Low-Down Archives for March 2014

New Moon Pisces, Full Moon Virgo

Chart for the New Moon in Pisces
Chart for the New Moon in Pisces

When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.
~ Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

Mar.01 – NEW MOON in PISCES (10:39 of Pisces)

NEW MOON in PISCES

HAST, AKST, PST:

Feb.28, 2014, 9:59 to 11:59 PM

Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Mar.01, 2014, 2:59 AM EST

London, UK:

Mar.01, 2014, 7:59 AM GMT

Sydney, AU:

Mar.01, 2014, 5:59 PM AEDT

"What's a New Moon?"

Read more about the Sun-Moon cycles.

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

I was going to write a deeply meaningful, soulful article about Pisces and surrender.

Honest, I tried.

And then various parts of my life went into crash-and-burn mode. As I write this, my bathroom looks like a war zone due to repairs that couldn't wait until Mercury went direct.

I'm sure my desk used to have a surface that wasn't made of scattered papers, pens and books, but for a while that's assumed urban legend status.

And we won't even talk about the kitchen!

The stress from these and other crises is a monumental distraction from writing!

Let's do this by the numbers...

#1: My ears are wincing from Mercury's squealing brakes, as he slows down for the hairpin turn to go direct on Feb.28. I'm sure you know the sound – even the brakes of a train squeal when it makes a station. ;-)

#2: I can also hear Mars spinning his wheels in a high-pitched whine as he expertly pulls a 180° turn on Mar.01 to go retrograde.

#3: Behind him is Saturn in a long, slow rotation, like a big ship turning on the ocean. He's officially going retrograde the next day, Mar.02.

#4: And off in the distance, Jupiter is slowing down to take one last look around before he heads back toward the horizon. For the next 3 months Jupiter takes you on a final tour through all the aspects he has made to your chart since Aug.12.2013 (when he first entered his retrograde shadow).

Confused yet? Starting to feel like Grand Central Station at rush hour?? Well, keep up! The good news is that by the time the New Moon in Pisces is born on Mar.01, Mercury will already be direct. (Happy dance!!!) One down, three to go!

We humans are conflicted beings. Our beliefs don't always harmonize with our instincts, and our behavior doesn't always reflect our beliefs. ...
We wage war between the person we are
and the person we hope to become.
~ Brandon Mull

While all this is going on, Venus and Mars are having a knock-'em-down, drag-'em-out fight. This has been going on since around Feb.20 and will continue until Mar.10. Venus was retrograde from Dec.21.2013 to Jan.31.2014. Almost finished her shadow journey, she plans to leave the shadow and make her grand entrance into the full sunshine on Mar.04.

Meanwhile Mars is whining and complaining about having one boxing glove tied behind his back, as he does his retrograde pirouette in Libra on Mar.01. Venus has no sympathy for him. She hisses and growls at him: "Suck it up, big guy. Take it like a man!"

Mars' feelings are hurt: "Hey, no fair! As the Queen of Libra you're supposed to be nice to me; support me, encourage me and help me adapt to your sign, not punch me in the gut. And it's not fair that while I'm in Libra I'm not supposed to hit back!"

Venus scowls. "I know you're more capable than that, Mars. I'm in Capricorn, the sign of your exaltation, and I know what I'm talking about. Besides, I was retrograde just a while ago and I got over it. So will you. So grow up and take responsibility for your own feelings and actions, Mars!"

Mars knows he's out-gunned so he smiles sweetly and nods, but behind his pleasant expression he's imagining all the ways he can get back at Venus when they oppose each other in mid-May when he is scheduled to finally go Direct again....

Squished somewhere in between the Mercury Direct station and Mars Retrograde station is the New Moon in Pisces. With all this turbulence going on, it's easy to miss it! The Sun and Moon have decided to pour some wine and just surrender to the madness – what else is there to do? Neptune and Chiron come by to say hello with a tray of psychedelic mushroom canapés and everyone is enjoying the buzz.

Neptune gets inspired and leads them in a beautiful singing chant. Meanwhile, Chiron demonstrates the new yoga postures he's been learning. With his wounded physique he always thought this was impossible, but was thrilled to discover a kind of yoga that's adapted to physically challenged centaurs.

