Low-Down Archives for February 2012

New Moon Aquarius, Full Moon Leo, Planetary Transits

New Moon in Aquarius
Chart of New Moon in Aquarius

Jan.23 – NEW MOON in AQUARIUS (02:41 of Aquarius)


Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Jan.23, 2012, 2:39 AM EDT

London, UK:

Jan.23, 2012, 7:39 AM BST

Sydney, AU:

Jan.23, 2012, 6:39 PM AEST

"What's a New Moon?"

Read more about the Sun-Moon cycles.

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

Here Be Dragons!
~ Early European map makers' warning

Happy New Year! Gung Hey Fat Choi! Welcome in the Year of the Dragon!

In Chinese astrology, dragons symbolize power and success, and therefore luck. They are free spirited, non-conformist and boldly creative.

Mythological creatures typically reflect certain qualities, beliefs and values of the culture that embraces it. The dragon is a classic example of how different cultures may interpret the same symbol in very different ways. In the West, dragons have been fearsome, evil creatures to be slayed. In the East, they are revered as powerful, colourful and magical!

Each year is associated with one of the 12 signs in the Chinese zodiac. If you are a Dragon in the Chinese zodiac, then this could be a momentous and successful year for you�or at least a busy and lively one. How this year will affect you depends on your Chinese zodiac sign.

The Chinese New Year is based on their lunar calendar (measured by the Moon) and is always aligned with (what we in the West call) the New Moon in Aquarius. Each year the Aquarius New Moon is combined with the energy of a different Chinese zodiac sign. This year it happens to be a Dragon. This year's New Moon chart makes an intriguing statement when spoken from the Dragon's mouth.

It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.
~ J. R. R. Tolkien

Aquarius shares many traits in common with the Dragon � they're both unconventional, they both value freedom, and neither suffers gladly the restrictions of having to follow rules.

T-square: New Moon square Saturn and Jupiter

The Sun-Moon conjunction (the New Moon) is at the apex of a T-square aspect pattern with Jupiter and Saturn in opposition. Jupiter and Saturn are natural "enemies" at the best of times. Jupiter wants to expand; Saturn wants to prune back. Jupiter is inspired by possibilities; Saturn is focused on the here-and-now reality.

And yet, Jupiter and Saturn are two sides of the same coin, and as such they also share much in common. For example, both have to do with leadership � Jupiter as the visionary, charismatic side and Saturn as the organizational, results-oriented side. Both have a penchant for truth � Jupiter reaches for philosophical knowledge and moral truth, while Saturn zeroes in on facts and evidence.

When these two planets face off, we can become very divided and pulled between opposite extremes. Jupiter and Saturn were in opposition during the Cardinal Cross of 2010-2011. And from mid-November 2011 through to the end of February 2012, Jupiter and Saturn are opposing each other within an 8� orb, even though they don't perfect (reach exact) until they come around to the next one in 2029. Although Uranus and Pluto are not aspecting Jupiter and Saturn now, as they were in the Cardinal Cross, their combined opposition energy is still influencing our lives now.

�What do you know about dragons?"
"They're big, scaly, four-legged creatures with wings who terrorized small villages until a virgin was offered up as a sacrifice."
His grinned again. "I do miss the virgins.�
~ You Slay Me, Katie MacAlister

So our Aquarian Dragon mediates between conflicting forces. What's likely to make this less extreme and more easily resolved is that Jupiter and Saturn are in dissociate opposition � they're within opposition orb, but not in signs that are naturally opposite.

Saturn is at the last degree of Libra (and will station there on Feb.07). Although Saturn wants discipline, conservation and order, it is softened by Libra that seeks to achieve these things through harmony, balance and negotiation. Saturn's trine (120�) to Neptune (which won't reach exact until this coming October) also has a softening effect, which add compassion and imagination to Saturn's vocabulary.

Jupiter is in the second degree of Taurus (having stationed in the first degree of Taurus on Dec.25). Although Jupiter wants freedom, expansion and adventure, Taurus modifies this by slowing down the rate of change, ensuring it is based on actual need and purpose, not simply a curious whim.

Since Saturn is the traditional ruler of Aquarius (before Uranus was invented), he is likely to have a stronger vote in the conflict than Jupiter, at least for the duration of the Aquarius lunar cycle.

Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.
~ J. R. R. Tolkien

Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.
~ Dilbert by Scott Adams

Speaking of Uranus, he is a singleton in Fire (the only planet in a Fire sign at the time of the New Moon). Fire motivates, enthuses and consumes any obstacles in its path. If any kind of radical change is to occur during this cycle, it will have to be initiated in an extreme way that shocks and scatters any obstacles in your path. This is usually unwise except in equally extreme situations, so be careful how you bring out this beast. He may be best left to roam in the background.

Uranus is also in very wide opposition to Mars, who is likely to upstage them all, since Mars stations Retrograde TODAY! ("What's a station?"  "What does retrograde mean?"  "What is Mars Retrograde about?") That makes Mars probably the strongest energy at the New Moon. Although Mars is in Virgo (an Earth sign), he is naturally a volatile, impulsive and independent fellow, and contributes more Fire-y energy to an otherwise low-Fire chart. So, while there is a moderating, balancing force that softens and calms the Jupiter-Saturn conflict, there are other forces that want to keep stirring the pot and keeping the conflict alive.

The question is always the same with a dragon: will he talk with you or will he eat you? If you can count on his doing the former, and not doing the latter, why then you're a dragonlord.
~ The Tombs of Atuan, Ursula LeGuin

As he reaches a dead stop, Mars is in exact trine to Mercury within a mere quarter-degree. Normally this combination could push Mercury to run off at the mouth, saying whatever comes to mind in a rather impulsive and belligerent way. However, Mercury is in Capricorn, so its outspokenness is more likely to be slowed down a little (with a bit of room for some sober second thought before the mouth opens).

Alternatively, we could potentially channel that Mercury-Mars energy through a strong purpose that has a long-term goal in mind (rather than merely blurting out things in the moment). If you are writing, speaking or otherwise communicating, this energy can be very helpful. If you're in a delicate situation that calls for diplomacy and sensitivity, it might be a bit too volatile so use it wisely.

At the very least, you might get some exciting new ideas or perceptions that will take time before they are fully understood or ready to implement.

Young Einon: The peasants are revolting!
Brok: They've always been revolting, Prince.
Now they're rebelling.
~ Dragonheart, the movie

As a (Western) zodiac sign, Aquarius is one of the stranger ones � in more ways than one! We tend to associate it with being rebellious, visionary and valuing freedom and individuality above all else. These qualities are usually associated with Uranus, which is usually seen as its modern planetary ruler, so it seems like a good natural fit. And yet, before 1781 Saturn held that position. We tend to see Saturn's Capricorn qualities most easily: disciplined, ordered and slow to change, with a deep respect for rules � hardly qualities that Aquarius is usually comfortable with!

The surprising Saturn side of Aquarius is that it can be just as unyielding, focused on expectations and willing to delay gratification as Capricorn is�but in a different direction and for different reasons. Aquarius usually seeks change, but mostly in the direction of its choosing. It isn't necessarily open to ideas that stray too far outside the intended plan, since too much diversity could derail that change. It's too important � nothing less than our future is at stake! So with Saturn so squarely involved with the New Moon, we could see a lot of posturing and steadfastness in the name of steering things in a new but specifically chosen direction.

Aquarius is a passionately visionary sign. Aquarius probably invented the concept of thinking outside the box, and loves to challenge traditional reasoning and conclusions. With his love of adventure, exploration and new horizons, it seems like Jupiter would be the more fitting alliance in the T-square for the Sun and Moon in Aquarius.

However, Jupiter and the Sun-Moon are in square aspect (90�) and therefore in a conflict of interest. As a result, the Aquarius New Moon could be blocked from venturing too far outside the conventional box to do its thinking. With Jupiter in slow, methodical, pleasure-oriented Taurus, it's possible that change, progress and conflict resolution will need to be done in a more structured, sensible and gradual manner � great leaps of inspiration are either unlikely or need to be bound by the rules of logic before they can be applied.

He who fights too long against dragons becomes a dragon himself; and if you gaze too long into the abyss, the abyss will gaze into you.
~ Friedrich Nietzsche

This is the last lunation (New or Full Moon) that takes place before Neptune moves into Pisces for good on Feb.03. Neptune has been in Aquarius since 1998, and won't be there again until 2161. As Neptune is taking its last breath in Aquarius, the New Moon is taking its first breath in Aquarius. This momentarily rejuvenates and illuminates Neptune's dying Aquarian energy, like a beautiful sunset after the Sun has gone below the horizon for the night.

