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The Solar Hybrid Eclipse – Autumn 2013

Published on November 3rd, 2013 | Posted by Jim Sher


The time between a lunar eclipse and the following solar one can be a very intense time. The fact that the solar eclipse is occurring in the sign of Scorpio makes it even more so. Most of my posts are general and discuss the basic themes of a particular set of transits, but this post cannot be quite that impersonal. A close friend of my daughter’s was seriously hurt in a motorcycle accident and that event has occupied most of my time during the last 10 days. Classes and appointments were cancelled as I found myself in the middle of the task of getting him transferred from LA County hospital to a far superior one. This did not turn out to be an easy task in itself, but it had to be done at a time when emotions ran high due to it being a life and death matter.

There were and are many transiting aspects to my chart as well as to all of the participants of this trial by fire, but every attribute of Scorpio that I have even written about including my last Blog post, is fully in effect. This young man is doing well and though he is still in serious condition, all of us have had a direct experience with our own mortality as well as the possible loss of someone dear to us. I am not writing this article on the other side of things. Everything is raw and still in process. But, I have also experienced moments of great joy and this is perhaps the best reason for writing about this Scorpionic eclipse.

Scorpio often brings us into an experience of raw human emotion as we are faced with our own vulnerability. People deal with this in different ways, of course and I’ve seen most of them. Some react by closing down and sleepwalking through it. Others are deeply moved and desire to allow one’s internal walls or as Gurdjieff said, ‘buffers’, to be released. When this occurs, life is felt most acutely. We treat everyone we meet with love and respect. It can even feel like an honor to go through these profound experiences with another person. Life becomes REAL. We can go numb or we can discover that life is deeply precious and transformative. If we meet life with full presence, we are changed. I suspect it can go so deep that we may be changed permanently.

For those of my readers who are curious, the lunar and solar eclipse has affected my Sun, Mars, Pluto and south node, which is in Scorpio. Let’s now look at the nature of the solar eclipse.

This eclipse is a very unique one. It is called a Solar hybrid eclipse. You can get more information about this rare event here:    It occurred on Sunday, November 3rd at 4:50am PST. In addition, it is making very strong aspects to Saturn, Mars, Pluto and Chiron. You will find many articles in this blog on Solar eclipses, but basically I call them ‘inertia destroyers.’ They are a new Moon, which means that a new cycle can be started by them, but much stronger in influence than a regular new Moon. When our chart is affected, we will likely be subject to significant changes in the internal and external structures of our life. The house where the eclipse occurs will tell us what area of life these changes will most likely be affecting us.

The Inferior Conjunction Between the Sun and Mercury

On Friday, November 1st at 1:19pm PDT, the Sun and Mercury aligned while Mercury is retrograde. This is a very significant cycle that marks the beginning of a new way of thinking and communicating that lasts for the next four months. Some astrologers including Dane Rudhyar refer to this cycle as the Mercury Promethean retrograde cycle. This is when Mercury first reveals the new quality of the emerging cycle.

Michael R. Meyer states that “the Mercurial faculties of mind and communication have been impressed with a new quality of will, purpose and energy — symbolized by the zodiacal and house positions of the inferior conjunction which inaugurated the new cycle. But it will take the entire cycle for this new quality of fully unfold. Now, at the beginning of the cycle, it is pure potential — suggested by the astronomical fact that at the inferior conjunction Mercury is closest to the Earth, with its dark side facing the Earth.”

This part of the Promethean cycle of Mercury denotes eager, impulsive, spontaneous, form-building, and constructive activity. As in any new beginning, the new information, construct or idea still needs to be fleshed out. It must be tested against the reality to see if more information is needed. One must guard against allowing one’s restless mind to force its way prematurely onto the scene, so as to protect the new seed just being presented to one’s conscious mind. This also reflects the fact that Mercury is still retrograde which implies that more processing is still needed before one can be certain that the new idea is sound, factual and constructive.

Meyer goes further and says that “the Promethean threads a cutting edge. In mythology, it was Prometheus who gave the fire of mind to infant humanity. A rebel challenging the dominion and authority of the gods, the gods in turn exacted from Prometheus a severe penalty — perpetually having his liver eaten out by a vulture, only to have it regenerated and devoured again and again, until rescued by Hercules.” This suggests to me that after having thought about the new idea, one ought also to include in one’s thinking how they introduce this new concept. Sometimes the success of a new thought form depends on how well we strategize the timing and way it is presented.

When we combine the solar eclipse with the Sun/Mercury Promethean phase, we might have some new powerful ideas and concepts developing in our life. The astrological advice though is to nurture and take whatever time is needed to allow for and even respect the natural or organic development process that is so necessary. This can be a very creative and constructive time.

The Spring Eclipses – 2013

Published on May 3rd, 2013 | Posted by Jim Sher


As many of my readers know, I do not see how it is possible for astrologers to make reliable, concrete predictions. Whether you are a scientific type who sees life through the lens of quantum physics or a more metaphysical type who feels/intuits that the world is a magical place that we can affect with our own consciousness, it seems that the only reason why anyone would want astrology or any other system to make concrete predictions is to believe that it is possible to attain some degree of certainty in a wild and unpredictable world so that it might soothe our fears for a little while. In the long run, though, it can destroy our desire to live fully, courageously and creatively.

To me, this makes astrology much more interesting. I can always be surprised and humbled by the degree to which what we think will happen actually changes what does happen. This is why I am so careful in my writing and in consultations to explore the context of a person’s questions or desire to understand more about where they are and are going. Life is a journey and I’m pretty certain it would be a very boring one if we could actually know exactly what lies around the next corner. So, what I do is use astrology to look at the tone or the nature of the times we are in. Astrology can act as a roadmap, but we must remember that “the map is not the territory.” In fact, if we are alert, we can see subtle changes in every moment of life. Astrology cannot help us see that. But, the more we are conscious, the more we will notice. And yet, there are times when more significant things seem to be happening or when important information is revealed and/or decisions must be made. We are now in one of these time periods.

