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January 2015

26 January 2015 – Mercury up to his tricks, your survival kit and Venus’ new cycle

The Astrology Blog – 26 January 2015

All times stated are in GMT

The current astrological backdrop is the phenomenon of retrograde Mercury. In astronomical terms planets don’t of course literally stop in the sky and start reversing but, there are periods of time, as seen from our position on planet Earth, when they appear to do so.

Mercury turns retrograde three times a year for three weeks at a time. Each year the event takes place in signs of the same element. Last year it was the water signs – so in 2014 Mercury turned retrograde in Pisces, Cancer and Scorpio – and this year it’s the air signs. So, in 2015 Mercury’s retrograde periods occur in Aquarius, Gemini and Libra. (In 2016 the event will take place in the earth signs).

The elements hold a wealth of symbolism, especially in terms of personality type. For now, understanding the elements in terms of retrograde Mercury, Jung is a great place to start. His four psychological functions of the psyche correlate to the four elements;

• Fire – Intuition (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius)
• Earth – Sensation (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn)
• Air – Thinking (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius)
• Water – Feeling (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces)

Fire and Water types find meaning through what may be termed non – rational information (eg hunches or visions, the sixth sense, “I just know” answers, how something feels).

Earth and Air types find meaning through what may be termed rational information (eg what the five senses tell us about concrete reality, facts and figure, logic, what makes sense).

This is not determined just by Sun sign, so you will need to look at your personal planets (Sun through to Saturn) to see the distribution of elements and find which one is dominant for you. In particular, look at the sign of your natal Mercury – planet of the mind and all its functions.

Remember that if you don’t know the sign and position of your natal planets you can find them here in a matter of seconds – just tap in your date, place and time of birth –

http://www.alwaysastrology.com/birth-chart-calculator.html

You will see the visual of your horoscope, all the planets positioned on a wheel. By hovering your mouse over the glyph (symbol) for each planet you’ll be able to see which planet it is, what sign it is in and what degree of that sign it holds.

Mercury retrograde in Aquarius

Aquarius is ruled by both Saturn and Uranus and is the sign of fixed air, ruling groups, the collective, organizations, human rights and ideology. In terms of personality characteristics Aquarius is traditionally described as cool, objective and systematic, always looking to the good of the whole rather than favouring the individual. When Mercury reverses through a sign the qualities of the sign can also be reversed or taken to the wrong kind of extreme.

In the world – the symbolism of Mercury reversing through Aquarius was probably best captured by the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (died of a lung infection, Mercury rules the lungs) and buried in an unmarked grave with no public display of grief – as tradition demands. His heir King Salman (Sun and Mercury in the other Saturn sign of Capricorn) immediately announced that he would be adhering to traditional policies. In other words, he’s a strict traditionalist who will abide by the old ideology. The BBC reported:

“In Saudi terms, King Abdullah was a reformer, making princes pay their phone bills and giving women their first ever seats in the high-level consultative council. The new King Salman, a staunch conservative, has put paid to any thoughts of radical reforms on his watch with his first speech as monarch.”
In real terms any move towards reform has already been suppressed. The deputy Middle East director of Human Rights Watch, Joe Stork, said that after 2011, the “authorities subordinated the king’s reform agenda to a campaign to silence peaceful dissidents” (BBC) and Amnesty International spokesman Neil Durkin immediately moved to set the record straight, describing Abdullah’s human rights legacy as “disastrous”.
So this is not encouraging news for human rights and my heart sinks for Raif Badawi, whose case I discussed last week. However, it was also reported last week that Saudi Arabia leaders were not prepared for the international outcry that his story provoked. To be disorientated by people or matters beyond the recognized parameters of personal or cultural understanding is text book symbolism for Mercury retrograde in Aquarius and we can only wait and see what transpires when Mercury turns direct again (11 February).

If you missed last week’s blog and would like to add your voice to the petition for Raif Badawi here’s the link again –
Amnesty International
https://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions/saudi-arabia-free-raif-badawi-flogged-blogger

I could also talk about the elections in Greece but to do that justice would take up too much time and space! In brief, again the symbolism fits, as Mr Tsipras has “vowed to reverse many of the austerity measures adopted by Greece since a series of bailouts began in 2010” and to renegotiate the debt. The election results reflect a mass rebellion, the voice of those sick of being taxed on every single Euro when the national average wage is only 600 Euros a month.
From politics to the personal – Regular readers will be familiar with my survival check list for these times – and I’ll repeat it later – but it begins with the idea of operating by “re” words – review, revise, rethink and so on. Mercury is very much linked to psychology and I’ve just re-read an old favourite called “Love’s Executioner and Other Tales of Psychotherapy” by Irvin Yalom. He’s a superb writer and psychotherapist. The worlds of astrology and psychotherapy overlap all the time and, keeping with the theme of retrograde Mercury, I was struck anew by how he describes the battle of understanding as the essence of the human condition, and how he works with the paradox that this is a battle that can never be won –

“The enabling relationship always assumes that the other is never fully knowable.” (p185)

