Winter 2011-2012

This Winter could prove a paradoxical time, a time when we are exploring new avenues of self-expression and a time when we are letting go, or being rid of, certain aspects of our past. William Shakespeare began his play Richard III with the phrase: ‘Now is the winter of our discontent,…’ This statement can find no greater truth than this Winter of 2011-2012.

We may feel our own level of discontent, desirous of the new and the different for our future yet bound by our responsibilities and sense of limitations in our present. And all the while our past definitions of whom we have been, what we have been doing and with whom we have been associating may cause a level of irritation and aggravation. This sense of discontent can be very much like the analogy of the grain of sand within the oyster, the irritation and aggravation eventually developing the pearl. Will our discontent with the way things are and the way things have been eventually create a pearl for ourselves? We can only hope so and intend that it do so.

This Winter begins at the time of the Winter Solstice on December 21st – 22nd, as the Sun exits Sagittarius and enters Capricorn. At the time of the Winter Solstice, our focus may be on New Year’s resolutions, our plans to engage change and our desire to find venues for our self-expression. While there can be the impulse of greater individuality, autonomy and personal creativity, we might experience the restrictions, limitations and regulations imposed upon us by the powers-that-be.

Make no mistake that the power struggle between the individual and the collective can be reaching a fever pitch. This struggle is like birthing pains, the labor pains necessary in the paradigm shift between the old, outmoded methodologies of hierarchical authority and the new, avant garde ways of increased power of the person. We have seen this struggle play out on national levels. We have witnessed it with the Arab Spring triggered by social media and the standing up of individuals in protest to the dictatorial repression by a small few. We have experienced it with the dysfunctionality and increased inability of free societies to effectively solve economic and social problems. We have expressed it with public opinion giving low grades and disapproval of government leaders in more ‘democratic’ societies.

Everywhere we look, whether on a macro-level of the larger society or on the micro-level of our own personal lives, we feel a high-pitched fever of anxiety and discontent.

First comes the awareness of a problem, often followed by the voicing of one’s frustration, distaste, and even anger at the situation. Then comes the full consideration of ways to resolve the problem with the intent of creating brighter days through better ways.

And so it is for us as we enter this Winter of 2011-2012.

We may not be fully aware of how best to incorporate the necessary changes in our lives. But we are convinced that change must occur.

As we start the Winter, we may consider a serious inventory-taking, all with the intent of clearing away the debris, the outmoded, the no longer useful in our lives. We might not understand what comes after our cleansing, but we may consciously, or subconsciously, embrace the true reality that the universe does not like a vacuum and that as we clear away the dross of our lives, we can focus and be open to receive new ingredients that are far more in harmony with where we are and that provide the opportunities to get to where we may be going. Even if we do not comprehend what our trajectory might truly be, we are at the threshold of a paradigm shift when we no longer have to make the plans or assume total control over the conditions, circumstances and direction of our lives.

If nothing else over the past three years, we surely have learned that no matter how much we might try and control our life’s direction, there is a greater power and a natural unfolding occurring that is leading us to where we are going. This acceptance embraces the idea that our soul’s development and our spiritual engagement are far beyond our egocentric personality and offers us to journey along the path of greater en-lightenment and true soul fulfillment.

Like Hercules, however, we may still have to clean out the stables of our egocentric personality. We might still need to engage the sentiment: ‘let go, let god’, whereby we let go of our sense of control over circumstances and accept our soul’s journey.

The process might not seem easy, but it is an alchemical process, a process of transformation, a process of burning off the dross in order to get back to the essence.

Although we start the Winter somewhat confused as to what to be rid of and what to engage, we do not have to be fixated or rigid in our considerations. The most important aspect of this process is malleability and the ability to be both adaptable and flexible to shifting circumstance. If we can engage the tai chi moves in our lives, whereby we move in accord with the energies and conditions unfolding, we shall be in harmony with our life’s rhythms and in balance with our natural self-development.

