Archive for January, 2011

Saturn Goes Retrograde: What’s Your Unavoidable Responsibility?

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

“Wake up!” says Saturn.  “I gave you a chance to see your responsibility recently.  Now I’m telling you again:  this is a time of testing.”

Today is a Pivotal Day
When a planet turns retrograde it makes a pivot in the sky and also creates a metaphorically “pivotal” experience for human beings.

Today, that planet is Saturn.  It’s as if Saturn is telling us, “You can’t go on avoiding responsibility forever.  Today I’m delivering a wake-up call.”  If Saturn is touching a planet in your chart this year, this message is for you and it will have very specific meaning, depending on what planet that is.  That planet, and the part of you it represents, is being asked to take responsibility.  Today is the peak of possibility of Saturn’s wake-up call, but it could happen anytime within 5 days surrounding today.

Initiation Leading to an Inner Journey
Sometime between now and the end of last October Saturn showed us an area of life in which we need to take more responsibility.  What he delivered was an initiation and it was our first chance to catch a clue about the changes coming.  That clue may have been obvious or it may have been subtle, but we’ve been shown a place in our life that would benefit from sustained hard work and a more serious attitude.

Did we notice?  It’s human to go into denial after a clue is delivered.  During the autumn we may have said to ourselves, “Maybe I don’t have to do anything about this.  Maybe it was just a one-time thing.  Maybe I can just move on.  Maybe I can get away without paying attention to this.”

Or maybe not.  Today Saturn turns up the volume and gives us a reminder.  “That responsibility you need to take?” he says, “You’d better figure it out and start doing it.”  This is a wake-up call.  Today, Saturn’s retrograde journey begins and with it begins our journey inward to discover what responsibility we need to take and how it will benefit us to do so.  Saturn’s retrograde journey lasts until the day it turns direct, which is June 12, 2011.

Where must we take responsibility?
The sign Saturn makes its backwards journey in matters.  Saturn is traveling through Libra all this year and most of the next.  Saturn does well in Libra, because Saturn is the judge and Libra is all about fairness.  It’s Saturn’s job to remind us of our responsibility, our duty and of what we must do to mature, and in Libra he can do that job with some kindness, gentleness, fairness and even an extra spoonful of sugar.

Another thing Saturn does while traveling through Libra is to remind us to take responsibility for our relationships.  “Are you keeping it fair and equitable?” asks Saturn.  While Saturn passes through Libra we must all sharpen up our negotiation and mediation skills.

Is this story your story?
If this resonates for you, it may be that you are personally touched by this transit.  Saturn may be triggering a planet in your own chart, thus bringing these themes up for you.  This year Saturn is covering the space between 10 and 17 degrees of Libra.  If there is anything in your chart in 10-17 degrees of Libra, Capricorn, Aries or Cancer, you will feel this.  And knowing it can explain feelings you may be having of guilt, seriousness, obligation, duty or feeling trapped or limited.  Saturn may be trying to tell you something important, and if you listen, your discomfort will ease and a clear path to action can open up before you.

What area of your life is being affected?
Good question.  It will have to do with the planet in your chart that’s being triggered by Saturn.  If it’s Mercury, Saturn is asking you to sharpen, hone and focus your mind, so this could be the right time for studying hard.  If it’s Venus or Juno, Saturn is testing your capacity to love and be loved.  If it’s your Moon, you may go though a lonely time while your emotional restraint is tested.  But whatever it is, that feeling of heaviness, oppression, limitation and the pressure to take committed action are present.  That’s Saturn.  He’s nobody’s favorite planet, but because he lives in each of us, the job gets done.

Want to know more about how this Saturn transit affects your life?
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New Astrological Sign “Ophiuchus”? Not Really.

Friday, January 14th, 2011

You may have read recent articles about a “new zodiac sign” called Ophiuchus.  It’s not actually news.  Here’s the article I found:   This article went viral, and I (and astrologers all over the nation, apparently) are getting questions about the “new sign” from people who are wondering if they are now different signs than the ones they’ve identified with all their lives.  I’m happy to say that nobody’s sign is changing, and here’s why.

The above article by Stephanie Pappas appears to be a rewrite of a similar article posted back in 2007: (It was obviously a slow day in the news room.)  Both articles speak of the precession of the equinoxes as if it were news.  In fact, precession has been well-documented and understood by astrologers since before astronomy separated itself from astrology during the Enlightenment.  The knowledge of precession is not “news,” it is about 1800 years old.  Here’s my FAQ page explaining how it works:

The topic of precession comes up again and again as if it were news, which it isn’t.  Astrologers know about precession and it has no impact on our work.  It’s been my experience that astrologers tend to be aware of the basics of astronomy while astronomers are not aware of the basics of astrology, and the writer of the 2007 article was quoting an astronomer, not an astrologer.

