At this time of year, the Sun moves through Virgo. Think of the shaft of wheat held by the “Virgin” in some depictions of this sign and how the full moon (across from the Virgo Sun) lights up the fields at night enough for overtime work. Hence the Harvest Moon. This year, it coincides with Friday, the 13th. OK, to be technical, in the Eastern time zone, the exact full moon is after midnight (12:33 AM) on the 14th. In the rest of America’s time zones, it’s on Friday. Close enough. The astrological significance of Friday the Thirteenth stems from Friday being the day in honor of Venus and Thirteen being a number associated with Venus. It’s like a double Venus day.
At the Full Moon, Venus and Mercury are hand-in-hand, fostering cooperative discussions and negotiations, sweet talk and lovers tête-à-têtes. They are poised at Libra’s doorstep, entering the sign together early on the 14th. (Mercury is in Libra until October 3, Venus until the 8th.) Smooth communications may not be enough to counter-balance the difficult influence of a T-square (possibly the toughest pattern in a chart) formed by Mars quickly sparring with a slow Jupiter-Neptune square that’s in place off and on in 2019. Its third and final flare-up is Sept. 21 (prior instances were 1/13/19 and 6/16/19). This has magnified confusion and put a spotlight on trust issues. Jupiter and its sign of rulership, Sagittarius where it’s traveling for most of this year, are associated with the media, the legal arena, foreigners and universities. Neptune is moving through the sign it rules, too: Pisces, together highlighting compassion or the lack thereof. Mars’ addition to the mix introduces haste, anger, competition, self-concern or existential issues. Sometimes there are news stories where these themes converge. An example would be hurricane victims (related to Neptune, ruler of the downtrodden) trying to cross an international border (Jupiter) for their very survival (Mars).
Another key tense configuration at the Full Moon is the Moon and Sun opposite each other and both are in the stressful half-square / square-and-half connection to Uranus. The Pisces Moon inclines us to rely on instincts and impressions, while the Virgo Sun gives a preference for critical analysis and facts. Uranus in the Earth sign Taurus also favors a scientific, realistic assessment, but it’s the planet of surprises, which could certainly crop up. Uranus is also related to technological matters, which might either pose a risk or be a saving grace. This pattern may show you your unique way (Uranus) to do your spiritual (Pisces)work (Virgo).
The Jupiter-Neptune square is shoved again next month by Mercury 10/4 – 10/5 and by Venus 10/9 – 10/12, each in Scorpio making the half-square to Jupiter and the square-and-half to Neptune. We might experience the “swimming in circles” feeling again but probably without so much irritation (Mars isn’t involved) and hopefully with the impetus to make some changes. Scorpio is a good sign for letting go, turning the page and moving on.
Jupiter is in a little trouble again right after that with its third and final square-and-half to Uranus (earlier occurrences were 1/9 and 6/6). This connection usually brings some unexpected doozies so keep your seatbelts fastened. Electrical problems or storms with associated power outages are a strong possibility; have those extra batteries ready. Friction in international relations is another likely manifestation.
After this fanfare fireworks finale, smoother planetary interactions come into play. November and December will seem tame in comparison (well, for many people); in fact, they’re some of the easiest months of 2019. There is the likelihood of “karma” at work in Washington in November. Using the “geodetic” equivalents for longitudes of world locations – the zodiac degree wrap around our globe beginning at 0 degrees of Aries in Greenwich, England, and going eastward through the signs – the USA east coast is in the Capricorn area. Saturn is moving through Capricorn, hitting 17 degrees (Washington’s location) for the third time in November. It was there earlier this year in late February to early March and late June through the middle of July. Check news from around then for hints as to what’s coming up.
With any of these third visits, usually the planets have done most of their work in the first two and there’s a call-back to or wrap-up of what went on before. Sometimes the phenomenon of “things happen in threes” is in evidence. Three visits from a moving planet happens because of the zigzag movement due to retrogradation, an optical illusion when a faster planet lines up with a slower one. The good news is you have three chances to utilize the planets’ energies. For keywords of what is associated with each planet and sign, see the Astrologer’s Apprentice Cheat Sheet from AstrologyBooth.com.
