the next couple of weeks, while Mercury is still in the Shadow, your brain may feel a bit like it's gradually waking up after a deep sleep. During this time, you can gradually put into practice the learning and knowledge you've gained from your retrograde "dreams" and moonlight visions. It will take time to get fully back into sync with the Mercury direct energy. So, take it slow, one step at a time, and untangle yourself one strand at a time.

Nov.11 – Mercury Direct trine Neptune (02:34 of Scorpio/Pisces)  (Nov.12 in AU)

Your mind is very open to imagination, dreams and compassion under this transit. This can be a very creative time, when ideas flow like a magical river. It can also be easy to get caught up in yearning and fantasizing about your hidden wishes, although it is possible to channel this into creative expression. (e.g., writing poetry, dancing, wistful music, singing in the shower, whatever!) Listening sympathetically to others' problems may come easily now, and you are more likely to get a compassionate response from others about your own problems. However, it may also be difficult to draw clear and firm boundaries with others, since you are more susceptible to the emotional gravity of others. It is ultimately a time for optimism, hope, creativity and intuition, although it's wise to keep at least one foot on the ground.

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Nov.12 – Sun trine Jupiter (20:27 of Scorpio/Cancer)  (Nov.13 in AU)

This is a time when your understanding of the Big Picture and your place within it can click into place. As a result, your confidence and self-esteem can be quite high right now. Your ability to see opportunities and possibilities more clearly can produce an experience of being "lucky." Your insight into life and the world around you may be especially bright, optimistic and inspired. This is a "feel-good" transit, when your sense of self can seem to expand and become free. You may feel especially connected to spiritual energy during this time, finding new meaning in your live and the events that unfold around you. Self-confidence can run high now, and you could feel inspired to fight for justice or some cause. At the same time, there is a chance that all this self-assurance and "knowing" could go overboard into over-confidence, dogmatism or over-indulgence if it's not grounded in realism and humility. Just use your best judgment and enjoy this warm, shining energy!

Nov.13 – Neptune Stationary Direct (02:34 of Sign; direct until Jun.09)  (Nov.14 in AU)  ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read more about Retrograde planets.)

Neptune now turns direct after being retrograde for about 5 months. For up to a week before and after this date, you might feel a bit dreamy, disconnected, depressed, sluggish or scatter-brained. The Neptune energy takes you into a non-rational, intuitive place and can stir up feelings and issues from the unconscious. Vivid dreams could give you insight into situations you have been wrestling with, and your intuitive sensitivity might seem to come out of nowhere. Or you might experience the opposite—your dreams elude you and you feel cut off from your usual intuitive sense. What is happening is that your "right-brain" (intuitive, creative, non-rational, faith-oriented) is passing the torch to your "left-brain" (rational, logical, linear, practical), and you can get caught in the whirlpool of transition. Try not to control the process, but allow it to carry you and point you in a different direction. The learning you have gathered over the last five months or so—related to spirituality, longing, inspiration, creativity, imagination, fantasy, divination and intuition—can now start to be applied more directly in your life over the next few months. It may be possible to channel your experience into a creative form—possibly artistic, but definitely creating something new out of what has been, which can ultimately be healing and uplifting.

Nov.14 – Venus square Uranus (09:01 of Capricorn/Aries)  (Nov.15 in UK, AU)

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

Nov.14 – Venus sextile Chiron (09:07 of Capricorn/Pisces)  (Nov.15 in AST, NST, UK, AU)

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

Nov.15 – Venus conjunct Pluto (09:46 of Capricorn)  (Nov.16 in AU)

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

This is the only exact pass of this transit. However, Venus is going retrograde, and when she comes back and stations Direct on Jan.31.2014, she will again be opposite Jupiter and conjunct Pluto, but a little over one degree shy of an exact pass in both cases. This gives extra importance to this transit that is exact today. In January, there is likely to be a repeat of some of the themes, issues and dynamics that occur today (and a few days before and after today), so watch carefully for Venusian themes that might require further consideration over the next few months: relationship issues, values, finances and spending, negotiations and compromises, decisions and choices.