Modern-day astronomers believe that events in the sky have no connection to events in our lives here on Earth.  This is where their study of the sky diverges from that of astrologers.  Astronomers name the stars, as their title suggests.  Astronomy contains the word root “nom,” which means “name.”  The word “astrologer” contains the root “log,” describing an astrologer’s job:  to log the stars.  We observe (and write down) the corresponding life experiences that go with various sky phenomena.  That’s our job.  Astronomers and astrologers may disagree, and sometimes loudly, but they have something bigger and more important in common than all their disagreements, and that is a sense of wonder and mystery in our lovely, star-studded skies.

I suppose I shouldn’t complain, because this hoo-hah has resulted in me getting a call from the New York Times.  I may be quoted in tomorrow’s paper, dated Jan. 15, 2011.  I was delighted to have the opportunity to simplify and explain the situation.  So rest assured, gentle readers, you still have the same chart and sign that you’ve always had.


Solar Eclipse: A Test of Integrity

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

This month’s New Moon is also a Solar Eclipse, and it’s one to take seriously.  Influenced by Saturn, this Capricornian eclipse has got a heavy sense of responsibility and duty.  We can expect real-world events to result from this solar eclipse, reminders of what we are supposed to do—and perhaps smackdowns from the Guy Upstairs if we fail to do what is right.  Get on the straight and narrow, people!

Details About This Eclipse

Date: January 4, 2011
Time of eclipse: 1:03 AM PST
Type: partial (moderate in intensity)
Visible in: Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, northwestern China, northwestern India.
At: 13 degrees Capricorn
Shadow Agent: Saturn

Does It Affect You Personally?

If your birthday is on any of the following dates, you most likely experienced this eclipse:
December 29-January 8
March 29-April 8
June 29-July 8
October 1-11

Remember, not every eclipse touches everyone, but when it does, it’s usually noticeable.  A solar eclipse is likely to be marked by an external, real-world event (unlike a lunar eclipse, which is likely to bring up strong emotions and to be experienced as a subjective event).  The following script is just one possible way it could go.

You hear a knock at the door.  You answer it.  Saturn stands there, a tough old man with a craggy, weather-beaten face, dressed in a very expensive suit, wearing a power tie.  Cowering behind him are the Sun and Moon.  Led by Saturn, they all push past you.
Saturn:  Well?
You:  Well, what?
Saturn:  I’ve come to administer your test.
You:  What kind of test is it?
Saturn:  It’s a reality check.
He pulls out a scroll from inside his jacket.  He unrolls it and it’s so long that it hits the floor and touches the opposite wall before unrolling completely.
Saturn:  This is a list of questions I have for you.
You:  Um, ok, shoot.
Saturn:  What have you completed lately?  What have you accomplished?  What is left unfinished?  What have you promised and delivered?  What have you promised and not delivered?  How many times have you been late?  Do you habitually do what you say you’ll do or is your word good for nothing?  Have you earned anyone’s respect this year?  Have you met any goals?
You:  Woah—I haven’t even figured out the answer to question one yet.
Saturn:  I’m sure even a pitiably slow human like yourself could not fail to notice that the year 2011 has just begun?
You:  I had noticed that, yes.
Saturn:  Have you made any resolutions?
You:  I thought of a couple . . .
Saturn:  Do you know that most people abandon their New Year’s resolutions only two months into the new year?
You:  Yes, I’d heard that.
Saturn: (towering over you) Did you think you’d be different?
You:  Um . . .
You turn to the Sun and Moon, who are huddled together on the sofa.
You:  Help me out, guys!
They shake their heads vigorously and go back to trying to appear as small and untargetable as possible.  Both are visibly quivering in fear.
You:  Ok, ok, I give up!  I accomplished very little last year.  I forgot all my resolutions before spring.  I didn’t really want to do any of those things.  They were false promises.
Saturn:  That’s what I wanted to hear!
You:  Are you satisfied?
Saturn:  Not quite yet.  Totally aside from what you promised for 2010 and failed to do, what did you actually do?  What are your successes?
You:  I’m really not sure.
Saturn:  Look not at what you promised but did not deliver—look instead at what you actually did deliver.  Those are your achievements—and they are your commitments too.  If you want to know what you’re committed to, just look at where you’ve put your effort.
Leaving the very long test behind him, Saturn sweeps back out into the night, followed by the still-cowering Sun and Moon.

Read about other eclipses coming up: 2011 Eclipses.