Forecast for November 2015

Enough with the falling apart and endings. November sees us making action plans and alliances, then moving forward on them. All the revamped structures and foundations that have been taking shape are ready for further development. We won’t be working on them alone.

Relationships are the centerpiece of the month, even for you loners. The month launches with an analytical, practical union between the feminine and the masculine, which is occurring within each of us as well as in certain connections. The impetus is Venus and Mars making their third conjunction of the year on November 2. This is not the stuff of hot and heavy passion, unlike their trysts in February (in impulsive Aries) and August (in high drama Leo).  Instead, the effect is intellectual and detached to an extreme:  Where do we want to go, and how do we get there?  Desires we have thought quite a bit about are meeting the wherewithal to make them happen, in incremental steps, and with flexibility in how to go about them.

The combination supports planning, team work and division of labor, much of which will grow out of and likely build on structural changes that shaped up last month. It’s not all work gloves and project management, though. Loving overtones are beaming down as we shoulder tasks, and especially as we tackle them shoulder to shoulder. We are well disposed toward each other, and probably toward a particular other, all month long. After linking desire and ambition (and sealing many a meeting of the minds — and hearts), Venus and Mars scoot out of the work zone and into her second home, Relationship Central aka Libra.  She goes home on the 8th; he follows on the 12th; and the two travel in close company for the remainder of the month and then some.

So good luck hiding out in your cave. Odds are you won’t want to, though. You’re likely to seek out company, and it will certainly be looking for you. Attractive developments, opportunities and individuals will be providing incentive to come out and play and, of course, work. That vibe of practical, purposeful, productive activity isn’t going away. It persists as our collective path moves to issues of service vs. sacrifice, signaled by the North Node of the Moon shifting into Virgo, just before Mars’ move, for the next 18 months.

We’ll be thinking and talking up a storm about what all this means, although not always with words. Mercury, the guy in charge of the yapping, scurries through three distinct communication modes this month. He’s still in the playbook of winning friends and influencing people, in the phrasing-conscious sign of Libra as the month starts.

Telepathy, inferences, subtext and undercurrents dominate from Nov. 2 – 20th, when he scuba dives through Scorpio. His underwater adventures will prompt meaningful conversation with the power to build intimacy even in the midst of mundane tasks. (Think: sharing your deepest self while scrubbing the tub and toilet.) They will also stir truths, secrets and baggage, both welcome and not so. Some will come to the surface; some you will try to keep down below — but don’t be surprised if they manage to churn the water with hints that they are present. All these impulses and possibilities take on tenacity and emotional intensity at the Scorpio New Moon, on Nov. 11th.

Thought and talk go from the deep to flying high from the 20th on, when Mercury travels through Sagittarius. Conversation turns lighter, optimistic, inclined to reach out (instead of within) for answers and information — ultimately.  Finding the humor in situations returns — ultimately. The first days could be slow-going, though. Watch for didactic, jingoistic, my-way-or-the-highway tendencies as Mercury finds his flight commandeered by Saturn, lord of structure, responsibility and the status quo. Saturn’s brakes on Mercury call for maturity, research and producing solid information, rather than pulling statements out of the …air, let’s call it. Jokes will turn serious, which they, in fact, often are. Fibs and fudging will be found out; consequences will be imposed. Speak and think wisely, even if playing the clown.

The effect is anything but a party atmosphere. It’s more like oral exams or thesis defense. Mercury and Saturn require taking responsibility for words, thoughts and beliefs — and point out if (or where) there is a disconnect. (That theme will mushroom in March, when Saturn and bigger-is-better Jupiter mix it up with Neptune’s fog machine.)

While Mercury and Saturn are putting limits on our communication streams — and our getting around, too; be on the lookout for road closures, traffic jams and other travel impediments (airline computer systems going down, perhaps?) (again?) — those action plans and alliances from the start of the month will be going into higher gear. Pressure will peak between the 20th and the 23rd, when relationships, money and our heart’s desires demand a place in the structures and foundations that are growing out of the upheaval of the past few years. We will have no choice but to move ahead with a vengeance.

