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This Week's Specials

Planet Weather for the weeks 12/18/11 & 12/25/11

Planet Weather for Weeks 1/15 & 1/22/12

NewsBits: The New Year 2012: Part2. Hot Spots! There are tricky parts to every year and this year is no exception. The first tricky time is between 3/12 and 4/4/12. During this time both Mercury and Mars will be retrograde (Rx) at the same time. This is rare because Mars is only retrograde every 22 months. Both Mercury and Mars are inner planets having more sway over what goes on in our personal lives and so the double Rx time segment could create some stress and havoc.

However, remember that although there are generalities with retrogrades, how they interact with your chart will make the difference between a mild Rx experience or a frustrating one for you. Not all retrogrades are experienced in the same way by any person. (Ask your astrologer to map out the path of these retrogrades for you and what areas of life they are affecting.)

Half of the Mercury Rx is in the sign Aries but then it slips back into the previous sign, Pisces. Because it begins in Aries, ruled by the planet Mars, it accentuates the Mars/Virgo Rx even more and because Mercury rules the sign Virgo, there is a more dynamic interplay between them. (This is what’s called a “mutual reception” each planet in a sign ruled by the other, which could mitigate or strengthen the effects, depending on its focus in your chart.) Mars, by its nature is all about forward momentum, and so dislikes being held back but pushing forward at this time creates frustration. Expect delays during such a double retrograde and use the time in the way that it was meant – to retreat, relax, regroup, revise, reinvent. Use this time to re-evaluate your project or your decisions but hold off on important decisions or new initiations until the Rx is over. You may be surprised at the additional information that surfaces when planets are retrograde and you may find things that were lost or forgotten too to help you develop your projects more thoroughly and masterfully.

Petty annoyances can throw you off track, if you let them get under your skin. Deal with the practical necessities as they arise, but keep your cool. It’s better for your health. On the other side of that, if there are persistent physical irritations, it’s a good time to check in with your doctor. Virgo and Pisces rule health and the daily functional rhythm of your life and schedule. Best not to overload yourself, as there will be plenty to demand your attention in any case. Any sort of weak links will break down more typically and need replacement. It’s a perfect time to make necessary repairs of all kinds.

SkyWatch for the Weeks 1/15-1/22/12

Moon phase for the week of 1/15: 1/16 -- The Moon enters Her Last (aka Third) Quarter at 4:08 AM EST, at 25 degrees of Libra. Skywatching events of the week: 1/16 -- The Waning Moon makes a close pass by Saturn. Their point of closest approach occurs in late morning as they are setting in the west as viewed from the US East Coast. The “daylight Moon” will be visible but Saturn won’t be. However, the two will rise close together shortly after midnight, with the Moon leading Saturn into the sky. Observers farther west can actually watch the Moon approach and even pass by Saturn as the night wears on.

Moon phase for the week of 1/22: 1/23 -- The Moon enters Her New cycle at 2:39 AM ET, at 2 degrees of Aquarius. Look for her slender crescent low in the West after sunset in a couple of days. Literal-minded types like to point out that you cannot actually see the New Moon, since it is completely dark. However, this is true only at the beginning of Her New phase. Technically, the New Moon phase actually lasts for about a week until She enters her First Quarter phase. Skywatching events of the week: 1/26 --The Waxing Crescent Moon makes a close pass by Venus. Their point of closest approach occurs after sunrise as viewed (or not viewed) from the US East Coast when both are below the horizon for observers in the Western Hemisphere, but they will still be close when they set the previous evening, with the Moon leading Venus downward to the western horizon.

Space news and weather: Phobos Grunt! This suggestively unpleasant-sounding name for a space probe is actually Russian for Phobos Ground, a mission that was designed to land on the Martian moon Phobos but which never made it beyond Earth orbit. (Apparently, the probe just "went dead" and was not transmitting or receiving any signals.) Phobos Ground re-entered the Earth's atmosphere, broke up, and showered debris all the way from Brazil to the South Pacific just west of Chile. There was considerable concern because the probe carried a significant amount of radioactive material but Russian authorities were full of assurances that this posed no significant risk. (They WOULD say that, of course....) Go out! Look up!

Knowing when VOC Moons occur is key to planning your successful week!

The Void-of-course (VOC) Moon is a kind of limbo. As it reaches the end of a sign, the Moon makes no major aspect to another planet before it enters the next sign. VOC is best for less outcome-oriented activity, since VOC often means detours, distractions, drifting, or delays. If you want specific outcomes, or if timeliness is critical, don’t use a VOC Moon time. VOC is best for processing, imagining, creating, and open-ended activities, like parties, research, or cleaning your desk/closet for instance! It is said that when a new action is initiated during VOC, “nothing will come of it,” or energies go in unplanned directions, which may not necessarily be negative.


