The Low-Down on the Far-Out

Full Moon in Cancer, Dec 2015 to Jan 2016

Chart for the Full Moon in Cancer
Chart for the Full Moon in Cancer

It's a Full Moon this Christmas.
Because putting family and alcohol together
wasn't crazy enough.
~ Social media meme; original source unknown

Dec.25 – FULL MOON in CANCER (03:19 of Cancer)

There are many religious and secular celebrations at this time of year.

The better known December holidays originate in the Northern Hemisphere, when our hours of daylight hit an all-time low before gradually increasing again after the December Solstice.

These holidays take place at the darkest time of the year in the North. What better to celebrate than the knowledge that it will get better? This is an affirmation that, although it's darkest before the dawn, that dawn will appear.

As a result, these holidays tend to focus on the triumph of light over darkness, that light's ability to pierce even the heaviest darkness, and a vision of a brighter future with its restoration of daylight and warmth. Festivities make abundant use of light imagery with its beautiful contrast to the expansive darkness.

December celebrations include Jewish Hanukkah, Christian Christmas, Buddhist Bodhi Day, Pagan Yule, the spiritual tradition of Kwanzaa and the New Year in the Western calendar. Even Hindu Diwali or the "Festival of Lights" in October or November may be counted among them.

Christmas is by far the most dominant of these holidays in Western culture. In fact, it's near impossible to avoid it unless you lock yourself in a soundproof room from September to mid-January, unplug the TV, Internet and radio, and leave your snail-mail to pile up in the mailbox. Nevertheless, Christmas overload notwithstanding, this is meant to be a time of merriment, renewal and hope.

For anyone who celebrates one of these holidays, this is traditionally a time that focuses on family. Families – both genetic and kindred spirits – draw close to reaffirm and celebrate their ties with each other.

For most of us, it's wonderful to reconnect with your tribe. Even if it's not possible to do it in person, we're usually thinking about them and wishing they were here or we were there.

It's a time to be reminded that, despite all else, you have a place where you belong and people who won't (usually) slam the door in your face when you show up for dinner.

We tend to focus much of these celebrations on children, watching their eyes twinkle around the lights and decorations. The rebirth of the light and the calendar year brings hope for the future, which our children personify.

We make it an exciting and magical time for the kids, and do our best to get some of it to rub off on us too. Children are included in many creative ways in the festivities, from children's choirs to dreidel games to hanging up stockings for Santa Claus to Yule craft making. And of course there's also the joy of giving and receiving gifts to both little kids and adult kids.

Pleasure is always derived from something outside you, whereas joy arises from within.
~ Eckhart Tolle

The Full Moon in Cancer fits very snugly into these traditions and themes. For one thing, Cancer is very much about family and childhood. It represents both the family that you have now in your adulthood and your family-of-origin that you grew up with. It's your overall family: parents, siblings and extended family. It's also the fond memories brought to mind courtesy of the Ghost of Holidays Past. All the warm, fuzzy experiences that happened, or that you dreamed of happening, may dance like sugar plums through your head at this time of year.

This is a time when you are likely to feel that homing instinct – the urge to reconnect with the best of the past, to revisit the nest from whence you sprang all those years ago, either physically or in spirit. If that's not possible or if your memories of home are more upsetting than uplifting, you may find your mind swimming with visions of what might have been.

Wedge aspect pattern - Sun, Moon and Neptune

In the Full Moon chart, Neptune is the only planet that forms major aspects to the Sun and Moon. These three heavenly bodies form a Wedge aspect pattern, with Neptune trine the Moon (120°) and sextile the Sun (60°). This makes the Full Moon fertile for luscious imagination that can bring out the very best in our experiences, thoughts and feelings.

Connections with those close to you (family, close friends and anyone else who is like family to you) may take on a cosmic glow from viewing them through the idealistic lens of Neptune. It can soften rough edges, melt inhibitions and help you forget all about any conflicts that disrupted your mutual flow in the past. In other words, this can make it be easier to leave the hatchet for carving the turkey, where it belongs, and be willing to just enjoy the moment.

A person often meets his destiny
on the road he took to avoid it.
~ Jean de La Fontaine, Fables

Of course, for many of us there's also a certain amount of anxiety or dread that comes with seeing Uncle Horace and Aunt Hortense after a delightfully long absence. Family dynamics can get pretty weird, even ugly, as old relationships are rehydrated with alcohol and reactivated by old habitual interactions. It's usually wise to go to these gatherings prepared with a planned coping strategy, as well as a Plan B in case the first one fails.

