Low-Down Archives for Jan-Feb 2010

New Moon & Full Moon Astrology, Planetary Transits

January-February 2010

For the SOLAR ECLIPSE and New Moon in Capricorn:
January 15-30, 2010

And the Full Moon in Leo:
January 30 to February 13, 2010.

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Jan.15 – SOLAR ECLIPSE - NEW MOON in CAPRICORN (25:01 of Capricorn)

SOLAR ECLIPSE
NEW MOON in CAPRICORN

Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Jan.15, 2010, 2:11 AM EST

London, UK:

Jan.15, 2010, 7:11 AM GMT

Sydney, AU:

Jan.15, 2010, 6:11 PM AEDT

"What's a Solar Eclipse?"

"What's a New Moon?"

Read more about the Sun-Moon cycles.

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

This Annular Solar Eclipse can be seen from much of Africa, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Asia. An annular eclipse is where the Moon is aligned exactly with the Sun (like in a total eclipse), but the Moon is a bit more distant from the earth so the Sun's rim can be seen around the Moon. What you see is a bright ring around the Moon. But remember: DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT A SOLAR ECLIPSE without proper protection, or you risk permanently damaging your eyes.

Happy New Decade!

Fasten your seatbelts – it's bound to be a long and bumpy ride! This is one intense, powerful, busy and "interesting" Solar Eclipse. There's lots to talk about, so grab some herbal tea and some organic cookies and get comfy.

Capricorn is all about reality – physical reality, circumstances, consequences, responsibility and structure. This is the realm of whatever we can detect with our five senses and what we can deduce through logic and analysis. Capricorn is not big on intuitive faith – it wants proof. It's the "show me" sign. It is about what we build out of our lives, using the tools, skills, knowledge and experience we gather in the other signs.

This is where it all comes together. To accomplish this, Capricorn needs three things: a goal, a direction to proceed in, and a plan on how to get there. In order to build a house, you need a blueprint, a list of materials, skilled labour to do the work, and a way to oversee the progress and keep it on track. This is why Capricorn results often seem so slow – most of the time is spent preparing before the hammer ever hits a nail.

It is said that there is nothing new under the Sun. When we create something new in our lives, we take past experience, skills and knowledge, and combined them with new learning, resources and vision. Capricorn often uses the materials and components gathered from the rubble of past achievements (no need letting good bricks go to waste). Before the "old bricks" can be used (literally or symbolically), they must usually be transformed and made ready to be applied to their new function. Old cement must be chipped off and each brick must be examined to determine where and how it can best be used.

As Pluto moves through Capricorn, the world is experiencing just such a transformation. We are going through the rubble after a collapse, determining which bits we should keep and which should be turned into landfill. Either way, something is done with everything. Capricorn's motto is: a place for everything and everything in its place. Pluto has also been busy in the proverbial back yard, turning over the dirt in the compost pile to keep the transformation going. If life smells like manure to you these days, consider it a necessary by-product in the evolutionary process that the "real world" is going through.

Saturn, the planetary ruler of Capricorn, is another important player in this transformation process. Whatever is happening in Saturn's back yard will get sent over to the Capricorn Solar Eclipse. Not surprisingly, Saturn as been a busy boy in his new Libra digs, trying to play mediator in the neighbourhood wars that have ensued since the collapse (with warring factions hurling bits of cement and half-composted poison ivy at each other) – although Libra also knows that sometimes a good fight is necessary to clear the air before negotiations can truly begin.

Saturn, who is still in close square aspect (90°) to Pluto, is pushing us to do a reality check about Pluto's transformative agenda. Saturn wants to ensure that any Plutonian change we embrace is done with a concrete goal in mind, not just for the sake of "going along with" the composting process. We want to end up with good wholesome organic dirt that will support healthy new growth, not slimy sewage sludge.

Slow and steady at the best of times, right now Saturn is virtually at a standstill, having stationed retrograde just 1.6 days ago. Picture him stamping his feet and drumming his fingers to emphasize his point about the need for structure, rules and purpose. His sign of Libra also wants us to know that these noble aspirations will succeed only through mutual cooperation and (at least some) common ground we can agree on. Saturn wants us to know that it's important to get serious about these things or there will be consequences down the road in the form of "natural karma" – the inevitable reaction to our actions (or lack thereof).

Into this messy renovation enters Mercury, also in Capricorn. Having been retrograde since Dec.26.2009, he is currently even more immobile than Saturn, since he turns Direct a mere 9 hours after the Solar Eclipse is exact. Mercury is also square to Saturn and conjunct Pluto, though he stops just shy of reaching exact (no doubt applying some of that Capricorn caution before he rushes in where angels fear to tread). Under Mercury's mischievous, stern and slightly sadistic guidance, you could be seized by an idea, haunted by guilt, nagged by something left unfinished, or choking on words left unsaid (or said, in spite of the speaker's better judgment).

