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New Moon Aquarius, Full Moon Leo 2014

Chart for the New Moon in Aquarius
Chart for the New Moon in Aquarius

Was there a reason behind it? There would be no point in asking Zaphod, he never appeared to have a reason for anything he did at all: he had turned unfathomability into an art form. He attacked everything in life with a mixture of extraordinary genius and na�ve incompetence and it was often difficult to tell which was which.
~ Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Jan.30 – NEW MOON in AQUARIUS (10:55 of Aquarius)


Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Jan.30, 2014, 4:38 PM EST

London, UK:

Jan.30, 2014, 9:38 PM GMT

Sydney, AU:

Jan.31, 2014, 7:38 AM AEDT

"What's a New Moon?"

Read more about the Sun-Moon cycles.

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

There is a very fine line between subtlety and distraction; between absurdity and genius.

Aquarius is brilliant at navigating that line, wobbling back and forth over it and even perching on it like a bird on a wire.

Aquarius can "out" the elephant in the room with the grace of a lightning bolt and the subtlety of a train wreck.

Aquarius also has the ability to "play the room" (in which the elephant resides) like a virtuoso. While everyone's attention is on the ensuing argument (about whether there really is an elephant and what to do about it), Aquarius may be rearranging the furniture to accommodate the adjustments it knows are inevitable, once the group realizes they've been stepping in elephant doo-doo while blaming it on someone else.

In this New Moon in Aquarius, you are challenged to examine your shoes to see what kind of doo-doo you might have been stepping in unawares. You're also urged to look at the bigger elephants and issues that need to be addressed in order to navigate the obstacle course along your path.

I think the problem, to be quite honest with you, is that you've never actually known what the question is.
~ Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

It's not always easy to tell which is the issue and which is the distraction �and whether the distraction is actually a useful detour or if it's just designed to keep the primary issue obscured.

Cardinal T-square - Jupiter - Pluto - Uranus

In the Aquarius New Moon chart, the big thing that stands out is the Cardinal Cross or T-square aspect pattern. The Sun-Moon conjunction (a.k.a. the New Moon) isn't directly involved in it but the Cross dominates the entire chart and therefore also this lunar cycle.

The T-square aspect figure has been with us since the New Year, with Mars forming a Grand Cross (which was explored in depth in the last update). Mars has since moved on � for now, although he'll be back in April-May later this year.

What is left is a more enduring T-square of slow-moving planets: Jupiter opposite Pluto, and Uranus T-squaring them both. There is a polarizing tension between inspired vision versus compelling persuasion, which can make our intentions and impulses unstable and a bit erratic.

This Jupiter-Uranus-Pluto T-square (with or without additional players) is currently active from Jan.01 until early June, so there's lots of time to get a meaningful grasp of its energies and how we can use it in our lives. We were juggling the same energies in 2013, from Jul.22 to Sep.15, although you might not have noticed it much with the wild frenzy of the Grand Sextile upstaging it.

INTEREST. Here is the key to the whole thing. If and when you are truly interested in what you are doing, or are about to do, then you will center your attention on it with little or no effort, and almost irrespective of the attendant conditions.
~ Ralph Alfred Habas, The Art of Self-Control

Part of what makes this T-square stand out at the moment is Venus. For one thing Venus is stationing Direct tomorrow, after being retrograde since Dec.21. As a result, the Venus in Capricorn energy is extremely strong right now and will continue to cast her aura over the upcoming lunar cycle (Jan.30 to Mar.01). This is about making concrete changes to your values, relationships, resources, pleasures and desires � the people, things and experiences you love.

It's very meaningful that Venus resumes direct motion just when we are starting a new lunar cycle. As we get ready to apply the experiences and learning we had while Venus was retrograde, the New Moon helps us set out in a new direction using that learning. Venus in Capricorn is about solidifying concrete changes in order to gain stability. And yet, ironically, the quirky Aquarius New Moon can show how establishing that stability could actually allow something new, exciting and unusual to happen. Change is most constructive when done from a stable foundation.

Venus is also conjunct Pluto, so she is part of the Cardinal T-square when she is at her most powerful and as she is about to push off in a proactive direction. Pluto's transformative influence can help this Venus station be not only a time of reorientation and change but also with far greater, further and more profound implications than you might expect.

Think back to last November. Venus was exactly conjunct Pluto (Nov.15) and about to move into the retrograde Shadow (Nov.20). The Moon was Full in Taurus, Venus' sign (Nov.17). What were you manifesting in your life at that time? Or perhaps you were formulating plans for later change? Now is the time when you have a chance to make some solid progress the roots of which stretch back to last November.

Think back also over the last month, since Venus went retrograde. What has changed in the Venus areas of your life during that time? It might have been increased or decreased income or spending. It might be a shift in a close relationship, for the better or worse or just different. You might have found that resources to meet your needs were easier or harder to come by. Or perhaps you became more or less disciplined about indulging in pleasurable things (e.g. holiday yummies??).

The general flow of this energy usually changes back after Venus goes direct, but that doesn't have to mean you can't recreate some of the benefits for yourself. Capricorn is nothing if not about working within the system (or to create your own) in order to harvest the benefits you have invested in, as well as learning how to make things happen for yourself. It takes determination, discipline, planning and taking responsibility for doing what you need to do. As Venus turns direct and moves through the Shadow again (until Mar.04), you have a chance to test out making those things happen on purpose, with long-term results in mind.

If at first the idea is not absurd,
then there is no hope for it.
~ Albert Einstein

So what is the New Moon in Aquarius doing in the midst of all this? The Sun-Moon conjunction is standing off to the side, watching the drama of the T-square unfolding. Aquarius is used to this, since it usually winds up being, to some degree, on the outside looking in. Not all of Aquarius fits easily (or at all) into the conventional world�and thank goodness for it! If it weren't for many of our Aquarian futurists and visionaries, we would have had a hard time seeing beyond the predictable past and present in our global and collective evolution.

Little Eye aspect pattern - Sun, Moon, Pluto, Chiron

The New Moon is at the apex of a Little Eye aspect pattern, where it is semi-sextile (30�) to Pluto and Venus on one side and Chiron on the other, with Chiron and Pluto in tight sextile (60�). This figure is a very subtle energy that can bring some rather profound awareness and powers of observation. On one side, the New Moon is listening to the Venus-Pluto conjunction, which can give high sensitivity to undercurrents and power dynamics in close relationships and social situations.

