Here's some of the important astrological news this month ...
Jupiter Retrograde Station at 18Li52, 2-1
Pallas Retrograde Station at 12Li37, 2-1
Mars enters Capricorn, 2-6
New Moon at 20Aq16, 2-8
Juno enters Pisces, 2-11
Uranus Quintile Pluto, 2-11
Saturn Trioctile Uranus, 2-17
Chiron enters Aquarius, 2-21
Full Moon at 5Vi40, 2-23
An online ephemeris for the month is available.
I suspect that February will turn into a rather intense month. It's a transtional time in some ways, with some old influences on our lives leaving the scene and some new ones entering the stage. And it feels the primary motivations are matters below the level of awareness much of the time, unconscious factors that are working slowly and steadily towards their own conclusions whether we know it or not. The main storm periods this month star the outer planets such as Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, enough "underground" energy to really stir things up and sidetrack our plans. One of the most important new influences is the start of the passage of Chiron into Aquarius, a protracted back and forth change that will last all year. It's guaranteed to shake up the status quo and our attitudes towards change in this time when matters have settled into a rut. Also notice that Jupiter is standing still and going into reverse gear on the 1st -- it's a good time to cut back on your expenses and prepare for a few lean months. I think there's enough here to keep us all busy...
There's plenty to talk about in February. The news includes Jupiter and Pallas both going retrograde on the 1st, three planets changing signs (Mars, Juno and Chiron) and a pair of "big aspects", both involving Uranus.
Jupiter is standing still at 18Li52, about to start 4 months of reverse motion. It will be backing up until Jun 5, when it turns around at 8Li56. Jupiter retrograde can be an unpleasant time when you need to pull back and get by with less, but it's rarely a time that gets truly horrible (like Saturn or Pluto would be prone to do to you). Jupiter is about reaching out to others, sharing the joys and wealth of life with each other. When he goes into reverse like this, it's often a time when the usual connections and support from others seems to dry up. The relationships we rely on for our needs and aims become less vibrant and available. This downturn can come from any number of causes. For starters, when everyone has less, there's less giving and sharing going on all around. Also, when you go it alone and crawl into your shell, you're less likely to ask to have your needs met. If you don't ask, you don't receive. But it just plain feels like people aren't in the mood to connect with each other. This is especially a problem if you're in business for yourself, since customers are less likely to be parting with their money these days. It's a time to trim your expenses, put off unnecessary plans, set aside some of your resources for the lean times. Curiously, this entire retrograde zone is in the sign of Libra, a relationship sign. You may be seeing less of friends and partners than usual. The good relationships will certainly survive the dry spell, though some of your shakier contacts may fall away. I'd probably shy away from getting involved in legal proceedings during the next few months, if at all possible -- the results may not be to your liking. In short, rely more on your own strengths and less on the help of others. If you can get through this time, you can handle the good times even better.
Pallas is also standing still on the 1st, at 12Li37. She will be backing up to 23Vi23 by May 11. Pallas is a very creative, mental/intuitive woman. When she stops and retraces her steps, it's likely because there is something there that catches her eye. These periods are often a time when your creative juices are really flowing and the urge to bring forth some "brain child" overtakes the rest of your life and concerns. She can get a little obsessive when the Muse hits, holing up for days at a time until she's succeeded in bringing a part of the inner world into physical reality in some form. Given that this retrograde cycle is in the signs of Libra and Virgo, there's a strong artistic or aesthetic color to this influence, although the end result must still serve practical concerns. Clear away the distractions in your day that keep you from your inner work. Projects such as these may take some time and need to be pursued diligently, as Pallas is a long-term planner and not impulsive at all. Take the time to let your inspiration mature properly -- unlike Pallas herself, this is a birth process not to be rushed. Give in if the urge strikes -- the end results may surprise you.
Mars moves from Sagittarius into Capricorn on the 6th. It will remain in this sign until it goes into Aquarius on Mar 20. This is one of the best sign placements for our Warrior God. The discipline and structure of Capricorn allow him to focus and direct his considerable energy in more constructive and useful ways than usual. It's the difference (metaphorically) between a well-oiled army operating with military precision and a rag-tag outfit without clear direction. This is obviously an excellent time for undertaking a task requiring extra planning and exertion. The only caveat is making sure that you're doing this for the right reasons. Mars' motto is always "my will be done" and Capricorn is more concerned with results than moral niceties -- this placement is not known for being an ethical giant. Mars works for the best when he's under orders from a higher force than the ego itself. That said, get to work!
Glancing at the waveform for the new moon, it's obvious the quiet spell is over. Besides the emphasis on the sign of Aquarius (6 planets), there are a large number of planets clustered around 20 degrees of various signs and a smaller group around 6 degrees.