Your task is not to seek for love,
but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.
~ Rumi

I think it's safe to say this is a time of tumultuous turbulence! Don't be surprised if you feel a bit like you're spinning in circles this past week and next week, kind of like the stick in this video being tossed every which way around the swirling white water currents!

Jupiter turns out to be the only retrograde planet in the chart—by a nose! He's also the Handle of the chart, so the buck stops with Jupiter. If he's happy, he can feather the nest of the rest of the chart so that it functions smoothly. You can recognize your inner happy Jupiter when you're feeling inspired and able to see optimism and adventure in the Big Picture. That distant horizon holds excitement to be discovered. Keeping that distant point in sight can do wonders to get you through whatever quagmire you're bogged down in right now.

That means you have to be willing to lift your eyes from the smelly bog around you long enough to realize that the path is going somewhere that will be better. The trick is to keep moving and don't let yourself stay stuck for long. An unhappy Inner Jupiter will tend to assume that the Macro-cosmic distant horizon looks pretty much the same as the Micro-mess of the local territory. But does he bother to get out there and find out for himself? Noooooooo.

So if your Unhappy Inner Jupiter takes over, you might find yourself feeling not only like that stick in the white water, above, but even more like a compass needle spinning aimlessly looking for a direction. Bermuda triangle anyone? Not really my idea of a vacation, but hey – whatever sinks your boat. ;-)

There is bound to be turbulence in the clouds of confusion before one can view the friendly skies,
and an illuminated landing strip.
~ T.F. Hodge, From Within I Rise: Spiritual Triumph Over Death and Conscious Encounters with "The Divine Presence"

Cardinal T-square aspect pattern: Jupiter, Uranus, Pluto

That said, the New Moon in Pisces—Oh ya! Did I mention there's a New Moon in Pisces? This is likely to cast either a shadow of doom and gloom and confusion and disorientation (if Jupiter gets stuck in the Bermuda doldrums), or a sprinkling of fairy dust in the form of inspiration, imagination, mind-wowing insights and transcendent experiences (if Jupiter wakes up on a sunny yellow brick road).

Jupiter has strings pulling him in both directions. As he rounds the corner to go direct again, he's still part of the Cardinal Cross T-square that's been with us since the New Year and will stay in orb until early June. Uranus is doing his best to befuddle Jupiter by creating as much turbulence as possible. All these planetary stations are like candy to his appetite for chaos and surprises.

Wedge aspect pattern: New Moon, Jupiter, Pluto

There's no shortage of stressful pressure on our jolly Jupiter, and this is making it harder to remember that there is life beyond the white water turbulence. And then from the other side of the zodiac, far far away, Pluto admonishes Jupiter, "I find your lack of faith disturbing."

To Jupiter's rescue comes the Stellium in Pisces: Sun-Moon conjunction, Neptune and Chiron. These all form a Wedge aspect pattern with a trine (120°) to Jupiter and sextile (60°) to Pluto. This provides some much needed release and ease to the Jupiter-Pluto tension.

This could come in the form of imagination, for example, that can frame it all in a hilarious way. Or it could project a totally different context around the struggle, which puts a whole new spin on all that tension. Suddenly difficulties may seem absurd or even noble. Darth might still be seen as one scary dude, but now you can see how he is also an essentially caring energy calling you to find your courage and look within, inside your own mask, so that you can transform what lies behind it and eventually even shed the mask.

When you surrender, the problem ceases to exist.
Try to solve it, or conquer it, and you only set up more resistance. . . . The most difficult thing to admit,
and to realize with one's whole being,
is that you alone control nothing. . . .
~ Henry Miller

No matter how this all plays out, surrender is pretty much the only option. (You just knew I was going to get that surrender thing in here somewhere, right?) Don't get me wrong – that does not mean flopping dead in the water! When you're in the middle of white water rapids, the worst thing you can do is become a limp fish. You need to work with the crazy current and navigate through it.