We’re in the midst of a confusing time when it’s hard to know what’s real and what’s an illusion (or deception). This can be attributed to Neptune, the planet of fog and non-reality, being at a standstill on the summer solstice. In fact, it’s in 18º of Pisces all of May, June, July and half of August. Also, it’s never less than 4º from an abrasive and powerful “square” at cross purposes with Jupiter, which amplifies the haze. Since both planets are in the signs they rule (Neptune in Pisces and Jupiter in Sagittarius), the effect is even stronger. If you have something in your chart in the range of 14º – 18º of the “mutable” signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces), you’re being hit especially hard by this uncomfortable combination. Whatever that part of your chart indicates will be subject to misunderstandings or missteps.
Mercury dances around Mars this summer, hanging out very close to the red planet at both the summer solstice and at the July 2 Solar Eclipse New Moon. Influences at a solstice or an eclipse last an extended period of time. Mercury passes Mars in Cancer on 6/18 before going Retrograde 7/7 – 7/31, during which time it passes Mars again on 7/8 in Leo. (Later this fall, when both are in Virgo, they meet again on 9/3, the one day of 2019 that I rated a “5,” the best day of the year.) Their blend promotes quick-thinking as well as speaking too hastily and will likely propel many people to drive too fast. There can be an aggressive side to speech with these two so close, along with jumping to conclusions. Caution is advised, along with slowing down.
Mercury zigzags back and forth between the latter part of Cancer (around 24º) and the beginning area of Leo (around 4-1/2º), crossing the Cancer/Leo border three times: 6/26 entering Leo, 7/19 backtracking into Cancer, and 8/11 re-entering Leo. This is one of the two most important cusps of the zodiac (the other being the Pisces/Aries cusp, the traditional end point of the zodiac and its new beginning). This cusp reflects a key shift in energies from Cancer’s subconscious impressionability (the Moon’s home turf) to Leo’s conscious will power (the Sun’s kingdom). Our most important heavenly bodies, the “luminaries” or “lights,” are the rulers of these signs, the primary reason for the significance of this cusp. Since Mercury is the main planet of thinking, we’ll be shifting gears between logic-based decision-making and trusting gut instincts.
Venus approaches and passes the Sun over the summer (exact on 8/14), hanging out close together and traveling at about the same pace for while. This should help counterbalance the potential pugilistic influence of the Mercury-Mars conjunctions. These four heavenly bodies gather in a grouping and often simultaneously occupy the summer signs, moving first through Cancer and then through Leo and Virgo. The marriage asteroid Juno is also near these quick-moving planets, moving through Leo, putting emphasis on marital matters. Many people will have marriage on their minds, either a union they’re in or one they’re contemplating. (If you plan to to marry this summer, a good day for a wedding is August 10.) There is one week, August 11 to 17, when all the speedy planets (Mercury, Sun, Venus, Mars, as well as asteroid Juno) are in Leo. The Sun and Venus are within 5º of one another from 7/26 – 9/3 and within that range, within 1º from 8/10 -8/17. This makes for a very romantic time around the 8/15 Full Moon. Venus joins Mars on 8/24, and all the quick planets pass Juno. This is a rare situation. What a year for a summer romance! That said, there are potentially bumpy times for relationships when the Sun is square unpredictable Uranus on 7/29 and especially as Venus follows suit on 8/2. Uranus is famous for throwing curve balls and though it’s traveling now in the normally stable sign of Taurus, it is a highly unstable influence.
Many types of relationships are improved by being proactive in expressing our affections and caring. Ceres, a dwarf planet of nurturing, is traveling in a helpful trine with Chiron, the “repairman” asteroid. They are within 5º of this connection from 5/18 until 9/13, exactly trine on 6/6 and 8/27. Across July and August, the quick planets all form imprecise (but still effective) Grand Trines with them.
