People who expect a refund are usually quicker to file their tax return than those who owe. That much is a no-brainer. Perhaps if you have a lot of work to do before you arrive at your bottom line, you might not file until deadline time even if you’d get money back. But there a good astrological reason to file this year earlier rather than later.
You may be familiar with the phenomenon of retrograde motion of planets. This is an optical illusion where a planet appears to travel in the opposite direction of its normal motion for a period of time, from weeks to months. It’s due to the fact that we on earth are in motion along with our fellow orbiters of the sun, and our relative positions makes planets look like they’re going in reverse as they pass closest to earth.
The interpretation is that activities and items associated with a planet tend to present more difficulties when that planet is retrograde and seem to be easier to handle when the planet is proceeding forward through the zodiac (called direct motion). Some type of revision or correction is often necessitated when an action is undertaken during a retrograde and possibly even when it’s preparing to turn retrograde.
This April, not one but two relevant planets will be in retrograde motion. Venus, related to monetary matters, will backtrack from March 4 to April 15. Since taxes are a reporting of money earned and spent, Venus is rather important in tax filing.
Mercury, the planet related to all forms of communication (including filing of forms), as well as commerce, is retrograde from April 9 to May 3. Many people have experienced errors of commission or omission during a Mercury retrograde period. Sometimes trying to take care of communications ahead of a retrograde will still result in a need for corrections, particularly if the work is done shortly before the backtracking commences as Mercury moves forward through the range of degrees where it is about to back up. Mercury enters this range on March 27. (Venus entered its backup range on January 30, before the deadline for 1099 forms to be sent to you for your taxes.)
Thus there are a few days, April 9 to 15, with a double retrograde of the two planets most related to filing a tax return. (You can see this overlap on the bar chart on my 2017 On a Page, a free download on my website.) Knowing this, don’t you want to avoid waiting until the deadline? In fact, you probably want to finish your accounting before March 27, if not before March 4.
Some astrologers believe that you have less of a chance of being audited if you file your return when the Moon is in a condition called “void of course.” This means it is making no more connections to other planets from the sign through which it is traveling. When it makes its last contact from that sign, it begins the void, which lasts until the Moon enters the next sign. You might think of the links it makes as providing motivation or direction and that when those have expired, the Moon is without a mission, hence “void of course.” I’m not sure if there are statistical studies to verify this belief, but I know many astrologers who file their taxes during a void Moon!
In my Janet’s Plan-its astrology calendars (both the print version and the ebook), I indicate when the Moon is void and I recommend certain days for particular activities. However, the days I show as best for tax-related matters are not when the Moon is void; a void Moon isn’t usually a best time for doing anything the first time (although it’s fine for continuing ongoing activities). I also rate the days 1-5 as to their ease or difficulty according to how nicely the planets are interacting (1 is toughest; 5 is smoothest). A decent day for filing your return is Friday, Feb. 17, rated 3, with the Moon in Scorpio (the sign related to taxes) becoming void at 11:38 am (P), 2:38 pm (E) and remaining void the rest of the day. The last connection the Moon makes as it becomes void is a positive link with the “ruling planet” of Scorpio, Pluto. If you want to try the void approach and file before Venus turns retrograde, this is your best bet. You can also just barely skirt the edge of Venus turning retrograde by filing on March 3 with the Moon in Taurus, the sign of money, becoming void for the rest of the day at 7:20 am (P), 10:20 am (E). It is only rated 2 but that last connection the Moon makes is a positive one to Pluto. Venus is basically motionless then, so it wouldn’t be my preference.
If Mercury retrograde is more of a concern to you for filing your taxes (and in my opinion, it’s a more relevant factor than Venus retrograde), you can file on Friday, March 10, which is rated 4 with the Moon void from 9:05 am to 2:07 pm Pacific time, 12:05 pm to 5:07 pm Eastern time. The Moon’s last contact is not with Pluto but at least it is a positive one, in this case to Saturn, which is related to governmental matters. If you don’t care about filing when the Moon is void, days I list in Janet’s Plan-its that are best for tax-related matters are the morning of 2/16 (a 3 day with the Moon in Scorpio) and the evening of 3/21, also a 3 day with the Moon in Capricorn (ruled by Saturn).
Whatever you do, try to avoid those last few days before the deadline – they’re deadly!
After a rough and tumble 2016, what’s there to look forward to in 2017? More changes, some of them quite sweeping!
There will be major developments in America, that’s for sure, with a new administration and a single party in charge of the executive and legislative branches of government, on a mission to take the country in a different direction. Both parties were shook to their core in the 2016 elections and will go through twists and turns to reinvent themselves. The old guard is challenged by a rising tide of populism. Disagreements over policy and how to proceed will continue, between the parties and within them.
The forces for rapid evolution that intensified in this decade have not completed their work. The stress and abrasion are actually magnified in the first quarter of 2017, with short February being particularly volatile. Watch out for “nasty women” proudly on the rampage in March. Beginning in the third quarter in a tumultuous end to September, what we’ve believed to be true comes under new scrutiny or hidden conditions come to light explosively, with reverberations that last into 2019. Religious differences take on a stronger role and the science-versus-religion debate intensifies.
