The Low-Down on the Far-Out

New Moon in Scorpio, Nov-Dec 2017

Chart for the New Moon in Scorpio
Chart for the New Moon in Scorpio

A word into the silence thrown always finds its echo somewhere where silence opens hidden lexicons.
~ Dejan Stojanovic

Nov.18 – NEW MOON in SCORPIO (26:19 of Scorpio)

As lovable and cuddly as scorpions are, the sign of Scorpio curiously has the worst reputation in the zodiac. It tends to be associated with energy, experiences and events that are heavy, sinister and even evil.

People with strong Scorpio energy are said to be mysterious, secretive, intense, inscrutable and deep. And a lot of that is true! But that's just the quick-and-dirty view of this complex sign.

When you live in Scorpio energy 24/7 you are always partly submerged in the Underworld—the realm that exists far below what is visible on the surface of things.

And there's A LOT down there!

Not only can it be difficult to find the words to describe your experience in that world, others may not welcome hearing about it. Better to pick and choose who to share it with and keep it to yourself in the meantime.

And of course, we all have Scorpio energy in our make-up. We all have Scorpio somewhere in our charts, we all have Pluto and Mars somewhere in our charts, and we all have an 8th house in our charts. True, some of us are more Scorpionic than others, but none of us gets to point a virtuous finger at someone else and whisper contemptuously, "There's that scary Scorpio person!"

You know that overused cliché, right? The one that says when you point a finger, there are three more pointing back at you? Well, there you go then. ;-)

I always say that the best kept secret in the zodiac is that, despite Scorpio's seemingly tough, chilled exterior, they are more sensitive and vulnerable inside than they care to admit—much less show—to the outside world.

So yes, strongly Scorpionic people don't always let on what they know. It's a learned survival skill. They play their cards close to the vest and reveal them only on a need-to-know basis. Controlled? You bet! Self-protection is important to this emotional Water sign. Of course they need to safeguard that tender underbelly by turning a hardened shell to the world—who wouldn't?

There’s often a reason why people and dogs bite. It’s about self-protection. If we respect what we may not know about the suffering of others and look at them compassionately, we open the door that can lead to understanding.
~ Jennifer Skiff, The Divinity of Dogs: True Stories of Miracles Inspired by Man's Best Friend

Survival instincts can lead us to do some strange things sometimes. The will to live is not always within our conscious awareness, and its reaction to potential danger tends to be reflexive—unconscious, primal, automatic and lightning fast.

The complexity of the human psyche contains layers of thought, feelings, motivation and needs. As a result, we might unexpectedly react to an interaction, event, observation or assumption as if our lives depended on it—because to that part of us, it probably does!

It doesn't have to be literally a life-or-death situation, though. The self-protection instinct can come out when our mortality is on the line (or seems to be), or sometimes just when our comfort and safety are at risk.

These are the situations when we appear to overreact to something, leading others to criticize us, argue back, or even question our sanity! And that's the time when we need to take a step back and check inside of us to see what's really going on under our surface.

That doesn't mean there isn't anything really going on "out there" in the world! But situations where we might overreact do suggest that deeper buttons in us are being pushed, sending us into a tailspin of self-protection.

Even if we are projecting our own stuff, there is often something "out there" that's providing a screen to project it onto. The important thing to remember is that we may be participating unconsciously in the situation.

This is NOT about "blaming the victim." And it's NOT about letting anyone off the hook for behaving badly.

It IS about acknowledging that reality and truth are multi-dimensional and multi-faceted. It's about realizing that there are many layers to what is happening and what drives people to do what they do. And that we all play a part in the drama that unfolds, in one way or another.

This isn't about assigning blame—or tribute—to a single person or circumstance or influence. In all the complexity of life, there's always a mixture of elements involved, including the events themselves, how each of us responds to them and how much impact each part of the whole has.

This isn't about seeing things as a yes-or-no light switch, but as a pixelated image made up of many different levels of colour, light, contrast and context.

The Scorpio Underworld is where we are invited to open our eyes to these hidden complexities that often don't show themselves on the surface.