During those days, a dynamic configuration called a t-square will be pitting Venus (ruler of the aforesaid relationships, money and heart’s desires) in her relationship home of Libra against Uranus, cosmic agent of volatile change, in impulsive, go-it-alone Aries, with each bearing down on Pluto, cosmic agent of unavoidable change, in structure and status-quo loving Capricorn. The upshot:  Resistance is futile. Evolution is inevitable. More liberation from decaying systems is coming. More breaking out of situations that do not allow being yourself is coming. More morphing of relationship structures is coming. More irresistible, magnetic, nutso-bordering-on-stalkerish “gotta have it” impulses are coming.No, not another round of death and destruction. Everything is purposeful and forwarding moving. It’s all part of the action plan, and part of the alliances, teams and partnerships working with us.

None of it is comfortable, and it will be hanging in the air as we round the bend to the first big year-end holiday tradition, Thanksgiving. This one is a tradition-breaker. A game changer. Or perhaps merely living proof that the tradition has already been broken; the game has already changed.

Still, it will be prudent to go into the holiday wise to what’s in the air. Ride into it knowing in your heart of hearts — in your very cells — that certain dynamics have to change. Heed the Mercury/Saturn insistence on constraining conversations. That pair’s impact will be most noticeable at the Gemini Full Moon on the 25th, the day before Thanksgiving. Throw out that childhood maxim, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”  They certainly could now. With that Mercury/Saturn link directly opposite the Full Moon, matters that might otherwise be entirely intellectual will mobilize emotions. Words — and the beliefs they reveal — could wallop. Words could make a heart black and blue. Words could have lasting ramifications. And everyone could be mishearing, misconstruing or misunderstanding, because of the Moon’s ruler Mercury pressing the button long and hard on Neptune’s fog machine.

Forewarned is forearmed. Thanksgiving week is simply going to feel and play out differently than other years, even the recent ones that already broke from old ways. This gives you some latitude to make up your own rules. Declare certain topics off-limits. (Politics, for starters.) Cut back your obligations, social calendar, guest list and even menus to only what is truly important to you. Return to the questions from earlier in the month:  Where do you want to go, and how do you get there? Use them to frame your activities, and watch the week simplify.

Don’t believe it? Have faith — in yourself — and just do it. By the end of the weekend, you stand to feel remarkably in control of yourself. And maybe, just maybe, your schedule as well. Not to mention your life.

Keep Astro-Insight going. Please contribute a cup of coffee, or maybe some Bon Ami? Make a donation via PayPal to (and replace “AT” with @). Thank you!

© Kathy Biehl 2015. All Rights Reserved. You may forward this article as long as the copyright notice is intact. No part may be used or reprinted without my prior written permission. Karma, ya know.

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Forecast for 2015 Libra New Moon

October 12-13, 2015
5:05 PM PDT / 8:05 PM EDT / 12:05 AM GMT
19 Libra 20

This year’s Libra New Moon hurries us further down the continuum of change. September’s Aries lunar eclipse closed a chapter in how we get along with each other. This New Moon starts the next chapter.

The emerging chapter has very different story lines and language from the previous. They reflect decisions, realizations and shifts each of us has been moving toward since at least the spring. Think of the lines you have drawn, the self-awareness you have developed, the switches that have flipped in various key connections. They are the baseline from which you are starting now.

Enforcing that baseline is the only option, thanks to the influences accompanying the New Moon. This Moon is charged with energies far more direct, abrupt and overtly self-oriented than the grace and refinement of Libra. Propulsive, catalytic, liberating, individuating, they are pressuring us to break outmoded patterns and hang on to that baseline. They come from a tough link to Uranus, which locks this Moon into the radical, individual end of the cosmic change imperative that has been restructuring our worlds inside and out. The chapter starting with this New Moon includes the challenge — and ultimately the ground rule — of being in a relationship yet remaining fully ourselves.

A new phase in communicating is part of this Moon as well. Messenger god Mercury is coming off a six-week retrograde tour of Libra, aka Relationship Central. His turnaround is happening right on top of the North Node, which represents destiny, the direction into which we are moving, and the collective (the experience of the collective as well as our relationship to it). Information is coming to light, messages are flying, conversations are happening and negotiations and agreements are taking place, all with far reaching impact. They are all setting the tone and the terms (and perhaps the cast of characters) for the next chapter.

