Mercury is slowing down in the sky right now to station by the middle of next week and turn retrograde by the end, just as Venus squares Pluto.
What to watch for:
* As Mercury stations in Aries watch for "foot in the mouth syndrome."
* Have you ever noticed how tempting it is when talking to someone to bring the conversation back to yourself? Have you ever noticed how easy it is when talking to start thinking about what you're going to say or how what someone else is saying relates to yourself, rather than listening more deeply and openly? What opportunities do we miss when we listen from a "me first" position?
* With Mercury in a Mars-ruled sign, slowing down, and in a broad but returning square to Saturn and Mars in Capricorn it's also easy right now to speak from a place that is too strong, too rigid, too critical, or too controlling. It's easy to think "I know what's best. I know where this conversation needs to go. I see what's happening here. I know what needs to be said or done. I know what needs to be added, or I know how to protect or defend the right thing in this situation." But what does it mean to be undefended and unprotective in speech and thought? What does it mean to be uncritical but not lacking in discernment? What does it mean to actually listen?
* It's been said that even a fool is full of wisdom if we are practicing the art of deep listening.
* Mercury in Aries slowing down is also indicative of the fact that we usually don't have all of the facts. Often we see something which appears easy to judge on the surface, but rather than listening and really seeing what's going on, we rush to thinking we know rather than continuing to watch and listen, making our most immediate thought, "I am not the knower," rather than, "I see what's going on here, and I know exactly what to make of it or what to do about it next."
* If all of this is going on in our relationships, as well (Venus in Aries), then how in the world are we to expect that anything fruitful will come of our relationships? If we're honest, with so much self-interest dominating our communication with one another, the reality of what we're doing can be rather empty, only feigning an appearance of interest or intimacy.
* On the other hand, Mercury in Aries can help us to stop thinking about ALL of these subtle communication dynamics in favor of a simpler and more direct approach. Ironically, the ego has a tricky way of dominating us by getting us to overthink, overanalyze, and try to perfect our minds, our thoughts, our communication, or our relationships...which is just as selfish as anything else!
* Finally, as Mercury turns retrograde, Venus will square Pluto, which means we are all approaching an opportunity for a deeper understanding of one another in our relationships, especially regarding communication and speech patterns. Wherever there is a toxic buildup of some kind, expect eruptions, purgation, cleansing, and an opportunity to heal whatever has festered. On the other hand, we will also be given an opportunity to heal or release patterns of self-criticism or judgment.
* Sometimes we use our intellects to try to reach a place of truth, light, clarity, peace, or happiness. We think that we can think our way to happiness or righteousness in every situation like happiness is the gold medal of an Olympic sport. We "trust" our mind above anything else because our mind helps us to feel safe and in control. But something amazing happens when we put our minds in the service of the love of the divine. When our minds become open, present, and receptive, then love becomes the most intelligent and unique response to every situation we find ourselves in. Our thoughts become the thoughts of love, and our minds become instruments of love, rather than the double-edged swords we use to try to find, get, give, protect, defend, or ensure our happiness...always ironically harming ourselves and others in the process.
Prayer: We are not the knowers, so please heal our weary minds. Teach us to listen. Teach us to hear. Teach us to be kind to ourselves and kind to each other.
Happy New Moon Saturday everyone! The New Moon is in late Pisces today, just days away from the Spring Equinox and making a trine to Jupiter in Scorpio. Meanwhile, Venus and Mercury and moving ever closer to a square with Pluto, and Mars is about to change signs into Capricorn this afternoon.
Here's what to watch for:
* A New Moon means a new beginning, and in the sign of Pisces with a trine to Jupiter, we are talking about a Jupiterian flavored new beginning, which means renewed faith and spirit, encouragement, optimism, confirmation, growth, proliferation, and enthusiasm.
* Look at the whole-sign house of Pisces in your chart, or the late degrees of Pisces (26-30) to find in what areas of life you will be experiencing this new beginning.
* Remember that while this combination brings a rush of Jupiterian energy to the forefront right now, it may also invite a certain level of pride, hubris, grandiosity, or inflated idealism. Remember that great enthusiasm runs out very quickly if we don't find ways of holding, circulating, and constantly tending/filling it within.
