Current Transits for March 2005

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


New Moon at 19Pi53, 3-10
Jupiter Trine Neptune, 3-14
Mercury Retrograde Station at 14Ar06, 3-19
Mars enters Aquarius, 3-20
Ceres Retrograde Station at 25Sc06, 3-21
Saturn Direct Station at 20Cn24, 3-21
Vesta enters Taurus, 3-25
Full Moon at 5Li18, 3-25
Pluto Retrograde Station at 24Sa31, 3-26
Pallas reenters Virgo, 3-31

An online ephemeris for the month is available.

General Outlook for the Month

The most striking feature about March is the large number of planets standing still or backing up. In a nutshell, nothing's moving. The net effect of all this is we're being put in a pressure cooker this month and the heat is just starting to be applied to us. It seems times like these with so many stationary planets have a "stuck" quality to them, that the situation isn't improving and in fact may simply be setting up for a bigger crisis some months down the road. If you have big projects underway now, you may start seeing some problem areas and setbacks by the end of the month. It's best to head them off right away, if you can, rather than let them become even more entangled. It may be tough making any progress now, especially in the latter part of the month when the energies build up with nowhere to go. Hang in there -- we have a rough ride ahead of us.

There's plenty of activity in March, most of it in the last half of the month. This includes the 3 retrograde stations (Mercury, Ceres, Pluto) and one direct station (Saturn). Mars, Vesta and Pallas all change signs. The only "big aspect" is the trine of Jupiter and Neptune.

The new moon is towards the end of the first March storm pattern, though it is by no means the strongest waveform this week. Despite the preponderance of Pisces planets (5 of them), the chart is dominated by an opposition of Mars and Saturn. In fact, the lunation is a chart pattern that astrologers call a "Bucket" (all planets in one half of the sky except for a lone "handle" planet in the other half) -- Saturn is emphasized as the "handle" planet and must compensate for the rest of the chart somehow.

There's a lot of emotional vulnerability in the new moon chart. Saturn in Cancer tends to produce a fearful or hesitant frame of mind (which is growing very powerful as we approach the Saturn station on the 21st), while all that Pisces energy has us literally wallowing in emotion. The question is what level people are operating at as they deal with their feelings. External circumstances may get tough at times, but it's your own reaction to the situation that determines whether it's a big issue or just another problem to be handled. Mars in Capricorn is there to toughen us up and put some backbone in our actions, but he is also aggravating Saturn these days. I think one of the keys this month is looking past the old hurts and fears that you normally carry around with you and fixing on the bigger picture more. The Pisces planets (Uranus, Juno, Venus, Sun and Moon) are pointing to an approach based on fairness and a genuine consideration of others that transcends old images of yourself. That requires you to face down your emotional vulnerabilities and admit that you are much more than your favorite fears. It's not easy -- there's no guarantee that any one person is going to be able to make the shift. It's almost as if the universe is posing problems in our way to sort out who is a "mere human" and who is on the path. A word of advice: deal with the issues now! If you let any messes linger, they will become the grist for all the retrograde cycles about to break out this month. Be flexible and ready to change...

Jupiter is trine Neptune on the 14th for the second of 3 contacts. The previous contact was on 2004-11-29, while the final contact is 2005-8-17. This has to be one of the most positive and upbeat influences we'll see all month, perhaps even too upbeat for our own good. Trines are the original "good luck" aspect, bringing planets together in an effortless and harmonious combination. The downside is that the aspect has no "grit" to it, no conflict or difficulty to get our attention and move us to action. It seems like the world is going along smoothly all by itself, so we get lazy and don't put in any effort to make things go even smoother. Jupiter and Neptune are also quite optimistic planetary forces. Jupiter teaches us to connect up with people around us, pool our resources, share our knowledge and everyone will benefit. In the process, he expands our mental horizons and gets us to view the world from a broader perspective than ever before. Neptune is more of a dreamer and a mystic. He shows us a powerful heart-centered approach to living that sees no boundaries or limitations. This is a very high level spiritual perspective that sees the underlying connections between all beings, though without paying much attention to their unique differences. Neptune is also a bit of a psychological magician. It seems that no matter what you believe about the "true nature" of yourself and your world, Neptune is able to reach out to the world and bring those experiences into your life to prove your beliefs valid, even if they aren't. This is probably why Neptune has such a reputation for delusion and confusion. If your deepest beliefs are confused, conflicted or just plain wrong-headed, you'll create a world to match that becomes your prison instead. So the prospects for this aspect are very encouraging, but there are no guarantees that it will turn out for best. You can't take trines for granted if you want good results. Roll up your sleeves and participate in creating a better world with the people around you. Remember there are plenty of people with undesirable beliefs whose dreams could come true instead. Things don't improve by themselves.

