Real Time Astrology: New Moon in Aquarius February 8, 2016

Time speeding up. Pic by Krisztian Birinyi.

Time speeding up. Pic by Krisztian Birinyi.


The February 8th New Moon at 19 degrees Aquarius, exact at 8:39 AM CST Monday morning, is a welcomed change of pace from the sluggish start to the year. Like the previous and next Full Moons, this Aquarius New Moon squares Mars at 18 degrees Scorpio, and sextiles Saturn at 14 Sagittarius and Aquarius’ ruling planet Uranus at 17 Aries. It does not aspect Pluto in Capricorn, so no activation of the Uranus-Pluto square here. Aquarius is a futuristic sign, not all that sentimental over the past, and the sextile to the planets in fire signs brings a temporary quickening.


And possibly temporary short fuses. As I wrote previously: ” Full Moon square Mars tends to bring out contradictory emotions and feelings, as well as giving expression to internal anger and frustrations.” There’s a similar theme here at this New Moon, except New Moons by their nature encourage new starts, so the angers and frustrations can be quite useful, productive. It is a good time to detach from heavy emotions and thoughts, leaving them in the past where they belong without too much pain or effort.


Aquarius is not the warmest, fuzziness sign ever, taking a cool perspective rather than a deeply personal one. In general, one can use this New Moon to take a step back from life and see it from a clearer, more objective viewpoint. Seeing the truth as a result of removing feelings and bias that color your perspective.


The New Moon in Aquarius sextile freedom fighter Uranus in Aries is an opportunity for liberation through creative or unusual solutions. Thinking outside the box of conventional wisdom will go a long way here. The New Moon sextile Uranus will bring up issues faced during the past few years of the Uranus-Pluto squares, taking what we know from those times and progressing, advancing with our new visions of the future with less friction. The Aquarian lunar cycles help to process on the emotional, everyday level the lasting effects of the Uranus-Pluto squares and prepare us for the transition from the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius. From a previous post:


“An astrological “age” is an era lasting approximately two thousand years or so. The change from one age to another is marked by the spring equinoctial point (the first degree of the zodiac) moving into a new constellation. Such an epic shift does not have an exact date such as a Full Moon might have; the process plays out over the course of a century or two. Everyone alive has been watching in real time the changeover from the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius. Look at the rate of accelerating changes that have occurred in the past one hundred years, the past fifty… look just at how different our worlds are now compared to what they were before the squares between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn first began in 2012. (The reliable structure of time itself will even seem less certain and strange once the squares between Saturn and Neptune start back up full force this year.) Its exhilarating and disorienting and dizzying all at once. It seems to be simultaneously brimming over with the promises of a new day and yet, the promise isn’t what we thought it would be. It is hard to say if we even like this new direction, much harder to ascertain how much of it is healthy. The Age of Aquarius has long been touted as a humanitarians dream come true, to be embraced with open arms and minds. Egalitarian and equitable. The mass organization of people and technological advances would supposedly achieve where the gods, mystics and poets of the Age of Pisces failed.


Of course, in astrology there is always a chasm between the highest potential of a particular influence and the reality as played out in everyday life. As the process of leaving the Age of Pisces and entering the Age of Aquarius speeds up, we sense more and more that not all that is glitteringly Aquarian is gold. Does the Aquarian Age care what we want individually, or is it asking us to individually want the same things? The status quos of the Piscean Age have certainly been challenged and in some cases overthrown, only to be replaced by Aquarian Age status quos all its own, which is not to be challenged. The out of control political correctness and the culture of being perpetually offended are Aquarian Age phenomena. You can hardly say anything to anyone now without causing outrage for not conforming to their philosophy. Is this humanitarian, egalitarian? Yes, in the darker Aquarian Age shadow way it is. To paraphrase Aquarian George Orwell’s Animal Farm: in this new age, all people are equal but some seemingly more equal than others, and it is only their views that seem to matter. Superficial nonconformists (in name only) that, weirdly, expect conformity. Many ideals being sold now as “empowering” and “progressive” we instinctually feel as degrading and dehumanizing; yet, in this supposedly more open minded era there is less freedom to express these sentiments. And this is occuring on every level of society, not only in the most visible arenas. The age that was supposed to bring about the social causes that would better the world for everyone is instead seeing social causes hijacked and distorted from their original aims, used to further agendas they were initially established to overturn. How much of the freedom promised by the Age of Aquarius resembles freedom as we’d define it? … The anecdote to start-up Aquarian Age problems are themselves Aquarian, as this Aquarius Moon shows us. We have nothing to go back to and can only move forward, making the future look more like one we would like to live in.”