Week of 1/15/12 – Monday, Wednesday and Friday (Sun enters Aquarius) are the most active days energetically – more Moon or planetary aspects for engagement with others, projects, and stimulation for producing results, or demands/challenges on your energy. On 1/16/12, the Moon is VOC/Libra from 10:29AM to 11:33AM EST – On 1/18/12, the Moon is VOC/Scorpio from 1:32PM to 2:29PM EST – On 1/20/12, the Moon is VOC/Sagittarius from 4:50PM to 5:40PM EST.

Week of 1/22/12 – Sunday, Monday (Mars turns Retrograde) and Friday (Mercury enters Aquarius) are the most active days energetically – more Moon or planetary aspects for engagement with other or projects, and stimulation for producing results, or demands/challenges on your energy. On 1/22/12, the Moon is VOC/Capricorn from 8:38PM until 9:53PM EST – On 1/25/12, the Moon is VOC/Aquarius from 3:34AM to 4:11AM EST – On 1/26/12, the Moon is VOC/Pisces from 11:52PM to 1:28PM EST (next day!)

Quote of Note: "Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all." - Sam Ewing

Summary: As we enter farther into 2012, we will encounter Mars turning retrograde 1/23-4/15/12. The days surrounding a retrograde are typically a bit squirrely – so pace yourself, expect disruption and allow for it – instead of expecting or insisting on a perfect schedule. Knowing the movements of the planets grants us wisdom to map our days and lives, if we allow it.

Planet Patterns and Cosmic Headlines (Detail):

The Sun in cardinal, earth Capricorn squares (90deg. angle) Saturn in cardinal, air Libra @ 29deg. on 1/19/12. This is the last square between these two planets in these signs for another 28+ years. Saturn leaves Libra (after 2.5 years in the sign) in October of 2012 to enter Scorpio for 2.5 years. When the Sun and Saturn meet by square there is typically a challenge to be met and the pressure of time may be a factor. What one wants to do is in conflict with one’s responsibilities and there is strain. Questions of commitment arise and those of adherence to tradition. Slowing down, taking your time and being methodical, as well as organized always helps when Saturn is in the picture. However, make sure your fear and doubt don’t rule the decision.

The Sun enters fixed, air Aquarius on 1/20/12 until 2/19/12. Time marches on and we march on…The Sun shifts into Aquarius and we look around at our band of sisters and brothers. Who are these ones we call friends? Aquarius is the gathering of like-minded individuals, those with a shared truth. The clarity of Aquarius will help you sort your friendships to find the ones who are silver and gold, tried and true, and those that are merely acquaintances. Your opinions may be strong and you may think you have the truth in your pocket but leave room for ever greater consciousness to enlighten you. Make new friends or nurture your tried and true ones.

**Mars Retrograde Alert! Mars turns Retrograde in Virgo on 1/23/12 @ 23 deg. until 4/13/12. Mars entered mutable, earth Virgo on 11/10/11, and remains in Virgo (including its retrograde time) until 7/3/12! Yes, you read that right – this is a long time we will be spending working and reworking loose ends, and generally cleaning up mess after mess without end, not to mention editing, renewing, repairing, and renovating. Little things are likely to trip you up, so don’t go for the shortcuts. The perfection of Virgo is an endless task, even though it’s a worthy pursuit. Still, some things are not meant to be perfect and it’s their flaws that make them beautiful. Knowing what is worth perfecting and where we need to yield is the antidote to stress. A Mars retrograde can generate anger, as the planet of action and assertiveness is harnessed and pulled back to re-do what it thought it had already completed. Mars chafes under this kind of restriction. This retrograde can teach us the power of small things and that small is good and the accumulated little moments or many minutes makes up the hours and days of our lives. Every second does matter.

Sun/Aquarius square Jupiter in fixed, earth Taurus @ 1deg. on 1/22/12. With this aspect we have the opposite of the Sun/Saturn square detailed above. This combination brings opportunity, but also the tendency to squander it or make decisions that are based on poor judgment. Still opportunities are offered but wisdom and selectivity are necessary to navigate and separate the wheat from the chaff.

Currently Active Paradigm-Shift Patterns -- Back Stories: Repeats and elaboration of the major configurations affecting all of us currently.

