July 2010, STARS OVER WOLLUMBIN, OUR SOUTHERN SKIES

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July, the month to observe five members of our Solar Family

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~ Jupiter at dawn in the eastern sky ~

~ Mercury re-emerges as Evening Star in mid-July,

moving toward maximum elongation (and visibility) in early August ~

~ Venus in the western evening sky, for a couple of hours after sunset ~

~ Mars and Saturn in the North-West at dusk and until the early part of the night ~

~ With a pair of good binoculars we could even spot far away

Uranus, close to Jupiter in the eastern sky before sunrise ~

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MERCURY reached its Superior Conjunction with the Sun on June 28,and will re-emerge as an Evening Star in mid July, about thirty minutes after sunset. Southern observers are favoured this month, but to find Mercury  you will also need an unobstructed horizon, and perhaps a pair of good binoculars. Due to his low altitude and constant closeness to the horizon Mercury appears yellow reddish in colour, as the Sun when on the horizon. Mercury also tends to blink more than other planets, so that he can be easily taken for a star. Between July 12 and 14 the waxing Crescent Moon and Venus will appear close to Mercury in the evening sky, toward North-West, an opportunity to spot this elusive planet in the twilight of the day. On July 26 and 27 Mercury will be seen very close to Regulus, the alpha star of Leo constellation (find snapshots in the July Calendar of Observable Events, below).

Mercury will reach its maximum elongation (time of greatest visibility) on August 7, 2010.

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Our Sister Planet will remain the beautiful Evening Star until October 2010. In July VENUS will set after 8 pm, three hours after the winter Sun (in Southern Latitudes).

With a magnitude of -4.1, Venus is still the brightest planet, easily observed looking toward the west in the evening.  Finding Venus can also help us to spot other members of our solar family, as well as constellations and stars.

As evening deepens and Venus appears, the stars Castor and Pollux of Constellation Gemini will be setting low on the horizon. In line, up from brilliant Venus, is the alpha star of Leo, Regulus (that Venus will conjunct on 10/11 July), then reddish Mars, followed by golden Saturn and finally by Spica, the brightest star of Virgo Constellation. After the 11 July New Moon the waxing Moon will join the spectacle for about a week, becoming conjunct Venus on the 15, Mars and Saturn between the 16 and 17, and Spica on the 18 (find snapshots in the July Calendar of Observable Events, below)

The Evening Star’s incarnation of Venus represents a collective opportunity to become more self-reflective, acknowledging our contribution to any relationship issues we may be experiencing. The Goddess of Love is looking deeper into our hearts and show us the way to a less self-centred and more aware kind of loving.

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MARS‘ light still diminishes this month, from magnitude +1.4 to + 1.5.

You can spot Mars in the evening in the North-West, relatively low above the horizon,  reddish in colour, rising in daylight and setting  around 9, 9.30 pm, depending on your view. It will be easily spotted on July 16 when it will be close to the waxing Moon (find snapshots in the July Calendar of Observable Events, below).

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JUPITER, after emerging from the glare of the Sun in March, is now a very bright star in the East (magnitude – 2.6), rising just before midnight at the start of July and around 10 pm at the end of the month.

Jupiter will become brighter and brighter as the year advances, reaching its greatest brilliance in its whole 11.8 years cycle just in time for the Libra Equinox 2010 (September 21). This is due to the fact the giant planet will reach its perihelion, closest position in relation to the Sun, in March 2011.

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There is a companion to Jupiter in the pre-dawn sky, though invisible, so you will need a good pair of binoculars to spot it, 0.4 degrees above Jupiter. It is giant Uranus, spinning at right angle to everyone else, a bluish/green star-like object. Jupiter is -2.6 magnitude and Uranus at +5.8, dim but still the brightest object in the vicinity of Jupiter.

Jupiter and Uranus are conjunct for the first time in nearly 14 years on June 9, and they are nearly as bright as they can be, their opposition from the Sun getting closer. It will be exact on September 22, just as the Sun prepares to enter Tropical Libra (Spring-Autumn Equinox), opposing them only five hours apart from each other. Jupiter and Uranus meet cyclically (synodic cycle) every 13.7 years. This time they are playing a prolonged duet, though, meeting twice in 2010 (June 9 and September 22) and a third time on January 2, 2011. This is a rarer opportunity for the energies of these planets to blend for a sustained period, so exerting a greater overall influence over the affairs of the whole year. The last time Jupiter and Uranus met three times was in 1983, 27 years ago.

Animation of the triple conjunction of Jupiter-Uranus in 2010/11, from Martin J.Powell astronomical site, can be found HERE.

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Rising in the East around 11 am Saturn will set around 11 pm at the beginning of July, while, at the end of the month, it will rise around 9 am and set around 9 pm.

The ringed planet is now transiting between the Constellations of Leo and Virgo. It will shine at + 1.1 magnitude during the month. Like Mars, Saturn also is becoming dimmer this month, around  +1 magnitude, moving away from the Earth at an angle that will cause its rings to become thinner, reflecting less sunlight.

Mars will be conjunct Saturn on July 31 and in early August Venus will also join them in the evening sky (find snapshots in the July Calendar of Observable Events, below).

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For an in-depth reading of the major transits of Saturn and others, for the present and near future, please visit 2010 Forecast page.

JULY CALENDAR OF OBSERVABLE EVENTS

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Information and pictures to make you better acquainted with your southern night sky

The different lighting of some of the pictures is due to the time the snapshots of the Planetarium were taken.

THANKS TO STELLARIUM

JULY 4-5: the Moon can be observed very close to Jupiter (and invisible Uranus) between the Constellations of  Cetus (the Whale), Pegasus (the Winged Horse) and the Southern Fish of Pisces. The snapshot was taken on July 4, looking toward the East, around 1.30 am. The couple will remain visible well into daylight.

On JULY 5 the Moon will still be fairly close to Jupiter and her distance from him will tell you something about her daily motion and West-East direction.

Click to enlarge

JULY 8: The Waning Balsamic Moon (around 45 degrees behind the Sun) can be observed close to the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters.

The Moon’s brightness may absorb the light of the fainter stars in the cluster, but the brightest should remain visible and clear, especially through binoculars.

At this phase the Moon will hopefully show the so-called Earthshine, a phantom image of the past or future (?) Full Moon.

This sky scape was taken early in the morning, around 5.30, looking toward the North-East.


JULY 10/11: these nights we can observe bright Venus conjunct the alpha star of  Leo Constellation, Regulus. The sky scape below was taken on July 9, around 6.30 pm, looking toward the North-West.


JULY 13: the tiny Crescent Moon is conjunct Mercury in the dusk twilight, and in line with them, looking up, are Venus, and appearing as it gets darker, also Mars and Saturn.

The snapshot of this event was taken looking North-West, around 5.30 pm.

JULY 15: the waxing Crescent Moon can be observed close to Venus and moving toward Mars, Saturn and Spica, around 6.30 pm, looking toward the North-West.


JULY 16: The waxing Moon will be visibly conjunct Mars and Saturn on July 16. The sky scape below was taken on the 16, around 6.30 pm, looking toward the North-West.


JULY 18: Tonight we can observe the First Quarter Moon conjunct Spica, the alpha star of Constellation Virgo.

This snapshot was taken at around 6.30 pm, looking toward the North-West.

JULY 21: the waxing Moon can be seen very close to Antares, the brilliant alpha star of Scorpio Constellation. The conjunction will become visible as the sky darkens.

The snapshot below was taken around 6 pm, looking toward the east.


JULY 27: Mercury, very low on the western horizon, is perfectly conjunct the alpha star of constellation Leo, Regulus. Above, much brighter than Mercury, Venus, Mars and Saturn are getting closer to each other (they will be at their closest, as a group, on August 7).

This snapshot was taken at about 6.30 pm, looking West, with a very low horizon, like that of a boat in the middle of the ocean.

Click to enlarge

JULY 31: Soon after entering the tropical Sign of Libra Mars will conjunct Saturn. Venus is close by, due to become conjunct Saturn on August 9 and Mars on August 21.

The three can be seen against the backdrop of Virgo Constellation. This snapshot was taken at around 6.15 pm, looking toward the North-West.

For more snapshots of observable astronomical events in 2010, please CLICK HERE.

All the Sky Snapshots have been generated using Stellarium, a wonderful Planetarium freeware software.

Information for the Sky Events has been gathered from these web sites:

http://stargazing.suite101.com/article.cfm/night-sky-observing-guide-for-june-2010

http://home.mira.net/~reynella/skywatch/ssky.htm#update

http://astroblogger.blogspot.com/

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/mjpowell/Astro/Naked-Eye-Planets/Naked-Eye-Planets.htm#PlanetList

http://stargazing.suite101.com/article.cfm/night-sky-observing-guide-for-june-2010

http://home.mira.net/~reynella/skywatch/ssky.htm#update

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June, the month to observe six members of our Solar Family

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~ Jupiter at dawn in the eastern sky ~ Mercury, just emerged from darkness, low on the eastern horizon, below bright Jupiter ~ Venus in the western evening sky, for a couple of hours after sunset ~ Mars and Saturn in the North-West at dusk and through the night ~ With a pair of good binoculars we could even spot far away Uranus close to Jupiter in the eastern sky before sunrise ~

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MERCURY has re-appeared as a Morning Star, very faintly at first, at the end of May. It will remain visible until mid-June, but very low in the eastern horizon in the pre-dawn sky, below much brighter and more elevated Jupiter, reaching its Superior Conjunction with the Sun on June 28.

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VENUS will trace her bright course between the Twin Stars Castor and Pollux (alpha and beta of Gemini constellation) until mid-June, setting with the Beehive Cluster in constellation Cancer by June 19 (find snapshots in the June Calendar of Observable Events, below).

Our Sister Planet will remain the beautiful Evening Star until October 2010. In June it will remain around magnitude -3.9 (its maximum being -4), and also spend more time in the night sky, setting at 8 pm, three hours after the winter Sun (in Southern Latitudes), by the end of June.

The Evening Star’s incarnation of Venus represents a collective opportunity to become more self-reflective, acknowledging our contribution to any relationship issues we may be experiencing. The Goddess of Love is looking deeper into our hearts and show us the way to a less self-centred and more aware kind of loving, (see also Venus in Cancer  post).

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MARS‘ light keeps diminishing this month. You can spot Mars in the evening in the North-West, relatively low above the horizon,  reddish in colour, rising in daylight and setting  just before midnight in mid-June. It will be easily spotted on June 6/7 when it will conjunct Regulus, alpha Star of Leo, and, again, on June 16/17 when it will be close to the Waxing Crescent Moon (find snapshots in the June Calendar of Observable Events, below).

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JUPITER, after emerging from the glare of the Sun in March, is now a very bright star, rising at midnight and very conspicuous in the east until sunrise, with the backdrop of the Pisces constellation. By the end of June Jupiter will rise at midnight. Jupiter will become brighter and brighter as the year advances, reaching its greatest brilliance in its whole 11.8 years cycle just in time for the Libra Equinox 2010 (September 21). This is due to the fact the giant planet will reach its perihelion, closest position in relation to the Sun, in March 2011.

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There is a companion to Jupiter in the pre-dawn sky, though invisible, so you will need a good pair of binoculars to spot it, 0.4 degrees above Jupiter. It is giant Uranus, spinning at right angle to everyone else, a bluish/green star-like object. Jupiter is -2.4 magnitude and Uranus at 5.8, dim but still the brightest object in the vicinity of Jupiter.