On the other side, the New Moon is picking up on Chiron's subtle message of woundedness and opportunities to heal those wounds. How? By trying something different, of course, as per Aquarius' mandate of the unusual and unexpected. This is the time to try responding in a new way. See what changes. Notice how it makes you feel. In terms of where you're trying to go with it, are you getting warmer or colder? Experiment. Be a bit daring. Don't just go back to the same-old-same-old. Keep one foot on the ground so that you don't get reckless about it, but let your other foot dance a jig or pivot in a new direction�or look on the bottom of your shoe to see if you stepped in some of that elephant doo-doo.

Not to take this web of dualities as a sign we are on the right track would be a bit like believing that God put fossils into the rocks in order to mislead Darwin about the evolution of life.
~ Stephen Hawking

Now: here's the thing. Some of what happens now (and over the next few weeks) could be kind of confusing or hard to make sense of. Some of it is liable to be kind of intense (thank you, T-square) and some of it is more likely to be subtle and tricky (thank you, Little Eye).

Behind it all, the energy is probably (at least trying to be) playful. For one thing, the New Moon is tightly sextile to Uranus (its modern planetary ruler), giving the potential for innovation that could extend into the downright bizarre.

Also, Mercury is now in the retrograde Shadow and this planetary Trickster is in the final degree of Aquarius at the New Moon. Being in that last degree means he's not fully committed to either Aquarius or Pisces, so his energy is a bit loosey-goosey. And getting ready for his next retrograde romp (Feb.06-28), he's already got his silly socks on.

It's very possible that there will be two levels of energy happening during this lunar cycle. On one hand, there is the quest for Big Change that impacts your philosophical outlook, the need for social or material detoxification, and the forces of radical change that could take you closer to or farther away from where you really need to be. On the other hand, there is the Other Energy that may be subtle, distracting or annoying, or perhaps enticing and seductive in its promise of novelty and freshness.

You might be challenged to bring these forces together and find a way to get them to dance with each other. However, if you find you're wrestling with these energies and neither wants to cooperate without insisting that the other be smited into oblivion, then you might be dealing with the second option. In that case, it could be that one of them is The Thing You Want or Need, while the other is mostly a distraction, annoying or relatively trivial. Alternatively, you might have picked up on the struggle being fought by someone else, but you're trying to act it out or resolve it unconsciously.

You might try sitting quietly (literally or figuratively) and centre yourself in the middle of the cyclone that's spinning around you. (That's usually the safest place when chaos is whirling around you anyway.) Just let yourself observe. What happens to the situation outside of you? How do you feel inside? What shifts or changes? Try writing in a private journal about this, or talk to someone you trust about what you notice. Getting a personal astrology reading can also help give you some clarity and groundedness about what's going on and how you want to respond to the situation.

Full of uplift, optimism and compelling inspiration, we will be guided into purposeful action of the most elegantly simple and powerfully fruitful kind. After two years of feeling every revelation of corruption in the dark as if it was scouring our subconscious insides and wringing us dry of watery emotion, we are READY for this change!
~ Karen Abler Carrasco on Western School of Feng Shui

This New Moon marks the New Year in the Chinese calendar. 2014-2015 is the Year of the Yang Wood Horse. I am not well versed in Chinese astrology, but there are many excellent and intriguing articles about this that can be found. Karen Abler Carrasco writes that this will be a go-get-'em year! Susan Levitt also augurs a rewarding year of "fast victories, unexpected adventure, and surprising romance." This surge of energy characterized by the Yang Wood Horse energy seems to be reflected in this New Moon chart with its stationary Venus ready to spring forward and Mercury on the verge of changing signs.

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Happy New Year! And Happy New Moon!

Another thing that distinguishes this New Moon is that it is being called a Supermoon by many people, since it occurs when the Moon is very close to the Earth. This term is usually used for a Full Moon since it appears a bit larger in the sky. Astrologer Richard Nolle, who first coined the term Supermoon, calls a close New Moon like this a stealth Supermoon since a New Moon is always invisible to the eye. (The only exception is when the Moon crosses the face of the Sun during a Solar Eclipse, but this is not an eclipse.) You can see from his table of Supermoons that we have several of these every year, so this is not a highly unusual event. Due to its closer proximity to Earth, this New Moon might indeed have a more pronounced effect than other lunations.

In any case, the New Moon in Aquarius is a great time to rip a page at random from the Aquarius user manual and try it out. It doesn't necessarily have to be big and dramatic � subtle and small can be even more powerful sometimes. Much depends on how you use the energy. So hop up on your Aquarian wild horse and take her out for a run! Then watch how the scenery changes around you as you explore different directions.

Second New Moon in January!
What does it mean??

This is the second New Moon in January, which is a fairly unusual occurrence! I've been seeing a lot of excitement about this, including some meaning attributed to it that I would consider questionable. Some astrologers are comparing this to a "Blue Moon," which is commonly believed to be the second Full Moon in the same calendar month.

However, that definition of Blue Moon is incorrect, based on an error in an astronomy magazine almost 60 years ago. Originally a Blue Moon referred to an extra Full Moon in a season and was never related to astrology, but rather was used by the Catholic Church to determine the date for Easter. (Read my article Blue Moon Lunacy for more on the hilarious history of the Blue Moon.)

I'm seeing some references to this second January New Moon being called a "Black Moon," which is the first I've heard that term in this context. I'm uncertain of the history or origins of this kind of "Black Moon," although I'm assuming it was probably named as a counterpart to the (incorrect) Blue Moon.

The lunar perigee (closest proximity to the Earth) is often called the Black Moon (or Black Moon Lilith) in astrological circles, and it is involved in defining when a New or Full Moon is a Supermoon. Since this New Moon is also a Supermoon, these various uncommon characteristics seem to be lumped together for some people.

Does the fact that this is the second January New Moon have any particular meaning astrologically? My own feeling is no, not really, since it is an accident of the way we measure our months and doesn't have any direct relationship to astrology (e.g. the zodiac signs). On the other hand, I learned long ago that if you look at anything the right way you can glean some kind of insight from it.

I personally feel that a second New or Full Moon in the same sign to be much more interesting, since this suggests a two-part experience of that sign's energies. However, that is not the case with this New Moon in Aquarius. We won't see another instance of that until January-February 2015.

Any schoolboy can do experiments in the physics laboratory to test various scientific hypothesis. But man, because he has only one life to live, cannot conduct experiments to test whether to follow his passion or not.
~ Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Jan.31 – Jupiter opposite Pluto (12:17 of Cancer/Capricorn)  (Jan.30 in HAST)  (This is a Cardinal Cross aspect.)

Once you have something fascinating or enlightening in your sights, what do you do with that? Alternatively, when you discover something disturbing, unsettling or with heavy implications, how do you respond? For example, do you want to understand and explore it, figure out what makes it tick and discover what it means? Or do you try to steer it, control it, utilize it and manipulate it to take advantage of it?