Take a moment and think about how the world has changed since 1998. We've had the explosion of the Internet, which is now embedded in our lives as fundamentally as the telephone. Not only has the Internet brought us together in innovative and unprecedented ways, it has also brought together people who otherwise would never have crossed each other's paths. Creativity in technology has brought the simple telephone far beyond Dick Tracy's wrist radio to being a true multi-media innovation that continues to reinvent itself.

To attract good fortune, spend a new penny on an old friend, share an old pleasure with a new friend,
and lift up the heart of a true friend by writing his name on the wings of a dragon.
~ Chinese proverb

How has your own life changed since the late 1990s? Fourteen years is a long time in the lifespan of a person. Your age has passed one, possibly two decades since then. Neptune in Aquarius, on a personal level, brings imagination and merging to the Aquarian cerebral mindset. If you have natal planets or points in Aquarius, you may have been challenged to shed a detached, rational approach to that planet or point and surrender to allowing another part of your awareness to have an equal say in your decisions.

Has your involvement with your circle of friends, your greater community and other groups changed during that time? How does your vision of the future � your own and the world's in general � changed since that time?

Before Neptune melts into Pisces, take one last look at Neptune in Aquarius. You won't see it again in your lifetime.

Bowen: And now, Draco, without you, what do we do? Where do we turn?
Draco: To the stars, Bowen. To the stars.
~ Dragonheart, the movie

Jan.23 – Mercury trine Mars (23:05 of Capricorn/Virgo)

It may be easy to find the courage to speak your mind and say what needs to be said under this transit. In fact, your ideas and words may come so quickly and easily that it's hard to stop them from tumbling out of your mouth before you've had a chance to evaluate the best way to say them. Your communication is likely to be direct, concise and right on the mark, even if it might also be a bit blunt or pointed. If you need to confront someone about a difficult situation, this transit can provide courage and clear words to help you do that – although perhaps not as good for a situation requiring a more delicate, sensitive touch. It is a time when you could potentially find the nerve to take risks, or to defend yourself if the need arises (especially verbally). Overall, this is a wonderful transit for anything involving direct communication (e.g., public speaking, writing, debating), as well as mental agility (e.g., generating ideas, finding solutions, making decisions).


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Jan.23 – Mars stationary Retrograde (23:05 of Virgo; until Apr.13)  (Jan.24 in UK, AU)  ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read my article about Mars Retrograde.  Read more about Mars Retrograde.  Read more about Retrograde planets.)

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

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

When Mars makes its station, it is in a partile trine (meaning same degree, 120� apart) to Mercury. This is very significant and beneficial, since Mercury is Mars' dispositor (Mercury rules Virgo, where Mars is). This aspect should help us to see things realistically, clearly and optimistically. The Mars retrograde period is full of potential, even though its backward motion can be somewhat awkward at times.

Mars makes several repeated aspects to other planets during its retrograde cycle, starting in 2011 and continuing into 2012. Venus square Mars: Oct.26, Apr.07 and Jun.04. Mars opposite Chiron: Nov.12, Mar.22 and May.17.

Probably most interesting (and most welcome) is the Grand Trine aspect pattern Mars made with Jupiter and Pluto back in November 2011. Mars trines both Jupiter (Nov.16, Mar.14 and Jul.17) and Pluto (Nov.23, Mar.14 and May.16).This repeats again in March 2012. Unfortunately, by the time Mars reaches the final aspect to Pluto (May.16) and Jupiter (Jul.17), they are too far out of orb to for a 3rd Grand Trine. However, there are other aspect figures formed from those trine aspects during the final pass. I'll talk more about then as the time approaches.

Jan.27 – Mercury square Saturn (29:23 of Capricorn/Libra)

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

Jan.27 – Mercury enters Aquarius (until Feb.13)  (Jan.28 in UK, AU)

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

Jan.28 – Mercury sextile Uranus (01:39 of Aquarius/Aries)  (Jan.29 in AU)

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.

Jan.28 – Mercury square Jupiter (02:19 of Aquarius/Taurus)  (Jan.29 in UK, AU)

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.

Feb.01 – Venus opposite Mars Retrograde (22:34 of Pisces/Virgo)

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.

