Current Transits for February 2006

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


Juipiter Parallel Pluto, 2-1
Venus Direct Station at 16Cp01, 2-3
Pallas enters Capricorn, 2-8
Full Moon at 24Le20, 2-12
Mars enters Gemini, 2-17
Saturn Opposite Chiron, 2-19
Vesta Direct Station at 7Cn30, 2-23
New Moon at 9Pi16, 2-27

An online ephemeris for the month is available.

General Outlook for the Month

February is a slow news month, astrologically. Finally, after several months of high activity, we get some needed down time. The only problem with such time off, however, is that we have little planetary support for our own endeavors. The energies are scattered and lacking in focus, making it more difficult for us to get anything accomplished in our day-to-day lives. It also contributes to a lack of drive and enthusiasm, as the stress and demands of recent months catches up to us. As I mentioned last month, 2006 seemed to start out with a bang and then quickly cooled off. These sluggish times, though not as challenging as the more noticeable storm patterns, are a test in their own right, mostly a test to settle down and handle the everyday concerns of living. February is a long hike over difficult terrain, not a mad sprint. It requires a different approach, perhaps one that is more quiet and yielding than we are normally used to. Pace yourself, especially if your reserves of energy are close to empty. I don't see any real upturn in overall energy levels until the end of March at the earliest.

In terms of material to write about, February is remarkably dull. There are a couple of direct stations, Venus on the 3rd and Vesta on the 23rd. Pallas and Mars change zodiac signs. There are two "big aspects". First there's the opposition of Saturn and Chiron on the 19th. The other big event is the parallel of Jupiter and Pluto on the 1st, which is echoed by over a dozen parallels involving the faster planets. That's about it...

Jupiter is parallel (same distance south of the equator as) Pluto on the 1st, part of a large complex of parallel connections between planets in what's left of the Grand Cross of December and January. We've just passed similar parallels involving Neptune and Pluto as well as Jupiter in the last few days (Jan 28 and 31). Parallels normally act similar to conjunctions, amplifying the energies of the planets they connect up. While Jupiter is a fairly conventional planet that deals with everyday interactions with the people we meet in the course of normal living, Neptune and Pluto add a deep, but subtle dimension to ordinary life. At its best, it introduces a powerful spiritual element to our behavior. At its not so best, this can create confusion, mistrust, a tendency to manipulate others (or be manipulated by them), etc. They produce a powerful emotional tone that affects our thoughts, feelings and actions, though it may be tough to put a finger on why we feel the way we do. As if this trio of parallels weren't spectacular enough, February is literally sprinkled with more of these aspects as the faster planets (Sun, Mercury, Venus) join in the fun and produce at least a dozen more parallels in coming weeks. It's as though the universe is really trying to attract our attention to this situation. Look deeper into your situation than you're generally used to doing and don't be so accepting of the superficial explanations provided by the status quo vision. As I said last month, these parallels may simply be icing on the cake of the other big aspects in recent months; they may also be highly significant in their own right. Either way, they are an intriguing commentary on the current energies.

Venus reaches her direct station of 16Cp01 on the 3rd. She's been in reverse motion since 2005-12-24, when she was at her retrograde station of 1Aq28. I've heard some "field reports" from several friends that this retrograde cycle of Venus has been particularly troublesome for them. Venus retrograde can be even more of a nuisance than Mercury, since Venus operates at the level of feelings and instincts. Granted it's a problem when you can't think or talk straight (Mercury), but when even your gut level instincts are off, you're in real trouble. This pre-verbal part of the psyche operates (in simplistic terms) via feelings of attraction and repulsion, that is, through a sense of "I like this" and "I don't like that". Generally, these instincts are quite useful for helping us navigate normal life situations, so when we start making bad judgment calls, life gets a little strange. It's easy to irritate people without realizing you're doing it. There is also a tendency to attract people, objects and circumstances into our lives that after a few months are seen to be a "lapse of good taste" (to put the best spin on it). These unusual additions to your life can seem exciting at the time and help shake you up so you recognize new possibilities, but after the rude awakening they provide, their appeal fades quickly. Most of the retrograde zone has been in Capricorn, an unemotional and practical sign that is one of Venus' least favorite positions; the rest was in Aquarius, a mental sign that is not much better for our lovely goddess. It's curious that Venus was closely conjunct Chiron at the time of the retrograde station, so there has been a need to revisit old emotional pathways and look at your feelings with a fresh eye. We've probably been prone to over intellectualizing our feelings since Christmas, which doesn't help us get in touch with our gut level feelings much at all. Well, Venus will soon be resuming normal forward motion, so this emotional haze should slowly start to lift. Fortunately, these strange interludes are rather rare cycles.