We’ll see a lot of these themes at this Aquarius New Moon. It isn’t a particularly stressful New Moon, though. For some I think it will be quite uneventful. A lot depends on how you handle Aquarian/Uranian energy in general. The sextiles to Saturn in Sagittarius and Uranus in Aries looks like good fun, if a little  exciteable. Bring the humor! Aquarius is closely associated with friends and your bigger tribe, so be a good friend as much as possible and see some of that camaraderie come back your way.


The house of your natal chart where the Aquarius New Moon falls will offer more clues as to how it affects you personally. Generally, showing where you will need the most independence and where you may see a rebellious streak emerge. Read here if you need help locating the house.




2016: The Year Of Change & Transition

Painting by Stefan Nandancee

Real or illusion? Painting by Stefan Nandancee


Many people I’ve talked to, both through my blog and in real life, noticed the bottoming out of energy after the beginning of the new year. It didn’t seem so bad the first few days, but Mercury and then Jupiter turned retrograde and momentum was lost. I had planned on writing a piece about the change of pace for 2016 but even that didn’t pan out. Even now, with the Mercury retrograde over, the pace remains sluggish. I have said before that I wasn’t someone who was excited to see the square between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn begin to wind down; for all the headaches and tears it caused, it was a tremendous wellspring of opportunity for change and transformation.


The Uranus-Pluto square is still more or less in effect the first couple months of 2016 but losing much of its steam. After that, while Uranus and Pluto do not change signs for a while, the square between widens until it is barely there (although the retrogrades of both will briefly tighten the square this year.) What is replacing this energy? A whole lot of retrogrades and emphasis on the mutable signs. There are four Mercury retrogrades this year, as opposed to three last year. (The next Mercury Rx runs from April 29th to May 22nd in Taurus; then again from August 30th to September 22nd in Virgo; and lastly from December 19th through January 8th, 2017, in Capricorn, the same sign Mercury went retrograde in at the beginning of the year.) There’s that not particularly easy retrograde of Mars from mid April until the end of June. That’s a lot of time spent looking back rather than moving forward. One of the Mercury retrogrades and half of the Mars retrograde also occur in mutable signs.


There’s an unusual amount of focus on the mutable this year, with Neptune, Chiron and the South Node in Pisces, Jupiter and the North Node in Virgo, Saturn and an extended period of Mars in Sagittarius. Gemini gets in on the action in June to form a mutable Grand Cross. The mutable signs at the neutral level represent changeability, adaptability, flexibility. When at their best they see all sides of the issues presented to them and find the middle ground or a workable solution for all involved. While the cardinal signs initiate and the fixed signs stabilize, the mutable signs flow.


In the wake of the past few years, where buttons were pushed non stop and everyone was in crisis/survival mode, the changeover to the the less intense feeling of the mutable signs can feel alternately calming and frustratingly unproductive. When at their worst, the mutable signs see so many different sides to the issues that they never take the leap and act. Uranus in Aries squaring Pluto in Capricorn was the cardinal trigger forcing movement and that is quickly becoming nothing. The fixed signs are the ones who’ll stay the course and see things to their fruition, but their time in the spotlight is brief this year. Coming on the heels of a period of major change, there is a need to adapt ourselves and our expectations to the new paradigm, that is understandable. It becomes problematic when the urge to act on new wisdom and information does not gain necessary traction, resulting in a feeling of gridlock. The changeable nature of the mutable signs obviously doesn’t impede change in everyday life and in fact supports it, but it can continue to shift and morph in unexpected ways. Lacking clear direction or purpose is a common issue with heavy mutable emphasis. It can seem like nothing is happening one minute, only to see a flurry of activities the next, only to dissipate again.


The square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces in particular will contribute heavily to losing sight of targets and projected outcomes, no guarantee of any outcome at all. Vagueness will be a dominating theme for much of the year. Discerning the real from the unreal will be a full time job. Besides squaring Neptune, Saturn in Sagittarius is closing in on its mutable square to Jupiter in Virgo, exact on Wednesday, March 23rd at 16 degrees. Jupiter in Virgo sees success in practical applications, Saturn in Sagittarius brings a heavy dose of reality about higher education. With the square between the two building, bigger issues will arise surrounding the growing difficulty in finding a job that fits your experience and education level. Many are in ridiculously deep debt from student loans, earning degrees that they find do not take them as far as they thought. On the flip side, many decided to opt out of perpetual debt and skip college, and are finding that no matter how qualified, experienced and/or competent they are, they don’t look good enough on paper to impress potential employers. This may not make the headlines but in your life and the lives of those around you, you’ll experience the rapidly growing frustration and and disillusionment with the promises of education and the reality of the job force (and the actual unemployment numbers) this year more than ever.