And how the psychotherapist’s task is the same as the astrologer’s, that is, the challenge of decoding –

“…there is the barrier between image and language. Mind thinks in images but, to communicate with another, must transform image into thought and then thought into language. (Much is) lost when image is crammed into language.” (p180)

So, even if we think we know someone inside out, the truth is that we don’t. Like trying to communicate a dream, the attempt to unpack astrological symbolism will always – somewhere, somehow – fall short of the mark. Yet astrology is its own international language – as above, so below – and whatever retrograde Mercury may symbolize for you, however he may be showing, will nevertheless be most obvious in the first half of this week as he repeats the aspect to Uranus that was first formed on 14 January –

Wednesday retrograde Mercury sextile Uranus (05.04)

The third and final sextile will be on 1 March so we still have a long way to go but often this middle transit is a powerful one. Sit up and take notes with regard to anything important to you. I mentioned a couple of weeks back that Mercury turned retrograde opposite my Moon and that I would share if it was printable! Well, for the first time ever, I signed up at our local Weight Watchers. This wasn’t a consciously thought out decision (I am predominantly fire, so the idea grabbed me rather than the other way around!) but that was how the symbolism played out. The Moon is very much linked to image, a woman’s relationship with her femininity, and although I’m not hugely overweight I’d love to lose some of the winter flab in time for swimsuit days, which will be here again before we know it. I thought I’d find being weighed by someone else totally humiliating but I didn’t at all. The leader (who has her Moon in Aquarius) is a natural for running a group (Aquarius), and I was surprised at how quickly I felt the “we’re all in this together” mood and how motivational it is.

I realized too that dieting is in effect a Mercury thing, not so much a Venus (food and pleasures) thing. It’s about attitude. As Sue and I replace our pre dinner almonds and Sauvignon Blanc with carrot sticks and soda water there is no point in whining about it (well, not too much anyway). We couldn’t help but remember one of the funniest pieces of (failed) diet journalism – “I’m sorry, but whoever coined the phrase that nothing tastes as good as thin feels has obviously never melted a Terry’s chocolate orange in the microwave and spread it on toast.” Author unknown, but it sort of sums up the point that you can’t make changes and stay the same!

Another memory – Stephen Sackur (b. 9 January 64, Sun and Mercury in Capricorn, Venus conjunct Saturn in Aquarius) interviewing the director of Weight Watchers on Hardtalk, and getting tough on the concept of the diet industry preying on the weak willed. She replied that he was missing the point – which is “just because something is simple doesn’t mean that it’s easy.” Brilliant.

The Moon also symbolizes other women in our lives. One of my close girlfriends span her car on a wet mountain road – the car was pranged but thankfully she was fine, shaken but not stirred. Suddenly a glut of emails (Mercury as communication, and Aquarius/Uranus ruling technology) arrived from various female friends all in varying forms of crisis.

The next Mercury aspect to look out for is at the end of the week –

Friday Sun conjunct retrograde Mercury (13.46)

This is potentially helpful as Mercury will be “cazimi” at this time, that is, within 17 minutes (of a degree) of a conjunction with the Sun. Cazimi planets are described as being within the heart of the Sun, drawing on that huge power rather than being burned up by it. Symbolically the Sun illuminates so, again, be aware. An insight or new information could be a little gold nugget in terms of understanding or a constructive shift in attitude. Even so do bear in mind that the time is not right for major or final decisions. Tuck those insights or info up your sleeve for now, or think in terms of setting wheels in motion rather than end results. Also this aspect coincides with another one of a different nature –

Friday Mars sextile Pluto (13.37)

The two aspects are literally less than ten minutes (of time) apart which feels intense and hard hitting. Mars and Pluto are a tough double act, even when in a harmonious aspect with each other such as the sextile (2 signs apart), so tread carefully and avoid risk taking. Regrets of any kind will be difficult to put right. However, information at this time may well relate to something coming to an end or something that carries the inevitability factor.

What else is happening? Venus is on the move as she ends her journey through Aquarius –

Tuesday Venus ingress Pisces (15.01)

Venus is said to be “exalted” in the water sign of Pisces. In other words, the Venusian things of life – love, pleasure, sweetness, compassion – can now be expressed through the feeling function rather than the thinking one. Pisces is the sign of mutable water and associated with heightened sensitivity and empathy. However, Venus first of all has to struggle past Saturn and, as I said last week, any squares to Saturn spell “no” –

Friday Venus square Saturn (08.24)

So Venus in tough aspect to Saturn spells denial (including self denial, like dieting!) and invariably brings setbacks, a disappointment, frustration, delays and so on. Venus also rules money so financial restrictions are in there too at the end of the week. The weekend however looks more promising –

Sunday Venus conjunct Neptune (17.37)

So Venus in her sign of exaltation meets up with Neptune in his sign of dignity. In other words, these two planets are both at home in this sign and this is textbook love stuff, (fusion, the urge to merge, idealization) acts of huge kindness or compassion, visions and dreams. However, at a literal level, look out for water related problems! The weather forecast here is awful and we’re going to be deluged over the next ten days, with the heaviest rainfall this coming weekend.

