Low-Down Archives February 2006

The Low-Down on the Far-Out

February 2006

Jan.29 � NEW MOON IN AQUARIUS ("What's a New Moon?")

Gung Hey Fat Choi!  The New Moon in Aquarius rings in the Chinese New Year! This is the Year of the Fire Dog.

The New Moon chart has quite a line-up of planets in Aquarius! The Sun and Moon, of course, are in Aquarius, along with Chiron, Mercury and Neptune. Called a "stellium," this group of planets creates a very strong emphasis on Aquarian energy during the coming lunar cycle. So what is Aquarian energy?

Aquarius is about moving beyond our comfort zone of what is known and established. We might find opportunities to explore and express aspects of ourselves that we don't often let out of the basement of the unconscious.

This could involve rebelling against the status quo, rules and strict expectations in your life. Or, perhaps you feel it's time to break free of old habits and routines (like quitting smoking, or doing some of those New Year's resolutions that were forgotten). Or, you might feel the urge to reach out and connect with the community or a group or organisation or friends. Or, you might want to pull back from others and experience your own individuality and uniqueness.

Whatever path you follow during this cycle, you have the opportunity to become more aware of your woundedness, especially in the areas listed above. This could mean finding a new perspective on the areas where you struggle with distress and discouragement, or the ways that you might (unintentionally) cause others to feel this way. Or, you might have to face disillusionment�or even unexpected enlightenment�about a situation that turns out to be different than you thought it was.

These issues can be seen more clearly (possibly because they're "in your face"). As a result, it can also be a time of healing, by changing your usual response to these situations, by opening new doors or closing old ones, or by finding new ways to embrace and work with old problems.

Much of this liberation from past restraints may evolve out of the events and changes that have developed since last October, while the Mars-Jupiter-Neptune T-square has been in effect (off and on). This aspect configuration moves out of orb around Feb.05. The learning you have gained during this time may be generating new ideas, viewpoints, possibilities or opportunities now that will require decisions, choices and perhaps some daring to follow through with them.

The danger lies in being reckless and rebellious just for the sake of doing something different. As much as you may feel the need to break free of convention and rules, you will still need to answer to them and be accountable for your actions. Instead, listen to your higher intuition and your lower instincts, and then make a conscious choice about how you want to respond. Balance courage with discipline and daring with realistic caution. Top of Page

Feb.01 � Mercury conjunct Neptune (in Aquarius)

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

Gung He Fat hoi!

(Happy Chinese New Year!)

Your Chinese Horoscope 2006, by Neil Somerville

Your Chinese Horoscope 2006

by Neil Somerville

January 29, 2006 begins the Chinese Year of the Dog!

The Chinese traditionally use a Zodiac system that is different from Western astrology. There are 12 zodiac animals: Monkey, Ram, Horse, Snake, Dragon, Rabbit, Tiger, Ox, Rat, Pig, Dog and Rooster. Each sign rules for a whole year, starting with the New Moon in Aquarius (in Western astrology).

Each Chinese zodiac sign rotates with the five Chinese Elements (Water, Fire, Wood, Metal, Earth), as well as a polarity (Yin, Yang). 2006 is the Year of the Yang Fire Dog.

Neil Somerville's book on Chinese astrology gives an insightful introduction to the Chinese zodiac system. Learn about your own Chinese zodiac sign and what the Year of the Dog will mean for you!



The New Astrology, by Suzanne White

The New Astrology:
A Unique Synthesis of the World's Two Great Astrological Systems: Chinese and Western

By Suzanne White

This book bridges the gap between Chinese and Western astrology! Learn how your Sun Sign and your Chinese Zodiac Sign combine to describe you and the people in your life. Your Chinese sign adds another dimension to your cosmic fingerprint. Discover this unique multi-cultural aspect of yourself!