Not surrendering would be a refusal to go down the river at all, or perhaps building a dam to stop the water in its tracks. That's more about denial and controlling what's happening, and unfortunately control doesn't usually end well if you're determined to have air-tight dominance over the situation. It creates more problems than it solves, so even if you succeed in coercing events or people to do your bidding, you'll be stuck having to continually maintain that coercion or else things will slide back to their natural inclination. And the only way to stay vigilant enough to avoid that is to become so hyper-paranoid that you'll never really feel safe anyway. So what's the point? You just wind up getting locked into even more tension in order to avoid tension.

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Pisces knows you'll go farther and faster by working with the energy. Redirect it toward a different destination, or use the energy to push yourself in a new direction. Ancient martial arts often use this principle of redirecting energy. NASA's space probes use the gravitational pull of planets like a sling shot to increase their speed and alter their direction.

In other words, whether you're trying to avoid conflict or looking for opportunities to improve your situation, cosmic cooperation – co-operation – is the Piscean way. Far from being passive or weak, it has the potential to be far more powerful than you'd think.

So how do you adopt the Piscean way? Embrace your ability, remember that you're not in charge of anything except your own choices and be present.

Example: when kayaking down a raging river, there are certain things you can do to keep from capsizing so you can make it downstream in one piece. This video by World Champion kayaker Anna Levesque gives an excellent summary of the methods that can be used. However, if you watch it as a metaphor for how to navigate through turbulent times, you'll find it surprisingly insightful!

That is true surrender, which is the lesson and gift of Pisces. Surrender. Not as a victim but as an equal with the Forces That Be. Not as a tyrant determined to maintain a stranglehold of control, but as someone who has respect for those forces as well as being empowered with ability and courage. Not as someone humiliated by their lack of invincibility, but as someone humbled by the vast mystery of life and their place within it.

Happy kayaking!

Go down any road far enough
and you'll come to a slaughterhouse,
but keep going and you'll reach the sea.
~ Dean Young, First Course In Turbulence

Mar.01 – Mars Stationary Retrograde (27:31 of Libra; until May.19/20)  ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read my article about Mars Retrograde.  Read more about Mars Retrograde.  Read more about Retrograde planets.)

He's baaaaaack!! Mars now turns retrograde for the next 10 weeks or so, creating a need to reconsider the direction and use of our energy. For a week or more before and after today, your physical energy may be a bit erratic or wonky—here one minute and gone the next; active one minute and lethargic the next. Forward progress that was made over the last couple of months may seem like it has hit a roadblock or forced into an annoying detour. Tempers can flare easily from frustration and trying to push through the obstacles that don't want to budge. This can also trigger old unresolved anger, which might need to be worked through over the coming retrograde period. This might also be a time when you feel a bit depressed or lethargic due to repressed anger, particularly if you find it difficult to own, express or accept anger as a natural emotion.

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

Mar.02 – Saturn Stationary Retrograde (23:19 of Scorpio; until Jul.20/21)  ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read more about Retrograde planets.)

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

Mar.02 – Venus square Mars (27:31 of Capricorn/Libra)

Your receptive, diplomatic side is arguing with your assertive, decisive side. The result is either a battle of wills between your Yin and Yang, or a new creative energy that harnesses both. This could manifest in the form of relationship problems, financial struggles, arguments about control, or you are propelled to take action with plans that have been percolating for a while. If you're usually more comfortable with your Yin side (receptive, diplomatic), you might feel a bit backed into a corner or forced to negotiate under pressure. If you're more at home in your Yang side (assertive, action-oriented), you may feel compelled to blunt or sheathe the sword you would prefer to smite your enemy with. Either way, this is about balancing the two sides and finding a new cooperation that works for both.

Since Mars goes retrograde the day before and is still stationary for this transit, it is bound to pack an extra punch! You may find you're more likely to wield your sword first, and then feel bad about it later. Or, you'll believe that the ensuing conflict will clear the air and be for the better (and you might not be wrong about that). Just try not to slice more off your adversary than is absolutely necessary. ;-)

Mar.03 – Sun sextile Pluto (13:07 of Pisces/Capricorn)

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

Mar.03 – Sun conjunct Chiron (13:23 of Pisces)  (Mar.02 in UK, AU)

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

Mar.04 – Venus leaves the Shadow (28:58 of Capricorn; until Jun.21.2015)  ("What is the Shadow?"  Read more about Venus Retrograde.  Read more about the Shadow.)