Jupiter Stationary Direct @ 0Taurus on 12/25/11, Christmas Day! Whatever good was held back or delayed will now move toward you, that is – if it was already heading in your direction to begin with! Ask your astrologer to map this out for you. A planet changing direction is always a big event and with Jupiter, the biggest planet in our Solar system, expect some magnification of events – maybe even exaggeration, and also some surprises. Jupiter/Taurus is generous with whatever resources it has and is patient and enduring. Jupiter entered fixed, earth Taurus on 6/4/11 and stays until 6/12/12. Jupiter stays in Taurus without moving back into the previous sign, even when it turns retrograde on 8/30/11(it remains in Taurus), which only happens about every three Jupiter cycles (3 years)! Most of the time when Jupiter turns retrograde in any sign, it moves back into the sign before and then its retrograde cycle spans the two signs. We might speculate that this can grant us greater relaxation and stability from the fast and furious and sudden changes that we’ve all witnessed since the beginning of this year, at least, while Jupiter was in fiery Aries. Stable and practical with a certain amount of sweetness, abundance, or favor is the message of this giving Jupiter in a Venus-ruled sign. There are possibilities, if we are willing to look for them and allow them.

Neptune turned Stationary Direct on 11/9/11 until 6/5/12! The scandals leaked out – Herman Cain’s sexual harassment skeletons and child rape abuses at Penn State University. With this surge forward again, Neptune soon leaves the sign Aquarius not to return for another 164 years! Neptune is now moving steadily toward Pisces, where it Stationed @ 0deg. on 6/3/11 and sat at 0 degrees between 4/4-8/5/11. On 2/3/12, Neptune returns to 0 deg. Pisces and will then continue its journey through Pisces for the next 14 years, until 3/31/25. We can only imagine what changes in the culture and our sensibilities this will bring. There is a grand focus on the environment and greater sensitivity within the web-like network that binds us closer together than ever before. New visionaries will emerge, as well as new ways to believe and questions of what to believe. The way in which each one of us is connected to and responsible for every other living being on this planet will become increasingly and utterly apparent.

We’ve only had a taste of Neptune’s dissolving energies and the power of the water! Anyone with planets near 0deg. of any sign has been especially imprinted with Neptunian themes such as paranormal experiences, illumination about some life themes or experiences, and secrets leaking out, or even some funky illness. Neptune energies can also manifest as melancholy as we review dreams that may not have materialized, make necessary adjustments, all the while maintaining our faith in life, spirit and the meaning of it all.

With Neptune’s foray into Pisces, we have the third outer planet making a sign change since January 2008, setting in motion a series of conditions and events that have global long-term effects. Neptune is entering the modern rulership of its own sign Pisces and expresses itself quite naturally here according to its intrinsic nature. We can expect the need for greater sensitivity and environmental protections, as the harm we have done to the planet becomes more obvious. [And Gaia thinks seriously about giving us an eviction notice. Ed.] We may witness the formation of new religious groups and a reformation of existing religion as we know it. Secrets may be exposed and more leaks of information that some people may not wish to be revealed. On the positive side, new artistic accomplishments will flower in all fields, especially music, but all across the artistic spectrum. In essence it is a cultural call for greater refinement and attunement to what we often take for granted or fail to notice.

Neptune was discovered in 1846, and entered Pisces on 4/26/1847 through 1861. Oddly enough, Uranus was also in Aries (although farther along in the sign) when Neptune entered Pisces for the first time (since its discovery). This is only the second time, after Neptune came into our consciousness awareness, that Neptune is transiting Pisces! Both Neptune and Pisces are tricky. They operate on a completely different level. Pisces is known for its hyper-sensitivity, compassion, diffusiveness, spirituality, dream-like imagination, second-sight, idealism, patronage of the arts, and the ability to dissolve barriers of all kinds for greater unity. Negative manifestation includes: dissipation, neglect, addictions, deception, drugs, theft, scandals, and secrets. A few highlights of Neptune’s last transit through Pisces include: new social movements, such as Marxism, emancipation of slaves, the start of the US Civil War, the California Gold Rush, the Romantic movement in music, and transcendentalism.

We’ve only had four months of Neptune in Pisces so far in 2011, which we have not experienced for 166 years! As we begin to integrate with this complex novel energy infusion, you may notice a greater sensitivity or subtlety. Neptune dissolves barriers and that is one of the reasons a positive Neptunian response often allows greater compassion for human error and human frailty. Neptune deals with the unseen and the unnoticed and often accounts for spiritual breakthroughs and even paranormal experiences. I believe that this transit of Neptune through Pisces will loosen the boundaries between the material realm and the spiritual or energetic realms. Many of us will experience more than can be easily explained through the measurable functions of science. This can be a time of high magic but also the stripping away of illusions and deceptions and unless one has a strong inner core, the disillusionment we find may destabilize us. Practice faith in the joy of being alive and the true mysticism of that fact alone, no matter what your religious beliefs may be. Neptune is magical and a component of magic is addiction, as we seek to recreate the transcendence of blissful states that allow us to escape the harsher realities of everyday life.