What’s rare in 2017? A solar eclipse stretching across the country (see this interactive map from NASA), which we haven’t experienced since 1979 and won’t again until 2024. Although the totality is concentrated in a small swath and will be very brief, its impact could be huge. Its zodiacal degree is at the important rising degree (“Ascendant “) of our new President. Since the Sun represents the leader and the Moon signifies the people, as the Moon blocks the Sun in this eclipse, it points to a time for the people to wield power over their leader. Two weeks later (less than 24 hours before the full moon peak of the lunar cycle begun at the eclipse), Mercury ends a retrograde backtrack at the same degree as the eclipse. Mercury represents news and information, and the terminus of a retrograde is a stoppage. Will the President try to clamp down on the press or limit the internet in some way?
What’s not so different? The trend toward a hotter and hotter world. Each year sets a new record for global temperature. And this may be symbolic of hot heads, making it harder and harder for everyone to get along.
What can you do? Surprise yourself, take a risk, try something new. Know your true self and bring out your highest potentials, for your own advantage and for the benefit of the greater whole. CHANGE YOUR THINKING – CHANGE YOUR LIFE – CHANGE YOUR WORLD.
For an in-depth analysis and explanation IN ENGLISH of 2017’s astrological influences – with tips for making the most of what the planets offer – consult Janet’s Plan-its Celestial Planner 2017 Astrology Calendar (paperback) or Janet’s Plan-its 2017 Quick & Easy Astrology Calendar (ebook). The December episode of LOOKING UP also discusses 2017’s highlights.
Here’s wishing you a year of wonderful changes!
America had a birthday. It was a New Moon. As an American astrologer, I was excited about that. A new start, a fresh perspective, I thought. In Cancer, the sign of Mom, home and apple pie. A woman is running for President. Maybe she’ll win. That would be something new. Probably a better something new than a man who’s never engaged in the process of enacting laws by any means other than contributing to politicians.
This week in America, the news was the “same old, same old” – or worse. The woman, who isn’t known for being tremendously trustworthy and who’s been under attack for decades, was cleared of intentional wrong-doing in a situation still riddled with question marks. Even though no known harm has apparently resulted directly (as yet, at least) from her actions, there are outraged citizens and the witch hunt continues, now focused on skewering those who didn’t skewer her
We had just recently been having a national conversation – heated of course – about guns, the Second Amendment, reasonable background checks, and maybe even re-instituting the lapsed ban on assault weapons. (The Governor of California signed just such a law in that progressive state.) I don’t oppose the right to have a gun. Like the Founding Fathers, I’m all for anyone who wants a musket to have one. Go ahead and carry it openly. Load little ball bullets one at a time with a ramrod. Keep your powder dry. Note: they did not say an individual should own a cannon.
Meanwhile, death haunted the headlines nearly daily, well, three days in a row. White cops kill a black man in Baton Rouge. White cops kill an Hispanic man in St. Paul. Their violations in no way warranted the over-reactions that resulted in their violent demise. The capper was an over-the-top over-reactive counter-attack on white cops by a black sniper during a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest. All the killing was done with guns.
Americans love their guns! The Wild West, cowboys and Indians, all our “heroic” wars fought with guns. Crime shows on TV, action adventures in the movies all featuring guns. Kids don’t want to learn how to throw a knife or shoot a bow and arrow. They play violent video games about killing with guns. Maybe soon that will be superseded with virtual drone attack video games. Better preparation for future wars.
It occurs to me that we speak incessantly about fighting. Even in sports. Fight, fight, fight. Fighting for our political beliefs, fighting for our rights, fighting for freedom, fighting for a better life. That strikes me as oxymoronic. Or perhaps just plain moronic. But that term is politically insensitive to morons. People are even fighting against being “politically correct,” a stance which really just means being mature and respectful of others’ rights. But, oh, if that steps on your sense of entitlement, well, then, that’s a bad thing.
When the USA was “born” (July 4, 1776) Mars, the fighting and war planet, was bumping heads with (as yet undiscovered but already operative) Neptune, the planet of symbolism, idealization, worship and delusion. We glorify fighting, we believe in fighting. Might makes right. We’re the police force for the world. The greatest military (industrial complex) ever known to man. Plenty enough nuclear warheads to destroy our planet many times over. Oh, don’t forgot how testosterone-laden and phallic Mars, weapons and war are, how deeply embedded in our animal primitive brainstem killing is. The fight or flight instinct. For survival. The USA was born of war. Live by fighting; die by fighting.
Fighting is no longer conducive to survival. The new paradigm for the New Age is cooperation rather than competition. Two Great Ages earlier (2,000-4,000+ years ago) was the Age of Aries and the Peloponnesian Wars, with the development of metallurgy and better means of fighting (swords and shields). Then 2,000 years ago came the Age of Pisces, which could have – and probably should have – delivered a more feminine energy, with empathy and understanding, abiding by the Golden Rule and the Christian tenet to love your enemy, love your neighbor as yourself. But we continued to war, especially relishing religious wars. “My god’s better than your god.” Perhaps in the Age of Aquarius, we’ll only have wars of words. Air signs are all about thought and communication. Aquarius is the sign of the masses, the people, friendship and the community. It’s much more androgynous than Aries. We’re all trans-gendering in a way.
