Here's some of the important astrological news this month ...
Full Moon / Total Lunar Eclipse at 12Vi59, 3-3
Mercury Direct Station at25Aq24, 3-7
Jupiter Trine Saturn, 3-16
New Moon / Partial Solar Eclipse at 28Pi07, 3-18
Ceres enters Aries,3-18
'Chiron Octile Pluto, 3-24
Pallas enters Pisces, 3-25
Pluto Retrograde Station at 28Sa57, 3-31
A Mercury Retrograde Story...
An online ephemeris for the month is available.
March is certainly a busy month, with long lasting consequences down the road. It resembles a high stakes game of musical chairs, as the quicker moving planets accent one group of outer planets after another, producing an ever changing background of energies. The biggest of these groups, the one that generates all the Koz Alert activity this month, consists of Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and a number of faster planets in a lovely sextile fan. All those trines and sextiles should smooth off many rough edges from these energies, but still, a storm is a storm. In addition, March has quite a number of important events, including two eclipses and Pluto's retrograde station on the 31st, always big news in my book. Such cycles are rather forward looking, casting their energies over the coming year and initiating transformations and "house cleaning" in our lives. The "big aspects" this month are also first time contacts, starting cycles that play out the next year or two. Metaphorically, we have turned a corner, even though we may not realize it right away. The spectacle of 2007 is now getting pretty obvious, as different themes and issues grab our attention. Keep your eyes open...
March is a fairly busy month in traditional terms. Both Mercury and Pluto reach stations during the month. The asteroids Ceres and Pallas are changing signs. There are two "big aspects" as well to consider. All this and the eclipses, too -- we should be adjusting from one major influence to the next for quite some time.
The more I've studied this chart for the lunar eclipse (and it's taken up lots of my attention recently), the more I've grown rather fond of it. At first glance, it looks like a scattered and rather lackluster chart, but it holds some hints of what's coming up the rest of the month, plus a few deeply hidden surprises. The waveform shows several groups of planets at work here, clustered around 14, 20 and 26 degrees.
The most notable clue as to this chart is Uranus at 14Pi35, less than 2 degrees from the Sun and opposite the eclipsed Moon. Venus and Chiron also join in this small group. I was already hearing some people commenting about the nervous, jittery energy in the air in late February already, as they started to feel the effects of the powerful Uranus influences. Uranus is a two-edged sword, however. Yes, it can feel jittery and chaotic, difficult to make sense of, but only if you haven't internalized the high frequency mental vibes of this planet. Uranus is often called the Higher Mind, an extremely intuitive way of "seeing" that simply bypasses the thinking mind (Mercury) and replaces thinking with knowing. In terms of energy centers within the body, it is most in tune with the third eye chakra, the seat of intuitive sight and higher understanding. With the eclipsed Moon in Virgo (another mentally oriented sign), the emotions are suppressed or held in check. While you'd expect Venus to help bring out feelings more than this, her placement in Aries certainly doesn't support this interpretation. Next in importance are Jupiter, Saturn and to a lesser extent Neptune, the backbone of next week's storms. Jupiter adds a dose of conventional wisdom to Uranus' high state of awareness, as well as tones down the over-caffeinated tone of the eclipse energies. He helps ground the higher spiritual vibrations, downshifting them to a more everyday level. That shift doesn't fully take effect until at least the 6th. Curiously, Pluto is one of the weakest planets in the chart (after Mars), making few aspects other than a sextile to retrograding Mercury. Given that Pluto is essentially standing still all month (and much of April) due to its station on the 31st, he's always lurking in the background all month. I guess he's really hidden now. So the story of this eclipse (and the next 6-12 months) is one of mental awakening.
