Part of astrology's power and perhaps the reason it seems to survive the tides of cultural change is its ability to contextualize life events. Astrology delineates cycles and that can be a comfort, especially if we are in a bad patch and desperately in need of reassurance that patch will not last forever. But more importantly, astrology speaks to the soulâ€”it tells the personal story as part of a much larger universal story, and that expanded vision has the power to both soothe and inspire. Telling an individual story through a larger archetypal or mythological framework offers the possibility of connection, direction, and purpose.
It's on. It's off. It's on. It's off. Again. And so it goes for this week and next, as Uranus prepares to go direct on December 17...AND...Venus gets ready to go retrograde on December 21. (Yes, I left that bit out last week.) Expect the stop-and-start effect of this forward/backward planetary pattern to disrupt individual as well as collective equilibriums. And because Mars, currently in Libra, also begins its opposition to Uranus this week, anticipate that more than a few of those disruptions will be in the realm of personal relationships.
"Fasten your seatbelts" just isn't a strong enough warning for the volatility of the next several weeksâ€”"Strap in" might be a better choice. But even if you batten down the hatches, it's not certain the hatches will hold. I don't want to scare you, but 'tis not the season to be jolly, and holding on to a festive attitude will take a mighty effort, especially when it comes to kindness toward your fellow travelers. The planets align in a series of difficult patterns, and those alignments set a strident tone for the end of this year as well as the start of 2014.
Tomorrow we celebrate Thanksgiving, and as I reflected on what to write for the week, I remembered a previous column that said best what still seems relevant about this holiday. A day set aside for gratitude is not unique to the United States of America. A festival or ritual designed to give thanks for the harvest of the year is universal, a fundamental element of the human experience. Despite our political and religious differences, the United Peoples of Planet Earth share the same concerns, hopes, and dreams.
It's an industrial strength astral week, and as a strong "get it done" planetary signature energizes the atmosphere, you're likely to feel an equally strong desire to move mountains. Have at itâ€”there's enough of whatever it is that's neededâ€”physical, mental, emotional and spiritual staminaâ€”to work as hard as necessary to actualize ambitions, whether they are career goals or celebration preparations. For those not inclined toward external enterprise, the same powerful potential can be put to good use reflecting on what's felt like an extremely long year.
The planets align in positive patterns this week, and as they do, a thousand threads of intention, motivation, and consequence have a chance to find beneficial expression. I can feel that smile from here, because, yes, this is good news, so good, you probably won't even notice the emotional tumult that also ripples across personal and political interactions. Daily routines seem regular for the first time in a while, and that mundane, yet much-welcomed stability, has the potential to boost an optimistic outlook. Of course there are still areas of desperate struggle, individual and collective, that require conscious effort to remedy.
We're in the wake of several powerful astral waves this week. And as your small, medium, or large craft of regular routines hits the hard waters of these shifts, you could find yourself wishing to stay suspended in midair, rather than deal with the uncertainty of where you are and/or how to land safely after you get your bearings. For some of us, the solar eclipse of November 3 revealed a mother lode of previously hidden and difficult to digest information. Even if you suspected "all along" that something was "wrong," being confronted with a harsh or unsavory secret reality can shock the soul and rattle its foundationâ€”and recovering solid psychic ground could take a long time.
It's an extreme week. The planets align in tight formations, and while there's plenty of support for the necessary courage, stamina, and determination to handle the stress of these astral dynamics, many of us are still likely to experience real tests of strengthâ€”physical, emotional, mental, and spiritualâ€”as we struggle to tolerate the intensity. Coping won't be easy, especially if you're being asked to release reliable routines or relationships that no longer have a place or serve a higher purpose.
I proclaim before every reading: The planets are not causal, but there are two exceptions to that rule: (1) Mercury Retrograde, and (2) all Uranus interactions. It's an astrological conundrum. And for the next several weeks, daily life provides plenty of opportunities to live through the paradox.
This week, there are two major astral configurations to consider. The first is a lunar eclipse on October 18; the second is the final Mercury Retrograde phase of the year that begins on October 21 and continues through November 11. Time distortion is a signature they both share...so don't despair if you feel a little like the Mad Hatter on Quaaludes.
Normally at times like this, when it's all too clear that the inmates are running the asylum and no one is willing to admit that the Emperor has no clothes, I usually pine for the swift wit and biting wisdom of John Lennon. In my imagination, he would cut through the endless loop of hyperbolic spin that allows truthiness to reign supreme, and with a few penetrating words, remind us that war is over if we want it because each of us has the power to change the worldâ€”all that's required is a change of heart. Today is his birthdayâ€”73-years oldâ€”and I do still miss him.
A tantrum shut down the United States government on October 1, and as we move through the next several days and weeks, the standoff is sure to worsen. From an astrological perspective, the source of this political nervous breakdown is the ongoing, ever-escalating intensity of the Uranus/Pluto squares. We're in the thrall of the next exact contact, which occurs on November 1, and the mounting fervor and rising fever of this fractious interaction feels like a massive tractor beam of unrelenting intensity pulling us inexorably toward crisis, individual as well as collective.
Uranus and Pluto continue to dominate astral affairs this week, and as they persist in questioning authority and challenging the structures of daily life, we continue confronting change. For some of us, regular routines have shifted so dramatically, it's hard to find solid ground anywhere. For still more of our fellow travelers, finding and maintaining balance, within or without, takes too much effort to stay vital for necessary tasks.
For the last couple of weeks lots of people have been asking if Mercury is retrogradeâ€”there have been far too many technology disturbances, missed appointments, and frazzled nerves to blame it on anything else. But Mercury is neither the culprit nor the cause of our current frustrationâ€”the final Mercury Retrograde phase of 2013 begins on October 21 and ends on November 10, which means there is still plenty of time to back up every little bit of information. It also isn't possible to attribute the disruption to Uranus, although the planet of sudden plot twists has been extremely busy instigating, provoking, and stimulating upheaval and upset, as well as unusual new perspectivesâ€”Uranus went retrograde on July 17, too far back in recent history to be feeling its effect in September. Then it hit me...the source of strife is Pluto.
It's not easy to write a column on September 11. It's a day that still carries too much grief, especially here in New York City. The violence of that attack as well as the violence that has ensued since that day wearies the heart. The attacks of 9/11 shifted the center of cultural gravity. We do not live as we once did. And while there were terrorist attacks prior 9/11, and far too many lives had already been lost, for reasons that do not have to be explained, it became our reference pointâ€”our before and after.