Oh, 'twould be marvelous if the world and its moral questions were like some game board,
with plain black players and white, and fixed rules,
and nary a shade of grey.
~ Glen Cook, Shadows Linger

Lately, the solar system seems to be having a party in Scorpio!

Jupiter recently went into Scorpio (Oct.10), where it will remain for about a year. Venus is also in Scorpio, and still in Jupiter's conjunction embrace as they dance a sensuous Tango. And of course, the Sun and Moon are conjunct in Scorpio (a.k.a. the New Moon). This Stellium of Scorpio planets is just one factor that increases the depth to which the chart is rooted in the Underworld—the realm of what is obscured and hidden from the obvious surface of events.

Then there's Mars and Pluto, the traditional and modern planetary rulers of Scorpio. Their status in the chart tell more of the Scorpio story, but right now they are at odds with each other, being in an extremely tight square aspect (90°). The intensity and friction generated by this tension heats up the chart. At worst, this pressure could trigger rage, fear, paranoia, impatience, agitation or, at the extreme, even violence.

On the plus side, there is also tremendous power and energy produced by the Mars-Pluto combination. This could be used to supercharge your motivation to get past resistance or procrastination; for example, by getting so mad at yourself or a bad situation that you ride your impulsive anger into positive action. You could find courage under this square aspect that you didn't know you had, giving you the confidence to do something you've been avoiding.

That said, this energy is a bit radioactive and needs to be used with care. Letting your bravado impulse take over without having your hands firmly on the reins could result in reckless destruction as easily as a breakthrough of confidence. Like nuclear energy, Scorpio and Mars-Pluto must be handled with care to avoid unnecessary damage, but used mindfully and with integrity can fuel profound healing, transformation and evolution.

Suffice to say that this Scorpio New Moon cycle (for the next 4 weeks) is likely to be a bit hot to handle in the usual way, so get your lead-lined oven mitts on and prepare something nutritious to cook over its flame.

The idea of authority, which they represented,
was associated in our minds with a greater insight
and a more humane wisdom.
~ Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front

Saturn is still tightly trine Uranus (120°, exact Nov.11), a transit that has been with us since the end of 2016. This energy represents the opportunity to make radical changes to the status quo. The bricks and mortar of Saturn's structure have been greatly loosened and shaken up by Uranus, and the result has been a heightened ability to make changes to situations that normally seem pretty inflexible or impenetrable.

Sun-Moon inconjunct aspects to Saturn and Uranus

The New Moon (Sun-Moon conjunction) makes some awkward, irritating inconjunct aspects to Saturn and Uranus – semi-sextile to Saturn (30°) and quincunx to Uranus (150°). The potent Scorpio energy, ultimately seeking transformation, seems unsure how to work with the Saturn-Uranus process.

Should we simply clear out the loosened mortar and dust from the structures? Is that enough to stimulate effective change? Should we take this opportunity to completely rearrange and redesign the structure? Is this the right time for that? Should we say to hell with it and just tear it all down and figure it out later? How could the resulting chaos be contained constructively?

Adding to the intrigue, Saturn is also bearing down on the Galactic Centre (27:05 of Sagittarius), less than a degree away from the final conjunction (Nov.24) before he lands in Capricorn (Dec.19). Saturn has been here before, conjoining the GC on Mar.07 and May.05 of this year, as he was turning retrograde on Apr.06. I feel the GC tends to take whatever touches it and pump up the implications, context and scale of things to do with that planet, so that any actions, choices and conclusions that happen take on a much larger-than-life perspective.

In the case of Saturn, it's not just about how we embody, view or react to authority (our own or others'), it's about what that really means for the growth and development of ourselves and the world around us. It's not just about who or what we are responsible for in our lives, but why that matters and how we demonstrate this in our lives. It's not just a question of being disciplined and adhering to a plan, but how that plan impacts the rest of our lives and the lives of others we're connected to.

With Saturn in a friendly trine aspect to disruptive Uranus right now, this may indicate a need to be flexible and open-minded in the changes we are making regarding Saturn areas of life. Or, we might discover that we should try to be more restrained or grounded in the freedoms we allow ourselves.