They have the promise of being discerning, healthy and heart-centered — echoing the Uranian theme of being in relationship without being swallowed up by it. The Libra Moon’s ruler Venus, goddess of all we hold dear, is in improvement mode, which is escalating as she heads for a meeting with expansive, beneficent Jupiter. Desires and fortunate connections are building; so, however, are nitpicking and fault-finding.

Both ends of that spectrum open us to what we want. Make a point to focus on the positive end. Get comfortable with the idea of both asking for what you want and having it. Negotiation is a key component of the Libra Moon, and also the chapter that is launching under it.

Negotiation isn’t likely to be heavy-handed. Empathy, tolerance, creativity and pure love are in abundance, with Venus facing off miracle-making Neptune. He’s also keeper of the cosmic fog machine, so beware: fantasy, illusion and delusion are in abundance, too. So are limits and inner critics. Venus has hit a wall with Saturn, imposer of order and consequences. The impact calls for responsible action. Nothing is trifling now. Approach discussions with respect and seriousness. Especially in new relationships, you’re setting the patterns for how things will proceed. A line comes to mind from an embroidery sampler that hung in my teenage pediatrician’s office: “Choose only a date who would make a good mate.”

The gumption to go after what you want it is coming as well. Mars, Venus’ cosmic lover as well as ruler of our drive, is in pursuit of his beloved. He won’t catch up with her until early November. For now, he’s teaming with Uranus’ partner in the change imperative, Pluto, agent of unavoidable, deep-level transformation.Their collaboration has us working intensely on the revamped foundations, structures and situations.

As the Libra New Moon turns the page, we have the inspiration, tools and incentive to start writing. Word by word, line by line, paragraph by paragraph. This freedom of expression is one of the pay offs of what you’ve come through the past three years. Run with it.


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© Kathy Biehl 2015. All Rights Reserved. You may forward this article as long as the copyright notice is intact. No part may be used or reprinted without my prior written permission. Karma, ya know.

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Forecast for 2015 Aries Lunar Eclipse

2015 Aries Lunar Eclipse
September 27-28, 2015
7:50 PM PDT /10:50 PM  EDT / 2:50 AM GMT
4 Aries 40  / 4 Libra 40

That boom you hear? It’s the sound of doors, chapters and entire books slamming shut. A major cycle is ending and it’s not going quietly. The slams aren’t merely expressions of fiery emotion (though those are in the mix). They signal permanent closures, with no reversals, no do-overs and no take-backs.

With this month’s Aries Lunar Eclipse, we are nearing the end of the line in I-vs-You matters that have been churning since late 2013. Whether the flash point is a specific relationship, specific relationship dynamics or patterns, an agreement or the collective social contract (just look at the news lately), what’s igniting now grows out of a lengthy, often heated process that has forced fundamental changes in how we approach relating.

No doom and gloom, please! The eclipse’s location directly on the North Node in Libra — pointing to the future path in how we relate — marks it as a profound turning point for all of us, even if the eclipse touches nothing directly in our personal charts. This eclipse is a companion to the boundary-resetting mandate of the Virgo New Moon of September 12-13. The two together, against the rest of September’s complex energies, mark the gateway into new arrangements with the potential to be more healthy and personally appropriate. (On the collective level, well, we’re in for a long haul of grappling with what we want to be.)

We are ready. We have passed the point of putting up with, making allowances for, discussing, requesting, pleading or negotiating. We’ve even, many of us, moved past fearing what might happen if we speak up. The prospect of not speaking up and staying put is far scarier.

This Moon encourages and in fact requires action. One reason: it’s ruled by Mars, god of war and planet of push, who is brave and self-starting to the point of reckless impulsiveness. Too, the fact that the moon is full is fanning emotional sparks and flames to wildfire levels. The emotional energies roaring through us now — good, bad, anything but indifferent — are motivating to the point of being irresistible.

Adding to the excitement is the high-drama, impassioned, wildcard element of Venus, the ruler of all we value and desire (love, money, beauty, creativity) in a direct current with utterly unpredictable, paradigm-shattering Uranus. This team is delivering surprises and breakthroughs in perspective, opportunity and situations. Some are payoff from or a continuation of late August (around the 20th) when retrograde Venus and Uranus made the same connection.