Jupiter and Uranus are conjunct for the first time in nearly 14 years on June 9, and they are nearly as bright as they can be, their opposition from the Sun getting closer. It will be exact on September 22, just as the Sun prepares to enter Tropical Libra (Spring-Autumn Equinox), opposing them only five hours apart from each other. Jupiter and Uranus meet cyclically (synodic cycle) every 13.7 years. This time they are playing a prolonged duet, though, meeting twice in 2010 (June 9 and September 22) and a third time on January 2, 2011. This is a rarer opportunity for the energies of these planets to blend for a sustained period, so exerting a greater overall influence over the affairs of the whole year. The last time Jupiter and Uranus met three times was in 1983, 27 years ago.

Animation of the triple conjunction of Jupiter-Uranus in 2010/11, from Martin J.Powell astronomical site, can be found HERE.

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By the end of June Saturn will rise around midday and set around midnight. Saturn emanates a yellowish light, easily spotted between Regulus of constellation Leo and Spica of constellation Virgo, not far from Mars. Like Mars, Saturn also is becoming dimmer this month, around  +1 magnitude, moving away from the Earth at an angle that will cause its rings to become thinner, reflecting less sunlight.

The Moon will be conjunct Saturn on June 18 (find snapshots in the June Calendar of Observable Events, below).

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Full Moon in Capricorn, Lunar Eclipse, June26

A Partial Eclipse of the Full Moon is due on June 26. It will happen in the Tropical Sign of  Capricorn, with the Sun in the opposite Sign of Cancer. I re-post here the article I wrote concerning this Eclipse in the 2010 Forecast post (June to September):

Click to enlarge

The Eclipses, once again, accompany the change of season, a significant fact that will make their influence more marked and also longer lasting.

The Capricorn Lunar Eclipse is Partial, visible after sunset from Australasia, and before sunrise in western South and North America.

The Moon, central to the whole interpretation, is transiting in close proximity to Pluto in Capricorn, separated from the position of this planet, as projected on the ecliptic, by a mere 0 degrees and 41 minutes of longitude. The Sun then is of course exactly 180 degrees away from the Moon and also Pluto. Even by itself this configuration would heighten the intensity of the ecliptic Moon, but there is much more. Mercury is in Cancer with the Sun on the day, while Jupiter and Uranus, still conjunct in Aries, are 90 degrees away from both Sun and Moon; while Saturn in Virgo, opposite to them, is also in a wide 90 degrees angle to Sun and Moon. This configuration is known as a Grand Cross, usually connecting four celestial bodies, but, in this case, linking instead seven: Sun, Moon, Pluto, Mercury, Jupiter, Uranus and Saturn.

Grand Crosses are tough, tight knots, forcing planets to work together, especially problematic if difficult planets are involved, as here are Saturn, Uranus and Pluto, heavy weights of the Zodiac. This Eclipse seems to draw attention and energize the knotty transits coming into activity during this season, the squares and opposition of Saturn to Pluto and Jupiter-Uranus respectively; more about these specific transits later. Some intensely emotional events can be the result of such a configuration corresponding with the time of an eclipse, because the combined forces of Jupiter and Uranus in Aries will create a fierce opposition to the might of Saturn in Libra and Pluto in Capricorn, also challenging each other: a time of quickening, a protracted labour inducing the birth of the New (a forceps birth rather than a gentle water birth). Unavoidably astrologers would notice the similarity between this event and the last lunar eclipse of 2009 (or first eclipse of 2010, depending where you were at the time), the one that preceded the Haiti and Chile’s disasters. The Sun and Moon were then placed in the Sign each other occupies in the June eclipse, on opposite hemispheres. The Sun was separating from a conjunction to Pluto and both Sun and Moon were widely square Saturn in Libra. But there is a great difference too.

All Eclipses are grouped under one specific number, known as their Saros number. A Saros group begins with a particular eclipse; other eclipses follow, at an interval of 18 years approximately, all falling around the same degree of longitude.

So, for instance, the Lunar Eclipse of June 26 2010 belongs to the Saros number 120. This group of Lunar Eclipses began with one that took place on October 5, 982 AD, close to the beginning of the last Millennium. The Eclipse that began a series is said to give its colour, tone and vibration to the lot of them. Therefore it is very important to study the first Eclipse of a Saros series to get a feel of what we are dealing with. This first eclipse of the series shows a highly charged Horoscope, but also one with many redeeming factors. The Saros number of the December eclipse instead began with an extremely difficult eclipse in 1000 AD, showing more clearly the potential destructive nature of all the following eclipses of the same number.

For an in-depth reading of the major transits of Saturn and others, for the present and near future, please visit 2010 Forecast page.

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JUNE CALENDAR OF OBSERVABLE EVENTS

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Information and pictures to make you better acquainted with your southern night sky

The different lighting of some of the pictures is due to the time the snapshots of the Planetarium were taken.

THANKS TO STELLARIUM

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JUNE 6: the Waning Moon, just past the Last Quarter Phase, will join Jupiter and invisible Uranus in the pre-dawn sky. The snapshot of this event was taken looking East, just before 6 am.

JUNE 6 and 7: Mars is today and tomorrow very close to the Star Regulus, the little King in the constellation Leo. This is a great colour contrast, with red Mars and white-blue Regulus.

The snapshot of this event was taken looking toward the North, at around 7 pm. In ancient times this conjunction would spell the violent or sudden  death of a king or ruler.

Click to enlarge

JUNE 7: Venus is setting very close to Castor, one of the Gemini Twin Stars. While Mars is s still very close to Regulus, the Little King Star (alpha of Leo constellation). A great time to observe Gemini and Leo Stars.

Below is a snapshot of this event, looking toward the West around 6 pm.

JUNE 15: Venus has now moved higher than Castor and Pollux, the Twin Stars, but the tiny Crescent Moon is joyning her in a beautiful display. Here is a snapshot of this event, looking toward the North-West, just before 6 pm.


JUNE 17: the Moon will become conjunct Mars and Regulus tonight. This snapshot was taken looking toward the North-West, just before 7 pm.


JUNE 18-19: the Moon will be close to the conjunction with Saturn over these two days, against the backdrop of the Virgo constellation. This snapshot was taken on June 19 around 10 pm.


JUNE 20: Venus can be seen setting in the Beehive Nebula of constellation Cancer. Here is a snapshot of this event, taken looking toward the West, around 6 pm.


JUNE 20: the Moon is just 04 degrees far from Spica, the Ear of Corn Star in the hand of the Virgin constellation.

Here is a snapshot of the event, taken looking toward the West, around 7 pm.


JUNE 24: the Moon can be oberved very close to the alpha Star of Scorpio, Antares. The snapshot was taken, looking toward the North-West, just before 8 pm.


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All the Sky Snapshots have been generated using Stellarium, a wonderful Planetarium freeware software.

Information for the Sky Events has been gathered from these web sites:

http://stargazing.suite101.com/article.cfm/night-sky-observing-guide-for-june-2010

http://home.mira.net/~reynella/skywatch/ssky.htm#update

http://astroblogger.blogspot.com/

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JUNE 15: Venus has

The Waxing Moon transits Sagittarius from Sunday, July 22, to Wednesday, July 25, during the Sagittarius Gibbous Moon Phase

Lady ArcherSAGITTARIUS, Moon of the questing spirit and prophecy
Adventurous, independent

The WAXING MOON TRANSITS SAGITTARIUS from Sunday, July 22, 8.12 pm,
to Wednesday, July 25, 7.48 am, with the ingress into CAPRICORN

Suitable energy for traveling, exploring, radiating optimism, engaging in philosophical discussions, speculations, risk taking, gambling, adventures, trekking, camping out, wild life, search for God or Guru. Purchase of travel tickets, camping gear, cars, bikes, horses, dogs, raffle and lottery tickets. Action motivated by the desire to explore behind the personal sphere. Friendly display of feelings, gregarious and warm, but extremely independent and often unreliable. Beware of self inflation, preaching, boasting, being fanatical, overbearing, self righteous, impatient, uncompromising.

*** In the garden Sagittarius, like all Fire Signs, is traditionally considered too hot, dry and barren for growing anything, with the exception of Fruit Trees. Its energy is suitable for cultivating, general maintenance, pruning, pest control, weeding, and harvesting. A day with your favourite pet could prove rewarding, and so will be a night under the stars.

*** Healing Herbs: Dandelion, Garlic, Horsetail, Onions.

A note: the garden activities associated with the Moon Sign depend also on the cycle the Moon is in. The Moon transiting through a fertile or productive Sign will no be so favorable if the Phase is not a productive one, and vice-versa. For best results the Sign and Phase of the Moon have to be considered together.

Gibbous Moon Gibbous to Full fast

The SAGITTARIUS GIBBOUS MOON PHASE starts on Tuesday, July 24, 3.22 am,
and ends on July 28, 6.20 am, with the AQUARIUS FULL MOON PHASE,
also a TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE (04°44′), the longest lasting for the whole 21st century!

The Moon is waxing, 135 degrees ahead of the Sun, only 45 degrees or three and half days to the Full Moon. The Moon shows a strange shape now, like a rugby ball. Our goals are becoming more clear and we can power ahead, not too concerned about possible obstacles on our path. The power of attraction of the Full Moon proves irresistible.

*** In the garden as in life there should be plenty of activities and a sense of urgency, least one should waste the great energy available at the moment. When the Moon transits a very fertile Sign like Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces, or a productive Sign like Taurus, Libra and Capricorn in this phase practically every plant and seed can go into the garden successfully. This is the middle of the second waxing week. Ideally, after sowing or planting leafy vegetables in the first week, we should be busy putting in those plants we grow for their fruit or seedpods (tomatoes, beans, etc.).

The Waxing Moon transits Sagittarius from July 5 to 7, during the Gibbous Phase

Greek Bronze Horse - replica

Greek Bronze Horse – replica

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SAGITTARIUS, Moon of the questing spirit and prophecy
Adventurous, independent

From July 3, 2.59 am, to July 5, 3.07 pm

Suitable energy for traveling, exploring, radiating optimism, engaging in philosophical discussions, speculations, risk taking, gambling, adventures, trekking, camping out, wild life, search for God or Guru. Purchase of travel tickets, camping gear, cars, bikes, horses, dogs, raffle and lottery tickets. Action motivated by the desire to explore behind the personal sphere. Friendly display of feelings, gregarious and warm, but extremely independent and often unreliable. Beware of self inflation, preaching, boasting, being fanatical, overbearing, self righteous, impatient, uncompromising.

♣ ♣ ♣ In the garden Sagittarius, like all Fire Signs, is traditionally considered too hot, dry and barren for growing anything, with the exception of Fruit Trees. Its energy is suitable for cultivating, general maintenance, pruning, pest control, weeding, and harvesting. A day with your favorite pet could prove rewarding, and so will be a night under the stars.

♥ ♥ ♥ Healing Herbs: Dandelion, Garlic, Horsetail, Onions.

A note: the garden activities associated with the Moon Sign depend also on the cycle the Moon is in. The Moon transiting through a fertile or productive Sign will no be so favorable if the Phase is not a productive one, and vice-versa. For best results the Sign and Phase of the Moon have to be considered together.

Gibbous to Full Moon animationGibbous Moon

The SCORPIO GIBBOUS MOON PHASE begins on July 5, 11.34 am, and ends on July  9, 2.06 pm,
with the CAPRICORN FULL MOON PHASE

The Moon is waxing, 135 degrees ahead of the Sun, only 45 degrees or three and half days to the Full Moon. The Moon shows a strange shape now, like a rugby ball. Our goals are becoming more clear and we can power ahead, not too concerned about possible obstacles on our path. The power of attraction of the Full Moon proves irresistible.