Eclipses occur when new or full moons are within range (about half a sign) of the lunar Nodes, which are the intersections of the two key orbits: the Moon around the Earth and the Earth around the Sun. The North Node, an indicator of the direction in which we should travel for our spiritual growth, is in the maternal sign of Cancer. The Solar Eclipse New Moon on July 2 in Cancer (10º38’) close to the North Node brings out our soft side and puts the focus on nation, home and family. The South Node, signaling what we should strive to release, is in Capricorn, a judgmental and regimented sign that turns a cold shoulder. The Lunar Eclipse Full Moon on July 16 is in Capricorn (24º4’) close to the South Node and Saturn. Capricorn along with its ruling planet Saturn represent government. The July eclipses in Cancer and Capricorn occur within about 7º of the Nodes, highlighting how they point to the crisis at the US southern border regarding how refugees, especially the children, are being detained in harsh conditions rather than being cared about and for. Saturn is about 1º from the South Node at both eclipses, showing us it’s time to look at the laws that encode exclusion. Pluto is about 4º from the South Node, as well, and it’s a planet of elimination. There are some regulations that need to be changed! The Ceres-Chiron trine (featured at the Solar Eclipse) and its enhancement by the quick planets’ trines should help bring better conditions for these desperate people seeking a welcome from America. And there is already a lot of poverty and hunger among America’s children that also needs to be addressed. Hopefully, this summer of love will be about loving our neighbors, not just our lovers.
The Lunar Eclipse looks to be a more difficult time, due to that pesky dwarf planet of disruption and chaos, Eris. (Its discovery is what prompted astronomers – not astrologers! – to re-examine what a “planet” is.) The opposition of the Sun and Moon (which is what defines a full moon) is weighed down on the Capricorn side of the seesaw, and both ends of the axis are squared by Eris forming a troublesome T-square. But a T-square can also mean a turning point, a push – even if a hard one – for transformation.
A second New Moon (not an eclipse) in July on the 31st (which calendars not based in the Americas will list as August 1) shows a somewhat easier pattern, still featuring the long-term Pluto-Eris square that tries to force change, this time in a milder T-square with Mercury occupying the space where the Sun was at the Lunar Eclipse. The rest of the quick planets are having a good time in sunny Leo, trine other planets in the Fire signs. This means HEAT along with lots of passion and creativity, and hopefully fun.
Do the best you can this summer to show your heart!
While the common idea of a “blue moon” is a second full moon in a calendar month, that’s not the original definition. The term arose to address a rare astronomical phenomenon of having four full moons in a season. Seasons are always three months and ordinarily have only three full moons. The third of four upset the natural order and instead of carrying the customary name for that season’s third full moon, it needed to have a different name. For instance, if the Lenten Moon had been the third full moon of four in the winter season, it would have triggered an extra month of fasting before Easter came later than usual in the spring. It was deemed a “betrayer,” for which the old English word was “belewe.” This came to be misconstrued as “blue.” An error in an astronomy magazine in 1946 pegged a second full moon in a calendar month as a blue moon and the notion stuck.
These articles explain blue moons well:
from Smithsonian Magazine
The last time we had a blue moon using the traditional definition was in the spring of 2016, on 5/21/16. The next time it occurs will be in the summer of 2021, on 8/22/21, and after that, the next will be 8/19/24. The average time between these blue moons is 2.7 years (per the Space.com article).
As for a second full moon in a calendar month, that happens in an irregular manner. Recent occurrences were 8/31/12, 7/31/15, and two in one year: 1/31/18 and 3/31/18. The next couple will be 10/31/20 and 8/31/23.
Both types of blue moons are infrequent and noteworthy, but the calendar version is a man-made construct while the third in a season is strictly astronomical.
Neptune, the ruling planet of Pisces, spends approximately 13 years in its home sign during its 165-year swim around the zodiac. It dipped its toes into Pisces in 2011 and doesn’t completely leave this sign until early 2026. You’d say that sounds like 15 years but you’d be fooled (a Neptunian pitfall) in that assumption. Because planets appear to move backward in the zodiac (an optical illusion called retrograde motion due to the earth also being in motion), slow planets take 1-2 calendar years to transition between signs.