Chart for the Full Moon in Taurus
Chart for the Full Moon in Taurus

I'm not interested in money, I just want to be wonderful.
~ Marilyn Monroe

Nov.17 – FULL MOON in TAURUS (25:26 of Taurus)

FULL MOON in TAURUS

Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Nov.17, 2013, 10:15 AM EST

London, UK:

Nov.17, 2013, 3:15 PM GMT

Sydney, AU:

Nov.18, 2013, 2:15 AM AEDT

"What's a Full Moon?"

Read more about the Sun-Moon cycles.

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

Taurus is the flip side of Scorpio. Taurus and Scorpio form an axis of opposing signs, which reflect a mirror image of each other.

Their energies complement each other. They each fill in the gaps of the other to form a whole perspective of a shared archetype.

In the case of Taurus-Scorpio, that archetype is about the value or significance of what you have—the substance you're made of. Scorpio focuses on your inward, emotional core, and Taurus is your outer, material substance.

At the Solar Eclipse and New Moon in Scorpio (Nov.03), we probed into the deep inner shadow of that emotional core and looked for ways to reclaim, transform and ultimately celebrate it in a positive way.

Now, for the Full Moon in Taurus (Nov.17) which is the culmination of the New Moon energy, it's time to look outward at issues of material worth and what that means in your life. What do you have? And do you have it, or does it have you? And if the latter: why?

While money can't buy happiness, it certainly lets you choose your own form of misery.
~ Groucho Marx

If the secrets hiding in the Scorpio shadow are about (what we feel are) unacceptable or shameful aspects of ourselves, what is the Taurus equivalent?

The secret side of Taurus is the meaning we attach to material wealth and accumulation. In particular, this is what (we believe) wealth reflects about us and how (we believe) it improves, enhances and perhaps compensates for who (we believe) we are.

This isn't necessarily an indication of something evil or toxic. Most of the time it's innocent and fun, meant to pamper and please. The positive—or at least innocuous—side of Taurus is about beautification, enjoyment and appreciation of what you have.

It's the sweater you buy because you just love the colour and the style. It's the candy bar you can't resist while waiting at the grocery checkout. It's the hairstyle that makes your face look thinner or brings out your eyes. It's the car you drive that tells the world you're hot and sexy, or successful and powerful, or maybe environmentally conscious or even that automotive bling simply isn't that important to you.

Taurus is also our world of physical reality and our relationship to it. This is about money, certainly, but it's also about what that money can buy and do for us; hence, possessions and investments. Your relationship to your physical body takes place in Taurus territory. The body itself in the Natal Chart is signified by the Ascendant, but how you feel about it, what you do with it, how comfortable you are inside it and how you treat it – all of these are rooted in Taurus.

This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were
unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but
most of these were largely concerned with the movement of small green pieces of paper,
which was odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.
~ Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

It is said that money can't buy happiness. On the other hand, money can buy a whole lot of happy relief for someone who has struggled long and hard with not enough of it. Ask someone who has lived in that hell for very long and they'll tell you they'd trade the problems and disappointments of having money in a heartbeat for the problems of not having enough of it.

Unhappiness might not be solved with money, as such, but money can give you access to many resources that can help you find the happiness you long for. It can also make unhappiness a lot easier to bear. Also, having money means that your unhappiness is at least not complicated and worsened by having to deal with a lack of money on top of it.

The problem with money comes when you try to make it an end unto itself, to the extent that your happiness and well-being depend on having more than enough, especially if that amount must continually be increasing. In that case, it's important to ask yourself if your wealth may be trying to hide or mask something that is actually inside of you, rather than to reach a meaningful goal outside of you.