On one hand, there is an open-hearted receptivity that Neptune aspecting the Cancer Moon can bring. This is wonderful for joyous camaraderie, creative inspiration, deep appreciation for anything that warms the heart, and coasting along with the prevailing flow happening around you.

On the other hand, this could go a bit overboard – especially when lubricated by alcoholic and other Neptunian consumables – and make it harder to resist those old patterns of interaction and expectations. It's one thing to go with the flow. It's another thing to abandon your right to steer through that flow so that you avoid crashing into the rocks and getting stuck in the shallow areas.

Trines and sextiles (120° and 60° aspects) are often seen as bringing good times and easy-flowing benefits. While that can be true, they can also make it a lot easier to go along with things that may not be in your best interest. It's wise to keep your brain engaged while under the spell of Neptune. It doesn't have to be, nor should it be, an either-or choice. Rather, it's about keeping a healthy balance between being receptive to something that might be comforting and reassuring versus maintaining a firm, disciplined stance on the reality of the situation.

And doesn't that sound a lot like the Cancer Moon in opposition to the Capricorn Sun? There—we've come full circle.

My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations.
~ John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

Speaking of what your brain is doing in the midst of all this, let's talk about Mercury coming up to square Mars (90°). This might look like your garden variety annoying-yet-motivating transit, but it is decidedly not!

Let's start with Mercury having just checked into the Retrograde Shadow (Dec.19). In addition, he's been Out of Bounds (Nov.27 to Dec.25; "What does Out of Bounds mean?") and sneaks back in-bounds just as the Moon becomes Full. So if you've been picking up what feels like Mercury Retrograde energy in the last few weeks, now you know why. (Think: computer glitches, hurry-up-and-wait frustrations, tripping over road blocks on your path to progress, discovering your information isn't correct or complete, and so on.)

So Mercury has been trying on various hats to explore different ways of expressing his Inner Brat. No, it's not over yet, and things could easily get weirder over the next several weeks.

Mercury goes retrograde from Jan. 5-25, 2016. Yes, Happy New Year to you too. January could be spent doing a lot of reminiscing about good times past, from the perspective of the bills that come in after your December spending spree. The good thing that might make this easier to manage is that Mercury is in disciplined Capricorn through most of December, giving you a chance to think twice before punching in your credit card number or PIN. (By the way, do check out my Astrology Report Sale for some very personal, unique, practical and frugal gift ideas!)

On the other hand, Venus is in lusty Scorpio through most of December too (4-30), so any strong attraction to goodies that stir your passion might be a little difficult to resist. Mercury and Venus hang together within a 6° orb of a sextile aspect (60°) from Dec.04 to Jan.05. This suggests it should be possible to negotiate a cooperative middle ground between Scrooge-like austerity and ravenous consumerism. How easy it is to actually do that largely depends on what else is happening in your own natal chart.

Don't flatter yourself that friendship authorizes you to say disagreeable things to your intimates. The nearer you come into relation with a person, the more necessary do tact and courtesy become. Except in cases of necessity, which are rare, leave your friend to learn unpleasant things from his enemies; they are ready enough to tell them.
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

And then there's Mars. Oh yes, just when you thought Mercury and Venus had signed an amicable contract for effective financial and social management, along comes Mars to stir the pot. Mars is currently in Libra (since Nov.12) where he has instigated the urge to use hostility, assertiveness and protest as a way of bringing a better balance to both the discord and stalemate of our shared social environment. What, you say there's even more conflict and deadlock in that environment now? Well that's because everyone has a different idea of what the problem is and what the best solution would be. Oh. Right.

Mars slinks into Scorpio on Jan.03, where he's much more comfortable lurking in his own sign. There he can enjoy hanging out in the Dark Side of the Force, and if he doesn't get completely seduced by its tricky shadows, he can intuit ways to transform it into light.

Along comes Mercury sputtering into Aquarius on Jan.01 and getting ready for the retrograde station on Jan.05. Just when he thinks he's found his footing, along comes Mars to pick a fight with him at the same time that Mercury is stationary. Mars forms a square aspect (90°) precisely as Mercury is stationary, poised in mid-air about to go in reverse direction.

