Current Transits for February 2007

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


Full Moon at 12Le59, 2-1
Vesta enters Sagittarius, 2-9
Mercury Retrograde Station at 10Pi13, 2-13
New Moon at 28Aq36, 2-17
Mars enters Aquarius, 2-25
Saturn Opposite Neptune, 2-28

An online ephemeris for the month is available.

General Outlook for the Month

February is looking like a busy month. It hits the ground running with a powerful Koz Alert at the full moon on the 1st and continues with potent storm energies throughout much of the month. While the Jupiter-Uranus-Pluto grouping that I discussed last month is still active, there's a new pattern becoming active these days based on the opposition of Saturn and Neptune which is exact on the 28th. This aspect is a tug-of-war between two very different planets. Neptune is the dreamer and mystic, while Saturn is best known as the hardcore realist. It seems this is a year when our dreams and ideals fail to measure up to reality and "the facts on the ground" (as they say in the military), just as the physical world fails to measure up to our visions of how life should be. It's a time to reassess where we are going and what our plans for the future might be. Of course, it's also a time of confusion and lack of clarity, especially after the Mercury retrograde station on the 13th. Take things slowly and deliberately, looking at your situation from all possible perspectives, refraining from jumping to conclusions too quickly. Life is rather mutifaceted and complex these days, if you're at all honest with yourself, so give yourself the leeway to change course when necessary. Above all, pace yourself. Planetary storms of long duration like this take their toll on us.

For such an energetic month, it's curious how little astrological news there is in a traditional sense. The only "big aspect" is the Saturn-Neptune opposition on the 28th. Mercury goes retrograde on the 13th. Mars and Vesta both change signs. Apparently, these storms are being created by a large number of aspects that don't reach exactitude this month.

One glance at the waveform for the full moon will tell you this is a chart with an attitude. The waveform is nearly cresting at the peak of the first Koz Alert of the month. There's a large grouping of planets arrayed around the zodiac in a fan-shaped pattern, clustered around 12-14 degrees of many zodiac signs. The list includes the Moon, Jupiter, Mars, Chiron, Pallas, the Sun, Ceres and Uranus. With Pluto 45 degrees away from the Sun (an octile aspect), it's also a major player (along with the GC). It should be pointed out that Saturn and Neptune are not on this list for now. Their day is coming in about a week.

As this chart is based on the Jupiter-Uranus-Pluto group that we saw so much of in January, the full moon is somewhat transitional. We are still riding the wild, erratic energies that buffet us from many sides without making much sense. However, these influences are more intense and powerful than we've seen for several weeks. This Koz Alert is the kick-off of the next two weeks, a time when life runs fast and crazy. It may be tough to weather the storm at times, but most of the trouble comes when you refuse to face up to your own shadow side, the parts of your personality that the ego mind is unable to deal with. It's a good time to let go of old dysfunctional patterns of behavior that are pretty worthless these days, if you stop to admit it. Keeping in mind that 2007 is a year when some very deep and transformative spiritual vibrations are percolating into our lives and slowly remaking the way we understand the world, it's important in coming weeks to move beyond "mere thinking" and open up to a more intuitive approach. We have to stop creating the world in the image of the lowest common denominator and begin making a concerted effort to push the world in a truly visionary direction. Maybe not too quickly, but step by step is still progress. The individual is an artist in this light, a creative person whose canvas is life itself. Every action we make moves the world along, sometimes in the desired direction, sometimes not. The trick is making the conscious decisions each moment to do your best. Slacking off is not an option -- you'll see that karma boomerang back on you all too quickly these days! Give it your best shot...

Vesta moves from Scorpio into Sagittarius on the 9th for an extended stay. Due to an upcoming retrograde cycle, she doesn't exit for Capricorn until Oct 19. Sagittarius involves ideas and visions, the grand perspectives and outlooks that color the way we approach life and make sense of the world. We often like to blame external events and circumstances for how we're feeling and what happens to us, but it's surprising how the viewpoints we hold inside actually have a much bigger influence on us. The external world is, by and large, quite neutral to our personal concerns. It's our own reactions and responses to these events that determine the meaning and significance they have for us. Change your point of view and the quality of living changes as well. So the big question becomes: what do I want to believe and why? With Vesta in the picture, this question is even more significant. Vesta always demands an attitude of integrity and faithfulness to your higher nature. When she hangs out in Sag, the issue of beliefs takes on an exaggerated importance in our lives. Frequently, our ideas are out of step with who we currently are. You say one thing and do another and neither seems to actually serve your better interests. In short, you're undermining your own position. This is intolerable to Vesta. When she feels challenged, her response is to withdraw within herself. She finds strength and support in her own company, so being her own worst enemy just doesn't work out. This is a time to examine your ideas and outlooks to see if they actually reflect your deeper nature. With Vesta's emphasis on integrity, faking it is not an option. Considering the retrograde cycle and the 9 month stay in this sign (compared to an average of 3 months), this review is not just a passing fad, but something of lasting significance. Her power comes from being faithful to herself. It's time to do some inner housecleaning. Beliefs do matter...

