**Degrees where noted are rounded to the nearest whole degree.
The next couple of weeks may seem a bit surreal. The Sun moves into mystical Pisces on February 18th, immediately entering into a conjunction with Pisces’ ruling planet Neptune, exact on February 23rd but in effect throughout this period. It’s like a double dose of Pisces, which is all about dreams, imagination, intuition and boundless connection with everything that is, seen and unseen. Couple that with three planets – Mercury, Mars and Saturn – changing directions during this same period, generating significant shifts in the direction of our movements and/or thinking, and we’ll be feeling the galactic wobble effect pretty strongly. Feeling is a keyword here as the element of water is now dominant. Along with the Sun and Neptune in Pisces, Jupiter in Cancer and Saturn in Scorpio bring the total to four planets in water signs heightening our sensitivity to the undercurrents of life. Nurturing, protective and intuitive, water plunges us into a decidedly non-intellectual mode of perception. Put away the facts and figures and pull out the instruments of art and love to express what surfaces from the depths of the psyche. Allow time to ponder dreams and give way to boundless imagination.
That sounds just heavenly, right? But aren’t we all really just super busy?? No time to dream! Other planetary signatures are operating in seemingly conflicting currents. The undertow of the freedom-seeking/structure busting fervor of the Uranus/Pluto square is building to its next big wave in April, and as always we must pay attention to whatever needs to be handled in the day to day reality we’ve manifested for ourselves. But in this multi-layered dimensionality at play, whether or not it seems terribly impractical, it couldn’t be more imperative to put some love and attention to the deeper layers of our consciousness. The wobble in the space/time continuum is happening and we might as well sign on for the ride, for to resist or ignore the coming virtual tsunami will most likely cause pain, or worse – the greater the resistance, the greater will be the equal and opposite reaction that must respond. What is at stake is the potential for self-transcendence from one level of operating as a being to another, wherever that may be for each of us personally on the scale of human existence. Since were now in the fertile field of pure creativity, it may help to imagine we’re in a virtual reality game and we are the avatar making choice after choice that moves us to the ultimate goal. Sometimes the steady path through the levels of mastery is punctuated by surprising twists and turns that take us into new and completely unfamiliar worlds. If our ultimate goal is in a higher level of abstraction, removed from fixed specific expectations of how it will play out in “reality” – you know, the program of dream job, happy marriage, becoming a CEO or Oscar winner (Neptune rules cinema and appropriately the dream factory’s Academy Awards occur when the Sun is in the glamorous sign of Pisces) – then the waterway we take to get there can be filled with unexpected fun and adventure. We would be free to experience leaps to new levels of consciousness only dreamed of.
To help keep us grounded during our Piscean flights of fancy, retrograde Mercury in Aquarius squares Saturn in Scorpio on February 18th. This is the second of three exact passes (the first was in January) so is in effect through mid-March. Traditionally it is said that Saturn’s influence on Mercury promotes fearful and limited thinking. A more expanded view sees Saturn as instilling discipline and order to Mercury’s mental processing, offering deep focus to innovative ideas that can help bring them into practical manifestation. It’ll be important for us to stay present in order to address any mental roadblocks Saturn puts up. He just wants us to be clearer in our thoughts and communications before we proceed.
Another stabilizing force is provided when Venus in Capricorn sextiles Saturn in Scorpio on February 24th. This is the Love Goddess’ third such encounter with the mastery- conscious ruler of Capricorn since late November but her first without being within a tight orb of influence with additional planets. We may finally get down to the business of relating and come to agreements that are mutually beneficial. Loyalty and reliability is chosen over fleeting excitement in our dealings with others. Knowing someone has your back tends to stimulate very strong feelings of love!
Hopefully those bonds will motivate us to practice restraint when Jupiter in Cancer squares Uranus in Aries on February 25th, as we may experience a mighty drive for new experiences. Building since the beginning of the year, this aspect will be in effect through late spring and figures prominently in the cardinal grand cross (along with Pluto in Capricorn and Mars in Libra aligning in four squares and two oppositions) that will peak in late April. Wild escapades, a sudden need for wide-open space and the freedom to explore it, or some kind of philosophical awakening are some of the possibilities with this planetary pair. We may feel compelled to exhibit rebellious or reckless behavior to break out of conventional modes and stake a claim on our right to be original. Truth collides with faith to shake up worn out belief systems. Our meaning of life may take a radical turn in direction. Hopefully in doing so we’ll have the wisdom to abide by the rules of the road to avoid finding ourselves careening around dangerous curves. It may help to remember what happened last August when this aspect last occurred to motivate us to channel this powerful energy in beneficial ways and take calculated risks over impulsive ones. If not, well there’s always the next pass in April. Third time’s the charm!
That saying will also hold sway on February 28th, when Mercury in Aquarius turns direct. Setting our perceptions and the pace of communications back on a steady course, Mercury will commence traversing the degree space of 18° Aquarius to 3° Pisces for the third time. After three retrograde weeks of information overload, the next three will offer the opportunity for us to see how our perceptions about current areas of concern may shift from the perspectives we held since January 22nd when Mercury was last at 18° Aquarius.
