The Low-Down on the Far-Out

New Moon in Sagittarius, Nov 2016

Chart for the New Moon in Sagittarius
Chart for the New Moon in Sagittarius

The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true.
~ James Branch Cabell, The Silver Stallion

Nov.29 – NEW MOON in SAGITTARIUS (07:42 of Sagittarius)

Is hope a good thing or a bad thing?

The question might sound ludicrous. Viewed through the wide-angle lens of Sagittarius optimism, we tend to see hope as a good thing. It gets us through hard times and makes us feel good, so what's not to like? But it's still a question worth pondering. And just what is hope anyway?

There are many thoughts about what it is, and how it does or doesn't differ from faith, another Sagittarian concept.

From one perspective hope is like a wish, whereas faith is more like trust. Another idea says hope is the internal intention from which you take action, whereas faith is more passive and implies that change or reprieve will come from outside yourself.

Pandora, by John William Waterhouse

The ancient Greeks had an intriguing story about hope involving Pandora, the first mortal woman created from the earth. She was created as a punishment to Humanity for accepting the illicit gift of fire from Prometheus ("forethought"). Zeus gave Pandora a jar (some say a box) and betrothed her to Epimetheus ("afterthought"), who accepted her despite his brother's warnings. Her curiosity got the better of her and she opened the jar, releasing evil spirits into the world: toil, illness, misery. She quickly closed the lid but it was too late � only Elpis (the spirit of hope or expectation) remained in the jar.

It is perhaps a matter of debate or interpretation as to whether Hope was considered an evil (after all, she was in the jar with them � guilty by association?). Or maybe it shows that we experience the "evils" of the world coming from outside of us, whereas Hope is retained within us. On the other hand, some writers believed the jar contained blessings that would have benefited Humanity if they had not escaped and returned to the gods that bestowed them, leaving only Hope to comfort us.

In any case, we're left with the idea that Hope is held in contrast with both good and bad, whether we are plagued or consoled by Hope.

Hold fast to dreams,
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird,
That cannot fly.
~ Langston Hughes

Hope leads us out of our known universe. It looks beyond what we know as fact, into the realm of speculation and imagination. There is a point on the far horizon that beckons us, and Hope is the impulse that prevents us from dismissing it as impossible to reach.

In hard times, hope is a window to the world outside our distress which promises fresh, better possibilities if we can be patient or diligent enough to get there. It says: "Don't like where you are? No worries! Options are available."

So, hope bridges the gap between where we are and where we want to be. When where you are truly sucks, hope can keep you distracted, entertained and energized while you continue on the path to your destination. It allows you to avoid feeling trapped and, well, hopeless. Instead of being only in the here-and-now, it opens up the door to there-and-then.

On the other hand, that which distracts you from the here-and-now can also get in the way of dealing with it. Certainly diversion can smooth out the imbalance between intimidation about what blocks us versus determination to get past it, by turning down the fear volume and cranking up our courage. However, it can also keep us so soothed, entertained and distracted that we become convinced that we can just hide out in that bubble indefinitely. We tend to need a certain amount of discomfort, anxiety or fear about our current circumstances in order to make a change, or else we may become content to settle for the less-than-satisfying present situation.

So, in order to move beyond our current reality, we first need to face it. It must be addressed, worked with, confronted and acknowledged. We can't always simply "let go" of the here-and-now and expect that things will magically realign the way we want them to. And in order to let something go, we must first embrace it. Before we can throw it away, we must first pick it up�or at least come to grips with it in some way more than we have.

This is why things often seem to get worse before they get better. We tend to avoid the negative, so when it eventually becomes clear that it's getting in the way of the positive, we need to start the process of change by acknowledging that which we have denied or avoided. To do that, we have to get up close to it, see what it's really made of, understand why we haven't left it behind before now, and then do something different in how we respond to it.

People tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will descend like fine weather if you're fortunate. But happiness is the result of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly.
~ Elizabeth Gilbert

Ironically, hope can sometimes interfere with the very process that could bring us from a painful present into a more satisfying future. This can happen when we think no action on our part is required, but that the solution will be magically provided without any real effort on our part. Like a baby bird being fed by its mother, all we need do is open our mouths and everything we want will appear. But we are not babies any longer. We have capabilities, resources and strength to draw on. Unlike a helpless child, we are required to be a participant in our own lives, no matter what other forces may have our backs.

Jupiter being the planetary ruler of Sagittarius (potential, vision, idealism) makes grand promises, but unless they're combined with Mars (motivation, action, initiation), Mercury (awareness, intention, imagination) and/or Saturn (discipline, reality, commitment), those promises could pass by like a wistful breeze.

Luckily, Saturn is also in Sagittarius and is already calibrated to convert hope into reality. It's also in sextile aspect (60�) to Jupiter, indicating that they're willing to work together to try to make this happen. What is required is some elbow grease, a plan, a little luck, and some faith in the process. The potential here is Fire (enthusiasm, vision, impetus) harnessed by Earth (discipline, realism, commitment).

Do things just happen magically sometimes? Absolutely! But even a lottery winner still has to buy the ticket. "You've gotta be in it to win it!" a lottery ad once chirped. When something happens out of the blue, it's usually the result of a series of actions, choices and decisions that we made previously. We may or may not have been aiming for that particular outcome, but it probably wouldn't have been able to take place without the foundation built by what came before it. As the saying goes, "if you build it, [something] will come [of it]."

So Mars, Mercury, Saturn and the rest of the gang need to do their part, even if they aren't on centre stage when the winnings come through. That's why it's important to be a willing and active, perhaps even proactive, participant in the process that's been initiated by hope.

Mini-Trine aspect pattern: Mars, Jupiter, Saturn

Fortunately in the New Moon chart, these other planets are ready and willing to step up to help. Mars trines Jupiter (120�), and Saturn is in Sagittarius and sextile Jupiter (60�). In fact, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter form what I call a Mini-Trine aspect pattern, which can grant powerful resources and energy for creative manifestation ...or for manipulation, so be careful your moral compass is operating correctly.

In addition, Mercury has been moving through Sagittarius since Nov.12. At the time of the New Moon he's less than 2 degrees away from conjoining the Galactic Centre (27:04 Sagittarius), giving Merc the ability to download some pretty "out there" inspiration and convey it to the world through a cosmic megaphone. Again, this is a powerful tool, so use it wisely. And remember that both insight and idiocy can be communicated through that megaphone, so take some time to determine which is which.

A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything,
and the value of nothing.
~ Oscar Wilde

The shadow side of hope is rooted in despair, which is essentially hope turned in on itself. While despair is not a quality usually associated with Sagittarius, I think it is sometimes at the heart of some of Sag's less constructive qualities. Instead of being open to the positive possibilities, despair sees only dark walls closing in.

Surrounding despair in that shadowy cavern are depression, cynicism, blame, judgment, fear and pessimism. Their job is to protect despair and keep him from sinking into isolation � in an ironic way, their job is to give hope to despair.

Depression's message is, "There's no point in trying." Cynicism says, "It will only end in disappointment, so grab what you can and move on." Blame is certain that "if we can just find whoever caused this problem, we could break free." Judgment declares, "Whoever caused this mess is contemptible, and our problems will disappear if we just banish them from our world."

Fear worries, "It might get worse, so it's better to stay where we are instead of venturing out to see what's actually there." And Pessimism concludes, "It's better to expect the worst, so that when it inevitably fails the disappointment doesn't hurt so much."

The more you know yourself, the more clarity there is. Self-knowledge has no end � you don't come to an achievement, you don't come to a conclusion. It is an endless river.
~ Jiddu Krishnamurti

T-square aspect figure: Sun, Moon, Neptune, Lunar Nodes

There are a few areas of the New Moon chart where the despair side of Sagittarius might dim its hopeful hue. For one thing, The Sun-Moon conjunction (a.k.a. the New Moon) is in square aspect (90�) to the Lunar Nodes, as well as to Neptune which is bidding adieu to the South Lunar Node. Together they form a T-square aspect figure.

