Current Transits for November 2004

Here's some of the important astrological news this month ...


Jupiter Quintile Pluto, 11-5
Saturn Retrograde Station at 27Cn21, 11-8
Jupiter Quintile Saturn, 11-8
Mars enters Scorpio, 11-11
Uranus Quintile Pluto, 11-11
Uranus Direct Station at 2Pi52, 11-11
New Moon at 20Sc32, 11-12
Full Moon at 4Gm55, 11-26
Jupiter Trine Neptune, 11-29
Mercury Retrograde Station at 26Sa45, 11-30

An online ephemeris for the month is available.

General Outlook for the Month

It goes without saying that November is going to be important for the country, given the elections and the apprehensive mood of the people. The corresponding astrological outlook is powerful, but difficult to interpret. Much of the month is under the domination of that Grand Quintile energy I discussed last month. It's a slow moving pattern that shows no signs of letting up on us. Its effects are deep and highly transformative on many levels, getting us to question everyday realities that we'd never have thought about before. The period from the start of the month through the new moon on the 12th is especially pivotal -- most of the "action" for the month happens then. The 11th is especially potent, with 3 separate events that change the overall "mood" of the energies markedly. Intense, unexpected, demanding the best of us -- and none too subtle. At least the energies are moderate -- the really strong stuff doesn't return until early December.

There's plenty of phenomena to talk about this month, much of it related to the Grand Quintile pattern. There are 4 "big aspects" on my list, as well as 3 stations and a sign change for Mars. Since all the "GQ" activity involves Saturn, Jupiter, Pluto and Uranus, there's a heavy, somber tone in the air, a feeling of gravitas. There's also a big urge to crawl in a hole and take a nap -- this can be a draining influence. Pace yourself and stay aware...

Jupiter and Pluto form the first quintile aspect of a very busy week. As you may recall, quintiles are a quirky kind of aspect, neither good nor bad, just ... different. When they bring two planets together, the combination seems to soar and operate at an entirely new level. The shift occurs because of a change in mental perspective -- one moment, you just start looking at the world in a new manner. Things that looked like intractible problems before now appear as mere bumps in the road that you can simply cruise around with little effort. Granted, it can take a huge effort to change your point of view sufficiently. The quintile only promises that things will go more smoothly afterwards. Now Jupiter and Pluto are a curious pair. Jupiter is the urge to step out into the sunshine and make your fortune in the world out there. Pluto, on the other hand, more often than not drags you into a cave deep in the inner world of the psyche to explore the question of who it is that wants a fortune in the first place. The quintile is teaching us this is no longer an either/or matter. Being successful in the outer world these days requires you to know who you are and to remain true to yourself. There's a great power in authenticity. People appreciate it when they deal with you and know what they're getting. The appreciate it when you can be trusted, which allows the interaction between people to work at a much higher, more open and more fun level. Such authenticity seems to be part of opening up the heart center, a first step for anyone making spiritual progress in our time. It means dropping the typical "games people play" and relating freely and lightly. The goal with others is to share and enrich, not to "win" (whatever that means). This change alone, on a broad enough scale, would totally change society. I'm not expecting miracles, since such changes must happen one person at a time (at least in the beginning). But every conscious decision you make to act from the heart instead of the ego brings your world one step closer to opening up and makes the next step even easier. The more each of us behaves this way, the deeper the groove we form. In time, the way of heart becomes the easy road, not the hard one. Notice that this is just the first contact of this aspect. There are two more contacts coming up on 2005-4-15 and 2005-7-8.