Neither of these alternatives is all good or all bad; they can potentially be used well for whatever best fits the situation you're in. However, it may not be possible to do both at once. It's very difficult to be receptive to what something can teach you, while also exploiting it for what it can do for you.

Under this transit, you may have to choose between the two, which could leave you feeling anything from mild frustration to a bit of panic, depending on what's at stake and how attached you are to each alternative. To resolve this dilemma, the urge to polarize could be very strong. In other words, feeling pressured to choose one "side" and crank up its volume, in order to drown out the other side and distance yourself from it. However, this kind of response tends to only perpetuate and amplify the problem, rather than solve it.

For a lasting peace, both sides of the issue need to be included in the solution. Sometimes compromise will be necessary, but if you become locked into a polarized extreme it could make compromise seem like failure (when it's probably not). There may be a difficult reality that must be faced AND also an opportunity to understand it from a higher perspective. They don't have to be (nor should they be) mutually exclusive.

You may need to embrace a position of power in some way, and from there you must choose whether to balance it with compassion and understanding or with condemnation and self-righteousness. Alternatively, you might be called upon to take a stand about something involving moral values, ethics or principles, and you'll need to decide whether to take the path that gives you control and influence for your own benefit or for the greater benefit of all involved. For example, it may be better to allow an enemy to save face, in order to avoid both of you becoming locked in opposing extremes. Avoid all-or-nothing rigidity; aim for a win-win flexibility.

This is the second of 3 passes of this transit: Aug.07.2013, Jan.31.2014 and Apr.20.2014.

Jan.31 – Mercury Direct enters Pisces (until Feb.12)  (Feb.01 in 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.

Mercury stays in Pisces only briefly, since he's slowing down to go retrograde (Feb.06-28). He will return to Pisces again Mar.17.

Jan.31 – Venus Stationary Direct (13:33 of Capricorn)  (Feb.01 in AU)  ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read more about Venus Retrograde.  Read even more about Venus Retrograde.  Read more about Retrograde planets.)  (This is a Cardinal Cross transit.)

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 the other way again. If you have experienced difficulties or challenges in close relationships, this may be a time when decisions can (and perhaps must) to be made about them. Adjustments, compromises or renegotiations may be necessary; and if this is not possible or tolerable, it might be necessary to consider ending the relationship. During the retrograde phase, you may have encountered people or social situations from your past, and now it's time to decide if you want to continue with the contact or to bring closure and move on.

You might have experienced a change in your finances�for the better or worse. This change could simply revert to its previous state, according to a natural cycle of ebb and flow. Or, you might be faced 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 this period of temporary 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. The Direct Station is another shift in your life's balance point that enables you to keep moving, changing, growing and evolving.

What makes this Venus direct station special: Venus stations just shy of conjoining Pluto (1:15 orb), which stirs up the Cardinal Cross energy (in this case: Jupiter opposite Pluto-Venus, square Uranus). Wherever you are working through something and making change in the areas of Venus (social contact, finances, values, resources, relationships, pleasure, desires), there is a larger-than-life aspect to it that may loom large on your horizon right now. Now is the time to think big � think about far-reaching implications, a context of enlightened understanding and breaking away from old habits and expectations that get in your way.

Feb.02 – Mercury Direct trine North Lunar Node (01:42 of Pisces/Scorpio)  (Feb.03 in AU)

Fresh awareness, and your communication of that awareness, can be a beneficial resource to help you move forward in your life purpose right now. However, awareness and communication aren't substitutes for action. At some point you will need to take your observations into account as move forward in your intended direction.

This is the first of three passes of this transit: Feb.02, Feb.11 and Mar.16. This transit repeats during Mercury's current retrograde cycle, which means there are deeper observations to discover over the next several weeks. For example, these observations might lead to a revision of your intentions or how you go about turning your intentions into actions.

Also interestingly, the final pass will be in different pair of signs: the first two passes are in Pisces/Scorpio, whereas the final pass is in Aquarius/Libra. It suggests an extra dimension to this series of transits. For instance, you may find that information and insights come to you intuitively at first, but are applied in the end in a more mental or social way. You might become aware of deeper personal feelings about a situation, and then find that these feelings can "speak to" a greater context in your relationships, community or circle of friends.

Feb.05 – Jupiter trine Chiron (11:45 of Cancer/Pisces)  (Feb.06 in AU)

Trines often have a way of passing by unnoticed, which is usually because the energy just allows things to feel "as they should be." As a result, you may find you just coast along and relax, basking in the break in the usual turmoil without thinking about it much. In this case, you may experience this relaxation from stress in the areas of physical health and/or mental outlook. Much depends on where your "wound" is � physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, etc. As a result, you might go through a couple/few weeks of feeling more optimistic about things that usually feel difficult or stressful. You may find it easier to feel good about yourself, your life, your body, etc. Or you might feel more accepted or included by a world in which you often feel awkward or alienated. This shift in energy might come to you through an opportunity or event that allows things to fall into place more easily, or you might become open to a new mental perspective that gives you fresh hope for improvement.

There's a chance that this transit might also aggravate that "woundedness" in some way. Jupiter often amplifies whatever it touches, so if you are struggling with physical health issues, low self-esteem, feeling socially out of sync or overly cynical, this transit might magnify those issues and lead you to want to hide out in the dark recesses of your cave. The good news is that if this happens, it gives you a chance to take a close-up look at what is haunting you, and if you pay attention it could lead you into a new way of dealing with it all. If you get stuck in just feeling overwhelmed by it all, take some time out to do things that remind you of how things could look when viewed in a positive light. For example, do something to pamper your body, or listen to music that soothes the soul, or do something to decorate your cave, or go outside to a place that nourishes your spirit.

This is the second of three passes of this transit: Aug.21.2013, Feb.05,2014, May.14.2014.

Feb.05-Apr.01 – Thor's Hammer aspect pattern (Jupiter, Uranus, Saturn)  ("What's a Thor's Hammer?")

Thor's Hammer aspect pattern - Jupiter sqr Uranus sqq Saturn

Jupiter squares Uranus on Feb.26, and while they're approaching each other, they both are in sesquiquadrate aspect to Saturn. The most intense time in the pattern's 2-month duration goes for several days before and after Saturn's retrograde station on Mar.02.

The energy of this pattern can go two ways. Saturn could act as the force behind the "hammer" � in other words, practical discipline and necessity driving the creative stress of philosophical rebellion and spiritual insight. On the other hand, the inspired friction between enlightenment and meaning could lead to the need for concrete application. Either way, this aspect pattern brings a struggle between understanding and action, innovation and pragmatism, imagination and productivity.