In 2019, we’re just over halfway through this important period when this sign and planet reinforce one another and their shared traits and inclinations are exhibited most powerfully. And when the union of the Sun and Moon at a New Moon occurs close to Neptune, these tendencies are accentuated even more.
During Neptune’s time in Pisces, there are two New Moons just two degrees from Neptune (2/21/12 and 3/13/21) and one Solar Eclipse New Moon only three degrees from Neptune (2/26/17). The New Moon on March 6, 2019 gets the award for closest to Neptune, less than half a degree away, and that’s as Pisces as it gets!
What can we expect in the coming four-week lunar cycle? A big dose of everything related to Pisces and Neptune.
This sign and planet are not known for being straightforward nor transparent. Instead, they operate in round-about ways, in the realm of illusion and mysteries. They deal in dreams rather than reality, in impressions, wishes and fantasies rather than facts. Their domain encompasses fog, veils, and whatever goes on behind the curtain or behind your back. Their associated territory in a chart is the Twelfth House, a place indicating hidden enemies, imprisonment or confinement. This is also the area of our connection to the Divine (however that’s defined) and our need for retreat and rest. Neptune and Pisces are affiliated with sleep, healing (which takes place during sleep), the medical field, medications and self-medicating, including alcohol and recreational drugs. In the body, the related areas are the feet (containing reflex points that impact one’s entire physiology) and the immune system. On a psychological level, projection, escapism and delusion come into play, as well as pathological lies and playing the victim. Positive expressions of this energy are visualization, prayer, empathy and psychic ability. This is the sign and planet most connected to fear and faith, the opposite side of fear’s coin.
We may be in for extra confusion in the current period courtesy of Mercury, the planet of communication, traveling in reverse in Pisces. This can feel like swimming in circles (the fish chasing its tail). The retrograde began on March 5 with Mercury at 29° Pisces, a degree of selflessness and sometimes of suffering. This likely makes this bout of Mercury Retrograde in Pisces more challenging than some Mercury backtracks in this sign. In addition, Mercury passes by Neptune three times: February 18-19 (depending on your time zone) in the approach to its back-up, March 24 while Retrograde, and April 2 when leaving the back-up range. These are apt to be peaks of Piscean problems or possibilities. Jupiter, which magnifies whatever it’s involved in, is roughly 90 degrees (“square”) Neptune during this time (exact January 13 and June 16) and Mercury will feel Jupiter’s amplification when Mercury is square Jupiter on February 22, March 15 and April 12. The final connection may be most difficult since Jupiter turns Retrograde on April 10 and thus is motionless and exerting additional force.
Other important links for Neptune in this period (which Mercury will also replicate) are a jarring 45-degree “semisquare” with Uranus (exact December 15, 2018 and May 1, 2019), a planet famous for shocks and surprises, and easy 60-degree “sextiles” with two planets in practical, grounding earth signs: Saturn in Capricorn (exact January 19 and June 18) and Mars in Taurus (exact March 10). These sextiles with planets in earth signs are likely to be our saving grace to keep us from going off the deep end. Pisces and Neptune don’t incline us to stick to something but Mars in Taurus won’t let go or give up.
Recommendations for handling these energies:
To satisfy the Uranus-Neptune semisquare, break away from your comfort zone or old established ways and surprise yourself by reaching for a dream. To honor Saturn’s need for maturity and wisdom, don’t go crazy; have a plan or at least a realistic goal. Then bring in the assistance of Mars in Taurus by being persistent and steady in heading toward the finish line. In the process, trust your sixth sense since Mercury in Pisces isn’t good at logic. Use the positive visualization feature: “believe to achieve” and “see it to be it.”
To learn more about Mercury Retrograde in Pisces, watch the February episode of LOOKING UP entitled “Swimming in Stormy Seas.” Some of the other phenomena mentioned in this blog are also addressed in the March episode “Shift Into Spring.”