Mercury reaches its retrograde station of 10Pi13 on the 13th, starting 3 weeks of reverse motion in the sky. This cycle lasts until Mar 7 when Mercury stands still at its direct station of 25Aq24 and then resumes direct motion. Mercury is the thinking part of the mind, the part of the psyche that uses symbols and stories to make sense of the world and allows us to operate effectively. These stories are rarely totally accurate, but to the extent they are useful, they are good enough. Well, when Mercury is backing up in the zodiac as it's doing the next 3 weeks, the thinking mind is operating at "not good enough" much of the time. We expect the world to behave one way and it does something else instead. We say something to another person, only to find they heard a totally different version of the story. You make plans for your activities, only to run into endless unexpected roadblocks. It can be extremely frustrating if you don't have a clue what the real problem is, namely that we believe our limited stories too much and even confuse them with reality itself. These mismatches between the world and our mental models are not some cosmic plot against us, just a gentle reminder to reassess your mental furniture from time to time. It's actually a rather high level of spiritual development to realize the limitations of the thinking mind and rationality in general. Mercury is an important tool when it comes to understanding life, but there are many other helpful approaches as well. Much of this cycle is in Pisces, a zodiac sign that favors feeling and emotion, a sense of intuitive merging with life, all modalities that tend to be displaced by an overly mental approach. Life is much richer than the thinking mind can ever hope to capture. The thinking mind needs a little humility about its abilities. Our stories are, afterall, just stories. Rewriting them occasionally to be more useful certainly can't hurt. On the bright side, it's only 3 weeks. We'll bungle through somehow.

OK, so the storm is over for now, but there's some odd things about the new moon chart that need to be looked at. For starters, the strongest planet and the one most closely aspecting the new moon is Pluto. It appears the coming month is mostly about downloading more of these intense Pluto-GC vibrations. Jupiter is also pretty strong, which should soften the rougher energies. Also, this is an extremely lopsided chart. With 5 bodies in Aquarius, 4 in Pisces, and several others in the same general area, almost all the planets are packed into just one quarter of the zodiac. That gives a very focused, but one-sided tone to the chart, prone to huge blindspots if you aren't careful.

Of course, just because "spiritual forces" are present doesn't mean people are going to use them in the highest possible way -- or that they are even going to try. On an esoteric level, Aquarius is all Higher Mind leading to understanding and enlightenment, while Pisces is a mystical merging with the universe. On the mundane level that most people function at in the real world, Aquarius can be an opinionated SOB, while Pisces is someone with no focus or backbone. There's too big a spread here to make useful generalizations. Further, Pluto is a planet that many of our species can barely work with, and most of the others seem to pull in its darker, more problematic sides. There are some rare individuals around who are soaking up these transformative vibes and loving it, but I suspect most people are really struggling with the changes. Be patient and supportive. It takes time to assimilate these energies (like all year) and we can only get it a little piece at a time. As we work with others struggling to take in this new mindset and compare notes with them, I'm finding we fill in each other's gaps in understanding and give each of us more courage to keep slugging away. There's a communal quality to the work now that is important to cooperate with. Be grateful for the slow days like this (compared to the recent storms). We need some breaks from the intensity now and again. We'll get through this together...

Mars moves from Capricorn into Aquarius on the 25th. It will stay in this sign until Apr 6, when it shifts into Pisces. This is a peculiar placement for Mars. My cartoon image for it is a big, burly warrior in a lab coat. Aquarius is an idea man, dealing with the "big ideas" that control and explain the world on a grand scale, truth with a capital T. When carried to an extreme, he can be very opinionated and self-absorbed, unable to entertain other points of view. Afterall, Aquarius is a fixed sign, one of the 4 zodiac signs that have great trouble being flexible and adaptable. Combine this with Mars the Warrior and the tendency to run all over people who disagree with you is exaggerated. This placement is useful, perhaps, when you're dealing with a purely intellectual or technological area where there is some actual objective truth to our knowledge, but it's more of an issue when there are shades of gray. People disagree in all honesty, so certainty is nearly impossible to achieve when you have to interact with others. Aquarius has a major blindspot in its love of big, abstract ideas and theories that are often divorced from feeling, common sense and plain old humanity. So while you're busy pursuing your goals and plans with great enthusiasm and vigor (a positive expression of this placement), remember to keep open the option of changing your mind when life dictates it. By considering points of view that conflict with your own, it's possible to make your vision even larger and more inclusive. "Holier than thou" is too dangerous these days. Nobody is that right...