Three Eclipses Back to Back

Usually, we experience two pairs of eclipses every year, called the Solar and Lunar eclipses. They are both important and somewhat different. This month, however, there are two Lunar eclipses with a Solar Eclipse sandwiched in between. The first one, a lunar eclipse, occurred on April 25th at 5° of Taurus and Scorpio. On May 9th, we will have a Solar eclipse at 19° Taurus. It occurs at 5:28pm PDT. And finally, on May 24th, we have a second lunar eclipse located at 4° of Sagittarius and Gemini.

My view of eclipses is that they change the momentum of things and demand a change be made in some area of our life whether we like it or not. In other words, they change the inertia of our lives. When there are three back to back set of eclipses, the cycle of changes last much longer and the shifts that occur can be deeper and more extensive. This becomes especially true if the location of these eclipses affect our personal chart.

I have written many articles on lunar eclipses which can be found here.  But the brief description is that one’s emotions/feelings are amplified resulting in a possible and necessary cathartic experience. If we try to suppress these, we only invite more problems as we really can benefit from allowing ourselves to confront what is arising for us. We can be ‘refreshed’ after the storm of emotions have run through us and are processed.

Solar eclipses, however, are much more powerful in creating either events or significant shifts in our lives. By the way, in some astrological circles eclipses are given a rather dark, dire, and doom and gloom meaning. I’ve seen no evidence of this. What occurs cannot be stereotyped this way as many wonderful things can come out of the kind of period we are in. The Solar eclipse we will have on May 9th is certainly an example of this. For the astrologers reading this article, I use Saros cycles quite often in my analysis of solar eclipses. This one is referred to as 15 South in the system used by Bernadette Brady. Her view of it is that this type of eclipse is that it is about the releasing of tension. A situation that has been lingering for quite a while can suddenly clear. There may be a sense of loss and grief at first, but as we embrace the new emerging future, it will clear up as well. Because we have a lunar eclipse preceding it, the May 9th solar eclipse is not only being set up now, but for some people important events have occurred already. In one case, a long awaited divorce has become final, bringing about both a release of tension as well as feelings of loss that the person may be processing. I’ll let you know how these eclipses affect me as more develops.

The Uranus Square to Pluto

In the latter part of this eclipse series, May 20, 2013, there will another transiting square between Uranus and Pluto. It will be the third time these two transformational planets aspect each other with four more coming in 2014-15. This transformative and revolutionary transit is providing the beginnings of what I believe is an interesting new paradigm between science and metaphysics/spirituality. When I watch the SyFy or Discovery channels I am amazed at what they are reporting. Firstly, with computer simulations, they are able to provide some amazing images of the various theories that are being seriously discussed among quantum physicists. The emerging theories are going into territory that would not be discussed even a decade ago. I’m not a scientist and am limited in my ability to describe what I’m hearing, but the notion that we might be multi-dimensional beings (it is debated as to what that might mean or look like) who live in more than this dimension is now being seriously studied and considered. The possibility that there are parallel universes or multi-verses are no longer simply dismissed as preposterous. Where this is going no one knows, but I mention it because we can miss the multitude of meanings if we only focus on the political issues of this country with all of its dysfunction and stupidity. The real importance of this transit is not in politics. It is in the emerging paradigm shifts occurring in geology, physics, astronomy, etc. It is becoming possible due to the growth of technology that is ground-breaking. I was very concerned that science was going to become more alienated from spirituality, and it might still go that way, but there is also a possibility that science will be forced to admit that consciousness not only has a role to play in understanding our world, but that it might even precede it. Would there be a world if it weren’t for consciousness? Are we creators in ways that we do not yet understand? And, for astrologers, what does this mean about how we approach astrology? Hopefully, astrology itself will undergo a much needed paradigm shift as well.



Scorpio Solar Eclipse with Mercury Retrograde

Published on November 12th, 2012 | Posted by Jim Sher

With what seems to me to be the longest presidential election I’ve ever seen finally ending, we are heading into a new period that is going to change the landscape for many of us.  As my readers know, I pay close attention to periods when there are two or more astrological shifts. The two we are experiencing right now are the Mercury Retrograde period and a Total Solar Eclipse occurring on Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at 2:08pm PST.  Let’s start with the Mercury Retrograde cycle.

Mercury Retrograde

I have written many articles on this topic, so if anyone would like to read more on this important cycle, please click on the topic in the ‘Tag Cloud’ and look up ‘Mercury Retrograde.’ Let me cover the basics.  A Mercury Retrograde occurs every 4 months or so and lasts for 21 days, more or less. Sometimes, it seems to me that this cycle could be called the ‘scapegoat’ of astrology since so many people blame events in their life on this transit.  If we do this, though, we lose sight of the fact that this period is actually quite important, valuable and necessary.

Here are the details:  Mercury went retrograde on Election Day, Nov. 6, 2012 at 4° Sagittarius. It will remain in retrograde motion until November 26th when it will return to its normal direct motion at 18° Scorpio.  This transit will affect all of us in one way or another, but especially to those who have planets in this area.  The value of all Mercury retrograde cycles is that it is necessary for us to review and look more deeply at some area of our life involving our thinking and communication with others.  The regular motion of Mercury is quite rapid, often moving at a faster speed than the Sun.  As such, our minds race forward and if it weren’t for this cycle, we could not only get way ahead of ourselves, but not have the chance to be aware of the need for reflection and reevaluation.  This is exactly what is needed for the next three weeks.   However, it is also true that this can be an especially active time, even though one would prefer to have time to kick back and reflect.  This is due to the fact that another aspect of this period is that one is often going to feel a need or demand to finish a cycle. Often it is accompanied with a feeling that ‘something’ absolutely MUST be finished.  So, we have two contrary forces operating at the same time.  There is the need for rest and reflection, which is opposed by the need to make an effort to complete some cycle or project. Meanwhile, there is a greater likelihood of things breaking down or needing to be fixed, while simultaneously feeling the need to move forward rapidly, which, of course, is usually not possible.  Lovely, isn’t it? So, what are we to do?  Patience is what we need here; accepting, if we can, what we are able to move forward on and what we are not.  Not so easy, though, if you have a very demanding boss who knows nothing of Mercury retrograde and can’t stand hearing ‘excuses.’  That’s one of the problems of living in a culture that does not have a clue about timing.