I've heard so many people complain about a lack of energy while Mercury has been retrograde in Capricorn, that I won't be surprised if the direct station amplifies this effect, especially with half the solar system currently in Capricorn (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Pluto) and two of them squaring Capricorn's ruler, Saturn. If you experience an extra low energy around the day of the eclipse, don't beat yourself up about it – take your time, leave extra time to do things and plan some down-time in your busy schedule (rest, sleep, "vegging," meditating).

This could be an excellent time to form a commitment that will take the next several months to develop, but don't commit to something merely to have a reason to get up in the morning. This should challenge you, intrigue you, pique your interest and inspire you enough to want to focus on it for the next few months. If you grab just anything out of the opportunity sack, you could be stuck with something you can't stand. And even if the commitment feels like it's being forced on you by necessity or circumstances, you still have the choice of how to accept it and make it your own. Consider carefully your options, your reasons and the mindset within which you frame your decision.

On the other hand, it could also be an excellent time to consider changing your mind about something that you thought was set in stone – but again, don't just do it because you're feeling commitment-shy, intimidated or stuck. Often our best lessons and rewards come to us initially in the form of a situation that feels like we're hauling a load of bricks up a steep mountain glacier. Don't dismiss something just because it's hard. At the same time, don't stick with something just because you think "if it's hard and feels terrible, I must be getting something out of it." This is about finding yourself at a crossroads and making a conscious choice. It could be your chance to realize you're going in the wrong direction and decide to make a deliberate change. Or, it might be a chance to reconsider whether something is working for you or not, and possibly realizing that there are reasons to stick with it after all.

The key is to stay aware, keep your mind open, your discipline sharp and your passion warm – but then allow your perceptions, logic, analysis, common sense and reality-checking to tell you what you need to know to make a good decision that you can live with.

Add to this mixture Venus, who is exactly conjunct the Solar Eclipse – same degree, although not cazimi (conjunct the Sun within 17 minutes of arc) which would have made Venus truly the Queen of this Eclipse. Venus contributes a sense of values and the need for enjoyment – if your decision isn't something you can feel good about, then either you need to make another decision or you need to find a different way to embrace the decision.

Venus in Capricorn is in mutual reception to Saturn in Libra, which means they can be allies in the quest to get the warring factions to make nice with each other again. Certainly a glance at any newspaper or newsfeed will point you to the many political, economic, ecological and philosophical disagreements happening in the world right now. However, this conflict and struggle is also going on inside each of us personally, as we are faced with choices and consequences that will establish and affect our lives for the next few months and even years. Venus is here to remind us that joy, pleasure and following our desire is just as important as anything else.

The Solar Eclipse is also exactly conjunct the Dark Moon Lilith (to the degree). This is a somewhat controversial point to use in a chart, since the Dark Moon's physical existence is regarded as disproven by most scientists; yet her symbolism speaks deeply to many astrologers. Like the "planet" itself, Lilith stands as a model of dark, mysterious, primal feminine energy that is not always personally perceived except through deep experiences of transformation and rebirth. In M. Kelley Hunter's fabulous new book, Living Lilith: Four Dimensions of the Cosmic Feminine, she tells us about how the Dark Moon Lilith "...lures us into our more self-centered illusions for the purpose of purging negative desires and growing beyond our habitual patterns of unconscious conditioning."

What are the implications of the Dark Moon Lilith for the Solar Eclipse? You might not notice anything special, beyond an extra intensification of the Pluto-square-Saturn energy. On the other hand, you might feel strangely pulled toward creating something truly special and distinctive, the creative impulse erupting out of your depths, as you wrestle with the Capricorn challenges described above. Says Hunter: "An Earth sign, Capricorn can be most tangibly aware of the sacred geometries in nature and their reflection in social systems. Lilith in Capricorn raises the standing stones and pulls the sword of power from the stone." (slightly edited for readability)

One more powerful and very noteworthy feature of the Solar Eclipse chart is that retrograde Mars is virtually unaspected! In other words, it has no major aspects to it, except perhaps a very wide opposition to Chiron (at 8:41 orb and separating). I think Mars will more likely be a bit of a loose canon during this eclipse, as unaspected planets usually are. And with Mars already being retrograde, it could make this eclipse very "interesting" indeed!

Mars normally likes to go charging off in whatever direction seizes its passion, but a retrograde Mars is much more internalized and therefore more likely to charge in than out. A thwarted Mars is usually not a pretty sight, and being unaspected it raises the risk of anger being vented in spurts or obstinacy digging in its heels beyond reason. There is also a possibility of all that energy being inflicted on oneself in the form of depression or wounded self-esteem. If you have a history of or tendency toward either of these experiences, don't hesitate to reach out for some extra support this month – better to get some extra when you might not need it than to deny yourself when you do.