At that deeper level, there's a technique I sometimes use with eclipses called Saros cycles (which I explain in the Eclipses section of my web site). In a nutshell, eclipses come in families with successive family members spaced every 18+ years apart. Like all cycles, these families (called a Saros cycle) has a beginning point and ancient astrologers considered the initial eclipse of the cycle to be a birthchart of sorts for all the eclipses in the Saros. The initial eclipse of the Saros corresponding to our lunar eclipse fell back on Aug 16, 1087 -- a bit before our time. Keep in mind that Pluto is currently at 28Sa45, about to station at 28Sa57. This first eclipse happened at 28Aq55, while Pluto was at 28Pi56 in 1087, a nearly exact square to our modern Pluto and the GC. The initial eclipse (on Aug 21, 1664) of the Saros for the solar eclipse on the 18th is at -- surprise! -- 28Le50, aspecting both the solar eclipse (28Pi07) and Pluto. Pluto in this old chart is 26Gm14, directly opposite our modern Pluto (especially when it reaches its direct station on Sep 7) and GC. Somehow, both of these charts from centuries gone by are pointing to the current Pluto-GC situation of 2007. Despite Pluto's apparent weakness in this lunar eclipse chart, he is certainly active behind the scenes. It's almost as though the current transformations have been in the works for centuries. Very strange...
Mercury reaches its direct station at 25Aq24 on the 7th. It has been in reverse gear since Feb 13, when it stood still at 10Pi13. Mercury retrograde may easily be one of the most familiar astrological phenomena in the popular mind, but its supposed "bad effects" are probably exaggerated. These periods typically show us where the limitations of the thinking part of the psyche lie, how the use of symbols and stories to understand the world can sometimes fall on its face. We all use our thinking minds to make sense of the world, people and even ourselves, to put the mystery of living into mental boxes big and small. It should come as no surprise that every once in awhile life can slip through our mental cracks, surprising us with the sheer novelty of reality. I guess such surprise can be a threat or challenge to people whose egos are invested in being "rational" and in control, but it's little more than a cosmic reminder to not take our stories so seriously. Yes, it's good to patch up the cracks, updating our stories and looking at life from a deeper, more aware perspective, but it's also important to see that we are much more than our thoughts and beliefs. True living often doesn't start until the chattering mind goes silent. As the retrograde period draws to a close, the thinking mind begins to work more smoothly and we get to take things for granted again. Just don't go to sleep entirely...
Jupiter is trine Saturn on the 16th. This is the first of 5 contacts for this aspect that span the next 20 months. The next contact is on May 6. The 20 year cycle of Jupiter and Saturn is most easily tracked in the larger global arena, as these planets frequently play out in the fates of nations and leaders. This particular cycle, which began with the conjunction of May 28, 2000 on the Israeli Sun, has been entangled with affairs in the Middle East the last 7 years. For instance, the difficult square of 2005-2006 mirrored many upsetting events on the ground: the incapacitation of Ariel Sharon, the election of a Hamas government in Palestine, and the war in Gaza and Lebanon last summer. This square certainly did little to promote the search for peace, while aggravating the dividing lines between people to the breaking point. Technically speaking, trine aspects should be easier to handle and more productive of positive changes. The down side, however, of a trine is a kind of inertia. Because circumstances are going relatively well for now, it's tempting to fall into a rut and keep doing the same thing all the time. You get lazy and lulled into an uncreative approach to life's challenges, so when things change, it's harder to adapt. Approach the next two years as a time to build and improve, creating a stable foundation for future growth. If you keep your eyes on long-term goals like this, you are much less likely to fritter this helpful time away. Let's hope the world at large behaves in a similarly wise way...
The solar eclipse on the 18th is much better organized than the lunar one, with hardly a weak planet in the chart. There's a huge emphasis on Aquarius (with 4 planets and asteroids) and Pisces (5 of them), so there's a focus on big issues and cosmic themes that overshadows more mundane concerns. The kingpin in the chart is undoubtedly Pluto, in a tight square with the eclipse degree and aspecting all the faster moving planets. The pressure to change and release old behavior patterns that mean little in today's context is slowly ratcheting up, producing an underlying feeling of tension and dis-ease. It's going to take months to grow beyond this feeling and satisfy Pluto's demands on us, so don't be in a hurry. For now, look for the areas of life where things seem to be falling apart. You may need to do some fix up work here, but more likely you just need to let it go. These tensions are simply part of the Pluto station -- we're almost there now.
