Papal Bull

Pope Francis' tour to the U.S. is making big news, and the feel here in New York is one of excitement and welcoming. But...

The Pope arrives in the city on Thursday evening, just hours before Pluto stations to go direct - a day when power brokers tremble or stride. He will address the United Nations in New York on Friday, the day that Mars squares Saturn.

Mars in Virgo square to Saturn in Sagittarius sounds a lot like throwing facts in the face of established beliefs. It makes sense that the Pope will be advocating for the poor, homeless, and disenfranchised before the established powers of the world. But...

Sagittarius is also the sign associated with religion, and Saturn in the sign can indicate rigid dogma - something that Mars in Virgo might like to challenge with some facts from the other side of the fence.

It will be interesting to see if Pope Francis can take the heat as well as he dishes it out. He has a good-guy reputation, but within the context of an institution that is dealing with both ideological and practical schisms, and there may be more than a bit of hypocrisy to point out.

Whatever happens, watch the progress of the Pope's U.S. tour - it will say a lot about the themes of Saturn in Sagittarius for the next two years.


The still-full Virgo moon is void of course for most of Friday. We continue to have the charged energy of yesterday, but get a bit of a break in the action. Take time to reflect on the events and changes that took place yesterday and in the past week, and to consider where you are and where you need to be.

At the full moon, the moon's disk is fully illuminated as it reflects back the light of the sun. This month, the moon is in Virgo while the sun is in Pisces - we see ourselves in the Virgoan context of service, work, detailed analysis, and concern for health. Virgo deals with the particulars, yet the moon is illuminated from the sun in Pisces, where the oceanic energy dissolves the boundaries between things.

Virgo-Pisces gives us a clue about how we can apply our energy - focusing on particulars and individuals, while recognizing the unity underlying the differences. "Think globally, act locally". This cosmic configuration suggests the spiritual path of dharma yoga - getting in touch with larger spiritual reality through the path or service.

On a more basic level, this full moon precedes the dawn of the astrological year at the Aries ingress (spring equinox). In a way, it is analogous to awakening in the hours before dawn - a time of (often anxious) reflection about our lives. We are at the 4 a.m. of the year - waking from a dream in the still of the night. The illusions that give us comfort at 4 in the afternoon are gone, and we have a moment of reflection and reckoning before we begin the new day.

At the personal and collective level, this is a time when we may want to move towards a more healthy, wholesome lifestyle. The indulgences of winter may have taken their toll, and it's time to think about fitting into the summer wardrobe. Collectively, we can consider the environment, healthcare, and other issues dealing with our collective well-being.

Underworld Journey

Capricorn energy peaks this weekend, as the moon, Ceres, and Pluto all meet up in the sign. There's likely to be a strong pull towards environmental issues, particularly those centering on our food supply (Ceres is associated with the harvest and grains).

But this is not a cheery, Earth Day kind of vibe. There is a darker side to the meeting of Ceres and Pluto. In the myth of Persephone (or Prosperina, to be keep to the Roman names), Ceres enters the underworld to save her daughter, who has been kidnapped by Pluto. Yet it isn't a superhero kind of rescue - Ceres bargains with Pluto, who eventually winds up with Prosperina with him in the underworld for half the year - hence our seasons, as the earth is cold and barren when Prosperina is below.

We may thus expect compromises to be part of the picture, on both the collective level (with environmental issues) and personally. As we deal with some of the more difficult challenges facing us, we are unlikely to vanquish them with positive affirmations.What common ground can you find with your personal demons? What do they really need?

Today's meeting takes place in Saturn's sign, stressing the material realm and its limitations rather than unlimited possibilities, so we probably need to strike a bargain with the cold hard facts.

If it sounds like a less-than-romantic way to celebrate St. Valentine's Day, take heart (hey - just what kinda saint was this guy, anyway?). The sextile to Neptune should help to soften the harder edges of the Cap moon. Pay attention to your dreams this evening, as they may contain clues about getting larger visions down to earth, and a nice cruise can help shake off the journey to Pluto's realm.

Fishin' for Love

Venus, the planet associated with the Goddess of Love, enters Pisces on January 27th, beginning a three week cruise through the sign of the fish. In Pisces, Venus is more about agape than eros, more about compassion for all beings than fulfilling our personal physical and emotional needs.

Try to take in the big picture with a soft heart. The world offers us a lot of scary information that can make it hard to stay open. Shutting down and coming to quick judgments can be very appealing. Venus in Pisces can help us look at even the most difficult situation and pour some love into it.

Of course, romance isn’t on hold until February 20th, and Venus in Pisces will also color our more personal connections. As with all things Piscean, there can be a tendency to go to extremes - a relationship may seem so important that you are willing to sacrifice everything to make it work, or it may seem so hopeless that you want to walk away. Try to keep at least one objective eye on any situation as you bounce between emotional poles.

She starts on Friday the 30th, with a square to Saturn. This could be a make-or-break time for some partnerships. We try to take in the big picture and see where things are going, but it may be hard to get clarity. That’s especially true because Venus is heading to a meeting with Neptune on February 1st that can push us to the Piscean extremes. Drowning in sorrow or bliss are both possibilities, and while one may be better than the other, remember that you probably don’t want to drown at all.

The only other major aspect that Venus makes in the sign is a sextile to Pluto on February 8th. This aspect can help us to structure our relationships (Pluto is in Capricorn, remember). Power and passion come into our partnerships, but we can also use this energy to fuel charitable projects.

Lunar aspects to Venus throughout the month will also highlight the planet of love. A square on the 14th may add in a little extra tension, once again asking where things are going in the midst of the fun. Problems may be smoothed out a few days later, on the 16th.

Venus in Pisces asks us to open our hearts at all levels. It’s also a time to clear out and let go of old wounds - Venus in Aries is just around the corner, with its springtime energy, after all. It's not a bad time to consider a Relationship Consultation, and while Venus is in the sign you can get a full relationship consultation for $140 - that's a $20 savings.