On the other hand, an unaspected retrograde Mars can be an excellent opportunity to tap into suppressed or latent courage and valour. Get to know your inner hero – not necessarily to save some damsel or dude in distress, but perhaps to save yourself from being stuck in inhibition or obsession. That Mars confidence is likely to be a bit unpredictable, so you might not be able to summon it at will. However, if you watch for signs of it inside, you can take advantage of it when it surfaces. Just be careful not to confuse courage with overreaction, which could also emerge just as unpredictably.

And—oh yes! The Solar Eclipse! With everything else going on, the fact that the New Moon in Capricorn is also a Solar Eclipse almost seems like the least exciting thing happening. Being an eclipse, it will have ripple effects reaching out over the next few years. In this case, these ripples are likely to show themselves in 2011-2012, when Mars and then Saturn form dynamic aspects to the eclipse. Your experiences this month that stem from the eclipse – feelings, expectations, hopes, fears, ambitions – may return at that time. (Stop that groaning.) This will give you a chance to take stock of your progress, how much you've learned, how much you've accomplished and what still needs to be done. Although you might find issues or unfinished business that is still nagging at you, you will likely find that you have developed more skills, abilities, strength, resources and support than you realize. And the areas that still need work can draw on the strengths you have developed.

This is a powerful time of transformation that will have far-reaching effects. Take your time, get grounded, gather your facts, choose wisely and take things one step at a time. Give yourself the support you need, and if you need extra support, don't hesitate to reach out to a friend, advisor, counsellor or your astrologer.

Let Venus share her enjoyment of nature with you. Let Saturn show you that stability and balance are worthy and reachable goals. Let Pluto show you how much letting go of the old can free you for the new. Give Mercury a little room to have some fun being his bratty self, but remember to listen for some subtle lunatic wisdom that will also come through his antics.

At the New Moon we are in the "dark of the Moon" when we cannot see the Moon in the sky. This being a solar eclipse, we are also in the darkening of the Sun, when the Moon (feelings, needs, intuition) temporarily blocks out the light of the Sun (identity, purpose, confidence, life force). And yet, during the twilight of the eclipse, the corona of the Sun still glows from behind the Moon. (By the way, DO NOT look directly at the eclipse without proper protection, or you could permanently damage your eyes.) Symbolically, think of the corona as your greater potential, life force and the will to live that persists despite the temporary setbacks and struggles that sometimes cast a shadow on your life.

If you've ever been outside during a solar eclipse, the dimming of the light can make the world look alien and eerie. Birds and animals behave differently, confused by this sudden dusk in the middle of the day. Your body might feel a visceral reaction, as your brain struggles to make sense of the phenomenon. You could experience primal feelings, ranging from fear to liberation to awe. You are glimpsing an in-between view of the world that is like no other.

Even if you don't witness the eclipse first hand, the eclipse energy during a couple of days before and after can sometimes feel a bit disorienting in a similar way, as something stirs deep within your unconscious. It is that stirring that releases a seed of some forgotten or latent part of yourself that gradually germinates, unfolds and develops over the next few years. So, for best results, approach this time with respect and mindfulness.

Jan.15 – Mercury stationary Direct (05:33 of Capricorn) (Jan.16 in AU) ("What does Retrograde mean?"  "What does stationary mean?"  Read article about Mercury Retrograde.  Read article about stations.)

For up to a week before and after today, you might experience mental intensity, confusion, miscommunications or changes in your outlook. After being retrograde since Dec.26, Mercury is now taking a slow turn to resume direct motion. These past 3 weeks have challenged you to rethink and rehash things that required some fine-tuning or revision. The direct station can be a time when clearer decisions start to emerge from the issues and struggles you've encountered during the retrograde period. Or, it might turn your perspective around so that you're seeing your situation fresh again.

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

Jan.17 – Jupiter enters Pisces (until Jun.06; and Sep.09 to Jan.22.2011) (Jan.18 in UK, AU)

The coming year will take you on a mystical journey as Jupiter levitates through Pisces. Jupiter is still the traditional planetary ruler of Pisces, even though many astrologers now consider Neptune to be the modern ruler. Jupiter in Pisces can bring dreamy, imaginative, peaceful and magical experiences. This is the territory of faeries, fantasies and psychic impressions. You could be especially open to a spiritual way of understanding things, sensing profound meaning in mere nuances and being unusually sensitive to the undercurrents around you. You may be more receptive to having faith in the goodness of the Universe and all within it. This is a time when you could experience a more direct connection to the sacredness of All That Is. Or, if you're more comfortable with rationality and logic, this can be a time when you see more clearly the exquisite beauty of how the design of the universe fits together so perfectly.