On the other hand, with the Scorpio New Moon forming itchy aspects to both Saturn and Uranus, it may not be easy to find satisfying solutions to the Saturn-GC-Uranus challenges. Answers lead to more questions, and decisions lead to further complication. It's best to tip-toe through this crunchy terrain mindfully and carefully.

The disowned part of self is an energy - an emotion or desire or need, that has been shamed every time it emerged. These energy patterns are repressed but not destroyed. They are alive in our unconscious.
~ John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You

There's a lot of struggle in general in this New Moon chart. Mercury, Venus and Mars are all in Detriment (the sign opposing a sign that it rules), and the Moon is in Fall (opposite the sign where it is exalted). That means you might feel a bit like Sisyphus struggling to roll any one of these celestial boulders uphill.

Mercury, Venus and Mars in Detriment

Mercury in Sagittarius tries valiantly to embrace the Big Picture, but can feel like you're looking at the sky through a straw. It takes time and persistence to gather enough information to piece the whole puzzle together, and unfortunately patience and steady focus aren't foremost in Sagittarius' strengths. But your awareness and curiosity can be set on fire and dazzled by possibilities under this combination.

Mercury is now in the shadow and will turn retrograde on Dec.03 in the very last degree of Sagittarius. This is significant, as Saturn approaches the end of that sign before it crosses into Capricorn on Dec.19. Mercury also makes 3 passes over both Saturn and the Galactic Centre in this retrograde cycle, and in fact makes his retrograde station (Dec.03) tightly conjunct Saturn (1:16 orb).

This is layer upon layer of Saturn-Sagittarius-GC energy coming at us in more ways than one! Mercury's message seems to be, "Wake up!! Be inspired! Look at the vast possibilities! But remember that it's only imaginary fiction until you do what needs to be done to make it happen in the physical world. And there will be ripple effects in the world, whether you do or don't."

Venus in Scorpio can feel a bit too intense for Venus, who tends to prefer things a bit lighter and easy-breezy. Scorpio is a bit down-and-dirty and gritty for delicate Venus. Her sensual Taurus side plays well in Scorpio's bedroom, but Scorpio tends to take itself a bit too seriously and forcefully for Venus' liking. This stuff gets a bit exhausting. However, Scorpio beckons lovely Venus to explore her depths more than she normally does. Relationships can take on a more intimate aura, which doesn't necessarily have to be sexual but simply an intimate meeting of the minds or emotional connection.

Mars in Libra gets frustrated because he must be diplomatic and calm when he'd rather just bash the other guy over the head and be done with it. But no, he's expected to be nice, and fair, and sensitive toward others. Pfft! However, Mars can also find a juicy opportunity to strategize and negotiate such that his Scorpio talent for schemes and cunning can really come in handy. Imagine the penetrating perception of Scorpio and the instinctive clarity of Aries looking out from behind a Libra smile!

It is perhaps when our lives are at their most problematic
that we are likely to be most receptive to beautiful things.
~ Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness

Venus and Mars are also in mutual reception. They're each in the sign that the other rules: Venus is in Mars-ruled Scorpio, and Mars is in Venus-ruled Libra. They can be allies for each other, sharing tips and tricks about how best to wield the sign it's in.

On the other hand, they might also have a mutual dislike for or distrust that's a projection of their own discomfort in their respective signs. Mars might be more prone to this, since he's already fending off Pluto in a heated square-aspect battle, and being in Libra might feel like he's fighting with one hand tied behind his back. Mars is more likely to emerge victorious if he finds a way to fight smarter rather than harder.

An example of this might be where you feel a bit desperate to pump up your motivation, passion and courage to take a step forward that feels overwhelming, scary or daunting. You might wish you could just let loose, hold your nose and jump into where you want to go (Mars wanting to be his glorious impulsive self), except for that bottomless pit on the other side of the cliff edge (oh ya, that – the annoying Pluto energy that insists you engage your challenge at a deeper level).

It will probably help to do something physical to help yourself get balanced and grounded (Tai Chi perhaps). And it may also help to think about ways to outsmart your "enemy" (who or whatever that is) in a way that doesn't drop bombs on your moral high ground. Even more valuable is finding ways to get around your own resistance, fear, hesitation or cynicism that may get in your way as much as anything or anyone outside of yourself.