One more thing: we shouldn’t ignore another major astrological occurrence on March 6, 2019: Uranus enters Taurus for a visit of approximately seven years. It made its first foray into Taurus on May 15, 2018, with Neptune at 16°10’ of Pisces, only one degree from a precise semisquare. At Uranus’s re-entry into Taurus, Neptune is at 16°9’, a nearly exact duplication of the prior set-up. On May 15, 2018, the Kilauea volcano eruption in Hawaii began, a very apt symbol for the shift from a fire to an earth sign for the planet related to volcanoes and explosions in a tension relationship with the planet of the oceans. Literally fire went into the ocean and then created more land (earth). Over the next seven years, expect Mother Nature to give us some significant wake-up calls as Uranus, the “alarm clock” planet, travels through earth sign, Taurus.
The new year promises a lot of hope and opportunity for growth. Jupiter is in its sign of rulership, Sagittarius, for most of 2019 (11/8/18 – 12/2/19). This is the planet of optimism in the sign of expansion. Yet there are precarious periods when it’s better to lay low than forge ahead. January is such a time.
As January gets going, two planetary turning points pack a wallop. When planets begin or end their apparent backward motion (retrograde), they seem to stand still for days (called “on station”), which intensifies their influence. Uranus, acting like an alarm clock to shake and wake us, shifts from reverse to forward motion on 1/6, less than 24 hours after a Solar Eclipse New Moon on 1/5. On 1/10, dwarf planet Eris, known for being warlike and disruptive, does likewise. In between, the most trying combination of the year kicks into high gear, the Jupiter-Neptune square on 1/9.
It may help that the New Moon is in stable Capricorn and very close to (less than 3° from) Capricorn’s ruling planet, Saturn. This influence offers grounding in common sense and tradition, or restraint by virtue of rules. Saturn keeps Jupiter reined in (at least a bit) via a mild semisextile (30°) connection. Neptune two signs from (sextile) the Sun, Moon and Saturn contributes a touch of softness but can’t be very helpful since it’s in a jarring relationship with Uranus (see next paragraph). A nice Water sign trine (120°) from Venus in Scorpio to Chiron in Pisces supplies sympathy and could help reduce the impact of financial bumps. Venus is one of two money planets while Chiron is an asteroid with a healing “repairman” function. But they’re up against some heavyweights.
An insidious influence from two slow-moving planets sets a snare into which quicker planets fall. From the second half of 2017 into the first half of 2019, Uranus and Neptune form a grating connection (semisquare) five times. The most recent instance on 12/15/18 is still reverberating. These two planets are within 1° of their exact 45° relationship from 11/13/18 to 1/27/19. (The next occurrence is the finale on 5/1/19 (with a repeat of their 1° range this spring from 3/19 to 5/30.) Uranus brings shocks and surprises. Neptune acts out of sight and sneaks up on you. Their combined effect spawns great confusion and instability. For instance, the 2018 Janet’s Plan-its warned of “volatility in commodities and the stock market” from their interaction. Well, we’ve been having that! Big Jupiter amplifies the problems when it interacts with Uranus and Neptune on 1/9 and 1/13, respectively (as it will again 6/6 and 6/16). Speedy planets join the fray: Venus and the Sun, traveling 45° apart, form a tangled mess with these three 1/18 – 1/22 (including at the Lunar Eclipse Full Moon on 1/21) and Mercury follows suit 1/23 – 1/24 for a wild roller coaster week. Situations come to a head at a full moon, even more so at an eclipse.
Eclipses occur when the Sun and Moon line up with the lunar Nodes, the directional indicators showing our path for spiritual or cultural development. Currently the North Node in Cancer aims us toward caring for home, family and nation, moving us away from the domination by corporations and government associated with the South Node in Capricorn. Uranus is halfway in between, forming a T-square (which marks a turning point) with the Sun, Moon and Nodes. Their effect is not a gentle nudge but more like a slap in the face. The question is whether Neptune’s collaboration will bring empathy for desperate situations or signal an escapist ignoring of troubles. Think of how Al Gore warned us years ago of the “inconvenient truth” of global warming and how still some people think there’s no problem or that we have all the time in the world to save our planet from devastation. We’re hearing from the scientists now that we do not. It’s time to raise awareness, maybe through a march or something like a Climate Aid concert. Or Mother Nature may supply inspiration through a calamity.