Feb.06 – Mercury Stationary Retrograde (03:20 of Pisces; until Feb.28)  ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read more about Mercury Retrograde.  Read more about Retrograde planets.)  (Feb.07 in AU)

Mercury now goes retrograde for the next 3+ weeks. For up to a week before and after today, Mercury is moving very slowly or stopped during the station. During this time, you may experience intensity, frustration, confusion, miscommunications, or feel like you're getting bogging down in your progress. Mercury retrograde is usually a time when it is best to rethink, rehash, reflect, and tie up old loose ends, rather than begin new ventures.

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

In the meantime, while Mercury is retrograde, expect the unexpected, and leave lots of extra time when planning your schedule (to minimize any disruptions from delays and complications). Stay flexible; for example, it's common to have to reschedule appointments. Do some things that use your intuitive, creative, non-rational mind for a while until Mercury goes direct again.

Mercury is retrograde in Pisces, which can put you in a very dream-like, meditative space. Logical or analytical thought may not be easy to achieve during this transit – or you might find that logic and analysis seem to ride in the slipstream of intuition. Creativity and imagination could rise spontaneously or unexpectedly...or they might seem to go underground where you can't access them at all for a while. In fact, much of your usual mental awareness could seem less than solid, reliable or accessible during this transit. On the other hand, you may find you have access to a different kind of perception and awareness during this time. Your psychic and intuitive abilities are likely to be much more sensitive now. Dreams could be more vivid, and you may float in and out of daydreams that could actually provide valuable information and insight. It's not always possible to put your life on hold for 3 weeks (while Mercury is retrograde), but it will help to take some time out to just drift and "be" during this time.

Feb.10-18 – Thor's Hammer aspect pattern (Sun, Mercury, Saturn, Jupiter)  ("What's a Thor's Hammer?")

Thor's Hammer aspect pattern - Sun-Mercury sqr Saturn sqq Jupiter

As Mercury retrograde and the Sun pass each other in the night, they square (90�) Saturn. At the same time, Jupiter is sesqui-quadrate (135�) to both side of the square, forming an aspect figure called a Thor's Hammer (a.k.a. Quadriform). It is at its closest on Feb.14-15, when the Moon is Full in Leo and when Mercury retrograde conjoins the Sun. (More about this pattern will be in the next update.)

In the meantime, you are likely to feel an increasing need for discipline, structure and dealing with (or taking on) authority (Sun/Mercury square Saturn), but you are also challenged to do this toward some inspired goal or toward a greater understanding of what it all means (sesqui-square to Jupiter).

Mini-Square aspect pattern - Sun-Mercury ssq Uranus-Pluto

Feb.11-19 – Mini-Square aspect pattern (Sun, Mercury, Uranus, Pluto)  ("What's a Mini-Square?")

This is another aspect figure that will be featured in the article for the Full Moon in Leo (Feb.14), but you'll feel it coming a few days before. It starts with the Uranus-Pluto square (doesn't everything nowadays?), both of which are semi-squared by the Sun-Mercury retrograde conjunction. As with the Thor's Hammer pattern (Feb.10-18), this figure is closest on Feb.14-15 with the Sun-Mercury conjunction. Watch for more about this in the Leo Full Moon article in the next update.

Feb.11 – Mercury Retrograde trine North Lunar Node (01:08 of Pisces/Scorpio)  (Feb.12 in AU)

Fresh awareness, and your communication of that awareness, can be a beneficial resource to help you move forward in your life purpose right now. However, awareness and communication aren't substitutes for action. At some point you will need to take your observations into account as move forward in your intended direction.

This is the second of three passes of this transit: Feb.02, Feb.11 and Mar.16. As mentioned above, this transit repeats during Mercury's current retrograde cycle, which means there are deeper observations to discover over the next several weeks. By now, you may discover that there are deeper insights that are important to be aware of, particularly in relation to the houses that this transit occurs in, in your natal chart.

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As also mentioned before, the final pass of this series will be in different pair of signs: the first two passes are in Pisces/Scorpio, whereas the final pass is in Aquarius/Libra. Although you might be in touch with a more emotional, intuitive, creative or feeling-based awareness right now, your approach to applying them in a few weeks will likely be more mental, intellectual, conceptual or within a social context.

Feb.11 – Sun square Saturn (23:00 of Aquarius/Scorpio)  (Feb.12 in AU)

It is necessary for you to come to grips with limitations, boundaries or expectations. If you have been avoiding some task or obligation, this transit might bring consequences from that avoidance or a warning of consequences to come. You might also encounter a situation that requires you to accept unwanted responsibility or restricts your freedom in some way. You might be faced with some part of your life being pruned back, either to rein in something that is out of control or to make room for new growth. This is likely to be more or less stressful depending on how comfortable you are dealing with responsibility, authority, limits and hard work. If you have a hard time with authority issues, you might find yourself in conflict with someone in authority under this transit – perhaps in part because your buttons are getting pushed. On the other hand, this could also be a time when you are challenged to take action or make a decision that involves taking on more responsibility. It is also a time when you may have to find better ways to deal with personal boundaries – accepting others' or learning to assert your own. You're bumping up against reality, so try to work constructively with it, not hurl yourself against it.

Feb.12 – Mercury enters Aquarius (until Mar.17)  (Feb.13 in UK, AU)

Mars is retrograde in Aquarius, so your energy may seem a bit erratic, rebellious or independent, although you could also find yourself motivated by a passionate cause or caught in a "group-think" undercurrent. Since Mars tends to do a switch into an opposite state while retrograde, how you experience this will be influenced by how you were working with Mars energy before the retrograde. If you tended to be stable, grounded, measured and cautious, you might find you become more reactive, defiant, passionate or rebellious.

On the other hand, if you were already spontaneous and aiming for a new world vision, you might find yourself pushed and pulled by the impulses and reactions of others, or discover that this has already been the case more than you had realized. It's a good time to look at how much you are truly motivated by your own urges and vision, and how much you might be following the crowd more than you intend to. By contrast, you might also look at how detached or disconnected you have been from the greater community around you, and what benefits you are missing out on by staying aloof.

This is a chance to look more closely at how you experience and express your independence and individuality, and to question what those qualities really mean. No one is entirely an island. Each of us needs to feel part of the greater community around us through connection with friends, acquaintances, groups and society. Even if you live as a hermit in the woods (in which case you're probably not reading this ;-) ) you are a part of the flora and fauna of the world around you. And yet you are still a single, unique entity apart from those around you. During this transit, play with looking at your relationship to the greater whole from different perspectives and discover new insights and ideas.