At our birthday in 2016, we’re 240 years old, still in battle mode. Perhaps we’ll hit a turning point. Planets at one’s birthday show the promise for the coming year. Mars is traveling through Scorpio, the sign of extremes, death, resurrection, and transformation. It sits at the apex of a strange triangle called a Finger of God that brings a divine detour of odd twists and turns en route to an ultimate destination different from that intended but more in tune with destiny. The base of the triangle is formed by the country’s natal Mars in Gemini (the sign of ideas and conversations, learning, neighbors, siblings, brotherhood) being stimulated by a volatile combination in Aries (the sign ruled by Mars and related to survival, aggression, action, speed). Throughout this year, Uranus (planet of shocks and surprises, rebellion and revolution) travels hand-in-hand with the mighty little dwarf planet Eris, the bitchy sister of Mars. She loves a good fight. She kicks butt and stands up for independence like nobody’s business. Perhaps Eris will call forth her sisters to fight to end fighting. Oh, let me re-state that. ADVOCATE to end fighting. You can’t fight to end fighting. That’s oxymoronic.
I’ve called 2016 the “year of strong women” because of the Uranus-Eris pairing. We could have a woman President. And lots of men (and women) could fight against her; no doubt they will. But she’ll likely advocate for less fighting overall and more cooperation. Or we could choose a guy whose Sun (leadership, ego, pride, self-promotion) is in Gemini just one degree from the USA’s Mars. We can police the planet, and fight one another, and fight fight fight all around the world, with tough talk (one of Mars in Gemini’s favorite (lower) expressions) and lots of guns. And many more weeks like this one in America.
Maybe we’ll surprise ourselves and change the pattern. That’s where the Finger of God points, to Scorpio’s options. Transform or die.
The beautiful full moon never fails to enchant us, its round face as inscrutable as the Mona Lisa’s. It beams down on our planet far and wide. At a lunar eclipse, it’s ensconced in earth’s shadow (even though not from everyone’s viewpoint). What an incredible miracle that the size of our star and our satellite and their distances from us are such that one can obscure another, resulting in a momentary disappearing act. It’s hard to image if there is another life-supporting planet in a distant solar system that it experiences a similar eclipse phenomenon. How lucky we are to be on this spaceship earth and how careful we should be not to destroy its delicate balance.
Thinking of our planet as a spaceship reminds me of the Whole Earth Catalog, which was popular in 1968-1972, around the time of the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970. Earth Day is a chance to honor our Mother Earth and focus on her health and well-being. The first Earth Day came a day before a Full Moon, similar to this year when the Full Moon is on Earth Day. Both Mercury and Ceres are nearly exactly where they were 46 years ago at the first Earth Day. Mercury is getting ready to turn Retrograde on April 28 at 23-1/2 degrees of Taurus. In 1970, it turned Retrograde on April 28 at 22-12 degrees of Taurus. Ceres enters Aries April 11, 2016; in 1970, it entered Aries on April 14. A Mercury Retrograde turning point asks us to stop in our tracks and re-think and reflect on something; in Taurus, the focus is the material realm. Ceres is a dwarf planet named for the goddess fertility and harvest. In Aries, there’s excitement and enthusiasm to try something new or to make a change, planting new seeds. The original intent of Earth Day was to promote awareness of our environment and resources and to begin a new tradition of caring for our planet, both of which are in keeping with the pivoting Mercury in Taurus and Ceres newly in Aries. This year’s echo of those celestial influences signals an excellent time to re-commit to that noble goal.
Earth Day comes right around the beginning of the Sun’s passage through Taurus, a sign in the Earth element ruled by Venus, the planet named for the goddess of beauty and love. This is the time each year for appreciating all that we value and for reveling in our senses, enjoying the beautiful sights, sounds, smells and tastes of spring, a time for expressing affection through embraces. Taurus time always coincides with Mothers Day, too, when we honor the ones who gave us our lives.
One might hope that reverence for Earth, our Mother, would breed reverence for our brothers and sisters and fellow creatures and inhabitants, too. If only we could all care for one another the way a mother nurtures her children. But with the ISIS attack in Brussels on March 22, we’re reminded again of divisiveness and hatred, with the temptation to succumb to fear. The cure, of course, is inclusion and love. And for that, it helps to remember Spaceship Earth. We’re all in this boat together.
The 23rd of January is a cool date; in numerals, it’s 1, 2, 3 (1/23). This year, it brings us a Full Moon, which is in the fun sign of Leo. Maybe the kids of the eastern states will enjoy the snow. Full Moons frequently usher in a storm, and this one is a doozey! With power outages, coastal and street flooding, flight cancellations and closed roads, most people are “sheltering in place,” the modern term for hunkering down at home.
The area of the country that’s affected has Saturn, a planet of cold and challenges, at the foot of the Full Moon chart, a place that indicates “here” and where weather astrologers look for an indication of the conditions. It’s interesting to note that an asteroid named “Jonasz” (and there is no “Jonas” asteroid) is in a 90-degree position of friction relative to Saturn and not far from Chiron (a planetoid that highlights injury and difficulties) in the wet and wintery sign of Pisces. The named asteroids often present uncanny synchronicity. For example, the asteroids “Booth” and “Janhoet” (there is no asteroid “Janet”) were together on my birthday and rising at my exact time and place of birth.