Think about what really holds you back. Some of that might be legitimate (it's usually not advisable to go running over a cliff edge), and some might be ghosts from the past pulling you back (which, again, might be wisdom from experience whispering in your ear, or it could just be self-defeating reluctance).

Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense.
But the real universe is always one step beyond logic.
~ Frank Herbert, Dune

In Scorpio we have access to the layers of insight, meaning, motivation and intention that lurk behind what we show to the outside world and even hide beneath our conscious awareness. Scorpio offers us x-ray vision to see past the outer mask of others as well. That said, it's not always clear whether we're seeing something in the other person, or if we're seeing them through the lens of our own hopes, fears, assumptions and expectations.

When you run into problems with someone, do you ever wonder "how much of it is them and how much of it is me?"


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An old friend shared the answer with me: 100%. You bring 100% of you to the conflict, and they bring 100% of themselves..

You can't resolve the issue by only owning 25% of your own stuff, while expecting the other guy to take responsibility for the other 75% on top of their 100%. It just won't work that way, or at least not for long and not without a hidden extra cost. Shouldering more than one's part of a conflict ultimately shares the denial about the real heart of the problem. And that's not healthy for any of those involved.

You can't resolve the issue by only owning 25% of your own stuff, while expecting the other guy to take responsibility for the other 75% on top of their 100%. It just won't work that way, or at least not for long and not without a hidden extra cost. Shouldering more than one's part of a conflict ultimately shares the denial about the real heart of the problem. And that's not healthy for any of those involved.

The thing is, there's always a reason why we do things. It seems to make sense at the time—even things we know are wrong. That doesn't mean something wrong becomes right simply because we have our reasons for doing it. It does mean that beyond taking responsibility for our actions and choices, there is more to the whole story that needs to be acknowledged and understood if the problem is to be truly solved.

Accountability and reconciliation are essential for healing to take place, but it's just as important to grow in our understanding of what happened in its depth and breadth. By working that Jupiter in Scorpio energy, we can deepen our insight about how bad things happen, how to prevent them in the future, and how to heal from them.

The name of the game right now is Transformation. Evolution with an attitude. In particular, this growth process asks us to scratch through the surface and search for deeper answers and awareness. For best results, it's important to be willing to examine all sides and all levels of the situation.

Ultimately, there are many factors and explanations that can help us understand why people do the things they do. If we only look at what's obvious, we miss half of the picture. In between the vivid brush strokes are subtle textures, colours and forms that can significantly change what that picture is really showing us.

So, dust off your x-ray glasses and let yourself be open to hidden information that you might not have noticed or considered before. What is this new information telling you? Try not to judge, at least until you have acknowledged a lot more of the situation than you realized was there.

Jupiter in Scorpio gives us a year to work with this. The New Moon in Scorpio gives us a starting point to bring our deeper understanding into a clearer focus. It's like coming into a dark room – it takes time for your eyes to adjust until you see what's there. More will be revealed if you summon your Scorpio concentration and wait patiently for the subtler shapes to show themselves.

And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.
~ Roald Dahl

Nov.19 – Mercury Direct trine North Lunar Node (19:37 of Sagittarius/Leo)  ("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. Write down good ideas to follow up with later.

Nov.19 – Mars square Pluto (17:30 of Libra/Capricorn)

This can be a volatile combination of energies, which can generate enormous stress and conflict, but can also motivate you go beyond your perceived limitations. The biggest dangers with this transit include obsessive control, violence in response to frustration, and natural reactions of anger being blown out of proportion into rage. However, if you are able to harness this energy and put it to productive use, it can fuel your ambitions and drive you to push past the barriers that are in your way (including your own discouragement or lethargy). There can be a fine line, though, between empowering yourself with determination and courage versus forcing the issue in a way that creates more problems than it solves. And there is a difference between being obsessively attached to the outcome versus discovering that you have more courage, strength and tenacity than you thought you did, when your back is against the wall. Sexual tension can be strong under this transit, so it is wise to use some good judgment about whether or how to act on that. Power struggles with others can become very intense, so strive to be clear in yourself about what you really want and how you can assert your interests without inflicting the emotional equivalent of nuclear war.