This cycle spends much of its time in Scorpio. But, there is much more going on than just Mercury being retrograde.

Total Solar Eclipse in Scorpio

On Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, we have a Solar Eclipse at 22° Scorpio.  Along with the retrograde of Mercury there is an interweaving of these cycles into one basic, but very intense theme.  Scorpio asks a lot of us and when we can fulfill its intention, we can release and let die so much of the past blockages that we will inevitably feel incredibly free.  But it is so much easier to say than it is to do.  This sign asks us to look at ourselves and others with a deep, investigative, penetrating eye.  It demands we look directly at the very thing we are so reluctant to see that we can feel torn apart.  We can feel that some aspect of ourselves is dying.  In a sense it is.  The obstacles blocking us from seeing ourselves are not actually real. It’s not who we really are.  But that’s not how it feels. Scorpio, at its best, describes the ‘letting go’ process of what we are deeply identified with and who we think we are.  The Eclipse and Mercury Retrograde will mean we may find ourselves in situations where we must find a way to resolve difficult matters.  There is a tendency to project unresolved issues and unaccepted aspects of our psyche onto others, which then creates the feeling of an irresolvable problem.   It will only become resolved when we take responsibility for our part in this matter, which requires that we do some deep inner work. From this cleaner place, we can see whatever is in front of us in a new light.

Eclipses are ‘inertia changing moments.’  Some astrologers believe they are almost always negative, but my experience is quite different. They certainly can be difficult.  But sometimes they can help us.  This particular eclipse is more positive than most.

Saros Cycle 15 North – Astrologers for centuries have used a complex system of notating how solar eclipses are different from each other.   This particular eclipse is called 15 North and here is its description by Bernadette Brady:

“There is a sense of commitment about this series.  This series is a time of good news which entails responsibilities or commitments, but ones in which there is joy in the undertaking.”  It represents a new cycle of opportunity to some aspect of one’s life that while involving more responsibility, is a welcome one.  Let’s see how it turns out.

Some Comments About The Election

As I indicated in a recent post, my concern was that the meaning of the Mercury Retrograde cycle beginning during the election process was that it could mean that there would be serious flaws in the voting process that could cause the election results to be challenged.  This did not turn out to be true, as Obama won the needed states for an Electoral College victory by wide enough margins that the vote could not be challenged.   For those watching the Nate Silver columns in the NY Times, there was no surprises to this election.  He got it almost completely perfect.

It seems that if there was a surprise, it came from how the news of Obama’s win has affected the Republican Party.  Mitt Romney was said to be “shell-shocked” by the results.  Karl Rove was as well and has been defending himself to conservatives ever since the election ended.  I did not imagine that they would be this surprised.   I assumed that they secretly knew that their polling numbers were off the mark and were doing what operatives do during an election cycle, which is to spin what they see as something positive.  But they seemed to believe they were going to win, some said by a landslide.  Now, this is interesting.

I couldn’t help recalling Clint Eastwood’s speech to an empty chair.  Somehow, many in the present Republican Party live in a universe that is not real.  The more they move to the right, the more they think they will win and, yet, in each election, it shows the opposite result.  Now the attention turns to how the politicians will handle the so-called ‘fiscal cliff.’  Will there be compromises or will the stalemate continue?  I think it will depend on how the Republicans react to the results of this election and how they respond to the new information that the election revealed.  This is exactly how a Mercury Retrograde can be helpful.  It can assist us to reevaluate information so we can process new information.

Solar Eclipse – May 2012

Published on May 20th, 2012 | Posted by Jim Sher

Every six months we have a series of Solar and Lunar eclipses which often create some significant shifts for people especially when it affects their natal chart directly. This Solar eclipse though is different this year for those who live in the United States. This is the first Annular Solar eclipse seen here in the last 18 years. An annular eclipse is the kind in which there is what’s called a “ring of fire” as the Moon does not completely obscure the Sun, which is what it does during a Total Solar eclipse. It can be a beautiful site to see for those lucky enough to be in its tiny path. Here’s a pretty good introduction to the nature of this annular eclipse.

Let me give you some of the facts. The eclipse occurs at 0°Gemini 21′ at 4:47pm PDT. Those who will be affected mort are people who have planets or their Ascendant and Mid-Heaven near 0° of all mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces) and 15° of cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn). For those beginning astrologers out there, I recommend keeping your orbs tight, no more than 3° and sometimes even less.

The Meaning of a Solar Eclipse

My expression for this type of eclipse is that it is an “inertia changer.” In other words, it can create a very significant movement that results in a change of direction that usually has been building for some time. Historically, astrologers often regard eclipses as negative events only. But, I have not found this to be true. Personally, I have observed that each eclipse has its own character. I will get to that next. But, also, where the eclipse is found in your chart will make a huge difference as well. In fact, one of the most significant eclipses in the last 10 years occurred when the Solar eclipse opposed my natal Jupiter (ruling education) and I started the Sher Astrological Institute.

The timing of events around the solar eclipse can be a bit odd to our linear minds. Astrologers often suggest that the main events triggered by such an eclipse are within 3 days before or after the actual moment of that eclipse. This again is not what I have seen. There is an expression that I have used with other astrologers – “Eclipses begin before the eclipse.” And, sometimes, the main event, so to speak, also occurs before the eclipse itself. We don’t know why this seems true, but here are two theories. The first is that while it seems that there is a cause and effect relationship between the heavenly bodies and what happens here on earth, it isn’t how it appears to be. Carl Jung advocated for the view that there is a synchronous relationship rather than a cause/effect one. This view describes a universe that is just impossible for our linear minds to understand. Another view is that the flow of time is a very complicated thing that has a variety of peaks and valleys where the event itself is not as significant as we think. This thought is attractive to me because I have seen that the key to understanding life is by not focusing on the events themselves, but instead by looking at the specific effects, both external and internal, that are created by that event. The truth is that we know very little if we only know what the event is. How we react to an event, for example, cannot be known if you just know what happened. For example, if we know that someone’s mother passed away, we know nothing about the reactions people will have because we don’t know anything about the conditions of the person who passed or those near to them. Astrology reveals more about effects than it does about the event itself. This is the little known secret of astrology, in my view.