The Winter period, like nature in the northern latitudes, is a time of turning inward, of concentrating on our internal being with the realization that our attention to the innermost workings of our selves can bear seed as we enter the Springtime.

During this Winter, we might mourn the loss of dreams we once held dear. But in letting go of certain long-cherished dreams we may come to the realization that we dreamed them once when we were at a certain stage in our journey but that those same dreams are no longer relevant for our present much less goals for our future. Our process, our journey is all about adaptability and flexibility and I would remind all of us, and each of us, that the universe and higher forces have far greater plans for us than we could have ever imagined for ourselves.

It is all part of the paradigm shift, all part of the magical mystery tour on which we have engaged and hopefully embraced the attitude of awe and wonder at it all.

While we might conceive of new hopes and wishes, we may also experience a tempering process, a honing of our desires as things take longer to develop on the material plane than on the ethereal plane.

The Capricorn Lunation with the New Moon on the 24th of December can influence the two-week period up to the Full Moon with a focus on manifestation, putting plans into action and creating a best practices approach by which to expand our interests and strategize our plans. With a Grand Trine in the Earth Element, this latter part of December and early January can be a most productive time. We could be highly effective in moving our projects forward, but it would be wise for us to maintain humility. We might feel as though we have a manifest destiny, and in all likelihood we do. But our destiny might not be a straight line of greased wheels but could provide some bumps and hits to help us maintain our humility and for us to always engage awareness and mindfulness.

We may be highly effective but the universe will throw us curveballs so that we do not get a fat head and fall backwards into the old paradigm mindset of our belief in having control over all situations. No, we are no longer in times of the shortest distance between two points being a straight line. The concept of linear, sequential progression is an old paradigm concept that will no longer play but could instead prove a severe detriment in our moving ahead. These times call for us to be nimble and quick, to be astute and flexible, with a willingness to follow the clues along the way in the natural unfolding, even if that unfolding appears to take circuitous routes.

The Capricorn New Moon on the 24th has the Sun, Moon, Pluto conjunction trine Jupiter, stationary just prior to Jupiter turning direct on the 25th, Christmas Day. Akin to the Winter Solstice, we too are birthing into the light, with our emphasis on the truly significant, the most meaningful and with us embracing our true purpose. The game of life is no longer who wins the most toys. Now, the dance of life is the vibrant expression and the full blossoming of our creative talents and unique characteristics. The game has changed and life no longer has to be a game but rather can be a playful dance.

During this two week period at the end of December through the first week of January, we may discover that we are going through a deepening process. Our interest in the superfluous and needless distractions could drop away. We may seem more serious about how we are doing our lives. But seriousness does not mean tediousness for we can also be playful, exuberant and fully engaging the spirit of living in seriously doing our lives. These are exciting times, even if the backdrop on a societal level continues to see a crash and burn of institutions, organizations and beliefs that no longer are valid nor functional during these changing times.

It is important that we keep aware of the universal curveballs, those incidents arising out of the blue that force us to keep on our toes, be alert and mindful at all times. Although some people might define the unexpected situations as anxiety-provoking, unanticipated variables also allow us to continually re-evaluate where we are and how we are going. Certain surprising factors also create a dynamic of changing circumstances, which could allow us to shift our trajectory and alter our approach.

We are living during a most dynamic time when things can change dramatically and virtually instantly.

As we move into January, the Earth Grand Trine becomes strengthened when Mercury moves into Capricorn on the 8th, just prior to the Cancer Full Moon on the 9th. With Mercury’s entry into Capricorn, the Earth element is not only strengthened but now we have a Stellium of three or more planets in Capricorn as Mercury joins the Sun and Pluto in the Cardinal Earth Sign.

Also on the 8th, Mercury in Capricorn trines Jupiter but squares Uranus. The Mercury square Uranus is my least favorite aspect for flying, but problems could also arise at this time in regard to travel, communications and computer problems. We may have some great ideas regarding how best to expand our operations, but we might not be accounting for all the variables that could influence the implementation and execution of our plans. Now would be a time to rein in our sense of omnipotence, omniscience and invincibility in getting from concept into manifestation. And yet much of this end of December through most of January is a time when we can be highly productive and most effective in pushing our ambitions forward.