Nov.20 – Mars sextile North Lunar Node (18:19 of Libra/Leo)  (Nov.21 in AU)  ("What's a Lunar Node?")

Including a day or two before and after today, this may be a time when opportunities come your way. Taking action could have results or implications that reach farther than you expect. You might feel more energetic, motivated or passionate than usual, and therefore find it easier to get moving on projects and plans. By the same token, if you move your body and take steps toward what you want, the incentive and energy could come to you to keep going with it; in other words, getting your physical energy moving could "prime the pump" mentally and emotionally. Remember that this could be any kind of energy—not just positive strides, but also anger, hostility, vindictiveness and rejection. Use this opportunity wisely.

Nov.21 – Venus sextile Pluto (17:33 of Scorpio/Capricorn)

Close one-on-one relationships with people (close friends, lovers, partners of all kinds) could possibly benefit by being taken to a deeper level now, through creatively combining balanced harmony with deep connection. Just be careful that intimacy and bonding don't go over the top into obsession or domination. There is a brief opportunity now to become more authentic in how you relate to those close to you and how you establish a balance of power with them. The trick is to do this without trying to suppress, control or overpower the other person's interests. Financially, it is a time when you may have an opportunity to profit in your dealings with banks, insurance companies, taxes, and other institutions that deal with collective money.

Nov.21 – Venus square North Lunar Node (18:09 of Scorpio/Leo)  (Nov.22 in AU)  ("What's a Lunar Node?")

Perhaps you're finding that the people in your life are not being as supportive, encouraging or cooperative as you thought they would be, in terms of helping you fulfil your life purpose. Someone might suddenly withdraw their support, or maybe they contradict or interfere with what you're trying to do with your life. Perhaps an argument or disagreement happens and the upset, stress or hard feelings that result seem to cast a shadow on how you feel about your life. If this happens, it's possible that what you disagree about is something you should look at more closely. Are you responding to this situation in a way that truly reflects your values? Or perhaps your values need to be reconsidered. The agreement or balance of priorities between you might need to be renegotiated. This transit might also manifest as problems around finances or possessions, which requires some adjustment on your part. Since this transit usually lasts only a few days, in most cases its effects will not be major. If it does bring up some significant issues, it is probably hinting at a deeper issue, and you would be wise to look at the problem beyond the current circumstances. Other transits (especially to your natal chart) can give you more information about the nature of the situation.

Nov.21 – Sun enters Sagittarius (until Dec.21)

Happy Solar Return to all Sagittarians! While the Sun is in Sagittarius, we all get to explore our horizons, seek our highest truth, discover our spirituality and gain fresh wisdom. Sagittarius energy encourages us to reach beyond our grasp, to exceed our limitations, and to rise above our primal impulses. Whether we are encountering other cultures, countries and languages, or expanding our horizons through new knowledge or spiritual awareness, this is a time to be uplifted and inspired. We are challenged to explore meaning in our lives and to connect with whatever we regard as sacred and sublime. In Sagittarius we also gather new knowledge and understanding, making sense of the patterns and themes within the raw information around us. It is not enough to simply have facts and data. Sagittarius presents us with the opportunity to reach for the highest truth we know, and then to exercise that truth in moral and ethical ways. The trap we must be careful to avoid is that it's easy to assume that our truth is truth for everyone else too, which is not necessarily the case. Our well-meaning wish for others to experience the inspiration and passion that we feel can seem to turn us into self-righteousness know-it-alls. It's tempting to believe that we are privy to knowledge that others are denied. There can be a fine line between sharing passionate knowledge versus shoving opinions down someone's throat. Everyone has their unique perspective on life, and therefore their own sense of meaning and truth that works for them. And yet, debating and challenging each other's knowledge, beliefs and values are also an important part of the Sagittarius passion for exploration. As the Sun journeys through Sagittarius, expand your awareness of how these issues play out in your life.

Nov.22 – Neptune Stationary Direct (11:27 of Pisces; until Jun.18.2018)  (Nov.23 in AU)  ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read more about Retrograde planets.)