* More on the Spring Equinox in the next few days, but just remember that even though today is a New Moon we are in the equivalent of a breakthrough and new beginning within the solar year, as well, so this Moon cycle will be especially powerful on the waxing side of the cycle, as the Sun crosses the zero Aries point.
* Keep in mind that for the next week, as Mercury and Venus continue traveling close together in the fierce, Mars ruled sign of Aries, they will also be approaching a square to Pluto. The tensions and stakes are rising higher right now for these two planets and will soon approach a place of critical mass, climax, and catharsis.
* While Mercury is a planet related to the mind, speech, technology, communication, information, and the intellect, Venus is the planet of love, relationship, harmony, beauty, sensuality, and desire. With both planets transiting the Mars-ruled, masculine fire sign of Aries, we should not be surprised if our inner life (our thoughts, feelings, and inner world) is pretty heated at the moment. The same goes for our relationships, jobs, and general social life. Harmony is there to be found right now, but now without some degree of confrontation, passion, and vigor.
* As these two planets reach a square to Pluto in Capricorn the tension will mount and we will finally reach a point of breakthrough. The breakthrough may resemble a death, an eruption of force, a release of pent-up energy, or the purging of something toxic and the cleaning and healing of a wound.
* Sometimes we try to soften the blow of Pluto by saying that Pluto provides regeneration and rebirth. This is true, but it's also important to recognize that often Pluto represents nothing more than force, depth, and power, and not necessarily the good kind, just as Mars is sometimes about violence and not courage. For Pluto to be constructive in our lives we have to learn how to see every breakdown as something that could have, or maybe should have, been worse, as something that is offering us a lesson, and as something that is offering us an opportunity for healing, transformation, and reform or spiritual growth. If we don't learn to see things in this way, then generally speaking our experiences of Pluto is no guarantee. A Plutonian transit may literally be nothing more than one more traumatizing experience after another...until at some point we are forced by the pressure of our own pressurized black hole to become a star again. So, with Pluto, it's so much easier when we recognize in advance where the fault lines are forming and where the steam is coming up from the cracks. It's so much easier with Pluto if we learn how to say "yes," and submit ourselves to a transformational process.
* Finally, today Mars moves into Capricorn where it is exalted. Yesterday I covered this and other topics in depth in a Video Blog. Check it out on the home page of my website. This is a very productive sign for Mars, but Mars with Saturn and Pluto will also be intensifying the Saturn/Pluto dynamic quite a bit. Look to the whole-sign house of Capricorn in your birth chart for a deeper look at what areas of your life are receiving these influences.
* Remember, that while there is tremendous progress, work, discipline, and industry in Mars' transit of Capricorn, it is also possible to get a little Machiavellian during this time (the ends justify the means). If it's worth putting your full focus and determination into something, then it's also worth doing in an ethical, considerate, and patient manner. Shortcuts aren't shortcuts if they complicate things or cost you more time and energy in the long run. And remember, while this Mars is incredibly hard-working it is also very shrewd and can teach us a lot about how to make progress through better mental/spiritual discernment.
* Finally, remember, that all of these transits reflect a world that is always, in a sense "transiting." So the point of all of this astrological mapping is to help us find contentment. When we know these forces are working their way through us, we may also foster a healthy distance from them. Astrology helps us to become steady, bright Moons, full of the reflective knowledge of the heavens that allows us to pass through this world with less manic reactivity. But reading astrology alone is not enough. Contentment is dependent on "content," as one of my teachers likes to say. If you're not putting good content into your mind and body, regularly, then you won't find contentment. Astrology should be just one small portion of your spiritual diet, so to speak.
Prayer: Help us to restore and renew our faith and devotion, each and every day. Where there is conflict, bring us home to your peace. Give us eyes and ears to see the suffering in the world around us, so that we might speak only words of love and compassion.
Venus is just past its square to Pluto.
* Two headlines that mirror the Venus/Pluto square. The first is the report that a federal grand jury has approved charges in the Mueller/FBI investigation.