We normally think of Aquarius as an upbeat, forward looking influence, though it can sometimes be overly intellectual and a bit dry. It's interesting how the mental side of the sign is balanced in this chart by a number of feeling-oriented planets, namely Venus, Neptune and Juno. Perhaps this is hinting that we need to temper our expectations of others with an open heart that brings out the best in them. The mental part of the sign is also toned down by Neptune's presence so close to Mercury and the new moon. Neptune is a dreamy planet, one that puts sharp mental energies into a soft focus that blurs boundaries and distinctions and makes it tougher to concentrate. Many of the planets connected with the new moon (besides the Aquarius ones) are slow moving, outer planets, so your thoughts and feelings may be affected by deeper currents that evade conscious understanding. It's a good month to be inspired by the big picture and make plans for the future, even if you can't grab a hold of the details yet. Your plans may need some time to percolate and mature, so be patient with them. It can be an exciting time to meet and interact with other people, especially those with an unusual or unconventional outlook. Gather what you can from them and make them your own over time. Just realize that the emotional side of life may be short changed until all this mental energy settles down. If emotional issues come up with partners, attend to them quickly before misunderstandings arise. Keep your feet on the ground during this exciting time and stay flexible with others. Some interesting doors are opening a crack...
Juno shifts into Pisces on the 11th, where she'll stay until going into Aries on Apr 13. Juno is all about relationships and partnerships. In Pisces, love relations can go one of two ways for the most part. They can either blossom into an ideal of love and sharing or they can slowly unravel into an emotional hell. At its best, Pisces brings about a meeting of the hearts between partners, a true merging of two into one. Too bad this best case is rather rare, because the less desirable outcomes involve a lot of suspicion and hurt feelings. There is one thing that Juno truly hates and that is feeling like she's unloved, not respected and being taken advantage of. Even the vaguest hint that she's not being treated fairly is enough to unleash her jealousy and suppressed rage. This placement will exaggerate and bring to the surface all the dysfunctional parts of a relation. Feelings of being a victim of love, all those unhealthy co-dependent patterns, are common now. It can feel like love is more of an emotional prison than anything else, though the "victim" is more likely to suffer quietly than complain, at least until the rage breaks through. This is a time for clear communications and firm understandings in order to keep an overactive and mistrustful imagination in check. Keep tuning into the other person's point of view often if you want to steer matters in a more positive direction. Don't let misunderstandings even take root in the first place. It can be extremely challenging to give up these old ways of relating, but if you're honest and respectful of yourself and your partner, you'll do the work. Anything less only perpetuates the emotional abuse. Life is too short and precious for that...
Uranus is quintile Pluto on the 12th. This is actually the 7th and final contact for this unusual aspect. It started on 2002-5-19 and the most recent contact was on 2004-11-11, within hours of the death of Yassar Arafat. This aspect has a long underground history of subtly remaking the mental landscape we collectively use to understand the world. It's part of the larger cycle of Uranus and Pluto (about 125 years long on average) that began in 1966 with "the Sixties" and has radically changed pretty much everything. The current quintile contacts, all 7 of them , have totally changed the political dialogue, both in this country and abroad, if only because of the war on terror that broke out during this time. Some of the more dramatic effects can be seen in the Middle East (it's often easier to see the effects of the unconscious planets in someone else's culture instead of your own). The first contact in May 2002 coincided with some eclipses that are connected with the buildup to the Iraqi war two years ago (and counting), while the most recent one at Arafat's death has blown open the Israeli-Palestinian situation in a way that was inconceivable a few months ago. Quintiles are a mental aspect. They don't create changes in the outer world so much as they alter to way we think about the world. By opening up new paradigms of thinking, making previously unconscious issues "thinkable" and visible, they shift the way we look at life and create new options for creative solutions. Of course, Uranus and Pluto are two of the most transformative planets in the solar system, exhibiting revolutionary qualities that redefine the world in powerful ways. Their influence is sometimes subtle and hard to fathom, other times it hits like a ton of bricks, but the results are always quirky and unexpected. It's a different world now (especially after the elections in Palestine and Iraq). On a more personal level, this aspect has been working on us insistently, pushing susceptible souls to a higher state of awareness than ever before. The down side to this spiritual evolution is that only a minority seem to be in tune with the changes, creating a "consciousness divide" between people that is really tough to bridge. The "get its" are anxious to create a new world and don't comprehend why other people don't share their expanded vision. Meanwhile the "don't get its" are totally baffled as to why these crazy people think the way they do, why they don't conform to traditional values and spiritual beliefs (as though "belief" was even important anymore in the Aquarian Age), and why the world can't be the way it always was in stark shades of black and white. Progress is more than better material goods. It entails an evolution of the spirit and a broadening of our perspectives on life. This quintile has been one of the easier lessons of this long cycle. There's a rough transition coming up in 2012-2015, when Uranus and Pluto reach their square aspect. If you think the conflicts and lack of understanding are severe now, watch out for the square! We have a lot of bridge building to do before we're ready to handle those challenges. We have some time, but we don't have time to waste. On to the next level of consciousness!