♣ ♣ ♣ In the garden as in life there should be plenty of activities and a sense of urgency, least one should waste the great energy available at the moment. When the Moon transits a very fertile Sign like Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces, or a productive Sign like Taurus, Libra and Capricorn in this phase practically every plant and seed can go into the garden successfully. This is the middle of the second waxing week. Ideally, after sowing or planting leafy vegetables in the first week, we should be busy putting in those plants we grow for their fruit or seedpods (tomatoes, beans, etc.).

The Waxing Moon transits Sagittarius from July 15 to 18, during the Gibbous Phase

'Sagittarius' for the Zodiac Series by bgx1

‘Sagittarius’ for the Zodiac Series by bgx1

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SAGITTARIUS, Moon of the questing spirit and prophecy
Adventurous, independent

From July 15, 7.14 pm, to July 18, 5.32 am

Suitable energy for traveling, exploring, radiating optimism, engaging in philosophical discussions, speculations, risk taking, gambling, adventures, trekking, camping out, wild life, search for God or Guru. Purchase of travel tickets, camping gear, cars, bikes, horses, dogs, raffle and lottery tickets. Action motivated by the desire to explore behind the personal sphere. Friendly display of feelings, gregarious and warm, but extremely independent and often unreliable. Beware of self inflation, preaching, boasting, being fanatical, overbearing, self righteous, impatient, uncompromising.

♣ ♣ ♣ In the garden Sagittarius, like all Fire Signs, is traditionally considered too hot, dry and barren for growing anything, with the exception of Fruit Trees. Its energy is suitable for cultivating, general maintenance, pruning, pest control, weeding, and harvesting. A day with your favourite pet could prove rewarding, and so will be a night under the stars.

♥ ♥ ♥ Healing Herbs: Dandelion, Garlic, Horsetail, Onions.

A note: the garden activities associated with the Moon Sign depend also on the cycle the Moon is in. The Moon transiting through a fertile or productive Sign will no be so favorable if the Phase is not a productive one, and vice-versa. For best results the Sign and Phase of the Moon have to be considered together.

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4 Gibbous to Full fastGibbous Moon

The Moon is waxing, 135 degrees ahead of the Sun, only 45 degrees or three and half days to the Full Moon. The Moon shows a strange shape now, like a rugby ball. Our goals are becoming more clear and we can power ahead, not too concerned about possible obstacles on our path. The power of attraction of the Full Moon proves irresistible.

♣ ♣ ♣ In the garden as in life there should be plenty of activities and a sense of urgency, least one should waste the great energy available at the moment. When the Moon transits a very fertile Sign like Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces, or a productive Sign like Taurus, Libra and Capricorn in this phase practically every plant and seed can go into the garden successfully. This is the middle of the second waxing week. Ideally, after sowing or planting leafy vegetables in the first week, we should be busy putting in those plants we grow for their fruit or seedpods (tomatoes, beans, etc.).

Stars over Wollumbin Archive

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2010 Sky-scapes Archive

DECEMBER 21: TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE, 7.13 pm, Eastern Australia Summer Time.

Here are two sky-scapes of this event. The top one shows the Moon rising at around 8 pm, looking East-North-East, and the bottom one is from the same angle but taken half an hour later, around 8.30 pm.

Notice the reddish-rusty look of the Earth shadow over the Moon.

 

The Stellarium Sky-Scape above was taken around midnight on December 16, 2010, looking toward the North-East

DECEMBER 17 to 24: the URSIDS METEORS SHOWER will occurs instead between December 17 and 24, with the peak on December 22. This is a less spectacular shower, with about 9, 10 meteors expected per hour, at peak. The shooting stars will appear to emanate from the constellation Ursa Minor, home to Polaris in the north. Because of their location the Ursids are not really visible from our Southern Hemisphere.

DECEMBER 6 TO 19: the GEMINIDS METEORS SHOWER will have its annual occurrence between December 6 and 19, with the period of high visibility and frequency around December 13 and 14. This is considered by many the best Meteors’ Shower of the year. It is known to produce 60 to 80 multi-coloured meteors per hour, at its peak. From locations away from artificial light there could be up to 120 meteors per hours!

The radiant point (from where the meteors seem to originate) will be in the Constellation Gemini, becoming visible before midnight toward the North-East. The Moon setting in the West at the same time will allow for a better show throughout the night.

The known source of this shower is a strange object called Phaethon 3200, most probably a comet which became extinct a long time ago. The asteroid, that measures 5.10 km diameter, was discovered in 1983.

Phaethon in Greek Mythology was the son of Helios, the Sun god, himself a demi-god who perished after attempting to get too close to the Sun in the chariot he had stolen from his father (left: a 1636 master rendering of this myth by Paul Rubens – click to enlarge).

The asteroid was named after him because it crosses the orbits of Earth, Venus and Mercury, and gets closer to the Sun than any other numbered asteroid. The Earth passes amongst the debris of this comet every year, around mid December.

DECEMBER 14: the Waxing Moon is moving parallel to Jupiter (and invisible Uranus) tonight.

The sky scape below was taken around 10.30 pm, high in the North-West.

DECEMBER 2: the Waning Moon can be seen well (weather permitting), together with Venus, Saturn and Spica, brightest star of Virgo Constellation.

The sky-scape below was taken around 4.30 am, looking toward the East.

DECEMBER 1: the Waning Moon can be observed close to Saturn (around 8 degrees), early in the morning, before sunrise. Venus can be seen also, lower on the horizon at this time.

The snapshot below was taken at 4.30 am, looking East.

NOVEMBER 16: the Waxing Moon (between First Quarter and Gibbous) can be observed very close to bright Jupiter (and Uranus if you have a pair of very good binoculars or a telescope.

The snapshot below was taken at around 8.30 pm, looking nearly overhead, toward the North-East.

NOVEMBER 8: a tiny Crescent Moon can be observed close to Mars, low on the western Horizon, after sunset.

This snapshot was taken on November 8, around 7.30 pm, looking west.

NOVEMBER 4: Venus can be observed rising before the Sun (Heliacal Rising or Morning Star apparition) for the first time after her Inferior Conjunction with the Sun.

The sky-scape below was taken around 5.40 am, looking toward the East. Note the tiny Balsamic Moon, close to New Moon. And Saturn, also rising before the Sun now.

OCTOBER 20: the near Full Moon can be seen conjunct bright Jupiter and invisible Uranus.

The snapshot below was taken around 7.50 pm, looking East.

OCTOBER 11: the Waxing Crescent Moon can be seen cradled tonight between the starry claws of the Scorpion.

The snapshot below was taken around 8 pm looking toward the South West.

OCTOBER 10: the Moon appears for the first time in her new cycle at the same time and place as Venus and Mars, against the backdrop of the Scales Constellation (Libra) but in the Tropical or Seasonal Sign of Scorpio.

Here is an image of this event, the sky scape taken around 8.15 pm (NSW Day Light Saving). I added some major Stars’ names this time to stress the conjunction of Mars to the alpha star of Libra, Zuben Elgenubi, symbolizing the most difficult side of social reform, but also the most positive.

The lively debate (Mars) raging at the moment about the Murray-Darling Water Allotment and Usage comes to mind. It could become an outright War (extreme expression of Mars) against this social reform. Difficult choices (Libra), positive outcomes, so this Libra Star tells us.

Mars is transiting the more war-like of the Water Signs, Scorpio, and so is Venus who is going to be retrograde and then direct again through this Sign, on and off, until early 2011.

OCTOBER 7: Venus and Mars appear very close tonight (their exact conjunction in longitude occurred on October 4).

The sky-scape below was taken on October 7, around 8 pm, looking toward the West. Notice Mars’ close conjunction (less than a degree) to Zuben Elgenubi, alpha Star of the Scales Constellation.

SEPTEMBER 23: Just around sunset the Full Moon can be observed rising in the East very close to brilliant Jupiter tonight. The sky scape below was taken a bit after, around 7 pm.

Notice invisible Uranus close to Jupiter. With a pair of good binoculars this far away planet can also be spotted, a green-bluish star like object, very close to giant Jupiter.

Click to enlarge

SEPTEMBER 14: One of the closest encounter for the Moon this month, the Crescent passing very close to Antares, alpha star of Scorpio Constellation, a brassy red, misteriously glowing wonderful star, one of the four Royal Stars of Persia, guarding over the four corners of the universe. We should remember that the Moon is actually transiting  the Tropical Sign of Sagittarius.

The snapshot below was taken at around 8.30 pm, looking toward the West, can’t miss it (unless it’s cloudy!).

SEPTEMBER 11: Weather permitting tonight we should be able to observe the Crescent Moon very close to Venus, Mars and Spica. If you have a low horizon you could also spot Saturn setting below this group. The sky scape below was taken just after sunset, around 6.30 pm, looking toward the West.

SEPTEMBER 4 and 5: Venus and Mars appear very close to each other and Spica, alpha star of Constellation Virgo.

In this snapshot, taken just before 7 pm, we can also see Saturn setting (only if you have a fairly low horizon). Saturn will disappear completely in the glare of the Sun by the end of September. It will re-appear as a Morning Star about a month after that.

SEPTEMBER 1, 2, 3: bright Venus can be observed now very close to Spica, alpha star of Constellation Virgo. Underneath Venus and Spica reddish Mars is also easily spotted.

This sky scape was taken at around 7 pm on September 2. In the picture we can also see Saturn, now well below Mars and close to setting, and on to the North beautiful Arcturus, alpha star of Bootes, the Herdsman Constellation. This is the third brightest star in the heavens, second only to Sirius and Canopus.

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AUGUST 29: Venus and Mars can be seen close to the alpha star of Constellation Virgo, Spica, the ear of corn in the hand of the celestial maiden.

This snapshot was taken around 6.30 pm, looking toward the West.

AUGUST 27: the waning Moon can be observed rising in Jupiter’s company. The sky scape below was taken around 9.30 pm, looking toward the East.

AUGUST 19: Great night to spot the constellation of Sagittarius, while the Quarter waxing Moon is cradled between the lower stars of this Constellation, in particular close to Kaus Australis, the Southern Bow as it is traditionally called, the star at the base of the archer’s bow.

The sky scape below was taken around 11.30 pm, looking toward the West. This spectacle will be visible higher in the sky since after sunset, of course, because the Moon rises around midday and sets after 2 am.

AUGUST 18: tonight and in the next few nights we can observe splendid Venus really close to Mars, the conjunction in longitude becoming exact on August 21.

The sky scape below was taken around 7.30 pm, looking toward the North-West.

AUGUST 17: The First Quarter Moon can be observed close to Antares, alpha star of Constellation Scorpio.

The snapshot below was taken looking toward the West around 11.30 pm.

AUGUST 14 and 15: the Crescent Moon can be seen close to the alpha star of Virgo, Spica, the ear of corn in the hand of the maiden.

The snapshot below was taken on the 14th, around 6.30 pm, looking toward the North West.

AUGUST 13: the Crescent Moon can be observed very close to Venus and Mars and just above Saturn from which the other two are now separating.

The sky scape below was taken around 6.30 pm, looking toward the West.

AUGUST 12: the tiny crescent Moon can be observed close to Mercury in the early evening, looking toward the west as it gets dark. This is the part of the sky most rewarding for spotting planets at present.

As you can see from the snapshot below above the Moon-Mercury conjunction can be seen bright Venus separating from yellowish Saturn (the conjunction was exact on August 9) and applying to red Mars that she will reach on August 21. From today to August 14 the Moon, growing a little every night, will climb the sky to conjunct in turn Saturn, Venus, Mars and Spica (alpha star of Virgo Constellation), a spectacle not to be missed, weather permitting.

AUGUST 7, 8, 9 and beyond:Venus is getting closer and closer to Saturn,becoming conjunct in longitude on August 9, 3.23 am. This is a great and rare enough spectacle, worth observing. Venus is now very bright  (4.6 magnitude), close to her maximum elongation (distance) from the Sun on August 19. The cosmic trio will remain close until mid-August, while Venus and Mars will go on performing their duet until mid-October, ideal time to observe them.

