Weekly Forecast January 6: Mars Square Jupiter, Sun Sextile Saturn

Snowstorm in southern Minnesota in March 1881.

Snowstorm in southern Minnesota in March 1881.

The challenges and tension of the past couple of weeks continue into this week, with the possibility of intensifying. But there is also some good news, especially in the second half of the week.

The cardinal grand cross that dominated the astrological charts on New Year’s Day remains close all the way into the weekend. Planets don’t “cause” events on earth, but earthly events do correlate to planetary movements. We can observe this happening around us every day. Throughout last week, drivers on the road were speeding and rude. You could almost see the waves of stress and anger in the air. A friend who normally is unflappable had personnel problems at work, exacerbated when a colleague called him a name with an expletive in front of the rest of the team. I experienced similar situations, nearly all to do with inappropriate or aggressive behavior.

Anger and aggression are, of course, the domain of Mars, who is heavily involved in the cardinal configurations in the sky. The warrior planet is in peace-loving Libra, which really pisses him off. There doesn’t seem to be anyone to complain to or to help find resolution. Adding insult to injury, he’s going to be stuck is this mode until the freakin’ end of July. There’s not much of an outlet other than passive-aggressive behaviors such as speeding around and cutting off another driver or talking negatively about people behind their backs. I’m sure you can add dozens of examples. It’s not all that productive, but Mars doesn’t care. He just needs to vent, or the pent-up frustration will cause him to explode – all the more likely given his opposition to Uranus in Mars-ruled Aries.

The moral of that story is that we can act out our frustrations with others in a passive-aggressive manner, or we can stop ourselves and seek out creative solutions. There may not be many options, and they likely will be hard to find. You may have to accept a compromise, a hallmark of Libra. As an intellectual air sign, Libra also represents a cool and rational approach – not exactly the way Mars would handle a conflict if he had a choice, so you might have to work to find a healthy balance between aggressive action and rational response.

Difficult aspects involving Uranus also can correlate to violent, unpredictable, or unusual weather. That certainly is happening in the United States. Much of the nation is being affected by a so-called “polar vortex,” with a forecast of temperatures 30 to 50 degrees below normal. Jupiter, who also is moving closer into the planetary configuration, signifies expansion and enlargement, so it’s no surprise that whatever happens will be big or exceptional in some way. Mars forms an exact square with Jupiter on Wednesday, but Mars transits typically are felt a week on either side. In other words, we’re already feeling it.

That’s it for the bad news this week. The good news is that there are several positive aspects, including a helpful sextile between Saturn in Scorpio and the Mercury, Venus, and the Sun in Capricorn. At the very least, we should have an easier time finding ways to cope with challenges. At best, there are possibilities for elegant solutions to problems we’ve been grappling with for the past three years. The configuration starts out right away on Monday with Mercury and Saturn in aspect and continues all the way through the weekend with the Sun sextiling Saturn on Saturday (Saturn’s Day).

Saturn in Scorpio ruthlessly throws away what no longer serves you. Sometimes we feel stuck in situations over which we have no control, and that certainly is true for many of us now, especially regarding employment and finances. In some cases, enduring hardship may be a necessity, and fortunately Saturn and Capricorn represent exactly those qualities. Capricorn is ambitious and steadily works toward meeting goals. There’s no instant gratification here. But in trudging along, we sometimes forget to keep looking beyond the familiar for resources we may not have known existed. For example, I recently read that millions of Americans who qualify for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (commonly called food stamps)never apply. One explanation is the stigma of being on public assistance. In such a case, resourceful thinking might be changing one’s attitude to understand that Congress enacted this program precisely to provide a safety net during hard economic times.

On Saturday, the Sun conjoins retrograde Venus, and both form a sextile with Saturn. Relationships and finances can be improved, with renewed commitment and taking responsibility, a sign of maturity. If you haven’t been getting what you want and need for longer than you can remember, it’s time to speak up. In some cases, that might mean coming to a conclusion that something has to end. That will be easier to cope with if you have positive self-esteem. Under Saturday’s Sun-Venus transit, we can more easily explore issues of self-esteem and be more objective. Have you been allowing others to take advantage of you because you don’t think you deserve more? On the flip side, there does seem to be a thing as “too much” self-esteem. You know the type. They think they’re so wonderful that they should be first in line and get the best of everything. However, I suspect that underlying this sort of narcissism is a deeply insecure person who needs their self-esteem artificially propped up by others. For those who might need some help improving their self image, this is a good time to seek counseling. Scorpio is the sign of deep psychology, and under Saturn in Scorpio, we can do the hard work to dig in places we’d often rather not go.

There’s also an astronomical and mythological facet to the Sun-Venus conjunction. If you’re in a location without too much light pollution, you may have noticed Venus shining brilliantly after sunset. As she approaches conjunction with the Sun, she disappears. When she reemerges later this month, she’ll be visible in the morning before sunrise. This change always occurs during her retrograde cycle. In ancient Sumer, Venus was associated with the goddess Inanna. One of the oldest stories written down by humans is about Inanna’s descent into the underworld. There’s a theory that this myth is linked to the disappearance of Venus from the night sky and her reemergence as the morning star.

Later on Saturday, Mercury enters Aquarius, one of his favorite signs. Mercury in Capricorn takes a conservative approach and likes the tried-and-true. Mercury in Aquarius thinks out of the box (and hates clichés). Creative solutions are even more accessible. Keep your notebook handy for flashes of sudden insight and inspiration.

One other thing to keep in mind is that Pluto remains in a sextile with Chiron in Pisces, so there is an ongoing “outlet” for the energy of the Uranus-Pluto square, cardinal T-square, and grand cross. As I wrote my previous forecast:

Chiron represents healing, and Pisces concerns the collective unconscious. Whether it’s apparent or not, healing is taking place, individually and collectively. In Greek mythology, Chiron was a wise centaur who overcame his traumatic upbringing and became teacher of gods and heroes. Everyone has a core wound, a separation of self from self that needs to be reconnected and made whole. Breaking down the barriers to healing can be painful, and sometimes we are scared to go there at all. … The greatest potential for deep healing can be found by looking at where Chiron is transiting your chart.

Overall, this is a good week for healing issues related to self-esteem, values, and financial well-being. Identifying the source of a problem is the first step toward finding solutions.

Wishing you all much love and courage,
Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

© Pat Paquette, RealAstrologers.com, 2013.

New Moon in Capricorn, January 1, 2014

Odysseus in front of Scylla and Charybdis, by Henry Fuseli, c. 1795

Odysseus in front of Scylla and Charybdis, by Henry Fuseli, c. 1795

Over the past few days, I’ve read several comments online to the effect of, “Good riddance, 2013.”

Not so fast.