Also on the 28th, both the Sun and Moon in Pisces trine Jupiter in Cancer, shortly before they come together to commence a new lunar cycle. The Pisces New Moon in aspect to the traditional ruler of Pisces (before Neptune was discovered) thus imprints the next four weeks with an optimistic attitude, a good dose of luck and an emphasis on the positive power of a dream. The amplified Piscean influence should help us to disengage from the mind and its emphasis on physical reality. Mystery, inspiration, compassion and a sense of oneness are archetypal elements of Pisces. It’s functioning base is the cosmic reaches of imagination but if we could recognize the fullness of what that word entails then we may give greater validity to our mind-tripping into other dimensions, which to Pisces are just as real as anything in physical form. Why must we human beings cling so to the limited belief in the reality of that which we experience only through the senses of the body? Perhaps it is because for many the vastness of consciousness is utterly frightening. Pisces’ unfettered access to the other realms exposes us to much we don’t understand and therefore may account for the well-honed numbing mechanisms developed by those under strong Pisces/Neptune influence who utilize various substances simply to contain all that boundlessness into a false impression of a manageable state. Meditation, yoga, and artistic expression are much more effective ways of easing our spiritual and emotional forays into the unknown, and maintaining pathways back to terra firma. Those tools not only enhance awareness of non-physical reality, but also put physical reality within the context of a larger consciousness system and thus minimize its importance. There’s real freedom in knowing the big man on campus is not so big after all. If we reach the point where we can accept that it is all just a game, then we may feel more confident to take chances and make bold choices. The chart shape for this New Moon is a “bucket with a handle.” With the dominant handle planet being Jupiter, this lunar cycle may give us the boost we need to channel our inner avatar!
Putting the focus on non-physical reality may be just the antidote when Mars turns retrograde on March 1st. Forward movement in the flesh may be hampered and thus the collective frustration level will be high for those firmly identified with the body and getting things done. Retrograde until May 19th, Mars’ backward energy will make it difficult for him to launch anything, but it does offer stamina for the long stretch of initiatives already in motion, especially he is acting not as an individual but as the agent for a collective. In Libra, the focus of Mars’ review period will be on relationships and what is best for the whole of society.
Saturn joins the retrograde parade when he turns around on March 2nd. With both Mars and Saturn in this mode, we may be forced to slow down way – and if we’re honest with ourselves we may actually find that to be a relief! Saturn retracing his steps in Scorpio until July 20th will have us looking deeply at the structures we operate through to see how sound they are. His main area of concern here is shared resources and the issues of power and control over them. Trust in the very foundation of close and intimate relationships will be questioned at this time, if we’re willing. How strong are our commitments in love and work? Is fear and its crafty secrets obstructing our experience of true confidence with those we interact with the most?
Further emphasis on issues of relating, especially between the sexes, occurs later in the day on March 2nd, when Venus in Capricorn and Mars in Libra negotiate a confrontational square aspect. Impulsive Mars wants to act first and settle the relationship issues later, but as he’s in Venus’ ruling sign, the girl’s got the edge to insist on a declaration of intent if she’s going to get involved. The challenge for us, whether we’re in a relationship or not, is to find our passion and what we truly value. Then the doors will open to allow us to move towards it. The key is to look beneath the superficial and the self-serving. Can the desire for sex, for example, simply be the yearning to experience love?
Integrity meets will and power on March 3rd when the Sun in Pisces sextiles Pluto in Capricorn. With all that is going on we could use this relatively fast but profound aspect to tune into the inner workings of life. We may find that a greater understanding of the cycle of life and death makes it easier to handle the power inherent within us and thus attract more of it in our lives in the way of important people or situations where our influence is required.
As the multitude of planets shift directions and the Sun dances with Neptune in Pisces during this time, we may feel like the ground beneath our feet is liquefied and everything seems unstable or volatile. Perhaps, however, this is the universe’s way of restoring stability. Think of it like the swing of a pendulum always working to get back to center. As human free will tends to sponsor chaos, this is just the planets’ way of recalibrating, re-balancing and attuning us back to our core.
Here’s the data:
February 18th Sun at 0° Pisces at 10:00am
Retrograde Mercury square Saturn at 23° Aquarius/Scorpio at 11:11pm
February 23rd Sun conjunct Neptune at 5° Pisces at 10:11am
February 24th Venus sextile Saturn at 23° Capricorn/Scorpio at 8:50pm
February 25th Jupiter square Uranus at 11° Cancer/Aries at 11:33pm
February 28th Mercury stations direct at 18° Aquarius at 6:00am
Sun trine Jupiter at 10° Pisces/Cancer at 8:05pm
Moon trine Jupiter at 10° Pisces/Cancer at 11:44pm
Moon conjunct Sun (New Moon) at 11° Pisces at 11:59pm
March 1st Mars stations retrograde at 28° Libra at 8:24am
March 2nd Saturn stations retrograde at 23° Scorpio at 8:19am
Venus square Mars at 28° Capricorn/Libra at 12:04pm
March 3rd Sun sextile Pluto at 13° Pisces/Capricorn at 11:13am