The sky scape below was taken at around 7 pm looking toward the West.

AUGUST 1: Mars and Saturn are still conjunct, only a couple of degrees apart. In the next few nights we will be able to observe Mars slowly separating from Saturn while luminous Venus edge closer to both.

This sky scape was taken looking toward the west around 6.30 pm.

JULY 31: Soon after entering the tropical Sign of Libra Mars will conjunct Saturn. Venus is close by, due to become conjunct Saturn on August 9 and Mars on August 21.

The three can be seen against the backdrop of Virgo Constellation. This snapshot was taken at around 6.30 pm, looking toward the North-West.

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EYE ON THE SOUTHERN SKY, MAY 2010

 

May, the month to observe four close members of our Solar family

Jupiter at dawn

Venus, Mars, and Saturn at dusk and through the night

 Jupiter is the only planet visible in the east in the early morning, very easy to spot, being the brightest object in that part of the sky. Jupiter will become brighter and brighter as the year advances, reaching its greatest brilliance in its whole 11.8 years cycle just in time for the Libra Equinox 2010 (September 21).This is due to the fact that Jupiter will reach its perihelion, closest position in relation to the Sun, in March 2011.

The giant planet has nearly finished its swift transit through the Sign of Pisces, leaving it on June 6. Jupiter will return to Pisces later in the year (September 9), until January 2011.

The passage of Jupiter over your own Sun Sign (or Moon, Ascendant Sign), should bring a desire to improve your circumstances, also a better feeling about yourself and your prospects. Through Jupiter we can have a more clear and promising visions of our potential, and a more positive outlook on life in general (see Jupiter in Pisces post).

On May 9 Jupiter will shine close south of the waning Moon in Pisces (see  a picture of this conjunction in May’s Observable Events, below).

Every morning then, during this Jupiter Morning Star’s period we could all look up into this bright disk and ‘see’ ourselves evolving and living brighter, more fulfilling lives. This exercise could prove especially rewarding for the Water Signs (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces) and the Earth Signs (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn).

 Venus will wear her beautiful evening gown until the end of October 2010. Our sister planet is becoming brighter in May, reaching a magnitude of -3.9. When so brilliant Venus is sometimes mistaken for a plane or UFO and can be observed even before sunset

The Evening Star’s incarnation of Venus represents a collective opportunity to become more self-reflective, acknowledging our contribution to any relationship issues we may be experiencing. The Goddess of Love is looking deeper into our hearts and show us the way to a less self-centred and more aware kind of loving, (see also Venus in Gemini  post).

At the start of the month of May, Venus will be on dark close to the Hyades cluster of  the Taurus Constellation, not far north of Aldebaran, the alpha star of the same. Venus will be easy to spot throughout the month, in the North-East from early evening, say 5 to 5.30 pm, if you have a clear, flat horizon, setting around 6.30 pm. An important astronomical event is be falling Venus on May 16, an occultation (planetary eclipse) by the Moon,  the first this year. Unfortunately the event will occur during day-light hours in Australia, while it will be observable from Thailand and Indonesia. The next occultations of Venus by the Moon will happen on September 11 and November 5 this year; the latter event will be observable from Western Australia.

 In May Retrograde Mercury will be lost in the twilight (its latest Inferior Conjunction with the Sun having occurred on April 28), until it will re-appear as Morning Star, very faintly at first, on May 31.

Mercury will turn Direct again on May 12. For the possible effects of the retro motion of Mercury in Taurus click here. And for general information on the phenomenon of Retrogradation please check this Tutorial.

 Mars, still transiting the Tropical or Seasonal Sign of Leo, will be entering the Constellation of Leo in May, leaving behind the Cancer Beehive, beautiful Star Cluster in the Constellation of Cancer. Mars’ light is diminishing this month. You can spot Mars in the evening in the North-West, low above the horizon,  reddish in colour, forming two imaginary lines: the first with the Stars Sirius, the Big Dog in the Constellation of Canis Major, at the heels of hunter Orion, and Procyon, the Little Dog in the Constellation of Canis Mino; and the second with Regulus, alpha Star of Leo, Saturn and Spica, alpha Star of Virgo Constellation.

On May 20 a conjunction of Mars to the waxing Crescent Moon will be observable in the North-West, after dark (see a picture of this conjunction in May’s Observable Events, below).

 Saturn will rise before sunset in May, and it will be easily visible between the Stars Regulus (Constellation Leo) and Spica (Constellation Virgo). By around 10 pm Saturn will be high in the sky. Like Mars, Saturn also is becoming dimmer this month, moving away from the Earth at an angle that will cause its rings to become thinner, reflecting less sunlight. Saturn will transit Virgo in retrogradation from April 8, re-entering Libra only in July. For an in-depth reading of the major transits of Saturn and others, for the present and near future, please visit 2010 Forecast page.

 Around May 6 the Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower will reach its peak. Eta is a Star in Aquarius and it is against the backdrop of this Constellation that the shower takes place. These meteors are remnants of Halley’s Comet, deposited as a stream of debris during one of its passes close to our planet. Between May 1 and 8 you can look East, after sunset, to spot those meteors. They in fact start appearing well before the rising of the Constellation of Aquarius that occur after midnight.

 MAY CALENDAR OF OBSERVABLE EVENTS

Information and pictures to make you better acquainted with your southern night sky

The different lighting of some of the pictures is due to the time the snapshots of the Planetarium were taken.

THANKS TO STELLARIUM

MAY 9: the waning Moon in the Tropical Sign of  Pisces will be conjunct Jupiter, event visible in the early eastern sky before sunrise. Uranus will be there also, invisible unless you are looking through a powerful telescope.

Below is a snapshot of this conjunction, looking toward the East around 5 am.

9 MAY Moon Jupiter  Uranus

 

MAY 16: the tiny Crescent Moon in the Sign of Gemini can be observed very close to Venus, in fact occulting Venus (but not for Australian and New Zealand’s viewers).

Below is a snapshot of this conjunction, looking toward the North-West, after sunset.

16 MAY MOON OCCULTS VENUS

MAY 20: the waxing Crescent Moon will be visibly conjunct Mars, in the North-West after sunset.

Below is a snapshot of this event.

20 MAY MARS MOON

MAY 21: the First Quarter Moon, on the cusp Leo-Virgo, will be seen close to the Star Regulus, alpha of Leo Constellation. Mars will be in the picture too.

Below is a snapshot of this event, looking toward the North-West, before 9 pm.

21 MAY MOON REGULUS MARS

MAY 24: the waxing Gibbous Moon in Libra will be seen conjunct Spica, the alpha Star of Virgo Constellation.

Below is a snapshot of this beautiful event, taken at around 6 pm, looking toward the East. Saturn is also in the picture.

24 MAY MOON SPICA SATURN

MAY 28: the Full Moon in Sagittarius (Tropical Sign) can be seen conjunct Antares, alpha Star of Scorpio Constellation.

The snapshot below shows this conjunction and was taken looking toward the East, around 6 pm.

28 MAY FULL MOON ANTARES All the Sky Snapshots have been generated using Stellarium, a wonderful Planetarium freeware software.

Information for the Sky Events has been gathered from these web sites:

http://home.mira.net/~reynella/skywatch/ssky.htm

http://stargazing.suite101.com/article.cfm/night-sky-observing-guide-for-april-2010

http://home.mira.net/~reynella/skywatch/ssky.htm#update

http://astroblogger.blogspot.com/

 

EYE ON THE SOUTHERN SKY, APRIL 2010

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April and May will be great months to observe five close members of our Solar family

Jupiter is visible in the early morning sky, transiting Pisces at top speed and bringing abundant creativity to all the Water Signs, Pisces, Cancer and Scorpio: time for penetrating insights and to reap the fruits of your previous labours, generally enjoying going with the flow of things (see Jupiter in Pisces post).

Venus came back into dim view in March, but only in April this brightest of planets will stay up long enough after sunset (about one and half hour) to be easily observable. This is the evening star incarnation of Venus, Vesper or Hesperus to the ancient star gazers, a self-reflective phase of this planetary intelligence, instilling wisdom in relating because it is considered of past experiences. Venus will transit Taurus from April 1 to 25. All Earth Signs, Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn, will benefit from her wise rays (see Venus post).

A long stay of Mercury in Taurus is on the cards too, entering on April 3 and leaving only on June 10. It will be dimly visible at twilight times (evening in April, morning in May). The child of the Solar System will perform its station and retrogradation in Taurus between April 18 and May 12, affecting in particular Taureans born between April 21 and May 3. These few weeks could be the ideal time for a break from routine and duties. If you slow down the pace of your life you are less likely to experience frustration. This will be a test of your mental flexibility and ability to adapt, not usually your forte.

Mars (still in Leo but now direct in motion) will be also visible on top of the sky toward the north from sunset, setting out of view just past midnight. The light of the red planet is dimming. Collectively these are better times to be enterprising and to use our energy with more purpose and less wastage. The Twin Stars of Castor and Pollux in the constellation of Gemini can be observed nor far from Mars.

Saturn will be visible throughout the night, setting just before sunrise. The ringed planet was at its most brilliant just the day of the Autumn Equinox (March 21), its rays very powerful and in full retrogradation, during its opposition to the Sun. Saturn will transit Virgo in retrogradation from April 8, re-entering Libra only in July. This last pass into Virgo could bring back some of the restrictions we have experienced in 2008 and 2009. To go along with this energy we need to be a little bit more careful, more humble and also readier to help others. Our collective return may seem scarce for the present time, but the passage into Libra should be some relief and a fairer go for everyone.

For an indepth reading of the major transits for the present and near future, please visit 2010 Forecast page.

The Earth Signs are definitely at the receiving end of many transits in April.

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Transits March to June 2010

FROM ARIES EQUINOX TO CANCER SOLSTICE

March 21, 2010, a new Aries Equinox is upon us, opening the astrological year. The Aries Equinox is traditionally considered the most powerful indicator of the year’s future trends, because Aries is the archetypal beginning Sign, for both Northern and Southern hemispheres.  At this moment in history Aries is becoming also a focal point of interest to astrologers for another, very important reason.

Uranus’ ingress into Aries

No time to waste.

The top event for this season is in fact the entrance of Uranus, the sky god, into fiery Aries, on May 28, preceded by the ingress of Chiron in Pisces, on April 20. Three of the four planets orbiting beyond Saturn have now moved Sign (Pluto, Chiron and Uranus). Neptune will follow, entering Pisces in April 2011, and, for good, in early 2012. All these consecutive changes in the zodiacal position of these Destiny Makers, between 2008 and 2012, characterize the present time and near future as one of the most rapidly transformative period in recent history, reflecting a renaissance of a sort, but also huge social, political and ecological upheavals.

These transits are momentous, and Uranus in Aries can be considered, together with Pluto in Capricorn, one of the most dynamic and also potentially dangerous of all these transits.

Uranus takes an average of seven years to transit a Sign, returning to the same position every 84 years (7×12), its entire orbit containing a whole epoch of cultural development. Any planet’s ingress into Aries represents also a new start. Uranus will accelerate the pace of changes, boosting the collective urge to rebel against the status quo. This is however a brief taste of Uranus in Aries, lasting only until August 14, when this eccentric planet will re-enter Pisces in retro motion.