When the Sun is square or conjunct the Lunar Nodes, it is sometimes called a Moon Wobble. This is not a rare occurrence (it happens four times per year); however, it involves the eclipses so it is generally seen as a time of increased energy and intensity, and therefore as a destabilizing force. It's also not uncommon to have a New or Full Moon squaring the Nodes, but again, this can be a time of somewhat wobbly, volatile energy.

Neptune is still conjunct and amplified by the South Node, which means letting go of unwanted, disruptive or outmoded qualities of that planet. In other words, we're more aware of the negative side of Neptune than usual � hidden agendas, manipulation, illusion, misinformation and disillusionment. This could make it a bit harder for Sagittarius to channel the Light Side of the Force. Neptune might also raise our Sagittarian hopes so high that they can't help but fall short of expectations, and therefore the disappointment and disillusionment could be acute.

Neptune could also cloak the less-than-modest side of Sag with the illusion of self-righteousness that converts humility into humiliation. That said, this can be an excellent time to observe this pattern and do some work around letting go of outmoded beliefs and self-delusion that block you from embracing more of your best potential.

T-square aspect figure: Jupiter, Uranus, Venus, Pluto

Jupiter, King of the Gods and ruler of Sagittarius, is in a jagged-edged T-square aspect pattern. Jupiter opposes Uranus, and both are squared by Venus and Pluto who are themselves conjunct. Note that this is yet another instance of the Cardinal Cross that hinges on the Uranus-Pluto square. As a result, this New Moon taps into the collective struggles we've been going through in the last 9 years, so this is bound to be a tense, challenging time in the world at large. Hot issues could heat up, as various factions vie for control over power (Pluto), resources (Venus) and information (Uranus).

You could experience a smaller-scale version of this in your personal life as well. It will therefore help to stay focused on maintaining clarity and truth that are grounded in pragmatic facts and honest integrity. Otherwise, despair's entourage could sneak in and amplify or distort your perception of the situation and what you can (or can't) do to deal with it.

Don't you understand that we need to be childish in order to understand?
Only a child sees things with perfect clarity,
because it hasn't developed all those filters which prevent us
from seeing things that we don't expect to see.
~ Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

If we step back and take in the whole picture�as Sagittarius encourages us to do�the panoramic vision present at the New Moon shows both potential for good and bad; positive and negative; inspiration that is rooted in realism as well as possibilities. If you get overwhelmed by it all, it's good to take a step back and some time out, and let yourself see the pieces of the puzzle that you hadn't noticed before. It's helpful to become aware of what's been hiding in your blind spot, so that you can understand and act from a more comprehensive understanding.


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Remember too that Uranus is still conjunct dwarf planet Eris, who together have been whipping up quite a froth during the past year, and will continue this into the first half of 2017. Therefore, it's good to stay flexible, open-minded and connected to your creative imagination. Resisting the status quo seems to be in the air on many levels, whether you're trying to push progress forward or dial it back to a more familiar level.

There's an awful lot of over-the-top energy burning through our lives right now�both personally and collectively�and some areas are at risk of becoming wildfires. This is fractal energy that contains the same essential pattern at all levels, no matter whether it's on a large or small scale.

Therefore, it's wise to keep things simple. Avoid inflating your perceptions and reactions beyond what is necessary. Work that Jupiter-Saturn sextile for all it's worth! Maintain a cooperative, flexible balance between the potential you envision and the current reality you're dealing with. Keep a candle burning for hope, while allowing yourself to acknowledge and accept any sadness or discouragement.

Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts.
Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts.
Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me...
Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.
~ Shel Silverstein

Nov.29 – Venus sextile Chiron (20:40 of Capricorn/Pisces)  (Nov.30 in AU)

Although this transit lasts for only a few days, it is possible to make some progress in your healing and rebalancing efforts, although it will take some effort to make it happen. This may show itself in relationships, social interaction, finances, values, health or your spiritual connection to the Universe. You have an increased ability to negotiate with others and with your circumstances to achieve a fair compromise that results in equal sacrifice and benefit for all concerned. However, there is a risk of wanting to avoid conflict and discord so much that you negotiate beyond what you are truly comfortable with – peace at any price. By accepting and embracing the effort or struggle that is required, you can get out of your own way and achieve a more healing balance in those struggles. You now have increased ability to facilitate changes in situations that are within your control. It can also be easier to accept and adapt to that which lies beyond your control. Your effect on others can be potentially healing right now, especially by helping them find a new balance and point of acceptance in the conflicts and struggles of their lives.

Nov.29 – Sun square North Lunar Node (08:00 of Sagittarius/Virgo)  (Nov.30 in AU)  ("What's a Lunar Node?")

When the Sun squares the Lunar Nodes, your sense of purpose and identity appear to be in conflict with the lessons you need to learn in life. It may feel like you're forced to take a detour around your direct route to your destination (whatever that might be). This may only be true on the surface � if you look deeper at the situation (or possibly in retrospect), you'll probably find that your sense of self is actually helped by the benefits that you are able to get on that detour, which would have missed if you hadn't been diverted from your original path.

Alternatively, you might be confronted by a conflict or stressful dilemma that you usually resist or flail against. This may be an opportunity to explore a deeper level of your experience and feelings. Perhaps there is fear or resentment or defiance behind your reaction. This is a chance to try on a different perspective and respond in a different way that can help you move through the situation instead of just being blocked by it.

When the Sun squares the Nodes it is sometimes called "Moon Wobbles," which is a bit of a misnomer. The Moon itself doesn't wobble or even necessarily interact directly with either the Nodes or the Sun. Rather, the Moon part of us (the inner, feeling, intuitive, sensitive part of us) may feel a bit "wobbly" or unsteady when the Sun squares the Nodes. The "Moon Wobble" effects are said to build and dissipate for up to 10 days before and after the Sun-Node square is exact.

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Nov.29 – Venus square Uranus (20:55 of Capricorn/Aries)  (Nov.30 in AU)

Under this transit, you may be tempted by impulse spending, or you might be somewhat erratic in your use of resources. This can result in unpredictable or unstable finances, so double check your bank accounts and credit cards before you draw on them. It is also a time when the way you relate to others (or they to you) could be somewhat inconsistent, fickle or impulsive. If your relationships or financial situation have been struggling with difficulties for a while, this transit could bring a lingering problem to the surface and require attention. On one hand, this could be a welcome breath of fresh air that cuts through the complexity of your problems and puts the cards on the table (despite the stress and conflict that likely triggered it). Or, you might feel resistance to making these changes and instead experience this as a time of unwelcome instability, upset and adjustment. However, this may be a good way to break free of excessive restraint, control or structure, which allows new possibilities to emerge that couldn't do so otherwise.

Nov.30 – Sun square Neptune (09:16 of Sagittarius/Pisces)  (Dec,01 in UK, AU)

Your ideals, hopes and wishful thinking may loom a little too large during this time, making you prone to disappointment and disillusionment. You might want a fantasy or dream to come true so much that you disconnect from the reality that seems to be in the way – only to find that the obstacle was serving a positive purpose after all. Your imagination may be very active now, but not easy to control or balance with reality. However, it can be a very creative time if you're able to harness that imagination for productive use. Unconscious urges and longings may be especially close to the surface, so you have an opportunity to learn more about the hidden forces that drive you (and perhaps distort your view of the world around you). Spiritually, you might discover that your yearning for enlightenment is not the straightforward path you had hoped for, but it can be just as valuable (although disappointing) to discover what is *not* your best path. Emotionally you may feel a bit overwhelmed, discouraged or confused. On the plus side, you have an opportunity to observe a deeper part of you, which is usually camouflaged against the distracting background of day-to-day life. There is tremendous creative, spiritual and healing potential to be found by listening to and working with the inner voices from those depths.

Dec.01 – Chiron Stationary Direct (20:40 of Pisces; until Jul.01.2017)  (Nov.30 in HAST)  ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read more about Retrograde planets.)