Although many people quake and suffer from triskaidekaphobia, the fear of the 13th, in numerology thirteen is considered the number of transformation, the realized individual. And January’s Friday the 13th could actually spell some very interesting, focused, yet otherworldly feelings and sensations. On this Friday, Mercury conjuncts Pluto, providing a laser-like vision to cut to the core and to be aware of the basic fundamentals of any situation. Our discussions may be to the point and exceptionally incisive. On that day, Venus also conjuncts Neptune and trines Saturn, just before Venus moves into Pisces on the 14th. Our interactions with other people can be close to idyllic and we may find that we have an ardent supporter of not only what we are doing, but more importantly who we are.

As we move through January, we begin to pick up the pace of universal consciousness, as the planets begin to move into their transits of the two universal Signs of Aquarius and Pisces. Venus moves from Aquarius into Pisces on the 14th, followed by the Sun moving into Aquarius on the 20th and Mercury moving into Aquarius on the 27th.

The Aquarius New Moon on the 22nd-23rd also begins the Chinese New Year of the Water Dragon, an auspicious year that can imply good luck, hard work and success in many ventures. There is the potential to see things from other people’s points of view and to be passionate, assured and determined in all that we do. But with the black water dragon, there is also the liability to the unpredictable and the unexpected, once again forcing us to stay aware and mindful. Struggles and conflicts are likely during this Chinese New Year, all leading to natural phenomena upheavals [such as earthquakes, volcanic activity, intense storm systems and flash floods] and dramatic changes in the socio-political arena.

This Aquarius New Moon can also trigger our personal desire for greater change and our focus more on our future than on our present reality. To incorporate greater change we do have to be wary of needless expenditures that might increase our debt load. Being resourceful at this time will not put a damper on our future goals but could provide a reining in of moving too fast with too much exuberance and not enough due diligence. Let’s look before we leap and quite possibly instead of leaping ahead create a suspension bridge, slat by slat, to get us from where we have been to where we intend to go.

While the latter part of January into early February can have us concentrating on plans, strategies and considering how best to move forward, we may draw upon other people for their support, encouragement and advice. It would be wise to do so, since we all might be far more interested in rushing ahead into our future than spinning our wheels in the present. We just have to be wary of acting like lemmings and rushing towards the cliffs. Haste creates waste, and these times call for, even demand, resourcefulness whereby we utilize our time, our energy and our monies in a judicious and focused manner.

Neptune re-enters its own Sign of Pisces on February 3rd and will transit through Pisces on into 2025. Compassion, spirituality, religiosity can all be accentuated during this time. Idealism can be strong, but there is also a liability to delusion, escapism and non-realities.

The Leo Full Moon on February 7th comes at the time of Saturn turning retrograde in the last degree of Libra. Saturn reaches the cusp of Libra – Scorpio but retreats back into Libra for its four and a half month retrograde cycle. It would be wise for us to note what is going on regarding the financial realm, both on a macro perspective of the geopolitical world and on a micro viewpoint of our own personal financial world, as Saturn turns retrograde. When we come to the Autumn, Saturn will enter Scorpio for its two and a half year cycle. The Saturn Scorpio transit may speak to financial restraints, increased taxations and a higher death rate. Saturn Scorpio will certainly demand that we be resourceful and can create limitations to our sense of abundance and bountifulness.

With Saturn retrograde until the latter part of June, let’s also keep in mind that there can be greater delays and difficulties in getting things done. We are being asked to reflect and deal with our interactions with other people, especially the significant relationships in our lives.