Neptune now turns direct after being retrograde for about 5 months. For up to a week before and after this date, you might feel a bit dreamy, disconnected, depressed, sluggish or scatter-brained. The Neptune energy takes you into a non-rational, intuitive place and can stir up feelings and issues from the unconscious. Vivid dreams could give you insight into situations you have been wrestling with, and your intuitive sensitivity might seem to come out of nowhere. Or you might experience the opposite—your dreams elude you and you feel cut off from your usual intuitive sense. What is happening is that your "right-brain" (intuitive, creative, non-rational, faith-oriented) is passing the torch to your "left-brain" (rational, logical, linear, practical), and you can get caught in the whirlpool of transition. Try not to control the process, but allow it to carry you and point you in a different direction. The learning you have gathered over the last five months or so—related to spirituality, longing, inspiration, creativity, imagination, fantasy, divination and intuition—can now start to be applied more directly in your life over the next few months. It may be possible to channel your experience into a creative form—possibly artistic, but definitely creating something new out of what has been, which can ultimately be healing and uplifting.

Nov.23 – Mercury-Sun Greatest Elongation as Evening Star (23:50 of Sagittarius)   ("What's the Shadow?"  Read my articles about Retrograde Cycles.  Read my article about Mercury Retrograde.)

Mercury reaches its greatest elongation from the Sun roughly today, meaning it is as far away from the Sun as the Evening Star (visible in the Western Sky just after sunset). This occurs a few days after Mercury enters the Retrograde Shadow. It tends to bring clarity – thoughts, awareness and decisions may come into sharper focus. It can be a good time to consider your path ahead, as well as to reconsider what you want to carry with you from past. A word of caution, though – thoughts that are clear aren't necessarily the best ones to act on. If you're in an emotional or volatile frame of mind, there's a risk of letting those feelings overwhelm or dilute your mental clarity. It's better to keep mind and feelings in a balanced awareness, with a little more emphasis on objectivity and thinking twice before you act.

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

Nov.24 – Mercury square Chiron (24:22 of Sagittarius/Pisces)  (Nov.25 in AU)

Your mental focus and perceptions may feel a bit strained right now. You could find yourself locked in a struggle of indecision that stems from a "glass half empty" versus "glass half full" dilemma. It may be difficult to stay objective and evenly balanced in your perspective, but by working with this you could also find a new mental focus that gives you increased clarity. It might be tempting to sink into cynicism as a way to deal with what seems like a no-win situation. On the other hand, this transit could bring your mental perspective to a kind of "healing crisis" that forces you to get a better grip on the ideas, communication and frame of mind that have been problematic for you. Instead of reaching for extremes (hoping this will clarify the path in front of you), it will help more if you can take a few steps back to allow all the conflicting and out-of-sync elements to coexist together – creative paradox. If you have been in denial about something, this could be a turning point that allows you to grapple with the complex reality of your situation.


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Nov.24 – Saturn conjunct Galactic Centre (27:05 of Sagittarius)  (Nov.25 in UK, AU)

Saturn conjoins the Galactic Centre, the centre point of our Milky Way Galaxy. This is a rare transit, only happening about every 29 years when Saturn is in Sagittarius. The Galactic Centre moves slowly in the extreme through the zodiac, and it has been in Sagittarius since the year 69 and will remain there until it moves into Capricorn in 2225. So, within our lifetimes and far beyond, Saturn will always be in Sagittarius when it conjoins the Galactic Centre. Saturn is conjunct the Galactic Centre (from recent history and while still in Sagittarius) in the following years: 1811, 1840, 1870, 1899, 1929, 1958, 1988, 2017, 2047, 2076, 2105, 2135, 2165, 2194 and 2223.

Not a lot has been written or researched about the Galactic Centre (GC) and how to interpret it astrologically. I tend to think of it as a cosmic magnifying glass that takes whatever touches it and transports it into a larger-than-life context. The implications and impact of things to do with that planet or point are likely to have farther reaching consequences than usual. You may be affected by things connected to that planet much more deeply, or be challenged to work with its energy in a more complex, mindful way. Or, you may mostly sense a greater, more meaningful potential in the themes of that planet but not quite know how to pursue them.