An intense planetary configuration on New Year’s Day with after-effects lingering into July might make you long for the old year. Then again, challenging aspects such as these can come with changes that are long overdue.

The image that immediately comes to mind is the passage in The Odyssey in which Odysseus must sail through the dangerous strait between Scylla, the six-headed monster, and Charybdis, the deadly whirlpool. The phrase “caught between a rock and hard place” has its roots in this story. Odysseus, as you may recall from Mythology 101, fought in the Continue reading

Merry Christmas

Christmas lights in Leavenworth, Washington. © Pat Paquette, 2013.

Christmas lights in Leavenworth, Washington. © Pat Paquette, 2013.

Merry Christmas!

As you know from my forecast on Sunday, Mars opposes Uranus today (Wednesday). The Moon, representing home and family, amplifies the noise when she opposes Uranus and conjoins Mars later in the day. It’s a jungle out there, let me tell you. Since last Friday, I’ve been hearing about general craziness, and while some of it is typical last-minute running around before Christmas Day, we’ve got a difficult planetary alignment that will continue into the new year. Some of you will have more challenges than others, but we’ll all feel it one way or another, if only through those around us who are having a rough go of it.

It’s too bad that Christmas causes so much anxiety for so many people. Try to be extra patient, help out where you can, and resist being judgmental. One never knows what another might be struggling with inside, even though they may not show it on the outside. Yesterday I had a line of traffic behind me while trying to make a left turn into the supermarket, and I was stuck because a handicapped senior was hobbling across the entrance to the parking lot. After he safely crossed, oncoming traffic was so backed up I still couldn’t turn, until one driver stopped and waved for me to pass in front of him. It was a nice reminder that people can be kind, even when everyone is stressed out and in a hurry. Small gestures can and do make a difference.

Wishing you all a happy holiday,
Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

© Pat Paquette, RealAstrologers.com, 2013.

Weekly Forecast December 23: Mars Opposite Uranus, Sun Square Uranus

Leavenworth in December. © Pat Paquette, 2013.

Leavenworth in December. © Pat Paquette, 2013.

One thing many of us wish for at this time of year is peace on earth.

Jesus was heralded as a prince of peace, and his birth (which most likely did not occur in December) inspired hope for humanity. The wise men – who were, of course, astrologers – followed a star or maybe the stars to find the humble shelter where he was delivered.

Had he lived another thousand years or so, maybe Jesus could have brought peace to a warring planet. Instead, his message got twisted and perverted over the centuries, to the point that eventually his name was invoked as a cause for war and killing “infidels” for the glory of God. It’s sad that many of our fellow humans haven’t evolved beyond 11th century thinking and that “Peace on Earth” has devolved to a tired phrase in greeting cards and seasonal advertisements.

As an astrologer, I find extra meaning in the Hermetic maxim, As above, so below. I’m sorry to have to report that this week’s “above” is anything but peaceful. As I write, we’re heading straight into a period of breaking down and enforced change. Some of us may have to let go of situations and relationships that no longer are in our best interest. In world affairs, diplomacy is possible, but it will not come easily.

The dominant signature behind the turmoil is a cardinal T-square involving Mars, Uranus, and Pluto. As you know if you’ve been reading my blog, Uranus and Pluto have been in a square – a 90-degree angle signifying crises and conflict. We first began seeing correlating events on earth in late 2010, even though there wasn’t an exact square until 2012. There will be seven exact contacts in all, the final one occurring in March 2015. After that, we’ll experience a few years of ripple effect, like sailing in the wake of an aircraft carrier. This week, Mars opposes Uranus, transforming the square into a T-square. At the same time, the Sun and Mercury square Uranus as they approach conjunction with Pluto on New Year’s Day. That’s an intense lineup.

Mercury enters Capricorn on Tuesday. Obligations and commitments become more important, and with Jupiter in family oriented Cancer, get-togethers with relatives may be overwhelming. Then, some people love big family reunions. If that’s you, go for it! Capricorn also is a career-oriented sign, and Mercury rules business negotiations. Many business offices are closed the week between Christmas and New Year’s, so we may not experience this influence until after January 1.

The Mars-Uranus opposition is exact on Christmas Day. This pair literally can be explosive – all the more so with Uranus just a week out of retrograde. Challenging Mars-Uranus aspects often correspond to explosions or violent weather, whereas difficult aspects between Mars and Pluto can manifest as power struggles, including military conflict. The saving grace is that Mars is in Libra, the sign of diplomacy, so peace might have a chance. But it could just as likely be shattered by more-powerful forces hell-bent on war and destruction. For those who have never known anything but war and hatred, peace and love are threatening.

Mercury and the Sun conjoin on Sunday, and both square Uranus within 24 hours. The entire following week will be dominated entirely by the T-square, which is intensely activated at the New Moon on New Year’s Day. The downside of this configuration is abrupt endings, breakdowns, and losses. On the positive side, we’ll experience abrupt endings, breakdowns, and losses. I hate the overused phrase, “All endings contain a new beginning,” because it glosses over the seriousness of loss. If important endings do occur in your life, honor your grief. That said, there may be situations or circumstances in your life that desperately need changing, and for one reason or another, you haven’t been able to make it happen. Change could come quickly and unexpectedly under this Mars-driven cardinal T-square. It may be too abrupt. It may be disruptive. But sometimes you need to be pushed off the train speeding in the wrong direction, because you’re too scared to jump.

In world affairs, we’re getting more and more revelations about the extent of spying by the National Security Agency. Back in June, when Edward Snowden first made sensational news headlines for blowing the whistle on his former employer, there was a brief T-square with Mercury in Cancer squaring Uranus and opposing Pluto. This is exactly the kind of thing we’d expect from Mercury in aspect with Pluto or Neptune, which are associated with spying, secrecy, and deceit. In the coming week, we might expect more secrecy to “break down” as attempts are made to correct the injustice and abuse of power.

There are a couple of positive aspects this week that should be fairly easy to negotiate. The Sun and Mercury both sextile Neptune in Pisces – the Sun on Tuesday and Mercury on Thursday. Despite the chaos, we’ll have a wonderful opportunity to have meaningful discussions for most of the week. This is a perfect setup for those who prefer to spend evenings at parties having a deep conversation in the corner with one or two people. You won’t even need to be in an altered state to have a magical exchange. Mercury-Neptune aspects also can manifest as vivid dreams. Keep your dream journal handy.

Since I’ve been writing about the astrological significance of comet ISON, I thought it worth mentioning that there was a new blog post last week by Karl Battams, an astrophysicist and designated expert on ISON. Although it’s clear ISON is dead, astronomers continue to track the remnants in hopes of learning more about the outer edges of our solar system. Battams estimates that ISON was about 4.5 billion years old at its death.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas with much love, joy, and PEACE,
Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

© Pat Paquette, RealAstrologers.com, 2013.