Feb.01 � Mercury square Jupiter (in Aquarius/Scorpio)

You may be seeing the weak links in your knowledge, understanding or beliefs right now. Your ideas and words might seem to fall short of what your mind envisions, or you might be unable to convince others of your point of view. As a result, it can be tempting to over-compensate with more self-confidence, faith or optimism than you actually have. Or, you might give out "too much information" by over-explaining or through nervous rambling. Alternatively, you might encounter someone else who does this and perhaps have a blaming or judgmental reaction to them. This is an opportunity to learn something about how you might jump to conclusions or blame, possibly triggered by a situation that challenges your beliefs, opinions or perspective. To learn more about this part of yourself, try taking some time to think about what is really bothering you or what you really need to say in that situation. There may be a higher truth to be found if you open your mind to something you're reluctant to acknowledge, rather than looking for a "final truth" around which to close it. Top of Page

Feb.03 � Venus stationary Direct (in Capricorn) ("What's a Station?")

For up to a week before and after this date, you may experience or witness a shifting of energy affecting finances, relationships, love, resources, values pleasure, beauty, harmony and/or balance. Situations or issues related to these areas that have been occupying your attention during the past 6-7 weeks (while Venus has been retrograde) may reach a turning point now. It is a time when decisions and choices could be made�perhaps out of necessity. If you have felt unusually introverted or extroverted during the retrograde period, this could shift back again. If you have experienced difficulties or challenges in close relationships, this may be a time when decisions can and perhaps need to be made about what to do about them. During the retrograde phase, it's possible you have encountered people or social situations from your past, and now it's time to decide where you want to go with this�to continue with the contact or to do closure and move on. You might have experienced a change in your finances�for the better or worse. And now you could be face with a choice of what to do from here�to change something in your life so that your situation improves (or so that an improvement continues), or to let go and move beyond a temporary time of change. Whatever you have learned, embraced, questioned or invested your time in during the last 6-7 weeks, you will begin to apply and integrate in a new way over the next 4-5 weeks (while Venus is in the Shadow). This has been a detour allowing you to explore hidden territory, complete unfinished business or reconsider possibilities in the affected areas listed above. It's time to come back to the main path again, bringing with you new learning and values that will gradually be integrated into your life. Top of Page

Feb.05 � Mercury square Mars (in Aquarius/Taurus)

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

Feb.06 � Sun conjunct Neptune (in Aquarius)

This can be a time of great creative ability by taking unfamiliar or little-used sources of inspiration and channelling them into self-expression. This may or may not be "creative" in the artistic sense of the word, but definitely can involve taking an inspired approach to problems and challenges. It is a great time to be romantic, creative, intuitive/psychic or spiritual. Just remember that inspiration still means you have to work for the results. Don�t confuse intuition with being able to take divine intervention for granted. You may experience profound faith in the bountiful blessings of the Universe under this transit, but don't just assume you'll be granted everything you wish for. What you pick up from others and your environment can also become mixed up with your own wishful thinking, making it hard to tell where you stop and the rest of the world begins. However, hope, optimism and imagination spring eternal. Your sense of self can become infused with a sense of vision and having a mission, feeling that you are truly a Child of the Universe. Enjoy it while it lasts, as this transit only lasts a few days, but do a careful reality check before you act on the magical possibilities before you. Top of Page

Feb.06 � Sun square Jupiter (in Aquarius/Scorpio)

You may be inspired to expand far beyond your usual boundaries during this time, although this may or may not work in the way you hope it will. It can be a time of challenge, when you decide that now is the time to move beyond your current horizons and make the ultimate push for something you believe will bring you happiness, fulfilment and prosperity. How successful you are will probably depend on how prepared you are for what comes next. Your judgment and your ability to see things objectively and realistically can be a little "off" during this transit, since your hopes and ideals might distort what is actually possible. It can be easy to overestimate the envisioned results, or you might underestimate the amount of work necessary to sustain your dream and prevent it from being just a flash in the pan. Try to avoid being overconfident and making promises you can't keep (including to yourself). Top of Page

Feb.06 � Mercury sextile Pluto (in Aquarius/Sagittarius)

Penetrating insights and passionate communication are possible under this transit ...although, so is speaking more forcefully than you intend to about things that require a bit of delicacy or discretion. It is also a time when your mental concentration can come together so easily that you become obsessed. You may prefer in-depth discussion to small-talk, and it might feel awkward if you aren't able to explore the depths in your interaction or communication with others. However, you likely have an increased ability to pick up on undercurrents of what's happening around you. This is also a time when you can start to shed and leave behind old worn out perceptions and ways of communicating. You also have an increased ability to take thoughts, ideas and information and transform them into something healing ...or wounding. Choose your words carefully and mindfully. Writing down your thoughts and ideas to capture the energy of this transit can help you gather the deeper qualities. Top of Page