Chart for the Full Moon in Leo
Chart for the Full Moon in Leo

The sense of unhappiness is so much easier to convey than that of happiness. In misery we seem aware of our own existence, even though it may be in the form of a monstrous egotism: this pain of mine is individual, this nerve that winces belongs to me and to no other. But happiness annihilates us: we lose our identity.
~ Graham Greene, The End of the Affair

Feb.14 – FULL MOON in LEO (26:12 of Leo)


Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Feb.14, 2014, 6:53 PM EST

London, UK:

Feb.14, 2014, 11:53 PM GMT

Sydney, AU:

Feb.15, 2014, 9:53 AM AEDT

"What's a Full Moon?"

Read more about the Sun-Moon cycles.

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

Have you ever felt like there was a panel of judges somewhere holding up score cards to measure how well you're doing?

Ever feel like no matter what you do or how well you do it, it's never good enough?

(If you answered no to either of these questions, you're a rarity!)

Have you been feeling that you know what you have to do, but somehow you just can't wrap your brain around it? Maybe you can't figure out how to do it or what has to come next, and so you wind up drifting into lethargy out of weariness, confusion and discouragement?

This Full Moon in Leo could feel a bit like that.

However, this is definitely not a death sentence for anything you are striving to do, nor for your self-esteem.

Instead, there are ways to turn this around � to turn discouragement into victory, lethargy into inspiration and inadequacy into inventiveness. But first it's important to acknowledge the obstacles before you can leap over them...

I�m a rude dude, but I�m the real deal. Lean and mean! Cocked, locked and ready-to-rock. Rough, tough and hard to bluff. I take it slow, I go with the flow, I ride with the tide. I�ve got glide in my stride. Drivin and movin, sailin and spinin, jiving and groovin, wailin and winnin. I don�t snooze, so I don�t lose. I keep the pedal to the metal and the rubber on the road. I party hearty and lunch time is crunch time. I�m hangin in, there ain�t no doubt and I�m hangin tough, over and out!
~ George Carlin

This Full Moon chart has some of the most intriguing, complex, intense and daunting aspects and aspect configurations of any lunation chart I've seen in a long while! Here's the recipe:

Let's start with 4 � count 'em, four Thor's Hammer aspect patterns, one of which is also a Kite figure!

Mix in two T-square aspect figures and two Wedge patterns.

Sprinkle with a tightly combust Mercury retrograde conjunct the Sun. Blend in some Neptune which is conjunct the Sun and Mercury.

Now add Venus which, although now direct, is still conjunct Pluto and his partner in crime for one of the T-squares and one of the Thor's Hammer patterns.

There's also a Hard Rectangle figure that knits together the two T-squares.

And I'm sure I saw a partridge in a pear tree somewhere in there too.

Most of these aspect patterns bring a lot of tension, intensity and stress to the Full Moon energy. The two Wedges (thankfully!) can provide some ease and creative relief. So, if you're looking for some creative tension that could spur you into creative innovation and propel you forward, this Full Moon can provide it!

On the other hand, if you just aren't really feeling up to the challenge and wish you could just crawl under the covers and stay there for a couple of weeks, this energy might also make that feeling even stronger.

To add to the razor sharp energy, the chart has virtually no quincunxes or semi-sextiles (150� and 30�) � well okay, there's one lonely little semi-sextile between Chiron and Uranus, but it's very wide (2:18 orb) and separating. I'm not sure that counts for much.

An absence of these so-called inconjunct aspects (quincunxes and semi-sextiles) tends to mean the energy is very direct and to the point, with an all-or-nothing, black-or-white way of looking at things. And there's usually little patience or appreciation for subtlety or shades of grey. It either is or it isn't something�there's little or nothing in between.

This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook- try new recipes,
learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!
~ Julia Child, My Life in France

So how do you take a planet-ful of relentless, prickly stress and turn it into something positive? That, dear reader, is the musical question posed by the Full Moon in Leo.

How do you rise above discouragement and struggle? More to the point, how do you rise above it?


Leo is all about creativity, sense of self, self-expression, charisma and purpose. So naturally, the solution will involve the ability to turn sour lemons into Vodka Thyme Lemonade or maybe some gluten-free Lemon Almond Yoghurt Cake. (drool!)

With the Moon opposite Mercury retrograde in Aquarius, it's good to think outside the conventional pigeon hole in innovative, inventive and experimental ways. Since Merc is currently electrified by retro-mania, it's a good idea�no, it's essential!�not to get too attached to a particular outcome or how you arrive at the outcome.

True creativity almost always involves surprises and "ah-ha" moments anyway, so this will definitely help the creative process. However, with so much Fixed energy around it might be a little awkward to have to adapt to unexpected results, so it's a good idea to leave lots of room for flexibility in your plans right from the start.

This could be the kind of experience where you discover that your failed science experiment is actually a miracle cure for something-or-other. Or the filling for your lemon meringue pie didn't set right, but it could make an awesome sauce for your homemade gingerbread.

The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are,
first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.
~ Thomas Edison

T-square: Sun, Mercury, Moon, Saturn

On the other hand, you'll need to stay within reasonable boundaries in your experimentation. Saturn T-squares the Moon and Sun-Mercury opposition. He's there to ensure that certain rules and guidelines are followed. Saturn knows that the result needs to be useful, practical and successful, so he's there to make sure you don't stray too far from the pragmatic path. Even if what you're doing is simply to create something beautiful or exciting, it will need to have passion and excellence as its cornerstones.

At its worst, this T-square (Saturn square the Sun-Mercury-Moon opposition) could tie a big fat lead weight to any discouragement, depression or uphill struggles you're going through right now. It's wise not to take your life circumstances or yourself too seriously, although there may well be some very real hardships and expectations that will need to be met nonetheless.

However at its best, the T-square can also give you some big fat cleats to dig your heels in the dirt. As you move forward, even if it's slowly and arduously, you have great potential to make progress and manifest your vision. One step at a time.

It's possible that Mercury retrograde could throw a banana peel in your path and then sit back to watch the slapstick show. You have two choices. (1) You can find a way to use the banana peel in a productive way; for instance, use the slip-up as a way to put some creative spin on your actions (and don't forget to smile and pretend you meant to do that all along). (2) You can tell Mercury to retrograde himself back where he came from and bring your concentration back to what you were doing; the going may be slow and bumpy but it doesn't have to mean you get stuck.

