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A brief interlude

Weather forms one of the backdrops of our lives. Much of the time, it's a relatively constant state - a warm season, a wet season, and so on. But there are moments when the winds carry a dramatic shift into our midst - a great storm erupts, utterly transforming our environment. These storms can pass as quickly as they came, and again our world shifts. The rush and din of a downpour is replaced by a cacophony of confused drops and dribbles, making their way down from higher surfaces to lower surfaces. This too subsides, and the world is quiet for a moment as it recalibrates itself to this state of relative stillness and saturation.

The great question I'm throwing out into the world this month is -

What do you do in that rare moment of peace?

Maybe this will change your answer -

What do you do in that rare moment of peace, knowing more storms are on the way?

I hope you sink into it and soak it up, like a tree sinks its roots into the earth and soaks water and minerals up through those roots.

There's a danger with astrology. You can follow what's going on in the heavens the way you follow a soap opera - Mercury and Venus are at it again, and now Mars is butting in... blah-blah-blah... You can look at your ephemerides or read your favorite astrology blogs, and see that nothing big is happening - no inner planet retrogrades, no eclipses, no outer planet aspects, no big deal, right?

Maybe not. Let's take a moment to honor Mercury's current retrograde status, and try a new perspective:

Nothing is something.

In fact, nothing is something deeply important and profoundly lacking in the twenty-first century. I'll tell you what the planets will be doing in the coming month, but the time and space between their activity is just as crucial.

Sun in Aquarius: 1/20 - 2/18 (PST)

While the sun transits through the sign of Aquarius, it's time to turn our attention to our community. What happens when like minds get together is an evolutionary cocktail called collaboration and innovation. It's time to expand our network, meet new people, and reach out to acquaintances we'd like to know better. New connexions stimulate new ideas and new opportunities.

What communities are you connected to, and/or a part of?

Are there other communities you'd like to reach out to, and become a part of?

What innovative ideas or creations do you feel called to give to your community?

What does your community give you, and does that feel good?

Full Moon in Leo: 1/23 at 5:46 PM (PST)

The apex of the lunar cycle occurs in showy and generous Leo, opposite the Sun in innovative and community-oriented Aquarius, and square to Mars in intense Scorpio. These fixed signs could instill a stubborn attitude, or they can inspire great forward strides and depth of experience if we keep our minds open to new ideas.

What is the right audience for your creations and innovations?

Are you sharing what really matters to you, or do you long to express something deeper... or weirder?

Look UP in late January:

There will be a lovely sight in the sky if you wake up early enough in late January. The five planets visible to the naked eye will appear in a straight line with the moon. But what does it mean? It means drag yourself out of bed to go look at something lovely, and let yourself feel some wonder. Marvel at how those planets look like they're in a straight line when they're actually scattered all over the solar system, and let yourself be struck by the way perspective shapes both appearance and understanding. This is what a Mercury retrograde is really about, which leads me to...

Mercury stations direct: 1/25 (Retrograde since 1/5)

Every time Mercury ends a retrograde cycle, I like to remind my readers to give the trickster planet a week to get back up to speed. Once upon a time, before psychology and evolution flooded the minds of astrologers, certain information, like planetary speed, was given great importance. Planets move very slowly when they change directions, which means the planet's realm of influence will have a sludgy feel. In this case, Mercury will be quite slow between roughly 1/21 and 2/1, so it's best to have an attitude of great flexibility around travel and communication, and a very open mind in general.

How do things look from your perspective?

How might those same things look from someone else's perspective?

What insights do you receive when you integrate both of those levels of awareness?

Mercury plays with the big boys: 12/19/15 - 1/30/16

Here's the last bit of noteworthy planetary activity before we get a much-needed break, just in time to recharge our batteries before eclipse season. Mercury is activating the ongoing Uranus/Pluto square. If you and everyone you know has been having a really intense time with lots of endings and transitions and uncertainty since roughly 2012, then you have some hands-on understanding of what this longterm aspect is about. 2016 is the last year this transit is fairly tight, so we are moving into the resolution phase of this 10-year influence. Because Mercury (our perception and intelligence) has been aspecting these two planets of great change during its retrograde, we're privy to some fresh insights to what's been buggering us for change.

Here are some dates you may have had or will have some insightful breakthroughs in your personal struggles:

Mercury square Uranus: 12/2015, 1/20/16 & 1/31/16 (potentially relating to community, liberation and inspiration)

Mercury conjunct Pluto: 12/19/15, 1/22/16 & 1/30/16 (potentially relating to power, endings, death and (re)birth)

Quiet time in February, Wild Horses in March:

By February, Mercury will be back up to speed, and we won't have any major influences occuring at that time - except, if you get quiet and listen closely, you'll catch wind of the themes of March's eclipses (full super solar eclipse in Pisces on 3/8, and a partial lunar eclipse in Libra on 3/23). And if you do that, you can harness their power and energy to create major change in your life.

If you don't take this time to get quiet and listen, you will still experience great change through the eclipses, but it'll be like trying to ride a wild horse without first getting to know it and gain its trust. You can still ride, but it'll buck and gallop, and you might be able to hang on or you might get thrown. February gives us an opportunity to meet this horse, get to know it, and let it get to know us. Then we can work together with that horse/eclipse to get someplace we've always wanted to go, but just didn't have the right vehicle to get us there.

What deeper rumbles do you hear emanating from the depths of your heart?

What burried emotions and desires are stirring?

What makes your "horse" skittish, and what calms it down?

How can you gain the trust of your own heart?

New moon in Aquarius: 2/8, 6:39 AM PST

The symbol for the degree of this new moon is a large white dove bearing a message, implying you may experience a renewed sense of peace through some fresh insight. This new moon also ushers in the year of the fire monkey. The deeper shift at this time is a transition from the past two years in the element of wood (creative, active, time of change, emotion range is willful to impatient or angry) to the element of fire (connecting with others, light of awareness, emotion range is joy to sorrow).

Meditations for this new moon:

What brings you joy?

What communities feed the fire in your heart?

What do your sorrows teach you about your deeper desires?

What thoughts, activities, people and places bring you into a state of peace?

How can you be a messenger of peace in your community and relationships?

NB: Sorrow is a separation from what brings us joy. This spectrum of emotion informs us of our deepest needs, which lay beneath the veneer of particular attachments - e.g, the experience of love as opposed to the love of a specific person, a sense of family as opposed to specific family members, the feeling of purpose and/or competence as opposed to a specific job, etc. It is different than grief, which implies a loss that cannot be regained, and requires letting go in order to resolve. Sorrow asks that we move towards something in order to gain the experience of joy - potentially something new or different, if the old source of joy is out of reach.

Next month...

... we'll get into the nitty gritty of that full super solar eclipse in Pisces, and maybe some other surprises. If you're in the Bay Area and you want to learn about desire through the lens of astrology, I'll be teaching a class on Mars and Desire at Homestead Apothecary in Oakland on Tuesday, February 16th. Until next month, here's wishing you clarity, peace, and joy. Thanks for reading,



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