Shortly after Saturn turns retrograde and the Leo Full Moon on the 7th, Venus exits Pisces and enters Aries on the 8th and conjuncts Uranus on the 9th. Relationships can be highlighted, but the focus on relationships can be less about a balance of personal needs with those of someone else. Instead, everyone may become more self-centered, self-focused and self-absorbed. We might be far more interested in how relationships are impacting us and less considerate of how the relationship is impacting someone else.

With Mercury moving out of Aquarius and entering Pisces on February 13th, followed by the Mercury Neptune conjunction on the 14th, Valentine’s Day, we could easily buy into hopes and wishes that have no fundamental basis in reality. Although our intuitive sense can be strong, it would be wise for us not to take things at face value. This energy configuration can also be akin to the trickster, things appearing one way, the reality being quite different. In the native American tradition, the coyote is the trickster, for the coyote howls its haunting, seductive song enticing its prey to come forward only to pounce upon it once within harm’s way. While we might be visionaries during this time, we need to keep our feet firmly planted on the ground if we choose to have our head in the clouds.

The Sun moves into Pisces on the 19th of February and conjuncts Neptune at the same time. We now have a Stellium of three or more planets in the Mutable Water Sign as the Sun joins Neptune and Mercury in Pisces. With the Piscean energy highlighted even more by the Pisces Lunation, the Pisces New Moon on the 21st, we need to be aware that this fortnight between the 21st of February and the 8th of March can be a time of tricksters extraordinaire. Whatever is presented to us at this time can be a mirage or an illusion or certainly not the truth, the whole truth. Our sensitivity is likely to be turned up severalfold. At times, we may feel like the savior, other times like the victim. The liability towards escapism can be strong, as we seek more pleasant surroundings, our safe happy place where we can go to avoid the hard cold realities of these changing times.

We may feel like sponges soaking up the energies of our surroundings. It might be important for us now and then to step off the track, take time to recharge our batteries and reflect on what is going on. It would also be wise for us to recognize that we are coming to the end of the zodiac year with the Vernal Equinox and the Sun moving into Aries later in March initiating the new astrological year.

During this latter part of February through mid-March, we may do a great deal of sighing, even involuntarily sighing. It may not be a sigh or breath of relief, as much as an inadvertent recognition that we are coming to the end of a cycle.

As we come into March, Mercury exits Pisces and enters Aries on the 2nd and Venus exits Aries to enter its own Sign of Taurus on the 5th. We are feeling the burgeoning sense of Spring ahead of us. We may be making our plans for our personal renaissance as we come into Spring. Our thoughts can be insightful as we consider how we can initiate projects and engage activities that allow us to put our personal imprint on our daily involvements. At the same time, we may be looking at personal makeovers, putting our best foot forward and presenting ourselves in a perfect light.

The mid-part of March can be a highly active period but also one when we might go a little overboard in our expenditures. In our desire to look good and create a magical impression, we could easily overspend and do too many ‘overs’ whereby we even move into a garish presentation.

Mercury turns retrograde on the 12th, and our thoughts, while self-focused, can be too much on how we see the world and how we want to see the world. We could also be too nonchalant about factors beyond our control and beyond our personal realm, thereby missing salient points and contributing to a ‘my way or the highway’ type of attitude.

Excess can be strong during this mid-March period. Following Mercury turning retrograde on the 12th, Jupiter and Venus both trine Pluto on the 13th. On the 14th, Venus conjuncts Jupiter, and Mars triggers the Earth Grand Trine exactly by Mars in Virgo trine Jupiter in Taurus and Mars trine Pluto in Capricorn.

This mid-March period can seem like we have entered into paradise on earth. Equity markets could ratchet up and all might seem right in the world. Yes, we are likely to be feeling the burgeoning of Spring coming forward. We would all like to feel as though the worst is behind us and that we are entering a golden age. Certainly, some commentators and pundits will acclaim that the best is not only yet to come but that we have crossed the threshold into a new world, a world of bounty and abundance. But to borrow from Aldous Huxley, we may feel and even be encouraged to accept the concept that we have entered a brave new world.

Winter 2011-2012… from irritations and aggravations a pearl is formed…