Sagittarius Rising: The Sagittarius Soul

Deepest apologies for not posting this earlier. With everything going on, it slipped through the cracks. Yet, there is some synchronicity in the delay. Ruth discusses how one finds deeper satisfaction in life – a timely message as we make a last-minute mad dash to pile presents under the tree. Even though Christmas falls within the period of Capricorn, the true meaning of the holiday is contained in this beautiful thought piece on truth-seeking Sagittarius. ~pq


The Hindu goddess Saraswati as Sagittarius. © Karen MacKenzie, 2013. Details below.

The Hindu goddess Saraswati as Sagittarius. © Karen MacKenzie, 2013. Details below.

As we continue our journey looking at the fear-based reactions and love-based expressions of the twelve zodiac signs, we arrive at Sagittarius, the sign of the seeker.

Sagittarius is associated with seeking, searching, teaching, learning, travel, philosophy, wisdom, religion, idealism, optimism, purpose, freedom, goals and truth. These all seem like worthy higher pursuits, yet when viewed through the lens of the fear-based ego can become badly distorted. Higher truth, freedom and spiritual goals can become fear-based dogma, opinions, freedom for selfish pursuits, and ego-driven materialistic goals. The lessons that begin in one sign are carried forward by the next, so like his predecessor Scorpio, Sagittarius is also learning the balance of power.

In Esoteric Astrology, we are told that the fire signs bring three gifts. In Aries we have the gift of existence; in Leo we have the gift of opportunity through individuality; and in Sagittarius we have the gift of power – but this is a higher power of which we speak, not power over others, which would be the egoic idea of power, but rather the power of self-mastery. The self-realization attained in Leo that became self-reliance in Scorpio is now set, in Sagittarius, to become self-mastery.

[quote cite="~ Alan Leo"]We may define Esoteric Astrology as that side of the subject which views all stellar phenomena from the standpoint of unity; whilst Exoteric Astrology begins its study from the side of diversity and separateness. The Esoteric Astrologer looks upon the whole expression of life as proceeding from one central and primal source, and therefore seeks to understand the subject from the point of view of the One flowing forth into the many.[/quote]

Fear comes from the illusion of separation. Understanding this is key to understanding the higher wisdom of Sagittarius, because the highest wisdom comes from oneness. From unity consciousness. The awareness that all really is one. As long as our Sagittarian friend is caught in illusion and duality, his power will be directed toward self-advancement. There is a key distinction for Sagittarius to understand: whether the freedom he seeks is truly freedom from the illusion of ego, or whether he is simply seeking freedom for his ego!

The freedom to be oneself is one of the highest values in our Western culture, yet for the most part what we really mean is the freedom to do as we please. Yet doing as we please can keep us firmly stuck in our own conditioned behaviors and fear-based ego responses. When we really get everything we desire, we can become truly miserable and realize that none of it had the power to bring us deeper satisfaction and fulfillment. That can only come from within.

[quote cite="~ George Bernard Shaw"]There are two great disappointments in life. Not getting what you want and getting it.[/quote]

Driven by innate curiosity and a thirst for knowledge about life, the universe, and everything, our Sagittarian friend is on a lifelong quest for truth. Yet Sagittarius is not called the sign of the philosopher for nothing. Philosophy is all about taking ideas and applying them to life in meaningful ways – in other words taking an idea and turning it into a rule or guide by which we “should” live. On the surface this might seem like a good thing. Having idealistic standards to strive for and moral codes to live by can only improve our lives, right? Yet that has been the story of human history from the onset. Each generation seeks to impose its set of rules, codes and standards on the society for the purpose of “improving” it. Mental concepts taken to extremes become dogma, and there is a fine line between philosophy and dogma.

[quote cite="~ Osho"]A man’s true life is the way in which he puts off the lie imposed by others on him. Stripped, naked, natural, he is what he is. This is a matter of being, and not of becoming.[/quote]

When our Sagittarian friend becomes fearful, he clings to his mental concepts, has difficulty distinguishing personal opinion from truth, and may cling to dogma from a false sense of security. The highest wisdom that Sagittarius truly seeks is beyond words, language, and mental concepts. The universe has the power to create mountains, move oceans, grow rainforests, and fill them with a myriad of living beings, while simultaneously keeping the solar system orbiting around the Sun and maintaining the delicate inner workings of a human body, from digesting your food to making sure the oxygen levels in your cells are in perfect balance – all in silence and all without a single philosophy, moral code, or standard about how things ought to be done. Do you ever wonder how it coped before humans arrived on the scene to think about the “best way” to do life? Amazing!

The real power of Sagittarius comes when he realizes self-mastery, which begins with mastering his own thoughts and actions. When the Archer turns his arrow inward, he focuses on the correct goal, the journey to seek his true nature. Our true nature as human beings lies well beyond our capacity for thought and is discovered through direct perception. It is the difference between experiencing ice cream and thinking about ice cream!

[quote cite="~ Ramana Maharshi"]There are no levels of Reality; only levels of experience for the individual.[/quote]

Through deeper meditative or spiritual practices Sagittarius begins to realize his deep connection with life itself. Feeling the pulse of life force energy surging through his veins, and when his busy mind becomes quiet, our Sagittarius friend wakes up to the realization that he is one with the very life force that is moving planets and creating universes. Through direct perception, he realizes that these universal forces are running through him and that he and the universe are one and the same. Through his own expanded perception and awareness, he arrives at the ultimate goal.

[quote cite="~ Chögyal Namkhai Norbu"]Realization is not knowledge about the universe, but the living experience of the nature of the universe.[/quote]

The Tibetan Buddhist tradition speaks of “clear-light” wisdom, a higher wisdom beyond conceptual thinking that we can access when we have become stable enough in meditation to experience the true nature of mind, which is said to be clear light. Through meditative practices, the everyday mind is transcended, and the true nature of our clear light mind can be accessed. It is said that all wisdom can be known at this point, but it is not what we would normally think of as knowledge. It is not information. It doesn’t come in the form of words or thinking. It is through direct perception and resting in clear awareness that such wisdom is known.

Once there has even been a glimpse of recognition of the clear-light wisdom that lies beyond the chatter of our everyday mind, we have identified the true goal. This is the highest wisdom and deeper spiritual truth that our Sagittarian friends really seek. Through deeper contemplative practices, it is possible to abide continuously in this awareness, and by doing so, ever-deeper insights into the true nature of the universe will arise. We may realize that our awareness and the awareness of the universe are one and the same, and that the nature of the universe is awareness itself. In Tibetan Buddhism, this is said to be the ultimate wisdom.