Everyone in the streets and the windows said, "Oh, how fine are the Emperor's new clothes!
Don't they fit him to perfection? And see his long train!" Nobody would confess that he couldn't see anything, for that would prove him either unfit for his position, or a fool.
No costume the Emperor had worn before was ever such a complete success.
~ Hans Christian Anderson, The Emperor's New Clothes, English translation

The dirty little secret of Taurus is that "stuff" is often used to bolster our self-worth in ways that have little to do with either the "stuff" itself or the money that buys it. Think of it as a new spin on the Emperor's New Clothes. The fabled Emperor cloaked himself in splendid clothes that were...well, not there. However, the "weavers" assured him that these clothes were made from specially woven cloth that could be seen by everyone except those who were stupid, incompetent or unworthy. Naturally, no one wanted to admit they couldn't see the clothes (nor what was now plainly visible "underneath" them!). It was only a small boy (who had not yet learned the consequences of not going along with the views of the crowd) who dared to speak the truth.

In the Taurus version of this tale, we surround ourselves with money, possessions, status symbols and prestigious glitter, and tell ourselves that this makes us better than we would be without it. We identify with our "things" and believe that we are less worthy, or worth less, if we lose them. We feel "naked" without them. Like magnificent clothes, we tend to believe that our "things" make us more than we otherwise would be. And if we believe it enough, we come to depend on having those "things" in order to feel okay about ourselves, and believe that without them we are "nothing."

"But he hasn't got anything on," a little child said.

"Did you ever hear such innocent prattle?" said its father. And one person whispered to another what the child had said, "He hasn't anything on. A child says he hasn't anything on."

"But he hasn't got anything on!" the whole town cried out at last.

The Emperor shivered, for he suspected they were right. But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all.

~ Hans Christian Anderson, The Emperor's New Clothes, English translation

The story of The Emperor's New Clothes is a cautionary tale about not letting ourselves get swindled into believing in something that isn't real. Taurus, as such, isn't typically associated with con artists and crooks, but there is a seductive side of Taurus that can entice us to believe there is more value and substance in material wealth than there really is.

Like the magic girdle of Aphrodite (the Greek counterpart to the Roman Venus), we surround ourselves with the things that money can buy in the belief that they will make us look more beautiful, lovable and worthy. And others might agree that we are more attractive because of them, but does that mean we ourselves are in fact changed as a result? Do our "things" really make us better people?

There is perhaps a symbolic value to the treasures we hold. Having "stuff" around us can provide tangible proof of our accomplishments and concrete reassurance of the value we have to others. Ideally, we become evolved enough that we can carry a sense of our essential self-worth within us so securely that these external reminders are unnecessary.

However, while we're still on the journey to reach that pinnacle, it is invaluable to have our personal worth mirrored back to us by the outside world in some form. Our "things" can do this for us, as well as other symbols of our value, importance and significance: admiration from others, power, achievements, etc.

The Taurus trap is that the more insecure we feel about our self-worth, the more "stuff" we may need around us, in the belief that if we have enough around us then we ourselves will finally be "enough." This is how Taurus becomes associated with the lust for wealth and possessiveness.

We buy things we don't need with money we don't have to impress people we don't like.
~ Dave Ramsey, The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

Actually, each sign does this in their own way, latching onto something as a way of soothing insecurity:

To discover how wealth and abundance operate in your own life, ask yourself the question, "What does this do for me?" rather than "How much do I have?" What possessions or resources do you have in your life that make you feel like a better person? What do you have that you want others to know about because you hope they will see you in a certain light?

Maybe it's something in your home—a big widescreen TV with home theatre system, or the latest iPhone or iPad with all the apps ("I have all the cool toys"). Or perhaps you have a closet full of designer clothes and racks full of shoes ("See how creatively I dress and look so smart and beautiful"). Or you might have shelves brimming with every herb, vitamin and supplement known to humankind, with even more shelves full of books to guide you in how to use them for optimal health ("I am wise and know how to beat physical limitations and frailties"). You get the idea.

