Tag Archives: Saturn and Pluto in mutual reception

Weekly Forecast June 22: Mercury Square Neptune, Mars Enters Cancer

Secret Garden. © Gretchen Friedrich, 2015.

Secret Garden. © Gretchen Friedrich, 2015.

When tragedies like last week’s shooting take place, the first instinct of an astrologer is to cast a chart and try to identify the correlating aspects.

I did, but not immediately. My first reaction was to get depressed, or maybe it was a sad sense of resignation. We’ve known all along that it wasn’t a question of whether another shooting spree would take place, but when. That this one took place in a church added to the shock and disbelief. We think of churches as a sanctuary. Then, I don’t suppose it’s any more “sacred” than a school, a sorority house, or a movie theater, and certainly not more than one’s home. We tend not to include the latter in our definition of mass shooting, so they don’t make sensational headlines, even though Continue reading

Weekly Forecast September 16: Full Moon in Pisces, Pluto Direct

A place of peace. © Pat Paquette, 2013.

A place of peace. © Pat Paquette, 2013.

Well, we managed to avert a war, for the timing being. It’s hard to know how far the diplomatic solution will go, given the turbulent astrological weather coming up in the middle of October.

This week promises to bring dramatic events, with a powerful triple conjunction of Venus, Saturn, and the lunar North Node, all in a supportive sextile to Pluto, just as the Lord of Darkness comes out of retrograde. The Full Moon in Pisces will heighten the tension.

Mercury, planet of communications, remains in diplomatic Libra through the end of September. He squared Pluto on Saturday, September 14. On Monday, he opposes Uranus, and he squares Jupiter on Thursday. Although the formation isn’t super-close (you can’t see it in the Full Moon chart below, because I program my settings for tight orbs), there’s nevertheless a loose grand cross – similar to the one made by Venus in late August. The grand cross is inherently more stable that the T-square, and as long as it’s active, there’s a greater chance of averting a war through international diplomacy.

There’s still a threat of military action; there’s certainly big talk of it, with Mercury in a dynamic sextile to Mars. Mercury’s square with Jupiter in Cancer suggests that the talk will be inflamed with appeals to national pride and religion. The wild card seems to be the Syrian opposition, which is mightily pissed off that they didn’t get the military strikes they were promised. The combination of a Venus-Saturn conjunction in Scorpio plus Pluto in Capricorn does suggest that someone was thrown under the bus. I wouldn’t automatically assume it was the rebel coalition, but they’re one of the better candidates. Mercury in Libra makes nice talk for public consumption, while the real dealing is going on far outside of public view. And with the ruthless planetary configuration of Saturn and Pluto, reinforced by a vengeful Venus, black ops are well within the realm of possibility.

From an astrological perspective, it’s not surprising Putin provided a way out – or, at least, that he was the point man. As you’ll recall from previous forecasts, the current crisis spiraled out of control when Jupiter moved into a square with Uranus and opposition with Pluto. The T-square was exact between August 7 and August 21, the day of the horrific chemical weapons attack. To find the “way out” of a T-square, we look at what’s opposite the apex. As it turns out, Putin’s Sun at 13 degrees Libra is very close to that point, and it will stay close throughout the Uranus-Pluto square, which extends into 2015. Tumultuous events next April are going to be particularly rough for Putin, who will take heat from all sides. Obama’s current troubles will look mild in comparison. It’s almost better that Obama is getting slammed now. By next spring, some of the most difficult transits to his natal chart will have eased up.

One of the aspects I’ve been watching closely is the sextile between Saturn and Pluto, with the two planets in mutual reception. The third and final of three exact alignments in this cycle takes place On Saturday (September 21), the day after Pluto comes out of retrograde and with Saturn conjunct not only Venus, but the lunar North Node, a marker for destiny. This is huge. Among other things, it’s where I see the superpowers negotiating behind the scenes for interests that have little to do with chemical weapons and dying babies. It could take months, perhaps even years, before we know what went on behind triple-locked doors. There’s no question that energy resources are involved in the conflict – not so much oil, but natural gas. A recent deal between Russia and Israel – yes, you read that right – could change the entire geopolitical landscape in the Middle East, which would have ramifications for the entire world as we know it. Syria is literally caught in the middle. There’s even speculation that the country could be partitioned – a real possibility, given that Pluto is turning direct within half a degree of its Sun.

Full Moon in Pisces

Click on image to enlarge

The Full Moon on Thursday is at 26°41′ Pisces, with the Sun at 26°41′ Virgo. The Sun and Moon make no aspects to other planets, although it’s worth noting that the Moon is at its fullest a few minutes after sunrise in Washington, D.C. Once again, that puts the spotlight on the president and his decision, for whatever reason, to back off from an aggressive stance on Syria. Despite his insistence that the “polls” had nothing to do with it, I have to believe that he indeed heard the resounding voice of a vast majority of Americans. I can’t remember a time when so many people from all over the political spectrum agreed on anything. Moving forward against such overwhelming public opinion would have been sheer folly, and it would have weakened his presidency far more than the accusations flying around that he’s a wimp for not making good on a threat. If I were Obama’s astrologer, I would have advised him to do exactly what he did (eventually), and I’d advise him to continue to lie low until late November.

It’s also important to note that the co-rulers of Pisces, Jupiter and Neptune, both are in water signs, as are Venus and Saturn. I’m not well-versed in weather astrology, but I’m concerned about the possibility of more flooding at the Full Moon. Keep an eye on weather reports in your area. The National Weather Service issues special alerts for floods, high winds, and other major storm systems.

Personally, this Full Moon pits the ideal against what’s practical. I’m all for following your bliss – a very Piscean concept – but reality checks are necessary from time to time, especially for those prone to pipe dreams. Artists and musicians need to eat, and poets need to find a way to keep body and sensitive soul together. It’s a tough balance to maintain. As an astrologer and writer, I can well attest to that.

This Full Moon also pits addictive and escapist behavior against self-discipline and healthy habits. This is a good time for a detox regimen, even if it’s just for three days. The Full Moon is actually a better time to start a diet than the New Moon if your goal is to lose weight or eliminate a bad habit.

Next Sunday, September 22, is the autumn equinox, when the Sun enters Libra. I’ve started analyzing the Libra ingress, but rather than writing another book-length forecast, I’ll do a second post in a few days.

Before I wrap up, I’ll leave with you with my favorite links of the week. Thank you to those of you who e-mailed or posted links. It’s more important now than ever before that we stay informed. To do that, we have to look beyond the mainstream media and share what we find.

Syria and the emerging war over natural gas
(Headline says Cyprus, but keep reading)

Ridiculously sane reflection by an ex-CIA man on how war was averted despite war lobbyists’ best efforts

A “primer” on the civil war in Syria, in case (like me) you have trouble keeping all the players straight

Much love and courage to you all,
Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

© Pat Paquette, RealAstrologers.com, 2013.

Weekly Forecast June 3: Neptune Retrograde, New Moon in Gemini

Collapsed bridge on the Skagit River, Washington. Photo courtesy Washington Department of Transportation.