CRAZY START TO THE YEAR
The stock market got off to the rockiest start for a year ever. Those astrologically in the know might have guessed there would be a big emphasis on economics at the new year. In its current Retrograde zigzag, Mercury hangs around a long time with Pluto, the planet associated with stocks and commodities, emphasizing Pluto’s long-term friction with volatile Uranus. The first Mercury-Pluto meet-up was 12/19/15, close enough to the winter solstice to portend extremes for the entire season. The second and third pairings on 1/22 and 1/30 bookend the final day of Mercury’s back-up on 1/25, coming near the Full Moon on 1/23. Full Moons often signal something having run its course. We can hope that’s the case with this market slide. At the end of the week on 1/22, the markets showed a net increase for the week for the first time in 2016, having gained ground the final two days of the shortened trading week. December was an up-and-down month and the serious tumble began around 12/29. That date provides a hint for more bouncing around to come.
Not only is Mercury joining Pluto’s present position three times, it also makes three passes over the degree where Pluto was at the “birth” of the USA (27-1/2 Capricorn). These occur 12/29/15, 1/11/16 and 2/11/16. Mercury is a key predictor for Plutonian matters in the USA because on 7/4/1776, Mercury in Cancer was across from Pluto, and Mercury was Retrograde. It’s in our “DNA” to keep our minds on our money AND to be dumb about it on occasion. The current Mercury Retrograde opposes the country’s birth Mercury position three times, too: 12/26, 1/13, 2/9. A little more stability may set in once we’re in the cycle that begins at the New Moon on 2/8, when Venus (a beneficial planet related to money) joins Pluto.
That said, the year as a whole holds big challenges for investors. Markets respond to people’s emotions, a primary one being fear. The USA’s birth Neptune (the planet associated with fear) is being visited now by Jupiter, the expander. At the 1/23 Full Moon, Jupiter is back at the exact degree it occupied at the winter solstice, having inched forward and then turned tail on 1/7. This combination inclines people to react, or should we say over-react, to worries and the unknown. Neptune is also the planet related to oil and a lot of the concerns stem from the depression of oil prices. In astrology, we see the correlation from pressure put on Neptune by a 90-degree tension relationship with Saturn, the planet of contraction. These two are in this difficult link for most of 2016 (with two spikes on 6/17 and 9/10).
Most of this Mercury Retrograde (1/5 – 1/25) takes place in Capricorn, the sign of the Establishment, but it began in Aquarius, the sign of the rebel. We see a lot of anti-establishment sentiment in the electorate as we prepare for primary season, with fringe candidates getting the lion’s share of attention. Capricorn is also the sign of organization and order, which many have witnessed erode during this backtrack of the planet of communication, information, paperwork and commerce.
Have you had a Mercury Retrograde experience? I sure have!! This one makes a “T” pattern (tension, turning point) with my natal Mercury, which is 90-ish degrees from my Uranus. Lots of challenges with technology-related circumstances. But great insights about the power of acupuncture and mediation, both related to Uranus.
I hope you enjoy this Full Moon!
Disclaimers often begin “Due to circumstances beyond our control …” A lot of what happens in our lives does seem to be beyond our personal control. In such a case, people behave in different ways. Some complain or protest; others evade or surrender. These are re-active responses. Usually there is something you can do to be pro-active. If it does not change the situation, at least it will change YOU! Maybe it’s not easy, not something you already know how to do. You’ll need to stretch and take a risk. That’s how you grow, create, solve problems. If enough of us make that effort instead of accepting conditions as they are, circumstances will shift and come more under our control.
This week, Mars is in the spotlight or should we say the hot seat? It’s not just the planet of anger and aggression, the fight or flight instinct. It’s also the planet of assertion, self-determination and ACTION. From 11/12/15 to 1/03/16, Mars is traveling through Libra, the sign opposite its power in Aries, the sign it rules. Competitive urges ebb while cooperation is enhanced. This is a period for teamwork and collaboration, as well as peace and diplomacy. We could see some ripples in the coming week, though.
Despite Libra being an indecisive sign generally (due to weighing options), Mars is pushing buttons now and forcing decisions. This is because on Dec. 6, Mars makes an abrasive connection to Pluto (90 degrees away) and on Dec. 10, it hits a peak of stress across from Uranus. Thus all week Mars makes a T-square pattern with Uranus and Pluto, which are traveling for years roughly 90 degrees apart. They are putting us through an extended process aimed at major change and transformation, altering the status quo and the balance of power. This applies to individual lives as well as the collective. The going is usually slow but at certain points, quicker planets interact with Uranus and Pluto and hasten the pace, like Mars is doing now. T-square configurations bring situations to a head so that we’ll go around a corner and head in a different direction. It really is time to do something!