Coming full circle, retrograde Mercury – traditionally “problems with transport and communication” – always carries the message of travel with care, even to the extent of avoiding unnecessary journeys altogether. And here’s the rest of the checklist to bear in mind these next couple of weeks –

• Try to operate by “re” words – review, revise, research, reappraise, rethink and so on
• Write things down – forgetfulness, being distracted, inattention etc can be a troublesome theme
• Getting back to ideas on the back burner
• Getting back in touch
• Rest and relaxation, give the brain some time off
• Keep options open
• Assume nothing, double check everything
• When in doubt, check it out – second hand opinions are a dead cert for getting hold of the wrong end of the stick – and don’t believe everything you hear
• Keep a close watch on all belongings – especially keys or anything linked to communication such as phones, laptops, cameras etc and don’t even think about buying new ones for the time being
• The same for cars – never buy a car under a retro Mercury
• Plan any journey with extra care and don’t trust to luck
• Take extra care with form filling/signing on dotted lines
• Back up all your computer work
• No matter how certain a situation might seem there is a good chance that it will morph into something else over the next couple of weeks – the “x” factor is at work

Stay safe – and patient,
With love from Greece
Joanna

19 January 2015 – New Moon in Aquarius, Mercury rewinding the tape and the voice of Raif Badawi

The Astrology Blog – 19 January 2015

All times stated are in GMT

Astrology works at two levels, the particular – the life of the individual – and the universal – world events. Both however operate on the same symbolic principle of “as above, so below”. In other words, planetary alignments will mirror back to us the matters unfolding in our own life or speak of human evolution on a much bigger scale. In fact, traditional astrology goes so far as to say that an earthly event cannot happen unless and until it is indicated by celestial activity, that there is a time for everything, and everything happens at its appointed time.

With Mercury poised to turn retrograde this week we can expect to feel frustration with a seemingly chaotic world or we may feel that we are up against bad timing so, at some level, it’s quite comforting to know that, as far as astrology is concerned, there is no such thing. There is only timing. More about retrograde Mercury in a while but let me start with a quick recap of last week when I talked about the importance of the aspect of Mercury in Aquarius sextile Uranus, the modern planet that is co-ruler of this sign –

Uranus picking up aspects from the personal planets travelling through his own sign heightens the Uranian themes (the unexpected, rebellion and spontaneity) … (Mercury’s) events are currently part of a sequence – even if they don’t seem like it at the time. Because of Mercury’s backwards and forwards movement to come, there will be some “to-ing and fro-ing” going on… it doesn’t mean that life will completely unravel – it simply means that there is a lot more to come. Mercury will repeat the sextile to Uranus on 28 January and 1 March.

In terms of world events this astrology reflects the dominant and ongoing stories of Charlie Hebdo and Raif Badawi. Mercury is communication – in all its guises. He is the voice, not just of an individual but of a nation or a generation – such as of a newspaper or of a key individual. Being expressed through Aquarius, sign of groups, the collective, organizations, human rights and ideology, and working hand in hand with Uranus, the anarchist and New Age planet, we reach this highly sensitized moment in time in which strongly held beliefs of different factions result in explosions and conflict of the worst kind.

The Mercury – Uranus alliance is the astrological “signature” both for the events themselves but possibly even more so for the public outcry and for mass support. The first edition of Charlie Hebdo to be published since the attack on its office sold out within minutes of hitting news-stands, with buyers including Air France who purchased 20,000 copies to distribute free to passengers at Orly and Charles de Gaulle airports.

We are being reminded that the voice (Mercury) of the collective (Aquarius/Uranus) does make a difference. This didn’t happen fast enough for Raif Badawi but nevertheless his story is thankfully hitting headlines worldwide. I can’t remember the last time a story – for want of a better word – affected me this deeply and I’ve wept for his suffering and his staggering courage. This human rights atrocity is utterly heart breaking and gut wrenching. For his on line forum to encourage debate on religious and political matters in Saudi Arabia, with the right to believe or not to believe, and the right to freedom of expression, lying at the heart of his work, he faces barbaric consequences.

As a fellow blogger I write what I want to write, I may sometimes edit things if I sense the need to be careful, but the point is that I don’t have to. People might disagree with me, they might even think that I’m nuts, but nobody is going to arrest me. In other cultures and in other times the promotion of astrology would be an extremely dangerous act and reason to be the victim of a witch hunt (heresy/apostasy). Raif’s story strikes at something very deep within me and the anguish of his family is simply unimaginable.

Raif’s case has this week been passed by the royal office to the Supreme Court in Saudi Arabia but I hope that with the ongoing Mercury – Uranus alliance and with Mercury turning retrograde (the appeal) that the public outcry will continue as this is the only way to bring as much attention to him as possible. Raif Badawi’s natal Mercury btw is at 0 degrees of Capricorn, and also “stationary direct” (ie he was born just as Mercury had switched from retrograde to direct). This is very powerful –

• 0 degrees is a “critical degree” ie symbolically weighty for change and new chapters
• The change of direction from backwards (retrograde) thinking to forwards (direct) thinking underlines his spiritual role as the voice (Mercury) that challenges the hierarchy/tradition (Capricorn)

It’s a role that comes at a massive personal cost but the current shockwaves could be far reaching. I personally believe that he is a very old soul.