Saturn square Neptune is also a big culprit in the illusion of time itself running at a speed that seems out of synch with life. Saturn is associated with three dimensional time itself, something Neptune doesn’t even acknowledge in its view of otherworldly time-space dimensions. Add to it the mutable emphasis in general and the funky retrogrades, much of 2016 will feel like a lot of talk with no action and purposeless movement.


It is important to realize that the feeling of slowing down is only illusion, not unlike a speeding train creating the appearance of other fast moving trains moving backward. Retrogrades are themselves illusions of planetary bodies moving backward, which they are not. In reality, periods of emphasis on mutable signs act as periods of massive transition; no major changes as you get with the cardinal signs but constant movement nonetheless. Remember this as you’re feeling nothing is happening this year that very soon the illusion will dissipate and we’ll be whiplashed by the realization that we were accelerating all along.


The first bubble to burst and change tempo will come courtesy of Jupiter ingressing into Libra September 9th  (until October 10th, 2017). Libra is a cardinal sign associated with initiating change in the balance and fairness of most things; while Libra is most often associated with relationships, the need to correct and restore balance extends across the spectrum into most areas of life. Jupiter in Libra brings a high minded philosophy to how the balancing of scales plays out. This change in tempo will feel quite good for a while, then the friction ramps up again.


By about late October into early November, just around the time of the U.S. Presidential election, Jupiter in Libra begins squaring Pluto in Capricorn. Jupiter = big, Libra = restoring balance; Pluto = other people’s money, Capricorn = government, big business, infrastructure. Jupiter aspecting Pluto is one of the biggest tip offs that something big happens around money. The square implies it won’t be easy money. Now, Jupiter-Pluto is no financial doomsday transit; matter of fact I have no doubt that a lot will see windfalls, actually. But, the square means the Jupiter in Libra need for fairness and equal balance will be thrown off by the more ruthless Pluto in Capricorn, which can and has enabled spectacular levels of global corruption in the way business is now done. This looks like some type of “market correction” to me, with not everyone being impacted equally. Think of an uptick in home forclosures or repo’d cars or similar scenarios; lots of people benefit during a “buyers market” but obviously it comes at the great misfortune of others. I don’t know for sure that the Jupiter-Pluto square will cause a housing crisis, but the last time Jupiter was in Libra was 2005 (corrected from original post where I wrote 2006), when housing prices peaked and started to decline. Jupiter in Libra in 2016/2017 will be a “full circle” culmination of events since 2005 and this time Jupiter in Libra will square Pluto. The effects, both good and bad, are deep and incisive. And no doubt tangled up in the American Presidential election.


Whatever the Jupiter-Pluto square throws at us, it too will only be a lead-up to bigger events on the horizon. We are not far away from Uranus -rebellious shocker, agent of both chaos and ingenuity- moving into Taurus, bullish earthy sign of the banker, of money and tangibles. Taurus likes to build, accumulate; it does not like change and spontaneity so Uranus in Taurus looks incredibly difficult and uncomfortable to me. The last time Uranus was in Taurus was from 1935-1942 and one only needs to look at that period of history to understand how Uranus in Taurus upsets finances and turns money on its head. We can’t repeat that time frame; the square between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn we’re leaving propelled us into uncharted, unprecedented territory. Once Uranus moves into Taurus (at first briefly between May and November 2018, and then it settles in from March 2019 until 2025) we will have to learn to survive at a material level according to the new and accelerating climate.


The end of 2019 and most of 2020 has me the most nervous. There, Pluto in late Capricorn will be joined by Jupiter and Saturn, and while this conjunction never “perfects” (never meets at the exact same degree) this is a major force of reckoning in matters of government and global business. Capricorn focuses a lot on consequences: good, bad and everything in between. By the Jupiter-Saturn-Pluto conjunctions in 2019/2020, we’ll likely see the consequences of the Uranus-Pluto squares we’re leaving behind. We will see just how effectively we used the major catalyst of change; whatever we ignored in the past few years will be unignorable in the coming few years. Think of the Uranus in Aries-Pluto in Capricorn squares as Martin Luther nailing his ninety-five theses to the church door, and the Jupiter-Pluto square and then more strongly the Jupiter-Saturn-Pluto in Capricorn conjunction as the delayed fallout and reaction.  Uranus will be very much in Taurus at this time, and we’ll also have Chiron -creator of both pain and healing- in the martial sign of Aries. (I’ve got a timetable listing the movement of these bodies over the coming decades for those keeping track.) These astrological shifts are not that far off that we can ignore them now.