Maybe we can muster up a sense of urgency. Mars, the planet of action, is in its sign of rulership, Aries, from 12/31/18 to 2/14/19, bringing agitation and impatience. There’s also a tendency to jump the gun (and perhaps toward more gun violence since Mars and Aries rule weapons and attacks). Fortunately, Mars does not interact with the Uranus-Neptune semisquare or we’d be on the lookout for trouble from religious rebels. (Uranus rules revolutionaries and Neptune rules belief systems.) Instead, at the lunar eclipse, Mars is in harmonious relationships with Jupiter (trine) and Neptune (semisextile), mitigating the difficulties posed by the Jupiter-Neptune square. Neptune is related to fears on one side of its coin and faith on the other. When Jupiter expands these in January, we’ll see extremes of both expressions, twisted weirdly as a result of the involvement of Uranus, planet of the unusual. Mars encourages us to take action rather than being frozen in apprehension. See if you can figure out something positive to do to help in the areas in which you’re involved. Together, we can make a difference.
Although, the new year holds some good prospects, carefully choosing when to act will help ensure success in your endeavors. Take advantage of the recommendations in the Janet’s Plan-its Best & Worst Days of 2019 list, a free downloadable PDF. And mark your appointment calendar with the Janet’s Plan-its 2019 Day Ratings or print the free 12-month list to carry with you. Add luck to your plans using the power of the Plan-its!
Sooner or later, everyone has to deal with Mercury Retrograde (explained in detail in my article Mercury Retrograde). The general recommendation is to keep your wits about you and be willing to revise or redo.
Every three months or so, the “trickster” planet Mercury appears to move backward through the zodiac for about three weeks. Since it’s the planet of communication and local transportation – key matters in our everyday lives – it can have a strong impact! Sometimes, you’ll hardly notice its effects, but when the range of degrees where it backtracks connects to your chart strongly, you’ll definitely feel its influence. The most intense effect occurs at the degree where Mercury appears to stop to change direction, called the “station.” For about a week centering on the date of the directional change, Mercury remains nearly motionless in that degree. [Check if any Mercury station degrees hit your chart using the Janet’s Plan-its “On a Page” bar graphs.]
The time frame for Mercury’s discombobulating effects is not just during the three weeks it’s actually moving in reverse. It also includes a period of about 2-1/2 weeks before and afterward as Mercury moves forward through the range of degrees of its retrograde. These are known as the entry and exit “shadow” periods. Actions undertaken in the shadow before the retrograde (entry shadow) often require revision or modification in the retrograde back-up period and in the shadow following the backtrack (exit shadow). When Mercury links to your chart, it makes three “hits” – one before the retrograde, one during and one after. So the overall time frame lasts for about two months altogether, with about two months free and clear between bouts.
Things that occur during a Mercury Retrograde can have a long-lasting impact. One important example that comes to mind is the US presidential election of 2000, which occurred as Mercury stood still ending a Retrograde backtrack. The recount mess during the exit shadow resulted in a Supreme Court ruling decided by one vote that resulted in denying Al Gore his victory. Think of how different our world would be now if we had had an environmentally friendly president at the start of this millennium!
When we take into account the weeks and months before and after a person’s birth, long-term experiences of Mercury Retrograde come into play. The astrological technique called “progressions” correlates the consecutive days after one’s birth with the consecutive years of one’s life, on a day-for-a-year basis. (See “Making Progress – Astrologically” in the Study Booth Articles.) With this forecasting system, if you are both during a Mercury Retrograde, sometime in your first 22 years, you move past its strongest effects, but it still takes another decade-plus to get out of its “shadow.” You could be live through decades when your progressed Mercury goes through the entire cycle of entry shadow, retrograde and exit shadow. If you’re born just after an exit shadow, in your later life you enter a shadow. The only people who avoid any extended period of Mercury Retrograde or its shadows by progression are those born after an exit shadow and who die before the next entry shadow. So chances are, you’ll have to live a while with some influence from a Mercury Retrograde.