* The second is simple and pertains to the ongoing "take a knee" controversy between NFL football players and the owners. Yesterday the owner of the Houston Texans was found to have compared his players to inmates at a prison. Afterward, the owner issued an apology that was clearly an attempt to save face, but many of the players responded by saying that they believe his sentiments echo how many of the owners actually feel about the players.
* I use these headlines not because they are the only things happening in the world right now, but because they are simple examples of the Venus/Pluto dynamic.
* The fact that the Mueller investigation is bringing its first charges as this transit takes place likely means that there has been a trade of information for immunity, or a betrayal of loyalty, or that this charge will lead to other deals being made as the case continues. Venus in Libra square to Pluto brings up images of friends and betrayal, diplomacy and deal-making, or any kind of pardoning or bargaining for the sake of getting to deeper or more hidden or secretive levels of information.
* Similarly, the NFL owner being caught saying what he actually thinks of his players is indicative of how the business is handled behind closed doors. Venus and Pluto say, "This is how the inner circle of these owners really works, in case you needed some hard evidence. This is how they view the players. This is how these people actually do business." Venus/Pluto in this regard is the exposure of the inner dynamics of an elite group of powerful businessmen. The employer/employee relationship is exposed. The owner literally said, "We can't have the inmates running the prison." This is an old white man saying this about a group of predominantly young, black men who make the owners billions of dollars each year.
So these are just a few simple examples that mirror what is also happening for each of us personally. Are we avoiding the dark truth? Are we able to be real with ourselves and real with each other about how we really feel, who we are, and how we operate? Or is our lives a series of coverups, shine overs, and polishings of things we'd prefer to avoid? If so, we should expect that from time to time the facade will be revealed for what it is.
Being real is difficult. It doesn't happen all at once. It doesn't happen overnight. Not for most of us. For most of us, it is a long path of forgiveness and courage.
Prayer: Teach us the courage to stop polishing and peddling false stories meant to cover up or hide the truth. Teach us to trust that the truth sets all prisoners free, and teach us to see that we are all prisoners whenever we live in denial of your love.
Venus is moving into a square with Pluto today.
Here's what to watch for:
* When Venus and Pluto combine it's normal to see turmoil in relationships. Why? Because the planet of harmony, friendship, and diplomacy is moving into a Mars-like relationship (squares are of the nature of Mars, traditionally speaking) and Pluto is the lord of the underworld.
* The "underworld" is one of those words we should have to put a quarter into a jar for every time we use it mindlessly in astrology. The word definitely evokes strong feelings and images, but all too often people think of the underworld as something like the unconscious, and because we're all programmed to light up at the possibility of probing or getting in touch with the unconscious, (emphasized: "even when it's difficult"), we usually think of Pluto transits in terms of the potential for personal growth. We think of getting in touch with invisible patterns that we can't see, and we think of transforming those patterns as they erupt to the surface of our conscious/waking awareness, our "overworld" awareness. This is fair enough, Pluto can definitely represent the unconscious, but it's important to remember that there isn't just one idea or theory about what the unconscious IS or what it's role is in human existence.
* Ironically, we take the unconscious itself for granted in new age speak. I'm guilty of this myself sometimes. We act as though something that is by its very nature deep, mysterious, and..."unconscious," to be something easily understood, something we all unanimously understand. How is it that a region as fundamentally mysterious to our waking consciousness becomes the most common altar-call of a word? The truth is that it's because we love the theater, the art, the aesthetic, of the underworld. We love it as an image in the psyche just as much as we love it as an actual place, or an actual experience.