At its worst, this could feel like a sucker punch! Yes, Mercury is extra powerful due to his stationary condition, but he needs to focus on changing direction, not on reacting in a philosophical, detached and objective way, like a good Aquarian. In addition, Mars is also extra powerful, being in his own sign of Scorpio, so his punch could feel like Mercury just got the wind knocked out of him. Poor Mercury! (sniff, sniff)

There's one more prickly and potentially disruptive energy to watch out for: Uranus which is Stationing Direct the same day as the Full Moon. And although Mars is well past his opposition to Uranus (Dec.10), the scent of gunpowder still lingers in the air from previous explosions and fireworks, adding to Mars' volatility as he approaches his square to Mercury. All of this could inject some considerable chaos into that Neptunian bliss.

The upshot of this is that in through the holiday season and into early January, you might feel unusually out of sorts, frustrated, picked on, at odds with the world or just plain overloaded. Mercury and Mars travel within orb of their square aspect from Dec.20 to Jan.10, and Uranus sends out even more sparks during the December part of that time range.

Neptune's glow casts a loving light over the holidays, but this time isn't likely to pass without challenges or commotion. At worst Mercury, Mars and Uranus could swirl up an ominous snow cloud that hovers over the festivities through the holidays. Sorry about that.

If these energies do stir up trouble in your life, be careful not to dive head first into Neptune's escape hatch by overindulging in drinking, drugging, spending, gambling and other denial mechanisms that could create more problems than they solve if not grounded through moderation.

It's all a matter of perspective. And maybe we thought we were living one story,
when if we look at it a little different, we can reframe everything – all our memories
and attributes and experiences – and see that we're actually living a different story.
~ Kiersten White, The Chaos of Stars

Okay, enough with the doom and gloom! What can actually be done with this potent energy? What kind of spicy lemon chutney can emerge from the Mercury-Mars-Uranus kitchen?

At its best, you could experience inspired motivation, flashes of insight, or being seized by an overwhelming urge to take action with something you've been hesitating about for a while. At its worst, you might shoot off your mouth before your brains are loaded, resulting in conflict that seems to come out of nowhere, arguments with people you normally see eye-to-eye with, or hot frustration with situations and people you're usually pretty patient with. Either way, this can be an amazingly productive, constructive, healing and tasty energy if you channel your powers for good.

If it's manifesting in a chaotic, uncomfortable or negative way, here are some things to consider.

[1] Are you sure it's negative? That might sound like a stupid question, but maybe you're actually experiencing suppressed feelings and thoughts that really need to be said in order to clear the air. Your emotions might be overreacting a bit and the words might have a sharper edge than they really need to, but that doesn't necessarily mean you necessarily need to (or should) shut down the whole process. How you express it is just as important as what you're expressing. Meditate on what you need to say and maybe rehearse it so that your message doesn't get lost in the way it comes out.

[2] if you're boiling over with anger or other volatile energy, find a safe way to blow it off—ideally in a way that involves your body. Dance it out to loud music. Go for a brisk walk. Scream into a pillow. Do some housework (maybe away from the good china). Work out at the gym. Declutter your closets, and as you toss things in the garbage or donation bin, be aware that you are throwing away whatever you has held you captive that you are finally freeing yourself from.

Alternatively, if you're experiencing this energy in a positive, motivating, energizing way—awesome! Harness that vision and passion and figure out what you want to do with it over the long-term. Make step-by-step plans. Let your imagination see how far it can stretch itself while also thinking about how you can make it happen. Mercury retrogrades back into Capricorn on Jan.08, so use this time to create a blueprint for how to build and organize the possibilities you are inspired by.

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

The festive season can be used to make the most out of the Full Moon energy. Even if you don't celebrate anything, as such, at this time of year, consider at least acknowledging the astronomical turning point that is happening between the Earth and Sun.

If you're in the Northern Hemisphere, let your imagination and vision be projected out into the coming months when the days will get longer. Yes, we still have most of the cold weather ahead of us, but it can help to stay aware of the daylight changes that are even now starting to increase.

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If you're in the Southern Hemisphere, this marks the beginning of summer for you. It gets more colourful and warmer from here, as the land unfurls her beauty in full splendour. True, your daylight will gradually decrease from here, but the best seasonal response to the solstice light is yet to come.

North or South, South or North, somewhere in the middle or in the far reaches of the planetary poles – this Full Moon can light the way to some peaceful serenity (Neptune) as well as lively activity (Mars and Mercury). On the other hand, it could also open the doors to being a bit too susceptible to the influence of others and/or to getting sucked into heated disagreements and conflicts of interests.

Good or bad, it's likely to involve your experience with your family-of-origin and/or your peeps that you surround yourself with in adult life. It could also bring up old issues from the past around belonging (affirming that you have it or aware of how it's missing from your life).