I don’t normally use this blog as any kind of platform but I feel so strongly about this man that I make no apology for doing so this week. I usually rely on Avaaz for the links to petitions but I’ve been unable to find one. I’ve written to them asking why they don’t appear to be publicizing Raif’s case – but if you have a link that I’ve missed, please do forward it. In the meantime, if you feel as strongly as I do, I beseech you to add your name via these organizations –

Change.org
https://www.change.org/p/free-and-safeguard-the-liberal-saudi-raif-badawy-no-600-lashes/share?after_sign_exp=default&just_signed=true
Amnesty International
https://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions/saudi-arabia-free-raif-badawi-flogged-blogger

You can also like Raif Badawi’s Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/raifofficialpage

So, back to this week and staying with Mercury –
Wednesday Mercury switches to retrograde (15.55) at 17 degrees of Aquarius
This phenomenon, when Mercury appears to be moving backwards through the heavens, occurs three times a year for three weeks at a time. Traditional astrology gives primarily “problems with communication and transport” – which has been proved right to me over and over throughout the years, Mercury being the winged messenger of the gods – but this is a huge umbrella for many other issues that beset us when Mercury the mind planet goes into mischief mode. I am always threatening to retire to bed and read books for these periods but of course life goes on! Note that Mercury is now stationing (getting ready to turn) so vigilance starts from the beginning of the week (my first downfall being the discovery of forgetting to pay my car tax when getting back from the UK after Xmas, with my head full of other things, the penalty for which is having to pay double and there is no way around it…)

Regular readers will be familiar with my survival check list, which I’ve updated here –

• Try to operate by “re” words – review, revise, research, reappraise, rethink and so on
• Write things down – forgetfulness, being distracted, inattention etc can be a troublesome theme
• Getting back to ideas on the back burner
• Getting back in touch
• Rest and relaxation, give the brain some time off
• Keep options open
• Assume nothing, double check everything
• When in doubt, check it out – second hand opinions are a dead cert for getting hold of the wrong end of the stick – and don’t believe everything you hear
• Keep a close watch on all belongings – especially keys or anything linked to communication such as phones, laptops, cameras etc and don’t even think about buying new ones for the time being
• The same for cars – never buy a car under a retro Mercury
• Plan any journey with extra care and don’t trust to luck
• Take extra care with form filling/signing on dotted lines
• Back up all your computer work
• No matter how certain a situation might seem there is a good chance that it will morph into something else over the next couple of weeks – the “x” factor is at work

As I said last week also note that if you have natal planets at or close to 17 degrees of any sign – but especially Aquarius or the opposite sign of Leo – then Mercury’s turnaround is likely to be especially significant for you.

Remember that if you don’t know the sign and position of your natal planets you can find them here in a matter of seconds – just tap in your date, place and time of birth –

http://www.alwaysastrology.com/birth-chart-calculator.html

You will see the visual of your horoscope, all the planets positioned on a wheel. By hovering your mouse over the glyph (symbol) for each planet you’ll be able to see which planet it is, what sign it is in and what degree of that sign it holds.

What else is happening this week?

Tuesday Mars conjunct Neptune (00.10) at 6 degrees of Pisces

Mars entered Pisces last week and made a square to Saturn. I urged everyone to look where they were going as Pisces rules the feet! Sure enough a friend of mine emailed to say that she’d forgotten the advice and, right outside her own home, while looking up at the sky, she tripped and had a really nasty fall that put her out of action for days. Pisces and Neptune between them also rule the sea and all things marine/watery. Squares to Saturn spell “no”. I discovered that the local spa has decided to close until April – and it’s one of only 2 heated pools on the island where I live. I’m finding out about the other one, so I expect that I’ll get news about that tomorrow and I can arrange to start swimming again, Mars being movement and exercise!

On a more serious note Mars is a malefic and Pisces/Neptune both belong to the 12th house of the horoscope, the “vale of tears”. Look out for your Piscean friends. Listen out for news of someone in grief. Do not, under any circumstances, drink-drive or get in a car with anyone over the limit. Drugs are in there too so be careful with medication. With Mercury also turning around second opinions for any health issue are well worth the trouble.

A retrograde Mercury often spells deception of some kind – everything from the kindest of white lies to deliberate misrepresentation – and the Mars/Neptune get together also carries an element of confusion or illusion. So this is something of a double whammy and if you think something is not adding up then you’re probably right, it isn’t, and you’ll need to find out why. If you have a regret that’s weighing heavily on your heart then you also need to look more deeply at this and work out if you can put it right, or how you can leave it behind you. Remember though that final decisions or resolution will be most effective, or possible, when Mercury turns direct again in three weeks time.