[quote cite="~ Osho"]Once your awareness becomes a flame, it burns up the whole slavery that the mind has created.[/quote]

If you have Sagittarius Rising, you may consider yourself to be a Sagittarian Soul, and your soul’s purpose is to uplift humanity through the revelation of truth and wisdom. To attain this highest of goals, you first need to transcend your own fear-based reactions, which may cause you to cling to opinions and manmade dogma as though they were spiritual truth. When you are free of such manmade concepts and self-imposed dogma, you are truly liberated. This is achieved by going deeper within on your own journey of self-exploration, where you realize your true power, recognize your true nature as oneness with all that is, and have access to the ultimate wisdom of the universe!



Ruth Hadikin, Soul Astrologer

Ruth Hadikin – Soul Astrologer

To get your personal Soul Sign/Life Purpose Report (FREE with a consultation), contact Ruth via her website. You can also request a FREE mp3 download, “The Energetics of Soul Astrology.”

KarenMacK smKaren MacKenzie is working on a series of astrology inspired paintings using goddesses from different cultures. For more information about the symbolism in this print and to view other works in her ongoing series, check out her website, Karen MacKenzie Art.

Weekly Forecast December 16: Full Moon in Gemini, Sun Enters Capricorn

© Dzain for Dreamstime.com

© Dzain for Dreamstime.com

The week before the Christmas holiday is typically fairly quiet, but with this week’s dynamic astrological aspects, we’re going to see more than a few springs start to pop.

Most of the action takes place on Tuesday, when Uranus in impulsive Aries comes out of retrograde a few hours after the Full Moon in hyperactive Gemini. Uranus has been moving away from the heavily charged square with Pluto, but as of Tuesday, he’ll begin moving back toward Mr. Intensity until they form the next exact square on April 21.

Uranus and Pluto both like to break their toys – Uranus by throwing them at the wall or, better still, blowing them up; and Pluto by pulling off the moving parts slowly over time and stepping on them, dropping them off the roof, setting them on fire, crushing them in the trash compactor, flushing them down the toilet, etc. It can take a while, but making others suffer is part of the fun. When you put this pair together, you get double the destruction in half the time. Uranus waking up could reduce the time to seconds.

Possible events related to this shift include explosions, violent wind storms (not that we haven’t had plenty of those already), and other weather-related developments – all of which may increase as Mars approaches opposition to Uranus on Christmas Day. The week between Christmas and New Year’s could be difficult in many ways (more about that next week).

At the very least, it’s fair to say that we can expect to see some surprises or sudden changes, or both. This applies to individuals as well as the collective. You likely know by now where the Uranus-Pluto square has been transiting your chart, and you probably have some idea of how it’s manifesting in your life. The absolutely maddening thing about Uranus is that it’s useless to speculate about what kind of surprise you might get, because whatever it might be isn’t yet in your sphere of awareness.

In the meantime, all I can say is to cherish the ones you love, connect with your people, and resist the urge to spend. Rather than going overboard with holiday buying, be as conservative as possible. Hold something back for a rainy (or snowy) day. I do a lot of baking at the holidays, and I can tell you that a plate of homemade cookies is more appreciated than anything I could buy. I’ve been amazed by the reactions, but I finally got it last week after seeing a television commercial with a woman decorating “homemade” Christmas cookies that she baked with a packaged mix. Now that I don’t get.

Full Moon in Gemini

Click on image to enlarge

In the chart for the Full Moon in Gemini, you can see the T-square with Mars, Uranus, and Pluto just beginning to form. Those of us who are sensitive may start feeling jumpy again and probably exhausted, too. We had a break for a few weeks, and now we’re heading back into the turbulence. The good news is that if you’ve stuck, the extra jolt may push you out of a rut.

With Mars in Libra, relationships are especially subject to some shifting – all the more so with Venus about to turn retrograde. In romantic partnerships and close friendships, we often don’t talk about what bothers us, thinking that it doesn’t matter or that we should be able to “get over it” and move on. Love isn’t supposed to be petty, jealous, selfish, unkind, and all that. Very few of us, though, can truly let go of these things. Eventually, resentment builds up and can turn to anger, and we can explode at the smallest trigger. By then, it’s difficult to talk it out, because there are so many buried feelings that it’s virtually impossible to go back to the source of the problem.

Venus retrograde, Mars in Libra, and Mars retrograde in Libra in March, April, and May could help us get to the root. I just need to warn you that the process is work, it demands a lot of you, and it’s exhausting. But if you value your relationship, it’s worth the effort. You might get clues this week or maybe just a vague feeling or the seed of a new approach, and then events will unfold between now and next summer.

Diplomatic ties also are relationships, and all of what I wrote above applies to countries, too. The budding relationship between the United States and Iran will continue to unfold under these planetary influences, and relations with other countries in the Middle East also will require adjusting.

Saturday is Solstice Day, which many people celebrate as an alternative to the Christian holiday. For astrologers, it’s an important day in the year, when the Sun crosses one of the four cardinal points that mark the beginning of each new season (actually, I consider them to be the middle or height of the season, but that’s a story for another time). Here in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s the longest night of the year, which of course means that the light steadily begins to return at this time.

In the Capricorn ingress chart for the United States (set for 12:11:10 p.m. in Washington, D.C.; chart not shown), the Sun is close to the Midheaven, in a close square with the Ascendant at 2 degrees Aries. Chart ruler Mars is in Libra in the seventh house, which strongly suggests that foreign relations will be a dominant concern throughout the winter. Current relations, especially those on shaky ground, might break down altogether when Mars turns retrograde, but there will be a chance to rebuild them into connections that are more sustainable, just, and equal. Meanwhile, at home, there will be growing unrest. If and when it erupts, it will be promptly put down by the Powers That Be, not unlike what just happened in Kiev. It’s also possible that there will be nationwide mourning of some kind, possibly for a beloved leader.

A few hours after the Sun enters Capricorn, Venus turns retrograde in the sign of the Seagoat. Financial concerns come into play now in a big way. Now that Congress has reached a budget deal, issues that stalled due to partisan infighting can get a second chance. One of the items on the president’s agenda is appropriating funds to repair the nation’s crumbling infrastructure – a fitting agenda item for Capricorn. Back in 2008, when Pluto entered Capricorn, I wrote about this national priority.

As I mentioned above, many relationships also will go through some scrutiny while Venus is retrograde. Capricorn is a sign of duty and responsibility, so committed partnerships are likeliest to need an investment of time and effort. And while Venus retrograde periods are absolutely not recommended for weddings, it is a good time to explore whether you’re ready to make a commitment and to face your fears.

I’ll have more on Venus and Mars in future forecasts. I want to spend to the rest of this one discussing comet ISON.

ISON has been pronounced dead. Nothing is left from its encounter with the sun but a cloud of dust. It’s all but certain that this visitor came but once, only to die on its journey. In searching for what its “message” might be, we can look at major contacts it made before breaking up.