Don't Gain The World & Lose Your Soul,
Wisdom Is Better Than Silver Or Gold.
~ Bob Marley

The Full Moon chart is full of complexity that gives you lots to work with in exploring your relationship with material abundance.

Let's start with the fact that the Moon is exalted in Taurus. The Moon has a watery, fluctuating nature that adapts its shape to whatever it touches. Being in Taurus—a Fixed Earth sign—the Moon has a solid shape that can hold and contain its energy. Like pouring water into a bowl, our feeling nature benefits from the stability and strength of its container, which helps our feelings be more enduring and resilient.

On the other hand, the Moon is conjunct the fixed star, Algol, with a tight orb of less than one degree. This star has an abysmal reputation for bringing bad experiences, but like everything else astrological, so much depends on how you use the energy. Algol is "the eye of Medusa" which could turn to stone any who gazed upon her face. The Greek hero Perseus killed and beheaded Medusa and carried her head in a sack, bringing it out when he needed to freeze something or someone in their tracks. The blood of Medusa that fell to the ground when she was beheaded became the winged horse, Pegasus. The goddess Athene later wore Medusa's severed head on her aegis as a defence.

So, on one hand Algol represents the risks of coming too close to energy that is dangerous, severe, caustic or forceful. On the other hand, this energy can also be used for protection or release of malevolent energy, as well as the transformation of rage and victimization (of yourself or others). (These ideas were discussed by Toronto astrologer Michael Barwick's in his recent lecture on fixed stars for Astrology Toronto).

Happiness is not in the mere possession of money;
it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.
~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

Soft Cradle aspect pattern

There are two Cradle-like aspect patterns, yet very different from each other. However, both of them hinge on the Sun-Moon opposition. One is the usual type of Cradle aspect configuration, with two planets forming trines and sextiles to both sides of the opposing planets. In this case, Jupiter is sextile the Moon and trine the Sun, while Mars is trine the Moon and sextile the Sun. These two apex planets generally indicate energies that can be used for creative problem-solving, although could also become a distraction that allows us to escape from actually dealing with the tension and struggle of the opposition.

In this case, Mars and Jupiter could ideally provide courage and wisdom, assertiveness and confidence, when dealing with challenges related to money and resources. On the other hand, they might also make it easier to seem like you're being "busy," ostensibly in service to a higher purpose, while this might actually just distract from the real work that needs to be done. In other words, it would be a bit like rearranging the plants on your window sill, when what you really need to be doing is cleaning the bathroom.

Hard Cradle aspect pattern

The second Cradle-like pattern is something that might be called a Hard Cradle or Square Cradle. It has two apex planets making aspects to the Sun-Moon opposition, but this time they form semisquare (45°) and sesquiquadrate (135°) aspects. This figure consists entirely of aspects from the square family, which carries enormous stress, tension, conflict and challenge.

The apex planets in this case are Uranus and Pluto – famous for their seemingly endless square aspect to each other, which has stirred up intense social and political discord, as well as forcing us to raise our collective awareness about many global concerns that could threaten the survival of our planet. Uranus is semisquare the Moon and sesquiquadrate the Sun. Pluto is also closely conjunct Venus, and they are sesquiquadrate to the Moon and semisquare the Sun.

This Hard Cradle could generate a lot of difficulty, bringing problems to a point of crisis. In particular, this crisis could require some very dedicated transformation in order to resolve itself. Problems that emerge or become severe around this time are likely to have much more serious implications than you might realize. It might almost be better to overdo your response then to underdo it. At least then you are more likely to be effective rather than finding yourself coming up short and have the problem still remain lurking in the shadows.

Got no checkbooks, got no banks.
Still I'd like to express my thanks,
I've got the sun in the mornin' and the moon at night.
~ Irving Berlin

Venus being a part of the Hard Cradle is very significant, since she is the planetary ruler of the Taurus Full Moon. Venus conjunct Pluto seems to echo the Taurus-Scorpio axis of the Full Moon (since Venus rules Taurus and Pluto is the modern ruler of Scorpio). Their alliance suggests a profound importance for probing deeply into the underlying psychological issues behind your connection to money, possessions, resources and acquisitions. Your relationship with your body could also become a theme, whether that involves food, body characteristics, sexuality, relaxation, stress, beauty, etc.

