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January 2016

25 January 2016 – Mercury marks the “real” New Year, why midweek is special – and RIP to Mike


The Astrology Blog 25 January 2016

Followers of astrology will know that today marks the important event of Mercury switching to direct motion after three weeks of being retrograde. Not blogging for the past two weeks is one showing of the communication planet being awol, and on this occasion it’s been for the saddest of reasons as my adored brother in law Mike passed over on 12 January. There probably isn’t a single person reading this who hasn’t experienced a bereavement so you don’t need me to describe the tsunami of grief.

Sue was with him right up until the end and has allowed me to share her story. Mike drew his last breath at exactly 6am and she told me that something in her, in spite of the months of disbelief and battling to save him, knew that it was exactly his appointed time. “I can’t describe it, other than I felt the click of some cosmic cog, and the moment was done.” Looking at that moment astrologically the Moon was at 18.20 Aquarius – which is exactly the degree and minute of mine and Sue’s natal Chiron, the wounded healer. Make of that what you will but, in my view, her feelings were not imaginary and what she experienced was an expression of some deep connectedness, at many levels. It’s at moments like these that the awe of astrology and the sense of spirit is unmistakable, and brings immense comfort. We miss Mike’s physical presence every second of the day but there’s absolutely no doubt that he’s still around, and we’ve already had several messages in many different ways.

I’ll share my favourite one here. Mike was fantastic with children, and had an impish sense of fun and humour, and never lost that “naughty little boy” inside him. Sue’s daughter had to break the news to her four year old twins and, as she did, there was a noise from Kieran’s bedroom. She went to investigate and found a whole pile of newly washed linen on the floor (it had been stacked on the bed against the wall) and an electronic toy (operated only by remote control) driving itself at full speed around the room. Again, make of that what you will….

What’s happening this week?

All times stated in GMT

Start by noting that if you have natal planets or angles at or close to any of the signs and degrees featuring this week then unfolding events will be especially significant for you. Here are the usual links for checking the position of your own planets and angles:

You can also try this calculator, which lists all your planets and angles rather than bringing up the visual of the horoscope, so for non astrologers it’s easier to use.

Regular readers may also remember that I said at the beginning of the year that 25 January would be the “real” New Year, and it’s finally rolled around. We started 2016 with Mercury stationary retrograde, hence the false start which I know many people have struggled with, and Mercury will make the turn this evening –

Monday Mercury stationary direct at 15 degrees of Capricorn (21.51)

Firstly note that Mercury turns direct conjunct the Fixed Star of Vega, benefic in nature, associated with hope and dignity. At a universal level Capricorn is the sign of purpose, ruling the 10th house in the natural order of things, which symbolizes our goals, aspirations and our path forwards in the world. For me it definitely marks the turning point in terms of picking up work again and starting to plan ahead for media work, the next London workshops and this season’s Summer School. I’ll be getting back to everyone that’s enquired so far this year. Otherwise I have to confess that my inbox is somewhat on overload with unanswered emails, for obvious reasons, and a huge sincere thank you to everyone who’s sent messages of concern.

So look out for your own turning points as this week gets underway but note that we still have some hassles to deal with as Mercury will now repeat the third and final difficult aspects to Pluto and Uranus at the end of the week –

• Saturday Mercury conjunct Pluto (05.53)
• Monday (Feb 1st) Mercury square Uranus (03.42)

Here’s the full sequence –

Mercury conjunct Pluto
• Friday 18 December 14 degrees Capricorn
• Friday 22 January 15 degrees Capricorn (Mercury retrograde)
• Saturday 30 January 16 degrees Capricorn

Mercury square Uranus
• Monday 21 December 16 degrees Capricorn/16 degrees Aries
• Wednesday 20 January 16 degrees Capricorn/16 degrees Aries (Mercury retrograde)
• Monday 1 February 17 degrees Capricorn/17 degrees Aries

So this coming weekend represents the final stages of any ongoing situation that started the week before Christmas, or any matter that still needs further negotiation. It’s the nature of the Uranus – Pluto square to disrupt or cancel things so we’re not entirely off the hook as yet and this week it pays to bear that golden rule in mind – make no assumptions! But in terms of the bigger picture here’s the usual checklist of things to expect as Mercury gets back to business –

• Breaking news, expected or unexpected, that affects us or someone close to us
• Important information comes to light or secrets are revealed
• Light bulb flashes of insight
• We stop talking/thinking about something and realize that we need to make decisions
• People get back to us re decisions
• We get back in touch with someone, or they get back in touch with us
• We feel more courageous or determined to make something happen
• We stop pretending
• We stop avoiding
• We tackle/say the things we’ve been putting off
• We get back to a matter that was first important three weeks ago
• Memory kicks in and we deal with what or who has been off our radar
• Disputes or areas of miscommunication are cleared up
• We find the right person to deal with the problem beyond our own expertise
• Computer glitches/communication technology are solved/sorted
• Rumours are squashed when the truth outs
• We find what we have been looking for – from lost objects to spiritual needs

The end of the week also brings a beautiful and much softer aspect –

Saturday Venus sextile Neptune (16.46)

Venus entered Capricorn on Saturday evening and will be travelling through this sign until the middle of February. This is her first aspect in this sign, happening with Venus at 8 degrees of Capricorn, Neptune at 8 degrees of his own sign of Pisces. This is a classic love and romance scenario, but also fantastic for empathy, understanding, the closeness of friendship and the healing of hurts. It’s also a great aspect for giving love in a constructive and hands on way. There is nothing mushy about Venus (love, money) in Capricorn (realistic, Saturn ruled earth sign). And with Mercury newly direct this rather adds up to the message of putting your money where your mouth is. Words are easy, but real love is effort and going out of our way to provide or offer what is needed.