Collapsed bridge on the Skagit River, Washington. Photo courtesy Washington Department of Transportation.

It seems it’s human nature to believe the latest disaster is the worst ever and that more catastrophes than ever before are befalling the planet. I’m not sure this is true, but it’s safe to say that we’re living in unprecedented times.

Skeptics would say we simply have more reporting than ever before, that being connected to the Internet 24/7 results in a barrage of disaster stories from around the world. Still, given the headlines, one might reasonably conclude we’re in the middle of the Apocalypse, even though that was supposed to have come and gone in 2012.

I’ve written a lot about breakdowns, both collective and individual, and in an attempt to present the positive with the negative, I’ve also broached the subject of rebuilding. Otherwise, all this talk of breaking down gets depressing, especially when plans for rebuilding keep falling through or changing without warning.

However, the truth is that we can’t start rebuilding until the breakdown is complete. That, I believe, is the message of Pluto in Capricorn in mutual reception with Saturn in Scorpio. Saturn, remember, is the planet of structure and careful, step-by-step progress. But Pluto is about breaking down and transforming. You might think of it as trying to rebuild a house on a worm-eaten foundation. The only way to ensure the integrity of the structure is to pull out everything and rebuild from the bottom up. In societal terms, we’ve got a patch job on top of a patch job on top of another patch job. It’s no wonder that the whole thing is crumbling.

Saturn and Pluto remain in mutual reception until December 2014. During that time, Uranus continues to form a square with Pluto. The last exact alignment will occur in March 2015, but we’ll continue to feel this far-reaching aspect for another two or three years after that. Uranian energy is volatile, explosive, and unpredictable. When you combine these energies, you get … well, exactly what we’ve got.

In addition to the deadly tornadoes, fires, and floods, recent protests around the world have turned violent, with the police backlash that is the hallmark of the square between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn. Uranus rules Aquarius, the sign of equality, and many of the protests have their roots in inequality and injustice. In fact, this isn’t the first time we’ve had a society based on such vast disparity. I’m constantly reminded of medieval Europe, when the nobility taxed the peasants and took food off their plates to support wars in the Holy Land – the Middle East. It really does make you wonder if the energies of the universe are in an endless spin cycle, manifesting the same patterns over and over again.

There are some significant differences this time around, though, which is why I say we’re in unprecedented times. At the end of the Crusades, world population was about 6 percent of what it is today. News traveled by messengers on foot and horseback, if it traveled at all. With our instant connections, news now reaches large portions of the world’s 7 billion people instantaneously. Our polluted environment also is unprecedented. Although cities in the Middle Ages were crowded, filthy, and disease-ridden, there was always somewhere else to go where the air and water were clean. We’re running out of somewhere elses and are now talking about terraforming Mars.

How could anyone not be anxious, tense, and depressed? As far as I’m concerned, stress is an appropriate, healthy response to what’s happening in our societies. You have my permission to be anxious and stressed out.

I know that I’m not the only one experiencing a physical or mental breakdown, and I have to believe that this is all part of the cosmic pattern. The collective is made up of individuals, and so unfortunately, we have to break down along with the social structures. As I’ve mentioned in the past, this process is not unknown. Alchemists, shamans, and healers have known for millennia about this mysterious subconscious phenomenon. In some cases, it can be induced through ritual and artificial means, but that’s the exception rather than the rule. Normally, this process takes place over time, and there’s no way to force it, speed it up, or otherwise control it. It’s Plutonic, and that means you have to give in and let it have its way. Trying to hold on just prolongs unnecessary suffering. There are times when we need to hang in there, but other times when it would be better to just give up.

We have an excellent opportunity to look back at the lessons of human history when Neptune turns retrograde this week. As I write, he’s stationed at 5 degrees Pisces, preparing to shift motion on Friday. Among other things, Neptune rules dreams and the deep psyche. This is also where past-life memories live. Destructive patterns often keep repeating themselves until we become aware of them and take active measures to change. Yet, sometimes the underlying source is so deeply ingrained that only a Plutonic transformation can crack it. Either way, I’m optimistic that we can make deep changes in the coming two months, given the positions of the outer planets. Neptune turns retrograde in a trine with Saturn by exact degree, which I think will help us identify and work with the old, outdated patterns that keep us stuck.

On Monday, Mercury trines both Neptune and Saturn. Mercury is in Cancer, which is a water sign and more intuitive. We like to think that our thoughts are rational and objective, but they more often than not are driven by feelings and fundamental needs. The mind can rationalize anything, but truth lies in the heart and soul. One of the ways we can be more authentic and true to ourselves is by allowing our true feelings to surface. Mastering your emotions emphatically does not mean stuffing them down, but allowing them to surface in a safe place so you can be aware of your motivations and adjust your actions accordingly.

New Moon in Gemini

Click on image to enlarge

The rest of the week’s major aspects are reflected in the chart for Saturday’s New Moon in Gemini, so let’s have a look. The first thing you see is the big blue triangle. That’s a grand trine, with Venus, Neptune, and Saturn. The bigger grand trine will happen in mid-July, when Jupiter will occupy the position of Venus. But this week’s grand trine with Venus will be quite lovely, too. Even though there’s a lot more breaking down to come, and even though it may not be time yet to rebuild, we can start laying the groundwork. What do you really want? Are your thoughts, actions, and behavior consistent with what you most want? If not, what can you do to align them more closely? I make it sound easy, but it’s not. This is the work of a lifetime and probably more than one. The problem is that many of us think we know what we want, but when we get it, we discover it doesn’t make us as happy as we thought we’d be or that we really wanted something else.

The Uranus-Pluto square is still very active, and it becomes a cardinal T-square with Mercury in a close square with Uranus and opposition to Pluto. Venus is a few degrees shy of Mercury, but will form the same T-square next week. Throughout the week, try to be mindful of what you want out of your closest relationships. If you don’t feel supported, why not? If you could have an ideal family, team, or tribe, what would it look like and why? Would getting it require a few adjustments, or do you need an overhaul?

Collectively, I think we’ll see more jarring headlines – not that anything could shock us anymore, but the extent to which we’ve been deceived and lied to could be a revelation to many. I think we’ll see more protests, too, especially over women’s issues.

Mars squares Neptune in this chart as well, with the exact aspect occurring on Friday. In mundane astrology, Mars rules war, terrorism, and fires. However, with a trine from peacemaker Venus to Neptune, I think it’s possible that we’ll be able to avoid some of the most negative manifestations of this worrisome square. In any case, there’s so much going on in this chart that it will be difficult to associate events with a particular aspect. I’m not one to argue this point, because there’s simply no way to prove it.

The Sun and Moon in Gemini are otherwise unaspected, and even though Mars and Jupiter are in Gemini, the overall feel of this New Moon could be more like Cancer than Gemini. What we read, what we hear, and what we think is less important now than what we feel and our sense of belonging. Ethnicity, patriotism, and family values trump facts and figures. We’re all out of our comfort zone in a big way these days, and as much as I recommend accepting that reality, I can’t argue against taking comfort where you can find it.