Within hours of the Mars – Neptune conjunction we also have –

Tuesday Sun ingress Aquarius (09.44)
New Moon (13.00) at 0 degrees of Aquarius

This is interesting to me as this New Moon is part of a highly unusual sequence. We have three New Moons in a row that all fall at 0 degrees of their sign. Astronomically this means that the Moon, who zips through all 12 signs every month, actually enters the sign at the same time as the Sun three months running –

22 December New Moon at 00.06 Capricorn
20 January New Moon at 00.09 Aquarius
18 February New Moon at 00.00 Pisces

Here we are again, back to the point of any astrological events being especially powerful when they occur at 0 degrees. This means that they occur at the very beginning of their sign – and especially with New Moons, it doesn’t get more “new” than that. If you have any planet in your own horoscope positioned at 0 degrees of any sign you will find that this planet symbolizes something/someone very special or powerful for you. Events that unfolded on or around 22 December may prove to be the first link in a chain of change.

So – New Moons, new brooms that sweep clean, the seed moment of new ventures, jobs, desires, relationships and so on. In Aquarius – refer back to earlier in the blog for all the Aquarian issues, but you can also add friends and colleagues. Any new contact made this week will be someone with a major role to play or from whom you could learn a great deal. This 0 degrees of Aquarius New Moon is also fantastic for starting things in relation to technology – but with the proviso that you remember that Mercury is up to his tricks in the same sign! But I do like this combination for “back to the drawing board”. With the 0 degree theme ongoing – brand new – some resolutions or insights could even be life changing.

Pay special attention to events that unfold towards the end of the week –

Friday Sun sextile (harmonious) Saturn (05.25)

This is the Sun’s first aspect after moving into Aquarius. It’s harmonious and also powerful by virtue of the fact that Saturn is the traditional ruler of Aquarius (Capricorn being his other sign, Uranus being the modern co-ruler of Aquarius). This aspect is good for “getting your act together” and dealing with life’s practicalities. Saturn smiles on anything that is connected to work, effort, self discipline and clear boundaries. Saturn is Lord of Time – he likes organization, rules, deadlines and timetables.

For more personal issues this aspect is not quite so friendly. The Sun is in “detriment” in Aquarius (as the Sun rules the opposite sign of Leo) and finds it hard to shine in this sign of fixed air. Saturn has the upper hand in this alliance and, along with Mercury rewinding, look out for over thinking or over rationalizing. Saturn also prefers “should” to being sympathetic. Such issues may characterize a relationship or situation that needs careful handling, a lot of thought or a reappraisal of where your duties really start and stop. The Sun in Aquarius is dispassionate/objective (the Sun in Leo is passionate/subjective) so for now it may pay to take the emotion out of the picture and focus on your understanding.

This is by no means an easy time of the year but it could be an intriguing one, and one you may look back on as pivotal. In essence, it feels to me as if the challenge is to keep our head out of the clouds and our feet on the floor, while in pursuit of or staying true to that which enlivens the spirit rather than deadens it. Wishing you happy balancing acts!

With love from Greece
Joanna

12 January 2015 – Mars/Saturn roadblocks but Uranus keeps the sparks flying!

The Astrology Blog – 12 January 2015

All times stated are in GMT

Mars takes the lead at the beginning of the week, leaving the air sign of Aquarius and entering the water sign of Pisces. As Mars has a two year cycle his travelling speed is roughly double the time of the Sun, so the last time he was in Pisces was February 2013. He’ll be travelling through this sign from now until 20 February:

Monday Mars ingress Pisces (10.21)

What does this suggest? Mars is the god of war and is therefore connected with how we deal with the cut and thrust of life, how we go into battle and how we get motivated. This new cycle is not exactly what we could call dynamic as Pisces is a very subtle and sensitive energy, much more likely to swim away from any kind of conflict than to enter into it. However, as always with Mars, he is a double-edged sword. In psychological terms Mars in Pisces can be what is called “passive-aggressive”, behavior that is characterized by negativity, indirect or covert hostility and a somewhat helpless resistance to meeting the demands and challenges of day to day life. There is a manipulative streak to the Mars in Pisces combination and game playing, intentional or not, can be a hallmark of relationships or dealings that start at this time. Be aware of those who utilize the victim role to get you to do things for them! Similarly, be careful not to slide into this role yourself if you’re feeling hard done by. Leave martyrdom to the saints.

The best way to capture the positive vibe of this Mars is to think in terms of stealth energy and strategy rather than going in all guns blazing. Empathy is a top must-have too. If you want to improve any relationship, personal or professional, the starting point is to understand what makes someone else tick, to take a moment to look at the world through their eyes. This makes me think of the quote that defines To Kill a Mockingbird, written by Harper Lee, an Aries but with Venus/Uranus in Pisces:

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”

Often those with this natal placing (ie Mars in Pisces in their own horoscope) have an acute understanding of other people’s natures. They operate instinctively or even psychically. In the natural sequence of the horoscope Pisces belongs to the 12th House, the “vale of tears” where we find suffering, seclusion or sacrifice, and those with this Mars usually have some tale from their early life that captures these themes. But whether you have this natal Mars or not the message about climbing into someone else’s skin is the same. Mars in Pisces asks you to take that leap of imagination during the coming weeks (unsurprisingly the sign of Pisces/a strongly placed Neptune are recurrent features of the horoscopes of many actors) and to practice compassion.