On a global level, the climate conference in Paris is attempting to steer our planet back from the brink of disaster. Pluto is associated with shared resources, which water and air are, on a most basic level. If those are ruined, we’re all screwed. Pluto is also related to finances and economics, which figure into every situation. Uranus represents the masses and humanitarianism. In addition, Uranus is affiliated with electricity and power generation. Changing how we produce the power the world needs is one of the main ways the Uranus-Pluto square can foster a better world. And maybe it can be in a more balanced way of sharing the world’s resources among all people. That would be revolutionary!
Mars is in another pattern now, too, a friendlier one called a Quintile Triangle. It’s composed of planets a fifth or two-fifths apart in the sky (called quintiles and biquintiles), which represent luck and talent. The other players are Mercury, the planet of communication, and Neptune, the planet of imagination. Mars and Neptune were biquintile on 12/04. Quick Mercury links to both 12/06 to 12/07. This triangle helps us talk about our dreams and cooperate to set them in motion. The powers of prayer and positive visualization are heightened, as well.
In your individual life, maybe you face a situation where you need to engineer a shift. Mars wants to help you with that this week, and you don’t have to do it alone. The Libra influence offers assistance to you. Check around to see with whom you can share the load or help one another.
The world is in turmoil and life is unpredictable. It could get worse before it gets better. To go on with fortitude, we need to have faith that it will improve. And we need to take action. What can you do this week to improve the world or your world? Be brave and believe. Mars is at your side.
Fall Equinox Indications
Wave goodbye to summer! Autumn begins when the Sun enters Libra at the equinox Sept. 23 [1:21 am (P), 4:21 am (E)]. The chart of the new season promises a blend of work and play. With Venus still in Leo (following a retrograde there), our “inner child” wants summer fun to continue. Mars in the last inches of Leo concurs. We can carry their creative impulse into the fall and apply it to all our endeavors. Soon they will enter work-oriented Virgo and pass Jupiter there, putting us much more in the mood to accomplish the tasks at hand. In fact, we may just love our work, especially around 11/2 when Venus and Mars hook up. Mars will be in Virgo from 9/24 to 11/12, joining Jupiter 10/17. Venus re-enters Virgo 10/8, where it was before 7/18 – 7/31. It overtakes Jupiter 10/25, and departs for Libra 11/8. Once in Libra, we’re more concerned with relationships than our jobs. From 10/21 to 11/13, Venus and Mars are with five degrees of each other. This “hot combination” encourages us to act from a place of love and go after our heart’s desires. Because Mars and Venus are in Virgo, that will apply mostly to our work more than to romance. Mars is a symbol for new and Venus for money, so many people will seek new sources of income.
A pairing of Venus and Jupiter is supposed to be favorable for finances, at least according to what they symbolize: value and growth, respectively. However, when they were together twice recently, on 7/1 and 8/4 (both times in Leo, the sign of speculation), the stock market dropped around the time of their meetings, first just a little dip and then a plunge. We’ll have to see what happens around their third team-up 10/25. They will be in Virgo then so their expression may have more to do with the work force or health costs than the stock market.
The equinox Moon in Capricorn marks a period to get serious about career matters. It’s close to the dwarf planet Ceres (associated with nurturance), urging us to align with supportive people. Possibly they’ll be “up the ladder” from us since Capricorn points to hierarchical structure. The lunar phase is the First Quarter, a gear-shifting time to make adjustments. The natural career planet, Saturn (ruling planet of Capricorn) is in a very harmonious relationship with the Sun. This increases cooperation with supervisors.
Saturn has just entered the sign of higher education, Sagittarius, where it will remain for more than two years. This is an excellent time frame for on-the-job training, company-paid certification or any type of higher education to further one’s career. Jupiter, ruling planet of Sagittarius and likewise associated with higher education, is in employment-related Virgo from 8/11/15 to 9/9/16, reiterating that this is a favorable time for career-related education. (The expansion Jupiter offers is of benefit to Virgos in general during this time.)
Within one degree of the Sun is the North Node. This is the intersection of two important orbits: Earth around the Sun and the Moon around Earth. This spot points to where eclipse new and full moons occur due to the close alignment of these three bodies. Indeed, we are between a New Moon (Solar) Eclipse, which took place on 9/12 – 9/13 and a Full Moon (Lunar) Eclipse coming up on 9/27, less than five days after the equinox. The Node acts like a directional indicator to show us which way to head. This coming Full Moon will bring awareness of the path we’re on and if we need to modify our sights. The time between eclipses is said to be most intense. We might also think of it as being highly “charged” electromagnetically, upping the voltage in our lives. Big things happen in such a period, like the Pope’s visit to Cuba and the U.S.A. Is something big happening in your life? If your chart has anything important in Virgo, Libra or Aries (the signs emphasized by these eclipses), you’re due for a substantial change.
The North Node is part of an axis with its companion South Node exactly across from it. The North Node tells us what to approach, even if it’s difficult to do so. The South Node shows us what to release, and that process is easier as long as we don’t get trapped in a comfort zone. They travel backwards through the zodiac spending about a year and a half in a sign-pair. They leave Libra and Aries and switch to Virgo and Pisces on 10/9, adding to our emphasis on work, but not just our everyday jobs but also our spiritual work.