Venus finally finishes her retrograde cycle by leaving the Shadow – the area of the zodiac where she was retrograde up until 4-5 weeks ago. Before that, Venus was retrograde for about 6 weeks, after spending 4-5 weeks in the pre-retrograde Shadow. The whole cycle lasts for about 3.5 months, and we are now at the end of this current cycle.

Look back on these time ranges and see if you can identify a pattern in your life. The pre-retrograde Shadow phase may have seen the development of issues, problems, challenges or changes in your desires and appetites in the areas of relationships, finances, resources or the need for balance. During the retrograde phase, you may have reconsidered and re-evaluated these areas, identified something you wanted to change, or perhaps allowed yourself to express feelings or desires that you normally keep locked away. You might have experienced either an increase or decrease in sex drive, desires, finances, social connection or romance during the retrograde phase and to some extent during the entire cycle.

The post-retrograde phase (which ends now) is the time when you make changes or choices based on what has emerged during the other two phases. Anything that increased and filled up the foreground of your attention may now recede into the background again, and things that seemed to hibernate or disappear may have begun to resume. We will not see the Venus Retrograde Shadow again for another 15-16 months.

Mar.04 – Venus square Lunar Nodes (29:11 of Capricorn/Libra)   ("What's a Lunar Node?")

Perhaps you're finding that the people in your life are not being as supportive, encouraging or cooperative as you thought they would be, in terms of helping you fulfil your life purpose. Someone might suddenly withdraw their support, or maybe they contradict or interfere with what you're trying to do with your life. Perhaps an argument or disagreement happens and the upset, stress or hard feelings that result seem to cast a shadow on how you feel about your life. If this happens, it's possible that what you disagree about is something you should look at more closely. Are you responding to this situation in a way that truly reflects your values? Or perhaps your values need to be reconsidered. The agreement or balance of priorities between you might need to be renegotiated. This transit might also manifest as problems around finances or possessions, which requires some adjustment on your part. Since this transit usually lasts only a few days, in most cases its effects will not be major. If it does bring up some significant issues, it is probably hinting at a deeper issue, and you would be wise to look at the problem beyond the current circumstances. Other transits (especially to your natal chart) can give you more information about the nature of the situation.

Mar.05 – Venus enters Aquarius (until Apr.05)

Relationships, material abundance and values take a step back to gain perspective, detachment and room to breathe in freedom. You may find that you want to use your finances and resources to benefit those who are disadvantaged or to support the greater good of society in some way. It can be a good time to experiment or try new things, to network with groups of people, and to take an objective view about intimacy and interaction. Relationships can take on an idealistic edge, seeking a state of equality and rebelling against imbalances that give one person advantage over the other. Having a strong element of friendship in your intimate relationships may become very important during this time, and friendships themselves could take a central place in your life. Detachment without disconnection is the ideal here. You may not be in a position to foresee future possibilities and translate desires into wishes and new hope.

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Mar.06 – Jupiter Stationary Direct (10:26 of Cancer; until Dec.08)  ("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 surge of idealism, inspiration and confidence. A quest for knowledge, truth, optimism and faith could become a beacon of energy in your life. On the other hand Jupiter could also bring an increase of judgement, blame and elitism. Jupiter has been retrograde for about 4 months. It is now changing direction again and resuming its normal direct motion.

You may have been exploring and developing the deeper qualities of spirituality, beliefs, confidence, knowledge, faith and/or optimism during that time. Or you might have found ways to expand your horizons—directly through travel or indirectly through the study of other cultures and languages. For the next 3 months (as Jupiter retraces its steps through the Shadow), you can start to apply and integrate what you've learned over the past 4 months. For example, if you have been taking a course or exploring your religious beliefs, this might be a time when you are able to put your discoveries into practice or place them into your worldview.