Mercury is standing still on the 19th at 14Ar06, about to move into reverse gear. It will back up to 1Ar45 by Apr 12, when it returns to direct motion again. Mercury retrograde is a time when the thinking mind turns to mush. Granted, the thinking part of the psyche that relies on words and symbols to understand the universe is always prone to limitations and mistakes (often without realizing them), but it seems the boners and bloopers are bigger and more noticeable these few weeks than during other times. The problem is, no matter how much your try, the world can't be stuffed into neat logical categories. We may think we've got it all figured out, but there are always exceptions and grey areas. When Mercury is backing up, there's not even a pretense of being on top of circumstances. Our thinking becomes fuzzy and shoddy, we come to decisions and conclusions that are frankly ridiculous, communications between people leads to misunderstandings and confusion. This is not a good time to start major new activities or enter into binding agreements, simply because we aren't seeing clearly and don't foresee the difficult consequences of our decisions. If you need to make decisions, give yourself the chance to review your choices later on and change course, if need be. Frankly, the best use of this time is to introspectively watch the workings of the thinking mind and how it affects your life. As the bumper sticker says, "Don't believe everything you think!" These retrograde times are great for mental housecleaning and letting go of beliefs that no longer serve you. Anyway, put your brain cells into mothballs for a few weeks -- eventually your mind will come back to you.

Mars moves from Capricorn into Aquarius on the 20th, where it will stay until heading into Pisces on Apr 30. This is a really odd placement for Mars: think of a warrior dressed up in a lab coat. Aquarius is a very mental sign that's in search of the "big ideas" that explain and control everything. That's great in purely intellectual or technological endeavors, but it becomes very problematic when you have to deal with people. I suppose it works out OK when you're dealing with people who basically agree with your point of view, but Mars can get rather impatient when he has to deal with people who disagree. You see, Aquarius only deals with grand visions and great Truths with a capital T, so anybody that disagrees is some kind of infidel. And Mars, the warrior, is more than happy to blow away an infidel when he sees one. The blindspot for Aquarius is his love of abstract ideas divorced from feelings, intuition and common sense. That's a recipe for being dead wrong. While it's important to pursue your vision of truth in coming weeks, it's just as vital that you honestly listen to conflicting points of view and question your lock on the truth. Self-deception is one of the most difficult problems any of us ever face. Don't let the warrior develop a "holier than thou" attitude about anything -- we've all seen the consequences of power without accountability.

Ceres stands still at 25Sc06 on the 21st, about to start her retrograde period. She will be backing up until Jun 26, when she reaches 11Sc32 and turns around again. Notice the entire retrograde zone between these stations is in the sign of Scorpio. When a fast moving body goes retrograde entirely within one sign, you can suspect she has an "issue" here that needs to be looked at. Ceres is about our nurturing instincts, how we care for and assist others, as well as receive such support from others. Scorpio, however, is an intensely private sign, focused on the emotional tides within that toss a person about. It may be there's a conflict between the open, caring side of yourself and the more private, self-contained part that's trying to handle life on her own. Watch the events in your life this coming spring. I suspect that there's a strong tendency for people to turn inward and distance themselves from others. The reasons for this pulling away are mainly that some emotional conflict is coming to the surface and demanding a lot of your time and attention. The emotions often take on a very seductive quality, sucking us into a soap opera of our own creation without our realizing how we trapped ourselves. It may take some time to break through this seduction, possibly all the way to the direct station in June, before you poke your head out and reconnect with people. There may also be issues of conflating love and nurture with feelings of dependency or manipulation that need to be worked through. Whatever the problem, don't take it too seriously or get sucked into the drama of it. Stay in touch with others through the journey. We still care about you...

Saturn is also standing still on the 21st, at 20Cn24, but it will be resuming normal, direct motion. He's been retrograding since 2004-11-8, when he stood still at 27Cn21. The retrograde periods of Saturn are often a time of hard work or deprivation, a time to put your nose to the grindstone and take care of pressing business. You can sometimes get a clue about the type of work for you by noting which house of your birthchart contains the retrograde zone. It's usually some issue that you've been avoiding or an area where you've only put in a half-assed effort. You can get by a long time like that, but eventually Saturn decides it's time for a house cleaning and then you're stuck. The old ways don't work so well as Saturn first stands still and they work even less as time goes on. You can either put in the effort to get this problem area fixed up and working, or you can watch it get even worse. By the time of the direct station, you'll be getting a good impression of how well you've weathered the crisis. It's not too late to clean up the last little bit (in fact, Saturn demands that you do so!), but it keeps getting harder with time. It's best to be done with it so you can start the spring with a clear slate. Saturn is only a bugger if you ignore his lessons. It's much better to know him as a beloved teacher.