If you follow astrology much, you‘re aware we’re in a Mercury Retrograde period. Every three months or so, this quick planet does an optical illusion where it appears to retrace its steps in the zodiac for three weeks. This usually wreaks havoc in Mercury’s main arenas: communication, ground transportation and commerce. Allow extra time to get where you’re going and know the directions. Proofread what you write before sharing it. Expect to have some problems reaching people. This is a time to avoid signing contracts and if you can’t avoid this, at least read the fine print and ask questions so you know what you’re signing. Making major decisions is also a No-No and would be tough anyway since Mercury is in Libra, the most indecisive sign. We weigh and balance until we’re sure all sides of a question have received equal consideration.
Libra is the primary sign of relationships, whether a significant other, business partner, teammate or even an adversary. These types of relationships may seem to take a step backward during the retrograde period 9/17 – 10/9, and possibly not make progress again until after 10/24, when Mercury exits the degree range where it backed up. (It zigzags between zero and sixteen degrees of Libra). If your birthday is during the retrograde, the whole next year could be one of back-and-forth in relationships because whatever occurs at one’s birthday reverberates until the next birthday. Speaking of birth, if you were born with Mercury in reverse, its retrograde periods can be a time of forward motion for you. You can read more about Mercury Retrograde in this article. There are positive things you can accomplish during Mercury Retrograde, such as catching up on unfinished business and filing. In Libra, it’s appropriate to reconnect with people.
Whatever you do with the planets’ energies, here’s wishing you a fabulous fall!
Yours in the Stars, Janet Booth
Many people have heard of Mercury Retrograde, the apparent backtrack of the planet of communication which lasts three weeks and occurs three times a year. Although it doesn’t happen as frequently, Venus also takes a backward step but for a longer time. About every year-and-a-half, Venus spends 40 days in reverse, opposite its normal forward motion through the zodiac. All planets are retrograde when they pass between earth and the Sun and are closest to us. During this time, they offer opportunities for a do-over in the conditions the planet represents. Venus is associated with two very important aspects of our lives: relationships and finances. It’s also the planet of affection and values. When it’s nearest the earth, we can draw more of the love it represents toward ourselves and work on our sense of self-worth.
In romance, it’s not uncommon for an old relationship to re-surface during a Venus Retrograde. If it’s not literally the same partner that returns, it might be someone reminiscent of a former lover. Or issues from past interactions repeat (even with the same partner) if we haven’t yet learned our lesson. This period is appropriate for clearing up financial matters or updating the valuation of your possessions.
This summer’s Venus Retrograde (July 25 – Sept. 6) takes place mostly in the sign of Leo, although it begins in the first (zero) degree of Virgo. The full time frame for Venus’s zigzag (including its forward motion through the degrees of its backtrack both before and after the actual reverse motion) lasts from June 21 to October 9. If you didn’t read my June 30 blog about Venus and Jupiter, check it out. It provides additional interpretation for this Venus Retrograde. In it, I promised to write about how each of the signs is impacted.
The delineations that follow are based on the sector of the chart (called a “house”) where Leo is located from the perspective of the sign mentioned. You can read this information according to your “Sun sign” (the sign from the time of year you were born), but it’s probably more pertinent to your life circumstances if you read according to your “rising sign.” (You need your birth time to figure that out.) The house is listed in parentheses for those people who have their charts and know how to find Leo there. This retrograde is in the second half of Leo’s degrees (14-30). If this range spans parts of two houses in your chart, read both. You could think of this visit from Venus as signaling a time when you almost get around to dealing with the matters of the next sign (or house) but stop just short, needing to focus more on the issues at hand.
Though we’re likely to make some missteps along the path to achieving gains in the affected house(s), ultimately there will be benefits due to the fact that Venus remains in this area of the chart for over three months instead of the usual four weeks or so. When a sign of strong will power and stubborn persistence like Leo dominates, we hang in there until we get our heart’s desires.
Venus Retrograde in LEO for the Twelve Zodiac Signs
Aries (5th House) Spend extra time or money on entertainment, creative activities or children (your own, others’ or maybe your “inner child”). This is an appropriate time to complete unfinished hobby projects. You may be especially flirty and not so interested in a confining commitment now. The urge to gamble is amplified and with fortuitous Jupiter also elevating this area of your chart, you could be luckier than usual.
Taurus (4th House) Your home life and family (particularly your parents) command more attention now. There may be wrinkles to iron out between household members. You could be involved with decorating or renovation tasks or complete one that’s been left unattended. You desire more space at home and/or tranquility in your personal life. Perhaps an appraisal or adjustment to insurance coverage is in order.
Gemini (3rd House) Make peace with siblings or neighbors, taking time to appreciate their value or coordinate mutual assistance. Enjoy fun community events and reconnect with people who’ve been out of touch or meet new folks. Old school chums may look you up. This is a good summer for pleasure reading, creative writing, or meandering on foot, by car or cycle, or even rollerblading or skateboarding.
Cancer (2nd House) Financial concerns are at the forefront of your radar. You might need to reconcile your checking account or take stock of your stocks. Rebalancing your portfolio is an excellent undertaking now, though some research before making decisions is recommended. Possessions may require maintenance or repair. Draw abundance with an attitude of appreciation and a sense of deserving more.