This is a time when you can learn more about what you need from these people and situations. If you're getting those needs fulfilled, you can reaffirm the connections that give you this. If you're not, then use this time to understand a deeper reason why not, as well as finding ways to connect to yourself more. Be a better loving parent to yourself. And if you're alone at this time of year, try reaching out to someone – they are likely to be more receptive to forming new bonds, inspired by the generosity and caring of the season and the Full Moon.

I wish you the very best of hope, peace, joy and love throughout the holidays, and a truly awesome year ahead in 2016!

Change is in the air. This change reminds us that we are made and beautifully sculpted
by the same power that orchestrates the change of season. Let this be the season
you embrace and align yourself with this change.
~ Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

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Dec.25 – Mercury trine Jupiter (22:57 of Capricorn/Virgo)  (Dec.26 in AU)

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.

Dec.25 – Uranus Stationary Direct (16:33 of Aries; until Jul.29)  (Dec.24 in NST, UK, AU)  ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read more about Retrograde planets.)

Uranus now turns direct, after being retrograde for the last 4 months. This often brings a turning point in situations involving spontaneity, freedom, breaking free of old patterns, rebellion and expressing your personal uniqueness. For up to a week before and after this date, it could feel a bit chaotic or erratic—or perhaps just spontaneous and exciting. However, Uranus' ultimate agenda is to clear the way for your true spirit to manifest in your life. You may experience unexpected changes, flashes of insight, or disruption of established situations that aren't working well (which might include computers, Internet, mass media, groups, friends or future plans). This can be the awakening of a new perspective, to be brought into a clearer focus through open-mindedness and being willing to try new things.

Dec.29 – Sun sextile Neptune (07:29 of Capricorn/Pisces)  (Dec.30 in AU)

Faith in the bountiful blessings of the Universe is within reach under this transit...but then, so is the fantasy that you will be magically granted anything you wish for. Although this is mostly a very positive energy, you could become so immersed in your longing for the ideal that you have trouble dealing with the less-than-ideal realities that still must be dealt with. Gaining the benefit from this transit will still require some effort. Hope, optimism and imagination are in the air, which could bring some relief from any depression or discouragement you might be feeling. Your creativity and imagination can be very inspired under this transit. Your sense of self could also get an infusion of uplifting vision, and you may experience a sense of mission, feeling that you are truly a Child of the Universe. There is potential now to lift you out of the ordinary and into the sublime – spiritually, creatively, romantically or compassionately – although this will require your cooperation to take advantage of it. Enjoy it while it lasts, but before you make changes based on what might feel like a permanent condition, remember that this is mostly a temporary influence and you will still have to live within the bounds of the physical world after it passes. Don't make overly optimistic promises now, that you will have to fulfil later when the euphoria wears off.

Dec.29 – Mercury square Mars (27:13 of Capricorn/Libra)  (Dec.30 in AU)

Fiery speech, argument and hot debate characterise this transit. This could come in the form of conflict, or it might be stimulating and challenging – or both! One thing to watch out for is that you may have a short fuse for a temper, and the same may be true for others around you. It can be a time when you blurt out things you later regret, or you might finally find the courage to do something that's long overdue. The problem is that one can easily look like the other, and what feels like courage in the moment might look more like reckless haste in retrospect. Harsh words can't always be taken back, so keep a grip on your objectivity and better judgment while you're verbally fighting the dragons. Use this energy to stoke your motivational fires, and use your ideas to generate positive action. It can help to pace your mental energy like racing a horse, which can harness abundant energy to fuel your decisions, courage and resolve.

Dec.30 – Venus enters Sagittarius (until Jan.23.2016)  (Dec.29 in HAST, AKST, PST)

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

Jan.01 – Mercury Direct enters Aquarius (until Jan.08)  (Jan.02 in UK, AU)

Mercury in Aquarius brings objectivity, detached mental focus, and communication that strives for unprecedented breadth and height – even to the point of adopting an "ivory tower" mentality. This is a good transit for anything requiring a scientific or analytical approach, as well as anything that calls for you to "think outside of the box." This can be a time when you start to see old familiar situations in new ways, giving you a fresh perspective on things. This planetary energy is not likely to be supportive if you need to take a gentle or sensitive approach to personal interaction, however, since you may be more tempted to just say what needs to be said and let the chips fall where they may. Your mental outlook may be focused on upcoming possibilities, and it can be a good time to map out future plans and try on new ideas, since you are likely to be more open-minded to things you had previously dismissed as unrealistic or too "out there." This can be a time when you suffer from "cabin fever" and need to get out of the house more, especially if you've been cooped up for a long time due to bad weather, hard work or just lack of motivation to do something different. Breaking free of old routines can be a good thing – just remember you have to live with whatever mess you make in the process.

