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This Week's Specials

Planet Weather for the Week of December 10, 2006                                                                                                   

SkyWatch – Moon phase of the week: The Moon enters her Last Quarter at 9:32 AM EDT, at 20 degrees of Virgo. The Moon will be well up in the southern sky and readily visible. (Last Quarter Moons rise around midnight and set about noon local time.) Skywatching events of the week: (There are quite a number this week!) 12/10 -- The Moon passes extremely close to Saturn, and in fact would occult (eclipse) it from parts of Scandinavia and northern Britain except that the passage takes place during daylight there. Throughout most of North America, their point of closest approach (with no occultation), occurring about 6:00 AM EDT, will be visible just before sunrise high in the South. At roughly the same time, Mercury also grazes Jupiter, coming within a tenth of a degree. Look to the southeast about 45 minutes before sunrise. A much fainter Mars will also be visible about a degree to the right, but you will need an unobstructed view of the eastern horizon to view these three worlds in collusion. 12/11 -- Mars and Jupiter have been close for several days, but this date sees their point of closest approach, with the two planets coming within one degree of each other during the day. However, they will be almost as close just before dawn if you look low to the southeast. 12/14 -- The Geminid Meteors reach their peak in the early morning hours before dawn. The Geminids will appear to originate in the constellation Gemini high in the western sky near the two bright stars Castor and Pollux ("the Twins"). These meteors are often fast and bright, sometimes even outnumbering the August Perseids. 12/15 -- The Moon passes the bright star Spica in the constellation Virgo, missing it by less than a degree. Look towards the east-southeast. Space news of the week: The Space Shuttle Discovery roared into orbit in the first nighttime shuttle launch in four years and is looking to rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS) shortly and continue construction work (specifically electrical wiring) aimed at completing the ISS within the next several years before the Shuttle is scheduled for retirement. Go out! Look up!

This week Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and possibly Friday are the most active and potentially most productive energy days. The longest Void-of-Course (VOC) Moon time, during the day, is Friday 12/15/06 – in Libra, from 10:33AM EST to 5:42PM EST. VOC is best for less outcome-oriented activity, since VOC often means detours, distractions, or delays. If you want specific outcomes, or if timeliness is critical, choose another time. VOC is best for processing, imagining, and open-ended activities, like parties, for instance!

Quote: “My companions are stars; whomsoever any of you follow, you will be rightly guided.”

Attributed to Mohammed.

Mercury in mutable, fire Sagittarius conjunct (0deg.) Jupiter/Sagittarius @ 3deg. on Sunday, December 10, 2006 @ 11:59AM EST. When Mercury and Jupiter get together, they can be mischievous and sometimes downright devious. Let me explain. Mercury and Jupiter are a pair – they rule the opposite signs of Gemini and Sagittarius, respectively. This sign pair and these planets are information junkies – they are ever curious and definitely loquacious, prone to telling stories, and in this aspect, exaggerating and embellishing to get a rise or a laugh out of the audience. This is not a factually correct kind of aspect. Rather, it takes liberties and poetic license, shall we say? It is also philosophical and expansive, and great ideas can emerge from its musings and mental (or real) wanderings. So, if you have something important to convey, you will have the benefit of joking and positive enthusiasm available but make sure you represent the facts accurately, lest the little white lies come back to haunt you. The huge ideas of what is possible and how grand life can be may contrast sharply with what’s in your wallet! This aspect is representative of the Sagittarius stellium or grouping of planets in the sky currently and simply enlarges these issues.

Venus enters cardinal, earth Capricorn on Monday, December11, 2006 @ 12:33AM until 1/3/07. Venus in Capricorn brings a sobering influence to what has already gone way out of bounds with Jupiterian enthusiasm. Capricorn is not the best placement for Venus, as it can be too judgmental, critical, and parental here – often insisting on having things done in a very specific and perfectionist kind of way. This Venus needs to relax some of its unnecessary rules, and trust the flow of events while still holding true to its most treasured core values and integrity.