Uranus will be back in Aries for good in 2011 and remain there until 2019. What effect would Uranus in Aries have over the generation of people who will be born between 2010 and 2019? Let’s look into the past for answers: the last Uranus in Aries generation was born between 1927 and 1935. They have been identified by some as the “Rebels without a cause’, a class of defiant people who had the courage to be themselves, and often became actively engaged in changing the rules and anticipating trends, thus paving the way for those who followed them.  Many of them personify very well the rebelliousness and modernity of Uranus boldly expressed through the Aries medium. To name a few of the best known: James Dean, Mikhail Gorbachev, Che Guevara, Buddy Holly, Ted Kennedy, Coretta Scott and Martin Luther King, Shirley McLain, Rupert Murdoch, Peter O’Toole, Elvis Presley. The power of these people to excite and inspire the generations that followed them is a testimony to their unique individuality.

The birthdays now in line with this transit are: Aries (March21/23), Libra (September23/25), Cancer (June21/23), Capricorn (December22/24). These same people have been under a barrage of heavy duty transits since early 2008, first from Pluto in Capricorn, then from Saturn in Libra and now from Uranus! You may start feeling as if you have been singled out by some overwhelming fate, ruthlessly playing with your life. This latest Uranus’ contact could bring the situation to a sort of climax for you, hopefully making you more aware of the fact that every future is built on the ruins and riches of the past.  Searching for your own individual path will be the challenge in the next two years. A sense of isolation may prevail if you find that your present situation and current relationships are not reflecting your urgent need for freedom and self determination. It would very much depends on what use you have made of the Plutonian and Saturnine energies, in recent months and years. Are you now taking full responsibility for your life and stopped procrastinating (Saturn)? Have you identified and dealt with those aspects of your life that have had an obvious negative/destructive influence in the past (Pluto)? If you have done your home work, then Uranus can now bring you the independence you have yearned for a long time. If you have not made these steps, then Uranus could feel instead like another upheaval you don’t want to know about, prompting you to move out of your comfort zone, risking much of the security you have built in the past.

Generally speaking, Aries is not an easy place for Uranus and the transits of the planet of rebellion in the Sign of impulsivity promises that the Uranian drive for renewal will be thrust upon us in a rather abrupt way, probably not giving us enough time to assimilate the changes. This is not, I’m afraid, a very promising position in regard to world peace, because the combination of the iconoclastic and autocratic character of Uranus and the fiery, belligerent nature of Aries could be an explosive one. Both archetypes are masculine, if not hyper-masculine, with a marked tendency to antagonize rather than cooperate and seek peaceful resolutions. The ingress of Uranus in Aries also anticipates an intense contact Uranus-Pluto (90 degrees angle) that will become exact between 2012 and 2014, but is already very close. The mingling of the highly transformative energies of these two planets will manifest as make or break situations that we all will have to face. Accepting changes will not be any more a matter of choice. A remarkably similar situation happened in the late 20s and early 30’s, when Uranus was also transiting Aries (1927-35) and Pluto was in the opposite point of the zodiac that it is occupying now, in the Sign of Cancer. They formed their 90 degrees angles between 1930 and 1933. Not only this was the period of the Great Depression, with the fall of Wall street in October 1929, but also the beginning of an ideological  transformation in Europe and the far east that led to the rise of dictatorships and eventually to the outbreak of World War II. Destruction of the past is an appropriate key phrase to describe the combined energies of these planets. Then it meant war, the autocratic and aggressive side of the aspect obviously prevailing. It does not have to mean war in our near future, but certainly a confrontation of sort and a need to embrace changes (Uranus), no matter the cost, or perhaps even the means (Pluto) we choose to employ.

The Uranus-Pluto’s pairing with the end of the Mayan Calendar gives this particular aspect even greater significance, together with the passage of Neptune into Pisces (another 2012 event).

The Jupiter-Uranus’ Aries Conjunction,the escalating urge for action

Jupiter has entered Pisces on January 18. It will transit the whole Sign in record six months time, entering Aries on June 6 2010, and then returning to Pisces, in retro motion, between September 2010 and January 2011.

On June 8 Jupiter will meet Uranus on the cusp of Aries, the most active point of the whole ecliptic. This is exciting stuff. We will experience the same transit in September 2010 and January 2011, again close to pivotal times, the Libra Equinox and Capricorn Solstice. It certainly represents more than a passing trend.

Jupiter embodies the power that enlarges and improves on everything. In what way can we then see an improvement or enlargement of Uranus’ energy? Uranus represents, first and foremost, the urge toward change and modernization of values, also new technologies and all revolutionary ideas. Jupiter then will increase this urge. Great innovative ideas could come out of the collective brain, a new philosophical perspective that will affect, amongst other things, the way we view and use technology. This is a daring and risk taking influence that could greatly help to overcome the impasse of the still powerful Saturn with its conservative stance. The negative side of the same could be found in a tendency to rush into things without adequate forethought, to become arrogant and overbearing, expecting too much of circumstances or people, or trusting too blindly in our abilities. It is definitely a mixed bag for all of us and the early Cardinal Signs in particular, Jupiter making us more and more impatient of those restrictions that are nevertheless unavoidable.

All these transits on the cusp of the Cardinal Signs, the pillars of the yearly astrological calendar, really suggest a quickening in the pace of events and the need to get into action without delay to face problems head on. This is true not only for Cardinal Signs people (Aries, Libra, Cancer, Capricorn) but for all of us. The whole configuration suggests a very eventful year ahead, with old Saturn still doing its best to put a keg in the wheel of progress.

Another Pass of the Saturn-Uranus opposition

Saturn, as usual when prominent in transit (see, among other things its opposition to the Sun on the day of the Aries Equinox and the conjunction to the Sun at the next Libra Equinox) is suggesting the need for caution and a more conservative approach, when every other planetary indicator points instead to the need for decisive action.

With all these different strains on the Planet it is not surprising that we may not achieve as much as we wish. A saturnine period is one during which practical matters, money, work, health, duties override other considerations, when ideals have to bow down to realities, and our collective horizon seems to shrink a little.

Saturn says: you are not ready, you haven’t quite done your home work yet; long term commitments and hard work are necessary to back up the lofty dreams of a better future. Saturn will help us, as always, to keep our feet firmly on the ground, hopefully without stifling our hopes.

At the end of April Saturn (retrograded in Virgo since April 8) will again oppose Uranus, as it had done in November 2008, February and September 2009. This is not the last of this cosmic tag of war, but it is the last involving Virgo and Pisces. Another opposition will become exact in July 2010, with Saturn in Libra and Uranus in Aries, and stay with us well into 2011.

The birthdays directly aligned to the April opposition will be Virgo (September19/22), Pisces (March17/20), Gemini (June18/21), Sagittarius (December18/21). While your need to create a future for yourself is becoming stronger (Uranus), the past is revisiting you now, making you feel that instead than moving forward you are going backwards at the moment (Saturn). Some unfinished business still need to be addressed and cannot be brushed aside if you want your life to move out of this impasse. The past has still some valuable lesson for you; ignoring this is not an alternative in the circumstances.

Considering the collective potential of this transit many astrologers think that it could bring about more of the financial vows we all experienced in 2008/09. The Virgo/Pisces’ dynamics is again pointing to the need to be more humble and realistic, to sacrifice something in order to become more inclusive, shifting our focus from Ego centred values to more compassionate and spiritual ones.

The Equinox Moon and the power of Medusa

Looking at the Aries Equinox chart for 2010 many astrologers would notice the Moon’s position, on the 26th degree of Taurus. The reason is that this is the longitude of a very important star, Algol, in the constellation of Perseus. From antiquity this star has been universally considered an evil, unfortunate and violent influence. Apart from these superstitions, what is the archetype associated with Algol and why it has become such a symbol of vow and catastrophe? In Greek mythology Perseus is the typical hero who has to courageously and cunningly face deadly perils in order to re-gain his kingdom. Algol (western rendering of the Arab name Ra’s al Ghul, the Demon’s Head) was Medusa, the monster Perseus had to kill in order to regain his lost kingdom and rescue his maiden princess (his soul). This Medusa, the legend tells, was once a beautiful woman, transformed into an evil monster by the wrath of the god Neptune, against whom she had sinned. She represents the ugly face of resentment and hate, with her power to turn everyone who looks at her face into lifeless stone. To slay her Perseus had to avoid staring at her, but uses instead a magical reflective shield that Athena, goddess of wisdom, had given him for this purpose. Once the deed is accomplished the hero places Medusa’s head over Athena’s shield and returned the same to the goddess who, from then on, used it to deter evil in the world.

The symbol of the mirror-shield is an obvious one, showing the need for self reflection when tackling our inner demons, because direct confrontation with the same could prove fatal to our quest. The light of reason and wisdom is needed in order to handle the monster safely, as we need a protective and supportive environment and loyal helpers in order to face those deep seated feeling of resentment that we carry with us since childhood. To confront them head on, without the aid of self reflection and spiritual understanding, could be psychologically very destructive.

The potential for good of Medusa herself becomes clear when out of her severed head, apart from vengeful demons, sprang also Pegasus, the winged horse, a symbol of the soul freed from the shackles of past pain and loathing. So there is a lot of positive stuff to be found in the Algol/Medusa’s legend. For sure the prominence of Algol in a chart already packed with challenging aspects warns us that the road ahead is a perilous one, where perpetuating old hatreds could prove fatal to our spiritual evolution. To see the beauty (Pegasus) in those we consider our enemies (Medusa) is the secret for successfully using this star’s energy without being psychologically paralysed by her terrible stare.

As Diana K. Rosenberg, an esteemed expert on Fixed Stars, beautifully put it in her internet article on Medusa : ‘…Algol … in a chart does not necessarily mean that you will inflict, or be the victim of, horror and mayhem … but that you will be aware of the depths of suffering that can occur, whether through human depravity or “Acts of God”; …. your life path will require that you come to terms with that level of experience… The polarities of bigotry or tolerance, violence or kindness, cruelty or compassion, war or peace are issues that are unavoidable and must be dealt with under Medusa.’

The seasonal Mercury’s loop, April 18 to May 12

Our trickster planet, the child of the solar family, will perform its station and retrogradation in the Sign of Taurus, affecting in particular Taureans born between April 21 and May 3. These few weeks could be the ideal time for a break from routine and duties. If you slow down the pace of your life you are less likely to experience frustration. If you have to stay on the job, expect some delay and inconsistencies. Many little things could happen that will measure or even stop your progress for a while. Keep your appointments and deadlines fluid enough to accommodate last minute unexpected trouble. This will be a test of your mental flexibility and ability to adapt, not usually your forte.

Transits to the Fixed Signs

Taurus, like all the other Fixed Signs (Scorpio-Aquarius-Leo) are also still influenced by the slow passage of Mars through Leo (since mid October 2009!). Mars is finally moving in direct motion at Equinox time, indicating a better period ahead to tackle business with renewed energy and confidence, apart from the short interval of Mercury retrogradation.

The central experience though for some Fixed Sign people will still be the life changing transit of Neptune through Aquarius (with us until 2012). Aquarius (Feb.16/19), Leo (Aug.20/23), Taurus (May18/21), Scorpio (Nov.19/22) are still under the spell of Neptune, often feeling as if their sense of reality has changed to the point that they are unable to act and relate the way they always did. When prominent in transit Neptune opens new dimensions in our life, new channels of understanding, but, unless we are psychologically prepared and spiritually aware, these could prove more bewildering than helpful.

Chiron in Pisces, 2010-18, a healing transit

I have left the discussion of this transit last, not because it is less notable than others, but because it is one that promises some real healing.

Pisces, last in the sequence of twelve Signs, represents the end product of the entire cycle and also contains, in seed form, the future cycle. Chiron, the healer centaur of ancient lore, with his wisdom and knowledge of nature’s remedies, in Pisces will show us the way to merge with the natural environment, to participate emotionally, not merely intellectually to the suffering of the less privileged and of the Planet itself.