Which means, here at the beginning of 2016, we can see that the slowness and sluggishness and hard to pin down quality is a much needed time of adjusting and preparing. Nothing in life can fully move forward with success without reviewing where it’s been and what could and should have been done better, different. On a day to day level, the planetary retrogrades are a pain in the assignment but that is their higher purpose; replay, rewind, review, go back in time.


The mutable signs keeping things vague, flaky and ever shifting as a way of examining various possibilities and examining potential outcomes. We are not as free to do as we’d like and will have fewer choices in the future if the trajectory continues. So, this year is a period of evaluation. Self evaluation and questioning of the external world. Is want we want correct morally, spiritually? How big are the risks for pursuing particular paths? What are the risks for not pursuing them? How are we affected individually versus the affects on our family, community, country? Is what we’re doing hurtful or harmful to us in the long run financially, physically, emotionally? Are we moving in the right direction but with bad timing, bad advice or bad people? Are we going it alone when we ought to be enlisting others, and vice versa?


Remember as you’re beating your head against the wall or feeling tired and drained, listless this year that this apparent state of flux is actually a state of transition, and that in all of nature species must adapt to survive.




The Warrior Within: Mars in Scorpio & Sagittarius (Including Mars Retrograde) January 3 – September 27, 2016

Iranian archer Shiva Mafakheri

Iranian archer Shiva Mafakheri


What does it really mean to “fight the good fights”? A question posed to us nearly all this year.


The word martial comes from Mars, the Roman god of war and relates to all things warlike. Just as you’d think, the planet Mars in astrology is raw, visceral, animalistic, sexual. It shows our fighting side, our assertiveness, our drives, our sheer physical energy and stamina, or the lack or impediment of these things. It especially shows our anger: what makes us angry, what we do with our anger, how we can transmute anger into a powerful tool for action and change in the inner and outer worlds. Mars typically changes signs several times every year; however, in 2016 Mars will spend an extended amount of time in the signs of Scorpio and Sagittarius. This is largely due to a retrograde period that will last from April 17th to June 29th, with a very long retrograde shadow. All in all, Mars will spend most of the year driving home the themes of the Scorpion and the Archer, first entering Scorpio on January 3rd and not leaving Sagittarius until September 27th. Mars in both Scorpio and Sagittarius represents in different ways a righteous anger; seeing life’s dark underbelly and choosing to either fight with or against it. Beneath still waters, there is always a strong current moving with intensity and purpose, and Mars channels this moving current for us in 2016.


When in Scorpio, Mars is actually quite at home. Before the discovery of Pluto in 1930, Mars was considered the astrological ruling planet of Scorpio (it also ruled Aries, and still does today). The high octane energy of Mars finds natural expression in typical Scorpio themes, which are the energetic connections and bonds underpinning our exchanges: sex, power, joint finances, psychology and pathology. Mars can be a wild, all-over-the-place energy if left unchecked but its impulses are well contained in Scorpio, where it finds focus. Nothing sloppy with this placement; it is nothing if not discliplined. Excellent strategist. Scorpio has a compulsive need to suck the poison and cut the rot out of life; Mars here is not easily deterred from acting on its need to simultaneously explore and free itself from seediness.


Mars in Sagittarius is a much more externally high spirited placement. Sagittarius is a fire sign and so Mars is at home here, too. After leaving Scorpio, Mars in Sagittarius turns its sights on battles of a higher nature: culture and religion, ideas about God, belief systems in general. Mars in Sagittarius is a strong defender of people’s beliefs, and will defend other’s ideas even as they are vehemently arguing their own. It is quick to spot hypocrisy and quicker to shut it down. Sagittarius is a sporty, athletic sign and Mars here likes to work up a sweat, preferably while outdoors. The environment and the outdoors are also favorite Sadge themes and Mars in Sagittarius can be a champion for nature and animals.


All that is well and good on its own. However, the very long retrograde shadow in general, and more specifically the retrograde period, will not necessarily represent Mars at its best in either sign. A retrograde is the illusion of a planet slowing down and turning backwards in the sky, retracing its steps. Things represented by the retrograde planet tend to follow suit; slowing down, looking back instead of forward, having internal dialogue rather than external exchanges. The very nature of Mars means it isn’t very comfortable retrograde; Mars likes to move ahead as swiftly and forcefully as possible in straight lines. Mars does not like to slow down, review, wait. Mars loses its momentum when retrograde, becomes frustrated, takes one step forward and two steps back. Its frustrations can turn to angers that are either repressed through lack of appropriate channels or blow up in quite harmful ways. The Mars retrograde period in 2016 isn’t one to ignore.