This can also be a time when you could be swept away by a bit too much "magical thinking." You might be more susceptible to getting your hopes up in a way that results in disappointment or disillusionment when the reality doesn't match the vision you had. Perfectionism and idealism can inflate out of control, if your visionary capacity grows to be larger than life. It's possible to do the right thing for the wrong reasons, or to do the wrong thing for all the right reasons – in other words, things may not be what they seem and your own motives could become skewed by good intentions that fail to see a contradiction. At its worst, Jupiter in Pisces could invite deception that uses your own human longing for redemption and liberation to trap you in an illusion – in other words, you want something (or someone) to be real so badly that you miss the signals that things are not what they seem.

However, even disillusionment and disappointment can bring you to wisdom. You might find a teacher who facilitates a new greater understanding of what life really is. This could be a guru or other teacher of higher philosophy and spirituality, or it might be a person who shows you what you're NOT looking for. Whether you encounter positive or negative experiences, there is meaning to be learned and true wisdom that emerge from it.

Jan.18 – Venus enters Aquarius (until Feb.11) (Jan.19 in AU)

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.

Jan.19 – Sun enters Aquarius (until Feb.18) (Jan.20 in UK, AU)

Happy Solar Return to all Aquarians! While the Sun travels through Aquarius, we all have a chance to explore our rebellious, individualistic and futuristic Aquarian nature. This heralds a time to explore beyond the status quo and conventional reality, beckoning you to reach out to the lost threads of who you are. You may become more aware of your individual uniqueness and your part in the Great Collective – both your surrounding community and the Collective Unconscious. In order to fulfil the unique fingerprint of your life's purpose, it is sometimes necessary to be rebellious, spontaneous, and to be open to the unexpected. You might become aware of the need for these qualities under this transit. There is always a constant tension between the need to conform to society's formula of what works best versus the need to step off the main path to explore new experiences, and both are equally necessary to the health of both the individual and the greater community. Archetypally, it is in Aquarius that we encounter our personal experience of the battle between "the needs of the many" versus "the needs of the few." During the Sun's adventure through Aquarius, be open to the ways that this dynamic operates in your life. What can trigger or inspire you into rebellion or going against the conventional flow of the world around you? What will motivate you into being a team player, when you apply your energies to support or defend "the needs of the many?" What visions of the future do you see when you are in either mode of being? This is a time when you may have the opportunity to observe and learn about both sides of yourself – the part that feels like it's "me against the world" and the part that feels like a part of that world.

Jan.22 – Venus trine Saturn (04:35 of Aquarius/Libra)

Stability in relationships and finances characterises this transit. You have increased ability to be disciplined about spending and to invest the hard work to maximise your earnings. Your ability to grasp the solid, realistic facts will help you choose wisely in your investments of both money and interaction with others. Commitment and structure are easier to achieve and embrace than change or taking risks. Self-worth can benefit now because you are less inclined to give in to mood swings. However, if you are prone to depression, you might want to be careful you don't become so grounded and stable that you lose touch with your sense of hope and potential. It is a good time to make concrete progress in matters involving beauty, love, harmony and balance. Keep your pleasures simple and humble for maximum benefit.

Jan.24 – Sun trine Saturn (04:32 of Aquarius/Libra) (Jan.25 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.

Astrology Readings with Wendy Guy, Astrological Counselor

Feeling lost in a maze? Not sure which way to go? We'll work together to give you a fresh perspective and get you back on your best path!

Find out more here or contact me for more information.

Jan.27 – Venus opposite Mars Retrograde (10:50 of Aquarius/Leo)

Your receptive, diplomatic side is arguing with your assertive, upfront side. The result can be either a battle of wills between Yin and Yang (yours or others'), or a new creative dynamic that brings both into a new balance. This could manifest in the form of relationship issues, financial struggles, or arguments about control. Or, you might feel it is time to take action with plans that have been percolating for a while, especially related to beauty, love, relationships, money, spending and negotiation. If you're usually more comfortable with Yin energy (receptive, diplomatic, beauty oriented), you might feel unusually sensitive to aggressive or forceful energy from others. At worst, you might feel backed into a corner or even bullied by someone who comes across as angry, pushy or (over)enthusiastic. If you're more at home with Yang energy (assertive, action-oriented, direct), you may feel pressured or manipulated to tone down your energy level to make it more socially acceptable. Either way, this is about finding a new cooperative balance that works for both sides, through compromise, negotiation and conflict resolution.

Since Mars is retrograde, Venus (Yin) is more likely to be the dominant energy – at least on the surface. Mars is still a strong undercurrent. As an example, this could manifest as leading with your "nice," sociable side, while there is still tension under the surface. Or, you might spend a lot of energy beautifying your physical appearance, which covers up a harsh, critical self-image underneath.