This turning point may be uplifting, overwhelming, inspiring and/or illuminating. You could discover new meaning in areas of life that had become stale or worn out, or you might realise that your old ways of understanding don't work for you anymore and need to be let go. Whatever you've learned or gained over the last 4 months, it is now available to be expressed and used more openly and directly in your life.

Mar.09 – North America changes to Daylight Saving Time (until Nov.02)

If you live in Canada, the US, Mexico or the Caribbean Islands, you might be switching to Daylight Saving Time today. Time to turn your clocks one hour forward the night before, or you'll be an hour late today! Check to see if your country or region participates in this time adjustment.

Mar.11 – Mercury square Saturn (23:15 of Aquarius/Scorpio)  (Mar.10 in HAT, AKT, PT)

Your thoughts, ideas and communication need to become structured, rational and discreet, although this may not be easy to achieve. You may have to work extra hard to get your point across now, since others might be resistant to your ideas or may not be familiar with the basic concepts. It is a time to be clear, objective and down-to-earth in your communication and thinking, but equally important to do this without going overboard and becoming rigid, autocratic or over-cautious. If you find yourself stuck in a "glass half empty" frame of mind, you might be sagging under the weight of melancholy ...Or, it might mean you are coming to terms with some hard realities and decisions and feeling the gravity of the implications. But also check to be sure you're not taking yourself and your situation too seriously. By applying your best efforts, this can be a very productive time, especially with anything involving communication, writing, organising or logic.

Mar.13 – Sun trine Saturn (23:12 of Pisces/Scorpio)  (Mar.14 in AU)

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

Mar.14 – Mercury trine Mars Retrograde (26:27 of Aquarius/Libra)

It may be easy to find the courage to speak your mind and say what needs to be said under this transit. 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. Your communication is likely to be direct, concise and right on the mark, even if 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 not as good for a situation requiring a more delicate, sensitive touch. It is a time when you could potentially find the nerve to take risks, or to defend yourself if the need arises (especially verbally). Overall, this is a wonderful transit for anything involving direct communication (e.g., public speaking, writing, debating), as well as mental agility (e.g., generating ideas, finding solutions, making decisions).

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

I'm not messy. I'm rebelling against folding.
~ Tiffanie DeBartolo, How to Kill a Rock Star

Mar.16 – FULL MOON in VIRGO (26:01 of Virgo)

FULL MOON in VIRGO

Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Mar.16, 2014, 1:08 PM EDT

London, UK:

Mar.16, 2014, 5:08 PM GMT

Sydney, AU:

Mar.17, 2014, 3:08 AM AEDT

"What's a Full Moon?"

Read more about the Sun-Moon cycles.

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

Once upon a time....

"Hello, my name is Virgo-Luna. Welcome to the Verge Inn."

Luna is a Big Beautiful Woman dressed tastefully in a tailored suit of bright shining silver with impeccable green stitching along the collar and cuffs.

The Full Moon is in Virgo, the sign of the virgin or young maiden. Virgo is a sign that strives for perfection, order and appropriateness, offering service and assistance.

"Do you have a reservation?" inquires Luna politely.

"Several," retorts Libra-Mars. "I have serious doubts about whether I should be here at all!"

Mars is currently retrograde in indecisive Libra. Decisions, certainty and actions made in the past could be questioned or reconsidered.

Mars looks nervously past Luna to Pisces-Sun who is lurking in the back office, peering out through the quincunx crack between the door and the door jam.

"Sun, I can't see you very well, with Luna blinding my eyes," Mars calls out, "but I know you're there and I'm watching out for you..."

Mars is in exact semi-sextile (30°) to the Moon and exact quincunx (150°) to the Sun. This could generate a feeling of free-floating irritation, anxiety or a nagging feeling that there's something you need to do but you're not sure what.

Luna leads him to a table in a back corner of the dining room and hands him a menu.

"Aqua-Venus will be your chef and Aqua-Mercury will be your server tonight. May I take your order?"

Mars pushes away the menu. "No need – I've been here before."