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

Weekly Forecast May 20: Uranus Square Pluto, Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius

Wesak 2012This week is one of the most astrologically active of 2013, with an exact square of Uranus and Pluto and a lunar eclipse at the Full Moon, which also is the Buddhist festival of Wesak.

I can’t say that the rubber is going to meet the road, because we’re well past that point. For many of us, it feels like we’re spinning our wheels and getting nowhere. Others have been driving and driving, only to arrive at a dead end in the wilderness, wondering whether we’ll have enough fuel to get us back to the main road and moving in the right direction.

Not that dead ends are bad. We often need to go all the way down the “wrong” road in order to learn something, recover a lot piece of ourselves, or just explore and experiment. In the great cosmic lab, as in real-life labs, not all experiments are successful. Indeed, most of them fail. But in failing, we learn what doesn’t work, thereby putting us a step closer to what will.

As I wrote in last week’s forecast, the Uranus-Pluto square is exact on Monday. This will be the third of seven exact alignments between 2012 and 2015. The last one occurred on September 19, 2012, and the next will fall on November 1, 2013. The November square also will be near an eclipse and likely more intense than this week’s. Still, we’re in turbulent waters, and even those who love a wild ride may be getting more than they bargained for. We’re being forced to accept fast and continual change, and it seems that once we embrace it, circumstances come along that force us to accept still more changes. It’s hard for me to give advice these days about how to cope, except recommend doing whatever works best for you in the moment. If balance isn’t possible, do your best to remain standing. If that doesn’t work, crawl on all fours. Or just stay down.

I’m surprised by how people I know (myself included) have gone into a shutdown phase. As bad as that sounds, it may be a good thing. At least in my own experience, I’ve realized that shutting down may be necessary for internal changes to take place. Really, it’s not much different than metamorphosis. The caterpillar has to be entirely shut down for the magical changes to take place. Some don’t make it through, but die in the process. In the alchemy of the soul, this process is called solve et coagula – dissolve and congeal. The idea is to identify the parts of ourselves that need changing and then to “dissolve” them – a process that often involves entirely breaking down. During the breakdown phase, we’re in an extremely vulnerable and even dangerous place. It’s the classic “dark night of the soul,” where fear, hopelessness, and despair can get the best of us. But once the breakdown is complete, we can start to rebuild, with greater strength, clarity, and wisdom. Those of you who have been through this process know what I’m talking about. If you’re going through it now for the first time, try to have some faith that there is a purpose to your struggle.

Breaking down is a big part of the Uranus-Pluto square. Uranus in Aries is a disruptive force that blasts structures apart, often literally. Pluto also is a destructive force, but the point is to release bound-up energies in order to create something new. This concept also was part of alchemy. It takes energy to stay stuck in old patterns. When we break out of those patterns, we release the energy to create something new and stronger. This is true for individuals as well as for organizations and societies.

Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius

Click on image to enlarge

The chart for this Saturday’s lunar eclipse (late Friday in Western time zones) powerfully reflects this process. The Sun and Moon are in a close square with Neptune, the planet of dissolution. This also happens to be the last eclipse in the Sagittarius-Gemini series, which began at the solstice in December 2010. The last eclipse in a series represents a close to a chapter, a final outcome. Since this is a lunar eclipse, it does suggest dissolution and endings. However, dissolution is not really the end. It’s just the end of one event, situation, relationship, or phase of life, and in all likelihood, the ending is necessary in order to free up energy for to create something new.

The “something new” is represented by Saturn, the planet of form and structure. As you can see in the chart, Neptune and Saturn are in a very close trine, a positive aspect representing a non-resistant path along with energy can flow. This tells me that whatever breaks down will quickly be able to reform. Moreover, Saturn is in mutual reception with Pluto, so even though there is no apparent “outlet” for the Uranus-Pluto square in this chart, there is an invisible and very powerful one. The difficulty, though, is as I stated earlier: new forms come into being and may quickly disintegrate, keeping us in a constant state of anxiety.

The ruler of this Full Moon is Jupiter, who is close to finishing his year-long tour through Gemini. Jupiter is in detriment in Gemini but next month will enter Cancer, the sign of his exaltation. Moreover, he’ll form a grand trine with Saturn and Neptune, so we’ll have even more opportunities to create what we most want and need, especially in terms of what connects us with each other and sustains us emotionally.

Mercury, the ruler of Gemini, is in his own sign, and he’s conjunct Venus and approaching conjunction with Jupiter at the eclipse. This is a vibrant configuration that favors intellectual creativity of all kinds, but especially writing. It’s also a good opportunity to examine the stories we tell ourselves about our lives. With an eclipse squaring Neptune, this is a great time to release illusions and delusions. Whether you’re underestimating yourself or misjudging your limitations, now would be a good time for a reality check.

Wesak occurs at the Full Moon in sidereal Scorpio. Sometimes this is the same as in the tropical system, which is the form of astrology most of us in the Western world use. This year, however, the dates are different. You can read more about sidereal and tropical astrology in a recent Q&A post. Wesak is a major “download” time, when a portal opens to higher consciousness and enlightenment. It’s my belief that a big part of the turbulence happening in the world now is related to awakening consciousness in large groups of people. Just as giving birth is painful, waking up can be painful, too. When we understand how connected we are, depending on how we’ve structured our lives, we might suddenly realize that we need a complete overhaul. Humans are hard-wired to maintain the status quo, so being in a constant state of flux can rock us to our very foundations.

Personally, I’m going through a difficult process that in hindsight began well before I got sick last week. As many of you know from reading my blog, I experienced adrenal fatigue last summer as a result of a grueling academic schedule. I never fully recovered, and it appears I’ve had a relapse. I saw my doctor last week, and we’ve formulated a plan, but healing is going to take many months, especially since I’m not able to eliminate the worst causes of stress in my life. All I can do is give in to the process and have faith that, as in past situations, I’ll come out of it stronger and wiser. After all, it was through similar circumstances in 2001 that I became an astrologer. We’ll just have to wait and see what’s next. In the meantime, I offer my sincerest apologies to those of you who have written e-mails and ordered reports and who haven’t received a response from me. For the past two weeks, I’ve spent most of my time sleeping or lying down. I don’t know how long this will last. In the meantime, my mind is working very slow, and it takes me all day to write what I used to be able to do in an hour or two. It’s humbling, to say the least.

Next week is going to look a lot better on many levels, so hang in there with me, all of you.

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

Weekly Forecast May 13: Mercury Enters Gemini

Apalachicola Bridge. © Gretchen Friedrich, 2013.

Apalachicola Bridge. © Gretchen Friedrich, 2013.

It has been a tough week here. I started coming down with something about a week ago, and it flattened me. Surely it was no coincidence that last week’s eclipse was in my sixth house, with Mars in conjunction. It’s not uncommon for sixth-house Mars transits to correspond to colds, flu, and viral infections.

It appears that I’ll live this time, but I’ve been drowsy and mentally very slow. Or was that just Mercury in Taurus? We’ll find out this Wednesday, when the Messenger enters his own speedy sign of Gemini. Isn’t it just grand being a guinea pig in the great cosmic lab?