Jan.29 – Sun opposite Mars Retrograde (09:47 of Aquarius/Leo) (Jan.30 in AU)

This is a stimulating energy that could bring positive action or frustrating struggle, and maybe both. If you've been waiting to take action on something, you might feel inspired to do it now, although it might be based more on impulse than careful consideration. You could also experience a battle wills under this transit, between yourself and another person, or between different parts of yourself that are at odds with each other. This transit is about asserting yourself and your will, which could be done constructively...or possibly destructively. There is much potential right now to project your own anger or defensiveness out and then think it's just "the other guy." On the other hand, if you find yourself embroiled in conflict, this is a great opportunity to test out a new way of reacting to see if that works better than your usual style. Although anger and conflict are the most common ways for this transit to manifest, this could also be a time when you become extremely active or busy. Or you might find your libido running unusually high. Accidents are a possibility, since the impulse is often to act first and think later, so try to slow down long enough to see the obstacles coming and sidestep them.

Mars is always retrograde when it opposes the Sun, and this marks the half-way point in the Mars retrograde cycle. It is also a turning point in the process of delving into underlying motives, attitudes, impulses and passions. From now until the Mars direct station (Mar.10), you must work with or deal with whatever true emotions, motives and urges emerge at (or just prior to) the Mars-Sun opposition. During this time, watch to see what kinds of conflicts, disagreements, risks, restlessness, passions and confrontations you encounter. If you find you are feeling depressed, low on energy, lethargic, cynical or otherwise "stuck," you could be repressing anger, fear, grief or desire. If you can't discover on your own what's at the root of your stuck feelings, you might consider seeking outside help to explore what could be draining your energy. This might be a medical professional, therapist, counsellor, spiritual advisor, astrologer, etc. Getting some objective feedback could help you shift something important that could help you release your creative and assertive energy.

 

Sabian Symbol for the
Full Moon in Leo

Leo 11

Children on a swing in a huge oak tree.

This Sabian Symbol ("What's a Sabian Symbol?") shows us a contrasting image of the old and the new – the big old oak tree and the freshness of youth.

It is a vision of unselfconscious, youthful activity that requires the sturdy strength of an older and wiser structure that can be depended upon to support it. More than that, the stability of the tree enables the children to "swing back and forth" – to move one way and then another.

Just because the structure behind your activity is fixed and anchored, it doesn't mean your activity can't be contradictory, changeable or experimental. On the contrary, the solidity of that structure is the perfect support that can enable you to try new things and explore new territory.

For example, what might initially seem like rigid, limiting circumstances could provide the container in which you can try something new. That limitation could also minimize any damage that might otherwise happen if things go wrong, allowing you to make mistakes and experiment with less risk.

 

Find out more about the Sabian Symbols in these recommended books:

An Astrological Mandala,
by Dane Rudhyar

The Sabian Symbols: The Original Symbols Fully Revealed,
by Blain Bovee

The Sabian Symbols in Astrology,
by Marc Edmund Jones

Jan.30 – FULL MOON in LEO (10:14 of Leo)

FULL MOON in LEO

Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Jan.30.2010 1:18 AM EST

London, UK:

Jan.30.2010,6:18 AM GMT

Sydney, AU:

Jan.30.2010, 1:18 PM AEST

"What's a Full Moon?"

Read more about the Sun-Moon cycles.

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

If you live east of (roughly) Afghanistan, your calendar might say that this is a "Blue Moon" since it is the second Full Moon in the same calendar month. However, read the truth about what a Blue Moon really is!

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"It takes more courage to reveal insecurities than to hide them, more strength to relate to people than to dominate them, more 'manhood' to abide by thought-out principles rather than blind reflex. Toughness is in the soul and spirit, not in muscles and an immature mind." - Alex Karras

Leo is the sign of self, identity and leadership. It is ruled by the Sun, which is the centre of our solar system – everything else revolves around it and is held in its orbit by the Sun's gravitational pull. Leo and the Sun represent your centre. Whatever lives at your centre has the gravitational pull that holds the rest of you in place. If your centre is occupied by confidence, clarity and affirmation of life, that is the energy around which your life revolves. If your centre is occupied by self-doubt, confusion or cynicism, that is the energy around which your life will turn.

There's a wonderful quote whose author seems to be unknown: "It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not." In other words, our ability to succeed is too often defined not by the stuff we're actually made of, but more by what we think we lack. It is the belief that we don't measure up; that we do not have what it takes to be successful or loved or acknowledged or respected. It grows out of comparing ourselves to others or to arbitrary standards, combined with deep self-doubt.

It's like we see the hole in the donut but not the donut. We acknowledge the emptiness we feel inside and, in a moment of insecurity, believe that is the most important part of us. The person that surrounds that empty space (one's self) becomes relegated to the incidental twilight realm of "Yes, but..." It is a sickness of the spirit that drives us to want to shrink back and hide at those moments when we are called upon to shine. Most of us experience this to one extent or another – some for brief moments, others for a lifetime.