Initially, once Mars enters its retrograde shadow in Scorpio on February 17th it may seem as if energy is everywhere, but we’ll soon notice that the tempo has a lot of variables, like a record skipping. Mars enters Sagittarius on March 5th, bringing excitement, enthusiasm and optimism. Things begin to change in April, though, as Mars in Sagittarius will be conjunct the fixed star Antares (located at 9 degrees Sagittarius) the entire month. Antares, or Anti-Ares, has a strange reputation in astrology. It is said to be a mixture of Mars and Jupiter energy; Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter, so the retrograde stationing of Mars in Sagittarius conjunct Antares will exacerbate the fixed stars reckless and even dangerous qualities. Antares was traditionally something of a malefic; associated with daredevils, rash leaders, battle, and even fatalities.  It does also lend a disctinct mental and philosophical toughness and bluntness. Even though the conjunction doesn’t perfect (become exact), it will still feature, especially once Mars finally stations retrograde at 8 degrees Sagittarius on April 17th.


There, the narrative flips.


The optimism of Mars in Sagittarius may reverse and give way to anger over religion and ideas. Historically, the last half of April is a famously violent time; just in the United States, late April has seen such events as: the Oklahoma City bombing, the Boston marathon bombing, the siege of Waco by the FBI, the Columbine school shooting, the Virginia Tech shooting… far be it from me to predict that we’ll definitely see this level of violence again this April (that is not what I am saying here) but realistically the month is famous for it, and Mars conjunct Antares in Sagittarius turning retrograde does indicate that anger will be a source of reckoning around this time. Those of you reading here will no doubt look for the message behind the anger and try to work with it, rather than being worked over by it, but the less stable in our society will be more likely to get agitated and not handle it well. Just use caution here, pay attention to your surroundings and remember that while you’re maybe able to handle the stress, watch for the signs in others that would indicate they’re cracking.


It is hard also to say how this might play out globally, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see headlines of attacks this April, not just lone agents but also by governments and their leaders.


On a more day to day level, Mars Rx in Sagittarius is a time to challenge ideologies that no longer serve their purpose and show themselves to be useless, harmful or hypocritical. Collectively, we may see religious violence and/or extremism suddenly take a turn, but this will happen more on the smaller scale. The more we express our political and religious or philosophical beliefs, the more we will see the nasty side of people who are opposed to such beliefs. Do not be surprised to see fractured or ending friendships over heated debates.


On the physical level, Mars Rx is not great for health and energy or stamina. Not burning off energy in a physical way can lead to internalizing stress and depression. Get off the couch and move! Get outdoors as much as possible, too. With Mars Rx in Sagittarius, watch out for injuries resulting from pushing your body too far; muscle tears, strains, sprains and the like. Once Mars retrogrades back into Scorpio on May 27th, sexual health will be an issue, whether it involves the reproductive organs or happens psychologically.


Mars Rx in Scorpio is less extroverted that Mars Rx in Sagittarius, and all the darker for it. Fighting over past issues involving old lovers may be a thing. Sexual identity will need to be sorted out for some people. Others will have to contend with new realizations or feelings over previous sexual hurts, which can run the gamut from the minor to the traumatic. I’d expect at least a certain amount of dialogue about sexual violence. Imbalances in power dynamics of all kind will come to a head on both micro and macro levels. While Mars is retrograde in Scorpio in early June it will be loosely opposing Mercury in Taurus. Mercury will be retrograde in the sign of the Bull from April 28th to May 22nd and be largely concerned with news and information concerning money, income, tangible wealth and assets; Mercury will be direct by the time Mars Rx in Scorpio starts opposing it in early June but will still coincide with a mutable Grand Cross happening early that month. (The mutable Grand Cross will be examined separately in a later article.) Early June looks like a very changeable and uncertain, unstable time, and Mars Rx in Scorpio opposing Mercury in Taurus looks like a “correction” of some kind on the material plane. Not to mention correction of values according to whatever Mars dredges up from the sewers of our psyches.


How much do we have to put up with, endure, before we fight back? How much are we willing to tolerate? Where do we draw the lines and begin to say no? What course of action do we take when the lines are crossed? Mars retrograde in Scorpio and Sagittarius brings out indignation and righteous rage, and you know what? There’s nothing wrong with being angry. Anger serves a purpose. It is not unlike a fever acting as a warning sign that something terribly wrong is taking place and needs to be corrected. The Mars retrograde period this year will serve as the fever requesting our prompt attention. There is a hell of a lot wrong in this world, on every level, and there seems to be very little room to escape the sickness. We shouldn’t have to. The fight needs to start somewhere to restore holistic well being. Mars retrograde first has to work backwards, reminding us of where the anger and outrage really stems from originally.