On the negative side this position of Chiron may increase the risk of serious pandemics, because the medium of Pisces, with its openness and fluidity, is ideal for the spread of infections, the absorption of poisons and the lowering of our collective immunity. Tears and powerlessness, with the loss of control are some of the traditional attributes of mystical Pisces, when its energy is mishandled.

The Earth may become more susceptible to illnesses brought about by pollution and neglect, the same applying to all the beings that populate it, animals and humans. The situation on our planet may worsen before the healing can begin.

One way or the other, this long transit will make us realize that, if any member of the human family suffers, the whole of humanity suffers. The potential for collective healing through this configuration is self-evident, but only via spiritual surrender of ego centred attitudes.

Chiron in Pisces basically suggests that to cure the body (ours, the Earth’s) we need to heal the soul.

Happy and wise transits, everyone.

The Waxing Moon transits Sagittarius from August 1 to 4, between the First Quarter and Gibbous Phases

Ukrainian Fairy Tales by Ukrainian artist and illustrator Catherine Shtanko

Ukrainian Fairy Tales by Ukrainian artist and illustrator Catherine Shtanko

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SAGITTARIUS, Moon of the questing spirit and prophecy
Adventurous, independent

From August 1, 10.01 pm, to August 4, 10.36 am

Suitable energy for traveling, exploring, radiating optimism, engaging in philosophical discussions, speculations, risk taking, gambling, adventures, trekking, camping out, wild life, search for God or Guru. Purchase of travel tickets, camping gear, cars, bikes, horses, dogs, raffle and lottery tickets. Action motivated by the desire to explore behind the personal sphere. Friendly display of feelings, gregarious and warm, but extremely independent and often unreliable. Beware of self inflation, preaching, boasting, being fanatical, overbearing, self righteous, impatient, uncompromising.

~*~In the garden Sagittarius, like all Fire Signs, is traditionally considered too hot, dry and barren for growing anything, with the exception of Fruit Trees. Its energy is suitable for cultivating, general maintenance, pruning, pest control, weeding, and harvesting. A day with your favourite pet could prove rewarding, and so will be a night under the stars.

*~* Healing Herbs: Dandelion, Garlic, Horsetail, Onions.

A note: the garden activities associated with the Moon Sign depend also on the cycle the Moon is in. The Moon transiting through a fertile or productive Sign will no be so favorable if the Phase is not a productive one, and vice-versa. For best results the Sign and Phase of the Moon have to be considered together.

First Quarter Moon Phase AnimationFirst Quarter

The SCORPIO FIRST QUARTER MOON PHASE begins on July 31, 1.23 am, and ends on August 4, 3.40 am,
with the SAGITTARIUS GIBBOUS MOON PHASE

The Moon is now 90 degrees ahead of the Sun, a right angle, very powerful. We meet some serious obstacle on our way. The goal is still strongly in view (Full Moon) but something or someone seem intent at stopping us or hinder our progress. This is the most critical point in the waxing period. It is important that we meet the challenge now, but it is also essential that we don’t go to war with people around us, blaming them for our difficulties, which are instead just a natural phase of our journey. There is something a bit black and white in this Moon’s position and the attention is perhaps focused too much on outside circumstances.

~*~In the garden this is the demarcation time between the first and second weeks of the Moon cycle, an important boundary, because different types of plants can now go in, those we grow for their fruit or seedpods (tomatoes, beans etc.). The Moon needs also to be transiting a fertile or productive Sign.

Gibbous Moon Gibbous to Full Moon animation

The Moon is waxing, 135 degrees ahead of the Sun, only 45 degrees or three and half days to the Full Moon. The Moon shows a strange shape now, like a rugby ball. Our goals are becoming more clear and we can power ahead, not too concerned about possible obstacles on our path. The power of attraction of the Full Moon proves irresistible.

~*~In the garden as in life there should be plenty of activities and a sense of urgency, least one should waste the great energy available at the moment. When the Moon transits a very fertile Sign like Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces, or a productive Sign like Taurus, Libra and Capricorn in this phase practically every plant and seed can go into the garden successfully. This is the middle of the second waxing week. Ideally, after sowing or planting leafy vegetables in the first week, we should be busy putting in those plants we grow for their fruit or seedpods (tomatoes, beans, etc.).

October 12, 2015: Latest Astrological News

Maya Animation 10 pictures c♦ On October 9 check out the alignment of the waning Moon to Venus in the early morning easterly sky, both these feminine celestial bodies entering Virgo on the same day. This will not be just any round of the mill conjunction but an occultation, meaning that the Moon will appear to swallow bright Venus. Hopefully the clouds will clear in our region before this special event! Visit the October Star over Wollumbin page for more details.

♦ Transiting Venus is joining Jupiter and Mars in Virgo on October 9, at 4.29 am (Eastern Australia Summer Time). There is a hope that the gentler touch of Venus may curb some of the hard edges of current Mars’ Transits. Mars has in fact made the international situation even more challenging, introducing risk elements that weren’t present before, manifesting in more man-made and natural disasters. If interested please visit may post on the transits of Mars in Virgo HERE. We should not forget however that Venus is in her Morning Phase, more inclined toward confrontations than to embrace peace and dialogue. For the effect of Venus Morning please navigate to my recent post ‘ Welcome Venus Morning Star’, HERE.

I repeat here the dates of Mars and Venus’ major transits while in Virgo:

September 26 = Mars square Saturn

October 7 = Mars in opposition Neptune (Putin’s birthday)

October 16 =Mars trine Pluto

October 18 =Mars conjunct Jupiter

October 23 =Mars in opposition to Chiron

November 13 =Mars conjunct Lunar North Node

Venus follows suit with the same transits on different dates:

October 11 = Venus square Saturn

October 17 = Venus in opposition to Neptune

October 23 = Venus trine Pluto

October 26 = Venus conjunct Jupiter

October 28 = Venus in opposition to Chiron

November 3 = Venus conjunct Mars

 

♦ A ‘Super-Moon’ Total Lunar Eclipse in the Sign of Aries took place on September 28, at 12.50  pm (Australian Eastern Standard Time), but unfortunately it wasn’t visible from anywhere in Australia or Eastern Asia, not even as a partial view.

The United States, Canada and South America had the  front rows for this event, roughly from moon-rise (at sunset) to midnight. Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Western Asia viewed the eclipse in the early hours of the morning instead, before sunrise.

This is a special eclipse because the Moon is at Perigee (closest to Earth for the whole year) and the event is the fourth and last of a series of Lunar Total Eclipses, called a Tetrad, that occurred in autumn and spring between 2014 and 2015. Here are the Signs occupied by the totally eclipsed Moons, with their dates:

♥ April 15 2014, Libra Moon

♥ October 8 2014, Aries Moon

♥ April 4 2015, Libra Moon

♥ September 28 2015, Aries Moon

Stay tuned for my thoughts on this latest Eclipse, whose effects could last well into the next eclipse season, in March-April 2016, and beyond.

Mars in Virgo. Mars entered Earthy Virgo on September 25, and will be transiting Virgo until November 13 when he will move into Airy Libra.
People with Virgo highlighted in their Birth Chart will be feeling more restless and impatient, ready for action but also prone to make mistakes if they rush into things without planning.  Much could be accomplished during this period, with the potential to finally tackle jobs or projects that have been left in the drawer for a while. By all means take advantage of this transit’s abundant energy, but try not to overdue it or your health and peace of mind may be adversely affected. Your keen critical sense may become even sharper, so take care not to become more disparaging and nit-picking that you normally are. Pluck your courage to assert yourself and you could see quick return for your efforts.

Libra Equinox 2015Libra Equinox 2015. Libra Equinox on September 23, 5.20 pm. Here is the Chart for the ingress.

← click to view larger image

♦ On September 17 Mercury began its Retrograde period that will last until October 9 2015, from the middle back to the beginning of Libra. Mercury, now an Evening Star, will conjunct the Sun on October 1 (Inferior Conjunction), and afterword return to the morning sky. Click here for my post on the September-October Retrogradation of Mercury. And here for a recent post on the meaning of Retrogradation, focusing mainly on Mercury.

♦ The September New Moon was also a Partial Solar Eclipse on the 20th degree of Virgo. The Solar Eclipse will be followed by a Total Lunar Eclipse at the next Aries Full Moon (04° 40′), on September 28 2015. If interested please read my recent post on this Virgo Solar Eclipse here. And two tutorials on Eclipses that I’ve also re-posted recently: Eclipses as Doors of Perception – part 1 and Eclipses as Doors of Perception – part 2.

♦ The Sun entered Libra on September 23, 6.20 pm. This is the Spring Equinox in our southern parts and Autumn Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere.

♦ Jupiter entered the Earth Sign of Virgo on August 11 at 9.11 pm local time. Jupiter will transit Virgo until September 9 2016, when he will enter Libra.

Jupiter also reached the opposition to Neptune in Pisces on September 17.

Saturn turned Stationary Direct on August 2, on the 28th degree of Scorpio. Saturn has re-entered Sagittarius, in direct motion, on September 18 2015.

Venus turned Stationary Retrograde on July 24, on the first degree of Virgo. Venus re-entered Leo, in retro motion, on August 1 and was retrograde until September 7, re-entering Virgo, in direct motion, only on October 9, a very lengthy Venus in Leo Transit.

In the pipeline is a post on Saturn in Sagittarius and Jupiter in Virgo, their coming and going square aspect punctuating the next nine months, with the risk of a global economic downturn very present, recession continuing in some countries and even food shortages worsening in less developed countries. A lesson in humility and make do, living within our means in the developed countries so to restore some balance to our lop-sided world. Stay tuned.

The Astrology of Jessica Watson, solo teenager sailor and Young Australian of the year

Jessica Watson has appeared again on prime time news, on Australia day 2011, to accept from the hand of our Prime Minister the Young Australian of the Year award for 2010.

Having written a post on Jessica when she returned from her sailing adventure in May 2010, I was curious to see the Progressions and Transits active at this time, when she has become the recipient of one of the most prestigious awards in Australia. The Chart I am using for Jessica is just a Sunrise Chart because her time of birth is still unavailable. Here it is:

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First of all I calculated a Progressed Chart for the Australia Day Award ceremony. Here:

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Keeping in mind that I am still working with a Sunrise Chart, I was very impressed by the meaningful correlation with the happy event of January 26 2011.

The first thing that jumps out of this Horoscope is the opposition Progressed Moon to Progressed Sun, very close (same degree), meaning that around this time Jessica is living through the first Progressed Full Moon of her young life (a once in thirty years event). Because we started with a Sunrise Chart and not a proper Birth Chart the timing of this important astrological event is uncertain, but we know that it is happening sometime this year.In fact the uncanny symchronicity of the Australia Day event and the Progressed Full Moon may even suggest that Jessica could have been born around sunrise.

The phases of the Progressed Moon are slow forming and long lasting, not ephemeral and brief like the transiting Moon’s phases. They represent personal landmarks in the life of the individual, especially the New and Full Moon. The Full Moon symbolizes a climax of experience, a time for fulfillment, reward or failure according to how the person has lived and thought in the 14 years preceding the phase. In Jessica’s case it seems that her Saturnine ambition and hard work (Saturn conjunct Solar Mid-Heaven at birth), with her Taurean determination (Sun, Moon and Mercury in Taurus) have paid off.

This award is launching her on a new league of her career as well as rewarding her for past achievements, the perfect effect of a positive Full Moon experience!  To make this event even more appropriate to Jessica’s circumstances the Moon has been progressing through the adventurous Sign of Sagittarius since early 2010 (according to the Sunrise Chart’s progressions exactly on Australia day 2010!), describing to a T her free spirited voyage and optimism to succeed. This Full Moon was also a Lunar Eclipse making the phase more intense and significant in Jessica’s life, producing greater and longer lasting effects.