Saturn is trioctile Uranus on the 17th, the second of 3 such contacts. The first contact was on 2004-8-7 and the final connection will be 2005-6-11. It's tough to find two planets that are so different and work at such cross purposes as Saturn and Uranus. Saturn is the more down to earth of the two. He rules over structure and discipline, the value of hard work, and the role of tradition and established social norms in defining our lives. Uranus, on the other hand, is a maverick and a trickster, a revolutionary with no regard for what came before in the past, even his own history. He wants to break with history and remake the future, preferably every few days. Since this aspect is a trioctile, these two opposing tendencies are in for a major clash. It frequently happens with this aspect that the conflict is experienced not internally, but in the outer world, as though events around us mirror the tension that actually exists within us first. We're in the middle of a 10 month process of realigning our priorities, of deciding what goes and what stays. As always, there's a question of balance here, as well as a problem of raising our awareness about what's truly important to us. For more conservative souls, the obvious solution is to hang on to the old ways in spite of the winds of change. For the adventurous types, "change!" is the mantra of the day. In fact, it's not an either/or choice. Standing still is a sign of no growth whatsoever, no adaptation to a world that is shifting rapidly. On the other hand, Uranus has no sense of moderation. He'd prefer such a non-stop, pedal-to-the-metal pace of change that we'd all wind up stressed out, exhausted and totally confused. There are choices to be made of what to hold onto and what to let go in order to create a dynamic for growth that can be sustained for long periods of time without burning us out. Honor both the instincts for stability and novelty -- don't get too comfortable with either end of the spectrum. We're only halfway through this process.
Chiron slips from Capricorn into Aquarius on the 21st, a major shift in the overall energies of 2005. Like most slow moving, outer planets, this is not simply a quick change of scenery and that's it. Due to an upcoming retrograde cycle, Chiron will dip back into Capricorn on July 31 for some cleanup work before returning to Aquarius for good on Dec 5. In short, this is a transition in energies that takes most of the year to pull off. Beyond Chiron's reputation as "the Wounded Healer" (a cliché I'm growing a bit tired of over the years), I've come to think of Chiron as an initiation influence that takes us to the next level. So what do we need to face about Aquarius that is hindering our growth? We normally think of Aquarius as a very progressive, future oriented sign, out there on the leading edge of change and growth. It has its down sides as well, such as a lack of tolerance for people who disagree with you or who seek different goals than you do. In one sense, it's part of the crusading mindset to not worry about what the opposition thinks, but if it degenerates into a prejudice against them, your high minded virtue has turned into the very thing you're fighting against. It's the age old problem of confronting the shadow region of your psyche -- at some level, you are the very thing you hate. It makes for unhealthy living, bad politics and even worse religion to ignore your shadow side. Perhaps a good place to start is by examining your own ideals and values from the perspective of your "enemies" -- does your goal still look as noble from the other side as it does to you? In most cases, I'd say no. Are your goals as favorable to "them" as it is for yourself? Are you truly acting out of compassion for all or is your love more conditional and self-serving? It might make you less certain of yourself to be second guessing yourself like this so much, but it also makes you more honest and less prone to hypocrisy. There's enough of that going around on all sides already. Maybe this placement is hinting to us that this kind of phony virtue needs to be overcome and replaced by an attitude that's more transparent. It will be interesting to watch this year unfold and see how Chiron affects the outcome -- I have my doubts about how many people really understand the old centaur yet. Chiron will remain in Aquarius until 2010-4-20, when it starts its year long transition into Pisces.
It takes quite some studying of the full moon chart to see its subtle complexity. At first, it appears the planets are scattered in little groups with little cohesion, but there's actually quite a powerhouse of bodies forming an 8th harmonic pattern (i.e., joined together by 45 degree aspects) here. The first item that strikes the eye is the tight grouping of Sun, Juno and Uranus in Pisces opposite the Virgo Moon. This is a call to let down the emotional barriers that limit or restrict relations with partners, perhaps making some radical changes at times, but always subject to issues of what works practically. It's amazing how much we all close our hearts -- it may be too uncomfortable to maintain that shut down approach in coming weeks. At the same time there's a tug-of-war in the chart between withdrawing into your own world and opening up to the influence of others. It appears to be causing a lot of caution, even fear, in the social realm as we juggle these conflicting drives. It's easier to let down your guard in smaller incremental steps rather than all at once, especially since all measures need to be balanced against the response from the other side. It helps if you weigh your thoughts and actions against more idealistic values instead of a more defensive posture that may feel "safe", but actually closes down the heart. Step by step, it's possible to transform your world. What have you got to lose, really?