Mercury dips his toe only briefly in the sign of the Water Bearer, just long enough to station retrograde (Jan.05) and then head back to Capricorn (Jan.08) to take care of his agenda of unfinished business. He'll return to Aquarius again on Feb.13, when he'll be able to celebrate the end of his retrograde cycle with some fresh intellectual fun.

Jan.03 – Mars enters Scorpio (until Mar.05)  (Jan.04 in AU)

Mars now swaggers through Scorpio – its own sign, by traditional rulerships. Our impulses, willpower and forceful intent are more likely to be intense, passionate and controlled (or controlling) under this transit. Sexual energy may run high, although this may be a hunger for emotional intimacy and deep closeness, as much as it is a drive to satisfy a physical urge. Jealousy, anger and revenge may be more easily triggered, since passionate feelings and instincts are closer to the surface and may be harder to keep under discreet control. This can also be a time of potent creative and transformative energy, since the same emotions and drives that can be so destructive can also provide fuel for powerful self-expression and growth. This energy can also provide a formidable resource when used to fight for a cause – just be sure that the cause (and your methods of fighting) are consistent with your ethics, principles and integrity.

Jan.05 – Mercury square Mars (01:02 of Aquarius/Scorpio)

Fiery speech, argument and hot debate characterise this transit. This could come in the form of conflict, or it might be stimulating and challenging – or both! One thing to watch out for is that you may have a short fuse for a temper, and the same may be true for others around you. It can be a time when you blurt out things you later regret, or you might finally find the courage to do something that's long overdue. The problem is that one can easily look like the other, and what feels like courage in the moment might look more like reckless haste in retrospect. Harsh words can't always be taken back, so keep a grip on your objectivity and better judgment while you're verbally fighting the dragons. Use this energy to stoke your motivational fires, and use your ideas to generate positive action. It can help to pace your mental energy like racing a horse, which can harness abundant energy to fuel your decisions, courage and resolve.

Jan.05 – Mercury Stationary Retrograde (01:02 of Aquarius; until Jan.25)  (Jan.06 in AU)  ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read more about Mercury Retrograde.  Read more about Retrograde planets.)

Yes, it's that time again! Mercury goes retrograde for the next 3+ weeks. For up to a week before and after today, Mercury is moving very slowly or stopped (hence "stationary" or "making a station"). During this time, you may experience intensity, frustration, confusion, miscommunications, or feel like you're getting bogging down in your progress.

Mercury retrograde is usually a time when it is a good time to rethink, rehash, reflect, and tie up old loose ends, rather than begin new ventures. It is typical for new insights and information to emerge later in the retrograde cycle that you didn't anticipate, which can change the whole picture. Because of this, it is usually advised to avoid making final or permanent decisions (e.g., signing contracts or putting new projects into action), during the retrograde and even up to 2 weeks after Mercury goes direct. However, it is an excellent time to do fact-finding, research and investigation to prepare for major decisions, which are usually best put off until well after Mercury goes direct.

In the meantime, while Mercury is retrograde, expect the unexpected, and leave lots of extra time when planning your schedule (to minimize any disruptions from delays and complications). Stay flexible and learn to roll with the weirdness. It's common to have to reschedule appointments or redo things because the instructions or information got messed up the first time. Do some things that use your intuitive, creative, non-rational mind for a while until Mercury goes direct again.

If you absolutely must do something important during this time that can't be postponed, don't be surprised if you wind up having to redo things. It can help to be especially vigilant about triple-checking what you do, but some of these mishaps can't always be predicted or prevented, so don't be hard on yourself (nor on others).

Remember: Mercury loves to play practical jokes. This is his playtime. ;-) It helps to learn to laugh with him.

Here are the key dates of the current Mercury cycle (using North American Eastern Time):

Special Note: This Mercury station is likely to be unusually intense and powerful because Mars squares Mercury (90°) exactly when Mercury is stationary. For more information about how this could manifest, see the Low-Down article for the Full Moon in Cancer (Dec.25.2015, above).