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Feb.03 – Neptune enters Pisces (until Mar.30.2025)

It is rare that Neptune changes signs. Neptune was last in Pisces from 1847-1861, and is there from 2011-2026, with a temporary return from Aug.04.2011 until today. It won't be in Pisces again until 2175-2190. Since it takes 12-14 years for Neptune to move through a sign, its effect on us evolves slowly, subtly and gradually. Neptune is considered by the modern western astrology system to be the planetary ruler of Pisces, so for Neptune to be in Pisces is a double-whammy of Pisces energy! Or perhaps more like a very loud whisper.

This energy is likely to bring us into contact with a very strong, raw or archetypal experience of spiritual, artistic, creative, empathic, intuitive or psychic energy. Collectively we could see the resurgence of artistic, imaginative and creative activity in the world that places a higher value on the arts than we've seen for a while. It could also inspire us to explore a more in-depth experience of mysticism and psychic energy. Compassion as a spiritual value could become an increasing focus, as we sense a deep collective connection with each other on Planet Earth.

On the other hand, Neptune and Pisces are also associated with illusion, deception, fraud, fantasy and superstition. Beliefs are very fluid things which can be assumed to be real, yet could be based on misconceptions, biases and false assumptions. In Pisces, it is very tricky to tell the difference between what's real and what's fantasy. The realm of belief can be mutually exclusive from that of fact, and the line between them murky and confusing. With Neptune in Pisces, entire collective groups of people could be overcome by beliefs that are based on assumptions that have more to do with defence against fear and panic than with reality or truth. Neptune in Pisces could indeed be where we discover how, as the saying goes, the road to Hell becomes paved with the best of intentions.

On a personal level, Neptune in Pisces could bring you to an overall exploration of these areas or a deeply personal experience of these issues, depending on the transits you get from Neptune while it is in Pisces. You could discover a new expression of higher purpose in your life, perhaps inspired by a renewed sense of connection to something greater than yourself. This "something greater" could be a sense of the ultimate reality of existence (which some might call God), or it might be a sense of closer connection to the whole of Humanity, as well as other life, systems and rhythms on our home planet.

Neptune in Pisces could also challenge you to probe deeper into your personal beliefs and test out whether these still fit your experience of life and whether they continue to serve your best interests. You might find you have to reassess what you believed to be true about yourself or about others, and this could lead you into an experience of disappointment or disillusionment which must be reassembled into a new vision of what is real. You might have to confront some deep personal fears so that you can learn how to believe in yourself and in life without having to rely on misconceptions, fantasies or blind faith.

For an intriguing discussion of Neptune experiences and issues by a non-astrologer (as far as I know), listen to Ahnahn Brahm, especially starting around 38:30.

I'm available for private readings which can give you some clarity within the process of the Neptunian fog. I can help you understand the nature of what you're going through and how to get the most benefit from it.

Feb.07 – Sun conjunct Mercury (17:59 of Aquarius)

During this transit, your sense of self and purpose can become merged with what you think, perceive and say. On one hand, this can make for an easy flow of ideas and communication from inside your brain to the external world. It can also increase your perceptions and observations of the world, as you file it all away in your internal database. On the other hand, you may find yourself a bit tongue-tied, as it could be hard to separate your sense of self from your perceptions and ideas enough to find the words to adequately express them. In that case, just observe and go with the flow; the words will come later. It can also be a time when it's not easy to be objective, especially about yourself and how you bring yourself to the world around you. It's like your Being automatically expresses and sets into motion the things you think, perceive and want to say. This can help you to feel like your sense of self is shining effortlessly, but if your thoughts and perceptions are in conflict with other parts of you (e.g., emotions, needs, objectivity) then it might become a time when you act a little too quickly with blinders on. Strive for balance and self-honesty before you act.

Feb.07 – Saturn stationary Retrograde (29:30 of Libra)  (Feb.08 in AU)   ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read more about Retrograde planets.)

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

Lunar Eclipse ~ Full Moon in Gemini Chart of Full Moon in Leo

Feb.07 – FULL MOON in LEO (18:31 of Leo)


Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Feb.09, 2011, 2:30 AM EDT

London, UK:

Feb.09, 2011, 7:30 AM BST

Sydney, AU:

Feb.09, 2011, 6:30 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.

Chaos and the Self

Leo and Aquarius form a fundamentally pivotal axis in the zodiac. All opposing signs form an axis, but the Leo-Aquarius one is special.

It has been called the Axis of Identity. It is where we ask "Who am I?" (Leo) and "Where do I fit in the Grand Scheme of Things?" (Aquarius)

Leo is about individuality � your sense of self; how you see yourself. It's the "I am" of self-awareness.