Saturn stands still at 27Cn21 on the 8th, about to start 4 months of reverse gear. It resumes normal motion on 2005-3-21 at 20Cn24. Saturn is known as the Taskmaster of the planets, the guy who makes sure we learn our lessons and fulfill our obligations, even if we have to do it the hard way. His retrograde cycles in particular have a reputation as times when karma comes due. This cycle and the one last year are both in Cancer, a sign that is very important to the USA, since we have 4 planets in there, including the Sun. Last year, Saturn stopped at 13 degrees of Cancer, on the US Sun and the natal Sun of George Bush. Since Oct 2003, the situation in Iraq has continued to deteriorate, the economy is not growing fast enough to provide jobs, and Bush no longer looks like an invincible shoo-in for a second term. This year's station at 27 Cancer is on the US Mercury and opposite Pluto, as well as on Bush's 12th house Saturn. One manifestation of Mercury in Cancer opposite Pluto in Capricorn for the country is the voice of the people standing up against the power of money and special interest. It's a romantic theme in the American psyche that never seems to go away (and the myth has very different tellings on the left and right wings). Only this election, the people are very divided and easily swayed by those with enough media dollars. The question is whether cynicism can trump romanticism once again. It's been interesting to watch Bush's campaign falter in October, pretty much as his Saturn return was kicking in. We still don't know whether his fortunes will recover by election day. On a more personal level, we all have our lessons to face this winter. They may not be as drastic as our leaders have to face, but there's something to fix for each of us. (Hint: check which house in your birthchart contains the 20 to 27 Cancer area.) It's important to set this area right in your life, before it becomes an anchor that holds you back from progress in the future. The rewards for your steady work could be remarkable -- remember that Saturn is one arm of the Quintile pattern.

The next quintile aspect involves Jupiter and Saturn on the 8th. That Saturn that is standing still today. Here's another indication of crisis leading to breakthrough on a large scale. This 20 year cycle between Jupiter and Saturn has a long connection with events in the Middle East, especially the Israel-Palestine situation. How curious that the Knesset is voting on pulling out of Gaza and Yassar Arafat takes ill and is flown to Paris, just as a lunar eclipse announces the Grand Quintile. When Arafat passes on, the political landscape of Palestine is up for grabs and it may get ugly. In short, the status quo is about to be totally superceded by a new reality with new rules. Of course, this is not a quick process, since this aspect goes on for 9 months, with contacts on 2005-6-28 and 2005-8-21. This same process is at work on many levels, from nations down to our individual lives. "The way things are" is not they way they're going to be in the future, so it's time to make some adjustments. There are no rules for "how to get it" with these lessons, no way to figure them out in your head. You have to let Life work on you, bringing you to the point where intuition brings you new insights. It's a chance to create new realities for yourself, while the rules of the game are more pliable than usual. Stay open to the possibilities.

Depending on your time zone, Mars moves from Libra into Scorpio late on the 10th or early on the 11th, kicking off a momentous day. Mars will remain in Scorpio until Dec 25, when it slips into Sagittarius. Good! Mars didn't want to be in Libra anyhow. It cramps his style. Now Scorpio is a different matter. Here the feelings run deep and there's plenty of passion that motivates behavior and action. Mars is about will power, the decision you want something and the motivation to make it happen in reality. He's very much the part of the psyche most in touch with the physical world. The down side of really strong Mars placements is the tendency to walk all over others. "I want, therefore I do!" is a handy slogan for the isolated ego, but it's likely to create quite a backlash from the people you inconvenvience in the process. Nobody ever accused Mars of subtlety, but Scorpio may come close. That's only because Scorpio is (potentially) very adept at understanding the emotional life. Enjoy your passions and what they get you to accomplish, but remain aware of when others start pushing back. At its best, others may find your passion infectious and join in -- not bad indeed. It probably depends on the quality and level of advancement of your emotional life -- high-minded people get better results, generally. Have fun! It's really good to have Mars placed where he feels at home.

Uranus is quintile Pluto a few hours later on the 11th. This aspect has a long history already and is quickly coming to its conclusion this winter. This is the 6th of 7 contacts in total, stretching from 2002-5-19 to 2005-2-21. This long lasting connection between two of the most transformative planets in the sky is the backbone of the Grand Quintile pattern. For two and a half years now, it's been getting us to question the givens in our lives, helping us see life from a clearer perspective, urging us to be more serious about being true to ourselves. They haven't so much changed the outer world as overhauled the very mental paradigms we use to understand and talk about that world. With a new language and understanding, a different set of questions about our lives become possible that previously couldn't be asked. It's very hard to pin down this process, since both planets tend to work in the unconscious mind, the parts of our psyches that are murky, unclear, perhaps not even recognized as real. But compare the current political debate with the debate before the Iraq war or 9-11 -- the change is marked and undeniable, at least in hindsight. In many ways, this paradigm shift has a life of its own. It's the soul working out its own agenda, even if it conflicts with the conscious ego that vainly believes it's "in control" of life. Step by step, a new vision is arising to counter the old vision based on a lesser consciousness. Some people "get it", some haven't yet, some may never understand. Frankly, I'm a bit concerned about this "consciousness divide" between the get-its and the don't-get-its. When part of the population is essentially raising (however tentatively) to a higher awareness and part is not, it creates a very polarizing effect on society, as we are seeing today. It generates a lot of anger, fear and misunderstanding, because the factions can no longer even talk to each other intelligibly. Neither side makes sense to the other. Somehow, we still have to bridge this gap in a constructive manner that lowers the decibels behind the rhetoric. I don't know if the healing will occur for many people at this time, in which case this divisiveness may be part of the "emotional fodder" that feeds the conflicts of the coming Uranus-Pluto squares of 2012-2015 (ouch!). Curiously, the 5th contact last Mar 18 was near the time of Pluto's retrograde station. Later today, the 6th contact coincides with a station for Uranus -- here's another arm of the Grand Quintile standing still and pounding on us! We only have a few months left in this process before it reaches its climax -- just enough time to get us to Inauguration Day. Are we doing OK in this process? Who really knows. Time will tell...