Pallas moves from Sagittarius into Capricorn on the 8th. This is an extended stay, due to an upcoming retrograde cycle, so Pallas won't move on to Aquarius until Dec 27 next winter. First of all, whenever you have a planet making an extended stay in a sign, it's usually an indication that there's an important lesson to pay attention to. With Capricorn, the focus is on perfecting the material world. Capricorn is about form, order, building the routines and structures that define the outlines of our lives. It's an important spiritual goal to learn how to operate on the physical plane in an effective and organized manner. Pallas is a rather multi-faceted energy. To begin with, she's a very mental, intuitive influence. When faced with a given set of facts and realities in the present and the vision of your future goals, Pallas is the one that sizes up the situation and crafts a plan of action for getting from point A to point B. She's a planner. If you are trying to accomplish your goals and experiencing delays and roadblocks along the way, this is a year to figure out what the problems are and how to maneuver around them. Particularly in the area of finances, this is a time to get your affairs in order and make them work for you. Her vision is more practical and down to earth than usual, which tends to downplay the more artistic side of Pallas. If you are attracted to arts and crafts under this influence, I'd imagine it would be more for practical reasons than aesthetic ones. This may also turn into a good time to pay attention to health issues. Take care of the bones, teeth and skin particularly, the parts of the body that give it structure and form. Taking responsibility for your health now will have positive benefits down the road. Mainly though, get the little things running smoothly in your life. If you put the details in order, it frees you to tackle the larger issues without distractions. You've got some time to get all this done. Just make sure you're actually putting in the effort.

When you look at the full moon chart, the planets fall into 3 main groups with little connection between them. There's no big over-arching theme that ties this chart together. It's more like there are several independent stories going on, each oblivious to the others. At least the strong outer planet influences are more muted now. The outer planets typically affect us from the unconscious, triggering powerful drives within us that somehow evade our awareness. When these forces cooperate, life becomes very transformative. However at times like now, these forces settle down to whispers from the shadows, influencing us in more subtle ways.

The main group is a fixed sign T-square, which includes the Sun and Moon, Mars, Pluto (the most powerful planet in the waveform!) and Ceres. There's a lot of pent up ego energy in this first pattern, a tendency to hang onto one's position despite all opposing forces. With both Mars and Pluto active here, you have to be careful not to throw your weight around thoughtlessly. For starters, a powerful Pluto often indicates you are unaware of your true intentions (though others can see through you), so you are likely to get into a bad situation for all the wrong reasons needlessly. Further, there is always a problem of slipping into manipulative behavior with Pluto, behavior that eventually breeds resentment and mistrust. Stay above boards as much as humanly possible and you might escape the worst. Be flexible and willing to meet others half-way -- stubbornness wins you nothing now. Get outside of yourself and see how our decisions collectively affect us all. The big picture is more important than anybody's personal position (repeat this mantra often...). A second group consists of Jupiter, Neptune, Venus and Juno. This is more the Optimist's Corner of the chart. The energy here is subtle and uplifting, operating at a higher level. This is a very idealistic, feeling based, wide open approach with other people, in marked contrast to the first group. It's almost as though these two stories were opposite sides of the same coin, challenging us to choose between them. Love and compassion, the energies of the heart chakra, are probably a good antidote for the excesses of the T-square. Finally, there's a group based on Chiron, Mercury, Uranus, Vesta and Saturn. This is a rather complex psychological picture. It's highly mental-intuitive, reflecting a mental openness to new ideas and insights that may pop into the imagination. Yet there's a powerful tendency to withdraw or go inward, perhaps as a prerequisite for "courting" those insights. The mind is most receptive when it is quietly and expectantly turned towards the unconscious, turning its back on the outer world. There may be some ambivalence to these new ideas, mostly based on old fears from the past that haven't been overcome yet. It's best to respect these boundaries until you've done the emotional work to face your fears down, but you still must poke your nose into these areas from time to time so you become used to the territory and aren't frightened off. Somewhere in the interplay of these 3 stories is the message of this full moon. It's certainly something to ponder...

Mars moves from Taurus into Gemini on the 17th. He stays here until Apr 13, when he slips into Cancer. While this is not the most natural placement for Mars, it has its uses. Mars is a very physical and muscular guy, while Gemini is very mental and in its head. This tends to stimulate the mental processes quite a bit, but Gemini makes Mars somewhat antsy and impatient, like a rowdy kid 5 minutes before recess time. This is good for light mental work of limited duration, such as having to correlate a lot of information into a bigger picture. Make sure the task is of manageable size, however, so you don't lose interest in it before you're done. Gemini is also a very social sign. You may be motivated to socialize and communicate more than usual. A light hearted flirtation may appear when around the opposite sex. This placement wants to mingle, talk, share stories, have fun. After such a long Mars in Taurus period (no offense, but slow and plodding has its limits!), the faster pace should be quite a change. Enjoy!