Saturn is opposite Neptune on the 28th, the second of such contacts. The first contact was on 2006-8-31 and the final one will be on 2007-6-25. This is an aspect that is full of contradictions looking for a resolution. First of all, remember that it's part of a larger 37 year long cycle for these two planets. This cycle, which began in 1989 with the series of conjunctions that year, ushered in a year of momentous changes, including the collapse of the Eastern Bloc and the Soviet Union. The oppositions this year are like a full moon within this larger cycle, a time when the energies unleashed at the conjunction come to fruition and we can see their consequences, both good and bad. In broad terms, the aspects in this cycle refer to a conflict between a visionary approach to life and hardcore reality. Saturn is a pragmatist. He represents the nuts and bolts level of physical reality, as well as the rules, laws and expectations that govern the ways people interact with each other. He demands that we handle the situation we're in as best we can, without cutting any corners. Neptune, on the other hand, works on very subtle, non-physical levels. He represents the more creative and imaginative powers of the psyche, the parts of ourselves that envision the future and slowly bring it to fruition. Generally acting on an unconscious level, Neptune turns our beliefs and expectations into the people and events of our lives in a way that can only be called magical. The problem is that many of our unconscious assumptions are something the conscious mind would heartily disagree with. As an example, you may believe you are "entitled" to the rewards and benefits of life, but an underlying self-esteem issue may lead you to sabotage all your plans. Until you face up to these sabotage behaviors, all the "bad luck" in your life simply appears as fate and external forces out of your control. Now the opposition of these two planetary powers is a period when we need to look at the developments of recent decades from both a practical and a visionary perspective. We need to ask ourselves whether this world we've personally and collectively created is indeed the kind of world we want. Is our vision too limited and unimaginative to create a world that is liveable and sustainable in the future? Is our understanding of each other and the level of compassion we can muster capable of creating a society that brings out the best in humanity? Such debates may seem distant and unconnected with reality, but when Saturn and Neptune combine forces, the ethereal and the practical become intimately intertwined. Just be aware that good ideas often have difficult and undesireable consequences, so don't be too wedded to any one perspective. There's always a better approach out there somewhere. Saturn and Neptune are very busy now holding each other in check, bringing our attention to the failings and shortcomings of each other. It's not a question of whether the visionary approach or the nuts and bolts is a "better" method, but it's a matter of how we can best blend them together to avoid the problems of their excesses and extremes. This aspect is one of true magic, not in the sense of "waving your wand" and making things pop into existence, but in the sense of focusing your desires and intentions on both the psychic and physical levels to create genuine change on the planet for the better. If the world is a mess, it's because we need to develop our magical skills and awareness. The stakes are too high to continue doing a half-assed job...

It's been rather refreshing to watch the new Democratic Congress move into DC in January. Whatever you politics might be, it's good to see things shaken up some. Congress was getting rather stuck in a rut for some years there.

President Bush gave a couple of notable speeches last month. As I usually do, I was there with my astrology programs to set up precise charts for the events. It's frequently the case that the planets provide there own political commentary in the background during one of these speeches. For instance, as Bush began his long awaited "Iraq Surge" talk, the ascendent was about 8Vi42. Since his own natal Mars is at 9Vi18, this means Bush's Mars was rising as he started speaking. How appropriate that Mars the Warrior would be heralding a troop buildup!

The State of the Union speech was also intriguing. As Bush started talking, the MH was at 20Gm10, with 21Vi22 rising. 20 degrees Gemini is an interesting position. It's not only Bush's North Node (karmic overtones) and near his Uranus, but it's also close to the US Mars (war). Not to mention where his dad's Sun is. Obviously this was a critical address for the president, possibly even make-or-break material, and it certainly is crucial to the country as a whole. After a quick laundry list of domestic proposals, he spent about 15 minutes on the big "elephant in the room" topic, the Iraq war. Both the Galactic Center and Pluto crossed the 4th house cusp during this time, the lowest part in a chart that rules over the ultimate sources of our experiences and the feelings of the public at large on the issue. The public is certainly worked up over this issue, which fits in well with the conjunction energies. With just a few minutes left to go, the MH changed to Cancer (more feelings than ideas) and the Asc moved into Libra. The mood of his talk changed completely to "the personal stuff" as I called it in my notes, particularly the introductions of "American heros" and their stories that Reagan made such a part of these speeches. (Mars didn't cross the 4th cusp until the Democratic response delivered later by Senator Jim Webb.)

Before getting this issue of my newsletter to the printers, I got the news of the big storms and tornados that ripped through Florida on Feb 2, right after the full moon and Koz Alert I discussed earlier. The full moon lay right across the MH axis in Florida that night, It sounds like the Alert pattern couldn't resist letting loose a little fury at that spot. Let's hope the rest of the big planetary storm this month is less dramatic.