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle.
~ Frederick Douglass

The other T-square has been with us for a while already � starting around the New Year and remaining with us until mid-June. Venus conjunct Pluto is part of that T-square from Jan.13 to Feb.21. Although it's separating, the combined energies are still with us. Venus adds a focus on love, pleasure, harmony, connection with others and material acquisition.

Cardinal T-square: Venus, Pluto, Uranus, Jupiter

The original T-square�Jupiter opposite Pluto, squared by Uranus�is about stretching the way we understand the world around us by acknowledging both the forces of change and the forces of preservation, even (especially!) when they are in conflict.

Venus emphasizes the importance of being aware of how your personal state of being is being affected by that dynamic. Are you allowing discord and strife around you to separate you from your sense of well-being? Are you more vulnerable to the positive or negative aspects of the stress that's going on around you? When it gets overwhelming, are you able to draw a boundary around yourself where you can decide for yourself what works for you and what doesn't, regardless of the pressures and influences around you?

The most intense peak of the Venus part of this energy is past, but still lingering. This is a time to process how you made out over the last month or two with these issues, and how your sense of self has changed during that time.

When you're struggling with something, look at all the people around you and realize that every single person you see is struggling with something, and to them, it's just as hard as what you're going through.
~ Nicholas Sparks, Dear John

Both T-squares interact together, combining Cardinal energy with Fixed energy. The Cardinal T-square (Jupiter, Uranus, Pluto) is about how we move forward and what goals we aim for. The Fixed T-square (Sun, Mercury, Moon, Saturn) is about how we stabilize and maintain our focus as we make progress with those goals.

Hard Rectangle aspect pattern: Sun, Mercury, Moon, Jupiter, Pluto

The T-squares interact through their oppositions, which are joined by semi-square and sesqui-quadrate aspects (45� and 135�, or half-a-square and a square-and-a-half). This stressful combination of oppositions, semi-squares and sesqui-quadrates is an aspect figure sometimes called a Hard Rectangle.

The Mystic Rectangle is a similar figure, where the oppositions are joined by sextiles and trines (60� and 120�). Its influence often manifests as showing a calm, easy-going nature to the world on the outside, while inside there is tremendous tension and struggle.

The Hard Rectangle, by comparison, can be full of pressure both outside and in. Outside you may be cranky, sensitive to imperfections or errors, and constantly trying to fine-tune and adapt in order to make things just right. Inside this can be driven by a sense of urgency and intensity, striving to do the very best. Nothing wrong with that, but it can go into overdrive and tip into workaholism, perfectionism or obsession.

There needs to be a balance between the demands you drive yourself to fulfil (whether they come from yourself or others) and the ability to be okay with who you are regardless of the outcome. It's one thing to feel proud of yourself because of something you accomplished; it's another thing to feel that you're a failure as a human being if you don't succeed in the way you were hoping to.

I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.
~ Maya Angelou

As if the T-squares and the Hard Rectangle weren't enough, these patterns made up of hard aspects also form four aspect patterns known as Thor's Hammer (sometimes also called Arrowhead or Quadriform). I won't go into detail about them or I'll have to get an ISBN number and publish this as a book! Suffice to say that all four square aspects in the two T-squares form the base of a Thor's Hammer figure.

These aspect patterns are likely to take the intense pressure of the T-squares and make it four(teen) times more complicated than they already are. It could easily feel like you're caught in a tangled web of conflicting interests, priorities, options and demands. Or you might feel like you're in a nightmare playing a game of whack-a-mole and wishing you could wake up! ;-)

The important thing is to keep prioritizing and take it one step at a time. Even if they're quick little steps and you feel you're not getting very far, you're still getting farther than if you give up, so keep going! If you get all tangled up and start tripping over yourself, take a break (even a small one) to catch your breath and get grounded and centred again.

Four Thor's Hammer aspect patterns at the Full Moon in Leo

For a while these reveries provided an outlet for his imagination; they were a satisfactory hint of the unreality of reality, a promise that the rock of the world was founded securely on a fairy's wing.
~ F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

There are two Wedge aspect configurations in the chart which provide some very welcome outlet for all this T-square and Hard Rectangle tension.

Wedge aspect pattern: Chiron, Jupiter, Pluto

One Wedge is another long-term pattern: Chiron trine Jupiter and sextile Pluto, which themselves are opposite. This has been with us since late December 2013 and will remain until early June 2014. Chiron, the planet of healing struggle, provides some ease to the tension of the Jupiter-Pluto opposition, a dynamic about seeking enlightenment and wisdom in the face of obsession, intensity and austere control.

Where Jupiter and Pluto can find balance and complement each other is where wisdom requires that we face what we don't want to see in order to embrace what we do. Also, it is through the light of understanding and meaning that we learn what lies in our dark, despairing depths, and thereby, reclaim and rebirth what is in those depths in a way that enriches and fertilizes our growth.

At best, Chiron's healing energy can encourage and facilitate this process. Through acceptance (rather than abhorrence), the healing energy can do its job because we're not fighting the very process that can help us find that Jupiter-Pluto balance.

At worst, healing could amount more to "make-work busy-ness" than actual healing. In other words, healing activity or focus could become more of an escape from the real work that needs to be done. An example of this could be becoming so engulfed in suffering that you start to identify with it: "I am the person who bears their suffering so nobly..." With the Full Moon in Leo, the sign of self-image, keep an eye on what you are identifying with.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
~ H. Jackson Brown Jr., P.S. I Love You

The other Wedge has Mars at the apex, trine to the Sun and Mercury, and sextile to the Moon. This is a very tight Wedge figure, with the Sun, Moon and Mars all at 26� of their respective signs (Aquarius, Leo and Libra).

Wedge aspect pattern: Mars, Sun, Mercury, Moon

Mars is the planet of taking action, passion and assertiveness, as well as aggression, anger and revenge. Forming the apex of the Wedge, these qualities become a potential outlet for the tension of the Moon-Sun-Mercury opposition. The Leo-Aquarius opposition fires up a struggle between self (Leo) and society (Aquarius); between your conscious identity and your inner awareness; and between the need to comfort your ego need for security and the inspiration to reach beyond your subjective self.

You'll need to do something with the heat that radiates from that friction. If you don't, Mars in Libra could get overheated and become very reactive, like the reflex of tossing away a hot potato that has landed in your lap. And since Mars in Libra usually prefers not to show anger, that hot potato could wind up getting swallowed and burning up your insides. When anger or heated reaction becomes trapped inside, it could result in depression, resentment, loss of physical energy or passive aggression.