It's also associated with the ego, which is often regarded as something to get rid of or suppress or distrust. But the ego isn't necessarily a bad thing. Everyone needs a sense of ego to live in the world. Think of it as the bow of the ship that confronts the outside world first. It's the mediator between our experience as an individual and our experience as being part of a greater whole.

If the bow of the ship tries to drive the ship, it will not get very far. The ship must be its own driving force, allowing the bow to be its cutting edge. In the same way, there's a vast difference between the ego being our leading edge, as opposed to being the part of us that leads the way.

Aquarius is about individuality too, but more as a reaction or counterpart to that greater whole. Aquarius is the group, the greater community, the Collective. And it's our experience within them.

Aquarius is groups of like-minded individuals who gather together to celebrate and experience their commonality together. That could be your circle of friends, clubs, teams, organizations, political parties, or even nationalities, cultures�anything with whom you share a common bond of some kind.

The trouble is that individuality must often take a back seat to the greater priorities of the group � hence the struggle between Leo and Aquarius. The edges of your uniqueness as a distinct person can become blunted and softened in a group environment. And this is necessary (to some extent) in order for the group to maintain cohesion. Too much individuality can fragment the unity of a group.

So what happens when you (the individual) are in a group? Do you feel you fit in, you have a place to belong? Belonging (the realm of the Moon) is a primal human need, but at a certain point it can interfere with the equally primal urge to grow, develop and individuate � to become your own person.

These two elements need to be in balance. When out of balance, individuality can feel like aloneness and alienation, and too much belonging can lull you into believing that nothing exists outside the boundaries of the group you belong to. Both are lies.

Full Moon in Leo

The Full Moon in Leo is composed of the Moon in Leo opposite the Sun in Aquarius. Both sides of this axis are present, and ideally can bring them into balance. The Full Moon in Aquarius also spans the divide between these two signs, but switched � the Sun is in Leo and the Moon in Aquarius.

Both oppositions tell the same kind of story but from very different perspectives. When the Sun is in Leo and the Moon in Aquarius, the Sun is at its strongest, being in the sign of its rulership. The Moon in Aquarius might be seen as the courage and security that comes from having strength of self to go into the group and not become swallowed up by the greater identify of the group.

On the other hand, the Sun in Aquarius is in its detriment, meaning it struggles to express its true nature. The Sun is about individuality � it is the centre of the solar system, and astrologically it is at the centre of our individuality. When placed in the context of the group, it can feel like it loses a bit of its specialness, having to compromise�perhaps even sacrifice�its own priorities, needs and desires in favour of the group's.

The Full Moon opposing it from Leo therefore takes on a kind of reactive tone. It is the primal need of the Inner Child to be acknowledged and recognized as special; to bask in the light of validation and to have the regard of world mirrored back in a positive way.

So the question becomes: are you truly individuating from the Collective, emerging as a distinct individual? Or are you trying to stand out mostly to gain the applause and admiration of your audience? There's nothing all good or all bad about either of these. Getting applause and attention can help to strengthen your sense of self when you feel fragile, bruised or lonely. Conversely, although emerging as a separate individual sounds noble and all grown up, it could just as easily be motivated by rebellion, rejection or defiance.

Mercury and Uranus ~ Stirring the Pot

Just to make things extra interesting, Mercury � you know, the brat that just loves to shake things up and turn everything upside down � is tightly conjunct the Sun and opposite the Moon (less than half a degree orb). Mercury in chaotic Aquarius just loves to colour outside the lines and mess things up. Predictability is way overrated and boring to boot!

Mercury being so intimately involved with the Full Moon adds a dimension of awareness, ideas and communication to the mix. Whatever is driving you to project yourself out from the group is likely to be perceived and expressed in ways that are outspoken, creative and spontaneous, or it also might be impulsive, reactive and defiant.

Hard Wedge aspect pattern

Not to be left out, Uranus forms a semi-square to the Sun and Mercury (45� or half a square aspect) and a sesqui-quadrate to the Moon (135� or a square-and-a-half). These angles are cousins to the square family of aspects and therefore evoke stress, conflict and challenge between the planets they connect. Together they form an aspect pattern that I call a Hard Wedge.

Uranus being considered by many to be the modern planetary ruler of Aquarius (and certainly an Aquarius-like energy), it adds more weight to the Aquarius side of the equation. Mercury in Aquarius adds even more emphasis to that sign. And the Sun in Aquarius disposits (rules) the Leo Moon.