Leo (1st House) Praise and notice come your way – it’s time to shine, but don’t get a big head. You’re at the top of your game, with extra energy and enthusiasm, heightened creativity and generosity. This is a great time to invest in a new wardrobe or make some kind of upgrade in your appearance, maybe returning to a more youthful look. Be careful about a sweet tooth, though, or overstepping your budget.
Virgo (12th House) Your inner world is rich now. You are very connected to your spiritual source and you feel the watchful presence of unseen guides or loved ones who have crossed over. You are happy being alone; perhaps you even prefer solitude. If you have a partner, the two of you cherish privacy and like to be off by yourselves. Clandestine affairs are a potential but karmic consequences will result.
Libra (11th House) Friends and acquaintances treat you well and your social circle increases in size and/or quality. You are admired and popular in the groups or organizations to which you belong. This is a favorable time for progress toward goals, perhaps with the assistance of affirmations or positive expectations. Income from career or business endeavors is on the rise or you’ll find a way to bump it upward.
Scorpio (10th House) Whether or not you’re happy in your chosen field, this is the time to investigate how you can use your skills and talents to best effect or with maximum gusto. Connections and networking work in your favor. Bosses – past or present – regard you well. Highlight your accomplishments and ask for a promotion, advantageous transfer or bonus. Your reputation is peaking and your dad loves what he sees.
Sagittarius (9th House) Higher education in some form is appealing and may call to you now. Or you reap rewards from past training and tutelage. Travel could be beneficial and it likely won’t be alone. In legal matters, the scales tip in your direction. You’ll be in touch with people at a distance more than usual or have visitors from afar. Spend extra time absorbing information on a broad spectrum, expanding your horizons.
Capricorn (8th House) Ordinarily, intimacy isn’t easy for you. You have your rules about sharing, whether it’s money, secrets, feelings or your body. You’re surprisingly open about these matters now or at least heading in that direction. You’re undergoing a transformation toward a more loving and lovable soul. Review and revise long-range financial plans, consider additional insurance coverage and update your will.
Aquarius (7th House) Someone other than you takes center stage in your life now. This could come in the form of a significant other, a rival or one of your siblings or children. A lesson is presented about fairness, balance or affection. Usually you approach situations from your head; you’re impelled to act from your heart instead. Of all the signs, yours is most susceptible to a re-enactment of a romantic plot.
Pisces (6th House) Anyone’s health is always a delicate balance; yours is especially so now. Strive for a peaceful mind and heart along with harmonious surroundings, especially at work. You may wish your job was more enjoyable or better utilized your creativity or leadership skills. Take time for fun and recreation, as if these were a prescription. Don’t be a pushover by being a pleaser; advocate a team strategy.
There’s good advice here for all of us. If something resonates with you that is not designated for your sign, very likely Venus is connecting to something in your chart related to the sign or house that speaks to you.
Every so often, the night sky puts on a show so spectacular that even the most unobservant (or busy) person can’t help but notice. This summer, we’re treated to just such a marvel: the team-up of heaven’s two brightest planets, Venus and Jupiter.
Look westward now after sunset; they are the first objects to appear. When the crescent Moon highlights them, they can’t be ignored! Check out these magnificent photos from June 19-20. This trio will dazzle us one more time July 17-18, though not as brilliantly since they will be much closer to the horizon and set shortly after the sky darkens.
Besides being beautiful to behold, what does this celestial alignment tell us? Planetary interactions signal the time for various influences to combine. And Venus and Jupiter bring us a few of our favorite things: love, luck and fortune.
Venus is the classical planet of attraction, romance, harmony, equality, peace and all we deem valuable (including possessions and money). Jupiter, the biggest planet, is expansive and fosters growth and progress. It relates to law, morals, philosophy and religion, higher education, travel and everything international.
Ancient astrologers called these two the “prime benefics,” which translates as the most important doers of good. Their blend should bring lots of benefits, possibly “too much of a good thing” and over-indulgence. Under their dual influence, people might be more open-minded, open-hearted and generous. Bosses might be more apt to grant a raise, bonus or promotion. We could expect markets and incomes (and spending) to rise. That said, prepare yourself for a mitigating influence to rear its head in early August. (More on that closer to the time.)
Venus and Jupiter are within the potent range of 5 degrees near one another June 22 to August 11 and again October 19 – 31. Mid-August, the Sun gets too close to them for us to see them. By the end of August, they are visible again but in the morning sky.
Such a Sight is Rare!
Jupiter moves through a sign in about a year while Venus can circle the whole zodiac in less than a year. It passes Jupiter once in a year, usually quite quickly. An extended visit only occurs when Venus hangs around in the same part of the zodiac for a few months as a result of a zigzag optical illusion called retrograde motion. (A lot of people have heard of Mercury retrograde but don’t realize all the planets, including Venus, have retrograde cycles.) Although Venus is retrograde about every year-and-a-half, it doesn’t often back up where Jupiter is traveling at the time. In the summer of 2015, as Venus moves forward, retreats and then proceeds forward again, it passes Jupiter three times, which we call a triple conjunction.