For up to a week before and after this date, you may feel a bit like you're caught between worlds�the spiritual versus the physical, the mental versus the emotional, or the outer objective world versus your inner subjective experience. Chiron has been retrograde for the last 4� months, giving us time to assess the places in our lives that need healing and to discover the ways that we might be wounding ourselves or others. This includes physical health issues, emotional vulnerability and mental perspectives that create more problems than they solve. As Chiron turns direct, everything we have learned over the last five months becomes ready to be applied over the coming three months (while Chiron is still in the Shadow). Right now, you might find you reach a decision or turning point about issues you have wrestled with since May concerning goals, career, expectations or authority. If these issues have been stressful, this might come out now in the form of health problems, so it's a good idea to be gentle yet disciplined with yourself in this area. It could be a time of ambiguity, feeling like you're caught in a whirlpool that mixes up possibilities with limitations. Or, you might experience some clarity, as the paradoxical coexistence of realities and potentials on the path before you come into clearer focus. Either way, it is a time that can be magical because of its ability to bridge the gap between what is and what might be.

Dec.01 – Mercury enters the Retrograde Shadow (28:50 of Sagittarius; until Jan.27.2017)  (Dec.02 in UK, AU)   ("What's the Shadow?"  Read my articles about Retrograde Cycles.  Read my article about Mercury Retrograde.)

Mercury is now "in the Shadow" � the area of Zodiac where it will later go retrograde in about 2� weeks time. During its retrograde cycle, Mercury travels through the same span of the Zodiac three times (called the Shadow). The first time through, it is going in direct motion (moving forward), then retrograde (looks like it's going backwards), and then direct again. This means there is a more extensive process of development and change involved with things that Mercury influences�ideas, thoughts, frame of mind and mental focus. It also concerns the collection, exchange, analysis and organisation of information. All forms of communication are also affected. This includes not just talking, but also email and snail mail, the Internet, the media in general, books and magazines, as well as public transit (buses, trains, etc.) and neighbourhoods.

The situations developing over the next couple of weeks (leading up to when Mercury actually goes retrograde) will likely require further research, deeper consideration and adjustments to unexpected discoveries over the next couple of months. Expect changes in your plans, increasingly disrupted communication, and new information coming to light that may not fit conveniently into your plans. It's wise to leave lots of extra time to do things, to plan future projects and get to wherever you're going. Patience is a valuable quality during this time. If you must make important decisions during this time, try to build some flexibility into your plans to allow for later changes�or if possible, you may want to delay final or irrevocable decisions until well after Mercury goes direct.

Here are the key dates of this Mercury cycle (North American Eastern Time):

Dec.01 – Mars trine Jupiter (17:01 of Aquarius/Libra)  (Dec.02 in NST, UK, AU)

Energy, assertiveness, aggression and sexuality are amplified during this time. Physical, mental and emotional energy can run high. Your motivation can take on an air of confidence and purpose. If you normally shrink back from asserting yourself, this can be a time when it's a bit easier to find the courage to take a stand. It can also make you more sensitive to this amplified energy in others around you. If you are distressed by Mars energy in general (afraid of anger, intimidated by aggression, cautious about sexuality, etc.), this transit might bring a bit more of it than you can comfortably handle. However, it can also give you an opportunity to experience and make friends with this energy. If you typically enjoy high energy, this can be a time when you can make progress with plans and projects, and have flirtatious or impish fun along the way.

Dec.02 – Mercury Direct enters Capricorn (until Jan.04.2017)  (Dec.03 in AU)

Cheerful, adaptable Mercury travels through conventional, structured Capricorn, bringing out his analytical, focused side. This is a good time to plan your projects and map out a game plan to reach your goals. It is probably best to choose discipline over distraction. Communication, ideas and awareness may become serious, structured, grounded and manifest now. Just don't let them become suppressed or censored. This is a great time to do some serious planning and organizing for future projects and goals. It is also a good time for analyzing and evaluating what you have been involved with during the past year or so. What have you learned? What information has come to you that has led you into new directions? What goals have you achieved, and what goals do you want to pursue now? What plan of action is required to get you from here to there? It may be a time when you can face some hard reality and tough decisions better than you normally do. Because Mercury in Capricorn tends to be serious and factual, it may also be a time when you are more prone to depression or discouragement. It will help to schedule regular breaks in your routine to get away and plug your head into a different perspective for a while.