It all starts to paint a rather edgy picture of that Leo Moon facing a very large, unruly audience that eggs on the Moon and dares it to stand up and be itself. Potentially the Moon could have you feeling like a knock-kneed kid who wants to be a star and is facing an intimidating audience for the first time, but whose natural talent and heartfelt passion can help you rise above your fear enough to succeed. On the other hand, you might feel alienated and "dissed" by friends, associates or other normally like-minded souls, and may need to detach yourself from them while giving yourself a mental hug for self-validation.

Saturn ~ the Anchor

Saturn is the planet of order, predictability and consistency. Surprisingly, although it seems at odds with the nature of Aquarius, it is the traditional ruler of that sign. But it represents the glue that holds the Collective together. It's the gravity that keeps all those diverse individuals from flying off in all directions � bye-bye group!

What's interesting here is that Saturn is stationary, having turned retrograde just about 8 hours before the Full Moon is exact. So Saturn's voice is a rather booming baritone in this choir of energies!

Normally Saturn in Libra is very fair-minded and accommodating of the need for its systems and structure to be habitable by humans (not just a work of perfection in its own right). And in many ways that's still true. Saturn is exalted in Libra, meaning it brings out the best in him. However, Saturn is in very tight quincunx aspect (150�) to its dispositor, Venus, suggesting that it may not be as comfy a fit as it usually is.

What makes this an even more prickly aspect is that both planets are at 29� � the anaretic or critical degree. Venus, which is direct, moves into Aries the next day. Her journey through Pisces is coming to a close and her focus is on her next creation. Saturn, however, is turning retrograde and won't pass into the next sign until this coming October. So, not only are Saturn and Venus in an awkward relationship, they are also both heading in totally different directions. Kind of like ships that pass, scraping against each other, in the night.

You may notice that, despite all that restless Aquarian energy, there is a strong pull to anchor things down inside a neat predictable box where they can be contained if they should spin out of control. And since Saturn's voice is unusually loud right now, it could feel like there are some pretty heavy expectations or standards being applied to your quest for individuality and creative self-expression.

Don't let that heaviness weigh you down or squash you in your emergence from the Collective. But also be mindful of the temptation to let your ego pull you along, rather than you steering it from within. If you need to push against the Collective to distinguish yourself from it, check to see if you are doing it in a way that truly comes from your inherent uniqueness and not manufactured from a fear of being trapped by that Collective.

You ever hear of chaos theory? It's a science. It tries to determine underlying patterns in chaotic systems: weather, ocean currents, blood flow, that sort of thing.
Well, it turns out that there are few things more chaotic than the beat of a human heart. Speeding up, slowing down. A pretty face, a flight of stairs. It's always changing depending on what's happening to us out there. It's an erratic son of a bitch. But underneath all of that bump‑a‑ta‑bump mess, there is, in fact, a pattern.
A truth. And it's love.
The most important thing about love is that we choose to give it and we choose to receive it. Making it the least random act in the entire universe. It transcends blood, it transcends betrayal and all the dirt that makes us human.
~ from Chaos Theory, the movie

Leo ~ the Human Heart

Leo's final questions are: Who are you? Why are you here? What do you want to do with who you are?

The ultimate answer must come from the heart � not the head, not the outside world, not the authority figures who dole out approval (or not), not the rebels who compulsively react in discord, and not from the chaotic turmoil that surrounds the global change we are all embroiled in.

The human heart is Leo's inner gem through which the light of your spirit shines like a prism. The full spectrum of who you are will emerge from listening to your heart and moving in the direction it illuminates. That doesn't mean there won't be times when you have to do things you don't want to do, or that you won't have times of discouragement or make mistakes. But these are a temporary cloud over the Sun that will eventually pass.

If your life circumstances and necessities can't reflect the desire of your heart, then take your heart to whatever it is that's necessary. You take yourself wherever you go. Don't let difficult times make you believe you have lost yourself.

Feb.08 – Venus enters Aries (until Mar.05)

Your style of handling relationships, finances, resources and values now take on an attitude of assertiveness, directness and the pursuit of freedom and independence. Impulse buying may be a stronger temptation than usual, so be sure you can afford whatever it is! Your way of interacting may be somewhat more direct, open or flirtatious during this transit. You may have opportunities to acquire money quickly and casually...and spend it too! You may also be more open to trying new things in the areas of finances, relationships, interactions and your values. Trying out new ideas can take you into uncharted territory...which may or may not be welcome depending on how comfortable you are with change. But this still may be just what you need to get you out of a rut in the affected areas. This can also be a good time to celebrate and appreciate yourself just as you are, as a unique individual.