The remedy to this existential ailment is a combination of acceptance and courage. Self-acceptance is the bedrock on which we must stand if we are to truly reach beyond that emptiness. Self-doubt is part of our human nature and sometimes even useful. Yet, ironically, to attempt to disown it is to reject a fundamental part of ourselves in the same breath that we are striving to affirm who we are. It's like trying to celebrate your body by amputating an arm. You can't accept yourself if you are busy trying to disown part of yourself.

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.

- Ambrose Redmoon

Courage is strength of spirit. The Leo part of you is the lionhearted brave soul who musters the courage to slay the dragons in your life. It's who you are in your heart of hearts. In the movies, when you see the hero blanche in the face of supremely insurmountable conflict, and then realizes that she/he simply must do what must be done – that's a Leo moment.

Where does courage come from? Certainly not from lack of fear! It comes from moving something more important than fear into your centre. What's more important than fear? Some would say "anything!" More to the point: you decide. It's not that your fear doesn't exist, it's that you don't let it make your decisions for you. Something else, some other priority, occupies the centre of who you are in that moment. It might be survival, or the desire for fulfilment, or being fed up with being held back, or a moment of clarity when you are able to see the path through the jungle of the unknown. Whatever it is, it moves into that central place and pushes fear into an off-centre position. The fear's still there, but it's not in the driver's seat.

At the time of the Full Moon, Mars is tightly conjunct the Moon. (This is the biggest, brightest Full Moon of the year, so be sure to go outside to see Mars next to the Moon in the night sky!) Mars is all about courage, drive and taking action, and right now the spotlight of the Full Moon is shining on Mars, bringing its issues into vivid focus. Being opposite the Sun, Mars is also retrograde (Dec.20.2009 to Mar.10.2010), so your journey through its retrograde cycle is illuminated at the Full Moon.

Being retrograde, Mars could behave in an indirect, internalized, contrary or even passive-aggressive way. As a result, this can be a time when you find yourself staring into a mirror that reflects back the Mars issues you are working with right now. The question becomes: Do you like what you see in that mirror? If you do, what are you prepared to do with it? And if not, what are you willing to do about it?

Yin and Yang are now counterbalancing each other. At the Solar Eclipse in Capricorn (Jan.15) we had Venus exactly conjunct the New Moon, giving this energy a strong receptive, feminine energy (archetypally speaking). Mars was almost unaspected at that time, making it a challenge to connect to outgoing, male energy in a stable, consistent or balanced way.

However, at the Full Moon this is virtually reversed. Venus, although still conjunct the Sun, is separating from it and therefore somewhat "past her prime," as it were. However, Mars now becomes a central focus, being tightly conjunct the Full Moon. The Yin Moon is conjunct the Yang Mars. The Yang Sun is conjunct the Yin Venus. Mars is usually seen as Yang energy, yet it is currently retrograde and therefore more active in the Yin realm. This is a time of integration, (re)balance and what Dane Rudhyar would call "repolarization."

Wedge aspect figure at the Full Moon

Saturn is very tightly square (90°) to Pluto right now, giving you a backdrop of either noble struggle or banging your head against a brick wall and wondering why you have a headache. Saturn also forms a Wedge aspect figure (diagram at left) to the Sun/Venus opposition to Moon/Mars. This can provide stability, realism and groundedness if you're willing to take things at a slower pace.

Hard Wedge aspect pattern at the Full Moon

In addition, Uranus forms what I call a Hard Wedge aspect pattern (diagram at right) to the Sun/Venus opposite Moon/Mars. This counterbalances the Saturnian stability and can shake things up a bit and make things "interesting." At best, Uranus can ensure you don't get too bored or stuck in a rut, by keeping you open to new possibilities that you might otherwise dismiss as too risky, too much trouble or too unconventional. At worst, Uranus could undo any stability that Saturn brings – sort of a "one step forward, two steps back" dance to a syncopated rhythm.

To get the most out of all this energy, it is important to be aware of what occupies the core of your being. What is in your centre right now? Is your centre cluttered with doubts about your competence, or worry about who you are not? Does your centre become a battleground between anger, resentment or depression on one hand, and light-hearted detachment or disconnection on the other? Is your centre so locked into a serious struggle for growth and ambition that you've shut out pleasure, joy and faith in the greater process? Is your centre filled with bliss, satisfaction and self-respect, yet it is fragile, fleeting or fickle? What are the attitudes, expectations, desires and intentions that form the hub of your world?

There's no right or wrong answer here. This is about cultivating awareness and making choices, either through meditation and observation of your actions and reactions, or by connecting with others and getting feedback and insight that can help to light your way. If you're not comfortable with what you see inside, you have the ability to change it – not to eradicate feelings, thoughts and motivations that you see as counterproductive, but to reprioritize what you base your decisions, choices and forward vision on.

Remember: acceptance and courage!

