Current Transits for November 2006

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


Full Moon at 12Ta58, 11-5
Election Day, 11-7
Mercury Transit, 11-8
Mercury Direct Station at 9Sc03, 11-17
Uranus Direct Station at 10Pi48, 11-20
New Moon at 28Sc27, 11-20
Jupiter enters Sagittarius, 11-23

An online ephemeris for the month is available.

General Outlook for the Month

If you can hold on about one week more, we should be through the worst of the big planetary storms we saw during much of October. The storms have one last blast for us, then fall apart just in time for the elections. We get a few days of "aftershocks" from the storm between the 13th and the 18th, but essentially the rest of the month is scattered and lacking in energy. People may not be in the best shape for thinking clearly during November, since both Mercury and Uranus (the two major "intellect" planets) are backing up or standing still much of the month. It probably indicates people are voting their emotions, whether it makes sense in the grand scheme of things or not. The major news for November is the passage of Jupiter from Scorpio into Sagittarius, its home turf, on the 23rd. This will likely feel like a shot of optimism in the arm, an end to a year of fear and emotional turmoil that has been sapping us for quite some time. This election season (and its awful TV ads) are over, for better or worse, and now it's time to settle down and get back to business. At least the world will seem less overwhelming for the rest of the year.

November is definitely a slow news month by normal standards. Mercury and Uranus reach their direct stations and Jupiter changes signs. There are no "big aspects" this month. In addition, there's an intriguing event called a "Mercury transit" on the 8th. It seems we're taking a well deserved breather after a busy October.

The shift away from the October storm pattern is already evident in the chart for the full moon on the 5th. While the Jupiter-Saturn-Pluto pattern is still quite strong, the emphasis in this chart is going off in other directions completely. There's still a marked focus on the sign of Scorpio, with 5 planets (Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter) in that one sign alone. They are opposite the Taurus Moon, quite alone in the sky, and trine Uranus. Neptune forms a wide T-square with the Sun and Moon. Mercury seems to be one of the weakest bodies in this chart.

OK, so we are definitely in the middle of Scorpio country now, that swirling tide of emotions and drives that drags us into very dramatic situations, but that Taurus Moon appears to be trying to balance out this influence. Taurus is a stabilizing force, a signal that emotional calm and inner quiet is necessary to maintain our equilibrium. Easier said than done, given some of the other themes in this chart. The T-square between Neptune and the full moon axis is also a call for balance. It brings a dreamy, idealistic note to this full moon, although trying to remain aloof and above all the turmoil may not be the best of solutions. It may put you in an escapist mood that prevents you from tackling problems adequately, a kind of wishful thinking that simply tries to sidestep matters. Part of the problem these days is that life is more than a little bit crazy and nonsensical. As long as you continue in an overly self-absorbed manner, the world is more than happy to throw roadblocks in your path. The tendency is to become upset or defensive when these unexpected pitfalls come our way. However, these problems are really hints that you need to come out of your foxhole and try a different approach. The world is plenty demanding and dramatic when left to follow its own path -- the trick now is to wake up and try something new. Stay calm and secure in your own center, while going with the flow in external matters. A Taurus Moon is slow and steady, plodding along without making much of a fuss. Despite the chaos in the air, it helps to simply take matters as they come. Just don't get too settled in your rut, a typical Taurus fault. Eventually, some of this will make sense, way down the road.

On the plus side, the election picture this year is nowhere near as messed up as it was in 2000. Nonetheless, there are a few curious aspects that may color the voting. First of all, the overall picture is rather weak and disorganized. I wouldn't be surprised if the turnout was less than expected, mainly due to voter apathy after the messy campaign. Mars is making some aspects to Pluto and Uranus today and tomorrow, which puts people in an angry, upset mood. There may be an air of vindictiveness in people's attitudes, the proverbial "throw the bums out" response, perhaps. This powerful Mars is probably also indicative of how much the Iraqi war is on people's minds this campaign. The biggest indicators of possible confusion are Mercury retrograde approaching a square to Neptune in the wee hours of the morning. It may take some time to get definitive results in some of the later races. However, the Moon is in Gemini (going over the USA Mars) and is making plenty of aspects during the day, so I don't think the major media mess ups we saw in 2000 are likely this year. We should be getting results rather quickly, except in the "too close to call" races. Hopefully, the patience when calling close races that the news organizations have exhibited in recent years will prevail once more. It will be interesting to see what the mood of the country is tonight...

