Mars Retrograde in Virgo 2012: Getting the Plan in Order

runner Welcome to 2012. It sure feels like "full steam ahead" in my neck of the woods. If you're feeling a forward whoosh of energy, you're right on track, as we head towards an earth trine of Mars in Virgo to the Sun in Capricorn on January 12. We're just coming out of a Jupiter retrograde cycle, in which you likely did some re-visioning of your big picture plans. You might be itching to put some of those plans into action. If there are projects that have been waiting in the wings, now is a great time to get them moving. These are good days to spend a little more time working, and less time playing. Take care of the details, get the structure in order, establish the foundation. Because just a couple of weeks later, it's going to be time to put the brakes on.

The planet Mars relates to our personal will, our ability to take action and assert ourselves, and our sense of "I want." Every two years, Mars has a retrograde cycle which lasts for about 2 1/2 months. But like Mercury retrograde, our experience of the cycle is actually a bit longer, encompassing the entire span of degrees which Mars will traipse back and forth over, emphasizing that sign and house in our chart.

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Job Hunting with Facebook

Saturn Likes Facebook (for all the wrong reasons)

As many huge transits take up our attention, I was reminded by an article on HuffPost Business that Saturn is still in Libra. You may have heard the news reports that employers are now using social media sites to screen new (and current) employees. And they’re being very Saturnian with the information. What’s that you say? They’re JUDGING you based on how you APPEAR in your SOCIAL circles? Saturn is the judge. Libra is the social circles and also your concern about what others think of you. With this report, we see the archetypes in action.

Saturn in Libra increases our concern about judgment from superiors or authority figures. It gets us thinking about what “proper” behavior is. Libra rules what’s polite, and Saturn is the hall monitor.

Saturn is the planet of “you get what you deserve” and also of eye-for-an-eye justice. You can be sure that with this combination, you’ll have to pay for any social “mistakes” you make online. So this isn’t just talk.

The report shows that 45% of employers are using social media screening. And most of them are finding material to judge you unworthy for. This is something you’ll need to take seriously if you’re in a position to be evaluated for a job (or maintain a current job).

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Drifting Into Reverie: Mercury Opposite Neptune

dreamingWe're in the shadow of the next Mercury Retrograde cycle, which will last from August 2 to August 26. During the shadow period it's usually a good idea to start moving a little more slowly, double check your work for errors, and get ready for a slower rhythm and pace. It's time to start thinking about finishing up the projects you're in the middle of, rather than starting new ones.

But this shadow period might feel a little stronger than usual. As I write this, Mercury is exactly opposite Neptune. If you've been noticing delays while driving, or blocks to progress, or technological mishaps, you're probably noticing the effects of this Mercury opposite Neptune transit, which is exact today, July 31. It might feel a lot like Mercury Retrograde, and it has enough in common with Mercury Retorgrade that it amplifies those energies. But there are some additional dimensions to this transit that I'll try to shed some light on for you.

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Mercury Retrograde

Ready - Go - Set - Oops: Mercury Retrograde in Aries 2011

Mercury RetrogradeFrom the view here on earth, we find ourselves once again nearing the time when Mercury appears to retrace its steps in the sky for a roughly 3-week period we call Mercury Retrograde.  This next period occurs from March 30 through April 23, 2011. We astrologers often speak as if every Mercury Retrograde period is the same – as if the same advice holds true for every retrograde period. And yet, the sky patterns are never the same! All of the planets are in constant, engaged, moving, changing relationship with each other, never repeating a story the same way twice. And that includes Mercury.

So what makes this Mercury Retrograde period special? For starters, it occurs during a time of a huge changing-of-the-guards moment among the slower outer planets. These larger planets set the tone for longer periods of time. When we think of “the 70s” or “the 60s,” an image is evoked of a period of time – a slice of life in which certain defining themes held sway over the whole world. We find ourselves now at the beginning of one of these new phases as both Uranus and Neptune change signs.

Edgy Uranus has finally settled into its next long stint in the edgy sign of Aries. And in April, Neptune begins a new phase of enlightenment as it moves into its comfortable home in Pisces. Moments like these represent great shifts in global consciousness – times when we can perceive a collective movement into specific modes of expression.

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The Brutal Truth that Helps Us Evolve

Julian AssangeYesterday, December 3, 2010, Amazon pulled the plug on the controversial website Wikileaks, triggering a challenging public discourse and opportunity for deep thinking about censorship, ownership of information, and the security of the internet. In my last post about airport security, I pointed out the current planetary alignment of Pluto conjunct the North Node, both in Capricorn and opposite the South Node in Cancer. This signals that the issues on the table concern deep truths that make us squeamish, uncomfortably mixed with our attachment to security and our fears of losing just that. Since then Mercury has joined the party. And right on time, we see the Wikileaks story break.

Mercury, often described as the fickle witty androgyne with no attention span, also has a very important and less mentioned function - that of the psychopomp. Mercury was the only god allowed access in and out of the underworld, and carried messages back and forth. Mercury's impartiality makes him the perfect companion to Pluto in some ways, who has a love for brutal truth and soul-shaking honesty. Mercury is the one god who can take in Pluto's message and remain unphased - it's just information after all, he thinks. As an underworld messenger, and currently in Capricorn, the messages Mercury delivers us have a sober darkness, a cold utilitarianism, and speak of unveiled truths concerning power, authority, death and domination.

The fact that Mercury just now begins to station retrograde while conjunct Pluto (Mercury will officially go retrograde on December 10, while still conjunct Pluto), alerts us to the fact that this Wikileaks information, and the conflict arising from it, is not only a brutal truth unearthed from the underworld, but one which can eventually lead us to a transformational processing of our deepest subconscious material. It has often been said that this long cycle of Pluto in Capricorn will lead to much unveiling of the shady behind-the-scenes and even criminal practices of governments, corporations and figures of authority. But perhaps not mentioned enough, is the extreme discomfort, pain, and catharsis such information will cause both globally and individually. One look around will confirm that many people are feeling this.

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