Ceres moves from Pisces into Aries on the 18th. She will stay in this sign until Jun 5, when she shifts into Taurus for a lengthy stay (due to an upcoming retrograde period). This placement is certainly a contradiction. Ceres is all about our connections with all living beings and how we need to support each other, while Aries is essentially all "me first!" in outlook. This is likely to be a time when your patience with helping others is a little thin. Sharing seems less important than looking out for number one. However, there are times when that's an appropriate response. Ceres has just come through Pisces, perhaps the most giving and selfless sign in the zodiac. It's easy to fall into a rut about excessively helping others under that sign, to give away more than you have coming in. Her stay in Aries can be seen as an antidote to Pisces, a time to recharge your reserves and get back up to speed. After all, you can't give back what you don't already have within you, so refilling yourself is a normal part of the ebb and flow of relating to others. From another perspective, this is also a time to question what you mean by "self". Even the most egocentric Aries would have to admit (when you get him to think about it) that other people and issues are an important part of their self, that others matter to him. These next months are good for reevaluating what is valuable in your life, what you feel is necessary to support and nurture along. You may limit your focus considerably, but there's still a measure of connection that you value. Life is too big to stay holed up for long.
Chiron is octile Pluto on the 24th for the first of 3 times. The remaining contacts are on 2007-9-9 and 2008-1-25. As with all aspects, this one is part of a larger 70 year cycle between Chiron and Pluto. It began on 1999-12-30, when humanity observed consciously their conjunction for the first time in history. (Pluto was discovered in 1930, Chiron in 1977.) Given the highly transformative nature of these planets, you'd expect them to have a subtle, but potent effect on our inner lives. I made a remedy out of the energies of that conjunction that I called "Shadow Master" for its ability to help people bring up and face those shadow areas of the psyche that are normally cloaked in shame and fear, but without triggering that fear reaction. We generally avoid looking at these shadow issues because the emotions attached to them are too uncomfortable. When you can get past these dark feelings, it's possible to start reclaiming these lost parts of ourselves. This octile is likely to be a time with the task of shadow work gets stuck. Pluto's demands for change and overhaul may feel too much to handle safely, the shifts too deep to endure. The feeling that you're not up to the task, that you're somehow not good enough, lingers over areas in life where we need to be fearless and strong. Rarely are the demands so overwhelming as all that -- it just feels that way. And until you get past the fears, you'll remain stuck. So what is holding you back these days? What are those limitations that you believe in so deeply, to the detriment of being true to your inner nature? Where are you afraid of change? Not exactly fun stuff to contemplate, but it's better to get these issues behind you than constantly have them stifle you. We all sabotage the powerful spirit that lives within us, for no good reason it seems. How much easier it is to simply let that spirit into our lives and let it shine. Don't stay stuck too long...
Pallas moves from Aquarius into Pisces on the 25th for nearly a year, because she goes retrograde later in the year. She won't get to Aries until 2008-3-3. Pallas represents the mental qualities of creativity, insight and long-term perspective, the ability to catch the germ of an idea and clearly intuit how to bring it to fruition. When she's in Pisces, her goals tend not to be very practical, but instead take on a larger than life dimension. There's a need to understand how it all fits together at some grand, cosmic level and to do those acts that benefit the greater good. It's easy to get swept up in such an otherworldly outlook that you cease to do anything useful at all. Keep your feet on the ground, especially if you feel like you're on some special spiritual trip. It's better to do one little thing well than get nowhere with some huge master plan. This is also a placement that brings out the artist in us. The gap between inspiration and execution is not very big now and Pallas has always been artistically inclined. If the Muse hits, let her in. That is also a way to bring spirit into your life. Obviously, we need to look at these issues closely in the next year. Normally, Pallas sails through a sign in only 3 months, so we are looking at lots of "extra credit work" with this placement. Follow your intuition more.