The Full Moon is ruled by Virgo's ruler, Mercury, which is currently in Aquarius. Venus, ruler of foodie Taurus and people-pleasing Libra, is also in Aquarius. Mars is retrograde, meaning it has already travelled through much of Libra once and is now heading back over the same territory (9:01 to 27:32 of Libra, currently backtracking at 26:01).

"Merc and I share the same elemental tastes, and he and Venus talk the same Aqua-language. They know what I like; I'll let them surprise me."

Mars, Mercury and Venus are all in Air signs (Libra and Aquarius), so they understand each other's needs and perceptions. Aquarius, with its modern ruler of Uranus, can bring unusual and surprising ways of seeing the world.

Luna is skeptically quincunx to Mercury and thinks he's kind of weird, but doesn't have any constructive suggestions to offer Mars. The customer is always right, except when they're not. "Very good, sir."

Mercury is quincunx to the Moon and semi-sextile to the Sun. Intuitive perceptions through the Moon might be fuzzy and unclear, and even harder to put into words. The Moon part of us could struggle between wanting to do things right versus needing to try new ideas for those things, which could muddy up the clear state of perfection Virgo aims for.

Soon Mercury comes out with a special dish prepared just for Mars: refried beans bathed in a bittersweet chocolate glaze, with poached dinosaur eggs on a bed of shredded cactus.

"This is delish! Just needs a bit more spice," says Mars, reaching for the hot sauce. "Last time I was here, I had sautéed cactus in bean sauce and scrambled eggs garnished with cacao beans. I love how you used the same ingredients in a whole new way. Very inventive!"

Retrograde Mars is moving through the same energy as he did in mid-February. This is a second look at the territory until Mars turns direct again on May.19 and passes through for the 3rd and final time. Mars is in trine aspect (120°) to Mercury, which can bring creative and constructive awareness of what we're seeing or experiencing that is a second, deeper look at Mars energy. You're essentially taking the same energies and looking at them in a different way.

This includes your actions, decisions and interactions, as well as insights about what triggers your anger and how you react. How you frame and perceive those triggering experiences can affect how you respond in the moment.

Are you reacting to a projection of your own defensiveness? What new insights can be gained come from putting yourself in the other person's shoes to see it from their perspective? If you back off and go along with things, does this make it better or worse for all concerned? What might change, for better or worse, if you change your response?

Meanwhile, Venus and Luna are arguing in the kitchen. Virgo-Luna is critical that Venus didn't stick with the agreed-upon menu, while Aqua-Venus complains that those conventional recipes were boring, unimaginative and tasteless.

Venus starts to freak out as Luna keeps bending over the stove, putting in all the herbs, spices and ingredients that Venus had deliberately left out.

"You're ruining my unique creation!" shrieks Venus.

"I'm correcting it," insists Luna. "Stop messing up the recipe!"

Luna swears she will get Venus' agreement in writing next time – signed in blood – and then worries whether that might be a health hazard for spreading disease.

Although Pisces-Sun likes the idea of a more imaginative menu, he resents having to come out of his back office to deal with the conflict and tells both of them to go meditate in the corner.

Venus is in stressful semi-square (45°) aspect to the Sun and sesqui-quadrate (135°) aspect to the Moon, generating energy somewhat similar to a T-square. You might be tempted to ignore or disparage the creative inventiveness of Venus in Aquarius that's available right now, since it may not fit well with Virgo's methodology and formula approach that focuses on problem solving more than artistic finesse. The rebellious and independent streak in Aquarius might also be seen as more trouble than it's worth by the Pisces Sun.

On the other hand, you might feel the need to break away from Virgo's narrow rules of what's acceptable, and fly free on the wings of Venus in Aquarius to unknown lands just waiting to be explored. This is underscored by Venus' sextile to Uranus, the modern ruler of Aquarius. This would leave the Virgo Moon and Pisces Sun languishing at the gate, complaining that their brand of perfection is being ignored and disparaged.

However, if you can get them all working together, they can make a productive, refreshing and delicious combination that is both innovative and practical.

Just then, Scorpion-Saturn appears menacingly in the doorway, wondering what all the ruckus is about. As the owner of the place, he runs things from behind the scenes with an iron fist.