With Venus and Pluto involved in the Hard Cradle, there could be problems or issues to work out in any of these themes. However, the square family of aspects (square, opposition, semisquare, sesquiquadrate) also provide intense motivation and dynamic drive to do something to resolve the problems. Therefore, although it might be uncomfortable at first, there is great potential for significant and substantial rewards for hard work.

Venus is Out of Bounds (OOB), meaning that her position relative to Earth's equator is outside of the range where the Sun reaches. Venus has been OOB since Oct.10 and will remain until Dec.07. An out of bounds planet tends to play outside the usual playground, seeking to explore new, innovative or unusual ways of expressing its energy. Since early October, you might have found that relationships and finances (Venus stuff) hasn't been contained by the usual boundaries. Problems with these areas might have become worse than you thought possible, or your progress in these areas might have exceeded your expectations.

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The OOB Venus is especially significant now, since the Taurus Full Moon could provide a grounding influence, bringing these lingering issues into clearer and more concrete manifestations. In other words, you might find that issues (positive or negative) associated with Venus could become more crystallized and manifest at the Full Moon and in the 2 weeks following. If you're going through discomfort, trouble or even crisis around finances, resources, possessions, relationships, body issues, food or stress, this is a good time to be gentle with yourself and take extra care of yourself. At the same time, the best approach to your problems is to meet them head on, and to avoid the distraction of "making busy" with things that aren't a priority right now.

There's another reason why Venus is significant right now, being the ruler of the Full Moon. Venus is about to enter the Retrograde Shadow on Nov.20, and will be retrograde from Dec.21.2013 until Jan.31.2014, and then leaves the Shadow finally on Mar.04.2014. Therefore, this Venus-ruled Full Moon is likely to bring up Venusian themes that may require you to delve deeper into them over the next few months.

The Taurus journey ultimately takes you to a place of tranquility, relaxation, appreciation and enjoyment of the moment. When the moment is filled with struggle, it's often best to resist the urge to run away and instead hang in there to persevere through it. This is when Taurus' stubbornness can be an asset! But be careful not to let that stubbornness keep you stuck. The best way out is through.

You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.
~ Maya Angelou

Nov.18 – Mercury Direct conjunct North Lunar Node (07:42 of Scorpio)  (Nov.19 in AST, NST, UK, 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!

Nov.19 – Chiron Stationary Direct (09:07 of Pisces; direct until Jun.20.2014)  (Nov.20 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, you may feel a bit like you're caught between worlds—the spiritual versus the physical, the mental versus the emotional, or the outer objective world versus your inner subjective experience. Chiron has been retrograde for the last 4½ months, giving us time to assess the places in our lives that need healing and to discover the ways that we might be wounding ourselves or others. This includes physical health issues, emotional vulnerability and mental perspectives that create more problems than they solve. As Chiron turns direct, everything we have learned over the last five months becomes ready to be applied over the coming three months (while Chiron is still in the Shadow). Right now, you might find you reach a decision or turning point about issues you have wrestled with since May concerning goals, career, expectations or authority. If these issues have been stressful, this might come out now in the form of health problems, so it's a good idea to be gentle yet disciplined with yourself in this area. It could be a time of ambiguity, feeling like you're caught in a whirlpool that mixes up possibilities with limitations. Or, you might experience some clarity, as the paradoxical coexistence of realities and potentials on the path before you come into clearer focus. Either way, it is a time that can be magical because of its ability to bridge the gap between what is and what might be.