And then Uranus stands still at 2Pi52 on the 11th, about to resume normal motion. Uranus has been retrograding since Jun 10, when it stationed at 6Pi48. When Uranus is backing up, there is often a perception that the world is spiraling out of control. What's really happening is that the world isn't behaving according to the "rules" that our limited imaginations use to understand the world. When the world doesn't behave the way it's "supposed to" act, it ceases to make sense. We feel helpless in the face of this apparent chaos. In fact, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the world -- it always behaves according to its own nature. What is broken is our own "understanding" that fails to grasp all the subtleties of the world. Everybody has a point of view, a way of understanding things, even though most of us are blind to the fact. There are people in the world (even in the White House) that are absolutely certain, they know the truth, they see reality clearly, they know right from wrong. Until life presents a situation that just doesn't fit into their view of the world. You can either ignore the evidence of your own experience (which is what most people choose) or decide to question your own beliefs instead. Our perspectives are deeply carved ruts that we can spend an entire lifetime in, never suspecting that the world is bigger and more complicated than our imagination can possibly take in. It takes humility for the ego to abandon a black and white view of life, to question its ability to hold the truth. Pisces is about faith and commitment, the power to believe even when evidence is lacking or contrary. While faith has been a powerful driving force over the centuries, it can also be a deadening shackle that limits the mind. The world's experience of fundamentalism of any persuasion in recent decades has not been encouraging. More often than not, it has unleashed the worst in mankind. Opposing truths clash and collide, often leaving untold destruction behind in complete contradiction to the teachings of love that inspired these truths. The trouble spots on our planet are places where life no longer makes sense, where people act in barbaric ways in spite of themselves. Direct stations of Uranus can be times to step back and take stock. Are we in a creative process of remaking ourselves, of expanding our freedom of action and the awareness we bring to our lives, or is there some place where we are profoundly stuck? It's good to seek out these stuck areas now, to let go of the limitations, to move out of the ruts. Further denial is not going to help one bit. Freedom of the mind can come like a lightning bolt if you're just ready to receive it. A healthy amount of self doubt can be a very healing thing...

I'm not sure how much I can say about the new moon chart that hasn't been said already. The Quintile pattern is in full swing, Jupiter and Pluto are the strongest planets in the chart, Saturn and Uranus are both still pretty much standing still. The new moon itself is in Scorpio, perhaps the most emotionally intense zodiac sign of them all, so the emotional roller coaster ride will likely continue a week or so yet. Things feel kind of stuck or entrenched for now, a lot of angst that's all stressed up with nowhere to go. A touch of levity is badly needed these days to counter the pull of powerful feelings. Levity is also the mood best suited to understanding a quintile aspect, since it helps us escape from the mental straight jackets that limit your mental outlook. Stay open to new ideas that excite you and open new doors for you. The current influences may be hard to handle at times, but they aren't impossible and they certainly open up a path to some critical evolutionary changes in our future, if only we crawl out of our ruts and embrace novel possibilities. It helps to be quiet inside, away from the noise of daily life (and the political ads!), to just remind yourself deep inside who you really are. We tend to lose our way on the path when times get rough -- it's time to start getting back on track.