Feb.08 � Mercury enters Pisces (until Apr.16)

Imagination, dreams, creativity and intuition are more easily accessible while Mercury floats through Pisces. You may be more impressionable, appreciative and open to ideas that previously had seemed improbable, unrealistic or silly. This is a good transit for any creative work�writing, music, artistic projects, or just putting ideas together in new ways. Problem solving could benefit now, because it may be easier to think beyond the limiting boundaries of the situation. On the other hand, it might also be easier to become caught in confusion, ambiguity or ambivalence, since the sharp edges of definition may be easily blurred or distorted. This is a time when the "Right Brain"�the intuitive, creative and non-rational side of the mind�can be more active. As a result, meditation, dreams and daydreams may be more accessible. Unfortunately, illusion and deception might also be more convincing and enticing, since critical and objective thinking could be a bit harder to maintain. You might also experience some mental lethargy and need to give your mind a rest. Try going to a movie, or read an entertaining novel, or spend some quality "alone time" with yourself. Or, take a long walk in a park or by a body of water, where you can enjoy the luxury of just appreciating nature and "being" instead of "doing." Some harmless or entertaining escapism can be a great way to give yourself a mental vacation � just don�t get stuck there. Explorations of spiritual experience and thought can also bring new insights and inspiration under this transit. Top of Page

Feb.12, 11:44 PM EST � FULL MOON IN LEO ("What's a Full Moon?")

The energy and themes set in motion at the New Moon are now looking for a way to manifest. For the next two weeks this energy will be integrated into our lives. This Full Moon brings a creative tension between our shared experience in groups and our separate uniqueness; between our personal identity and the need to be an independent individual.

Love Signs

By Linda Goodman

The Queen of the Zodiac Signs!

Love Signs, by Linda Goodman

Linda Goodman's classic "bible" on Zodiac sign compatibility. Discover how your Sun sign interacts with the other signs!

Buy it NOW!

On one hand, we may feel we have to fight to resolve this tension, or perhaps assert ourselves to defend our individuality in the face of group pressure. But we are not islands unto ourselves, and most of us feel the need to belong within a group, whether that is our circle of friends or community or any group of people who are held together by like-mindedness. So protecting our individuality isn't as straightforward as it sounds, since we don't want to lose our connection to other people in the process. Complicating this are the idealism�and possibly the illusions�that we might hold about the greater whole and our need to belong to it.

On the other hand, we might find it easier to call upon a sense of empowerment through spiritual vision in order to resolve this dichotomy. For example, you might try to stretch your understanding to incorporate the "big picture" in order to find a broader perspective that can include both ends of the spectrum (individuality and the group). This is potentially empowering because it could allow you to live in both worlds without sacrificing one for the other. However, the price to be paid can be having to constantly be in control, and having to hold such a broad territory of awareness can be exhausting.
The trick is to create a careful cooperative balance between empowerment through higher understanding and power through gut instinct; between spiritual principles and personal values. Each area is important and needs to be embraced, but not at the expense of the other.

The Mercury-Uranus conjunction also brings the urge to speak your mind and see things from a different angle. However, this could disrupt the stability and structure that is needed in your sense of self and creativity. And in fact, that stability might be seen as hindering our connection to the greater whole that is necessary to keep independence from becoming isolation and disconnection. Somehow both sides must be acknowledged and included�the disruptive awakening and the limiting stability.
During this Full Moon, and for the two weeks following it until the next New Moon, we are challenged to bring all these different agendas together. Clear or final solutions may not be possible at this time, but that's okay�the struggle itself will help to carve out new possibilities and potentials. Top of Page

Feb.14 � Happy Valentine's Day!