I’ll get to Mercury in a bit, but the bigger news this week is the approach of the Uranus-Pluto square on Monday, May 20. As I write, the square is half a degree from exact – as they say, “close enough for government work.” Actually, we’ve been feeling this influence for months already, as events associated with outer planetary transits happen over time, and they often are part of unfolding trends. If we look back to the Uranus-Pluto conjunction in the mid-60s, we find that events continued to unfold for two or three years following the last exact alignment in July 1966. Indeed, the year from that era we most remember for changing civilization as we knew it was 1968.

So, this is both good news and bad news. The good news is that we don’t have to fear that the world is going to blow up in the next couple of weeks due to the exact square of Uranus and Pluto. The bad news is that some idiot could blow it up independent of Uranus and Pluto. OK, just kidding. The bad news is that we’ve still got two more years of exact alignments of the square, followed by another couple of years of aftershocks. In other words, the turbulence we’re going through now is going to remain a major trend for a long time. Of course, that doesn’t mean that life is going to suck for each and every one of us. Many will find new opportunities and prosper. And many will face challenges that are reflected in their individual charts and that have nothing to do with the Uranus-Pluto square.

There are two messages from this square that I try to keep in mind at all times. First, recent events are reminding us that we are all connected, not just with each other in this incarnation, but with the collective unconscious throughout all time. When a garment factory goes up in flames in Bangladesh, we’re connected to those workers, whether or not we just bought a bargain T-shirt at H&M that was made in Bangladesh. When I lived in France, I was constantly impressed by how well the family I lived with knew where everything on their table came from. I used to joke with them that they knew the name of the goat that gave the milk for the cheese they were eating.

And that brings me to the second message. We’re not going to be able to fight “big bad government” the way it was done in the 60s – not that they had much success, either, but we’re definitely at a point where protesting is deadly. Some causes are worth fighting and dying for, but many are not, and getting together for an afternoon to smoke a joint, carry a sign, march topless, or dress as a vagina isn’t going to do much except get your photo in the news, which should not be mistaken for “doing something” about the problem. Saturn in Scorpio in mutual reception with Pluto in Capricorn favors big government, corporate domination, and wannabe tyrants, but it also favors coming up with practical solutions to build a more sustainable future. The thing is, each of us needs to decide whether we’re going to continue buying into the current paradigm, or whether we’re going to opt out. If we choose the latter, what does that look like?

We can’t wait for our leaders (sic) to do the work for us. They’ve screwed up the economy beyond recognition, so what makes us think they have the ability or the will to fix it – or, at least, to fix it in a way that benefits anyone but themselves? We’re going to have to make up our own economy, based primarily on used goods and local services. To do that, we need to shift our value system. What’s more important, having the latest fashion (dictated by someone else) for your friend’s birthday party, or looking fabulous in a dress you’ve worn several times and received many compliments on already? I know, that’s kind of a trivial example, and perhaps not anything I need to preach to readers of RealAstrologers, highly aware bunch that you are. But you get my point. I minored in economics in college and have been thinking about this a lot lately.

Of course, where we get our news is a big consideration, too. Joe and I have had an ongoing e-mail exchange about news sources. The corporate media in the United States have devolved into little but mouthpieces for government and can’t be relied upon to do any serious independent investigation. The alternative media typically have an agenda and are biased. And you have to be very careful about some of the so-called “news” sites on the Internet. Anyone can call himself a journalist. Believe it or not, being a good reporter really does require training and experience. I recently read a terrific article on the nature of journalism in America by Ron Unz. Ironically, he’s the publisher of a conservative journal co-founded by Pat Buchanan. Go figure. But he hit the nail right on the head. It just goes to show that neither political party has a monopoly on the truth.

And what better segue to get us back to astrology than news, which falls within the domain of Mercury, ruler of Gemini. Gemini likes a little information on a lot of subjects, and it wants it fast! When I think Mercury in Gemini, I think of The Huffington Post, which crams everything from breaking news to the latest congressional hypocrisy and celebrity cleavage onto one page. It puts me in overwhelm mode to the point of nausea. But my Mercury is in Capricorn, so there you go. Gemini people no doubt eat it up like popcorn.

Venus also is in Gemini this week, tracking slightly ahead of Mercury. They both square Neptune – she on Monday and he on Saturday. Normally, we think of Venus-Neptune squares as ripe for delusions about love and attraction, and that may well be true. However, there may not be much discernible difference between Venus in Gemini squaring Neptune and Mercury in Gemini squaring Neptune this week. In both cases, illusions or delusions – be they about love, picking winning lottery numbers, or selling your screenplay to Spielberg – will come and go so fast you may not remember them long enough to do yourself any real damage. News headlines may be confusing, and “facts” could change from one minute to the next. As Lou Reed sings in “Last Great American Whale,” Don’t believe half of what you see, and none of what you hear.

Also on Saturday, Venus sextiles Uranus. This is also a fairly fast and fleeting aspect, but it’s definitely more cheerful. Have a latte or a drink with a friend. This is a good shopping aspect, too, so do something different (Uranus) and visit a local consignment or thrift shop. One of my former classmates in film school got her entire wardrobe at Value Village. I’m not sure what I’d call her style, but it definitely was all her own.

Since I’ve made so much of the Uranus-Pluto square and all the seriousness it entails, I’d also like to remind you that we’ve have a rare and special grand trine coming up in July that will provide some temporary relief from all this depressing stuff. I mentioned it in my 2013 video, but I’ll have more about it in future columns. In the meantime, Ray Merriman had some interesting comments in his weekly forecast about how it might correlate to developments in U.S. politics and finance.

In case anyone missed the Thursday Q&A, I was too out of it to write this past week (I also am behind on reports and e-mails, so if you haven’t heard back from me, please be patient). I’ll have a new Q&A post this week … well, unless some idiot channeling Uranus and Pluto blows up the world.

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

Weekly Forecast May 6: New Moon Solar Eclipse in Taurus

Annular Eclipse 2012This week, we have the second of three eclipses in a row and the only solar eclipse among them, which is about new beginnings and, in some cases, dramatic and final endings.

The eclipse occurs on Thursday, with the Sun and Moon at 19°33′ Taurus. Mercury and Mars also are in Taurus, along with asteroid Pallas, which is conjunct the Sun and Moon by exact degree. Venus, the Bull’s ruling planet, leaves Taurus for Gemini earlier in the day, which means that Venus and Mercury will be in mutual reception. OK, that’s a head full of astro-babble, so let’s break it down.

Taurus is the most materialistic of all the signs. Of the three earth signs (the other two are Virgo and Capricorn), it is the most rock-solid, the most in the here-and-now, the most present on the plane of existence we call “reality.” People with strong Taurus in their charts often are materially successful, precisely because they place so much value on material possessions. While they have a well-deserved reputation for being slow and stubborn, they’re also patient and reliable – the kind of person you want around you in a crisis.

As I explained in the Thursday Q&A, eclipses occur when a New Moon or Full Moon falls near the lunar nodes. This eclipse falls very close to the transiting South Node at about 17 degrees Taurus, with the North Node at 17 degrees Scorpio. The South Node reminds of where we’ve been. Civilization as we know it arose during the Age of Taurus in ancient Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq). It’s no coincidence that winged bulls were potent symbols during that time and often associated with the king.

