An unsettling start to 2016
Despite my predictions that 2016 was going to be a year to smile about, last month proved to be very unsettling. January saw Mercury turn retrograde, leading to frustrating systems slowdowns, while a series of contacts between Mercury, Uranus and Pluto seemed to coincide with a lot of volatility on world markets and a slump in oil prices. This is a topic I will investigate further in my most recent blog post, which can be found at: http://blog.astro-sphere.com.
At the New Moon in Capricorn, we also heard the rather sad and shocking news that musical legend, David Bowie, had passed away, not long after his 69th birthday and the release of his new album, ‘Blackstar’. He was followed by a number of well-known figures from the world of acting, including Alan Rickman, famous for his dark film roles, Colin Vearncombe (aka Black) and ex-Eagles member, Glenn Frey. There seemed to be a strange ‘black/dark’ theme going on – and with all these artists being of a similar age, it’s possible that a Pluto or Saturn transit was at work in their charts. Certainly, in the case of Bowie, transiting Pluto happened to be conjunct his natal Sun-Mars conjunction in the 12th house – a house associated with both hospitals and death. There was also a lot of activity constellating around the lunar nodes in the skies at the time in the signs of Virgo and Pisces, including a Chiron-Jupiter opposition and a t-square with Venus. Both Venus and Pisces are signs associated with art and creativity, and as we saw with the death of Whitney Houston, Venus and Neptune transits are not always necessarily beneficial.
Mars & British Sports
On a more positive note, January was a very good month for British sports, with a number of athletes winning world championship titles or tournaments, some for the first time, including a first ever grand slam title for Gordon Reid, a paraplegic tennis player, and the Australian Open doubles tournament, won by Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares. England also won their cricket series on their tour of South Africa. Perhaps Mars’ ingress into determined Scorpio early in the month, together with a Mars-Neptune trine on January the 18th played a small role in this?
Looking ahead to February, it’s fair to say that unlike January, this month should be a lot smoother sailing. For one thing, Valentine’s Day should be quite a big deal, thanks to a Venus-Jupiter trine on the 10th and a Mars-Jupiter sextile on the 13th. Mercury will also be pretty active, which should bring plenty of news regarding technological breakthroughs and developments. There will also be a lot of Aquarian/Uranian energy around – perfect for making personal or professional changes or getting involved in a good cause.
So, without any further ado, here are my astro-insights for February.
Friendships, humanitarian causes and group activities, whether for fun or in aid of a good cause, are all highlighted at the New Moon in Aquarius on February the 8th. Taking place at 2:40pm UT, this brand new lunar cycle makes the next four weeks ideal for joining a club, forming a new group or circle for likeminded individuals, and planning new activities or outings with friends or fellow hobbyists. In general, this is a great time to is network and cooperate with others on new projects or to collectively develop an idea, start a new political campaign or social awareness drive.
A FOREST FIRE FINALLY QUENCHED.
This symbol suggests the end of a period of struggle – and after the volatility and stormy weather, both cosmic and atmospheric, in January, this will no doubt come as a welcome relief. In a lot of ways, January 2016 did seem to be about putting out lots of fires that threatened to burn out of control, certainly in terms of geopolitical, economics and weather events. James Burgess sees this particular degree of Aquarius as being about coping with intense problems and overcoming difficulties through collaboration, solidarity and collective effort:
During the peak experiences of intense cooperation, which call for previously undiscovered self-expenditure, our greatest potentialities are awakened. Remarkably, a large number of old people look back to the years of war with fond nostalgia. Some, perhaps on a subtle unconscious level, even felt a strange sense of delight in calamity. They do not forget the fear and hardship, and yet the dominant recollection is more to do with the sense of comradeship and community, and their sense of pulling out all the stops to find heightened levels of ability, rising to the needs of the moment.
It is funny how adversity can bring out the best in people, forcing them to put aside petty differences and personal bugbears for the sake of the greater good – something to bear in mind over the next few weeks if you find yourself being asked to contribute to a group or society in some way. Whatever does happen, it’s likely that the saying, ‘No man is an island’ will definitely apply.
Key Aspects & Influences:
During this particular New Moon, the Sun will square Mars in Scorpio, which could create a few personal challenges, ego-based conflicts, accidents, medical emergencies or domestic dramas. Feelings like anger, frustration, competitiveness and righteous indignation are all likely to rise to the surface now. However, rather than bury these feelings, why not see them as an opportunity to catalyse some vital energy – and then channel it in a constructive way? This may be exactly what you need to wake you up and get you going again after the Christmas slowdown.