First, it made a tight conjunction with Mars and Regulus in mid-October. As I wrote back then, astrologers have observed Regulus since ancient times to predict the future of the monarch. Regulus means “prince” or “little king” in Latin. This bright star, which is one of the four Royal Stars of Persia (also called the Four Guardians of Heaven), also is called Qalb al-Asad in Arabic or Cor Leonis in Latin, meaning “heart of the lion,” referring to its position in the constellation Leo. “Courage” and “encouragement” are from the same Latin root. We all can be more courageous by living from the heart, the true seat of the mind. Still, I believe this conjunction refers to a prominent political or military leader – Mars being the planet of war.

ISON also conjoined Mercury and Saturn, although not as tightly as his contact with Mars and Regulus. Planet Mercury is named for the mythological messenger of the gods and in astrology rules communications. Saturn, meanwhile, is the Lord of Time. Before Pluto was discovered in 1930, astrologers considered Saturn as the planet of death. So there is something symbolic in ISON’s conjunction with Saturn just four days before its fateful encounter with the sun. Saturn also is the Lord of Karma and karmic lessons.

The thing is, ISON wasn’t visible with the naked eye, so if there was a message, it likely wasn’t for the general population. That might discount obvious messages such as, “Wake up people, before you destroy the environment and blow up the planet.” A possible message might have to do with equality and justice, but I think it’s even deeper than that.

The third and last contact ISON made before fragmenting was with the stars in the head of Scorpio, not far from where Scorpio and Ophiuchus meet. Master astrologer Melanie Reinhart wrote an intriguing analysis for The Mountain Astrologer‘s blog, with stunning graphics (thanks to Osk for sending the link). She wrote the piece before ISON broke up, though, so her interpretation needs some updating. What’s left of the comet is following its predicted path, but there must be some additional symbolism in its passage through Ophiuchus and Serpens Cauda – the head of the snake being held by the snake handler/healer – as a ghost.

One last thought concerns the concept of cazimi in horary astrology. I don’t know if it applies here, but it’s interesting to contemplate the theory. Horary astrology is the art of prediction by casting a chart for the moment a question is asked or problem clarified. The rules for cazimi vary slightly, but the basic idea is that a planet is cazimi when it is in exact or very close conjunction with the Sun.

In an article in the current issue of The Mountain Astrologer, horary doyenne Deborah Houlding discusses the concept of cazimi and notes that while some astrologers in past centuries considered a planet to be strong in cazimi, others noted that it is similar to the human body undergoing detox – much weakened, but in a state that will lead to better health. At perihelion, ISON was conjunct the Sun and therefore could be said to be cazimi. Yet it emerged not in better health, but dead.

My initial thoughts are that it may take death to heal some of the deepest wounds, especially those with which we came into this incarnation. Death, after all, is just a passage from one state to another. All of the healing work we’re doing now, individually and in groups, may not have its greatest effect in this lifetime but in future incarnations. I, for one, would be elated if I came in next time around without all the accumulated karmic baggage I brought with me on this trip.

Wishing you all much love and courage,
Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

© Pat Paquette, RealAstrologers.com, 2013.

Weekly Forecast December 9: Mercury Trine Uranus, Jupiter Trine Saturn

December sunset over Vashon. © Pat Paquette, 2013.

December sunset over Vashon. © Pat Paquette, 2013.

This week’s aspects are largely positive – emphasis on large, seeing as how Jupiter is involved.

The main event is Thursday’s favorable trine between Jupiter and Saturn. Jupiter is about growth, expansion, and exuberance, while Saturn is about limitation and structure. Usually, we think of “limitation” as a bad thing, but without limits, we’d have chaos. Structure itself is a limit. Think of the foundation and frame of a new home. It says, “This home is this size, in this place, built to withstand the worst weather in this region.” There may be some room for interpretation in the blueprint, but you’ve got a set plan. Once you decide on this design, all others are ruled out.

The characteristics of Jupiter and Saturn obviously are at odds, and with difficult aspects between these two heavyweights, conflicts can erupt between forces for broader inclusion and systems designed to maintain the established order. However, when they are working in harmony, great things are possible. Left to his own devices, Jupiter can go way overboard and attempt to do too much, too fast, ending in a crash-and-burn. With the discipline and patience of Saturn, ambitious goals are more likely to end in success.

If you’ll recall, Jupiter and Saturn were in a rare and powerful grand water trine in July. Back then, Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune were all in the early degrees of the three waters signs. Neptune remains in early Pisces, but Jupiter and Saturn have advanced to the mid-degrees of Cancer and Scorpio, and will form two more trines, one this week and another toward the end of May 2014. This positive connection is something we can hang onto against the backdrop of the ongoing Uranus-Pluto square – and it is still very much active, as we can see in the uprising in Kiev.

Even though Neptune is no longer part of the grand trine, the Moon in Pisces fills in for Neptune in a grand water trine on Monday. The Moon moves through signs quickly, so this “lucky” configuration won’t last long. Still, there’s something nicely symbolic about the Moon in the sign ruled by Neptune (according to modern Western astrology). It’s as though Neptune will be there in spirit. Look for developments related to events in July, both collectively and in your personal lives. If you began a project or relationship back then and have experienced setbacks, just a little effort this week can move you forward – and you do have to make at least some effort.

I posted a note on Facebook yesterday saying I’d be late with this week’s forecast (I was struggling with the onset of a migraine) but that the week would be another positive one in general. Three readers left comments saying their weeks hadn’t been positive. I have to tell you that the previous week for me was not kind, either. So this is a good time to remind everyone that positive aspects such as the Jupiter-Saturn trine are no guarantee that you’ll have a great week, especially if you’re experiencing a challenging transit to your natal chart. My forecasts are in broad, general terms, and a quick look at the headlines confirms that the past few weeks have been relatively calm. The biggest news was the loss of a giant among men who passed peacefully at age 95, with tributes to remind us of what it means to sacrifice for truth and justice. The second biggest story, at least in the United States, was a gigantic snowstorm at a time of year when it does tend to snow. Of course, the folks who skidded off the road or froze to death likely didn’t have a “relatively calm” week.

Speaking of accidents (and I’ve written this before), it’s hard to predict accidents with astrology. We can see the tendency or indications of an accident-prone period, but that doesn’t guarantee an unfortunate outcome. Further, admonishing someone to “watch out for accidents” isn’t necessarily helpful. A few years back, I had a client who fell on a loose stair step and shattered her hip. There was no way she could have seen that coming, even with a word of caution to “be careful.” At times like this, being an astrologer can be very frustrating.