Pluto is standing still at his retrograde station of 28Sa57 on the 31st, just 2 degrees past the Galactic Center (aka, GC). He will be backing up until Sep 7, when he reaches his direct station of 26Sa17. The Pluto retrograde cycle has to be one of the most spectacular astrological influences I've ever observed. Talk about your soap operas! In general terms, Pluto is the spiritual force deep in the psyche that moves you along your spiritual path in life and gets in your face when you become stuck along this path. He demands that you be true to your inner nature, even if you don't have a clue what that inner self is all about. It's this element of being unaware of the demands on you that make Pluto such a difficult planet to work with. That and his tendency to have no regard whatsoever for what the ego would rather be doing instead. When Pluto gets the notion that you've outgrown something and no longer need it on your journey, he lets you know. Gently at first, but ever more persistently as time goes on, until you can no longer ignore the message. At some point, the change is forced on you, either voluntarily or by force. Pluto never seems to take "no" for an answer. Pluto's retrograde cycles are an especially pointed version of this dynamic of transformation. When one of these cycles hits a sensitive area of your birthchart, such as passing over one of your natal planets, it's best to listen up early on. You may have a vague intuition that something is not quite right for several years before Pluto reaches that sensitive spot; then again, you may be oblivious. Either way, the situation is slowly building behind the scenes, off in the shadows where you aren't looking. By the time Pluto reaches that spot, the die is cast and an ancient human drama starts to kick in for you. Later on, at the retrograde station (now), you can feel the pressure to change, transform and let go start to build. With luck, you may even get a hint what it's all about. Pluto now starts backing up in the sky, passing over your natal planet a second time. The part of your life that you need to let go of becomes very troublesome and problematic. That area constantly seems to fall apart and efforts to hold it together only seem to make the situation worse. Pluto's not so subtle message here is: give it up! There's a reason you can't keep this thing going in your life -- it's no longer important to who you are. It's excess baggage.
At this point, you have a choice. You can fight Pluto and try to hold on, making life miserable in the process. Plus Pluto will win out, eventually tearing your cherished treasure from your hands. Or you can get the message and cooperate with Pluto, voluntarily relinquishing your treasure and moving on. It's easier the second way, but that never stops us from struggling anyway. The situation is often a mess by the direct station, leaving you no option but to surrender, if you haven't already. The final pass from the direct station to your natal planet for the last time is when you pick yourself up, gather the possessions and tools you still have (plus the new insights Pluto has given you), and get on with life. Certainly you are no longer the same person you were, say, a year ago, and for many people, this is something to grieve. However, you are now a leaner and more powerful person than you were before (at least if you handle the energies reasonably well), better suited to handle the challenges life is dishing out now. You gain some and you lose some with Pluto, but on average, you're much better off for the ordeal.
This particular retrograde cycle in 2007 is particularly important, due to Pluto's passage past the GC 3 times. These contacts are on 2006-12-29, 2007-7-16 and 2007-10-28. The retrograde and direct stations are also critical turning points in this conjunction cycle, times when the highly refined spiritual energies coming from the GC are most evident in our lives. You may be glimpsing a truly unearthly type of consciousness from time to time this year, an outlook so far above the "mere human" level that it can feel like you're floating in space sometimes. I suspect we are meant to operate at this level most of the time from here on. So what is holding you back and keeping you from making this shift? Are you willing to let go of it? That's Pluto's koan for us this month. There are no easy answers -- living with the question is good enough for now. It all becomes clearer with time, so be patient.
One of the side-effects of having a web site is all the email you get back from people. As a writer, it's refreshing to hear people are actually reading your stuff. However, occasionally you get some hate mail as well, messages that convey nasty energy while telling you what an ignorant jerk you are. I recently got one of those during the Mercury retrograde cycle.
This woman started out by taking me to task in my web site for promoting the hoax of sidereal astrology. As she said, she's definitely an Aquarian, not a Capricorn. Now the only place I've ever talked about sidereal astrology online is my article on Precession from several years ago. I don't think anyone in their right mind can interpret that article as "promoting sidereal astrology", which made her comments very confusing. She also included a couple of quotes from the offending web page that really pushed her buttons. Neither of these quotes sounded familiar to me, not resembling either my views or writing style. But based on these "quotes", she jumped to all sorts of conclusions about my character flaws that should have gone out with the Neanderthals, not to mention calling me an astrological fraud that doesn't deserve to be online. My crimes against "real astrology" were too damning.
Only one trouble with her comments on me. I did a keyword search of the important keywords in these quotations, only to find they were nowhere in my web site. I never put these "quotes" online. She's got the wrong person. Apparently I received someone else's hate mail by mistake. How Mercury retrograde can you get?
I eventually emailed her back that she's got the wrong web site. I haven't heard anything back from her, not even an "oops -- nevermind...". I guess even Aquarians are subject to the effects of Mercury retrograde. Anyway Ms. Aquarius, if you're reading this story, you've finally made it to the correct web site. I hope you take some time to update your stories...