Dec.03 – Mars sextile Saturn (18:02 of Aquarius/Sagittarius)

There is an opportunity to harness the energy of willpower using practical discipline. Your physical and mental energy are likely to be stable and enduring, or else they can become this way more easily than usual by applying a sustained focus of effort. This is a great transit if you need to be productive or to make progress in a goal that you are working toward. The thing to watch out for is a tendency to be over-cautious to the point where you get stuck in the planning stage and don't get much done. Or, you might try to rush into the production phase before your plans are fully formed. This transit works best when these areas are brought into balance.

Dec.03 – Venus returns from Out of Bounds (20:31 of Capricorn; next OOB is Dec.21.2017)  (Dec.04 in AU)   ("What does Out of Bounds mean?"   "What is Declination?")

Venus has been Out of Bounds (OOB) since Oct.26 and now returns within the bounds of the Sun, by declination. Venus is a bit harder to integrate into the conventional world while she's OOB � a little wilder and freer, and perhaps looking for a more adventurous connection with others, but also less grounded and realistic. Now that Venus is returning in-bounds now, you may find that these areas are a little easier to work and more likely to gain acceptance and approval from others. However, if you've enjoyed some extra freedom and release during the OOB, this might feel a bit like coming back from a great vacation and now it's time to get back to work. The best thing you can do with your Venus OOB experiences is look for ways to integrate them into your everyday life.

Coming back in bounds can be a bit of a bumpy landing as that unrestricted energy becomes squeezed back into its usual potency. This is a good time to observe your desires and social interaction, as well as changes in Venus themes in society around you. For several days before and after this date, pay attention to the things that amplify or cool down your desires and need for social connection. Realize that this is an adjustment period, and having some patience with yourself and others can help to smooth and soothe this time.

Alternatively, the re-entry can also be an eventful time when changes in Venus-related areas can occur. For example, you might feel this is the right time to start�or end�a relationship or friendship, or make changes to a social situation in your life. A shift in how you experience or handle desire, receptivity, diplomacy or compromise could inspire you to make positive changes in those areas. This might be due to a change in perspective as a result of your experiences while Venus was OOB.

Dec.06 – Mars sextile Uranus (20:46 of Aquarius/Aries)  (Dec.07 in UK, AU)

You have an opportunity to move forward through inspired action. This can bring creative problem solving to any conflicts or challenges that are currently in your life. Now is the time to think outside the box and experiment with trying out new responses, actions and directions. It may be easier to be spontaneous and even to act "out of character." If this is something you easily go overboard with, you might want to find ways to channel this constructively. The idea is to be refreshingly spontaneous, not recklessly impulsive. On the other hand, if you have trouble kicking up your heels and being free and unfettered, this transit can be used to get you moving a bit better. If you don't use this energy constructively or consciously, you might wind up feeling somewhat erratic or restless. Find something exciting, inspiring or unusual to spend your energy on.

Dec.07 – Venus enters Aquarius (until Jan.03.2017)

Relationships, material abundance and values take a step back to gain perspective, detachment and room to breathe in freedom. You may find that you want to use your finances and resources to benefit those who are disadvantaged or to support the greater good of society in some way. It can be a good time to experiment or try new things, to network with groups of people, and to take an objective view about intimacy and interaction. Relationships can take on an idealistic edge, seeking a state of equality and rebelling against imbalances that give one person advantage over the other. Having a strong element of friendship in your intimate relationships may become very important during this time, and friendships themselves could take a central place in your life. Detachment without disconnection is the ideal here. You may not be in a position to foresee future possibilities and translate desires into wishes and new hope.