Globally, this has been a rough year in many ways. Controversy involving authority, as well as conflict over who is considered responsible for transgressions and solutions, have dominated the political landscape. On an individual level you may have been confronted by questions of whether you are exercising your own authority effectively (over your own life, out in the world, or when dealing with others' use of authority). You may have been challenged to assess whether you are making the best choices to achieve your goals, and whether those goals are in your best interest.

As Saturn makes the last conjunction with the GC, you may feel ready to make a final decision about important decisions you've been wrestling with this year. You might conclude that it's time to let go of some things you have carried in your life and been responsible for. Or, you may decide it's time to make a more solid commitment in some area.

In any case, you are challenged to do this with the greatest amount of personal integrity you can draw on—not just in terms of morality or ethics, but in terms of being true to your higher values and self-honesty.

Nov.25 – Mercury trine Uranus (25:09 of Sagittarius/Aries)

Unusual ideas, flashes of insight and seeing unexpected possibilities are all part of this transit. You may find it easier to be open-minded right now, especially about insights that have eluded you. Your ability to see beyond your usual horizon of perception can bring visionary brainwaves, as well as a fun sense of humour. You might be inspired to experiment with something new or do something out of character. You might have an impulse to break free of old habits or constraints. This can be a very liberating transit that opens your mind to new possibilities and ideas. However, be careful that you don't become so liberated and spontaneous that you become erratic, hyper or reckless. Words may come tumbling out of your mouth before you've had a chance to consider their wisdom, or you might find yourself talking non-stop and interrupting, creating a bit of awkwardness in those around you. On the other hand, you might also find the clarity and vision that gives you the words to speak your truth with new conviction. It's a great time to do some writing or other form of self-expression, especially if it's spontaneous or involving technology.

Nov.26 – Venus trine Chiron (24:21 of Scorpio/Pisces)  (Nov.27 in AU)

Healing and rebalancing are possible now, especially in the areas of relationships, finance, resources and values. Any problems that have persisted in these areas lately could benefit from an influx of helpful and healing resources now. Relationships and interactions of all kinds can benefit now, since it can be easier to see the beauty and value in others whom you might usually dislike or feel ill at ease with (or they with you). Negotiations and strategic efforts to resolve conflicts may go smoothly now, especially when you balance the results in everyone's interests. You may also be able to attract what you need to heal your wounds (physical, psychological, spiritual, etc.). Like it says in the "Serenity Prayer," you may now find it a bit easier to accept that which you cannot change, while finding you make progress with the things you can.

Nov.28 – Mercury conjunct Saturn (27:27 of Sagittarius)  (Nov.27 in HAST, AKST, PST, MST)

It's time to take a serious look at the circumstances and situations in your life. This transit may not exactly be "party time" but it's a great transit to have when you need to take a dispassionate, objective, clear view of life. You may be called upon to make a decision about something. For example, you might need to commit yourself to a particular plan of action, or start developing plans toward a particular goal. In either case, it may be necessary to limit or let go of other options. You might come to the conclusion that something has run its course and it's time to leave it behind – like an opinion or project or mindset. It's a time when your perception, thoughts and words may not be exciting, imaginative or entertaining, but you're probably more able to be clear, grounded decisive and hard working.

Dec.01 – Venus enters Sagittarius (until Dec.25)  (Nov.30 in HAST)

Venus focuses her passion on truth-seeking, philosophical exploration, a lust for knowledge, spiritual intimacy, music in foreign languages and multicultural social discourse. It is a time to explore the meaning that your close relationships bring to your life, and the value that you bring to the Significant Others in your life. It is also a time when you might seek to increase your income (or your spending – careful!) and expand your potential for material wealth and self-worth. You will likely find that negotiations, interactions and transactions work best when you apply spiritual values to them and keep the big picture in mind. You may also find yourself involved with people and transactions that involve other countries, cultures, languages and travel. There could be a teaching-learning element in your dealings with people, so aim for the highest good of all concerned.