The extended, progressed version of the Mercury Retrograde cycle is not easily observable on a day-to-day basis. Long-term trends or projects are where we see it at work. Since it’s an influence inclining us to re-do or go back to something, the progressed Mercury Retrograde is a period to undertake an activity or project you wanted to do before but didn’t get around to, or to complete something that was unfinished. Mercury is associated with the hands, so the Retrograde is a good time to learn something new that’s done with the hands, such as a craft or playing an instrument.
I can say for myself that I have progressed Mercury Retrograde from 2002 to 2022. I always wanted to be a writer and during this time, I created my Janet’s Plan-its calendars and they grew to be quite a detailed and involved annual book. Since they became a lot of work that is only meaningful for a brief period of time (a year), before I finish my retrograde I want to complete a book that won’t “expire.” This is a key reason I decided to forego writing more calendars and focus on other writing and other means of communication. Another thing I attribute to my progressed Mercury Retrograde period is that for the past few years, I’ve noticed I frequently, unconsciously hold my lips closed and retract them inward. For someone who’s been pretty “big-mouthed” most of my life, this is an interesting change!
If you want to learn about your natal and progressed Mercury, you can look in an ephemeris to see what was going on in the months before and after your birth and compare Mercury Retrograde station degrees to your natal chart. In a full general reading, I always look at that for a client, or it can easily be covered in a mini-reading with me. (Contact me and we’ll set something up.) We’ll discuss how you can “live with Mercury Retrograde.”
Today’s Rating: 2 Today’s Message:
The need for repairs and improvements is widespread and evokes sympathy but runs into multiple roadblocks. Later, ways and means become apparent. Teamwork helps.
Days are rated 1 – 5 (1 = most challenging; 5 = easiest)
Once in every two-year period, we have a two-month backtrack of the planet of action, Mars. Usually Mars wants to propel us forward but when it goes backward itself, it signals a time to step back and repeat a prior activity or do a reversal in the ways you’ve been doing something. You will experience its tug strongly if it connects to a planet in your birth chart. In that case, whatever that planet represents shows the area in which you want a turn-around.
Mars and the Sun are exactly opposite on July 27, marking the halfway point of Mars’s retrograde June 26 to August 27. If you take into account the time frame during which Mars moves forward through the range of degrees of its backtrack before it’s in backward motion (called the entry “shadow” of the retrograde) from May 12 to June 26, and the time when Mars proceeds forward again through that range after backing up (called the exit “shadow”) from August 27 to October 8, there are about five months when it hangs out in the same 11-degree part of the zodiac, and thus the same portion of a chart. That’s plenty of time to figure of what you want to do differently! It also seems like a long time to be stuck in one place.
The back-up sector is between 28 degrees of Capricorn and 9 degrees of Aquarius. Mars’s sign change gives us a hint of its effects and how to use this energy. Capricorn represents the old guard and established, tried-and-true methods while Aquarius leans toward experimentation, individualism and all that’s modern. Mars was in Capricorn March 17 to May 16. The retrograde began in Aquarius, showing we were heading for something new, but as it returns to Capricorn (August 12 to September 10), we need to go back to old ways and see either what we can glean from them or what about them we want to reject. When Mars returns to Aquarius September 10 (until November 15), we can take the best of the old and blend it with the best of the new.
A key interaction in Mars’s back-and-forth dance is a 90-degree link (called a “square,” known for friction) with unpredictable Uranus, the ruling planet of Aquarius, where Mars is located as it connects to Uranus. This combination gives rise to temper flare-ups and sudden motions (because of which, it signals increased accident potential). The three times this contact is exact are May 16, August 1 and September 18. Exercise extra caution around these dates, perhaps especially when exercising since Mars rules muscles and athletics. Uranus rules ankles and shins, possibly a weak area at these times.