I don’t think it’s any coincidence, either, that we’ve managed to bomb Iraq back into the Stone Age. When the United States invaded Iraq, I immediately had the sense that civilization “as we know it” was coming to an end. Not that it was an original thought. Many of us have realized that our societal structures aren’t sustainable, and there’s no amount of fixing, adjusting, or voting out the scoundrels that will save it. No, it’s broken beyond repair, and we’re in uncharted waters, trying to figure out what to do next.

That’s where Scorpio comes in, with its modern ruler, Pluto. Among other attributes, Scorpio breaks down what is rotten and useless. But before that can happen, there needs to be some recognition of the problem. That’s also Scorpio’s territory. With laser vision, Scorpio can see beneath the layers of “reality” to the source of the problem.

I’ve written a lot about the social upheaval manifesting from the Uranus-Pluto square, which is approaching another exact alignment on May 20. I’ve also written about how the mutual reception between Saturn in Scorpio and Pluto in Capricorn is working in synergy with the Uranus-Pluto square to hasten the breakdown phase to clear the way for new, sustainable structures. I haven’t written much, though, about what that new way of living and being is going to look like or how we’re going to get there. Spiritual awakening is all fine and good, and “living spiritually” is a worthy goal, but what does that mean? The fact is, on this plane of existence, we have material bodies that have material needs. Indeed, it’s precisely in meeting these needs over many millennia that we’ve managed to screw up the planet and become, in the words of cultural critic Daniel Quinn “enraged, rebellious, desperate, stressed-out borderline psychotics being torn apart by crime, hatred, and violence.”

I like Quinn’s allegories and metaphors. For example, he writes that if the plane you’re on is in trouble, you won’t save yourself by shooting the pilot. You need to strap on your parachute and jump. “Parachute” isn’t the first image that comes to my mind when I think of Taurus, but there needs to be some place to jump to, and it is the job of Taurus to create new realities. Rather than continuing to complain about how bad the current reality sucks, we need to start doing some serious hands-on building. (I know that many of you already are, and I’d like to hear from you.)

Speaking for myself, I have to say that I long ago got tired of alternative news sites that day after day sound the alarm about corrupt leaders, bailouts for bankers, injustice for whistleblowers, the rise of the police state, etcetera ad nauseam. First off, I was a reporter in Washington, D.C., in the late 80s and early 90s and saw it for myself, so this isn’t news to me. Beyond that, I wonder how much of this stuff we have to read to be “convinced.” When I read these articles, I want to scream, “OK, OK! I get it!” Are we going to just keep sharing links in the social media and clucking our tongues about those horrible awful people leading us down a path of certain destruction, or are we going to start doing something differently?

New Moon Solar Eclipse in Taurus

Click on image to enlarge

Of course, it’s legitimate to talk about it first, and that’s where I see the Mercury-Venus mutual reception coming in. Just keep in mind that Mercury and Mars conjoin on Tuesday, which is a recipe for arguments. Taurus is conflict averse, but unfortunately tends to stonewall to avoid it. Sometimes remaining silent is wise, but eventually real disagreements must be addressed. Venus in Gemini can help with that. Mercury is the planet of communication, and Taurus is, among other things, the builder of new worlds. As ruler of Taurus, Venus is about artful living. Having more, more-expensive toys doesn’t make us happier. How we communicate, how we share with each other, and how we co-create new worlds together is the message this pair brings.

I want to explore this theme more in future posts and very much would like to hear what readers think. I have clients who have left untenable jobs in the past couple of years for situations that paid less but were more gratifying in other ways. Although this has been a nationwide trend for the better part of the past decade, I sense that many of you are moving beyond that into new ways of thinking about the world and your place in it. It seems like we’re all trying to find our tribe.

On that note, I’d like to express my deepest thank you to those of you who responded to my call last week for some show of support. Although in terms of numbers, only a small percentage of readers sent donations, those who did were incredibly generous, not just with donations and report orders but with notes of encouragement. It was gratifying and yet humbling at the same time to read how many of you rely on my weekly forecast to help you make sense of the turbulent times we’re in. It’s not overly dramatic to say that the human species faces life-or-death decisions. Because we are all connected, every decision we make in our individual lives ripples out into the collective and either hastens our demise or builds the equivalent of new “neural pathways.”

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

P.S. For a cool graphic showing the path of Thursday’s eclipse, check out Wikipedia.

Weekly Forecast April 29: Mars Opposite Saturn, Trine Pluto

Then the Awful Fight Began, illustration of Ragnarök by George Wright, 1908.

Then the Awful Fight Began, illustration of Ragnarök by George Wright, 1908.

As we begin this week, we’re well into the destabilized zone between eclipses, with Uranus moving toward an exact square with Pluto in May. Many of us are feeling unsettled, shaken, irritated, and anxious, with that “other shoe about to drop” feeling.

We can’t help but feel unsettled in a rapidly changing world – or, perhaps to be more precise, a rapidly disintegrating world. This is an important part of the rebirth process, and unfortunately, it doesn’t happen fast enough to suit the expectation of instant gratification that’s ingrained in industrialized societies. It takes place over time – many years, in fact – and if we hold our breath waiting for the other shoe, we’ll turn blue and faint. Which, come to think of it, might not be such a bad idea. A little consciousness can be dangerous, as one is tempted to think he knows what’s best for the world.

From where I sit, it looks as though events are unfolding in perfect harmony with planetary movements, which themselves are in perfect harmony with the rhythm of the Universe. We just happen to be in a turbulent, breakdown phase that feels anything but harmonious. Could we just get this over with and get on with rebirth? In a word … no. Just as individuals go through periodic breakdown and rebirth (some more than others), society as a whole goes through these cycles as well. It takes as long as it takes, and that can feel very threatening, especially when our survival is at stake.

In astrology, upheaval is most closely associated with Uranus, while Pluto is the planet of death, transformation, and rebirth. (For more on the approaching Uranus-Pluto square, I highly recommend the latest article by Barbara Hand Clow.) The Full Moon eclipse in Scorpio brought these difficult themes to the fore. Personally, I’ve had to confront serious issues in the past week that could change my course. I’ll share them with you in a moment, but first let’s look at this week’s aspects.

Throughout the week, the Sun and Mars remain in conjunction in Taurus by less than 5 degrees, and both oppose Saturn and trine Pluto. Saturn and Pluto are in sextile and also in a special relationship called mutual reception. Before Saturn entered Scorpio last October, these two hadn’t been in mutual reception since the American Revolution. With Uranus and Pluto also in aspect, the energy for radical change and upheaval is multiplied by orders of magnitude. By the time this is over two years from now, political boundaries likely will have changed, and the world will look different. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The Sun and Mars both represent the individual – our personal identities, desires, ego boundaries, and self-expression. The most materialist of all the signs, Taurus tends to be placid and non-confrontational but also has a well-deserved reputation for stubborn resistance. Taurus doesn’t win by outright aggression but by outlasting everyone else in the fight. Long after others throw their hands up in frustration, Taurus is still plodding along, holding out, holed up, and prepared to hang in there until the very end. However, Saturn in Scorpio takes no prisoners and smokes out the resistance, and Saturn and Pluto are working in tandem, so there’s no refuge. If you’re still living for material goals and judge success – your own and others’ – by how much stuff you’ve got, you may be forced to rethink your position. As an example, there seems to be a feeling of entitlement (in this country, at least) to more stuff for less money. For some people, it’s their main goal, which is how we got Wal-Mart – a bargain with the devil, if ever there was one.