One other little highlight this week will be the main feature of Wednesday evening –

Thursday Moon conjunct Jupiter (00.12)

The Moon conjuncts all the planets once a month as she travels through all 12 signs every 28 days. The Moon was full yesterday (3 degrees of Leo) so is now waning but will still be bright in the sky late evenings. Look for the dazzling white planet below the Moon – that is Jupiter – and this month’s conjunction falls at 22 degrees of Virgo. In terms of the astrology an opportunity is building, especially for those who are not afraid of hard work (Jupiter is in detriment in Virgo and success won’t be handed over on a plate, but effort will be rewarded if you’re ready and willing to roll up those shirt sleeves) and answers to health issues are also in the making.

For the astronomy go to Bruce McClure’s brilliant website Earthsky as he describes the heavens so clearly and passionately, and tonight (Monday 25th) Jupiter starts what he calls the planet parade as Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, Venus, Mercury all rise one after the other throughout the night:

“If you get up before sunrise, and see all five planets together … that’ll be something special! We haven’t been able to see them simultaneously like this since 2005, 10 years ago.”

Until next week,
With love from Greece

The Astrology Blog 4 Jan 2016 – into the New Year – roadblocks, milestones, turning points – how to map out the road ahead

The Astrology Blog 4 January 2016

All times stated in GMT

Hope everyone had a lovely New Year and welcome to the first astrology blog of 2016. Start by noting that if you have natal planets or angles at or close to any of the signs and degrees featuring this week then unfolding events will be especially significant for you. Here are the usual links for checking the position of your own planets and angles:

You can also try this calculator, which lists all your planets and angles rather than bringing up the visual of the horoscope, so for non astrologers it’s easier to use.

As I flagged up last week it’s not getting off to the easiest of starts as Mercury is in troublemaking mode and poised to switch direction –

• Mercury square Mars (12.01)
• Mercury turns retrograde at 1 degree of Aquarius (13.07)

Note that the square to Mars is the second of three, the sequence being –

• Tuesday 29 Dec Mercury 27 Capricorn square Mars 27 Libra
• Tuesday 5 January Mercury 1 Aquarius square Mars 1 Scorpio
• Saturday 5 March Mercury 29 Aquarius square Mars 29 Scorpio

This signals that this particular “station” (the moment when a planet turns from direct to retrograde, or the other way around) is likely to be characterized by a painful or warring factor. In other words, Mars is in on this act, and is especially powerful at the moment as he too has just changed sign, moving into his own sign of Scorpio yesterday (Sunday 3rd). Also Mercury has only just changed sign (Saturday 2nd) but it’s a false start in terms of new cycles, reaching only 1 degree of Aquarius before turning retrograde, and sliding back into Capricorn later in the week, where he’ll spend the rest of this retrograde period (up until 25 January which, in my view, will be the real New Year as I said last week!).

This might all sound very negative but what’s the upside of false starts? Sue just happened to mention this morning a great quote from Einstein – his definition of “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” When I checked for the exact wording – don’t you just love the internet – loads of other Einstein quotations came up too, and this one is also brilliant for the current astrology – “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

So, Mercury the mind planet switching to retrograde does stop us in our tracks but also stops us from ploughing on regardless with matters that are not working or which are not good for us. If we want different results then we have to do things differently, which is not astrology but science. If we have problems then it’s worth looking at our part in them, how we created or co-created them, even if they do appear to be happening “to us”, which is not astrology but psychology. The beauty of astrology is the “as above, so below” principle which is like a huge cosmic mirror reflecting these truths back to us.

Top of the advice list are the “re” words – revise, review, rethink – and to remember the right to change your mind. Similarly, if someone else changes their mind about something that affects you then now’s the time to give in with good grace rather than getting into a fight. The rest of this week’s aspects support the astrological view of a bigger picture currently besieged by roadblocks or even dead ends, the unexpected, catalytic events and turning points. Here’s the sequence –

Tuesday Venus square Neptune (14.35)

Venus entered fiery Sagittarius last week but her first aspect is this difficult one to Neptune – this is like looking through a rainy window, everything misty and foggy, especially in relation to love and money matters. Above all, especially with Mercury newly retrograde, don’t kid yourself about anything. Check out your facts.