* There is nothing wrong with having a love affair with Pluto. In fact, this is where Venus and Pluto make a kind of sense that we rarely talk about. Venus and Pluto isn't just THE DARK UNCONSCIOUS SHIT THAT WILL COME UP IN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS...Bah ba BUMMMMMM! It's also the love that we have, the love that arrives and displays itself, within ourselves, within our jobs, within our words, within our thoughts, within our families, within the world, for what is dark, what is mysterious, what is erotic and hungry, what is destructive and beautiful at once, etc. The new age love of the word "unconscious" is actually an aesthetic preference, a taste of worlds, a special taste for the image of an underworld. And of course it is! Of course! Because of the many familiar new age values, those most prevalent involve light, growth, integration, balance, harmony, self-development, evolution, co-creation, etc. So of course in order to get there, we need things like the darkness, the unconscious, and the underworld. We need to get really excited at our new age workshop when we hear someone say, "Let's be real, we're all working on our shit." The shit has to have some real appeal to us, in other words, and so Pluto and the unconscious becomes a beautified picture of our own poop...Pluto is the most necessary, lovely, challenging but you can do it poop that we all need to play with in order to level up on the otherwise rainbow trail to heaven.
* I'm teasing. But I'm also serious. Venus and Pluto brings up an idealized way of looking at elements of our lives that we can't even really understand or see or name or redirect toward our happy self-growth paradigm, or our desire to keep things civil or balanced.
* Sometimes the need to keep everything beautiful is the unconscious issue. Sometimes making Pluto into a good guy, is the real problem. Sometimes bad guys aren't just turds in the process of being polished, they are actually bad guys. Sometimes life serves up tremendously painful and irrational events, events that deconstruct our conspiracies of meaning and challenge us to see divinity instead, which is sometimes a sight far beyond the mind and its meanings.
* Consider it again, Pluto asks us to go beyond meanings and explanations and rational ways of making the darkness beautiful. We should be careful not to tempt Pluto into disfiguring us due to our constant attempts to reconfigure Pluto into a sexy gothic visitor on the highways of light and love.
* Now, this isn't to say that Pluto isn't the unconscious, or that Pluto isn't meaningful, or that Pluto may not bring up "stuff" from the underworld of relationships as Venus and Pluto collide today. This post is mostly about pointing out that so frequently we see Pluto through the lens of other planetary archetypes, or through our metaphysical assumptions, rather than attempting to understand Pluto on its own terms.
* Venus and Pluto together can also, truly, bring beauty and darkness together in fascinating ways. Lets just not forget that darkness, in order to be understood, has to be entered into on its own terms. Shining a light around in the darkness and describing it is usually going to result in nothing but a description of the light we're using amidst the darkness we're now pretending to "see."
Prayer: Show us the divinity of your darkness. Let it guide us with its own wisdom.
Over the next week, Venus will move into a square with Pluto and Mars will also enter Venus' home sign of Libra.
What to keep your eyes on over the next ten days or so:
* Women in power
* Women and the underworld
* The transformation of the feminine
* Death in relationships
* Power struggles and diplomacy
* Passive aggression
* Feminism and the power of the goddess in the collective
* Exposure of dishonest deals or agreements
* Sexual perversion, manipulation, or sexual abuse as a continued theme in the collective
* Sex as power, power and sex
* Making deals with the devil
* A powerful release of erotic, sensual/sexual energy
* The transformation of an aesthetic
* A powerful artistic demonstration or display
* Peace and force, progress and militancy
* The self-righteous demands of a progressive cause
* The noble mission and the weak ego
* Avante Garde narcissism
* Polarizing for peace
* The beautiful argument
* The death of the diplomat
* Diplomatic failures, cover-ups, lack of sensitivity
* Defending what we want or desire, feeling like our sense of peace or serenity is being threatened
* The tension between fighting for a cause and maintaining equanimity in relationships
* The wisdom of burning a bridge, the wisdom of maintaining a bridge, the wisdom of building a bridge...knowing which is which
How do we hold the tension of planetary opposites like Mars and Venus? We are political animals, but we are also eternal beings. It's not easy to carry the tension between spirit and matter, and it's always tempting and familiar and empowering to collapse into extremes. This month will feature these all too common spiritual and material tensions in the midst of a powerful Venusian themed month.
Prayer: Let the truth be spoken, but let love be the sound.
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Adam Elenbaas is a professional astrologer and the founder of the Nightlight Astrology School. Adam holds an MA and MFA in English and Creative Writing and is one of the founding writers at RealitySandwich. To learn more about Adam, click here.