Nov.19 – Mars sextile Jupiter (20:15 of Virgo/Cancer)  (Nov.20 in AU)

There is potential for optimism, cheerfulness and increased energy during this transit. You will probably have to go after it (rather than it just falling into your lap), but you can probably increase your mood and energy level by applying a bit of effort. Your self-confidence and general attitude can improve, although be careful you don't become so caught up in feeling good that you ignore common sense, caution or realism. This is a good time to consider the moral, philosophical or greater implications of your actions, and then make adjustments to bring your behaviour into alignment with your beliefs, aspirations and ideals.

Nov.20 – Venus enters Retrograde Shadow (13:33 of Capricorn; in shadow until Mar.04.2014)  ("What's the Shadow?"  Read more about Venus Retrograde.  Read more about the Shadow.)

Venus now enters the span of the Zodiac where she will go retrograde in about a month. This is similar to when Mercury enters the Shadow, except that we are now building up themes and energies related to Venus – beauty, art, balance, harmony, love, pleasure, desire, fairness, diplomacy, finances, possessions, values. As Venus approaches her retrograde station, you may notice increasing experiences and events that emphasise these areas.

For example, money and income could either increase or decrease during the Retrograde phase, and then often returns to its former state after Venus turns Direct again. Romantic possibilities may heat up during the Venus cycle, only to cool down again afterwards if there is no real substance to sustain it. Or, existing relationships might go through a period of confronting and sorting through issues or problems that have been lurking in the background. If the relationship is on shaky ground, this might push it to the breaking point, forcing you to do some serious renegotiating or consider ending it.

In this time of global economic struggle, this Venus retrograde cycle could lead you to rethink and recalibrate your financial motivations and ambitions on an individual level, as well as all of us collectively on national and global levels.

Venus actually has fascinating retrograde cycle patterns that repeat over an 8 year period. Did you know that Venus will be retrograde only in certain signs within your lifetime? That's because of her long-term retrograde pattern. Anne Massey has written a terrific book called Venus: Her Cycles, Symbols & Myths (or Amazon.ca if you're in Canada.) It tells you everything you need to know about the complex patterns of Venus retrograde cycles and stations, as well as how these can manifest in your life. There is also information about the mythology of Venus and Venus-like figures. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to learn more about this intriguing planetary cycle.

Nov.20 – Mercury Direct trine Chiron (09:07 of Scorpio/Pisces)

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.20 – Mercury Direct sextile Pluto (09:54 of Scorpio/Capricorn)  (Nov.20 in AST, NST, 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.

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Nov.21 – Sun enters Sagittarius (until Dec.21/22)  (Nov.22 in NST, UK, AU)

Happy Solar Return to all Sagittarians! While the Sun is in Sagittarius, we all get to explore our horizons, seek our highest truth, discover our spirituality and gain fresh wisdom. Sagittarius energy encourages us to reach beyond our grasp, to exceed our limitations, and to rise above our primal impulses. Whether we are encountering other cultures, countries and languages, or expanding our horizons through new knowledge or spiritual awareness, this is a time to be uplifted and inspired. We are challenged to explore meaning in our lives and to connect with whatever we regard as sacred and sublime. In Sagittarius we also gather new knowledge and understanding, making sense of the patterns and themes within the raw information around us. It is not enough to simply have facts and data. Sagittarius presents us with the opportunity to reach for the highest truth we know, and then to exercise that truth in moral and ethical ways. The trap we must be careful to avoid is that it's easy to assume that our truth is truth for everyone else too, which is not necessarily the case. Our well-meaning wish for others to experience the inspiration and passion that we feel can seem to turn us into self-righteousness know-it-alls. It's tempting to believe that we are privy to knowledge that others are denied. There can be a fine line between sharing passionate knowledge versus shoving opinions down someone's throat. Everyone has their unique perspective on life, and therefore their own sense of meaning and truth that works for them. And yet, debating and challenging each other's knowledge, beliefs and values are also an important part of the Sagittarius passion for exploration. As the Sun journeys through Sagittarius, expand your awareness of how these issues play out in your life.