Pluto turned Stationary Direct @ 4 Capricorn on 9/16/11 until 4/11/12. Anytime an outer planet slows down, stops, and reverses direction, its characteristic energy is amplified. Pluto is our slowest moving planet [Yes] and for several years now it has been processing the growing discontent with systems that have failed us and failed to provide the kind of security society expected. We’ve experienced various breakdowns collectively and personally yielding quite a bit of instability and insecurity. This station could very well deal with financial issues and the pragmatic concerns of unemployment, but more directly where the money is, who is holding it, and why lending isn’t forthcoming. It is quite possible that a bottleneck will open and more money will flow to fuel jobs and fund business. At least these seem to be the issues surrounding this Pluto Station. (The gold bubble and Germany’s bailout in the Euro crisis with defaulting Greece.)

Uranus re-entered Aries on 3/11/11, and remains there until May 2018. This is the biggest news of March and beyond, and heralds a new upward spiral in social and cultural evolution. Last summer, Uranus teased us by parking itself and remaining only at 0deg. Aries (the powerful degree of the Spring Equinox) from 5/27-8/13/10. Now it really means business – it has engaged into its full cycle. Any planet in the first sign of the Zodiac wants to start a fire, begin something new, innovate, and create or reinvent something in its own image. This combination can certainly be aggressive, bold, courageous, willful, and because of the influence of Uranus, unexpected and explosive. Most of the previous text was written well before the popular uprisings (conflagrations) in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and other parts of the Middle East. We are seeing the effects of individuals asserting themselves in their striving for personal freedoms that they believe are their birthright. Repressive regimes will no longer be tolerated. Aries represents the new and renewal – as it emerges from the dreams of the previous sign, Pisces. It burns with the fire of justice and courage to be free at any cost.

Saturn entered cardinal, air Libra on 10/29/09. The full cycle lasts until 10/6/12. Let’s speak to the greater implications of this 2.5-year Saturn-sign cycle. Saturn is exalted in Libra. This so-called “essential dignity” means there’s more of a commitment to promote cooperation and harmony among equals. Or, we can say, that is the primary striving in this combination. The collective will be more focused on what is fair and equitable and what is not. Generally, the message is to find the imbalances and rebalance as needed. Where are you giving your commitment and attention? Are the returns you receive what you really want? If not, then adjust those commitments and relationships for greater equality and fairness. Saturn in Libra also asks – what matters and what is valuable? When there is real value, it is easier to make a commitment for a longer time and with greater attention and intention. All major relationships and, in particular, those with Libra/Aries Sun, Moon, or Ascendant, will be put to a greater test. Saturn in a cardinal sign is more proactive than in other signs, and you may find that you seek order from recent chaos and productivity from prior stress and mess.

Saturn in Libra addresses the questions of balance, fairness, relationships, negotiations, and compromise. With Saturn there is always some kind of evaluation, some testing of standards met or not, and have we achieved what we set out to do in the various areas of our life? If we feel we are out of balance, then we will want to rebalance, or renegotiate the contracts we’ve made. Saturn will be backtracking now, to refine those imbalances and to test the rebalancing that you’ve begun. What is it exactly that makes for harmony and contentment in your life? All Libras, Aries, Cancers and Capricorns are feeling this testing the most.

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Opinions and interpretation/analysis expressed are the sole intellectual property of Dorothy Oja. PW emerged from transcripts of a weekly radio show in 1996.

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MINDWORKS services include: Timing and Electional work (dates for surgery, weddings, business openings etc.), Composite/Davison Relationship and Couples analysis, Children's Profiles and private tutoring. Meta-Coaching sessions involve eliciting the astrological and sacred dynamics of your chart to empower realization of your goals and find satisfaction in self-expression. An active writer for national magazines and online sites, collections of Dorothy's articles are available upon request. Dorothy writes a weekly ezine, Planet Weather, published for the past 15 years for enthusiastic subscribers, which includes social, cultural and political commentary. She has frequently appeared as a guest on TV, hosted her own radio shows and has been interviewed in the print media. In October 2000, Dorothy published her text, Compatibility & Conflict for Romantic Relationships, as a computer interpretive report, followed by Compatibility & Conflict for Friendship and Business in October 2002. Her first book, Planetary Resonance was released in May 2012. Dorothy currently serves the community as Chair of the ISAR Ethics Committee including Ethics Awareness Training.