The Mercury transit is on the afternoon of the 8th. In laymen's terms, this is a lineup of the Sun, Mercury and the Earth that is so exact, we actually can see (with proper equipment) the shadow of Mercury crossing the Sun's disk over a five hour period. These lineups are relatively rare, occuring at intervals of 7 or 13 years apart, which is part of its appeal to me. Further, this is the day after the elections, so the voting may be affected by this peculiar event. There's not much written in astrology books about such transits, so my comments here are somewhat speculative in nature. The closet phenomenon we commonly deal with that resembles these transits is a solar eclipse, although Mercury is so small and far away that it stands no chance of blotting out the Sun's image completely, as in a total eclipse. Also, this is Mercury (the thinking mind), not the Moon (emotions). We'd expect more of a change in perspective or the way we think and explain the world that has far-reaching effects down the road. There's another clue from ancient astrological principles to consider. Any planet that is conjunct the Sun to within a couple of degrees is often called "combust", meaning it is so dominated by the Sun's light at such close range that the planet is overpowered (literally "burnt up") by the Sun. If your thinking is generally in harmony with your sense of being an individual self, this transit would tend to accentuate this harmonious connection. More likely, your rationality and common sense are overwhelmed by ego concerns that cloud your vision. We're all prone to such blind spots in our understanding of the world, it's just that the consequences of this lack of awareness are more obvious now than usual. Eventually, this leads to numerous unintended consequences that aren't part of the desired outcome. It's a wakeup call to examine your thoughts and beliefs at a deeper level, becoming more honest about seeing what's really there instead of what we'd like to see. It's a lesson in intellectual honesty, more or less. Ultimately, the thinking mind is a tool of the soul to make sense of life and guide our spiritual path. There's a problem when rationality becomes an end in itself, divorced from any higher perspective, as often happens in our pseudo-mental culture. It's also a problem when the soul tries to go it alone without the stabilizing benefit of an inquisitive mind that grounds experience in the real world. Perhaps this transit is yet another opportunity to learn these subtle balancing acts. Keep in mind that Mercury transits can only happen during a Mercury retrograde period. Just as an eclipse is a super-charged version of a normal new moon, these transits are essentially a Mercury retrograde squared. I've pretty much described a normal retrograde influence, however the stakes are much higher this time. It's time to wake up and brush the cobwebs from our heads.

Mercury reaches its direct station of 9Sc03 on the 17th, preparing to resume normal direct motion. It's been backing up since Oct 28, when it stood still at its retrograde station of 25Sc04. As I just mentioned, Mercury is the thinking, symbol using part of the mind, the part of the psyche that attempts to understand and control the world by making up useful stories about "how things are". Generally speaking, this ability is extremely powerful when it comes to "explaining" things and allowing us to manipulate our environment, although when our stories are wrong, it can have dreadful consequences. When Mercury is backing up like this, the chances of operating on the basis of lousy stories is quite high. We may think we know what's going on and still be totally clueless. This is a time when our intuitive impressions of our circumstances don't match up with reality at all. Our thinking is muddy, communication between people is prone to crossed wires, decisions we make turn out to be the exact wrong thing to do. While this is frustrating, it's best to take it as a cosmic clue to slow down and look at things more carefully. The big joke about the Mercury mind is that the universe is always much bigger and more complicated than our stories can ever be. Consequently, there will always be situations when reality fails to fit inside the box assigned to it by our rationality. It's not that the world is crazy, it's that our thinking is too small and rigid. We need to look at our stories with a fresh eye from time to time, especially when these explanations fall flat on their face like this. Mercury tends to believe its own stories excessively, substituting our notions of "what should happen" for "what is". It's time to rearrange the mental furniture a little. This confusion should lessen after the direct station, but much of November is stuck in this mental fog. Unfortunately, this retrograde period includes the elections, so confusing results may be typical of this vote. Hopefully it won't be as messed up as in 2000, when Mercury was standing still on election day and the dust didn't settle for 6 weeks.