Empowerment through action of some kind is a good remedy. Being in beautifying Libra, a good example is to find something artistic or creative to do. And don't give me that poop about not being creative! Everyone is and can be creative in their own way. Check out the recipes in the links above and have some fun in the kitchen. Or clean up all the trinkets on your shelves or hidden away in still-unpacked boxes, and have fun arranging them in a special place.

If you need to vent aggressive energy, try doing it in a safe way that's interactive; for instance, a sport like boxing or wrestling. Or channel it into an artistic form where you can express your physical energy; for example, dance (like nobody's watching). If you're seriously angry, you might want to avoid anything with sharp instruments until you're calmer. If you get stuck in the anger or reactivity, talk to someone about it: a trusted friend, a spiritual advisor or your astrologer.

As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation � either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force.
I decided to follow the latter course.
~ Martin Luther King Jr.

At its best, Mars as the apex of this Wedge figure can help you direct that tension into outward expression that is constructive, creative and passionate. If you start to feel overwhelmed or bogged down by stress or discouraged by the height of the mountains that must be climbed, Mars can help.

First thing is to find your balance point. That could mean pulling back a bit from whatever is happening, even distancing yourself if necessary. Take some time out, or talk to someone. It can help to have a witness who knows what you're struggling with and can be a mirror to show that you're not going crazy. The idea is to feel heard and get some connection so you don't feel alone. You could talk to someone about it or write in your journal or just talk out loud to yourself and give a voice to what you need to say. (Talking to yourself is okay; it's when you argue with yourself and lose that you know you've got a problem. ;-) )

It's also important to be reminded of who you are beyond the situation you're feeling overwhelmed about. Again, talking to someone can be helpful; especially someone who knows you well. If you aren't able to get that from another person, give it to yourself by remembering happy memories or thinking about other parts of your life that aren't directly related to the other situation. Or change your environment � go for a walk, or take a bus ride to the outer reaches of your city or town (driving might not be wise if you're feeling reactive), or go to a movie or watch TV and let yourself get immersed in the story.

Above all, do something different that expresses something fun, delightful or unique about you. It doesn't have to be something major or extreme; it just has to give you a chance to open up an inner window to let in some fresh air that can feed the fire of who you really are.

Be aware that Mars is going retrograde on March 1st until mid-May, so don't get discouraged if your momentum fades next month or gets stalled for a while. Now is the time to point yourself in a direction that will take you where you want to go. Become clear about your motivation. How you get from here to there, what detours you might find and how long it takes to get there are separate issues. For now, get your compass calibrated to where you want to end up later this year.

I believe when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade
...and try to find someone whose life has given them vodka, and have a party.
~ Ron White

And besides � this Full Moon is on Valentine's Day! The one person you should open your heart to is yourself. What better time to remind yourself of that than Valentine's Day? It's nice to be appreciated by another person on that day, but whether or not you get the box of chocolates, whether or not you find the lover of your dreams, whether or not you feel alone or isolated on this day... the one person who can give you that appreciation, kindness and recognition is YOU.

So, here's your homework. Write these down.

  1. Write down at least 3 good things you did recently. (These could be achievements, or qualities about yourself, or even just good intentions, etc.)
  2. Write down at least 3 things you like or appreciate about yourself. (Anything at all: your courage, your voice, your love of astrology, your left eyebrow - whatever. You don't have to explain it or justify it; it's how you feel.)
  3. Write down at least 3 things you wish others would appreciate about you more. (Again, anything. You don't have to explain or justify them; just write them down.)
  4. And finally, write down at least 3 things you like or appreciate about other people. (Anyone: people you know, famous people, fictional characters; the important thing is what you appreciate about them.)
  5. Put your paper in a special place where you'll see it. Often. Stick it on your fridge, or put it in your wallet. This can be a resource when you're feeling overwhelmed or discouraged. Or it could be a mirror for times when you're feeling great and only have yourself to share it with in that moment.
  6. Now: Roar like a Leo lion! :-)

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be?
~ Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles"

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Feb.14 – Sun trine Mars (26:18 of Aquarius/Libra)  (Feb.15 in UK, AU)

Your energy, purpose, vitality and health are likely to be strong and clear during this transit. Your sense of purpose is supported by your ability to assert yourself and take a stand for what you want and what you believe in. In general, this transit is a great time to take action, especially if you have prepared the way and have all your ducks in a row. If you've been waiting for a spurt of self-confidence or motivation, this transit could give you the push you need to move forward in your plans or goals. Strive to be spontaneous rather than impulsive, and confident rather than arrogant.

Feb.15 – Sun conjunct Mercury Retrograde (27:04 of Aquarius)  (Feb.16 in AU)

When the Sun conjoins Mercury Retrograde, there is a new beginning in the areas of awareness, communication, use of information and exchange of ideas. This may or may not be heralded by a recognisable event or experience, although for a day or two your consciousness may shift. Your awareness and mental concentration may take a dip into the unconscious, becoming unusually murky and muddy, or it may rise into ultra-consciousness and become suddenly clear and lucid (afterwards returning to the usual Mercury retrograde fog). A new awareness or perspective on what has unfolded during the retrograde cycle thus far may surface now, or an unworkable attitude or perception of these events may fall apart under the weight of new information. This shift of awareness may be obvious or subtle, sudden or gradual, but this transit marks a turning point in the Mercury retrograde cycle. It also marks a time when mental awareness often goes further underground, for the rest of the retrograde period, making it a little harder to operate objectively and rationally in the outside world. Spend some time in your right-brain, intuitive, non-rational mind, which can coax your mental creativity and inventiveness to the surface.

Feb.16 – Mercury Retrograde trine Mars (26:29 of Aquarius/Libra)  (Feb.15 in HAST, AKT)

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).

This is the second of three passes of this transit: Jan.24, Feb.16 and Mar.14.

Feb.18 – North Lunar Node enters Libra (until Nov.11.2015)  (Feb.19 in AU)  ("What's a Lunar Node?")

When the North Lunar Node is in Libra, its opposite point, the South Lunar Node, is in Aries. Together they form an axis of energy that moves toward Libra and away from Aries. At the North Node, you take in the energy; you take on new awareness and learning and you confront (or are confronted by) new challenges. For roughly a year and a half, you are learning about Libra energy: cooperation, balance, harmony and relationship, as well as the situations, issues and people who make it difficult for you to achieve these qualities. Questions to ask yourself are: Who's pushing your buttons? What knocks you out of your centre and into "react mode." In what kind of situation do you feel compelled to give in to someone else's needs or priorities, and why? The point is not to judge yourself, but to discover how and why you give too much of yourself away�as well as how and why you are willing to compromise and give up something for what you believe in.