The sparks flying off this pair scream: “Go, go, go!” Another influence says: “Not so fast.” Mars, the party host, is tangling with Saturn, lord of order and responsibility. Their clash operates as a governor, requiring slow and steady follow-throw on whatever the lightning strikes open. Our attitude shifts in an instant. Moving forward happens incrementally, perhaps even agonizingly so.

As it should be. Rolling out step by step is consistent with the serious, lasting implications of everything that shifts gear now. Even when our lives turn on a dime — when someone leaves, when you snap and boot someone out, when you say, “Enough is enough!” and draw a line in indelible ink, when a door slams shut that you didn’t realize existed, when a friend falls into your arms and you both gasp in realization  — the new conditions and situations will take some time settling in. Letting them develop encourages them to develop solidly and firmly. Many of them will be with us for years to come. Better that the foundations be good and deep, than that we jump on them with an impetuousness that crashes them.

Our emotional readiness for this shift certainly helps. So does our fully reaching a point of neither tolerating any further nor of turning back. The context of this eclipse explains this part of its nature. This weekend’s event is the fifth of six in the Aries/Libra eclipse cycle, which began in October 2013 and winds up next March. This cycle has brought back relationship themes from 1995-1997, the last time it was with us. In both the late 90s and the last three years, these themes involved a question of settling.

The last cycle saw people entering into relationships, marriages and agreements thinking they were the best they could do. (Survey your friends; it’s stunning how many marriages from those years no longer exist.) The cycle is playing out differently now. Very differently. That’s because the Aries/Libra eclipses have coincided with the relentless change imperative that has rocked and restructured the very foundations of our lives. These astrological influences have essentially double-teamed us in yanking us out of a lifetime of codependence, projecting all manner of expectation that other people may or may not be able to meet (or even recognize) and expecting other people to complete us.

One of the outgrowths of the cosmic change imperative has been to redirect our attention to our side of each relationship equation. The Aries eclipse especially fires up own end of the experience — acting for and out of our own interests.  It also sees the Sun standing right by Juno in Libra, embodying our new paradigm for committed partnerships (and, for some, the emergence of a committed partner.) We are evolving into standing side by side as mutually supportive companions, rather than leaning on and holding each other back. Keep that in mind as you experience and observe the endings and shifts coming off this eclipse. They will not only occur this weekend, or this month, but roll out into next spring.

If you’d like to watch the eclipse, head to Slooh for live feeds from observatories all over the world, starting at 8 PM on September 27.


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© Kathy Biehl 2015. All Rights Reserved. You may forward this article as long as the copyright notice is intact. No part may be used or reprinted without my prior written permission. Karma, ya know.

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Bursting into Flames: Following up on Astro-Politics: Trump’s on Fire

Turns out Donald Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric is pouring gasoline on fires of fear and discontent and inciting violence. Rolling Stone nails where this is heading in this report.

Pair his machine-gun, shooting from the hip pronouncements with dictatorish pronouncements, a recklessness disregard for what the office of the president actually has the power to do, and a huge swath of society looking for a scapegoat, and I’m seeing newsreels from 1930s Europe.

Read my original post predicting the effects of the Aug 14 Leo New Moon on Trump.

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© Kathy Biehl 2015. All Rights Reserved. You may forward this article as long as the copyright notice is intact. No part may be used or reprinted without my prior written permission. Karma, ya know.

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Following up on Astro-Politics: Trump’s on Fire

Last week I posted an analysis of Donald Trump’s chart predicting that fire was coming to a head for him at the Leo New Moon August 14.

“I’m still waiting,” I’m hearing. Yes, he has not spontaneously combusted. Yet.

A few things to note:

  1. A New Moon cycle affects 30 days. Something has been lit, even if we aren’t seeing it yet.
  2. The press reported, at the New Moon, that he’s been called for jury duty.
  3. I predicted clarity to come:  “Expect the ramifications to become ever clearer in September, when Venus and Saturn go direct and ultimately change signs. By November Saturn crosses Trump’s Lilith. I don’t normally pay attention to Lilith, but mention her now because as Adam’s first wife, she does represent the scorned, devalued woman. There will be consequences.”