Be sure to check your horoscope for a special tip for Valentine's Day! It doesn't matter if you're already in a committed relationship, if you're hoping to find a new relationship, or if being single is your path for the time being. Valentine's Day is a time to enjoy and express love, in a wide variety of forms! Top of Page

Feb.14 � Venus sextile Jupiter (in Capricorn/Scorpio)

There is an abundance of creative inspiration, material enjoyment, feel-good pleasure in the air! Your luck and opportunity to attract money, love, resources and self-esteem are high right now. It may be relatively easy to attract the people, possessions and opportunities you want or need, but you'll still have to work to get them. On the other hand, your eyes may be bigger than your stomach (as mother would say) and you might be tempted to charm, flirt or bluff your way through a situation more than usual. There may also be a tendency to self-indulgence. These are not necessarily bad things, but it's probably wise to remember to use this energy to enhance your best judgement, not override it. Top of Page

Feb.14 � Mercury conjunct Uranus (in Pisces)

Communication and thoughts can be radical, spontaneous, unusual and uncharacteristic under this transit. You may be compelled to speak your mind to say things you've held back from saying before now. However, as the saying goes, there is a risk of "shooting off your mouth before your brains are loaded." It is a time when you are likely to be open-minded and flexible in your perceptions. Our eyes are wide open, and as a result, we may be a bit shocked, surprised or stunned by what we see. This can also release our creative genius and bring inspired clarity, especially as we look to the future. Encounters with groups, friends and the greater community are also possible at this time. Top of Page

Feb.14 � Sun sextile Pluto (in Aquarius/Sagittarius)

This is a time when your understanding of the Big Picture and your place within it has the potential to click into place. As a result, your confidence and self-esteem can be quite high right now. Your ability to see opportunities and possibilities more clearly can produce an experience of being "lucky." Your insight into life and the world around you may be especially bright, optimistic and inspired. This is a "feel-good" transit, when your sense of self can seem to expand and become free. You may feel especially connected to spiritual energy during this time. Just be careful that all this self-assurance and "knowing" doesn't backfire, by overestimating the extent of your knowledge or underestimating the reaction of your audience. It is possible to become a bit self-indulgent under this transit, so be careful not to overdo it. Beyond a reasonable caution, this is a transit to enjoy! Top of Page

Feb.16 � Mercury enters the Shadow (in Pisces) ("What's the Shadow?") (More on the Shadow.)

Mercury now enters the area of sky where it will later go retrograde (Mar.02-25). It will travel through this span of the Zodiac three times�once direct, then retrograde, then direct again. That means that there is a more involved process of development involved with things that Mercury affects�communication, ideas, thoughts, frame of mind, mental focus, and the collection, exchange, analysis and organisation of information. That also includes email, the Internet, letters, the media in general, books, magazines, transit (buses, trains, etc.) and neighbourhoods. The situations that are developing over the next 2 weeks are likely to require further research and consideration over the next couple of months. Expect changes of plans, increasingly disrupted communication, and new information that doesn't conveniently fit into what you're expecting. If you are making important decisions during this time, try to build some flexibility into your plans to allow for later changes.

For the next 2 weeks, be aware that ideas and information may become increasingly confused, intuitive, creative and/or "Right-Brain." Simplify your life so that you can go with the flow and remain open to intuitive insights and non-rational ideas. Pay attention to your dreams, be they night dreams or daydreams. Top of Page

Feb.17 � Mars enters Gemini ( until Apr.13)

Your physical and mental energy are likely to be more available in Gemini�in fact, maybe a bit too available! You typically have the energy to pursue opportunities and ideas, but this can also make you a bit distracted or shorten your attention span. Inspired ideas can lead to impulsive action, which is great when you want to be decisive, take the initiative or find courage in the moment. However, if your ideas are not well grounded or thought out, you might "shoot first and ask questions later." The more you can focus your mind to go after what you want, the more effective your actions will be. With Mars in Gemini, "the pen is mightier than the sword." When conflict arises, it is more likely to be fought and resolved with words and ideas, than with fists. This is a good time to mentally focus your intent and then act on your ideas. Top of Page

Feb.18 � Sun enters Pisces (until Mar.20)