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Jan.31 – Saturn square Pluto (04:21 of Libra/Capricorn) (Feb.01 in AU)

The planet of structure, authority and responsibility (Saturn) squares off with the planet of power, purging and transformation (Pluto). This is part of a much larger cycle that evolves over 38 years and began in 1982. In more immediate terms, this transit challenges you to examine how effectively you are working with discipline, responsibility, leadership and authority – your own or others – and discover how you can transform these areas to support your growth, maturity and personal development. Both of these planets are associated with endings, so this could be a time when circumstances force you to let go of the ineffective or outmoded ways you have been dealing with authority, power and control. These planets are also about mastery – developing your ability to own your personal power, be your own authority and be self-sufficient. Do you have a tendency to project power, control and decisions onto others? (e.g. authority figures) Does your fear of powerlessness get projected onto others in the form of resentment or jealousy of (what you believe is) their power to make decisions over you? Or perhaps you are the one who must make or influence the decisions of others, and you feel reluctant to take on that kind of responsibility? This is a time when you may need to delve deeply into the ways that you handle or react to power and authority. This challenge may come to you in the form of a conflict or struggle that shows you where and how you need to take the next step in your evolutionary growth.

This is the second of three passes of this transit: Nov.15.2009, Jan.31.2010 and Aug.21.2010. If you think back to November, you might remember a time when you were challenged by difficult or demanding circumstances. Or perhaps you were confronted by an obstacle in your life that has required you to dig deep into your resolve and strength to overcome. Or maybe you see a vision of what you could build in your life if you could just find the right combination of resources, discipline, will power, dedication and stamina. This second pass is a time when you can put the building blocks for the solution into place by gathering resources and skills, putting hammer to nail, and adjusting your attitude so that you don't get bogged down in discouragement.

Feb.03 – Mercury conjunct Lunar North Node (20:53 of Capricorn) (Feb.04 in AU)

Ideas are in focus, especially when they're shared with others. It could be a time when you observe or notice something new, giving you a new perspective that you will mull over for the coming several months. Keep your eyes, mind and curiosity open – the world could be showing you something important and fascinating!

This is the last of three passes of this transit: Dec.23, Dec.29 and Feb.03.2010. This has been the only repeating major aspect Mercury makes during the current retrograde cycle. This cycle has been coloured by seeking out a meeting of the minds with others, particularly those who can help you advance in your plans and ambitions. Perhaps it has also been a time when you gathered ideas to make plans for the future. At this final pass, think back to what your intuition and observations have guided you towards. You will likely realize that you have gained considerable clarity about the options available to you, some of which you might have already made decisions about. This is now a time to envision the future that is now possible, as a result of choices and decisions made in the last couple of months, as well as influenced by others whose advice or insight you may have sought out during that time.

Feb.04 – Mercury leaves the Shadow (until Apr.04) ("What's the Shadow?"  Read more about the Shadow.)

Mercury finally leaves the shadow—the part of the zodiac where it went retrograde from Dec.26 to Jan.15. 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, which gives you more choices than you had before. If you've been waiting until Mercury finished with the retrograde cycle before you made a final decision about something, this can be a good time to decide what direction you want to go. Just don't forget your common sense.

Feb.06 – Mercury sextile Uranus (24:27 of Capricorn/Pisces)

There is potential for brilliance and excitement under this transit. You may be more spontaneous, upbeat and eccentric than usual. If you are used to a fairly predictable lifestyle, it is a time when you may be inspired to experiment with something out of character. If you are used to being whacky, zany and impulsive, this transit can provide opportunities to express this. You may have an increased ability to "think outside the box" if you stretch your mind a little, and there is the possibility of having an "ah-ha!" experience, when answers and realisations fall into place. There is also the possibility of being mentally restless, so that it's hard to slow down your thoughts or apply yourself seriously to your responsibilities. Your attention span may be a bit short for a couple of days. This energy can be used to consider new ideas that seemed outlandish or impossible before, and see new potential in them.

Although this is the only exact pass for this transit, Mercury was within close orb to sextile Uranus when it stationed retrograde on Dec.26.2009. At that time you might have felt a breakthrough was possible but more preparation was needed before you were ready to take the leap. In that case, this is the time to take the leap, if your further investigations have confirmed that this will take you where you want to go.

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Feb.06 – Jupiter sextile Pluto (04:31 of Pisces/Capricorn) (Feb.07 in AU)

A deeper level of understanding and wisdom is possible under this transit, which is in strongest effect for about a week before and after this date. When a broad perspective (Jupiter) is combined with depth of insight (Pluto), the results can be profound! This is a good time to explore deep philosophical and spiritual questions; to delve into the vast mysteries of life. There is a risk, however, that your ideals of truth and justice could also be used as a weapon or used to support arrogance and domination. When someone is convinced they're right, it might not be easy to see how knowledge and power can be misused. It's your own creative ability (in the broadest sense of the word) that can bring these energies together, and it is your own integrity and self-awareness that will guide you in how to use them. When in doubt, consult someone whose opinions and knowledge you trust.

