Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Depression and the Current Astro Conditions

One aspect of the Full Moon mutable Grand Cross coming up December 12 that I didn't mention in the "Friendly Reminder" was depression. This is Saturn's influence, but it is also quite common with the Virgo - Pisces polarity. Having to face the reality of the situation on Planet Earth (Virgo) and do our thing in the denser material realms can weigh heavily on us at times. The contrast between our spiritual ideals and our Earthly reality (not just personally...the planet as a whole) can cause some sadness, tiredness and all-around depression.

At the same time, everything is changing, and we are saying goodbye to old structures and ways of living/being. It's kind of like an old relationship that has run its course - no matter how much you want to move on, there is still a little sadness when the end comes.

I've been waking up in the morning not wanting to get out of bed. Even to make it through my daily routine seems a bit of a miracle! Everything feels heavier and more of a drag than usual.

These themes are prevalent generally for anyone who has a prominent natal or transitting Saturn and for people with strong Virgo - Pisces polarity action in their charts (me).

But the current astro conditions - including that upcoming Full Moon mutable Grand Cross - show that this energy is out there for everyone.

The current Saturn in Virgo - Uranus in Pisces opposition (ongoing for the next two years) can dig up some of this depression, weight, and difficulty. Constantly being challenged to apply our spiritual consciousness in the day-to-day, while aware of all the parts that require attention and of how much work there is yet to do, can weigh us down.

Our old conditions, old routines, old structures are coming to an end, but we're still sort of hauling our butts through them, waiting, waiting...(Saturn)

Some have been consciously waiting for years/decades.

So to continue doing our day-to-day while all this other stuff is going on can seem like cruel and unusual punishment.

Saturn is also getting ready for its retrograde (beginning December 31) and is just starting to slow down, making it an even more concentrated and heavy presence than usual.

I think the way to successfully navigate is to accept (Pisces) that we're feeling a little down and just love ourselves through it. The worst thing for me is to pathologize things like depression - which I think is par for the course on Planet Earth 2008. So accepting the condition of depression as something that is meant to keep you safe - by slowing you down, grounding you, keeping you in touch with your inner guidance - can help. Listen to what this state is trying to tell you. For me, resisting and making it into something that is "wrong" just worsens the situation.

Basically, we are challenged to be very precise right now (Saturn in Virgo). We have to live our day-to-day lives consciously in order to bring the changes in. Routines can get to the point where they are unconscious, just something we do, and we can't fall into that right now.

So I think being held back and slowed down a bit is in our best interests. We have to get out of the way sometimes to let the Universe do its thing (while still doing our part, of course), and this is one of those times.

Don't force, don't pretend. Just be where you are and things will continue to move.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Friendly Reminder Leading up to Mutable Grand Cross Full Moon

So there is a lot of buzz in astrology circles about the Full Moon this Friday, Dec. 12 at 9:37 a.m. MST. And well there should be.

(Not to mention that 12.12 has a numerology tie-in.)

We've got planets in all four mutable signs squaring off in a cross configuration - spelling change on a massive scale brought about through tension and struggle (does change ever happen any other way? Sigh). This is a big transitioning time...leaving the structures of the past behind on our way to creating something new and better.

The planets involved are Saturn in Virgo opposite Uranus in Pisces (which are in an on-going set of oppositions bringing revolutionary change to our structures, creating holistic health and a world in which we ALL want to live). The Sun, Moon and Mars in horizon-expanding, truth-seeking Sagittarius form the T-Square.

The Full Moon on the 12th is in Gemini at 21 degrees, and it forms the fourth leg, changing the mutable T-Square into a mutable Grand Cross. (Reminder - Full Moons happen when the Moon is directly opposite the Sun, so the Sun in Sagittarius will be opposite the Moon in Gemini at 21 degrees of the signs...forming squares to both Saturn in Virgo (exact at 21 degrees) and Uranus in Pisces at 18 degrees.)

That Gemini Full Moon is ruled by Mercury, which enters Capricorn just hours before the Full Moon and conjuncts Pluto in Capricorn at 1 degree two hours after (11:43 a.m. MST).

I wrote about all this in December's Astro Perspective, but here is a recap friendly reminder related to navigating these energies:

There is a lot of tension right now with the "powers-that-be" (Capricorn). They can see things are changing drastically, which can lead to grasping at the old structures that are falling away and to new strategic moves designed to keep power...which can lead to a lot of angry, irrational, unjust and just plain mean interactions.

Definite angst from the Old School Masculine who are becoming aware of the increasing power and influence...and necessity...of the feminine.

Our hierarchical power structures are highlighted, and people will be throwing their weight around if they can get away with it. Our power set-ups are shifting...and we have to roll with it, rather than getting caught up and taken down with the detritus Pluto is digging up.

Communications could be explosive. With Gemini/Mercury/Pluto involved, this is all going to go down in our day-to-day interactions.

This is not the time to take a verbal stand against people who have any kind of structural power over you, unless absolutely necessary. It's a time to, whenever possible, roll with the punches, let everything possible roll off your back (even though they are just so IGNORANT and THOUGHTLESS and have such a SUPERFICIAL perspective on things), and to just BE your truth, rather than spelling it out. There will be a definite subtext. People will know what you're getting at without you having to actually say it. Be safe and own your truth, your perspective, but don't be goaded into saying too much. With Pluto merging with Mercury, the wrong word or tone could be absolutely incendiary. If there is a way to include your perspective without hanging yourself out to dry, go for it. But if you are meeting with resistance and anger, just let it go. It's not worth it to get caught up in the dust of Pluto's raising...

Pluto has been digging up garbage - illegitimacy, lack of responsibility, lack of accountibility, impure motives, etc. within our structural hierarchies. At this point, the people who choose to be aware are aware of this stuff, to different degrees. And the people in power know that we know. It's being brought more and more to conscious awareness, yet it's still somewhat hidden in our day-to-day lives. There's the subtext again. Knowing...but having to play along to a certain extent so as to do what we have to do. This is a time to really watch our Ps and Qs. No sloppy moves they can latch onto. The influence of Pluto will be attempting to draw us into baser dynamics. Watch this closely, and choose not to participate. Keep yourself in check. Don't allow yourself to be triggered by garbage. Don't allow people to play on your emotions. As the structures break down, hold yourself to a higher standard than the powers-that-be do. :)

There is tension and anger seething. Underneath it all, our teeth are bared. Pluto is making us all very aware of abuses of power and of the struggle to throw off the weight of illegitimate authoritarian hierarchy of all kinds.

This is why the mutable energy is so crucial. Got to keep our eyes on the prize - on the knowledge that all this is changing, bit by bit. We don't take it down in one fell swoop...we use the momentum that has been created, we see the changes around the edges, and by living our truth day-to-day, but not partipating in those things that are beneath us, we assist the full-scale change, we help it along.

So pick your shots. Be strategic. And whenever possible, take the lighter path out. Stay aligned with the movement and levity of the mutable signs. Just drop the weight of it all and keep moving.

Two more quick notes leading up the the Full Moon:

The Sun in Sagittarius squares Uranus in Pisces in the early morning of Wednesday, Dec. 10. This brings whatever came up when Mercury squared Uranus on Thurs., Dec 4 to our conscious awareness to be faced.

Mars in Sagittarius squares Uranus in Pisces the next day, Thursday, December 11...this time late at night. The Mars square has a tendency towards battling and unexpected displays of aggression and anger. Yet more angsty energy that we are carrying into that Full Moon.

We've got the luck and faith of Sagittarius/Jupiter on our side, but honestly, it's still going to be dicey. :-P

Good luck to us all on this one!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Pluto in Capricorn - Further Transparency of Collusion at the Top

We're standing at the fence, watching what they're doing back there. Bearing withness for these times...

Today, the CBC and other news outlets are reporting that the Bush Administration warned India in October of a potential attack "from the sea against hotels and business centers in Mumbai."

The unnamed U.S. offical is dropping this information as a "Tsk Tsk" to India, shaming it for its lack of preparation.

Hmm...like the lack of preparation for the 9/11 attacks, mayhaps? Foreknowledge of "terrorist" attacks that are allowed to happen and then used as an excuse to continue brutal foreign policies?

Sound familiar? It's a broken record...

It seems to me the point of leaking this info to the media is to gain further public support for the U.S. gettin' in there and roundin' up those evil terrorists...by any means necessary. This time, the attackers are suspected of coming from Pakistan.

Any why is U.S. influence in Pakistan so important?

Well, in part, it's that pipeline. The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline that will transport oil from the Caspian basin to Pakistan's coast, where tankers will continue its journey to the United States.

From an artcile by Eric Margolis:

"The Caspian basin located under the Central Asian states of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakkstan, holds an estimated 300 trillion cubic feet of gas and 100-200 billion barrels of oil. Securing the world's last remaining known energy El Dorado is a strategic priority for the western powers.

But there are only two practical ways to get gas and oil out of land-locked Central Asia to the sea: Through Iran, or through Afghanistan to Pakistan. Iran is taboo for Washington. That leaves Pakistan, but to get there, the planned pipeline must cross western Afghanistan, including the cities of Herat and Kandahar."

A stable Afghanistan and Pakistan are necessary in order for this pipeline to be successful.

All this to secure a dead energy source? Something it makes no sense (thinking long-term) to pursue to this extent?

This is the insanity of the leadership these days.

As in Canada with the continued development of the Alberta oilsands...environmental devastation and Native people dying of rare cancers from eating toxic fish and game. Wasting massive amounts of water...you know, that stuff we need to live that also has a limit...to separate the oil. (It takes between 2 and 4.5 units of water to produce one unit of oil from the oilsands.) Toxic tailings ponds. Grossness and wastefulness all around.

And don't think the Bush Administration doesn't understand the situation. Securing the oil of the Middle East is just part of the game they're playing for world oil domination. Baby Bush is actually making sure he and his will be nice and safe post-Peak Oil. His Texas ranch is completely off the grid and self-sustaining energy-wise.

From http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/ (thanks, Sabbie Cat):

"For what it's worth, Bush's Crawford ranch has been completely off-the-grid since 2002. The ranch is equipped with the latest in energy saving and renewable power systems. It has been described as an "environmentalist's dream home." The fact a man as steeped in the petroleum industry as Bush would own such a home should tell you something."

So he's going to be fine and dandy. The U.S. and Canada's pursuance of oil at all costs and lack of leadership toward green energy...well, that's going to the be legacy the rest of us have to deal with.

And it seems only logical that the complete chaos that would come from running out of energy with no green power Plan B is all part of the plan for control...

My mind can't fathom any other reason to attempt to force the planet into this kind of (avoidable) crisis...can your's?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Timeline for December's Mutable Squares and Pluto Conjunctions

A lot of squares and a lot of adjusting this month. Here is a breakdown of the mutable squares and conjunctions to Pluto in Capricorn. Check the December Astro Perspective for analysis:

Dec 4 - Mercury in Sag square Uranus in Pisces
Dec 6 - Mercury in Sag square Saturn in Virgo
Dec 10 - Sun in Sag square Uranus in Pisces
Dec 11 - Mars in Sag square Uranus in Pisces
Dec 12 - BIG DAY! Full Moon in Gemini forming mutable Grand Cross, Sun in Sagittarius square Saturn in Virgo, Mercury conjunct Pluto at 1 degree Capricorn
Dec 15 - Mars in Sag square Saturn in Virgo (final mutable square and the effect of the mutable T-Square loosens)
Dec 22 - Sun conjunct Pluto at 1 degree Capricorn
Dec 27 - New Moon in Capricorn
Dec 28 - Mars conjunct Pluto at 1 degree Capricorn

Squares are tense aspects of two very different energies having to deal with each other and work together, but astrology allows us to be forewarned and forearmed about these sometimes sticky aspects.

The conjunctions to Pluto at the beginning of Capricorn can also be difficult, but being aware that certain power struggles and authority issues can arise those days (and become explosive unless negotiated well) does a lot for us.

You can think of the planets in Sagittarius moving to conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn as being in Balsamic phase. Like the Balsamic phase of the Moon each month (or Dark of the Moon). This means that we'll be purging and shedding any remaining Sagittarian issues as the planets pass through the final degrees of Sagittarius and conjunct Pluto in Cap.

These days of ending the old phase (connected to the entire process of Pluto in Sagittarius) are Dec 11, 21 and 27.

Willow's December 2008 Astro Perspective




(Is that a baton in your pocket or are ya just happy to see me?)

Wow, the last week of November was textbook, as far as astrology goes.

Pluto entered Capricorn for it's gut-wrenching 16-year transformation of our power structures November 26.

I had a feeling that its last day in Sagittarius would kick up some Grand Finale violence along religious/cultural lines. And it did – in the form of the attacks in Mumbai, India.

Pluto relates to a level of oppression and the simmering, seething resentment roiling underneath until it erupts to the surface in a volcanic explosion. The attacks, which supposedly targeted Americans and British, could be seen to be related to those feelings of oppressed domination-subjugation along cultural/religious lines. Pluto's transit in Sagittarius brought cultural and religious divisions and the power dynamics around them to to forefront. It also pushed things to a breaking point around intolerance and fundamentalism in all religions. The ugliness simmering underneath got right up in our grills.

Adding to the mix was Uranus, planet of sudden change, upheaval and revolution, which went direct the next morning (Nov. 27). These attacks very much had the Uranian surprise factor. Shocking and surreal. Making us aware of the connection of imperalist governmental policies and retaliatory attacks from people who feel pushed to the very limit. Uranus in Pisces. Nothing exists in a vacuum.

At the same time, there is cloudiness (Pisces) around who is actually at the root of these attacks. Confusion about the facts. There is continued speculation of collusion at the top...with the Americans using attacks like these (as they did with the 9/11 attacks) to further their agenda - as an excuse to continue their brutal foreign policy track and suppression of citizen's rights at home. Obama is certainly setting up a “status quo as you go” government...no regime change there.

In Canada on Thursday (Nov. 27), the Conservative government presented its financial plan (Capricorn territory) in the House of Commons. The Opposition Parties immediately said they would not support it due to its lack of economic stimulus in light of the current world finance meltdown.

Also a point of contention was the Conservatives' plan to stop public subsidization of political parties – a move that would starve its competition of necessary funds. The Conservatives have just been re-elected to their second minority government, and this bold power move did not sit well. The Opposition parties called for a vote of non-confidence, which, if passed, could topple the government. The Conservatives are now in the process of backtracking, perhaps surprised that their ruthless move was met with such immediate resistance.

This is the climate as we enter December. We're all highly attuned to power dynamics related to authority and hierarchy. Going too far with our power simply cannot be tolerated. Nothing is flying under the radar. Strategic moves are out in the open. Pluto brings a quality of do-or-die, all-or-nothing, and people have had enough. There's been enough damage done by the unrelenting quest for more power and more power and more power concentrated in the hands of the few.

(Haha...I just typed “in the nads of the few.” Telling typo there...excessive masculine is one of the things being put in check by Pluto in Capricorn (Capricorn – Cancer polarity)).

It's not just about the interests of the people who hold the power. It's about all of us. Flattening out illegitimate hierarchies till we're all standing on solid ground together as true equals (Aquarius). A new way of wielding power. A new way of governing.

Uranus is very powerful at the beginning of December as it slowly increases speed. Uranus in Pisces is still in mutual reception with Neptune in Aquarius (representing the Pisces to Aquarius paradigm shift) and in opposition to Saturn in Virgo. All this is ongoing for the next two years.

All these houses of cards coming crashing down – the structural hierarchies getting their initial checks from Pluto, which is beginning its work of stripping down illegitmate power dynamics. Like “the economy” and the money system, government is on the agenda of Pluto in a big way.

These are shocking events to some people...but not for those of us who understand Pluto in Capricorn's modus operandi. It's all to be expected. We'll see similar things happening in all our power structures, in all the hierarchies and institutions – police, courts, healthcare, the family unit, etc. How shocking it is is in direct proportion to how much stock you put in the structures to begin with. How much trust you had that the system was just and legitimate and that it was structurally sound.

For me, I've never seen much justice or legitimacy in “the way things are.” I've always found it different levels of intolerable.

The only thing that is somewhat surprising is the rapidity of it all. Pluto is wasting no time. But really, there is no time to waste. The hierarchies, the money system, the merger of government and business, consumer capitalism – these things have gotten so rotten, so poisoned, so far from existing within natural law that we desperately need a good dose of Pluto. The excesses of the financial systems were just begging to be put in check.

As I've said before, Pluto exists in the area of the zodiac where we most need complete core-level change. It's an area that without Pluto's relentless penetration would lead to the extinction of the species. We have to welcome the things it is stripping down, the lack of structural integrity that it is and will continue to bring to light – until no one can avoid it anymore. The Band-Aid needs to come off. Facing the inevitability of the transformation now is like pulling it off in one quick rip. Denying and clinging to what is falling away is pulling it off one hair at a time.

Thank goodness we have three planets in “keep the flame of optimism burning” Sagittarius as we begin the month – the Sun, Mercury and Mars, all travelling in conjunction. Carrying our newly born truth, stripped to its most potent force, lighting the way forward through times of collective anxiety and fear. Doing what Sagittarius always does, but for the first time since 1995, we enter the Sagittarius part of the tropical zodiac without the heavy influence of Pluto. This should add to the Sagittarian glow and joie de vivre this December. Enjoying life – good food, good drink, good friends, good stories – is what Sagittarius loves best, and big, bad Pluto leaving the sign is even more reason to celebrate this holiday season. With the excesses stripped away, hopefully we can celebrate what really matters and infuse our holidays with real meaning – instead of running ourselves ragged buying and getting.

I'm sure the Sagittarian Suns out there are feeling very relieved – even if not consciously. Pluto sort of acts “upon” us over a very long period of time. It is also a generational sign, not a personal one. But still – Pluto is out of tropical Sagittarius for good for our lifetimes, and this has to be felt on a certain level, especially for the Suns. No matter what turmoil Pluto is kicking up in Capricorn, it is always a relief when a planet changes signs. The last degrees are a grind and seem to hold on so long (to me, anyway). But we made it. We've come out of a long, dark tunnel. We've had our faith tested to the very limits, and now we're coming out the other side, changed forever. Sadge Suns really embody that infinite source of optimism and faith in day-to-day life. It's “who they are” in a lot of ways to provide inspiration and a sense of celebration of life for the people around them, especially through tough times. But I'm sure even they were starting to wonder.

To add to the good vibes as December begins, we have a Moon - Venus – Jupiter conjunction in Capricorn December 1. Venus and Jupiter are both feel-good planets. Even in serious Capricorn, these two planets coming together is nice...and beneficial. A burst of expansion in career and public visibility in our chosen fields coming about through relationships. Progress and achievement-related partnerships are at the forefront, which also take our emotional and soul-level needs for recognition and progress into play.

Both Venus and Jupiter in Capricorn are coloured by Saturn in Virgo this month (ruled by and in trine to), and we see that we can continue to expand on the business/career front only in healthy and sustainable ways and only if we come together and balance our needs. The workers hold the key, really. We keep things running.

No surprise unilateral moves to cut off funding from your competitors, Mr. Harper. Not with a precarious minority governement, that's for sure. It's about integrity, all parts working together – not winner-take-all power grabs or cruelty from people in places of authority.

If we face our fears and do what we have to do, taking solid, practical steps (while taking the people around us into consideration), we can make progress this month.

But fear is a big one (Saturn). Fear is especially at the forefront for those who are heavily invested (emotionally and financially) in the continuance of the old structures. As we know by now, the more we try to cling to what Pluto is cutting away, the more brutal the process becomes.

People are scared because what they thought was a sure thing wasn't. The security people were banking on their entire adult lives has evaporated. But I think the Saturnine lesson to take away from this is that nothing is guaranteed in a human lifetime. We can't drag ourselves through mediocre careers that our hearts aren't in, maintaining status quos that aren't in the best interest of the planet, just for the promise of a sweet retirement 25 or 30 years down the road. We have to live in the now. Most of the planet lives day-to-day. The vast majority of people don't know where their next meal is coming from, let alone where they're going to find the funds for a vacation home in Florida. This is another aspect of the great equalization leading into Aquarius, I think.

Again, the level of fear and discomfort is in direct proportion to how much you banked on the security of the capitalist system. For those who have never found that security, adapting to changing conditions should be less brutal.

Adapting to changing conditions is the name of the game this month.

With the Sun, Mercury and Mars in Sagittarius, Saturn in Virgo and Uranus in Pisces, we have a mutable T-Square going on through mid-month at different stages of "exactness".

The mutable signs relate to change, flexibility and adjustment, and that is what we're challenged to stay on top of. It makes perfect sense, as our structures change and transform in dramatic ways.

The personal planets in Sagittarius (first Mercury, then the Sun, then Mars) will square first Uranus in Pisces, then Saturn in Virgo during the first half of the month.

So we've got Uranus in Pisces (vision for the future, dissolution into the spiritual “flow” and higher insight) opposing Saturn in Virgo (concrete, practical, day-to-day, grounded). Our “spacey, wanting to get lost in the vision, sleepy, dreamy” side and our “get your head out of your ass and pay attention - and take some responsibility while you're at it” side tugging at each other and trying to find some sort of happy, balanced medium. This will be playing out in ourselves but also in our relationships, and we need to find that balance so as not to cause a huge amount of stress and strain there. Oppositions can push us to our breaking point if we take staunchly polarized sides, so we have to share the responsibility and the dreamy vision. It's definitely not a good idea to turn one person into the “responsible, detail-oriented” one and the other person into the “dreamy poetic” one. Or any version of that.

So added to that ongoing opposition this month is the personal planets in Sagittarius which want to get beyond that Saturn – Uranus opposition with a broader, more philosophical take on it. They want to know the truth about what is going on.

(Emphasis on holding our personal truth and using it as a guide for navigating these squared-off energies.)

Too bad Uranus has other plans and will throw monkey wrenches into Sagittarius' Grand Truths.

Mercury is out in front of the Sun and Mars in Sagittarius this month and leads the procession into T-Square formation. Mercury in Sagittarius squares Uranus in Pisces December 4. The Sun squares Uranus December 10, and Mars squares Uranus December 11.

We're all made hyper-aware of our cultures and our belief systems during Sagittarius and how those differ from others'. We also want to just shoot our mouths off whenever we feel like it. “That's the truth! Deal with it!” But remember – with all this Sagittarius, we're all going to have this fiesty truth-telling urge. We could go overboard (yes, a Sagittarian concept) and develop foot-in-mouth disease. In fact, this is likely, especially with Mercury and Mars involved. So best to keep that in mind whilst running at the mouth this month.

Uranus throws shocking events our way designed to shake us up, and with the personal planets involved in the squares, these things are going to be happening on a conscious, personal level. A lot of adjustments heading our way! S-t-r-e-t-c-h!!

The Mercury square to Uranus (Dec. 4) will probably take the form of shocking information or ideas designed to do that consciousness-shaking thing. Rattling the cultural truths with new information. The media will probably play a big role here – both the mainstream media and the Internet/indy media offering their perspectives. Taking what's valuable from both will help to create a more well-rounded understanding.

New information/insight will also come through simple day-to-day interactions.

Mercury relates to the human intellect/mind. Uranus is related to flashes of radical, cosmic insight. So this has a feeling of wrapping our brains around these larger ideas of where we're headed on this planet.

When the Sun gets in on the squaring action (Dec. 10), this process filters into our conscious moment and starts colouring who we are and how we express ourselves.

The Mars – Uranus square (Dec. 11) is the one that has the possibility of antagonism and violence. Could be a lot of unexpected anger displays, pushiness, me-first kind of exertion - again squaring that “keep your eye on the prize,” broader view of what is going on right now.

Uranus in Pisces keeps things very surreal-feeling, spacey, floating. It demands an increasing level of detachment and acceptance because of that bizarre “is this really happening?” aspect. Things come out of left field. That meteor that disintegrated over Alberta? Yeah. Kind of like that.

Sagittarius wants to know. It's about understanding the truth of the matter through our experiences on the planet. So you can see how these two energies can clash. Wanting to know the unknowable. Wanting to understand something so “out there” that we can't really understand it until it has run its course...maybe not even then. Exerting a "truth" that is always changing.

Then you've got the squares of the Sagittarius planets to Saturn in Virgo.

Again Mercury leads the way, squaring Saturn in Virgo on December 6. The Sun squares Saturn December 12, and Mars squares Saturn December 15.

With Saturn in Virgo, the focus is on the concrete, the here-and-now, and especially what needs to be done, fixed, improved, dealt with. What details need to be attended to to keep things functioning smoothly. How to receive those sudden Uranian monkey wrenches being thrown into the mix and still manage to put things in order, integrating the chaos and harnessing it. Bringing that Uranian consciousness into how we set up our structures and how we live our day-to-day lives. Making it real, practical and concrete.

The clash with Sagittarius here is that Sadge would prefer to deal with the big picture. It would prefer to expand, branch out, have experiences and just kick back and enjoy what life has to offer, while Virgo works to refine to only what's necessary and sustainable. “Works” being the key word. Lots of work to do, and Virgo can get downright exasperated when people refuse to pay attention and focus and do things properly.

The fourth mutable sign in the zodiac is Gemini, and this is the leg that will help to stabilize the mutable T-Square going on with Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces this month. Think of a T-Square as a three-legged chair that is missing one leg. You need the fourth leg for stability. Even if there are no planets/bodies there, the energy represented by the fourth sign also plays a role.

So just in general, the tension created by all these mutable squares will activate Gemini during the first half of December.

Then we have a Full Moon in Gemini on December 12 turning the mutable T-Square into a mutable Grand Cross. This Grand Cross that we bear this month is all about adjusting, changing, and making it through the transitions. Juggling, keeping things moving, not getting stuck. We'll really be able to feel things changing now.

The Gemini Moon as the fourth leg of the Grand Cross is beneficial in that we will have a level of emotional adaptibility and intellectual detachment during the proceedings. Gemini understands many different perspectives, and with the Moon here, many different emotional perspectives. Gemini Moon doesn't generally get too emotionally attached to any one particular point-of-view. The ability to allow many different emotions and to have many different pasts co-existing should help us now. It will alleviate the “Grand Truth” tendencies of Sagittarius. All truths co-existing, converging, making one truth together.

With Gemini and Mercury involved so heavily, we're going to be talking a lot this month. Listening, gathering information, talking about the changes and the shocking events. We're going to need the outlet of day-to-day interaction with people to make sense of it all and to stop from going nutty, I'm sure.

As I said, the media will play a big role in the developing consciousness about what is going on. But it will also become clearer how the media is used as a tool for manipulating the people. How only certain perspectives (Gemini) or truths (Sagittarius) are allowable. How crucial context is left out of the story so that the public is kept confused with partial information, left to come to the conclusions laid out for them.

In order to successfully adjust to the shifting understanding of these times we're living in, communication is going to be key. Information will come to us from many different sources and many different perspectives to help us make sense of it...to help us understand our own perspective within it all. But we have to determine what is meaningful information to us, rather than letting external forces make that decision for us. We have to dig and search for the added context ourselves if we want it – it's not going to be broadcast on CNN.

(Sagittarian aside):

I've worked in both the mainstream and independent media. When I was 21 years old and on my journalism internship at a newspaper in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, I saw for the first time in “real life” how the news is filtered. I wanted to do a story on some local people who were travelling to Seattle for the protest against the World Trade Organization. I was told by my editor that this was a non-story.

How could this be a non-story, I wondered? I mean, that paper wasn't above re-writing a press release for a story. If local people doing an MS run or a fundraiser or erecting a statue in a city park was news, how could local people going all the way to Seattle to protest not be a story?

I had heard the buzz about it. I knew it was going to be big, and I knew this editor was wrong. But what can an intern reporter do about it? Not much.

Two days later the story had absolutely blown up. The Battle in Seattle. Hundreds of thousands of protesters from around the world had actually shut down the meetings! Unheard of!

And my editor came up to my desk and said...oh yeah. I guess you were right. Do you want to do a story on it now?

I did. It got censored. And that was my first understanding of how the news the public receives is filtered and shaped according to the standards of the powers that be. If it even makes it into the paper, it will still be shaped into what is considered “acceptable.”

But it also taught me that there is a timing for getting the word out, and you have to pick your shots.

With the T-Square keeping the communication planet in check this month, we have to choose our words and express only what needs to be expressed. With the Mercury - Pluto influence this month, exerting your truth and forcing it between someone's ears (or having someone do this to you) could be explosive. We just don't want to hear it. Holding the energy of your truth in every situation and acting it instead of actually speaking it will probably be more successful in most cases.

Psychic communication/telepathy will be on the rise...we won't need so many words, anyway.

Venus enters Aquarius December 7. Our involvement with others may have to take a detached, long-view approach now. Our relationships might not look how we expected them to look. We might be involved with people we never thought we would be, but it's tied to that Uranus in Pisces vision. Unexpected connections coming about in surprising ways. We're getting where we need to go through our relationship dynamics, but it may be a bit odd. Not what we had planned, maybe.

Venus conjuncts the North Node December 16, and we see that our partnerships and what goes on within them now is aligned with the way forward. Creating the community is at the forefront, not so much a focus on our personal wants (South Node in Leo). Relationships are taking on new dynamics. We're reaching a new level of equality and independence. No more Piscean feeding each other of energy. Now, we stand on our own two feet and come together as equals. Relationships are not about needing the qualities of the other person so much anymore. They are about being whole on our own and choosing to team up with our equals, our comrades. A new level of friendship in romantic relationships. A common vision for the future. Romantic expectations are changing, and were maybe more myth than reality in a lot of cases, anyway. No one is going to swoop in and save us from the problems of our lives. The way we have been taught to think about relationships and what they mean and how they are set up has changed. Love is changing and is no longer shackled with so much expectation and disappointment. It's a little more detached and is learning to accept and enjoy what exists, rather than trying to mold it into the expected shape.

All Sagittarius planets are heading, this month, to a conjunction with...you guessed it...Pluto in Capricorn. Pluto is the gatekeeper of Capricorn now, and nothing gets by it without a strip down. Going through tail-end Sagittarius and into Capricorn, the planets in Sagittarius are cleansed of any remaining detritus of the “crystallized belief system” variety. This is newly Plutonic Capricorn. Our cultural beliefs and truths shape our structures, and we can't carry the old forward. Anything left to purge before we get to work on our new structures will be purged here, in these conjunctions.

It will be very interesting to see what emerges from these conjunctions. I think we'll see the old guard ways getting some major karmic bites in the ass. Covert power plays becoming visible – maybe even in really embarassing ways. It just isn't going to work anymore. The old guard will continue trying, sure. Pluto is in Capricorn for 16 years, after all, and some will try holding on right until the bloody (and yes, it certainly could be bloody) end. But the manipulations by those in power will be ever-so-visible for those who have the eyes to see. And by the end of Pluto's tenure, even for those who don't want to see. Old ways of maintaining power – manipulation, deceit, domination, violence, coercion, collusion and dirty deals – will create increasingly detrimental setbacks for those who insist upon them.

Mercury enters Capricorn and then immediately conjuncts Pluto December 12. Another day to practise reserve and to hold your tongue whenever possible because the wrong words could trigger massive meltdowns and rage.

The Sun enters Capricorn December 21 and we have the Winter Solstice. The Sun then conjuncts Pluto December 22, making the changing guard all in our faces, in our conscious moment.

We have a New Moon in Capricorn December 27, representing the new structural framework and power dynamics. New forms of authority. New rules for holding power and using it legitimately. This New Moon is coloured, of course, by Pluto in Cap, and the things begun now will tie in to this whole 16-year Plutonic process.

Just seven minutes after the New Moon in Capricorn, Venus conjuncts Neptune in Aquarius, sign of the future egalitarian paradigm. Yep. We're on our way. The structures and powers that be are getting a transforming kick in the pants, and at the same time, we're moving closer to the changes we want to live. The old is dropping away in layers and we are aligning with where we want to be/go. But this New Moon could feel odd and spacey, as well, with the Neptune influence. There is a level of "surrendering to the oddness" that has to take place now.

Mars enters Capricorn December 26, and it conjuncts Pluto December 28. This is the coming together of both of Scorpio's rulers. Here we have a fusion of personal and evolutionary imperative. Getting our marching orders for Pluto in Capricorn so that the progress we're striving for on a personal level is in alignment with what needs to happen on in a broader sense. This could be another angsty day on Planet Earth. Power struggles. Unilateral moves and over-reaching along authority lines leading to disastrous results. Blatant displays of intimidation and force. When personal desire/action and evolutionary imperative are out of alignment, watch out. Ugliness will ensue.

The final day of December has Saturn going retrograde in Virgo until mid-May. We're going back over the territory we've covered since September. And a lot of territory it's been. I can barely believe that September was only three months ago.

Saturn in Virgo is heading to its second opposition to Uranus in Pisces on February 5, 2009. This time, Saturn will be going retrograde. Going back over the details and putting things in order as Uranus continues to rattle our cages. There is a lot to be done to continually restore the structures/system to health and sustainability, and Saturn will remind us to shoulder our duty there without complaint or lagging.

But the three transpersonal/outer planets (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) are going direct. Full speed ahead, we are, until Pluto goes retro in April.

(Second Sagittarian aside: a little Pluto in Capricorn-flavoured story to cap off this Astro Perspective...)

After graduating from journalism school, I got a job as a researcher at CBC TV news in Regina, Sask. A conservative Torontonian from the privates (just so you know, CBC-ers often kind of look down on the private stations' news due to its more advertiser-friendly, watered-down coverage) had been hired as head honcho of the newsroom. He was basically there to impose the “VJ” or video journalist system as a cost-cutting measure. In other words, reporters were now expected to shoot and edit their own stories as well as writing, researching, interviewing, etc. It would make many camera and editing jobs redundant, not to mention the fact that it would make doing a decent, in-depth news story almost impossible due to time and energy constraints of the reporters. So this was a bit of a tense time at old CBC TV news. Just in time for Willow to show up.

This was around the time of another big protest, the Free Trade Area of the Americas meeting in Quebec City in April 2001.

Again, I was pitching stories about this. Again, I was brushed off. I learned that RCMP officers from Saskatchewan were being called in to be part of the police force there. In fact, I learned that Chretien was bringing officers from all across Canada, not to mention the army. The police presence was going to be immense.

Of course, this was of little interest. The public not picking up after their dogs in the off-leash dog park was a much more important story.

I ended up leaving CBC (umm...it was a mutual decision. haha) and going to the FTAA protest with a group of people from Saskatchewan. Driving day and night from Regina to Quebec City in a 15-passenger van. Not fun.

The powers that be had learned from the Battle in Seattle. This time, they had erected a fence all around downtown Quebec City. Police in full riot gear stood along the fence on the inside perimeter. Expensive cars filled with VIPs were allowed through the fence at a sort of policed checkpoint.

I was a little shocked by the show of force, I must say.

We were there to exercise our democratic right to protest our government making back-room deals. This was a trade agreement that had never been made public (as most of these “free trade talk rounds” are kept undisclosed). They were trying to extend already controversial NAFTA to Central and South America without public consent. There was also word that water and health care were to be turned into free trade-able commodities, subject to free trade rules (ie. no protection, no government subsidization).

The fact that the heads of state were now holed up in their meetings behind a huge chain-link fence patrolled by riot police was a pretty fitting symbol of the lack of transparency in our so-called democracy, no?

We just stood at the fence watching the police standing on the other side of the fence. That was it. But it wasn't long before the police were using CS gas like crazy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CS_gas - it made me sick for a week after the protest and all the women got their periods immediately following). Pepper spray powder. Shooting us with rubber bullets. Spraying us with a water cannon filled with chemicals that burned as it hit your skin. The gas was everywhere. People were being overwhelmed. I stepped in a mound of pepper spray powder which flew up into my eyes. They burned, and I couldn't see. There were some people going around rinsing people's eyes with water, and luckily someone saw me and doused me.

Again, all this seemed a little much. I couldn't exactly understand why this show of force. But we didn't back down. We stood there at that fence and stared them down. They weren't getting rid of us that easily. All that weekend, we stayed there watching.

One of the freakiest things I have ever seen was when a string of these guys, all in full riot gear and in gas masks, remember – shield and batons at the ready – came out from behind the fence. They moved in formation, like a centipede. No longer individual humans. They were like a machine. It was insane. And that was when I realized what was really going on in my country. And in the world. (Being a 22-year-old farm kid fresh out of university, keep in mind.) Sure this was lightweight compared to what is going on in other parts of the world where the bullets aren't rubber. I realized that even at the time, but at its root, it was the same thing.

What I also realized, though, was that: THEY'RE afraid of US! All those grown men in full riot gear, with batons and shields and gas masks in their big black boots and uniforms were sent to intimidate a bunch of people in jeans and T-shirts with apple cider vinegar-soaked bandanas across our faces to keep the gas fumes out.

The powers that be knew we knew what they were up to. They were scared because we WEREN'T scared! They couldn't intimidate us enough not to show up or to go away, and that freaked them right out. They were afraid of the people they supposedly represented. Afraid of a real show of democratic dissent. Even behind that fence, holed up in their luxury hotel, negotiating our country away...

And this is sort of how these times feel to me. The behind-closed-doors authoritarian regime is on the ropes. It may take all 16 years of Pluto in Capricorn (Capricornian progress takes a great deal of time) to fall, but fall it will, I reckon.

And the less legitimate the power, the more afraid they are. The more vicious and brutal they will be to try to hold onto their power. The more lies and manipulation they use.

But the beautiful thing about Pluto in Capricorn is that people are going to see through it.

Anyway, Happy Holidays to everyone. Happy 2009.

I've been writing these Astro Perspectives for a year now, so thanks to everyone who has read them and to those who have given me encouragement about continuing to write them. :) All the best.

Willow