In the mean time her Progressed Mercury in Cancer is forming this year a 90 degrees angle with her Progressed Jupiter in Libra and a 45 degrees angle to Progressed Mars, both aspects showing a great expansive energy for her mind, more travel, big ideas and unbound mental enthusiasm, that could even prove a bit too much for her. It is, after all, a lot to cope with for a girl who has not  turned 18 yet!

To understand better the Progressed Horoscope we need also to place it on top of the Birth Chart, in order to see their dynamic interaction. Here is a double wheel chart, with Jessica’s Birth Chart in the middle and her Progressed Chart in the outer wheel.

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Because the Progressed Sun and Moon form an opposition during the Full Moon phase, if one becomes linked by aspect  to a planet the other will also be linked to the same planet by a mirror-aspect. In this instance both Sun and Moon are linked to Jessica’s Birth Venus in Aries, in the sector of aspirations and friendships (XI House), the Moon by harmonious trine (120) and the Sun by harmonious sextile (60). These aspects highlight the positive effect of the Full Moon, bringing Jessica greater popularity and opportunities to reach out to the world and spread her message of hope and confidence to young people worldwide.

Now to the Transits. Here is a Bi-Wheel with Jessica’s Birth Chart in the middle and the Transits Chart in the outer wheel, for the same Australia Day’s event.

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In the short term the most prominent and closest transit to the time of the Award is the Sun, in the Natal IX House, in harmonious trine to Jessica’s Birth Chart Jupiter in Libra on the cusp of the V House, place of honors and enterprise.  Jupiter is the expansive function in our universe and psyche. When in contact with the Sun it enhances the scope of the Ego, sometimes even causing ego-inflation, when the individual begins to  identify too much with the inner myth fostered by Jupiter. Because the contact is an harmonious one the risk of self-inflation is less, but still present. Then again who wouldn’t feel a sense of Ego-pride winning such  a public recognition? The Sun was with Jupiter just for the day and has already moved on. Before Australia Day the transiting Mars was also in trine with Jupiter, fact that would have boosted the Mercury-Mars-Jupiter progressions discussed before. All great incentives to trust life and reach for the stars. On January 23 Jupiter has moved into Aries where he will reside until June 4. We need to remember that Aries is Jessica’ s Moon and Venus Signs, placements that have a lot to do with her adventurous spirit and single-mindedness. And also that her Natal Jupiter is in Libra, meaning that transiting Jupiter will soon form his last opposition to his own place in mid-February 2011, another ‘take off’ type of transit, that will certainly bring opportunities, but also the risk of taking too much on, or of becoming overly optimistic. From June 2011 Jupiter will begin his 12 months transit through Taurus, Jessica’s Sun and Mercury’s Sign, promising more opportunities and achievements in store for her in the second half of this year, spilling into 2012.

A cautionary note is sound by Chiron transiting Jessica’s Natal Saturn, exact on February 7, but already very close on Australia Day. This is a strange combination of energies during a period of apparent triumph for our young heroine. Perhaps there is a thorn in Jessica’s rosy bloom. Perhaps the responsibilities that come with success, financial gains and fame (Saturn cusp Aquarius/Pisces) have been inwardly difficult to face, Chiron always representing the unavoidable blemish to one’s complete happiness (if there is such thing!).

This transit is not new to Jessica, it has been exact before in mid-April and then again in late July 2010. This is in fact its last passage.

A bout of illness cannot be excluded, or just a period of lowered vitality and spirit, while this aspect remains active (until mid-March 2011). This transit may simply show the unavoidable anti-climax after the triumph, because nature always looks to find a balance, to restore equilibrium if things lean too much one way (or the other).  But this is the last pass of Chiron over Saturn, because Chiron will soon move to Pisces, not coming back to her Saturn for another 50 years! Just because it is rare enough transit it seems strangely important and out of place in a reading full of optimistic and buoyant aspects. Here instead is the gift of maturity via difficulties and pains, in order to become a true authority into oneself, a fully fledged adult. Despite her independence and self-determination Jessica is still going through the pangs of being reborn into a new self, and, doing so, she feels like losing some of her childhood’s joys and carefree ways.

Following this transit others are coming for Jessica that could have far reaching consequences for her career and life direction. These are the slow moving transits of Neptune over her Saturn cusp Aquarius-Pisces and her Mercury cusp Taurus-Gemini, beginning at the end of March 2011. Neptune will remain in the vicinity of Saturn and in square to Mercury for a long time, until the end of 2012, forming exact aspects at the end of August 2011 and again  at the end of January 2012.

Neptune has a strange effect on Saturn, the two representing very different energies, in many ways inimical to one another, Saturn always striving to solidify, plan and structure, while Neptune for ever attempts to dissolve, de-materialize and evade. Because of  Mercury involvement her mind and way of thinking will also be affected by Neptune. Jessica may feel like taking perhaps some time off  (Neptune) from her obligations and duties (Saturn), and her studies (Mercury) to go for another solo trip somewhere.

Neptune has a lot to do with her love of the ocean and of solitude (conjunct Uranus in her Natal VIII House, square the Moon and Venus, and trine the Sun in Taurus). Every Neptune’s transit will bring those characteristics to the fore.

Neptune-Saturn is never an easy and too amicable encounter. There will be some dissolving, ending and transforming  to go through, difficult adjustments that could for a time make Jessica less effective, realistic or practical, and also more vulnerable, flexible, sensitive and compassionate. Neptune-Mercury may not be as difficult, rather helping her to get more readily in touch with her intuitive feelings, her creativity and also her desire to help others. Taking up an ecological cause could be a great way to put together the high idealism and compassion of Neptune, the practical genius of Saturn and the broadcasting abilities of Mercury on the cusp of clever Gemini.

For many teens of Jessica age the Neptune-Saturn conjunction is now or will soon be a reality they will all have to go through. For some of them will be an awakening to new spiritual perceptions and a greater sense of personal responsibility (Saturn) toward the greater good of humanity and Nature (Neptune), sometimes through experiences of loss and ego-undoing.

A Solar Eclipse at the final Jupiter-Uranus’ encounter: bring it on

New Moon in Capricorn and Partial Solar Eclipse

January 4 2011

At 8.02 pm (Eastern Australia Summer Time) the New Moon in Capricorn will be also a Partial Solar Eclipse.

This partial eclipse will be visible from most of Europe, where the event will happen just on sunrise, and also North Africa, the Middle East and central Asia. Cities like Cairo, Jerusalem, Istanbul and Tehran will see a large magnitude Eclipse, while the greatest phase will occur in northern Scandinavia. Central Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Northern China will witness a sunset Eclipse.

Unfortunately this Eclipse will not be visible at all from Australia and New Zealand due to the fact that  it will occur after sunset for us.

More detailed information on the Eclipse’s visibility from all parts of the globe can be found on this Nasa page.

The more obvious features of this cosmic event are:

♣ The synchronicity of the final conjunction Jupiter-Uranus, happening on the same day, will tend to magnify the effects of both.  If the conjunction’s effect could linger at the most until the end of  January (Jupiter leaving the Sign of Pisces on the 23rd of this month), the Eclipse’s effect, extending further into the future, will cause the effect of the conjunction to last longer and also to become more compelling.

Thus the urge for radical changes written all over the Jupiter-Uranus’ conjunction will be still immensely powerful at least for the first few months of 2011. Individually and collectively it is prompting us to take more risks, to assert our individual rights to be ourselves, seeking greater freedom and self-actualization in relationships, at work and in our home environment. Particularly affected by this transit will be individuals with Sun in Pisces born 17, 18, 19 of March; Sun in Virgo born 19, 20, 21 of September; Sun in Gemini born17, 18, 19 of June;  and Sun in Sagittarius born 18, 19, 20 of December. Also anyone with Birth Planets or points (Lunar Nodes, Horoscope’s Angles, etc.) on the 13th or 14th degree of the same Mutable Signs.

♣ 90 degrees angle (square) between the Sun-Moon in Capricorn and Saturn in Libra.

This is a sobering transit, and somewhat of a kill joy for some. While Jupiter and Uranus push us toward ever more exciting and widening horizons, Saturn reminds us of our duties and responsibilities, of the promises we made in the past, of the limitations of our situations and all the good reason why we should use caution when embracing changes and hankering after freedom. During the first three months of 2011 Saturn will transit over the Birth Sun of those Libra born between October 8 and 12. The ringed planet will also challenge Sun in Aries individuals born between April 5 and 9; Sun in Cancer born between July 7 and 11; and Sun in Capricorn born between January 5 to 9. All of us (due to the Eclipse effect), but those Sun Signs in particular are the ones who will need to become more grounded, paying greater attention to practical concerns, money, job, family, and all long term plans.

♣ Sun and Moon in Capricorn separating from a conjunction to heliacal Pluto (rising before the Sun) and moving toward a conjunction to Mars in Capricorn. These transits link together again Mars and Pluto that have had their conjunction already in mid-December 2010. These are intense transits, promising more general upheavals, discord and wars in the world, because of a strong need for control and power (Pluto) coupled with an equally strong desire to antagonize those we perceive as our enemies (Mars). These aspects can also indicate destructive events over which we have little or no control.  Positively, ‘read’ together with the Jupiter-Uranus’ urge to innovate and change things around, these transits could help us to be more ruthless and assertive in getting rid of what is not anymore useful to our life journey, and could in fact help many to become free of unhealthy entanglements and conditioning.

♣ The general alignment of many celestial bodies in Capricorn during this special New Moon (the Sun, the Moon, the Lunar Nodes, Mars, the Asteroid Pallas (Athena) and Pluto) seems to indicate the ongoing need to remain grounded (despite the lofty tendencies of Jupiter-Uranus), to reduce our spending, and remain cautious even when the general financial situation may seem to improve. The Jupiter-Saturn’s opposition is still unfolding, with the last exact transit in the cards for the end of March 2011.

♣ For curiosity sake (running out of time to post this article before the actual Eclipse strikes) I have also observed the opposition of Sun and Moon to some remarkable Fixed Stars: Sirius of Constellation Canis Major (the Great Dog at the heels of Orion), Capella, alpha star of Constellation Auriga (the Charioteer), Phact, alpha star of Constellation Columba (the Dove), and Bellatrix, gamma star of Constellation Orion.

At the same time Mars is opposing Castor, alpha star of Constellation Gemini (the Twins) and Venus is opposing powerful Algol (Head of Medusa), alpha star of Constellation Perseus.

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This Solar Eclipse’s cycle Saros number 151

The cosmic link to 1776 and the American Declaration of Independence

Every Eclipse belongs to a certain group. Eclipses pertaining to the same group are identified with a number, called the Saros number. Astrologically the very first Eclipse in each group sets the tempo and significance of all the Eclipses following.

This particular event belongs to the Saros group n°151, series that began with a Partial Solar Eclipse in 1776, in the Northern Hemisphere, and will end with another Partial Solar Eclipse in 3.056, in the Southern Hemisphere, covering a span of 1280 years.

1776 was the year America’s United Colonies (not yet United States of America, a term sanctioned only in September of the same year) declared their independence from Great Britain, on July 4. Both these dates are indeed very close to August 14, when our first 151 Saros Eclipse took place. We can safely say that this Eclipse in particular and others that occurred in the same year had some bearing on these events, changing dramatically the course of history, not just for America but the whole world.

Below is the Astrological Chart for the 1776 event, calculated for the coordinates of Washington DC.