From July 7 to September 24, Mars is in a condition called “out of bounds,” meaning it’s off the “regular playing field” defined by the Sun’s apparent path around the earth. It’s riding particularly low in the night sky. This strengthens, or leads to extremes in, Mars’s traits of impatience, anger, impulsiveness, solo action and confidence. It’s not all bad – Mars can help you be brave.
If you think Mars is looking particularly large, bright and red lately, you’re right. It’s closer to earth than it’s been in 15 years. (Its next close approach is in October 2020 – see this article from NASA.) The 2003 approach was the closest in 60,000 years! That year, the US began the Iraq War. I’m hopeful we won’t get into a new war this time around. Aggression seems to be greater in years of high sunspot activity (which 2003 was close to) and we’re currently at a low point in the sunspot cycle. Fortunately, our President’s natal Mars (named for the god of war) is not contacted by Mars in this retrograde cycle.
The new U.S. embassy opened in Jerusalem amidst Palestinian protests. This should be no surprise to those following astrology as Uranus – a planet of prodding, shock and progress – enters Taurus, the Sun Sign of the nation of Israel (founded May 14, 1948 by a United Nations resolution). Israel turned 70 the last day Uranus was in Aries. When Uranus returns to this degree on Election Day, November 6, 2018, perhaps moving the embassy and any resulting turmoil will be an issue in the mid-term elections. Or there may be a connected development around then.
Early in Uranus’s visit to Aries, the “Arab Spring” brought shifts in power in parts of the Middle East. If we look at the globe from a “geodetic” viewpoint (which assigns the 360 degrees of longitude, east from Greenwich, England, to the 360 degrees of the zodiac), we see that some of the Arab world (most of Algeria, all of Libya and part of Egypt) falls in the first 30 degrees ascribed to Aries. But more of the Middle East is in the Taurus sector (longitudes 30 to 60 degrees East, covering Syria, Israel, Iraq, the Arabian peninsula and most of Iran). It’s likely things will heat up in this region over the coming seven years as rebellious Uranus passes through Taurus. Even though as a sign, Taurus is resistant to change, Uranus is an unstoppable force.
The final degree of a sign brings a karmic test. For Uranus in Aries, it’s about people being free to make their choices and even just to survive (a key Aries activity) – it’s existential. Hence the Palestinians protesting the encroachment of the Israelis into the land they view as theirs. And now the United States is taking sides in the dispute. There will be consequences, although those will take some time to play out. The initial hints may come immediately as Mercury, the messenger planet associated with news, reaches 5 degrees of Taurus (the geodetic location of Jerusalem) on May 16, concurrent with the exact Mars-Uranus square (90-degree stand-off), which on its own indicates “the natives are restless.” The bigger changes will come when Uranus passes through this degree (6/13/19, 10/12/19 and 4/2/20 – three times because of retrograde zigzagging).
Meanwhile, also on the last day of Uranus in Aries, another example of people fighting for their survival hits closer to home. The LA Times reported, “Hundreds of poor and low-wage workers, clergy and activists were arrested Monday outside the U.S. Capitol and at statehouses across the country as they kick-started a revival of the Poor People’s Campaign — the civil disobedience movement founded 50 years ago by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.” Rev. William J. Barber II, the “Moral Mondays” pastor from North Carolina and the campaign’s co-chair, called for a “revolution of values.” Well, that sounds exactly like Uranus, planet of revolution, in Taurus, the sign of values! I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Why is it time to get serious? Saturn’s in Capricorn! It’s the planet of facing reality in a sign of well-planned action, taking your time and thinking long-term.
This free podcast – an overview of 2018 – is an excerpt from a lecture Janet gave on 11/19/17 at the Astrological Society of Conneticut, Inc.’s New Age Fair. Follow along with the PDF handout to learn the year’s high points and low points, which months are easiest and toughest, as well as which signs are under assault and which signs have it easy.