So, if you’re being affected by this eclipse, look at the whole scenario. See it as broadly as possible and be willing to be patient in passing judgment on what it is bringing about.

Solar Eclipses Are Not the Same


Not only does each eclipse have its own chart, but each is also a part of a specific Saros cycle series. This solar eclipse is also called 14 South in the Bernadette Brady system. And, this particular one is quite positive. Here is part of what she suggests: “This series tends to bring success, which occurs due to hard work from which the success emerges.” To me this suggests that if a person has been toiling away for some time, that there is a good chance of a well-deserved breakthrough and success. Also, because Mercury is part of the pattern, an idea we have been trying to get accepted, may finally reap rewards. This is a good time for pushing ideas we feel are valuable or important. I have seen some of these things occur already for a few people I know who are affected by this eclipse.

In the eclipse chart itself, the New Moon is squaring Neptune. This aspect can makes us more sensitive and compassionate, especially to those less fortunate and also allow our imaginations to run wild. This is great if you are using it for artistic, poetic, graphic, etc. purposes. It’s not so great if we try to apply it to the practical side of our daily life. This is when Neptune can cause us to lose our perspective, deceive ourselves or others or just be confused and disillusioned. Neptune’s archetype is most interesting, because it is both difficult to work with and so beneficial when we can let it take us to the heights.

May the next few days bring wonderful insights and progress.

Thanks for your support.



It’s Getting A Bit Complicated

Published on November 29th, 2011 | Posted by Jim Sher


The study of astrology becomes really interesting when we have several significant astrological factors happening at one time. The period we are in right now is one of those times. Here’s what is happening:

  1. Mercury is in retrograde, which began on November 23, 2011 and will continue that way for two more weeks.
  2. We had a Solar eclipse on November 24th and will have a Lunar eclipse on December 10th.
  3. Mars is in its ‘shadow’ period.
  4. There will be the Inferior conjunction between the Sun and Mercury on December 4th.

Any one of these is important by itself, but together it creates a confusing, but active period full of cross-currents and complexities that can defy our attempts to navigate if we only use logic as our guide. You may want to refer to my previous article for more information on the Solar eclipse and Mercury retrograde which you can find here.

What I want to talk about in this article is how the Mars transit fits into all of this. To understand the Mars cycle, you will need to know that ordinarily Mars moves along smoothly at a fairly rapid speed. It moves almost 1° a day for most of its two-year cycle. Thus, unless it is transiting a particularly important part of our chart, we may not take notice of its influence. It takes about 2 years for Mars to orbit the Sun, but for 6-7 months, Mars does something very different and this 6-month period is actually 25% of its 2-year cycle. What makes this so important is that it spends this period in only 20° of the zodiac. This means that during this time, we are going to be very focused on a very small portion of our chart when it comes to Martian matters.

What Does Mars Rule?


The Mars energy is how we assert ourselves, how we project our Will out into the world, to affect it the way we want or, as is often the case, the way we must. It rules our strategies, approaches to projects and the way we act or behave to get what we want and need. During this high focus Mars period we are forced to really consider what we are doing. We will need to take a really good look at what we want to achieve and how we should go about doing that.

The Mars Cycle Itself


Mars will go retrograde on Jan. 23, 2012 and stay in retrograde motion for 11 weeks. Ordinarily, Mars is retrograde for only 8 weeks.  So this upcoming period of review is going to last much longer than normal and therefore be more intense.

Why Talk About this Cycle Now?


On November 17, 2011, Mars entered the territory it will retrograde back to by April 14th of next year. So, it is already in the area of your chart that will be a part of the “review and discovery” process that will last until early summer of 2012. That’s seven months. So, even though Mars will not go retrograde for another 7 weeks, the Mars cycle has actually already begun.

What This Means


Let me first say that this does not mean one should not act or do things. Such a notion would be ridiculous. But it is going to be helpful to note that whatever is set into motion right now, could be reviewed and/or modified over the next months. I’m suggesting that one ‘expect unanticipated results or effects from whatever we begin at this point.

Remember that with Mercury retrograde right now and a coming lunar eclipse, we are in a state of great transition. This is not a stable period of time, especially if your chart is affected by these transits. What I do during periods such as these is make sure that whatever I choose to do is as well thought out as I can possibly make it. I will tend to avoid snap decisions if I can and wait until I’m sure of whatever decision I’m thinking of making. But it is just as true that amazing new ideas can begin to come in to us. We should not refuse them, of course, but we also should not act on them yet as they are not likely to be fully formed for quite awhile.

Mars in Virgo


Mars is now in Virgo and will be for 7 months. Virgos love to break things down into their parts and see what is out of balance or what isn’t working the way it could. Then, after that, they want to organize it into a comprehensive whole. That’s the hardest part for them as they can focus excessively on details and not see the whole picture. They also love to improve the techniques or style of whatever they are involved in. This is a great time for all of us to focus in on health, diet, and nutrition issues as we can discover new ways to take care of our body and mind. Also, any health issues that come up for you now or in the near future, should be taken seriously as they could be hints of problems you will want to address.

Mars square Mercury While Retrograde


In the middle of all this, we also have a potential crisis that we would do well to handle without falling into a severe argumentative approach. This transit which happens on December 4th and January 1st, 2012 is a time I would suggest all of us watch carefully. These two periods are a time where people could take belligerent or argumentative stands. Things could easily turn nasty and create long-lasting effects. What this period is good for, if both parties of a dispute can remain composed and focused on solutions, is to find creative ways to look at their conflict from a new perspective. Another constructive aspect of this transit is that if two people are trying to work something out AND one of them has been less powerful than the other in the past, then this period could allow for things to equalize. The weaker person may suddenly want to be heard and seen. The outcome will depend on how well the stronger person handles this ‘new’ approach by the other. If the dominant one doesn’t like the change they see, they could fight back aggressively and become intransient, which would make moving forward impossible. For some, this could be a trying time. Patience and calmness is extremely important now. With the Sun/Mercury Inferior conjunction also occurring on December 4th, clarity is possible as we can see more than ever how things really are. What we do with that clarity is important, but I suggest that we not rush to resolution. Issues coming up now may be significant ones, so much so that they cannot be solved quickly. It will be enough to agree to enter a process with the other person, if both sides want to work through the problems. But it may be that the conflict cannot be resolved. This is another reason why it is best to wait and see rather than push towards a solution that cannot happen right away.