James Hillman offers some advice in one of his early lectures on the wisdom of the heart. He points out that, in ancient times, the life force of the heart was perceived to circulate round the body via the blood, in a motion not unlike the orbits of the planets around the sun. However, sometimes this circuit can get a little sluggish and lose its momentum, and it is at times like these that we can become a little fearful and complacent:
We fear that rage. We dare not roar. With Auschwitz behind us and the bomb over the horizon, we let the little lions sleep in front of the television, the heart, stuffed full of its own coagulated sulphur, now become a beast in a lair, readying its attack, the infarct.
Hillman suggests that at such times, perhaps what might actually be needed is an injection of anger and sheer life force (Mars rules both the blood and qualities such as anger) in order to kickstart the heart and stimulate it into quickening the pulse:
Perhaps Konrad Lorenz is wrong, and the counsellors wrong too, who seek to find a way beyond aggression. Is it ‘aggression’, or is it the lion roaring at the enraging desert [evil, pestilence, injustice, sickness, death etc]? Has psychology not missed the native sulphur, neglected Mars who rides a lion – Mars, beloved of Aphrodite [Venus] – demanding right? Splendor Solis. Sol invictus: Mithra of the heart.
It’s an interesting idea – one that returns to our primordial, animal selves. But is this actually a bad thing? Perhaps we have become too removed from nature – and, by extension, our own essential natures? After all, is it wild animal species that are wrecking the planet, or is it us – creatures who really should know better?
With the Sun and Moon both set to sextile visionary Uranus in fiery Aries, perhaps we’re being urged to use our vital energy, expressed through passionate emotions like anger, courage, aspiration and bravery – to change things for the better, to rectify any damage we have done – all those literal and metaphorical fires we’ve lit that have destroyed much of the natural environment? It seems to me that this is the perfect time to channel any anger into fighting for a good cause, whether this be standing up for a friend, saying no to bullying behaviour, or campaigning against injustice, inequality or abuses of human rights?
Given that Venus will be sextile to both Mars and Chiron, this is also an ideal time to focus on what your real passion is? Whether your heart’s desire to be meet someone special or find your vocation, Venus suggests that this is a godo time to do some soul searching and then take action towards attaining your goal. Sudden flashes of intuitive insight may point you towards opportunities you wouldn’t normally see now, so listen closely to your inner voice and follow its promptings. f nothing else, use this dynamic energy to help solve problems, rather than cause conflict – something easily achieved by replacing the word ‘me’ with ‘we’ in your thinking.
Go get ’em, tigers (or should I say, green lions)!
FULL MOON IN VIRGO – 22 Feb 2016, 18h20 GMT
As the month draws to a close, a Full Moon in tidy and efficient Virgo urges us all to roll up our sleeves, get organised and attend to those annoying but necessary details such as chores, admin and health checkups. Make some lists, tidy your space, tackle the invoicing/accounting and get your New Year’s diet/exercise resolutions back on track!
BLACK AND WHITE CHILDREN PLAYING HAPPILY TOGETHER
This Full Moon falls in the fourth degree of Virgo, which is represented by a Sabian symbol that represents the union of opposites, a temporary end to social divisions and prejudices, and perhaps even the internal barriers that prevent us from interacting more freely with others, especially those who are different to us culturally or ethnically. As we’ve seen from movies such as Invictus, one of the best ways to break down barriers is through fun activities like games and sport. This suggests that you may encounter situations where you either have to try and marry seemingly opposing views and incompatible systems, or work with people you feel uncomfortable being around.
Key Aspects & Influences:
This symbol, together with the Sun’s conjunction with the fixed star, Fomalhaut, infers that you should put aside any potential hubris, get real/down to brass tacks and take the higher road by putting aside any perceived differences or intolerances and getting on with what needs to be done. By ‘playing nicely,’ you may be surprised by what you discover. In fact, with Jupiter set to oppose Chiron across the lunar nodes on the 23rd, there is every suggestion that important life lessons and healing moments could emerge from events arising at the Virgo Full Moon.
Below are some astrological dates to circle in your diary for February. I have decided to go for a slightly different format this year – one that is easier to read and quicker to digest. Let me know what you think.
The key of symbols below should help to navigate the cosmic weather and help you choose the very best dates for meetings, dates, interviews etc.
For those keen to maximise every possible opportunity this year, I have created an illustrated Astro-Almanac for 2016, complete with 12 different illustrations – one for each month – annotated with a neat list of all the major astrological movements for the year, set out day by day, as well as an easy-to-follow written guide to how to decode each and every phase of the cosmic weather. If you’d like to purchase one, you can find further details on the Astro-Report Shop website.