Nov.23 – Venus sextile Saturn (16:17 of Capricorn/Scorpio)  (Nov.24 in AU)

It is possible to find some stability in your relationships and finances under this transit, especially if you are willing to negotiate fairly and realistically. You have increased ability to be disciplined about spending and budgeting, and to invest in 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 your interaction with others. Commitment and structure may be easier to approach and achieve than if you take risks now. Your self-worth can benefit from this transit because you may be less inclined to give in to mood swings. On the other hand, 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.

Nov.24 – Sun square Neptune (02:36 of Sagittarius/Pisces)  (Nov.25 in AU)

Your ideals, hopes and wishful thinking may loom a little too large during this time, making you prone to disappointment and disillusionment. You might want a fantasy or dream to come true so much that you disconnect from the reality that seems to be in the way – only to find that the obstacle was serving a positive purpose after all. Your imagination may be very active now, but not easy to control or balance with reality. However, it can be a very creative time if you're able to harness that imagination for productive use. Unconscious urges and longings may be especially close to the surface, so you have an opportunity to learn more about the hidden forces that drive you (and perhaps distort your view of the world around you). Spiritually, you might discover that your yearning for enlightenment is not the straightforward path you had hoped for, but it can be just as valuable (although disappointing) to discover what is *not* your best path. Emotionally you may feel a bit overwhelmed, discouraged or confused. On the plus side, you have an opportunity to observe a deeper part of you, which is usually camouflaged against the distracting background of day-to-day life. There is tremendous creative, spiritual and healing potential to be found by listening to and working with the inner voices from those depths.

Nov.25 – Mercury Direct conjunct Saturn (16:33 of Scorpio)  (Nov.26 in UK, 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.

This is the last of 3 passes of this transit: Oct.08, Oct.29 and Nov.25. This has often been a difficult Mercury retrograde cycle, with Mercury conjoining Saturn 3 times. However, it has been a chance to become clearer about what you think about things, more careful about how your thoughts and perceptions shape your attitudes and actions, and more realistic about seeing things as they really are in your life. At this final pass, think about what has changed in your life over the last 2 months, and how your thinking about it has changed. Do you see a different, more effective path for yourself now? Perhaps you feel "older but wiser" about something? And maybe you now have a better plan to reach a goal by being more disciplined, organized and/or methodical in how you go about it?

Nov.27 – Mercury leaves Retrograde Shadow (18:23 of Scorpio; out of shadow until Jan.22.2014)   ("What's the Shadow?"  Read my articles about Retrograde Cycles.  Read my article about Mercury Retrograde.)

Mercury finally leaves the shadow—the part of the zodiac where it was retrograde. This means the confusion, delays and miscommunications of the last 2 months have mostly dissipated and things should be more or less back to normal (whatever that is). The difference is that you now have the benefit of seeing things from a different perspective after having reconsidered, rethought and rehashed information and perceptions over the past 2 months. This gives you more choices than you had before. In fact, you may find that although you thought something was a good idea a month or two ago, you now realize that a different approach, decision or way of understanding it is better. If you've been waiting until Mercury finished with the retrograde cycle before you made a final decision about something or taking action on something, this is the time to take another look at whatever that is. Just don't forget your common sense, and remember that Mercury is only one factor to take into consideration regarding the timing of a decision. Use your best judgment and wisdom.

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Nov.27 – Mercury Direct sextile Venus (19:29 of Scorpio/Capricorn)  (Nov.28 in UK, AU)

There is a potential to benefit from social connections, diplomatic communication and receptive awareness during this transit, although a certain amount of effort is needed to make this happen. It can be a good time for negotiating contracts and other agreements, especially if you consciously focus your intent on achieving balance with your counterpart, partner or opponent that results in a win-win situation for all concerned. There is also potential to appreciate and express beauty, pleasure and sensuality. If there's someone in your life that you want to get closer to, try speaking gently and listening receptively, which can be the key that opens the door to harmonious interaction. Creative ideas can also find expression now if you apply your conscious awareness to bring them into focus. The thing to watch for is a tendency to use manipulation to achieve an advantage, which might be done by you or to you. Keep communication straightforward and clear, and find diplomatic ways to deal with manipulation if you sense it happening.