Read the original post.

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© Kathy Biehl 2015. All Rights Reserved. You may forward this article as long as the copyright notice is intact. No part may be used or reprinted without my prior written permission. Karma, ya know.

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Forecast for August 17-21, 2015

And the thrills keep on coming! A wild ride’s in store for love and money, with unexpected twists, messages and realizations. After which the bartender announces that last call is coming. Not yet, but soon.

Learn more in the Astro-Insight podcast for August 17-21, 2015 (6:04 minutes).

Keep Astro-Insight going. Please contribute a cup of coffee, or maybe some sunscreen? Make a donation via PayPal to (and replace “AT” with @). Thank you!

© Kathy Biehl 2015. All Rights Reserved. You may forward this article as long as the copyright notice is intact. No part may be used or reprinted without my prior written permission. Karma, ya know.

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Astro-Politics: Trump’s on Fire

IMG_2Anyone noticed how rash, angry, outrageous and inescapable Donald Trump has been this summer? It’s been hard to miss, right? There’s an astrological reason for it. Actually, maybe five. And some of it is coming to a head, big time, at the Leo New Moon August 14.

First, the build-up:  (1) Radical, rebellious Uranus in shoot-first, aim-later Aries is in an open flow to Trump’s Sagittarius Moon. (View his birth chart at Astrodatabank.) That Moon placement is prone to foot in mouth disease by itself; with the Uranian contact any semblance of controls has shattered and a loose cannon has been unleashed, reckless, combative, unrepentant.  That’s been pumped up to extremes by Jupiter in Leo, traveling through Trump’s 12th house, the house of self-undoing and what I call “the back of the head,” the part of the self that is hidden to the conscious personality. The pumping up hit new heights at the end of June, when Jupiter trined Uranus. Since then Uranus has come within a degree of trining Trump’s Moon — think of that as going to the brink of the boiling point without quite reaching it. It’s making him a human Molotov cocktail, uncontrollable to the powers that be (cowering over in Pluto in status-quo Capricorn).

(2) Add to this the activity around Trump’s Leo ascendant. If the birth time at Astrodatabank is correct, Trump has 29 Leo rising, the very last degree of the sign of the king, right on top of Regulus, the fixed star of royalty. This translates into a showy personality and larger-than-life sense of self and entitlement. Two important transits have been whipping that up:  (a) a square from Saturn retrograding in Scorpio, all summer long, in Trump’s 4th house of home and security, which has been dredging up fears and beasties (one case in point: the immigration rhetoric) and (b) Venus retrograding in Leo, back into his 12th house of the unconscious and self-undoing, and squaring that Saturn in Scorpio (see, e.g.,  the inflammatory comments about women).

All this activity is going to escalate in the next two weeks. A fire storm is in store for Trump at the Leo New Moon on August 14, which will form a grand trine in fire with his Sag Moon and transiting Uranus. This is igniting within him and fueling public displays that may top any we have seen yet. Retrograde Venus is right next to the Sun and Moon, which adds to the mix issues of the subconscious, self-undoing, women, money and values. On Saturday the 15th, Venus and the Sun meet at the spot Jupiter occupied when he made his last exact trine to Uranus at the end of June, so expect something from that time to re-ignite. Between August 19 and 21, Venus contacts Uranus in two effortless ways (trine and parallel), which promises more fireworks, surprises and sudden changes.

Sounds like a formula for spontaneous human combustion. Or self-immolation.

Expect the ramifications to become ever clearer in September, when Venus and Saturn go direct and ultimately change signs. By November Saturn crosses Trump’s Lilith. I don’t normally pay attention to Lilith, but mention her now because as Adam’s first wife, she does represent the scorned, devalued woman. There will be consequences.

Keep Astro-Insight going. Please contribute a cup of coffee, or maybe some sunscreen? Make a donation via PayPal to (and replace “AT” with @). Thank you!

© Kathy Biehl 2015. All Rights Reserved. You may forward this article as long as the copyright notice is intact. No part may be used or reprinted without my prior written permission. Karma, ya know.