At the South Node (Aries, in this case), we let go of something that is no longer needed. Once you've learned the lesson of the South Node, you release it; move it from the foreground to the background. The lesson of Aries is about the self, your identity and independence, as well as how you assert yourself out into the world. If you get stuck in Aries, you might feel resistant or distrustful of interacting with or getting close to others, walling yourself off in order to preserve your autonomy. Or you might be unable to move beyond anger, defensiveness or defiance, so that you're unable to relate to others in a harmonious way. Not all anger is bad, of course, nor protection of your autonomy, but the point is that if you are so locked into any state of mind that you're not able to choose to respond differently, then you're stuck and need to find out why. Courage and the strength to hold your ground are virtues in Aries, but they become unhealthy if you are unable to also have the courage and strength to be open and receptive (Libra).

The Libra-Aries themes will also play out in the houses in your natal chart where these signs reside, taking on challenges of the house where the North Node is and letting go of the baggage related to the opposite house where the South Node is.

The North Node is in Libra during these times:

Feb.18 – Sun enters Pisces (until Mar.20)  (Feb.19 in AU)

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 – Mercury Retrograde square Saturn (23:12 of Aquarius/Scorpio)  (Feb.18 in HAST, AKST, PST)

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.

This is the second of three passes of this transit: Jan.25, Feb.19 and Mar.11.

Feb.23 – Sun conjunct Neptune (05:02 of Pisces)

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.

Feb.24 – Venus sextile Saturn (23:17 of Capricorn/Scorpio)  (Feb.25 in AST, NST, UK, AU)

It is possible to find some stability in your relationships and finances under this transit, especially if you are willing to negotiate fairly and realistically. You have increased ability to be disciplined about spending and budgeting, and to invest in 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 your interaction with others. Commitment and structure may be easier to approach and achieve than if you take risks now. Your self-worth can benefit from this transit because you may be less inclined to give in to mood swings. On the other hand, 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.

Feb.25 – Pluto sextile Chiron (13:00 of Capricorn/Pisces)

Chiron is about acceptance of obstacles that don't have a clear solution, and mysteries and paradoxes that don't have a clear-cut explanation. Pluto is the process of transformation that requires something to "die" (move out of the way) in order that new growth and evolution can take place. These two energies work together very well. Both involve a certain level of acceptance of something that seems intolerable or undesirable.

These planets come together over a two year period in a sextile (60�) aspect, which combines these energies in a creative, capable and clever way. They actually have been hovering within a 6� orb since about 2010 and will remain there until around 2018. Over a very long period, these energies are forging a gradual process whose purpose is to generate healing and transformation. This could involve physical healing (most notably where chronic health problems are concerned), although more likely it relates to psychological and spiritual healing. In addition, this transit can provide an undercurrent of healing that supports the collective woundedness we are currently struggling with.

The thing about both of these planets is that things often get worse before they get better. Chiron's message is that by accepting and acknowledging our woundedness, we will find opportunities for healing�and that some wounds can't be healed completely. Chiron is about healing what can be, and finding ways to accept what can't�and to discover that there are hidden gifts that the struggle can bring you. The trick is not to get stuck in perpetual suffering, despair or helplessness.

Pluto's process is to dig below the surface to find the authentic essence that is neither apparent nor fully accessible until you shed that top layer that covers what's underneath it. By letting go of one thing, you gain access to something behind it, and the experience can be transforming�if you trust the process.

Chiron and Pluto together stimulate healing through struggle that can be strenuous and demanding. However, the nature of the sextile aspect is progressive change. Your experience of that struggle might be more resilient or gentler than with a hard aspect. It's up to you to do the work, but Chiron and Pluto can provide some profound tools and resources for the task. Pluto is the planet of hidden riches, and Chiron reveals the gift of wisdom that comes from experience. Look for those tools in unexpected, unusual or secret places.

This is the last of five exact passes of this transit: May.12.2012, Sep.06.2012, Apr.04.2013, Oct.28.2013 and Feb.25.2014.

Feb.26 – Jupiter square Uranus (10:33 of Cancer/Aries)  (Feb.25 in HAST, AKST, PST)  (This is a Cardinal Cross aspect.)

Why and how do you want to change or grow? Both Jupiter and Uranus are about growth and change, as well as freedom and idealism, but they have rather different agendas and styles of going about it. Jupiter is all about purpose and reaching for the moral high ground, whereas Uranus is more about liberation and allowing freedom to rule, even if that means chaos. These two agendas are at odds right now, pulling in different directions due to a conflict of interest. Jupiter says, "What good is freedom if it doesn't bring greater meaning into your life? Chaos is the absence of meaning." Uranus says, "You can't know what the moral high ground is, nor what it means, unless you allow for all possibilities, not just the ones you think are virtuous. Chaos can create room for true meaning to emerge." And how to you want this change to occur � through a gradual evolution that builds on what came before, or through an explosion of unprecedented, spontaneous, mind-blowing awakening? Do you hunger for fresh principles you can believe in and apply to your life, or would you rather wipe the slate clean and start fresh? Both the Uranus and Jupiter sides of this argument are within you. You may, however, need to choose which has the higher priority in your life, or which one feels more compelling and attractive. You might see this discord playing out in your own life, or the world around you might be locked into a conflict like this in some way. The solution might not be for one to win out over the other, but rather to recognize that both sides have validity in their own way and to find a way for them to coexist or compromise.

Dates for the current Jupiter-Uranus cycle:

This is the second of three passes: Aug.21.2013, Feb.26.2014, Apr.20.2014.

Feb.28 – Mercury Stationary Direct (18:09 of Aquarius; until Mar.17)  ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read more about Mercury Retrograde.  Read more about Retrograde planets.)

Mercury finally turns direct! Yippeeee!!!! ;-) But we're not out of the woods just yet. For up to a week before and after today, you may experience mental intensity, confusion, and miscommunications or simply changes in your outlook. After being Retrograde for the last 3 to 3� weeks, Mercury is now taking a slow turn to resume Direct motion. This period has 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, 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.

Feb.28 – Sun trine Jupiter (10:29 of Pisces/Cancer)  (Mar.01 in AST, NST, UK, AU)

This is a time when your understanding of the Big Picture and your place within it can 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, finding new meaning in your live and the events that unfold around you. Self-confidence can run high now, and you could feel inspired to fight for justice or some cause. At the same time, there is a chance that all this self-assurance and "knowing" could go overboard into over-confidence, dogmatism or over-indulgence if it's not grounded in realism and humility. Just use your best judgment and enjoy this warm, shining energy!

Next Update:  NEW MOON in PISCES, available by March 1, 2014.

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