As you can see, the first 10 days of December are quite difficult for some of you. We will succeed if we can hold our tongues while still asserting ourselves in as constructive a manner as possible and remain patient and non-reactive.

I will be writing more through December as so much is going on.

The Coming Solar Eclipse and Mercury Retrograde

Published on November 16th, 2011 | Posted by Jim Sher


This article takes a look at the potentially important date of November 23-24, 2011, when two significant transits happen within hours of each other. Each of these by itself can bring about important changes, but when they coincide, one can pretty much count on it bringing some interesting effects. This will depend, of course, on whether or not, a particular chart is activated by these transits.

Mercury Retrograde

Astrology has become more and more popular in the last 10-20 years. In fact, as a result of this growth, much of the scientific community seems rather irritated and concerned with it. Even those rascally comedians, Penn & Teller have attacked it with great vigor. Yet, astrology grows in spite of or perhaps because of this criticism. Also, because more and more people are seeing the accuracy of astrology in describing what and why is happening in our daily lives. The reason why I’m so confident of this growth is that I find that many people are aware of the effects of Mercury retrograde. In fact, many people blame all sorts of things on Mercury retrograde, unfortuantely even when Mercury isn’t retrograde at all. Still, a lot of people know about the phenomenon and include it in their voccabulary.

Part of the problem with interpreting Mercury retrograde cycles is that its effects don’t just occur during the 3-week period itself. It’s actually a 4-month cycle with at least 8 sub-cycles, all of which are part of a holistic understanding of the retrograde cycle. I say this because Mercury doesn’t turn retrograde until Nov. 23rd, 2011at 11:21pm PST, but is affecting us already. It will turn retrograde at 20° of Sagittarius and will then go back to 3° Sag. on Dec. 14th , 2011. It is affecting us now because it is already slowing down and is in what is called the ‘shadow’ period. This is the territory in which Mercury will travel three times. This means that wherever it is located in a person’s natal chart signifies an area on one’s life that will be given focused attention for almost 2 months. Specifically, from Nov. 5, 2011 through Jan. 1, 2012, Mercury will be traveling between 3° – 20° of Sagittarius. If you are a serious follower of astrology you may want to know where this territory is located in your chart and what aspect of your life will be receiving special focus and understanding.

This is much closer to how Mercury retrograde cycles affect us. The view that Mercury retrograde periods bring about computer crashes, car repairs, problems with phones and other forms of communications, delays in deliveries, cancellations of appointments, etc. are all a common part of this cycle, to be sure. There are often a lot of inconveniences that come up for us at this time. But, frankly, this is due in part to not caring for these ‘predictable’ problems much earlier. Maybe we were too busy with other things to change the oil, fix the heater, and so on. Suddenly, Mercury retrograde strikes and problems occur that could have been prevented if we chose to get them fixed earlier. Still, surprises do occur as a natural part of the cycle.

Basically, this is Mercury retrograde is a time to focus on two things:

  1. It is a time to review.
  2. It is a time to finish projects that are near completion.

The Solar Eclipse

Solar eclipses are inertia changers. They can suddenly change the direction and momentum of events in a person’s life. This eclipse takes place about 23 hours after Mercury changes direction. It happens on Nov. 24th, 2011 at 10:10pm at 2° Sagittarius. If your Sun, Moon, or Ascendant occurs with 1°-2° from that point, then there is a strong likelihood that you will notice this eclipse. People who have the same degree in the mutable signs of Virgo, Gemini or Pisces will also be affected.

I will be going deeper into the chart of this eclipse in next week’s article but I would like to mention the Saros cycle that this eclipse activates. It is called 14 North and is considered to be an indicator of odd or strange effects. Specifically, it can bring about a time of confusion in personal relationships (Venus and Neptune dancing together), unexpected happenings in financial matters, and even a degree of disappointment and despair. However, it may be more of a feeling from within than a reaction to a specific event or happening. This is not a time to make important decisions as one’s response may not be accurate, due to confusion, miscommunication and even delusion from others. By the way, this is also not a good time to make significant decisions due to Mercury going retrograde.

As in all matters, sometimes we are forced by life situations to make decisions whether we like or not, so if you are faced with that necessity, then use as much caution as possible and if possible, see if one can delay having to finalize the matter.

Next week I will be going deeper into both the Mercury retrograde and Solar Eclipse areas.

The Unusual July Solar Eclipse – 2011

Published on July 2nd, 2011 | Posted by Jim Sher


Although eclipses are not rare, this particular one is extremely so. In fact, this type of eclipse will not occur for another 1,200 years. This is the first of 72 eclipses in a new Saros Series called 13 New South. I am not going to go into the details of what a Saros cycle is for that discussion is too long, but it is one of the longest cycles that we have in astrology. A new Saros Series begins at the South Pole which is exactly where this one has just occurred. The birth chart for this series which will be active every time it repeats, which is every 18 years or so, includes a Grand Cross involving the New Moon in Cancer, Uranus in Aries, Saturn in Libra and Pluto in Capricorn. The closest midpoints are Pluto on the midpoint of Mars/Jupiter and Jupiter on the midpoint of The Sun/Neptune.


This Solar Eclipse occurred on July 1, 2011 at 9° of Cancer at 1:54am PDT. It is a very high tension chart since a configuration known as a cardinal grand cross highlights this dynamic set of aspects. The fact that it is a cardinal cross means that there is strong need for conscious action in order to handle the stresses inherit in this chart. If this doesn’t occur, the stresses can cause damage with one’s relationships. Why? Because a grand cross means that there are 4 squares and two oppositions which bring forth long-lasting issues in such a powerful way that they can no longer be ignored. The truth, whatever it might be, must be faced, acknowledged and some sort of actions must be taken. With Pluto involved a transformation is possible, but for that to be successful, one must recognize the fact that material from the depths of one’s unconscious is coming to the surface. Pluto transits are never easy because the material is in the unconscious for a reason. The material I am referring to is often called ‘shadow’ material. We can think of this as aspects of our psyche that we do not approve of, such as guilt, shame, or fear which comes from events in our lives that have wounded or shamed us in some way and which we are afraid to see. This is the time to face these issues so that they no longer control us and create needless havoc in our lives.