Feb.07-08 – Venus partile conjunction to Chiron and Neptune (25 Aquarius)

Although Venus is within orb of this conjunction throughout the Full Moon phase of this lunar cycle, this is when these three planets collide at the same degree (25) of Aquarius. For a few days before and after this conjunction, relationships, finances, social interaction and values could be coloured by a combination of idealism and struggle. For example, you might feel that your relationship is falling short of what you believe it should be. Or, you might decide that you want to invest your time and energy only in pursuits that aspire to the highest truth or vision, rather than having to settle for something less. If your ideals far outreach your reality, you could experience disappointment or cynicism. At worst, this could make you susceptible to a kind of "martyr mentality" where suffering becomes a comforting buffer from having to deal more constructively with the situation. However, at best, this transit could bring you to a more meaningful acceptance of a difficult situation, which in turn can open up new opportunities to make it better, since your energy is not being drained away by being stuck in disappointment.

Feb.07 – Venus conjunct Chiron (25:35 of Aquarius) (Feb.08 in AU)

Unresolved problems and old wounds in relationships and finances may be in the foreground now, with potential for a new beginning and healing. However, in order to heal something, it is first necessary to become more aware of what is out of balance, which can make a situation seem to get worse before it gets better. You have the ability to wound those close to you, as well as to bring healing, as you explore what is and isn't working in your relationships. It is also a time when your approach to finances and resources may require that you face some hard realities that may not be easily or quickly resolved, but dealing with any problems will give you the chance to achieve a new balance. This is especially true when it comes to the ways that you see your physical resources as a reflection of your self-worth, and the relationships in your life as a reflection of your lovability. These issues may become aggravated under this transit, but ultimately this is meant to increase your awareness of these issues so that you can start to heal them in new ways.

Feb.08 – Venus conjunct Neptune (25:54 of Aquarius)

This can be a time of romance and dreamy desire on one hand, or deceptive manipulation and self-serving negotiation on the other hand. At its best, this transit can inspire enormous creativity and healing faith in love and abundance. We can be extremely open to the loftiest possibilities of our close relationships and our ability to attract what and who we desire. However, it may not be as easy to assess these areas in light of the realities that must be dealt with in order to realise that potential. We may find it easier to have faith in the power of negotiation – that the Universe will ensure our desired outcome – but it is also easy to slide into wishful thinking that loses touch with the reality of the situation. If you are considering a major change involving income, investment, spending or resources, it is probably a good idea to do a reality check with a trusted friend or advisor. If you are starting a new relationship or negotiating changes to an existing one, it might be wise to take a long-term view to wait and see if your dreams really will come true or if your hopes are colouring your thinking a bit too much. A reality check with a trusted friend might also help with this. This transit begins a new cycle that brings these issues into our lives to explore and gradually unfolds over the next 12 months (approximately).

Feb.10 – Mercury enters Aquarius (until Mar.01)

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.

Feb.11 – Venus enters Pisces (until Mar.07)

Creativity, harmony and compassion permeate our experiences while Venus waltzes through Pisces. If you are an artist, musician, writer or other imaginative artisan, this can be a time of great creative inspiration. Even if you're not, this can still be a time when your appreciation of the arts is heightened and your sensual enjoyment of life increases. Relationships can be influenced by this placement, by encouraging more openness to love and romance. While this can make interaction smoother and more magical, it might also make you more vulnerable to deception or disappointment. Be receptive don't misplace your better judgment. This can also be a time when you are prone to feeling a Universal Oneness with humanity. You may find you have increased capacity for compassion, caring and connection with others. This, too, can be a mixed blessing – it can bring out your most loving side, but could also make you more easily taken advantage of. You might feel inspired to make a selfless sacrifice, or to donate money or resources as a form of service. It is all done in the name of Universal beauty, truth and compassion. Celebrate this transit by going to a concert of beautiful music, or stroll through an art gallery, or indulge in dreamy sensuality, or let yourself feel a loving connection with all that is around you.

Feb.12 – Mercury trine Saturn (03:50 of Aquarius/Libra) (Feb.13 in UK, AU)

It can be easier to take a logical, practical approach to problem-solving and pursuit of your goals now. Your mental outlook is likely to be calm and grounded. This is a good time to make plans and work out the logistics of how you're going to get from "here" to "there" in pursuing your goals. You may find it's time to bring closure to finished goals by distilling and systemizing what you've learned in the process of pursuing those past goals. Or, you might find you are able to draw on past achievements to assist and support your current goals and plans. It is a good transit to bring structure to your thoughts and communication. You may find it's a little easier to accept authority – yours or someone else's – and that you are able to speak authoritatively about things about which you have knowledge or experience.

Next Update:  NEW MOON in AQUARIUS - February 13, 2010 (Feb.14 in UK, AU). Available by Feb.13

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