But there is a way out, and that’s through Neptune and the collective unconscious. Neptune dissolves ego boundaries. We spend so much time trying to figure out who we are and what makes us special that we tend to forget we’re supposed to be working together. The point of finding your true purpose in life isn’t to make you more competitive and marketable, but to give your special gift to the world and thus make the world a better place for everyone, yourself included. There’s a difference between selfishness and enlightened self-interest. At 12 degrees Pisces, Chiron also is in the mix, reinforcing the idea that healing will come through compassion, empathy, and seeing beyond material reality. Even those who are waking up to the energetic underpinnings of physical reality (my definition of “spiritual”) tend to think of the material world as more important and “real,” and the spiritual world as an afterthought. In fact, the reverse is true.

Mars opposes Saturn and the Sun trines Pluto on Wednesday. On the same day, Mercury enters Taurus, which may slow us down and help us focus on practical matters. Mercury sextiles Neptune on Saturday and opposes Saturn on Sunday, and he’ll trine Pluto next week. So the foregoing themes are going to remain in play right up until the New Moon solar eclipse on May 9.

As for my own eclipse experience, I’m being forced to confront two harsh realities. The first is my own mortality. Shortly after my birthday in February, my older sister died. We were estranged, so I’d already done the bulk of my grieving years before, and I bore her no ill will, not even for her fundamentalist viewpoint that I was practicing witchcraft. A few days before she died, I sent her a heart-felt note wishing her love, deep peace, and serenity. What hit me hardest was that all of my older siblings were gone, and of seven children, I’m now the oldest living. In other words, “I’m next.” Given the ages of mortality of my immediate family, I have another six or seven years – maybe ten, if I clean up my diet and start a sound fitness routine. Then, maybe not. My father’s doctor recommended that he walk more. He had a heart attack on an evening walk to the corner store and was dead before he hit the ground. I’m not afraid to die – provided, of course, that it’s quick and efficient. Dropping dead on my daily walk would be OK, second to going peacefully in my sleep. A protracted illness is quite another matter, especially since I have no health coverage.

The second harsh reality is more immediate (unless, of course, I drop dead on my daily walk this afternoon). As much as I value spiritual concerns, one does need to pay for food, shelter, Internet, eye care, and an occasional visit to the dentist. When I first began RealAstrologers, I had a five-year plan to create something resembling what Christopher Witecki has done with SoulGarden. Going to film school was part of my strategy. In the meantime, I’d hoped to grow the business with my unique “hybrid” reports, plus telephone consultations. I live very simply, and yet I’ve not been able to make it work. A few years back, I tried getting a day job to help support the site, but as many of you know, I suffered a serious back injury that makes it impossible for me to go that route again. And because of my age and the economy, it’s not likely I’d even find some menial office work.

This reality was hit home in a post on Willow’s Web (thanks to the reader who sent me the link) in which she responded to a reader’s comment that her blog wasn’t worth a donation equivalent to $2.50 a month. I’m sorry to have to say this, but most people come to my site for the free content and leave, perhaps to go to other free sites. As Willow wrote, if you continually come here and take what I offer without giving anything back, you are acting as an energy drain. Until now, that has been my choice, but I have a hard decision to make, and it will depend on your response. If you’ve recently ordered a report or sent a donation, please ignore what I’m about to say. For those who have not, I ask you to please use the donation button in the sidebar or click here. If you are blessed with relative plenty right now, please leave a little extra, because there are readers who truly cannot afford to pay (and not because they just remodeled the kitchen).

I know from the e-mails I receive that many of you love what I do and rely on my forecasts to help you make sense of these turbulent, unsettling times. But if there aren’t enough of you – or not enough who are willing and able to help me sustain the site – then I’m going to be forced to stop blogging. Sharing what I know is important to me, not because I have some deep-seated desire for followers or groupies but because it feels like a calling. However, if I see that not that many people value my work enough to pay for it, then I’ll have to face the harsh truth. Better to know now, while I’ve still got a few years left to do something else.

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

Weekly Forecast April 8: New Moon in Aries, Pluto Retrograde

Budding. © Pat Paquette, 2013.

Budding. © Pat Paquette, 2013.

Back in the mid-90s, a friend of mine was becoming an aunt for the second time at the birth of her brother’s baby. An image is ingrained in my memory of the baby lying on the countertop in my friend’s kitchen.

It’s a strange image. On one hand, I cringe when I think about the baby lying so open and vulnerable, not wrapped in a blanket, not being held, more or less “on display” for the entertainment of others. On the other hand, it was eerily fascinating to watch the baby’s slow movements, to be in an empathic link with a being suddenly transported from one environment to a completely different one, like an alien suddenly forced to breathe air instead of water and to feel physical sensations so confusing that its little heart might race in fear and panic and give out before it had scarcely drawn its first breath.

There is a certain violence in being born, and once it’s over, it takes a while to recuperate and adjust to the new reality. Many of us have been going through a slow and painful transformation, not unlike physical birth. It’s painful, violent, scary and, at times, confusing. I sometimes wonder whether lack of immediate conscious awareness is a built-in survival mechanism in human babies.

Being able to sleep temporarily while we transform certainly is a merciful gift. Otherwise, the pain can be unbearable. The “sleep” part happened in February and March with the build-up of planets in Pisces. That’s over now, and it’s time to wake up. Even with the current planetary lineup in action-oriented Aries, you may need additional time to stretch and adjust – not easy, because events do seem to be happening at an accelerated pace, and not all of them are positive. At the same time, you may still be feeling raw, open, vulnerable, and not very fast on your feet. Of course, it depends on the quality of your experience, and how events are manifesting for you depends on where the planets are transiting your natal chart.*

This week’s New Moon in Aries is almost like the “real” equinox. The first day of spring (apologies to my readers south of the equator) is a powerful symbol of rebirth, but then right away, we had a Full Moon in Libra, which is more about endings. At this week’s New Moon, we have the Sun, Moon, and three planets in Aries. Mercury is still finishing up his tour through sleepy Pisces, but he enters Aries this Saturday. If you’ve experienced difficulty focusing, you should get some relief soon.

New Moon in Aries

Click on image to enlarge

The New Moon is on Wednesday, in close conjunction with Mars and fairly close to Venus. The so-called “love planets” conjoined early this morning (Sunday) and remain in alignment throughout this week. The Sun and Moon, Mars and Venus all so close to each other is a signature for soul mates. If you’ve just met someone or are in a budding relationship, pay very close attention to what happens this week. Likewise, if you’re in a relationship that you know isn’t right for you, do your best to suspend judgment and just observe. Watch for synchronicities, and listen to your intuition.