Happy Solar Return to all Pisces! While the Sun travels through Pisces we all have a chance to attune ourselves to our intuitive, creative, spiritual and reflective nature. This can be a time when dreams may become more important, meaningful or frequent, as the unconscious swells into consciousness. It is a time to spend quality alone time with yourself away from the noisy world, so that you can tune in to the still small voice within. This might be done through meditation, prayer or seclusion. Although not necessary to do in seclusion, you might also connect with that inner space through music, art, dance, yoga, Tai Chi or walking a labyrinth. This is a non-rational space (not necessarily the same as irrational) that emerges from the formlessness of the unconscious full of possibilities for manifestation. Pisces holds the gateway to our source of creativity and our spiritual Source. It points the way to the Great Unknown, where all life begins. Therefore, while the Sun is in Pisces, we have a chance to meditate on our relationship to this womb of creative energy. So try your hand at writing poetry. Or, try drawing or painting, especially with your non-dominant hand. Immerse yourself in a warm bath and listen to the most beautiful music you can find. Walk through a labyrinth, or walk through a forest. Take some time to just BE. Top of Page

Feb.19 � Sun square Mars (in Pisces/Gemini)

Assertiveness, aggression and intense energy burst out under this transit. This can be a time of being pushed into taking action...or it can erupt in anger, irritation and hostility (in yourself or others). It may seem like everything pushes your buttons and rubs you the wrong way, creating conflict and putting you on edge. You may feel the impulse to burn off this excess energy through sexual activity. If you look beneath the irritation you may see a frustrated part of you that wants change, yet you have held back for some reason. Being pro-active and initiating steps for voluntary change is preferable, since you will have far more control over the process than if you get pushed into a corner and forced to act. The more preplanning you've done for this moment, the more successful you're likely to be. But if you get caught in a whirlwind of change, connect yourself to the part of you that wants change and let that ground and guide you. Top of Page

Feb.19 � Mercury trine Jupiter (in Pisces/Scorpio)

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

Feb.20 � Chiron opposite Saturn (in Aquarius/Leo)

This is the second last pass of this aspect, with the final pass being Jun.20.2006. But this is a much longer cycle than most, since Chiron and Saturn have been hovering on opposite sides of the Zodiac since the mid-80s!

This transit is about learning to balance the conventional expectations (put on us by society and authority figures) with the need to be true to yourself (even if that means having to find your own path away from the mainstream). This is especially true from July.2005 to June.2006 (when the Chiron-Saturn opposition takes place in Aquarius and Leo, respectively). The effects of this particular pass are especially strong from mid-February until the end of February, peaking on today's date.

Yet, this is just the latest of 27 (!) oppositions between Saturn and Chiron that take place between 1986 and 2006, as they dance around the circle of the Zodiac. Since the July.2005 pass, there have been similarities to 1991-93, when Saturn and Chiron were in the same signs, but reversed�Saturn was in Aquarius and Chiron was in Leo. If you think back, you may find that many of the changes happening since last July (especially relating to your individuality, uniqueness, identity and how you find your place within collective society) have their roots in the early 1990s.

Previous passes can be found in The Low-Down on the Far-Out for Aug.15.2004, Dec.28.2004 and Jul.21.2005. Being part of such a long-term process (about 30 years), transit may or may not be felt on a personal level, but its themes (balancing freedom with conformity, rebellion with convention, and collective teamwork with personal independence) will certainly be present in the background. Watch for signs of it in the Big Picture of what's happening in your corner of the world. Top of Page

Feb.20-Mar.07 � Wedge configuration (Chiron, Saturn, Mars)

This is a very common aspect configuration, but because it involves fairly slow moving planets, its influence will be felt for a good two weeks or more. Mars motivation, drive and action can provide a creative outlet for the tension of the Chiron-Saturn opposition (see Feb.20 above). Through brief bursts of energy and motivation, it is possible to put cleverness and fast thinking to good use. This can keep the freedom-conformity battle from becoming stuck, while giving us a way to keep voicing what is important to each of us. The danger is in using this to distract ourselves from the real work that must also be done, of finding a bridge between the opposing camps (structure versus adaptability; freedom versus conformity; consistency versus paradox). Top of Page

Feb.23 � Mercury sextile Venus (in Pisces/Capricorn)

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

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