The first of their three meetings (July 1) occurs not far from Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation of Leo, called the “heart of the Lion.” I remember a planetarium program in Chapel Hill, NC in late 2000 speculating about the “Star of David,” which the Three Wise Men (astrologers, of course) followed to find Jesus. The theory was a convergence of these three bright objects.
The last time Venus and Jupiter had a comparable triple-conjunction was in 1995. We won’t see a multi-month union of these two again for 21 years. So get out there these nice warm nights and wish on the two evening stars as they team up!
For details about the dates and degrees of the triple conjunctions and other connections Venus makes three times in this retrograde cycle, see the article in the Study Booth’s Advanced Topics.
Working with the Energies
Retrogrades are always a time for review. When it’s Venus that’s retrograde, our inspection should concern what’s most important to us. As it shifts from direct motion to backtrack, Venus is closest to earth, passing between earth and the Sun, both of which represent the individual Self. This suggests a Venus retrograde cycle is a period to love and appreciate ourselves more. Although Venus inclines us to be other-oriented (as the planet of partnership and teamwork), now is a time to put personal interests on the front burner and go after our heart’s desires. Most of the zigzag takes place in Leo, which is associated with the heart as well as creativity, joy, arts and entertainment, children (including your Inner Child) and fun! Jupiter has been in Leo since July of 2014, magnifying all of these tendencies.
How Will YOU Be Affected?
The answer depends on your chart, not just “your sign” (Sun sign). These planetary combinations do not affect only people whose Sun signs are those mentioned above. There is a section in everyone’s horoscope chart that contains the signs of Leo and Virgo, where this retrograde occurs. Certain circumstances correspond with the various regions of a chart (called houses). If you have your chart, find which houses have these signs and they will show the areas of your life that will be impacted. A reading can also cover potential ways to work with the energies at hand. In a future blog very soon, I promise to outline sign by sign the effects according to the houses.
If you enjoy this blog, you will find similar discussions of celestial phenomena in Janet’s Plan-its astrology calendars.
© 2015 Janet Booth, AstrologyBooth.com
The earth rotates on its axis a full 360 degrees in twenty-four hours. If you face east at night when the light of Sun doesn’t block your view, you can watch the parade of zodiac constellations slowly coming up over the horizon. Each takes about two hours (24 divided by 12 = 2) to rise. The sign that was rising at your birth is your rising sign. It starts the beginning of your chart and the planet which rules that sign (is most strongly associated with it) is said to rule your whole chart.
Each portion of a chart, like a slice of the heavenly pie, is called a house and corresponds with a department of your life. The first slice (just below the eastern horizon) relates to very personal matters such as your genetics, body, appearance, outlook and key personality traits. You will know yourself much better by learning about your rising sign. You can get a lot of helpful hints about your health by following what’s going on with your first house and your ruling planet.
If you like to read horoscope forecasts for the zodiac signs, you’re familiar with looking at your Sun sign. That’s the sign for the time of year you were born. You share it with everyone born during that Sun sign period (which you have noticed does not correspond to an exact calendar month). To read a forecast that applies more personally to you, check according to your rising sign. When astrologers write forecasts, they look where the moving planets (called transits) are travelling and interpret them according to the meanings of the house departments. Your life will be better described by matching up with your real house departments, and unless you are born around sunrise, your Sun sign will not be rising. Therefore your Sun sign forecast does not describe your department conditions as accurately as the forecast for your rising sign would.
How Do I Determine My Rising Sign?
Your true “horoscope” (meaning a “look at the hour”) is based on your exact time of birth, as well as the date (of course!) and the place. Those are the three components used to construct a chart and that process identifies the sign that was rising in the east at your birth. Look for your birth time on your birth certificate or in a baby book. That’s better than relying on the memory of one of your relatives (although they may have a story that helps in case the birth certificate or baby book does not have your birth time). You can also try contacting the Vital Statistics or Records department at the town or city hall in your birth place (not the hospital, which turns birth and death records over to the municipality). The doctor had to file a “Record of Live Birth” (since you were not stillborn) and that almost always has the birth time. Even if your birth certificate does not state the time of birth (look at it carefully – the time does not always stand out), there’s a good chance it will be in your file. Don’t just request a birth certificate; make it clear that you want the time. You may be asked to send a self-addressed stamped envelope and a payment to find out but it’s worth the cost and effort.
Once you have the time, go to a website that offers free chart calculations, such as alabe.com and fill in your information. When the chart circle appears, your rising sign is shown at what would be the 9 o’clock position on a clock face (the middle of the left side). It will be the dividing line between the 1st and 12th houses. (Houses go counterclockwise around the circle, starting at this eastern horizon.)
If you absolutely have no way to find out your birth time, there is one last resort: rectification. That’s a lengthy and grueling process where an examination of what was happening astrologically at the times of major events in your life thus far points to a likely birth time and a workable chart for you. Many astrologers won’t undertake such a task but yours truly will, for a price, a high price. Which is a good incentive for you to go to great lengths first to find out your birth time if that’s at all possible.
Without a birth time, an astrologer is limited in the detail she can provide to you. Your birth time is a key to unlock the treasure chest of information about your life that lies in your true horoscope.