Saturn in Scorpio is no softie, and has some very pointed lessons for all who come under his vigilant gaze, especially if you have an appointment with him via a transit to your natal chart. He is a very no-nonsense boss over those Aquarius planets (being the traditional ruler of that sign), and is currently in square aspect by sign and also by degree to Mercury. So the ability for Mercury and Venus to stray too far outside conventional lines is likely to be limited and perhaps have some rather strong consequences to deal with as a result.

Saturn spies Mercury sneaking away. "Not so fast, Mercury! I already told you to check with me first before changing the way we do things here," scolds Saturn as he tries to square off with Mercury.

Mercury pretends not to listen and heads toward the back office to hide out with the Sun.

"He'll be more receptive later when I can talk to him in secret behind closed doors," Saturn decides.

The square between Mercury and Saturn was exact on Mar.11. They're still within sight of each other (about 5½ degree orb) but separating. Mercury, being just a degree and a half away from escaping into Pisces (Mar.17), will then be in a harmonious trine relationship with Saturn (120° exact on Apr.02).

Therefore, you might initially have some difficulty with restrictive expectations, guilt or just feeling like you don't fit in with your surroundings. However, this probably won't last and is more likely to be a previous situation playing itself out. Don't mistake being out of sync with your environment with being a failure – one isn't necessarily the cause of the other, nor is it likely to stay the same for long.

In the meantime, Saturn reassures Luna and Sun that he approves of how they're handling things. He tells Luna to stop worrying about Venus – he will deal with her at their upcoming square (Mar.29).

Saturn is in harmonious relationship with the Sun-Moon opposition, forming a Wedge aspect pattern: trine (120°) to the Sun and sextile (60°) to the Moon. When you aim for improvement of your situation or of yourself, Saturn's stern no-nonsense approach can help through discipline, self-honesty and an acceptance of necessity.

This can help prevent Virgo's Mutable details from messing up a good thing through too much fine-tuning (i.e. fixing a "working watch" until it breaks). Saturn also provides constructive containment for Pisces' Mutable fluidity, so that the creative energy flows toward a destination rather than just meandering aimlessly.

Pisces-Sun sighs with relief that all is well with the world once more. Virgo-Luna is forced to admit her worry was unnecessary and very probably a waste of good mental energy that should have been put to better use.

"Geesh," says the Sun, "Even when you're right you blame yourself for thinking you were wrong!"

"Easy for you to say," retorts Luna, "always escaping into the back office and sampling from the wine cellar, while I'm the boots on the ground out here in the real world..."

"Luna and Sun," growls Saturn, "shut up and get back to work."

Real life is only ever just real life. Messy. What it means depends on how you look at it.
The only thing you’ve got to do is find a way to live there.
~ Patrick Ness, More Than This

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Mar.17 – Mercury enters Pisces (until Apr.07)  (Mar.18 in AU)

Imagination, dreams, creativity and intuition are more easily accessible while Mercury floats through Pisces. You may be more impressionable, appreciative and open to ideas that previously had seemed improbable, unrealistic or silly. This is a good transit for any creative work – writing, music, artistic projects, or just putting ideas together in new ways. Problem solving could benefit now, because it may be easier to think beyond the limiting boundaries of the situation. On the other hand, it might also be easier to become caught in confusion, ambiguity or ambivalence, since the sharp edges of definition may be easily blurred or distorted. This is a time when the "Right Brain" – the intuitive, creative and non-rational side of the mind – can be more active. As a result, meditation, dreams and daydreams may be more accessible. Unfortunately, illusion and deception might also be more convincing and enticing, since critical and objective thinking could be a bit harder to maintain. You might also experience some mental lethargy and need to give your mind a rest. Try going to a movie, or read an entertaining novel, or spend some quality "alone time" with yourself. Or, take a long walk in a park or by a body of water, where you can enjoy the luxury of just appreciating nature and "being" instead of "doing." Some harmless or entertaining escapism can be a great way to give yourself a mental vacation – just don’t get stuck there. Explorations of spiritual experience and thought can also bring new insights and inspiration under this transit.