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Looking at this Horoscope I see straight away the close conjunction of Sun and Moon to Venus, a positive aspect, promising cooperation and fairness in the new cycle heralded by the New Moon. To make this transit more significant the Sun and Moon were also in Parallel of Declination with Venus, fact that helped to strengthen the power of the conjunction. Also prominent was a T Cross (configuration made up of an opposition and two squares or right angles) linking the conjunction Mars-Jupiter to the opposition Saturn-Chiron, a difficult combination, setting the exuberant Mars-Jupiter’s conjunction  against the limiting and painful effect of the Saturn-Chiron’s opposition. As far as America was concerned this showed the intense struggle between the drive for independence and freedom in action (Jupiter-Mars in Cancer) pitted against the conservative rule of the British Empire (Saturn in Libra), a thorn in the side of the fledgling nation (Chiron in Aries).

Due to the Saros number connection these old times transits are also significant in the light of the present day Eclipse, showing the struggle between expansion and restriction, reforms and fear of reforms that characterize our time, in the States and most countries in the world.

To make the connection between these distant Eclipses events more meaningful the present Eclipse of January 4 2011 corresponds also to the 8th Saturn Return for the United States. This is a Saturn Return on a grand scale, a 30 years cyclic reality check for this powerful nation, evident in the grave financial crisis America is experiencing at the present time.

Here is  a two-wheel horoscope, with the 1776 Chart of the USA Declaration of Independence in the inner wheel and the present Eclipse in the outer wheel.

Below is instead the Cartography Map for the 2011 Eclipse, calculated using the coordinates of Washington. This Map shows, amongst other things, the Eclipse placed directly on the Mid-Heaven of Baghdad, Iraq, a problematic world region for America. This placement doesn’t promise much good for Iraq and near by Afghanistan where America has invested so many of its military and financial resources.

In the same Map Mars can also be seen on the Mid-Heaven of Iran and on the Descendant (House of open enemies) in Korea, increasing tension in those already troubled regions.

The Eclipse itself will be visible in the whole of the Middle east, fact traditionally considered to make the effect of an Eclipse stronger.

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Please Click here to view a whole article, covering the major transits active between December 2010 and March 2011. In this article I have also discussed the January 4 Solar Eclipse as well as the previous Lunar Eclipse of December 21, whose effect is still unfolding.

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Transits June to September, 2009

FROM THE CANCER SOLSTICE TO THE LIBRA EQUINOX

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Welcome to my astrological thoughts for June to September 2009. One of the cardinal points of the year is at hand: the Sun will reach its northernmost declination on June 21. Astrologers describe this event as the Sun entering the Sign of Cancer.

The Precession of the Equinoxes is caused by a slow wobble of the Earth’s axis which carries the panoply of the constellations with it, in a backward motion, at the rate of one degree every 72 years. Due to this motion the constellation of Cancer is not anymore with the Sun at this time of the year. For western astrologers the zodiacal Signs have in fact no other than a symbolic connection with the actual constellations, being related instead to the seasonal cycle, and the Sun’s increasing and decreasing declinations.

The fact that the Signs and Constellations are not quite the same things have been one of the most powerful weapons in the hands of people, academic and lay men, who want to discredit Astrology. This is indeed a false problem for astrologers, but also an Achilles’ heel if they are unable to explain the difference. All we need to make clear is that the Tropical Zodiac is what we use to measure the astrological year and the planetary motions. We don’t determine the position of Sun and Planets on the backdrop of far away, uneven and eternally shifting constellations (Sidereal Zodiac).

The Constellations themselves have an important part to play in a more cosmic, less Earth centred Astrology. The precession of the Equinoxes is completed in around 26.000 years, a full astrological cycle, which includes all the twelve constellations which lay along the Earth’s ecliptic (progressing backward through each Sign in around two thousand years). It is with reference to this cycle that we talk of entering or have entered, in the last decades of the twentieth century, the Age of Aquarius.

Considering the great importance of Cancer in the yearly cycle (Solstice), it is curious to notice that the Cancer constellation is instead a rather faint one (the ‘most inconspicuous figure in the Zodiac’, according to the classic Stars’ Lore author Richard Hinckley Allen), Cancer is hardly discernible in the night sky between the easily recognizable twin stars of Gemini (Castor and Pollux) and the well defined and imposing Lion of Leo, with its bright alpha star Regulus, one of the royal stars of ancient Mesopotamia. Cancer is noteworthy mainly because of the Praesepe nebula (large group of very far away stars, seen as a fuzzy luminosity in the heart of the constellation). The name Praesepe means ‘manger’ in Latin. It is easy to equate this image with the nurturing qualities attributed to Cancer. The Crab constellation was also known as the Beehive, bees readily reminding us of the home making ability of Cancerian people; as well as Scarab in Egypt, symbol of eternal renewal and self fertilizing power; and Tortoise in Babylon, another creature like the crab who carries its home on its back, is slow and cautious and has a vulnerable, soft interior.

Despite its association with this apparently modest constellation (we should not underestimate the importance of the mysterious nebula in its core though), Cancer is one of the Cardinal Signs of the Zodiac, marking a very important time every year, beginning a new season, spurring people into all sort of new activities and enterprises, providing a sense of purpose and direction for the coming months, deciding the destinies of nations as well as individuals.

According to Chaldean Magicians and Platonist philosophers Cancer was the ‘Gate of Men’, through which souls became embodied. And the ancient Akkadians called it the ‘Northern Gate of the Sun’, because of its proximity to the northern zenith.

This 2009 Cancer Solstice is marked by the opposition Sun-Pluto, this planet having retraced its steps back to the naught degree of Capricorn, just in time for a rendezvous with the Sun on the Solstice point. This is a sort of repeat of what happened in December 2008, at the Capricorn Solstice, when the Sun was conjunct Pluto.

In particular those Cancer people born early in their Sign (June 21 to 23), but also Capricorn (21 to 23 December), Aries (20 to 22 of March) and Libra (22 to 24 September) will feel the direct impact of this life changing transit. Nothing new, Pluto has been probing the soul of the Cardinal Signs since early in 2008. Surely something has already shifted or is shifting, transforming the way they view themselves and others. Recognizing one’s own dark side is an essential function of a plutonian crisis. In Man and his Symbols , Jung explained the all important need to integrate the shadow better than anyone I know: “We cannot simply extract (a person’s) morbidity (read neurosis, psychosis, depression and all psychological issues) like a foreign body, lest something essential be removed along with it, something meant for life. Our task is not to weed it out, but to cultivate and transform this growing thing until it can play its part in the totality of the psyche.” Followers of Tantric Yoga or Western Magic also aspire to adopt the shadow as their ally, in order to overcome duality and achieve spiritual wholeness.

In the process of acknowledging the shadow, there is the always present risk of transferring it onto others, to lighten our burden, while remaining completely unconscious of the fact. Or one may be unable to carry the weight of the shadow, thus becoming deeply depressed for a period, the death of the old not having yet brought the new in its wake.

Under the influence of Pluto the nurturing qualities of Cancer could take on darker, more dangerous shades. The Mother within each one of us can then become a too powerful mother, a controller, a power tripper and destroyer of individuality. Imagine her as a tribal ancestress, keeping us in line through taboos and laws designed to confine our expansion. The maternal and caring side becomes a tight and suffocating grip on our life and our loved ones, not more life giving, but life denying instead.

We have already seen the unprecedented level of control exerted by governments, all over the world, on financial companies and business. This can be seen as a collective ripple of Pluto, the god who gave its name to Plutocracy, the power of the very rich. In a perfect world this could spell the end of Plutocracy and class privileges, and the raise of a more democratic and inclusive world order. In our imperfect world however there is a risk of governments investing themselves with excessive powers, and also of the very rich, in the shape of multinationals, to fight back, in underhanded ways (the underworld realm of Pluto), in order to regain or maintain the power monopoly they feel they are losing. Strong resistance and intense struggles are also fitting key words for Pluto in such a prominent position in the yearly calendar.

If the financial meltdown and power struggles ensuing from it are described fairly well by Pluto’s position and transits, the personal financial difficulties we are all experiencing seem better illustrated by Saturn transiting Virgo, the humble pie Sign. The passage of Saturn in Libra (October 2009) could be a positive event, Saturn having traditionally a harmonious relationship with Libra. Said that, however, Saturn in early Libra will form a difficult 90 degrees angle to Pluto, transit that will remain active until August 2010. Furthermore, due to retrogradation, the challenging opposition Saturn-Uranus, in force since November 2008, will go on until the middle of 2010. In my view these are signs that, even after the first passage of Saturn in Libra (October 2009), the time to loosen our belt will not have come yet, and no amount of government measures will restore consumers’ confidence for a while. A dramatic reduction in consumers’ spending is the unavoidable outcome of a global recession, and a good thing too if basic needs are met and people are not reduced to rely exclusively on governments handouts. Re-dimensioning our spending and getting our priorities right in a world where many people are still plagued by hunger and social injustice could be the positive outcome of the Virgo/Pisces opposition, instilling in the collective psyche a new sense of social responsibility (Virgo) and spiritual empathy (Pisces).

The third pass of these five steps opposition will take place on September 15, at the end of the period I’m discussing. The fourth and fifth pass of the Saturn-Uranus’ opposition will be exact again in April 2010, and, lastly, in July 2010. August-September 2010 seem then more propitious dates for the long waited recovery.

The birthdays directly aligned to the September opposition are Virgo, born September 15 to 19; Pisces, March 13 to 17; Gemini, June 14 to 18; and Sagittarius, December 14 to 18. It is a case here, as in the previous Equinox season, of achieving the difficult balance between the pull and valuable lessons of the past (Saturn) and the exciting promises and scary uncertainties of the future (Uranus), to experience a productive and fulfilling present.

Another, very different and more benignant face of this astrological period is represented by Jupiter’s conjunctions to Chiron and Neptune. These were exact at the end of May and will be again in July. Despite the dire collective situation, seen from a practical and down to earth standpoint (Saturn in Virgo), this airy and lofty Aquarian emphasis could work like a magic charm, helping to dispel excessive worries and encouraging us to look up rather than down to find solutions to our quandaries. A willingness to reform and to help our fellow men could be very strong. Aquarius is the Humanitarian Sign which through dispassion and knowledge helps to emphasize our common human heritage, rather than our cultural and religious differences.

Jupiter is positively placed in Aquarius even when on its own. Its closeness to Chiron and Neptune strengthens, deepens and refines the outgoing energy of Jupiter, putting greater emphasis on compassion and healing, qualities the world needs very badly at present.

Between the 10th and 22nd of July Jupiter will in turn conjunct Neptune and Chiron, this special union carrying on until the end of the year (in December the same conjunctions will be repeated, for the third and last time). The birthdays more directly affected by these healing and expansive transits of Jupiter are Aquarius, born February 12 to 16; Leo, August 15 to 19; Taurus, May 14 to 18; and Scorpio, November 15 to 19.

In Taurus since the first of June, Mars will transit Gemini between July 12 and August 26; and Cancer between August 26 and October 16. Each one of these Sun Signs will react to the fiery energy of Mars in a different way. To outwardly placid Taurus this could be an opportunity to stop bottling up and explode here and there, letting out some dangerous steam, but also getting rid of hazardous inner pollution.

Gemini will find its mental pace accelerated by the transit of Mars, with bursts of creativity but also restlessness, verbal forcefulness and impulsivity.

Lots could be achieved by Cancerians during their Mars’ transit, but they could also take too much on and become stressed, experiencing discord in the home.

Mercury will retrograde between September 7 and 30, from Libra back into Virgo. The birthdays touched by the disruptive effect of mischievous Mercury are Virgo, born September 7 to 21, and Libra, born September 21 to 30. Lateral thinking could help here and the ability to change habitual routine at the drop of a hat, adapting to new and unforeseen circumstances. It could even be fun if you did not have to worry about alarm clocks and deadlines; disruption of well planned designs can be frustrating but also very creative. Happy Solstice transits, everyone.

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