Wednesday Sun conjunct Pluto (03.27)
The Sun’s conjunctions with the outer planets are annual events. This year the Sun catches up with Pluto at 15 degrees of Capricorn which is the position of a fixed star called Vega. As with all the fixed stars there’s a great deal of conflicting information with regards to their symbolic meaning but from a star catalogue compiled by The Traditional Astrologer, “Usually considered benefic, bringing refinement, hope and idealism.” That would seem to be the best possible interpretation of a conjunction that could otherwise be considered as malefic – the Sun being the life force but Pluto being endings, sometimes total and sometimes of the death/rebirth variety. But the conjunctions are variable when it comes to interpretation and I’ve often seen the union of Sun-Pluto in natal charts, in any sign, as denoting powerful Scorpio-type personalities, those who are resourceful in the extreme and who are capable of bouncing back from events that would flatten others.

Thursday Sun square Uranus at 16 degrees of Aries (12.23)
There is no such uncertainty about squares to Uranus! Although the huge Uranus – Pluto square is now separating they are still in very tight aspect to each other (only 1 degree apart) so, as the personal faster moving planets catch up with them, the square is brought back into play. Squares rock the boat, probably more than oppositions, and Uranus just loves to toss a firecracker into the mix. So midweek events are volatile and could bring aftershocks.

Friday Jupiter turns retrograde at 23 degrees of Virgo (04.41)

Jupiter spends 12 months travelling through each sign, turns retrograde once a year for four months at a time and moves back ten degrees of whichever sign he’s in.

So if you have planets or angles at 23 Virgo (the sign and degree of turning retrograde) this “station” will mark a turning point for you, and if you have planets or angles at 13 Virgo (the sign and degree of turning direct in May) then that station will also mark a major milestone on your life journey. Universally Jupiter turning retrograde doesn’t clang as many alarm bells as Mercury, but Jupiter issues are likely to be slower moving, up for review or more complex than anticipated. These include lawsuits and all legal concerns, anything linked to higher education, travel or matters related to overseas or foreign contacts. I’m really looking forward to May! 13 Virgo is my Midheaven (career and vocation) and Jupiter turning direct marks the beginning of this year’s summer season and the first courses at The Greek Island Summer School. Jupiter’s retrograde period therefore fits perfectly into my longer term view and work plan as my focus for the next four months will be to beaver away on marketing, talking to those of you want to come and study, and finding the best travel bargains for flights or packages. As some of you will know Lefkada is effectively “shut” for the winter, the airport closes to international flights at the end of October each year and then reopens at the beginning of May. So Jupiter turning around on my Midheaven as the new season kicks off and the airport reopens bodes well for a great season to come.

Jupiter rules luck and opportunity, and loves sowing seeds. Note that in traditional astrology terms he is currently in his sign of detriment (being in dignity in Virgo’s opposite sign of Pisces) so it pays to roll up your sleeves and work harder at the things you want to achieve, especially the things that you know will take several months to cook. Forget fast food! Virgo is the perfectionist and grafter of the zodiac – and likes to be fed carefully selected and super healthy produce…

Bear in mind that Mercury also slips back into Capricorn on the same day, as noted earlier, another earth sign also associated with a huge work ethic but also with definite goals, ambitions and empire building. So these next few months will be vitally important if you’re self employed or if you have a personal project to materialize.

Saturday Venus conjunct Saturn at 12 degrees of Sagittarius (04.12)
Having struggled through the square to Neptune earlier in the week Venus now meets up with Saturn. (So Venus is playing into the Saturn – Neptune square which is a backdrop until the beginning of September). I’d like to put a positive spin on this but let’s keep it real – as Saturn likes us to do. Venus is the love, pleasure and money planet, Saturn is work, barriers and delays – or just plain NO. As this aspect is exact in the early hours of Saturday then it’s at its most potent on Friday evening, so plan things carefully if you’re heading for a night on the town. This aspect is classic for cancellations or disappointments – don’t trust to luck in any shape or form – and make transport arrangements a top priority. Also check out costs before you commit to a club/restaurant etc.
Also on the money front look out for throwing good money after bad. Saturn says there has to be a limit.

Single? Guard against the Big Obsession or getting involved with anyone who’s unavailable. This isn’t to say that things won’t work out eventually but any kind of fraught love situation is going to get a lot worse before it gets better, and could come with heavy price tags. You’ll have to decide if these are prices worth paying. If you’re already battling with disillusionment this will weigh heavy on your heart, no way around it, but if you already know that you’re being distanced/it’s the end of the road then it’s better to get out now rather than live for a dream that is never going to make you happy.

The same could be said for the New Moon –

Sunday New Moon at 19 degrees of Capricorn (01.32)
New Moons, new cycles, but note that this one falls in alignment with the Uranus – Pluto square, ie conjunct Pluto and square Uranus, so look out for echoes of themes that started earlier in the week. In other words, new beginnings come along just as the heavens are already on overload with major aspects and turning points. For some new cycles will start with a decision to break with the past – such as a job, a relationship, where you live, and so on.
Remember that Capricorn is the ultimate realist of the zodiac but loves a project. If you’re shaking off the old it’s vital to set yourself new goals, no matter how small. In essence, it’s a momentous week, and we may well look back on the events now unfolding and see that they were even more important than we realized at the time. Tap into those survival skills – look after yourself, get plenty of sleep and be tough when you have to be!

Until next week, with love from Greece

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