Note that Mars’ first aspect is a difficult one –

Thursday Mars square Saturn (06.12)

This is all the more reason not to be in a tearing hurry or to expect too much of others. Saturn loves to block or slam the brakes on, especially by a difficult aspect like the square, so if a wish is denied to you it may help to know that it is being denied for a reason. If a situation is stuck then stand well back and trust that it will sort itself out in due course or that, no matter what you try to do, you’ll only be forcing round pegs into square holes and that you may easily make it worse. There’s no point in charging down a road only to find that it’s a dead end. If you have a disappointment to shoulder or a wound to lick then you may need some seclusion, to shed your tears in private or to come to terms with a personal matter that is hard for anyone else to understand.

At a literal level – look out for problems connected to water (eg plumbing – and do not buy a new washing machine or dishwasher this week!) and watch where you’re putting your feet. That might sound whacky but in the physical body Pisces rules the feet and Mars – Saturn squares are notorious for injuries that slow us down or completely immobilize us.

In the meantime, hurray, there are other more exciting aspects to liven up the week. Uranus – planet of surprises, the unexpected, rebellion and spontaneity – is still on his long journey through the fire sign of independent Aries and was in the news just before Christmas as he turned direct late on 21 December (having been retrograde since July). This event in itself speaks of turnarounds of the dramatic kind, the thing you couldn’t possibly have seen coming or a turn of events that triggers major changes. Uranus turned direct at 12 degrees of Aries so if you have planets at or close to this degree – and especially in the same sign or in the opposite sign of Libra – then this turning point will be especially significant for you.

Remember that if you don’t know the sign and position of your natal planets you can find them here in a matter of seconds – just tap in your date, place and time of birth –

http://www.alwaysastrology.com/birth-chart-calculator.html

You will see the visual of your horoscope, all the planets positioned on a wheel. By hovering your mouse over the glyph (symbol) for each planet you’ll be able to see which planet it is, what sign it is in and what degree of that sign it holds.

So, this week Uranus is back in the news as both Venus and Mercury are currently travelling through Aquarius (the sign co-ruled by Uranus) and both make harmonious aspects to Uranus in the first half of the week –

Tuesday Venus sextile Uranus (20.13)
Wednesday Mercury sextile Uranus (10.26)

Uranus picking up aspects from the personal planets travelling through his own sign heightens the Uranian themes. Venus is primarily the love planet – but she also rules money and all of life’s pleasures – so look out for news in the romance or cash departments. For some this will link back to events that unfolded on or around 21 December. Social events and invites also get a big tick.

Mercury’s aspect to Uranus is more important. As I said last week, with regard to the Mercury – Saturn aspect, Mercury’s aspects at this time are not one offs. This is because Mercury will be turning retrograde next Wednesday and will then be backtracking through Aquarius for three weeks, repeating the aspects to Saturn on 5 February (the week before turning direct again) and then again for the third and final time on 19 February.

Similarly, Mercury will repeat the sextile to Uranus on 28 January and 1 March. What does this signify? Mercury in good aspect to Uranus signals news of the surprising kind, spontaneous decisions and significant communication in all its guises – ie emails, phone calls, messages, news, information, discussions, meetings and so on. However, such events are currently part of a sequence – even if they don’t seem like it at the time. Because of Mercury’s backwards and forwards movement to come, there will be some “to-ing and fro-ing” going on, some details may change, something that you thought was watertight may spring leaks or something that you thought you’d planned or communicated clearly may suddenly become complicated or in need of further discussion. In other words, whatever is supposedly signed or sealed this week is unlikely to stay that way. This isn’t necessarily cause for alarm – it doesn’t mean that life will completely unravel – it simply means that there is a lot more to come.

Mercury is already slowing down and although he doesn’t turn retrograde until next week it’s not too soon to start building in your get out clauses and clocking the nearest exits… in other words, don’t back yourself into any corners or make any huge promises, and remember the right to change your mind. Mercury will turn retrograde at 17 degrees of Aquarius so, as mentioned before in relation to Uranus, if you have planets at or close to this degree – and especially in the same sign or in the opposite sign of Leo – then this turning point will be especially significant for you. I expect I will have major events unfolding over the next month as my natal Moon is 17 degrees of Leo. I’ll keep you posted if it’s printable!

There are no other major aspects in the second half of the week but the next one to note falls on Monday, which means that it will be “applying” (becoming exact) over the coming weekend –

Monday (19th) Venus opposite Jupiter (13.45)

These are the “benefics” – Venus being the lesser benefic, and Jupiter being the greater benefic – and whenever they come together this generally spells good news. Even by an inharmonious aspect this double act is FUN, the opposition signaling possibly of the over the top variety, but if you need to let your hair down then this coming weekend is the time to do it! Recklessness is probably not a good idea but get together with the friends who know how to enjoy themselves, splash out on going to the places you love or on the treats that always make you feel good, or liberate yourself (Jupiter is the freedom fighter) from any oppressive situation while the going is good. In fact, do as much as you can throughout this whole week while the going is good, ie before Mercury starts tying us all in his notorious knots – and I’ll be talking in more detail about this next week.