This eclipse has two very potent mid-points. The first is Pluto is on the Mars/Jupiter mid-point. It will push us to engage in some project or issue with great intensity and effort. One will want to expend great energy as one senses that this might be the beginning of an important endeavor that one has desired for a very long time. In other words it could signify the ending of a stalemate or blocked period of time when it seemed impossible to move ahead in the way one wants. While obstacles still remain, there is a good chance that with great effort, the logjam can be brought to an end.


For those of you who are sports fans, we see that there are lockouts in two sports, football and basketball. One is rumored to be coming to an end, while the other is seen as so intractable that an entire season may be lost. Pluto rules the super wealthy and they will want to keep and even increase that wealth and power. Obviously, the hot issue of Washington right now is whether or not to extend the debt ceiling. Both sides are dug in with one wanting to raise taxes on the very wealthy and the other refusing to do so in any manner. It is likely to be a huge battle with severe outcomes for the nation if the nation is not able to pay its debts.


As many of my readers know, my view of astrology is that it is important to make a distinction between how a nation or culture responds to astrological forces as compared with individuals. The reason is that individuals have freedoms that a nation as a whole does not have. Individuals can choose to become more conscious and aware, but a nation is a composite of multiple forces, beliefs, opinions, and generally acts in an unconscious manner. It seems that nations, states, etc. must act out the drama in front of the entire citizenry, whereas each person is allowed the freedom and wisdom to work things out before a huge crisis has to be enacted. In our country right now, politics is as much theater as anything else. The problem is that the consequences are not just acted out on stage.


The second very important mid-point is that Jupiter is aligned with the Sun/Neptune planetary pair. This has the potential of bringing long and tough issues to a gentle conclusion due to Neptune’s ability to bring compassion and understanding of other people into the arena. It can also bring confusion and deception, but we can hope for better, can’t we? The biggest problem for Neptune is being unrealistic. When it is involved in a transit, we can imagine something as being true, which isn’t. Our perceptions could be confused and one can imagine that things are either worse or better than they really are. It is helpful to ask people we can trust to verify whether or not we perceiving things accurately for there is a real chance for misjudgments.


As always, we love replies to our newsletter articles, but especially during potentially big events such as eclipses.


We wish you a happy and safe holiday.



The Coming Series of Eclipses – 2011

Published on May 30th, 2011 | Posted by Jim Sher


It is customary for our planet Earth to have a Solar (New Moon) and Lunar (Full Moon) eclipse once every six months, but this month is a bit different. This time we have two Solar eclipses with a Lunar eclipse right in between creating three eclipses, back to back, all happening during the month of June. Although this does happen occasionally, we can expect this month to be an important turning point for those of us who have planets in their birth chart in close aspect (3°) to the location of the eclipses. The first in the series occurs at 11° of Gemini on Wednesday, June 1, 2011 at 2:03pm PDT. The second of the series is the Lunar eclipse on June 15, 2011 at 24° of Sagittarius at 1:14pm PDT. And finally, we will have a second Solar eclipse on Friday, July 1, 2011 at 9° of Cancer.

I’m going to focus on the first eclipse of the series for this article and will talk about the others in the next newsletter. Many of my readers know that I regard a Solar eclipse as an ‘inertia destroyer.’ Things can be going along pretty well, or shall we say, normally, and then an eclipse occurs on a sensitive point in our chart and suddenly it seems that everything is shifting. The other way we can experience an eclipse is that it can trigger changes that have been brewing for some time but which have seemed to be stagnant and unmoving. In other words, eclipses tend to break the momentum of the past and create or force us into a new direction.

In astrology, eclipses have very bad reputations. Many astrologers regard them as ‘bad.’ Nothing good can come from an eclipse, many say. But this makes no sense to me. And, from my personal experience I know it isn’t true. My view is that what makes an eclipse feels good or bad is how we personally experience it in the short term. In my case, I once had a significant eclipse on my Jupiter and wondered for months what it would elicit. Would it be fortunate or unfortunate? Would I be lucky or unlucky since Jupiter rules luck? In actual fact, however, this particular eclipse resulted in my deciding to start the Sher Astrological Institute. Jupiter also rules education and this is exactly what was triggered by that eclipse. It was not unlucky for me to say the least. Also, it is helpful to be aware that what can seem terrible in the short run may turn out to be quite necessary for our personal growth later. It is not possible to avoid pain in life, so if there was a destructive aspect of an eclipse, often we see later, that we could not have progressed into new territory in the future without that pain. This principle can be hard to hear when we are in the midst of loss, but if it does occur, at least in the back of our minds, we can remember or feel that there may be important meaning for us even if it seems impossible to admit while we are in the midst of its effects.

This particular eclipse is characterized by a trine to Saturn. This adds a seriousness and purposefulness to this eclipse. Most of all, if you are in a process of creating or expanding a business, this is a great time to move forward as long as you have already determined the kind of structure or plan you need. If not, then this is the time to do it, so that when Saturn goes direct in a week, you will be ready to take advantage of new opportunities coming your way.

Of greater interest to many who pay attention to Saros cycles, this eclipse is called 13 South. Saros cycles are extremely long cycles that repeat every 19 years. The meaning of this one as interpreted by Bernadette Brady is that it carries two opposing forces. One is quite expansive, while the other is restrictive and delays progress. The reason for the expansion and optimism is that Jupiter is connected to the New Moon of this series. But due to the influences of both Mars and Saturn with it, there can also be frustration, inhibition, delays and separations included in the mix. In order to get an idea of how difficult this eclipse might be for a person, one would have to examine the natal chart of the specific person very thoroughly as the more negative aspects possible here are quite rare.