Dec.08 – Mercury Direct trine North Lunar Node (07:07 of Capricorn/Virgo)  (Dec.07 in HAST)  ("What's a Lunar Node?")

Today, and up to a couple of days before and after, things can feel like they're starting to make sense. What you read, hear and observe may seem more obvious and your ability to put this into words could flow more easily. You might identify and figure out how to utilize the tools, skills, assets and ideas that could bring you further down the road toward whatever destination you're pointed toward. However, a reality check about how wise it might be to act on these ideas and benefits is still a good idea.


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Dec.09 – Sun sextile Jupiter (18:15 of Sagittarius/Libra)  (Dec.10 in AU)

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

Dec.10 – Mercury Direct sextile Neptune (09:21 of Capricorn/Pisces)  (Dec.09 in HAST, AKST)

Your mind is very open to imagination, dreams and compassion under this transit, with a little applied effort and focus. This can be a very creative time, when ideas flow like a magical river. It can also be easy to get caught up in yearning and fantasizing about your hidden wishes, although it is possible to channel this into creative expression. (e.g., writing poetry, dancing, wistful music, singing in the shower, whatever!) The possible disadvantage is that you might want so much to reach a state of inspired intuition, magical outlook and effortless communication, that you are willing to be deceived rather than fall short of what you are hoping for. Listening sympathetically to others' problems may come easily now, and you are more likely to get a compassionate response from others about your own problems. However, it may also be difficult to draw clear and firm boundaries with others, since you are more susceptible to the emotional gravity of others. It is ultimately a time for optimism, hope, creativity and intuition, although it's wise to keep at least one foot on the ground.

Dec.10 – Sun conjunct Saturn (18:51 of Sagittarius)

For a few days before and after this date, you may feel serious, studious, stuck, blocked, committed and/or hard working. It could be a good time to manifest well prepared plans, or you might have to get real and deal with difficult realities in new ways. You may have business with authority figures, or you might be called upon to act in a leadership role. It can also be a time to own your own authority – that is, to BE the authority figure, either to someone else or just to yourself. It might be a time of decision, when you have to choose one path or option over another. This can feel like an ending, as much as it is a new beginning, because selecting one possibility means you must let go of the other possibilities (at least for now). This is a necessary part of the process of manifestation and maturity. Doing closure on the people and situations that are passing out of your life will help to complete the process of growth and learning they have brought into your life, and can help clear the space for something new to begin growing in their place.

Dec.12 – Sun trine Uranus (20:40 of Sagittarius/Aries)  (Dec.11 in HAST, AKST, PST, MST)

You are more open than usual to spontaneity, surprises and "flying by the seat of your pants!" Your sense of humour and fun are let loose during this transit, as is your ability to break out of old outworn habits. You may get a flash of insight, a burst of courage or a surge of inspiration under this transit. The spirit of who you are can become released now, possibly leading to you behaving a bit "out of character." It's a great time to try new things and experiment with something that's out of character for you. In fact, it may be surprising how easy it is to break out of your usual much so, that it's good to be careful not to be too reckless under this transit. If your self-confidence, self-expression or self-esteem have been stifled or dampened lately, these could come flying out rather erratically, carelessly or chaotically. Strive to have fun pushing the envelope without ripping it. ;-)

Dec.12 – Sun square Chiron (20:43 of Capricorn/Pisces)  (Dec.11 in HAST, AKST, PST)

Your self-confidence and patience may be a bit strained right now, stretched by the urge to break free of chronic constraints. Motivation and self-esteem may seem to sag and suffer from old problems that you thought were resolved. This is probably because you are seeing "the flaws in the system" that are preventing you from getting the results you want. It will help to take a fresh approach to your situation. You may need to let go of what you think the results "should be" or how they should come to you. Be open to getting what you want in a different form than you were expecting. You may have to work extra hard for results now, especially if it means having to find a different route to success. If it seems like a door of opportunity has closed, look for an unexpected advantage or hidden alternative. This could allow you to tap into other opportunities that wouldn't have been possible otherwise.

Next Update:  FULL MOON in GEMINI. Available by December 13, 2016.

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