Back to this week, Mercury trines Uranus and squares Chiron on Tuesday. The trine with Uranus is signature for fast thinking and impulsive ideas. This is the light bulb flashing over your head, the eureka effect (just don’t slip getting out of the bathtub). Thoughts are so fleeting that you may forget them, so keep a notebook handy and write them down. Don’t assume you’ll remember them later.

The Mercury-Chiron square also has a positive side, in that human suffering comes into greater focus. With Chiron in Pisces, we can have compassion for those less fortunate, but we won’t necessarily do anything about it. Sometimes we just don’t know what to do. I genuinely hope that we’ll see at least one headline this week concerning solutions to poverty, unemployment, and help for victims of wars and natural disasters.

I usually don’t write about quincunxes, but I do want to mention the Mars-Neptune quincunx on Friday. Mars is in Libra, the sign of his detriment. Mars operates best when he can be direct and get straight to the point, and Libra is too considerate of others to do so. Not that Libras don’t get what they want by other means, and that’s the risk here. Neptune can be fuzzy and confused, if not downright deceptive. The question is often asked in relationship counseling whether it’s OK to lie to a partner and under what circumstances. My general take is that if you’re lying to spare your partner’s feelings – and you need to be ruthlessly honest with yourself about your motivation – then it’s appropriate. If you’re lying to spare your own feelings or because you don’t want to get caught doing something you shouldn’t have been doing – especially if you agreed not to do so – then it’s time to put on your big-boy/big-girl pants and ‘fess up.

I’ve written that I’d have something to say about comet ISON, but I’m continuing to hold off, because observers still aren’t sure what happened to it. They’re waiting until what’s left of it gets farther away from the sun to determine whether it’s dead or mostly dead. After an initial announcement that it was dead, they said they’d called it too soon and that it appeared that something survived and was growing. That would have been symbolic indeed. Sadly, it now appears that there’s nothing left but a cloud of dust.

ISON watchers have compared the comet to the mythological Icarus, who flew too close to the sun and then fell into the sea and drowned. It’s a tempting comparison, but in the myth, Icarus was foolish and disregarded warnings. If you believe that comets are messengers from the far reaches of our solar system, then you have to believe that they are somehow conscious (or “whoever” sent them is conscious) of the danger awaiting them at perihelion. If ISON truly is dead-dead, then this had to be something of a suicide mission, important enough to sacrifice itself for. More as the story develops…

Wishing you all much love and courage,
Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

© Pat Paquette, RealAstrologers.com, 2013.

Weekly Forecast December 2: New Moon in Sagittarius, Mars Enters Libra

© Dmitry Kosterev for Dreamstime.com

© Dmitry Kosterev for Dreamstime.com

The last couple of weeks have been fairly quiet – at least, compared to the tumultuous summer and early fall. The activity picks up this week, but the mood should be positive and upbeat.

The biggest disappointment last week was the mob out shopping on Thanksgiving evening – no big surprise, given the over-the-top indulgence of Thursday’s Venus-Jupiter opposition. I was hoping, as were several of my friends, that there would be a huge public backlash against retailers that moved Black Friday sales back a day. Alas, compulsive shopping won out, with unruly crowds, fights, and damaged merchandise. What’s next? Three-day sales starting on Wednesday? Marathon shopping week with a quick break for a McTurkey meal and deep-fried pumpkin pie in a cardboard tube?

Speaking of pie, my gluten-free, nondairy pumpkin pie turned out quite good, although it took a few failed experiments to get the ingredients right. A couple of dinner guests said they liked the crust better than regular pie dough. No one even noticed the milk substitute. Several of you have written to me suggesting that a gluten-free diet might improve my health. The New Moon is always a good time to start new ventures, so perhaps it’s time to make that switch.

The chart for Monday’s New Moon in Sagittarius is friendly overall. The Venus-Jupiter opposition remains active, but it’s waning and relatively benign. The Uranus-Pluto square is still lurking in the undercurrent, but the tension has a release valve via a trine flowing between Uranus near 9 degrees Aries and the New Moon just shy of 11 degrees Sagittarius. The Archer aims for the truth, and sometimes that means thinking beyond our belief system. Some people aren’t even aware of what they believe, because it’s so ingrained in us from an early age. Aries is the pioneer who fearlessly ventures into new territory. By questioning our beliefs, widening our perspective, and being willing to try something new, we can find creative, innovative ways to tackle problems that have defied solutions. Remedies could be surprising, and they could come totally out of left field.

Jupiter, the ruler of this New Moon, is retrograde, but he’s in Cancer, the sign of his exaltation. Moreover, Jupiter and the Moon are in mutual reception, so they work together and strengthen each other. This is a perfect time to examine how culture and national identity form our belief system. For example, many Americans believe that the United States is the most democratic country in the world and that anyone who questions our system of government is unpatriotic. I know that readers of RealAstrologers are beyond that simplistic worldview, but you get my drift.

Cancer also is associated with family, which plays a powerful role in establishing our beliefs. You probably don’t need to think too hard to come up with beliefs your family programmed into you that you later discovered weren’t entirely true. For a clue about what beliefs you might be ready to examine, look at where Jupiter is transiting your natal chart, by house and also in aspect to natal planets. For example, if Jupiter is transiting your fifth house, you might want to examine your beliefs about the proper way to raise children. With Jupiter in your second or eighth houses, beliefs about money could be an area to focus on.

Saturn and Jupiter also are in a trine (exact on December 12) – yet another aspect reinforcing productivity and practicality. Jupiter’s exuberance and tendency to do overdo everything is already somewhat tempered by his retrograde motion. With Saturn and Jupiter in a friendly trine, optimism remains, but with realistic expectations and the ability to do what it takes to meet commitments and obligations. Big ideas with a realistic strategy and discipline are much more likely to succeed.

New Moon in Sagittarius

Click on image to enlarge

Mercury and Mars are both about to change signs, but in the New Moon chart, they form a sextile in Scorpio and Virgo (exact on Tuesday). This practical, productive pair reinforces problem-solving abilities by combining deep insight with no-nonsense action. I’ve often said that we can’t find lasting solutions to any problem unless we identify the source. This can be difficult, especially for those who prefer not to go beyond surface appearances. Sometimes, avoidance is out of fear that the remedy may be too difficult or uncomfortable. Mars in Virgo won’t waste time sugar-coating whatever Mercury in Scorpio dredges up and doesn’t much care whether the medicine tastes bad.

On Wednesday, Mercury enters Sagittarius, the sign of his detriment. I’ve never quite understood why Mercury isn’t happy in truth-seeking Sagittarius. It would seem like a good match. However, Mercury’s home sign of Gemini (opposite Sagittarius) is associated with minute details and knowing a little about many subjects, whereas Sagittarius is the big-picture sign, concerned with broader patterns and inherent meaning. Put another way, the truth is more than a collection of details and facts. With Mercury in Sagittarius, there’s also an element of blurting out the truth without thinking about how it might affect others. When a woman asks her husband, “Honey, do I look fat in these jeans?” … well, you know.

Mercury squares Neptune on Friday. Neptune recently turned direct and is still moving slowly (from our perspective). Take care in making agreements, as there is some risk of a lack of clarity or even intentional misleading. We may experience something like a mini Mercury retrograde, with misunderstandings, lost e-mails, and so forth. I also need to mention the usual caution about using alcohol or mind-altering drugs, as you might experience something other than your normal reaction. Mercury-Neptune contacts are good for dreams, even if they aren’t entirely comfortable. I’m a big fan of dream work, and when I have dreams that are disturbing in some way, I make special note, because there often is a “message” that’s trying to get through. Think of it as a note from yourself to yourself.

On Saturday, Mars enters Libra, the sign of his detriment. On one hand, this is a signature for the warrior for justice, especially for women and girls. On the other, negotiations could go nowhere, despite a lot of back-and-forth. Mars knows what he wants, and “compromise” is not in his vocabulary. Perhaps he can be forced to do so, but he’ll seethe quietly until he’s in a better position to get his way. In deliberative bodies such as the U.S. Congress, agreements may be more elusive than ever, and this could be the state of affairs for many months. Mars is going to be in Libra until – are you ready for this? – late July, due to his retrograde cycle.

In personal relationships, you’ll need to be mindful of who wants what. Sometimes we go along with the other person even though it’s not what we want, whether to avoid a flap or because we want to “be big about it.” However, if this happens too often, resentment can build up, and eventually it comes out in one form or another. Some people just get fed up and walk away. In relationships that really matter to you, have a talk this week and explain the potential minefield ahead. Perhaps you can make a pact to be direct and honest, even in matters that don’t seem like a big deal at the time, and agree that you won’t accuse each other of being petty or trivial when such things come up. If you’ve got a demanding partner who always insists on getting his or her way, it’s possible that you could right the balance in the next six months.

That said, be prepared for some conflict – and remember, conflict is not always bad. Just the other day, I was talking to a woman who lamented that she’d had a fight with her boyfriend over the weekend. Eventually, she added that they aired several grievances, and the relationship was strong than ever. I thought it was interesting that, when asked whether she’d had a good weekend, she focused on the fight and added the strengthening of her partnership almost as an afterthought. I concede that it does take a lot of courage to bring up contentious subjects, especially if you think it will damage the relationship. If you value the relationship, being direct and honest is the highest form of respect, both for yourself and for your partner. I know you know this, but practicing it is another matter entirely. Heavy discussions are just plain hard, and we’re heading into the party season, when we’d rather eat, drink, and be merry. Goddess knows we’ve earned it.

Before I go, I’d just like to mention Comet ISON again. It looked for a while there like it didn’t survive its close encounter with the sun, but something did survive. As I type, the latest word from astronomers is that they’re waiting until ISON gets far enough away from the sun to determine what’s left of it. I’ve been asked whether I attach any astrological significance to this event. There is definitely something symbolic about it. I have a few ideas forming but will wait until we get a better idea of its condition.

Wishing you all much love and courage,
Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

© Pat Paquette, RealAstrologers.com, 2013.

Weekly Forecast November 25: Mercury Conjunct Saturn, Sun Trine Uranus

Late fall sun. © Pat Paquette, 2013.

Late fall sun. © Pat Paquette, 2013.

Oh, for a little boredom.

What I really mean by “boredom” is “nothing to do.” That may sound like hell for a Millennial, but it’s music to the ears of a worn-out Boomer. We’ve been in high-gear seemingly forever, running from one crisis to another and rushing from one project to the next without a break. At times, we’ve been spinning our wheels, frustrated that we’ve expended so much energy without anything to show for it.

I concede that I have a higher-than-average need for solitude and time to reflect, but most of us need a lot more downtime than we’re getting. In some cases, the lack of downtime is due to overbooking or chasing after things we really don’t need, in the process losing what truly would sustain us. Never is that more apparent than at this time of year, when we’re under so much pressure to shop ’til we drop and show our love for each other with vast quantities of consumer goods.

Astrologically, we have another week in which we can wind down a bit if we choose. Like last week, there aren’t any hugely significant planetary aspects. This will come as a relief to anyone still struggling with the fallout from events during the past two months, if not the past year.

Moreover, the Moon is in the last quarter, a natural time to finish what’s on our plate and prepare for a new cycle. The New Moon on December 2 is a good time to start new projects, but for the rest of the coming week, R&R is the order of the day. In the United States, many people will have a four-day break, with Thanksgiving and the following day off. Even those who have to work on Friday probably will have a lighter load.

Monday begins with a conjunction of Mercury and Saturn, the third and final contact of Mercury’s most-recent retrograde cycle. Three-part aspects typically unfold as an issue that needs attention, a crisis period, and final resolution. The first conjunction occurred on October 8. The second occurred on October 29, during the high-stress period between eclipses. The conjunction on Monday occurs with Mercury direct and the eclipses receding into the past. Circumstances have changed a lot in one month. Mercury represents rational thinking, while Saturn symbolizes structure, commitment, and durability. This is about finding workable, long-term answers to difficult problems and challenges. Solutions that eluded you before are possible now.

Mercury advances to sextile Venus on Wednesday and trine Jupiter on Thursday (late Wednesday in western time zones). As the week goes on, you could find more than one elegant solution to a problem. The only caution is that you remain fairly discipline and conservative. For example, if you suddenly get a big chunk of money, resist the temptation to blow it all on Black Friday sales.

Venus and Jupiter are opposed on Thursday, which is Thanksgiving in the United States. This is the classic over-indulgence aspect. On one hand, you could be presented with a feast that is unusually abundant and spectacular. On the other, the temptation to over-do it will be hard to resist. Likewise, Friday shopping could get totally out of control. Retailers likely will be happy, but do keep your receipts in case you go overboard and later wonder what on earth you were thinking. Impulse buying is going to be even more rampant given the trine between the Sun and Uranus on Saturday.

The Sun-Uranus trine could occur with some other surprises and sudden changes. Congress is adjourned until December 9, so Washington will be fairly quiet. That said, the Obamacare fiasco hasn’t settled down yet. There could be unexpected developments there. Or, related events could involve foreign heads of state. Impulsive decisions and sudden turn-arounds are the signature of this aspect, and I would expect them to be more positive than negative.

Throughout the week, Ceres makes a T-square with Uranus and Pluto. Astrologers are still collecting data on Ceres in individual and mundane charts, but there does seem to be a solid connection between Ceres transits and environmental issues. I’ll be watching next week’s headlines for related events. If you happen to come upon a story you think is relevant, please post a comment or drop me a quick note.