Dec.01 – Mars opposite Uranus (25:00 of Libra/Aries)

Your energy is likely to be rather unpredictable, fluctuating or just plain "wonky" under this transit. Your moods could swing back and forth in reaction to outside circumstances that trigger your feelings buried under the surface. In particular, anger, confidence and impulsive desires could suddenly appear and disappear for no apparent reason. If you feel your freedom is being taken away or if you think your individuality is becoming lost in the Collective shuffle, you might feel the urge to abruptly push against whoever seems to be blocking you. This can come across as arbitrary rebellion, and it may not be easy for you or others to understand where this is coming from inside you. It might be a good idea to take some time out to focus inward and find out what's really going on under the surface, especially if these reactions are starting to spiral out of control. On the other hand, this doesn't have to be a "negative" energy. You might also feel more spontaneous than usual and be willing to try new things more easily than you usually do. It can be a time to discover new courage to venture beyond your comfort zone of what's familiar. Flash arguments could clear the air, leaving the way clear to make a fresh start. Essentially, this transit tends to be a bit of a roller coaster ride, which can have you howling in protest or shrieking with excitement...or both!

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Dec.02 – Jupiter trine Neptune (11:29 of Scorpio/Pisces)  (Dec.03 in UK, AU)

This long-term process brings the opportunity to integrate healing, beauty, imagination, spirituality and uplifting optimism. You may also see yourself become so caught up in hope, optimism and euphoria that it's easy to get a bit too carried away, leaving realism behind. Although falling into fantasy and wishful thinking can make you more susceptible to illusion and deception, it can also bring healing inspiration and dedication when you need it most. This can be a time when you bring into clearer focus a new sense of faith (in terms of religious beliefs, or just faith in life and in yourself). You may now be able to see beyond your usual horizons to the distant possibilities open to you, if you can keep that new faith in focus. This inspiration may not last in its current form, but can be used to clarify and enhance the goals you have been pursuing for many years, as well as formulate some new ones.

Dec.03 – Mercury Stationary Retrograde (29:18 of Sagittarius; until Dec.22)  (Dec.02 in HAST, AKST, PST)  ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read more about Mercury Retrograde.  Read more about Retrograde planets.)

Yes, it's that time again! Mercury goes retrograde for the next 3+ weeks. For up to a week before and after today, Mercury is moving very slowly or stopped (hence "stationary" or "making a 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 a good time 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 and learn to roll with the weirdness. It's common to have to reschedule appointments or redo things because the instructions or information got messed up the first time. Do some things that use your intuitive, creative, non-rational mind for a while until Mercury goes direct again.

If you absolutely must do something important during this time that can't be postponed, don't be surprised if you wind up having to redo things. It can help to be especially vigilant about triple-checking what you do, but some of these mishaps can't always be predicted or prevented, so don't be hard on yourself (nor on others).

Remember: Mercury loves to play practical jokes. This is his playtime. ;-) It helps to learn to laugh with him.

Mercury is retrograde in Sagittarius, which can challenge the mind more than it can comfortably handle. The conscious mind usually likes to sift through ideas at its own pace and piece these ideas together as they come up. Sagittarius tends to present the whole picture all at once, which can be overwhelming. You might find you are challenged to reach beyond your grasp intellectually, which could leave you feeling like you're juggling too many balls at once. Or, you might be so hungry for more and more information that you don't know how to stop and put it all together. Unconscious or hidden judgments and biases that you carry around might lurk just below the surface now, making them more visible than you would like them to be. On the other hand, this can be a good time to explore the ways that you tend to blame others (or yourself) for problems or imperfections. It is also a time when you can peek through the veil and see beyond your usual range of vision. As such, this transit can give you access to a more spiritual frame of mind that helps you deepen your understanding, expand your compassion and stretch your usual horizons.

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

Dec.03 – Sun square Neptune (11:29 of Sagittarius/Pisces)

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.

Next Update:  FULL MOON in GEMINI. Available by December 3, 2017.

© 2017 Wendy Guy. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or used without the author's written permission. Astrology diagrams © Wendy Guy unless otherwise noted. Most or all of the quotes on this page were found at Other Credits:  Zodiac sign Scorpio, by George Di Carlo, mural close-up, located in the Globe Building, Montreal, Canada (photo source). Photo of Military Band by Klementiev via CanStockPhoto.

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