Until then, with love from Greece,
Joanna

5 January 2015 – Mercury steals the New Year headlines, how to handle the Full Moon

The Astrology Blog – 5 January 2015

All times stated are in GMT

Happy New Year and welcome to the first blog of 2015, and apologies for posting several hours later than usual. Still getting back up to speed after getting back from London – complete with flu bug (didn’t need astrology to predict that one) but also a stack of wonderful memories, connecting with loved friends and making new ones. So it was definitely worth it – even though we got back to Greece in time for New Year’s Eve (my favourite night of the year, you would normally have to put a gun to my head to make me stay in) only to be confined to the sick bay. But the astrology ran like clockwork, especially the predicted Xmas Eve chaos – in the blog I posted before leaving I wrote:

“(Xmas Eve) Disruption is a major theme and Mercury is very much linked to being on the move as he rules all modes of transport. If you’re traveling on that day allow yourself as much time as possible and plan your journey carefully. Leaving anything to the last minute is a dead cert for chaos or stress! Things out of our control are also likely to play a role, such as bad weather or people going down with the flu…”

Our story – Sue by this time was already laid out with full blown flu and bronchitis, her daughter and son in law were due to join us in London on Xmas Eve but ended up having to leave home in the west country much later than planned and, guess what, had gone only about ten miles when a wheel dropped off the car… this meant having to go home again, with gritted teeth mutterings about Jo’s blog, and start again the next day, but it all came together in the end! I hope your own Christmas and New Year tales all had happy endings.

So, onwards into 2015 dear readers! I may have missed the event of NYE itself but I’ve still got the other bug of New Year-itis which I always enjoy. There is something about looking at brand new blank diary pages (call me old fashioned) that fills me with optimism and wonder. Even though astrology gives us a flavor of what is to come the details are yet to unfold. So it seems a timely moment to remember that astrology is not so much clairvoyance as a celestial road map, a guide for the journeys that lie ahead. As with every map, it works when you know how to read it.

This brings us up against the essential difference between signs and symbols. As Jung says, a sign carries an obvious meaning, such as traffic lights signaling stop or go. You don’t have to question what the red or green light might mean, you know automatically and act immediately upon the message. But a symbol “implies something vague, unknown, or hidden from us.” We have to dig a little deeper in order to discover meaning. Dream interpretation is a clear example of the same phenomenon. We can ponder our dreams, we can listen to other’s ideas of what they might mean, we can even consult books that purport to tell the meaning of dreams, but it’s only when you arrive at the right interpretation that the meaning – and the message swimming up from the teeming riverbed of your unconscious – smacks you unmistakably between the eyes. When the symbolism is placed and understood within the context of your own life the unconscious and the conscious connect with powerful effect. It’s that, “I get it now” light bulb moment. And such moments can be life changing.

Astrology also needs our life context so that we can understand how gazing into this huge celestial mirror can reflect our earthly events. It is the astrologer’s job to hold the “as above, so below” principle and to unpack the symbolism of the planets as they travel through the 12 signs of the zodiac and make aspects (alignments) with each other. Astrology works at this universal level – as readers of this blog are always telling me, keep on with the feedback, I love it – but packs an even bigger punch when you see it at work in your own horoscope. For now, the point to make as we sail into this New Year is that tracking the planets maps out the A roads. Looking at your own horoscope is the way to find the B roads, and all those little windy lanes that lead us in interesting directions.

So, what’s happening this week? At first glance, the answer is “not a lot”. There are three astrological events that are all crammed into today and then everything goes rather suspiciously quiet. However, a second glance tells us more as the three events themselves are all weighty ones and will set the tone for many weeks to come.

We start with Mercury’s change of sign as he has now left the watery realms of Pisces and entered the crisp air sign of Aquarius in the early hours of this morning –

Monday Mercury ingress Aquarius (01.09)

Modern day astrology assigns Aquarius as Mercury’s sign of “exaltation” – ie his best possible placing. Traditional astrology gives Virgo and, as regular readers will know, I am a staunch traditionalist, but nevertheless I like this combination. Mercury, planet of the mind, is generally happy in the air signs, element of the thinking function, and Aquarius in particular is associated with brilliance, originality and breaking the mould. This feels like the proverbial breath of fresh air and the seeds of change sown now are destined to germinate and blossom in ways that we can only begin to imagine.

This is because Mercury is going to be in Aquarius for an unusually long time. When this planet is at full speed he can whizz through a sign in two to three weeks but he’s now increasingly slow moving, getting ready to turn retrograde on 21 January. He’ll then be retrograde (appearing to move backwards) for the usual three weeks, turning direct again 11 February and finally moving onto into Pisces 13 March. So instead of the usual few weeks we have Mercury traveling backwards and forwards through the same sign for over two months.