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The Sea Is Calling: Forecast for Feb. 6-12, 2012

Gear shift! Did you sense it? We are definitely, irrevocably in a new phase, with absolutely no going back.

A mist is lifting and revealing what’s left from all the dreams that came to ground last month. Some vaporized into little wisps that are floating aimlessly in the air. Others blossomed into solid, forms that are still filling out and in. Some of the developments I’ve seen (and experienced) unfolding are so dazzlingly heaven-sent that you could pinch yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming — if only you had time.

The two forces that brought all that into being have moved into opposite directions. Neptune has left the final degree of Aquarius, for our lifetimes, and floated into Pisces last Friday. Tuesday, Saturn is stationing to backtrack through LIbra until the middle of June. The second influence will be testing relationship dynamics (as well as the individual platforms we’ve been building since 1983) through October. We’ll get to go back over some of the dreams that have materialized and put them into more durable, supportable forms. The first influence, on the other hand, is with us for the next 14 years.

I wrote at length in last week’s forecast about the boundary-dissolving impact that Neptune’s time in Pisces is bringing. We are all creatures in vast sea of life, and how we coexist is up for a new way of being. Don’t you already feel a softening, an unmooring, a gentleness that was not previously present? If you’ve been incredibly spacey since Friday, this is why.

We may not understand what’s unfolding for some time. Neptune does have a knack for obscuring the true nature of what lies beneath surfaces. Plus he’s hovering just off the shore for the next year or two, which will ease us into this journey, much as the heat sneaks up on a lobster in the pot.

Hard as it is to grasp the mists, fogs, glamour and illusion that Neptune generates, I can say one thing with certainty: The first leg of the journey holds the potential for enormous healing — blurring walls between people(s), replacing isolationism with mutual caring, soothing long-standing wounds and, above all, awakening a compassion, forgiveness and love of the self that permeates all of our interactions.

Use that as your guideline this week. In your quiet moments (if you can find them — isn’t the pace of life a tornado of preparatory steps — and then waiting for results, while another tornado whips up?) look over the last 14 years and acknowledge to yourself how you’ve emerged. Maybe not triumphantly and victoriously using other people’s measurements, but they don’t apply. View this last phase of your life through the eyes of compassion. Now how do they look?

It’s appropriate for Neptune’s first days in Pisces that the skies this week are generating lots of activity in the dreamtime he rules. Noting your dream fragments is one way of working with this. You can also harness this connection by asking, just before you go to sleep, for a dream that answers a question or explains a situation. Be sure to specify that the dream use imagery that you can understand and also set the intention that you will remember the dream. Another approach is to ask to be led to the answer or into the most beneficial direction. I’ve been using this tact a lot lately. If you give it a whirl, you request that the information come through so loudly that you can not miss it. You will be surprised, happily. (Feel free to send testimonials!)

Two fiery, energy-amping events will inject oomph and excitement into the week’s dreaminess. Tuesday’s Leo Full Moon occurs right after Saturn stations retrograde. What we see and experience of our personal light and expressiveness is not a flash in the pan, but a spark-kindling with prolonged staying power. Read more in my moon forecast.

On Wednesday, Venus, the ruler of our hearts and all we value, moves into Aries. That’s the home of her counterpart Mars, the god of war and action, who is currently retreating through Virgo. While he’s busy reviewing and reworking actions of the past few weeks, she’s taking over leading the charge.

Aries is not the most natural and comfortable place for her, but she — and we — can have fun with the energy. She’s in huntress mode here, not waiting for anyone to do her bidding but leaping after what she wants, whenever the urge ignites. Her prey could be anything, given the flames being stoked in her. On Thursday she makes a super-conjunction (by degree and by declination) to unpredictable, destabilizing, instigating, liberating Uranus. The pre-Valentine’s boldness this unleashes will be breathtaking. “I can’t believe I just did that” will be as prevalent as “I can’t believe that just happened.” Adventure awaits!

For the day by day forecasts, read my extended weekly forecast.

Don’t forget: I also have a weekly podcast.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Forecast for Dec. 19-25, 2011

Please visit my Holiday Shop for gifts of insight (and a fun online game)!

And we’re off! Well, almost. By the end of the weekend we’ll be off. In the meantime, there’s plenty to do, prepare and learn before the skies blast us forward. Not to mention all these holidays to celebrate.