Mercury/Sagittarius square (90dge.) Uranus in mutable, water Pisces @ 11deg. on Friday, December 15, 2006 @ 10:02AM EST. Mercury is getting around this week – now it’s partying with the rebel of the Zodiac! I like to say this aspect is the “aha!” aspect – thoughts come suddenly and unexpectedly or your meetings with others, even conversations, can quickly become unusual, erratic, even bizarre. There’s a tendency to want to shock with one’s communication or to be awakened by what one hears or reads. Creative, definitely, these ideas are sure to be outside the box. As you make necessary connections and drive, be more observant and attentive of unruly drivers. The most positive energy of the aspect asks us to think globally, truthfully, and in refreshingly new ways to solve old problems.

Sun/Sagittarius trine (120deg.) Saturn in fixed, fire Leo @ 24deg. on Saturday, December 16, 2006 @ 8:36PM EST. Saturn has a sobering influence on the “anything goes” nature of Sagittarius. It controls some of the excess enthusiasm that can cause negative consequences. This aspect can serve to allow you to get the most bang for your buck, so to speak. Fire signs just wanna have fun, but blowing the budget will feel really bad in January (or earlier)! So use your wits to make the most fun happen without becoming totally extravagant – unless, of course, you can really afford to. Then I say, go for it, but make sure that something lasting – be it a powerfully good memory, or an investment that grows – emerges from the pursuit.

NewsBits:  Iraq Study Group Reports. On December 6, 2006, the Iraq Study Group delivered its long-awaited report. The group was co-chaired by James Baker, former Secretary of State, and Lee Hamilton, a Democratic congressman for 34 years and vice-chairman of the 9/11 Report. What always shocks and annoys this astrologer is that the elders of the government rarely include women – how is that representative of our nation, or of the world? Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was the only woman in this group of 10 that formed the Iraq Study Group. The report was delivered to the public the day after Mars entered Sagittarius, making a 5 planet cluster. Sagittarius, in part, describes one’s philosophy or belief system and is known as the sign of the scholar or teacher. At its highest level, Sagittarius is the striving for wisdom based on experience or broad philosophical inquiry. The Iraq Study Group was comprised of distinguished bipartisan members and supposedly delivered an unbiased assessment. One of the most important actions recommended was to open diplomacy and dialogue with other nations in the Middle East including Syria and Iran, which have been highly critical of the U.S. occupation of Iraq and have had serious conflicts with the U.S. over this and other issues, in particular, over nuclear armament. Both the Iraqi president and the religious leader of the Shiia in Iraq were highly critical of the report’s findings and recommendations although for very different reasons evidently. Ethnic hostilities have reached such a violent peak that an average of 3,000 Iraqi civilians are killed every month. The government is weak and its policing follows the lines of its ethnic make-up. Whether a unified government can succeed is questionable and only possible if Iraqis are willing to be loyal to a central government rather than take action based on sectarian loyalties, a prospect that, unfortunately, seems unlikely, in the short term, considering past and current behavior. The Iraq Study Group Report has high aims (very Sagittarian and noble in presentation) and some sound recommendations; however, all agree that the implementation of security in Iraq is a gargantuan task, since the warring factions want different things and none is willing to give up control at this time (Uranus/Pisces confusion of ideals and the struggle to believe - what). The Report also emphasized the bigger- picture suggestion for the region, which is the formation of a two-state solution for the Arab/Israeli conflict. What will it take for Iraq to calm down and a government to work that can restore relative safety to the citizens of Iraq? Astrologically, it will take longer than one year, to the first quarter of 2008 – which is what the Report suggested for the major U.S. combat forces to leave Iraq. The short term shows more instability and groups vying for power – just as the U.S. is transitioning from 8 years of the Bush presidency to whoever the next US President will be. Brilliant, rational, humanitarian minds are needed more than ever now. The Report is recommended reading.

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