Vesta slips from Aries into Taurus on the 25th, where she'll be until hitting Gemini on Jun 1. The journeys of Vesta are an exploration of where your inner strength lies. Your power comes from being true to who you really are (as opposed to the image your ego believes in), though it can be a very multi-faceted answer that you receive over time. The Taurus part of the answer lies in our physical nature and the wisdom of the human body. Modern people tend to live in their heads too much and don't give their bodies much thought or care. Yet this is who we are on the level of the physical plane. Our physical senses are how we take in the physical beauty all around us that feeds our souls. We ignore the rhythms of the body, its needs and instincts, at our own peril, because these forces define who we are as living beings. Vesta in Taurus is about learning to cherish and enjoy our bodies, as well as the material world around us. This is a time to reconnect with the pleasures of earthly life. This includes appreciating the role of sexuality and physical love in our lives, how we connect at the most intimate level with other human beings. And that requires a moving beyond a false spirituality that views the body as "sinful" or "evil", turning the body into a "shadow" element of the soul, something ignored and despised. There's no enlightenment without redeeming the physical part of our nature -- you can't be whole and remain divided against yourself. Embrace yourself at all levels.

The full moon is the kick off for the final storm of March. There's a tightly organized backbone of planets in this chart, even if it's not very big in terms of numbers, and a marked change in the feel of the energies. Things are much lighter and active than at the new moon two weeks ago, with the exception of the Pluto station.

This backbone consists of Sun and Venus in Aries opposite the Moon and Pallas in Libra and sextile Mars and Chiron in Aquarius. Although not closely connected with this group, the Jupiter-Neptune trine is also quite active now. Frankly, it's hard to find much to complain about in the chart so far. All these air and fire sign planets fill us with energy and stimulate the mind (which needs some help with Mercury backing up). We're in an optimistic mood and ready to enjoy life. We're also in the mood to get to work in a dispassionate manner and take care of tasks that have been hanging over our heads for some time now. Just keep an eye out for those "stuck" issues that are so much part of the story this March. Optimism is fine, but don't assume rose colored glasses are a smart fashion statement now. Denial will backfire on you later, if you're not careful. One other point -- with Venus and Mars in a hot sextile, the coming weeks may stimulate your relationship prospects (or at least your interest). The urge to mingle is powerful now -- just don't overwhelm your partner in the process. Enjoy these positive energies! It's good to have the universe supporting you for a change...

Pluto is the last planet this month to stand still, reaching its station of 24Sa31 on the 26th. It will remain in reverse motion until Sep 2, when it stands still at 21Sa49. Pluto's retrograde cycles are one of the most fascinating phenomena in all of astrology. The role of Pluto in the psyche is more or less synonymous with the urgings of the soul, the message you wrote to yourself before coming to the earth plane. When Pluto enters its retrograde cycle, these urgings become more insistent than usual. Typically, this is a call to let go of some part of your life that is out of sync with who you really are deep down. As the cycle progresses, the pressure to give up becomes increasingly difficult to ignore. You may already be feeling some inklings of what it is that no longer fits, something that doesn't serve your purposes anymore and is becoming ever more draining on your resources to maintain. If you do nothing about the situation, Pluto will keep twisting the thumbscrews on you tighter and tighter the next 5 months until you get the message. It's obviously easier in the long run (though still not much fun) to cooperate with the process and start making changes right away so you aren't dependent on circumstances that are passing away. By the direct station in September, this part of your life will likely fall apart, be ripped from your grasp or otherwise be rendered unusable. Hopefully by then, you'll have made the shifts so picking up the pieces won't be so painful. On the global stage, these Pluto cycles have been extremely important in Iraq, starting with the war in 2003 which started under a Pluto retrograde station. These stations have marked important turning points in the creation of a new Iraq and the insurgency that's seeking to stop it. The direct station in August of 2003 (after the war "ended") was accompanied by a wave of bombings that marked the start of a powerful insurgent presence. The retrograde station in Mar 2004 was a time when the US presence came under attack in Fallujah and parts of the Shiite south. Last summer's direct station had mounting casualty figures which became part of the presidential campaign dialogue. This year we see the start of an elected government process, which should result in a constitution next August at the direct station. This is a death and rebirth of an entire nation, a people's decision of what truly serves their purpose and what needs to be let go (such as the love of jihad). Whatever the level, Pluto cycles are a critical time of testing and growth that need to be taken seriously. Don't be caught slacking off -- Pluto can be unforgiving.

Pallas retrogrades from Libra back into Virgo on the 31st, where it will stay until Jun 26 when it reenters Libra. Pallas is a mental/intuitive body, a savvy gal that knows how to size up a complex situation in a glance. She also has a strong artistic bent and a talent for the healing arts, among other things. She's currently in a retrograde cycle back and forth across the Virgo-Libra border, so these themes have been dragged out for quite some time now. Libra and Virgo make a strange combination. Libra wants things pretty, harmonious, smooth flowing, free from conflict (these people make great negotiators). Virgo takes a more utilitarian approach that accomodates the practicalities of the material world. It's a good period to be sharpening your mental skills (in spite of Mercury retrograde) and taking care of mundane business. This is also a placement that favors healers and health concerns, since the ability to sense and treat those mental and physical blockages that inhibit good health is accented. This is a learning time, a time to refine your approach to living, to discovering simplicity. Remember that Pallas is at her direct station at 23Vi23 on May 11 -- much of the influence of this placement should peak around then.