Jan.05 – Venus square Neptune (07:39 of Sagittarius/Pisces)  (Jan.06 in AU)

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

Jan.05 – Sun conjunct Pluto (15:13 of Capricorn)  (Jan.06 in UK, AU)

Your sense of purpose is potentially very strong right now, as you are able to tap into a deeper level of energy and determination. Your personality is likely to be more forceful now, which can be great if you need to make a strong impression but perhaps not so great in situations requiring delicacy, subtlety or diplomacy. You have increased ability to see below the surface of things, although it may not be as easy to articulate it in a way that is received comfortably by others. What you pick up from others can also become mixed up with your own personal issues, making it hard to tell where one stops and the other begins. Paranoia and suspicion can be strong. It is possible to unearth secrets or get at the core of unconscious patterns (yours and others'), but it is important to be prudent in how you respond to this awareness. You have the ability to wound as well as heal right now, so probe into the depths (yours and others') as you would into an egg shell that you don't want to break – gently, mindfully and respectfully.

Jan.07 – Sun square Uranus (16:37 of Capricorn/Aries)

Your world may experience a bit of a shake-up right now, as the Universe decides it's time to make things "interesting." This is a wake-up call, designed to loosen you up from the ways you have become too habitual, stuck or inhibited. The "radical rascal" in you may be itching to come out and stir up trouble, which on one hand might be necessary but also very disruptive and possibly even destructive. Be alert to new insights and opportunities disguised as accidents or crises. Your usual sense of self and purpose may become somewhat unsettled right now, but a space is likely being cleared to make room for new growth and possibilities. If you're looking to break old habits or break free of old restrictions, this may be the time – but it could create a mess that you'll have to clean up later. Resist the urge to rebel just for the sake of doing something different, and aim instead to break free of old forms of self-expression and ideals that don’t work for you anymore. Expect the unexpected and then surf the shock-wave.

Jan.07 – Jupiter Stationary Retrograde (23:14 of Virgo; until May.09)  (Jan.08 in AST, NST, UK, AU) ("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.

Jan.08 – Sun sextile Chiron (17:43 of Capricorn/Pisces)  (Jan.09 in AU)

This is a time when you have an opportunity to mend and heal the chronic struggles in your life. You may find new inspiration, motivation or confidence that can help rejuvenate waning enthusiasm or reconcile persistent problems, although you'll still have to apply effort to bring it all together. You might get the chance to demonstrate your ability to walk your own path in a new way. Or, you might get a peek inside the hidden shadow of your worries and discouragement, giving you new insight into how you might be unconsciously sabotaging your conscious efforts. You may have to face a bit of your own fear of failure or low self-esteem before you can get beyond these feelings and tap into the benefits of this transit – not because you are failing but because these concerns may arise in response to the new potential now available to you. By tapping into this potential for creative problem solving, you can bring some healing to whatever your situation is.

Jan.08 – Mercury Retrograde enters Capricorn (until Feb.13)  (Jan.09 in AU)

Mercury is retrograde in Capricorn, which can create a very serious mindset. It might be a bit of a struggle to maintain your optimism, especially if you keep trying to escape that seriousness by pretending it doesn't exist. If you have a tendency toward depression, this transit might bring that up to some extent, so it might be a good idea to be prepared for this with a list of coping strategies (things you can do that make you feel better about yourself). This can be a good time to slow down and lower your expectations a little – not because you don't deserve better or because you're giving up, but because you're willing to be gentle with yourself and simplify your life a little. On the other hand, this can be a great time to apply yourself to some productive work on a project or goal you have. If you're facing a situation in your life that requires you to "get real" and get results, this transit can be a resource for that.

Jan.08 – Venus conjunct Saturn (12:00 of Sagittarius)  (Jan.09 in AST, NST, UK, AU)

The serious structure and responsibility of Saturn combines with the desire for pleasure, beauty and material abundance in Venus. This can be a good time to make concrete plans about financial matters (e.g., investments, budgeting, purchases, etc.), although this will work best if you do some serious research first, rather than simply going for whatever seems to "feel good." This is a time to begin a process of commitment, whether that involves developing your resources to achieve a certain goal, or negotiating the terms of a relationship or partnership. However, in order to clear the way for new commitments to flourish down the road, sometimes old commitments must be brought to a close first. So this may also be a time when previous involvements or plans may come to an end, especially if they no longer fulfil your needs or lack enough potential to reach your desired goals. In a similar way, you might find yourself blocked from being able to move forward in the areas of relationships, finances or pleasures. These areas may require some reworking or reconsideration before you're ready to proceed.

Next Update:  NEW MOON in CAPRICORN - available by January 9, 2016.

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