Late on the night of the 19th or in the wee hours of the 20th (depending upon your time zone), Uranus is at its direct station of 10Pi48. It's been retrograding since Jun 19, when it stood still at 14Pi43. Mercury and Uranus represent two different levels of the mind. Whereas Mercury tries to figure things out, weaving stories to capture the world, Uranus works more intuitively. In essence, the Uranus mind simply sees things directly. He looks at a situation and grasps what is happening, why it is so and also what should happen next. By relying on the intuition like this, we can bypass having to think things through and laboriously sorting through all the ifs, ands and buts. But like all parts of the psyche, intuition only works effectively if it is undistorted and in touch with reality in the first place. When Uranus is in reverse gear, as it has been for the last 5 months, intuition is often at a loss to grasp reality. The world appears crazy and insane because it won't fit inside our mental boxes. The critical clue about these Uranus stations is this sense of craziness. It's a warning that our vision is too narrow or is based on hidden assumptions that cloud our perceptions. One of the most intriguing phenomena of the psyche is that we all view the world through the distorting lens of our assumptions and beliefs, but still each one of us ignores the distortions and assumes we see reality clearly. It never occurs to us (except in rare circumstances) that our perceptions are not reality at all. We're each watching a movie of our own making, different from the story the next person is watching, and yet we all assume we're in touch with reality. No wonder our common world appears so crazy at times! And given that Mercury is also standing still these days, the confusions are rampant. Uranus is currently in the sign of Pisces, a zodiac sign associated with faith, religion, belief and submission to a higher order. Religion, especially in its lower, more literalist forms, is one of the most common forms of prejudging reality and latching onto beliefs that describe how the world should be. Our intuitions becomes stuck in a belief system we inherited from the past that is immune to revision and updating when circumstances change. It's a radical form of "I know what's true because my book says so!", even though that book is only a mythic attempt to understand a world long since passed away. Faith needs to grow and breathe. Follow the craziness, look for the "aha!s", let your mind dwell on the questions, not the answers. Intuition is a fragile thing. Don't smother it with unnecessary mental baggage. November is a good time for making such breakthroughs, if you'll only be honest with yourself.

The new moon chart strikes me as being very transitional in nature. For starters, there are still 5 planets in Scorpio, but over the next few days there's a mass exodus into Sagittarius, including Jupiter. So while we may start out the lunar month in a dark, heavy mood, it quickly changes into something much lighter and happier. The focus of this chart is undoubtedly the tight cluster of Sun, Moon, Jupiter and Venus (which is already in Sag). This hints that the optimistic and expansive Jupiter energies will be having a marked effect on us in coming weeks, particularly after it moves into Sag on the 23rd. In short, no matter how things feel at first, we'll perceive them to be getting better shortly. Also, as Jupiter changes signs, its connections with Saturn and Pluto weaken rapidly. The guts of the powerful October storms are simply evaporating -- we've seen the last of those energies. I doubt we're going to be aware of the next big pattern for quite some time, as the waveforms look quiet and disorganized until new years. I also find it interesting how lopsided this chart appears. All the planets are crowded into roughly one half of the zodiac, leaving the other half entirely empty. While this is good for focusing your efforts in some particular direction, it also makes us prone to big blind spots in our awareness. It's always good to get a second opinion when you're in doubt. Remember that Mercury is barely moving and Uranus is standing still today -- your mind may still be in first gear. If you need to make some big decisions these days, I'd suggest you wait a few days if you can until your thinking is clearer. Things are slowly changing -- the question is, into what?

Jupiter moves from Scorpio into Sagittarius on the 23rd for the next 13 months. It will stay in this sign until 2007-12-18, when it enters Capricorn. Jupiter feels quite at home in Sag, its home turf. This is in marked contrast to when it is in Scorpio, a sign that seems to constrict or limit Jupiter's normal bouyant behavior. Jupiter is the element of expansion in our lives, of moving out from our personal boundaries and engaging the world at large. Scorpio seems to be overly concerned with the inner world of emotions and ego concerns, a tendency that stops Jupiters typical movement towards larger concerns. In Sag, however, he's free to roam far and wide, sticking his nose into a lot of new experiences. Sag is also a very open and optimistic sign, unfettered by small concerns that keep us in our ruts. This matches Jupiter's rather jolly mood quite nicely. If you've felt hemmed in the past year, restricted by personal concerns and emotional "hot buttons" with people around you, this new placement is like a "get out of jail free" card. The coming year is a time to lift your sights higher, to take a more expansive view of all aspects of your life (but especially in the affairs of the house of your birthchart where Jupiter will be roaming next), to free yourself from limiting beliefs and viewpoints that have been holding you back for so long. A change of mood is in order, since you'll feel fewer restrictions and more freedom to pursue your own goals. Notice that Sag is often a little scatter-brained in the sense that his attention is often drawn towards the next thing that appears on the horizon, making it hard for him to settle down and focus on more limited goals (that's Saturn's business). If you've got some important plans to accomplish in coming months, try to exercise a little discipline in this regards so you don't squander all this helpful energy on frivolous matters. Just don't be so narrowly focused that you miss out on unexpected opportunities that cross your path. This Scorpio to Sag transition is apt to more noticeable than usual this year, because Venus and the Sun are also moving into Sag at this time (on the 17th and 22nd, resp.). Our mood is lifting on numerous levels simultaneously, so we may feel extra giddy at first. Enjoy the change of pace -- it's been a long time a-coming.