Nov.28 – Mercury trine Jupiter (19:46 of Scorpio/Cancer)  (Nov.27 in PST)

This transit can make you quite talkative and flooded with ideas, along with those around you. Your stream of consciousness can flow abundantly with optimism and visionary possibilities. Write down your best ideas for later development, since you may be having too much fun now playing with ideas to want to stop and make them manifest just yet. Your outlook is usually optimistic and open-minded under this transit, although it might simply neutralize an already pessimistic frame of mind. You are likely to be more open to spiritual or philosophical perspectives, being more able to see yourself as part of something greater than yourself. You might even find that luck comes your way because you are more receptive to opportunities and possibilities.

Nov.28 – Venus opposite Jupiter (19:45 of Capricorn/Cancer)

This is a time when your desire for pleasure is wide open. Sexual desire could reach out using seduction. Desire for delightful tastes could become overindulgence in foods that may not be in the best interest of your health (e.g., sweets, alcohol, etc.). Spending can be impulsive and easily grow beyond your budget. Money-making opportunities could spill over into workaholic obsession. It might feel like nothing is "enough" and you feel compelled to continually reach out for more and more – a bottomless well of desire. On the other hand, this energy can also bring out your natural beauty and charm in social situations if you are shy or inhibited. If you've done your research and your comparative shopping, this could be the time you make a big purchase. Or you might find the feeling is right to make your move with a love interest and expand your intimate connection with that person. Or perhaps you feel generous and decide to donate your money or talents to a cause that reaches for a higher purpose. Enjoy, but don't blow your budget.

This is the only exact pass of this transit. However, Venus is going retrograde, and when she comes back and stations Direct on Jan.31.2014, she will again be opposite Jupiter and conjunct Pluto, but a little over one degree shy of an exact pass in both cases. This gives extra importance to this transit that is exact today. In January, there is likely to be a repeat of some of the themes, issues and dynamics that occur today (and a few days before and after today), so watch carefully for Venusian themes that might require further consideration over the next few months: relationship issues, values, finances and spending, negotiations and compromises, decisions and choices.

Nov.30 – Sun trine Uranus (08:42 of Sagittarius/Aries)  (Dec.01 in AU)

You are more open than usual to spontaneity, surprises and "flying by the seat of your pants!" Your sense of humour and fun are let loose during this transit, as is your ability to break out of old outworn habits. You may get a flash of insight, a burst of courage or a surge of inspiration under this transit. The spirit of who you are can become released now, possibly leading to you behaving a bit "out of character." It's a great time to try new things and experiment with something that's out of character for you. In fact, it may be surprising how easy it is to break out of your usual routine...so much so, that it's good to be careful not to be too reckless under this transit. If your self-confidence, self-expression or self-esteem have been stifled or dampened lately, these could come flying out rather erratically, carelessly or chaotically. Strive to have fun pushing the envelope without ripping it. ;-)

Dec.01 – Sun square Chiron (09:11 of Sagittarius/Pisces)  (Nov.30 in CST, MST, PST)

Your self-confidence and patience may be a bit strained right now, stretched by the urge to break free of chronic constraints. Motivation and self-esteem may seem to sag and suffer from old problems that you thought were resolved. This is probably because you are seeing "the flaws in the system" that are preventing you from getting the results you want. It will help to take a fresh approach to your situation. You may need to let go of what you think the results "should be" or how they should come to you. Be open to getting what you want in a different form than you were expecting. You may have to work extra hard for results now, especially if it means having to find a different route to success. If it seems like a door of opportunity has closed, look for an unexpected advantage or hidden alternative. This could allow you to tap into other opportunities that wouldn't have been possible otherwise.

Next Update:  NEW MOON in SAGITTARIUS, available by December 2, 2013.

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