"I feel like I'm living through a hurricane," was the message left on my answering machine. It was not a call from someone in the Gulf states. When Katrina tore through New Orleans, when the pre-Rita exodus snarled Texas highways out of town, I heard from many people whose lives had been overwhelmed by a devastating event. An honor student was killed by a drunk driver, a marriage of seventeen years was washed up, a mother learned her son was dealing drugs at school. When large-scale tragedies occur, we all partake, not only with our sympathy and shared grief, but the same energy rippling through the event, ripples through us all. Like we're all on one great table and a giant hand yanks the tablecloth out from under our collective feet. Some of us will land. Some of us will wobble. Some of us will shatter. But we'll all feel it.
Although planets don't cause disasters, they do picture what we're going through. Uranus, planet of sudden and shocking events, is currently in Pisces, the sign of storms, sea, gas and oil. Astrologers have predicted this period-from 2003 to 2011-will bring accelerated natural disasters and crises in oil and natural gas, which is good reason to keep emergency kits well stocked, and investigate alternative energy sources. But it still begs the question, why now? Uranus will be in Pisces for another six years. Why do we feel so wobbly at this moment? That's what New Moon charts are for, carrying the sky-written message of what's important now. Three factors distinguish this month's chart. There's a solar eclipse. Mars has just gone retrograde. And four planets are aligned in a "Finger of God" aspect. For those who know little astrology, these terms might sound like I'm speaking Chinese. But without making the astrology too complex, let's try to decode their message.
Eclipses often bring dramatic or sudden turns of events; their impact can be felt weeks in advance. They can bring hidden problems to the surface, open or shut doors, accelerate change. Generally they suggest turbulent times that require we grow. But eclipses happen regularly, twice a year, in fact; and some years they're not so turbulent. To understand the different character of eclipses, astrologers have grouped them into families. This month's solar eclipse comes from a family with a strong Mars/Pluto gene. That means it's particularly potent. Says eclipse expert Bernadette Brady, this eclipse holds an "immense power, anger and force" that can suddenly clear huge obstacles or manifest as a rapidly moving crisis. An example of the first is the under-reported story of an American hostage held blindfolded and bound in a tiny underground cell in Iraq for ten months. The door to his cell was sealed with concrete. Yet incredibly, he was found, the cement door was cut through, and he was rescued. An example of a rapidly moving crisis is, of course, a hurricane. We got two in rapid succession. Whether positive or negative, with this eclipse, says Brady, "everything is moving at great speed."*
Mars represents our warrior nature.
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Mars being in the sign of Taurus suggests we especially examine our relationship to earth and its resources, also our personal resources, namely our money, our talents. We must question how we're using our energy...in all ways, from ourselves, to our nation, to our planet. If we undertake this investigation sincerely, this can be a productive time. If our lawmakers debate this seriously, these months can be a key moment in reversing our mounting debt and the addiction to diminishing energy sources. Will this happen easily? Mars is in a fixed sign, suggesting there will be difficult aspects to Saturn, Jupiter and Neptune in the months ahead. Patient determination is required. Mars will go forward again and so will we. But our future efforts will be more effective if we go slowly now, with great awareness.
The Libra New Moon is traditionally a time to find balance. And it couldn't come at a better moment. Libra is the peacemaker, the graceful aerialist, the mediator, the angel of "Let's make this beautiful. Let's find our common ground." Yet there are four planets in an unusual pattern in Libra's New Moon chart. Mars, Jupiter, Pluto and Venus are assembled in a "Finger of God" aspect, so-named because there is a sense of destiny about it, a sense that we've got to do something brilliant with the energy-or else. Mars is at the foot of this pattern, in an uneasy relationship with the other three planets. What does this mean? It's like being invited to stand on a slippery ball, balancing a tray of crystal glasses in one hand and a crying baby in the other. There's no logical way to succeed. You can't do it the way you normally do things. You need a little magic. And you need to try something new.
Exactly what sort of magic is indicated by the planet opposite Mars-which is Venus. She is the goddess of joy, grace, peace, and love. When you are at your most radiant, most accepting, most beautiful, Venus is working her magic through you. Call on her to help you meet whatever faces you now, with not only calm, but pleasure and joy. "Finger of God" patterns call for transcendence, as though God were pointing directly at you and saying, "Grow, or else." It's nice to know the same divine finger points at everyone else too. But this month, pretend it's pointing only at you. What can you do differently? How can you help the current situation? If we all do this, we will have gotten the sky-written message. We will serve each other, and the needs of this time, with unbounded grace and charm.