Although … “celebrate” feels like a stretch, doesn’t it? “Honor” or “acknowledge” are more fitting for what most of us are doing. This week’s holidays aren’t so much festive as they are focused.

The sky is encouraging a back-to-basics, stripped-down experience. A significant lack of money, health or other resources is pushing some people into this approach. Others are simply responding to a vibe in the air. (How many people have you heard mention that they’re having trouble getting into the holiday spirit?)

Whatever we may consciously think is the reason, there’s little room for nostalgia, extravagance or excess (except in holiday light displays, which are more widespread and lavish than usual in my state — which I’ve historically observed to be a pushback against bleakness). With Venus and Saturn in each other’s signs, the atmosphere is calculated and emotionally restrained, even cold, with abundant awareness of cost and a desire to invest time or money only in lasting value or meaning.

That’s why you’re cutting back your gift list. Spending less on the people who remain, or passing up trinkets (who needs more clutter, anyway?) for items that are practical or personally meaningful. Going to fewer parties. Not watching holiday movies you’ve seen dozens of times to the end. And being naturally, unapologetically selective about who you choose to spend time with, especially on the actual day of whichever holiday(s) you observe.

Notice the makeup and playing out of holiday gatherings this week. The plans we’ve been making already show an astrological streamlining influence, and that’s only going to strengthen as the week progresses. We’re no longer inclined to go along with something just because we always have or someone expects it. With rebellious Uranus direct at the impulsive, combustive first degree of the zodiac, we’re drawing lines, punching out walls and breaking free.

Guest and gift lists are feeling this imperative, too. They’re in for down-to-the-wire changes because of the massive rearranging going on in connections, as we assimilate and implement the revelations and realizations that have been popping since the lunar eclipse of the 10th. We’ve recently revised or replaced some core beliefs about life and especially about our selves. This change-out is triggering abrupt breaks in relationships that can not see or can not live with our new guidelines. When we encounter a person or situation that invalidates us or treats us consistently with an old way of thinking, the reaction is instantaneous and permanent — as if a switch has flipped and broken off in such a way that it can’t be repaired.

So odds are high you haven’t been (and will continue not to be) arguing with yourself, as you might have in the past, when you’re come up against an invitation or suggestion or expectation that doesn’t match your desires. Odds are you’ve been neatly and cleanly following your wishes. If, however, you do happen to feel pressure or obligation to do something you really don’t want to, know that the skies are inviting and encouraging you to say no. You don’t have to give an explanation, either. Really. You don’t owe that to anyone, and besides, no one really has time to spare to listen to one, anyway.

All this lays the groundwork for the lovely, rewarding and meaningful experiences the week promises. When you’re consciously choosing actions, gatherings and companions based on what you want or value, unpleasant undercurrents tend not to come along (resentment, frustration, baggage). You have every possibility of actually enjoying what you’ve chosen. I saw a tableaux in a play last week that encapsulates this: the Cratchit family sitting at table, holding hands and delighting in each other’s presence. That scene is so often maudlin. This one was not. It conveyed honest and blazing love, the only source of warmth, solace and nourishment in the stripped-downed, minimalist staging of The New Jersey Shakespeare Theatre’s production of A Christmas Carol. Look for your personal version of this on Sunday and beyond. The outside world may be cold and dark, but inside, you have raw and heart-felt warmth in your corner.

Before then, a welcome emotional detachment comes into the picture when Venus moves into Aquarius on Tuesday (yes! you can unhook from family dramas!) and gives us all a dose of the friendship-as-religion that sign perpetuates. Reach out to your chosen family, and don’t be surprised if you find time in your schedule for them as the year rolls out.

Thursday is the winter solstice, when the Sun moves into Capricorn and we experience the shortest day of the year. We may be feeling the absence of the light more and longer than usual, since the Sun is gliding into a New Moon that’ll be watched over by Pluto. The New Moon falls on Christmas Eve, which is likely to be streamlined and scaled back like never before. Personal, long-term security is at the forefront of everyone’s thinking. We’re getting another dose of clarity about our personal bottom line and stripping our priorities to the bone once again — making our list and trimming it twice, as it were. (Read more in my moon forecast, which will be posted by Friday.)