Mar.18 – Venus sextile Uranus (11:38 of Aquarius/Aries)  (Mar.19 in UK, AU)

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

Mar.20 – Happy Equinox! Sun enters Aries (until Apr.19)  (Mar.21 in AU)

EQUINOX DATES

Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Mar.20, 2014, 12:57 PM EDT

London, UK:

Mar.20, 2014, 4:57 PM GMT

Sydney, AU:

Mar.21, 2014, 2:57 AM AEDT

Happy Solar Return to everyone born in the sign of Aries! This is also known as the Vernal Equinox – the time when day and night are of equal length. In the northern hemisphere, this marks the beginning of Spring, as the light increases. In the southern hemisphere, it is the start of Fall, as the light decreases. While the Sun is in Aries, it is a time when all of us (not just those born under the sign of Aries) have the opportunity to experience our Aries nature. The archetype of that nature is like the pure life force that is contained in a single seed. A seed is the residue of a previous cycle of growth – both its resulting harvest and its unfinished business. The Aries energy is about our use of that raw life force within our personal expression of that energy. It manifests in assertiveness, courage, risk-taking, directness, initiative, our sex drive, and the pioneering spirit. It can also emerge as aggression, pushiness, violence, anger, recklessness and self-absorption. The same forceful energy that can fuel damage and single-minded egotism is the same energy that, applied in a different way, is also essential for self-validation, confidence and the drive to make things happen. While the Sun is in Aries, we all have the opportunity to explore how we use this energy in our lives and whether we want to change this. Here are some suggestions about how to explore your Aries nature: Is there something new you want to start in your life? What activities do you want to begin that you’ve never done before? What will give you the courage and confidence to bring these into your life? If it is not possible to do this, or if you encounter delays, how do you deal with your frustration? Do anger and frustration motivate you to take action, or do these emotions tend to overwhelm and inhibit you? How do you express your anger, and does this clear the air or just create more problems? Use this time to explore these and related areas.

Mar.20 – Mercury leaves the Shadow (03:20 of Pisces; until May.22)  (Mar.21 in AU)  ("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.

Mar.22 – Mercury conjunct Neptune (06:02 of Pisces)  (Mar.22 in AU)

The imagination soars under this transit! Possibilities seem richer, insights appear more magical and creativity flows like liquid honey. Your intuition is likely to be more fluid, and you may even have psychic experiences. Dreams may be more vivid and active, including daydreams. You may feel a need for quiet meditation or just being alone with your own thoughts. Your mental focus may seem a bit blurred, although in the outer edges you may catch a glimpse of ideas and possibilities that you don't ordinarily notice. It can be an inspiring time if you are involved in creative activities, like artwork, music, writing and other creative forms of communication and self-expression. This is a time when your "Right Brain" (intuitive, creative, non-rational) may be very active. In fact, it might be a bit difficult to bring a sharp focus to your "Left Brain" (logical, rational, realistic). Your judgment and ability to be objective may be off, and you could be more prone to wishful thinking and flights of fantasy. If you're making an important decision now, it may be wise to do a reality check with a trusted friend before you commit yourself.

Mar.26 – Mercury trine Jupiter (11:05 of Pisces/Cancer)

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.

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Mar.28 – Mercury sextile Pluto (13:29 of Pisces/Capricorn)  (Mar.27 in HAT, AKT, PT, MT)

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.

Mar.29 – Mercury conjunct Chiron (14:56 of Pisces)  (Mar.28 in HAST, AKT, PT, MT)

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

Mar.29 – Venus trine Mars Retrograde (22:37 of Aquarius/Libra)  (Mar.30 in AU)

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

Mar.30 – Venus square Saturn (22:42 of Aquarius/Scorpio)  (Mar.30 in AU)

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

Mar.30 – UK changes to Daylight Saving Time (until Oct.26)

If you live in Canada, the US, Mexico or the Caribbean Islands, you might be switching to Daylight Saving Time today. Time to turn your clocks one hour forward the night before, or you'll be an hour late today! Check to see if your country or region participates in this time adjustment.

Next Update:  NEW MOON in ARIES, available by March 30, 2014.

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