Jupiter and Saturn

In addition to the series of eclipses, this busy month has two additional factors to be considered. On June 5, 2011, Jupiter changes signs and enters Taurus for a one-year stay. And on June 13, 2011, Saturn turns back to its direct motion. Together these changes signal that important matters can move forward strongly. I will be going into this in future articles, but Jupiter’s entrance into earthy Taurus indicates that the inspiration and enthusiasm of Aries is now turning into opportunities for some of the things we have been considering to actually be manifested. Slow, steady and determined work is Taurus’ signature, so it is best not to seek fast results. But with Saturn also moving ahead again, we are entering a great time of steady progress as long as we are practical, do our homework and remain steadfast. The doors are opening fully now, so if you are involved in a project that you take seriously, this is the time to move with confidence and optimism. At times like these, one can achieve real results that can endure.

As always, I’d love to hear about your experience of this month’s shifts and changes, so please reply if you feel inspired to write.




First Solar Eclipse of 2011

Published on January 1st, 2011 | Posted by Jim Sher


We would like to wish all of our readers a very Happy New Year. The coming year promises to be a very exciting one with many new cycles being born that will change our lives in exciting and unpredictable ways. The first major astrological event comes quickly as there is a Solar Eclipse on Tuesday, January 4, 2011 at 1:03am PST. A Solar Eclipse always occurs at a New Moon, but becomes perhaps 100 times stronger in its effects than a regular New Moon. I refer to a Solar Eclipse as an inertia destroyer, as it seems to force us to make a significant shift in some aspects of our lives.

Where this eclipse occurs in our birth-chart will determine the area of our life that is likely to be affected most. This eclipse occurs at 13°Capricorn and it is identified as 13 North in the Saros cycle system used by Bernadette Brady. A Saros cycle specifies the nature of a particular eclipse according to a very long (sometimes over 1,000 years) cycle of a repeating theme of 19 years in duration. I have found that this system is a reliable indicator describing the nature of any particular eclipse.

Let me describe the nature of this particular Solar Eclipse. “This family of eclipses is concerned with groups and associations. Its energy is about large, ambitious group projects. In order for these projects to begin, a separation or the breaking of a bond that already exists is likely. The individual affected may well experience this eclipse as a separation and then as a joint achievement.” The way I interpret Brady’s writing is that before a new group or relationship can begin, something old that is outworn or energetically dead, has to end before the new cycle can begin. This nature of this particular eclipse seems to be more disruptive than most but promises to also cause the bringing about of new starts and new relationships.

The chart of this particular eclipse affirms this theme as there is a Venus trine to the Jupiter conjunction to Uranus which suggests that there is an easy flow and harmony in the establishing of new relationships or partnerships that are needed for one’s future growth. Jupiter is accelerating now and will enter the sign of Aries on January 22, 2011. When it does, we can expect a tremendous surge in new activity and the start of many new projects that have been emerging for the last several months. What has been postponed or tabled can truly begin in late winter and early spring..

This issue of the newsletter also contains an article by LeeAnn Lambright on the sign of Capricorn. Because this eclipse is in this sign, I would like to urge you to read it carefully, as it will inform you about the nature of this momentum changing transit. Let me add that while sometimes these eclipses bring about events within days of the eclipse, it also is set up at least a month in advance and can last for six more months (which is when the next eclipse occurs) as the changes beginning now start to grow.

Mercury Goes Direct

On December 30, 2010, Mercury turned back to its direct motion ending the Mercury retrograde cycle. This tells us that whatever new information we have gleaned over the last 3 weeks is now established so we can move forward with more confidence. However, the issues that came up at this time are still being processed in terms of what actions are necessary to take. Because of this transit along with both the Lunar and Solar Eclipses, much has been revealed and some action may have already been taken as a result of what we are confronting, but dealing concretely with what has come up is still very much a work in progress.

In general, we are entering a very active phase right now. There are no major retrograde planets and Jupiter will enter Aries at the latter part of this month, so it may be a great time to be open to making changes in our life that lead to a greater sense of freedom and opportunity. The excitement is increasing and we can enjoy it if we’re able to embrace the new, emerging cycle.

As always, please feel free to share what you are experiencing during this Solar Eclipse period.

Thanks so much.

My Experience of our Recent Eclipse

Published on July 13th, 2010 | Posted by Jim Sher

It’s fun, and hopefully helpful, to sometimes write about how I am experiencing the transits about which I write. It gives the reader some idea of who I am as well as a chance to hear first-hand what a particular transit is doing. But this article goes beyond that, because the way I have experienced the most recent Solar eclipse gives me a chance to explain a principle in astrology that can illuminate you to something that links us with our past and future in a significant and profound way.

Astrology is best understood in terms of cycles, rather than regarding events as individual and isolated moments that are not connected to anything. Sometimes it is difficult to see these cycles operating, but one of the ways we can do so is when we are able to connect the transits occurring at present with previous cycles. Perhaps, I can describe this better by giving a specific example.

My natal Venus is 20° Cancer, which means that the recent Solar eclipse, was in close conjunction with that planet in my birth chart. I know that most of us think of Venus as an indicator of love and relationships, which is certainly true. But Venus is more than that. It rules our sense of the aesthetic and the way in which art, music, design, etc., connect us with the divine principles operating in the universe. Gurdjieff referred to this principle as “objective art.” This form of art is designed consciously by the artist to create a specific effect in the observer that speaks to not only the mind, but to the heart as well. It can even help us integrate the two, allowing us to experience something that takes us into new territories as we can apprehend something that speaks to our Soul, rather than to mere parts of our being.

In astrology, I often look for what I call ‘sensitive points.’ Today’s article is about this. A sensitive point is created in more than one way, but the one that applies to the recent eclipse is a very significant transit that occurred in 1993. I am referring to the conjunction of Uranus and Neptune, which last occurred in 1993. Its location was in the area of 20° of Capricorn. This means that the recent eclipse was in exact opposition to the newly born cycle of Uranus and Neptune that happened 17 years ago. This conjunction only occurs every 160-170 years, so it is very rare. Many generations can pass by without anyone experiencing this new birth or ‘renaissance’. The one word that best describes the meaning and effects of this conjunction is the word ‘Renaissance.’ By the way, the previous conjunction before the one in 1993 occurred in 1821 at 3° of Capricorn, which is also being activated by the present transits in the early degrees of the cardinal signs (Jupiter, Uranus, Saturn and Pluto).