On Sunday, Christmas Day, the light begins to build noticeably, within and without. Jupiter goes direct, at the first degree of the first earth sign. That simple shift lifts the sensation of futility and kindles hope, optimism and joy. We can feel the progress that will build incrementally into the spring equinox. For now, the holding pattern is over. The rocket ship is taking off. For the next four weeks, not a single planet will be retrograde. Everything is direct. It’s all systems go.

Read my day by day forecasts in the extended version of this week’s forecast.

For another take on this week’s events, listen to my six-minute podcast. If you like it, please give it five stars on iTunes! (Don’t want to use iTunes? Visit the Podcast/Video page at my site,

It’s Heeeeeeeere! Uranus at 0 Aries

BLAST OFF! Uranus has moved off the last degree of Pisces and into Aries at last. The cosmic awakener and wild card has changed mode of expression, going from the boundary-less interconnectedness of all being to absolute individuation.

In the hours before this extreme shift, astrological metaphor turned into horrible physical reality: the monstrous earthquake in Japan and nearly a dozen powerful other ones, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions throughout the Pacific. The environmental devastation was a Uranian message for the memory books: In the face of nature, geopolitical borders are irrelevant. We are all inhabitants of one fragile planet, and what happens in one part of it sends actual shockwaves into the other parts.

While the world is reeling from the convulsions of land and sea, Uranus has moved his electrifying, revolutionizing influences to the beginning of the zodiac. Spring doesn’t officially start till Sunday, March 20 — but with the level of energy that Uranus is unleashing, the calendar is a technicality.

Uranus is channeling the most raw, primal and explosive degree of life force. Unpredictability meets fast-acting impulses. Like a flame spreading from match to kindling to logs. Or a string of fire crackers detonating. Or one volcano erupting and the force setting off another, then another, then another. Or uprisings in one city inspiring revolts across state lines, across national borders, across continents and oceans.

Everyone’s feeling the urges — the power surges — and everyone’s ready to GET GOING ALREADY!

Pisces are blissfully free of nervous anxiety, now that the live wire has been taken out of the bathtub of their life. (Underestimate Fish at your own risk; though; they’ve got backbone these days, not to mention firepower.) Aquarians are breathing easily, too, hope-hope-hoping that the financial roller coaster has really entered the station and let them disembark. Capricorns have calmed down in general, stopped worrying so much about their siblings and started to stir it up at home.

Sagittarius has lost the drive to rearrange the furniture and declared a truce with the family. He’s cracking jokes again and — what’s this? — feeling long-slumbering sensations of attraction coming back. Scorpio has loosened up about kids and creativity and, heaven forbid, enjoying life, and suddenly has sooooo much more energy at his disposal. Libra has stopped rewriting his job description and routine every few months, put aside all those experiments and about-faces on food and exercise and habits, and is feeling the urge to have a real face-to-face relationship, instead of just singing show tunes about it.

Virgo is settling down on the relationship issue and ready to take big risks in intimacy. Leo has stabilized his investments of time, money and emotions and given up on trusting the wrong people. And, oh, the places he wants to visit now… Cancer has attained — well, not quite nirvana, but a more enlightened understanding of how the world works — and is ready to kick career butt.

Gemini’s career path, on the other hand, is no longer such a maze of rabbit trails (but oh, the adventure that’s coming with revisions in that bucket list). Taurus, never big on change in the first place, has weathered more than enough disruption in friendships, group memberships and dreams for one lifetime, thank you very much. So why is it he feels so good right now? Happy. Energized. Motivated. Optimistic.

And Aries? Stay out of Aries’ way. His battery’s been recharged, and it’s long-life. Aries is hollering “Yeeeeeehaw!” and hitting the gas on its vehicle of choice (Ferrari? steamroller?)

Thus begins the next seven years … and the next 84 for humanity.

Here’s one theme song for Uranus’ stay in Aries: Freedom Calling by Phil Ochs. We’ll be singing this louder and louder as Uranus and Pluto, the two cosmic change agents, square off seven times from 2012-2015. For now, enjoy the freedom of movement. Exhilarating, isn’t it?