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Feb.09 – Venus conjunct Uranus (02:10 of Aries)  (Feb.10 in UK, AU)

The warm receptivity of Venus can become somewhat cool, detached and unpredictable when combined with Uranus. This is a good combination for carrying out a dispassionate strategy, or for networking with acquaintances and associates. It can also be a time when you might liberate yourself from old connections – for example, choosing to end a relationship, stepping away from an outworn friendship, or being open to experimenting with new kinds of connections with people. It can also be a time of impulse spending, or wanting to use your resources and finances for a humanitarian purpose. Finances may become a bit unpredictable or unstable – either bringing income when you didn't expect it, or spending it when you may or may not have. Whether you want to liberate your own life or someone else's, this is a time when freedom and independence become the focus of pleasure. Experimentation is also tempting, and while this can be invigorating, it might also leave you with consequences you hadn't anticipated. Embrace your spontaneity, but don't divorce your judgment.

Feb.13 – Mercury trine Saturn (29:28 of Aquarius/Libra)  (Feb.14 in 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.

Feb.13 – Mercury enters Pisces (until Mar.02)  (Feb.14 in UK, AU)

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

Feb.14 – Mercury conjunct Neptune (00:23 of Pisces)

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.

Feb.14 – Jupiter sextile Chiron (04:32 of Taurus/Pisces)  (Feb.15 in UK, AU)

There is a chance to make some progress in the area of spiritual healing now. What that means is that it may be easier to bring old wounds and lingering hardship in your life to a renewed sense of optimism and faith that meaningful change is possible. When we're talking about Chiron, there's always a level of hardship that lingers and can't simply be wiped away, in the same way that you can't "un-ring" a bell. But it is possible to live without that hardship dominating your life or your spirit. Jupiter is here to remind you how you can rise above the hardships and live closer to a state of hope, joy and gratitude for the blessings in your life. Jupiter may or may not bring a chance to actually improve that hardship in some substantial way, but it is capable of lifting your attitude out of pessimism if you let it.

Feb.15 – Venus square Pluto (08:48 of Aries/Capricorn)  (Feb.16 in AU)

Relationships and interactions are likely to be deep, intense and transformative under this transit. The same goes for your sense of beauty, and your material and financial dealings, which may require you to delve far deeper than usual to discover the truth under the surface of things. You may encounter the dark shadow of your desires – the obscure, secret or unconscious hunger that hides underneath the "politically correct" face you show to the world (and to yourself). This is a challenge to be resolved in some way. It might bring out conflict rooted in envy or jealousy, if someone has something (or someone) that you feel you are entitled to. Or, it might prompt you to reach very deep into your soul to find your inner beauty and value. You may be challenged to develop empathy or empowerment about something that initially seemed undesirable, unforgivable or scary. This transit can show you the problem areas that need to be transformed and healed. And seeing these more clearly can be a catharsis that sets that transformative healing in motion.

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Feb.16 – Mercury conjunct Chiron (04:38 of Pisces)  (Feb.17 in AU)

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

Feb.16 – Mercury sextile Jupiter (04:47 of Pisces/Taurus)  (Feb.17 in AU)

You may have an abundance of ideas and words to express them under this transit. There is the potential (if you reach for it) to put ideas, facts and thoughts together into a cohesive whole. You may find you can understand the overall patterns in a situation, or you are able to see the Big Picture, better than usual. New insights and a change of perspective may abound, as your stream of consciousness flows abundantly with optimism and visionary possibilities. You may find yourself more talkative than usual, as you try to share and convey the new ideas, inspiration and knowledge coming into your mind. 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. There is a chance that you may be so elated and confident that you might come across as a bit overbearing or even as a "know-it-all," so be sure to listen too.

Feb.18 – Sun trine Saturn (29:24 of Aquarius/Libra)  (Feb.19 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.

Feb.18 – Mercury sextile Pluto (08:53 of Pisces/Capricorn)  (Feb.19 in AU)

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.

Feb.19 – 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.

Feb.19 – Sun conjunct Neptune (00:36 of Pisces)  (Feb.20 in AU)

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.

Next Update:  NEW MOON in PISCES, available by February 21, 2012.

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