The big undercurrent to this New Moon is the approaching square between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn. The aspect isn’t exact until May 25, but it is making itself felt, especially in world events, which may take an even darker turn with Pluto’s station retrograde on Friday. Planets are especially powerful when they are stationed. Pluto is named for the Roman god of the underworld, a shadowy figure that reminds us all of our shadow side.

Pluto and Saturn remain in a fairly close sextile and in mutual reception, a marker for fast destruction of what isn’t working. At the New Moon, Uranus is in a near-exact inconjunct (technically called a quincunx) with Saturn, so this puts Uranus, Pluto, and Saturn all in an edgy relationship that suggests rebellion and counter-rebellion, ineffectual efforts to bring necessary change by conventional means, and general chaos. There is no way to preserve the system we have, and that probably applies to your personal life as well. Hanging onto the familiar and comfortable is getting more and more impossible.

After this New Moon, we’ll be heading into a long eclipse period, starting with a Full Moon lunar eclipse on April 25 and ending with another lunar eclipse on May 25. Between the two, on May 9, is a solar eclipse in Taurus. You may not feel “ready” to head into more turbulence – I know I don’t – but we’re going to have to do the best we can. Aries has a reputation for being independent and somewhat selfish, but the Ram is also fearless. We’re not going to have the luxury of long, careful thought in order to avoid mistakes, but will have to jump into the unknown and “just do it.”

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

* It’s not to late to order your StarGuide Spring forecast. If you order right away, I should be able to get it to you before Wednesday. In each report, I give you some ideas about how the New and Full Moon might manifest for you personally.

Weekly Forecast March 11: New Moon in Pisces, Mars Enters Aries

Over the edge. © Pat Paquette, 2013.

Over the edge. © Pat Paquette, 2013.

We’ve got a schizophrenic week ahead, with Mars entering his own sign of Aries right after the New Moon in Pisces and Mercury still retrograde in the foggy sign of the Fishes.

As of the New Moon on Monday, the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Chiron, and Neptune are all in Pisces. Mars, however, is at the final degree of Pisces, which, as the final degree of the zodiac, is called the “weeping degree.” It is where all things must end to clear the way for a new beginning, and it represents the point at which we see that hanging onto the past is no longer possible. Among its many qualities, Pisces is the sign of escapism and delusion. It’s only human to try to imagine that everything will continue along as it is, even when we know inside that change is inevitable. And change, by definition, is destabilizing.

The New Moon typically represents new beginnings, but sometimes it can bring endings, too – again, in order to start with a clean slate. This is all the more possible with Mercury in “reverse,” but I have to remind you that we may not experience any significant movement until the following Monday, after Mercury is direct. Officially, he stations on March 17, but it can take a day or two for him to get moving again (what it looks like here on Earth). By then, Mars also will be approaching a conjunction with Uranus – an aspect that can be literally explosive, but that can translate to explosive change in our lives as well. Of course, if you’ve been looking for a change, the fast movement may be just what you’ve been waiting for, even though it could bring its own “upsets” in the sense that life can turn on its head. To get an idea of how this energy might manifest for you, look for where these planets are transiting your natal chart. If you need some help with that, I’m preparing the StarGuide Spring 2013 forecast (the start date is March 20, but you’ll get useful insight for Mars and Uranus in Aries). I still have some formatting to do, but you can pre-order anytime.

New Moon in Pisces

Click on image to enlarge

The Sun and Moon don’t make any close aspects with other planets, but there are some additional aspects in the New Moon chart to consider. The Uranus-Pluto square is ever-present, setting the overall tone for this turbulent period in human history, much as we experienced in the mid-1960s. Society as a whole is in a breakdown phase, and whether you’re benefiting from these sweeping changes or being swept along on an uncontrollable tide, your personal life is impacted in some way. Perhaps you’ve sold your car and are using public transportation to reduce your carbon footprint, or you may have decided to switch to a diet that is more sustainable for the planet or healthcare products that are free of harmful ingredients. One of my best moves so far was to close my account when my bank got taken over by Chase and to switch to our local credit union. These may seem like small moves, but when millions of people do it, they become major trends with huge implications for human history.

Which brings me to the second aspect, which is the sextile between Saturn and Pluto, which also are in mutual reception. I wrote about this last week and don’t have a lot more to say, except that this positive contact represents a window of opportunity to demolish what isn’t working and rebuild more sustainable structures, be they in our personal lives or in society as a whole. Mercury and Saturn are trine, as well, which bodes well for new ideas – some of which may be old ideas that were thrown out as impractical but that, due to changing circumstances, deserve another look. Mercury also has been in an ongoing square and mutual reception with Jupiter. On one hand, this can signify getting lost in details to the detriment of the big picture, but with awareness, it can be used to coordinate the details and the big picture in a compelling way.

Jupiter and Uranus, meanwhile, remain in a sextile, and when Mars conjoins Uranus on March 22, he’ll also be in a sextile with Jupiter. Although it’s true that Jupiter can be a magnifier, with obvious implications for the explosive combination of Mars and Uranus, he also confers some benefits and even good luck. The actual outcome remains to be seen, of course.

So, this week may be fast or it may be slow, and “fast” may be spinning wheels or it may be a fast ending. Hang in there, because Mercury returns direct on Sunday, and next week will look a whole lot different. If by chance you do have an opportunity this week to hang out on the beach or in front of the TV, do it now! Rest up, because we’ll soon be heading into a period of dramatic action.

Much love and courage to all,
Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

Weekly Forecast March 4: Sun Conjunct Retrograde Mercury, Saturn Sextile Pluto

Image courtesy NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

Image courtesy NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

It has been a strange week, with all this Pisces energy and Mercury retrograde. I’ve been doing some historical research – Pisces loves going back, as does Mercury retrograde – and have dug up some amazing information and startling synchronicities.

I sat down to write this week’s forecast with the intention of telling you about some of what I found and how it relates to current events. Then I got distracted by a column by Rob Brezsny, “everybody’s favorite astrologer,” ragging on astrologers who predict communications mix-ups, travel problems, and other irritations during Mercury retrograde. “It makes me sad when the sacred art of astrology is turned into just another excuse to be superstitious. Using half-baked horoscopy to justify self-fulfilling prophecies is astrology abuse in the extreme,” he writes. “Sorry to get so riled up … I truly love astrology’s power to enhance our willpower, and it bugs me when it’s ignorantly invoked to accomplish the very opposite.”

Judging by the comments on his post, his readers are grateful and relieved that they no longer have to take Mercury retrograde seriously. Even some professional astrologers thanked him for his brilliant insight. I have to admit that I’m puzzled, and the more I think about it, the more riled up I get. Maybe he didn’t intend to say what it sounds like he’s saying – after all, Mercury is retrograde, and I might have misunderstood. And perhaps his comments don’t apply to me, because I don’t advise my clients to put their lives on hold for three weeks, three times a year. Still, I have made statements of the nature he ridicules, and I absolutely stand by them. Observation over time tells me that Mercury retrograde periods are to be approached with some caution. I don’t consider this superstitious at all, and in fact I believe it’s the highest use of “the sacred art of astrology.”