It’s also worth mentioning that Comet ISON reaches perihelion on Thanksgiving. I haven’t seen it yet, because I don’t have a clear view of the eastern horizon before dawn. I’ve read that you can see it without a telescope, provided there isn’t much light pollution where you live. On Monday and Tuesday, it will be near the conjunction of Mercury and Saturn. After perihelion, ISON will disappear into the sun’s glare. If it doesn’t break up, it will re-emerge in December and could be easier to see. So far, it doesn’t seem that this visitor has carried a “message,” but perhaps that will change if and when it becomes more visible.

Sunday (December 1) could feel like somewhat of a letdown, either because you’re shopped out or partied too hard for three days. In addition to head and body aches, some people feel a bit depressed the day after a party. Take it easy in the morning and drink lots of water. Aspects in the evening are more conducive to going out and having one last bit of fun before returning to a fast-paced work week.

In the meantime, I’ll be grateful to have another relatively quiet week in which to reflect, regroup, and test my recipe for a dairy and gluten-free pumpkin pie.

Wishing you all much love and courage,
Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

© Pat Paquette, RealAstrologers.com, 2013.

Weekly Forecast November 18: Chiron Direct, Sun Enters Sagittarius

Nymphs and Satyr,  by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1873. OK, so this guy knows how to party, but you will never convince me that Sagittarius looks like this.

Nymphs and Satyr, by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1873. OK, so this guy knows how to party, but you will never convince me that Sagittarius looks like this.

For the first week in nearly a month, we don’t have eclipses, retrogrades or serious squares to contend with. We’re still dealing with the aftermath, though.

The Full Moon in Taurus on November 17, which I covered in last week’s forecast, is the culmination of the astrologically charged solar eclipse on November 3. If nothing out of the ordinary happened in your life around that time or near the lunar eclipse on October 18, you may get the “message” this week. As usual, it depends on where these significant events fell in your natal chart.

Mercury gains speed this week, another indication that phone calls, e-mails, checks, and other matters on hold since mid-October could come through, possibly all at once, with the Moon in Mercury ruled Gemini on Monday and Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Chiron returns direct at 9 degrees Pisces. As you’ll recall, Chiron was discovered in 1977 and was the first of a new class of minor planets called centaurs, because their behavior is a sort of cross between that of asteroids and comets, just as the mythological centaurs were half-man, half-horse. For the most part, the centaurs were a wild bunch that partied hard, drank to excess, got in brawls, and made off with the village women. Chiron, however, had a different upbringing and became a wise healer and mentor to gods and heroes.

A big part of Chiron’s mythology revolves around a wound that wouldn’t heal. Emotionally, he was wounded by the rejection of his parents. Later, he was shot with a poison arrow and would have been doomed to eternal pain had he not asked to become mortal so he could die. According to ancient authors, he was placed in the sky as the constellation Centaurus, although some sources associate him with Sagittarius. In any case, astrologers began using minor planet Chiron as an indicator of our most fundamental wounds and where we have the greatest capacity to heal.

Pluto returned direct just shy of 9 degrees Capricorn in late September. When outer planets shift motion, they remain at the same degree for several weeks. For most of October and November, Chiron is in a sextile with Pluto by exact degree, and the two will remain at a close angle until Pluto turns retrograde again in April. Pluto is associated with death, regeneration, and rebirth. It’s not hard to see how the two working together can lead to a breakdown, followed by healing and rebirth or transformation. The sextile is considered a friendly aspect, but that doesn’t make the breakdown process any easier.

Plutonic forces are ruthlessly effective at destroying what is old, decaying, and corrupt. I’ve written a lot about this in terms of governments and civilization itself, primarily in the context of the ongoing square between Uranus and Pluto. The square was exact on November 1 but remains close through the end of December. Although we can notice transits of outer planets to planets in our individual natal charts (anyone who’s ever experienced an intense Pluto transit can attest to that), aspects between outer planets such as the Uranus-Pluto square tend to manifest as events that affect large groups of people and global affairs.

The favorable angle between Pluto and Chiron suggests that the breakdowns that have been occurring over the past several weeks – for example, the shutdown of the U.S. government and breakdown in President Obama’s signature healthcare program – could contain the seeds for deep healing. One can always hope.

On Wednesday (Mercury Day), Mercury forms a positive trine to Chiron and sextiles Pluto. At the very least, we should get some good news about the Affordable Care Act. The programmers working on the broken website may get a boost, too. The way also seems to be clear to resume negotiations in Geneva over Iran’s nuclear program. France threw a monkey wrench into the deal at the last minute just as Mercury was stationed to return direct on November 10. Mercury, as you know, rules negotiations. Uranus is associated with electricity and advanced technology, while Pluto heads the nuke department.

On Thursday, the Sun wraps up its journey through the dark sign of Scorpio and enters Sagittarius, the party sign. I rather like the idea that Sagittarius represents Chiron, since it borders Ophiuchus. The snake handler is said to be Asclepius, the first doctor, who received his medical training from Chiron. However, Chiron wasn’t the partying kind of centaur. Moreover, according to some ancient accounts, Sagittarius isn’t a centaur at all, but the satyr Crotus. Rather than being half-man, half-horse, a satyr is a man from the waist up and a goat from the waist down. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I could ever get the image out of my head of Sagittarius as a centaur with the bow and arrow. Crotus did hunt, and he cavorted with the muses on Mount Helicon. Jupiter, the ruling planet of Sagittarius, also had the reputation of being a great partier and womanizer.

Speaking of Jupiter, on Tuesday (Mars Day), there is a sextile from Mars in Virgo to Jupiter in Cancer. This is a day for getting a lot of work done and being productive in general. If you’re signing a real estate deal, this is a good day for understanding the fine print and renegotiating any terms you don’t like.

We have yet another sextile on Saturday (Saturn Day), this time between Venus and Saturn. It’s true that Saturn gets a bad rap, and it’s not entirely undeserved. He rains on parades, poops on parties, and delivers depressing reality checks. But Venus brings out his positive side, especially when she’s in his home sign of Capricorn. At his best, Saturn provides much needed structure, discipline, and commitment. It takes work to maintain relationships, the domain of Venus. Under this influence, you can do the work more easily. That applies to finances as well, which also come under the purview of Venus. If you need to sit down and make a budget or do any kind of financial planning, this is a perfect time to do so.

Sunday is a day for sleep, when the Sun makes a square with Neptune. If you partied too hard under the Sagittarius Sun and went home under the influence of Neptune-ruled substances like drugs and alcohol, you might want to have your favorite remedy handy. Or you can just sleep it off.

Wishing you all much love and courage,
Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

© Pat Paquette, RealAstrologers.com, 2013.