The opposition of Saturn and Chiron is one of the oddest aspects I've ever seen. This is the 26th of 27 contacts in this series. The aspect began in 1986 and continued twice a year until 1995, then started up again in 2003. The final three contact have Saturn in Leo and Chiron in Aquarius. These placements give the ego a subtle beating, as though the usual ways we prop up our self-image aren't working very well anymore. This is a hint to take ourselves more lightly, letting go of the notion that life is so bloody serious. There's no need to be the center of the world all the time. In fact, it can be relaxing to be a "bit player" now and then, as there is no pressure to perform or produce when the world's not on your shoulders. It's a good time to work through the old emotions, fears and false assumptions that you find threatening your position in life. Many of these hang ups are quite ridiculous, if you look at them from a distance. It's only our unthinking attachment to them that keeps these problems in your life. Honestly, you can let go of the past and move on unencumbered. Egos aren't worth all the trouble they cause...

Vesta is at her direct station of 7Cn30 on the 23rd. She has been in reverse gear since 2005-11-18, when she was at her retrograde station of 23Cn12. Vesta is basically an introvert, someone who finds her own company more pleasureable and energizing than being with others. She's not adverse to other people per se, but contacts with others tend to be draining after awhile and she needs to withdraw and recharge her reserves. This need to go into retreat is especially strong during a retrograde cycle, as though being alone becomes an end in itself. Curiously, this entire retrograde zone lies within the sign of Cancer, the sign most associated with warm, emotional relationships with others. The "lesson" of this cycle is obviously the balancing act between close contact with others and being in contact with yourself in isolation. It's typical for people to gravitate towards one end of this polarity or the other. The social extrovert is just as out of balance as the solitary introvert -- the outgoing person just seems more "normal" in our culture. During Vesta retrograde, it's time to return to a point of balance, even if you overshoot the mark several times in the process. Vesta responds to being overwhelmed by others by withdrawing into herself, her home and her soul. This instinct to retreat becomes exaggerated during her reverse motion, as though any human contact is intolerable. She disappears for several months, much to the confusion and hurt feelings of friends and loved ones. Granted, this can be a very creative time, as the artistic or intellectual muse assumes bigger proportions in her life than mere humans. As we approach the direct station, the time is ripe to reengage with the outer world. If you have been on a creative binge, maybe it's the right moment to start showing what you've created to other people. It's also time to realize that others are a mirror for you and hence are important to your growth. I sometimes think friendship is a shadow quality for Vesta, a psychological trait she doesn't truly understand or appreciate, something she's prone to reject. Reclaiming the shadow for her involves forging enduring emotional connections with people who love her, in spite of her finicky ways. It's hard to embrace your humanity sometimes...

The most obvious focal point of the new moon chart is the close conjunction of Sun and Moon with Uranus in mid-Pisces. Uranus was the third place story at the full moon, but now it commands our attention. This planet is a known trouble maker, not because it's malicious per se, but because it's terribly disruptive of any situation that has persisted too long. Pisces, in particular, is good at dissolving away the boundaries and distinctions we love to make in our worlds, so it seems the new moon is telling us to let go of these illusory stories we tell ourselves. Viewed from a larger perspective, our ideas of how things are seem quite childish and laughable. You may be prone to some of those "aha!" moments that Uranus often brings, when suddenly circumstances seem crystal clear in a way they never did before. Make yourself more aware of these insights.

Of secondary importance in this chart are Mercury, Venus and Pluto in a tight fan-shaped pattern. Mercury is the way we think and Venus is the way we feel. Pluto is deepening and stimulating both of them. Especially since Pluto is now less than a degree away from the Galactic Center point, there's a subtle moodiness or brooding going on that takes us out of everyday activities and into an otherworldly realm. It plays on the edges of our intuition and our thoughts, hinting obliquely at truths you've never considered before. Let them sink in slowly, neither rejecting nor being converted too quickly to a different perspective. In time, you'll feel it in your bones.

Loosely connected to the new moon, but a few degrees earlier in the zodiac, are a large group of planets that just missed the limelight. This includes Pallas, Chiron, Mars, Vesta and Saturn. Again, this is a mixed bag. There's a lot of emotional sorting out to do in this group, especially in regards to how to work in a more disciplined and insightful manner without sabotaging your efforts. Perhaps this in one of those Uranian "aha!s" we need to experience. We all have lessons to learn concerning how to be more effective in the world. The coming month is a good time to look at these issues more closely.