After Mars stations direct on June 29th, and especially after Mars clears its retrograde shadow August 22nd, we will regain momentum and move forward once again in our lives with purpose and our hard won soul knowledge. Things that do not pan out during the retrograde period can see new life (maybe in a new vessel) once Mars goes direct. I’d like to say global events will simmer down after Mars turns direct as well, but we’ll have to see where we’re at once there. Hopefully the Mars retrograde will keep the worst of battle plans from really getting off the ground, but that won’t keep the powers that be from trying.


People who have planets in the early degrees of the mutable signs – Sagittarius, Pisces, Gemini and Virgo- will feel Mars retrograde in Sagittarius the strongest; folks with planets in the late degrees of fixed signs -Scorpio, Leo, Taurus, Aquarius- will feel the Mars retrograde in Scorpio the strongest. Those folks with Mars in Scorpio or Sagittarius in their natal (birth) charts will experience their Mars return this year and should expect a culmination of their previous activities and energetic expenditures and the beginning of new ones. Intense but high energy year. Everyone should look to the house(s) of their natal chart that the Mars retrograde takes place in for a more in depth look at where areas of anger or the need for drive and action may manifest. (Read here if you need help finding where transits like this occur in your chart.)



Here is the time frame for Mars’ trajectory in Scorpio and Sagittarius for 2016. Times given are Central Standard Time, so adjust accordingly :


  • Mars enters Scorpio Sunday, January 3rd at 8:32 A.M.
  • Mars at 10 degrees Scorpio squares the Leo Full Moon Saturday, January 23rd
  • Mars at 18 degrees Scorpio squares the Aquarius New Moon Monday, February 8th
  • Mars enters its retrograde shadow Wednesday,  February 17th at 23 degrees Scorpio
  • Mars at 25 degrees Scorpio widely squares the Virgo Full Moon Monday, February 22nd
  • Mars enters Sagittarius Saturday, March 5th at 8:29 P.M.
  • Mars at 5 degrees Sagittarius sextiles the Libra Full Moon Solar Eclipse Wednesday, March 23rd
  • Mars at 8 degrees Sagittarius widely trines Aries New Moon/Supermoon Thursday, April 7th
  • Mars stations retrograde at 8 degrees Sagittarius Sunday, April 17th at 7:14 A.M.
  • Mars Rx at 1 degree Sagittarius conjunct exact Sagittarius Full Moon Saturday, May 21st
  • Mars Rx at 1 Sagittarius opposes Sun at 1 Gemini Sunday, May 22nd at 6:17 P.M.
  • Mars Rx at 0 Sagittarius opposes Venus at 0 Gemini Tuesday, May 24th at 9:38 P.M
  • Mars retrograde reenters Scorpio at 29 degrees Friday, May 27th at 8:51 A.M
  • Mars stations direct at 23 degrees Scorpio Wednesday, June 29th at 6:38 P.M.
  • Mars direct at 25 degrees Scorpio sextiles Capricorn Full Moon Tuesday, July 19th
  • Mars direct leaves Scorpio and reenters Sagittarius Tuesday, August 2nd at 12:49 P.M.
  • Mars leaves its retrograde shadow August 22nd
  • Mars at 14 degrees Sagittarius squares the New Moon Solar Eclipse in Virgo Thursday, September 1st
  • Mars at 23 degrees Sagittarius squares the Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Pisces Friday, September 16th
  • Mars leaves Sagittarius and enters Capricorn Tuesday September 27th at 3:07 A.M.



Real Time Astrology: February 2016

Sculpture by Hu Shaoming

Aquarian ingenuity, Piscean imagination. Mechanical sculpture by Hu Shaoming.


Good news: February’s astrology doesn’t suck! After November, December and January brought their own different flavors of stress and havoc, February will feel quite mild by comparison. As of [Read more…]

Second Intermission: Led Through The Aperture By David Bowie


So, just before the beginning of the year I made a little playlist of old musical favorites, gripe about the current state of music, and gave a brief explanation of how Pluto in Capricorn is a major part of the killing of creativity in mainstream media and entertainment. Not long after the first of the year, I did get very fangirl-y excited upon hearing that David Bowie was releasing a new album on January 9th, the day after his 69th birthday. Of course, we all know he passed away two days later. The response was collective shock and sadness by his fans, and even by people who knew of him but never gave him a second thought before. He seemed to be one of those people like ones we’ve known in our personal lives, the ones you take for granted will always be around and always be themselves. Even knowing that no one makes it out of this world alive, it still catches us off guard to see those people leave. A lot of eloquent tributes were written for him and I can’t begin to do better than that so won’t try that here. I will just briefly touch on some of the astrology and throw some videos in, because Bowie is all I’ve listened to since.