Back in 1993, I was very aware of this conjunction and since it was opposing my Venus, I suspected I might be in store for some big changes in my relationships. This did not happen and I often asked myself what had happened. Why didn’t anything more obvious or noticeable happen? Well, one thing did happen, but it didn’t seem to be significant. I began taking harp lessons which I continued for about 6 years until I could play in front of people and have some fun. I was learning to play on a beautiful Dusty Strings harp that was perfectly made for Celtic and ‘troubadour’ music. I really enjoyed this, but still I wondered why something bigger didn’t occur. I knew that conjunctions mark beginnings so it can often be that the full importance of the new cycle isn’t revealed until later, which turned out to be the case for me.

Well, a Solar eclipse is exactly one of those periods where the ‘seed’ that was planted at the earlier conjunction 17 years ago can begin to come to some sort of fruition. I know that this is exactly what is happening to me now. The realizations I’m writing about in this article have only come to me in the last few weeks or so, although it feels like I’ve understood it for a long time. More specifically, what I’ve been focused on the last few months has been the reading of three books by Kathleen McGowan. Her books have covered many things, including the hidden role of women in history over the past 2,000 years, the nature of the Divine Feminine and the possibility of  ’sacred marriage’ (hierosgamos) and finally she presents a revision of the life of Jesus and his relationship with Mary Magdalene. To me, she goes way beyond the silly book by Dan Brown called “The Da Vinci Code.” She did a far better job of imagining a new scenario for what early Christianity might have looked like and connected it with aspects of early Christianity that Brown simply didn’t understand. In her third book, called “The Poet Prince,” she examines the historical period of the 1400′s in Florence, Italy, when there was a tremendous outpouring of art and philosophy that later became known as the Renaissance.

What captured my attention the most was the story she told about Marsilio Ficino. I had read many of his works before, but had not fully grasped the nature of the contributions he made to Western thought. He was an astrologer and revolutionary philosopher who was responsible for the translation of the ancient text called the “Corpus Hermeticum” which brought forth ancient Greek philosophy that was developed even before Socrates and Plato. What he was really doing was re-interpreting Christianity itself and revealing its connection to both ancient Egyptian and Greek thought. His works, in fact, were direct attacks on the Roman Catholic Church of his time and the form of Christianity that existed then. Ficino was not alone, however. Along with his patron, Lorenzo de Medici, his friend Sandro Botticelli, he and many others such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo were instrumental in transforming the lives of the people of Florence, which was then extended to all of northern Italy and in time, to all of Europe. This group of true artists changed the world and still are affecting us today.

Let me describe briefly what Hermeticism is. It is a philosophy that combines science and spirituality as well as other divisions in human thought into one discipline. Its purpose is to lay a foundation that can lead a person towards a spiritual path that is non-dual in nature, a unity state of consciousness that assists a person to truly align with the Divine spark within. This can be thought of as the definition of Wisdom. The Hermeticists combined astrology, numerology (the study of sacred number) and other systems of symbology and mythology into a system that can change the way a person thinks, lives and perceives the world. The system is integrative and holistic in nature and ends the separation between body, mind and heart. Astrology, then, can be seen as an aspect of the hermetic traditions and as such, reveals itself to be a tool for transformation of one’s consciousness and the expansion of a person so that the highest potentialities of a person’s birth chart can be realized. In fact, this view regards astrology to be a map of potentials, rather than an indication of a singular Fate.

So, what does this have to do with Venus and the Solar eclipse on my natal Venus? What this eclipse did is activate the transit of Uranus/Neptune opposing my natal Venus that occurred in 1993. As I look back on it, this transit changed my whole sense of relationships, art and most of all, my aesthetics. I just didn’t realize it at the time. It broadened my life in ways I couldn’t see back then. I have now remembered that this is when I began an intense study and practice of the ancient Greek hermetic tradition. I just didn’t think of it as being related to Venus. I began a study of the connections between astrology, numerology and the Tarot. Everything I was doing was somehow related to every other thing. It felt like a whole new world opening up for me.

Uranus brought about an openness to radically new ideas, and an attraction to new ways of knowing that are integrated and holistic in nature and which lead to a new way of understanding people and the world we live in. Uranus can take us to new modes of thinking that are non-linear and even outside the usual time constraints that we hold so dear.

Neptune brought a sense of divine love, a divine way of relating and even a new way of living that is full of joy and happiness. Neptune pushes us to a greater participation in our world and unconditional acceptance and love for each person as well as for the world itself. It touches our hearts and teaches us that the loss of ego does not diminish us in any way. It can never take us away from what in us is real or authentic in us. What it does do is dissolve the thoughts and considerations that divide us, that prevent us from being and feeling all that we can be and enables us to identify ourselves as citizens of the world, solar system and even the galaxy.

The fact that I am writing about this so openly is the result of the recent eclipse and its effects. I am aware that the symbology of Venus can take us far from the limits of our small and restrictive definitions of love and expand our hearts to where we are able to live in a state that takes us beyond our limited sense of self. This is when life can really be lived, in a way where our hearts are full and where being fully alive is an everyday occurrence.

This new state is when we are able to live in a state of Love and know that it is the highest expression of the Sacred. This was the spirit of the Renaissance in the 1400′s, which our world today so badly needs. It is seen in the great paintings of Botticelli and in the profound hermetic philosophy that Ficino translated and found in the Corpus Hermeticum. And perhaps more importantly, it can shine a light for us now and create conditions where we can experience the spirit of that very renaissance. Let’s hope for the emergence of a Renaissance in us and a new expanded vision of what is possible and even necessary, for us and for the world. May our experience of Venus go beyond the focus on ‘getting what we want’ from a relationship to an understanding that real Love is a condition that has nothing to do with a person, but is actually a state of consciousness that is an aspect of Divine Love.

As always, I hope our readers will continue to write about their experiences of this eclipse and perhaps also their thoughts about this article. Perhaps I am being taken away by idealism and imagination. OR, perhaps I am beginning to sense the existence of the divine spark that is in the center of my being and in each of us. I’d love to hear more from you.