The Grand Quintile pattern stages one more comeback on the 25th, about 00:51 in the morning CST, to be precise. It will take some time, but in a couple of weeks this pattern will be history for the most part. I won't beat that old horse another time. Actually, there's a new pattern emerging briefly at the full moon, a good old fashioned T-Square between the Sun, Moon and Uranus (which is the strongest planet in this chart). Further, all 3 planets are in mutable signs , unlike the heavy, stuck Scorpio energy we've been experiencing for so long. This change should be reflected in a shift in the overall mood of the next few weeks. It feels like life is settling down, the pressure is letting up, the emotions are less oppressive, things don't feel so stuck. Lighten up! Uranus is known for stirring things up in a lively fashion, introducing new and quirky twists to the path we were expecting to follow. With Uranus, the detours are often more interesting and exciting than the original journey you planned, so make room for unforeseen changes in your itinerary. Enjoy your Thanksgiving weekend and get some rest for the coming holiday season. December may be a real trip.

Jupiter is trine Neptune on the 29th for the first of 3 contacts. The remaining contacts fall on 2005-3-14 and 2005-8-17. Finally, something that has little to do with the quintiles! Trines are usually thought of as the original "good luck" aspects in astrology, though there's a marked tendency to get lazy and rely on that luck to get you through. Trines work even better if you consciously put in some effort to bring your dreams into manifestation instead of simply expecting the universe to do the work for you. They bring together two planets in a very harmonious manner, with no sense of conflict or discord, which is probably why we get lazy. People don't get worked up if there's no sense of crisis to contend with. Anyway, Jupiter and Neptune are both relatively optimistic and constructive influences. Jupiter is good for reaching out to the world at large, making connections with other people, expanding your boundaries and opening your mind up to new ideas. He's the one that shows us the benefits and rewards of being a member of society and joining in the big party. Neptune is more of an idealist and a dreamer, looking for the connections with others at a much deeper and mystical level. He shows us the value of a heart-centered approach to life (and on a bad day, the pitfalls) that seeks the highest good for all. The main problem with Neptune energy is that you have to be very clear about what your intentions and goals are, because Neptune simply takes whatever is in your mind and projects it out into the world to become reality. If your ideals fall short of genuine goodwill and your plans are foggy and not well focused, guess what kind of mess you'll wind up creating. Nonetheless, this is one of the more hopeful and upbeat aspects to hit the scene this fall. Keep your eyes clearly on the big picture and your heart wide open and magic will happen. Just don't leave the results up to chance -- stay involved. When something good comes our way, you don't want to squander it by taking it for granted. The world doesn't get better by itself.

Mercury is stationary on the 30th at 26Sa45 (very close to the Galactic Center), starting a 3 week retrograde period. This period lasts until Dec 20, when Mercury turns around again at 10Sa27. It's the dreaded Mercury retrograde cycle again! Yes, I'm being facetious, but these periods do seem to have an adverse effect on the thinking mind. Mercury is the part of the psyche that uses words and symbols to try and "figure out" the world. It helps a lot when you can make some sense of life and have a clue about what to expect next and how to handle it. The trouble is, once we've created these elaborate stories about what's out there, we forget they are just stories. They take on a life of their own and tend to crowd out the "real reality" of the world. This is the land of beliefs and politics and religion and so many other mythic stories that run our lives and separate our minds from what's real. Every so often, the world likes to tweek Mercury's nose by presenting situations that don't fit into his stories. We have to face something that doesn't make sense, that behaves in an unpredictable fashion. The world isn't crazy, it's simply that our stories are too small and limited to capture reality in a useful way. Mercury retrograde is a period that is full of these "oops!" and "gotcha!" moments, as though to put the thinking mind on notice that it's getting a swelled head. It's often the case that communications between people breaks down, confusion reigns, plans fall flat. Obviously, this is not a good time to practice rocket science. If you can avoid making big decisions and plans in coming weeks, it will probably work out for the better. Use this time to understand the workings of the thinking mind, the power and tyranny of words (especially big words that end in "-ism"), and how we are estranged from direct experience by our expectations. It's fascinating (particularly in an election year) to see what kind of robots we are, controlled by words and images coming at us day and night, yet maintaining the illusion of being free and self-determining. It's only when you "wake up from the matrix" of words and symbols that you even glimse what freedom is. Mercury is seductive -- don't get fooled again...