Here’s his natal chart with the transits at the time of his passing over:


David Bowie natal chart + transits

David Bowie natal chart + transits












No surprise that he was a 12th house Sun. A significant amount of people who become public figureheads in their fields will have a strong 12th house. The Aquarius rising was the eccentric exterior everyone initially saw; in true Saturnian fashion it took time and age for the quiet dignity of his Capricorn 12th house Sun to be his distinguishing feature. When 12th house Suns become visible in the public eye, they seem to embody more than most an unspoken, intangible spirit or feeling that draws from the collective psychosphere while also moving beyond it, and as such are often catalysts in some way. David Bowie’s life and career were certainly full of those moments, but his death even more so.


The New Moon on January 9th, the day his album Blackstar was released, was at 19 degrees Capricorn, just 2 degrees off his 17 degree Capricorn Sun in the 12th. At the time of his passing, the Moon had moved on to Aquarius and was just about to cross his ascendant, bringing into the open the process started by the New Moon conjunct his natal Sun. Pluto at 15 degrees of Capricorn was also moving in on his 12th house Sun. Since January 5th, we have been coping with a particularly harsh Mercury retrograde, most of which has been in the sign of Capricorn, the serious sign of reality, aging, and personal evolution; for much of the retrograde Mercury has been conjunct Pluto, planet of death, regeneration, transformation. Mercury Rx conjunct Pluto in Capricorn has brought to many people news they’d rather not hear concerning illness and/or death of people in their circles; I’ve known of two families personally in my daily life who’ve lost someone to suicide the past two weeks. Although Mercury Rx in Capricorn has certainly dealt with a spectrum of issues, one of those was definitely gearing our mind towards facing certain painful but inevitable life realities. David Bowie’s death in the midst of this struck a chord, as not only did many lose someone who was the soundtrack to their life but Bowie’s final album, Blackstar, was devoted to this particular major life passage. He was aware he was dying as he recorded the record and it now belongs alongside other templates that help us cope with life’s physical ending. He was in an aperture, a point where the spirit has begun moving to another dimension, and listening to Blackstar posthumously we can stand there with him. How very 12th house of him.


So, this has become my current soundtrack, take a look and listen for yourself:






The first is my favorite off the album, beautiful jazzy saxophone on that one. The second and third are obviously the ones most are now familiar with; the last one and title tack especially. The video for Blackstar is powerful multilayer commentary on his career, the culture of celebrity worship, and obviously his own mortality: “something happened on the day he died, spirit rose a meter then stepped aside”. It does what any real work of art does and forces strong opinions of its message, with different people seeing different meanings not unlike a Rorschach test. The scene with figures similar to stuffed scarecrows (probably a reference to this TS Eliot poem) writhing around suggestively on a trinity of crucifixes has been understandably seen as sinister and blasphemous by many; personally, I get the impression he was mocking the way entertainers are put on pedestals after their death, elevated by the masses to near deities. The central figure on the cross is dressed similar to Elvis Presley in Jailhouse Rock (black pants, black and white striped shirt) and the hip swivel would certainly further suggest it is Elvis. David Bowie and Elvis Presley shared the same birthday, which I’m certain Bowie would have known. He was self aware enough at the time of filming the music video to know he’d have a similar legacy as his birthday twin. Elvis recorded a song early in his career called “Black Star”, which may have contributed another level of meaning to the title track:


Every man has a black star, a black star over his shoulder
And when a man sees his black star
He knows his time, his time has come



Mercury Rx in Capricorn may have created periods of reflection on life’s heavier matters, but it also showed how only love and art can truly break your heart and the often unexpected way exploring those issues through art can bring the living one step closer to understanding.


Still, these are the Pluto in Capricorn years, and we’re only just at the halfway mark. As I ranted in the original Intermission article, Pluto in Capricorn demonstrates creativity and originality being killed for profit, elevating mediocrity for mainstream commercialization. In the “reality TV” (arbitrary use of “reality”) driven current media model, nothing is too sacred to make a buck off of it. So, even though David Bowie has only been dead about five minutes, naturally Hollywood has already started on a shitty remake of one of his movies, and less talented artists who never seemed to be big Bowie fans before are going to butcher record cover versions of his songs. There’s even those people wanting to name “Planet 9” Bowie if/when it is ever discovered. A hypothetical planet, reductive wannabe version of original planets… may I suggest Lady Gaga or Adam Lambert instead? Hopefully Coldplay (ugh) will at least know better than to pay “tribute” to Bowie when they play the Super Bowl halftime show after Bowie called them out. 