As I see it, working with planetary energies is precisely the point. You might well ignore a forecast for violent thunderstorms and decide, “I want a picnic and I’m going to have it come hell or high water!” Undoubtedly, there are people who love being out in the elements, delighted with the freedom and adventure of soaked underwear and soggy sandwiches. It’s all in the attitude, right? Call me a stick in the mud, but if I knew a raging thunderstorm was on the way, I’d be bringing in firewood, taking a quick trip to the library, and making a pot of hot soup.

It’s hard for me to understand how an astrologer could argue that Mercury retrograde periods are innocuous to the point of being irrelevant, and that thinking otherwise will attract the very experiences you hope to avoid. In other words, if Mercury is retrograde and you get stuck in traffic, miss your flight, and as a result miss an important meeting, it’s a self-fulfilling prophesy created by your own superstition and fear of Mercury retrograde. I would say just the opposite. With a healthy respect for Mercury retrograde, you would make sure to give yourself lots of extra time to get to the airport, and if the meeting was that important – if your entire future depended on it – you might consider departing a day early and staying overnight. The mind does have incredible power, and it is possible to conjure up our worst fears. But it does not follow logically that if something bad happens, it must be because we unwittingly caused it through fear, erroneous thinking, or some other failing.

On one point we at least agree, and that’s the idea that events and circumstances we think of as “bad” can present opportunities, if we set aside our expectations and conditioning. In that regard, attitude is important, and our response to events can be more significant than the events themselves. But it’s a mistake to carry that logic to the extreme and argue that we have complete control via our minds. As the bumper sticker says, “Shit happens.” Indeed, the search for meaning in the face of unimaginable human tragedy gave rise to philosophy and religion, and astrology was born in part by the desire to avoid such tragedies. Tell someone whose entire village has just been wiped out by the plague that they’ve been blessed with a “growth opportunity.”

Now, this is a nice segue into my historical research, which centered on 17th century Europe. This was a critical period in human development, when science and metaphysics split, and anything that couldn’t be proven by “scientific method” was discarded as superstition. Astrology was one of the first casualties, and the attitudes of science today against astrology, religion, and other spiritual beliefs might as well be lifted right out of 17th century manuscripts. While Europe itself was in turmoil, with wars that radically shifted national boundaries and the center of political power, philosophers argued fundamental concepts of God, fate, the nature of the soul, and man’s place in a universe of which the earth was no longer the center. And here we are, 400 years later, embroiled in similar arguments. Science, it seems, has not lived up to its promise of providing all the answers to the meaning of life. It hasn’t even provided all the answers to questions about the material universe, let alone humanity’s place in it.

Solar Eclipse June 1648

Click on image to enlarge

Among the trends at the time, there were several popular uprisings against rulers in Europe and elsewhere, leading one Swedish diplomat to wonder “whether this can be explained by some general configuration of the stars in the sky.” He was more right than he possibly could have imagined. In 1648, when an uneasy treaty ended the devastating Thirty Year’s War, Uranus, Neptune, and the lunar South Node were in near exact opposition to Pluto, Saturn, Mars, and the North Node, with Jupiter in a close square. I’ve included the chart for a solar eclipse on the summer solstice in 1648 so you can see for yourself. Even without the benefit of the outer planets, which hadn’t been discovered yet, astrologers were so alarmed that they were predicting the end of the world. Of course, this didn’t help their professional status and might even have led to the “end of the world” for astrology. But they were onto something nonetheless, and now that we have the benefit of hindsight to analyze outer planetary cycles, we know that such an intense planetary configuration was bound to manifest as turbulence on earth. Incidentally, a wave of extremely cold weather began around the same time, which some climatologists later declared was part of a “Little Ice Age.” Coincidence?

One of the main reasons for assaulting astrology in the 17th century was the question of fate. The idea that our fate may lie in the stars went against science and the Church, and it still does. But fate and free will aren’t mutually exclusive. Using the example of retrograde Mercury, is it written in the stars that you’re going to lose your best friend and everything on your hard drive? Certainly not. But depending where Mercury is retrograde in your chart and what aspects he’s making with other planets, you may be at a higher risk for these outcomes. Free will enters the picture in that you have a choice to ignore the warning and take your chances, or to take reasonable precautions and hedge your bets. I can’t foresee everything in everyone’s individual charts, so I give you general guidelines in my weekly forecasts. You get more specific guidelines in my StarGuide seasonal and monthly reports.

The Sun and Mercury conjoin on Monday, so it’s quite possible we’ll get to make some additional observations. My read on this aspect is that it holds potential for being productive, especially if you’re writing songs, poetry, or fiction. This is also a signature for vivid dreams that could produce other kinds of inspiration. Keep your journal handy. Less than an hour later, Venus squares Jupiter, which can improve communications and good feelings considerably, especially if there is alcohol involved. Just take care not to overdo it.

The bigger news this week is the exact sextile between Saturn and Pluto, who also are in mutual reception; that is, Saturn is in Pluto-ruled Scorpio, and Pluto is in Saturn-ruled Capricorn, thereby magnifying the energies of each and making them greater than the sum of their parts. Saturn and Capricorn are about structure, discipline, and progressing toward a goal one step at a time. Pluto and Scorpio are about destruction, transformation, and unquenchable desire. Combined and in a favorable relationship, these two manifest as stunning breakdowns in order to rebuild more sustainable structures. This can apply to just about any area of life, although you’ll likely find it most operative in the areas of life ruled by the houses in your natal chart that Saturn and Pluto currently are transiting. This pair is even more significant in world affairs. My favorite example is the American Revolution, which is what happened the last time Saturn and Pluto were in mutual reception. There was definitely a whole lot of breaking down there. We’ve got another two years of this influence, and it’s likely that some radical shifts will happen in that time, since Pluto also is in an ongoing square with revolutionary Uranus through 2015.

On Wednesday, Mercury conjoins Venus, and throughout the week, they each conjoin Chiron, sextile Pluto, and trine Saturn. The involvement of Mercury and Venus bring the transformative power of Saturn and Pluto down to a personal level. Again, I expect that the more creative among you will find major inspiration this week, and the ideas that come to you should be useful. Pisces has a reputation for being a poet, a dreamer, and an escapist. With powerful aspects to Saturn and Pluto, dreams can become reality, and even escapist tendencies could produce something of lasting value.

For me, creativity is definitely highlighted, and Mercury’s retrograde, combined with an overflow of Pisces, seems to be carrying me on an enlightening journey back through time. But I’m finding that this time is best spent working in solitude, one of the key traits of Pisces. Where communications are particularly sensitive and vital to the success of a project, I’ve deferred further activity until the end of the month.

In celebration of Mercury, I leave you with a new NASA video created from images from the MESSENGER spacecraft, including the one above. Please note that this is not the actual color of Mercury. Still, it’s pretty darn cool.

Much love and courage to all,
Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat