Monday, August 27, 2012

Venus in Cancer Square Saturn in Libra: Standing Your Ground, Speaking Up, and Disarming the Feminine People-Pleasing and Passo Aggro

Venus in Cancer is currently moving to a square with Saturn in Libra, exact in the wee hours of Monday, September 3. Some building tension is possible in relationships this week as we enter our first major test coming out of the June 15 Cancer New Moon.

Depending upon the foundation laid so far, we could pass this test smoothly with flying colours, or we could find it frictional.

You'll recall that the Cancer New Moon in June occurred within a square to Saturn in Libra, just as soul mate asteroid Juno stationed direct in Scorpio. That New Moon opened an opportunity to get real with the energies and themes of the Cancer-Libra square, a square that is prone to many less-than-real characteristics.

From A Sugar and Spice and All Things Nice Cancer New Moon With Puppy Dog Tails Brought to You By Juno Direct in Scorpio:

"You have the mother (Cancer) and the diplomat (Libra), and both are invested in being nice - or at the very least, in appearing nice. Both these signs like to be seen as giving, congenial, and self-sacrificing for the happiness and betterment of others.

Both Cancer and Libra have a tendency to deny any characteristics - in themselves or in the people around them - that would show them in a different light. This is particularly prevalent when bodies in the signs are being squared, as they are now.

The truth is, both these signs have "dark" characteristics (as all the signs of the zodiac do) that they like to keep off the radar screen, and as far as signs of the zodiac go, there is very little discussion of these...

Both Cancer and Libra, particularly when in square formation, are prone to avoidance of uncomfortable issues, denial, phoniness, blaming others for their own disappointed expectations, underhanded social or familial power plays, and guilt-tripping. All stuff for which Scorpio has little tolerance.

It's the "I bend over backwards for people, and this is how they treat me" syndrome. The "I give and give and give, and this is the thanks I get" thing where people are held hostage by all that "selfless" giving and concern.

Because these are two signs that will go to great lengths to keep up the nice, self-sacrificing image and because both like to avoid conflict at almost all cost, they'll agree to do things they don't really want to do but then rebel by acting out in passive aggressive (yet still, on the surface, "nice") ways.

Both signs have a tendency, unless overcome, to pass the buck rather than standing their ground in an honest and upfront manner. 'Selfless' becomes 'complete loss of self,' and chaos follows. At a certain point, it becomes impossible to know where these two signs really stand, and their word becomes very slippery.

Both signs love to be needed by others, but there is a tendency to overestimate how much they give altruistically and how much is given with an already-expected return.

Cancer is certainly warm, cosy, and sweet, but it will bitch and moan to anyone who will listen about everything it does for you if it doesn't find an expected level of gratitude coming its way.

Libra is lovely and socially-welcoming, but be careful accepting its graces, as it will often be looking for a tit-for-tat reward. It'll wag tongue about you, too, if that reward is not forthcoming or if it does not meet preconceived expectations.

Both signs will give too much (their own issue) and then become resentful when they do not receive what they believe is their just desserts, placing blame on others."

The influence of Juno in Scorpio at the time of the June 15 New Moon, potent in its direct station, worked to bring some of the slippery underlying dynamics of the Cancer-Libra square up to the surface. Juno and its associated soul mates were our "getting real" catalysts, and this influence continues even more strongly as Venus moves to square Saturn September 3.

At the time of the square, the North Node will be in Scorpio on the 29th degree, with asteroids Juno and Eros conjunct in late Scorpio.

Mars has now moved from people-pleasing sign of its detriment, Libra, beyond the conjunction to Saturn, and into its domicile of Scorpio. It's ready to get down to business and will be exactly sextile Pluto in Capricorn on the day of the Venus-Saturn square.

The Sun and Mercury will be in illusion-puncturing Virgo at the time of the square, opposite Chiron in Pisces, trine Pluto in Capricorn, and sextile Mars in Scorpio. Getting the details right here ensures that we move out of wounding Piscean era relationship themes.

Pallas Athene, the asteroid related to the female warrior who did it better than the boys, will be conjunct Uranus in Aries at the time of the Venus-Saturn square (exact September 5), ensuring there's more than enough fuel and feistiness to break old patterns. Pallas Athene will then square Pluto in Capricorn September 7, ahead of the second Uranus-Pluto square September 18/19. Major detrimental feminine pattern buster.

This feminine warrior asteroid is absolutely potent at this important time on the planet and will not be shuffled to the side. Pallas Athene was right up front in the proceedings, exactly conjunct Uranus in Aries and square Pluto in Capricorn, during the first of the seven Uranus-Pluto squares on June 24, 2012, and it has stayed there ever since. This asteroid holds crucial position for women and for the feminine, in general. It simply won't back down. Like a dog on a bone, it moves retrograde, step-for-step, in tight conjunction with Uranus into the second Uranus-Pluto square September 18/19.

Pallas' final pass direct through the conjunction to Uranus and square to Pluto occurs in late January to mid-February 2013, before it enters Taurus at the end of March.

The influence of the feminine warrior remains very strong, though, as is usual with the feminine force, it is invisible to many.

From a previous post:

"We're at a push-coming-to-shove point when it is imperative that the feminine stand up and be counted all over this planet. Letting things slide and refusing to stand up now - even in seemingly small issues - means the Pluto in Capricorn regressive force makes big gains.

The Uranus-Pallas Athene fight is about human beings as free and sovereign individuals, able to determine their own courses through life, with structures set up and available to support them in that. The areas most in need of improvement on this front relate to the treatment and condition of women...

In Aries, Pallas Athene is fighting for the rights of women as self-sovereign individuals, outside roles and identities as wives, sexual partners, mothers, daughters, sisters, workers, or domestic labour."

Uranus in Aries is leading the charge into the astrological Aquarian era, and this indicates new facets of identity coming forth in everyone. We're planting our flags as raw individuals, outside any other role or relation. New directions and flashes of personal will are necessary, but they are also shocking at times, seemingly out of character.

This is what many women (and men with the yin skills) struggle with now.

With the strong influence of Pallas Athene in Aries at both the first and second Uranus-Pluto squares, however, nowhere is it more important to bust out of phony roles and repressive moulds than in the world of women and the feminine.

Excluding the Moon, this square from Venus in Cancer is the last major hard aspect we experience with Saturn in Libra. Consider this Saturn's last stand.

In light of the importance of this square, here's the plain talk:

As Venus moves into square position with Saturn, you have one last chance to stand your ground and disarm aforementioned dynamics wreaking havoc in your life and in your relationships. Anything you've refused to work on and resolve during Saturn in Libra remains a thorn in your side in relations with others. Anything glossed over now or swept under the rug is carried forward into Saturn in Scorpio, where it can cause much more damage and distress.

If you don't want to do something you've been asked to do, don't do it. Speak up. Stop letting things slide. Break the pattern of ill-suited expectations - both your own and others'.

With Saturn completing its last pass through the sign of relationships, no one holds responsibility for these dynamics but you from this point forward. If you're doing things you don't want to do or agreeing to things you don't really agree with, there's no one to blame for that but you.

If you're doing things you don't want to do simply to please others or to avoid conflict, stop. If you're consistently setting people up to disappoint your expectations, discontinue that.  

Disappointed expectations on cyclical repeat were a theme of the astrological Piscean era. Now, no one holds responsibility for your disappointed expectations but you.

In actuality, there can be few expectations under an astrological Aquarian era umbrella. (Though that is not to say people don't hold responsibility for their actions.) The unexpected, the shocking, and the rapidly changing are over-riding Uranian themes. Rigid expectations won't just be disappointed - they'll be shattered. Busted up. Smashed to smithereens.

Women and the feminine have to break out of the glossing over, the conciliation, and the people-pleasing, which lead to the passive aggressiveness, the phoniness, and the resentment. Dig in here, on this point, at this square. Break form, break the role, break expectations.

Or provide the resistance and boundaries to help someone else do that. Refuse to play the game. Call people on their behaviour - gently at first, and then more sternly. Change the way the dynamics are set up. Hand people back the responsiblity for their own lives and relationships. Saturn is on your side.

Venus and Saturn are at 26 degrees Cancer/Libra at the time of the square. Saturn leaves Libra for Scorpio October 5.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Chiron-Infused Pisces Full Moon, Pisces for the Aquarian Era, and Shifting Ideas Around Healing and Health

"When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied."

- Herophilus, some 3rd/4th century doctor dude who fancied himself a philosopher

I read this quote recently on the back of a $13 package of smug hippie cereal that comes from the Canadian West Coast. There are a lot of smug hippies out there. The thing is, though, a lot of times, the smug hippies get it wrong.

I've been ill (though improving) for almost three years now. The military industrial complex disguised as Big Pharma disguised as an inexperienced doctor in a walk-in clinic slipped me poison in the form of an antibiotic called Cipro, and it devastated my system.

That said, I have to refute the quote by the good doctor up there. The best astrological work I've done has come during the time since I was poisoned. Since then, wisdom has revealed itself more fully, art has been expressed more richly. Not only was I able to fight, I was Plutonically strengthened to fight. Fighting those to-the-roots Plutonic fights gave me almost otherworldly strength at times, even as my body and physical system were weakened. Even as I was picking out words on the keyboard with a pencil in my mouth because my arms and wrists were not fully functional. Intelligence was most certainly applied. I don't think there can be any doubt that cosmic intelligence is coming through loud and clear.

People often say, "If you don't have your health, you don't have anything." I really wish people would stop saying that. It's kind of an assholish thing to say, especially to people who have compromised health.

Illness takes you far from the mainstream and from the mainstream ideals. You become what people are afraid of. Illness and pain isolate you, forcing you to fall back on yourself and on your faith and spiritual connection (if there are any to be had). They change and often deepen your perspective.

And it's from this perspective that people are able to bring forth some of their very, very best.

Some of the best writers, artists, activists, creatives, and people, period, on this planet live and have lived with illness and pain. They've worked under duress and wrested their contributions from the depths of despair and isolation. They've spoken from that very potent point at the edge between life and death, concentrated into the current moment by the withdrawal of the promise of a long and healthy life.

So Herophilus, your words certainly hold some of that Old Male Philosopher weight. They really do sound as if we should pay attention to them. But as per usual, the exalted and oft-quoted philosophical thinkers (mostly men) miss the real root truth.

Changing your diet, improving the water you drink, eating organic, exercising, spending time in nature, taking vitamins and supplements - these all help greatly. They're our responsibility. And as we move through a two-year Virgo-infused Mars cycle, refining and perfecting these things is a constant theme and focus.

But we're dealing with multi-layered and intentional attacks on our health and energetic systems on this planet. We're dealing with straw-that-breaks-the-camel's-back environmental pollution, electromagnetic pollution, psychic pollution, radioactivity. We're dealing with toxic corporate lifestyles packaged and sold to "the consumer." We're dealing with the absolute disconnection that is car culture. Work that is exploitative soul slavery. A planet kept in a state of perpetual war. Degraded food, degraded water, degraded air, degraded life. People aren't getting the basic nutrition they need - either because they do not have access to food or because the food they do have access to is genetically modified, chemical-ridden, or heavily processed.

In corporate capitalist society, people aren't trained to be healthy. They're trained to be unhealthy because they buy more that way.

There's only so much that can be done by the individual to maintain health within systems and structures that are inherently sick. Unless willing to look at the broader scenarios and the broader reasons why people are getting sick, we're just treating symptoms, not eradicating the illness.

Looking at the big picture like this scares people. They like to think their health is in their control, in their own hands, that it's their decisions and their decisions alone that determine their health or lack of it. This allows them to continue living without looking at the deeper causes of illness and pain on this planet. It keeps them from examining the roots, and it reinforces both their smugness and their ignorance about what is really going on.

There is a strong "survival of the fittest and most able-bodied" ethic in Western culture. There's a real desire to divide people into the healthy and the unhealthy, the winners and the losers. If you're too sick or have too much pain to work in the toxic mainstream workforce, you're often considered a low-life degenerate.

Often, the underlying idea is: if you're ill or in pain, you're doing something wrong. You're living wrong. Your thoughts are wrong. You're holding onto emotion. You have bad karma. You're genetically flawed. You're unenlightened.

This is a view of illness and injury created, reinforced, and furthered by the New Age paradigm, and it is one that's taken all the way to the bank.

With wounded healer Chiron transiting Pisces, though, it's plain to see how all this misses the point. Pisces deals with the whole, with the full, inter-related situation. Chiron in Pisces relates to the understanding of the whole in relation to sickness and pain in order to heal. On this planet at this time, more people are dealing with illness and pain - of one variety or another - than are not. If an individual is not dealing with it him or herself, a family member or close friend is. The idea of a mainstream society in tip-top, glowing health with a small minority of unfortunates who are ill and weak is just not reality. People in a state of optimal health are, in actuality, not the norm.

The truth is, each sick individual is part of a larger whole that is also sick. Sick individuals do not live in a vacuum - though the solipsistic "creating your own reality" meme would lead people to believe that. Sick people are symptomatic of sick human relations, sick cultures, sick environments, sick systems, sick power dynamics.

From a previous post: "The intense levels of psychic pain held at this point in human history, collectively left denied and unvoiced, truly have the potential to do us in. The psychic backwash drops over us in waves, often without warning, threatening to drag us under. The homeless, the alcoholics, the addicts, the mentally ill, the depressed, the prostituted, the murdered, the missing are symbols of this unaddressed psychic pain and the resulting dysfunction, symptomatic of deeper roots. They've done all they can, said all they can, and still most don't see the connections.

It seeps into suburbia, into condo buildings, into schools and offices, and still people won't put their fingers on it."

At this point in the game, heading out of the astrological Piscean era, most of us are the walking wounded - whether the wounds are visible or not. We're pretty much all playing hurt. The wounded Pisces themes, brought freshly into perspective at last February's Pisces New Moon conjunct Chiron, come to a point of illuminated culmination here.

The Sun entered Virgo August 22 and opposed Neptune in Pisces - the prime symbol of 'Pisces for the Aquarian era' - August 24. The Sun now moves to an opposition to Chiron at 7 degrees Pisces on August 30, leading into the Pisces Full Moon that night (exact August 31 at 7:58 a.m. CST).

Mercury enters Virgo in the evening of August 31, opposing Neptune in Pisces September 1 and Chiron in Pisces September 4. There is a strong theme of pinpointing, of applying Virgoan antiseptic sting, of removing fallacy and bloat and changing ideas around healing, health, service, and work.

As we gradually move out of the astrological Piscean era, we're entrusted with the responsibility of shifting consensus reality to something closer to the truth. At this time, with the influence of nitty gritty, reality-based Virgo opposing, the Piscean era denials, delusions, escapism, scapegoating, and smoke-and-mirrors effects can be removed with precision.

The pain and damage done during the Piscean era are still here to be resolved. Part of the resolution comes from a much more keen analysis than has previously been offered, with a more precise accounting of cause and effect.

As the Moon grows full over the next week and touches Chiron, we can pinpoint fallacies around health, illness, and pain that keep us divided into the healthy and the unhealthy on this planet. We can stretch out into a full, illuminated understanding of our shared responsibility for changing things.

Under the Aquarian era umbrella, illness, injury, disability, and pain do not have to separate us from the "normal" people and from mainstream society. (There really is no "normal" with Aquarius.) Under the Aquarian umbrella, these things do not define us, and they do not have to sentence us to lives of isolation. The pain and illness we endure living in these human bodies are not shameful secrets. They're badges of honour. And the way we heal from here is to bring it all into the fold, into the wide-open Pisces heart.

Enjoy this healing moon.

More on Chiron in Pisces

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The North Node Enters Scorpio with Eros and Juno Conjunct: Attraction, Repulsion, Motivation, and Frenemies

North Node in Scorpio: August 30, 2012 - February 18, 2014

The North Node enters Scorpio August 30 for a 1.5-year stay, and things take a distinct turn for the serious. We shift from a jovial, Jupiter-ruled Sagittarius North Node to a stone cold reality-based one in Scorpio, from an expansive, optimistic guiding force to a condensed, concentrated, and gritty one.

The planets of greatest influence over our path during the next year-and-a-half are Mars and Pluto - both heavy hitters - and the movement, signs, and interactions of these bodies become keys to our successful navigation.

Mars is at home in Scorpio at the time of the nodal axis shift and will be there until October 6, the day after Saturn enters the sign. Mars changes signs about every 1.5 months. Pluto will be in Capricorn for the duration of the transit, forming squares to Uranus in Aries.

The North Node is considered indicative of our successful soul-driven navigational path forward and, in Scorpio, it indicates that the path to be carved out hinges on the proper development and application of the mad Scorpio skills: emotional, psychological, intuitive, metaphysical, and sexual.

From a previous post: "Scorpio is a healing energy. It intuitively knows where the trouble is and gets right to work, divining and digging to trigger multi-layered release points. It isn't just treating symptoms, either. Scorpio knows it's either go deep or go home, and it puts forth immense stores of energy to go to the mat for people, driving right to the root of the problems that keep them locked up, inauthentic, programmed, and less effective than they could otherwise be.

Scorpio digs the poisoned thorns out - and if it's masterful enough, it gets them all."

The South Node - an area of prior accolade and success but current stagnation and detriment - is now in Taurus, moving us away from a preoccupation with all things Taurean: Money. Dollar bills. Currency. Physical value. Accumulation. Impressive physical possessions. Maintaining tradition, security, stability, and comfort at all costs. The physical realm.

To stay encased in a South Node fortress of money, possessions, and toys at this point will bring escalating problems. Money and financial privilege as obsession/primary motivator can take people down now more than ever before.

The beneficial influence of the Taurus South Node, on the other hand, comes from channelling its strengths into the North Node path. Those strengths include: rock-solid boundaries, strong self-worth, money sense, grounding, practicality, an understanding of natural timing, and a strong sense of one's comfort level.

We aren't in a very comfortable place on this planet, and with this nodal axis, very few will be able to deny it. Where Taurus is about accumulation and physical comfort, Scorpio is about what we need to peel away, get rid of. It's about the necessity to face realities and issues that sometimes scare us or make us uncomfortable.

An intensive and relentless Scorpionic examination of power dynamics is the only way we can avoid becoming trapped and enmeshed in those power dynamics.

With the North Node (as well as Saturn by early October) in Scorpio, the tone moves to the deep, the dark, the stone cold reality-based. Things are not simple. We're rooting out, examining, and breaking deeply-ingrained detrimental patterns and power configurations, navigating periods of intense emotional and psychological stress.

The state of this planet is traumatizing, to say the least (if you're at all aware of what's going on and what has gone on). We're seeing the breakdown of people and societies under intentionally-created stress and trauma. We're seeing levels of denial being razed in one fell swoop as people realize they aren't going to have the lives they thought they were going to have - especially materially (Taurus South Node). The middle class is being demolished, and wealth becomes further concentrated at the top of the pyramid schemes.

Under this nodal axis, the most crucial and far-reaching imperatives of the soul - harsh as they often are - now rule over the imperatives of the bank account. We move into a time of stripping down, of deconstruction. Those most successful during this time period will look for directives from their own souls, from their deepest intuition and drives, rather than wasting energy trying to keep up with the Joneses down the block.

With the North Node in Scorpio/South Node in Taurus, there is a rapid re-valuing of Scorpio energy and skills. You can read more about that in this post from Scorpio season 2011: The Bodies in Scorpio Oppose Jupiter Rx in Taurus: A Conscious Re-Valuing of Soul Energy and Scorpio's Mad Skillz in the Nether-Realms

We have to be keenly aware of what makes people tick under these transits of Scorpio. We have to watch our emotional, psychological, and psychic stress levels closely and those of others, allowing for controlled releases of the tension when possible.

The North Node enters Scorpio August 30 from one end of the sign (29 degrees). Saturn enters October 5 from the other end (0 degrees). They will meet, along with Venus, just before fall equinox 2013.

There is a drawing together and consolidation of resources, energy, and catalytic potential over this upcoming year, culminating in a Saturn-Venus-North Node conjunction at 8 degrees Scorpio on September 18, 2013. People with specific metaphysical skill sets are being drawn together during this upcoming year for the purpose of deep structural change on this planet.

However, this is also a time period when joining forces and merging resources with the wrong people or in the wrong ways can take you down. Hard.

Asteroid of erotic love, Eros, and soul mate asteroid Juno are currently transiting Scorpio and come together with the North Node in a potent conjunction September 12-13, 2012 on the inky, distilled final degree of the sign.

A tone is being set here, kicking off both the North Node and Saturn transits of Scorpio, by this meeting of Eros and Juno on the 29th degree. These two asteroids have some very spicy chemistry between them, particularly in Scorpio, and things are being catalyzed in this, the most feared and hated sign of the zodiac.

(All this goes down with Uranus Rx and Pluto Rx backing into their second exact square in Aries/Capricorn September 18.)

With Eros and Juno conjunct on the last degree of Scorpio, we're picking up on threads related to love, eroticism, soul connection, commitment, sexuality, attraction, repulsion, and disgust that could take the full 2.5 years of the Saturn in Scorpio transit to unravel. We're picking up on the specific flavours of energy exchange that will be successful in the coming years, as well as those that will not be successful.

Attraction. Repulsion. Love. Hate. Desire. Disgust. Obsession. Addiction. The Hidden. The Taboo. The Sexual. The Erotic.

Scorpio is a sign, co-ruled by Mars and Pluto, that involves complex attractions. Mars is the planet of personal desire, attraction, and sexuality, while Pluto involves attractions of the soul, designed to draw us into deep (and sometimes hellish horrifying) processes of change and metamorphosis. Plutonic attractions catalyze a process that leaves us in an altered, yet ultimately stronger and more powerful, state, not the same as we once were. In Scorpio, we experience the interplay between personal will and transpersonal will, personal desire and transpersonal desire, what we want and what is wanted for and from and through us.

Plutonic attractions are often both magnetic, drawing us like moth to flame, and repulsive. One side of the magnet attracts; the other repells. With Pluto involved, we experience both. There is an intricate interplay, and it doesn't take much to turn passionate love into passionate hate and vice versa.

There is a theme with Scorpio and Pluto of being attracted to those we secretly (or not-so-secretly) hate. This attraction brings us into contact, again and again, with people and situations that disgust, horrify, and enrage...but also fascinate, titillate, and compel. We hate ourselves for being attracted, but it's difficult (though not impossible) to break away.

There is a strong sexual element related to the sign of Scorpio, and as Saturn transits Scorpio over the next 2.5 years, responsibility (Saturn) for sexual energy (Scorpio) becomes a major theme. Sexual energy is being horrifically misused and abused on this planet. Millions of people, mostly women and girls, are living in miserable hovels as sex slaves all around this planet. Women are forced to sell their bodies in dangerous and degrading circumstances around the world. It is still considered far less bad when a prostitute is murdered than an upstanding soccer Mom. "Hookers" can still be made the butt of misogynistic jokes, even in these politically correct times. And in more socially-accepted ways, women trade their sexual energy and bodies for financial privilege, physical comfort, and the insulating confines of traditional marriage.

Does any of this change the tenor of your own sexual energy and desires? Your own sexual forays and motives? Does it bring a certain seriousness and maturity to your sexual expression?

These are themes and connections we look at much more closely over the next years.

The theme of frenemies is also strong with the sign of Scorpio, particularly with Eros and Juno coming into close contact on the anaretic degree of the sign.

Do I like you, or do I hate you...or both? Do I support you, or do I undermine you...or both? Do I want to run in your crowd, or do I want to turn everyone against you...or both?

With the anaretic asteroid-based focus on the Scorpio North Node path, there's a sort of "final showdown" feeling building toward mid-September. Dynamics that have been not-quite-right for a while start to come to a head, and we have the ability to proactively clear some of the slate ahead of Saturn entering Scorpio.

Frenemies: get rid of them - or, conversely, get wise to them and use their energy to your benefit.

There's some of that Scorpionic ruthlessness we're all going to come to understand so well over the next few years.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Mars Conjunct Saturn in Libra: The Finesse of Socially-Strategic Manoeuvres Makes or Breaks Long-term Positioning

Photo: Willow

A very irritated Mars is moving to a conjunction with Saturn in Libra August 15. Constricted will is the theme of the week, and it's our social responsibilities and positions keeping us so tightly under the thumb.

Mars has been in Libra for over a month now (after clearing an almost eight-month transit of and retrograde in Virgo), and some social/relational frustration and angst has been building since early July.

Mars is already in detriment in Libra, and finding its movement additionally constrained by the close proximity to taskmaster Saturn is making it fume. Pressure, friction, and pissiness build. People will be itching for a passo aggro battle, complete with social audience, along “I’m so much more civilized than you, not to mention more popular” lines.

From a previous post:

"The Mars-Saturn conjunction August 15 falls at 24 degrees Libra, conjunct highly fortunate fixed star Arcturus. This is potentially a saving grace - but we're going to need all the help we can get.

Malefic planets Mars and Saturn teaming up is a potentially nasty combo at the best of times, and Mars is going to be pretty well sick of all the forced social graces by the time it hits Saturn near the end of Libra.

If people haven't been dealing well with mounting social frustations and pressures, consciously working on perfecting that balanced will, they'll be irritable, testy, and ready to blow (or collapse) by the second week in August.

If people have been letting things slide where they should have been digging their heels in - particularly in professional relationships - anger and social inflammation can be expected.

We're fighting for what we consider fair, balanced, and just, and with Saturn finishing its transit in Libra, we're fighting for rightful social position. But remember: we're fighting like a Libra, so you can't let them see you fight. You have to fight nicely, politely, using social power and prowess, and with a smile on your face.

In Libra, the Mars action, aggression, and fight are often subverted, which can lead to some underhanded moves. People will be using their social currency and already-established social scenes rather than fighting their own battles. Passive aggression is a classic trait of Libra under pressure (including Mars in Libra), and if you've learned how to successfully sniff out, head off, and deal with passo aggro, you're ahead of the game."

The moves being made now are socially strategic, designed to secure new and long-term position, and not all of them will be above board.

Do your best not to be triggered, even if you can’t believe what some people are getting away with. A little social flaring is to be expected - and is even necessary - leading into this conjunction, but work your rules of disengagment so that social grease fires don't become full-on, damaging blazes.

Make no mistake, this Mars is pissed and ready for a scrap, but in Libra, it’s required to uphold an easy social demeanor. We must maintain equilibrium, even while gritting our teeth under yet another conciliatory social gesture.

Mars is the planet of pure personal will. It wants what it wants when it wants it, and its instinct is to go after its desires directly and expediently. In Libra, though, the planet has to continually balance its desires with the desires and needs of other people. It has to put its sword in the sheath and sit down to tea. With Mars in Libra, the battles move to the social realms where it is in your best interests that no one sees your aggressive manoeuvres. This is a big part of the advantage while Mars is in Libra: that no one sees you fight, that you can deny fighting at all, and that you come off looking sweet as a prairie saskatoon pie.

Keeping hold of our tempers and maintaining balance are of utmost importance now, as this Mars conjunction to Saturn - nearing the end of its transit in Libra - acts as a major social placement test.

What goes on socially and in relationship over the next two weeks is fairly high stakes. We have the ability to make or break long-term positioning here. Any major losses of temper, overt acts of aggression (or passive aggression), or visible social attacks have the possibility of blowing the hard-earned relational progress and social reputation we’ve built over the past two+ years of Saturn in Libra.

This transit is additionally important, as it tests, under pressure, newly developed social/relational rules, standards, and positions ahead of cardinal Grand Crosses in 2013 and 2014 that feature Mars in Libra prominently.

More on that here: A State of Ongoing Cardinal T-Square and Some Mars in Libra Foreshadowing

The dispositor of this conjunction of the malefic planets is Venus in Cancer, which forms an exact cardinal t-square with Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn on August 15/16.

Our relationships with family, our loving, feminine qualities, our abilities to nurture, to emotionally connect, to create warm and comforting home bases are keys to successfully navigating this time frame.

At the same time, opposing Pluto and squaring Uranus, there are emotional patterns to discontinue and denial to shed in relationship. Certain comfort zones are being busted up. Certain hidey holes and fallback people are no longer available.

Venus is just coming out of an era-shifting retrograde period involving the last Venus Transit most of us will experience in our lifetimes. At the same time, Saturn is completing the final leg of its transit through Via Combusta Libra.

In relationships of all kinds, we officially need to know better.

There is little to no tolerance for Piscean era delusions and dreaming. The old relationship ideals no longer apply, so don't be surprised when they fall flat.

If all this slippery social fighting and manoeuvring comes across as a little disingenuous and hypocritical to you, never fear. Things take a turn from nice-and-smiley passive aggressive to get-it-on-the-table aggressive aggressive by the last week of August, and all the pent-up social angst finds a much-needed release point:

On the other side of the conjunction to Saturn, Mars slides into its second home sweet home in Scorpio August 23, just before the North Node enters Scorpio August 30. Mars in its domicile is breaking trail and leaves the sign the day after Saturn's ingress of Scorpio (October 6).

We’re heading into a prolonged Scorpionic period over the next 2.5 years, and during that time period, if the air needs to be cleared, the air will be cleared. Long-held beefs will rise to the surface to be dealt with. The time will come.

Until the end of August, though, work those socially-sophisticated Libra muscles like a champ, and never let them see you sweat.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Mercury Rx Slowing to Station in Leo and a Re-Told Tale From the Art of My Heart Days

My beading desk at the second location of Art of My Heart

Once, a long, long time ago, an astrologer named Willow, stretched to her breaking point and just beyond, found a miraculous job in a magical store in the most corporate, homogenized, and oil-rich city in Canada.

This job in this store (although flawed) was a small oasis of soulful beauty and humanity, where human beings could still be human beings as everyone and everything around them turned to cold, hard stone.

The job began as Pluto transitted the final degrees of Sagittarius and continued through the early days of Pluto in Capricorn. As Pluto made its way further into the sign of powerful corporate hierarchy, the gentrifying steamroller unleashed around the world steamrolled over this little oasis, leaving not a trace, except in the hearts of those who loved it.

The planet that relates to writing and communication (Mercury) is moving backward through the sign of creativity and art (Leo), and here is an old tale that's been dug up from the Art of My Heart days.

This one, again, is from the earliest days of Pluto in Capricorn when most people didn't know the jig was up.

June 9, 2009: Tales from the Retail Frontlines Episode #1 - Fun With Mature Souls

I'm searching for something of importance in what she's saying to me like a tuner searching for a channel, but it's all static. A wall of irritating, buzzing, ego bass trying to force its way into my system.

A crack has developed in the teak frame of a mirror she purchased. Unfortunately, it happens. It's tropical wood trying to adjust to Calgary dryness. The owner can repair it. I've let her know. She knows.

There's some back story. Apparently the owner said he would get her a different one on his next trip to Bali. I explain. The owner had a stroke and now the store is closing. He won't be going overseas again any time soon. I try to nudge into her consciousness that things have changed. She's pissed that he didn't let her know. I guess because she should be top of the list of post-stroke priorities.

Her indignance over this mirror shows no sign of letting up. She doesn't want a store credit. She wants this mirror. The items from this store are knock-em-dead beautiful. Even if she found something similar elsewhere, it would be three times as much.

“I'm sorry, but as I said, you'll have to talk to the owner about repairing it. I have your name and number, and you have his, so that's all that can really be done right now.”

That should be that. I've given her the next step to having her problem solved. I can't fix it myself. The owner is not in. Arrangements will have to be made with him. She's not going to get answers this minute, and I guess that's the problem. Frustrated demands for instant gratification. She's a person who is used to people jumping when she says jump, whenever she slaps the Visa Gold card down.

So she buzzes on, past the point where I've done what I can do about it. I guess she didn't get the memo that I'm too old and bored for this shit.

Because my calm, matter-of-fact demeanor sets her off. She's gunning for a reaction. Wants to goad me into “crossing the line” with her. Ha. Please.

“Well, thanks for all your help! It's great that you're so nonchalant about it!”

She's using her hands to make her point, and I can't help but notice the biggest fucking blood diamond I've ever seen on her left finger. Blood on your hands? Yessum.

She's expecting the usual corporate, “customer is always right” ass-kissing. In this store, you get realism. At least from me. And I see it's not going down too well.

She's an eyeroll-inducing cliche. Overprivileged mature soul with all the entitlement issues that capitalism has taught her to have. And so am I. Tired old soul who can't be bothered with this ridiculousness anymore.

(War criminals running our nations. Media propaganda. Depleted uranium poisoning. Deformed babies. Tortured prisoners. A million dead Iraquis. 3,500 dead American soldiers. 1,800 dead Katrina victims who were supposed to “just drive out of there.” 119 dead Canadians and counting. Working class dying for the rich man's stock portfolio. The Amazon is almost gone. Appalachians are being clearcut. Alberta oilsands poisoning our water and land. Natives with bizarre cancers. The biggest white collar crime in history committed against the people. Teen girls with Chanel purses. Wage slavery. Domestic violence. People are hungry. Misery. The trail of homeless pushing their shopping carts through the snow outside my apartment window. Drive-by shootings on the next block. The store is closing. Kicked out of our location due to Toronto-prescribed gentrification plans. My inflated rent is due. The dentist wants $400 for a cleaning and check-up. They hate you if you don't have those big, bleached chicklet teeth. Only yuppies can afford to buy real food anymore. The rest of us are being slowly starved.)

I'm being berated because I can't rouse the last of my righteous indignation for her. Because there's a crack in her teak mirror frame and she can't have it fixed as soon as she snaps her perfectly manicured fingers.

What injustice. How can I go on in such a world?

When she finally understands she will get nowhere with the likes of me, that there's no use picking at the corpse, she leaves in a perfumed huff.

I take a breath and still my Scorpio guts.

Another customer, a man, who has been quietly perusing the art the whole time this scene was going on, turns to me and says, “Patience is a virtue.”

Onyx, sardonyx, and Bali silver

Mercury goes direct at 1 degree Leo just after midnight on August 8 (Central Standard Time). Mercury is stationing trine the Sagittarius North Node and is also still stoking the flames of a fire trine with Uranus in Aries. You can read more about that here: Trines and Sextiles Galore: Potentially Too Much of a Good Thing

For more AOMH tales: Art of My Heart

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Tips On How to Get a Good Astrology Reading

These are some tips from my perspective as a practising pro astrologer on how to get the right astrology reading from the right astrologer for you. These tips will not necessarily apply to other astrologers, nor will other astrologers necessarily agree with them. (Astrologers pretty much never agree.)

1. Only have an astrology reading done if you feel you need one.

2. Check out an astrologer's writing, perspective, and style ahead of time before purchasing a reading. Finding the right astrologer is an individualized thing, and no astrologer is for everyone. Make sure this is a person whose perspective and expertise you appreciate and would like to receive.

3. Every astrologer practises astrology differently, and most have a very potent, individualized style. If you are looking for a reading in a certain astrologer's style, you will find it only from that astrologer. I'm not the female version of so-and-so, nor will I adopt the style of another astrologer. (I mean, what would be the point of that?) If you're looking for a reading from a particular astrologer, get that reading.

4. Understand that an astrology reading is not a psychic reading. Though astrology readings involve psychic/intuitive skills, an astrologer is not there to read your mind. Astrology readings are based on concrete symbols and data. It's fine to leave your reading open to the astrologer's interpretation if that's what you'd like, but if you're looking for information on specific topics, let the astrologer know when you purchase the reading. A general idea of your astrological literacy can also be helpful so the reading is neither too basic nor too heady.

5. Outside the details and direction given to the astrologer about the reading, try to keep a check on expectations about what you want to hear. This allows what you need to hear to come to you through the astrologer. Astrology is a very mysterious thing, and something you hear in a reading could apply to your life or make an important connection for you five or 10 years hence.

6. Don't stretch on cost. If you can comfortably pay for a 30-minute reading, pay for that, and work with the information you receive. If you're stretching outside your comfort zone, that generally means the astrologer will be, too. There is a certain energy allotment for each reading, and adhering to price constraints keeps the reading within that allotment.

7. Conversely, don't expect 60 minutes of astrological analysis for the 30-minute price. There is only so much that can be done within the time frame of each reading. Respecting your astrologer's time, energy, and boundaries are keys to a happy astrologer.

8. If you have something to add or a question to ask during a live reading, don't be shy - by all means, say it/ask it. Your involvement and direction are generally helpful in live readings. That said, the more you talk, the less the astrologer does, so keep it balanced!

9. Appreciate the fact that we have access to astrology and astrologers in immediate and unprecedented ways due to the proliferation of the internet. What a cool thing that you can find an astrologer, order a reading, and receive that reading all within a matter of days. This could have taken months or years previously, if you had access to astrology at all. What was once limited to the financially and socially uber-privileged is now available widely. Astrologers who once practised in relative obscurity are now becoming more accessible public figures, and you can check them and their colleagues out extensively before you lay down your hard-earned money. We have great astrological advantage by living in these times. Keep this context in mind, understand that astrology has never before been flying around with the speed, frequency, and quantity as it is now, and be responsible with that privilege.

10. Even after following these tips, there is still an experimental element and an element of chance when it comes to having an astrology reading done. This just goes with the territory. It keeps things interesting.

The hope with these tips is that they will help to keep the right readings rolling through the medium of astrology...