For the remainder of the Pluto in Capricorn years, boycott any remakes. Rediscover the old originals and search and support new ones. There’s tons of inspired artists not being heard over the profit machines. Luckily, Bowie was well established and so his incredible art wasn’t lost. We are overlooking others, no doubt. Bowie’s final farewell really goes to show by contrast how tepid the waters have become.



Quickie Obervations On The Non-Discovery of “Planet 9”

Spoof poster, taken from the 1959 movie "Plan 9 From Outer Space"

Spoof poster, taken from the 1959 movie “Plan 9 From Outer Space”


I’ll just cut to the chase and say I’m underwhelmed by it. Mercury retrograde perfected its conjunction to Pluto at 15 degrees of Capricorn today, its a cynical and suspicious mood we’re in at the moment. Too much heavy mental lifting required of us now to entertain fantasy. Which is really all that the news of this new “Planet 9” is, no proof and only speculation and therefore not a “discovery” as it is being portrayed. In summary, this week two Caltech astronomers, Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown announced a possible explanation for unusual orbital features of the Kuiper belt (where Pluto can be found, along with Eris and Sedna) that would be the result of an undiscovered planet. This Planet 9 (sometimes written Planet Nine) would be huge to create such an orbit, four times the size of Earth and ten times the mass. Some articles I’ve read say it has gone unnoticed because it is so far away, 75 times further out than Pluto, and in others (or, sometimes even in the same article!) it is being said that Planet 9 should be easily found with sensitive enough telescopes. I am not an expert on telescopes by any means so I know my opinion doesn’t matter but I’m giving that a major side-eye. It is worth noting that Mike Brown is the astronomer responsible for getting Pluto demoted from its planetary status and uses the handle @PlutoKiller on Twitter.


I expected scientific discoveries to be one result of the Saturn-Neptune squares. I am not as excited as others by this one. There’s no actual discovery, just the possibility of one, which is great and all but I don’t understand the hype over it. Lots of leads to potential breakthroughs go completely unnoticed. I’m guessing some of the hype would be to support funding for their project, with Brown saying the planet should be found within the next 5 years. I won’t be surprised if they do and I’ll be less surprised if they don’t, or if it takes longer. Mercury retrograde tightly conjunct Pluto in Capricorn suggests something is off about the model/structure and will no go smoothly; maybe there are other things that need to be discovered or understood better first.


The astronomy angle is all well and good by me. The non-astronomy angle is a little odd. Of course certain corners of the Internet are spouting the usual End Of The World crap. Some people are trying their best to connect the news of a possible new planet to the death of David Bowie and have volunteered “Bowie” as the official planetary name. (Yes, the celebrity deaths of January 2016 have an astrological explanation; Mercury (news, talk) conjunct Pluto (death) in Capricorn (age, mortality, status and respect, also potential for depression). I have unfortunately heard some very bad news that affects people I know in real life.)


Astrologically, though, even if Planet 9 becomes a real planet soon it won’t have a major impact. The distance from the Sun is so massive that Planet 9 would take 10,000 to 20,000 years to complete one trip around our biggest luminary. That means it would take somewhere between 833 and 1,666 years to transit each sign of the zodiac. You and I won’t feel this. It maybe could have some meaning in the unfolding of major millenia-length themes, such as geological ages or astrological ages, but anything that moves that slow would take long term research to properly understand its astrological implications. If it even has any,and not every body used nowadays in astrology has properly earned its current reputation. There are countless bodies in the heavens ( will let you select from 19,402 asteroids for a natal chart. If you are serious about astrology check out asteroid 30, Urania, in your chart…); only a select minority make a noticeable impact on human life.


One misleadingly small heavenly body that unquestionably leaves its mark on us is Pluto. Go through a bad Pluto transit and you’ll forever on think of your life in “before” and “after” terms. People with strong Pluto signatures in their birth charts live their entire lives in a state of metamorphosis. While I’m not impressed by the news of this alleged Planet 9, I do see the irony and synchronicity in its press release coming during a conjunction between Pluto and communication planet Mercury, courtesy of a guy priding himself on being the Pluto Killer. As if! Mercury retrograde conjunct Pluto in Capricorn sees more to this story than meets the eye. Learning more about the Kuiper belt objects may unintentionally result in Pluto giving up more of its secrets.


There’s a cosmic joke of some kind going on when news of an invisible planet comes from people who tried and failed to kill what we know to be real to us right now.



Real Time Astrology: Full Moon in Leo January 23, 2016

Pic by Cheryl Pennington

Pic by Cheryl Pennington of A Tropical Affair


The first Full Moon of 2016 occurs Saturday, January 23rd at 7:46 PM CST, at 3 degrees of Leo. It is not [Read more…]