What might this signify? Firstly it suggests that there’s a lot of thinking to be done. If you have changes to make, or if you have a huge workload to tackle, then the next couple of weeks are crucial. Pay very close attention to your ideas and thoughts, or to the person you find stimulating or unusual. This is just the beginning of a chapter that could prove how that special something or someone can make a vital difference. Whatever your New Year’s resolutions might be, including one that might take shape only this week, don’t let it slip through your fingers. Get systematic – Aquarius loves lists – and work out the pros and cons. You might find that you’ll go back to these at a later date and wonder why you thought it was all so simple lol, so note that many things will yet be up for revision, but that’s no reason to drag your feet.

Mercury in Aquarius is also fantastic for technology. At a social or business level now’s the time to get networking, to spruce up your website, find ways to make it work more effectively for you, along with social media of all kinds. Groups figure largely with Aquarius too so hook up with like-minded people and share your ideas. This isn’t just about meeting others on line – find events that are local to you as these will bring you into contact with those who could become firm friends or who may well be inspirational.

Mercury’s long windy journey ahead suggests that the biggest pitfall over the next couple of months is possibly the risk of over-thinking a matter. The fear of failure – or success! – is one that’s well worth examining if you suspect that you might be self sabotaging. Start by remembering that it’s okay to make mistakes, whether you’re regretting one or fearing making one. In fact, it’s more than okay, it’s how we all learn after all. With the love planet Venus also having just entered Aquarius (3 January) this applies to your emotional life too, so stay plugged in to how you actually feel and not to just what makes sense. In other words, be aware of how you may be over rationalizing, or how you may be stuck in some abstract world view that bears no reality to the life you would wish for yourself. Ask yourself lots of questions. The sign of Aquarius is nothing if not curious. The answers might surprise you.

Mercury’s change of sign will be especially significant for you if you have planets in the early degrees of Aquarius or in the opposite sign of Leo. (Quick back to basics, 30 degrees in each sign, so if you have planets at between 0 – 5 degrees of Aquarius these count as the early degrees. Mercury will turn retrograde at 17 degrees of Aquarius so again if you have planets on or close to this degree or in the opposite sign of Leo that turning point is one to clock. But more on that over the next couple of weeks as the moment draws closer.)

Remember that if you don’t know the sign and position of your natal planets you can find them here in a matter of seconds – just tap in your date, place and time of birth –

http://www.alwaysastrology.com/birth-chart-calculator.html

by hovering your mouse over the glyph for each planet you’ll be able to see which planet it is, what sign it is in and what degree of that sign it holds.

Back to the other two events today –

Monday Full Moon at 14 degrees of Cancer (04.54)

Full Moons illuminate and sensitize so, again, if you have planets at or close to 14 degrees of Cancer or in the opposite sign of Capricorn this Full Moon will be especially important for you. Whatever, or whoever, those planets represent in your life will have their moment in the full beam of the Full Moon’s searching spotlight. This can be revelatory or uncomfortable – or both. As ever, Full Moons also spell “lunacy” and are notorious for domestics. This doesn’t necessarily mean of the screaming and shouting kind. The water sign of Cancer is introspective so, wherever feelings are running high, there is more likely to be a withdrawing into the shell, a noticeable moody or broody feel, a sense that someone is not being open or is avoiding intimacy. And/or look out for family or property situations reaching a milestone. If you’re buying or selling this Full Moon is great for completion, finding the right buyer/seller, or finding the property that has your name written all over it.

The third and final event of the day features Mercury again –

Monday Mercury sextile (harmonious) Saturn (22.22)

Mercury in good aspect to Saturn augurs well for firm decisions, agreements, putting things down in black and white, establishing your goal posts and mapping out work that is governed by deadlines. Just be careful not to bite off more than you can chew! As Mercury will be turning retrograde in a couple of weeks time this aspect to Saturn is not a one-off. Mercury will come back and repeat this aspect on 5 February (the week before turning direct again) and then again for the third and final time on 19 February.

Mercury – Saturn aspects are normally conclusive but, because of the backwards and forwards movement to come, there will be some element at work that will make you realise at a later date that something was not as cut and dried as it seemed. Or, you may already realise that a situation is not going to be as easy as you would wish, and the February dates are ones to circle for an ongoing debate, project, plan etc when you’ll be looking at matters in the light of new information or having to rework things in a way that you couldn’t have anticipated earlier. Saturn is Lord of Time itself – and he’s also a “malefic” – so be prepared for “bad timing”, don’t over commit yourself, or accept that a heartfelt wish is one that cannot be instantly gratified. However, whatever your main concern may be at the moment, the bigger picture suggests that it will be worth the effort and the wait. It’s a good time to remember that success usually comes after hard work and not the other way around!

To finish, one other minor event that will be visible in the sky is the monthly Moon – Jupiter conjunction. This one falls within three days of the Moon being full so – pray for clear skies – and look upwards on Wednesday night. The conjunction at 21 degrees of Leo is exact in the early hours of Thursday (05.08) and you’ll see Jupiter blazing away next to the moon. That’s the time to make your New Year’s wish as Jupiter the “Greater Benefic”, Lord of opportunity, good fortune and all things good for us. Wishing you a happy, healthy and productive start to the New Year,
With love from Greece

Joanna x

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